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Archive for March, 2016

Vox’s 19 thiungs that don’t make sense in BvS

102597285-Batman-vs-Superman.530x298I’m not usually a fan of VOX in general, but this particular writer obviously has an axe to grind an created some irritating clickbait out of it. There’s a ton on these articles floating around, but most hit one or two of these same points, so this is the one I’m going to respond to. (I’d link the actual article, but honestly, I don’t want to give them more traffic)

batman-vs-superman-theories-officially-proved-debunked-but-which-are-true-6683041) Why is Batman so gullible? The entire movie hinges on Lex Luthor using his wiles to trick Batman and Superman into fighting

Batman came to the conclusion that Superman was dangerous and needed to be stopped all by himself. Lex may have added a bit to that conclusion indirectly, but he’s not manipulating Batman. He’s taking advantage of an existing situation (That’s something that Lex Luthor has always excelled at, whether in film or print). Even in the comics, Batman has always had a plan to take Superman down. This isn’t that far a leap.

 

2) How does the world feel about Superman?The world’s opinion of Superman changes from scene to scene, and seems as barely motivated as a mob of Springfielders on The Simpsons.

Public opinion turns on a dime. LeBron James is a perfect example.

 

3) Why does everybody blame Superman for the massacre in Africa?

Valid point. They could have explained this more but that would have made the film longer and no one wants that!

 

Batman-v-Superman-the-best-moments4) What  is Wonder Woman in Metropolis for? Why does she need the photo? If she’s not hanging out around normal humans, no one who looks at it will know who she is. 

Wonder Woman wants to erase any trace of her very existence. Pretty easy to understand (we’ve seen this theme in other films – Highlander immediately springs to mind). This is the article looking for things to criticize.

 

5) What does Lex Luthor want? To destroy Superman, sure. But why?

He’s a paranoid megalomaniac. What’s to understand? Just because Eisenberg is terrible in the role doesn’t make it difficult to understand Lexs motivation. That’s more artical fishing for things to nit pick.

 

6) Is Lois Lane magic? When she’s not being held captive as a damsel in distress, Lois Lane uses her powers of journalism to immediately arrive on the scene of wherever she’s needed

Admitted, Amy Adams is not one of the better Lois, but really? We’re going to call her ability to be where the action is “magic”? How about we call it “Journalism”. Better yet, how about we call it “Investigative Journalism”. She’s not a beat reporter, it’s her job to be where news is happening, it’s a skill. If you don’t understand this then I’m compelled to ask if you ever actually worked for a NEfSZ2ONUM37ji_1_bnewspaper or news outlet (Want to ask me if I have? Want to ask how many friends I have that have or do?).

 

7) Corollary: Why do Clark Kent and Lois Lane love each other?Answer this question for me using only the material found in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Don’t talk about their love story from the comics or from other Superman films.

Fair. But no one asks this question in Thor or Iron Man – heck, that relationship with Black Widow and Hulk in Age of Ultron has way less foundation than that of Lois and Clark.

 

8) Why does Batman decide not to kill Superman? Even if you put aside the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, it leans far too heavily on an abrupt emotional shift.

It’s enough of a distraction to break him out of his single mindedness. Moreover it’s a paradigm shift – where Batman realizes what he’s doing is no longer correct – and perhaps he’s on the wrong track. The article says it seems to have relied to heavily on an emotional shift – I disagree, that’s the entire point of the scene.

 

batman_v_superman___dawn_of_justice__poster_by_goxiii-d8xs1x99) Similarly, why doesn’t Superman lead with the most pertinent information when confronting Batman?

He tries, Batman isn’t listening and doesn’t let him.

 

10) Even more similarly, what is Batman’s plan for getting Superman to fight him? it seems like he stands around for a long, long time before Superman shows up. Batman’s a proactive character. Wouldn’t he take the fight to his foe?

He had the area prepped and set up with traps. Moreover, this is strategy. If you’ve played chess for any amount of time (or other strategy games for that matter- RISK, even Heroclix) you’ve seen this tactic played. My friend Johnny Em is notorious for it. Isn’t it wiser to make your enemy come to you and fight on your terms?

 

11) If Batman knows so much about Lex Luthor’s shady smuggling deals, why doesn’t he suspect Luthor’s true intentions?

Again, they seem to think that Batman is listening to Luthor, that he is directly manipulating him – I don’t get that impression at all from the movie.

 

Jesse-Eisenberg-Lex-Luthor12) Why is everything in this movie at least two story beats too complicated?

Fair. The film needs about 45 min cut- mostly shots of people in suits wringing their hands. Also every time Lex opens his mouth, they need to cut his dialogue in half.

 

13) Why doesn’t Superman hear the bomb in the wheelchair?

And, what is he supposed to hear? Real bombs don’t tick. Are you thinking perhaps custom electronics? If by some long shot, the bomb had a distinctive electric hum, would you be able to distinguish that from the other eltonic noises in the immediate area? How many cell phones are in that room? How many lightbulbs? But even if it did have a disctinct electronic whine that is universally identifiable as saying “I’m-A-Bomb!” (but only to super-hearing) Superman himself says he wasn’t looking for it.

Seriously though, what exactly do you think he supposed to hear?

 

14) How is the Daily Planet a functioning business?

We have three daily newspapers in this area alone not to mention at least five weekly’s. Moreover, whose to say the Daily Planet doesn’t have online and multi media presence? But seriously, would you ask this same question of Stark Industries? Hammer Industries? Oscorp? Even the Daily Bugle? Howzabout we complain about not know how the artificial gravity works on the Millenium Falcon? I’d consider this to be in that class of batman-vs-superman-poster-lex-luthornitpick.

 

15) How does the Kryptonian ship just decide Luthor will be its new master?

I’ve heard this one a lot. It seems like an easy criticism except I think the answer is glaringly obvious. Lex had Zod’s fingerprints AND the key – how many more credentials do you actually need? I mean, my car starts up no matter who slides the key into the ignition. If you have the password to my gmail account it’s pretty simple to take it over, you don’t even need to be sitting at my computer. that sort of thing happens every day.

16) Why does Superman die?

and

17) What’s the point of Clark’s dream visit with his dad?


16 and 17 both fair criticisms of a aesthetic that the article clearly did not enjoy. I can respect different taste.

18) Does anybody in this universe know how to use a spear? Spears are made to be thrown! Just throw the spear at Doomsday! Mission accomplished!

Yes, you can throw a spear, and the beast can also dodge that spear. For a big bulky monster, Doomsday did seem to be awfully light on his feet. He also could unleash energy beams and pulse waves and brightly colored CGI explosions.  You think that perhaps, just maybe one of those things could have knocked a thrown spear off course? This is too important a battle for him to risk missing. There’s also the question of penetration. Even thrust straight in at point blank range, it didn’t go deep enough. Superman had to push it in. A thrown spear would have not done enough damage and someone would still have had to close in and melee.

19) WTF was Batman’s dream sequence? I realize the easy explanation for the dream sequence is, “It’s setting up future movies,” or, “It shows us Batman’s paranoia about Superman!” But it also seems like an attempt to get us to worry that Superman might turn evil at some point, and, sigh.

It’s supposed to be a loose end. The author of this article should be intelligent enough to understand that, but seems insistent on hating for hates sake.

That’s enough about BvS. I’ve got Cinema Wasteland at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville Ohio this weekend and I’m far more interested in focusing on that!

Cinema Wasteland

 


319d

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

319d


Worlds finest

tvsupergril-flash-crossover-artIt’s fair to say that I’ve been looking forward to this episode almost as much as the Batman versus Superman movie. Back when the first photos of grant and Melissa showed up, we thought it was cool but never dreams that a cross network cross series crossover could ever happen – it’s really a sign of how different things are these days and how strong the idea of the shared universe really is.

