Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Comic Book Day 2009

As always, the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. Comic book retailers, bookstores and libraries across the world celebrate the hobby and literacy by making dozens of new or reprinted comics available for free on this day every year since 2002.

What titles are available? Almost every comics publisher puts out something for FCBD. DC Comics has the opening chapter in this summer's crossover event "Blackest Night" and Marvel Comics has a brand new Avengers comic up for grabs. For a list of everything, click here.

And for those folks in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, please stop by All Things Fun! in West Berlin, NJ and the Haddon Township Library in Haddon Township, NJ. Don't know where to find your local comics shop? Call 1-800-COMIC-Book or click here. Free comics for everyone and even special events, check it out!

And here's a bonus - Hugh Jackman hyping Free Comic Book Day, plus a look at X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in theatres nationwide tomorrow. Enjoy.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eurovision 2009: Scandinavia

Norway - "Fairytale" by Alexander Rybak

Sweden - "La Voix" by Malena Ernman

Iceland - "Is It True" by Johanna Gudrun Jonsdottir

Finland - "Lose Control" by Waldo's People


Comic Fan! #4

Main Enterprises presents Comic Fan! #4! Cover featured articles on the history of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents by some guy named Glenn Walker and a companion piece by writer Steve Skeates on his days at Tower Comics kick off our fourth issue.

Also included is Dennis Kininger's "He's a Fat Little Nothing" (on the ACG character Herbie), Lance "Doc" Boucher's tribute to Richard "Grass" Green in Comic Fandom Icons, Sam Gafford's "Sez ME!" on his anticipation of the Watchmen film, plus our mind-blowing review section, The Spinner Rack.

All this plus illustrations by Dave Farley, Dan Taylor, John Lambert, Hal Jones, Larry Tisch, Don Newton, Dan Adkins, Rick Limacher, Marc Haines and others. A 60-page full magazine sized publication with full color front and back covers.

Comic Fan! #4 can be purchased here. Check it out!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Sticky Wicket 3: Watkins' Finest Inning

The final volume of friend and writer Ewart Rouse's "Sticky Wicket" trilogy has just been released.

The new book, "Watkins' Finest Inning" is about a ragtag band of cricket players from former British Commonwealth countries who seek, against the odds, to take the game of their youth mainstream in America.

The first two volumes, "Watkins at Bat" and "Watkins Fights Back" are both highly recommended and available from LMH Publishing. "Watkins' Finest Inning" can be purchased from Amazon here.


Avengers Forever Chat Tonight


Webchat on this weeks New Avengers #52, Mighty Avengers #24 and Avengers: the Initiative #23


Avengers Forever Chat Room


Monday, 27th April, 2009

US Eastern Standard Time: 9:00 PM
US Central Standard Time: 8:00 PM
US Mountain Standard Time: 7:00 PM
US Pacific Standard Time: 6:00 PM


By any means possible - just be there!
(And bring your own cowbell)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bea Arthur Passes at 86

Beatrice Arthur, Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and star of the sitcoms "Maude" and "Golden Girls," passed away at her home earlier today.

She won a Tony for her role of Vera Charles in "Mame," as well as multiple awards for work on her sitcoms. She also notoriously appeared, along other odd choices like Art Carney and Harvey Korman, in 1978's "The Star Wars Holiday Special."

Although the cause of death was unannounced, Ms. Arthur was fighting with cancer for some time. An icon of the small screen and the big stage, she'll be missed and remembered fondly.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Wolverine: Ghosts

Yeah, I'm a comics guy, but for the most part, things like Wolverine and Punisher are off my radar. It's just not my taste. I solidly believe that heroes don't kill, won't kill, and shouldn't have to kill. It's the main reason for the better part of two decades I haven't read Wolverine.

Jonathan Maberry having a short story in Wolverine: The Anniversary changed my buying habits. I have a lot of respect for Maberry's skills both as a writer and as a writing teacher, so I had to see what he was up to with everyone's favorite X-Man. His story, "Ghosts," illustrated by Tomm Coker (who might be better known as the writer/director of 2007's Catacombs), is a mere eight pages long. But page count doesn't matter. In an economy of words, Maberry takes Wolverine down to basics and tells a tale of love and vengeance, and one of the core of the character. It is truly a marvel of words and images, dancing together in battle choreography both of the body and the mind. This is a deeper Wolverine than I've seen in a while.

Word on the street is Jonathan Maberry will also be trying his hand at the Punisher, another Marvel Comics character I've never really cared for. I'm placing my order now.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Red Dwarf: Back to Earth

I was thrilled to hear that one of my favorite TV series was making a comeback, even if for three short episodes, but when I actually saw it... I kinda wish I hadn’t. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t that great either.

