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

Archive for November, 2018


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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Bones Iron Man

Costume When I made Maddie’s Iron Sapphire suit, I was dismayed that it was more detailed and better looking than my Iron Man armor! That led me to build the single most detailed suit I’ve ever done! The Bones model shows up for about three seconds in IM3, but all that exposed circuitry really makes it the most interesting one to me!


Days of the Dead Chicago 2018

ConmanIMG_3750Last year I said it might be a while before I tried this one again. The crowds had become to much and honestly, that round trip to and from Chicago just about killed me. Still, It had been a chance to really cross a couple names off my bucket list and finally meet Simon Bamford (The last Cenobite from Hellraiser to elude me) as well as the unprecedented opportunity to chat with Andy Robinson (From both Hellraiser AND Deep Space 9). So what got me back to this show a second year in a row? First, one of my best friends had recently set up house in Chi-town, so I had a place to stay the weekend instead of doing the trip in a single day.

But more importantly, Clive Barker was coming.

46501641_2204586802919064_7038099252244905984_n_2204586799585731Barker hasn’t done an appearance near me since I’ve been n the convention scene. He was scheduled at Horrorfind back around 2009, but both he and Ashley Lawrence cancelled for undisclosed reasons (So did Angus Scrimm for that matter, and the show shout down the next year. I’ve heard some shady things about it in the aftermath). A few years ago he was scheduled I believe for a Horrorhound (Or was it Flashback? I don’t think it was DOTD….), but that was when the heath issues took over and he cancelled a number of shows. For him to finally make a public appearance like this was definitely enough to make me brave the six and a half hour drive.

46898080_2219397134771364_765618482183143424_nWe pulled up to the convention center as the snow gently fell around us. It wasn’t a blizzard, but that white garbage sure did pile up around us fast. I know it’s November, but I don’t remember previous outings being this wintry. It’s not that big a deal, after all, DOTD has provided that wonderful overflow parking in the covered garage next door, but panels are held outside in a heated tent and you do have to walk from the hotel into the tent to get to them. It’s kind of a punch in the face, exiting the warm pool area only to be sucker punched by Jack Frost just outside the door.

Once we arrived, my friend Mike and I grabbed our prepaid wristbands and had about 46460911_2204583072919437_9207845700014964736_n_2204583069586104fifteen minuets before the doors opened. I always forget how long the admission line at this show gets and pre-registering was the best move I had made. We had enough time to nip off back to the car and grab a camera I had forgotten, then walk past the ticket line, right into the convention and straight over to Barker’s line. Even at open it was already begining to streatch out, but I looked over at Mike and told him “It will NEVER be this short again.”. I was correct. For most of the day, the queue ran around the corner and past the ticket tables.

Barker was late. The handler explained he’d just had breakfast and was making sure that his sugar was correct (Also mentioning that he was diabetic). About twenty minuets later the line began to move. Inside we were instructed “No personalizations. No photos at the table. Do not shake hands. He’ll give you a fist bump if you like.” It’s a little more than I’m used to at these things, but we rolled with it. Getting to say I fist bumped Clive Barker sounds 46443408_2204591232918621_6135816280797609984_n_2204591229585288way more fun than I shook his hand anyhow. He’s quiet. At times he almost looked bored, but mostly I was struck with how frail he looked. Far different than the interviews I had seen and more than a man in his fifties should. Inside his room, he had filled tables and walls with original artwork, books, apparel and photos. I saw a couple volumes I didn’t have and made note to look them up later when I had more money. I pointed out the hardcover of the Scarlet Gospels, noting I had been listening to the audiobook of this on the way up. Barker greeted me and my friend, signed my poster and I told him we’d see him later for a photo. He grinned with finger guns at me.

Our next task was to search out Ashley Lawrence. This was the first time I’d seen her make her way out to the midwest ina long time and she was another one I’d never met. Getting her on my Hellraiser posters would finish them (I don’t see Claire Higgens ever making it stateside). She was set up in a bad spot in one of the halls, creating a choke 46381723_2204583139586097_6231078608178249728_n_2204583136252764point in foot traffic, while at the same time somewhat concealing her (Particularly with the brighter Teriffier booth almost across from her).

