Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finished listening to Keith Richards autobiography audio-book, Life. Especially because I walk all over the place, and because I hate letting go of an opportunity to multi-task, I love a good audio-book to listen to while I go about my travels.

It's not too shocking that Keith has an amazing story to tell, but mayhaps it is a little surprising how kind and endearing he manages to be amongst all the rock and roll icon sex, drugs, and rock n roll. He has quite the tale to tell and doesn't pull any punches, but pulls it off without sounding like a catty tell-all book.

When he dishes on Mick Jagger betraying the band with solo albums or that they're brothers but not friends, it's communicated with a great underlying sadness. The book is filled with tales of his youth, stories of working with his hero's, and the unbelievable turn of events that lead two kids to form and sustain the biggest and most legendary rock n roll band of all time. There's great stories about his friendship with The Beatles, run-in's with the law (including quite a Canadian connection), right up to The Stones being subject of a Scorsese doc and becoming a movie star in Pirates of the Caribbean. Speaking of, a large portion of the book is narrated by Johnny Depp. Alas he only bookends the work, being replaced by another voice actor for the middle chunk. That's a bit of a distraction and disappointment that Johnny couldn't make time to do the whole thing, but it's not a negative enough turn enough to make the piece not worthwhile to listen to.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Got to eat a world class dinner at Beckta tonight. I've never been much of a photographer, I'll totally drop the ball if I ever bump into a Sasquatch or a UFO, so I neglected to take any photographic evidence of the delicious foods I got to eat. I can tell you that it was the best salad I ever had, followed by a great tofu main course and chocolate dessert. Actually, yeah, they were all under the category of 'best ever had'.

Plus, being that I'm a vegan, it was extra fun 'cause my meal was completely off the menu. Everything that was set before me to eat was a surprise.

To keep to the geek theme that I usually write about, I was even introduced to a new beverage. I don't drink, same for my friend, so she set me up with a beverage that she's fond of that co-workers intro'd her to. It's called a Darth Vader, which is a complete twist of fate happenstance that a drink that I now find so tasty is named after a Star Wars character. It's coke, juice and grenadine...that might sound gross at first, but it's great, like drinking candy. Hmmm...I guess some might think it gross to drink candy.

Places like Beckta are one of the many examples that I point to when someone might complain about Ottawa and I'm left to defend my town. You can't get this quality of establishment just anywhere.

I highly recommend that in your group of best friends, you acquire one that works at an awesome fancy restaurant, and then get them to organize a dinner for you. It makes you want to spend a lot more money on eating out, and follow-up meals the next day seem sub-par, but otherwise you can't go wrong.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Late to the game in making mention of this comic, think it was released about three weeks ago. I'm playing catch up on pretty much every aspect of entertainment in my life, especially when it comes to comic book reading. I'm pretty sure if I could just sit and read and do nothing else for the rest of my life I still wouldn't get around to reading all the comic out there that I want to read. So in a world where there's a whole bunch of movies and tv shows and novels I want to read too, it's a losing battle all the way.

Plus, they keep on coming out with new comics I want to read. This latest offering from DC Comics New 52 line reveals the secret origin of an alternate universe Huntress and Power Girl. The story is definitely interesting enough, not sure how much I want to mention without playing spoiler. What I can mention for the comic book knowledgeable is that this Earth 2 has Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman standing at centre stage instead of the classic World War II hero's like Flash and Green Lantern.

Our central characters get trapped in the New 52 universe after a great disaster, and take up the moniker's of Huntress and Power Girl. World's Finest is traditionally recognized as a Superman / Batman series, or many years later Robin and Superboy, so having a Bat and Super family character starring in the book fits with tradition while still putting a new spin on it.

The book comes from writer Paul Levitz and artists George Perez and Kevin Mauire, all accomplished DC veterans. Levitz wrote the legendary Darkness Saga story-arc in Legion of Super-Heroes, George Perez drew the universe smashing Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Kevin Maguire drew the Giffen / DeMatteis era of Justice League which I love so much. Quite an impressive trio to have on a single book.

