Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let me say this first of all, when I saw that the new Batman hardcover by Chip Kidd and Dave Taylor was shipping this week, nothing else shipping mattered anymore. Sure, a new Walking Dead is always nice, and one of my top 5 favorite Batman villains is introduced into the new 52 when Mr. Freeze makes his debut in Batman Annual #1 from Scott Snyder, which is exciting, but the first thing I picked up and started reading was "Dead by Design", and dear fictional character many believe to be responsible for our creation, it was good. So, so, so very good.

Taking inspiration from real-life events, Death by Design opens with Bruce Wayne announcing that Wayne Central Station in Gotham is being torn down in order to replace it with a more modern transportation hub. As with the destruction of any long time monument, the news is met with resistance from plenty of sources. One of whom takes particular offense at the monument's demise, and decided to take matters into his own hands to ensure that the demolition never takes place. Of course, Batman also has a little something to say in the matter.

That might not sound like enough to fill 122 pages, but believe me if you care anything at all about classic Batman stories, you will not be able to put this book down. I read the entire thing in one sitting, from cover to cover. I was in love with every single aspect of it, the art was beautiful, but it was the way it felt like reading a Silver Age story that really had me hooked. Even the setting, which wasn't really dated, was obviously set back in that classic age when comics were far more innocent than they are today. Not saying this was a kiddie book, but for those of us who have been reading for years, it was a wonderful throwback to when comics were just fun to read and the good guy always won.

For you non-long time comic readers, Dave Taylor is probably best known for his Batman work for DC in the 90's, as well as his contributions to 2000 A.D. over in England. It took Dave years to complete "Death by Design", but the detail and hard work he put into it really shows, this book is gorgeous. Reading through a brief sketchbook section in the back of the book, Dave says he drew the entire book with blue pencil, refusing to erase anything, then going back over it with graphite to darken and add depth. Absolutely nothing else was done to the art he turned in, it was published as is. The end result is a mostly black and white penciled book, with just a hint of color thrown in every few panels. To be completely honest, I was in awe of this book after reading that. It's amazing.

Chip Kidd is a legend in the graphic design field, winning multiple awards for his book and cover design. He's also worked with DC on several projects, including The Complete History of Batman, The Complete History of Superman, and my personal favorite, Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. This is Kidd's first time writing a full length graphic novel though, and let me assure you, his knowledge of the medium goes far beyond just design. I hope this ends up being a starting point for his comics writing career, even if only in graphic novel form every few years, as he's made a life-long fan out of me with just one book.

I can't say enough good things about this book, from story to art, this is the total package when it comes to comics. It may not have been the case when I was a kid who dreamed of making comics, but I can in all honesty say that had I been able to make that dream come true, this is the kind of thing I would like to have been associated with. Highest recommendation I can give for long-time comic fans, or just people who love fantastic art work. It might not do anything for people who exclusively read new comics, but it was nothing short of magic for me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Prepare yourselves, as I'm armed and ready to defend Battleship. First things first, I am not a fan of the movie Independence Day, and if you think that bit of information alludes to the fact that I'm going to be using that movie as a basis for comparison, then the concept of foreshadowing is one that is not lost on you, congrats. Battleship set sail on theaters a little while back, armed to the teeth with special effects, aliens, and explosions, yet was met with the unfortunate momentum of the summer movie juggernaut that is the Avengers, and thusly sat dead in the water after the weekend ticket sales numbers came in. Being the morbidly curious individual that I am, I had to see for myself if it was just because of the Avengers, or if Battleship was indeed as awful as the numbers indicated. At first, I feared the worst and thought maybe everybody had been right about this one, but then the aliens surfaced, and I couldn't help myself, I turned off my brain, strapped in, and went for the ride.

This will likely be the absolute shortest synopsis for a movie plot that I have ever written, which as you may have surmised is why I'm padding this second paragraph with this fluff about how short it will be. When scientists discover a distant planet, approximately the same distance from it's sun as we are from ours, they made contact in the hopes of discovering life. They succeeded, and unfortunately for Earth, the other planet answered back.

