Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chris Murphy on Being in a Band

A few years ago when Sloan released their album Never Hear the End of It they released a handful of making of videos on YouTube. While browsing around looking for the video to "Someone I Can Be True With" I ran across this, one of my favourites of the bunch, and I thought I would share.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bad Weather

Frickin' car won't start again today. Couple of days ago it got pretty cold overnight and the car froze. I didn't have it plugged in so when I went to start it there was no joy. I finally ended up getting it boosted and it worked fin for me the rest of the day (although she was a little rough on starting when I was leaving work yesterday).

I made sure I plugged it in last night because I knew it would be cold again and went out to dutifully start it and get it warmed up and ready to take Jen into work and do some errands, and the damn thing won't start again. It's actually 7 degrees warmer than the other night but my freakin' car is still frozen. I'll have to get another boost when my father-in-law swings by later today so I can get my errands done. Until then I guess I'll continue to sort the house and make it somewhat presentable for the appraiser who will also be coming in today. Life is so full of fun things.



"I Have Something on the East Lawn You Should See"

Considering the last week has been full of Lucas-themed fun (played Lego Indy, watched Clone Wars Season 2 episodes, checked out some cool Star Wars stuff online), I recently ran into this clip from MadTV on YouTube (one of my brother's favourites), and my current desperation in drumming up content, leads me to believe that posting this video is not just all kinds of groovy fun, it's a good idea.

Hope you enjoy it!

Take Care!


Friday, December 04, 2009

Been Awhile

I've been playing the endlessly entertaining Lego Indiana Jones with the kids this week and it has me in a bit of an Indy state-of-mind. As a result, I thought I would post this article from the LA Times talking about the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles around the time of the Volume 1 DVD release. The show remains one of my favourite television programs of all time and any chance to read or learn something new about it is a good day for me.



Friday, November 06, 2009

Return to the 'Verse

A friend sent me this and I thought it was cute.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Live at the Rose Bowl

Here's the U2 concert that was broadcast off of YouTube if anyone is interested.



Friday, October 30, 2009

When It Rains It Pours

For anyone zooming by this post there was a live streaming Foo Fighters concert here, but after they stopped streaming it, they had the video for "Wheels" going on a constant loop and it fired up every time you came to the page, which was kind of annoying. So, I took it off.



Monday, October 26, 2009

U2 at the Rose Bowl

Just finished watching the U2 concert that was broadcast live online via YouTube and I have to say that I'm not as disappointed as I thought I might be. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was actually pretty good.

As a huge U2 fan through the late '80s and the following decade, I've found myself less than appreciative of their current output. Where I used to skip school to run down to the record store to buy the singles when they came out, now I wait months, sometimes years before picking up their 'latest' album. I grabbed Atomic Bomb long after its release date for $9.99 and I have yet to buy No Line on the Horizon (although I did buy two songs off of iTunes). I'm sure it must be a reaction similar to the backlash they suffered from old school fans when they unleashed Achtung Baby! on the world but, if you ask me, the songwriting just hasn't been as strong as it used to be. Their post-Pop material has been a little too...transparent and obvious. When Bono used the line "the air was heavy/heavy as a truck" in the song "Electrical Storm" I knew it was a love affair that had ended.

I jokingly told my wife tonight when the streaming broadcast begun that U2 and I broke up a few years ago but we've agreed to have coffee tonight, and I think that was a pretty apt description of the affair. The evening was spent with reintroductions, reminiscing over old memories and times spent together, and talking about what's been going on with each other since last we spoke.

To continue the metaphor, I think there was still enough good to agree to start seeing each other again on a trial basis. I may even spring for the new album on iTunes and give that a whirl. I'll definitely be revisiting my back catalogue of albums over the next few weeks and conjure up some warm fuzzies.

The rebroadcast of the concert is playing as I type this, so if you catch this and wanna check it out, hussle on over.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Was Just Wondering...

...where is David Bowie these days and why haven't we seen any new material out of him in the last three or four years?

I can't be the only one wondering.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'Porky's Shell Game'

Here's some more Pogo goodness courtesy of YouTube:

I wish I could find the full-length feature this was clipped from. Hell, I wish I could find most any Pogo merch without having to embark on a major expedition but such is not the case. I covet the two Pogo treasuries I have and what little scraps I can dig up.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

World of Disappointment #3467

[This post may contain small bits of hyperbole]

I saw this in the bookstore today and, after briefly catching my eye as a possibly interesting thing, I set it down again and walked away disgusted.

Originally I thought to myself, "WTF, yet another Dracula edition?" before having my eye caught by the Jae Lee cover and the promise of an illustrated text. This could be a cool little thing to have, especially at the bargain price they were offering it for. I opened it up and saw that virtually every single image that Jae drew was a figure drawing with no background and very little detail in anything but exposed bits like hands, faces, etc. Any item of clothing being shown is just a grey tone shape and anything that is not humanoid in shape is a silhouette. How cheap is that.

I know he did some astonishing work on the Dark Tower comics and I've followed the guys work in the past so I know he's just totally phoned these images in. It probably shouldn't, but it bugs me.

Anyway, if you see this item and get tempted to pick it up, buyer beware! Flip through before purchasing. Or better yet, ignore it and grab the one illustrated by Ben Templesmith.

As an addendum, I wanted to add that some good did come from my bookstore trip since I grabbed a copy of Pullman's Once Upon a Time in the North, a copy of Christopher Golden, Stephen Bissette and Hank Wagner's Neil Gaiman wankfest, Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman and the lavishly illustrated and very eye-catching children's book, Varmints. I almost walked out of there with Hornby's new one, Juliet, Naked, but I have to finish The Beautiful and the Damned before getting into a new book. I read the first chapter sitting in the bookstore waiting for my daughter and I just knew I would get home and keep reading it with Fitzgerald odyssey of love and excess feeling the full on force of how fickle I can be.



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Clone Wars Season 2 - Not Disappointing

I've been posting a lot of negative thoughts on the ol' blog of late, which may be bad juju since I'm trying to do the whole 'Hey, I'm back and blogging regularly' thing, so I'm going to change gears briefly and throw out some positive thoughts regarding the second season of The Clone Wars.

If you saw season one, you probably were very aware of the various limitations of the show. Not a lot of characters, not a lot of settings/environments, characters whose models were a little stiff and whose faces did not move quite right, and the usual first season stumbling around and finding your rhythm kind of thing. With season two a lot of that has changed. Subtle bits of acting are not uncommon, better mouth movements to match the voice actors, humongous improvements to details, textures, editing and story. Most of all the stories.

Before there were a lot of two or three part arcs that were generally interesting, but there was a rhythm to the storytelling that felt off. Whether that was due to budget and time restrictions, I'm not sure. But lately I've just been feeling that I am, indeed, watching Star Wars, or a logical extension of it. Plus, watching the relationships develop is nice because it gives some context that was missing from Revenge of the Sith and, at the end of the day, may just make the prequel series a little bit better than it was a couple of years ago.

I'll leave you with the trailer for season two. There's some nice teaser stuff in there if you've yet to see any episodes, and other than that, it's just fun to watch.

May the force be with you.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


I was posting a message on a friends blog and I was prompted, both times, to verify that I was, indeed, a living breathing entity by punching in the random set of 7 letter combinations they provided. Looking at the two 'words', meaningless and random though they be, it reminded me of Douglas Adams and John Lloyd's wonderful little dictionary of non-words, The Meaning of Liff (an online version is available here). Wikipedia describes the book as 'a "dictionary of things that there aren't any words for yet"; all the words listed are place names, and describe common feelings and objects for which there is no current English word.'

