Archive for June, 2008

July Flix

June 30, 2008

Is it July already? I still haven’t caught up on the few movies from June that I wanted to see — WALL-E, The Incredible Hulk, and probably Wanted. But, there are a few flicks coming out in July that have peaked my interest…

Hancock (July 2) — There are heroes… there are superheroes… and then there’s Hancock. With great power comes great responsibility — everyone knows that — everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough — as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy.

Word on the street is that this movie is uneven — starts off solid, and then spins out of control. i like Will Smith, and I like Jason Bateman. On the surface this seems like the kind of movie that’d be right up my alley, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually make it to the theater to check it out. Might be a DVD or DirecTV viewing.

Hellboy II (July 11) — After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Now, it’s up to the planet’s toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders.

I’ve seen the first Hellboy, though not all in one setting. I’ve caught bits and pieces of various airings on DirecTV. Having read many of the Hellboy comic books, I’m familiar with the character and backstory, and have always appreciated the franchise — though have never quite bonded with Hellboy. This sequel actually looks better than its predecessor — but is it enough to actually pull me into the theater? Definitely looks good enough to sit through and watch in one sitting at home though.

The Dark Knight (July 18 ) — With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as the Joker, who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces the Dark Knight ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.

Here’s another comic book movie sequel in which I didn’t see the predecessor in the theater, but managed to see most of, if not all of, in multiple viewings on DirecTV. (I swear I bought the DVD the day it was released. It’s still factory sealed on the shelf. I’m a bad fanboy.) But, the latest Batman movie definitely looks worth checking out while it’s still at the cineplex as opposed to DVD. And, there’s the portrayal of the Joker by Heath Ledger.

Space Chimps (July 18 ) — Two NASA chimps are sent to a galaxy far, far away. One chimp has ‘The Right Stuff,’ and the other, a good natured goofball, has ‘The Wrong Stuff.’ The two chimps find themselves on a strange, uncharted planet, where they embark on a fantastical journey to save its inhabitants from a tyrannical leader.

This movie looks fun on paper. It’s got chimps. It’s got chimps in space. It’s got Patrick Warburton doing the voice of one of the chimps in space. But something tells me that it’s just not going to measure up to the ‘bot in space movie that comes out three weeks prior. Yeah, I just clicked over to review the trailer once again before finishing up this entry… I’ll be checking this flick out on DirecTV.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (July 25) — In grand “X-Files” manner, the film’s storyline is being kept under wraps. This much can be revealed: It is a stand-alone story in the tradition of some of the show’s most acclaimed and beloved episodes, and takes the complicated relationship between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in unexpected directions.

I never thought in a thousand years that this movie was ever going to be made and released. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the X-Files. I dug the television series (at least while Mulder was still around), and I dug the first movie, X-Files: Fight the Future. But that was ten years ago. I’ll probably go see this movie in the theater — I feel that I’ve invested enough over the years to “want to believe.” That, and I want to see if I’m still crushing on Gillian Anderson/Dana Skully.

So, it looks like The Dark Knight and The X-Files: I Want To Believe look like definite flicks I’ll be checking out in the theater. Handcock has about a 50/50 chance, but will probably end up a DVD viewing along with Hellboy II. Coming in August I’m already eying The Pineapple Express and The Perfect Game.

Her Name Is Serenity

June 27, 2008

My partner in crime, Chris Fason, is showing her off on his site, so I figured I would as well. I have to tell you, I am absolutely in love with her. Her name is Serenity, and she is one of the characters in a new project that Chris and I are cooking up to follow on the heels of the new Hero Happy Hour that’s currently in the works. When I first got the b/w sketch from Chris in my email inbox I was already crushing. Now that he’s worked ups some colors — I’m in love.

Does her name represent a certain nod to anything in particular? Maybe. Stay tuned.

The Road

June 26, 2008

While visiting my folks last weekend, I was flipping through the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly — it’s how my mom stays on top of the pop — and they had a number of lists of the “Best 100 of the Last 25 Years” in regards to movies, television, music, books, etc… “The New Classics” they called them. Listed as number one (and topping Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), according to Entertainment Weekly, was the following…

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
A father and son trudge across an ashen American landscape in the wake of some unnamed apocalypse, fighting off sexually predatory bandits, scavenging for food, uncovering charnel-house horrors, then moving on, constantly moving on, toward some mirage of a better future. We don’t need writers of Cormac McCarthy’s caliber to inform us of looming planetary catastrophes; we can read the newspaper for that. We need McCarthy to imagine the fate of the human soul if the worst really does come to pass; what he depicts in The Road is strange, awful, tender, and, in the end, surprising.

