Thursday, April 19, 2012

David Goyer Makes Deal For New Film

David Linde’s Lava Bear has made a deal to will develop an untitled feature based on an original idea by David S. Goyer. Lava Bear will produce the supernatural thriller along with Goyer. They will put a writer on it shortly.

Goyer scripted the upcoming Superman: Man of Steel for Warner Bros, and Godzilla for Legendary Pictures. After co-writing Batman Begins with Chris Nolan, he co-wrote the story for both The Dark Knight and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, and Marvel’s Blade films and Ghost Rider. He previously worked with Linde while the latter was Universal Pictures co-chairman and Goyer directed the supernatural thriller The Unborn for Rogue Pictures. Lava Bear president Tory Metzger will oversee the project.

Lava Bear is currently developing films that include the Gil Kenan-directed A Giant, an untitled thriller from writer L.D. Goffigan, and the David Michod-directed The Rover. Goyer is represented by WME.

Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody Cover

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Batman: Comics & Owls

So the new Batman crossover is coming up involving the newly introduced Court of Owls. In case you didn't know, the court is a secret organization dating back hundreds of years that rule over Gotham City. It even turns out that one Dick Grayson was meant to be one of their chief assassins. Now the entire Bat-family will have to do battle with the menacing new threat.

Snyder has been knocking it out of the park for 7 straight issues so I expect at least his part of the crossover to be excellent. Hopefully the rest of the creative teams live up to his example. I haven't exactly been reading all of the books, but I have been somewhat keeping up with the New 52.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Look At CW's "Arrow"

The CW is giving Green Arrow a new look for their new TV pilot, "Arrow." Based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, "Arrow" stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Marvel Introduces Infinite Comics

Marvel promised a big announcement at this year's SXSW conference, and the publisher came across with two: A new line of direct-to-digital comics and a "augmented reality" app that provides electronic extras to readers of print comics. Both will tie in to the upcoming "Avengers vs. X-Men" event. The direct-to-digital line, Infinite Comics, will be available via Marvel's comiXology app and will launch with a story by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen. "This is comics storytelling like you've never seen before -- not print comics, but also not animation," said Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso. "Familiar comic conventions -- like word balloons, caption and panel borders -- still exist, and the reader still controls the pacing of the reading experience, just like he would if he were turning a page. But this new canvas allows for a sense of motion not available to the printed page." Marvel AR, the augmented reality app, on the other hand, is directly targeted toward print comic readers who obtain the app from the cover of a comic (starting with "Avengers vx. X-Men #1") and get additional story content by aiming their mobile device at certain images in the comic.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011: The Year Of Indy Rap

From its earliest inception, rap music has always had an independent spirit. What began on the streets as a rebellious youth movement, eventually gave way to the rise of inevitable commercial interest from bigwigs in the late 80's. Hip-hop went from street-savvy peer communication to corporate juggernaut seemingly overnight. Though indies like No Limit, Rap-A-Lot and Suave House kept that entrepreneurial spirit alive, most eventually sought the distribution avenues only majors provided. However, with the rise of the internet, comes the birth of a new kind of star: the internet powerhouse.

Fast rising hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Kill Them All made a big splash by releasing free music on the net. In lieu of quickly giving away all control to a major, leader Tyler The Creator released his sophomore album through shingle XL Recordings. It went on to sell over 120,000 copies to date. Indy rapper Tech N9ne did the best numbers his 20-year career in 2011. California rapper Lil B opted to forgo a label altogether and release his controversial mixtape I'm Gay to outlets like Itunes and Amazon all by himself (before eventually giving it away for free anyway). Established rapper Pusha T links up with Kanye West's GOOD music to release his new mixtape through respected indy Decon. Mac Miller's debut album Blue Slide park slams into the top of the Billboard charts this week, released through startup Rostrum Records. Next week, look for actor Childish Gambino's Glassnote debut Camp to make waves on the chart.

Has there been a shift in the paradigm for control of hip-hop's future? Only time will tell, but if 2011 is any indication, the future will certainly be interesting for all involved.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DC Controls Comic Book Market Share For Second Straight Month

DC once again, controlled the dollar share of comics this month. However, this time, the results were much more resounding. They had upwards of 50% of the market and continued to sell the hell out of their new 52. Congrats to my favorite comic book company of all time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Justice League #1 Review

So I just bought and read the debut of the New 52. That rhymed! Anyway, JL is the fisrt offering from the new universe. It was okay. It didn't seem like enough happened, but I look forward to more. I loved it when Batman took off Green Lantern's ring, but how many times is Batman gonna make a fool of GL in a DC comic? He owns Hal and Guy on almost a constant basis. Maybe not that often, but it just seems like it. Anyway, JL seems to be doing crazy numbers, which I love. Looking forward to seeing DC beat the hell out of Marvel in sales!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Horrible Bosses

This was quite the comedy surprise.

We already knew Jason Sudekis, Charlie Day and Jason Bateman were comedy geniuses, but who knew Jennifer Anniston could play such a different character? She was absolutely sexy and raunchy as hell in this movie. I would mark this as a career-turning performance. Never thought I'd get to hear her utter the words "cock" and "pussy" in a movie, but I was wrong.

As usual, Kevin Spacey is awesome. That dude needs to get an Oscar at some point in his career. You'd think it'd be a given. Colin Ferrell surprises as well. Between this, Fright Night, and Total Recall, I smell a comeback. All in all, a funny film.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Lantern: The Movie Review

Ok, so it wasn't a masterpiece. It also wasn't the attrocious piece of garbage that people seem to be making it out to be. It had a ton of ridiculous elements, a terrible villain, some laughable dialogue, and strange corporate decision making....but on the other hand it was Green freakin' Lantern and pretty faithful to the source material considering. You had the whole Corps there and Sinestro rocked. There should've been much more of him. Hector Hammond shouldn't even have been there. Parallax was mostly alright.

The biggest problem was the unrealized potential. Green Lantern is awesome and I'm afraid non-fans might think he's weak. I give the whole thing a C-

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Movie Posters

Two posters emerged today, both something of a minor letdown.

On the left is the first one-sheet for Rod Lurie's remake of "Straw Dogs". The film itself looks like a carbon copy of the original, now it seems the poster is as well with it closely resembling the iconic original with Dustin Hoffman (see here). The differences? A new tagline, and the eyeglass smash (and golden hue shot of Alexander Skarsgard) look rather photoshopped.

The second is the teaser one-sheet for Disney's "John Carter". There's no hint of Mars or alien touches, only an odd font along with Taylor Kitsch's face and sideboob.

Bendis Says POWERS Pilot Is 'Filming In Just A Few Weeks'

By Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer
posted: 15 June 2011 11:08 am ET

Text Size:

The FX pilot based on Powers is nearing fruition, according to executive producer and comic book series co-creator Brian Michael Bendis.

"We're filming in just a few weeks," Bendis said to Newsarama. "Our cast is being locked down. Literally, the deals are being closed as we speak — some really surprising names."

Powers has been in development at FX in one form or another since at least February 2009, and was greenlit as a pilot in February of this year.

"It's very, very exciting," Bendis said. "We're designing, we have costumes, we have sets. It's really underway. It's not one of those bullsh*t announcements you'll have to sit through all the time, trying to figure out if it's real."

Despite still being very busy writing monthly comic books like Avengers, New Avengers and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Bendis has been heavily involved with the show's development through his role as executive producer.

"It was one of those situations where I could choose my level of involvement," Bendis said. "This is a very positive experience, with very interesting, smart storytellers, and that's all I'm looking for in life, that kind of experience. I'm lucky that we've found it."

Charles H. Eglee, a TV veteran who has worked on Murder One, The Shield and Moonlighting, wrote the pilot.

