Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The NJ DIS Weekend Meet 2013


Folks who follow my blogs regularly know that I write a lot about Disney. I like Disney a lot, and not just because they own the Avengers either. The Bride is the Disney nut, and I'm just along for the ride most of the time, but I do enjoy that ride. The movies, they do good work; the parks, meh, I'm not a park person, but I have had my fun there; but the Disney Cruise, that's my happy place. There's nothing like standing (or sitting) on deck or on a veranda and watching the open sea. I love it, and yes, any cruise can provide that, but the customer service and the way they take care of you on DCL is phenomenal, and second to none.

Rant and sales pitch over. The point is, The Bride likes this stuff even more than me. And with all the podcasts and vidcasts I subscribe to and/or am involved in, DIS Unplugged is not one of them. I'm kinda ashamed to say I've only heard it a dozen times or so, usually when in the car with The Bride. She loves it, and has even appeared on the podcast more than a few times. Such a fan, when they announced they would be just an hour or two away in Bridgewater NJ doing a fan get-together and live podcast, we made plans to go. Either way, a weekend getaway was a welcome break in routine.

DIS Unplugged is a hardcore professional podcast I should mention. This isn't two guys having fun on Skype without a plan, just saying anything that pops into their head. What surprised me the most upon arrival is how friendly and welcoming everyone was, especially the hosts. Friday night was game night, starting with some music trivia, various kinds (everyone had their own rules) of Bunco, and then a Tastykake Krimpet eating contest. Heh, I don't think these tourists to the Philadelphia area have ever had Butterscotch Krimpets before.

As I said, the live vidcast was very professional. Not only did everyone have headsets, they also had a sound engineer(s) and a sound check. They have been around for almost a decade, so of course they know what they're doing. Professional and friendly are watchwords with this group. I think now I will be putting the DIS Unplugged on my regular podcast subscription list. Good folks, good show, and thanks for a great time.

And stay out of the damn lakes.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Arrow: Home Invasion


Deadshot has been a growing threat in the world of "Arrow." While a minor Batman villain and Suicide Squad superstar in the comics, here he is a one-eyed super-assassin for hire. His most twisted attribute, besides the weird red eye piece, is his penchant for tattooing the names of his victims on his body.

His biggest claim to infamy on the series is that he killed John Diggle's brother. Diggle is now obsessed, perhaps ever more so than Oliver. Not only is revenge biting his ass, but Diggle's can't really move his relationship with his sister-in-law (his late bro's wife) until Deadshot is dealt with.

We open on Diggle training with Oliver, while Deadshot makes another hit. Felicity has hacked into ARGUS and is tracking Deadshot. I really have to wonder where this is going with ARGUS. Is there a Justice League in Oliver's future? Probably not, as this ARGUS acronym isn't the same as the comics.

Diggle's contact in ARGUS has a little more fire. Named Lyla in the show, she's given the surname Michaels in the Arrow companion comic. Lyla Michaels is the real name of Harbinger, a power player in DC Comics' Crisis on Infinite Earths way back in 1985. Harbinger was missioned with the task of collecting the superheroes who would then save the universe/multiverse. Harbinger is even her codename in the show. What an interesting connection.

The opening shoves a whole lot of plot, subplot, and information into a very short amount of time, so much so, my head began to spin a bit. The current dynamic of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity is counterpointed by the flashback dynamic of Oliver, Deathstroke, and Shado. We also learn Oliver is lunchdating Laurel even though he's on the outs with Tommy. Bad, Oliver, just the first of many bad decisions this episode.

This is all under eight minutes, before the credit sequence. We are also introduced the main plot/subplot of this episode. Laurel is working with a family who were testifying against a bad man, List-worthy, but surprisingly not on it - it could be his dumb name, Edward Rasmus. His hired killer, Mr. Blank, gets the parents but misses the seven year old son. Laurel takes the kid in. Don't think the thought hasn't crossed my mind that most times when you add a kid, you've jumped the shark.