As I reported, Battleship stumbles a bit out of the gate. The first 30 minutes or so are almost painful to watch, with cliche after cliche, some bad acting, bad dialog, and very little to actually like. It was enough to make me think I had made a horrible mistake, and made me fearful for the next 90 minutes, thinking the trailers had shown me all I needed to see after all. But when the alien shit finally does hit the Earth-fan, Battleship starts living up to it's potential in spades. Once the action starts, there's maybe 10 minutes of total downtime in the remainder of the movie. It's non-stop, good old alien on human violence, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Most of the budget went to the special effects, and they are jaw droppingly amazing. The aliens look awesome, the ships look awesome, and there's enough shit exploding to give Michael Bay a boner that even Viagra would be proud of.

As to why Battleship will likely be viewed as a failure in the long run, as I mentioned before right now the theaters are being absolutely owned by the Avengers, and rightfully so. It's going to take a combination of both time, and probably something just as big like The Dark Knight Rises to finally dethrone Marvel's monster hit. But that can't be the only reason Battleship hasn't performed as expected, and I can't help but feel like maybe if this movie had been called ANYTHING other than Battleship it would've done better for itself. There's automatically going to be a bit of a sense of hokines expected when you tell people your movie is based on a boardgame they played when they were kids. It works for other things, like video games, and might even work with more exciting premises like Dungeons and Dragons or the like. But Battleship? The game with the ships, and you call out number/letter combos hoping you hit your friends hidden ship? Lame. I wonder how many people completely disregard this movie for that reason alone? I'm willing to bet more than a few. The thing is, Battleship is actually entertaining, and is every bit as good as Independence Day which took over the world when it hit theaters, which honestly I've never understood anyway as I've said since the very first time I saw it that Independence Day is one of the most over-rated films I've ever seen. They're essentially the same movie in almost every way, except Battleship mainly takes place in the water, and most of Indy's action was in the air. Oh, and Will Smith, but if his being in a movie is the control you use to judge whether a movie is worthy of your attention or not, please feel free to never visit my blog again. The other difference is that Battleship has all the benefits of using present day technology, and therefore really brings it visually. It's light years ahead of Independence Day in this regard, and yet Independence Day is likely going to be viewed as a superior film when all is said and done. Bah.

Apologies for the Independence Day mini-rant, I just really don't like that movie. Battleship is one of those movies that comes around every summer, big budget, big action, big effects, and not much more. All that's required to enjoy these movies is some popcorn and your ability to turn your brain off for a couple of hours and feast your eyes upon the retinal porn on display. That's right, Battleship is like porn for your eyes. When all was said and done, and the credits began to roll, Battleship had been a success, at least in my eyes. It did exactly what I had hoped it would do, it entertained me for a couple of hours. It has all the trappings of your typical summer popcorner, it's as paint-by-numbers as you can get, but when the paint is as pretty as Battleship's, sometimes that's ok. Do not dismiss this movie just because of the name, if action flicks are your thing, this is definitely worth checking out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

In honor of my finally buying the Subspecies 20th Anniversary Edition blu ray!

You can't destroy me Stefan...nothing can.

My Newest Addiction

Being that I'm clearly in need of a new obsession, I've recently taken up collecting shot glasses. I'm still just starting out, so I only have a few but I ran across a set on Amazon that are absolutely perfect and I wanted to share....

How badass are these?! I don't have them yet, I literally just ordered them today but I can't wait to throw them up on my shelf. If anybody knows of any more like this, or that are just cool looking, please point me toward them. I hate an empty shelf.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Movie Night - Mother's Day Celebration

Haven't done a themed movie night in way too long, but they're always fun. Tonight, in celebration of Mother's Day, I have a trilogy of Mom inspired horror all lined up and ready to go.

