The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for August, 2018


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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Aliens Purge

bestAlienspurgeThe aliens comics from dark horse are a mixed bag​. The franchise has bend the bread and butter of the company, along with other licenses like predator and Star Wars. They’ve been putting these out for a long time. Some are extremely good – particularly the initial offerings, while other titles don’t quite hit the mark.

Purge is a nice solid one shot, successfully dropping us in the middle of the familiar aliens universe, while giving us a nice quick episodic short story.

It’s the story of a leper colony run by the company, used as a breeding ground for the aliens. The focus here however, is on the synthetic – a new type of android far superior to the Bishop and ash models we seen in the previous movies – you’re going to have to pick up this issue in the back issue long boxes though if you wanna find out why.

It’s a real coincidence that this book was up for review on here. I mentioned recently I got to talk with the art team on this book and get my copy signed. Ande looked at that first page with the girl sleeping amoungst the aliens and sighed “I just love this shot.”

It’s not rare, and should be an average price if you can locate it – ask your local comic book shop for it and see if you can lay your hands on it – it’s absolutely worth it in a perfect way to try out the world of aliens comics.



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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Phantasm three

directorsdPhantasm_3I’m not ashamed to say that this is my least favorite of the series. It’s hard to say if it’s the weakest entry or not, some people really hate the fourth entry, though I don’t know that that’s fair.

Phantasm three feels like it’s strays little bit too far from the formula… Ironic since that’s exactly what people say about the second movie! I may also be a little bit biased​. I discovered Phantasm three sitting on the shelf of my local video store about six months to a year after it had been released and I nearly lost my mind. I was so excited to finally see this – not knowing that it had even existed. After watching it, it felt like a let down. But you know what, it’s that era of film as well. A lot of the sequels from 1993 through 1998 also felt very disappointing and horror itself was in place I really didn’t like.

phantasm3-_mikemeetsblacksphere.jpgThe good news is Michael Baldwin is back for about half of this film… The movie starts up strong picking up right where at the second one left off. Jody is back as well, although for a great deal of the film he takes the form of one of those silver spheres- One that is now on the side of good. I very much get the impression that there was some confusion or some doubt that Thornbury and Baldwin would make it back, or perhaps that they would make it back for as much of the film as they did. As a result, the second act introduces a lot of new characters and tries to form a whole new trio. We have another young boy who has been orphaned by the tall man’s shenanigans, as well as a militant young black woman who serves as the muscle. They’re both very 90s stereoypes, and in a lot of ways, Reggie banister doesn’t fit with them. He seemed out of place with his hqdefaultseventies/eighties look and sensibilities. It’s something you don’t notice  as much when he’s hanging with his contemporaries but it comes into sharp relief and when contrasted against these strong, modern stereotypes…
We also encounter some new villains – some bright and obnoxiously colored scavengers. They get promptly killed off and turned into zombies then keep returning to wreck the film… Honestly they’re one of the weakest parts of the movie. These characters are practically cartoons and they sap a lot of the creepy atmosphere from the film, pushing the humor over The line to silly shenanigans.

At the end of the day, I think that’s really my problem with this movie… It’s not dark enough, it’s not scary enough, it’s not brilliant. If you got rid of these silly scavengers, or made them less of a caricature and more a threat I think I would’ve liked to better. I mentioned before that the orphan character is just so… clean… He’s got freshly laundered jeans and a bright blue jean jacket, his hair is immaculately cut. If he were in rags with a dirty face I think I would’ve accepted him more. The world would’ve felt more grim.

downloadYou can’t dismiss this film though, it’s got some great moments and some wonderful touches on it… We have some truly creepy images of the tall man sitting and communing with the silver sentinel spheres… Indeed we see more of the balls in this movie then possibly any other phantasm film, and with a greater variety. We don’t necessarily see them cause the same level of gore as we did in part 2, but that’s a budgetary restrictions…

All in all, this one is worth watching – if nothing else as a bridge between two and four… And of course for the same reasons that you watch any Phantasm movie… It’s a reunion with Mike and Bill and Reggie and Don and Angus, and you.