Of course as fans we understood the appeal of crossovers and the shared universe for a very long time, but it’s interesting days that we live in when rival television networks are willing to play nice and share characters because they finally caught on and caught up to us on realizing the benefits of series interaction. The episode is everything that I could’ve hoped for

It’s interesting, I did like Batman versus Superman and it’s clearly the s"Worlds Finest" -- Kara gains a new ally when the lightning-fast superhero The Flash suddenly appears from an alternate universe and helps Kara battle Siobhan, aka Silver Banshee (Italia Ricci, left), and Livewire (Brit Morgan, right) in exchange for her help in finding a way to return him home, on SUPERGIRL, Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.uperior production,but I think I may have had more fun with Supergirl and  the flash last night. Can I talk a minute though about how much I love the villains? Silver Banshee really works better as a Supergirl villain then she did as a Superman baddie and that’s interesting to realize. It’s still the TV show’s own unique take on the character, but I have no complaints. In fact the way they made her look… she may as well have stepped right off the comic book pages –indeed, I may actually like this outfit better than the comic versions. Siobhán was spooky and intimidating and perfect. It may perhaps have been a little bit over the top for mainstream audience, I’m not sure. My girls loved it – Lydia cringed from the skull face and everybody was excited to see what happened next.

the-flash-supergirl-crossover-worlds-finest-image-1Barry and Kara have marvelous chemistry by the way, what is it about Barry and cute adorkable blondes? I think I may actually enjoy his banter and interactions with Supergirl even more than I did his back and forth with Felicity from Arrow.

I know Barry went back to his own world, and the idea of bringing the Multiverse in here is a very DC move, and a brilliant idea – building on the strengths of the DC universe. Still, I’m a little bummed that there are separated by two different worlds. I want to see more of this. I want the Flash and Supergirl team up to be an annual thing, just like the Arrow crossovers are. I really can’t say enough about the-flash-arrow-crossover-event-118076how much fun this episode was, even more fun than the Flash /Arrow crossovers, more fun then the Legends of Tomorrow series, just more fun period. This episode may have just tipped the scales making Supergirl my new favorite series, narrowly beating out the Flash… Not sure. We’ll see how things go tonight! Barry is back on his own channel and I’ll be in front of the TV with my girls watching!

10302037_1088246911219731_8319881951109060156_n


Vincent Ward

Autographs

Ward was one of the prisoners a while back in Walking Dead. He also responded back to my letter incredibly quickly!

vincent ward

TwdprisonersIn addition to this photo, he also signed my generic Walking Dead poster. What’s interesting is I recently met one of his fellow prisoners – Santiago Cirilo. Also interesting is that yet another of those prisoners – Lew Temple will be at Motor City Nightmares in a few weeks….I sense a trend here!


Batman versus Superman

Movie banner102597285-Batman-vs-Superman.530x298

12814231_1146572888720466_3283450144763849407_nIn order to best discuss issues and elements of the film, vague spoilers are mentioned.proceed at your own discretion.

I took the girls out to Amherst cinema to see Batman v Superman on Saturday. This is the movie event of the summer for us – it’s the one with and waiting for, more than Civil War, more than Deadpool, more than Star Wars. It is the culmination of a dream come true. This is what we have always wanted to see, even more than the joining of the Avengers or the Punisher and Daredevil coming together – this is the ultimate dream for us. We are DC people after all.

There’s a lot of Trolls out there who seemed inclined to hate this movie from the word go – and for those who absolutely wanted to see this fail, those people are going to find as many flaws and as many things they don’t agree with in it as they can. There is plenty of it, so yes, I’m seeing more than enough of them feeling justified in their animosity.  I’ve been defending this movie for quite awhile, with a wait-and-see attitude. I’m not the kind of person to hate something just because it’s cool to hate it. Some of you are sitting out there reading this thinking “I sense a ‘but’ here “.

Well not exactly.

12472805_1148774941833594_3636247074446668501_nLike any film you can divide it into a pile of good things in a pile bad things. Lets start off looking at the good things shall we?

Henry Cavill is perfectly adequate at being superman. That may sound like I’m damning with faint praise, but really this is a difficult role and he manages to blend in, embodying the fundamentals of the character rather than standing out as a particular actor version of it. He’s not the Christopher Reeve Superman, he’s not Dean Cain Superman he simply is… Superman. Cavill does an excellent job portraying a lot of Superman’s inner monologue, that is to say he captures the insecurities of the man, he conveys the inner turmoil without chewing the scenery. The Superman of this era is still on a learning curve and Cavill manages to convey that well. More than anything else, no matter what you have to say about the director, or the writer, or even the critics and fans, you can take absolute certainty on this – Cavill gets Superman. It is clearly evident in his rendition.

perry-white-e1370419014942While we’re on the subject of Superman, (discussing the supporting cast is inevitable) can we talk about how good Perry White is in this movie? I was extremely on the fence about Lawrence Fishbourne in Man of Steel. There is something about his performance that threw me off… Perry is an old school war reporter, ‘Nam and World War II. Fishbourne seemed a little too cool sometimes, man that earring of his is really bugging me! This time around he seemed more grizzled, maybe it’s just the gray showing up on his beard but I don’t think so – he played the character with more maturity and age this time around. He played him crankier and with less patience. That really makes a big difference. I felt more like I was watching Franklin Langella’s (Superman Returns) or John Hamilton’s(Adventures of Superman TV) performance.

And then there is Batman. After all the speculation, we finally get to see Batfleck.Batman_Affleck

(I’m telling you guys! You should have used my design!)

1236840_683654624997566_879480929_nIt’s inevitable that we have to talk about him. You know, the Haters jumped right on top of him as soon as Ben Affleck was cast. I refused to delve into the mass of criticism (You can see my initial reactions on this blog HERE and HERE), particularly amid this group of people who want to hate on him simply because he is Ben Affleck. That was the big argument that I kept hearing, that he’s Ben Affleck and he’s going to suck because of it – or that he is going to suck as Batman because he sucked as Daredevil (curiously enough, the main argument and I’ve heard for why Daredevil is so terrible is that exact same one – it sucks because Ben Affleck sucks). Quite frankly, if I’d heard you utter these words or any variation thereof, I have immediately dismissed your opinion and I’m not interested in talking to you any further about these movies. (and by the way, I happen to like Daredevil – I mean really like it – like I don’t understand why everyone hates it, it’s one of my favorite superhero films). Yeah, harsh, but I’ve put up with it enough.

So how did acquit himself? I think that if you were dead set on hating him, if you were invested enough in that inclination then you’re still going to hate him. For someone who went in with no expectations however, Affleck does a marvelous job. This is a different Batman, it’s not Kilmer it’s not Keaton, it’s not Bale. Some of the characterization feels off sometimes, but it’s intentional. This is a Batman who has grown world-weary. He is so involved in vengeance, that he has very much forgotten how to be a hero that that’s one of the interesting things about this movie, Batman has a definite arc. This film is all about him learning how to become a hero again and it is only in his conflict with Superman, (and moreover seeing his own dark reflection cast by the light of Superman’s inherent nobility) that he realities how lost he is… How far he’s wandered off the path of the hero.

Make no mistake, Superman is the hero of this piece.

I realize that an inflammatory statement, but I think I can back it up. You see, in the final climactic battle between Batman and Superman, Superman comes in, unwilling to kill the Batman, even at the cost of his mother’s life. Batman comes in, solely intent on murdering Superman out of nothing more than a paranoid fear. I’m sorry, but no matter how I look at it, in this situation – Batman is batman-vs-superman-theories-officially-proved-debunked-but-which-are-true-668304the bad guy – and indeed it is the very reason why Batman almost wins here… not because he’s single mindedly willing to do “whatever it takes” to win, but rather because Superman is unwilling to take Batman’s life. Superman truly is the hero here. And that’s really the point of it all isn’t it? We see a remarkable redemption in Batman and this is a tough part to pull out off simply because of all of these elements that have been layered and incorporated into a single role.