"Red Dwarf" was a scifi sitcom from the late 1980s that was broadcast on the BBC. It detailed the life of Dave Lister, the last human as he traveled the universe in the gigantic spaceship Red Dwarf with a hologram of his late bunkmate, the ship’s computer, a highly evolved cat, and a robot servant, among others. I’m oversimplifying, but suffice it to say it was a great, and usually hysterical program. It lasted on and off for eight seasons, and even spawned two terrific books, two not-so-terrific American TV pilots and also inspired a twisted and terrible version of itself for the UPN called “Homeboys in Outer Space” that is probably best forgotten.

The show returned over Easter on the new station called simply ‘Dave’ with the three part “Back to Earth.” My first impression is that it was lacking. Absence of a laugh track is not always a problem, but on shows where one is traditionally can be. I think the no-laugh-track was a major factor in my impression. There were awkward silences where laughter would have covered up a failed joke. I wouldn’t have thought that was needed in “Red Dwarf,” but here’s the evidence.

The other bothersome point for me was that the show seemed to traveling farther and farther away from what I liked about it originally. That may have something to do with the creators. Rob Grant and Doug Taylor, as the mythical ‘Grant Taylor,’ are credited with creating the show and guiding it through several seasons. When Rob Grant left, it was evident in the stories, and only got worse from there in my opinion.

The story of “Back to Earth” actually does resonate from an episode from the good old days however. In “Back to Reality,” possibly designed as a series finale, the crew finds that nothing is real, and that they are really players in a total immersion videogame. This is, of course, only the machinations of a creature called the Despair Squid. In “Back to Earth,” the crew finds themselves in a similar situation, brought to Earth, an Earth in a dimension where the crew are merely characters in a TV series called, you guessed it, “Red Dwarf.”

As good as it sounds, the three episodes barely deliver. There are moments that are inspired, like an appearance by actor Craig Charles (who plays Dave Lister) on the set of “Coronation Street,” a soap he appeared in after “Dwarf.” After that however, there’s not much there except lost opportunities. Even the old stuff comes up lame. The Cat is more cartoony than usual, and Kochanski is barely there and Holly is not even mentioned. It’s more than a little disappointing.

Another thing that bothered me was the lack of continuity. "Red Dwarf" was always a sitcom and always played for laughs, but the scifi, specifically the science part of it, was always logical and made sense within their world. There are unexplained flaws and questions in what happened between the end of Series 8 and “Back to Earth.” These could be explained away by the existence in ‘the real world’ of a Series 9 and 10 that supposedly came before “Back to Earth” – but, um, we never saw these mythical episodes.

All in all, I was happy to see (most of) the crew back together and on the screen, but more than a little disappointed with the whole package. Here’s hoping for a real Series 9 or 10...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Popcorn Quickies 4-21-2009

10,000 B.C. ~ Ever since Roland Emerich and Dean Devlin ruined Godzilla I have been wary of any Centropolis film. And when I saw previews of 10,000 B.C. my first thought was it was a way of cashing in on some new state of the art special effects and also the flood of prehistoric programming on the Discovery networks. When it finally came around on the cable I took a peek just to see the effects, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a hero’s journey story in the Joseph Campbell vein that follows a primitive man into the world of wannabe gods building pyramids with saber-tooth tigers and wooly mammoths thrown in for good measure – and it’s quite good, or at least tons better than I expected. Worth taking a chance to check out, good adventure fodder.

Live Free or Die Hard ~ When you Google the term ‘popcorn movie’ it should take you right to the movie poster for this flick. If you’ve seen any of the other Die Hard movies, or any Bruce Willis action flick really, there are no real surprises here. Willis knocks a helicopter out of the sky with a car because he’s out of bullets, and it’s got Kevin Smith, really, what more could you ask for? Munch lots of popcorn and call it a night’s entertainment, you’ll be satisfied.

Timecrimes ~ Also known as Los Cronocrimenes is a brilliant but just a tad predictable time travel thriller from independent Oscar-nominated writer/director Nacho Vigalondo. He also acts in this one. It’s slow, and thought-provoking, a different pace from most time travel stories but meticulously planned and not without twists. Stay with it, even when you think you’ve got it figured out – it can be surprising even when you think you’ve got it figured out.

