Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mixed Messages From Comics Alliance

I like reading about comic books and comic book related stuff. Two of the sites I visit the most would be Comic Book Resources and Comics Alliance.
I recently stopped reading Comics Alliance because they seem to despise anything that is done on television. The Flash, Agents of SHIELD things I really enjoy they just seem to go out of their way to slam on a weekly basis. It was just exhausting.
If you don't like a show that much why would you spend week after week writing about it? Just seems petty and mean spirited to me.
But, as I mentioned before, I do like reading about comic books and comic book related stuff.
So, I went back.
Then the Chris Sims thing happened.
I'm not going to go into it, just click the link if you need to know;

Now, I am on Valerie D’Orazio's side with this so I was glad to see that he was being forced out of Comics Alliance. Sure, it said voluntary, but no one in their right mind would come back after that right?

Chris Sims column, Ask Chris came back yesterday.

To add to the mixed messages pile, editor of Comics Alliance, Jane Asselin published this article; 

Asselin has been on a righteous indignation path as of late. The problem is that while it is wrong for Renner, Evans and Whedon to make fun of a fictional character, it is alright to bully a woman until she suffers PTSD as long as you apologize for it five years later. That tells me that Renner and Evans will be forgiven in five years? Why not sooner? They did apologize right away. Shouldn't they be forgiven sooner using Asselin's logic here?

Now for a Black Widow aside;

In this case we will just deal with the Cinematic version of the character.  In the three films she has been in so far, Iron Man 2, Captain America 2 and Avengers 1, we see a woman in complete control. Strapped to a chair in revealing clothing, berated by a god, hunted by the very government she is protecting, she is always in control. Sure, The Hulk makes her nervous, but I consider that intelligent thinking on her part. She is fully aware what her feminine charms bring to the table and uses them to her advantage. 
Her advantage.
At no time are any of the men yelling at her, flirting with her, hunting her, in charge of a thing.
I think the feminists that are vocal about this need to realize two things;
One, Black Widow is a fictional character.
Two, she doesn't need your or anyone's help.

End of the Black Widow aside.

So, I think it is time to permanently sever ties with Comics Alliance. No more visiting the site, freeing up some free time for me.  
Thanks Comics Alliance!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015


So, I pedal to and from work when the weather allows it. I am one of those maniacs that rides his bicycle in the snow so, I get a lot of bike riding in.
Yesterday was the worst.
I pedaled and it felt like I was moving through molasses. It was a rough ride. but I got to work with time to spare. It was on the way home I discovered that my Huffy was losing the crank bearings. You know the spot where the pedals go? Anyway, I made it home and knew that my trusty Huffy Cranbrook was on the way out.
Being as it is my second oldest son, Dennis' birthday this week I was without any form of cash. I got ahold of my oldest son, Seann and asked him if he could spare the cash to replace the bike. I always ride Huffy's so it was only a hundred bucks. The last one lasted close to three years and I am thinking I will rebuild the crank when I have the time. It will be a good learning experience.
In the meantime, I now have this;

Nice, huh? I took off the seat and put on my hornless seat. I attached my rear blinker light and the harness for my handlebar basket and I was good to go. Today I just rode to the bus stop and took the bus in. I didn't want a major malfunction on the way to work so I will ride it home to see how it likes that. It's a nice bike that I will try to keep in great working condition for as long as possible. It does not have kevlar tires at this point so we will have to wait and see how that is going to work out. With the idiots that break glass on the roads on the Northside I don't see them lasting long. Fortunately, I have Kevlar on both of my tires on the old bike and they are the same size.


Monday, April 20, 2015

EVIL BONG 420 (2015)