"His last job right before this was working with Robert Kirkman on The Walking Dead," Bendis said. "Robert kind of primed him for the nerd world that he is now in charge of, so it really made my life very easy as to acclimate him even further into what exactly he signed on for. He's amazing."

Bendis had similar praise for Michael Dinner, the FX veteran (Sons of Anarachy, Justified) slated to direct the pilot.

"He directed the season finale of Justified, for people wanting to see the quality of his work," Bendis said. "He's been on board the entire time, and he's a great collaborator."

Thus far, one official casting announcement has been made for the pilot: Roc star Charles S. Dutton as police department head Captain Cross. In March, it was reported that Friday Night Lights and Super 8 star Kyle Chandler was being targeted by FX for the lead role of Christian Walker. Deadline reported last month that the series is being eyed for an early January launch.

Powers, created by Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, chronicles the work of police detectives who investigate superpower-related homicides, focusing on former superhero Christian Walker and his partners, most prominently Deena Pilgrim. The comic debuted in 2000 at Image Comics, before moving to Marvel's creator-owned Icon imprint in 2004.

Fox Chooses James Mangold On 'Wolverine'

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: James Mangold is 20th Century Fox's and star Hugh Jackman's choice to direct The Wolverine, ending one of the most competitive contests among directors for a major studio film. Negotiations are about to get underway, but I'm told that Mangold will take the helming job on the sequel to the X-Men spinoff film, a post that became vacant when Darren Aronofsky dropped out of the film in March. I'd heard that Mangold was on a very short list coming into this week, along with Warrior director Gavin O'Connor and Brooklyn's Finest helmer Antoine Fuqua. I've heard that Fox will look to start principal photography in the fall. Scripted by Christopher McQuarrie, The Wolverine takes place mostly in Japan. Mangold most recently directed the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer Knight and Day for Fox, and before that 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line. Mangold's repped by WME and Management 360.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Could Azazel's FIRST CLASS Role = Chuck Austen (Writer) Comeback?

Wonder Woman. Black Panther. The Flash. Doctor Strange.

None of those iconic, long-running comic book characters have ever appeared in a live-action feature film. But as of today's release of X-Men: First Class, do you know who has? Azazel.

Yep, the same Azazel whose appearances have been limited to 2003's Uncanny X-Men arc "The Draco," a seven-issue story (counting the prologue in Uncanny X-Men #428, Azazel's first appearance) which revealed that the Biblical-era mutant was Nightcrawler's father. (And also, essentially, Satan. It happens.)

"The Draco" stands as one of fandom's most uniformly reviled superhero stories of the modern era. Reviewer Paul O'Brien called Uncanny X-Men #433, the penultimate installment of the storyline and reveal of Azazel's origin, "utterly dreadful" and remarked, "if you like this comic, you are objectively wrong."

In placing Azazel (played on screen by Jason Flemyng) in the film, director Matthew Vaughn and company have done something arguably historic: prominently used the comic book character least likely to be adapted to film, ever. Sure, there are other obscure characters in First Class, like Angel Salvadore, but she's a product of Grant Morrison's universally beloved stint on New X-Men.

And it's not like how in X-Men: The Last Stand some random lady with no lines would be listed in the credits as "Arclight" or how a generic Batman love interest would get an old name from the comics despite no other discernible resemblance, à la Elle Macpherson's "character" in Batman & Robin being called Julie Madison.

No, physically and power-wise, Azazel in X-Men: First Class is pretty much Azazel in "The Draco." Not only that, the movie is apparently quite good — currently notching an 87 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes — meaning that Azazel might have a chance for some degree of redemption in the eyes of fans.

And not just for Azazel, but maybe also for the guy who wrote "The Draco," Chuck Austen. For those who might not remember, Chuck Austen was an author and illustrator who came from roughly nowhere to end up writing just about every mainstream comic book in the early-to-mid 2000s — Uncanny X-Men, Action Comics, Captain America, Avengers — before pretty much disappearing from the industry entirely. He left Action Comics in controversial fashion, and returned to his adult comics roots with three issues of independent title Worldwatch, essentially a late-night Cinemax version of the Justice League. He wrote another adult comic, an English language manga for TokyoPop called Boys of Summer, but only one of three planned volumes ever saw print.

For the most part, comic book fans are a pretty fair bunch. Rob Liefeld has gotten some "extreme" criticism over the years, but still has ardent supporters. John Byrne has a reputation as an unyielding curmudgeon, but no one doubts his talents and contributions to the medium. But mention Chuck Austen, and readers are clearly still smarting from things like the age-disparate romance between Angel and Husk, and Havok's decision to dump Polaris for his nurse with an unpronounceable last name.

Still, though, there must have been something about his work that connected with audiences back in those heady days of the first George W. Bush administration. Austen seemed to fare best with critics when straying from the superhero mainstream — he wrote and illustrated the U.S. War Machine MAX miniseries, and Randy Lander gave the first issue a 9/10 "Highly Recommended" review back in 2001. Comics Bulletin called his MAX series The Eternal "haunting" and "humorous," and, in perhaps the most notable piece of praise, "well-written."

Austen paired with some big-name collaborators, too: He illustrated several issues of Elektra, which was written first by then-budding comic superstar Brian Michael Bendis, and later Greg Rucka. He worked on Avengers with current The Mighty Thor artist Olivier Coipel, and on Action Comics with Blackest Night/Brightest Day's Ivan Reis.

Though now Austen's X-Men run is primarily looked back on as a misstep at best and the darkest moments in the beloved franchise's history at worst, it wasn't treated that way at the time. Austen got the prime (though unenviable) slot of succeeding Morrison on New X-Men, and he wrote the high-profile Uncanny X-Men #423, a 25-cent issue (remember the trend of the super-cheap comic book?) timed to the release of X2.

The comic book industry is a business where no one really seems to be gone forever, and where polarizing figures like Jim Shooter still work steadily decades into their career. Provided fans can finally get past that Havok/Iceman/pee situation (don't worry about it), could X-Men: First Class inspire a Chuck Austen comeback in the near future, either as a writer or an artist?

That obviously remains to be seen, but until then, enjoy Azazel's status as the least likely comic book character to ever appear in a movie — unless Green Lantern has a post-credits scene starring the dead cat from Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #3.

Newsarama original story

At once a sly tribute to '80s-era grind-house cinema and a remarkable exercise in suspense, writer-director Ti West's House of the Devil is a terrific--and terrifying--horror film that can be enjoyed by genre fans and outsiders alike. West's premise hinges on the "Satanic panic" that gripped America during the Reagan era--in a nutshell, the urban legend posited that secret devil cults were kidnapping and sacrificing individuals by the thousands--and melds it with the tried-and-true babysitter in an old dark house scenario. The house in question is the property of the Ulmans (cult faves Tom Noonan an d Mary Woronov), and the babysitter (newcomer Jocelin Donahue) is needed to simply keep an eye on things--and an unseen mother upstairs--until midnight, when, coincidentally, a total eclipse will occur. But the chills that ensue--and there are plenty--are driven more by slow-building atmosphere than by the bloody effects that sum up '80s shocks. That's not to say that there isn't gore on display, but it's not the film's raison d'être; neither are the nostalgic trappings, which are kept to a tasteful minimum. The end result is a genuinely unsettling horror effort that brands West as an indie director who's more than capable of moving up to the majors. The disc includes two informative commentary tracks, the first by West and Donahue, and the other with West, producers Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter) and Peter Phok, and sound designer Graham Reznick; there's also a pair of making-of featurettes and three deleted scenes, one of which, involving the Ulmans' mother, is worth a look. The original trailer for House of the Devil, as well as spots for other Dark Sky releases, round out the extras. --Paul Gaita

Friday, May 20, 2011

DC To Reboot Their Universe?

