Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tim Curry live — 1978


My fantasy team of writers here at G33K4L1F3 are protesting the lack of sleep they've had this week and have walked off the set. I'll probably bring in some scab labor later in the day, but meanwhile enjoy this live video of Tim Curry singing one of the best tracks from The Rocky Horror Show, "I'm Going Home."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Journey: Arcade Flyer

Journey once had an arcade game. In fact, they might have been the first rock band to have their own coin-op video game.

This is the point where I would usually point out how tragic that is, but I like Journey. It's actually possible to like The Dead Kennedys, Cab Calloway and Journey simultaneously, despite what you might hear.

Dark Knight Oscar Campaign

Christian Bale doesn't get enough respect for his performance as Batman. Before he came along, Bruce Wayne was just some guy filling time until Batman showed up. They were so different as to be individual characters (the '60s TV show even budgeted them each week as different characters.)
With Batman Begins, though, Batman and Bruce Wayne finally became the same guy. The costume was almost beside the point, with some of Bale's best scenes (the "drunken" birthday party scene, especially) taking place out of superhero drag.

Those of us in the flyover states rarely get to see the products of the annual Oscar campaigns. Studios sink small fortunes into shadow campaigns to win their movies a little prestige and, with The Dark Knight, Warners had a chance to get both their leading men nominations.

Below are a few ads from Warners' push for The Dark Knight.

Galactic Empire State of Mind

Darth Vader is currently showing a new side of her personality over at College Humor. They don't allow embedding (or I'm too stupid to figure out the code) so follow the purdy colored text and check it out.

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 20

Those exact words appeared on my last performance evaluation.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's official: the barrier between fantasy and reality has fallen

No story would ever do this photo justice, but if you must ... head over here.
There's also a photo of the prez with Slimer, which is odd because I heard he'd retired from the business. Or maybe that was Rick Moranis. I forget.

A Rocky Horror Frame of Mind

I've been thinking a lot about The Rocky Horror Picture Show lately. I've gone into long, not-all-that-interesting detail in the past about my inability to see the film with a real audience ... but that ought to be changing soon.

Which has me thinking about the kinds of peripheral RHPS experiences I've had to settle for over the last 30 years. I did a little browsing and came across some interesting RHPS-related artwork, as well as a download of the original movie trading cards. Enjoy!

ABOVE: The original pencil drawing, painted sketch and final proof for the Rock E. Horror card (also reprinted as Marty Gras) for the Garbage Pail Kids series. The art was by John Pound who, I think, did a little work for Marvel on the Howard the Duck magazine in the early 1980s. All roads lead to Howard the Duck.
The art above shows the process used to create this one card. Click them for a closer look.

Australian artist Ken Taylor created  two A-W-E-S-O-M-E posters for the Alamo Drafthouse’s screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whenever I see this art I reflexively pump my fist in the air and make the "devil horns" thing with my fingers.
They were available for sale online as prints but appear to be no longer available.

 The Rocky Horror Picture Show is rather famous for taking its time to find an audience. When it did, though, it received a few collectibles more in line with a Star Wars film than an R-rated midnight movie. Among there was a set of trading cards in 1980, which someone named Red Spy scanned and uploaded for your pleasure.

Lastly, RHPS also got a movie magazine modeled on the kind made for Alien, The Empire Strikes Back and others. I couldn't find any scans of the magazine's interior, though.

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 19

Photographers gather for photos of the only happily married couple in North America. Most would later argue the photos had been 'shopped.

Unreasonably strange Spanish Alan Moore parody

I actually cringed when he tore a page out of the comic and ate it. Not sure if that's a knee-jerk reaction to many years spent caring for comics, or if it reminded me a little too much of Red Dragon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

And my heart grew three sizes larger that day ...

Not sure where this photo originated, but I want to take it behind the woodshed and do naughty things to it/with it. And then I'd see how the photo felt about a three-way with this bit of artwork:

Photos courtesy of mc chris.

Pocket Yoda

Here's something kinda cool that should probably be standard issue with every computer: a USB Yoda buddy. I think this is the reason computers were actually invented.