For some reason, this two-year old book hadn’t made a blip on my radar — not that my literary radar is all that extensive. But upon reading the article, I happened to look over my shoulder and lying on the end-table next to the couch that I was sitting on was a hardcover copy of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I decided that fate had thus decreed that I was to read this book. That, and I could use something to occupy my time on the hour and fifteen minute flight home. Well, I finished it yesterday. I haven’t read an entire book in three days in forever. What is The Road about?

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-—and each other.

Now, is The Road really a classic? It’s gripping and engaging — even if it does paint a very bleak future for mankind. We never know the name of the father or son. The landscape in which they travel across is gray and dim. Some of the more detailed passages within the story are mundane accounts of their struggle to survive on the most minimal of offerings that this burnt world provides. There is no epic confrontation, no reoccurring antagonist, no guaranteed happy ending. Yet, for all that The Road does not offer the reader, the novel does offer a true story of devotion between a father and his son.

McCarthy’s style of writing in regards to The Road does take some getting used to. There is a lack of apostrophes with word contractions, as well as no quotation marks used with dialog. This is a little tough on a reader who is currently editing a comic book going to press later this week. But once I was engaged with the story and the plight of the two main characters, McCarthy’s minimalistic style flowed quite well and seemed quite fitting for the post apocalyptic tale.

It was only upon completing the novel did I learn that a film adaptation of The Road is set to be released in November, starring Viggo Mortensen. Also, that it had been an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

While the grim father and son tale might not be for everyone, I do recommend that if you haven’t read The Road yet, it is a journey worth taking.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark: The Serial

June 25, 2008

I thought I’d bet Michael May to this post… It’s common knowledge that the character of Indiana Jones is based on the serial movies of the 1930s. Well, RogerRmjet has cleverly chopped the original Raiders of the Lost Ark up into individual chapters, dropped the color, and added vintage credits to bring us Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Serial, available on YouTube.

This is one editing experiment that works rather well. Apparently the first chapter (“The Golden Idol”) has been posted for about two months, with the latest chapter, number 12 (“Showdown at Sea”) having just gone up about two days ago. Having been around for two months, I’m surprised that I just now came across it. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Hmmm… Super Heroes Hanging Out In A Bar…

June 24, 2008

Here’s an idea for a TV show — Super heroes hanging out in a bar. Now, I wish this post was about Hero Happy Hour finally making it’s way to the small screen — but alas, it’s not. But, it doesn’t appear to be far off the mark. From Rich Johnston’s June 23rd Lying in the Gutters column

“No Heroics” is a new ITV sitcom, set in a London Soho bar with a cast of superheroes on their time off. Reminiscent of the “Clarks” bar of the Wildstorm Universe and the comic “Super Hero Happy Hour,” this sitcom stars a number of familiar Britcom faces, James Lance from “Teachers” and “Moving Wallpaper,” Patrick Baladi from “Party Animals” and “The Office,” Claire Keelan from “Nathan Barley” and “A Cock And Bull Story,” “Tony Way from “Tittybangbang” and “Fun At The Funeral Parlour,” Nicolas Burns from “Nathan Barley” and “Man Stroke Woman” and Rebekah Staton from “Pulling” and “Outlaws.”

A number of years ago (or so) I was in negotiations with a studio regarding turning (Super) Hero Happy Hour into a television series. It got to the point where contracts were being faxed about, and gobs of money (at least to a guy like me who had never sold a television show before) were being talked about, as well as the possibility of Bruce Willis or Pierce Bronson providing voices for an animated series. It was crazy. But, it fell through and I’m still buying Top Ramen (which just went up another penny to a whoppin’ 29 cents a package).

This was the first that I’ve heard of No Heroics, and being in the States I’m not familiar with the talent that they’ve got lined up. Though, I will definitely be paying some interest to see what comes of it. Word to any U.S. television producers or executives out there — If No Heroics turns out to be the next The Office and they want to get a head start on the American equivalent come talk to me. Chris Fason and I have published over half a dozen comic books that are just about “super heroes hanging out in a bar.” Most of them are available for free download at WOWIO if you’d like to do some research, and there are all-new issues in the works and coming out later this year.