Ashley is effervescent and charming, and the woman dosen’t age. She kept telling me my hat reminded her of a friend who always wears the same kind. Our photo came out bad and she teased me with a grin “Well don’t tilt you head so weird silly!”

I was pleased. We’d managed to grab both Clive and Ash before the Hellraiser panel that we now rushed off to. I was a little shocked then, when the moderator introduced Barbie Wilde, Nicholas Vance, Simon Bamford…and no one else. While it’s always fun to visit with them, we had this last year, with the addition of Dough Bradley and Andy Robinson. Perhaps it was presumptuous, but I had anticipated hearing from Clive and Ashley at this panel as well and found myself disappointed. We probably heard a couple new stories 46328537_2204586569585754_8042201712003383296_n_2204586566252421here, but at large, it felt like much of what we had seen the year previous.

Not so however, with the “Men behind the Mask” panel featuring Jason(s), Michael, and Art the Clown. Kane Hodder was in rare form at this one, wresting control from the moderator who just stared on in amused silence. We got fascinating stories in particular from Jim Winburn who has a long history as a stuntman and did falls in the original Halloween. David Thorton, a newcomer to the genre (fresh off his role as Art the Clown in “Terrifier”) was visibly delighted to be on stage with the others, laughing and sharing his experiences as a new movie monster. I’d actually waited to see this panel to kind of get to know David. I enjoyed Terrifier (and the 2013 anthology “All Hallows Eve” which 46501495_2204587009585710_1980861336644485120_n_2204587006252377no one seems to realize proceeded it) and think Art could be ne of the next horror icons, but it was the panel that made me want to meet Thorton. David is chipper and was fun to chat with. I’ve got experience and actual clown training, and it was interesting to compare our approaches to that kind of performance. As for the panel itself, “I was just so thrilled to be up there,” he told me.

We popped around the con, shopping, talking with people and playing with the monsters. Michael Myers in a Captain Kirk uniform was a BRILLIANT gag and he was delighted we got the joke.

“Guys like you are exactly who I do this for,” he exclaimed in satisfaction.

Moving on we grabbed a few more autographs and photos…but it’s not the same. I mentioned a few years ago the disturbing inflation creep I saw infiltrating Days of the 46445830_2204591249585286_4631184714684694528_n_2204591246251953Dead. It’s in full swing now. The handlers have become gatekeepers. They are in your face and you aren’t getting near the table without flashing some cash. $30 is the minimum for autographs (Many are more – and quite frankly, a lot of you B-listers don’t have any business charging that). Every table now charges extra to get a photo with a guest.That’s on top of the already high admission prices…

Guys, you’ve priced me out of the game.

I spent twice what I have in previous years, and it’s a drag. It’s almost stopped being fun. Between that and the overcrowding, unless there’s a bucket list guest (and that list is now pretty short), I think I’m done with Days of the Dead. It’s simply highly unlikely that I’ll be back.

A shame. It was fun while it lasted.


(Keep an eye on this blog. I think we’ll be doing a State of the Con pretty soon. Next years going to be different.)


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Prom Night

franchisebannerI’m pretty sure the prom night is one of those movies that would’ve been a heavy rotation on the UHF channels during Halloween, but somehow I never managed to catch it. I realize it is considered a classic, though I’ve never quite understood how it could spawn such diverse and bizarre sequels. The first hurdle for me to tackle is dealing with Leslie Nielsen in a straight role. I know he has a long career as a heavy before the Naked Gun, but man, I’m so used to him being goofy and funny and it’s always a little jarring when I see him in something like Day of the Animals where he’s playing obnoxious tough guy. It’s no different here. His role is minimal, but still he’s dead serious and feel out of place to me – of course that admittedly that would not of been the case at the time.

