Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mystique is pregnant

I'm really loving how the internet is allowing upstarts like Funny or Die to let actual stars do actually funny comedy on their own terms.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Comics waning

As the year closes out I am faced with the possibility that I will soon stop reading comics.

Not altogether, of course. With Beanworld returning, I couldn't do that. But since Beanworld will now mostly come out in graphic novel form (after the previous series have been reprinted), I might find myself wandering into the comic shops with less frequency.

The truth is, visiting what has become the Bendis Sandbox has become tiresome. He breaks everybody's toys, for one. And while I pooh-poohed the idea that Joss Whedon was a misogynist, I have to actually wonder about Bendis. Let's see:

  1. He made the Scarlet Witch go crazy and de-power most mutants (not that you can really tell from the proliferation of titles still out there) and then sent her off to Genosha or Salami or some other weird place nobody cares about.
  2. Killed The Wasp by using her as a weapon of mass destruction.
  3. Killed The Ultimate Wasp by having The Blob eat her entrails. ("Tastes like chicken?" Really, Bendis? That's the wittiest you can come up with? What about "Where's the beef" or "Pardon me, do you happen to have any Grey Poupon?")

Okay, well that's only three. But they're big characters, and Marvel doesn't really have that many iconic female heroes. You're not going to convince me She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, or Spider-Woman are "big heroes." Plus, the whole inane concept of Secret Invasion, now that it's over, is mind-bogglingly thin. After an incredible kickoff, plot threads were left to dangle until they just fell off with no consequences. What was the point of the ship full of Skrull heroes? I mean, it was just a distraction right? Not a distraction for our real heroes, but a distraction for us, the reader, so we wouldn't notice the lack of story.

For what, four issues, pretty much nothing happened. Just heroes looking at Skrulls saying "Oh yeah? Well.... come over HERE and say that!" Which of course they never did. Because God loves his Skrulls.

Oh and just let me talk about that scene with Spider-Woman Skrull. Who, I might remind you, is a shape-shifter. Remember that, they can take other forms. But apparently an arrow through the jaw is enough to knock her off her snickerdoodle so that she couldn't even push her jaw back into place.

A shapeshifter.

And Bendis, please, can you please stop trying to make us care about characters nobody gives a shit about? There's a reason The Hood's series got canceled. Nobody cared. And if you simply MUST revive people nobody cares about and you do try to make them interesting, please stick with your plot point... you can't do a reveal that The Hood's hood is possessed by Dormammu and put "to be continued" at the bottom of the page and then not continue it.

DC has had, if you can imagine, an even worse couple of misfires. While able to put out quality books like All-Star Superman and Ex Machina, they've stunk up their continuity with drudge like Final Crisis and that pointless series that led up to it. I don't even want to talk about Batman RIP. What a way to fake out your readers once again... who will take up the cowl with Batman gone? Until he comes back?

I should point out that I think the idea behind Batman RIP was an interesting one: Batman, sometime in the past, creates a backup personality in case he is ever driven insane by one of his enemies. Or something like that. Anyway, it's the kind of fucked up shit that Grant Morrison is known for. If you've never seen an interview with GM, I call your attention to Disinfo TV. It's a DVD available from the folks at, a site of lots of fringe ideas that at times are very interesting and other times are total whackjobs. Morrison appears talking at a seminar on the special features of the DVD set, and guess which one he comes off sounding like: interesting or whackjob.

Take a cookie if you chose the latter. Seriously, it sounded like Deepak Chopra witnessing for The Secret during a showing of What the Bleep Do We Know, Anyway? But usually, even being nuttier than squirrel shit, Morrison can weave a story that interests me. With Batman RIP, every issue just seemed like a waste of my money.

Luckily, DC has Blackest Night looming on the horizon, and if you ask me this should have been the Final Crisis story, not this Let's-Kill-Kirby's-New-Gods story, which I still fail to see having anything to do with DC's Crisis events. Green Lantern has been stellar of late, which is good because I fear the movie they have in production will turn out to be a tad silly, and may kill off the character for a while. But the whole Sinestro Corps War more than made up for the Final Crisis misfire, especially with the revelation of the whole Spectrum of power rings.

Speaking of horses of a different color: I'm over the Red Hulk. And no, I will not call him by his nickname. This has drawn out far too long, and it is no longer a mystery and is merely annoying, no matter how much Arthur Adams art we get out of it. I mean, are people forgetting that The Hulk just tried to destroy New York? Shouldn't Banner be in chains sedated into a coma or something? I admit the first few issues were interesting, but the interest has reached it's peak, and if the main point of the next year's stories are going to be new batch of heroes fight Red Hulk, who is he, oooh we don't know, it's so mysteious... I'm sorry. Bruce Jones did that Hulk-as-an-X-Files-mystery joint a few years back, and let the bait dangle too long on the hook. I'm not going for it a second time.

