October 28th, 2004

2010

Heroes and Horror



I usually don't buy into concept albums and/or humor. Just recently, in my 37th year, did I start lending a keen ear to comedy. Ergo, purchases of Patton Oswalt, David Cross, and Bill Hicks. A DVD of TRIUMPH THE INSULT COMIC DOG sits comfortably next to my 4 seasons of MR. SHOW and REN & STIMPY [UNCUT]. Otherwise, not too much funny/ha-ha gets to make the cut. SO, when I got wind of William Shatner's new album HAS BEEN, I thought it must be a joke. When I heard curious snippets of the tunes online, I soon discovered that, like Eric B. & Rakim, this was no joke. HAS BEEN purports to "tell the truth" Shatner style, and tell the bold truth, it does. Much like how Tom Wait's has been recording post-apocalyptic songs with rusted pans and broken voices [just listen to his recent REAL GONE effort], Shatner does the opposite and croons unabashedly in a lounge orbiting the dark corners of the collective unconscious, speaking in a catty yet coercing tongue. The two worlds of Shatner & Waits makes for a mind-melding experience that would finally learn Spock's Vulcan confusion the dirty secrets of the human condition.



Saw SAW Monday night, thanks to my pal Doug Brod who had tickets to the horror films' NY premiere and after-party, featuring the writers/director, producers and actors. The acting was awful and the script dreadful, but I had a great time watching this low-budget freshman homage to SEVEN and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS [to name just a few of its obvious influences]. I figured out the twist ending in the very first scene, but then the filmmakers did a good enough job convincing me otherwise until the very end revealed to be what I thought was up. Still, it's a nail biter and the best kind of drive-in movie horror theatre.



All I remember about watching TOURIST TRAP when I was young was the frightening mannequins that turn their eyes, open their mouths to gaping proportions and shriek in hymns, and that it stars junior-high school crush, Tanya Roberts. Need more than that to convince you how great this horror movie is? Well, I made Jenn watch it with me based on one particular fond memory [the spooky villain chases a girl in the woods named "Molly" and terrorizes her by blurting out her name via creepy, animated mannequin heads], and no, the experience did not convince Jenn that it should be added to her Top10 list of classic horror. Still, as the movie played, I thought to myself "Wow -- this movie deserves a sequel." Then I thought "Never mind a sequel but it could be remade for today's standards." And then, by the very end, I decided "Nay. It is perfect the way it is" -- in my mind.



Besides the usual Marvel, DC/Vertigo/Wildstorm, Dark Horse, and indie/alt fair that I read on a weekly basis, I usually never look at what Image Comics has to offer. Well, that's changed: I picked up the first 3-issues of ULTRA by The Luna Brothers. This is a smart and sexy comic about three female best friends who so happen to be 9-to-5 superheroes. The concept may seem coy but the execution is savvy and witty. Plus, The Luna Bros. actually pull off that neo-animation style sans compromising the expression of line art and moody color.



The other Image Comics surprise that's had me swooning is Robert Kirkman's [along with artists Tony Moore & Charlie Adlard] THE WALKING DEAD, which may be the best comics spin on zombie lore to date. The zombie conundrum makes the perfect soap opera backdrop for what happens when men & women & children learn to buck up fast and try to survive each other in a world gone dead alive. I hear Kirkman turns superheroes on their side in his other creator-owned Image Comics series INVINCIBLE, with artist Cory Walker. I think I'll give it a try.
2010

The best $29.99 you'll ever spend



THE HYPE:
In celebration of its 65th anniversary, the House of Ideas proudly presents a timeless testament to a true Marvel visionary! Comics' premier storyteller for more than 40 years, Jack "King" Kirby brought new vitality and imagination to the medium, and set the standard for every artist to follow. This deluxe keepsake edition collects some of the most monumental moments, created in concert with the likes of legendary writers such as Joe Simon and Stan Lee - some never before reprinted: "Mercury in the 20th Century," RED RAVEN COMICS #1, Kirby's first work for Marvel; "The Vision," MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13, Kirby's first regular Marvel series; "Meet Captain America," CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1, the first Captain America story; "UFO the Lightning Man," YELLOW CLAW #3, from a strip Kirby wrote and drew during the '50s; "I Defied Pildorr, the Plunderer from Outer Space!," STRANGE TALES #94, from the moster era; the first time Joe Sinnott inked the King; "I Am the Amazing Dr. Droom!," AMAZING ADVENTURES #1, the origin of Stan and Jack's first super-heroic character of the '60s; "Beware the RawhideKid!," RAWHIDE KID #17, the first revamped Rawhide Kid story and the beginnings of the Marvel style; Plus: "The Origin of the Hulk," HULK #3; "Spidey Tackles the Torch," AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8; "Captain America Joins the Avengers!," AVENGERS #4; "The Fangs of the Fox,"SGT. FURY #6; "The Coming of Galactus," FANTASTIC FOUR #48-50; "This Man. This Monster," FANTASTIC FOUR #51; "The People Breeders," THOR #134-135; "To Become an Immortal," THOR #136; "This Is A Plot?," FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5; "The Inhumans!" AMAZING ADVENTURES v.2 #1-2' "America Will Die!," CAPTAIN AMERICA #200; "The Fourth Host," ETERNALS #7 and "What If the Original Marvel Bullpen Was the Fantastic Four?," WHAT IF #11.
2010

Come Feb. 2005, the OTHER best $29.99 you'll ever spend



THE HYPE:
In celebration of its 65th anniversary, the House of Ideas proudly presents a timeless testament to another true Marvel visionary! In 1961, writer Stan Lee penned Fantastic Four #1, an historic issue unlike any comic book that had come before. This super-hero team had true personalities - they doubted their own abilities, battled problems of money and illness, and even fought among themselves. The monumental popularity of this realistic comic-book style inspired Lee to create similarly themed titles - including Hulk, X-Men, and Avengers with artist Jack Kirby; and Amazing Spider-Man with artist Steve Ditko. By 1965, Lee had successfully established Marvel Comics as a cohesive universe populated by world-famous comic-book characters. Now, this deluxe keepsake edition collects his greatest moments - some never before reprinted: "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" (Captain America Comics #3): Stan's first story, a two-page text piece! "The Red Skull's Deadly Revenge" (Captain America Comics #16): The defining Golden Age Red Skull story! "The Raving Madman" (Suspense #29): Stan's satire on Frederick Wertham and the comics witch hunts of the '50s! "Your Name Is Frankenstein!" (Menace #7): A modern Frankenstein story, featuring many of the elements of the later Marvel books! "Where Walks the Ghost" (Amazing Adult Fantasy #11): A short, twist-ending story by Lee and Ditko! Plus: "Spider-Man" (Amazing Fantasy #15); "A Visit With the Fantastic Four" (Fantastic Four #11); "How Stan and Steve Create Spider-Man" (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1); "In Mortal Combat with Sub-Mariner" (Daredevil #7); "The Final Chapter" (Amazing Spider-Man #33); "Bedlam in the Baxter Building" (Fantastic Four Annual #3); "And Who Shall Mourn for Him?" (Silver Surfer #5); "Brother, Take My Hand" (Daredevil) #47; "And Now, The Goblin," "In the Grip of the Goblin," and "The Goblin's Last Stand" (from Amazing Spider-Man #96-98); "No Longer Alone" (Captain America #110); "No More the Thunder God," "When Gods Go Mad," and "One God Must Fall" (from Thor #179-181); "While the World Spins Mad" (Marvel Premiere #3); and "The Circle of Life" (Spectacular Spider-Man Super-Special 1995)!