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Archive for March, 2019


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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Death Wish 1975


v1.bTsxMTI5MTA2NjtqOzE3ODYwOzEyMDA7MTUzNjsyMDQ4Even at the beginning, I get that familiar feeling of the Punisher in plainclothes. Bronson sells it well, but it’s really Bronson that I want to focus on.

As a kid watching these movies, I never realized that Bronson had such range. This is more than a gun toting action star (though he’s that too). He’s able to sell concern and grief. He’s able to convey a complete attitude change after he begins the killing spree.

Holy crap. Bronson’s a GOOD actor!

The politics of the film were lost on me at an early age. It’s more than just a Bernie Goetz rip off (Under thirty fives may have to look that one up). There’s an honest, balanced discussion going on here about guns and crime (Taking a cue fro  the book). I think either side could see themselves represented here…indeed it may even be more balanced than the novel. Someone was trying to do more than just create an exploitation film here (But it is that too). It makes the remake feel a little vapid and empty. Then again, that might be an indewxunfair comparison. I really want to see how everything holds up to the late series sequels.

I have to wonder if it’s worthy of being the sacred cow some people elevate it as. It’s a good movie, but not great cinema. I think it may have found it’s best destiny in reruns on late night television, and honestly….I wish it’d make a return to those screens.



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

Every Wednesday and Friday



Couldn’t resist doing some JLA with the folks at Heroes united!

bvs (2)jla


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Greg Land


Land has worked on just about everything, but this was one of my favorite JLA series, and his work here in particular is really great.



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

Every Wednesday and Friday


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Lego Joker captured!

Green Arrow borrowed the Batmobile to go apprehend the Joker!

arrow batmobile.jpg



Cereal Wasteland

commissionsMy friend Angelique (who the Tub of Terror girl in Violent Blue is based on) throws a breakfast party at the Cinema Wasteland convention, and this time around she named it “Cereal Wateland” which just brought up a whlebunch of imagery in my imagination that I just couldn’t resist playing with – both in poster and cartoons.






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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Death Wish introduction


7f_deathwishoriginalvsremake00I remember catching a lot of these on UHF channel 43 during a lot of nights when I was about jr. high age. My reaction was “It’s the Punisher!”. Maybe the Punisher in plainclothes. The 70’s look probably turned me off a bit and I wasn’t completely sold on Bronson as an action star (Give me a break. I was a kid). I remember kind of liking them, but not being particularly obsessed.

Because I remember them fondly, but not fervently, I wasn’t bothered when the remake was announced. Quite frankly, it’s been a LONG time since we had any Death Wish. Bronson is dead and these were never high art to begin with. Being one step above the grindhouse fare, Eli Roth sounded like a good choice and all around it seems like it’s time for me to dive into this series again, moreover it’s time for me to exlore the source material. I’m interested in what I’ll find and I think I’ll start off with the remake so I can go in unbiased. See you soon!



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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Fantasticon s7ep20 2019


I like Fantasticon, but was planning on skipping it this year until I noticed the date. It was scheduled the same weekend as Wizard World Cleveland so Fantasticon gave me the perfect alternative to the cash-grabbing giant currently destroying the con scene that Wizard World represents.

Just like with ConCoction, I decided to break out a costume I hadn’t worn in a while and that hadn’t gotten a lot of exposure last year, on the con circuit anyhow – Sparkle Murder Pie did several charity events, but only appeared at one convention.

I found a parking spot on the street, just behind the baseball stadium that sat between me and the convention center. I pulled the unicorn out of the car and stashed the legs and feet inside the hollow body, then looed my bag at hte crook of my elbow and lifted the costume, ready to walk around the block.


The unicorn horn broke clear off. It was a clean split, right at the joint (It was built in three pieces and glued together). I lept back to my car and rummaged through the reair bucket, grabbing the Hot glue gun and duck tape. I could’t fix this here in the street, but with a little luck, there’d be an open electrical outlet at the Seagate Center.

The high winds blew me back and forth like a kite, but somehow I managed to make it to the doors without dropping anything. I found a power jack in the foyer, before I even reached the inner doors and hooked up the glue gun while I suited up and cleared excess glue from teh horn, creating a flat surface on the bottom. In five minuets I was applying a thick bead of glue to the horn nad pressing it back on to the unicorn’s forehead. I clicked on the light, praying it would hold. In the meantime, one of the Seagate center’s emplyees had spotted my struggle and rushed out to help, handing me my bag and holding the door oen for me and the unicorn. (I should have gotten the name of the young Africian Americian emplyee in the red and black Ohio hat so I could brag on him. Seagate Center should be really proud of thier employees. This was the best service I’ve ever gotten at a con!)