But my point is, I hope TPTB don't look at the new Spectrum War thingy happening in Green Lantern and think that if three different colored Hulks were cool, what if we do the whole box of Crayolas? Can you imagine how stupid that would be?

Anyway. So my comic book days may be waning. There are still a few I'm interested in, and I'm sure I'll check out a few more as time goes on, but I notice already that I skip two, three weeks between going to the store now. It's not long until I've moved on, I guess.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A letter to Forry:

Dear Mr. Ackerman,

I will not preface this with condolences about your condition, as I'm sure others have done that far more eloquently than I could. Find the one that touched you, perhaps, second most, and pretend that I signed in in good honor as well, because I'm sure I feel the same way. But I do feel that I should express what you meant to me growing up. And it meant much, much more than I ever thought it might have.

I first encountered Famous Monsters at my cousins' place. They frequently stayed with my aunt/their grandmother, partly because of the messy divorce their parents had to go through and also because they liked visiting with my brothers and I. We all had the same interests; comics, science fiction, monsters, horror movies, and the like. We'd often have sleepovers if the UHF station WXIX in Cincinnati (Channel 19... get it?) was showing 50s monster movies on Friday nights. Granted, 19's reception was sketchy because we lived two hours away and didn't have that great an antenna, but once in a while, especially during thunderstorms for some reason, it would slowly lose it's snowy picture and we'd be able to watch 20 minutes of a great old movie before the snow returned.

(I should mention that I know now that this shouldn't have happened, now that I work in the telecommunications business; UHF signals aren't supposed to be affected by the weather are they? And yet, it seemed the best Friday nights to sleep over were during thunderstorms.)

I think the first FM issue my cousin Jeff showed me was the red one with the Zombi story on the cover. Late bloomer, yes, but I was intrigued. He let me borrow it, and he never saw it again. To be honest, I didn't care about zombies at the time, but there were monsters; there was Star Wars; there was the catalog in the back, where I'd pretend I'd order from one day to get all these cool monster-based things.

I was so intrigued by this magazine that I ignored Jeff feeding his python a lab rat while playing Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare on his LP. I took it home and read it until it literally fell apart one day. Jeff let me know that he'd bought that issue recently, at the Convenient store near the airport.

(Note: "Convenient" was the actual name of the chain at the time, but it was a convenience store. The airport shouldn't be noted as impressive except for the fact that we had one; it was a small affair only for small planes. Our city only had 5000 residents. I should consider myself lucky they even stocked FM at that store.)

I began begging my father to take me there on days when FM was being released. I took the release dates in the back of the book as religious days at first, but learned quickly that nobody else in my town was interested in the magazine, so if I had to wait a week or so to pick up my magazine, I could. Dad indulged my behavior, for a while.

One day Mom's leg blew up, and everything changed after that.

Long story short: blod clot. They did surgery, put her on painkillers she was allergic to. Took her off those medications, and put her on ones that she was more allergic to. She had a nervous breakdown, and for a few years we were left without a mother. Oh, and since Dad didn't have any health insurance, we also lost our store, and went from lower-middle class to below poverty level.

It was not fun times.

One of the things that kept me going through it was FM. Oh sure, now I had to gather pop bottles, cans, take them to be recycled, mow lawns around the neighborhood, but I was always able to afford my FM magazine. Of course, Dad refused to drive me to the Convenient store anymore, which was the only place that sold FM at the time. Which was fifteen miles away. However, I was glad to walk there and back myself. FM was my escape; I couldn't afford to go see One Dark Night at the drive-in, or Sleepaway Camp, or any of those movies. I lived through FM's reporting. I would never see Heartbeeps; I would never see Dragonslayer; I would never see Empire Strikes Back, at least, not until I got older. FM was the only thing that kept me up to date on these things in that pre-internet era.

I remember my disappointment when FM stopped coming out. I had no way to find out what happened until many years later. But by then I was entering puberty in full blast, and other things were grabbing my attention. But still, all these years, I missed FM, and your writing.

I was nearly knocked over with shock when I saw FM reappear in Walgreen's many years later. But I'll not talk about that; it wasn't the same, and the story behind it doesn't need to be recounted. I bought one issue; that was all I needed.

All I want to do is tell you how much your magazine meant to me growing up. I remember seeing that special Toho Monsters issue in the back issue orders for such an unattainable price. For years I dreamed of owning it, as I was a kaiju freak. Last year I found it on an auction on eBay, and snagged it for just twenty bucks. It's been read and is framed now, in my living room, in a place of honor.