This is all in about ten minutes. The episode hasn't really even started. It doesn't get less complicated as the episode continues. After a few awkward moments between ex-friends Oliver and Tommy, some bonding between Tommy and the kid, and a fairly cool scene where Mr. Blank attacks Laurel, the couple and the kid move in with the Queens to enjoy the heavy security there. I found that puzzling. Besides Diggle, Queen security has seemed extremely lame. Obviously it's The Hood who will protect them, but Quentin Lance shouldn't have agreed to it.

It gets very predictable at this point. There are newborn kittens who knew Oliver will be distracted with Deadshot the next time Mr. Blank attacks, letting everyone down, duh. Or the other way around, although it should have been the former. As one would expect, Oliver makes the bad choice. The worst choice, and we lose Diggle over it. At this point, the only thing that could make this worse would be an appearance by the Huntress.

Speaking of bad choices, on the island, while being trained in archery, Oliver kisses Shado. For comics fans, we know how that works out. The cliffhanger here finally means forward motion on the island at least.

Mr. Blank is an intriguing villain, played by J. August Richards, formerly of "Angel." He reminds me a lot of Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative in Serenity. He's very calm, very precise, and likes to make conversation with his prey. He was a very suitable foe for this version of Green Arrow. His clash with Oliver is perhaps one if the best of the series so far.

As if there's not enough going on, Roy Harper, who is apparently dating fellow Speedy, Oliver's sister Thea, is trying to track down The Hood. There is a good scene where finally it's addressed that The Hood is a murderer. Finally. Thea agrees to help Roy find The Hood. More shark jumping in the form of idiotic 1950s secret identity protection? I hope not, cuz that's what breaks up Tommy and Laurel. Worst case scenario - Oliver takes on a teenage sidekick (or two) to replace Diggle. I know it's the natural progression, but damn it, I liked David Ramsey's Diggle a lot.

This was a very uneven episode, save some great character bits, a throwaway Wonder Twins reference, and of course, Mr. Blank. Only three more episodes to go, I wonder how it's going to go...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Curious Alice


This 1968 curiosity from the folks at Something Weird is a semi-animated fantasy based on Alice in Wonderland but with a more obvious drug theme woven through. It tries to be psychedelic, and probably would be if you were high, but the limited animation makes it difficult.

I can imagine this may have been pretty risqué back in the drug days of the late sixties, but its kinda tame for these days. But let's face it, back in the day, Ralph Bakshi went much further. Hell, Bakshi could have even done this better.

In this Wonderland, the characters all seem to be using one drug or another - marijuana, pills, even LSD - though I'm unsure whether this short is actually supposed to be pro-drug or anti-drug. It is definitely worth a look-see, at least once, if only as a time capsule to a mostly lost culture.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Evolve or Die, A Star Trek Rant


Those Star Trek people infuriate me. You know the ones I mean. Whether they call themselves Trekkers or Trekkies (and yes, I do know the difference), it makes no difference when it comes to the 2009 reboot of the franchise, and its upcoming sequel in just a few weeks.

Let’s be serious now – if Gene Roddenberry had actually gotten his “Star Trek: Phase II” on the air when he wanted to, would we be still talking about Trek now or would the proposed series just be an embarrassing footnote like “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch Hour”? Let's all be thankful that Star Wars was so successful, and Paramount made Roddenberry move it to the big screen.

And while we're being thankful, let's be thankful for J.J. Abrams for finding a way to both be faithful to continuity, and to free himself of it. He paid respect to the fans, and opened up the field for a new generation of fans. It works in the story, and you have the old continuity and the new continuity existing side by side. And come on, it's not like time paradoxes and parallel universes are foreign territory for the franchise. It's almost the norm if you look at the original series.

Let's talk about TOS, as "The Original Series" is called. It may as well stand for The Old Series, because it's dated. Worse than that, "Next Gen" is even more painful when it comes to looking dated. Special effects and hairstyles weigh down TOS, but man oh man, ST:TNG just screams eighties. It's so bad, it's almost embarrassing. And for most of these Trek people, TNG is the gospel canon.

I lost interest in Trek television, when "Deep Space Nine" came along, and once the Captains met in the movies, I was out of there too. "Enterprise" brought me back. The Trek people hate "Enterprise." I think it was great, it not only brought me back to Trek, it brought The Bride as well. The Trek folks whined about how the Vulcan protagonist behaved, behavior that was rationalized in the context of the series by the way.