I've heard good things about this new Mother's Day flick from Darren Lynn Bousman, but I purposely held off on watching it until today. Having "from the director of Saw 2, 3, and 4" on the cover doesn't automatically constitute a watch for me, but I understand there's lots of brutal violence, Rebecca DeMornay, and Shawn Ashmore. That might not be enough for you, but you can almost always sing me up for any one of those things, having all three makes Mother's Day a no-brainer. Hoping it doesn't disappoint.

This one is a guilty pleasure of mine, and has been since the first time I caught it in the middle of the night on HBO when I was a kid. Unfortunately as far as I know, there isn't a dvd of this wonderful little movie out there anywhere. It was available to watch on Youtube a while back, and I used it for a Friday Night Drive-In post, but the account that had it uploaded has now been suspended due to copyright infringement, so watching it on the Xbox as I had planned to do, is no longer an option. Looks like I'm going to have to dig my vhs out.

Finally, I plan to revisit the dark comedy Serial Mom. I haven't seen this flick in years, but I remember liking it a lot. Not sure exactly why it's taken me so long to watch it again, as I'm a bit of a John Waters junkie. I suppose it may have a little bit to do with HBO running it over and over again back in the mid 90's. Still, I'm excited about watching this again after such a long time, it's almost going to be like watching it for the first time again.

This should make for one hell of a Mother's Day celebration in the Batcave, especially after a day spent at my parent's house. All that family stuff will likely have me ready to watch some brutal violence and senseless murdering, hah. Enjoy your Mother's Day folks!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Newest Addition to Batcave...CUTEST EVER?

I'm afraid it just might be. Last week I got an email out of the blue from my brother from another mother, Mister Binky, formerly of Disparate Elements fame, and currently of No High Scores fame, stating that a mysterious package was on it's way to me through the mail. There was a bit of a mix-up with the address, which almost landed the package in the nefarious claws of my evil ex, but thankfully things worked out and what you see below is the contents of said package, a Freddy Kreuger Living Dead Doll!!! I swear I have the best friends in the world.

Look at how damn cute he is, hanging out on top of my dvd shelf. I absolutely love it. I've admired the Living Dead Dolls forever, but never actually bought one. I think Binky may have created a monster with his act of kindness as I've been looking at them online today and see quite a few that I feel like Freddy needs to keep him company. Thanks again B, I love, love, love it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

Because here in the Batcave, OUR Avenger is better than YOURS....

No ticky, No washy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not a whole lot to be excited about this week, but there were a couple of things I felt like were worth mentioning. These light weeks are sometimes a breath of fresh air, especially if I get behind on reading the previous week's stuff, as I did this time. Between a big pull week and Free Comic Book Day stuff, I only got about 3/4 of my books read.

The next exciting arc of The Walking Dead, titled Something To Fear started with issue 97. It looks like it's going to kick things into high gear again after a couple of snoozer arcs. Book one of Ed Brubaker's phenomenal Lovecraftian Crime-Noir comic Fatale concludes with issue 5, and it is nothing short of fantastic. I'm also looking forward to what should be a fun two-parter in Resurrection Man and Suicide Squad, which puts the Squad hot on the heels of Mitch Shelley. Can't help myself, both of these books are just fun reads, the crossover should be DOUBLE the fun. Let's get to the highlights though...

Frankenstein Alive, Alive #1 - I mentioned last week when talking about 30 Days of Night that I'm a Steve Niles-oholic. The man is a horror comics writing beast. He hasn't let me down yet. He's also been fortunate enough to have collaborated with horror comic artistic LEGEND Bernie Wrightson on several projects. When I say legend, I mean that in every sense of the word. The man is one of the most brilliant artists on the planet, and thankfully he's a fan of the creepy stuff. Frankenstein Alive, Alive is one of those books that was announced, and then I waited VERY impatiently for the solicit to hit Previews so I could sign up, then begin the painful process of waiting very impatiently for it to ship. Thankfully that day has finally arrived, and I'm happy to report that it more than delivered. It's basically a little bit of set-up, the Monster is currently part of a traveling circus' freak show act, followed by him narrating how he ended up there. Not sure if the entire story will be told through flashback this way, but to say that I can't wait for the next issue would be a gross understatement. This one is going to be special.