Affleck’s body language is straight out of the animated series, and his delivery is pitch perfect from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight returns. For those out there who are complaining it’s not their version of Batman, I’m reminded of something John Byrne once wrote – his reaction to reading The Dark Knight Returns. He said that it wasn’t the Batman he knew, not the one he liked, but he understood how it was the Batman that he knew who had grown into this character – that this was12809688_1148774938500261_4617938668998965604_n a potential future for his Batman and it made sense to him when he looked at it from this perspective. I think there’s a lot of that here. If all you’re looking for is a rehash of Christian Bale’s Batman then you may be in the wrong place. That’s perhaps that’s a bit harsh of me, but I’ve never cared for the Nolan films, and have always felt a little distressed that so many people claim that as their fundamental version of Batman – the purist form, and the only one they wish to recognize. There are better versions out there, believe me. This may or may not be one of them.

The bat suit by the way, is dead on and I really love it. I get glimpse of gold on that belt once in awhile, even though it seems to be rusted over and black. I can see the bat symbol on the chest and it really stands out against the gray. There is nothing about this bat suit that I don’t like – and the Batmobile? I have not liked a Batmobile this much since Anton Furst’s design for the 1989 film, and the Lincoln Futura before it. It’s perfect. It 12143230_1148774935166928_2648198661282546357_nhas the teeth of the tumbler, mixed with the sleek look of the first Batmobile. I was excited from the very first images I laid eyes on, and the final product did not disappoint one bit– it’s sporty and brutal and beautiful

Of course the real performance everyone is talking about here is Wonder Woman. I have heard from more than a few critics fans and moviegoers that she stole the show. That was certainly the case for my kids. They waited almost an entire film just to see her – even when she showed up incognito they understood it, and their excitement was palpable. Wonder Woman does not disappoint here – and that’s quite a task considering how difficult it has been to bring this character back to the screen. Lynda Carter is still very much in the hearts and minds of everyone of my generation, but my kids have12798907_1147789361932152_4407022136592722495_n been exposed to her as well (although they are probably more familiar with the animated version that we saw in the Justice League cartoon). Still this was a brilliant performance, and Gail Godot proved she was absolutely worthy of the role. She is another one of those cases of undue criticism, before a single frame was shot. I really don’t understand why there was so much hatred heaped upon her head from the moment she was cast… long before we ever even saw her in the suit! This woman had an uphill battle and had to fight for every step of the way, and man, does she ever deliver in this movie! They manage not only to make her  compelling, but to make her mysterious – to make her and enigma that we genuinely want to unravel and explore further. When we saw the old photograph that she had infiltrated Lex Luthor’s party to retrieve, we nearly flipped. It’s obviously a shot from the upcoming Wonder Woman solo film and that’s such a great way of integrating her into the DC cinematic universe.  The amount of anticipation that my girls and I have for the upcoming wonder woman Batman-v-Superman-the-best-momentsmovie just shot through the roof!

Really, this is The epitome of what is Zach Snyder faced with this film. He had an impossible task, not only to bring these characters to life but to kick off a franchise and to keep us wanting to come back more. I have long said that Batman versus Superman was a license to print money… But only once. This film was guaranteed to be a success, but it had to be enough of a true success to make us genuinely want to come back for more.

I’m not sold on Cyborg and the Flash, not from the mere glimpses we saw in this film, and I’m still not in love with Snyder’s style, but that Aquaman we saw? Man I want to know more about that! He reminds me a lot of the 90’s Aquaman (the version I really like). and this really intrigues me. I am all about a new wonder woman movie and an Aquaman story. I also honestly do want to see more of Afflecks Batman.

I really want to know what’s up with that ending. My kids cried.

It’s not a perfect movie though, it’s at least 45 minutes too long – and far too much of the movie goes right back to my age old complaint about the Iron man films; we’re not in the suit isn’t nearly enough costume time, especially for Superman. We get a montage and rescue at the beginning and not a lot else until we hit that the third act. Batman is only slightly better. There is a moment in the film where Alfred points out that Bruce Wayne is capable of getting certain information far more easily and efficiently than Batman. I wanna punch Alfred as he says this, because I’m not nearly as interested in watching Bruce Wayne hobnob as I am in watching Batman swing on a rope! Aargh!

Lois Lane is not quite tough enough. Margot Kidder may have taken the hard as nails approach a tad too far, but the current Lois Lane feels just a little too soft and friendly . I’m a bit biased, I think Teri Hatcher was the greatest Lois Lane ever to grace the screen which is curious considering I’m not a fan of the Lois and Clark TV show…(although I’m softening on that stand, I’m almost through season two and actually liking it a bit more than I did when I was a kid)

lex-luthor-inside-details-on-jesse-eisenberg-as-lex-luthor-in-batman-vs-superman-jpeg-26235Perhaps the biggest problem in this film, is Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor. This was another casting choice that I defended when it was announced, it was my thought that if he bulked up a little bit this might be an interesting chance for him to stretch is acting ability.  He’s got the range, he just never uses it, instead choosing to rely on his Jesse Eisenberg persona. I even found this image back then – a speculative rendition of what he could be as Lex if he choose to play it straight.

Even when it came out that his Eisenber act was indeed the kind of character he was going to be playing, I assumed that the role had been written for him – with this gawky spaz kind of young Lex Luthor in mind… Now I’m not so sure.

There is nothing in his lines or actions that depends on the hyperactive awkwardness that he displays. In fact, there’s moments in his performance of real menace. It’s batman-vs-superman-poster-lex-luthorenough to make me believe that perhaps there’s something more there than meets the eye. I almost want to believe that the nerdy Eisenberg persona is just a defense mechanism. Just a surface act that masks depths of sinister intent.

The problem is it’s never paid off (unless Snyder thinks that the sullen look on Eisenbergs face as his hair is shaved off is that emotional pay off). We never really get to see this explored the ways should be done. As a result, it just comes up as annoying – a real missed opportunity .

When they were first looking around at casting next Luthor I was vocal in my support of Clancy Brown. He was the actor who voiced the character in the cartoons, though he is probably best known for his role as the Kurgan in Highlander or the mean guard in The Shawshank Redemption. He’s never been out of work. In very recent times, he’s played the Clancy_Brownprincipal in the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot,as well as appearing on Supergirl as General Eiling, and very recently showed up on Daredevil as the Punishers old CO.

Sit back for a moment, and transpose him over Jesse Eisenberg. Imagine Eisenbergs lines, but instead of the nervous sputtering delivery that Jesse gave, imagine Clancy in an expensive pressed suit – perhaps a lab coat, thought less likely. Imagine him delivering those lines confidently with that low,sure voice. Just a touch of menace to it. Imagine Clancy doing the things Luthor did. With Eisenberg, pulling the finger tips off of Zod is icky… With Brown it would’ve been terrifying in it’s genuis and obsession. With Eisenberg you hate him for kidnapping Martha Kent, with Brown you’re terrified of what will happen to her.

‘Seriously, I don’t understand this casting choice. Snyder is hellbent on doing imagessomething different, I understand. Indeed, I think in this determination to do something new, he actually exhibits that single-mindedness that we see in Batman… driving him to do the wrong thing.

The wrong thing. That that’s a bold statement, it’s an absolute and a label that I have not applied any other part of this movie. So why do I say “the wrong thing ” 72340_1146572142053874_2236992969757371517_nwhen it comes to Lex Luthor and stand by it with such certainty?