Thank you so much for keeping the wonder of monsters and aliens and science fiction and horror alive through my youth, and allowing me to springboard it into my life as I grew into an adult. I wish I'd been able to come visit your house and your collection before now. I wish you as well as can be, and thank you for keeping the kid alive in me all these years.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Secret Invasion #8

So first I'm watching William Shatner's Raw Nerve on the Bio Channel right now. He's grilling Valerie Bertinelli like she's a well-seasoned T-bone steak. So, the idea of William Shatner using his sometimes abrasive and often obnoxious personality to interview celebrities is, of course, a hypnotic idea. But it's Valerie Bertinelli!

That's kind of what's making it so interesting to watch. I kind of say at points, "Um, Bill, see you next Tuesday..." if you get my meaning. And other times I think he's getting answers from Valerie that only his abrupt, interrupting style could draw out. It's interesting. I'm setting it up for a Season Pass.

There's a fly buzzing around in my house right now. It's December, aren't they supposed to be dead?

Tomorrow Secret Invasion #8 comes out. I think, and I hesitate to say this, but I think it's going to decide exactly how much I'm going to care about comic books in my life from now on. Brian Michael Bendis has pissed me off a lot over the years... abandoning ALIAS, one of the best-written comics ever, for the lame idea of The Pulse... House of M... Avengers series that didn't star the Avengers (the current roster, I'm talking about... not any classic line-up)... and then Secret Invasion comes along, and at first it's great. The first issue punched me in the gut and made me scream NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO like a newly-born Darth Vader with sand in his vagina-respirator. And a few more issues that did the same...

...and then there were issues where I'd close the final page and go, "Um... did I just read a comic? Why didn't anything happen?" It's like the heroes and the villains took two steps forward and one back, puffing out their chests like the Power Pack boys in that one issue I'm referencing that nobody else will get but if they do they'll laugh.

And then there was the House of M, again. Oh God. Please strike me dead if I have to go through that whole debacle again. And Civil War? Well, I guess it was good, but I hate that one of the lynch-pins of that story was Peter Parker unveiling himself as Spider-Man, which was completely overturned when he made a deal with the fucking devil. Yeah, with great power responsibility blah blah and all that. Sure Satan, let's make a deal! I'll take door number two.

So basiclaly Marvel has been fucking up their shit for a while, and I'm losing interest in pretty much every Marvel series I'm reading, and it's really coming down to whether or not Secret Invasion #8 can pull off a big Holy Shit moment that actually does, yes, change everything about the universe we're reading about.

I can't read it until like five tomorrow. I'm interested.


Meanwhile, DC still has me hooked, despite the moronic Grant Morrison whipping out his flaccid dick to piss all over Batman (Batman: RIP) and the New Gods (Final Crisis). Seriously, FC is about the most inane and uninteresting story I've ever read. Makes more sense than Batman: RIP but then again it'd really have to work at it not to.

But DC has Blackest Night waiting in the wings, which is basically DC Zombies, and I'm hyped for that. So perhaps I'll just lose interest in Marvel for a while, then they'll do something to catch my eye again later. I guess it all depends on how tomorrow goes. I'll make sure to make a report, here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star Wars Mythos

Growing up, seeing Star Wars and their sequels at the drive-in, I thought I was seeing the greatest science fiction movies of all time. This is the silly idea of what a child thinks SF is. Star Wars, at least the three 'real' films, are no more science fiction than The Matrix is. In fact, you'd have to tip the hat to The Matrix as far as science fiction goes, but not by much. The Matrix simply has more science fiction trappings to drape over its shoulders. They're both Fantasy, and they're both just simple retellings of the Monomyth, or the Hero's Journey.

Now, I love both trilogies, although the second Matrix movie isn't one I tend to watch when it's on cable. But there have always been things about Star Wars that have always bugged me, and that's what I'm going to write on today. What I hate about them is Droids have no rights.

This is where the Star Trek universe and Star Wars differ. How many episodes have there been where ST writers have tried to establish that technology-created personalities deserve to be recognized as citizens? At least two, one in Next Generation and one in Voyager. The poor Droids in Star Wars have no such recognition.

In fact, if you watch the movies, they're literally treated as little more than smart toasters that can walk/roll. When 3PO has all his fucking limbs shot off, as well as his head, the reaction isn't one of horror but of irritation. "Oh 3PO! You're a mess!" Like somebody just upended his crumb drawer and well fuck now we're gonna have to clean it up.