NEO Comic Con 2018



“You did it! I can’t believe you actually did it,” Knightmage choked out between barely contained laughter. Under my Deadpool mask I smiled. I had posted a few days before that I would see him at NEO, and that I was bringing at least one of my kids. Also a unicorn. And there I was, in full Deadpool regalia, perched on top of a fluffy unicorn with comically big eyes.


NEO comic con has rapidly become one of my favorite shows, in no small part because it’s the closest comic con near me, but also because it’s so well run. I never fail to have a good time here, and the showrunner  (a friend of mine) is the hardest working promoter I’ve ever seen. It’s NEO’s second year here at the North Olmsted Soccer Sportsplex and I knew from last year that parking would be a challenge. My younger daughter Lydia was feeling sick, so while the wife slept in with her, Maddie and I hit the early service at Gateway Church in North Ridgeville then jumped in the car and raced the six minuet drive down the street to the show.

39203735_1070808963078284_6722978154572414976_nBy the time we hit the complex, the parking lot was full. Plenty of cars were giving up and heading to the college down the street where a shuttle bus would pick them up and ferry them back and forth. Some of the more adventurous cars however, were heading to the lawn. I pointed my large honda towards the back fence and lowed through, snagging one of the last spots in the grass.

Entering the complex, my friend Jim spied me from the ticket booth as I rode the unicorn in the building with my pass stuck on it’s horn.

“No. NO! OUT!” he grinned waggling his finger at me. One of the ticket takers plucked my pass off of Sparkle-Murder-Pie’s horn. “Okay, that covers him, but what are we charging 39651699_1078003415692172_6327241792064323584_nfor the UNICORN???” Jim demanded.

“She’s three years old,” I replied. “Kids get in free.”

Jim threw up his hands in exasperation, laughing. To be fair, I had my own concerns about bringing Sparkle-Murder-Pie the Unicorn to this show. I remember it being crowded last year, and was wondering if I’d have any problems getting around, but while there were a few choke points in the complex (especially by the entrance or the connecting path between the two sections) NEO is extremely efficient in the way it uses it’s space. I remained unhindered for most of the day. Shawn, the promoter, spotted me and gave the unicorn a friendly slap on it’s hollow flank as he passed by.

I had to get my picture in front of the TARDIS. The TRACE people did me one better, opening both doors and helping me maneuver the unicorn in. As I emerged, I pointed to 39502614_2078102998900779_8321753634287124480_nthe giant Pikachu rounding the corner and Maddie squealed. We rushed over for more photos. Emerging from the weirdest selfie ever, Maddie announced she was hungry and we went in search of lunch. I dig the snack bar here. They don’t gouge at convention level prices for food and the con is good to them. Maddie grabbed a hot dog and I got some pizza. Over at our table, my friend Chris came over to me, his Black Mask in hand.

“Dude, do you have any tape?”

“Hot glue gun in the car,” I replied. Then I spotted an electrical outlet over in the corner by the lunch tables. “We can plug it in there. Give me a couple minuets to do finish eating and we can do a swag dump while I pick up the gun.” We ran to the car, and Chris was 39515434_1078004002358780_2263754051994779648_nnice enough to fix one of my hooves while patching up his mask.

Between lunch and the swag dump, I missed the comic creator’s panel with Tony Isabella and Mark Sumerck.  It’s a drag (I’m still hoping someone filmed it and youtubes it) but to be fair, Marc is a friend and I heard a lot of his stories. Lately, Tony’s been hitting the con circuit hard since the release of the Black Lightning TV show and I’d bet I also caught most of his recent schtick  at ConCoction last Feburary, so if any panel had to go – this was the one.