Rumors have surfaced that DC Comics is planning to reboot its entire line.

According to Bleeding Cool, the publisher will launch a slate of new number ones following the conclusion of the 'Flashpoint' event.

Issue #1 of the core Flashpoint miniseries arrived in stores earlier this month. The plotline takes place in an alternate DC Universe following alterations to its timeline. A total of 16 three-issue miniseries and several one-shots will tie in with the title.

The report went on to suggest that some of the alternative 'Flashpoint' continuity could remain as cannon in several DC books. Previous events such as 'Blackest Night' and 'Brightest Day' have had a similar impact on the status quo of the publisher's universe.

Flashpoint concludes in August with issue #5. Comics released from September onwards are expected to see repercussions from the storyline.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thor The Mighty Avenger

So the Thor movie was great of course. Natalie Portman was hot of course. That little Avengers set-up thing at the end of the credits was weak as hell though. At least give us a cool moment or two. Who cares about that scientist guy? And of course we knew Loki wasn't dead. C'mon Avengers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fast Five: Give Hobbs His Own Movie

Went to see Fast Five. It was great of course. Probably the best of the series, all around. One thing that stood out for me.....The Rock. I'm not gonna say he stole the show, but he certainly came close. His character needs his own movie. Sure they technically could bring him back in future sequels, but the way he's set up, it seems like it would be better if he was on his own. He's seriously badass.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Aquaman Series

There's a new Aquaman series on the horizon, written by superstar writer Geoff Johns and drawn by his longtime collaborator Ivan Reis. It's sure to be a big hit so look out for it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Thor Trailer

Opening in May, it's the blockbuster of the summer starring hot-as-balls Natalie Portman and Chris "Kirk's Daddy" Hemsworth. Looks fly.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will Smith + Jay-Z Partner To Form New Movie Venture

Los Angeles, Calif., January 26, 2011 – Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have formed a joint venture with Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter to develop and produce major motion pictures. One of the projects being discussed is the re-imagination of the classic Broadway musical ANNIE as a vehicle for Willow Smith to star. The film will be developed with Sony Pictures Entertainment and produced by Overbrook Entertainment and Mr. Carter.

The partnership began over dinner with Jada, Will, James Lassiter and JAY-Z, where they decided to co-invest in the now successful beauty products line Carol’s Daughter. They continued this partnership as co-producers of the successful Broadway production Fela!, which earned a total of eleven Tony Award nominations in 2010. Additionally, Willow Smith, managed by OE Executive Miguel Melendez, signed onto JAY-Z’s record label, Roc Nation which produced her first single titled “Whip My Hair," which has been certified Platinum. JAY-Z previously sampled the classic Annie song “It’s the Hard Knock Life” in his chart-busting single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”

“The time is right to bring back ANNIE to the big screen. Of course, we’re true believers in Willow's talent and believe she will be perfect in this role,” said Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad. “Combining Willow with the Overbrook team that reimagined Karate Kid and the spectacular JAY-Z makes this a dream project. A decade ago, JAY-Z proved that the power of the underlying Broadway property remains, by showing how these songs could be reinterpreted for a new generation with Hard-Knock Life. We couldn't be more thrilled to be working with our friends at Overbrook as they launch this new venture.”

“We are excited to partner together to develop and produce a wide variety of films with our longtime friend JAY-Z, with whom we share a common global vision, both commercially and philosophically, and look forward to collaborating once again with the incredibly talented executives at Sony,” said Overbrook Co-Founder James Lassiter.

Stated Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter, "The Overbrook Entertainment family and I have a unified vision. We've already produced a Tony Award winning play and we're developing a true superstar in Willow. This venture into film development and production is a perfect next step with teams that are accomplished, creative, and innovative.”

Overbrook Entertainment, founded by partners James Lassiter and Will Smith, is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment focused in film and television and has produced a diverse slate of both critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, which have generated more than $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts and even more in home video sales. Some of Overbrook’s most successful films include ALI, HITCH, PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK, SECRET LIVES OF BEES, and most recently THE KARATE KID.

Roc Nation is a groundbreaking, multi-tiered, multi-genre music and entertainment company. Founded in 2008 by Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter in collaboration with Live Nation, Roc Nation encompasses artist, songwriter, producer and engineer management; music publishing; touring & merchandising; new business ventures; and a music label.

The Broadway musical “Annie” is based upon the popular comic strip and features songs with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan. The show originally penned on April 21, 1977, and immediately became a hit, winning seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. In 1982, Columbia Pictures released a film adaptation directed by John Huston and starring Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Tim Curry, and Aileen Quinn as Annie.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rapper Lecrae: Out-Of-Nowhere Phenom

Born and raised by his mother, in a poor community, Lecrae Moore moved around a lot, giving him the versatile background and is cultural awareness he carries with him. San Diego, Denver, and Dallas have once been home to him and the street life he idolized and pursued. Along the way, like many in the inner city, he took to rapping as a way of communicating his thoughts. But it wasn’t until after high school that his hobby became a passion, and Jesus Christ redeemed his Hip-Hop background.

Calling Dallas home, Lecrae had remained content using his gifts of speaking and rapping while volunteering at a juvenile detention center, but the Lord had different plans, and he soon began working on his debut album. Pouring out a genuine discussion of life issues and a passionate, unashamed pursuit of Jesus Christ, Lecrae released Real Talk. Listeners responded by quickly noting him as an emcee that meets people where they are by delivering transparent, relatable, and impactful messages.

As Lecrae continued to make his mark in the music industry, he realized the stage wasn’t enough. He wanted to see a deeper impact in urban culture. There needed to be a culturally relevant and biblically solid resource center to help train the next generation, so he co-founded ReachLife Ministries in 2005. The non-profit organization exists to partner with other organizations in equipping local leaders with culturally relevant tools and media projects designed to strengthen communities with the word of God. ReachLife is another vital piece in the larger vision of seeing a reformation in urban culture.

Since then, Lecrae has released the groundbreaking album After the Music Stops and the first Christian Rap album to ever sit in the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Top Gospel Charts—Rebel. Led by the classic single‚ “Jesus Musik,” After the Music Stops slowly spread to the mainstream market with other hits such as “Praying For You” and “Send Me.” Aimed at building an audience of disciples, the album sat on Soundscan’s Christian Hip Hop/R&B chart for two years after releasing in 2006. While Rebel, released in 2008, also garnered much success—spending 78 weeks on the Billboard charts.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

State of The Multiverse 4

1. Alan Moore's Neonomicon is creepy, unsettling, surreal and great.

2. The League on FX is a hilarious, underrated show.

3. The Illbotz new album "Pudding Is Delicious" is coming February 1.

4. Oprah will take over cable with OWN, then the world. She will be our undisputed master soon.

5. I love the way Marvel is setting up the Avengers. Hawkeye is supposed to be in Thor.

6. Natalie Portman engaged & pregnant? She's supposed to be engaged to me and pregnant by me!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Enter The Multiverse: An Interview with Roxann Wright

I decided to talk to a creative young lady with alot to offer named Roxeann Wright. Don't expect just another pretty face though. She's an actress, writer, model, and dancer in the Los Angeles area. She also happens to run Draco Simian LLC which develops various entertainment properties including comics and movies.

MM: Tell me about your Draco Simian.

Roxann: Draco Simian is a small production company that I started to help produce projects that have a positive or at least enlightening message. I am not talking about preaching anything to anyone but with independent ventures such as film or comics, a lot of it is based on the degradation of societal values. I want to create things that might either expose a more interesting perspective or at least get you thinking about things in a less vicarious light.