This little item clips to the top of your monitor and is powered via a USB port. and you can program him so that his lightsaber activates when you type certain keys.
The downer: It's made for the Japanese version of Windows/XP Vista so there's a chance it won't work on American computers or other operating systems.

If you're one of those obsessive types and absolutely can't live without it, here's where you can order.

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 18

Oh, Cthulhu! You're such a scamp!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 17

"Doctor, I had a dream last night that I was swimming with in a pool with whales. When I woke up I was all wet ... what do you think it meant?"

The Multiverse Titans

From Art by the Fraim Brothers.

RIP: Dick Giordano

 Comicbook artist and editor Dick Giordano has passed away. Rather than eulogize about someone I never met (though we attended many of the same comic conventions) I thought I'd let his peers take the stage. Here's a short round-up of what folks are saying:

I liked reading comics he worked on. I liked working with him, liked seeing how much of a difference he made in so many lives. It was generally a positive one. He was a devout fan of comics in the best possible way and one time when he and I had a very brutal argument over a certain DC policy, we followed it with an utterly-friendly discussion of comic artists we both admired.
- Mark Evanier

I met with Dick several times when I was first getting started in comics, and he was always supportive, friendly and just a good guy to deal with. The older I get, the more I value that in people. It's a rare commodity...

- Mark Verheiden 

A very warn, opinionated, feisty man with a disarming sense of humor and a knowledge of illustration history second to none, Dick suffered through many health difficulties, including asthma, hearing loss, and ultimately leukemia.
- Mike Gold

 Very saddened to read this. 
- John Byrne

Dick was way more than a good inker. He was an encouraging force in the industry who brought in new people and helped nurture them.
- Marv Wolfman

For familiar Dick Giordano work, he was the godfather of the modern inking style. Inked Neal Adams to perfection. 
- Rob Liefeld

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pop Art: From my personal stash

The Demon by Matt Wagner. Matt's one of the few guys who's been able to make Etrigan work (the others are Alan Moore, Garth Ennis and, of course, Jack Kirby) and I hold out hopes that he'll return to the character if for no other reason than to wash the taste of that John Byrne series out of my mouth.

Ms. Pac-Man: Arcade Flyer

Ms. Pac-Man is one sexy lady. Not that I'm into freakishly disproportionate mutants with compulsive eating disorders, but I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating power pills, either.

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 16

You know, I understand that every card can't be special ... but c'mon! This is just lazy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tron's Alan Bradley speaks

I've posted just about every other bit of news about the Tron Legacy viral campaign, so why stop now?
IGN has a video interview of Bruce Boxleitner reprising his role of Alan Bradley from the original Tron.

Meanwhile, Movie Viral has more clues about the ongoing puzzles (Arcade Aid, the Flynn Lives glitch, etc.) behind the viral campaign:

"The site, Cheat Code, allows members to enter the names of Encom employees and get their password and username to login into the Employee Intranate. Once logged in, players can sift through emails sent between various in-game characters."

Head on over there and get the rest of the story.

Enjoy! I'm off to bed!

Rom # 1 — “Arrival”

There’s not much about Rom that’s not a product of its time. On a purely tactile level it’s a relic of the days when comics were still published on newsprint and local businesses could still afford to advertise in a nationally distributed comic book. From the cover design (structured to maximize visibility on news racks) to the limited color palettes of the interior art, comics today no longer look, feel or even smell the way they used to.

Rom's story, too, comes from the days when toy companies were anxious to bypass federal laws affecting children’s television (laws that were later changed, opening the floodgates for toyetic shows as G.I. Joe, Transformers, etc.)
Comic books had no such regulations so nothing stood between Parker Bros. and Marvel from conspiring to bring extended ads for the Rom toy to print. 
As a toy, Rom was a thin premise by anyone’s measure. He had no supporting cast, no villains and no real personality. If the 12” Star Wars line of toys couldn’t find success on the market in the late 1970s, then what kind of chance did the oversized Rom toy stand?