Huntress I can take or leave, but I have always been a fan of Power Girl. And not just because she is a buxom statuesque amazonian blonde bombshell...I actually like the character...really. So she was the biggest hole in the New 52 line-up for me, since she disappeared after the universe reboot. I'm glad to get her back, hopeful that this will turn out to be a worthwhile series to pick up, and will try to get over how much I hate her new costume. Her famous non-chest logo outfit was iconic, her new costume looks over-produced with an immensely poorly designed logo. But if one complains about that aspect, it's hard not to sound like you're a sad fan-boy complaining because they covered up her breasts. I'm fairly confident that it's not just that she's more conservatively attired now though, but that I dislike the whole over-all outfit. I will try and get past that, and if I get too upset I'll always have my Adam Hughes designed Power Girl statue to look at instead.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Finished reading the Avengers: Hawkeye collection that I picked up at the Ottawa Comiccon. I grabbed the book because:
A. - Hawkeye is cool.
2. - The book was on sale for a mere $5 bucks.
and C. - I may have still been on an Avengers are awesome high having only seen the movie the night before purchasing the book.

Being mainly a DC Comics boy, I have often teased Marvel fans about how most of their iconic characters are just modifications of DC heroes. Hence I've always said that Hawkeye is just a purple Green Arrow. To be fair, Green Arrow is just Robin Hood. It's the old argument of mythological inspiration vs plagiarism.

Accusations of the characters originality aside, I've always liked Hawkeye. When I was a kid, for some reason I loved the Hawkeye lead West Coast Avengers way more than the X-Men (then and now most popular super hero team). Maybe I was just being difficult, I also liked Sega more than Nintendo.

This is a good lil' collection featuring Clint Barton's first appearance, his first solo mini-series and an Avengers issue where he gets booted off the team and lands a job as a super-skilled security officer. The book really should have been called Hawkeye & Mockingbird though, as she is in the mini-series, her first appearence is included, and a Marvel Team-Up between her and Spider-man.

Reading these comics makes me want to see the Avengers movie again, even though they got rid of Hawkeye's awesome mask in favour.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Got this 1963 issue of Josie and the Pussycats yesterday at the Great Glebe Garage Sale for the low low price of a quarter. I've always enjoyed the Josie cartoons (normal and space versions) and am a fan of the movie, so it was a nice little garage sale find. Slight disappointment kicked in when giving the comic a closer inspection later on at home I realized that it was actually a Josie cover wrapped around a Reggie comic. Still worth a quarter I guess, but I have learned that tattered old comics have to be given closer inspection when being purchased from a kid at a garage sale. I always thought that of those CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) hard plastic encased over-priced mint condition comics. I have no idea why someone would buy a comic not to read it, and have always been curious if that 8.5 grade Detective Comics #27 actually just had an old Reggie comic in it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tonight at the Mayfair we kick off our fundraising drive that will continue for the remainder of 2012. The long and short of it is that we need a new digital projector or come 2013 there aren't very many movies that we will be able to screen anymore. Many are sad about the death of 35mm projection, but at this point it is alas a lost battle.

Here are the glass half full aspects though: new projector means that we can continue to show new movies. If the digital switch-over was happening right now instead of in the near future, we wouldn't have been able to screen anything new, whether that be Midnight in Paris or The Muppets. The new digital projector will also make it possible to screen restorations that the studios are going to make available. I've heard of Universal fixing up their Universal Monsters classics, Disney finally opening up their classic animation vaults, and various modern classics like Ghostbusters and Jaws and Jurassic Park being re-released. And, we're not getting rid of the 35mm projector, we have a great big library of titles on 35mm, and know collectors with amazing libraries available for rental.

In the meantime, on top of your normal Mayfair visits, please do be sure to check out our patron suggested decades countdown. Thanks to popular demand, for the 90's we present The Big Lebowski. A well deserved pick for the best of the 90's, considering that for me it's a perfect movie. I could watch the Coen Brothers classic over and over and never get tired of watching guys argue in a bowling alley and strange musical number dream sequences. Tonight has the promise of Dude's and Walter's in costume, the chance to win a private screening at the Mayfair, and many an excellent prize to be raffled off. All money raised helps us buy the fancy DCP projector. The Dude abides.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The advent of Kickstarter and other similar type fundraising tools is an amazing thing. When you are an artist or have a business venture in mind or a charitable quest you want to undertake, the hardest part and biggest distraction is that raisin money is more than a full time job in itself. Websites like these that give someone a focal point to give attention to their cause, and allows a person interested in helping donate even the smallest cash amount with ease. You might not know someone who can give you $40,00...but maybe there are half that amount of folks all over the planet who could send in $2 each via the magic of Paypal.