I’m not pissed as this shit happens all of the time. I’m just wondering, “dammit, when am I going to get my break.” As they say over in Britain — cheers!

Where The Hell Is Garndnerville?

June 20, 2008

The Town of Gardnerville was founded in 1879 by Lawrence Gilman of Genoa when he moved the Kent House from the Genoa area to a 7-acre tract of land on the East Fork of the Carson River. Gilman had purchased the land from a homesteader, John M. Gardner, in whose honor he named the new town.

Today, Gardnerville is a thriving community in the heart of the beautiful Carson Valley. Its location is ideal for both the nature lover and the more suburban at heart: The splendor of Lake Tahoe is just a short drive to the west and Reno is less than an hour north.

Gardnerville’s weather is pleasant throughout its distinctly different four seasons. Warm summer days with cool nights are balanced by the crisp chill of winter with an occasional light snowfall. Spring and fall provide tastes of each in perfect transition.

Gardnerville, Nevada also happens to be where my family lives — and where I will be until Monday. So, the ol’ blog continues to have infrequent updates. While I’m there I’ll be enjoying Mom’s cooking, Dad’s barbecuing, my brother’s carousing, and the occasional round or two of video poker and hands of blackjack.

But, if you’re reading this and we’re currently working on a project together, don’t think that I won’t be checking email and such. They even have the internet in Gardnerville.

Only 188 Shopping Days Left Until Christmas

June 19, 2008

Or, 182 shopping days until my birthday — you have your choice. Either way, I have found what I want via the Official Star Wars Blog and Boing Boing — the LEGO Death Star!

How gorgeous does that set look? I got rid of a bunch of my LEGO Star Wars sets a couple of years ago, but dammit, if this set isn’t pulling me in as if it had a functional tractor beam.

It looks like it comes with over two dozen minifigs as well. But, like all good things, the LEGO Death Star does come at a price — something in the ballpark of $399 apparently. But damn, if it ain’t nifty.

I wonder how long something like this would take to build? I remember it took me something like three days to build the LEGO Millennium Falcon when I first got it.

I Live On The Noisiest Cul-De-Sac In America

June 13, 2008

Abbie Way — it sounds so tranquil. A short cul-de-sac in Orange County lined with large shady trees. There are maybe sixteen or eighteen total houses — all homes with well manicured lawns and probably all priced over a million plus. But, since I’ve been working at home as a freelance writer I’ve come to the realization that this may very well be noisiest suburban cul-de-sac ever.

I’ve gotten used to hearing gardeners with their gasoline-powered mowers and what should be unlawful and banned gasoline-powered blowers. What the hell ever happened to the rake and broom? But in the last nine months or so, two houses have been completely demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. Two other houses have had major renovations — one right next door.

And at this very moment — as I type this — not only are they sawing down a huge oak tree and throwing the limbs through a chipper, but the city is doing curb repair and they are jackhammering right in front of my driveway. I can feel the vibrations sitting at my desk.

I blame my low page output this week on the noise.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ha-Ha-Ha

June 13, 2008

Happy Friday the 13th! For those of you that suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, I suggest that you stay in bed. Scary Friday the 13th fact — Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson were born twenty-two years ago today, which also fell on a Friday. The image below is by artist Andy B, from the Wildstorm comic book Friday the 13th: The Abuser and the Abused, written by Josh Fialkov. The same writer/artist team reunite an action-packed western in the Josh Medors benefit book Pulp Tales coming soon from Boom! Studios (which I happen to be shepherding as editor).

Free Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now

June 12, 2008

So everybody who reads this blog on a somewhat regular basis (all eight of you) ran out to your local comic book shops and picked up a copy of the signed and numbered Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now hardcover — featuring the story “Nimby and the D-Hoppers” adapted by yours truly — right?

Or, maybe you ordered it from amazon.com (and, it just hasn’t shown up yet because you requested the book to ship with your new Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition core rulebooks, and they’re apparently shipping those a month late now) to take advantage of their discount.

But, if for whatever reason, you don’t have a copy of it in your grubby paws you can download a free pdf version. Being that the material of the book is based on Cory Doctorow’s writings this book was released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial license, meaning you can copy it, share it, remix it and play with it, provided it’s on a non-commercial basis. According to Cory Doctorow himself, “Have at it.

But, wouldn’t a signed and numbered hardcover edition of Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now look nice on your bookshelves. I know it would mine.