Monday, December 29, 2008


The Spirit was a fun ass movie, but hey, this is a guy who enjoys All Star Batman and Robin, and DK sequel, etc (and never read Sin City, or 300)...It just seems to be cool to hate on Miller, and The Spirit, and if you're prone to that, this is Miller hater fodder extreme!
Was it a great movie? No, it certainly was a mess, but I still really enjoyed the hell out of it.
The thing is, it's hard to go into a movie and just purely take it in in this age... you go in with so many expectation or reservations from what you've heard and seen online etc. Some times things are so hyped, it's hard to match up to the expectations, other times, like with The Spirit, they're so badmouthed, any quality seems that much better in contrast...


The visuals, of course, were amazing, and I thought most of the cast were pretty good, Macht as the Spirit was cool, he fit the vibe and character very well, and Sam Jackson owned his Octopus (in his finest form since Pulp Fiction... over the top? Hell yes. Sublime? Hell yess!), the commissioner (that Wonder Years dad), and Jewish police gal (whom I didn’t recognize) were cool too.
The action was pretty cool too, it starts off great, with a slam bang Octopus v Spirit dust up, and finishes strong in the same vein.


Well, yes, there's a lot, but for me the flat to odd performances were cleary due to Frank's inexperienced hands, and mostly forgivable. I mean, with the whole tone here, it’s acceptable, and maybe even better with some really bad acting… Scarlett Johansson’s Silken Floss was the worst offender though, and not much surprise there... Scar Jo is pretty dry, and her beauty is best served in a certain light, Miller and co missed the mark here and didn't cater her costuming, makeup, whatever to bring that out, which is a huge mistake... to say nothing of her wooden performance (call it prequel syndrome, with George being the other big offender here, taking mostly top notch talent and making them utterly lifeless and dead eyed on screen).
However, as much as the directing of the actors was lacking, or uneven, by far the worst offender was the dreadful score. My god! Look, I'm not a big soundtrack honk, but these big budget franchises with generic or nonexistent scores (Iron Man, X-Men, FF, Hulk, etc) look superb compared to the work in The Spirit. The soundtrack here is downright annoying and distracting! It's almost like the producers knew they were in big trouble with the uneven directing/performances, so they tried to zing things up with the most obnoxious distracting score, that pulls you out of half the scenes. Awful. Just awful. There was one moment, mid movie, the elevator scene, where they had a snippet of jazz, and wow, something jazzy would've really suited this film better throughout.


So, yeah, if you're averse to Miller's over the top, broad stroke, lead heavy storytelling, or out for more Dark Knight/Iron Man modern contemporary ultra realism, this is clearly not for you, but, if like me, you're open minded and out to have a fun time at the movies, and be swept into an amazing new worlds, The Spirit DOESN'T disappoint!
Myself AND my wife really enjoyed it, and it's too bad that the films shortcomings will likely overshadow what's a fun, daring comic book movie that's clearly not for everyone. Come on all you Miller haters, get over yourselves… the man may turn off many, may not be what he once was, but he is a visionary artist, that continues to stay true to his self, and if he wants to try his hand at bringing his trademark style to the screen, as opposed to directors aping it, fine by me, and maybe he'll get it better next time (or maybe it'll be an even bigger mess).


Now, what did all of you think?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

TALES FROM NETFLIX: Turning Japanese

Watched a couple of off-the-beaten-path Japanese flicks recently, VERSUS and Takeshi Miike’s SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, so thought I’d give them a mention together...

First up, VERSUS

Just finished watching this one, and it’s a bit older, been kicking around since 2000, but I’d heard of it quite a ways back and put it in the queue, since it was supposed to be gonzo action with a touch of zombie, then when it got a plug on Attack of the Show’s Asian Underground, I dug it out and bumped it up.

To be honest, as much as I wanted to like it, I did have a really hard time not ejecting it, several times, but, I am glad I stuck with it. As much as it has really cool action and staged conflicts, and stylish anime style camerawork and characters, it does move very very slow when not in action, and get a bit repetitive. However, things do escalate, and get cooler.

Also, it’s not really a zombie flick, and I knew that, but don’t get it expecting that. Basically, an escaped prisoner intervenes in some kind of gang incident in the woods, but it turns out everything ties together, and the woods aren’t what they seem, when bodies start dropping, and then getting back up.

Choreographed sword fights, gun fights, fist fights, and 50 caliber damage!
RECOMMENDED if this sounds like your type of thing, it's definitely worth a watch, just be patient.

Along the same lines is a recent release from Japanese gonzo master, Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer), SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO

Takashi Miike has built a strong brand for himself as the cutting edge Japanese director, who traffics in the extreme, plus he’s quite prolific. Now, I haven’t seen too much of his work, but what I have seen is definitely gripping, if you can stomach it. With his latest release though, Miike is giving us his take on the spaghetti western genre, and is in safe mode by comparison. Django also features Quentin Tarantino in a cameo, so it’s gotten a bit of buzz.