A Kickstarter project that I recently chipped in for just gained it's goal thanks to an excellent last minute push. Actually, not only did hopes of raising $75,000 to produce a movie on the topic of The New Beverly Cinema titled Out of Print come to be, they ended up raising $81,570. It's amazing that 859 people, most of them strangers I'm sure, will all pitch in to help a young woman realize her filmmaking dream. With so much evil and sloth inducing distraction on the interwebs, it's nice to see it being used as a source of good.

I look forward to seeing her final project, and have a feeling that that viewing will very likely happen at the Mayfair (a place that will also be making use of similar type of fundraising means in the near future).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I got an excited text from a friend of mine, all a-buzz about the news that has hit the media that one of the X-Men was coming out of the closet and getting married. She is the same friend who confusingly texted me with a demand for the gay Catwoman. What she actually meant was that she wanted to check out the Batwoman comics featuring the lesbian central character under the cape and cowl.

It is note-worthy that Canadian super-hero Northstar has indeed proposed to his boyfriend and is getting married next month. What I had to explain to her, and what frustrates me with the media at large, is that this is not a new plot point that the character is gay. And it wouldn't be all that hard for journalists to also be knowledgeable of this fact if people of their profession still partook in the simple act of research. I mean, it's not like they even have to go to a library or crack open a book or make a phone call to Marvel Comics. Just type the word Northstar into Google and you'll find all the back-story that you need on the character.

Northstar being gay is not new. John Byrne, co-creator of the character and original writer / artist on Alpha Flight has said that the character has always been gay, they just couldn't get away with saying so in the late 70's and early 80's. In fact, the character has been out of the closet for a whole two despite the media thinking it the utmost of controversy and a couple of anti-gay groups being irate, it's not exactly big news for us geeks that there is a gay X-Man.

Comics have a history of and continue to be a genre that even in it's most mainstream of offerings manages to be accepting of all kinds. Whether it be The Thing's Jewish heritage or a gay character being so popular that he gets his own series from Archie Comics, comics embrace one and all. I take great pride in comic books for doing so, and feel great disgust that there are still people out there who think that a comic book featuring a gay super hero will be the downfall of humanity. I will buy Astonishing X-Men #50 and #51 if only to piss off those people.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

After hearing universal praise and adulation for it, watched the first episode of Game of Thrones. Was pretty unimpressed. For the most part, the swords and sorcery genre just isn't my thing, so not too shocking that I wasn't bowled over by this adaptation of the epic book series. To be fair, I also wasn't all that wowed by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, so what the hell do I know?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finished reading Flex Mentallo last night, a hole in my Grant Morrison library that has somehow slipped by me all these years. The fancy new re-coloured collection of the Vertigo mini-series classic was an excellent excuse to finally give it a read. Even though I've been trying to save all my pennies for various other things and not buy too many new books, and instead catch up on the dozens of books that I already own and haven't read. Sometimes it's hard to resist the combo of a book you're dieing to read, especially when it's available at a greatly reduced price (curse you Amazon!).

Grant Morrison is hands down my favorite writer of any medium. When he's paired up with one of his most frequent artistic collaborators like Frank Quitely, he manages to reach an even more impressive level of comic book storytelling (see New X-Men, We3 or JLA: Earth 2 for proof of that).

Grant has two basic levels of writing. There's the amazing old school pantheon of the Gods monthly comic cliffhanger super heroics of JLA or All Star Superman, or there's the reality bending ethereal psychedelic bizarre mesmerizing contemplative confusion of The Invisibles or The Filth. The Charles Atlas comic strip inspired Flex Mentallo falls somewhere inbetween his two norms, as his Doom Patrol spin-off is bizarrely weird, and also falls into the super-hero genre. I don't always know what the hell is going on in Grant's more out there writings, but I am always enthralled. I think there's more thought and imagination and intelligence put into one issue of a Grant Morrison comic than years of issues of a lesser book.

Any time that the character of a comic appears on the cover of the first issue yelling "You! Buy this comic now or the earth is doomed!", you should buy that comic.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I somehow missed out on the fact that a second half of a sixth season of Futurama appeared on television between June and September of 2011. I don't have actual cable TV (does anyone have cable TV anymore? If so I can;t imagine why) but none-the-less I'm surprised that these episodes slipped by me.

