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

Captain America

3 Dev Adam (Three Mighty Men)

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captainIn an attempt to stop the evil Spider-Man’s organization smuggling from Mexico into the US, those respective governments enlist the help of Captain America and El Santo!

This was actually my first exposure to Santo, but it makes more sense if you already know him as a folk hero. Still, this is a little nuts, and Spidey is extremely evil in this, with eyebrows as big as the day is long and a fiendish mustache under that mask.

This one has been in circulation for ages now and shouldn’t be too hard to track down, but if you don’t want to spend an hour and a half slogging through it, just hit the highlights on YouTube!

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tv

As average as the last few weeks of TV has been, television this week really went itself up.

of course we have the series finale of Agent Carter. This series is just always so much better when Howard Stark is around.  AIt’s always so much better when we have that firm Captain America connection like the shield that we saw tonight. It didn’t feel like everything is wrapped up but enough was taken care of that I left feeling satisfied.
Gotham has gone crazy. Remember how I said last week those commercials were looking incredible? Well this week  certainly lives up to it. It’s really a standard story, a face from the past infiltrates the mansion ect… but the sheer amount of jawdropping moments it was just incredible. There  is a great moment of that idiot Barbara trying to convince Selena that her beauty can be used as a weapon….and the rejection that Selena gives her… but funny, you can see Ivy in the background and she’s learning these lessons very well. Watching fish money and the bit with the spoon just made my wife’s jaw drop. Mine too.  Not to mention Jeffrey Combs, I just seriously wish they’d just go ahead and call him Herbert West. how awesome would that be? Finally the fate of Alfred is just amazing. I warmed up to Sean Pertwee in this role amd I can see how he could still grow into the Alfred we know and love. To see him struck down was nothing short of astonishing.
Can I say, I really missed flash this week. I was so looking forward to Grodd and Reverse Flash and to be confronted with a rerun, Arrgh!

Walking Dead…all I can say is I REALLY love how close they are following the books right now. More of that please.

Also, more Wizard Wars please. The series seems  to be getting good ratings, and it should. It’s a genuinely good magic show, stumping me more and more often….

Gotham tomorrow, and we’re getting close to the end…


Agent Carter

AgentCarter

agent-carter_612x816These days, I tend to gravitate far more to film than I do to TV. I just don’t watch that much anymore. Some of that has to do with the serialized nature of modern television as opposed to the stand-alone episodic format I grew up with. Having to sit down at the same time every week is difficult for me.

That may have been one of the reason Agents of SHIELD was such a challenge for me. I wasn’t invested and quite frankly, I kept forgetting that it was on, although I’d stop and watch it if I happened to find it while flipping channels  if it was near the beginning.

I’ve been aware of the hype behind Agent Carter but wasn’t really planning on watching it. It seemed like more of the same, and my attitude was the similar, that I would probably watch it if I happened across it while flipping channels.

Amazingly, that’s exactly what happened.

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I urlreally like that this has such a firm connection to Captain America : the first Avenger. I remember spending a lot of the early day in SHIELD expecting it to feel more like a spin off of the Avengers, but it never really managed to feel like a proper sequel. In this show however, we see carter browsing that Steve rogers file that was shown at the end of the first Cap movie, and we even get a flashback to it. This is exactly the kind of payoff I wanted and it makes it feel very connected.

I love Howard Stark in this. I really wish we’d see more of him, but I suspect that’s not going to happen and that’s a shame really, even a mentor part – a bookend to the episodes would really work well for me. It’s my hope that if this series goes somewhere that he will become a regular member of the cast after his name is cleared.

There are nice touches here. I happen to love this era and I’m really focusing on that. Throughout the episode we hear bits of a Captain America radio play which is another one of those agent-carter-768great ties to the character, not to mention being a good juxtaposition between the perception of the agent – the Myth and the actual person. It’s not subtle by any means, but it fits, rather than the forced way Agents of SHIELD used to try and shoehorn a reference to “Gamma Radiation” or “Stark Industries” in every episode. Indeed, a lot of Agent Carter works in great part I thin, because the producers have better learned how to put a show like this together, and have a better feel for what the fans want, and how to tie it to the cinematic universe while grounding it for a broader audience.