Looking at the two 'words' I was prompted with - Wizizi and Grisms - I can't help but wonder what possible meanings they could have if they existed as real words. It is very early in the morning for me right now and I have a splitting headache, so I'm not going to venture a guess. I will, however, open the floor to anyone out there who is interested in kicking it Liff-style. If nothing comes of it, I'll return at some point and take a crack at it myself.

Either I am really reaching for blogging content or Meanwhile... just got mondo interactive.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Control

This is going to be a self-indulgent rant, so you've had your warning if you want to bail now.

Jen has been bugging me to watch some Burn Notice and I, honestly, have just not been in the mood. I love the show to bits and we were watching season three for a while but we got derailed when the second season of True Blood came on HBO and that was 'the show' we watched for the next few months. There are many shows that we like and watch separately when we have the chance (because we are notorious for not agreeing on just about anything) so, when we find a show like Burn Notice, something we both enjoy, we try and hold off and watch it together.

Recently, though, I've been accused of holding the television hostage since I'm not overly interested in watching what she wants to watch right now (meaning BN). This is partially true, but only in the sense that, if I give her any episodes to watch, she will be unable to stop herself until she hits the end and then I either have to catch up, give up, or shut up. I'm sure it's obvious which option she would suggest I take.

Take tonight, for example. I went out with some friends and conceded an episode as a gesture. One episode is not a hard thing to catch up on. Heck, I could watch it when I got home before bed and nobody would know the difference. We could pick it up again together any time. She'd be happy, I'd be happy and there would be happiness all around. However, me being the idiot I am, left her with 3 episodes at her disposal and she watched every damn one of them. I came home and 'walked in' on her watching the last one. "This is one of the best episodes of the series yet," she says to me.


So, now I'm pissed, she thinks I'm retarded, I'm aware of the level of self-pity but am feeling burned on the 'the show we watch together' factor (something that has happened at least three times in as many years), and now we're not talking to each other.

Another wonderful day in the corps.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will the Disappointments Never Cease?

One of my most enjoyable moviegoing experiences this year involved going to Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell with a couple of friends at a second run theatre here in town. I figured I would enjoy the movie but had no idea just how much. Like almost all the critical reviews, I felt that Raimi had put together one of the best horror movies in the last ten years and effortlessly recaptured the low-budget scare-fest that introduced him to cinema goers across the world.

Today marked the release of Drag Me To Hell on DVD and Blu-Ray and, like a good little soldier, I went out and bought my copy (in Hi-Def since having a PS3 now means I have no excuse not to). On my lunch break, no less. I wanted to be able to grab my copy, get it home and not have to stop anywhere between the end of work and sliding that puppy into my PlayStation.

Browsing through the disc I discovered that, with the exception of some production diaries, there are no meaty features to speak of. No commentary (which I was pretty sure would be there), no sizable documentaries, just 30-odd minutes behind-the-scenes clips showing how they created the nose-bleed scene or the maggot scene. I should probably check if they're branching, now that I think about it, because that might make them a little more entertaining. But, the point is, this is a 50GB disc and that's all you have to offer?


On the plus side, the video is flawless and the audio is source audio, so I don't regret the Blu-Ray purchase in the slightest. I'm especially looking forward to the movie night some friends and I are putting on where we'll watch it on a 52" plasma screen with the sound pumping out the roaring soundtrack. I just wish that there was a bit more in the extra features department to satisfy the features whore in me.

Anyway, watch the movie if you haven't, check out the DVD if you can.

Until next time...


Why Does Larry Niven Know So Much About Kryptonian Sperm?

I've been away from the blogosphere for some time (as I'll elaborate on in a future post) and, having some free time on my hands, took the opportunity to browse around and reacquaint myself with various and sundry online places and happenings. Along with hitting all the usual haunts, I took it upon myself to try out some new blogs, one of them being Steve Thompson's BookSteve's Library. Thompson is a pop culture enthusiast (as so many of us are) but he's operating on that Jedi-blogger level like Mark Evanier, so the deeper you go, the richer the rewards.

Among other things, I found the most amazing embedded videos on his blog. I'm talking about stuff that I have searched for extensively in the past but came up woefully empty-handed. Now, thanks to Steve, I'm buzzing over the fact that I found a long sought after Pogo special (one of two, I believe) that was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Kelly himself. I had long since given up on trying to find it online and then - BAM - there it was. Just sitting there and waiting to be watched.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to this evening, but I'm thinking maybe after work tomorrow.

Another video I ran across on Steve's site is this 1981 Superman documentary. It sort of covers the history of Superman through interviews with Siegel and Shuster, shows some behind-the-scenes footage over at DC Comics circa 1981, and gives some face time to Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder who gave their perspective on Superman through their involvement in the film series. They also talk to a psychiatrist, some amateur filmmakers who made a Superman spoof, and Larry Niven who, by the way, comes off as an incredibly unusual and creepy guy. His segments are some of the stranger elements of the doc, but when he starts talking about Kryptonian sperm (in Part 4 or 5, I think)...I just kind of tuned the guy out from that point on.

Anyway, Thompson claims that it's the best superhero doc ever made, but I've seen dozens that have been done better. I'm not sure what the yardstick is on this one, but just off-hand I can name Moebius Redux: A Life In Pictures, Comic Book Confidential, Tales from the Crypt: From Comic Books to Television, and In Search of Steve Ditko just off the top of my head. For the time, however, this was probably the the tippity top as far as production values, the quality of the overall presentation, and the analysis given to a comic book subject.

You can be the judge:

Up, up, and away!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Obi-Wan Insider

I took my daughter to the 7-11 this evening and along with our Big Gulps I purchased the latest issue of Star Wars Insider (#112) that puts the spotlight on my favourite Prequel Trilogy character (meaning Ewan McGregor), Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was an impulse buy but I've been in a Star Wars mood lately and I'm a sucker for Obi-Wan stuff. Whenever I see a clearance figure at Wal-Mart or some other Kenobi curio in my travels I can't help but pick it up. I know, it's probably a sickness, but I've learned to live with it. Anyway, this issue of Insider, with it's bold action shot of Ewan on the cover, was no exception to the rule.

When I got it home and cracked it open, though, I was disappointed to find that there was very little of substance inside. I mean, I'm not a regular reader but I've purchased issues of the Insider in the past and never regretted doing so. There has always been enough material (promotional fluff though it may be) to at least keep me entertained for 20 minutes or so. Usually there is some rare photos, trivia or a decent enough interview to serve as a pleasant distraction and feed my Star Wars craving. This time around they focused on the voice actor for the Clone Wars series, James Arnold Taylor and included random quotes from Ewan and Sir Alec who each got a single page bookending the Taylor interview. There is a history of Obi-Wan which seems fraught with EU inconsistencies and a couple of articles on the Death Troopers novel and the Mandalorian comics that DHC will be putting out, neither of which I am interested in exploring.

I probably should say that claiming there was nothing of substance was a bit of hyperbole since there is a piece on the newspaper strip that ran in the late '70s, and anything about Al Williamson or Russ Manning is worth a few minutes of my time. Also, there was an article on the exhibit of rare Star Wars artifacts that is travelling with the In Concert tour right now that may prove to be mildly interesting. Both articles are also accompanied by a number of pretty cool images, too.

