300 on IMAX

I was really disappointed that I missed V for Vendetta on IMAX. It would have been one of those films that would have been perfect for the really big screen.

The next major epic from a comic book legend is going to be on IMAX, too. I'm going to have to plan missing 300, I guess, seeing that my wife is due with my son on the day before it opens. And somehow, I doubt I'll be making that 2 1/2 hour trip to Nashville when he's a month old. But I think I'll be okay with missing this one. (Of course, his name is Max - maybe it's a sign.)


Darkman (1990) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

Darkman is hitting the comics scene. Oddly enough, this superhero's origins lie in films rather than comics. Currently, Dynamite Entertainment is releasing the mini-series Darkman vs. Army of Darkness - I've picked up the first two but haven't had a chance to read them yet. With his reappearance into pop culture, I thought I'd share my Darkman review.

Liam Neeson is Dr. Westlake, a scientist working on a form of artificial skin. When his path crosses with local mobster Robert Durant (Larry Drake), he is disfigured, blown up, and left for dead. When his unidentified body is found, a radical surgical procedure leaves him feeling no pain, while driving him mad and giving him amazing strength. Not able to go out in public in his grotesque state, he uses his knowledge of artificial skin to disguise himself and take revenge on the gangsters who stole his life. However, his skin has a weakness - if exposed to the light, it dissolves after 99 minutes. Dr. Westlake is now Darkman.

Directed by Sam Raimi (who, incidentally, also directed Army of Darkness, along with the Evil Dead precursor films, and all three Spider-Man films - and was a producer on M.A.N.T.I.S., Timecop, and 30 Days of Night), Darkman is a decent (dark and gothic) superhero action film. It's an enjoyable watch and has an excellent soundtrack (of course, it's Danny Elfman). In parts, a bit corny, but for the most part well-made. The filmmakers experimented with some interesting cinematic effects that make it stand out. Definitely worth picking up if you haven't seen it. Frances McDormand plays Julie, Darkman's love interest, and Nicholas Worth (Barb Wire, Swamp Thing) plays one of Durant's henchmen.

See it if you enjoy good, solid, superhero action films.

Don't see it if you expect much more than a fun popcorn film out of this cult classic.


Waiting for the Trade

I've heard a lot lately about people waiting for the trade paperbacks to come out instead of picking up the monthly comics.

I guess that's what I'll have to do with Afro Samurai. I missed the first episode, and it's nowhere to be seen. So, I've deleted the multiple copies I have of episodes 2 and 3 from my DVR and will wait for the DVD to come out in May. Maybe the local Florence, AL stores will carry it.

But why does the uncut version cost twice as much as the edited version?


Flash Gordon (1980) mini review

based on a comic strip

The news circulating the internet is that the Sci Fi channel is about to start production on a Flash Gordon cartoon due out sometime in the summer. This character has some longevity through many incarnations - he was created as a comic strip in 1934.

Because of this news, it was timely, then, that I was recently sick at home and watched a number of odd things, one of which being the great 1980's cult flick, Flash Gordon.

Opening with Queen singing the Flash theme song, and a montage of Flash Gordon comic strips, the movie is amazing from beginning to end. It starts with Ming the Merciless toying with planet Earth, creating natural disasters before he destroys it. Only scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov knows what's really going on, and through a series of coincidences kidnaps football player "Flash" Gordon and chance-met Dale Arden on a rocketship to stop the attack on earth.

Max von Sydow (Judge Dredd) stars as Ming the Merciless, along with an appropriate (though mostly forgotten) cast - Sam Jones (Flash), Melody Anderson (Dale), Topol (Zarkov), andOrnella Muti (Ming's daughter, Princess Aura); though Muti seems to have a fairly full career in foreign films. A couple other notables are Brian Blessed (Boss Nass in Star Wars: Episode 1) and Timothy Dalton (The Rocketeer, Brenda Starr).