You know what? with all the micro cons I found myself at last year, it’s been a little while since I did a big show like this and I’d forgotten what it was like to be stopped every 53597399_2373896375988105_5209685945820905472_nthree steps for photos. Sparkle Murder Pie was a big hit with the kids at the show, most of which were brave enough to come up and pet her. Of course I wasn’t he only Deadpool there (Actually why I don’t dress up as him -there’s always a bunch running around). I found a Magical Girl Deadpool, a casual Deadpool and another Deadpool with a unicorn. Mine was bigger, but his was wearable and vibrated. He wrapped it around my neck so I could feel the vmassaging vibrations.

“Yyyyarrgggllee….” I gurgled, lifting my face up in ecstasy.

I made my way over to Bob Hall’s table. I’d met him a couple years ago at NEO comicon, where I’d bought a print of the villian Master Darque – one ofthe manin villians ofthe valient universe and the main nemisis to one of my favorite suerheroes; Shadowman. I’m not exaggerating when I say Shadowman is one of my favorites. He’s in my all time top five and I think his title was one of the most underrated books of the 90’s. This time he had an 11×17 print of the cover for the last issue and I couldn’t get my cash out quick enough. The last time Bob and I had spoken, 54236711_2373896409321435_6564477987150888960_nhe’d told me about how he got started with the character, and how it had ended with Acclaim coming in and wanting to reboot the character into something completely diffrent, so he did the story where Jack climbed up to the top of the building and jumps. He points out that we never see him hit the ground though. “I always assumed some other writer come along and take over – figure a way out of the cliffhanger, but they never did!”. It’s a cliffhanger that has taunted me for twenty five years, since I first read it. In  the last couple of years though, things have changed. Valient is once again publishing comics. I mentioned to Bob that even though the current Shadowman is fine, it lacks his touch.

“They actually called me and told me that the title doen’t have quite the magic I t did when i was writing it, and asked if I wanted to come in and do something on it. I offered to write a special where I go back to that last issue and finally resolve that cliffhanger, so they have some integration and resolution. But then management changed and it was decided that having the old writers come in was to gimmiky and passe.”

Then Bob did the unthinkable. He told me the story. I finally know how the cliffhanger from the final issue of his Shadowman ends. It may be one of the single coolest things to ever happen to me at a convention.

Fifty cent bins were in abundance, but most were on the floor where I couldn’t reach while riding the unicorn. The one vendor who had his on the table got my business as I pulled as many Superman and Fanatastic Four issues as I could pack into the bag holding my shoes and jacket. I found Pokemon for the girls and almost pulled the trigger on a Total Justice Batman repaint I’d never seen before. I kind of regret passing  that one up now.

The costumes this time around were amazing, including not one but two Ghost Riders. I also ran into a gent with a hadmade Assasin’s Creed costume that was stunning. The weapons, the beadwork, all of the details had been crafted by had over months. There was an adorable Eevee with a magic staf that twinkled and shone in the most wonderful light display. I was rooting for both of them to win the costume contest.  I also nticed a 54256629_2373896015988141_266204924864364544_nFoxy and Freddy from Five Nights at Freddy’s. There was great deatail on these suits, with visible wires and underskeleton – touches that made them a nice cut above. I hadn’t realized that I knew the occupant of the foxy – Erin, who I had made an aquantance with on the con circuit last year was one of the villinous animatronics.

She wasn’t the only familiar face there though. I ran into my buddy Ed from Heroes United and as we chatted over upcoming events My oldfriend Sean (who founded NEO comicon) waved me over. I hadn’t seen him since NEO last August and he was surprised since we usually run into each other on the con circuit. I explained I was doing fewer shows this year and he was relieved that everything was okay.

I managed to sit through most of the creating comics panel with Darryl Banks, Bob Hall 54514156_2373894849321591_997481677477380096_nand Pat Brodrick. I had never realized that Darryl had been a teacher. The Green Lantern artist told a story about going as a fan to a comic con when he was first starting out and asking Gil Kane to look at his work. Kane did and told him it was okay. Darryl was a little deflated untill everyone started asking him what Kane had said. “He said it was OKAY? Wow! Gil dosen’t ever say that! He never likes ANYTHING!”. It was just as interesting to hear abotu how Bob Hall came from a theater background, and that sort of storytelling led him to comics. Indeed, it was that kind of experiance that Jim Shooter was looking for when he made him an editor.