I guess I'm just feeling burnt by the lack of useful Obi-Wan material.


For the record, I would one day like to see someone take a franchise like this and really go to town on a behind-the-scenes magazine. Instead of fluff pieces like you see here or in any of the other myriad licensed magazines you would have some in-depth commentary, interviews and behind-the-scenes reporting that would make it more than an all-in-one-sitting kind of read. You would have to come back to that puppy one or two more times to dig through the articles and features.

Pipe dream, I know, but I still foster dreams of one day being a content developer for someone. I'll probably have to start something on my own if I ever want to fulfill that particular dream.

May the Force be with y'all!


Friday, October 09, 2009

Is the Dude Being Rude?

Now, I'll go on record right off and say that Steve Rude is one of my favourite artists currently working in the comics industry. His seminal work on Nexus with Mike Baron has endured for two decades and remains, not only one of my top 5 comic book series of all time, but also relevant. Over the last little while I've been re-reading my Nexus collection from The Capitol issues to the most current Rude Dude issues and I'm continually amazed at how much of the '80s is reflected in those stories but how little they have dated over the years. So, when Steve Rude announced that they would be returning to the character and self-publishing new stories...well, let's just say that the return of Nexus to comic book shelves was one of the single most exciting things to happen for me in many, many years of collecting comics.

I was so pumped to have the book back and to have Rude and Baron working together again that I was willing to put out a little extra just to show my support. When they released the Free Comic Book Day book, Nexus' Greatest Hits, as a regular Rude Dude release, I bought it even though I already had it because I know self-publishing can be a tough racket. Then, when they released the Nexus Origin book I grabbed that one also, even though I already owned it from back when Dark Horse launched Nexus. Then, when Steve re-released it as a squarebound book with a new cover and 'extra pages' for a buck more, I bought that, too. It was supposed to be completely remastered and have extra stuff so damn the torpedos, right? Well, it was exactly the same as the previous Origin they published and featured 'extra' material that had been published elsewhere. I wasn't going to complain, though, because losing Nexus again was something that I did not want to see happen.

Lately I've been reading Rude's blog posts where he's been asking people to buy stuff at his store so he can pay his bills and how his brief return to comics was a failure and I can't help but be a little pissed. Not only have we, as readers/consumers, bit our collective tongues while waiting for each issue of "Space Opera" to come out (invariably late, it should be stressed) and spent money on materials we probably all already owned being Nexus fans, but now we're being asked to go and spend $250 at his online store for the privilege of having an original sketch?

When I think of how the 'failure' of Nexus may have had something to do with the irregularity of its schedule, and how opportunity and momentum was likely lost to whatever issues were being played out behind the scenes, I cringe. One of the lessons I thought most publishers learned throughout the last ten years was that when a book is solicited to come out, it better come out because, beyond just looking bad, readers are fickle and don't have a lot of money to spread around. Certain marquee books can weather that storm but, ultimately, if your book is not on the shelf readers will likely spend it on something else that is there.

Once retailers have lost confidence in your publishing schedule they will likely look at your book in Previews and pass you over because who knows if it's really going to show up. They'll order enough for their file customers and that's all she wrote. All the interviews, good faith, nostalgia, hype and media attention can't save you from general apathy once it sets in.

So, to be as supportive as I can as a consumer towards Rude Dude Productions and then have them tell me that not only is Nexus done but that I really should come by and give them some more money, has me just a little ticked.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kathy F***ing George!?!

So, I'm sitting on the crapper reading the latest issue of John Constantine: Hellblazer - which may be more information than you need to know but is a disturbingly apropos place to have been reading it - when I get to a part near the end where John is stumbling through some public bathroom in Hell and comes across two individuals. The first is a red-headed, grungy looking, bad-mofo kind of guy and he is sitting next to an attractive, sad looking girl with dark black hair. Upon seeing them, John mutters, "Kathy? Kathy...George?"


At that precise moment, I barked with one of those surprised but happy one note laughs - "Hwah!" - which I'm sure must have had the poor wife thinking I'd dropped something terrible or torn something somewhere. Once my business was done and hands were washed and all that, I ran to my wife who was in our room and I held the page in front of her and said, "Look at this page until you see it. You'll know what it is." She stared at it for about a minute and a half when a smile, big and wide, crept across her freckled face.

If you don't know who Kathy George is, Peter Milligan, the current writer of Hellblazer blazed his trail in American comics by writing a weird little mature readers title called Shade the Changing Man (of which both the wife and I possess complete runs). It ended years and years ago but it was one of my favourite comic series of all time and Kathy was one of the main characters, along with Rac Shade and another female character named Lenny. To have her show up again, in any capacity and after reading her dialogue where she says, "You can't help me. Not now. Not yet..." it sounds like we will be seeing the cast of Shade yet again, which is just a real mind-blower. So completely unexpected, although not entirely unprecedented.

There's actually a John Constantine connection with these guys since the four actually met during a cossover where they are sent back in time and have to deal with some puritans and Shade is turning into a tree and Lenny and Kathy are going to be hung as witches. John takes a particular shine to Kathy, as most people who meet her do, and it was something left unresolved at the end of the storyline, if I'm not mistaken. Clearly Milligan never forgot and I have every confidence that it will have something to do with where that call-out is going to lead in future issues of Hellblazer.

The prospect of seeing these characters again has me very excited. I never thought I would see them again. If ever there was a way to hook me in to a series so thoroughly that I wouldn't dare drop it so long as a single particular writer was guiding the destiny of said book, Milligan has found it.

I will be waiting with bated breath.



Friday, August 28, 2009

The Ballad of G.I. Joe

This reminds me of the unofficial, unreleasable "David Duchovny, Why Don't You Love Me" video. I mean, Julianne Moore is playing Scarlett? Also sounds a little Flight of the Conchords-ey.

Anyway, enjoy...



Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Fixer

Listening to Pearl Jam's new single and I have to say I'm enjoying it a great deal. It's been a while since I've paid any attention to the band.I think Vitalogy was the last time I really knew what they were up to, even though I do remember having Yield at some point. I don't know where the appeal left me back then as they were clearly one of the best things to emerge out of that whole Seattle boom back in the early '90s.

Anyway, judging by the quality of this first single, I'm seriously considering picking up the new album when it comes out. That didn't work out so hot when I returned to another old fave, but I've got a good feeling about this one.

Oh, I should also mention that I've been listening to the new album by Jet, Shaka Rock, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I was hoping for more of the same but there have been a few stylistic changes. Not enough to be really jarring, just interesting.

If you have a chance to check out either I would give them my official Meanwhile... seal of approval.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Aint Afraid of No Ghost

Considering how I felt about the last Ghostbusters comic book effort from IDW, I wasn't going to try and usher in the new mini with any kind of fanfare. The art looks okay, but the writer, Scott Lobdell, is an unknown quantity here. I thought his work on the X-Men franchise over at Marvel in the '90s was absolute crap but I did very much enjoy his run on Buffy, High Roads was fun and his Wildcats work was decent, also.

The question remains, however. Can he write a decent and faithful time-travelling Ghostbsters story? We'll see when the new mini, titled "Displaced Aggression", debuts in just a little bit.

Could be crap, could be awesome. It doesn't have to live up to the films, just the excellent Ghostbusters: Legion comic book published by 88Mph a few years ago.

i09 has some artwork displayed at their website if you wanna have a look see.