MM: I take it you find issue with some of today's content?

Roxann: Correct. What really made a turning point for me, was that all the offers to collaborate and write with people (because I am first and foremost a writer) were all for horror or drug use, etc. And then I went to a film fest and every single indie film or short was based on negatives. One called CONSENT literally had everything you could imagine in it, drugs, alcohol, adultery, incest, and homosexual themes. As well as rape and abuse, suicide, and family dysfunction. Comics are similar, everything seems to have some demons, zombies, even the superheroes are the dead rising, so that really got me, like what happened to the hope that superheros were supposed to bring. Why are they only fighting other superheros?

MM: It does seem like the tone has gone noticeably darker in recent times. Could it be that with darkness comes drama? What can keep a kid's interest in positive content vs. negative?

Roxann: Well I think that the target audience isn't kids. For instance, Archaia has titles that adults read but are for kids, Mouse Guard, Fraggle Rock, etc. and then with Renae DeLiz drawing the Last Unicorn... little boys love superheroes, but they are not the one wanting more violence, it is the adults who want it. I have a six year old. And she will watch CSI with me, and then turn right around and watch SpongeBob Squarepants, not caring that the difference is huge. Kids like easy and cheesy, and its only the competition with adults that has them craving the violence and sexual themes.

MM: Are there any unique aspects of your personal background that you'd like to bring to the table as far as diversity?

Roxann: I had a difficult childhood, and books and movie became my best friends. They became my teachers, and my family. Growing up in the 80's and 90's, the types of comics, cartoons, and books that I read were obviously more campy or had better values within them, sticking to classic literature or fantasy for books. That and a general desire for people to treat each other better, because my family was very riddled with issues...I would also say that I have not lived in any essence a traditional life, and have seen some of the worst of what society can give... that being said, I bring to the table a knowledge and experience level that most who write and make films probably could not relate to. And it hasn't made me bitter, but shown me where improvements can be made.

MM: So what can we look forward to from you in the near and not-so-near future?

Roxann: Well my first short film is off to the film fests, the short story and script I wrote as well. Also, I am working on a web series called Witchy Ways that is in pre-production now starring Brooke Vallone, written and directed by me. I am working on other projects outside the company, a comic book with artist Jason Craig called EVIL WAISE, and a movie script with Robert Andersson, an up and coming Swedish writer/filmmaker called SINGER. Draco Simian (me) is also working on a comic book with Doug Hills, called Into Deep Waters, a tale of an epic battle between a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer and Davy Jones. Several other projects are on the docket as well.

State Of Comics Address 3

1. Fear Itself from Marvel is coming. Sounds dumb.

2. True Grit is an instant classic. Saw it twice.

3. New Years is coming. Soon.

4. So is 2012.

5. Black Swan was AMAZING.

6. I hope Green Lantern turns out better than some of the corny parts the trailer showed.

7. Kevin Smith will have a hit on his hands with Red State.

8. Emma Stone is crazy dumb hot.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

HIV Cure?

A German medical team is cautiously claiming that a stem cell transplant has cured a man of HIV.

Reporting online in Blood, the team now says that results of the transplant "strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient."

On the other hand, experts have said, the method is not practical for widespread use because it depends on the donor stem cells having a mutation that eliminates the CCR5 receptor, one of two used by HIV to enter its target cells.

But possible donors with two copies of the CCR5 mutation, dubbed delta32, are relatively rare -- only about one in 100 people in Central Europe. Moreover, the transplant procedure is itself dangerous, with a mortality rate of up to 30% when it is used in cancer patients.
Action Points
  • Point out that although there is no evidence of infection in the patient 3.5 years after transplant, it is not possible to positively prove viral eradication at this point.

  • Also point out that the procedure depends upon the presence of a mutation that eliminates the CCR5 receptor on the donor stem cells, and this mutation is relatively rare.

The case first made news in 2008 at the Conference on Opportunistic Infections and Retroviruses, when it was reported by Gero Hütter, MD, of Berlin's Charité-Medical University. The patient was HIV-positive but also had developed an unrelated acute myeloid leukemia.

Hütter and colleagues successfully treated the leukemia with a stem cell transplant but they deliberately sought a donor with the delta32 mutation, hoping to see an effect on the man's HIV.

Now, Hütter and colleagues at the institution are reporting that -- after some four years -- the man's HIV also does not appear to have returned.

The German researchers until now had shied away from calling the result a cure, expecting that "the long-lived viral reservoir would lead to HIV rebound and disease progression during the process of immune reconstitution," they reported in Blood.

But, that was not the case.

In the published analysis they wrote:

  • CD4-positive T cells have been successfully reconstituted to normal levels at the systemic level as well as in the gut mucosal immune system, and the patient remains without the usual signs of HIV infection. Specifically, neither HIV DNA or RNA can be recovered from plasma or peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
  • The patient has a high proportion of activated memory CD4 cells -- the preferred targets of HIV -- but, despite that, there is no indication of infection through the other main receptor, CXCR4.
  • There is evidence that long-lived host tissue cells have been replaced with donor-derived cells, suggesting that the size of the viral reservoir -- the source of HIV rebound when medication is stopped -- has been reduced over time.

The patient's new CD4 cells remain susceptible to infection by CXCR4-tropic HIV, the researchers reported, but despite that, there has been no evidence of infection in the more than 3.5 years since the transplant.

The case -- although it is likely to remain solitary -- has spurred stem cell research as a possible approach to a cure for HIV. In July, researchers led by John Rossi, PhD, of City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, Calif., showed they could modify stem cells to resist the virus.

The cells were experimentally used as part of treatment in four patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the researchers reported that the cells could still be found two years later, although not enough were used to have an effect on HIV.

Monday, December 13, 2010

State Of The Multiverse 2

1. Kanye's new album is a classic.

2. Thor trailer is awesome. Ditto Transformers 3.

3. Majorie Liu is hot. Google it.

4. I am the greatest man alive.

5. I'm anticipating being able to see True Grit and Black Swan.

6. Got the Inception DVD. Wish it had more features.

7. Gravel is a cool character. Warren Ellis can do no wrong.

8. I think I may start reading The Secret History comic soon. I hear good things.

9. After reading Book 1 of I.R.$. I know I have to read more.

10. The following comix are awesome: Action Comics, The Killer, Azrael, & GL is still on a roll.

11. The Walking Dead is a masterful TV show on AMC.

12. Carrie Keagan has some tig ol bitties.

13. Kevin Smith is a hilarious dude. Check out An Evening With Kevin Smith.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

State Of The Multiverse 1

Ok, what's going on these days in the comic book world?

Doomsday's coming back. For a crossover no less. I guess it can be good, but ol Doomie isn't exactly a well rounded character. Hopefully they don't make like 1,000 multiples of him running around. Cuz that'd be dumb.

Absolute All-Star Superman is out now and it's spectacular. Just reinforces why Frank Quitely is the best out right now. You know....when he actually comes out.

Azrael is probably the best book nobody's reading. Religion, action, gore, superheroics, secret societies, all rolled into one. Go get it.

The Death Of Spider-man is coming. Now we know it's the death of ULTIMATE Spider-man. I'm all for killing either Spider-man since I could care less about him, but why kill the version people actually still like?

Batman Inc. is coming. I'm mostly OK with it, but it remains to be seen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Return Of Bruce Wayne #5

This was an interesting, entertaining, and confusing issue of the bestselling series from Grant Morrison and DC Comics. In fact, that's a great way to describe this series on the whole. Never once is it not interesting. Never once is it not spectacularly drawn. However, I am frequently wondering exactly what the hell is going on.