We stuck around for the next one though – it was an action workshop, run by a film choreographer. It’s an unusual panel to see at a comic book convention, but they were hosting the fan film production company that does TRACE and their more recent Superman project. I’m familiar with how a lot of action is staged and how you throw a punch (more importantly how you TAKE a hit), so I left Maddie there to watch (I figure 39515235_2296388837044396_2646282127347286016_nshe might pick up some ideas for The Backyard Zombie Movie) while I snuck off to Tony’s table. I had an erstwhile copy of Essential Captain America vol 5 that I need an autograph on. I’m not sure if I picked this up after my last encounter with Tony or if I just didn’t have it with me before. I handed it over and he happily replied “The first signature is free….just like ALL the best drugs!”. Yeah, that’s right, Tony has started charging. We had some warning about this last year – it was definitely under consideration and I was pleased it didn’t happen at Akron Comic Con, but it’s finally occurred. He is however, offering free signatures on anything bought at his table and on one of your own items. I gotta admit, this is perfectly fair. If you’re going to charge to autograph, this is definitely the right way to do it.

AlienspurgeTo my great delight, the other comic guest wern’t asking for autograph fees. Phil Hester and Ande parks are well known for thier Green Arrow, but I was all about thier Dynamite work, and I plopped down a small stack of Green Hornet for them to sign. On the top of the collection though, there was one particular issue that stood apart. It was an Aliens story called “Purge”. It’s a one-shot featuring characters I was always disappointed never appeared any where else. I don’t know if I found this in a quarter bin, or was given it or if it was off the shelf, but it’s always been one of my favorite Aliens stories. As Ande signed I turned the conversation over to his time of The Lone Ranger.

“It’s interesting, I wasn’t a fan of the character going in,” he said. “They gave me ‘The Death of Zorro’ and I was like ‘okay.’. Then they told me it was a Lone ranger story and I didn’t know what to think about that. But writing it I just fell in love with the characters, with the ranger and Tonto and all of them, it made me a fan.”

In this blog and elsewhere, I’ve long said that Dynamite is the only place that’s gotten the Lone Ranger right. I mentioned to Ande that I really wanted to like the movie, but that it was nowhere near his run on the book.

“I saw the movie and just though ‘All you guys had to do was follow the path we set on the book, and I just don’t understand why they didn’t do that.'”

You took the words right out of my mouth.

Maddie and I made our way down the table over to Angel Medina. My buddy Mayday always makes a point to stop by Angel’s table any time they are at a con together. We’ve been at Great Lakes Comic Con together but I didn’t have anything to sign. This time however, I came prepared. Maddie pulled a couple of Spider-man comics and a Dreadstar out of my backpack as I sat perched on top of my unicorn. I pulled up my Deadpool mask and we got Medinia’s attention. He thumbed in my direction.

“So, you with him?” He asked.

“That’s my Dad,” Maddie replied.

“Man, you don’t know how lucky you are,” he told her. “When I was a kid, my parent’s just didn’t get it. They’d drop me off at the con and pick me up later. They’d wonder why I was wasting my time on this stuff..and when I told them I was going to college for it? Forget it! It wasn’t until I  showed my mom that first paycheck with Spider-man on it…It wasn’t until then that she understood maybe you can make a living this way.”

He finished signing my books and waved towards me. “You’re lucky. Your dad’s a nerd – and I mean that in a good way.”

We moved on as another person was chatting Angel up about Dreadstar. They mentioned that they had planned on bringing some for Angel to sign, but just couldn’t locate any of the First Publishing issues. Angel reached under his table producing a copy from that run and signed it.”That’s awesome!” he gushed. “What do I owe you?” Angel shook his head and waved him on, no charge.

We explored further, running into friends and taking photos and suddenly I found myself at the end of a long conga line chanting “One of us! One of us!” The line came to a stop but Deadpool kept riding his pony past them, racing across the sportsplex to photobomb a tense confrontation between Wolverine and a movie accurate, leather-clad Deadpool. Hulk shuffled over to me, petting the unicorn’s soft fur, the epitome of calm. I thumbed through dozens of three for a dollar bins and came away with a dozen Superman books. Maddie supported one of the local artists and purchased a Jigglypuff poster from him. I finally made it over to the American Knight table to see my old POP 39536013_10211721415933290_1852484506469007360_nbuddies Jae and Rick who were releasing their very first issue of the long-awaited book.