Joe Hill

At the library the other day I saw a copy of IDW's Locke & Key. For those of you who don't know, the book is written by Joe Hill and features artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez. It's the story of a family who survive a major tragedy and move to a relative's house that has some special characteristics. At Keyhouse, there are certain keys (if you can find them) that will open certain doorways that lead to other places and states of being. Within the grounds of Keyhouse exists an entity that wants these keys and uses its influence to achieve its goals. This is where most of the action and drama come into play.

In the introduction, there is some discussion on how the writer, Joe Hill, is a brilliant young novelist in the genre and everything he touches is golden. Well, seeing as I thought the first few issues of the comic reprinted in the collection were pretty good and not absolutely astonishing, I took these comments with a grain of salt.

A few days later I was shopping at Indigo! and I noticed a collection of Hill's short stories called 20th Century Ghosts. It was on sale for $7.99 and Christopher Golden (one of my favourite genre writers) spoke incredibly highly of him and the work in the introduction. I thought if everyone seemed to be praising everything Joe Hill does, I might as well try out this short story collection and see where that leads me.

Well, I'll tell you where that leads me. I am now a huge fan of the work of Joe Hill. This guy is everything they say about him. I have yet to read his full-length novel, Heart-Shaped Box, but these short stories are superb. His expert handling of the genre is a refreshing surprise considering so many of his contemporaries (literary and cinematic) go for the jugular and try to give you as extreme an experience as possible while sacrificing mood, and story. Hill knows what it means to build to something and make the reader an active participant in his storytelling.

Finishing Locke & Key I was treated to some of the same surprises that I had seen in his short story work. I assumed that L&K was going to trade on the nasty bits with lots of killing and abuse and cruelty, but that's just not the case. There's a mood to it, a quality that feeds off of the darker points but also shows a lot of humour and sensitivity and I'm really looking forward to seeing where this story goes. I have another storyline to catch up on ("Head Games") and then I'll be up to date.

Oh, and if you haven't read his short story "Pop Art" then you must go out and do so now. You really, really must.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reading The Unwritten

It kind of surprises me that I'm still engaged with Mike Carey and Peter Gross' new Vertigo series, The Unwritten. I wasn't overly impressed by the $1 first issue, finding it slow to get moving and somewhat predictable, and I was skeptical as to whether or not the metatextual premise of the series would be sustainable over a long run. In most of the interviews I've read Carey addresses, and diffuses, the obvious comparisons to Rowling's cash cow, but whether you were comparing it to Harry Potter, Tim Hunter or any other fictional boy wizard creation was irrelevant to me. I just felt like the similarities, period, would sink the general appeal of this book sooner than later.

Four issues in, though, and I'm still buying it, still reading it, and it looks like I'm going to be in for the long haul on this one.

What's keeping me intrigued so far is the fact that Carey hasn't fallen back on as many 'obvious' devices as I had expected him to. Going for the shock reveal that the reader expects has little appeal. If they revealed right out in the first issue that yes, Tommy Hunter was a fictional character brought to life by his creator or by some other means and raised as a real boy in our world, I would have been gone right then and there. Heck, I was dicey on whether that same reveal on periphery characters was going to be make or break for me. Carey seems to be trying to keep things ambiguous on that point, however, and the true origins of everyone are still shrouded in mystery 48 pages or so into the tale.

There have been some interesting thoughts that Carey has put to paper on the ideas of language and fiction, and I have a growing curiosity regarding the character of Mr. Pullman whose motives are unclear as anything else in the book. The artwork by Peter Gross is stellar, as always, and while the first story arc has reached a conclusion there is very little closure. What that means is that it reads like an ongoing serialized story and not a 'paced for the trade collection' that so many other books are.

I was genuinely excited when I saw the fourth issue on the racks today and eagerly snatched up the last copy my LCS had. It was a deliciously macabre issue (much like the last one) that I read as soon as I got home. I figure that's as good a sign as any that I'm on board for the first year at the very least. I'd be curious to hear what, if any, opinions anyone else has on this series to date.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

There is a CD, Burn, Burn, Burn

I've been in a bit of an Our Lady Peace mood and I decided to pick up their new album, Burn, Burn, Burn. I heard some good pre-release press and was interested in seeing where exactly the band had landed after several years of spinning their wheels and producing yawn-worthy power pop.

Well, I can't say as it is a terrible album, but they certainly haven't left their current comfort zone. The first single, "All You Did Was Save My Life", is catchy, driving, and gets under your skin after a few listens but, so far, none of the other songs on the album have managed to equal that. I like some of them just fine, but I will find myself humming the new track from time to time. It does require a few more sit downs and listens before I give it my final verdict, but I'm not holding out hope for it making its way into the same category as their first four efforts which defined their sound and writing so expertly that anything since has seemed trite.

One of my favourite songs from the band, and one of my all-time favourite videos, is a track called "Thief".



Friday, July 24, 2009

Sort of SDCC Related

In 2000 I made a Comikaze trip down to San Diego with my buddy Karl. It was the first time I ever attended the con, and I was going under the auspices of doing some coverage for FEARS Magazine, a web publication that I was writing for that was run by a very cool cat named Ed Flynn. Almost on a whim (I think we decided the same day we left on the trip), Karl and I rented a car, loaded up our stuff and drove 33 odd hours from Saskatoon to San Diego (with a few stops in-between for sustenance and one stop in Vegas which was more curiosity than anything else).

I have a lot of fond memories of that con. I met Chris Carter whose shows I have been loving for the last 15 years or so, and even got to ask him a question on the X-Files/Lone Gunmen panel that made all the news sites by the time I got home (I asked him about Millennium, what the future holds for the series and was he truly happy with the 'closure' they gave the character of Frank Black in the New Year X-Files episode, "Millennium"). I met Will Eisner and got to shake his hand and thank him for all of his excellent work over the years, not to mention getting my Spirit Archives Volume 1 autographed. I did some great video interviews including one with Jill Thompson that I especially enjoyed. Nobody has ever seen the video outside of me (although the text for which has been transcribed and published) which I may remedy in the future. I had a chance to talk to Jose Ladronn and Sylvain Despretz (who, when I asked him for a sketch, wanted to clarify that I actually knew who he was since he wasn't really a comic book guy), met Walt Simonson, Sergio Aragones, Bob Burden, Brian Azzarello, Stan Sakai, and Mike Mignola. It was good times.

Outside of the con, Karl and I hung around with friends Kaare Andrews (who was living in town while doing work for Wildstorm), Trevor McCarthy (who taught me how to talk like a New Yorker should I ever find myself in the City), and a retailer out of Edmonton named Kelly (whose last name I shamefully forget). Karl played pool with Howard Simpson, we crashed the Wizard party, and closed the show down with an extra day in SD, spending most of it on the beach to recharge before making the epic trek back home.

At the con I managed to snag a sketch by Duncan Fegredo which remains one of my most prized possessions. Shade the Changing Man was an important series for me during the Peter Milligan run and Fegredo did some of the most amazing painted covers for that book. I loved them all. It was one of the things I looked forward to every month. So, I stood in line and when it was my turn I asked Duncan to either draw me one of two characters: one whose identity escapes me at the moment, and the other was a Mad, Mod, Poet God. He chose the latter and I was ever so happy he did.