I really do enjoy Fantasticon. It has a little bit of everything I want in a convention, and it was the perfect alternative to Wizard World for me this year.

ConCoction 2019

Conman43094674_2129135710636415_4864246115660201984_n52775109_279834182934958_4688500262975832064_nSlimer watched the sad clown join H.P. Lovecraft as he was chatting up Captian Marvel. Behind us, drunk furries chased each other. This is the sort of thing that can really only happen at ConCoction.

I got out of work later than last year but still had hopes that i could make the opening cermemoniesif I stepped on it. When I rushed into the Bertrem I saw to my dismay that the line for registration was almost out the door. A man worked the line with a bowl of choclates, handing out Dove mins to everyone.

“Long line triggered the candy bonus,” he explained.

53279010_2363503717027371_547781949997973504_nI got my badge too late to make the Opening ceremonies so I headed back to the car to pull on my Ghostbusters coveralls. I shrugged the proton pack on and tossed the gloves and goggles into the monkey head. I noticed that breathing was difficult due to the poor ventlation in the large mask and didn’t want to get into it until I’d gotten inside the building. Knightmage sotted me as I was wandering in and headed over to greet me and look over the costume.

“Tracy the Gorilla,” he said shaking his head. “Man, that’s obscure. Did you just see the monkey head and think Tracy?”

“It was in the back of my mind,” I admitted. “But a gorilla suit is also one of those things you should just HAVE in your closet – like a little black dress.”

Tracy of course was the third member of the original Ghostbusters from the 1975 TV show  starring Larry Storch (Who I met a year or so ago) and Forrest Tucker. When Filmation made thier Ghostbusters cartoon, they stated that the characters were the grandsons of Storch and Tucker, but that Tracy was the same gorilla. I wanted to mash it 53255429_2363503677027375_5639671816361345024_nup so I decided to up Tracy in a proton pack and coveralls from the ’84 movie (though I added a t-shirt with the filmation logo under it, one extra touch), integrating him into the  Columbia Ghostbusters as well. ‘Mage circled me to check out the pack as I pinted out the christmas lights and laundry detergant caps  that made up the prop. He laughed as I excused myself to head inside.

Living inside the Gorilla head was similar to wearing Mr. Freeze. I had to keep moving to keep circulation going in the mask otherwise air would get stagnant. I was right to make Concoction the premire for this suit though – it’s one of the few places that would really get the gag, and boy did they. I caught my buddy Jason as well as connecting with Nicole and spotting Annye and her husband Zeke on the other side ofthe hall. Wandering in to the art show I head Vanessa’s voice pipe up “I know who’s in that costume!”. It’s always good to be at Concoction. Much like Cinema Wasteland, it’s home. Even if there’s no familiar faces around, yo ucan talk to anyone. It’s one of those very few places where the words “Mind if I share your table?” dosen’t fill me with dread. I ate with strangers 53529161_2363501810360895_3847785166680358912_nseveral times in the con suite chatting abotu the day and the goings on. In the corner, a rack full of battered old sci-fi paperbacks was available to browse. That’s one of those things I love about Concoction – the books. That heavy literary focus helps it feel a lot like the Star Trek conventions of the 80’s. Roger Zelazney ut it best in Nine princes in Amber – “It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.”

I had my own book with me, a copy of my battered old “Dreams ofthe Raven” by Carmen Carter, but honestly, I barely touched it. During lunch, my table mate and I listened to the energetic conversation going on next to us.

“See, Scooby Doo dosen’t ever interact with anyone else on the team.  That’s because he dosen’t actually talk – it’s just that Shaggy is high off his gord the entire time! And anyone who thinks Daphne and Fred are together is nuts. Fred is asexual – he’s totally oblivious. Daphane is one of those spoiled rich girls – she’s just there to play with him and break his heart. He looked like someone she could manipulate like that. But man, she HATES Shaggy…”

The volume occasionally elevated to near shouting. I looked over at my tablemate. Like mine, her eyes were wide in disbelief behind her tablet.

“This is the best panel of the weekend!”

Back in the actual programming, I sat in on Knightmage’s Cosplaying for Charity panel. Halfway he paused to shake his head laughing at me, sitting in the back.

“The gorllia just keeps…STARING at me!”