That said, issue #5 answers quite a few questions I had earlier on in the series. Maybe issue #6 will answer the rest. What a concept! I liked the noir-ish detective motif quite a bit, especially since it seems like it's set even further back in the past than it actually is. That's some clever stuff by GM. Ryan Sook is amazing as always. Very underrated.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: Azrael #12

David Hine, the new(ish) writer on Azrael continues his excellent run on the book, making me care more about the title character and his supporting cast than ever before. That very nearly includes Azrael's previous incarnation, Jean Paul Valley. While I'll probably always be preferential to the old Order Of Saint Dumas and Jean Paul, David Hine has clearly proven himself to be the best writer to ever take on the character.

The juxtaposition of character, action and religious philosophy is compelling material. Michael Lane's personal struggles with faith play out quite literally in front of him, as he questions whether or not he's chosen the right group to have sworn his allegiance. Is the Crusader right? Can't he even win this fight, either way? At the same time, we get a revamp of the Order Of Purity's purpose, as secrets reveal themselves one-by-one. Has Michael signed on to follow the orders of a Satanic cult?

Throw in a ton of well researched religious historical fact and you have a great read. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Atlas Comics Returns

Way back in the day, a man named Martin Goodman formed what would come to be known as the Marvel Comics Entertainment Juggernaut. Then he sold it. Then he founded a short-lived, but much-beloved company called Atlas in the 70's. It folded after only a few issues of each series it put out (such as Grim Ghost, Phoenix, Destructor), but many popular creators of today hold it fondly in their memory.

Well now Jason Goodman, the grandson of Martin Goodman, is restarting the comic book company. The company will begin with the publication of new versions of Grim Ghost and Phoenix.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Rebirth Of MC Hammer

"I got 30 cars/whole lotta dancers/I take em everywhere/I'm MC Hammer" - rapper Rick Ross

"That [Ric Ross] would revive the memory of MC Hammer’s glory days and use it as an enthusiastic metaphor for modern-day rap excess was inevitable." - NY Times on Rick Ross's Teflon Don tribute to Hammer

And so begins the rebirth of an icon. His rise was no less than meteoric, and his fall, a testament to the fickleness of a crowd obsessed with the next new thing.

In early 90's, there was no more powerful a figure in rap than on MC Hammer. At his height, he had no less than a dozen projects on shelves, from shoes to clothes, to a cartoon. This was almost 15 years before the likes of Jay-Z and Diddy made it popular to brand oneself. His fellow rapper and competitor Vanilla Ice had already felt the sting of a media who no longer valued seeing his face onscreen. However, where Vanilla Ice had but one certified hit, Hammer had countless. From perennial karaoke favorite Can't Touch This to Pray, Have You Seen Her, To Legit To Quit, and others.

The market saturation of the squeaky clean, kid friendly Hammer juggernaut soon created a backlash from not only his hip-hop peers, but eventually from fans as well. Just as quickly as they had embraced him, fans turned on him for not being as rough and edgy as other contemporary acts like Ice Cube and NWA. Ice Cube took even took a shot at Hammer in his song "Check Yo Self" declaring "You say you can't touch this, and I wouldn't touch ya/punk motherf-cka". Ironically, Ice Cube would go on to star in family friendly films himself.

Ironically, the street credibility that many rappers so desperately want to this day, Hammer already had. He grew up on the tough streets of Oakland, CA and was no stranger to crime and violence happening all around him. He chose the path of the church and dance to make another way for himself.

In 2010, hip-hop branding was is in full-force. The thing Hammer was villified for is now commonplace. Time has passed, rappers and fans appreciate what Hammer brought to the fold. "I always loved MC Hammer, what Hammer brought to the game, the energy. When I was young, Hammer had the females and the dudes, then he was rocking with Deion Sanders. Everything Hammer brought to the table, his lifestyle. I just kinda put a spin on it and put it into a record. I know he enjoyed it. Most definitely, he enjoyed it." says Rick Ross.

Hammer has stated that he's flattered and the two have agreed to shoot a video for the song.

In addition to becoming a spokesman for the new Iphone and appearing in the vid, Hammer has several business projects in the works.

Can we get a Hammer verse on the remix please?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Predators: A Review


That is all.

Ok, a little more.

Best Predator-related film since the first one. Dare I say, it bested the original in a few key ways. Good stuff, saw it twice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Illbotz - My Crown

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Omega Spawn: Work In Progress

This is my progressing rendition of Omega Spawn (seen in Image United). I don't know when and if I'll get it done.

Free Comic Book Day

I hope to be giving out some sort of preview at the Heart of VA Festival and at Richmond Comix tomorrow. Not sure how I'm gonna pull it off though.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blackest Night #8 Is Coming.....

It's almost here folks. The long awaited conclusion to arguably the best superhero crossover comic of all time. Has there been another that so consistently balanced character with stellar art and surprises galore? I thinketh not! So what insane events will mark the end of this epic? Who will die? Who will return to life? What shall become of the once know-it-all Guardians as they are forced to deal with the fallout from years of arrogant mistakes? We shall see, oh yes we shall...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Mesmo Delivery (Dark Horse)

Let me just say this right off the bat: Raphael Grampa is going to be a star in the world of comics very soon.

That said, Mesmo Delivery is quite an artistic achievement. It is, simultaneouly, an homage, a study in linework, a violent mish-mash of idea, and a stunning piece of art. The ideas that Mr. Grampa bring to the table might be the breath of fresh air that North American comics truly need.

This book is often violent, often funny, and always entertaining. I highly recommend you get on the Grampa train before it passes you by.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Multiverse Spotlight: Comic Book Creator Matt Spatola

In my endless quest for knowledge and understanding about the inner workings of our multiverse, I decided to reach out to to my fellow man for insight into our shared interests. This is my journey...

There's a nifty little comic out there call called The Venger, starring the character of the same name. It's a fun little romp, a true indie gem. Creator Matt Spatola let me pick his brain too. What is it with Matts this week? Enter the Multiverse....

MM: What creators and books have influenced you?

Matt Spatola: Well I hate to sound like everyone else but Watchmen and Dark Knight really blew my mind when I was younger; and I am old enough that I bought these when they originally came out.The writing and depth of the storytelling was just so much above everything else that was out there. I also loved Miller and Mazzuchelli on Batman: Year One. When it comes to other stuff that had an early influence on me I would say Claremont's Uncanny X-Men. I came onto the title way back at #170, back when Uncanny was all we got. It was great. The best issues were the ones where the characters just talked and nothing happened- action or fight- in the story. And they used their first names. Man, good stuff. Also Bill Mantlo on Micronauts was awesome too. He had a very underrated run in the original series. Someday he will get his due.

Now I'm really a fan of Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and even Matt Fraction. I like Grant Morrsion but sometimes he just loses me as a reader in all his meta-text. Millar and Bryan Hitch on those first two Ultimates series really redefined how super team comics could be and how they could look. I mean, everything just seemed so real in ways I never experienced before. And Bendis is amazing when it comes to the quiet scenes and how characters talk and making true conversational dialogue, not the typical 'comic speak' that we are used to getting. Obviously as a writer myself I gravitate towards the writers but I also have favorite artists. I like Miller as an artist too. Alex Ross. Jim Lee. JRJR. These guys are just a couple of the artists I really follow. Steve Epting. Salvador Larocca. There really is alot.

MM: That's the second time today that someone has mentioned that Micronauts run. If you could crossover the Venger with any other character, who would it be?

Matt: Hmmm. I honestly never have thought about that much. Well let's see, first I will have to separate the Vengers if you will. There are different characters I would like to see with the original, Golden Age Venger than with the new Modern Age Venger. I have always been someone who liked to see team ups that were more 'opposites' than 'alikes' because you get to really play on the differences of the characters. That means for the GA Venger I would love a team up with Captain Amercia and even Superman just a little bit more than a meeting of him and Batman or the Shadow. Still all of them would be fantastic...already have plots spinning in my head. For the new Venger, a meeting with Batman also would be good, even the Punisher could work. Again that would be because the stories would play up the ideological differences they have in regards to their operations and tolerance for violence.