They were sold out.

Seriously. I arrived just in time to seethe last issues snatched up. “I go over to see Ange Medina first and because of that I miss out???” I screamed in mock outrage. Truth is, I couldn’t be happier for them. They have been working on this book for a while and a lot of us have been waiting to see this come out for years – indeed, at least as long as NEO Comic Con has been around. Greg was back and heard my disapointment.

“Did you get the digital copy?”

“No, I wan’t part of the Kickstarter”

He reached in his bag and pulled out his copy and passed it to me. “I got my digital one, and you really need to read it. You can have mine.”

I couldn’t believe it. I asked how much I owed him and he wouldn’t hear of it. “We gotta stick together, you know?”

Finally, the moment Maddie had been waiting for drew close. It was twenty minuets before the line up for the kids costume contest. We slipped into the back of the sportsplex, in a dark and unused portion of the complex. I helped Maddie don her overshirt and we got her clipboard out of the backpack. There in the dark, she practiced her quick-change twirl about four times. Confident in her display, we stuffed her cape up the back of the shirt and hiked the Supergirl skirt up so it was hidden under the billowy 39442431_2078101252234287_3239811607965990912_nwhite blouse, cinched tight around the waist with a smart beige leather belt. Maddie joined the other kids by the panel area and I was happy to see her hanging out and chatting. I think she’s discovering (like I did) that the best part of a costume contest is hanging out with the other contestants backstage and getting to know them. She was particularly enchanted by the boy in the Aliens costume – funny since we just finished that movie a week prior. The line started to move, and the emcee called her name.

“And next we have Maddie as Supergirl!”

He caught a glimpse of her in the yoga pants and white blouse and corrected himself quizzically.

“I mean, FROM Supergirl….”

Maddie reached the center of the stage, grinned and ripped open her blouse, revealing the red “S” underneath. The judge’s jaw dropped as the crowd erupted in applause.  Maddie twirled the blouse off and pulled her skirt down into view, ripping off her glasses. It was the best quick change I’d seen from her yet.


I’d trot on stage later as Deadpool, but I’m pretty sure Maddie’s turn was the highlight of the show for me. We headed back to the car exhausted and ready for dinner back at home…but also ready to come back next year! Keep an eye out for Maddie’s con VOLG (She’s been slow getting into it, but I bet it’ll be up by the end of the week). In the meantime, check out Maddie’s quick change in the kids costume contest here as well as my Unicorn waddle in the adult contest! (Thanks to Ken Nemec for recording it!)










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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Black Cobra 3

franchisebannerBlack Cobra 3 starts off with a very ramboesque action sequence in what I can only assume to be the Manila jungles. I’m searching my mind try to remember any mention in the previous Black Cobra movies at any Vietnam experience or military training. Because really at this point I just don’t understand where this series is going. The whole globetrotting cop thing doesn’t quite fit – but that does appear to be the idea. I almost wonder if this started off life as a completely different movie (or script) and was rebranded because somebody had Fred Williamson.

Malone is in the Philippines at the request of an old one buddies son – an interpool agent in an investigation. I kind of find myself missing Nicolas Hammond here – our new young sidekick is fine but it feels very much like a seems like a missed opportunity to create some semblance of continuity from these movies.

It ends up being a very by the numbers action film. In a way it seems to be confused as to what kind of film it wants to be.The middle section is very much a martial arts kind of action film – with Fred employing his fists and feet. However once we get to the third act we are back in full and Rambo territory with M-16 and guns over the place. Fred let’s fly his share of bullets as well, and it’s dumb fun with big guns, full ammo belts and a secret installation deep in the jungle to do battle at.

Altogether, it’s every bit as fun as the second one , Perhaps even more so with an increased scope-though it doesn’t play pass the watch test


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Justice League vs. Mr. Freeze

CostumeWe did this one at the Heros United event Epipens for Murry Ridge!