As with Versus, I found Django a bit tough to get into at first, and contemplated giving up, but just like Versus again, I’m glad I stuck with it. Django plays like a straight western, but thematically it’s purely Japanese. Only, instead of choosing subtitles or dub, Miike has the cast here learn their lines phonetically in English, just as he did with his Masters of Horror feature, Imprint (also recommended, but very very dark), which is a bit strange, and so is the movie.

Stick it out though, because it’s a solid story, and has some fun and imaginative standoff/showdown sequences.

A ballet of gunplay, costumes, and blazing gatlins!
RECOMMENDED, again, if you’re ready to be challenged with some offbeat Japanese spaghetti western craziness.
For more Netflix gems, hit up the TALES FROM NETFLIX archives HERE

Friday, December 19, 2008

TALES FROM NETFLIX: From Dusk Til Dawn and on and on

So, I'm a huge Rodriguez, and Tarantino fan (especially Tarantino), but I didn't much care for From Dusk Til Dawn when it first came out, I can't stand Juliette Lewis, and the whole vampire twist wasn't my thing at the time... I'd never been much of a horror movie buff, til more recent years. Now I get the whole inspiration and everything behind it, and just love horror movies of every variety yadda yadda.

Anyway, re-watched Dusk Til Dawn earlier this year, and didn't realize they ever made sequels, so I'd been checking those out.

I watched Dusk Til Dawn 2 (Texas Blood Money ) a month or two back, and while it was fun, it didn't tie into the first movie too much, and wasn't really that good. It has it’s moments, and some flair here and there, but is otherwise pretty forgettable…

However, I just watched Dusk Til Dawn 3 (The Hangman's Daughter - 1999) tonight, and that is a hell of a lot better... a really fun movie.
It's well done, great cast (mostly), great costumes, designs, sets, music, you name it, all very solid.
The story is also great too, as it's a prequel this time, set in Mexico in the early 1900's, that has outlaws, Christians, lawmen, and more all colliding, and eventually having it out at the infamous vampire pyramid home that would become the Titty Twister in the later films.

Some great gunplay, humor, gore, and damn, Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison, the clone man himself) as a hangman/Indiana Jones bad ass. Not to mention Michael Parks (Grindhouse) is super cool throughout, and Machete (Danny Trejo as the barkeeper) as the only actor to appear in all three films (I think).

From the imaginative story, to the quality production, and colorful cast of characters, the movie is full of quirky touches that make Dusk Til Dawn 3 stand out as an overlooked camp/horror/action/adventure gem!

Check it out if you haven't!

And for the die hards, Texas Blood Money might be worth a look, there's nothing to great about it, but it's not a bad way to spin up your DVD player...

FROM DUSK TIL DAWN 2 - MILDLY RECOMMENDED (If only for the Bruce Campbell cameo!)

Dusk Til Dawn 3 TRAILER:

And who can forget this scene, man woman or child, from the original?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I was finally able to catch Quantum last night, as I'd been dying to see it since it hit, but my wife's not big on going to movies, and my Mom had actually mentioned wanting to see it, but it turns out my Dad and wife not so much. So with the holidays and everything, it took a bit to get on the same page, as I absolutely had to see this in the theater, so my mom and I went last night... probably not your typical Bond ticket buying demographic ;)

So, how was the movie?
Was it worth the wait?
And what did mom think?

Quantum of Solace kicks ass.

Casino Royale? An appetizer, a slow burn origin to this new, lean, mean, ass kicking machine that is an utterly modern spin on the shoe worn franchise, wholly unleashed from the opening frame, clear up to the final, where perhaps we catch a glimpse of evolution and resolution. And just as Casino takes us directly to the start of Quantum, most likely this latest chapter does to the next. Because it’s not just James Bond the character who’s been totally reworked, and the world he exists in, but also the framework of the franchise, to include an ongoing, over arcing story. One that, frankly, seems asinine to not have existed before… we all follow her majesty’s secret agent from film to film, over decades, but we’ve never been acknowledged in doing so, not to any great extent. This new spin finally takes that into consideration, not only giving us a fresh start, new approach, and origin, but an ongoing story, unfolding in layers.

Quantum peels back the next layer, and starts to get at what, and who was behind the tragedy that befell our superhuman spy the last time out, and while it resolves some of that, it also unfolds more layers and points to a much larger tale afoot. It’s simply great storytelling, and when it’s coupled with even smarter set pieces, increased pace, an amazing character growing before our eyes, all with fantastic acting, production, and direction, Quantum of Solace maintains Casino’s momentum, accelerates it, and slings you into the much anticipated next chapter of Daniel Craig’s Bond franchise.