Because my kids didn’t recognize him.

My girls know who Lex Luthor is. They’ve watched him on the Justice League cartoons, they’ve been around Superman there entire lives, they play hero clixs with me and read the comics themselves and THEY. DID. NOT. RECOGNIZE. HIM. It wasn’t until the end of the movie, where Eisenberg sits in prison, wearing an orange jumpsuit Jesse-Eisenberg-Lex-Luthorand having his head shaved that Maddie’s eyes widened and she pointed at him. It was only in those final minutes of the film that my kids realized that they had been watching some strange incarnation of Lex Luthor all along. When you alter a character so much that he becomes unrecognizable to casual fans, you have absolutely gone the wrong direction with that character.

Zach Snyder is not interested in making fun, popcorn action movies. He’s trying to make a serious epic here, and I’m not sure that’s the right approach. While Batman V Superman is not a bad movie, The heaviness of it severely limits rewatchability. I have the same issue with Winter Soldier, and I especially have this problem with Man of Steel. We all know that Superman Returns is a terrible Versusfilm, and it breaks my heart because the visual design has so much potential. But I’ll tell you what, even though Man of Steel is a better film, I’ve seen Superman Returns way more times that I’ve watched Man of Steel. It’s just an easier watch. Truth is, I don’t think I’ve made it through Man of Steel even one time since I saw in the theatre. Maybe in pieces, but certainly not in its entirety. Batman versus Superman will be the same – I may pop the video in and cue it past the second hour, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never watch this entire thing again. I liked it, and I’m glad I saw it, I just don’t know that I’ll ever be able to sit through this a second time, where as I can see myself watching Batman 89 again and again.  If Iron Man is on cable I’m not going to turn it off. If I see BvS though, I’ll probably sit through it until commercial if it’s a good part and then keep on flipping.

The thing is, Snyder has mistaken heavy and cynical for mature. I have the same response to him that I did to the producers of the Muppets many months ago (you can find that HERE) that Cynical is not batman_v_superman___dawn_of_justice__poster_by_goxiii-d8xs1x9necessarily “adult”, and it’s not what I want to see with these characters. You didn’t “grow up “the Superman film, you just sucked a lot of the joy out of it.

A lot of the joy, but not all of it. Seeing Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman on screen together is something we wanted all our lives and we finally have it. This was a monumental and daunting task and if not ideal, Snyder does manage to pull it off. 3-D and IMAX are going to do nothing for it, but if you haven’t seen it in the theatre you really need to. We went for the cheap seats at Amherst Cinema and paid four dollars for a ticket. It’s  showing on a double bill with Deadpool over at the drive-in near us. The movie is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere – you have no excuse. If you haven’t seen Batman versus Superman, I’m sorry I spoiled it for you but what are you doing wasting time reading this anyhow? Get out and see the movie!


319c

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

319c


Tom Atkins

AutographsTom Atkins is a B movie legend, starring in  things liek Night of the creeps, Halloween 3 and even more recently the Nic Cage film Drive Angry.He’s a terribly nice guy and extremely down to earth. I was able t omeet him about a year ago and grab this photo – I can’t help it, I always picture him as  a cop.

Tom Atkins


The Shadow

definitive

My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

Time we looked at my second favorite hero, The Shadow.

There’s a heavy influence from Eduardo Baretto from The Shadow Strikes, but really I prefer a little more kinetic feel to it.

The basic design is based on the look from the 80’s Hefler  Baker run, and the look that I was getting from the covers. Sadly it’s pretty inaccurate, especially from what Walter Gibson envisioned, but it’s far to burned into my brain for me to change now!

Shadow pencils Shadow inked Shadow color

 


Determining XP version, no sticker, no CD

techtipsWhen I’m not writing comics or watching terrible films I also work as an IT consultant. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the last 17 years.

Problem:

You need to reload or repair a system’s Windows XP installation, but the system has no Windows key on the box, and no CD was provided. You’ve pulled the Key out of the registry using something like Keyfinder or ERD, but don’t know the version of windows you are reinstalling , OEM, Retail or Volume because even if Windows XP Installer accepts the product key you type in before installation commences it doesn’t mean you’re golden. After installation is done you still have to activate Windows. Then (and only then) will some product keys be recognized as invalid. So it’s possible (as I discovered) to waste a whole bunch of time doing an upgrade only to discover you have to back the upgrade out and redo it with the proper retail version disk for your retail product key(or an OEM version with your OEM product key).

Solution:

Boot into windows/safe mode and open up general properties (right click on My Computer and select properties). When you go to System Properties,you will see a set of numbers mentioned under “Registered to”
They will look similar to this:
76487-024-5236883-XXXXX

The first set of numbers will correspond to this list :
MPC list – English locale
55274 : XP Pro generic OEM
55276 : XP Pro (upgrade)
55276 : XP Home (?) †
55277 : XP Home generic OEM
55285 : XP Pro †
55661 : XP Pro (retail)
76475 : XP Home (upgrade) (?)
76477 : XP Home Royalty OEM ‡
76481 : XP Pro Dell OEM
76487 : XP Media Center Edition 2005
76487 : XP Pro Royalty OEM ‡
76487 : XP Pro SP2 (retail)
76487 : XP Pro SP3 (OEM)
76487 : XP Pro volume license (with ‘640’ channel ID)
76500 : XP MCE 2005 (which is XP Pro with no domain capability)
76588 : XP Pro x64 OEM

The second set of numbers, the one with three digits will correspond to this list:

000 : Other (includes some retail, upgrade and evaluation versions) (includes (some?) MSDNAA discs)
006 : MS or Partner promotions
007 : FIXME : Retail
009 : Not for resale – bundle
011 : Upgrade (XP Home?)
013 : Upgrade (XP Pro)
071 : FIXME : Unknown.
083 : Windows Genuine Advantage
OEM : OEM (This does not specify royalty or normal OEM)
270 : Volume License
296 : MSDN
308/347 : Microsoft Action Pack subscription
335 : Retail
640 through 652 : Volume License (usually generated via 270 CID in setupp.ini)
699 : Volume Windows XP Tablet Edition
770 : Retail (at least according to WGA Diagnostic)


Night of the living dead

remakesposterbsNight of the living dead’s real crime is being a fairly average movie. Tom Savini was tasked with remaking and thereby reclaiming the rights to one of the most beloved zombie films of all time. Standing on its own, Night of the Living Dead is very professional, quite adequate. But that’s not what the fans wanted, they were hoping for something that was spectacular. Something that took the original and pushed it to the next level. Part of the problem here is the period in which it was made. The MPAA was really cracking down on violence and gore, a cycle we wouldn’t really see broken until Ronny Yeu  directed Freddy versus Jason and took the blood and gore up to cartoonish levels so that it wouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s a tactic that didn’t quite work for Evil Dead, but changing times, changing attitudes.

nightofthelivingdeadtonytodd

Savini did attempt to update the story however, by making Barbara a stronger character at the end. I consider this to be a mistake. It’s so jarring to see her transformation. We’re so used to her being the victim, the freaked out almost catatonic young woman of the black and white film. She almost lessens the impact of the brilliant Tony Todd in this film. It’s such a small change though, I don’t know that it went far enough. What we saw from the remake of Dawn of the Dead was a great updating of the classic Romero zombie film. They took the premise, a bit of the concept, and they ran with it, literally. They ramped up the blood they made zombies far more interesting looking and much more direct. I can get into fast zombies versus slow zombies here, but it is undeniable that Dawn of the Dead was a very successful remake, in one of the models that we should be looking towards. If we hold that up against the Night of the Living Dead remake, what we see is sometimes you can go too far   in respecting the original material.  I think to reboot this remake we need to do is go more extreme, taking the original premise a group of people in an abandoned farmhouse, strife, internal struggles, and an relenting force outside. But really, I don’t know there is a great way to update this classic period something is perhaps, should just be left alone.