These are the same people that don't have a problem with Klingons not having ridges in TOS, faulty physics, jumbled histories and timelines, and of course the fantasy of a cashless society. But a Vulcan enacting free will, that's wrong. It's okay for Spock, but nobody else.

Seems to me that the Trek folks have a problem with the mainstream taking their toys. It was okay when no one else liked Star Trek, but when there's a blockbuster movie, they get defensive. And I throw the "Doctor Who" latecomers into the same garbage bin.

I loved Abrams' Star Trek, and can not wait for the sequel. All y'all old Trekkies and Trekkers, feel free to stay home and not see it, just shut up about it. You're ruining it for the rest of us.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

The GAR Podcast


I know, as if I don't have enough on my plate, right? This project has been in the wings for more than a few years. My friend Ray Cornwall and I have had long conversations about comics and other stuff, and have talked about doing it as a podcast for some time. I finally bit the bullet, kicked Ray in the butt, and we got it done. It was nowhere as hard as we thought it would be.

The final product can be found here. Yeah, it's our first one, so it's amateurish, badly edited, incredibly raw, and so much damned fun.

The topics covered in this inaugural podcast include: Who we are, "Storage Wars," Man of Steel, Batman '66, Green Hornet, Mark Waid, Insufferable, Peter Krause, Marshall Law, Ray's comics childhood, Justice Society, Fantastic Four, Age of Ultron, Iron Man, Hank Pym, Marvelman, Brandon Peterson, Captain America and Bendis.

Links for this episode: Man of Steel trailer, Insufferable, Marshall Law. Age of Ultron, and Age of Ultron Book Six.

Check out the podcast here, and see what a star my buddy Ray is. Enjoy! We'll be back next week!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The All Things Fun! Vidcast FCBD Edition 2013


Superman came back from the dead, Captain America came back from the dead, Wolverine will come back from the dead once he dies, as rumored, later this year… and now, The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is back!

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed Evans, Allison Eckel, and Glenn Walker, as they discuss the comic book related topics in every episode! You can see the show here or on All Things Fun!'s YouTube Channel.

It's that time of year again, Free Comic Book Day, always the first Saturday in May, when comic shops the world over offer a plethora of comics for free, all introductory issues designed for readers old and new to get a glimpse into what the hobby is about and what it has to offer. At All Things Fun!, as always, there are events and sales galore, so come on out, get your free comics, and get in on the fun!

Discussion featured in this Free Comic Book Day Preview Episode includes: Cagematch draft, Free Comic Book Day 2013, Marvel's Infinity, cartoons for kids of all ages, Plop!, Catfishtress, Spoon!, real authors, NFL Superpro, Ryan Reynolds' bulge, Valiant, Grimm, 'for kids,' The Walking Dead, Captain Midnight!, Superman, Allison's kids comics, steampunk in Oz, Absolution, Graphic India, Buck Rogers! and Damsels for the guys.



Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website, and the newly revamped All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don't forget to subscribe to the channel while you're there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live at All Things Fun! - the South Jersey/Philadelphia area's best comics, toys and gaming store, located on Route 73 in West Berlin, NJ. Come on down, check out the store, and say hi to Ed and Dina!

Don't forget to visit us at Facebook!

And hope to see you all on Saturday, May 4th, Free Comic Book Day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HBO's Phil Spector


I was completely taken aback by the title card that preceded HBO's Phil Spector. Here's what it said: "This film is a work of fiction. It is not "based on a true story." It is a drama inspired by actual persons in a trial, but it is neither an attempt to depict the actual persons, nor to comment upon the trial or its outcome."

What?? Wow. I wonder how many lawyers between HBO and Phil Spector it actually took to write that nightmare up? I understand it's worded to keep either party from suing the hell out of each other, but it also seems like open season to make up whatever the hell they want about real people and not get sued. Wow.

The facts: Phil Spector, perhaps one of the world's greatest music producers, shot model and actress Lana Clarkson in his home in 2003. Spector claimed it was suicide, was tried twice for murder, and finally convicted to serve nineteen years in prison.