And for those that find it doesn’t carry enough of the elements we've come to expect from Bond films, i.e. the gadgets, girls, and goons, I’m not among them. I thought, just as with Casino, there were a ton of techie tools in play, and next gen gadgets that are either already in use, or believably could be. And while both films feature new, stronger female counterparts, and more grounded villains, this Bond still has plenty of game with the ladies, and I think we’ll get bigger villains as the story progresses. And there are plenty of nods to cannon along the way, in scenes like the one when Bond escapes MI6 at the hotel but meets up with M in classic Bond profile, or when a woman turns up dead on a bead in that same hotel, covered head to toe in oil (as opposed to gold).

My only complaint, as with the first, is the tricky balancing act of a James Bond franchise that very much lives in an ultra real world setting, it can some times be too over the top, in contrast with it’s grounded nature. Although, my qualms with this in Quantum are much better than with Casino’s ridiculous set driven Venetian villa collapse climax. So, as with Casino, it’s not perfect, but it’s damn close!

I absolutely loved Quantum, it is an exhilarating, gorgeous, and dangerous next level of Bond storytelling!!

Oh, and mom loved it too :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

SUPER REAL NOTES: Wolves in stores today!

Ease on down to your local comic shop and check out the latest Super Real Graphics offering, SRG PRESENTS: THE WOLVES OF ODIN!

The latest creator-owned OGN is by Grant Gould and features VIKINGS VS WEREWOLVES... huh! wha? Oh my!?! :o

If you don't score a copy, get your retailer to order one post haste via the handy dandy Diamond order code SEP084260

Or, if you live in the boonies, or some undeveloped corner of the globe, use this here Internet thing and make it yours instantly!!!

Either via the SRG store (a trusted source in SRG ware since ought five) HERE

Or the online retail giant, HERE

And then HERE's where you can learn all about our tale of Norse mythology turned Lycan...

No excuses!
I want full reports back to me in the morning!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Steve Gerber tribute

Earlier this year we lost a voice that influenced many, and had a giant impact on the landscape of our industry, and more specifically, creators’ rights, Steve Gerber.

For those who were fans of his work, his characters, or his actions, I can't recommend the latest issue of BACK ISSUE magazine enough... issue number 31, the Steve Gerber tribute issue that came out this week.

It covers his career in depth, from Howard, to Thundarr (yes, Thundarr the Barbarian, god I loved that show), to his more recent work, with many industry friends and collaborators contributing. It's a can't miss, and a solid tribute to a king of comics, who truly changed the game, in a myriad of ways.

Check out the magazine HERE

And Howard fans, waddle on over to for a walk down memory lane.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SUPER REAL NOTES: Making comics

So, want to be a part of the glamorous world of comic book publishing?

You might have heard me talk about a book I'm publishing, Super Real Graphics Presents: The Wolves of Odin? It's due out later this month.

As it's full color, and perfect bound (i.e. it has a spine) the books are printed overseas (so that the price is affordable). With it printed on another continent (you know, like Africa, as in not a country, not actually Africa either, but a different continent folks) that means the books must ship to our part of the world, and since we're doing this all in the effort of cost, that means by boat.

So, you're printing overseas, and shipping the books back to America (which also means longer lead times btw), you don't just need to get the books to the US, but to you and your distributor specifically. Being located on the west coast, Portland Oregon, you'd think they could ship the books to you, but no dice. Seattle is as close as they can boat the freight, it then has to move by land to you (or Diamond). Well, when I first used an overseas printer, moving the freight 175 miles south from Seattle to Portland was only a small extra amount, but when I printed SRG Presents Gnome this spring, the prices had gone up, drastically. So, it was an extra $600 to move the freight to me (and then, again, I still have to ship copies to Diamond on top of that). So, that means I have to drive up to Seattle, in my Jeep Cherokee, and pick up the books myself, and save about $500. A tank or so of gas, and about 6 hours work, makes it all worth it.

So, after chasing down the freight for days (once it gets' to the states, it then has to clear customs, and that requires the printer and freight companies all working together, and sharing proper documentation etc, which, in this case, they didn't) today was the first I could get to the books, and since they're due in shops this month, and have to ship to Diamond, and then move to their proper distribution centers, before shipping to shops, time is of the essence. Well, it just happened that today we were in the midst of 2 days of rain storms...
Yes, it rains allot in the Northwest, and especially on that stretch of I-5, but our rain is normally of the lighter variety, so monsoon downpours were just a nice touch :)

Here's my Jeep, with the full thousand pound, 31 case, pallet loaded inside, straight from the forklift...
Just a glimpse into the fabulous life of comic publishing.
Any way, the good news is, Wolves of Odin is on it's way!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008


Alright folks, let's get political, po-li-ti-cal, I wanna get poli-ti-cal, let's get into party talk, party talk (to the tune of Olivia Newton John's Physical baby!)...