Tim Lucas once said that to understand a Jess Franco movie you need to watch all of Jess Franco's movies.
I agree with that statement and have been pursuing that dream for decades.
I think the same could be said for Charles Band.
The man knows how to create a franchise. With titles like Trancers of which there are six and Puppet Master which I believe is up to ten, Band knows what he is doing.
I had the good fortune of meeting Charles Band when he attended Cinema Wasteland last year. He announced his Full Moon Streaming and I was hooked. I also got him to sign my Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn poster for me.
See, I ma once of the fortunate ones who remember the video store. Full Moon gave me a lot of fantastic product to wade through.
And they still do.
As for Evil Bong, I was first introduced to her from the mash up flick that I purchased at the convention; Gingerdead Man versus Evil Bong. I was already familiar with Gingerdead Man because he was voiced by Gary Busey and I am a huge Busey fan so, yes I watched them. My favorite is when he traveled back to the 70's, the era of roller disco in Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver.
Clever title.
When I got the streaming service I immediately went in and watched some favorites like Puppet Master and Trancers. And my real Full Moon Favorite; Doctor Mordrid.
Jeffrey Combs is the man!
Then I decided to make an effort and watched the first Evil Bong.
I liked it. Low brow pot humor. Tommy Chong. And, something I thought was one died. Sure, it looked like they did when they were sucked into the world of the Evil Bong, but at the end everyone is fine.
Next came Evil Bong 2: King Bong, which was also funny and kept the same string of characters. My favorite is always Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis) who I fondly remembered from Trancers 2. He got killed in that one so, not sure how he survived, but he did and he's hilarious. Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong added the extra flavor of an Evil Bong from outer space.
These all work because they take place in limited spaces, either outside or in one or two sets. Keep the same actors from film to film and you have a formula. Especially, if people watching them like to smoke pot. I myself have not partaken in years, but I remember what it was like.
We throw in the aforementioned Gingerdead Man Versus Evil Bong and that brings us to the newest addition to the family;
Evil Bong 420.
Now, Rabbit has escaped from the Weed World and stole a ton of Evil Bong's special weed. He sells enough to buy a bowling alley and makes it a topless bowling alley. Of course he does,
God Bless Charles Band.
Rabbit has also invented a device called The Weed Blower that shoots thick, green clouds of primo weed that makes everyone happy and, if there are two girls standing next to each other, extremely horny.
Again, God Bless Charles Band.
Back in Weed World Evil Bong is pissed that Rabbit got away so she and Gingerdead Man make their way back to reality and the bowling alley to bring Rabbit back and let Gingerdead Man make with a little mayhem.
At a too brief running time Band manages to fill the screen with weed, boobs, references to other Full Moon films (I'm looking at you Ooga Booga) and leave us wanting for more.
There will be more, right?
There had better be more and who knows? With his streaming service Evil Bong could become a series. That would actually be pretty cool.
So, on this notorious day of 4/20 why not slip into the world of Evil Bong 420.
There are much worse ways to spend 53 minutes and this one is as funny as the rest.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cinema Wasteland April 2015 Report

Twice a year I make my way to Strongsville, Ohio for the best convention on the planet... Cinema Wasteland! For quite some time my lovely wife, Martha Waltz has been my companion on the trip and it has been a great time. We started bringing some of our children, mainly our daughters and this year my youngest, Dan, would be making his first trip with us.
The things I was most excited about were meeting Peter Spellos and Jim Wynorski. I am sad if you don't know who that is. Go look them up ya uneducated goons!  Also the biggest panel of stars from George Romero's Dawn of the Dead would be in attendance. I had purchased a VHS copy of Munchie Strikes Back to have Peter and Jim sign. Yeah, I left that at home...bummer.
So, we get there and I was excited to see a movie first thing Friday at 5. MUTANTIS! I had no preconceived notions on how this was going to go and was so happy when I saw a great, laugh out loud horror comedy the likes of which I had never seen before. A great way to start the weekend.
Later there was a panel with adult film stars Long Jeanne Silver and Carter Stevens. I had purchased the big box VHS of her film to help get her there and it was already signed so I didn't feel it was necessary to have her sign it again. We picked up the one and only Henrique Couto's new film, Awkward Thanksgiving. It is always great to connect with Mr. Couto. Mike Watt and the lovely Amy Lynn Best premiered their new film, Razor Days. It reminded me of a revenge film made by Jess Franco. I assured Mike that this was a compliment coming from me.
The other film I was looking forward to was Bill Zebub's newest opus Holocaust Cannibal. I was doubly excited because Erin Brown a.k.a. Misty Mundae was going to be there.
Yeah, that didn't go so well. She had one event thing to do, introduce the movie, and she couldn't bother to wake up to do it. And when I talked to her she seemed a little...I don't know, off? Kind of a let down.
Peter Spellos, on the other hand, was awesome. We talked for quite some time and when Jim Wynorski arrived it was great! We talked about his stuff and I got a signed copy of Lost Empire. Peter signed a poster for me and I told them both that I left my VHS at home.
My son, Dan, has a web series called Dan VS. The Bus. His number one fan is Mike 'Gonzo' Specht and he was so excited to meet Dan.
A Ghastlee Ghoul's Nite At The Movies had me defending my title of 42 Questions with 42nd Street Pete. I even had a two point handicap and won by a landslide. Good times. Martha and the kids got prizes as well and all was good.
Ghastlee had been sick so I was glad to see him.
Dan was amazed at Saturday's Hardcore Wrestling Hour and I think that Toby Klein is his new hero.
My buddy Stew and his friend Dimitri also came down for the event and we decided to what we refer to as the Doormat pizza from Leonardo's. It is huge and fed all six of us. Maybe a little too well. Urf.
On Saturday we went to the Brew Kettle for lunch and Stew wanted to try a new beer they had. I had something called The Triple Pig. It was good but the meat to bread ratio was off. Too much bread for me.
I got every movie I wanted with the exception of Nathan Rumler's new flick The Chubbies. I tried to get one from him after the screening, but he was drunk and had lost his pants. Oh well.
The Day of the Dead panel was packed. So many great stories and I video taped the whole thing. As I am writing this at work I will add pictures and video links at a later date, but I think this might have been one of the best Cinema Wastelands in my years of going.
So much fun. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