The film is over the top. The soundtrack is wonderful, the garish colors are blinding, the dialogue goofy. I'm sure the film breaks a ton of scientific laws, but if you can get past it, it's cheesy fun. Maybe it's just the nostalgia from watching this in my youth, but I love it.

See it if you love the idea of 80's cheese in a sci fi epic.

Don't see it if you can't willingly suspend disbelief for long enough to get past the rocketship heading to outer space.


Who Wants Some Decent Comic Book Television?

That's right. Stan Lee's not letting it die. I mentioned it before, but now it's official. I guess the Sci Fi Channel thought the first season did well enough to bring back another season of Who Wants To Be a Superhero? And they're taking auditions now.

So if you want to be on one of the stupidest reality shows (and that saying a lot), then take a look at the locations on SciFi.com.

And if you want to hear some hilarious talk about Stan Lee and his contribution to comics, go back and listen to The Acme Comics Dollar Bin's very first podcast. What has Stan Lee really contributed to comics? Has he contributed anything since the 60's? And even back then, does he get all the credit for those characters? What about Kirby and Ditko's contributions? Interesting stuff!


I Missed It Again!

OK, so I set the DVR to record both of the Afro Samurai episodes on Thursday night (the 1st one being the second episode, and the 2nd one being a rerun of the first). And while it recorded the first one, the show immediately after it ended up being some other crappy Spike TV show.

I guess I'll be watching the first episode on-line.

Sometimes I hate technology.

No, wait. I just checked Spike's web page, and now they have the 2nd episode on-line.


I'm gonna open up a can on somebody.


Did You Miss Afro Samurai?

I did, and I'm annoyed as crap.

Apparently, the first episode aired last Thursday night, and I had no clue. I talked about this back in August, but I had no idea when it was airing. I still wouldn't know anything about it if I hadn't followed CBR's link to Spike talking about Spike's first look at the show. Apparently, they'll be airing it in 5 30-minute parts, with the second ep airing this Thursday night at 11/10C. You can catch the first episode on Spike's Afro Samurai web page, or immediately after the new episode Thursday. Take a look at Spike's schedule; it's airing a bunch so you should be able to watch it at some point.


I Love Kim Possible

Not that way, you perv - she's a cartoon.

According to Disney, the new season for Kim Possible is slated to start in February on the Disney channel (with a 4-episode marathon on the 10th).

I have to share how much I enjoy this show. I watch it with my daughter, and we've covered the entire 3 season run watching re-runs on Toon Disney (finally catching the Christmas episode when it aired 15 or 20 times this December). Kim Possible is a very creative, intelligently written cartoon. Why am I talking about it here with comic books and superheroes? Well, she may not fit the mold of a superhero (no super powers, no secret identity), but her rogues gallery sure fits the supervillain ideal. The best thing about the show is that it doesn't take itself seriously, and it often comes across as a parody of the whole superhero genre. Kim's nemesis, Dr. Drakken, is a mad genius bent on world domination. Or at least he thinks he's a genius. They've even got the tied-together past, necessary for arch-enemies. And actually, his sidekick Shego does have superpowers.

A couple Dr. Drakken quotes:

[Reading a flyer] "The annual supervillain trade show and convention?!? Oh! Henchman seminars, doomsday demonstrations, evil snack bar!"

"You're too late, Kim Possible! Evil courses through my veins! Maybe next time you'll think before destroying someone's atmospheric distruptor! Nyah!"
Here are some more quotes, which may not be quite as funny taken out of context, but I think still hold some humor value.

Professor Dementor (another one of Kim's foes): How much
previous evil experience do you have?
Henchman from temp company: None, but I'm a self-starter. And I have a law degree.
Dementor: Close enough.

As a giant poodle descends on Area 51:
General: Don't worry, we've got a rock-solid defense strategy ready.
Kim: For this? Really?
General: Yes, ma'am. Full frontal assault by a giant canine. That's a 4-1-stroke-5-F-type scenario.
And her sidekick (Ron Stoppable) provides the necessary comic relief (not that there's not enough of that already):

An army of evil zombie snowmen! Man, I always knew that's what would get me.
As a matter of fact, I think it's the Zombie Snowmen episode that got me hooked. It was the first one I saw, and it had such a Buffy feel to it that I haven't stopped watching since.