I'm not going to say who I voted for (go on guess), but I think we can all agree our country is in dire need, and this is a muy important time, so hopefully you all registered, and did your duty!

If not, here's a little somethin somethin to help ya motivate!

And, oh yeah, I love me some Deee-Lite and Lady Miss Kier!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


A tag team midget luchador Dirk Diggler...
A vengeful bad ass twin biker queen...
Monster on cat beastiality...
Monster farting, spewing, spooging dissection orgies...
Group vomiting...
Baby tossing...
Decomposing grandma catapulting...
Feast 2 is truly a feast of foulness and depravity, and god damn I love it!
Give me the craziest shit you can think up, any day of the week.
Does it cross the line? Or every line? Yes. Okay by me, if you tell a fun story, and although Feast 2 (and the original) revel in the taboo, they've got a hell of a lot more going for them.

I absolutely loved the first film, the Project Greenlight season 3 winner was a ballsy in your face send up of the survival horror genre, mixing 2 parts Tremors with equal parts Tarantino and Truama films. Mysterious beastial creatures cornering a dozen or so desert drifters in a hole in the wall bar, and literally fucking with them. Sprinkle in a couple oddball cameos and supporting actors, like Jason Mewes (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame), Trech (of OPP fame), Judah Friedlander (of VH1 trucker hat video/Best Week Ever pseudo fame), along with Henry Rollins to kick some ass in pink sweat pants, and the quirk ratchets up a few notches.Feast quickly establishes that it will mercilessly fuck with any and all survival horror formulas, and constantly use that to it's advantage. With the sequel literally picking up from the final frames of the first, we're fairly certain we're in for more of the same. And while the sequel breaks new ground, like taking the production outside the walls of the only bar setting of the first for instance, it mostly suffers for it. The opening act is a bit manic, and not near up to par with what's come before, but once things come together, and the setting gets dark again, it really hits it's stride.
This time out we have an entirely new cast of misfits (mostly, a couple familiar faces do welcomely return), and a broader scope, along with more monsters, but the trademark bat shit crazy characters and situations are very in keeping with the first film! And again, Feast 2 Sloppy Seconds is daringly nasty, so if you can't throw down with no holds barred cinema, don't bother. If however, like me, you're overjoyed at the prospect, Feast 2 is an instant classic, just like the first. And while the original was a buzzer to buzzer success, the second does falter a bit as I said at the start, and also have some spotty effects at times, but in the end I could care less, it's still a hell of a good time.So, if you didn't see the first film, and somehow missed my mad joyous ravings about it, here's a sloppy second chance to throw in on the Feast bandwagon... because with this one's ending, the creative forces behind this franchise (the original director and scriptwriters returned for the sequel) are clearly down for more!



HELL RIDE - Tarantino produces what seemed like it could've been a "Grindhouse" feature, but you quickly realize why it's not... All the elements of a Tarantino work are there, Michael Madsen, desert setting, soundtrack, jump cut timeline, but all the substance is lacking. It's a confusing mess with a questionable cast, but shot really nice, and is cool to look at...


Thursday, October 30, 2008

TALES FROM NETFLIX: The Fabulous Stains

I think it was Rolling Stone (side note, my wife has us subscribed to nearly every magazine, literally, for next to no money I guess, I dunno, but I do enjoy RS and Entertainment Weekly) who had a blurb about this 1982 gem a few issues back...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: THE FABULOUS STAINS is an early 80's punk rock mockumentary of sorts, and stars a very young Diane Lane as bandleader to would be punk trio The Stains (who also sport a very young Laura Dern on bass). It seems Diane's character was featured on a 60 Minutes style TV expose after telling her boss off on camera (in a cameo from a moustache sporting Data from Star Trek TNG no less), which launches her into an orphaned teen angst fueled journey of empowerment and media manipulation, yeah. It seems her refusal to fit into the accepted path for America's youth, specifically women, with her white striped hair, risque fish netted outfit, and "don't put out" mantra are exactly what other young women are looking for in their lives.

Stains is not only quite a unique story, but it's told in gritty style, perfectly capturing the darker side of the times, showcasing punk music, and road weary rockers, as they take a cross country run down tour bus (complete with rasta driver/manager) that never makes it out of the mid-American tri-state PA setting. Like a time capsule, of punk music, clothes, and attitudes from the dawn of the 80's, and with a line up of radically younger actors still around today, also including Ray Winstone (most recently as Beowulf, and Indiana Jone's "buddy" in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), and punk/rockers (members of Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Tubes are featured) the Stains is the perfect rock movie and feels as snarky fresh as if it were shot now, with an eye for campy details from then.

Great music, great cast, and a solid story make LAGTFS a really fun trip to another era, that's as relevant (both musically, and socially, it's mixed messages are as grey as reality) now as it was all those decades ago, even with the uneven ending.



FIVE ACROSS THE EYES - This no budget horror is shot in shakey cam as 5 girls take a backroad home from a football game that gets them lost, and colliding with a seriously pshycho Toyota Fourunner... chaos ensues. It's at times gripping, capturing the manic vibe of the situations, but ultimately a scene or two too long, and contrived. MILDLY RECOMMENDED

MOTHER OF TEARS - Dario Argento's final in his witch trilogy is a solid occult outing, complete with freaky demonic monkey, but daughter Asia, and the overall arc, come over poorly in the end. MILDLY RECOMMENDED

REST STOP: DON'T LOOK BACK - The first one sucked, this one is better, but don't bother.

Friday, October 24, 2008


It's been floating around the nets, but just finally viewed it myself...

This is a touch longer than the last one, and still looks uberdy cooldidy!

And here's some cool Watchmen fan art I've seen recently!

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TALES FROM NETFLIX - Dance of the Dead

Ever since first hearing about DANCE OF THE DEAD on AICN last year, I've been anxiously awaiting it's release on DVD. Well, it came out last week, as part of the new Lions Gate Ghost House Underground series (which I'm assuming has replaced the annual Horrorfest releases?)...

SYNOPSIS: On the night of the big High-School Prom, the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn't get dates to the dance.

While the movie is a lot of fun, and has some really great moments, it doesn't quite achieve full on greatness. It is however a really solid watch, and very much recommended, especially for the zombie fans.

Also, for the zombie faithful out there, while it's your standard bio-waste driven zombie virus plaguing a community style set-up slash send-up, in keeping with the zom/com formula minted by the classic original Return of the Living Dead (and popularized more recently by Shuan of the Dead), it does offer some really fun flourishes to the tried and true, especially about mid-movie, when the cast begin to engage the zombies in hand-to-hand combat! It's fucking worth a viewing for that alone!!

This is not one of the darkly serious horror spins on zombies, it's tongue bitten off in cheek, zombie frenchin', prom crashin', copious amounts of a Pat Benetar cover song soundtrack spinnin' good time! It also should be noted the production on this one is top notch. If you're into Dance of the Dead, you might also check out Night of the Living Dorks, or Dead and Breakfast (which was much more enjoyable, yet a much lower rent production)!


Monday, October 20, 2008

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Javiland podcast

Yesterday, I joined in on another conversation over at my buddy Javier Hernandez's bi-weekly comics creation podcast, Javiland. This time, along with about four other creators we discussed "Printing comic books in the Age of Web Comics".

Talking about POD (print on demand), mini comics, and not really talking about full and short run comic book printing, as we mostly got into threads about webcomics. Lots of info if you haven't looked into publishing on or via the web.

You can check it out here:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

SUPER REAL NOTES: Marvel Masterpieces 2 artist proof cards

My first sketch card work was for Upper Deck's Marvel Masterpieces series 2, for which I did 200 sketch cards. As part of the payment for the set, each sketch card artist received 10 "artist proof" sketch cards to do what they wished with. I received my cards back in August, and posted commission availability here, on DeviantArt, and on the Scoundrel sketch card forums. I received 3 commissions, and sold 1 via eBay.

Since I had 6 cards left to sell, and a deadline to get them approved by Upper Deck/Marvel, I went ahead and tried doing my first 2 card set, making one image across 2 cards, and offering that on eBay. I was pleased to sell those cards within a couple hours of posting via buy it now, a set of the classic Uncanny X-Men, so I decided to work up another 2 card set for eBay. This time I did a grouping of Avengers women, and those sold by the next morning. With 2 cards left, I went ahead and did a third 2 card set, with this last being of women from the X-Men. Those cards are currently (at this time) on eBay, HERE and HERE

Here are all of the MM2 artist proofs I've done (the final 10th card is commissioned, and I'll add it here once it's completed):
Avengers Women
Uncanny X-Men
Professor X
and Nova!

You can view most of my 200 MM2 series sketch cards HERE (or in my DeviantArt gallery)

I did 75 sketch cards for series 3, which you can view HERE, and will have 10 artist proof cards to share from that eventually as well. I've currently only sold one of those, so nine are still available (email me if interested). Just as with the MM2 ap's, I'll start auctioning off my own custom works on eBay...

Since the artist proof's have been working out pretty well, I look forward to working on more sketch cards in the future. It's not only fun to draw Marvel characters, as I'm a Marvel guy from way back, but working on the 2.5x3.5" canvas, in live media, is very interesting too (as opposed to working digitally on an open canvas). Not to mention, there are plenty of other cool card/licensed properties out there!

Here's hoping.

Monday, October 06, 2008

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Javiland podcast

Yesterday, I joined in on a coversation about branding on my buddy Javier Hernandez's new bi-weekly comics creation podcast, Javiland. Along with four other artists, cartoonists, creators, we discussed branding and how it relates to both publishing comics, and creators themselves, debating the many challenges of getting across a "brand" through your work.

You can check it out here:

Branding is something I feel is key in a visual medium like comics. Just look at the most popular publishers, and creators, they all have very distinct brands, either through cult of personality (Stan Lee, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison etc), unique approach (artists like Alex Ross, Adam Hughes, and the late Michael Turner, to name a few, stand out in the crowd by making their art their brand), and the large publishers, with thier everpresent branding and trademarked mulit-media superhero properties.

Finding your brand, and cultivating it, only reinforces your efforts, and can lead to wider success and recognition.

To an artist/creator seeking commercial success, branding is key, and can only help.


Could Zack Snyder's Watchmen adaptation reach to the pinnacles of cinema, just as the source material vaunted to arguably the highest achievement in comics?! Could we dare to dream??

Well, based on his mind numbingly cool remake of Dawn of the Dead (not perfect, but damn close), the zeitgeist that was his 300 adaptation, and the early buzz on advance screenings of scenes from the film, it just may be that he's done it again, and we could all have an orgasmic movie going experience on the horizon...

DC, those fuckers, are gonna sell a shit load of books, and the movie, even if it falls short, will be utterly enjoyable at the least. I suspect though, it just may blow our fucking minds...

Check out AICN's notes on the screening HERE and HERE

Monday, September 29, 2008

MEANWHILE AT THE MOVIES... The Spirit just may kick ass!

Okay, buzz on the Spirit seems to have been shakey... Frank Miller's had the golden touch at the box office, sure, but directing?!? When he'd only previously co-directed on Sin City, helping Robert Rodriguez bring his own comics to life? That made sense, I mean, he was working with someone who understood making movies, but to go from that straight to his own feature???

Well, the jury's still out, but the new second trailer for the Spirit should go a ways towards generating some positive buzz, as it looks... amazing!!

Check it out HERE
Can't wait to unwrap the movie at Christmas, good or bad!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Marvel Masterpieces 3 Sketch Cards

I completed 75 cards for Upper Deck's Marvel Masterpieces 3 (out in November?), all of which were approved.

Here are the cards (6 different sets; Wolverines, Spider-Men, Things, Iron Man armors, Annihilation Conquest, and Guardians of the Galaxy):

I have my 10 artist proof cards in hand, some still available, $75ea. Just let me know if you're interested!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

IN CASE U MISSED IT: interview on

With the new SRG Presents book on the horizon, I caught up with Jen Contino from The Pulse, and did an interview covering my publishing from Super Real to SRG Presents, and the future ("The future Conan?")!!

Check it out HERE dear readers!

Thanks again to Jen for the hospitality!

Friday, September 12, 2008

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Wolves on Newsarama!

The latest SUPER REAL GRAPHICS PRESENTS graphic novella, THE WOLVES OF ODIN by Grant Gould (Star Wars the Clone Wars online), has a feature interview with both Grant and myself, currently live on comics biggest news site, Newsarama!

Check it out HERE

Friday, September 05, 2008

SUPER REAL NOTES - SRG Presents: Wolves of Odin ORDER NOW

Don't forget the awesome new Super Real Graphics Presents graphic novella I'm publishing this November, Grant Gould's THE WOLVES OF ODIN is available in the current Diamond Previews catalog, September 08, for ordering now (in “comics and graphic novels” section, on page 318, following a full page ad on page 317)

Here's a sneak peek at 6 pages from the book:

Super Real Graphics Presents: THE WOLVES OF ODIN
By Grant Gould
64 pages, digest sized (6x9), Full Color, $7.50

Remember to place your orders with comic book shops now, via the Previews catalog and Diamond order code SEP08 4260

Monday, September 01, 2008

INDUSTRY RANT: Passion of the Comics

Well, haven't done one of these in a while, and it's kind of topical now, what with Kirkman's plea to save comics...

I dunno, that just seemed, odd, to me.
But, hell yes, can't argue more creator-owned comics wouldn't be a darn cool thing!

Anyway, my buddy Rashad (one kick ass comics head) had a journal up on DeviantArt about comic fans needing to "chill", in relation to making some changes in the US industry, for the better. Be that more creator-owned comics, or some actual, you know, change and growth, to their beloved superhero (registered trademark/copyright Marvel/DC) comics!

And yeah, while I agree with that, I don't think the ownus of change is on the fans, or at least, the "readers", I think it's more on the powers-that-be, or the "powers-that-will-be"!

So here's my response, or passionate rant, that mostly sums up my observations to what's needed to truly move the US comics industry forward:

The US comics industry is incestuous, and is only concerned with milking money from it's existing, dwindling fanbase. And because of that, it's core fanbase are only concerned with getting more of what they're spoon fed by the big two.
Look, it's business, and through other media, they aren't forced to innovate and bring in a new audience. They can keep wrangling dollars out of the aging fanbase, and not really giving too much effort to new readers.
It's not really on the fan base though, there gonna want what they want, for the most part.
It's gonna take something new changing the game; digital, manga, etc, or a corporate focus to get new readers at the cost of existing ones.
There's a lot of things that are great about the current market, but most of it is built on old outdated standards, from production, to story, to quality, to distribution. Soup to nuts, the US market is still built around the disposable entertainment newsstand model it left behind decades ago.
To have a better quality product, one only need look East or West, manga as many point out, tell natural story arcs, more than never ending serializations (only concerned about maintaining the status quo for licensing), and European comics have much higher production quality from their slower production schedule emphasizing art over all, instead of a new book every 30 fucking days!! To say nothing of either’s wider focus in genre, tone, and style.
To put it bluntly, it’s a mess.
But if it’s clear to a layman like me what’s lacking, than surely something can be done.
As I said, it’ll just take some kind of paradigm shift. Because the fans don’t want it (by in large), and the corporations that run/own/are the big two (that do what, 70/80% of US comics?) don’t either. The publishing divisions are just farm systems for other media and licensing, that's what Marvel/DC comics are.
But, with a new generation embracing manga, and webcomics, as much or more than the stale US market (hey, don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of good shit in it too, despite itself, but it’s approach is completely ass backwards and not looking forward), who knows what may come.
Digital will undeniably play a part, or most likely change the game, no outcry for tangible reading can stop the economics of it, it’s just a matter of a better reader most likely (and yes, there’ll always be print… or at least for the foreseeable future, to some extent, but not as the norm), and/or time.

And yeah, it’s funny, the US market had the tools, and the model in place, with things like Ultimate Marvel, and All Star DC. You could roll out new contemporary retellings of your core characters/stories, which you’ll HAVE to do eventually (as you point out, not many concepts are built like the X-Men where by it’s very nature, a school for mutants, it’s built to have legacy and change... but hey, just cause they keep adding (or subtracting) mutants from their roster, don't confuse that for actual change), while still telling the current continuity, and bringing those stories growth and an actual end. All while being massively epic, on a scale beyond any other medium. You’ve got your existing stories for your aging fanbase, and new contemporary stories for new fans (and those that enjoy that as well). Then you can just repeat that model. :)
The problem is, then they'd have to actually invest in finding that new market...

Otherwise, as things are, there’s never any real change, and only the die hardest of the die hards, won’t get burnt out, or just plain burnt, by that! (which is pretty much what you have now, perhaps the movies etc bring back some lapsed readers/fans, but do they really bring in new fans in any large number?)
Every death, undone.
Every change, swept away.
It’s frustrating, dumb, and just lame.
And none of it serves story, which is what ideally, we’d all like to see.

Or ya know, outside serialization, creator-owned or story driven material, if it’s good enough, will live on. Case in point, Watchmen.
So hopefully that will sink into someones brain, “Hey, this Watchmen thing doesn’t go on to infinity, maybe telling a really great story can continue to sell as good, or better than recycling the same shit forever?!?”
But more likely, they’ll just start an ongoing comic for it! ;)

And the one last caveat to all this, that's kind of forgotten today, is licensed comics. And no, I don’t mean Dynamite Entertainment and nostalgic licenses like that (Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, etc), those sell comics for independent/smaller publishers because they’re recognized brands marketed to the existing aging fanbase. I mean licenses for current other media. The big two used to trade in this heavily, and now that they’re essentially their own license companies, do not. And that my friends, is/was a huge factor to snagging new readers!
Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, etc
Hit movies, TV, and toy franchises bring in new readers.
They buy a comic of their favorite toy, then if they like comics, start trying other stuff.
Where’s Harry Potter, where’s Lord of the Rings, where’s more video games of the moment?
That puts new butts in the seats!
Sure, there’s Battlestar Galactica, Halo etc, but those skew more older, which is a tougher sell for those who aren’t already fans of the medium, to say nothing of the lacking mainstream availability.
Oh, and FYI, bookstores are not the answer.
You need outlets that reach everyone, and bookstores are far from that.
Outside the internet, the easy answer a few years ago was video stores, but not anymore… but something more along those lines, where people already traffic in similar media on a large scale.