Jamie Lee Curtis is a pleasant surprise here… I’ve never been real enamored of her as a scream queen – her performance in Halloween as always left me a little cold, and it’s amazing to see what a year so will do – she gives a much more nuanced and layered performance here, and I actually believe the character far more this time around.

Still, it’s a slow movie. Obviously somebody here was trying to make horror MOVIE, as opposed to a HORROR movie. There is more care given here, with some false starts, misleads and rivalries. There is characterization here that we’re not used to seeing in the typical slasher where they use stereotypes to connect you to characters instead of storytelling. But man does it drag. You’d think attempting to create atmosphere is going to be as simple as a few obscene phone calls – presumably made by the killer to set the tone. We don’t really get to any mayhem until about an hour in – although once the killing starts it’s fast and furious. I think in the future I’d be inclined to start this right of the third act and just watch that.

The thing is, this isn’t really a proper slasher. I’d absolutely consider this a Giallo. We have black gloves, a mystery murderer, and overly violent and bloody kills. It’s got a couple of the slasher tropes – the victim discovering the cash of murdered bodies for instance, but for the most part it really does feel like one of those Italian murder mysteries… and sadly, I don’t dig those.

It’s the set pieces – the head rolling onto the dance floor, with emotional reveal at the end that really marks this as a cult classic. I’m glad I finally hit it, though I doubt I’ll be back.

Satan’s Slave

boxghmv5bmjezntc3njyzmf5bml5banbnxkftztywmzm3otg5-_v1_IMDB describes this as “A young girl is caught up in a devil cult run by her evil uncle and cousin. She can trust no one and even people she thought were dead comes back to haunt her. ” It’s a little thin of a description, but not entirely out there…

Satan’s slave, also known as Evil Heritage, has an excellent satanic cult vibe to it. That along with Michael Gough gives it a very Hammer-type of feel to it. It’d be easilly mistaken for a Hammer film.

The dream-like quality as our heroine moves thoguh her adventure visiting her uncle is almost reminiscant of Phantasm and in a lot of way’s we’re kept guessing what is actually going on – even at the end. This one was a strong start for me on this set and I’m really digging the whole Crown International Pictures set.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Bacon Shark

Does there really need to be a reason?

Happy Thanksgiving!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Dark Xmas 2018

Conman46053356_332134610674240_5454659464361672704_nI started hearing the rumblings about this con a few months ago, but I was suspicious. Facebook was vague and the website was CONSTANTLY down. So when my friend Rhonda asked me if I knew anything about it I had to reluctantly say no and mentions some concerns.

Fortunately, Travis, the promoter reached out to me to help allay my fears. The website was low bandwidth and kept getting overloaded, he explained. Dark Xmas was reviving an old con that hadn’t run in a few years. His goal was to throw a reasonably priced Horror show with decent guests in the Northern Ohio area. It was good to hear and good enough for me to feel comfortable sending buddies out there. Sadly, I wasn’t able to make it as I already had plans to be in Chicago this weekend shanghaing my best friend off to meet Clive Barker at Days of the Dead. However, not all is lost. I touched base with my friend, director Mark Mackaye who was more than willing to take some time off from editing his latest film Suburban Legends: Life on Rainbow Road, to guest blog for me and tell us all about his experiences at Dark Xmas!


It’s Christmas time again. People singing carols, drinking eggnog and hanging mistletoe. Since I’m not into Christmas I like to try and get through this time of year as quickly as possible. This time of year usually makes me cranky from all the Christmas nonsense, but this year something fell at my feet. Something I couldn’t ignore.

43045387_1064751520372718_9052295853003243520_nI first heard about Dark X-Mas completely last minute. A week prior to be exact. I fell backwards into finding out about it cause my friends (The Mummy and The Monkey) we’re guests. Woah! A horror convention going on within a half hour away! I gotta go. I arrive to a small hotel on a quiet stretch of road, thinking this place could of been featured in a Dan Bell video. Between that and the lack of promotion I was expecting the worst, however once I headed inside an instantly transported to my comfort zone and the low expectations went away. I see shirts, collectibles and horror vhs as far as the eye can see.