Or the multiple times R2 is shot up. While 3PO nells it up that his butch top just got a laser labotomy, everybody else is just kind of shrugging their shoulders and going "Oh, well we'll just get him some new circuits or something." I don't know about you, but if I considered somebody a sentient being whose life I valued, seeing their brains shot out would be a horror. Heck, if I came home and my HDTV had a pixel out, I'd probably find religion over it.

It makes me wonder why as a kid I identified with the Droids so much. Of course, I didn't notice how they were being treated at the time, but yeah, that's how people treated me as a kid. I wasn't a real person... oh just ignore him til he stops his crying. Kind of pissed me off, a lot.

I also had a sub-topic dealing with Dark City and how Roger Ebert, in BOTH his commentaries, never mentions the very important line that Mr. Hand (Richard O'Brien) utters on the rooftops: "We use your dead as vessels." Considering we know the true form of the aliens are inside these bodies, it makes the movie a little more horrifying; so they're experimenting on us AND when we die they scoop out our brains and crawl inside to animate us? GROSS. However, it's almost midnight and I need to get up early, so bed time for me.

Also I'm proud to say I've never seen any of the SAW movies.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I'm taking the day off from work because I'm sick. I really shouldn't be sitting here typing this. I should be in bed. I should amend that, I really shouldn't be sitting here in bed typing this, I should be resting. Or, if I insist on sitting up, I should just be mindlessly watching TV and not getting out of bed for anything but peeing and juice refills.

But I have more than just that bug. I have a bug up my ass. That's why I'm sitting up typing this. And this bug's name is Brian Michael Bendis.

I remember when I was first introduced to Bendis; my friend gave me a birthday gift of, among other things, the first Powers trade collection. I'm always wary of this friend, because he tends to do that "well I like this so surely my friend will like it too" kind of gift giving that really is not the safest way to give gifts if you're wanting everybody to be happy in the end. In this particular case he hit a home run.

Bendis had a fresh new voice for comics, and was part of an emerging crew of writers that were really changing the face of modern funnybooks. Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar among others. Yes, yes, Alan Moore and what'shisBatmanface originally changed the landscape of comics back in the 80s, but come on... things just snapped back after that. Does nobody remember Maximum Clonage?

So Bendis comes along and damn, if he's not awesome. Powers? Awesome. Alias? Beyond awesome. Daredevil? The best it's been since Frank Miller (better, I think). Along with the others, it seemed like we'd entered a new golden era of comics.

And then. House of M. Avengers Disassembled. Civil War. One misstep after another, it seemed. It seems the top dogs at Marvel just gave Bendis and Millar keys to the kingdom and said, "Go play! There are no rules." It's like the kid in the sandbox who was the only one who brought toys, and he wants to play with all of them at once. Everybody thinks he's a dickhead.

So now Secret Invasion comes along, and damn if I don't love it. The first book was great. They were all great books. Up until the last one, when nothing happened. Seriously, it's like, did I just read a comic book or not? Because nothing happened. We're at the same place we were in the story before we began. That's the first sign of cracks in the armor.

The second one was it looks like we're going to have to go back and relive fucking House of M again. Yeah, the book is the New Avengers, they're in it about half the time, we have to see House of M through the eyes of the Skrull invaders. Why? Continuity, because some asshole fanboy might question when the Skrulls first invaded and if they'd been replacing our heroes then were they replaced and good God do I hate this.

Is continuity as important as a good story? I was enjoying Secret Invasion just fine. I didn't need to go back a couple of years in New Avengers and see that Luke Cage had figured it out all along! Well isn't he the smartest! He knew they were being manipulated! SEE IT ALL FITS.

I don't care if it all fits. Really, at all. Not anymore. Just tell the story and stop telling the main story in other books. And more than anything, please, please, stop telling the same story from somebody else's POV over and over. I don't care.

Anyway, back to being sick.

Monday, September 22, 2008


When I lived in Dallas there came a time in my life when it seemed all the most important people to me were moving out of the city for one reason or another. Now, this included people I needed to stop associating with for health reasons, people who I know I would have a bond with no matter where either of us lived, and people I just wanted to fuck. Still, those are three very important qualifications, and it was distressing to see them all go. So when the time came, I took an offer and left.

Now it seems that I can't get away from people wanting to move to Dallas. No less than five people I've been associating with and/or talking to are moving to the city. This makes me feel weird, like I've got some Dallas germ that I've passed along to yankees.

What I'm surprised by is how it doesn't make me feel bad at all, or give me some desire to return to the place. No, don't get me wrong. I loved almost all of Dallas. The two things I didn't like were the High Five and the sun. Thunderstorms were rare, and they were nowhere near as fun as in Kentucky, but they were there, occasionally.