The many pop culture references only add to what's already a hilarious cartoon. Check it out - particularly if you've got a 4-year-old daughter to watch it with.


January '07 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

Just a few notable one-shots, minis, and series' beginnings listed in this month's Previews, on sale in March. These comics can all be found in this month's Previews under their particular publishers.

Headlining this month would have to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1, with a release date of March 7.


  • Conan: The Hall of the Dead and Other Stories (Dark Horse, HC collection)
    I've been a fan of Conan ever since I discovered the books as a kid. With writers such as Busiek and Mignola on it, I might pick this up when it hits TPB in June.


  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 (Dark Horse, new series)
    As I mentioned before, I'm looking forward to this one. Dark Horse is also relisting other TPBs this month, including the popular Fray.
  • New Battlestar Galactica Volume 1 (Dynamite Entertainment, TPB)
    I've been watching the show since the pilot - how does the comic compare?
  • Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #1 (Oni Press, mini)
    I've seen him on the few snippets of the Daily Show that I've watched, and briefly on his show; is this actually going to be any good? I understand it's based on a supposed novel he's written that no one's ever seen. The ad compares it to The Tick. I doubt it.


  • Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection Volume 3 - Darth Maul (Dark Horse, HC collection)
  • Highlander #1 - Director's Cut (Dynamite Entertainment, re-release)
  • Hack/Slash vs. Chucky (Devil's Due, one-shot)
    Written by Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley.
  • 28 Days Later: The Aftermath (Fox Atomic Comics, graphic novel)
    The movie was good; and not just because the main character was named Jim. Writers include Steve Niles (30 Days of Night).
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie Adaptation #1 (one-shot) and The Movie Prequel (five-part series) (Mirage Studios)
    The adaptation is a one-shot of the film being released in March. The prequels are all being released at the same time, one for each of the main characters (including April).
  • Shaun the Sheep Comic #1 (Titan Publishing, new series)
    From Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave.

  • Bloodrayne: Tibetan Heights #1 (Digital Webbing, one-shot)


  • NASCAR Heroes #1 (NASCAR Comics, new series)
    Good grief. I'll pass on this one.

In a low point this month, CSI: Dying in the Gutters TPB from IDW Publishing is also being solicited (this is the CSI crossover with the real world of comics). I happened to get my hands on the mini preview comics a few months ago, thinking this could be a fascinating read. Unfortunately, I thought it was horribly written, so I never went any further. What I want to know is, did it get any better?

Have I missed anything worth mentioning?


Hack/Slash and Lost Boys

I ordered Hack/Slash Slice Hard (was that back in October?) because in the Previews ad, it mentioned that Hack/Slash was being adapted into a movie, and I was curious about the comic.

I recently picked it up, and, while it was a pretty good read, I wasn't overly impressed. I don't have a background with Hack/Slash, and according to a Comic Pants review, that would have been a plus for reading this one-shot. They recommend Hack/Slash: First Cut (the first TPB).

Slice Hard opens to a trucker passing by a hitchhiking teddy bear holding a butcher knife. While that's interesting enough to catch my attention, additionally, the trucker was singing the lyrics to a song from the The Lost Boys soundtrack - Cry Little Sister (Gerard McMann). That movie was awesome, but the soundtrack rocked. What a great way to start a comic. My hat's off to Tim Seeley, who's the writer/creator of Hack/Slash.

I used to have the CD, but who knows where it is now. I may have to pick it up again. (The entire album is great, but I'm particularly fond of the cover of People Are Strange by Echo and the Bunnymen, Good Times (INXS), Lost in the Shadows (Lou Gramm), Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Roger Daltrey), and Beauty Has Her Way (Mummy Calls).)

Now, if only someone would produce the Manhunter soundtrack on CD (you know, the better version of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon).