Friday, August 21, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weekly Comics - August 15

The Walking Dead
Volume 10, What We Become

I collect The Walking Dead in it's trade paperback collections. I balance the painful wait between volumes with getting more story at a time. Volume 10 collects issues 55 to 60 of the savagely brilliant ongoing series that is one of the most bleak but compulsively readable epics in comics.

The premise, for the uninitiated, is that at the end of the zombie movie the story just keeps going. We follow the hunted survivors of the roaming bands of zombies that have over run the Earth. Different hunted groups merge, characters join the group, form relationships, get eaten, new people arrive, but distressingly, less all the time.

People transform. As the book advertises. 'No government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead we are forced to finally start living.' In this volume we learn that can also mean becoming monsters no less terrifying than the hungry dead.

Highest recommendation.

Amazing Spiderman

Let's call this the 'Welcome back Mary Jane' cover shall we?

So, a few decades ago in real time, a few years in comics time Peter Parker found out that Mary Jane Watson knew he was Spiderman, had in fact always known since they were both teenagers but had kept that knowledge a secret even from him.

After years of playing the field Peter Parker zeroed in Mary Jane Watson, they were a steady item for a few years and then in a time of event driven comics they got married.

And the writers just couldn't figure out how to do Peter Parker, put upon young everyman if he was married to a super model/actress. They were split up by Mary Jane's move to Hollywood but stayed married. You can't give a heavily licensed trademark comic book character a divorce. Just can't happen.

So after the Marvel Comics Civil War event when Spiderman revealed his identity as Peter Parker to the world and Aunt May got shot by a sniper, the powers that be specifically editor in Chief Joe Quesada, decided that they needed a full continuity reset.

Spiderman couldn't get a divorce, so he sold his marriage to the devil in return for Aunt May's life and the secret of his identity back.

No, really.

After a year away, after everyone on Earth's memory is wiped of the knowledge that he's actually Spiderman Mary Jane returns to establish the current continuity line that almost everything happened the way it originally did except that they didn't get married. They had a longstanding relationship, she seems to still know he's Spiderman, maybe they even lived together, but they didn't get married.

Oh, plus, J. Jonah. Jameson is Mayor of New York and Peter's back to working for him and a creepy serial killer super villain coats Peter's face in plastic and drops him into a pit of acid.

Yes, this review was an excuse to run that cover.

The Chronicles of Wormwood The Last Battle
Garth Ennis and Oscar Jimenez

Like the novel Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Wormwood is a play on The Omen, the story of a sympathetic Antichrist. Instead of a likable 12 year old boy, Wormwood is a mostly likable grown up TV executive. He has a perverse intelligent rabbit, a forgiving girlfriend and he likes to hang out at the bar with his brain damaged buddy Jesus Christ.

In the first volume Wormwood's girlfriend dumps him after finding out about his steamy afternoons of anal sex with Joan of Arc. She's taken him back now, but he's still keeping the whole Antichrist thing a secret. Volume 2, The Last Enemy was really only memorabe for the line "Suck my cockectomy spawn of the Dark One!"

Now after defeating both his father Satan and God in Volume One to get them to leave humanity alone, somebody even worse has taken over Hell. This is just a brief preview of the coming miniseries Volume 3, The Last Battle, with an affordable $1.99 price tag.

It's a
sacrilicious treat!

Dominic Fortune #1 of 4
Howard Chaykin and Edgar Delgado

Chaykin resurrects his 30's era pulp adventurer created in the 70's. He was originally published by Atlas Comics and called the Scorpion and then in Marvel magazines and comics as Dominic Fortune. It was always a stylish and sexy book. Now, in the new miniseries for Marvel Max, Marvel's explicit content line there are a lot more naked people and blowjobs.

A cross between Indiana Jones and Alexander Portnoy, as the story begins Dominic Fortune is demonstrating what an amoral swashbuckling mercenary he is by selling his fighter pilot skills back and forth to both sides of the just ended war between Bolivia and Paraguay, (which would make this June of 1935.) and falling from the sky into a naked starlet's swimming pool.

The war over he drifts to Hollywood and a job babysitting a trio of drunken actors. A racist conspiracy and some rather brutal whore shooting hint at the larger story.

It's got my attention and I'll be coming back for issue #2.

Raw Hide

Dead Kennedys
(All Midget cast)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's in a name?

So a rapper named 'C-Murder' was just convicted of murder.

This suggests you should never leave books of matches around Steve Arson, and whatever you do, never go out for dinner with Johnny McDaterape.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weekly Comics - August 8

The Saga of Solomon Kane Dark Horse
Dark Horse
Collecting classic stories from Marvel magazines like Savage Sword of Conan and Kull (Even Tomb of Dracula as the two characters meet in these pages.) with script adaptations by Roy Thomas among others and featuring art from such 70's superstars as Bernie Wrightson, Neal Adams Howard Chaykin and even some early Mike Zeck.

Solomon Kane was one of the many pulp creations of Robert A. Howard that were stacked in comic and magazine form under bongs and Black Sabbath albums in bedrooms all over the world. The Dour puritan with the flashing blade and a fierce hatred of evil never became as popular or well known as Conan or even Red Sonja, but he had a long career of backup feature status. Dark Horse has added him to their Robert A. Howard publishing line and this release is a nice affordable collection in the popular black and white 'phone book' format. Over 400 pages of content for under $20.