As to the Micronauts, Mantlo really was doing some stuff that was very under the radar. The seeds of his ideas were just more your typical book. You need to really check it out, especially the later stuff when it went direct sales only, which was a big deal back then.

MM: Finally, if you could work on any character from the Big Two, what would it be?

Matt: Captain America has always been my favorite character- other than Venger of course. I would love to work on a project with hi min it. But it is scary at the same time because so many great creators have worked on that title I would want to be sure my story idea could match up with the great work of Brubaker, Sternako, Gruenwald and the others.

Thanks to Matt Spatola for granting me his time. Grab a copy of The Venger and check out his blog on the character.


So this is 2010 and this is what the forces have in store for the world? Not a great start to the year. Hopefully things get better for the world, but it never does. At least one can be thankful for the things we have compared to those who have not. I'm gonna try and donate somewhere or other soon. I don't think my conscience could allow me not to.

I can't believe some people are politicizing this whole thing. Figure out a way to stick it to Obama another time. And Bubba The Love Sponge? I'm glad Awesome Kong kicked his ass. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Multiverse Spotlight: Comic Book Journalist Matt Meylikhov

In my endless quest for knowledge and understanding about the inner workings of our multiverse, I decided to reach out to to my fellow man for insight into our shared interests. This is my journey...

I love comics. Drawing them, reading them, reading about them, writing them poorly, the whole sha-bang-a-bang. If you love doing any of the above, I suggest heading over to The folks over there do an excellent job of providing news and critical analysis of our beloved medium. EIC Matt Meylikhov allowed me to pick his brain and share what I found.

MM: What made you wanna become a comic book writer?

Matt: Hahaha, what an interesting question. I guess I should answer that with a question of my own, though - you do know that I don't actually write comic books, right? I just write ABOUT comics. Extensively, yes, but never the less I don't actually have any comic books to my name. I fear you might have me confused with someone else? If not, I'd be happy to answer the question.

MM: Yes, I know exactly what you do haha. You and your team do it well. Would you like to get into writing comics eventually?

Matt: Well, in answer to your first question: the reason I started wanting to write about comics is because I actually enjoyed the Wolverine movie. I know I'm in a very small minority, but I thought that the simplistic nature of the character (grr arrgh!), it should make for an entertaining action flick. And while yeah, it obviously had problems, I still had a good time while watching it. And it really annoyed me how people talked about Deadpool, because that wasn't Deadpool, it was Weapon XI (a character who had never been revealed in the comics anyway), and it made sense if you knew the stuff that happened during the production. But I discussed that ad nauseum when I wrote the initial article... you get it! And then everything fell into place from there when I realized I had lots of opinions, and I had a great place to share them now.

Would I like to write comics? Oh my God, yes. Like crazy, I would. I used to make comics when I was a little kid, like most of us tried to do. A lot of really poorly formed bodies and under developed scenes that don't make sense now that I'm older. It was about a super hero named Lightning, and he hung out with the Thing (who was as smart as Mr. Fantastic for some reason) and the Silver Surfer, and they fought the Hulk and made up villains. But now that I'm older and theoretically wiser, I actually have written 5 "pilot scripts" as it were, sort of as a take off of Top Cow's Pilot Season intiative. I have 5 ideas that I would love to work on comics with, and they're all fully developed with end dates... all except for one, which would be my take on the super hero on-going. But yes, I would love to make comics. I've tried in the past, to find artists through Craigs List and internet forums, but it never worked out obviously. I actually am going to attempt to draw my own cartoon-esque comic just for fun in the near future, but I don't see that as being the next Vertigo series or anything.

MM: Creative types (of whom I consider myself) always roll ideas around in their heads, likely their whole lives. Do you ever find yourself revisiting Lightning and tweaking him as you get older? Also, have comic creators ever given you feedback, negative or positive, regarding something you wrote about their work?

Matt: Hmm. I've never really thought of revitalizing Lightning, no. I mean, the character is basically the Flash. Or perhaps a nicer Quicksilver. There was nothing too special to the character that ever made him unique, and while I'm glad I still own all these silly little comics I drew when I was a wee lad, that story is done. ...welllll, if you wanna get uber technical about it, I never finished? I was drawing a plot twist in which the Weather Wizard (not related to the Flash villain, I swear) was revealing to Lightning that he was actually a villain gone good. But then I got bored and probably went to go play on a slide or something. The only character I've kept from my younger days is Awesome Man, which is basically just me with super powers (the "power of awesome", which works rather similarly to Green Lantern I suppose).

I much prefer the ideas I have now then I did then. I have this idea for a crazy high-concept adventure that I have a terribly hard time writing, despite knowing what happens. It involves the multiverse and trenchcoats and exhibitions and David Tennant, and even me as a character. And while sure, it may never see the light of day, it's an overall concept I could only develop now that I'm older and have read so many comics it'd make your head spin. My influences are no longer The Flash, Spider-Man, or even Watchmen... now they're Planetary, the Filth, and Preacher. And while I'll love superhero comics forever and always, when I sit down to write a comic that may or may not ever get made, I'm usually trying to stay from the superhero genre in order to really make a splash assuming I was noticed.

As for feedback, I've never gotten feedback from comic creators, no. I've barely ever gotten feedback. I've tried to get people around me to read them, but everyone is "too busy" or they just don't want to read a script, they want to read the comic. I only ever got feedback once, on this post-apocalyptic script I wrote, which was the first issue and had the hero walking around the world of the story, and the feedback was "I don't think you convey enough information." I said, "Ok, but it's a silent script. I need an artist for most of that beyond what I've done!" Hahaha, soooo yeah. And one time I had an artist respond to me about doing a comic, and when I sent him my script, he stopped replying. So that's probably a bad sign!

MM: For my final question, where do you see the industry in 5 years? Is digital really the future of comics? Will the direct market wither and die?

Matt: A lot of people are of the belief that digital is the future. I think it's pessimistic, to be honest. It's kind of like saying, in the future, we won't need any physical materials around us, and that's just lame. I hate that. OK, you can read comics online... but is it the same thing as buying a book, holding it, and flipping through pages? Heck no. Not in a million years. The satisfaction of turning the page and finding that astounding two-page spread filled with characters you love doing something that's awesome... it's not the same on a computer screen. When we go to a comic shop, do we marvel at what they'll let us buy and go home and download? No, we're looking at the stuff they have on the walls. All these awesome "utlimate collections," "absolute" books, omnibuses, etc. The Definitive Hardcover!! You can't get that online. You just get a ... what? Between 10 and 20 mb file? And eventually it takes up space that you want for something else, so you delete it and goodbye. You might forget about it. But with your actual books, yeah it takes up space that you live in versus the digital realm which is all just bits and bytes, but you know they're there. You can see them, you can show them off. People that visit my home are constantly astounded at my collection, both in a "that's amazing, I want it" way and a "how can you live with this much stuff?!" way. Digital will never ever ever compete with that. Ever!

But will digital take over? Maybe. Bendis speculated that comic shops will be similar to how record shops are now, where everyone goes online to get what they want, but goes to the store to get what they really love. I should certainly hope that's not the case, though. That'd be awful. Comics, or just books in general, are so much better when you can hold the physical thing. It's not just about content, it's about presentation. A Kindle might be neat, but a Kindle will never be a book. I guess it depends how technocratic we become. I know people like flashy things, they're all the rage. Marvel is doign a big push to create incentives for the digital medium. Image too. You've got apps on iPhones that let you download comics to read on the go, first for free but then at retail price as you go, or sometimes a discount. I've used one. It's definitely not the same. So while I can only imagine that the market demand for digital everything (movies, music, etc) will increase, I can only hope that us as comic fans will recognize that there is a difference between our love and theirs. The day I bring my laptop onto the train to read comics to pass the time on the ride is the day I consider myself a failure!