Within a few minutes I already dropped a ton of money, and I haven’t even gotten my autographs yet. I stop and chat with a few people along the way cause if you know me then you know I’m a talker. The first guest I meet is the sweet and lovely Felissa Rose star of Sleepaway Camp. Her laughter radiates the convention and naturally draws you to her. We bonded after about my dog and her bearded dragon both named Loki. I told her about how her character in Victor Crowley is easily my favorite in the film, which launched her into stories from the set. 46486201_10205184859178431_5884923683142631424_nShe signed my Camp Arawak shirt and gave me a free 8×10 along with it. Oh and did I mention she’s a hugger? (Matt here. He’s not kidding. I’ve run into Felissa a few times on the con circuit.The first time we met, before she even introduced herself to me she announced “I have to warn you, I’m a hugger!” and then proceeded to prove it. Okay, back to Mark) Felissa is one of the warmest guests I’ve ever met, and she had a smile plastered all over her face the entire time. So did I.

Second up I met Amanda Wyss, who gave Felissa a run for her money and how sweet she was. We shared stories about how a lot of her movies helped impact who I am. Then we just had a lengthy conversation on movies in general. She was really good at not making 46366230_10205181862223509_3515344690696159232_nme feel like a fan but an equal. She signed my Freddy glove (The first blade to be exact cause she was Freddy’s first victim).

I walked around the con a few more times to grab any last minute stuff I didn’t see and chatted with more people on similar interests. Popped in on the Nightmare on Elm street panel, and then discovered it was time to go home. On the way back I had a sense of joy and happiness that some people get around the holidays. But this was just simply brought on by going to a forgotten hotel and talking to others about violent movies. Horror conventions have always brought me that kind of joy, and since Dark X-Mas is practically in my backyard. I’ll definitely be back next year…just hope they get the word out a bit better!


It’s very likely I’ll be skipping Days of the Dead next year, and personally I can’t wait to head down and check this con out myself. I agree with Mark, time to get the word out! A lot of friends went though and I’ve heard nothing but good things from all of them. Check out the photos from the event!



Ralph Breaks the Internet

Movie banner46508834_2207358649308546_91824442283393024_nOkay, I’m going to admit something here; I was actually excited for this film. “But Matt dosen’t get excited about ANYTHING,” My wife’s friend Rachel told her in disbelief. However I was a big fan of Wreck It Ralph.

I’m a big fan of video game movies in general. Back in my teen years I was a much heavier gamer, but even then I’d usually only get so far and then give up. Yet the genre and the whole milieu always intrigues and engages me and Wreck It Ralph embodied the best of that.

Today, it’s my daughter Maddie who is the real gamer in our family and if you think I was excited for this movie, just you let me tell you, she was ten times as excited. And because I raised my kids on the old school games, learning on the joystick of a Pac Man machine so they get the jokes and recognize the characters. That makes this a solid must see for us


(Still a better selfie than this)


ralphbreaksinternet_PayoffPoserSo what ABOUT that Princess scene that’s been burning up the internet? Well it turns out we’ve seen about half of it. There’s more to it than just what we’ve gotten in ads, but what’s interesting is that it suggests the movie is going to subvert some of the princess tropes. It does, but not necessarily here. This bit actually plays a lot like Amy Mebberson’s Pocket Princesses and is unmitigatedly hilarious. It’s worth it for the casual princess outfits alone.

That really speaks to a larger trend in this movie. There’s in-jokes and visual gags everywhere. Every inch of the screen is covered in logos and videos and everything you can imagine. It’s a fan service dream and I really feel like I need to see it again, only with a remote control that has a pause button on it. I only got a glimpse of Beaker from the Muppets in the back of one scene. And when Ralph descends to the lower levels searching for a lost item, we see him push aside an old Geocities site while Netscape navigator leans against an old AOL package.

46503404_2207565039287907_3097004039863271424_nIt’s jokes like that which remind us this film isn’t just for kids. It’s packed with gags and elements that you’re really only going to get if you’re over thirty. That’s a tough job to create something like that which also appeals to the grammer school and tween crowds. But appeal it does. My younger daughter tagged along. She wasn’t really excited for the movie, but it was a good excuse to stay up past her bedtime. By the end though, she was all in, laughing uproariously and cheering the heroes.