MAGGIE (2015)

 I don't know how this could be anything but either extremely bad or just heart breaking. Either way I see no reason to watch the thing. Yeah for saving time and money. Thanks Mr. Schwarzenegger!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

That Batgirl Cover

I almost did this over at Penguin Comics and then realized it would fit better here. Why? This deals more with pure exploitation than anything else. Ballyhoo that would make the late, great Dave Friedman weep tears of unadulterated joy.

Check out the picture above. It's part of the cover for a variant cover for DC Comics Batgirl #41. I didn't bother with the entire picture because this is enough. Enough to have recently broke the internet.
Before we get into that let me explain that this would have appeared on a variant cover issue of Batgirl #41 at an inflated cover price. Some people like these variant covers. Me? Not a fan.
It seems that artist Rafael Albuquerque requested that it be pulled. Yeah, sure he did. More on that in a minute.
The cover is inspired by Alan Moore/Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke. An excellent graphic novel that pits Batman and The Joker against one another, gives us a possible Joker origin story and Joker shoots Batgirl in the gut and does unspeakable things to her. This story line cripples her and she becomes the wheelchair bound Oracle.
Now she's Batgirl again because DC is, well stupid most of the time. It is also the 75th anniversary of the introduction of The Joker so DC is doing all these variant covers to celebrate a psychotic mass murderer.
Rafael Albuquerque decided to use The Killing Joke as inspiration for his cover.
No one liked it, including the artist.
Okay, maybe, but realize this;
Before this, unless you read the new, sucky version of Blue Beetle or American Vampire did you even know who Rafael Albuquerque was? Now, because he wanted to do the right thing everyone knows his name.
Coincidence? Yeah, I'm not buying it. This thing has blown up in such a way that everyone who cares about comic books and controversy know his name.
Nice bit of marketing. Plus he got paid for a cover that he didn't have to deliver. I wonder what someone is going to offer him for the original and you know people with disposable income are already looking into that option.
Another thing; The Killing Joke is a 27 year old comic book. Twenty-Seven! How many current readers of Batgirl are old enough to have read it. Yeah, it's still in print, but that's a pretty old comic in the grand scheme of things and fans of that would love this cover as its intended homage.
I think that DC is a business and is in the market to make people look at them as much as possible. As it was once said;
Even bad press is good press.
It's a comic book. That's it. I'm starting to wonder if all these super hero movies are tapping into some weird collective unconsciousness that is making a larger cross section of people weigh in on something that they didn't care about ten years ago.
Or people are assholes.
Yeah, let's just go with that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Laurie Anderson & The Kronos Quartet: LANDFALL

I have adored Laurie Anderson since I first watched the music video O Superman on MTV back when they showed music videos. My first actual music purchase was United States Live. I got it on cassette.
My world was changed for the better. I went back and got Big Science, Mister heartbreak and Home of the Brave. Since then I have also owned United States Live on CD and finally on vinyl. I have been trying to collect as many of them as possible on vinyl.
I also have the United States Live book and the Home of the Brave movie.
I feel that Laurie Anderson is the musical equivalent of Jess Franco.  You have to listen to all of it to comprehend it as a whole.
I have had two other opportunities to see her live and financial stuff being what it was, it failed both times.
Now, she was playing her newest piece, Landfall, with the Kronos Quartet in Chicago. Chicago is close enough and the tickets were reasonable, so my lovely Martha said we could go.
I am really not a big city fan. Walking in them is fine, but driving through them is a nightmare. Luckily, Martha drove and that made it all the better.
We always get the time change wrong and leave too early so we went to the Chicago Cultural Center and saw some amazing art. We saw a record store and on the way back there was a comic book store, but we had to get to the performance.
It was amazing.
As they started to play I smiled, but then it came time for one of her spoken interludes that are sprinkled throughout the piece.
That voice I had listened to for decades was in the same room with me.
I smiled even more.
The rest of the performance went too quickly for me and it was over.
I am glad that I finally got to see Laurie Anderson in concert. The thing that made me the happiest was that the theater seats a little over 1500 people. My love of Laurie Anderson is pretty much a singular one in the cultural wasteland of Kalamazoo. To see that many people there to see this person that I have adored for thirty years brought me as much joy as the performance itself.
Sometimes it's a good thing to know that you're not alone in the big, wide world.
Such a good time.   


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