My thanks to Matt for his time. Head over to and take a look. You'll enjoy what you see.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review: Green Lantern Corps #44

If Geoff Johns ever leaves the GL universe, I nominate Pete Tomasi as his replacement. This title is phenomenal, better than it has any right to be considering it's basically the second string GL title. Patrick Gleason is a godsend on art, bringing the lush sci-fi visuals of the Blackest Night to life month in and month out. These guys are having one of the best runs of all time right next to THE best run of all time with Johns on GL. High praise indeed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Could a Cybernetic Head Pilot A Large Isospheric Spaceship?

Let's say the ship is the size of, Connecticut. Let's also say that the alien intelligence who orchestrated this major launch is of Nth intelligence. Could said alien conceivably use a cybernetic head, either that of another race or created by another race, to pilot the ship?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Comic Book Review:

It probably doesn't even need to be said, but Newsarama has become the go-to site for everything comic book related, usurping Wizard and stripping it of any and all relevance. Their reviews, news, and forums pretty much dominate the comic book world these days. Hopefully they don't go the route Wizard took and become a shill for the majors or anybody willing to give them exclusives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

People Suck

Yeah, I said it. Yes, I'm saying it. People suck. Not literally, mind you (although in some cases it's literal as well).

Why is it that almost everyone I know ends up betraying or disappointing me in some thrilling new way? Maybe I cause these things to happen. Maybe these events are just the result of poor choices and even poorer expectations.

On an unrelated note: Remember Hannibal Smith from the A-Team? That guy was awesome. White hair, black leather gloves, chomping on a big cigar. I don't even recall what he did exactly, but I'm pretty sure he was the leader. A guy like that really deserves to be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Departed

It seems, as time goes on, the list of family that I'll never get to speak to again grows long.

Aunt Lucy
Uncle James
Uncle Joe

I like to believe that the idea of heaven has a solid scientific foundation. Think of it as an internet video that can never be truly "removed" from the web, because it's been downloaded, re-uploaded, traded, passed off and put back on. Also, if energy can't be destroyed and just absorbs into the tapestry of existence, then perhaps these people are now a part of the multiverse.

I don't know, but then again, who does?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Warren Ellis' Do Anything 015

The artificial muscles in the severed robot head of Jack Kirby start shifting around. For a moment there, he looks like the piercing-eyed Superman of his original JIMMY OLSEN pencils. Hair starts sprouting, bushy and vegetal, until I find myself faced by Philip K Dick. Tendrils in the back of his head have connected to an old tape cassette in the bookcase behind him, a recording of Philip K Dick speaking, that came with one of a stack of issues of a journal about the man that I bought about five years back. (In a later issue, a woman speaks in wonder of the tape, saying that she sat transfixed “listening to the breath of Philip K Dick.”)

“It didn’t have to be Murphy Anderson and Al Plastino, you know,” he says. “I see entire worlds. Worlds that don’t fall apart two days later. It was 1970. They could have gotten anybody from that time to redraw those heads. What if someone had made the decision that being on-model didn’t matter? Imagine a DC that responded to Marvel’s perceived hipness a lot earlier — hell, they even tried, a little later, with things like PREZ, and the crazy stoned stuff Jerry Grandenetti was doing. Imagine a Carmine Infantino tripping his balls off in the office, yelling at people that the fucking heads need redrawing, fucking Kirby and his bullshit, and I don’t fucking care who does it, I can see the white light and God is telling me Alex Toth wants to fly so I’m going upstairs to throw him off the fucking roof –

” — and eager young freaks in the office, freed by a company structure even more chaotic than Marvel’s became now that everyone at DC is completely deranged by hallucinogen psychosis, go off to get a bunch of people to redraw Jack Kirby’s severed heads.”

Superman’s head by Robert Crumb: eyes bulging, leering at Jack Kirby spacegirls with their strong thighs. Big Barda from Kirby’s MISTER MIRACLE is Aline Kominsky-Crumb from Mars. Crumb cannot contain himself: he writes in new dialogue over Kirby’s. “I’ll show them! I’LL SHOW THEM ALL!” yells Supercrumb, and slices up the page so it cuts to Superman punching out a car. He doodles himself riding on the back of a Fourth World girl. They print it anyway.

(Robert Crumb hasn’t met Aline, his future wife, yet. He’s about a year, eighteen months, from that. But he’s drawing a character called Honeybunch Kaminski, over and over. Aline’s childhood nickname was The Bunch. Crumb is even harder on himself in his autobiographical comics after meeting Aline. DC don’t think to send pages to Aline, even though she was doing her savage, gleefully scab-pickingly grotesque autobio comics prior to meeting him. She did an open Q&A in the UK newspaper The Guardian in 2005 and half the questions were about Crumb. I don’t even know how much of Aline Kominsky’s work remains in print.)

Superman’s head by Philippe Druillet. A disease vector, a strategy of sickness. A low brow, burrning eyes. Skin like ancient lichen, hardened into a granite face. A Superman who has seen all of time. American children begin shooting each other in schoolyards just to escape the terrifying eyes of Superman.

Superman’s head by Shary Flenniken: in 1970, she’s just met Dan O’Neill, who’s already been fired a bunch of times by the San Francisco Chronicle over his comic strip ODD BODKINS (which he’s been drawing since the Tardis-year 1963), and is working up to his final firing, preparing to work twenty-odd Disney characters into the strip without permission. Dan O’Neill is, I suspect, a little crazy. He’s already muttering about the Mouse Liberation Front, essentially a one-man “copyfight” for the release of Disney’s characters into the public domain. (Walt Disney died in 1966, but there are persistent urban myths to the effect that his severed head exists in a state of suspended animation, in a cryogenic vault under EPCOT.) In their shared immediate future lays AIR PIRATE FUNNIES, a Disney parody/detournement/reclamation comic that Flenniken participated in “reluctantly”. But today, at Sky River, along with Berkeley Barb cartoonists Bobby London and Ted Richards, they produce SKY RIVER FUNNIES, run off on a mimeograph machine during the Sky River Festival, live and direct. Good artists, all, but it’s Flenniken’s exquisitely wandering, deceptively loose line that stays with me. Her Superman head is funny, knowing, button-eyed but with a hint of crazy, a Superman she could imagine at the Air Pirates table talking with Vaughn Bode while admiring Bode’s frosted nail polish, a Superman who could live in New York and laugh at Michael O’Donoghue’s sick jokes because he was Superman enough to take things lightly. (Flenniken worked with O’Donoghue at NATIONAL LAMPOON. In 1981, during his second stint as a writer on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, he wrote a sketch around the “Bizarro” concept in Superman comics, where there is a weird reversed-out clone Superman who does everything backwards, transposing it to America’s Reagan administration: “It am an international crisis! Quick, Bizarro President! Go to sleep!”) Girls all over America suddenly understand what Lois Lane sees in Superman.

(”Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” — GK Chesterton)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Legend Of Captain Farmville

The good people over at Longwood Hole have put up a cute blurb on hometown hero "Captain Farmville". They even used my lovely artistic rendition of him.

For those unaware, in the town of Farmville, VA (home of Longwood University), an odd and arguably insane man traverses the town in colorful outfits of increasing tightness, on a mission that only he knows.