The toy wasn’t in production very long, but the comic was a different story. Launched in late 1979, Rom: Spaceknight ran for 75 issues and was in print for seven years. The license for the toy probably made Parker Bros. more money than the actual toy ever did.
Back in 1979, though, writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema were left with a problem of endowing a lifeless plastic toy with some kind of character and direction. Mantlo lifted from a variety of sources, from It Came from Outer Space to Marvel’s own Silver Surfer. While it falls into the traditional Stan Lee mold of heroic outsider, there’s a sense of paranoia to this story not seen in other Marvel titles. In many ways the shape-changing villains found in the Dire Wraiths lay the groundwork for the recent Secret Invasion storyline, which grafted the Skrulls onto the Dire Wraiths “conspiracy” subplot of Rom. (You might also argue that the give and take between Rom and the Fantastic Four extends to stealing the idea of the Dire Wraiths from the Skrulls.)

The first issues covers a lot of ground in just a few pages. An alien from the planet Galador, Rom sacrifices his humanity to bond with an almost magical suit of space armor in order to protect his people from the menace of the Dire Wraiths. Rom pursues the shape changing baddies to Earth and, thanks to his rotten communication skills, finds himself fighting the wraiths, the military and pretty much everyone else he comes into contact with.
In his arsenal is a gun that zaps his enemies into a Phantom Zone-like dimension, as well as a lamp that reveals who is human and who is not. And that’s pretty much all he thinks he needs, I guess. He doesn’t have a clue about how Earth operates, has done no research and has no strategy.
If it sounds like a lame plan, you’re right. What’s interesting is that, amid all the ideas stolen wholesale from Lee and Kirby, there’s a strange effort to cast Rom as a character with an infantile psychology. On the surface it’s just another “stranger in a strange land” story that Marvel so loves, but Rom clearly has no understanding that his actions have consequences. He leaps into one situation after another without ever realizing that something bad might happen. He’s a child who has to learn (and re-learn) that the burner on the stove is hot. If you can’t tell, I’m trying really, really hard not to call him a moron.
Both the story and art are wildly uneven. The art is the easiest element of a comic book to evaluate because problems with line work, layouts, lettering and the rest can be easily spotted within a matter of seconds. Holding the pencil at the beginning of Rom is Sal Buscema, an artist with a dubious track record.
I don’t think Buscema is a terrible artist. He’s a solid, if unspectacular, creator who was usually good enough for whatever book he was assigned. The first issue of Rom is a typical example of Buscema’s linework and layouts. It ranges from the genuinely great opening page (which was recycled by Marvel as a house ad for the series) to the embarrassing space opera designs seen in the flashback sequence. In between the art is serviceable.

I’m not sure that Buscema gave much thought to Mantlo’s script. If you ignore the art, you’ll find a story that has more in common with 1950s sci-fi paranoia thrillers like It Came from Outer Space, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Them! While it’s not perfect, the Ray Bradbury influences of the story certainly make the concepts stand out from the rest of the books Marvel was publishing at the time. The downside is that everything Mantlo and Buscema knew about small town life came from watching The Andy Griffith Show, so the West Virginia “locals” seen in this issue are the broadest kinds of stereotypes.

Superficially, Rom is a product of its time, which isn’t a bad thing. Calling something “dated” is a polite way of saying it’s irrelevant, but that’s not the same as being uninteresting. Whatever Rom's flaws,  the book was far from uninteresting.

Me and my Batmobile

Me, around the age of 5, rocking a bowl cut, Little Rascals shirt and riding in my new Batmobile.

My brother and I both got Batmobiles, though I'm sure we did nothing to deserve them. These peddle-powered cars met an untimely end when someone climbed over the fence in our back yard, vandalized them and tossed them over a nearby fence. We didn't live in a very nice neighborhood.

The Punisher: Arcade Flier

"They killed his family. They destroyed his career. Someone's gonna pay."

That's a really dark tagline for a game that's a fairly typical side-scrolling shoot 'em up. You could also play Nick Fury in the two-player version of this game, who apparently didn't need such a tragic motivation to blow the holy hell out of NYC's underworld.