14469672_1288840011160419_3189005400628647744_n 14449762_1288840274493726_646126278177491292_n



More Angel Lite characters

I actually had fun sketching out these characters for Angel Lite comics because other than the fairly standard leading man type, they aren’t what I usually draw. Creating kid designs are a challenge – it’s a weird distortion of the heroic proportions I’m used to. Leaner, and rounder.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Horror Novilizations

51TnngKEC1L._SX279_BO1,204,203,200_Ah the 80’s. One of the Golden ages of horror. Freddy, Jason, Michael, Aliens….

and I was missing it.

I mean, In 1985 I was 10, so there really was no way that my  parents were taking me  to see the latest Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

But they would take me to the library.

It was there I really fell in love with novelizations. Did you know there were novelizations of the first two Friday the 13th movies? Adam Greene and Joe Lynch did a commentary to part two and they were discussing the controversy about the scene where Jason is stalking the final girl and she’s hiding, but spies a rat – Jason’s tipped off because someone wets them self. So was it the girl or the 279947rat under the table who emptied thier bladder? Adam and Joe couldn’t decide. It’s too bad they never read the book. It has the answer!

And the Freddy films – they actually condensed 4 and 5 into one book…okay not their finest hours, but on the other hand the New Nightmare novel actually adds a third level to the story – not only are the actors form the Freddy movies being haunted by him, the author of the novel is also being haunted by Freddy. It’s brilliant!

Long before the director’s cut of Aliens, the novel gives you a feel for what Newt’s life was before the alien outbreak, how she and the other kids used to play in the vents (so she knew where to hide) and Riply’s relationship with her daughter.

Even though the Thing is based on a short story, this film has a novel – it’s rare now and I still haven’t gotten my hands on a copy.,

A2N2014Yes, I had found a loophole in the system! And how much fund to discover I wasn’t the only one, years later I would discover several of my friends had done the exact same thing.

In fact it was discussing this with a friend that I found out that there were Twilight Zone adaptions. One of his favorite episodeswas “The Star”, based on the short story by Arthur C. Clarke, but rewritten into the Twilight Zone story by Rod Serling himself!

Every convention I’ve been to has tons of these books around. Sometimes they’re prohibitively expensive, but sometimes you can find a good deal, and these things are always sold up on Amazon. look up your favorite title and try reading a good movie.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Gary Busey

AutographsGary Busey was one of the first people I started seeing at conventions with autograph pricing in the $40 range. That’s a definite pass for me, but much to my delight, I discovered he does sign through the mail! Now to get Charles Band on here….

15094478_1342931389084614_3884062909921723054_n 15135778_1342931432417943_4241727903029391685_n


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Doc Ock

CostumeThis is one of those outfits that’s just gotten better as the years have gone by. It’s still one of my favorites just for the way it messes with your eyes…..


10341435_764910463553379_8191872588618481566_n14358842_1288226847888402_79208695269494736_n 14517454_1288226841221736_2181218421858030962_n14993569_1342971169080636_8399349222908373360_n

Black Cobra 2

franchisebannerI’m going to admit, I like this one better than the first one… Action films frequently work this way – where the character gets a little bit more established and the pace of the film just runs better in the second instalment.

In this film, Williamson’s character is transferred to a special mission in the Philippines. As silly as that sounds, it actually helps the movie establish it’s own identity and distinguish Williamson character as more than just a generic action hero

He’s still a bit of a loose cannon, with a  style that is deemed too reckless by his partner – this time around played by Nicholas Hammond, of both the Sound of Music and the Spider-Man television show. There is chemistry there though, and the buddy cop format is a good match.

In retrospect, this may well be my favourite instalment of the Black Cobra series… The format is running on all cylinders, and Fred Williamson is at his best here.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday





37787570_10155438224265759_5865110887337033728_nI do seem to be hitting the smallest of cons this year – while I like small cons, I’m not actively seeking them out by size! When I discovered that Weplcon was being held at a library, that didn’t bother me much, I had visions of Akron’s Geekfest, held annually at their library. Of course the Akron library has a huge stage and room to spread out. Not so at the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library.