It’s a surprisingly layered movie, with influences from all over. The initial blast into the internet as well as the way Ralph and Vanellope navigate the web reminds me a great deal of Hackers. There’s Disney influence, and Tron elements, and then there’s the racing. That and Gal Godot.

I actually spent some time last year going through the Fast and the Furious movies (look for a franchise focus next year) and that stuff is all OVER this movie. Seriously. The movie gal-gadot-ralph-featuregives us a new racing game – something that fuses elements of Carmageddon, Twisted Metal and GTA, outwardly another clone in this genre. But you’ve never seen racing like this in a game (and let me tell, you I LOVE racing games – it’s one of the few types I still play regularly). The flips, the backwards driving, the speed and maneuvering is straight out of films like Gone in 60 Seconds or The Fast and The Furious. This makes perfect sense tough, since the lead racer is a gritty woman named shank – played by Gal Godot who was both fast and furious before she was a Wonder Woman.

Honestly, there’s nothing about this film I don’t like. Get out to the theaters and check it out this Wednesday! Stick around for the mid-credits scene too. Besides, that IS a pretty good Imagine Dragons song playing over the end. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make some burnt pie and then stare into important water.

Ralph Breaks the Internet opens nationwide on November 21st



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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Prom Night 2008

franchisebannerI have to admit – it’s nice that this one is back to focusing on prom night itself.The preparation and just the anticipation, it’s really what this series should all be about. Nothing stylised like number four was, it’s very much a back to basics type of movie – it probably would’ve actually been a lot more at home in the late 90s during the Scream and I know what you did last summer phase. Plot wise, that’s really all you need to know – we have a knife wielding killer stalking kids at a prom. It’s no more high concept than that. Still, in there it’s returning to its roots and this may actually be a purer sequel then any of the others that came before. That’s not the simply a statement of quality, but of intent and tone.
I’ve seen The final girl’s shrink before on television, and she’s just a little bit too familiar for me to be comfortable. Then again in 2009 she probably was a little bit less well-known… I’m not sure.

Is it wrong that I like the pop music that bops around this film? I know it’s common and repackaged, but it feels fun – and I think if you have no real conception of the original, that this would be a very fun time. Of course that’s the big difference between remakes in 2007 as opposed to remakes in say, 1980 (read the thing, or the fly) The original film  is readily available, and it renders the remake somewhat unnecessary.

I dig the detective here – He reminds me a lot of Jesse L Martin, who played detectives on both the flash and law and order. It’s a good solid performance and the proper feel to the stereotypical copper role. At the end of the day, I find myself rooting for him far more than any of our teenage protagonists – he may just be the most interesting character in the film. Looking at him – I thought he looked awful lot like Idris Alba… Wait a minute that IS Idris Alba! What is he doing slumming it in this movie?? I wonder if they realized how lucky they were to have that kind of performance! Truth is, I can’t really fault a lot of performances in this film/ They’re fresh faces, with a trendy modern look. It’s keeps it from being a timeless movie, but it’s a remake… It’s not meant to be timeless. It’s meant to appeal to a younger audience.

I think that may be the problem with this movie – it was made and designed for younger audience, but with a name like prom night that’s really only going to attract those of us that are horror hounds, and we don’t like it when you remake one of our classics. In addition, it commits the preventable sin of being mediocre. It’s not bad, but it plays on predictable tropes and familiar beats… it’s the sort of thing we would forgive in a no name generic horror release, but to give us a remake with nothing particular original is to invite criticism.

