Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Darth Vader scores for the Empire

When you've got the Force, you don't need teammates. Now, if we can just find out who's win in a throwdown between Vader and Vinnie Jones ... I think Vader could teach Jones a thing or two about dirty tricks.

Superman Vs. Photoshop Vs. Nazis

Here's a collection of 'shopped photos I came across on Flickr that "Zeligs" superheroes into photos from World War II. Some work better than others, while a few (such as the photos using Darth Vader) don't make a heck of  a lot of sense. Still, there are worse ways to waste the next few minutes of your life. Click on over and start browsing!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Hitchhiker's Guide
to the Daleks

Lo Pan Express

The Manly Art Shop has this interesting bit of badassery for sale: An Ed "Big Daddy" Roth-inspired print featuring characters from Big Trouble in Little China. Head on over and see it for yourself.

The Star Wars Alphabet

Artist Tweedlebop has completed a project several years in the making: The Star Wars Alphabet, a collection of art depicting a different Star Wars character for ever letter of the alphabet. It also includes Aurabesh translations!

From the site:

Now each card here has several elements. First there’s the Aurebesh letter, corresponding in each case with a letter from our real-world modern English, Latin-based alphabet. Each letter is shown stylized in a sort of sassy manner, the word then written out in Aurebesh, followed by English.
Then of course there’s the illustrations, which are just fantabulously cute and amazing.
As far as I can tell, Tweedlebop started creating this alphabet in 2007, the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars movie’s release, and finished sometime in the past 12 months. You’ll notice a 2009 copyright sort of mark on most of them.

Head on over to World Famous Design Junkies to see the entire collection.

Pop Art: Aquaman (original page)

I've had the chance over the years to buy original comicbook pages, but almost always pass. Above is the only page I own because, at $5, it was simply to cheap to pass up. It's page 11 of issue 15 of the Peter David run of Aquaman. Drawn by Jim Calafiore, it shows Atlantis (well, Poseidonis) rising from the ocean floor. It also has notes from Calafiore on the colors of the various fish in the panels. Technically, Calafiore was a permanent fill-in artist on the series and backed up Marty Edgeland's work as the regular penciler. As much as I liked Edgeland, I was never disappointed by Calafiore's work.

Peter David's take on Aquaman remains my favorite and I recommend to all F.O.A.M.ers unfamiliar with it to find these back issues immediately. Start with The Atlantis Chronicles, follow with Time and Tide and the move on to the proper Aquaman series.

Random Ghostbusters Image Round-Up

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pop Art: The Shadow by Budd Root

 This was drawn by N.C. artist Budd Root, most famous for his creator-owned comic Cavewoman. I got the first two issues of the original series from him at the 1994 HeroesCon on a pretty memorable day in TV history, and then asked him to draw ... The Shadow? I'm really happy with the sketch but it's just another example of how I sometimes ask artists to draw some pretty off-beat characters.

Devo Makes Something for Everybody, Eps 1+2

After years in their hermetically sealed bubble of artistic integrity, the new wave group Devo is ready to begin delivering a product that everybody will enjoy -- a reality series.The pilot documents the typically private process of creation and marketing of the Devo brand, in which profound statements on the world we live in mix with the inherent absurdity of modern life. Tune in at clubdevo.com every Tuesday and follow this five-episode series starting 6/15, and purchase the album of the same name "Something for Everybody". Pt 1 introduces the band as they shake hands with Warner Bros. Records.

"Continuing on their quest of de-evolution, Devo, Inc.'s COO, Greg Scholl, presents Warner Bros. with an "epic" marking deck, which features his "synergistic trident." The the trident represents the band, the label and the consumer, but there's still a missing link. Enter Mother LA, an ad agency that promises to make Devo more appealing using their "test to learn" approach."

The 10 Manliest Men of Geekdom

Part of me feels inclined to write some sort of witty introduction to this list. After looking it over, though, I think it speaks for itself.  So, without further delay, here's my list of The 10 Manliest Men of Geekdom. I'm not responsible for any feelings of intimidation or insecurity you might suffer while reading it.

Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), Alien 3

I don’t know what Dillon did to get shipped off to Fury 161, and I don’t want to know. Dillon was equal parts Louis Farrakhan, Charles Bronson and Jesus, a man who refused to let the system break him while at the same time fighting for the lost souls of the men around him. But Dillon was neither soft-spoken nor a pacifist: fall out of line and he’ll cave your skull in with whatever’s at hand. His dying words: “Is that all you got, motherfucker?!”

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)
Indiana Jones was killing nazis years before the rest of America found out how much fun it was. He'd also crawl through a crypt of giant spiders if he thought there was a buck in it, and recognized that fortune and glory were profoundly underrated ideals. Also, just because you're in a palace full of satanic cultists doesn't mean you don't have time to get your groove on.

Wolverine (comicbook version)
Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is a total puss compared to the Chris Claremont version, who was constantly fighting the urge to settle every dispute with his fists (not to mention those pointy things that pop out of his fists.) Comicbook Wolverine stood 5’2”,  smoked like a chimney, wore a cowboy hat in upstate New York and was as  hairy as bear. Speaking of bears, he once killed one in a straight fight and then tracked down the hunters that had wounded it and kicked their asses, as well.

Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton), The Venture Bros.
Honestly, Samson is so manly that there's almost no room on this list for anyone else. He thinks guns are for pussies and will fight henchmen, monsters and the occasional chupacabra with nothing but his trusty bowie knife. Samson has also never met a women so sleazy, deadly or crazy that he couldn't find a moment to bag her. Oh, and the first guy he ever killed was in a football game.

Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), Reign of Fire
What do you do when the world goes belly up, society crumbles and the sky is filled with fire-breathing killer dragons? If you’re Denton Van Zan, you load up a truck with your friends and go dragon hunting. Van Zan turned the apocalypse into a lifestyle and died the way he lived: swinging a big fucking battle axe.

Montgomery Scott (James Doohan,) Star Trek
Think you’re cool because you know how to change the oil in your car? Fuck you. Scotty can change a warp coil in a starship while blind stinking drunk. Give him five minutes, a bottle of scotch and a Jeffries Tube and he can make a space ship do things it’s not designed to do (such as violate the laws of physics.) And heaven help you if he hears you talking trash about his ride …

Yukon Cornelius (voice by Larry D. Mann), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The guy got into a fist fight with a Yeti. By all rights he should have made this list based on his beard, alone, but let me say this again: He got into a fist fight. With a yeti. Kinda makes your fear of the germs look silly, doesn’t it?

 Bender Bending Rodriguez (voice by John Di Maggio), Futurama
Bender is such a badass  that he makes this list without the virtue of even being an actual man. Sure, he’s an ego-driven sociopath, but the guy can bend steel girders with his hands and is powered by booze. Bender also doesn’t shy away from adversity. After pawning his body for its precious metals, he takes that money and buys a sweet-ass ride for his newly liberated head.

 AD Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), The X-Files
Is he a good guy or a bad guy? When he was first introduced, The X-Files played Skinner’s loyalties pretty close to the vest. By the time the show was over, though, you only saw Skinner when Mulder and Scully needed to bring out the big guns. He might have been a bureaucrat at heart, but he looked like Patrick Stewart after soaking up too many gamma rays – and had the Hulk’s temperament to match.

Marv (Mickey Rourke), Sin City
Prone to acts of sponateous violence, Marv was also deeply loyal to the few people who took the time to acknowledge his existence. Which is when his troubles really start … his last days are spent on a misguided (and likely delusional) mission to find the killers of a hooker named Goldie. Everyone involved knows it’s doomed to bloody failure, but that doesn’t sway Marv from his course. After cutting a bloody swath through Basin City’s power structure, he resigned himself to death at the hands of the state and still had the last laugh.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pop Art: Danzig by Elf

Here's another sketch from the Charlotte HeroesCon, from the year I collected "rock star" art from the various artists in attendance. This is of Glenn Danzig by N.C. artist Elf, who I had met a few years earlier while standing in line at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find to meet — you guessed it — Glenn Danzig. (Note: I was also standing in line behind Jeff Clayton of Antiseen. Glenn always brings out a strange assortment of people.)