This film: Helen Mirren plays defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden who enters Spector's madcap mental ward world in an attempt get him out of the murder charges. Jeffrey Tambor as attorney Bruce Cutler provides occasional comedy relief.

Al Pacino plays Spector as subtle but completely insane, sort of like a sedated homeless clown person with voices in his head and a violent streak. His home is like cross between a museum, a circus, the Addams Family house, and the Psycho house. And oh, those wigs. Sadly the wigs were real.

The film's soundtrack, like the performances of Pacino and Mirren, is one of its few saving graces. HBO's Phil Spector is a wonderful example of a few diamonds hidden within a piece of dog crap. If I didn't know about the case, and Spector's career, I wonder if this movie would even made sense. It seems built for footnotes.

The film is surprisingly and unrecognizably written and directed by David Mamet. What was he thinking? And what did Phil Spector ever do to David Mamet? These are the mysteries I would like solved. I love Mamet, and this was a major disappointment.

As the tagline for this flick says, 'the truth is somewhere in the mix.' Unfortunately, I think that mix has been erased and taped over multiple times. This is a mess. This is two down in my book as far as HBO movies go. Between this and The Girl, I think they should stop making movies about real people, it's just not working out. I'm dreading the Liberace biopic coming later this year now.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PromTrash Desperate


"PROMTRASH DESPERATE"

Tomorrow night!  Wednesday, April 17th, doors open at 10 PM, show time is 11 PM sharp!
…at Bob and Barbara's, 1509 South Street, Philadelphia PA. 215-545-4511
$1.99 to get in, must be age 21 and up!

www.dumpstaplayers.org

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the trashiest Prom Queen of all?!?? That's right, folks, time again to pick America's trashiest Prom Queen! The Dumpsta Players celebrate their 17th Annual stag, drag, come-as-you-were/are/is "PROMTRASH DESPERATE" @ Bob and Barbara's! Mall rats Myrna and Marble panic when stood up on Prom night. What's a gurl to do??? Can 80's teen queen Tiffany save them?!?! Find out who's got the F-C-K for U!

2012 Prom Trash queen Xanadu Xanax returns! Will last year's runner up, K & A's finest, Margaret Orthodox be back? It's revenge of the dreadful prom, so join in the ffffun! We invite all to put on a prom dress, don a tux and compete with the gender bending drag kings, queens, straight up females and males, faghags, pretty princesses and assorted other freaks!

Come enjoy the sensational crowning in - "PROMTRASH DESPERATE"!!!!

In honor of our very first PromTrash queen, Lori with the Story, a portion of proceeds from this month's show will benefit One Step Away, a Philadelphia street paper that helps raise awareness of homelessness and providing employment to those in need. The street paper, which costs a dollar, earns money to give Philadelphia's homeless opportunities to gain employment and improve their living situations. Lori with the Story was our reigning PromTrash queen from 1997-99 and passed away in 2004.

You can also check out The Dumpsta Players on YouTube and Facebook, as well as on PhillyCAM television.



Monday, April 15, 2013

Family Band: The Cowsills Story


Family Band: The Cowsills Story ~ I would wager most of the folks reading this have zero idea who the Cowsills are, and I also think those that do know, only know the footnote.

The Cowsills did "Hair," the title track from the Broadway show, the theme to "Love American Style," and oh yeah, they were the inspiration for the Partridge Family - literally the real thing. Again, just a footnote. That's pretty much all I knew as well until I watched this great documentary on Showtime.

The doc, done through interviews with the Cowsills, and their contemporaries, as well as footage of the time, tells the tale of the family band's meteoric rise and eventual fall into oblivion. There's a tragic side in the form of the manipulative and abusive father. It doesn't end well, probably why you don't remember them, but you should.



Friday, April 12, 2013

RIP Jonathan Winters


April has been terrible with loss. Today we have lost another of the greats. Award winning comedian, actor, writer, impressionist, and recording artist Jonathan Winters passed away today. More of my childhood has gone away.