I would’ve been far more accepting of this actually had been billed as a sequel without a number rather than a remake… Call it prom night 2008 or something like that. In fact, I may just start doing that.
Of course now that I’m done with all this Sequals – it’s time for me to move on to the main event. You see, I’ve never seen the original – and it’s up next!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Comic Creator Autographs

Comic Creator Autographs

Once again, It’s been over a year since I updated this list, and with my comic con season drawing to a close this year it seems like its time. As usual, we’re not really going to discuss the pros and cons of comic professionals charging for autographs. There’s plenty of other forums for that. We’re just going to acknowledge the reality of modern convention economics. This is a little something to help you know what to expect when you go to a con so you don’t get blindsided. A lot of artists don’t have autograph charges clearly displayed and frequently con websites either don’t have this information or are asked not to display it. Here’s my current list – in sort-of alphabetical order. It’s not exhaustive by any means, things may change next month or next year. We’ll update and repost from time to time.

Amanda Conner – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.


Me so excited to meet Gerry Conway I forgot to open my eyes!

Alex Saviuk – $5
Arvell Jones – $5
Brett Breeding -$5
Bob Camp – $30
Bob Wiacek – $2 (He might make you a deal for multiple issues)
Bob Hall – free for the first issue, or if you purchase a something from the table, otherwise $5
Bob Layton- $5 for CGC graded signings, otherwise free
Bob Mcloud – one for free, then $5
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
Edgar Delgado – $5 CGC grading signings
Fabian Nicieza – $10 Deadpool/X-Force related
Fiona Staples – $20 CGC grading signings (otherwise free)
Graham Nolan recently started charging, but not sure how much.
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)
George Perez – Free, but he has a ticketing system so get to his table first thing after the show opens or you’ll be stuck in line for HOURS waiting for a spot to open up. Alternatively, if you can deal with not MEETING him, you can buy a print and he’ll sign that and a couple books in between sketches and stuff.


Nolan signs some bat-issues!

Humberto Ramos – $10-$20
J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $2 ($50 for Wolverine)
Jimmy Palmiotti – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.
J Scott Campbell $10
John Cassandry $10
John Beatty – $3
Jim Sternako charges $20 per item last I checked – and that includes items and prints BOUGHT FROM HIS TABLE. Also, do not ask for a photo with him.
Keith Pollard – $5


Larry Hama wondering exactly what he’s gotten himself into…

Kevin Eastman – first is free, $20 after that (He also doodles on the items!)
Klaus Janson– $20 CGC grading signings
Len Wein – $5, $20 CGC grading signings, $25 for Hulk 181, Giant Size X-Men #1 or House of Secrets #92.
Larry Hama will sign two items for free and charges after that.
Matteo Scalera – $20 CGC grading signings
Mike Zeck – $5
Marv Wolfman – one free (I’ve heard elsewhere it’s two for free, but in his last interview he said one), $5.00 after that
Mark Texeria- $5 per book (with free head sketch)


With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $5
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3

Ron Frenz -$3
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Tony Isabella first one free, after that $3. (There’s certain issues that DC broke it’s agreement with him on, don’t bring those)
Whilce Portacio – $10-$20
Victor Olazaba – $10

Tip Jar – pay what you want
Some of these are for causes like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or Heroes Inititive. Others are just personal. I urge you, respect the tip jar. (It’s so much better than autograph fees)

Ben Templesmith
Barry Kitson
Denny O’Neil (Heros alliace tip jar)
Gene Ha
Peter David
Charlie Adlard
Mike Barr

Dave Gibbons14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_n
Judd Winick
Mike McKone
Stefano Gaudiano
Alan Davis
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepared to wait a long time in line)
Bob Budiansky
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Charles Soule
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Chris Yambar
Darryl Banks
Dan Brereton
Dirk Manning
Emanuela Lupacchino
Erik Larsen
Evan Dorkin
Fred Van Lente (assuming you can catch him. He dosent do to many shows these days)
Frank Cho
Gail Simone
Howard Chankyn
Ivan Reis
Jason Latour
Jon Bogdanove
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_n
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Karl Story
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Kyle Higgins
Louise Simonson
Marc Sumerick
Mike Gustov
Mark Waid
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Clayton Crain
Keron Grant12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Jorge Lucas
Bob Almond
Jim Pasco
Mike Mayhew
Casey Jones
Tim Bradstreet
Phil Hester
Phil Noto
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Steve Leialoha
Scott Snyder
Skottie Young
Tim Seeley
Walter Simonson

Halloween Comics


best955405I grabbed this at a convention an found myself wondering what it could be.