I also got sketches of Iggy Pop and Eric Bloom that weekend. Click on the links to take a peek.

Utility Belt Fashions: 1968

You know, I always wondered how Robin's empty looking utility belt worked ...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music Review: Deth Red Sabaoth by Danzig

Deth Red Sabaoth is Danzig’s first original album in six years, but it’s not like Glenn Danzig hasn’t kept himself busy in the interim. Since the release of Circle of Snakes, he’s put out the instrumental Black Aria II album, as well as a double-disc of outtakes called The Lost Tracks of Danzig. So it’s not like he’s been sitting on the sidelines.

I think the time away from traditional songwriting has done him some good, though. Since the band’s original line-up dissolved back in 1995, Danzig fans have had a rocky road. These albums aren’t as woeful as long-time fans would have you believe (I, Luciferi is a much better album than the band’s debut effort, in my opinion) but they are incredibly inconsistent.

Deth Red Sabaoth has been bandied about as a “return to form” for Danzig, which isn’t exactly true. Sure, these are the cleanest, strongest vocals he’s recorded since Lucifuge – and the blues influences certainly recall the band’s American Recordings days – but there’s a level of arrangement on Deth Red Sabaoth that I’ve never seen on Danzig’s previous recordings. While Rubin set the template for the band with limited, dry arrangements, Glenn and guitarist Tommy Victor layer dueling guitars on the new album in a way that would make Soundgarden weep. This is a lush recording and couldn't be further removed from Rubin's AC/DC sound fetish.

And while the performances here stand out, Glenn seems to be showing a renewed interest in song writing. The two-part Pyre of Souls might be one of the best things he’s ever written and is almost orchestral in its arrangement, while Ju Ju Bone manages to be both badass and hilarious.

It might help that Glenn’s exploring some of his favorite subject matter: rebellion, femme fatales, life, death and freedom. One of Circle of Snakes' various shortcomings were the lyrics, which seemed to be pulled at random from the AD&D Fiend Folio. Those kinds or lyrics are at a minimum on Deth Red Sabaoth, which shows Danzig at his most creepy and sarcastic (such as the song The Revengeful.)
If I’ve got any real complaint with the album it’s that it didn’t go far enough in some of its concepts. On a Wicked Night might have been better served had it stayed the course as an atmospheric acoustic track rather than exploding into the usual power-rock ballad ending. And Black Candy is a cool little song, even if Glenn’s already covered this ground with Black Dream, Her Black Wings, She Rides, Lady Lucifera, etc.

If you like Danzig, you’ve really got no reason not to give this album a spin. There’s no guarantee it’s going to win you over, but if it doesn’t it won’t be from a lack of trying.

New Jack the Ripper "suspect" revealed

There have been so many "Jack the Ripper" suspects identified over the years that, given time, we'll all eventually become persons of interest. The latest is a mortuary worker named Robert Mann, who historian Mei Trow claims fits the bill. From The Independent:

Using a profile of the Ripper drawn up by the FBI in 1988 to mark the centenary of his killings, Trow began looking for a local suspect who hailed from Whitechapel’s lower social classes, was the victim of a broken home, and was someone who had worked as either a butcher, a mortuary worker or a medical examiner’s assistant. He also used modern geographical profiling techniques that can pinpoint where a suspect might live depending on the nature and location of their killings. 

The odd thing is that so much time has passed that there is difference between having solid evidence and having no evidence at all. Anyone living in the London area in 1888 can become a potential suspect and there's nothing you can do to fully prove or disprove your case. It's historical wankery at it's finest.
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