Star Trek: Nemesis ~ The final Trek film before the powers-that-be decided a complete reboot of the franchise is not as bad as I would have thought. The Enterprise crew from the “Next Generation” TV series find themselves caught in the center of a hostile takeover in the Romulan Empire, one masterminded by, as it turns out, a clone of Captain Picard. Hilarity ensues. While there are nice touches and cute nods and nudges throughout, this is really just an action flick in Trek dressings. I can see why hardcore fans were disappointed in what was considered, even then, the final voyage for these characters. Lotsa action and special effects, but it could have so much more, and definitely not as much of a rehash of Wrath of Khan as it seems to be. Recommended if it’s on free TV.


Teenaged Iron Man

I have nothing against teenaged superheroes. Spider-Man started as a teenager. The original X-Men were teenagers. Dick Grayson as Robin, and later Nightwing, is one of the coolest heroes around. And I do understand the psychology of the teenaged sidekick being the identification factor to the hero - but come on now, let’s get real, when you get out on the playground… everybody wants to be the Batman not Robin. That’s just the way it is. That’s why I don’t understand the new “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” cartoon coming from NickToons.

The new animated series, coming almost two years too late, is of course to cash in on the success of the Iron Man movie. It really makes me wonder how “South Park” can do such quick turnaround on a usually weekly basis to comment on current news stories, yet it takes comics years to produce a cartoon, but there it is. And the sore point is – Tony Stark is a kid, or more accurately a teenager. It kinda takes all the charm out of a character so notoriously a bastard, doesn’t it?

The second problem is that it’s done in that limited computer animation that so completely ruined MTV’s attempt at “Spider-Man” after his first movie. The animation is stiff and blocky and kinda like a combination of “Reboot” from the 1990s and “Davey and Goliath” from the 1960s. There’s flash animation online better than this honestly.

Rhodey and Pepper (and even Happy, disguised as Flash Thompson) are there as well, and are also teenagers. There’s even a teenaged Mandarin, whose father at least bares a slight resemblance to the real thing from the comics. Howard Stark, Tony’s father, is also familiar – looking like the Silver Age Tony Stark, complete with Howard Hughes’ mustache. Future episodes promise Whiplash, the Ghost, the Hulk and Fin Fang Foom – I wonder if they’ll be teenaged too?

The only real props I can give this series is for the theme song by Rooney, catchy and to the point, just like any superhero theme should be.

“Iron Man: Armored Adventures” premieres on NickToons this Friday night.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Perez Hilton Vs. Miss California

Controversy has exploded from the Miss USA Beauty Pageant last night when judge Perez Hilton asked a question of frontrunning Miss California Carrie Prejean.

The question: "Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?"

Just to be clear, folks, this is a yes or no question, followed by why or why not.

Miss California's answer: "Well I think its great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you very much."

Anyone hear a 'yes' or a 'no' in there? Well, maybe an implied one, but nothing about state's rights to decide issues or anything like that. And, ummm, what exactly is "opposite marriage"?

Ms. Prejean didn't lose the pageant because she was against gay marriage, she lost because she can't answer a simple question. He asked, "Is the sky blue?" and she answered, "I like hot dogs!" It's got nothing to do with gay marriage, it's all about her inability to answer a question.

Perez Hilton's typically over the top yet strangely on target retort is here.

And congratulations to the winner of Miss USA 2009 - Miss North Carolina, Kristen Dalton.


Friday, April 17, 2009

G.I. Joe: Resolute

G.I. Joe is back, and no, I'm not just talking about the upcoming live-action movie. If folks go on over to Adult, you can check out the first two chapters (and in the following days, the rest) of "G.I. Joe: Resolute," an updated, anime-style and R-rated for violence new series with the Joe crew facing off against a meaner more terroristic Cobra. Not for the kids, but well worth checking out!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Pedro ~ By the time of the San Francisco season of MTV’s “The Real World,” most of the people I knew were well aware of the AIDS crisis and quite honestly had been since the early 1980s. The rest of the world however, unless they actually knew someone with the disease, were unaware until it came right into their living rooms with Pedro Zamora in 1994.

For various reasons, whether it was the openly gay and HIV-positive Zamora, or the nearly sociopathic bike messaenger Puck Rainey, or the then-fledgeling comic book creator Judd Winick – San Francisco is still widely considered to be the most memorable and popular season of all “The Real Worlds.” It should be noted, that Pedro Zamora died from complications of AIDS just hours after the airing of the season finale of the series. His roommate Winick continued his work lecturing on HIV/AIDS, and later created the graphic novel, Pedro and Me.

