Monday, June 30, 2014
Awh, c'mon! I'm very disappointed in you worldwide movie ticket buying audience. All I ask is that a Michael Bay Transformers movie comes out that flops financially as much as it does with critics. Is that too much to ask? These movies keep making all the money in the world, in spite of everyone in the world seeming to hate them. There is a mass amount of illogic to these movies that I can't wrap my head around. This franchise should have halted a couple of movies ago, it should have been a disaster at the box office, and yet it keeps rolling along with all kinds of big profit numbers. This is a movie that has an all critics / top critics rating hovering around 17% /15%, and one that no one seems to admit being a super fan of. None the less there are four of these movies where blurs of poorly designed robots punch each other through confusing plot-lines for 150 minutes of motion picture madness.
Transformers: Age of Extinction made over $300 million dollars over it's opening weekend. Firmly securing that the Hollywood powers-that-be will offer up another pair of films to complete a second trilogy. I won't watch them, under the life is to short to waste my time train of thought, so it doesn't really effect my daily existence. I'm just sad that that maniacal bad movie making genius Michael Bay was right, "They love to hate, and I don't care; let them hate. They're still going to see the movie!".
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014
If you are looking to buy a book to get kids interested in comic books, you might want to check out Captain Action Cat from Dynamite Comics. It's a super fun cartoony funny animal story with a bizarre twist of being based on an obscure action figure line of toys from the 1960's. The 4 issue mini series comes from the mastermind creative team behind Tiny Titans and Itty Bitty Hellboy (both even more highly acclaimed and recomended by myself). It's got super-heroes, spies, and talking cats...what more could you possibly want from a comic book?
Friday, June 27, 2014
If I ask really nicely can no one go to see the latest Transformers movie this weekend? Please? No, eh? Didn't think so.
I did not like the first Transformers live action movie. I know hate is a strong word, but I really hated the second one. I refused to see the third one. It may be unfair for me to judge something I have not seen, but the film was by the same director and tam behind the first two offerings, so I think it's safe to say that this franchise is not for me. I've been told from various sources that it isn't even worth watching in a so bad it's good kind of way. That it was just painful. I think it's safe to say that the Transformers movies are the worst things that Steven Spielberg has ever attached his name to.
Despite critical trashing and seeming dislike from much of the fan-base, the Transformers movies have none-the-less made over $2.5 billion dollars. Hence, Hollywood will keep on making them,because making movies is a business and businesses like making a profit. The problem here seems to be the same thing that often happens with fans of comic books or teevee shows. Over the years I have often heard something along the lines of "I haven't liked Spider-man comics for years, but I keep on buying them because I've been reading Spider-man since I was five". Fans are guilty of supporting stuff either because they have a history with it, or just because it is there.
This weekend, in all likelihood, the fourth installment in the Michael Bay directed blurs of giant robots punching each other will make all the money. And that makes me feel many emotions...mostly frustration, sadness and various levels of anger. In a world of endless entertainment possibilities, the masses will shuffle into the lowest quality option and invest their hard earned money in in yet again. There are so many worth while movies out there right now, so much great teevee, endless amounts of reading options, or so much else one could do to fill their free time. Instead, millions of folks will shuffle into multiplexes, look at their options, shrug, and say "I dunno...one for Transformers I guess". Poor, sad, lemming like human beings. We have no one to blame but ourselves that there will be a Transformers 5, and that it will yet again be a horrible mess of a motion picture.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Now isn't that some pretty artwork? It's drawn by my talented pal Marco Rudy. Doesn't it make you want to rush out to a comic store today and purchase a copy of New Avengers Annual #1 featuring Doctor Strange? I think you should. The rest of the book is even better than this preview page.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers were here in Ottawa last night as part of the outdoor Jazz Festival. The best part about such a festival is that you can enjoy the music even if you just happen to be walking by. They even have a big video wall set-up, which conveniently even lets outsiders have a look at the stage. I hope that the beloved entertainment legend forgives me for sneaking the listening of his music, I promise to continue to buy his albums. It was a beautiful night under the stars, the rain stayed away, and Steve Martin was a funny and talented host and banjo musician. In lieu of video of them from last night, enjoy an appearance that they made on The Late Show a few years back.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
On a visit to Boston I once got to be in the presence of John Williams as he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra in their performance of a selection of his movie scores. That's pretty hard to top. None-the-less, the NAC Orchestra performing an evening of John Williams favourites was still pretty great.
I imagine that putting together the selections for such an event has similar frustrations to a rock band trying to put together a set list. You want to play the classics, but you want to mix things up a bit, maybe play some rarities. After thy performed the Superman theme, it was hard not to emulate Homer Simpson and yell "Play it again!". All in all, selections from Star Wars, E.T., Indiana Jones and Harry Potter and more, made it a very worthwhile night at the orchestra. I even forgave them for putting Hook into the program. I look forward to their next highbrow pop culture cross-over.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
In the Donald Rumsfeld political documentary The Unknown Known, Oscar winning filmmaker does the nigh impossible for the movies subject matter. In a true testament to documentarian neutrality, he takes a person who is vilified by many, and showcases him as a human being. Don't take that to man that this is a fluff piece, it tells all the questionable acts and Washington trickery that Rumsfeld partook in. It also shows him getting choked up at the thought of an injured soldier,and telling cute self deprecating stories about his marriage.
Much like a comic book villain the like of Lex Luthor, a person who is perceived as a villain rarely sees themselves as one. I think that is the case here. Blinded with his mission and his agenda, he can't see through the forest of the trees of the problems that he helped to instigate.
The Unknown Known is a fascinating and informative documentary, we have it at the Mayfair tonight at 9:00pm (Saturday June 21), and Monday and Tuesday the 23rd and 24th at 4:15pm.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Anyone who complains that there is nothing good being published in the DC Comics / New 52 line clearly isn't checking out the Bat stuff. Grant Morrison's epic Batman Inc was great, and the flagship Batman comic from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is successfully defining the Dark Knight for a new generation. On the heels of Robin's death, Batman & Robin has managed to adapt itself into an excellent team-up book: Batman & Aquaman...& Wonder Woman...& Frankenstein. In the latest issue it's Batman & his greatest nemesis, the immortal tyrant Ra's Al Ghul. The issue is the conclusion of The Hunt for Robin (spoiler alert...the hunt for Robin doesn't seem to be over just as of yet).
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
My friend Kelly Tindall posted this drawing today for an upcoming secret comic book project. I just might be working on this project with him. I can't say much more, except for the fact that he and I sure do love comics and movies where giant monsters smash things. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I just read the staggering news that Bill Finger will receive his first ever cover credit on a Batman comic, 75 years after he helped create the character. Bob Kane was an ok comic book creator, a brilliant businessman, and by all accounts a horrible human being. Bob Kane lied his way into being the sole mastermind creator of the biggest comic book character of all time. He took endless amount of credit for others work, and was wise enough to lock up sole creator credit with the powers that be at DC Comics of the time.
Bill Finger wrote the first Batman comic and was responsible for pretty much every important addition to the characters mythology. Bill Finger wrote the introductions of Robin, Joker, Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, and The Penguin, along with the Batmobile, the Batcave,Gotham City, and Batman's origin. Most accounts lad to the fact that these were created by Finger with little or no input from Batman "creator" Bob Kane. Bob Kane's original Batman sketch was a guy in a red costume...no pointed ears, no cape,no Bat logo,no utility belt. Everything that we seem to identify with Batman today came from Bill Finger. Yet,his name isn't credited in comic books, animated series, video games or movies that feature Batman.
So, having Bill Finger's writing credit appearing on the special 75th anniversary (free!) Batman comic coming out in July is kind of a big deal. Maybe DC's next step is getting some smart lawyer to find a loop-hole and Bill can get his creator due for eternity.
Monday, June 16, 2014
I find there's a false sense of accomplishment when you finish watching a teevee series. I think we live such busy lives, and there is such an onslaught of entertainment distraction, we are impressed with ourselves in just the act of being able to puzzle in worthwhile teevee viewing into our hectic day.
The most recent show that I take pride in having watched is the Batman animated series The Brave and the Bold. This show has a little something for everyone, no matter your level of geek. It's completely kid friendly, it's bright and colourful and fun, it's filled action and adventure, and showcases some top notch writing.
It is also jam packed with DC Comics favourites and some characters who never in a million years did I think would make it to animation. Sure, there's Superman and Aquaman, but also B'Wana Beast, 'Mazing Man and the Creature Commandos!? At the same time the show managed to have something for kids and something for die hard nerdy grown-up's. Two previous Batmen made appearances (Kevin Conroy and Adam West), along with such talents as Mark Hamill, Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Tudyk, Ron Perlman, Paul Reubans, Henry Winkler and none other than Weird Al Yankovic...to name a few.
The final episode is a wonderfully bizarre meta episode in which the mischievous all powerful sprite Bat-Mite decides that the show has jumped the shark. He's bored with it, so sets out to destroy the show so he can have some dark and gritty Bat-tales again. The ending actually got me a lil choked up.
In my youth I was all about the dark and gritty Batman of the 1980's. Any other incarnation of Batman was wrong and offensive to my nerdy ways. Now, much like my favourite writer Grant Morrison, I embrace all the different imaginings of the character. Between my love for Brave and the Bold and my renewed appreciation of what is now known as Batman 66,its even made me question if I should give Joel Schumacher's pair of Bat films another chance.
It's sad that a show like this is only given three seasons. It seems like they could have kept on telling stories from this corner of the alternate Batman universe for many years to come.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
A rock n roll vampire movie set mainly in Detroit, directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and John Hurt?! Count me in! We've got the highly indie acclaimed festival darling Only Lovers Left Alive for four more nights (Monday June 16 - Thursday June 19) at the Mayfair. I'll be there to check it out. We'll play some Ghost Dog soundtrack to war-up the crowd before the show.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
I apologize for the blurry photographic quality in the above picture, but getting a shot of Cocoa Pebbles in Canada is the equivalent of getting a shot of Sasquatch of Nessie. Cocoa Pebbles are one of the fondest memories I have of visiting family in the States when I was a kid. Watching cartoons like Plastic Man that I couldn't watch at home, and eating American cereal breakfast delicacies unavailable at home turf Ottawa grocery stores. I'm storing enough boxes that it looks like someone hoarding for a cereal heavy post apocalyptic world. Hopefully sales go well and it opens up the flood-gates for more American cereal treasure rarities.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Hold onto your potatoes! The perfect Father's Day weekend movie magic event is almost upon us! Only one more sleep until the much requested and highly anticipated return of the greatest cinematic hero of all time to the Mayfair's screen! Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade all screening back to back to back! As an added bonus, on the first intermission you'll be able to get veggie burgers and hot dogs from our neighbours at Quinn's! If you live in Ottawa, or anywhere nearby, we'll see you when doors open at 11:00am. If you don't, at last you can watch along at home while you are jealous that you aren't watching these modern classics on 35mm with us on the big screen where they belong. I hope the giant boulder cosplay guy is in attendance again.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Julia Wertz is currently taking pre-orders for her new book, Museum of Mistakes: The Fart Party Collection. The omnibus is a 400 page collection of her autobiographical Fart Party comics, along with 150 pages of previously unpublished stuff. If you order right from Julia you can get all kinds of cool bonus stuff like keychains, necklaces, magnets,prints and original art. Plus, you get to directly support the artist. It will be cheaper on Amazon, but Julia won't make any monies from that. Plus,it's way cooler to have a book with some original art sketched inside the book. Go order Julia's new book, she produces some of my favourite comics going today.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
I forgot to mention that the Strangebeard Kickstarter was a rousing success. 201 contributors pledged a total of $8,378 to go well over the initial $4,500 goal. Great job everybody. I look forward to having a copy of Strangebeard in my geeky hands in all of its comic book paper-y goodness.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I caught the free preview screening of How To Train Your Dragon 2 last weekend. It was great on every level. Dreamworks has had a great financial track record with Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung-Fu Panda, but I think these Dragon movies put all previous efforts to shame. I find that Dreamworks cartoons have overt levels of slapstick and topical references in hindrance to the actual story. In the future kids will watch Shrek and have no idea what to make of Matrix or American Idol references, whereas the Dragon films are timeless. Every department on the film, from animation to cinematography to story, excels and helps push along the movie into being what will without question end up being one of the best films of 2014.
At the tail end of the credits, criminally underused in modern times poster artist Drew Struzan got a special thanks. It caught my eye and I was curious what his involvement was. I asked that interwebs and found this beautiful poster. Another example of foolish Hollywood passing on a beautiful movie poster in trade for character head-shot simplicity. The director is at least going to be giving out copies of the poster in San Diego at Comic-Con. Still frustrating that it won't see light of day in poster boxes at movie theatres though. If anyone is at San Diego this summer, plase do feel free to pick one up for me.
Monday, June 09, 2014
I cannot wait for the Blu Ray release of the classic 1966 Batman teevee series that is finally happening this year in honour of Batman's 75th anniversary. In the meantime, DC's Batman '66 comics will tide me over. Especially the Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet comics featuring amazing art by Ty Templeton. Once upon a time I pushed aside any Batman that wasn't of the Dark Knight variety, now I embrace the wide spectrum of various Bat incarnations. I will be throwing money at Warner Bros as soon as they announce the brilliantly campy tee vee series official release date.