If you like Agents of SHIELD, then It’s safe to say you’ll like this. They are both very much the same genre, while each having their own distinct personality and it’s interesting to see that Marvel is really developing their own sub-genres here, their own CSI franchise if you will.  While Agents of SHIELD wasn’t my thing, I do believe I will probably follow this one all the way to the end. The fact that there is an end helps for me, and I can more  easily make a commitment to seven episodes than I can to 22 and beyond.


Captian America : The Winter Soldier

Movie bannerCaptain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-Wallpaper1

cap1I finally got around to seeing Captain America this weekend. I know I’m lat to this party, but you know me, I don’t visit movie theaters that are less than 70 years old. The Lorain Palace was showing it in 3d for 5.00 (as opposed to a 2d matinée  at a normal theatre for 7.50 at least).

Here’s the thing. The Winter Soldier isn’t a superhero movie. Sure they try to fool you with some big set pieces in the beginning and the end, but make no mistake, this is not a superhero movie. It’s a political thriller – and really, that’s exactly what you would expect from Robert Redford in this role. With SHIELD infiltrated by Hydra, there’s far more intrigue than simple action here. I almost wonder if it’s too elevated for the subject matter.

cap2I was really complementary about the first Cap film. I stand by my opinion that it was the best Superhero film I’d seen in a good decade. I revisited it recently and found it’s not as rewatchable as I had hoped. It’s still as good, but I can’t return to it again and again like I can with The Avengers. It makes me wonder if this film will have a similar feel. It’s an awfully complicated story for casual viewing.

Speaking of The Avengers – I’m having some issues with Scarlet Johansson and the way she plays Black Widow.

It’s not that I don’t like her in the role, I’m perfectly fine with the casting, but it seems like she never plays it the same way twice…does she just forget how the character is played every time? I also wonder if that’s part of the act….that she has so many faces, so many identities that all of them are false. If that’s the case then it really should be a little cleared. perhaps I am just over cap4thinking this, but in her third time out it’s beginning to get to me. In the end she just comes off as really bland.

They also try to play up her dark past in this film. it seems a little late to be getting to this. We kind of acknowledge it in the Avengers, but it’s just in one line. Here it’s far more explicitly stated but feels like it’s too little too late – either tacked on for the fans or an afterthought to try and enhance what has always been a secondary character.

There’s a LOT of Cleveland in this film. This always takes me out of the movie a bit, I’ve spent a lot of time downtown professionally and I recognize so much of what we see here. That is one of the greatest car chases ever, but I know some of those streets. The scene in the mall is crazy. I take my daughters to those fountains. I buy coffee at that stand! I’ve done work in that building cap5they’re keeping the Winter Soldier in….

Falcon is a nice addition in this film by the way. It’s a good origin story for him and he really has chemistry with Cap. I’m actually looking forward to seeing him in the next film…and let’s face it, they telegraphed the sequel. Then again, the commercials really gave away a lot of plot points, and I found myself waiting for stuff to happen. On the other hand it also let me know that I WAS going to see the familiar red white and blue costume for part of this movie and not just the slick blue and silver Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Cap-Golden-Age-versionone. I was pleased that it was a full third of the film.

Interestingly enough, all the commercials and memes and internet chatter I was sure Nick Fury was going to really die in this. It was interesting that all of the spoilers actually hit me in reverse…

I really liked this film and can’t wait to see the next one.

Well, you know,  after I see Superman vs. Batman.

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By the way, we’ll be spending the whole week over at Violent Blue celebrating the new Cap film. Check it out! the first strip is up here : http://www.violentblue.thecomicseries.com/comics/680

 

 


The future of Comic Book movies

So blockbuster season is firmly in  the past. I saw what I was going to see, and successfully avoided Dark Knight (not a nolan fan, I’ll get around to it on DVD). and I’m wondering how much longer this can last.