Justice League Cry For Justice #2

Popular writer James Robinson returns to comics after a long hiatus and is joined by the beautiful painted art of Mauro Cascioli. Classic characters Green Lantern, Green Arrow and The Atom are joined by Super Girl, the new Captain Marvel and minor oddities Congo Bill and the 70's Starman in a story about the heroes deciding to become proactive and start actively hunting super villains. So far its all buildup, albeit with Robinson's sophisticated dialogue and Cascioli's expressive art.

The best scene in this issue is Green Arrow twitting Green Lantern about what a man-whore he is, most of this issue is conversations on rooftops or in warehouses.

Worth picking up but you may want to wait for the inevitable trade or hardcover collection.

The Hangman #1
DC Comics takes another stab at reinventing the Archie Comics Red Circle heroes. Last time it was the Impact Line in the early 90's. Respectable but not spectacular and ultimately short lived. This time they've given the characters to Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski and he's begun the process of incorporating them into the main DC continuity. There will be one-shots for the major Red Circle titles The Shield, The Inferno and The Web (But not The Fly this time unfortunately.) as Stracynski does much the same for the Archie golden age characters as he did with Timely's lesser know Golden age characters in his Marvel miniseries The Twelve.

The Hangman is a well written tale of supernatural revenge, even though it does follow a rather well worn path most recently trod by DCs updated revival of western vigilante El Diablo. We've seen this all before, but its an entertaining story nonetheless.

Also out his week: North 40 #2, Wednesday Comics #5, Warlord #5 and Astro City the Dark Age Book 3 #4.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

There's Horror...

..and then there's self-indulgent, hateful murder porn.

Rampage is a new film from Uwe Boll. Yeah, that name alone is the hallmark and warning of utter crap. The fair warning that you are considering viewing the product of a sub-literate crap-meister who owes his entire career to a German tax law that seems to have been based on the plot of The Producers. Literally a legal way to make investors money on utter failure both artistic and at the box office.

Rampage is Boll's latest masterpiece. Artistically and morally it is clearly nothing more than repugnant murder porn. Don't believe me? Check out the trailer. Fair warning, you will need a shower afterward.

See? Uwe Boll is about to become the go to film maker to all the dismal little losers who've convinced themselves it's everybody else's fault that they are worthless little turds who can't achieve anything with their lives and all women are evil because every one they meet can smell the crazy loser stink off them from a mile away.

This movie seems designed to create copycat acts of violence. I hope Uwe Boll gets sued to death by the families of every victim of every crazed loser with a gun and a grudge who comes along and has this piece of shit in his DVD collection next to all his tentacle anime and drool covered holocaust documentaries.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Master of Horror: Vincent Price

Hi, I'm the Dweller and I'm addicted to Vincent Price movies.

Okay, so it isn't crack. I'm not sucking dick to afford my habit.

Among other reasons, Vincent Price DVDs are remarkably cheap. Both in price and quality for the most part unfortunately, but there are some bright spots among the dollar store public domain cheapo releases of The Last Man on Earth and The House on Haunted Hill - two great flicks ill served by the back alley DVD burner and color photocopier versions churned out with depressing regularity. The original Night of the Living Dead has been tarted up and turned out in much the same way.

But the MGM Midnight Movies imprint has a big catalog of Vincent Price's output from the 60's and 70's. They're bare bones releases but better than decent transfers. Stand outs include all the Corman films loosely adapting the stories of Edgar Allen Poe - usually keeping little more than the title, but frequently outrageously stylish gems. They range from the endearingly silly The Raven to the grimly sadistic Witchfinder General - originally titled 'The Conqueror Worm' after the poem to continue the Poe theme but of a very different school of film-making from the light weight drive in fare of most of Corman's output. Gems of the batch include the first film of the series The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Tomb of Ligiea.

Also great are the elaborate revenge fantasies the two Doctor Phibes movies and Theater of Blood. Every elaborate, gory 'murder inventions' and 'one by one revenge' movie including Se7en and the increasingly witless and dreary Saw series has these three Vincent Price films in their lineage.

My absolute favorite from the Price Canon is the ultimate peak of the Corman Poe years The Masque of the Red Death. This was Corman's most ambitious film, with a brooding sinister script by Charles Beaumont and others that grafted the Poe stories Hop Toad and The Masque of the Red Death onto a story that recalls Sade's 120 Days of Sodom. Price is at the peak of his powers as the devilishly charming Satanist Prince Prospero lording over a castle full of slavish degenerate nobles as the Red Death ravages the countryside. His dialogue is witty and bubbling with sinister mirth as he conducts an elaborate seduction of his prisoner the beautiful and virtuous Francesca. His evil is all the more terrifying for the occasional flashes of the possibility of redemption he lets slip out from under his mask of cruelty and sadism. While the decadence and scheming goes on in the castle, Death in the form a soft voiced but utterly implacable hooded figure awaits outside for his hour to toll. Beautifully filmed, this lush exercise in elegant surrealism is one I can and do watch again and again.

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