Up here, well, I have to say the weather is much more to my suiting. It's the first day of fall and the skies are horribly overcast. Not a drop of the sun is making it through. I quite like it. It's better of course when it's storming, but this year was a mild season for that, although last night we did have a surprise cloudburst which led to a harrowing drive home from my birthday supper with friends.

I just find it interesting that so many people I've been peripherally associating with are heading to my old stomping grounds. I wonder who they'll meet that I knew from back then, because they inevitably will meet some of them. I wonder if those people will talk about me at all.

I wouldn't say I miss Dallas. Nostalgia isn't the same thing.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Let me set the record straight: I don't hate Disney.

I visited my brother in California a long time ago and he took me to Disneyland. I was pretty excited about going. It's such an iconic destination, how could you not be? And everybody who I know who went to Disneyland all share some kind of special bond, it seems. This would be life-changing.

About an hour into the trip, I looked at my brother and his friend, and they were having a grand old time, and that's when it hit me: I didn't like anything about what we were doing. Literally, I didn't like it. I wasn't having a bad time, I just wasn't interested in any of it. I wasn't interested in getting a mouse ear hat, or some giant swirly lolly pop with Donald Duck on it, I didn't care for Cinderella's castle or the Pirates of the Carribean ride. None of it was interesting to me.

Then I realized I've never cared for Disney. Ever! It was quite a shock. I'd just assumed... well, actually, I hadn't assumed anything. Disney was just this thing. I never thought about it and wasn't interested in it at all.

Then Goofy came up to us and I wanted to punch him in his nuts.

I feel kind of bad about this. I have a friend who is a Disney nut who posts all the time now about his trips and obsession, and I feel kind of bad when I realize he's written another post I'm just going to skip over. I mean, you could be the best writer in the world and I don't think you'd be able to make me interested in anything about Disney, ever. But, I guess my friend understands this.

Still, I don't want anybody to think I'm just a miserly old geezer and not really a kid at heart, because I am. I just... Disney. It's not for me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The First Post is Always the Hardest

So, here's my first post on this blog. It may become my main blog.

I work in the telecommunications biz and I am an amateur video editor. The first subject for this blog is the most popular online video I've done, which is this one:

Common / People - a Kirk-Spock slash mashup from kirk spock on Vimeo.

It's a 'slash-up' of William Shatner's cover of Pulp's Common People and video from the Star Trek animated series, done to a theme of Kirk/Spock stories. As of this writing, it's been on Youtube for three months and has generated 177,000+ views.

I did another mashup video, to the episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer called "The Body" and Sheryl Crow's song "On The Outside" from the original TV soundtrack to the X-Files. That can be found here:

On the Outside - The Body/Sheryl Crow mashup remix from kirk spock on Vimeo.

It was flagged by Youtube the day after I put it up, so it's only on Vimeo, and I worry that it'll get taken down from there, too. But as of now it's still there.

If I have other blogs registered, why this one? Well, because I'll feel more open in this one, thinking nobody is reading. I can't post openly in my other blog, as I have an online stalker who is obsessed with me. (p.s. Everybody you contacted knows it's you, you psycho.) Therefore, I likely won't post personal stuff here, just geek stuff.

There are many subjects I'd like to touch on. Marvel's Secret Invasion series is one, but that's a post for another time, when I've read a new issue. I guess I should just touch on wondering why UPS hates me.

When I lived in another city and state, a long, long time ago, my apartment number was "I." Now, that's not a one, it's the letter "i." So when I'd order something from UPS, they would label the package as "no such address" and not deliver it, despite the fact that all the other fucking apartments had letters for numbers as well.

I should probably have mentioned that there might be swearing in this blog.

So this is a pattern in my life, where UPS simply cannot figure out where I live and they give up on my package. It happens all the time. Currently I live in an apartment that has an actual street address (it's a duplex). That address, for some reason, was placed at the bottom of the door instead of the top. Because of this, UPS freaks their own shit when they look for my place, and they give up rather easily. For the past two days I've been trying to get my copy of WARHAMMER from UPS, and yet three days later I still don't have it. So, pissed off, I wrote Amazon and demanded a refund. Sure, it's not their fault it's not here yet, but UPS isn't going to do squat for me. I'm taking a bunch of X-Box and Wii games off to the GameStop tomorrow and purchasing it.

I plan on playing on a role playing server, because as annoying as role-players are, they're not as annoying as the general populace, and while you won't catch me doing OrcSpeak at any time, I will play "in character." I'm unsure if I'll still use my old handle in the new game, but I liked it so much I probably will.