A few weeks back, in a simultaneous premiere on both MTV and Logo, Nick Oceano’s Pedro debuted. Introduced by former President Clinton and starring relative new comer Alex Loynaz in the title role, the telefilm tells the story of Pedro and his journey to “The Real World” as a hero to his community with flashbacks to his past. It’s a heartwrenching story, and the first movie in a while to bring a tear to my eye. A powerful film with a message that endures. Highly recommended.


New York's New Mayor

Man, Spidey just can't get a break!

AM New York breaks the news of Marvel New York's new mayor, the story from Newsarama is here. Poor Peter Parker...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eurovision 2009 FYR Macedonia

Boy toy rockers Next Time are performing FYR Macedonia's entry into Eurovision 2009, "Neshto Shto Ke Ostan." Catchy, not bad. Next Time will take the 13th slot in the First Semi-Final on May 12th.

Check out my special Eurovision blog here.


Starlog Magazine RIP

Continuing a sad week of deaths, it was announced that the print version of Starlog Magazine is calling it quits after almost thirty-three years.

Back in the 1970s and 80s, back before them durned intranets, Starlog was where we got our scifi and genre news. We learned of current, and upcoming projects, and sometimes stuff that was not meant to be - but still this was the source. Starlog will be missed.

See Marc Bernardin's eulogy here. And you can continue to get Starlog, albeit online, here. But it's just not the same...

Marilyn Chambers Passes

At the supposed age of 56, and of equally supposed natural causes, the queen of retro-porn, Marilyn Chambers passed away yesterday.

The star of such adult films as Behind the Green Door and resurrection of Eve was also known as the Ivory Snow girl as she appeared on the boxes of detergent snuggling with a baby. She was one of the first adult film stars to gain mainstream attention.

While foul play is not suspected, her death is still under investigation with an autopsy pending.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Harry Kalas RIP

The voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, Harry Kalas, passed away today. Before today's game he had passed out in the broadcast booth in Washington and didn't wake up. Kalas was 73.

For decades, and for generations of Phillies fans, he was The Man. We would rather listen to him on the radio than any other announcer on television. He was a legend and he was a friend. He will be sorely missed, and the Phillies will never be the same again.

With all due respect, the man, the legend, Harry Kalas is..."Outta here..."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pushing Daisies Returns, Briefly

My favorite show and one of the more original TV series in quite some time, "Pushing Daisies," returns at the end of May, although not for long.

ABC plans to broadcast the final three episodes on May 30th, June 6th and June 13th before pulling the plug on it for good.

Creator Bryan Fuller has dropped hints here and there that the saga may continue on in comic books, but time will tell. Hopefully most of our questions will be answered in these episodes.

Bizarro Superman... the Movie?

Rumors are flying that a new Superman film project may be in the wind, but not one necessarily starring Superman.

The folks at Latino Review contend that screenwriter Robert Gordon (Men in Black II and Galaxy Quest) is taking a shot at doing a version of Bizarro for the big screen.

Check out the possibilities here, courtesy of Ain't It Cool News.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Inglourious Basterds - Sneak Peek

Reportedly, writer/director Quentin Tarantino has been working on this war film, apparently a remake of 1977's Italian epic Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato, on and off for decades. Hope it lives up to the hype. Supposedly we will finally see it this coming August.


Green Lantern: First Flight

As excited as I am about this upcoming animated DVD I am still not sure what to think of some elements. Cosmetic changes such as Abin Sur, the traditional Green Lantern costume and the new school Sinestro in a tale supposedly telling Hal Jordan's beginnings are troublesome and annoying, but not as much as the anime-style yelling for no apparent reason. Still, I'm looking forward to this one. No release date has been set yet, except for "Summer 2009."

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Religulous ~ Bill Maher seems to be taking a page from the Michael Moore book of filmmaking. His skill at editing and taking stuff out of context is at least tempered by a sense of humor, even if it is disrespectful, dismissive and sometimes downright mean. Of course these days most of Maher’s comedy is mocking and ridicule, not like back in the 1980s when he actually told jokes rather than make fun of religion and the dreaded evil Right. Personally I would rather have a sequel to Cannibal Women of the Avocado Jungle than another Religulous .

Maher has a hard-on for Christianity, I’m not sure why, but he really hates it – to the point of making a video hate crime almost. Sure he gives Scientology five minutes, Mormanism a few minutes and even some time to Judaism and Islam, but for the most part the prime target is Christianity. What did Jesus ever do to you, Bill? And by the way, you need to do a bit more research on Horus, even your 'facts' are flawed. Maher is kind of like the guy at the wedding that feels the need to mention he banged the bride. If other folks are happy he has to ruin it for them.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Eurovision 2009 Azerbaijan

"Always" by Arash featuring AySel, the 2009 Eurovision entry from Azerbaijan...