I always intended on framing some of the sketches I acquired at SDCC and I never got around to it until tonight when I finally set it up and hung it on the wall. Jen has been pushing to finally start putting up some art or posters or pictures or something to beautify the homestead a bit, so we put up one of my favourite Moonshadow posters and the Shade image, so far. I've attached images of them (taken with my shitty phone, I know) below so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.

So, yeah, I just wanted to share that little tidbit. I'll be framing my Usagi Yojimbo, Scary Godmother, Sylvain Despretz rendition of Maximus from Gladiator and a Mike Mignola Hellboy sketch as soon as I get some matte boards for the frames. Until then, I'll have to enjoy ol' Shade for a while, which shouldn't be hard because the image gives me a lotta joy.

Take care!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Music Quest

Canadian rock band, Our Lady Peace, just released their new album and it got me buzzing around iTunes checking out some older OLP material that I, for some reason, do not own. Not even in one of those 'less-than-legal' ways, either.

While buzzing around I was reminded that Raine Maida, frontman for the band (and husband to Chantal Kreviazuk, for anyone who cares about that sort of thing), put out a solo album a couple of years ago (called The Hunters Lullaby) which I remember pretty much ignoring at the time it was released. In fact, he was even here playing at a local pub and I decided it wouldn't be worth my time to go see him without the whole OLP ensemble and anthemic rock music. I had yet to hear any of his solo material and just assumed I wouldn't care much for it. It is possible that someone might have told me he got all folky, or something.

So, looking at it in the online store I was also reminded that Jen had bought a song or two off of it and I remembered kind of liking the song she played for me. She just started playing it off of her laptop one afternoon and asked if I could guess who this artist was, which I did. "Who's This?", by the way, is a 'game' we 'lovingly' play in our household but the question is usually directed at Jen and not me.

Anyway, I got the title from her, downloaded it myself and I've been listening to it ever since. Here's the video I found for it off of the YouTube:

I'm just loving the song and I think the idea behind the video is kind of neat, too. Wandering around Toronto busking for War Child. Works for me. I do feel a little special needs for letting my snobbishness get in the way of discovering some cool new music, though. Everything in its time, I guess.

Well, I hope you enjoy the track as much as I do. I'm heading back into the iTunes store to search for more goodies. I found a Sloan song I didn't even know existed and some previously rare Chapterhouse stuff, so I'm kind of jazzed right now.

Take care!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Bob Burden!

I sort of missed this one a few days back but one of my very favourite funny book people, Bob Burden, just had a birthday and I wanted to give a proper Meanwhile... shout out to him. Anyone who has been buying/reading comics for the last few years should know about his wacky creation, the Flaming Carrot, and the crazy surrealist joy that his characters have brought to many a fan (this one included).

One of my favourite stories involving Bob came from an interview we did a few years back where he outlined what he would do if he was allowed to work on some Marvel heroes. This was a period where editor Axel Alonso was bringing in talent like Peter Milligan, Jim Mahfood, Mike Allred, and a number of names nobody could have predicted would work on a Marvel book. It had something to do with Iron Man and Dr. Doom, a beach and someone's vacation being ruined. It sounded like a winner in my book.

Anyway, Bob turned 57 on July 19th, so Happy Birthday, Bob!



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Who You Gonna Call?

First the game, now this. I'm in freakin' heaven these days!

I'll have some comments on the aforementioned game in the near(?) future as I am 3/4 of the way through as of this writing, and it's just too cool to not rave about it in a post sometime soon.

Until then, enjoy!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Road Rage

There are few things that bother me like someone who is already breaking one or more traffic laws looking at you like you're an asshole if you're somehow making it difficult for them to break another.

This is why I want a rocket launcher mod to my Focus.


Jon J Muth

I've been on a bit of a Muth kick of late (some of that has to do with the reasons why my mind has been blown, if you're curious) and I ran across these neat videos of Jon that I thought I would share...

...and this one is a bit of an EPK style promo discussing his latest Zen book...

That's all for now. Catch you later!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I've Just Completely Blown My Mind

But I can't talk about why or how just yet.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Clone Wars Decommissioned?

So, I'm on a bit of a Star Wars kick as a result of the tenth anniversary of the release of Episode I and I've been trying to get a look at the new Clone Wars: Decoded episodes and I've discovered that the show has disappeared from the airwaves. I'm not sure how long ago this happened, but neither CTV (who are supposed to have the broadcast rights) or our local Sci-Fi channel, Space: The Imagination Station, are showing it. I've searched the guide and there are plenty of Stargates, Star Treks and Starship Troopers, but, sadly, I must go without the Wars. In a desperate act, I even checked the more unconventional methods of acquiring shows that we do not get here, and it's not available in that format either.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to wait for the DVD release on this one.



Monday, June 01, 2009

Human Target

I apologize again for not being very frequent with the posting, but you know how it is. I did want to pop on and mention that there are some promo videos for the new Human Target series that will be debuting next January on Fox. I remember watching the original Rick Springfield version of the show from 15+ years back, although I had forgotten that it was developed by Bilson and DeMeo, known for their much admired Flash series on CBS. That series lasted all of seven episodes, I think, and disappeared. You can't even find Torrents of those online, although I did manage to find a video on YouTube which I'll post below.

And the old one...

I'm honestly surprised that it took so long to get this concept back on the small screen. Saddened as I am that Terminator will not be returning next year, I'll be looking forward to seeing some Human Target action.



Friday, May 29, 2009

Wars, Trek...What's the Difference?

I'd heard that Abrams tried to Star Wars up the new Trek film, but I never realized quite how much until I saw this video...



Tuesday, May 26, 2009


For lack of something better and mine, here's something brilliant and someone else's.



Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Jean Giraud!

Jean 'Moebius' Giraud turned 71 years young on May 8th. I've loved this guys work for so many years and do not have nearly enough of it in my collection. I'll have to remedy that sometime soon.

Raise a glass for Jean.



Friday, May 08, 2009

Comics Cavalcade

I had my first trip to a comic store yesterday in a while (not counting FCBD) and I am pretty excited about reading some new books this week. I doubt I'll have a review ready for Sunday, though, seeing as I work tomorrow, I'm on call today for this project I'm working on with Jen for her work, and I have a sickly daughter home with the flu. Still, the fact that I made to to my LCS at all this week is a triumph for me and I'm looking forward to reading both Angel and Angel: Blood and Trenches, Hellblazer, Agents of Atlas and Cerebus Archives.



Sunday, May 03, 2009

Two Things

Over the last few days, I've only experienced or been a part of two things that are worth mentioning: Free Comic Book Day and the second season finale to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

I've been taking my kids along with me to Free Comic Book Day since they were just wee ones, but starting a couple of years ago, they became more involved in the process. Going was no longer just for me to get my stash and they get a free comic book or two, they want their own stashes now and are willing to put out to get it.

We have two stores in town that we frequent. One of them, Eighth Street Books and Comics, gives out one comic book to each person who shows up. The other, Amazing Stories, gives you every free comic book if you spend $5 at their store. As a result, our routine has been to hit Amazing Stories first and get one of everything, then hit 8th Street for anything we might have missed.