Alabaster: Wolves #2 - I had absolutely no idea who Caitlin R. Kiernan was before I read the Alabaster Wolves preview in Dark Horse Presents. I signed up for the series based off of it. Turns out she's some sort of world famous writer of dark fantasy and such, turns out she was also born and raised not far from my Batcave in Leeds, Alabama, and it also turns out she's a transsexual Wiccan. That last part isn't important, it's just amazing what you can learn about people on Wikipedia. Alabaster is about a teenage girl named Dancy Flammarion who has an angel that hovers over her shoulder, speaking to her about her purpose of carrying out God's will by hunting and killing monsters. This first series has her hunting werewolves in Georgia. If that doesn't sell the book for you, then don't even talk to me. Steve Lieber is handling the art, and this book is very pretty. Yet another great horror series from Dark Horse, I am really digging it so far.

There ya go, what's fresh on the racks this week. There's also undoubtedly 27 or so Avengers related books available for purchase, but I don't read that shit. Well, other than Secret Avengers, which I only read because Rick Remender writes it. But anyway, there ya go, COMICS!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Infinite Playlist - Classic Metallica

Heard Fade to Black on the radio the other day, sad to say I had almost forgotten how awesome Metallica was at one time. I decided to revisit their first four albums again, and goddamn they are fantastic. Might as well induct a few favorites into the Infinite Playlist...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Won't You Die...Commodus?

What a little bitch. That's the only way to accurately describe Gladiator's loathsome Commodus. Even his father knew what a little bitch of a son he had, and had plans to give his throne to General Maximus "bad mother effer" Meridius. Of course when Commodus finds out about it, he takes it upon himself to ensure that it never happens by murdering his own father. Douche move, bro. He proceeds to claim the throne of Rome for himself, and being the scared little bitch that he is, instead of facing Marcus, he orders that he and his family be killed.

Of course his plan fails, and Marcus ends up fighting in the arena, under the moniker of Gladiator. In yet another bitch move, Commodus is initially impressed by the Gladiator but ultimately jealous of his popularity with "his" people. The look on his face when he discovers that the Gladiator is none other than Marcus is priceless. He basically wets his jerkin. What a pussy. Infuriated that Marcus has survived, Commodus decides to put himself into the arena against him, in a fight to the death. Oh yes, you are about to die horribly you little bastard, and I can't wait.

Die he does, but not before one final act of little bitchery, before the fight, he visits a bound and shackled Marcus, and shanks him in the hopes that it will tip the fight in his favor and make an easy victim of the Gladiator. Turns out Marcus is just a little bit tougher than Commodus thought though, and there has absolutely never been a more satisfying knife sliding slowly into a throat in cinematic history. Choke on your own blood, Commodus, you miserable little shit!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Not going to do yet another unnecessary review of this movie. We've all had our minds made up for a couple of years as to whether we were going to see it or not, and we all knew it was likely going to be an awesome popcorn flick. It was every bit as fun as I expected it to be, and in some way even more so. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about yet another Bruce Banner/Hulk actor but apparently Whedon must be a bit of a Hulk fanboy as he ended up stealing the show. So many great Hulk moments in Avengers, I lost count. Of course there were other "hell yeah" moments as well. Just as with the two Iron Man films, Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as Tony Stark, Scarlett Johansson is smoking hot as the Black Widow, and Tom Hiddleston once again does Loki justice.