Don’t get me wrong. Comic Book films aren’t going away. They never have. There have been comic book films pretty much as long as there has been cinema. I have old Captain America serials and Superman movies from the 40 and 50s. I think there were a grand total of five Shadow movies. But as you look over history, you can see certian…eras. Especially in the last few decades. Usually it’s started off by a Superhero film that redefines the genre. Superman did it, and that was really the model for a good chunk of the 80s, until Batman in 1989. That redefined things as gritty, dark and rubber suits if you were going to go with a costume like in Captain America – but you weren’t allowed to show the suits too much. No costume? You just went dark and grindhousey like in the Punisher. Oh and the supporting cast didn’t really have to resemble their comic book counterparts. You can toss Judge Dredd, The Crow, Spawn and Blade in there, probably even X-Men though around that time things began to change. Specifically, Spider-Man changed all of that. Now we were looking more at making the costume as closely resemble the source material as possible, like Cap and the Avengers and Thor and Green Lantern and Hellboy ect….and it also defined the Superhero movie as THE blockbuster event of the summer.

And that’s where we’ve been for a while. In fact, we’ve kind of gone from a comic book movie being an event because it’s so rare, to any other kind of blockbuster being an event because it’s so rare. Remember Independence Day? Mission Impossible (two was my favorite)? Godzilla? How about the original Total Recal or Terminator 2? Demolition Man? We don’t see these movies so much now because the Superhero movie has taken their place. Indeed, one of the reasons The Expendables has been such a big deal is because the 80’s action movie has become nearly extinct.

Which brings me to my point. How long can this last? We’ve been on the superhero blockbuster ride for a decade now and what really has me thinking about this is The Avengers. It seems to me that with the Avengers, the comic book blockbuster has reached critical mass. It’s a brilliant achievement in of itself, and really the epitome of everything Avi Avrad was trying to do when he set Marvel down  the path to making movies (his belief was that film was where Marvel would make it’s money and was the future of the company) in the 90’s.

But where do we go from here? Already the landscape is changing again. The Dark Knight seems to be the new template, judging by the look of The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel. If Superhero film is moving in that direction, then the Avengers is already falling behind. And as DC moves forward to try and duplicate the success from the Avengers, the glut of Superhero movies on the market is only going to get worse, making market fatigue inevitable…and quickining it’s progress.

That’s really my fear. That it becomes so common place it breeds contempt. Without some new innovation, a REAL game changer (not just an tonal change like we got from the Dark Knight) that Hollywood will ride this train into the ground, until Superhero movies become box office poison. 

And here’s the really scary thought to me both as a comic fan and as a comic artist on Violent Blue

Because comics these days are so heavily tied to the movie properties to support them, when the Comic Book movie goes back underground or vanishes completely for a while (like it did in the seventies)…what happens to comic books?


Cinema Wasteland recap

Feeling a little down this year. It’s not so much that CW was lacking, but perhaps that I got to be a part of so little of it. Working evenings this year, I missed Friday completely and had to leave arly on Saturday. I missed Ghastlees show completely, though I hope to find video of it somewhere on youtube.

Of course one of the big reasons I do Wasteland is to see movies I wouldn’t see normally…movies I wouldnt even think to watch….even if Blockbuster or Netflix bothered to carry them (which they usualy wouldn’t). This year, I got introduced to “Food of the gods” from Bert I Gordon. Far more interesting that I imagined with the giant rats surprisingly well realized It’s still campy and silly, but still fun.

Caught the panel with Mr. B.I.G. afterwards. Better than watching the special features on a DVD.
Speaking of panels, I also caught the “Character Actor” panel. I actually came away with a great deal more respect for Reb Brown, but James Hampton…I’m not sure what happened there. He was slow, unsure. He couldn’t remember what the Eiffel Tower was…it was like watching someone have a stroke right there on stage. Rather disturbing really.

I also got to see “The Invisible Ghost” on the big screen in the main room. I’m planning on catching Dracula at the Capitol later this month, but it’s always a pleasure to watch Bela Lugois up there on the big screen in all his glory.

Met Linnea Quigley. One of my favorite things to do is find a poster the actor has never seen before to sign. This time was no exception. She loved it and was talking about how she’d never seen this image before when suddenly she stopped, looked closer at it and asked”You got JOHN LANDIS to sign this???” I admited I had sent him a letter. We then got into a ten minuit discussion about the virtues of buttons on a cell phone over touch screens. She’s a tecnophobe. I also talked a little with her abotu he haunted house I was working at….halfway through teh conversation I found myself wondering “Why am I promoting this haunted house to someone who doesn’t live even remotely in the area???” She was a real sweetie.