When I was a kid, Jonathan Winters was everywhere. He was always a guest star on various sitcoms and variety shows, even game shows and talk shows. I'm pretty sure he even had a few short-lived shows of his own as well. His manic improv and madcap characters were always a treat for me.

I loved him in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and it was a family event whenever the film aired in our household. We always couldn't wait for him to tear the gas station apart. Classic classic comedy. Below you can see that scene, as well as Winters talking a bit about it, and how it helped him come back from a breakdown.

Later in life, he played Mearth, the son of Mork and Mindy in the final season of that sitcom. Being Robin Williams' idol and inspiration, it is wild to watch him work with and against Winters in a comedic battle of wills.

Later I loved the man in the 1994 version The Shadow, playing it straight as he also did in the dark comedy The Loved One and an episode of "The Twilight Zone" called "A Game of Pool."

Winters also did voice acting in animation, recorded dozens of comedy albums, wrote poetry, and appeared in television programs as myriad as "Hee Haw," "The American Sportsman," and "The New Scooby-Doo Movies." His final movie role will be the voice of Papa Smurf in The Smurfs 2. We have truly lost another of the legends.





Thursday, April 11, 2013

Talkin' 'Bout the Avengers


There been a lot of talk lately over at Biff Bam Pop! lately about the Avengers and Age of Ultron, most of it coming from me.

But if you'd like to get in there and talk too, this Sunday evening is your chance.

Reaperradio is hosting an Avengers Chat at the LadyNightsRealm Chatroom on Sunday, April 14th at 8:00 PM EST with a second chat wave at 9:30 PM EST.

The Chat will be covering any and all Avengers and Avengers-related comics titles, as well as the Animated Series, the movie, even the toys.

 Hope to see you there. Let's talk Avengers!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Arrow: Unfinished Business


We begin with a girl dancing and dying in traffic, drugged up on a new version of Vertigo. This results in visits to see The Count in the asylum, by both The Hood and Detective Lance. For the second episode in a row, the Joker parallels are there. The Count is obsessed with Arrow, and more focused in his presence. While Starling City is under siege from this new Vertigo, yeah, you guessed it, The Count escapes.

While Arrow pursues The Count, Diggle is still looking for Deadshot, the villain who killed his brother way back when. He gives all info that Felicity found on him to an old friend named Lyla, who now runs with an outfit called Argus. Comic readers will recognize the name. A.R.G.U.S. is the organization that manages the Justice League, and does all their gruntwork, as well as their PR.

Tommy has problems of his own. Lance thinks there's a connection between Verdant and the dead girl who died from Vertigo, and starts to investigate the club. He finds a suspicious $10,000 missing in its records. At first I'm thinking, wait, the 'Arrowcave' only cost ten grand??

It turns out however that the cash was used to pay off a corrupt building inspector. Lance wants to see the sub-level to the club now, and has brought a search warrant. In what should have been some clever switch, we merely get some rearranged furniture and crates. It's still not clear who packed up the Arrowcave - Oliver, because he inexplicably knew Lance was coming, or Tommy because he was afraid of what Oliver might do. This best friends one minute, assailant/victim thing the next is getting old.

Speaking of supporting cast, Felicity is not as much fun now that she is in on the secret. Rather than an actual player in the show, she's become simply an errand girl. Find this, do this, she may as well have "Yes, sir, no, sir." as her only lines. I want the old Felicity back. And as long as we're talking about the women in Oliver's life, on the island, Shado starts training him finally.

In the end, the Vertigo is tracked back to the asylum. Another Joker reference emerges. How many years did the Joker operate out of Arkham, his own headquarters beneath the mental hospital itself? But it's not The Count doing the dirty work, but his doctor and intern. Once they have been dispatched, Oliver mercifully does not take out the apparently insane Count.

This is just like the Carl moment in this past week's season finale of "The Walking Dead." Carl kills a surrendering kid, not for what he had done, but for what he might do in the future. Will Oliver live to regret not killing The Count, or should he have Carl-ed him?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Eurovision 2013 - The Last Five of the First Semi-Final


Montenegro - "Igranka" by Who See


If I'm being honest, I love the video but only like the song. It does have more happening both musically and visually than many of the other contenders. However I think it might be like one of my previous favorites, Svetlana Loboda, just way too much going on at once. Either way, I dig this one.