As slasher series go, I’ve always found Halloween to be much of the same. It did the masked stalker first and created a genre, but it’s sequels always felt like the same film made over and over again.

The comic has some good moments. It’s nice to see Loomis proper again, and being full of short stories it gives us several visions, set in that universe while never really trying to repeat the same old tales we’ve heard again and again.

It’s a pleasant surprise, but still new enough that you’re likely going to have to drop the full cover price to grab it, however if you’re a Halloween fan I recommend it. As good as any of the sequels, and better than a few of them.



boxghterrified-movie-poster-1963-1020216144You know what? I didn’t expect such suspense from a film done in 1963. Perhaps I shouldn’t be that surprised at the level of violence from the era that brought us Night of the Living Dead, but I was.

From IMDB : “A masked lunatic kills off people in a haunted house. ”

Well that doesn’t tell us much does it?

At the core is a college student fascinated with fear. He spends the first half of the movie pontificating about it to his girlfriend and his professor – After the first shock  in the opening it switches to a lot of set up and unfortunately it drags. however when we get into the second half of the film and he’s being stalked by a surprisingly creepy assailant in a mask, who has some entertainingly brutal fates in store.

The look of the villain works better than it should and this film has one of the creepiest cemeteries around. The old western-looking town is a bit off-putting though. It pulls me out of the film a bit. Still for 1963, this is a gem. Fast forward though the first 40 minuets and get straight to the good stuff. This is exactly the kind of movie I’m looking for in this set!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Incident on and off a Mountain Road

directorsdindexAnd here I thought I was done. I missed the Masters of Horror series when it first broadcast and never really got around to catching up on it. I always wanted to see the Carpenter one. The Coscerelli one never occurred to me, but it’s a good one to dive in with. During negotiations with Showtime, this episode was essential in getting the show on the air – and as such, it was the first one to be broadcast.

It’s a good story, beautifully shot and well made. But it also feels very by-the-numbers to me, and I just don’t see enough of Coscarelli’s fingerprint in it. This could be because the script was written by Stephen Romano, not Coscerelli, and even that teleplay was based on someone elses’s short story.  It’s the tale of a lumbering humanoid monster in the woods stalking a young woman on the run from her survivalist husband.

image3sI don’t dislike it per se. In fact, this story includes an absolutely arvelous performance by Angus Scrimm. It’s positively goofy and off – a complete departure from teh sinister demenor we are used to seeing, but far more lunatic than the actually nature of teh man himself. I saw flashes of this in Ravager and Oblivian actually. It’s Angus being flighty and so much fun.

Still, the whole thing isn’t quirky enough. I miss Don’s sense of humor and off kilter style. This feels like an episode of a TV series. It’s normal for an auteur’s personal style to get images1lost there. Essenetial that it does in fact. But it does make me wonder about the rest of the Master’s of Horror series.  Still, I’m glad I finally got around to seeing what is one of Don’s biggest commercial successes.


Akron Comicon 2018


43065891_1936256616467240_2568432662536519680_nA voice rang out at me from across the room.
“Why is it every time you put a baby in a rocket, the planet blows up?”

“I didn’t even BRING the rocket this time,” I replied, glancing down my gold armor at the baby Superman in the hand held basket.

Akron Comicon was in full swing.

The con has grown every year so we’ve once again relocated; this time to the Goodyear Hall on the outskirts of the city. With this particular move came parking problems. The lots filled up fast, but we managed to grab a small patch of street a half block away in a nice shady area next to construction. It was windy and freezing Maddie and me in our costumes. The food trucks we passed looked awfully warm. (I 45344798_10156200733579514_309001933211828224_nregret not grabbing some Swenson’s)

Inside I made a beeline for Jon Bogdanove’s table. The last time he was here, his line was terribly long, and after waiting an hour, I ended up having to bail (Kiddo had a birthday party I had to get her to.). The line wasn’t as bad this time, and after half an hour we were face to face with one of my favorite Superman artists. Bogdanove is a Superman fan himself – his son is named Kal-El- and he gushed over Maddie’s Supergirl suit, expressing delight that she was actually carrying around Streaky the Supercat in her own little basket.