Weplcon takes place on the lower floor of the small library, occupying several rooms as well as setting up a face paint station. It’s something more than a library kids event, while being something less than a convention. They offer way more than your typical Library event, with panels, a dealers room and a cosplay contest, not to mention a green screen station (and unlike my friends and I at heroes united, where we take the photos and post them a couple of days later, they were actually editing them right there and printing them out for people on the color laser printer!). This kind of stuff tends to bring out great costumes, like my friend Bob, debuting his wookie outfit (complete with a disassembled C3P0 in a sack to carry on his back). There was the cutest Squirrel Girl ever (and she really 37942442_2038956222815457_2737573143282450432_nhammed it up during the costume contest) as well as a lady on the older side in a sailor scout suit – she mentioned making the boots out of duck tape since that how the Cure used to do it. Even the Emcee was decked out in one of the more stunning Twilight Sparkle dresses I’ve encountered!

I actually kind of dig what they do during the contest- they look your character up and then throw a google image search up on the screen behind you so you are standing in your costume in front of the source material. Not only does it help the audience (who by the way, help choose some of the winners!) and judges make a decision on costumes, but it’s a stunning (yet simple) way of presenting the contestants. Great production value for such a small venue.

When you enter and sign in with registration (It’s free admission since it’s a public library, but they do like to know how many came and who is in the costume contest) they 38040847_2038956539482092_4974131501013663744_nhand you fistfulls of coupons; Chipotle, Applebees, bowling, not to mention a bunch of raffle tickets for you to bid on things in the dealers room. The dealers room itself was small but packed, with familiar vendors like Comics and Friends or Cleveland ConCoction set up. In the center was a table for the raffle featuring giant stacks of graphic novels and movies – all old, used stuff that was being retired from the library. It’s a clever way of purging the old stock and with a show this small, your odds of getting something were good.

The kids went with me to this one and we decided on a Krypton theme. Maddie even did a review of the show!


Overall, we had fun and I like what they are trying to do, but it’s a little too far of a drive from the west side of Cleveland for something this small of scale. Shows like this (library based) don’t typically grow, but then again, this was better done than most and I can’t help wondering what it would be like if it did!







Bubba Ho-Tep

directorsdBubba_Ho-Tep_posterMy friend Jennifer went into this movie cold – all she knew was it Bruce Campbell was in it and that was enough for her. Indeed, the pairing of Campbell and Coscarelli is really a match made in psychotronic heaven​. These two guys both wallow in the B movie genre, but when it comes to trashy horror flicks, they are at the top of their game.
Bubba Ho-Tep is the story of a mummy that comes to a nursing home to attack patients, but instead ends doing battle with an elderly Elvis Presley. Does that sound weird enough for you? Yeah, Coscarelli traffics in the weird and this is really an ideal project for him – fusing his very relational style of filmmaking with practical effects and B-movie monsters.  It features what may well be the last appearance of Ozzy Davis, which is kind of sad – I always felt like he was slumming a little bit in this movie – but he plays it straight and chews the scenery like a true B actor.

d826bbcc9f6ead61c47829bf168f3fc1--bruce-campbell-dynamic-duosOne of the things I love about this movie is that it really isn’t a check your brain and your kind of film… It requires a massive suspension of disbelief to accept the internal logic of this movie, but once he’s done that, you’re committed. Somehow, Coscarelli manages to make it all tie together… The guys over at Chinstroker versus Punter once mentioned that this felt like somebody was trying to make a cult movie, and you can’t do that. It just happens. I’m not sure if that’s really what the intention was, though this does have a lot of the hallmarks and in the end – that’s exactly what it has become… an endlessly re-watchable cult film… I’ve got no complaints about that!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Star Trek cosplay

CostumeI don’t do Star Trek costumes as much as I once did, but when I do, I really love it. The Borg in particular is one of my favorites.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday