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Archive for March, 2022

2035 Forbidden Dimensions

Dollarimages2035 has an amazing cover. We have a goggled figure in a long coat, flanked by two bizarre survivors of a dusty wasteland behind them and it promises action and Mad Max-like drama. It’s a genuinely good bit of graphic design that grabs you and immediately gets you invested in the film.

So why you might ask, am I committing so much space and time to my description of this marvelous cover? It’s simple. It’s because the rest of this thing is garbage, and it feels like the part they spend the most time on, was the cover!

2035 describes itself as a time travel epic, we are young man from 1980 discoveries he can project himself into the apocalyptic future of 2035. As a result, he goes back to the year 1998 to destroy an evil device that will lead us into this future. I know this because I read the description on the back of the DVD and I looked it up on IMDb. This is a good thing, because watching the movie you’d never be able to figure any of this out. The movie looks like a student film, and perhaps even that is an elevating term. It looks like a bunch of college-age teenagers set out with a VHS camcorder, some props and some imagesoutfits from the local costume shop and access to the local motorcross decided to shoot a bunch of almost unrelated vignettes, and cobble them together to create a feature. I’m not knocking this particular activity, when I was in college, I did the exact same thing.. what baffles me, is how they got distribution. The low quality video on top of the incomprehensible patchwork narrative is mine boggling at the very best. At the worst, the low production values and sloppy make up effects will put you right off. I’d almost swear I was back in the Donald G Jackson film.If I rented this from a video store, I would’ve asked for my money back. As it is, being a dollar store refugee, it at least looks nice on my shelf. I think that’s probably the best you can ask for this film. Avoid it. Watching Neil Breen film instead, at least when he melts your brain he still tries to tell a complete narrative…



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

Every Wednesday and Friday




indexMonstrosity is trying to pull one over on me. I know this film, but I know it by different name… The Atomic Brain. We have a scientist who is trying to transplant animal brains into humans, indulging in some body snatching, and dooing other mad scientist kind of work while a narrator talks over everything. We’re almost 10 minutes in before we actually get any dialogue that isn’t coming from the narrator! The excessive narration may have something to do with the fact that the film was never entirely shot, with the production company running out of money after 10 days of filming and having to try and fix it up in the editing room. Still, the lab looks very good for the period, and the science FX are impressive. Of course the problem with any brain transfer movie, is as old as Frankenstein… you’ve got to get the tissue fresh, and the old lady who the mad scientist is working for, is definitely going to be picky about what kind of young body he transfers her brain into. To that end, they hire some maids from other countries, to give them new imagesvictims to experiment on.

Even at 64 minutes, the movie feels dragged out. It seems like the sort of thing that would work better as an episode of anthology series like Thriller or the Twilight Zone. I also always have a tough time watching straight versions of films already been done on mystery science theater 3000! And this one is so perfectly suited for it, it almost feels empty without The additional spectacle of the robots mocking it. It’s worth having around for the imagery though, and would make a great background film for a Halloween party.

Wildwood Micro-Con

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Wildwood advertised. That last time, before the plague, I know that Heroes United was in fact doing the event… Judging by the time of year I bet the reason I couldn’t go was because of a conflict with Wasteland. Nevertheless, I was curious, it looks like an interesting venue and a nice little show. I filed it away in the back of my mind when it popped up on my feed just over a week before showtime.

As I was checking my Maps, I heard Amy‘s voice next to me ring out in a tone that mixed exasperation and surprise.

“It’s snowing again?“

I looked out the window and it was indeed coming down. Hard. It gave me enough pause to wonder whether or not I really wanted to brave the snow storm… But while I was on that side of town it be convenient for me to pick up some filament for the 3-D printer at Micro Center and swing by Geeks Gambit to look through the discount bins. I grabbed Star Lord (A low effort costume if there ever was one) and headed out – hoping as I plowed through the snow, that I wouldn’t be the only person to show up.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw that I was not alone. Another car had pulled in ahead of me, and two came in behind me. I saw some teenagers heading in, and a couple of families heading out. I even spotted the familiar shape of the actual mini parked caddy corner from the barrio tacos truck.

Wildwood doesn’t bury the lead, and straight up refers to themselves as a “micro con“. It’s an apt description. It’s what I would call a library style convention… Much like Geekfest, or the very tiny WEPLcon. Inside the first room for a couple of vendors and artists. This is not a shopping invention by any means. While it was interesting to browse the table full of magic and costumes, there’s no comics to be found anywhere here… Other than the free comic book Day leftovers they were handing out at the door. It has to the kitchen to get to the rest of the convention. There’s signs along the way letting you know that you’re still in the right place and there’s more down the hall. It’s a charming touch.

Eventually the passages open up into a couple of larger rooms where a variety of cosplay guests were settled. The 501st Legion across from the federation group… And then rubber city comics play along with heroes alliance set up in the next room. A paranormal group was there as well, with devices and exhibit set up. Seems to be like it would’ve been nicer to have them set up closer to the Ghostbusters – those guys were shuffled off into a side room that I didn’t even see on my first pass through.

A little further in, and you find a small game room. They’re making the most of it, with a couple of pinball games, a giant operation game, a giant Tetris and fascinating version of pong set up on a table top. The pinball interested me the most. They weren’t real pinball machines – no mechanics. Instead of a ball and flippers and springs and gears, it’s simulated by a large screen, laid horizontally into the cabinet. We still have a plunger and buttons, but everything else is loaded up and computer driven. It plays interestingly enough, and it’s fun to do. I’ve only read about these units, so it was particularly fun for me to see them for the first time.

Downstairs in the basement they had a table set up with markers and paper for creating your own comics. These pre-printed sheets had dialogue boxes, with thought balloons and comic frames already set up for you to do your own thing. I’ve seen this a couple of libraries and young creator shows. It’s a nice little extra station to have there, and the Wildwood was definitely trying to make full use of the house.

Upstairs on the second floor, they had food vendors… Candy and cookies and popcorn opposite movie room that was showing classic cartoons. I have expected to see Fleischer superman in there, how much to my surprise they’re running Dennis the Menace. Weird. Third floor was reserved for superhero training, an activity that would occur once every hour or half or so. You go up there and make a mask and go through some fun superhero moves.

Wildwood micro con is a nice little event, especially if you’re local. Mostly if you’re local actually. It’s not quite worth the 50 minutes that took me to get out there, though I suspect if they really wanted to, they could add some value with a few panels. This thing goes from 11 to 5 which seems like a really long day for such a small show. Giving each of these groups it’s got a table set up a chance to do a panel or presentation would eat up some of that time and give teens and adults something else to do. I’d love to hear the paranormal group and spend 40 minutes on some of their investigations, what they do and how they do it. It be cool to see heroes alliance talk about cosplaying for charity – I’ve seen night me to do that kind of panel before! The federation gonna have a talk about Star Wars new and old, and the 50 first could certainly do something along lines of timeline other Jedi or movie rankings or trivia or stuff like that.

I’m not sure that any of that’s going to happen though, Wildwood seems content to be what it is – a nice little kids activity that offer some value to the community. If you’re an East cider, especially with kids and are looking for a fun way to ease them into fandom and con life, this is exactly the sort of event you want to go to. I’d like to see more teenagers hanging out at this sort of thing as well, perhaps upping cosplay activities with a contest or schizo or something. I like it, just for the venue and the audacity, as library convention scale is a good one.



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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Week of 3/16/22 (mostly)

It was finally time last week. The moment I’ve been waiting for, one of my most intense anticipated books in a good long while. Worlds Finest finally hit The shelves. You basically have my attention, just by putting the yellow oval behind the bat symbol. In fact, I really like the general character designs that were seeing for both Batman and Superman here. Very traditional, very much my generation.

What we get, is part one of what promises to be a fun adventure, featuring more than a few familiar faces, all designs like Lex Luthors Super Powers battle armor and traditional Batman villains. It’s all good, it’s all solid, and quite frankly, it’s the first time in a very long time – years – that I feel like I’m sitting down and reading a new comic book that was written for me. I’m really enjoying this already, and I am hard and fast on this series all the way. If DC still offered subscriptions, I’d already be there.

Marvel on the other hand, nothing much on the shelves this week. I took a peek at the Spider-Man title – the beyond side-title that they’ve been putting out with the .2 numbers. It feels like the writers had a whole slew of subplots if they just couldn’t fit into the main book, so they dumped them all here. It feels horribly mismatched and choppy. It’s worth peeking at your friends copy though, just to see what happens when the lizard tries to bite a chunk out of Morbius, and ingests his vampire blood, combining with Dr. Connors on regenerative abilities. There’s a smart idea going on here and it really deserved better placement as the b storyline in the main book.

I’m kind of behind on getting this up, and while I was editing, the next wave of books came out so we’re gonna do two weeks worth of DC here… But then again don’t worry. It’s not gonna take long.

The Human Target is still excellent. Quite frankly, Christopher Chances romance with Ice is just enthralling. This is a tough sell too, because those of us who were around for the heyday of the Justice League International, have a lot invested emotionally in the relationship between ice and Guy Gardner. This book definitely moves us on, creating a new lens to observe that romance through, and leading Ice move on to a new relationship a chance. It also presents guy in a bad light, but does it smartly… In such a way that I don’t resent it. Even though last month was pretty much a filler issue, overall, this series has been just great. I’m gonna miss it when it’s over. I’m gonna miss this take on chance, and I hope we see more of it.
Also in the black label line is the flashes rogues book. This one I’m not so sure how to feel about. It’s in the future, kind of an old man Logan take… I’m hot and cold on it. Not sure if I like it or not yet. I really don’t like that Boomerang is dead (basically my main gateway to the Rogues) though the take on the young Trickster is actually pretty interesting. Not really enjoying Bronze Tiger being cast as a villian this time around though. I’m hoping we see him wrestle with his violence and morality, the way John Ostrander used to so intelligently write him. The whole thing is a real jumble that has me off balance.  I’m willing to give it one more issue though.

I even took a peek in this week’s Harley Quinn.
Um…. what has happened to this title?

The art is AWFUL. It’s so wierd and loopy and cartoon and it just feels cheap.  Also I know that they’re kind of trying to sell Harley as a hero these days because of her popularity, but really I feel like she’s lost a lot of her edge. The Harley Quinn I know wouldn’t be heading to jail trying to be cute and avoid any confrontations. The Harley I know would saunter in with a joke and a cute smile, and then stab a chick. Ugh. Such a disappointment.

On the other hand, Marvels infinity comics have been blowing me out of the water for the last couple weeks. One of the more interesting bits was marvel meow… A story about what happens when Black Widow and Bucky drop their cats off to stay with Captain Marvels flerkin.

It goes about as you would expect, and it’s really cute as a fun little one shot. Of course, even as I’m writing this, my daughter has informed me that it’s NOT a one shot… And in fact just A few days ago, they posted part two… where Spider-Man is cat sitting this time.
You know what? This was fun the first time, but comes off as a little silly and excessive going any further. Still, definitely catch up first one.

We did also get a Spider Bot infinity comic. See, here’s the thing, I discovered the infinity comics strictly because of the Jeff the LandShark series. That’s led to some of these other cutesy ones. I’m a fan of that kind of stuff, alligator Loki is probably the only one that’s coming close, but spider bite has its own charm. They’ve actually done a fairly good job I’ve been viewing these little sentient spider tracers with a surprising amount of personality. In the slightest issue, we encounter one with a broken leg… He can’t go on missions because he’s waiting to be fixed, so he stays back to clean the apartment, while dreaming of saving the world from Thanos and marrying fire star. All perfectly relatable!

More importantly though… The single most important innovation and offering from the Disney+ Loki series has arrived in comic form.
That’s right, they put out an Alligator Loki comic book! Thor stumbles across our scaly friend as he tumbles out of a portal, and in an attempt to bond with this version of his brother, he takes him to an asguardian amusement park. It’s just the best thing ever. I don’t know what delights me more. Watching poor little alligator Loki try and hold on as they ride the roller coaster, or just the sight of him in one of those across the chest baby harnesses as Thor carries them around. Seriously. It was my absolute favorite thing all last week.

I do feel weird that all of my Marvel  reading this week has pretty much been the online stuff, but they’re genuinely doing some good stuff here in these infinity comics and it’s worth hopping the pay wall to check it out.
My last pick this week was ShadowMan. Did you even know they were still doing this book? I mean it’s in its fifth or sixth version of the character even within this current reboot, and they’re leaning heavily into the whore. There’s some good stuff here, especially if you’re a voodoo fan like I am.

There’s an interesting approach to the Shadow Man, trying to treat him almost as a priest rather than just a warrior or a superhero. This is interesting, it’s a good and natural evolution of this character as we have added progressively more voodoo and horror elements to the series over the last couple of decades. Here we find him battling the incarnate spirit of the Deadside, in attempt to prevent the land of the dead from merging with the land of the living. I feel like I just saw a bunch of the story in Legend of Korra, but it remains solid. It’s one of those though that I think I might rather wait for the trade then chasing down individual issues. I’m still a little lukewarm on this version. I like it, but I feel like it needs more. Honestly what this really needs is a good supporting cast… I was so hoping that this dead side goddess would end up being Jack’s old housekeeper Nettie. I’ve been keeping with the sort of slight paranoia and twists that we used to get from the book. There’s still a solid foundation here, what it really needs is someone with a good long-term vision – I mean five years or so who can create a supporting cast around Jack figure out a good nightmare and bring back some recurring arch enemies. (in the previous issue, we got a brief appearance by master dark in Sandria and I was so excited for half a millisecond until they just use them as a throwaway villain… Such a bummer!)

foodThat’s it for comics.

Now. How about television?

The Food That Built America is back on, and I am enjoying that, there’s definitely some stuff about Dairy Queen in Carvel that I never knew. There’s a new show with Adam Richmond on after it too – Adam eats the 80’s which explores lost and changed food and candy from the 1980’s it’;s been far more interesting and fun that it has any right to be. It’s a good thing too, because I had an opening in my TV schedule  –  Superman and Lois was on a break last week and the Flash… I don’t know what it is the season. I almost feel like the mandate is “show the flash as little as possible“ after these last two episodes. I mean it’s fun to see Barry trapped in the locked down police station and I guess they’d have to take away his powers to make that work, but seriously. We’re getting two or three minutes of costume time each episode and I feel like I’m back in the 80s again where are these type of programs we’re still trying to pretend they weren’t superhero shows.

Maybe they’ll do better this week. Both The Flash and Superman and Lois should be available on demand by the time I get home tonight….I’ll let you know next week!




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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Exorcist : The Beginning

Dollar95753014_3234720489905685_5357288239319220224_nLooking at this prequel to the Exorcist, I remember shaking my head and literally asking several friends on Facebook, “Doesn’t the Exorcist already have a prequel? That’s the entire point of the second one!” They muddied the water further by telling me not only does this prequel take place before that, but it was remade as an alternate cut “Dominion” a  year later! After the original Director was fired Renny Harlan was put in place of him. The good news is, I like Renny Harlan, and even more so I like Stellan Skarsgård so I fired it up and gave this thing a shot.

It’s supposed to be the story of a younger Father Maren and his first direct contact with the demon Pazuzu. It’s a period piece but, like the Indiana Jones movies, we’re set in a very foreign land in a sort of archaeological context so the period itself kind of fades into the background.

indexThey’ve discovered a church that there’s no record of in any Catholic lore, it’s been sealed and buried and as they excavate and investigate it, they begin to discover it’s dark secrets. It’s low budget of course, with some crummy CGI – particularly in some of the animals. Harlan is trying hard though, he wants this to connect directly to the Exorcist, a tough prospect considering that’s a film that really should never have any sequel or prequels. Harlan crafts the climax to evoke imagery from the original and commissioned a make up very reminiscent of Linda Blair in the third act of the original. I’ve got to say I’m actually surprised how much this does feel like it’s a direct sequel to the original… imagesand that’s something I haven’t really gotten from any of the other Exorcist films. It’s not a bad movie, though it is a little long and drags in places. I did go out of my way to hunt down the alternate cut, Dominion… It’s no better. In fact the more general horror fan and me prefers the Harlan cut to the more cerebral psychological thriller that Dominion prisons.

I’m not sure how much I recommend it, but it wouldn’t hurt to grab it if you spot it on the shelf of the dollar store.

Cleveland Comic and Nostalgia Convention

Just a few photos from the Cleveland Comic Book and Nostalgia Convention over the weekend… The show with the name longer than this blog post! Harper show is basically the same thing every time, not much changes, and you may feel like you’ve seen some of these photos before. The room set up is exactly the same every time. But that’s OK, because this one still really close by in Westlake, and I know exactly where Hazel‘s Heroes stores the 50 Cent bins.

The pleasant surprise this time around I actually was seeing a lot of friends out there. Not just the usual suspects like Mark or Wolfchild, but also people like Crystal and Tanya from my wife’s preferred hair salon. I bumped into my friend Jennifer who I haven’t seen in years, certainly not since the goblin concert at the Beachland. Even John, from Carol and John’s comic shop was set up in a rare appearance on the con seen. Nice to float around and catch up as well as picking up a few oddities.

This is the sort of show where I go to fill up backpack and come home with a few dozen new comic books. But there’s always a hope then I’ll find something curious. Besides that near complete Peter Milligan human target run, I also scored a handful of Fright Night comics. These are fun, especially with the movie adaptions included. Now comics was just weird, licensing just about anything. It was such a mismatched company… Underground comics like Ralph Snart, sci-fi like the Terminator, horror like Fright Night, adventure with the Green Hornet and really strange choice and comedy with Married with Children. Still, I’ve always been more team lost boys and fright night, especially in my teens when these were being published so I didn’t grab them up when I had a chance, and I’m regretting that now. Trying to put that right.

I also found this weird  X liefields comic. It’s got a keen spot logo on it which means it must’ve started out life of the web comic, but I don’t know if I ever saw it. It’s fun, with a bunch of Leifield like characters going back in time to try and stop him from creating Deadpool. Or at least, a reasonable facsimile. At this point, I almost feel like making fun of Rob Leifield is a genre and a big self. I’m not a hater, I actually respect the dude a great deal, and yet I also have to admit every time I see one of these kind of books, I’m absolutely picking it up.
The last head scratcher for me was this Ninjack ShadowMan Rapture book. I have no idea what this thing is, and even after reading it, I’m still bewildered. Shadow Man in particular is one of those characters that valiant has always struggled with. He got up to a week start and it seems like Bob Hall was the only one who truly understood what made the character tick, and how to make him work. Since then he’s been rebooted far more often than any of the other valiant characters, and while I can tell which reboot were on, even this current incarnation has gone through several phases and changes. This is one of those books that you buy because you want to learn more about what’s going on. It alerts me to a series I didn’t even know what’s going on, and that I now have to go and explore further.

Nothing big, probably about 90 minutes wandering the floor, but still, a nice slow pace compared to the full on convention experience we had last week at Fantasticon. Good to connect with people. Nerdbox Comics definitely had the best sign there and this time around the various vendors were able to spell the word “Manga” correctly on the boxes. There’s worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.





Despite its initial shot on video look, Sheborg actually starts really good, with a couple of British teenage hoodlum girls spray painting graffiti on the wall and, then on a police cruiser. The police car’s already got a bit of a Mad Max look to it, and when the cops discover an anarchy symbol on their hood, they are none too pleased. They chase the girls into the credit sequence where the actual credits are integrated as graffiti on the burnt out ruins they run through. It’s almost a Scooby Doo monster chase, set over some surprisingly good music until the girls are finally taken in the custody.

In the skies, a council of greasepaint aliens (a sort of low budget version of the white aliens from Star Trek Beyond) pronounce judgment over the Sheborg, who escapes in a total Lilo and Stitch move and jumps in escape pod, headed for earth.

She lands at a puppy farm that our anarchist heroes are planning on raiding. But she is being hunted by the greasepaint aliens who also happen to know kung fu. They also have applesauce for blood, and the shborg does love her some gore. Chaos ad infinitum.

By the time our band of merry anarchist’s arrive, Sheborg has been  hard at work, and created other evil cyborgs. Quite a surprise for these kids who were expecting more human resistance. After a skirmish, they decide that freeing the puppyies is really more troble than it’s worth and run off. Only problem is, the guy with the car keys has been captured.

They fight off the cyborgs, who are licking phones and eating puppies (Sadly the puppy props don’t look that great, stuffed animals mixed with fake blood and guts) and along the way find a science nerd girl who has biological samples from the crash site.

After making their escape, they head to City Hall where the lead characters father is the mayor. They tell him the story, but he doesn’t believe them and instead locks up. his delinquent daughter and her friends.

That’s about the time that the Borg invades the joint, and they are pissed.As more and more people get assimilated and stalk our anarchist heroes, it’s a race back to the puppy farm to try and destroy the sheborg before the end of the world!


The Sheborg herself looks great. Assimilated victims are hit or miss, in various stages of decay, all having the same eyepiece to show the infection. There’s subplots and surprisingly endearing characters. It’s a fun low budget romp, and exactly teh sort of thing that I expect to find at the Dollar tree, but don’t let that daunt you. It’s trash and treasure rolled into one.




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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Fantasticon s8 ep23 Toledo 2022

Unfortunately, my convention season this year has ALREADY been cut down. I had planned on hitting Horror Realm a couple weeks ago, but then gas prices started going up ten cents a day every day the week leading up to it and I just couldn’t justify  the expense – especially on a pay period with a low check (February is a shorter month, and that affects you when you get paid twice a month as  opposed to every or every other week).

Fantasticon on the other hand – it’s not as far a drive as Pittsburgh is. Moreover, I’d already promised Maddie a comicon and didn’t want to make her wait another month or two. She’d never been to Fantasticon, and quite frankly, I know that I consistently have fun at this one, so after Church on Sunday, we packed up and headed out to the Seagate Center in Toledo.

We do Fantasticon on Sundays, because that’s when the adult costume contest is. I’ve noted before, this is some really interesting strategy on their part, because it manages to bring in a nice big crowd on both Saturday and Sunday. And boy, was it ever a big crowd. Something about the convention felt smaller, but I almost wonder if it was just that the hall was so packed. I ran into my buddy Ed as Maddie and I were sneaking out to make a food run, and he even noticed way more people than in past years. I suppose it’s not surprising, we’ve all been waiting for this show to come back and it certainly did… And in style.


In addition to the normal array of comic talent, they brought in Marta Kristen, the woman who played Judy Robinson from the original lost in space. That’s cool, but not what I was really interested in. They also brought in The robot, and part of the set (the “Lost in Space Experience”!). Reproductions I’m sure, but being able to stand on the bridge of the original Jupiter 2, that’s some real fun stuff. They also had props on display as well as a re-creation of the ship, with great detail on the inside of it. My friend Jim mentioned “this is the kind of stuff I really want to see at cons“ and I have to agree with him. Having stuff like this and the Ghostbusters and Star Wars clubs set up with props and photo ops adds real value to that $10 ticket… Especially considering how much other prices are going up.

I didn’t see how much Marta Kristen was charging, but I did see a number of the comic people have raised their autograph prices significantly. Tony Isabella and Mike Grell are now both at $10, and Michael Golden was a whopping $20! I almost fainted! Of course, that may also be the reason why his table was never busy from what I could see. Seriously guys, you are all pretty much pricing me out of the game. (and exactly why I had to update the pricing post yesterday!)


I didn’t see nearly as many costumes as I’m used to either. That was a bit of a shame, although the samurai Darth Vader who took second place in the costume contest was pretty impressive. There was also a gorgeous Boba Fett, where all the armor had been 3-D printed and then later assembled. It took the cosplayer I thought a year to get this done, and it was just a wonderful sight to behold. There was a dead on Batman ’89 in  the lobby taking photos with guests as they filtered in. I actually got my picture taken with him BEFORE I suited up! I also spotted a great doc Ock with PVC arms covered in HVAC piping, they stayed in place really nicely although (it’s one of my pet peeves…) they don’t move. Maddie found a couple of streamer costumes, a Ramboo as well as some anime stuff.


Fantasticon always has a really interesting array of vendors. There’s a full weapons table, with swords and daggers and stuff and I was delighted to see a He-man sword there and Maddie was obsessed with the pink katana with the flower shaped handguard at the hilt. We also hit up a couple of anime booths and plenty of artists. Maddie was actually there looking for art, and got her hands on a beautiful Miraculous Ladybug poster, while I opted for a Critters versus Gremlins print. I also managed to snag the latest Holliston book from the guys over at Source Point Press. We both made out with a fairly good haul, even before the costume contest.


Of course that’s one of my favorite parts of these shows… Not even the contest itself, but the hanging out backstage with the other contestants beforehand. Right behind us in line were a couple of guys who are new to it. One had never done a costume contest before and kept asking what to expect, do they need him to do certain things or perform a skit or what? It was fun to be able to chat with him, and try to calm his nerves… “These people are all here to see you, they want you to succeed, so you just go out there and you work the crowd.“. He and Maddie started to bond over different events that they’d seen in The Walking Dead video game where Maddie‘s costume comes from, well I tried to maintain some self-control and avert my gaze away from the Princess Peach in line ahead of me who was just about to pop out of her bodice.


It was weird, in the past, the costume contest at fantastic has always been well run. This year, it was just a mess! No one could hear, the coordinator was getting names wrong and seemed fairly clueless and flustered. Admittedly, we don’t make things any easier…


“Next up… Beetlejuice?“

“You have to say it two more times!“


However, once the contest got started everything seemed to click, and he started giving good and fun introductions for each character. I was “Eternia’s finest“ in my Man at Arms costume. It’s one that I hadn’t worn since Ratha Con… and it’s been so long, that I forgotten I had installed lights into it ahead of that show. I ended up having some trouble figuring out where the switches were to turn on Orko’s eyes! In show prep, I’d added a longer wire to where I mount Orko on my shoulder… This allows him to bounce and float more instead of just looking like he’s pinned onto the suit. People actually tend to recognize HIM more quickly than they recognize my character. They see him and then suddenly look me up and down and it would click. I was genuinely surprised at how many people knew who I was.


One of my more interesting finds was a booth called The Nerd Chapel. These guys do Bible studies based on pop culture, similar to a lot of stuff I’ve written actually. It’s fun to go over there and chat with them a bit, and I immediately snatched up their book. Maddie looked at me with an exasperated tone and groaned “You bought ANOTHER Bible study?“ It is Sunday after all!

On the other end of things, we couldn’t help but notice situated right next door to the convention was a little New Age shop that was offering tarot readings using Pokémon cards. Even though we don’t indulge in that sort of thing and I’m not going to promote them, I have to admit, it was funny to see. I don’t know if it’s a normal thing there, or if it was a special because they knew the con was coming to town, but to see two women in the window dressed in Pokémon costumes waving at us each time, yeah. That was amazing.


My biggest complaint was I couldn’t find any 50 Cent bins to grab comics from. Maddie swears up and down that she saw a couple hidden underneath tables, and that may be… That armor I was wearing limits my peripheral vision, and I could’ve easily missed stuff that was well below eye level. Still, I never noticed any and I missed being able to come home with a stack of books to read. Hopefully the Harper show this weekend fixes that. Still, we managed to have a good day there… Except for the swag dump and food run back to the car where the wind nearly blew us off the sidewalk! Maddie will explain about that at length in her video review at the link below, then stick around for even more photos!

Comic Creator Autographs spring 2022

Man, it’s been a while since we’ve done one of these hasn’t it? With cons starting back in earnest, some of this information may now be out of date, and I’ll just say I noticed a lot of those guys who were $5 pre-pandemic shoot up to $10. Keep that in mind, and I’ll update as I can.  Huge thanks to Lee Wilson for sending me some new pricing to go with my observations from last weekend’s Fantasticon!

As always, 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
Al Milgrom – $10 per book
Adam Kubert – $5 per book
Brett Breeding -$5
Brian Azzarello – $5, except for graded items and Batman:Damned
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


Bob Budiansky – first six free, $2 each after
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Chris Clarmont – first free, then $20
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
David Finch – 2 free, then $5
Dave Gibbons – $1 a book
Don McGregor – $5 per signature
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.
Greg Capullo  – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)
Humberto Ramos – $10-$20


Nolan signs some bat-issues!

Howard Chaykin – $5 per book
Javier Saltares – Free if personalized or $5 if not
Joe Sinnott – $10 per book
Jim Starlin -$10 per book (goes to Heroes Initiative)
Joe Giella- $4 per book
J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $20 ($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

Kevin Eastman – first is free, $20 after that (He also doodles on the items!)
Keith Giffen – 1st book free, $5 per book after
Klaus Janson– $10, $20


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

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- one personalized signature free, $10 per book after or unpersonalized
Mitch Gerads – 2 free, then $5
Michael Golden- $20 per book WTF! (at least he’s friendly and chatty)


With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $10
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3
Ron Frenz -$3
Ron Lim – 1st book free, $10 per book after
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Scott Snyder – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Simon Bisley – $10 per book
Tom DeFalco $5 each for three or less. After that $20 (“Dealer’s Pricing”)
Tony Isabella $10
William Messner-Lobes – $10
Whilce Portacio – He was free when I met him several years ago, but from what I understand there’s a few key books he charges $10 to sign
Victor Olazaba – $10

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

Billy Tucci
Ben Templesmith
Barry Kitson
Charlie Adlard
Gene Ha
Jan Duursema
Jim Calafiore
Larry Stroman
Peter David
Mike Barr

14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_nAlan Davis
Ann Nocenti
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brandon Montclare
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepared to wait a long time in line)
Bill Morrison
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Bob Almond
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Carla Speed McNeil
Charles Soule
Clayton Crain
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Casey Jones
Darryl Banks
Dan Brereton
Dirk Manning
Ed McGuinness
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
Greg Land
Greg Wright
Heather Antos
16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_nIvan Reis
Jason Latour
Jon Bogdanove
John Ostrander
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub
Judd Winick
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jeff Schultz
Jacob Chabot
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Joe Kelly
Karl Story
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Keron Grant
Koi Pham
Kyle Higgins
Lela Gwenn
Lee Weeks


It’s just a shadow. James O’Barr didn’t actually give me a black eye…

Louise Siminson
Mike McKone
Michael Cho
Matt Miner
Matt Horak
Mike Mayhew
Mark McKenna
Mike Okamoto
Marc Sumerick
Mike Gustov
Mark Farmer
Mark Waid
Mark Schultz
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Stephen Blickenstaff
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Jorge Lucas
Jim Pasco
Phil Hester12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Phil Noto
Paul Pelletier
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Rafer Roberts
Sergio Argones
Scott Hanna
Steve Leialoha
Steve Mannion
Stephen Sharar
Scott Snyder
Steve McNiven – Free if personalized
Stefano Gaudiano
Skottie Young
Stephen T. Seagle
Tim Seeley
Tom Mandrake (sometimes a tip jar for Hero Initiative, but not when he was at NEO in 2019)
67602223_2625952624115811_7500589555540557824_nTim Bradstreet
Todd DeZago
Tim Truman
Walt Simonson – donations for quick sketches
Will Rosado
Yanick Paquette


DollarindexI’d just like to say that I feel very much lied to by the cover of Moontrap. Looking at this I get the vibe of working and fighting on the moon but then encountering some bizarre lost civilization of giant robots… kind of like Transformers. What we actually get is archaeologists finding a strange formation in a remote area and realizing that it’s The tip of a space ship. Sinister Secret Service dispatchs an agent played by the father from the Nanny Charles Shaunessy (And let me tell you, that’s some weird miscasting) out to control the situation, and kill the scientists that may discover the secrets. This all goes sideways, the spaceship reactivates in the end of the second act, spiriting them off to a secret building on the moon. This is where things get a little bit hazy. I know there’s giant robots, Poorly designed and animated, they remind me a lot of the mecha from Robot Jox, but can’t tell if they’re lifeforms or if they were built by the indexlifeforms… Or if this was an ancient civilization of humans… I’m pretty sure they try to explain it but it gets really weird towards the end.
The movie is slow and the lack of budget shows. It’s ultimately trying to be an archaeology paranoia epic but it ultimately fails to keep my interest. This one is a bit of avoid.

Week of 3-7-22

You know, as I looked at my stack of comics last week, I feel a little bad that there’s only one DC title. Then again, marvels kind of dominating things right now with their Devils Reign event and all of its tie-ins. I suppose I make up for the lack of DC comics by focusing on their television instead. I did manage to catch up with Superman and Lois, and my opinion hasn’t really changed. It feels like the last three or four episodes have really just been about cramming as many confusing and heartbreaking emotions in to the viewer as possible and it’s beginning to wear on me a bit. It doesn’t help that they are also indulging in the same, played out “the government is evil” trope that Star Trek Picard is beating into the ground as well… But at least Superman and Lois is watchable The Flash is back as well, after a reasonably strong start with the Armageddon miniseries. I know, technically that’s supposed to be a arrow versus crossover, but considering that we’re crossing over with two canceled shows, and one that nobody’s watching… It’s really just a flash show. In fact, this is turning into the best way to showcase some of these characters. Since justice league tied up the rights to most of the main line DC heroes after the flash, The CW is had to pursue increasingly obscure characters… And it stopped working a while ago. Bringing them in as guest heroes though, that’s actually not a bad idea at all, it has been a lot of fun. It’s helped The Flash kind of reinvigorate the series, after a very slow start to the last season (but also very strong finish)

There’s a bit of a caveat when I say The Flash is back… Because The Flash doesn’t actually appear in this episode. This one is strictly an excess and impulse story, where they’ve done something that messed up the timeline, and they have to go back and fix it… All the way back to right after the explosion at Star Labs. Back to a time before The Flash existed. It’s a good and fun little romp, but this feels suspiciously like a back door pilot to show the chemistry between excess and impulse as they engage in some speedster highjinks.

Actually, that sort of makes sense considering The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace revealed to that he’s currently writing the Season 8 finale as if it also needs to be a proper sendoff for the series. If that’s true, then I’ll tell you this much, I expect a spectacular season this year, with the show trying to go out on top.

Back to comics, I’m still on board the Batgirls train. Really, the thing that we’re reading this for is a relationship between Steph and Cass. That’s a good thing too, because the current story arc feels like it’s stretching out a little bit too long. This issue feels a lot like filler, with half of the book literally taking place with them going out cruising and checking out a used bookstore. We’ve got Stephanie explaining to Cassandra terms like BFF or Bestie, and it’s actually a little weird. I get what they’re going for and how they’re building this friendship, but we have Cass portrayed is shockingly naïve in a lot of ways, despite being In Barbara Gordon’s care for a long time (an entire series even! Remeber that 2000-2006 run kicked off by Kelley Puckett and Scott Peterson?). Then there’s the constant affirmations that Cass makes to Steph. We get it again in this book… In fact it seems like it’s I requirement that at least once an issue somebody remind Stephanie how amazing she is. Again, it’s weird. Steph is already a complex character. She is broken away from her super villain father, created a superhero identity in the Spoiler, been trained in large part by Robin, falling in love, falling out of love, gotten pregnant, become Robin, died… No, wait, faked her death… Came back, then has been Batgirl. All of this, and she still needs daily girl power affirmation from her best friend?

Like I said. Weird.

It makes me wonder how much of both of their canon has been dropped in the face of the constant DC reboots… New 52 to  rebirth to whatever this currently is. It’s a shame actually, because these desperate attempts to shoehorn girl power and strong female characterization into these characters feels forced, mostly because they already WERE strong female characters… and this kind of stuff actually deconstruction chips away at that. It’s a step backwards, not forwards. Whatever, I’m still going to enjoy Steph and Cass bantering back-and-forth.

Devils Reign continues to be good stuff, and actually so does the Superior Four. It’s one of those tiles that probably didn’t even need to be tied into Devils Reign, it’s got enough potential on its own in a what if sort of way. But the real find this month, is the Moon Knight tie-in to Devils Reign.

As I mentioned a week or two ago, I do enjoy prison stories. Devil in cell Block D was a brilliant handling of Daredevil, and the Punisher really works in those sort of context as well. Just look at the first chapter of Circle of Blood, or the one shot The Cell. This feels a bit like an amalgam of both. We have the skill and cunning of Daredevil, mixed in with the murderous brutality of the Punisher.

It’s a straightforward story. Moon Knight gets himself caught and thrown in jail to get at a particular con in there… making his way to him and his bloody revenge through a trail of broken bones and beaten down prisoners. It’s a solid one-shot adventure for people who like this sort of thing. I’m not a huge Moon Knight guy, so it’s hard for me to say what the appeal would be to his fans, but I really enjoyed it despite not being a fan.

I admit, the more I am trying to ease back into reading modern comics, I’m discovering… I’m getting very tired of the Multiverse. Look, this was cool back in the 70s and 80s when DC really kicked it off. It allowed us to have the golden age superheroes on one world and the modern age ones on another… We could have back up stories about golden age Batman and the huntress, and All-Star squadron running… Completely doing their own thing in continuity. At the same time, we could have Superman and Wonder Woman and the Justice League over on another rack, never touched by the events that were happening on earth 2… Except in the very rare crossover every few years, when that you were us would get together and battle a threat like the Crime Syndicate on earth 3. Even Marvel approached it this way around the turn of the century when they were really pushing their ultimate line. It was confirmed that the ultimate comics weren’t just their own continuity, but their own universe when the fantastic four accidentally crossed over into the Marvel zombies universe. Then somebody had the bright idea that the MCU would be just another stop in the Multiverse… And DC then picked up this ball and really ran with it on The CW. The Flash was the first showed a really tie all the various sundry DC properties together, even with that first, brief glimpse of John Wesley Shipps Flash from the 90s projected in the vortex as Grant Gustin hopped worlds.

But now it’s everywhere. I mean everywhere. Hopping between parallel dimensions and worlds is done with the same ease and regularity of jumping in your car and driving one town over to see a movie. What used to be the domain of imaginary stories and rare crossovers has become so common place, that it genuinely waters a lot of the source material down. I peaked at the Gwen-Verse issue this week, and it really just underscores my point and how we are and I am of this stuff. There’s some cute stuff, Gwen is Thor and stuff… But it really just belongs in a sidelined imaginary story, not in main continuity, where everything is now canon. I think we’ve gone a little too far, and it’s become an excuse for lazy writing. Personally, I’d really like to get back to more grounded tales. Heroes that are fairly unique in their one universe and continuity… A minimum of derivatives and a special focus on a non-powered supporting cast. Maybe that’s just the street-level story fan in me, but I really do think that’s what we really need to ground comics and get them back on track. I’d definitely be buying more books if that were the case!

Got a Harper show coming up this weekend with lots of longboxes to dig through. Maybe I’ll start looking for just that sort of thing Sunday!



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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Stranger Things

For me, Stranger Things was really at its best with the first season. Part of me kind of wishes it had never gone any further… And quite frankly, I never made it all the way through the third season.

The thing that makes this show work, the real conceit is watching these young kids tackle this overwhelming menacing evil. The fact that they are kids is the hook. They get less interesting in this perspective, as they age up. This isn’t a phenomenon unique to Stranger Things, it’s also very much true in comics. Tim Drakes robin was far more interesting at the beginning when he was only about 14 or 15 years old. When they aged him up to 19 it really stopped working. We lost the whole mentor relationship with Nightwing. You can’t have a big brother relationship with both brothers are big! Likewise, Jonathan Kent’s Superboy was way more interesting as a child. I don’t think the backlash to Brian Michael Bendis aging him up was just because people were in mourning for the adventures of the Super Sons… (Although this thing they’re trying to do with Damien still being a kid and Jonathan being grown up… It’s creepy. It doesn’t work) but also for the stories where we get to see Superman as a father. It’s a role that really suited him well, and Jonathan was actually I really interesting and welcome element into the rebirth era comics.

That said, for me, Stranger Things is best when the kids are… Well, kids. And that’s where this comic series comes in.

Geeks gambit was having a black Friday sale last year… Where everything in their quarter bins was now $.10. I have no idea what’s going on, but by sheer coincidence, my work took me in the area so I thought I’d visit. Once I saw the $.10 books… I burned about $20 right there and then. Among the massive piles of comics I loved home, were some Stranger Things series. The most interesting of these dark horse additions, is the first one. It’s not attempting to be just a straight spinoff in the Stranger Things universe, it’s actually a smart companion piece. With so much of that first season being taken up with the hunter Will Byers, the comics delve into the same.… But from Will’s perspective inside the upside down. It’s creepy and chilling. It’s interesting to see some of the corresponding events that we get from reality back in wills perspective… And a lot more time spent in that nightmare world which is, quite frankly pretty fascinating.

Far more than the subsequent Stranger Things comics, this first series is really kind of required reading if you’re a fan. You walk away with a much more full story than just watching the series alone. This one was a real pleasant surprise in a high recommend if you can find it in any of the back issue long boxes over at your local comic shop.

(By the way, don’t get confused by the variant covers. There’s a whole set of photo covers that are done up in a different font with the heading “the duffer brothers present”. Between the heading, font, and completely different presentation on that cover, I assumed this was an entirely separate series… And ended up with two copies of this first for a shoe mini series. Fortunately, I like it so much, that I don’t begrudge that extra forty cents at all!)



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

Every Wednesday and Friday

219I actually had a manager tell me this once. If only I had the freedom from consequences that Chloe does….

We’re doing the Essentials a little diffrent this week so I can post con schedules on Friday. Also this mornings strip over on the main site is going to be a little late (I have something I specifically want to draw today), but never fear, it’ll be up today!

Revenge of Robert

indexLooking at the cover of the Revenge of Robert, you can see they’re trying to strike a balance between the imagery of the Anabelle films and the newer Child’s Play remake. I don’t know this series, I didn’t see the previous installments, (although we do get a quick recap with a few flashbacks at the beginning of the movie) but for my money, this feels more like a puppet master movie then either of the popular killer doll ones. Perhaps it’s the setting, more and more, the puppet master films are increasingly set in World War II, and the juxtaposition of hard plastic, eccentric scientists and Nazis… Well let’s face it, that’s Charles Bands current formula for puppet master in a nutshell!

We have a toy maker who is in possession of a mystic book… and the Nazis want it. He flees, and the book makes it to a train to try and escape their clutches, but the Nazis are relentless and as they draw closer, a toy maker must resort to the last weapon in his arsenal… He must awaken the killer puppets and their comrade Robert.

The problem with doing killer puppet movies on a budget, is that these things are hard! It takes and a enormous amount of effort to manipulate and photograph a sinister puppet… even more so if you’re trying to do it with a sense of personality. What you index2really need are very charismatic actors who can carry the film while still making it a treat every time the puppet shows up on screen. This is actually a big problem and a lot of the middle series puppet master movies actually. We’d see less and less of the puppet some selves, more reused footage, and blander characters. The same thing happens here. While we get our nice montage of puppet mayhem at the very beginning of the movie, we don’t actually get even a glimpse of Robert again until about 40 minutes in… well into the second act, and it appears to be yet another flashback.

The puppets are finally unleashed on the train and begin killing around the 50 minute mark, which is something, considering this movie is only 80 minutes long. They’re creepy enough, but the fact that I’ve had to wait this long, means the film has already kind of lost me. Indeed, the first half of the films almost seems unrelated… as if they tried to smash to shorts together to create a feature.

My advice is that you started out around the seventh or eighth chapter, just past the halfway point and enjoy it as just that… A nice, robust short film, with a good 35 minutes worth of action. I’d also so lean more on it as a horror edged World War II film, because even in this last half of the movie you’re not gonna see a lot of puppet action… Which is a shame. What little we see ( not even 5% of the film ) is nicely done, but it absolutely leaves you waiting for a lot more.

Through a DVD Player Darkly

Nothing much of any real interest to say this Monday. I’m behind on Superman and Lois, and my comic book pools this week we’re less than inspiring. The whole War on Earth Three thing that they’re doing in Suicide Squad just leaves me cold… (and yes, I did read the main War On… series. My opinion stands). At least we got a little bit of schtck from Ambush Bug and Peacemaker, but still. Not my thing, and I’m really tired of them not being smart enough to write Amanda Waller so they just lapse into making her a villain. (She’s not. She’s way more complex than that, and better writers manage to do some amazing things with it.)

Also, I’m really hoping we see Elektra go back to being Elektra rather than (Lady) Daredevil. You can kind of see that in the last issue, she’s just itching to kill someone. The direction Woman Without Fear is going, is actually a good way of getting there. Then again, you could also take a sharp left turn with Matt Murdock dead and Elektra in the mantle for the foreseeable future… At least until the next movie.