Sunday, June 08, 2014
Saturday, June 07, 2014
I cannot tell a lie, I don't read newspapers and don't currently follow any print comic strips. I mean no offense to its creator, but I had never even heard of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. Having long lost and much missed Calvin & Hobbes mastermind Bill Watterson collaborate with him on a trio of daily comic strips certainly does garner my attention and admiration though. You can read all three strips, featuring crocodiles, martian robots and scantily clad women, via the Pearls Before Swine blog. We can only hope that this is a baby step towards new original Bill Watterson comics on the horizon.
Friday, June 06, 2014
Thursday, June 05, 2014
There's still a whole bunch of horrible lazy photoshop style movie posters being produced by the Hollywood powers-that-be, but I am sensing a definite switch back to the good ole' days of when a movie poster was a beautiful piece of artwork that one would hang up on the wall of their home. This new Dawn of Planet of the Apes poster is the latest example of how to do posters right.
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
When you have a friend doing a Kickstarter campaign, you become incredibly invested in wanting to see the fundraising reach its goal. As I type this, my friend Kelly's hope of raising enough money to publish a book collecting his Strangebeard online comics is a success. With nine hours to go, he is at $7765, a mere $235 away from his bonus stretch goal reward level of $8000. I would very much like to see that happen. A whole bunch. You can be rewarded a digital or print version of this great comic, or get a hold of some awesome original art. So, please consider chipping in and click on over to the Strangebeard Kickstarter.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Here's the pin-up by comic artist living legend Tim Sale (Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman For All Seasons, Daredvil: Yellow, Spider-man: Blue) for Kelly Tindall's Strangebeard Kickstarter fundraiser.
At the time of typing this, there are 28 hours to go and the campaign is only $538 bucks away from reaching it's bonus level of $8000. I love that the internet is being used as a source of worthwhile positive endeavors such as this. If you have a couple bucks to spare and want to help out a worthy comic book cause, do go give the Kickstarter page a look.
Monday, June 02, 2014
My friend Kelly Tindall's Kickstarter campaign has turned the corner on it's final few days of fundraising. Thanks to the miracle crowd funding and the generosity of comic book geeks, he has already met his initial goal. I'd like to see him meet the stretch goal peak, which will expand the 128 page comic book spectacular by a whopping 12 pages.
On top of a great kid friendly comic on fancy glossy paper, the book will also include an introduction by comic industry legend Richard Starkings and feature a batch of pin-up's from artists such as Tom Fowler (Mad Magazine), Fiona Staples (Saga), and Nick Bradshaw (Guardians of the Galaxy).
You can get a digital comic for as little as a $1 donation. You can get a digital copy of Strangebeard for only $7, or an actual physical copy of the book for only $25! If you have a few more bucks to spend you can get some original art even! Click on over to the Strangebeard Kickstarter and chip in!
Sunday, June 01, 2014
I've said it before and I will say it again...if you are a fan of Firefly /Serenity / Joss Whedon, and you are not reading the Serenity comics published by Dark Horse,you are missing out. The cries from die-hard fans of the show and movie (aka - Browncoats) for more sci-fi western adventures with their beloved characters have never stopped, even though it's been nearly nine years since the movie underperformed at the box office on the heels of the show being cancelled. As much as I would love more episodes or another movie, and we do live in an age of geek miracle and wonder, at this point I don't think it's in the cards. Joss Whedon is kinda busy playing in the Marvel universe at the moment, and I can understand it being hard for a studio to justify fronting the budget for a product that both flopped on television and in the movie box office.
Good news though! Dark Horse has so far published a pair of Serenity three issue mini-series, a one shot single issue, and a couple of graphic novels. All of the comics are executive produced or written buy mastermind creator Joss Whedon. Currently we are right in the midst of a six issue mini series titled Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64: Laves on the Wind. The story arc is executive produced by Joss, drawn by Buffy comic alum Georges Jeanty, and written by Joss' brother Zack (who isn't just there 'cause of nepotism, he's written episodes of Deadwood and Fringe, and comics like The Terminator). If you loved the show and movie, I guarantee that you will love these comics. Click over to the Dark Horse site to get digital versions, or go visit your local comic store and they'll point you in the right direction. Issue five is currently available online or on the shelves at the comic shops.