Check them out:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Parallel Is The New Purple

If you haven't figured out by now, I have at least a passing interest in parallel realities. What are those, you ask? Alternate universes, if you will. Every decision you didn't make, every life you've ever dreamt of living, every possibility there has ever been, played out in a cosmic presentation of 'what if' millions upon billions of times over. Spock with a beard.

I've spent years more or less obsessed with the idea of my life, had my father not died all those years ago. Would I be more well-adjusted and confident in my own skin? Would I be somewhere doing something important with my life? Or would I be right where I'm at or worse? Maybe I'd be in prison or transformed into some sort of sick monster.

Present scientific theory on the subject suggests that parallel realities are not only possible, but probable. That's such an odd and potentially scary thing to wrap one's head around.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Modern Prometheus

Everyday I lose more and more faith in the human race. I'm sure people have always been assholes and selfish creatures since the beginning of life's heavenly spark, but I swear to Jay Hova The God MC that things are getting worse. Just when I think I have a handle on how sick and low the average earthling can sink, I find myself disappointedly surprised at how wrong I was. I say "disappointedly" (is that even a word?) because I'd thought I had properly prepared myself for how evil and depraved the world was, and guarded my heart and soul against any surprises. Lo though I find myself time and time again on the ugly side of wrong.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Postcards From The Bottom

A man is told to climb a mountain. At the top of the summit is his heart's truest desire. His equipment malfunctions two days in, just as he becomes sick from the flu. He knows he can go no further. Escorted down the mountain by emergency personnel, he finds peace even in failure, knowing he would never have made it the entire way.

Meanwhile, another man journeys up the other side of the mountain. He has already made it all the way up to the top once before and can visualize his heart's desire waiting for him. Seconds into the hike, he missteps and slides back down to the bottom. Starting over is not allowable, so he must accept that his trek has ended earlier than he ever thought.

He replays the misstep in his mind countless times in the months that follow. The unanswerable, unknowable questions echo through his mind as regret poisons his future. He'd done it before, why couldn't he do it again? He never forgives himself, spending the rest of his life with lingering regret and doubt.


In many ways, I'm the second man, constantly reliving my past, wondering what might be. Why do I keep making the same mistakes? Why do I keep sliding back down again? If only I hadn't been at the top of that proverbial mountain before, looking down on the earth in victory and contentment. Maybe then I could find the peace I so desperately want, peace in failure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lying In The Streets

If you truly think about it, people are, more or less, all liars. They tell lies, big and small, to one another on a consistent basis. The big ones include claiming you'll love your spouse forever, when you know you only walked down that aisle out of fear or money or whatever it was. Or teenagers telling their parents that a deer jumped out in front of them, when the truth is you let your idiot friend drive your folks' car into a tree.

Then we have the more subtle, insidious lies. Lies that, on the surface, seem harmless.....when in reality they show a person's true disdain for the rest of humanity.

Like Santa Claus.

What sort of sick person concocts an elaborate fallacy about an overweight intruder breaking into their homes in the middle of the night with "gifts"? Who repeats this demented tale to their own children, convincing them of the violations to take place as soon as they are asleep and helpless to protect themselves?

No wonder there are so many psychiatrists and mental health professionals in this country.

Guys claiming they'll call back. Husbands telling their wives how good they look in those hideous dresses. Or how about when you tell yourself it'll all be OK tomorrow, knowing tomorrow might never even come. You're not even sure you really want it to.

Selfishness and fear, that's what it comes down to folks and I'm never wrong. Hell, I'm willing to bet that those two emotions are behind most of the cold, vicious acts committed throughout recorded human history.

However, I'm gonna shut this puppy down because it's unhealthy to dwell on negativity for too long. Just take what I've said with an appropriate grain of salt. If you don't, it might just drive you insane and I'd never wish that on anyone.


Would I lie?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Michael Jackson Moonwalks With The Angels

Remember when people referred to Michael Jackson as "Jacko"? It was a term of scorn and ridicule, but I always found it to be seriously badass. You have to be on a whole different kind of level of swag to have people refer to you by a shortened version of a common last name, then expect everyone to know it' s you. It's short, grimy as hell and sort of scary, all at the same time.

Motherfucking "Jacko".

I always thought he should've taken that particular ball and run with it. He could've released the Jacko LP, complete with him in an Elephant Man mask and 18th century zoot suit, and freaky circus bitches parading around behind him, twirling fiery batons before a gothic landscape of pain and sorrow. He could've embraced the things they said about him and created a new marketable persona.

But it wouldn't have been him. Not at all.

See, I think MJ just wanted to be loved for who he was or just left alone entirely. He wanted to make as many people happy as he could and not hurt anyone along the way. It just turns out that the person who ended up hurt the most in his his world was him. Isn't it always that way? Irony is that sunuvabitch that you never see coming, but always seems to know where you are.

RIP Michael Jackson

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Batman's Son Damien

Yes, Batman has a son. In current DC comic book continuity, that is. I don't agree with it and never have. Batman would quit the moment he found out he had a kid. He'd never risk making a kid go through what he went through, i.e. having his parent(s) die. Yet he went right along like it was no big deal.

That being said, Damien makes a great Robin (See: Batman & Robin #1). Maybe it's Morrison's expertly crafted writing, I dunno, but he makes it work. That's the first time I didn't want lil' Damien Wayne to expire violently.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cosmic Hitmen: The Universe's Righteous Rage & My Part In It

I'm not a blog writer.

Yes, I am well aware of the inherent hypocrisy in that statement since you're clearly reading a blog entry written by me. I meant that to say that I don't write these things very often. Two reasons spring to mind. One is because I rarely see the point. Surely no one wants to hear my thoughts, observations, or musings on everyday life, right? Nobody wants to know what terrible, awkward misunderstanding I got into today or the horrible folly that took place regarding my mother's truck and a van full of marshmallows over the weekend. Then again, I've been told it's just good therapy for the blogger more than anything. So here I am. Which brings me to reason number two. I just abhor putting myself out there to the world at large. After all, the more they know about you, the more they have against you.

This reminds me of something Philip K. Dick wrote in the forward for one of his books. As you may or may not know, PKD was a science fiction writer and creator of the book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which was the basis of Blade Runner. Go rent that shit, pronto. No, buy it. But I digress. He once stated that at an early age he began to think that the universe at large was truly against him. Maybe it was the way he acted or looked, who knows, but at any moment, something he did or said would awaken the cosmos to his full presence and he would be delivered swift punishment.

That's me in a nutshell. (Actually I take that back. "In a nutshell" is one of those ridiculous and completely inane cliches that people utter around the world every single day, without forethought or consideration to how much like sheep they sound. Like I just did. However, I can't think of a more appropriate way to say what I want to say right now, so I'll let it stand. May the cosmos forgive me.) I've felt sometimes as though universe has been screwing me like a frat boy would screw some nymphomaniacal sorority girl, who gets so drunk every Friday night that she blacks out and awakens in someone else's room with cum in her hair. Sorry for the vivid imagery, but I think you get the point.

If I'm the designated whipping boy for this particular multiversal reality, I figure the least I can do is not make myself an easy target on purpose. I tend to do it ridiculously often as it is, though by accident. (See: every interaction with women I ever have.) So I've tried as hard as I could not to Twitter or Facebook or Fritter or Quidspace or Metablog or any of the other cybertrends that have swept the masses this week. It's all I can do to protect myself from so angering God , Allah or whoever or whatever controls this thing we know as reality, that a cosmic hitman is dispatched to destroy me in the form of a disease or accident or some other embarrassing, painful twist of fate.

Yet here I am, breaking one of my simplest rules in order to explain it to you. For no other reason than I'm bored and had nothing else to do.

Click The Explosion....Do It Bitch!


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