Truth be told there were few things that I saw that I think even the nitpickiest Avengers fanboy would've had a problem with. About the only real gripe I had was with Captain America's costume. I hated it. It just looks hokey to me, which is a shame when everybody else looks great. Chris Evans plays Cap just fine, I loved the Captain America movie, including the costume used there, but this new one in Avengers which has been modernized by Shield looks awful. Other gripes were inconsequential, but basically I didn't like Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor and I don't like him in Avengers, Hawkeye was lame but hey, it's Hawkeye..he's lame anyway, and I would've liked to have seen a major Avengers villain instead of Loki again, even though as stated, he's fun to watch.

What I liked was pretty much everything else. It was fast paced, even at almost 2 and 1/2 hours. I could've watched it again as soon as it ended. The interaction between the Avengers themselves was spot-on, but I expected nothing less of Joss Whedon. I particularly enjoyed Tony Stark's interactions with Bruce Banner, and especially enjoyed the Thor/Hulk "relationship". Again, make no mistake about it, Hulk steals the show here. The special effects were amazing, jaw droppingly so. I was worried that with the amount of CG characters on the screen, there were going to be some corners cut here and there, but every aspect of Avengers is just as impressive as all the others. I had the biggest, stupidest grin on my face the first time the Shield Helicarrier took flight. It looked absolutely awesome.

All in all, I don't know if I'm ready to declare Avengers as the "best superhero movie ever" yet, my Batman bias still gives that title to The Dark Knight. It's going to take one hell of a special movie to top that one for me. Avengers comes damn close though. Maybe if there had been a little more story and a little less "summer action superhero beat 'em up" to it, I might be swayed. As it is though, it's another fine example that Marvel knows how to make and promote fun, over the top movies based on their characters. This one being hands down being their best effort so far. As usual, make sure you stay through the credits, at the halfway point you'll get a setup for a sequel, and at the end you'll get a bit of a laugh. Do not wait for the bluray, do yourself a favor and get out and experience Avengers the way it should be experienced, on the big screen with a big bag of popcorn. Assemble!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Solace Lost shirt!

I've actually had the image for a while now, but had to keep it on the low until the shirts were actually ready. I'm happy to report that they have arrived and they are beautiful! Below are two images of it, one is the image in black and white, the other serves two purposes, it shows the colors although they aren't as bright in the picture as they are in person, it also shows that I'm not just trying to persuade people to buy shirts, I actually bought one for myself. See? That's my neck!

Solace Lost straight up rocked a crowd in Atlanta last night, opening up for Lacuna Coil. Twas a great show. If you'd like one of these for yourself, as usual you can contact me, or hit the band up on their facebook page.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Free Comic Book Day 2012!

Today is Free Comic Book Day! As always, the first Saturday in May you can hit a participating comic shop and pick up free reads. They're ususally all new stories too, and almost every company has something to offer, even the small press guys. If you're not sure where the closest shop near you is, enter your location into the Comic Shop Locator and it will hook you up. You all know I work part time in the comic shop in Auburn, so I've already gotten all of my stuff, here's a quick rundown of the books that I think are worth grabbing...

There are two levels of participation, gold and silver. Most shops are going to be gold participants, but if you're lucky and have a large shop nearby you might also be able to snag the silver level books. These comics may be free to us, but they aren't free to the shops that are participating in FCBD, so don't bitch too much if your shop is a small one and all they have are the gold comics.


That Archaia Studios Mouse Guard book is actually really nice. It's not just a Mouse Guard story, it's an anthology with several stories from books the publish. It's also a hardbound book! For free! I don't even read any of their comics and I think that's awesome. I had to grab one just based on principle.


Free Comic Book Day is one of the coolest promotions still going on in print comics, and honestly I'm surprised it's still going strong, especially with the way that most companies are trying to push the industry toward digital comics. I'll be buying print for as long as they're printed though. Get out today and support your local comic shop! And maybe actually BUY a comic or two after you've picked out your free comics...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Second installment of How Sweet, Fresh Ink! This week DC launched four brand new #1's to replace the first four cancellations from their "New 52" from last year. I ended up signing up for three of them, World's Finest, Earth 2, and Dial H, based off of their respective creative teams. Ended up digging all three, but one more so than any of the others.