ConCoction 2016

ConmanConcoctionFour conventions in four weeks is a little excessive, even for me – however, you have to admit that every show I’ve been to lately has been a different kind: Zipcon was an Anime Convention – very focused on Japanese animation and manga. You might see a Spiderman or Deadpool there, but really it’s all about the cartoons. Great Lakes on the other hand was a comic con. They had a more straightforward focus on mainstream comics, with only a couple of media guests, and all of them comic related. The 80s theme made a great deal of fun as well. Horror Relm is strictly a horror convention, with a heavy media and film focus. To their credit they do in fact have a literary component, but it’s overshadowed by the media guests.

That leaves us with this weekend, my first time out to the Cleveland ConCoction. ConCoction is a sci-fi convention – there’s a few more elements in there, a little bit of anime and comics, but it’s far more about speculative fiction. There is a heavy literary influence here, with very few media guests and more authors doing panels then actors. There’s a lot of Star Wars here predictably, but there is also an enormous amount of Star Trek here as well, hearkening back a little bit to the old days of Star Trek conventions. Seriously, I have not seen this many Star Trek costumes in one place in probably 20 years? That was fun and refreshing to be around again. It made it the perfect place to debut my new Borg outfit (truthfully created with ConCotion at least partially in mind) and I spent Saturday going around attempting to add biological and technological distinctiveness to my own. Sadly, all I managed to assimilate was girl scout cookies.

BorgConcoction has been around for three years now, and they been on my radar the entire time – my main barrier to entry has been the cost – concoction is a little bit more expensive than other shows sheratonits  size and on top of that, their location is the Sheraton hotel at the Cleveland Hopkins airport – this is a problem because it means you are going to pay to park, and if the hotel lot fills up (which it did, long before I made it there) you’re going to pay a LOT to park. Just a Saturday ticket is $40 at the door, although if you register early enough you can get the entire weekend for about $45 or so, and if you can get into the hotel parking lot it’ll only cost a fiver for a place to put your car. But if you get stuck having to park at the airport lot, you’re dropping an extra $12. All that cost up front, with very few media guests has kept me away first few years, but when I won a admission last September during a costume contest, it definitely got me excited about coming and far more willing to brave the extra costs of going.

Yes, ConCoction costs more, but they try harder too. There is programming from early in the morning all the way up until 1468755_1135510343160054_4953599633679730211_nmidnight here, and that’s not even getting into after parties and stuff like that. There is a ConSuite on site as well, where are you can find food and beverage. I’ve seen Motor City Nightmares do a similar hospitality suite, but wit far less of a spread and you had to get a special VIP admission for it. At ConCoction, the Consuite is open to anyone attending the show.  I had all of my meals there, and this is really a great thing… Not having to run away from the hotel to grab food, not having to strategically plan your meals. They kept me hydrated (kind of important in some of my costumes) and fed. They also held several the panels in this cozy dining room.

10564994_1135510339826721_3087686439105258383_nThe panels at ConCoction are very interesting, not just the content but also in the way that they are run. A lot of them are far more of a forum than a strict panel – there is a lot of audience participation and conversation going on. As soon as I arrived, I ran into some friends who were on their way to a panel in the Consuite being hosted by Pete Mako (of Pete Mako in the Boogiemen, remember them from a few weeks ago?). I was still getting my bearings and found myself in the Consuite and noticed that they were there. I asked “I thought you guys were going to a panel!” Pete walked past me smiling and clapped my shoulder then said “This IS the panel!” The group, about have a dozen of them relaxed around a table and began discussing the topic of “Geek Dating”.  It wasn’t the first time I’d see this, in fact later on I would sit down to a panel charmingly  titled “Why You Are Here: Two Old Broads and Why They Ran (and stopped running) cons in Cleveland “. It was a discussion of behind-the-scenes at conventions, and what it was like to host the old Earth Cons back in the 80s.  I like to consider myself a convention Veteran. I’ve been on the scene since I was a kid back in ’87, but these ladies were doing it back in the late 70s and started hosting their own show in’81… In fact Earth Con’s last show was held just before the first Star Trek Convention I ever went to! They discussed the difference between the Literary cons and media cons, something I’ve never even really been aware of – things were leaning a little bit more towards media and Star Trek conventions during my time. They reminisced about gathering diffrent groups together to gaming, sci-fi, comics and the how the cooperation from different groups  help Make Earth Con a reality. The gamers would bring in Steve Jackson. The Comic people would bring in Stan Lee, while Earth Con would get someone like Anne McCaffrey or James Doohan. But then, the unity between the orginizations began to fragment, each wanting to hold their own conventions. It was fascinating to hear about how that cooperation transformed into competition.

I was riveted, so were a couple of the tweeners hanging out – a couple of junior high girls who were fascinated by the idea, and so excited about the convention experience that all they wanted to do was just find more shows to go to, and more time to spend at these events.

I sat back, trying to decide if thier giggling, gasping hyperactivity was annoying or inspiring.

The thing is, I was that age once. I remember… I remember what this felt like, I remember what it was like to break into the world of fandom, and I can’t help but smile – seeing it happen all over again, it really does makes me happy.

12801503_10100446744562266_5604688245584325770_n

There are several comedy shows going on at ConCoction, and I was dead 1924260_1134584266585995_8867013992410242920_nset on making sure I hit “doctor whose line is it anyway? ”

It really set the tone for a lot of the comedy show cases that we saw over this weekend There were two different improv troupes going on, and that made up a great deal of the sketch comedy happening, but also, later in the evening there was a group of stand-ups who came out to perform. This was really fun to see, with the subject matter tailored to fit the convention – sci-fi and fantasy genre jokes. Monster Bash is the only10402849_10100447131970896_75788821195389550_n other show that immediately comes to mind that I know that has stand up as part of its routine. It’s a great late night filler and I had a lot of fun with it.

One of the highlights of Saturday for me was “Looking for Love in Alderaan Places”. It’s still improv, but with an outline. They know where they are going, and what the story is, but still keep in off the cuff. It has the feel and style of a classical farce – if it were written by George Lucas.

12814777_10208473897623319_2422085043494285847_nI managed to hit the “State of the Star Trek panel “with Larry Nemecek. Larry is an American Star Trek author, actor, editor, archivist, consultant, interviewer and producer.  He has portrayed Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek Continues web series episodes “Pilgrim of Eternity” and “Lolani.”  and has been around the franchise for a good long time – the buzz of course, is not so much Star Trek beyond, but the new Star Trek series that CBS all access is producing There is a certain degree of trepidation and pessimism that comes along with any of it, and he reminded us of that same kind of feeling 12814683_10208473900423389_8572060921254002335_nback in the days of Star Trek : The Next Generation. You know what, I remember those days and I remember that negativity, but I don’t remember if that was me or not.  I’d like to think that it wasn’t, I’m pretty sure I was excited just because there is new Star Trek been produced in my lifetime and that was unthinkable.

One of my favorite slides he showed was this bullseye from the writers room, basically all the possible responses you could expect from a pitch – and everyone was always aiming for the center.