I was really impressed to see Kate and Simon spending $5 and grabbing a whole stackload of comics this year (Emma didn't have $5, but grabbed a copy of Love and Capes). They had some trouble finding anything to spend $5 on, but once that hurdle was overcome, they did just fine. It was also nice to see them devour the ones they expected to enjoy, then read some that they knew nothing about and really enjoy those, as well. Simon basically wanted the Wolverine and Sonic books but came away wanting to read more Sardine. I consider that a plus. Kate and Emma are also converts to Love and Capes, now, and I think Emma spent an hour or more reading the free L&C content on the web just to fill her craving. We'll probably hunt down back issues or collections in the near future.

As for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I finally watched the last three episodes of season 2 and they were some of the best of the series. Actually, I'd go so far as to say the last 5 episodes of that season were what I would show to any Doubting Thomas' who have been poo-pooing the show for the last two seasons. It's a crying shame that they won't be able to continue from where they left off, but if they had to end it where they did, I'm satisfied with that. All the characters storylines were addressed, secrets were revealed, homages to the films were made, we got to see some of Cameron's endo-skeleton and someone FINALLY says the word "Terminator"! 31 episodes of the series so far and I don't think Terminator is said once until the last 10 minutes of ep. 31.

An early complaint of mine for the show was that it lacked some signature Terminator things to really feel like the audience (meaning me) was watching James Cameron's world (or a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile). Not seeing enough of the Terminator itself was one, but I understood the budget constraints of a television program. Not hearing the aforementioned word, Terminator, bugged the shit out of me, and that was probably some kind of licensing thing with the owners of the property since it has been licensed to different people over the years (I'll bet the movie guys get to say it all the time). The music irked me because I knew Bear McCreary was a brilliant composer, but without any Brad Fiedel call-outs, it just isn't Terminator. I heard that was a rights issue and it looked like they ironed some of that out because the music rocked in season 2.

And by the end of it, I loved it. From top to bottom it was/is one of my favourite shows on television and I'm sad to hear that it likely will not be coming back. I will mourn it, I will buy the DVDs when it comes out, I may even go to see the Christian Bale movie but I've invested enough time and energy into these actors and characters that it won't be the same.

So raise a glass to Terminator: TSCC. We knew you for so short a time, but all good things must come to an end, I guess.



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Much More Music

A friend had me comparing Bill Withers' "Use Me" with a Fiona Apple version and it got me surfing YouTube which led to some Beatles music and a few covers. I was most impressed with this version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Reprise]" by the Stereophonics and I thought I would post it here in lieu of any real content.

That's one of the best Beatles covers I've heard since this one...



Monday, April 27, 2009

The Night Starts Here

I'm not sure if this video really fits the song, but I applaud and support Stars in all their endeavours, so...

Regardless of how weak the video may be, the song still rocks.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Re-reading Old Copies of The New Mutants

Digging through some longboxes I ran across the handful of issues in my collection of The New Mutants. I sold of the bulk of the series that I owned to a local comic shop back when the Liefeld issues were still considered blisteringly hot and bought a serious crapload of other books in their place. I've never regretted the decision since so many holes in other collections were plugged as a result, and a great number of new comics were discovered.

Actually, I take back that no regrets comment, because I do regret never quite finishing up my Epic Akira set when I had the chance and the trade credit to do so.

But I digress.

The issues I was looking at were the later ones, somewhere in the high 60s, written by Louise Simonson and the art would have been by Bret Blevins, a penciller I learned to appreciate much later in life. There was also an issue in there (#62, I believe) by the inimitable Jon J Muth. A book which I now treasure more than I did when I was younger and was not such a fan of his work.

Looking at them all again, it reminded me that, while I was often intrigued by the characters and the whole younger X-Men deal, I never really read the book regularly, and never really got to know the characters very well. I certainly was not there in the beginning. I only started paying any real attention to them when Sienkewicz came on as artist, and only collected them on a monthly basis while Guice was doing the art and inked by Kyle Baker. I wavered again for the next 3 or 4 years of the book and picked it up again with #86, which had Rusty on the cover being attacked by the vulture. The first Liefeld cover.

Since the first series only ran 100 issues, I figured it couldn't hurt to take a trip down memory lane and read them all over again, for the first time.

So far, it feels like Claremont is trying much too hard to be young and relevant, and out of the 4 issues and the graphic novel that I have read so far, he has managed three stories that reek of cliché; the origin story, the teen horror flick and a child abuse story. It's also taking some getting used to reading the Claremont style, with just about every panel describing the character, their powers and their motivations in captions, followed by action scenes which he also describes in word or thought balloons.

Bob McLeod's art is serviceable, but nothing spectacular. It's interesting to look back on, but when you consider the work being done 20 issues after these still hold up as striking and contemporary (from a strictly visual standpoint), I can't get too excited by Bob's work, here.

Anyway, I just thought I would post about it. I'll probably post again when I hit those Sienkewicz issues, or possibly even the Leialoha issues in the teens. We'll see.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Clone Wars Review With Dave Filoni

While surfing the Star Wars site I ran across this interview with director, Dave Filoni. I've read a number of interviews regarding the show, and seen a few featurettes on the DVD and online, but this was one of the more informative pieces on season 1 I've seen in a while.

Now, if only someone could get an answer as to why Ahmed Best is no longer voicing Jar Jar, I would be a happy Clone Wars fan.



Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Post Is Mostly Filler

There's a bunch going on right now so I'm kind of lackluster in the posting department, but I didn't want to lag too far behind so I figured I would post this video I found after I finished reading Cerebus a little while ago. Once I closed the final page on #300 (which I intended to post about but, as usual, have yet to do so) I immediately went scouring around for commentary and extras online. I also dug up my Following Cerebus issues and started reading those through for the first time (I was holding off until I completed Dave's magnum opus).

Anyway, these guys have put together (or are in the process of putting together) an animated Cerebus film or short and it's mildly interesting to watch. A little strange, though, since the Cerebus depicted is from the earlier issues in the run.

Hopefully I'll have something more significant for next time.



Friday, April 17, 2009

They Say a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

What can I say, I'm speechless. A friend sent me a link to The Best Page in the Universe and when I saw this image...well, it speaks for itself, I think.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweet Georgia Brown

Just got back from seeing the Harlem Globetrotters with my son and his buddy from school. It was a belated birthday present, and I have to say it's a bit of a treat to see two 8-year old boys going nuts over the antics of the team, and actually cheering and booing when each team scores points. They were jumping and hooting and hollering like proper hooligans. It was a sight to see.

We got home and my daughter Kate asked who won? Oddly enough, Simon answered that someone from the fan club won (I have some ideas on what that might have meant) before being prompted to answer 'the whole team". Jen and I just smirked. Who won indeed.

Anyway, it was a bunch of fun and we got Flight Time's autograph on a Jersey my brother bought for his nephew. Simon and his buddy also each got the official Spalding basketballs which set me back a pretty penny, but they were so excited, I couldn't say no.

It was also nice to get out of the house for a while after all this editing work that I've been doing. Tons of work. Loads of hassles. My brain can only be melted down so many times before it becomes inert. I happen to need this brain.

Ah well, I'm going to go read some Nexus, maybe come up with some questions for an interview I'm working on with IDW and go to bed. More stupid editing work tomorrow. Yay for me!