“I can fix that!” I exclaimed and brought down the Ecto Goggles, covering the unblinking gorilla eyes.

“That’s not better!”

As the evening wore on I wandered over to the comedy showcase. Concoction is the only other convention I know of besides Monster Bash that includes stand up comedy and I always dig it. Two of the comics were late so the host kept us entertained with cat videos on  the projector. About twenty minuets late, the set started. I whipped out my camera hoping to livestream the set (So I could save it later) but once t he material began to involve graphic depictions of The Simpsons knocking boots, I thought better of it. The show started to slow down with the second preformer.

“You know what? Let’s talk about some stuff that you guys are intrested in. What do you want to talk about?”

He pointed at me. I comically looked behind me, making sure he wasn;t refrecing another gorilla. and then pointed to myself in exaggerated motions.


“Sure!” What do you want to talk about? Bananas?”

“That’s a very hurful stereotype,” I deadpanned. The room lost it.

Before I snuck out later the host walked by me and clapped me on the shoulder, telling 53026379_2363503607027382_394056308740849664_nme I got the biggest laugh of the night.

After five hours in the monkey suit I’d had enough and shed the Ghostbuster look before returning to catch the Confused Greenies do improv games. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay fo the Saturday night show so I wanted to make sure I got to this one. They started out with a skit about aliens arriving on earth during Carnivale, then went into Whoose line type comedy. Close to midnight, I decided wisdom was the better part of valor, and popped out early, skipping the barfleet party to brave the hour drive back home.

I was back around ten the next day, this time clad in my cumbersonme Slimer costume.I always seem to do themes at Concoction. It’s something that was coincidental at first but now has pretty much become intentional. As much as I like Tracy, I didn’t feel good about entering 53086134_2363502643694145_4909832550647595008_nhim in the costume contest. He’s mostly assembled. It’s a wierd assembly, but other than the proton pack, feet  and googles it’s all stuff I bought. Slimer on the other hand, is 100% made from scratch -and he’s not been out nearly as much as I’d like. Still, Slimer wasn’t the costume I was really looking foreward to. I couldn’t wait to see my friend Annye’s Iron Marvel. She’d crafted the Captian Marvel suit out of foam insted of leather and the result was nothing short of spectacular.

We were stked to discover that Guy Allen was set up again in the Annex and headed over there to get some professional photos done (I so rarely get that opprutunity).

I managed to catch some of Jim O’Rear’s panel on horror before stopping over at his table and getting my Dawn of the Dead poster signed. He asked me if I was a Romero fan. I nodded. O’Rear expanded on how Romero was such an influence on him.

“Man, I saw Night of the Living Dead, and it changed everything for me. I was like – this. I can get into this.”

O’Rear ended up at the table with Jason, Tina and me for lunch.

Saturday consisted of the Doctor Who panel,  the costume contests and picking up dragons for the kids. I made sure to grab a photo with Mogchelle who was dressed as Sabrina – my daughter Maddie is a huge Sabrina fan and just discovered the old mangas coming off the new TV show. I found her an old Archie with Sabrinia in it as well. Even the Cat got something. I found an adorable catnip Cthulu for Sparky. It was to my great reluctance that I had to cut out early, but Clue was screening at the Cedar Lee at 9:30 with a live shadow cast and I couldn’t miss it. But I’ll tell you this much; I’ll be back at Concoction next year!




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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Tales of Halloween : Sweet Tooth

directorsdpindex.jpgWhile the he’s not in charge of this entire film, Dave Parker does get featured prominently in this seasonal anthology. While Tales of Halloween is actually full of good stuff, we’re really just going to focus on Parker’s contribution ; Sweet Tooth, which kicks off the film as the first story.

It’s the hours after Trick or Treating and our main character had dumped his candy out on the floor, in front of his babysitter. Just the fact that the kids dressed as Snake Pliskin while watching Night of the Living Dead it’s a pretty amazing start. It’s an immediate sign to the audience that the director is one of us and loves film – a constant in most of Parker’s work. I also love the urban legend hook, with the babysitter’s boyfriend spinning a terrifying yarn about the kid who would become the legendary “Sweet Tooth”. It  almost feels like Willy Wonka gone horribly wrong.

It’s a tough thing to start off and anthology but Parker goes straight for the gore in crafting the Legend of sweet tooth. Parker uses interesting concepts, a familiar light palette and a brilliant looking monster to create a gory, fun short here that is as effective as any feature


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

Every Wednesday and Friday


bannerpdimages.jpgI actually really dig the scratchy, old-fashioned video in the title sequence overlaid with sloppy script writing on the credits… It’s an eerie score feels like a throwback to fifties movies.