Also this week I picked up new issues of two of my current favorites from DC, Animal Man and Swamp Thing, as well as new issues of Daredevil, Sweet Tooth, and the Court of Owls is running rampant in Batwing and Detective Comics. Red Lanterns, Action Comics, Avengers vs X-Men, and Justice League International round out the pull list. Lots of good stuff, but here's what I thought was particularly fresh...

X-O Manowar #1 - Remember when Valiant was one of the biggest players in the funny book game? I sure do. At one time, I read almost every book they published. X-O was one of my favorites, so you bet your ass I'm excited to see that it's back on the racks. Just as before, it seems as if the focus with Valiant is going to be quality over quantity, and so far I'd say they're off to a great start. Being a first issue, this one's all set-up. We meet Aric, witness his people being attacked by the Roman Army, and then seeing the few survivors get visited by aliens who end up capturing Aric. As we all know, this is where he gets his hands on Shanhara, his signature blue and gold suit of armor. Really, really excited about this book. 

30 Days of Night #7 - So you've probably read the original 3 issue series that inspired the movie. You might have even read some of the follow ups, including the not so great ones that original writer and creator Steve Niles had nothing to do with. I did. If that's the case, you may have skipped this new ongoing series from IDW, and understandably so. For a while it felt like they were just slapping a "30 Days" title on any book they published with a vamp in it. I weep at the amount of money I wasted. This ongoing has been good though, really good. Steve Niles is back in control of his baby, and he's been shaking things up big time. First, he killed off Stella, which sent Eben into a bloodlust that ended with him slaughtering everybody in Barrow. I mean, EVERYBODY. After that, he left the North, and is currently amassing an army of vampires all over the country with the intent of bringing humanity to it's knees. Crazy shit, right? I know!

Earth 2 #1 - Ok, I know, these "mulitple Earths/realities/realms/etc." stories are extremely hit or miss, and usually so damn convoluted that they'll break your brain if you attempt to make sense of them. To be honest, I signed up for this series based primarily on my love of the Earth 2 DCU. It's basically considered the Silver Age continuity, which is what us old timers like. James Robinson is writing, and he's as hit or miss as they come for me, I hated his Justice League but hold his Starman run in the highest of regard. After reading this first issue though, he's got my attention. For most of this issue, we get to witness the final battle of Earth 2's heroes as they fight against an invasion from Apokolips, which left the world without heroes. None survived, Batman was the last one, the one who brought an end to the invasion and saved the world, be even he died doing so. It looks as though this series is going to be about the "new" heroes of Earth 2, as we get brief introductions of Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, who of course are the "original" Green Lantern and Flash from the old continuity, pre-New 52. Confused yet? It actually makes sense, and even if you're lost, this issue is still easily enjoyable. I'm going to stick around and see where this is going.

Venom #17 - Disclaimer: I'm ONLY reading a book about Venom because Rick Remender is writing it, and if he writes something, I read it. I don't particularly like Venom, and when I do, I like him as a villain. Still, goddamn him, Remender has made this book a blast to read. Venom is no longer Eddie Brock, it's Flash Thompson, yep...THAT Flash Thompson. He's not a villain, he works for the government, and the symbiote is controlled by a dampening collar that will be exploded if it gets out of Flash's control. He even just recently joined the Secret Avengers based off a recommendation from Captain America. Venom is an Avenger. This issue begins the next big arc which will put him up against a group of the villains he's been tangling with in the book, who have joined up to become what is being called the "Savage Six", one of whom is Eddie Brock whom they've given a new symbiote to, and you just know this symbiote isn't going to like Venom very much. Should be fun!

That's it for this week's Fresh Ink, but dry your eyes friend, I'll be right back here on Saturday to get you all ready to head out to your local comic shop for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Oh yes, it's that time again! I'll be giving you the skinny on what you can expect to find, and which ones I feel like are worth picking up. You can't even wait, I can tell.