After a quick stop at Brett Breeding’s table ($5 a signature! Yeesh!) we popped over to see Bob Wiacek. The bulk of my books to be signed were his….but they were all big collected “essentials” volumes and weighing down my bag. I do love Wiacek. He’s done a great variety of stuff, working on things like Damage Control, Shadowman and Nightmask. He brushed it off, “A lot of guys can say they’ve had long careers.”
“Not as many can say they’ve had such varied ones though,” I replied.
“I like that!” He nodded with a smile.

I kept running into friends over at Karl Story’s table. As he played Pokemon Go on his hone I beat my friend Mayday about the shoulders with a stuffed supercat until he perked up and noticed me. I didn’t have as much for Story to sign (I restrained myself from bringing my entire run of Nightwing. I don’t like being THAT guy). But I did pick a couple of things, in particular the Star Trek graphic novel “Debt of Honor”

“This was such an interesting story. It’s a shame it’s never been reprinted,” he said as he flipped through it. “IDW has the license right now, and they’d love to, but DC has no obligation to work with them and won’t release their copies of the art. IDW actually contacted me and Chris (Claremont) to see if we had any of the originals. I’ve got maybe, 30 pages but these are oversized – they’re so big they’d be hard t copy, even if I ran them down to Kinkos.”

After stopping by Dirk Manning’s booth to present him with a monster ice cream cone, Maddie guided me over to Chris Yambar’s table so she could get a new Simpson’s comic from him. He greeted us by nodding at me with a “Thank you for you son.” Akron is a very Superman oriented show, but even so, I’m always pleased when someone recognizes my Jor-El (father of Superman) costume. Maddie told him all about how much she likes the Simpsons. “I watch it every day! A couple episodes usually!”
We drifted on to chatting a bit about Yambar’s late and lamented Lawncon. The girls and I really liked it when we hit it’s final year. But perhaps not so final after all. Yambar has been long talking about resurrecting it.
“We keep wanting to do it again, but then something (health issues) would happen. It’s been a good year though, with no new things coming up. Maybe if I could get together a committee – where I could just sit back and be a benevolent overseer….”

45414778_2184913694886375_7893829369523601408_nBack in the lobby area of Goodyear Hall, Maddie and I ran into a huge scarecrow, with his handler, Harley Quinn. After pictures, we found an isolated corner by the windows where Maddie could practice her quick-change for the costume contest. It’s a long one, but Rubber City Cosplay managed to get everyone through reasonably swiftly, and it didn’t hurt that I was in line with my buddies Vito and Cassie. Despite the amazing plush monster in front of me in line, my bet was on the Alien made entirely out of balloons to win. Best costume EVER!

Akron continues to be the best con in Northeast Ohio and I’m eager to see what next year has in store!





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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Halloween Comicfest 2018

events44197871_10156566648277278_8772047484592586752_nLike a mini Free Comic Book Day, but better because there’s candy. And more horror. And it’s freakin’ Halloween!

44944489_10156594177012278_5581272093770645504_nLike FCBD, Carol and John’s comic shop holds an event every year. Anyone in costume can grab one of each of the free books, (and candy) but those not in costume are still welcome to grab three if they like (and candy). There’s also a photo op setup with a giant Pop figure box (and candy), and the shop cat Winston even dons his festive holiday sweater (he guards the candy)! Maddie and I donned this years halloween costumes and headed out. It’s one of my favorite events every year and no one does it as well as Carol and Johns (though my other regular shop; Comics are Go do thier best as well, inviting artists and making a big deal about it as well!). Not every comic shop does Halloween comic fest, so I hope you were all able to get out and find one who does! Here’s our photos from the day!