You may remember me trying to get Reb Brown’s autograph  earlier this year. I finally got it….and in person at that (In person is ALWAYS better). He was freindly, interested and a nice guy, but I do get the feeling he was there just for the paycheck. He hit one of my per peeves as well, he charges a little extra for a photo. Now I get that sometimes this is a good thing. Some celebrities draw crowds and really long lines and if you put a fee on things, it drives away some of the punters, keeps the line moving.

Reb Brown is not one of those kind of celebrities.

Seriously, he’s fun and nice and I actually dug his panel, but even when he WAS somebody, he didn’t have THAT much juice. His resurgence in popularity is really a reflection of the Excellent Captain America movie and his part in the franchise so many years ago. Whatever. An extra fee isn’t going to break the bank, and besides, this isn’t comicon. I did get to talk with him a bit. Lana Wood (his co-star in the Cap movies) asked me to deliver a message (when she visited Wasteland six months ago) “I can see you from here”. He burst into laughter when I told him that  and explained that she was always looking through these big binoculars in the movie.

It was a good con, but a short one for me. Hauntville was taking up a great deal of my time and I really didn’t get to see as much wasteland as I would have liked.

But that’s okay, I’ll be back to CW in six months…and I’m just a little over a month away from Days of the Dead in Chicago!


Cinema Wasteland

Looking forward to heading out to Cinema Wasteland this weekend. Of all the cons I attend it just is the best.

It’s a little weird, I’ve noticed myself doing more prep this time around. I’ve always looked over the guest list and compared it to other conventions so I know what posters to pull or to buy. The idea is to find people in the same movie that will be around different places and get all the autographs on the same poster. This has worked really well for me with the Romero films and CW is generally a really good reunion show. This time around though I’m trying to coordinate my postal autograph requests as well. I sent out to Arte Johnson to get a signature on an Evil Toons poster since the director and one of the stars will be at the show (He unfortunately never wrote back. Oh well, that’s the breaks). I was really thinking I’d try Leanna Quigley on an Innocent Blood poster (since I’m also bound to run in to Tom Savini again one of these days) and sent that one out to John Landis to get signed about five months ago.

I’m really excited about getting to meet Reb Brown. Lana Wood signed that Captain America poster last time at CW and I’m going to get Cap himself on this one. I think I’ll also be asking him about why he signs pictures of Matt Salinger….

So I’ll be taking the weekend off from Violent Blue though it’s not going to be quite the mini-vacation it usually is as I’m also working a haunted house this weekend. Certian now that I absolutely can not squeeze  that showing of Beetlejuice at the Cedar Lee in there too…..


Free Iced Tea at Speedway today

If anyone is interested, Speedway is doing free iced tea today, Friday the 25th. Stop in for a free 32 oz iced tea. I’ve only stopped once so far, but the day is young. I’ll probably hit five different ones today as I run service calls.

wierd, I noticed that all the employees at Speedway in Elyria were wearing Superman shirts. I don’t get it.

Finally, I’d like to point out that Violent Blue just hit 42 on Comic Hovel’s (that’s a voting link if your so inclined) webcomic list. Those of you who know what that number means (or rather- don’t know) will understand why I’m pleased. We’re on page three and I hope that I can work it up to page one eventually on that site.

Have a happy memorial day weekend. My weekend is actually clear aside from the girls soccer games and possibly helping my friend Jason with his laptop. Time to put on the Captain America shirts and relax for a change!


Avengers!

I think the guys over at th PC Repair on Wheels blog may be right.  The Avengers merchandising has gotten a little out of control.

Still, not often I get a post that hits the interests of both Steve and Taylor from Violent Blue huh?


So I’m feeling a little bit like a punk. Remember a few days ago when I ranted about how disappointing I was that I couldn’t get an autograph from Reb Brown to have Lana Wood sign?

Guess who’s coming to the Wasteland in October?

Got Lana on that french Captian America poster, and in October I’ll get Cap himself!

Hope October is as great as this weekend was…but more on that tomorrow!


Why?