Russia - "What If" by Dina Garipova


One of the better entries, but not one of my favorites, this one has an excellent chance of finishing high, if not winning. Ballads that are songs of hope are always favorites in this competition.

Serbia - "Ljubav Je Svuda" by Moje 3


Another one of my favorites, and not just because of the beautiful women singing. Dance numbers that are a little off, and outlandish outfits are Eurovision tradition. Also, the tune is catchy and gets in your head.

Slovenia - "Straight Into Love" by Hannah Mancini


I'm not fond of her voice, or the way the music starts and stops, but the dance track could easily be a 1990s Cher club hit.

Ulkraine - "Gravity" by Zlata Ognevich


LIke Montenegro, I like the video more than the song. It's kind of quirky, and grows on me each time I hear it, but I doubt it will get to the finals. Time will tell.

The first Semi-Final for Eurovision 2013 will be held in Malmo, Sweden on the 14th of May.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Annette Funicello 1942-2013


April has been lousy with famous deaths, and today we lost another great one. I grew up with Annette Funicello, and no, I'm not that old. In the 1970s, there were reruns of the original "Mickey Mouse Club" on TV every weekday afternoon, and the 1960s Beach Party movies ran quite often on the UHF channels. I was very familiar with who she was, and even dug her when she would appear on talk shows and variety shows, and even Skippy peanut butter commercials, of the era at her current age.

Annette was a regular on "MMC" as well as appearing in their serials and several other Disney television series and movies. Later she moved on to the popular Beach Party films with Frankie Avalon, as well as having many top ten hits as a singer, one of them eventually becoming the theme to "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. She made a comeback in 1987 starring with Avalon in Back to the Beach, a clever homage to the Beach Party movies.

Continuing to sing, act, and make appearances over the next decade, Annette was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, complications of which finally took her life earlier today in California. We have truly lost another legend today, of many media. Annette Funicello will be missed.



Thursday, April 04, 2013

RIP Carmine Infantino


This is rough, losing two of my influences and inspirations in the same day. Artist, innovator, publisher, and legend Carmine Infantino passed away today at the age of 87.

Other than the "Batman" 1966 TV series, Carmine Infantino was my gateway drug into comics through the old issues of Flash my big brother Warren had. I remember one comic specifically, an 80-Page Giant, issue #169, no cover and missing a few pages but I read my brother's copy ragged. In it was a feature called 'How I Draw the Flash' by Carmine Infantino.

I am no artist by any means, but I was entranced by these two pages and they spurred in me an interest at least to try to draw. I learned perspective, anatomy, and of course comic book dynamics from these two pages of Infantino imparting his artistic secrets. To this day, I can't draw, but I can draw the Silver Age Flash, thanks to Mr. Infantino.

From those days of reading my brother's comics, the Flash became my favorite character. I grew up with a Flash written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Irv Novick. That was my Flash, but it was always a known fact, Infantino's Flash was the real Flash. He was among those that created the first of the Silver Age revamps of the heroes of the Golden Age, the Flash in Showcase #4, a more realistic, scientifically based superhero for a new age.

Not only had he drawn the original scarlet speedster back in the Golden Age, he was a collaborator in bringing back those heroes in the legendary groundbreaking "Flash of Two Worlds" story that created both Earth-2 and began DC Comics' multiverse. Infantino's 'Colors of Evil' from a rejected comic strip of his were the basis for the Flash's Rogues Gallery, the most unique assortment of baddies this side of Batman.

Speaking of Batman, he also revamped the character for the Silver Age, giving the stories a more realistic detective feel, and also adding the golden circle to the Bat-symbol. His Batman was just as definitive as his Flash. Infantino also left his mark on such characters as Adam Strange (still one of my favorites thanks to a team-up between the hero and the Justice League in a story by Infantino), Black Canary, the Elongated Man, Dial H for Hero, and others in his time at DC. Later he became the publisher, invigorated design, streamlined production, and put together such event comics as the first meeting of Superman and Spider-Man.