Monday, April 13, 2009

Nothing About The Spirit Feels Safe Anymore

I will qualify first that I have yet to read the current Spirit storyline written by Michael Uslan, but flipping through the latest issue I noticed the character of Lorelai Rox, The Octopus, Ellen applying for and being accepted into medical school, and that's where I had to close the book and put it down. For those of you who don't know (or aren't paying attention), those elements and/or characters that I just mentioned were all used in the recent flop of a movie that was based on Eisner's strip of the same name which, I might add, Uslan was a producer on. Is he trying to bring the two continuities together? Is he trying to engender some love from us die-hard Spirit fans thinking this may drive us out to buy the DVD? Is DC lost and scrambling for things to do with this character and title? Is this going to be as disappointing and un-Spirit like as I'm thinking it might be?

Likely the book is just adopting a Legends of the Dark Knight anthology style to it since Evanier and Aragones appear to have left the building. Dean Motter and Paul Rivoche are on deck with the next story and Michael Avon Oeming takes a crack at Denny Colt in #30 at which point the solicitations on the DC site end. Could be a sign that the series is on its last legs as it tries to find a direction, but 30 issues is about 26 longer than I ever gave it credit for lasting over at DC, so whether it continues or ends, we had a good run.

Comments are welcome, as always.



Bless You You Tube

I haven't seen this video or heard this song in years-probably 16, if I'm doing the math correctly. The first time I heard it was in high-school when my brother saw it on MuchMusic one day and bought the 45rpm. He played it for me and I thought it was absolutely hilarious at the time, especially a couple of the gags related to the Beastie Boys. "No sleep 'til bedtime!" That's comedy gold.

Anyway, I later lent the only copy we had to my friend Doug, which he never returned, for whatever reason. I've often thought about it and it's a song nobody else seems to know anything about. Anytime I've mentioned Morris Minor and the Majors, people tend to think I'm crazy. I had even done an extensive Internet and YouTube search in the past and came up with nothing. Then tonight...

It seems so much less amazing now than it did then. Still, I'm thrilled that I ran across this little gem from my younger years. Now, if only I could find the B-side. I think it was called "Boring" or something like that. It's not likely I will unless Doug magically appears out of the ether and hands the thing back to me. Last I checked, he was living in the States with his family, so I'm thinking not so much with that happening.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!


And on the Sixth Day, He Posted...

Wow. So much for the every day, or nearly every day, posting that I've been trying to stick to since February. I haven't had a six day gap in some time, so I figured a little explanation was in order.

Essentially, work has sort of taken over much of my blogging time. I'm still working part-time at the Co-op but I've also picked up this editing job and it's a bit of a monster of a job. Jen and I are doing it together and we were originally going to divide up the labour between me handling the InDesign stuff and her handling the copy editing, but it's taken me longer to grasp InDesign than I'm comfortable admitting and she hasn't had enough time to really tackle the text because it was supposed to be a photo-ready copy but more or less came to us as a first draft.

So, a lot of work on both ends but we're pushing through and finding our stride. We called the guy we are doing it for and deadlines got adjusted and a plan of action was made, so everything should be shiny from here on in. There is still a lot of work to be done in the next few days (my cute way of saying I may not blog again between now and when the book is done) but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is good.

On the non-editing/work front, I've been reading comics every chance I get (I hit my Nexus milestone last week and finally completed the Angel: After the Fall run), listening to a crap load of music and, on breaks, Jen and I have continued watching True Blood which never stops being strangely compelling. If you've never tried the show out, it gets a big thumbs-up from the Jozic household.

Later on in the week I'm taking the boy to see the Harlem Globetrotters for his birthday, and Mother Mother is in town at the end of the week so there may be a post or two about that.

Until then...


Monday, April 06, 2009

Wilder on DVD

For a few years now I have been building my Billy Wilder collection on DVD. I think it started in earnest when I watched Almost Famous for the first time and discovered how much of a fan of Wilder Cameron Crowe was. Almost Famous led me to The Apartment (which was pure cinematic brilliance), and that led to Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, The Front Page, Some Like it Hot, Irma la Douce and the list goes on.

Today I was at a local discount store picking up some things when I ran across The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I had never heard of this movie before, and I was a little surprised to see Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's names on it. For $6.88 I couldn't say no and I bought it without hesitation.

After bringing it home, I did an internet search to see where exactly it falls in the Wilder canon. I also do the instant search with an unfamiliar DVD because of the off chance that there may be a special edition or some other version which may be preferable to the copy I just purchased. It's happened a few times where I've discovered that I had bought the 'wrong' version.

Anyway, all the reviews seem to speak well of it and this is currently the only version MGM has out there (with the exception of the Laserdisc which has some minor differences that the collector in me has to bite my tongue over) and I look forward to cracking this one open and giving it a watch. I'll come back on and post about it after, maybe give some thoughts on the film.



Friday, April 03, 2009

"They're Apes! They can speak!"

I was just reading the second issue of Jonny Quest Classics released by Comico about 20 years ago, and in the back was an interview with Doug Wildey where mention was made to the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated series that he worked on. As a big fan of JQ and Doug Wildey, and a so-so fan of the PotA film series, I figured I would explore a little further and see how RttPotA compared to the incomparable Jonny Quest series from the '60s.

Well, there are some shows that are made with no money, and then there are shows made with no money. Return is one of the latter. The limited animation here is one of the more striking elements of the show. Not an entirely uncommon thing for the time, but the repetitive uses of scenes and camera movement to simulate action and drama really stand out and bring attention to the lack of any real budget for the series. Design-wise, the show does all right. It does have some interesting deviations from the film series - such as the classical architecture the apes are using as opposed to the more natural structures from the movies - and Wildey's influence is definitely felt throughout. The human characters have a definite Hanna-Barbara look to them and many of the backgrounds look like they could have been painted for a post-apocalyptic Quest episode. Still, it is slow moving (at least in the first episode) and doesn't grab the attention too firmly. I'll keep slogging through for another episode or two, but I'm not holding out hope for any real improvement.

It is kind of disappointing to see the show does not hold up too well, but then Wildey also worked on the animated Mr. T series in the '80s, so I don't always expect greatness from the guy.

Anyway, here's a YouTube version of the pilot episode (Part 1 of 3):



Great Finales

In honour of the end of Battlestar Galactica, BlogCritics has a list of great TV series finales and I must say I was happy to see that Angel made their number two. The ending of that series was always bittersweet since a season six was possible, but for an ending to five years of stories, you couldn't have done much better than "Never Fade Away". I'm even happier yet that it beat out Buffy's finale as I've always believed Angel was the superior show. So many people give the parent show all the props, it's nice to see some recognition going in the other direction for a change.

Oh, and as for what I thought of the Galactica finale? Just about perfect television.

More on that later.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wolverine Leaked

So, as everyone probably knows by now, 20th Century Fox's upcoming tentpole movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was leaked onto the internet. Everyone and their dog has downloaded it, watched it and the reviews have been making their way through the blogosphere like wildfire. Some are positive, many are negative, and Fox officials assure us that if this version of the movie sucks, it's because it's not the right one. "No, really, there is a better version," the one that wasn't leaked and will be what fans can look forward to on May 1st.

I've kind of been letting this soak in for the last couple of days and my thoughts and feelings are varied. On the one hand, I feel bad for Fox to have the wind taken out of their sails like that. Even if the blog critics were raving about this movie, there is always that contingent of the audience who would be happy with 'screwing the man' and watching it for free on their computer rather than having the full-on theatre experience. With the more negative reviews, they are potentially losing much of that first weekend revenue that is so important to their bottom line. Sure, a bad movie is a bad movie, but if those investors don't make back any of their money on a big project like this, eventually they get gun shy when someone comes up to them and says, "hey, I have this idea for a movie..."