No matter who wins, we all lose

Here's a link from the Hypno Pimp: a classic children's tale we all should have grown up with, called Alien Vs. Pooh. Warning: you will see a teddy bear wearing panties.

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 15

Yeah, this is going to end well.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Steampunk Star Wars

Here's a link from the Hypno-Pimp: Outland Armor's steampunk Star Wars costumes.
I've seen a lot of steampunk Star Wars art over the years, but most of that was relegated to artwork and custom action figures.  This might be the first devoted effort I've seen to render a steampunk vision of Star Wars via costumes and flesh and blood humans.

I had some problems connecting to the photo albums at their website, but the group's Facebook fanpage has lots of great images. This merry band of outlaws seems to have a sense of humor that is sometimes missing from the various cosplay folks you see at conventions. I once had a guy dressed as a Ghostbuster get all pissy when I took his photo, which wasn't the response I expected.

There's a joke here somewhere involving Outland Armor and the Outlandos d'Amour album by The Police, but damned if I can find it right now.

Q Vs. A: Stabalot (AKA Patrick Campbell)

Welcome to the latest installment of Q Vs. A. Last week, Q was rejected from the ring for cheating, but he quickly bribed and bullied his way back into competition. Q just can't be a tamed.

This week's victim is blogger Patrick Campbell of Stabbing Stabbing Stabbing. As you might have guessed, the primary source of inspiration for his blog is horror movies. So expect a few monsters to make an appearance.

1: This is one of those questions horror fans hate because it's difficult to answer without sounding like a sociopath: What's so special about horror?

The diversity of kinds of horror, the violence, the tits, um...did I mention the tits?

2: What's the dumbest movie you own and why do you own it?

Strays. It's about killer stray cats. And I own because I am dumb enough to watch it again.

3: What's the most inappropriate thing you've ever eaten while watching a horror movie?

Uh, I don't really eat much during movies, but I've probably been drinking soda during some form of violence. Man's gotta have his soda, geez.

4: Fuck/Marry/Kill: Chucky, the Leprachaun and Fats (the dummy from Magic.)

Jesus Christ. I have never seen let's kill Leprechaun. I've seen the entire series and marrying him is a trap and fucking him probably is, too. Let's fuck Fats, hope he's good looking, and I'm gonna marry Chucky since Tiffany left him.

5: Who (or what) is your favorite Twitterer of note?

Um on my horror blog Twitter account I got 16 friends and I know them all so I ain't ranking them. I also want to mention my background for Twitter is like a million Jigglypuffs, and I bet you're all jealous. @Stabbalot btw, follow me if you dare.

6: Peanut Butter: Crunchy or creamy?

I am a picky eater and actually ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the point where I don't eat them ever. I even am particular about peanut butter cookies even. And I don't like peanuts, almonds, etc. So I'm gonna toss your question and state that my favorite Green Lantern is Kyle Rayner. Hoohah.

Pop Art: From my personal stash

Nightwing by Phil Jimenez. I caught Phil at his table at the HeroesCon a few years back just a few minutes before the end of the day (you could see the doors closing as they ushered folks out.)

Nightwing is one of the few characters I'm fanatical about, along with Daredevil, Aquaman and, of course, Batman.

Jaws 3-D Theater: Day 14

That is one humiliated-looking shark. I actually feel embarrassed for him.

G33K4L1F3 Business

Well, here they are: my business cards arrived in the mail yesterday. Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark.

Now all I have to do is start handing them out. I imagine it will look something like this:

Star Trek Origami

Oh, Star Trek ... is there any medium where you can't boldly go?

Below are examples of the amazing things geeks can accomplish when they've got too much time and too much imagination. It also illustrates a big difference between Star Wars and Star Trek fans. The latter is content to admire these works from a distance. The former immediately asks "Where can I buy that?!"

I'm Star Trek/Star Wars bi-polar, which can sometimes be problematic.

I'm a little rusty on the rules to origami, but is painting the feather designs on the wings of papercraft be considered cheating? If not, that's the only detail keeping this little item from being perfect.
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