It’s all immediately undermined by the honky-tonk soundtrack in cheap shot on video look as the film opens. But perhaps it’s just an Australian thing – ask the kids trekking out to the middle of the wilderness and build a campsite. Still, the banter is fun and the characters are charming and in absurd sort of way and I feel a little sad when the first one is dispatched about eight minutes in. If these are just are prologue characters, I’ve got great hope for this movie.

We switch focus to a bus heading out to the same wilderness and get an intro to our proper cast.

vlcsnap-2018-12-07-09h58m02s201.pngThe clever banter continues as they roll past a sign that says “camp happy dreams “ . Ann has a rope swing but no bathroom.

As the second act begins, the tower scary story around the campfire which set up our colour and there is a passive resemblance to killing we saw in the prologue. When the killing starts by the way, it’s glorious. Good looking FX down well. Aside from this quick spree though, the second act passes uneventfully with an attempted character… By this time though, we don’t really care, we really just wanna see people getting stalked and there’s not quite enough of that in the musical interlude and endless soccer games. Things don’t start to get dyer again until we are at the 53 minute mark with only 18 left. This is really vlcsnap-2018-12-07-09h58m24s330.pngits main failing / I can forgive digital blog, but born killer? That’ll drag your film down real quick. it’s almost as if they didn’t have enough second act story so they just extended the first. Better pacing with make this into a genuinely good movie – that or cutting it in half to turn into a short.

Sparrow is still one of the better sad, in the world that for some of the good stuff that happens, but keep your thumb on the fast forward button.

Hawk : Warrior of the Wheel Zone (Roller Blade 7 redux)

franchisebannerindexHawk : Warrior of the Wheelzone is basically a remix of The Roller Blade Seven (and of course Roller Blade Seven was almost unwatchable to me). This was an attempt to make it more coherent partially for re-release and partially as a response to the renegade producer Tanya York’s unauthorized re-edit that she released as “Legends of the Roller Blade Seven”

I have to admit, the recap on this film is interspersed with a more informative prologue, using clips from the movie that help me understand better what’s going on. Also the music is better. Just fifteen minuets in I can already see a big difference. It’s still absurd mind you. It’s still a movie about leather clad nuns and roller skating ninjas, but I also feel more like I can follow the story…. though I wonder how much of that is just Stockholm syndrome from watching the first one.

Hawk is recruited to go rescue a psychic who has been kidnapped by the evil Pharaoh Joe Estevez. As Donald Jackson’s priest character tells him “You will meet many along the way. Some are angles, some are devils. Sometimes the angels ARE the devils.”

Hawk begins his mystic journey through the desert on his rescue mission, traveling through the desert. Did I mention that there are roller skating ninjas in the desert? Ninjas of all sorts tend to be a Jackson staple. Expect to see more of this as we go along.

While on his journey, Haw encounters a salvage marble yard, the home of Karen Black’s “Psychic (or Not)”. When Black appears on screen it almost legitimizes this as more than just a patchwork piece, but she uses her role to wax philosophical and make out with Scott Shaw.

Joe Estevez chews the scenery as Saint O’Fender. Frank Stallone wears armor. Then the clown appears, complete with background music from The Invisible Man’s banjo.

That’s kind of the problem. The film seems to start with a story but the middle devolves into a random, Zen mess.

images2I’d honestly been dreading this, but it really is an improvement. (I know I keep saying it, but such is my shock. It’s like, did they deliberately use the WORST takes and just toss them into a blender instead of an AVID?) This time around it feels more like a road movie rather than just an acid trip. At least most of the time. The clown and banjo player are still incomprehensible to me, along with the dancing in the desert and that’s where it really starts to fall apart again but at least it’s more linear. The production values still come off as amateur though, even if Karen Black is there kissing Scott Shaw. The 80 minuet running time makes it more manageable as well, although there’s probably another fifteen minuets that could have been dropped. And that’s the thing, it isn’t necessarily BETTER, is just makes a teensy bit more sense. If you’re going to brave this series, I highly recommend swapping this out with Roller Blade Seven and watching this instead.

Superman Wedding Album

AutographsThis is one of those interesting books that EVERYONE seemed to have a hand in, and it’s perfect fodder for getting multiple autographs on, and I plan on continuing to add to his in the future!




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

Every Wednesday and Friday