Then there is the small corner of my brain that wonders if this was really an accidental security slip. I mean, Fox has been having a really rough time of late and they need a big success to get them back in the game. I know with only a month to go before release, it is highly unlikely, but what if Fox was to leak the movie, tells everyone that it is not a completed version, gets a whole bunch of responses from the blogosphere and goes back in and reworks things according to fan reaction. There's not enough time for reshoots by this point, so I know I'm just spouting off, but stranger things have happened. At least, I think they have.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Andy Hallet 1976-2009

My friend Carly called me today to inform me that actor Andy Hallet had passed away from complications relating to his heart condition. I'm a little floored by this, mostly because Andy was still very young. Younger than me, in fact, which is also a little bracing considering the 'died too young' crowd has always been older than me, even by a few years. I never thought much of his singing (something that he is primarily known for) but I thought he was an incredible dramatic and comedic actor. His role of Lorne on Angel gave him just about every kind of line of dialogue in just about every kind of genre of storytelling and through it all his performances were always entertaining, up to the challenge, and often touching.

One of my favourite scenes on television is Lorne's last few moments on Angel. The gravity that he brought to that was just astonishing. Even with all the death, heroics and last stand emotions running throughout that episode, I always remember Lorne doing 'his part' for the team and telling Angel that after he completes his task, he's done. They are never to come looking to him for help again. Just great, powerful stuff.

So, if you're out there and you're a fan, raise a glass in Andy's honour. He will be missed.



Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Comic Haul - 03/25/09

And here we are with another installment of the getting more regular, The Comic Haul, where I, your intrepid blogging host, review some of the weeks comics for your perusal:

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INDIANA JONES AND THE TOMB OF THE GODS #4 is my big pick for the week, and not just because I'm a huge Indy fan. Rob Williams continues writing an excellent Indy adventure, bringing the quest for the mysterious Temple to an end, and his characters always remain true to their cinematic counterparts (something some licensed books have trouble maintaining). The artwork of Bart Sears was an early concern but he has really distinguished himself on this book. His style is very detailed, tonally appropriate and he handled the few action scenes really well. A bit of a departure from the very slick look he had some years ago and I think I prefer his work that way. At times this issue was a bit Lovecraftian for my tastes, but it was never overpowering and it did bring a distinctly fresh flavour to the story. Something that Indy has never really faced before. Overall I liked this mini-series very much and I really hope Dark Horse try another one or two before giving up on the license completely.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: CYLON WAR #3 didn't exactly fill the BSG sized hole I've had in me since the series finale aired. To be honest, it didn't even hold up to the 12 issue BSG run that Greg Pak wrote a few years ago, and I would argue that Pak was darn close to capturing the essence of the show but just missed it by a hair. Essentially Cylon War tells the story of how the Cylon War began, and as we enter this third part of the journey, we find ourselves in the middle of a civil war in the colonies. Sagittaron and Caprica seem to be at odds and there are other, more mechanical, personalities that are keeping an eye on the proceedings. At the flashpoint of the war, the machines decide to attack, uniting the colonies against a common foe. Not a bad idea, per se, but the execution felt a little week, the characters a little thin, and the artwork by Nigel Raynor doesn't hold a candle to the dynamic stuff he was doing for Pak back in the day. It may be because it was shot off of Raynor's pencils, or maybe he's just off his game. Either way, this issue was not working for me.

NOVA #23 was a bit of a disappointment considering how much I have been enjoying Abnett and Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy. It had its moments, particularly an exchange between Rich Rider and a Dr. Necker near the end of the book where she was trying to help him with his condition (dying) despite leaving H.A.M.M.E.R. Some of the Quasar bits were nice and the ending piqued my curiosity, but nothing like how GotG grabbed me when I read one issue. Maybe it's just that I've never really cared for the Nova character. The artwork by Andrea Divito was decent, though. I may check in with the book again, but for now it's on the not bother to buy list.

STAR TREK: MISSION'S END #1 is yet another Trek book out of IDW, but this one stands apart by virtue of having been written by Ty Templeton. He makes a decent showing of it, spotlighting the early Enterprise crew we see in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which was kind of fun. I'm not sure if I'm totally engaged in the story, though. A race of spider-like creatures who are now warp capable get a visit from the Federation and what the crew discovers is that these creatures may be more dangerous than anyone had anticipated. Lots of walking and talking, which is fine, but the build-up is slow and the art not entirely electrifying. Still, I'll probably hang in for another issue, partly for the novelty and partly because of my curiosity.

SUPERMAN #686 was slow but decent. Not as enjoyable as the work these guys were doing with Superman as the lead, but I'm holding out hope that Mon-El will distinguish himself given some time. I've been a fan of the character since Giffen and the Bierbaums dealt with him in Legion and I'm hoping that this really secures a place for him in the current DCU. Not much happens in the story beyond Mon getting a haircut, but we'll see how things progress over the next couple of issues before making any permanent judgments one way or the other.

And that was the Comic Haul for this week. Comments are always welcome so feel free to throw in your two cents worth.

Until next week, take care.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Awwww, Yeah

I won't be playing this on the Wii, but I'm giddy as a schoolboy waiting on this game to land.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hitting the Threshold

I've just finished watching a marathon run of CBS' cancelled drama, Threshold. It was part of a wave of sci-fi/alien invasion shows that were popping up like wildfire at the time and one that I initially wrote off. I guess when I looked at Invasion, Threshold and Surface, I did the ol', "meh, just some more X-Files wannabes". The irony is that I have since gone back and I actually find redeeming qualities to all of these shows, now.

Threshold told the story of a a team of scientists who are trying to stall an alien invasion. Through their advanced technology, this unknown race is terraforming and bioforming us to be more like them. It was created by ex-Trek writer/producer, Brannon Braga, and is executive produced by Blade writer, David S. Goyer. Normally I would stay away from any show that had Braga attached to it post-Trek, but Goyer's influence is definitely felt, and I have to believe that Rick Berman had a lot to do with how badly things went for Roddenberry's franchise.

Anyway, it plays on the whole body snatcher style of thrills and you hear the "one of us" phrase a few times but, overall, I found the characters in the show to be worth investing some time in. Carla Gugino is believable as an analyst who deals in worst case scenarios, and Charles S. Dutton as her boss is just great to watch. I've loved Charles since I first saw him in Alien3 and he raises the bar to anything he is attached to. Of note is the character of Dr. Fenway who is played by Brent Spiner. I always wondered if he would be able to shake Data and do something dramatic without the android being upfront in everyone's mind. I gotta say, he pulls it off. I really enjoy watching him do his thing. Certain behaviours are familiar but he's doing a whole new character here and it works.

The show ran 13 episodes before being cancelled and with the exception of the pilot (which tried a little too hard to make an impression quickly by playing off every cliché known to the genre) I enjoyed every last one of them. It didn't end with a cliffhanger like some retired shows, but there were a few major plot points that were revealed right at the end that we'll never know the answer to. Some niggling things that I would like some resolution to. Alas, it will never happen.

Maybe I should try interviewing one of the show runners some day and ask where it was all going.

So, there you have it. Try the show if you haven't and you have a chance. Forgive the pilot its transgressions and, at the very least, wait around for the episode where Gugino is running around the Threshold headquarters in a turtleneck sweater before pulling the plug on this one.