Come on Reb Brown, why you gotta break my heart? All I wanted was an autograph on that 8×11 I sent you so I could get Lana Wood on it too this weekend at Cinema Wasteland!

But you never replied. One return to sender and one no replay at all. *sniff*

Why you gotta be like that?

Forget it. I’m going to go read some Violent Blue.


Didn’t I say sketchy?

Seriously. Did I call it with what I said about Cleveland Comic, Card & Nostalgia Show(Formerly Saturday’s Child).  Did I ever!

It was kind of like visiting the flea market, but with more Archies. So many Archies… I don’t really get the appeal – there’s better relationship and high school comics out there. But they were there at like, every booth!

So many Archies.

It wasn’t a complete waste of my time however. I found one of the Nightmare on Elm Street novels that were released around the time Freddy v. Jason was in theatres. These things had a single printing and were on the shelf of bookstores for about half an hour. They currently go on Amazon for 15-20 dollars used, and jump into the 100-150 dollar range new(ish). The one I got is one of the more common ones, but I got it for a dollar. I’m pleased. I plundered the quarter bins and even put up fifty cents apiece for some lovely Hellraiser issues (those prestige format editions Epic used to put out every six weeks in the very early 90’s) and filled some holes in my Green Hornet, Outsiders and bad Image collections. I even got a handfull of Avengers and a really fun Captian Americia from 1979 where he meets the Punisher. 50 Cents! Yes please.

Every booth was pretty much the same, : Silver Age, Golden Age, longbox after longbox.  A poster or two. Maybe a couple of toys and a discount bin. You either go to these things looking for something rare, or you go looking for cheap stuff (that’s me). I was fortunate to find both. The Freddy novel pretty much was worth the price of admission (which they had WRONG by the way. It was $3.00 not $4.00!) There were Door prizes every two hours or so, but honestly, I don’t see enough to keep someone occupied there long enough to collect one.  This wasn’t a convention. It was a  trade show. It woudln’t take much to turn it into a respectable con, a panal or two, a couple of local guests, how about just a projector playing superhero trailers on a screen in one corner of the room and a guy with a laptop playing DJ in the other. Throw in a Heroclix, magic or Rock Band tourny and you might have something here.

All in all, it wasn’t bad, but still I don’t think I’ll bother with any Jeff Harper Productions in the future.

Not uless they start promoting Violent Blue anyhow.


RTS

What do you mean Reb Brown no longer resides at 5454 Las Virgines Rd. Calabasas, CA 91302 ??? How am I supposed to get Captian Americia’s autograph now?????

Forget it. I’m going to go read some more Violent Blue.


Cap

ImageSo I was looking for autographs from Reb Brown – the actor who played Captian America in the TV movies – the one on the bike, with the motorcycle helmet (Lana Wood, the love interest from the second one will be at Cinema Wasteland this spring). While browsing, I discovered this. It’s a picture of Matt Salinger from the 1990 film, signed by Reb Brown.

Someone’s not going to be happy.

*sigh*

Go read some Violent Blue and get the bad taste out of your mouth.


Cap and GL

So I was finishing up watching movies I got for Christmas. It was a nice year last year, I saw every blockbuster I wanted to in the theatre…a feat I haven’t preformed in a long time (discovering the underground film scene in Cleveland and three $3-$5 theatres clsoe to my house helped a lot). Of those summer films, I only asked for two for Christmas; Green Lantern and Captian America.

Something strange occured to me.

Most of you know, my first action figure ever was Green Lantern from Kenner’s Super Powers line.

Did anyone know that my SECOND action figure ever was Captian America from the Secret Wars line?

 Not only that, I used to play with them together…they were thier own special super-team. It’s a wierd thing, I’m the only one who really associates these two together because of the toys I had as a child, but here are both of these characters with films being released a month or two apart this year, and both in my hands today. It’s a fun kind of syncronicity that I’m probably overthinking, but it makes these two movies all the more special to me. (Thanks to my wife for finding  them both for me!)

By the way, There’s new Violent Blue up! Go check it out!


Go see Captian America right now.

This is the best superhero movie I’ve see since Spider-Man 2, and will be remembered as one of the great superhero films like Burton’s Batman and Donner’s Superman.

Best three dollars I’ve spent all year.