As you can tell man, this is one of my biggest peeves, let’s not call it fixing comics, but improving them. If you’re a true fan of the medium, you only want to share it with more people, and I just don’t see that happening enough with where things are, or where they’re headed, but there’s always hope!

What do you think?

Come on, lets IMPROVE comics!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

TALES FROM NETFLIX - Starship Troopers trilogy?


With the recent release of a third Starship Trooper movie (direct to DVD), it was time to revisit the 1997 original, and it's 2004 follow up. I'd really enjoyed the feature when it came out, for the mash up of Paul Verhoeven's stylings, and Heinlein Sci-Fi bug warfare, but was ultimately disappointed by it's anti-climatic ending. Over a decade later, how would it hold up, was it as fun and well polished as I remembered? Would it age well? Would I still hate the ending??
The answers were yes, yes, and sort of.
It does hold up really well, with the cheeky "would you like to know more" military adverts coming off just as fresh and fun as they did way back in the 1900's, along with the special effects, I always really loved those nasty Arachnid bug designs! Hell, even the cast, the much maligned Denise Richards, where is he now Casper Van Dien lead (why he's in Starship Troopers 3), and Melrose Place cast off Rico rival, are all really fun here regardless.
Sure the story, as broad and epic as it is, gets too cute with the circumstances of our three school chums crossing paths (again, and again, and again), but hey, it's NPH! (back in the day it was Doogie, but now he's made a name on his own dammit!) Plus, fuck yeah, Jake Busey was never better as a chip off the ol insane block!
I still really enjoy this film, and riding along with the cadets as they enroll in the war against the bugs (cause the only good bug is a dead bug, that'll never change!), the cool in-your-face sci-fi warfare, and all the winking and nodding along the way, that is til we get to our Brain Bug ending, and things kinda fall apart for me. It's not that it was too much to buy, with everthing played loose all along, it just feels off to me, rushed.

But hey, Starship Troopers is a great, an almost perfect sci-fi movie, despite it's flaws! It may be goofy, but I love it!


Years later we got a decidedly different follow up, gone were the original cast, along with most the themes of the first film. Sure we still had the Federation recruiting feed bookend, the trademark arachnids, and titular troopers, but this time, things were decidedly more focused, and of a much more horror nature. This film, which I really like and enjoy, is more of a "Tales of the Starship Troopers" than a proper sequel. It doesn't feature any of the first movies characters, or advance the overall story much, but it is a fun and cool side story, in the same universe.
The only cast member to carry over is Brenda Strong, which is a bit confusing, because her smaller supporting role in the first film is of a starship pilot who's killed, and here she's a bad ass infantry Sargent??? But anyway, doesn't matter, the key to Trooper 2, is to be prepared for a bit more gore and horror, than just in your face sci-fi war fare...

However, the story, centered around an abandoned infantry post on a bug world, and all it's cool anti-bug defenses, as well as a mysterious Captain that may be a real life hero, or a murderous decenter, is a pure sci-fi horror gem. Well, gem might be a bit strong, but it is very solid and a lot more fun than you might expect, and all with the trappings of the Starship Troopers universe. Just don't get this anticipating a true sequel, but a darkly fun movie!
Also of note, the under appreciated Richard Burgi (24, Hostel 2) stars as the no nonsense titular Captain, and the Nip Tuck siren, Kelly Karlson, appears as an (SPOILER WARNING) often nude bug-controlled private!


Now, this is a proper sequel in all but budget.
Here, we have the triumphant return of Lt. Rico, now a Colonel, and a wider focus back on the entire federation forces and their efforts against the bugs. New bugs, new leadership, and eventually new advanced "marauder" tech are showcased! However, the whole thing is uneven production wise, as it's clearly hampered by it's limited direct-to-dvd finances. Whereas with 2, the story turned inward to offset the reduced made-for-dvd budget, here, the original film's writer returns to both write and direct, and restore the scope to a more epic scale, regardless of the diminished effects capabilities. The effects aren't terrible (most the time), they're just more in line with television sci-fi than feature film.

The story and acting are also uneven, so there's nothing about this effort that's superior in any way to the original (that just keeps it on par with the first movie doesn't it?), but despite all of that, once the dust settles, it is a fun story, with plenty of cool stuff to make for an enjoyable watch. At the mid-point, I'd written it off as a loss, but they won me back by the credits.

Other key notes on this one, is the addition to the cast of Jolene Blalock (the vulcan from Star Trek: Enterprise), and the return of the captured brain bug (sans NPH)!

It's kooky, and a bit of a mess at times, so just don't expect too much and you'll do fine.RECOMMENDED (for fans of the series, or sci-fi fans only)

Starship Troopers, sex, bugs, and violence, for fans of low grade sci-fi!