Seems like Svetlana Loboda isn't the only one with an amazing video, too bad the contest is based on performance...

The new album from Robin Renee is now out. Titled, it is a compilation of several songs from her three previous albums along with two new tracks, "The Other End of the Line" and "You're in Demand."

Her music is powerful and passionate in word and sound, and not to be missed. Spiritually alive, smart, quirky and original, Robin's is a voice to be heard above the rest of the singer/songwriter crowd. can be found at CD Baby and soon from iTunes. Get your copy now.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Quickies 4-3-2009

Prozac Nation ~ I’ve decided that Christina Ricci is best when she’s snarky and sarcastic. From The Addams Family to The Opposite of Sex to even Pumpkin, her best feature (although there are so many others) is her snarkiness. This film, sort of a Mommie Dearest meets Almost Famous based on the true story bestseller by Elizabeth Wurtzel (who incidentally thought this movie was horrible), is a bit depressing and you want to slap the heroine (more than once), but hang in there. The performances of Ricci, Jessica Lange and even Jason Biggs are worth it.

Tokyo Gore Police ~ This one is for fans of the gore genre only, and only in small doses. I give the trailer more stars than I would the movie – if any for the movie. Dazzlingly gory and imaginative special effects. Don’t eat before viewing. If you like Troma or J-horror, you’ll love this one.

Lakeview Terrace ~ Take Neighbors, mix well with Pacific Heights and add in Samuel L. Jackson and you’ll get this flick that never tries much harder than to be a 1970s ABC telemovie. Kim Darby would have been proud to have been in this back in the day. Entertaining if you’re not expecting to think much for a couple hours.

Zotz! ~ Bullet time decades before bullet time, and Disney-esque without being Disney, this black and white comedy from 1962 stars Tom Poston as a professor who finds an ancient magic coin that grants him super powers. Able to slow down time and point people into pain, he tries to sell his powers to the government and hilarity ensues. While it would greatly benefit from some idiotic canned 1970s sitcom laughter, it’s still great fun for the kids.

At the Earth’s Core ~ Sadly the only film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Pellucidar series is just an embarrassment. Doug McClure tries very hard despite more than half of his dialogue being the word “doc,” and of course Peter Cushing hands in his worst and most annoying performance ever. On the good side, Caroline Munro is as hot as ever, but she doesn’t have much to do here. Much of the magic of Pellucidar is missing, the ‘monsters’ look like rejects from the worst of the Gamera films and surely Burroughs is spinning in his grave. A travesty.

Planet of the Dead - Sneak Peek

Wasn't this a TV movie from the 1970s starring O.J. Simpson? The bus in the desert makes me think of nothing else.

The Doctor Who Easter Special airs April 11th on the BBC.

The Guiding Light Fails

CBS announced today that they were canceling "Guiding Light," Proctor & Gamble's soap opera that had been on the air since 1952 and began life as a radio drama, then called "The Guiding Light," in 1937. It remains the longest running serial program in radio and television history. The network cited low ratings and the economy among the reasons for the cancellation.

"Guiding Light" was always a leader in its field, the first serial to feature African-American actors in lead roles, the first to podcast their episodes to internet. It dealt with hard topics and storylines that raised social awareness of such things as alcoholism, depression and AIDS long before other media. Storylines also dealt with pop culture and other trivia, even Marvel superheroes.

CBS says that "Guiding Light" will leave the airwaves on September 18th of this year, but will that be the end really? Sources say the producers have not given up yet, searching for cable networks or internet broadcasts. Only time will tell, you'll have to tune in tomorrow and see - as always.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dark Corridor #3

From Main Enterprises:

What has been described as our best issue yet of our horror/fantasy/suspense fiction and illustration magazine is now availble. Cover art by Scott McClung, The Iguana and John Lambert. Interior art by Dan Taylor, Terry Pavlet, Jack Bertram. Fiction by Sam Gafford, (A Gathering Deamonica) Mark Orr (The Doll) and Michael Vance (In The Out Door). Plus our review section, Den Of The Dark (with reviews by Dennis Kininger and some guy named Glenn Walker as well as out letters page section. A 32 page full sized magazine with full color front and back covers.

To get your copy, check it out here.

Pelham 123, Take Three

One of my favorite suspense flicks of the 1970s is up this summer with its second remake, this one with Denzel Washington, John Travolta and James Gandolfini.

The Taking of Pelham 123 opens June 12th.