There is something surreal about the fact 942299_10208473899943377_6591667192631257574_nthat I attended this panel dressed as a Borg. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the room who found that funny, several pictures of the back of my head appeared online later on in the evening…

Litarary panels are fun, and really come from a different place than I’m used to. You get a diffrent kind of discussion, usually with far better referances and sources to back up opinions and ideas. “Growing up sci-fi” emphasised a lot of the isolation that you kind of felt as a sci-fi fan in the pre-Internet days. I’d kind of forgotten, and perhaps it wasn’t really true in my time, how sci-fi used to have a sort of “renegade “or “rebellious “reputation to it. I’m Pre-Internet 1557519_1134584003252688_4520742300568146200_nas well, and I empathize with the writer who mentioned she didn’t know what it would’ve been like, how she would’ve handled it if she hadn’t had access to the online community when she was growing up as a sci-fi fan. It’s a fascinating perspective. I was blessed to have found friends in both school and Church who shared my passions and gave me an outlet for them. Equally fascinating was the writer who described reading the Star Trek novels long before they were ever able to see an episode of the TV series. This is fundamentally my story on how I experienced Captain Video and I totally get what you’re saying. I love seeing that idea overlayed on another series.

12799270_1134584123252676_3852451897015572495_nThe comic book collecting panel, hosted by Ed Gosney, was little bit more familiar territory, though still very much more a discussion then a lecture. people talked about characters and earth that they loved. One of the Writers from the previous panel was there discussing how there are a number of comics in his collection where it was the art, the imagery itself rather than the story that captivated him. To the point where he eventually scanned those images into his computer, so he’d have the art without having to carry around the baggage of the books themselves. We talked about great finds, and the one that got away… One of the attendees told a story about a day out garaged saleing. He was with his mother but only had about three dollars to his name at the moment. In the back of this person’s garage he saw boxes, and boxes of comics. Longboxes full of rare stuff, seminal stories, important comics. The owner told him he could have the whole lot for $50. His mother of course, wasn’t loaning him the money no way no-how, so he grabbed a handfull of choice issues and ran out to the flea market.  On the way there he called one of his buddies to let him know about the stash that was at this grudge sale – “if I don’t get out there, you need to “. He managed to raise the necessary $50 on those special issus he had snagged, and arrived back at the garage sale just in time to see his buddy loading that collection into his truck. Still from then on, every con that friend put on, he had his admission comped and a $15 credit at his booth.

12821477_10208888702279257_8522430331028457468_n“A borg is walking away with a signed copy of my book ‘Prometheus Stumbles’. There’s something you don’t see every day….”

1918241_1134584379919317_8384069525695507069_n10401215_1692907380925919_1112321460170093922_nI’m going on and on about the programming. I know. While I usually say that programming is the lifeblood of a con, it’s really true here. The vendors area is divided into three sections, an artist room, an authors alley and a proper dealers room. All three are about the size of my living room. Maybe a touch bigger. This is not Wizard World where you walk into a room the size of an airplane hanger packed full of vendors and scalper selling the latest things that Hot Topic has sold out of. The dealers here 12814043_1692907334259257_7187117035295895702_nare artists and craftsmen, gamers and cosplayers.

You’ll find jewelry and puppets and dice and leather here. I saw custom fan neckties and mopey robots and strange flowers (I bought the girls wooden roses). It’s interesting stuff, more like the sort of thing you’d see at a Renaissance fair, not so much like what you may be used to seeing at a comic con.  You can pretty much get through the dealers room in ten to fifteen minuets, so honestly, that better not be what you’re coming for.

1914248_1134584469919308_6566962078602034097_nThere are a few more tables upstairs along the mezzanine. It’s a stunning view and a really cool space. It’s also out of the way and easy to neglect. The cosplayers are up there, and I made sure to get into a quick scuffle with Knightmage’s Darth Maul as we overlooked the balcony.

1934177_1134584076586014_2004702050444750437_nIn addition to the cosplayers, there were a couple other concoction groups set up there as well as the Federation booth and the band.

Oh yes. The band.

10488369_1134580496586372_3858482629432149360_nFive Year Mission is the collaboration of five Star Trek fans who endeavor to write and record a song for each of the episodes of the 12832488_1134583703252718_5751622523088986578_noriginal Star Trek series from the 1960s. One of my friends is certain the bass player is going to drop dead after each show and have to be replaced because of the red shirt. It’s a remarkably good band with clever songs and good hooks. The band switches up instruments after almost every song which makes for an interesting dynamic – we get to hear just about every sing at one point and the songs honestly do get stuck in your head.

Five Year Mission did two sets on Saturday, one full electric set as well as a smaller acoustic set – “storytellers” style, where they laid 12809655_10100264656957521_6018051804594040867_nout the idea behind each song they played.

They weren’t the only musical act though. As I mentioned earlier, Pete Mako was here as well to do his set (which they scheduled during the costume contest! Come on! What’s up with that???). I caught his act at ZipCon and was really excited that he was going to be playing ConCoction. Pete was around all weekend helping out with bits here and there.

943827_10205463303814341_1761433482646886302_nCosplay is interesting at ConCotion. You don’t have the throngs of cosplayers swarming all around the joint like you do at an Anime convention, but a you have way more than the few dribs and drabs that filter into a Horror con.  It’s a fascinating mix as well. There are 10533812_1134580626586359_444356057891803547_na few superheros around, I saw a ninja Deadpool to die for. But there’s also fantasy, anime characters, steampunk folks, monsters and film characters.

There’s more puppets walking around than you’d expect.

It’s this fantastic variety that makes cosplay at ConCoction really something to see. There’s some innovation in a lot of these outfits I couldn;t have begun to imagine and I was always delighted to discover what new character was right around each corner.

They run the costume contest a little diffrently here. You sign up in the 10:00 hour, and are assigned a slot for pre-judging (mine was 1:45-2:00). You then sit down with the judges and talk out you costume. What it is, what it’s made of, how you did it, anything you really want to say. 1930802_10205399581619124_4712447231621981179_nThe masquerade is around 6. This is the stage show, MCed by Moxie Magnus, the chief cosmetologist on the USS Enterprise under Captain under James T Kirk, and the comedy (drag) queen of outer space. I had fun bantering with Moxie pointing out that my designation was 7 of 5 – none of the other Borg want to hang out with me and then sent me to ConCoction alone to assimilate the show.

1921957_10205463301334279_2095796481302015485_n“And you WILL be assimilated! Resistance is useless!”
“Oh, I’m not resisting…”
“You COULD resist a little you know….”

10628478_1134581023252986_6515379055405091959_nThe winner of the contest was this beautifully made Kaylee from Firefly, and I love this. It shows just how well they understand it. This wasn’t the flashiest costume, it’s not the trendiest. But it’s the most impressive because of the massive amount of work here. This dress is handmade, she did it all and it’s perfect. I’ve seen commissioned ones before and this is dead-on, a masterpiece of stitching. A great, well-earned win.

It’s pretty well known that I’m not a Star Wars fanatic (casual fan at best) so Dak wasn’t a big deal for me, but I was really interested in 1384339_1134584226585999_679050314139320533_nmeeting Santiago Cirilo.

Santiago has been on hit TV Shows and Films on TNT, Lifetime, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, USA Network, Fox, and of course on AMC as Julio in Season 4 of The Walking Dead.He’s the first person from the Walking Dead in fact, that I’ve met or gotten an autograph on that poster of mine in person from.

Santiago is a native of Lorain, which is a neighboring suburb to my own Elyria. We discussed the Lorain Palace and growing up in the area. The thing on his resume that I was honestly the most fascinated by was how he had done episodes of America’s Most 5839_10208889933430035_4749321152107822448_nWanted. You never think about where they get the actors for the reenactments on those shows and I was surprised at how straightforward it is, casting calls the agent and an audition. For some reason I always imagined those shows casting differently. I only caught the tail end of his panel, but Santiago was around for after parties as well, in his Superman leather jacket and shirts. You can see he’s a fan at heart and fits well into this show.

After 11, the barfleet party happens. Drinks and dancing and socializing. The dance floor there is a smaller more intimate setting that the No Strings Attached Ball that happens around 8 in one of the main programming rooms, but still pumping the music with lights in the air and drinks in hand.

Honestly, there’s far more going on at ConCoction than I can cover. There’s always a couple things happening at the same time and I didn’t even begin to hit them all. I barely spent any time in the game room. There were always things going especially for kids in one room. There were music acts that I just couldn’t catch. I’m already registered for next year and if you can stash away a few extra pennies it’s definitely worth checking out.

12832498_1692907150925942_5891530740232776683_n 3876_10209264701440235_7721819962508361716_n 67173_1134580979919657_1576757387193335372_n 8895_1692907084259282_7364651658721743599_n 7661_1134580609919694_1856525857277036433_n 7651_1692907250925932_3534236049531017341_n 166716_616591591825300_3140906705107430348_n 229083_10205463301054272_1439981007354397044_n 270541_1134581263252962_5882518500014542312_n 734686_10156646630635230_1908383016849284426_n 734686_10205398629035310_956147103460464694_n 942523_1134584106586011_4415281523370277209_n 995377_10205400919812578_5736820199097767680_n 970286_1134581313252957_1938776753410451675_n 944016_1134581143252974_1287136211994289209_n 1010630_1134580943252994_6015943325330968179_n 1468545_1134583859919369_295013437095775035_n 1240322_10156646625450230_4856211106532756702_n 1012568_1134584489919306_3091730484015509024_n 1531772_10209264627958398_3806615328376941454_n 1554467_1134580706586351_7983823283552532878_n 1613982_1015928638466408_1328625127299195296_n 1913574_10207126847422548_5787930334463952864_n 1913565_1015928658466406_1687883815926523499_n 1909971_10100264657047341_263169488265826038_n 1618494_1134581453252943_1087467669312478769_n 1918850_1134580913252997_1408509556762406579_n 1929830_10207957370145978_4947814526498342307_n 1924109_1134583979919357_6848077746958057745_n 1930705_1134580539919701_7600392517031586159_n 1935357_10156590234805104_8308673680026414729_n 1935281_1134580863253002_1974691788528934944_n 1934177_1134580766586345_6754299494617380818_n 1933876_1692907434259247_3527896581138433892_n 1931476_1015754095150529_8311723692991716955_n 1934720_1692907277592596_9187408070202065224_n 1934787_1134580516586370_7706361446712841852_n 10250213_1134581429919612_4042542615826820801_n 10300702_1692907140925943_715197025239846334_n 10308156_1134580786586343_4494974665289938840_n 10320517_10205392674766457_1671409821629566024_n 10352383_1692907344259256_7286071136902905996_n 10349202_1134583956586026_8437719215537908775_n 10336628_1134584436585978_1291895710659037427_n 10329046_1134584399919315_5335401306667059093_n 10356174_1134583936586028_4759403104728742914_n 10368217_1134584293252659_3982470165726541423_n 10382651_10209264681999749_2638544023715349946_n 10383017_1134583809919374_4279086665673639081_n 10406951_1692907244259266_3041731643925496321_n 10421134_1134581049919650_4493939810161821067_n 10421148_1134580573253031_8103045226172042592_n 10489809_1015754068483865_2149545392656196435_n 10527442_1134584343252654_1216510825818725826_n 10530857_1134584153252673_7517040251600222498_n 11072527_1583724688510856_8811616004279953789_n 10628478_1134584419919313_578730631019148819_n 12096503_1134584516585970_4483441214459153510_n 12108886_1134580889919666_8595229025980317457_n 12523860_1134581096586312_579291638007045503_n 12524332_1134580803253008_7459720170310684038_n 12799263_1692407587642565_8354260547154576913_n 12795307_10205393235180467_4779931902697730779_n 12524351_1134583776586044_4930546135848049009_n 12805661_1134584246585997_4619626329470036356_n 12806090_10208983560655761_5440021635244250380_n 12809514_1134581186586303_2999527380470295738_n 12813936_1134584026586019_6154138792948262_n 12813921_10153896042035926_2884135290885713800_n 12813894_1134581356586286_3603339779848382983_n 12814044_1134581409919614_6498420897002398073_n 12814043_1692907334259257_7187117035295895702_n 12814099_1134584179919337_955959677923706673_n 12814278_1692907317592592_6622647589884740109_n 12814760_1134581116586310_5374028786215596841_n 12814648_1134581486586273_6615009093120695565_n 12814608_1134580663253022_8508832467180434510_n 12814459_1134584319919323_8854015885275694915_n 12821373_1134581209919634_3302105166853464318_n 12821463_1134583719919383_6301045385890619768_n 12821559_1134580749919680_1729145120273850237_n 12821523_1134581289919626_4529038004357925123_n 12821510_1692907424259248_6273440926870559751_n 12821482_1134581376586284_4868160543572028770_n 12832477_1015754138483858_8531291534691424808_n 12832424_1134581336586288_9183310912759106243_n10395842_1134907919886963_9074981090325371393_n

 

 

 

 

 


Cleveland ConCoction this weekend!

I’m heading out to Cleveland ConCoction at the Cleveland Sheraton Airport Hotel this weekend! Sinestro on Friday, and premiering my new Borg suit on Saturday. You WILL be assimilated.

Concoction

 


Sudden Death

forgotten banner220px-Sudden_deathSudden-death is yet another van Damme film, but this one comes towards the end of his peak. I almost wonder if the idea was for Van Damme to just come in and see this project, because it wasn’t written for him and it shows.

Sudden Death was actually originally supposed to be diehard three, but then diehard three was made from  a lethal weapon script, this one was left as a kind of adrift. If you watch the movie with this in mind,  you can actually see a lot of the diehard elements in here and it’s one of the reasons it suits Van Damme so poorly. I remember seeing this in the theater and not knowing about the diehard connection, and wondering why isn’t he doing my martial arts? Van Damme’s  an action hero sure, but what he really is, is a kung fu star and that’s what I go to see. The lack of hand-to-hand fighting and the lack of really spectacular splits and high kicks is certainly a drawback on this film and as I said before, it just doesn’t suit him.

Yet another weakness is the villain here, Power’s Boothe really feels like he’s channeling Tommy Lee Jones. I’d much rather seen the actual Tommy Lee Jones in this role – it would’ve been perfect  and a step up from Batman Forever….

IMDB’s description is brief : A disgraced former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals.

It’s not a bad film. It’s got a good idea and some fun set pieces but suffers from just the wrong creative team behind and in front of the camera. It’s still good for a watch if you’re in the mood for fast-paced action film but know what you going into. Even though it was meant to be its not a diehard film it really isn’t, though it’s quite fun to watch it through those eyes. Give it a go on Netflix, I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it.


316

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

316


Jack and Rick

art showBanner

I think he’s surfing…..

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Horror Relm Spring 2016

Conmanweblogo612814552_1130634780314277_4866371316788061939_nI like Horror Relm, I really do – I enjoyed it all the way back to that first show they were doing, when they were still located in the Crowne plaza. The DoubleTree Hilton is a good home fore them, back at the Crowne, it felt like they were spread all across the hotel, while here, everything is fit in to one wing of the hotel. There’s a cozy fireplace with a great big Horror Relm banner greeting you as you walk in, a nice touch to have here in the dead of winter.

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I’m honestly not sure why I haven’t been back since that first show – it’s a small event, and I really like small conventions. The larger ones I’ve been going to for the last couple years kind of made me forget how much I like these kind of little cons. The big problem with Horror Relm, is that they have far too many repeat guests. I see the same names on that website every year, and the ones that aren’t the same are pulled directly out of the convention circuit. I was planning 12717966_1130634200314335_4794518419745217850_non going to the show last year as well, but when it came time to streamline my schedule and drop a few shows this was one of the first ones to go, particularly since I discovered that every guest I was going to meet I could find at a different show on my schedule later on in the year. It makes it hard to justify the 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive to get out to Pittsburgh.

That’s a problem they seem to have solved this year… At least as far as familiar faces from the convention circuit go. They manage to grab every Nightmare on Elm Street character they could who didn’t actually appear at HorrorHound last year – a real coup for me, trying to pull together that collection of Freddy victims.  In addition to that, Horror Relm 10600354_1130634190314336_6218256197454668970_ngathered a really nice, respectable Return of the Living Dead cast reunion including a few people that  had not managed to make it out to Motor City Nightmares last year! The theme thing really seems to work out well for them, especially considering the size of the show.

Horror Relm tries very hard to give you the most for your money. They run a film room, a panel room and an extra one for either photo ops or occasionally the author’s panel – I love that they have different things going on here like that! It’s always been a very literary based show, (which is a little unusual for horror cons) but they also include a best tattoo contest as well as a VIP party and an interesting little bit that they like to call “The Horror Match Game”. This was hilarious, based on the old match game TV show, they broght up a panel of familiar faces – Ken Kish and Amy Lynn Best who I know from Cinema Wasteland, as well as Mike Watts, another familiar wasteland face. They would bring up guests to ask questions, and you would score points if your answer is matched that of the panel that I kind of wish I could’ve got me in on this game, I didn’t realize that you had to sign up for it earlier in the day…

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They’re running some very interesting movies as well – I’ve never seen “Spookies” before, and they’ve managed to dig up it’s unofficial sequel “Killer Dead” a film so rare I can’t even find a trailer for it on YouTube! They do have “Spookies” though, as you can see below.

Both great fun although “Killer Dead” was very poor quality and apparently that’s the only way it comes – there is no good print of it out there. I also popped my head in for The Survivors, the newest film from Silver Spotlight pictures. I’m already familiar with their work from “Captian Z and the Terror of Leviathan”, … I know I’ve seen posters for “Red Christmas”. Indie stuff and rare films is one of the best reasons to go to good horror convention and this was marvelous.

It was still fairly early in the day and I noticed that there was no 10347538_997141673663589_8417250128551374714_nline at Felissa Rose’s (of Sleepaway Camp fame)table. You’ll recall I met her back in June last year at Days of the Dead in Indiana. I dropped by her table to chat about that show quickly. She was one of the most fun people I met at that con and I told her so. We drifted onto the subject of her appearance on Adam Greene’s Scary Sleepover a few weeks ago and had so much fun talking about the show concept as well as her specific episode. She grabbed Tiffany Shepis (sitting at the next table over) who had been on last season to join in with her recollections about doing the show. I love Felissa. If I have a con crush, she’s it. To really understand how effervescent she is….here. Let me tell you a story.

A couple came up to meet Felissa and get an autograph. Felissa discovered this fan was having a birthday. She immediately got everyone in the surrounding area up on thier feet clapping and singing Happy birthday. When the crowd didn’t sing it loud enough she raised her hands and got more people singing. It was kind of like that thing where the servers at Applebee’s surround your table and sing you a birthday song crossed with just a touch of a charismatic Church revival…

Back in the dealers room I came across this fascinating model maker. His main display was a stunning graveyard, which he had funded by selling individual gravestones. You could see in a little book who each stone belonged to. There were mausoleums up with names in the back, people, monsters, cars, all sorts of great bits. he hadn’t even brought out the entire thing, as it had grown too big! He also had several dioramas done up utilizing old heroclix and horror clix. nice to see some of these getting a good home.

12804727_1130633166981105_675012070993318258_nThe dealer’s room was just a bit too small. You can pretty much do that thing to your satisfaction in about fifteen minuets. maybe half an hour. As a result, most of my time was spent in the film room or the panel room.

12804630_1130634676980954_569965684221573349_n12801281_1130634703647618_7117179459465567700_nThe Elm Street panel was predictable but somewhat enlightening that I wasn’t aware of some of Ken Sagos other roles, and it was interesting to hear this ecclictic cast talk about later Elm Street sequels. In particular it was interesting to hear about the speed in which they made those movies, how rushed the production was and how lowof the budgets were… You don’t think about that with these films considering how successful they were, but really it seems like nobody want to spend any money on these 12729220_1129924387051983_3801522888454164249_nmovies and yet they still came out with these amazing productions!

I ducked out a little early, we did hit some dead space in the show and I missed the return of the living dead panel… I’m still hoping it shows up on YouTube, but figured I could either wait for an hour and a half to see the panel, or I could get a head start on my way back to Cleveland and hit the Ghoul’s 40th anniversary party! But that’s a whole other story, and you can read all about it over at Kreepy Kastle.com!

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And don’t forget to check out Kreepy Kastle for pictures and videos from The Ghoul’s 40th Anniversary party!

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Contact information does not appear in the address book in Outlook

techtipsWhen I’m not writing comics or watching terrible films I also work as an IT consultant. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the last 17 years.

Problem:

When you use your address book to select recipients for an e-mail message or a fax message in Microsoft Outlook, information from your Contacts folder does not appear in the list.

This is likely happening becasue the Outlook Address Book Service isn’t running, iut has either been corrupted or deleted from the accounts tab.

Solution:

Install the Outlook Address Book service
To do this, follow these steps, as appropriate for the version of Outlook that you are running.
Microsoft Outlook 2002 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
1.On the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
2.Click to select View or change existing directories or address books, and then click Next.
3.If your Outlook Address Book is listed, click Cancel, and then go to the steps in the “How to Mark Your Contact Folder for Use with Your Address Book” section.
4.If your Outlook Address Book is not listed, click Add.
5.Click to select Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
6.Click to select Outlook Address Book, and then click Next.
7.Click OK when you receive the prompt that the address book you added will not start until you click Exit from the File menu.
8.Click Finish.
9.Click Exit from the File menu, and then restart Outlook.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
1.On the Tools menu, click Accout Settings .
2.Click the Adress Books tab.
3.If your Outlook Address Book is not listed, click New.
4.Select Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
5.Select Outlook Address Book, and then click Next.
6. You receive a message that states that the address book that you added will not start until you click Exit on the File menu. Click OK.
7.Click Finish.
8.Click Close, and then restart Outlook.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2010
1.On the File tab in the Ribbon, and then select the Infotab in the menu.
2.Click the Accounts Settings tab, and then click Accounts Settings again.
3.Click the Address Books tab.
4.If your Outlook Address Book is not listed, click New.
5.Select Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
6.Select Outlook Address Book, and then click Next.
7. You receive a message that states that the address book that you added will not start until you click Exit on the File menu. Click OK.
8.Click Finish.
9.Click Close, and then restart Outlook.


Stark Future

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sf1 86Okay, I’ll admit, this isn’t great space opera. It’s fun pulpy sci-fi trash, but I just can’t help but pick these up whenever I see them in the quarter bins.

It has a very 80’s style to it – sometimes almost an RPG look, with it’s dystopian space adventures, but that’s kind of the cool thing about it. Remember, this was being published at a time when sci-fi comics were like Atari Force or Omega Men or Guardians of the Galaxy – all spandex superheros in space. This is more like Mad Max in a starship…at least until we hit around issue 10 and it starts to get more spandexy…….

sf2 86Still, it’s got some good imagery and tends to be a fun ride. The series ran 17 issues and is worth buying for .50 an issue, maybe even a dollar if you’re feeling generous. They’re getting harder to find though as the 80’s inches farther and farther away from us.