So without anything significant to really talk about in comics or TV, I wanted to do something that I never do (though perhaps I should), I’m going to recommend another blog.

Over the last couple of years cruising the dollar tree for movies has become something of a mild obsession for me. It’s the basis of one of the categories on this blog, and me sharing my finds with my friends has sparked some similar treasure hunts on their end. One of these guys decided to set up a blog dedicated just to his dollar tree movie fines. You’ll find it over here :

Check it out, he’s got the first few titles posted. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much overlap we see. I’ve noticed my friends in Pennsylvania get different selections than my friends in Michigan do, and stuff shows up here in Cleveland that doesn’t appear in either of them. Overall, that makes me look forward to what Dons going to do here.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Apocalypse Ape and the Stop Motion creations of Daniel Armstrong

Looking through his résumé, you’ll notice a couple of music videos that incorporate stop motion animation in them. When the lockdowns began, Armstrong really seem to lean into stop motion videos as a way of staving off cabin fever. They are frequently very simple, fun, and to the point. If you have ever wanted to see Wonder Woman wrestle Angela, or a Borg to try to assimilate your desk…this is your chance!  It’s hanging out at home and playing with your anime and Roblox figures. Ash Williams taking a break from being the announcer at a women’s wrestling match to answer your telephone. Daleks fighting Marvin The paranoid android and Apes and the Borg for their turn on the arcade machine. There’s a half a dozen of these that are under 40 seconds and a bunch more under two minutes. There are some real gems, like Grimm Sludegrside, A creepy gothic tale atop a castle in a twisted wood, and Attack of the Bikini Girl From Outer Space… which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Only with zombies, and mostly in black and white .You know the whole Sin City vibe?

Things really start to take some shape once we get into Apocalypse Ape.
The title sequence is totally 1980s trapper keeper. Lisa Frank and Nagel illustrations… Pink grids and neon skies. A motley crew of toys drives in a pink Cadillac.
We cut to a gun fight between the heroes and villains… But even with bullets flying, Apocalypse Ape’s sidekick can’t help but ponder what kind of a person would see Superman flying and actually say “it’s a bird it’s a plane…”
It’s tragic. The fire fight has left a ding in Ape’s car. They head over to Scum City. It’s the kind of place where people shoot first and ask questions later. We’re about to learn their diabolical plan… Until oh no! It’s the to be continued sign!

When next we find our heroes, it’s episode four and they’re being chased by Harbinger on a motorcycle. They get into a fender bender with a time traveling DeLorean, but that allows them distraction enough to blast the biker. I’m also getting the distinct impression the entire point of these videos is for the sidekick to muse about comic book tropes!

Wonder woman and Angela show up to stop them and Apocalypse Ape looks up declaring “This is a revolting development.”
On episode 12 though, they’re back on the road… And Gwenpool is gunning down Roblox figures.The pink caddy crashes into the area while Gwenpool looks for more people to murder.

“Hold on, we don’t wanna go off half cocked…” Ape Says.
“Yes,’ his sidekick agrees “this is definitely a full cock situation.”

Things end badly. “Well isn’t that just a Poke in the eye with a sharp stick!”
We’re not quite done with the apocalypse though, Wonder woman and Angela get into the action as well in what feels like a related side story.  Unfortunately, the apocalypse is populated with mutant teddy bears…
Even with these bizarre little shorts, especially the post apocalyptic ones, I swear I’m still watching Ozsploitation and Armstrong’s bizarre style and sense of humor come through loud and clear. The thing is, the production values on these videos are insanely high. The quality grows with each successive short giving them an attention to detail that the subject matter absolutely does not deserve. They’re a great deal of fun, these quick diversions, and  totally worth a trip over to motion to check out!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday


From Parts Unknown aka Fight Like A Girl

Scientist, jars of green stuff, soldiers invading? Zombies! Right out the gate, From Parts Unknown isn’t messing around and tells you exactly what kind of movie This is going to be.

After the zombie attack we get our title credits played  over a women’s wrestling match. The title song, song by the lead actress, actually gives it a bit of an 80s feel… That whole Rocky movie inspirational rocker sound.

We switch to a graveyard, where our female wrestler Charlie is mourning another wrestler, who’s head literally got punched off in the ring.”

Her friend is worried that she’s going to go back to wrestling, and he has a right to wonder since as she lied to him about it, and that night sees her back in the ring, being choked by a feather boa.

Back in the real world, mean girls and office jerks abound at her job, as she tries to manage a comedically tall stack of reports. The company has some seriously sinister lighting though, with a flag that looks a little too close to that of another evil party. They’re developing a video game called From Parts Unknown. It’s a fighting game, with wrestlers fighting zombies in the ring.

Of course they’re also creating zombies in the basement. Well, it’s accidental, testing the game and certain chemicals… But there’s a problem. Beefcake gas mask zombie is breaking free!

The infection quickly starts to spread… Avoid zombie Nookie at all costs! Despite the growing number of zombies in the company, inter-office squabbling going on.
As we push through some flashbacks, we noticed an eerie quiet in the air outside the building. Charlie is leaving for the day but is distracted by a magical glowing ticket from the sky and later into a wrestling gym and more flashbacks.

Basically, it’s just a really slow second act, but you got to get through it because it’s a connective tissue that will launch us into the back half of the film where things start to go wrong and get bloody.  A couple of guys escape the building and jump in their truck so they can go pick up Charlie at the wrestling match.

“Maybe instead of fighting, we could Just go run and hide?”

No, that’s not going to work. Time for  wrestling girl, psycho programmer and wimpy sidekick to go clear the building! Cue the metal soundtrack. Find the scientist, kill zombies, blast the computers, Kill more zombies. You know, by the numbers.

The thing is, the film knows when to be bloody, and it knows when to be funny. It knows wonder bring the gore and the action, and it knows when to go back for reinforcements. The one thing Anderson hasn’t quite got down yet is the drama… but to be fair, this really isn’t that type of film. The pathos he occasionally tries to inject just doesn’t fit the mold (though he does manage a surprisingly emotional moment at the very end). While the middle of the film is poorly paced, it’s definitely worth it once you get into the 40 minute mark or so, and the zombie mayhem begins in earnest.

More than his other films, this one has a much more Full Moon, comic book feel to it. It’s certainly his most polished and well thought out movie, and may be his best one to date. At least, until Nova Star comes out…

I can’t wait to see what Daniel Armstrong does next.