Eventually he left DC as publisher and moved on to other projects like the Marvel version of Star Wars and also Spider-Woman and Nova, and returning to DC to draw the Flash once again, and even Batman in a newspaper strip. He has become one of the industry's living legends. I got to meet him once at a con, and told him silly stories of my brother, the Flash, and my hideous artistic endeavors. He smiled and laughed. He was that kind of guy.

We have lost one of the big ones. Carmine Infantino was a giant in the industry, a legend of the comics field. He will be missed.

RIP Roger Ebert


After announcing a leave from work yesterday, today, Roger Ebert passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.

The multiple award winning Roger Ebert has been a big part of my life for at least thirty years, maybe longer. He has been an influence, an inspiration, and even yes, an advisor as to what movie I should see and not see. I loved watching "Sneak Previews" with him and Gene Siskel when it first aired in the 1980s, and immediately gravitated to Ebert as a guy who liked the kind of films I did.

Regarding the original "Sneak Previews," in college, a friend pointed out that the 'bald guy' knew film, but the 'fat guy' knew about films we wanted to see. My friend, fellow writer, and fellow movie reviewer, Derrick Ferguson said today on Facebook, "He understood that genre movies had to be compared to other genre movies and based on the standards of that genre... you don't compare "A Nightmare On Elm Street" to "Gone With The Wind" You compare it to "Friday the 13th" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"" Well said, my friend.

We didn't always agree, but such is the way of critics of any media, but I knew he was one of us. He understood genre, he understood movies so bad they were good, and he understood what really made for a good film. I loved his books on film, and even his outlandish Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Ebert was an extraordinary writer, reviewer, and entertainer, and he will be missed.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Arrow: Salvation


Oliver may need to step aside. It seems there a new vigilante in Starling City who calls himself The Savior, and he's got his own list he's checking names off of. In a present day twist on the Joker's old MO, he announces (and commits) his crimes via every cellphone (almost Sherlock-ian) in the city. Apparently, he's a department of transportation worker by day, but has some fighting and computer skills as a vigilante at night. I wonder what island he was stranded on?

The catch? Roy Harper is on the Savior's list, and he nabs him right in the middle of one of Roy and Thea's annoying anti-flirtations. From what we've seen of Roy so far, and what we know of his possible future, I can't imagine how the Savior got the drop on him. So of course we get to see Oliver in another race against time. Ho-hum.

Oliver does some crazy almost bionic style jumps in this episode, as well as some insane parkour. Man, Deathstroke must have taught him well. Stephen Amell's chest also makes a return as a cast member. The huge gay audience that I recently learned "Arrow" has will be pleased by that news.

The subplots roll on. Moira and Frank (Chen, not Bertinelli) continue to plot against Malcolm, with mixed results. Laurel and her folks continue to search for the thought dead Sarah, though also not with the results expected. On the island, Shado and Yao Fei join Oliver and Slade's resistance.

Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance has the best line of the episode, "Got to get going to airport, that red eye to Central City. I should be home in a flash." Love it! More, please.

Next episode, Count Verti-, ahem, I mean The Count returns. Same Arrow time, same Arrow channel...

Monday, April 01, 2013

Orphan Black - Don't Believe the Hype


BBC America has been pushing this at us for quite some time now. The impression is that this is the next big thing, and you better get on board right away. There has been little description of what is actually was about until very recently. It finally premiered this past Saturday night, right after the much anticipated debut of the second half of the seventh season of "Doctor Who." My first impression - don't believe the hype.

It sounds like it might be fun. A woman finds out she may have been cloned and has multiple clones of herself walking around living different lives. The actress Tatiana Maslany is certainly charismatic, and versatile to be playing various characters against herself. And it's shot in Toronto, a city I share somewhat of a kinship with as Biff Bam Pop! is based there. These are good things, but there's really little here that kept me interested. It's predictable, and that is something that the next big thing really shouldn't be.

One episode, filled with violence and sex, and the usual scifi trappings, and it just didn't grab me. I'll look forward to "Doctor Who" next week, and "Copper" later in the year until BBC America can give me something to really get excited about.

But that's me. For another view, you can hop on over to the aforementioned Biff Bam Pop! and check out my friend's Marie Gilbert's review.