As soon as I found out of their existence, I caught up with them at super-speed. I pretty much dropped everything and got all caught up on my cartoon-ing. Now I want more! Luckily, the new season is on the horizon, premiering in July. Futurama is a great success story upon it's come-back, more pretty definite proof that TV ratings are consistently in error, and that people in power in that industry clearly don't know what they're doing (especially Fox it seems). Most importantly, the new episodes stand shoulder-to-shoulder in quality with the original batch of episodes from the late 1990's to 2003. If there's any justice it will have as long as The Simpson's and be around for a couple more decades at least. Thanks to dvd / blu ray sales and the advent of the Netflix style of entertainment distribution, it won't even matter how dumb TV executives are, we'll hopefully have Futurama's as long as the creators want to keep making them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Went to see Casa De Mi Padre tonight, a film which is currently in the midst of making it's Ottawa premiere at the Mayfair. This style of comedy isn't for everyone, in fact I'd say it's safe to say that even many who consider themselves Will Ferrell fans will find the picture bizarre, off-putting and confusing.

I do enjoy bizarre, off-putting and confusing cinema though, and I thoroughly enjoyed this SNL alum Spanish-language telenovela style Mexican western. From the guns-a-blazing action to the creepy can't pull your eyes from the screen sex scene to the wonderfully horrible fake animals to the musical numbers...I was all in.

I appreciate when a big time movie star isn't afraid to take a pay-cut or take artistic risks away from the mainstream Hollywood safety. Casa De Mi Padre is both of those things for Will Ferrell, and I found that it paid off handily and hysterically.

The Mayfair has Casa De Mi Padre for two more nights, May 23 and 24, I highly recommend that you come and check it out. You will be in the great minority of cinema-goers who get that privilege, seeing as how few theatres in North America are carrying it. It's not going to make a lot of money in the grand scheme, but as per usual in these cases, that does not mean that it is not awesome.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Last time at the Flea Market I found some real kewl treasure in the form of some comics, the novelizations of the Gremlins movies, and the arcade marquee title-card (not sure what they're actually called) for the video-game Congorilla.

Nothing too action packed this go-round, but did pick up a copy of Yo-Yo Girl Cop. I have not gotten to watch the fine film as of yet, but it is called Yo-Yo Girl Cop and hence I will just assume that it may be the greatest motion picture of all time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Over the weekend, a geeky friend of mine informed me that none other than The (actual) Muppets will be performing at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal in July. Even though I'm trying to save money for various things at any given time (like a trip to Hawaii or stacks of comic books), it didn't take a lot to sway myself to the conclusion that I had to attend. What makes it especially inciting is that it isn't a tour, it's a one-off special event.

I'm not exactly sure what the evening entails, but it is the Muppets on a stage, I think there might be skits, and I think that Kermit might be introducing human comedians. Then it hit me that I would be attending what for all intents and purposes is The Muppet Show (from a certain point of view). That made my brain explode with excitement a little. One of my very first memories is of watching the opening musical sequence to The Muppet Show on a little black and white TV. One of my earliest memories of gift receiving is of a Kermit from Santa on Christmas morning. Hence, the thought of being in the presence of Muppets just might fall under the dream come true category. Now let's just hope they don't sing Rainbow Connection...because that would equal me openly weeping in a public venue due to Muppets...well, doing that again.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The new Tara McPherson book, Bunny in the Moon, arrived in the mail today. She's one of my favorite artists on the planet. The only hesitation in looking at a new art book of her latest pieces is that it might push me in the direction of figuring out a Tara McPherson themed tattoo to finally get inked on me in a permanent manner. I've wanted one for a while, but haven't been able to figure out one that could successfully puzzle-piece in to the work in progress. If I were rich I'd have not only a Tara inspired tatto, but also print or two on the walls. In lieu of having a few hundred extra dollars to throw around, these books make an excellent and cheaper option.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Craig Ferguson has been the best thing to happen to late night TV since his boss David Letterman took over the post Johnny Carson spot on NBC some thirty plus years ago. His avoidance of pre-interviews and cue-cards make for truly original and intelligent interviews and television. Plus he has a gay skeleton sidekick robot.

Craig brings his Late Late show stylings to his home-land of Scotland all this week. Well, he's not actually doing a full blown talk-show there, as I don't think that that is in the shows finances. As Craig is fond of pointing out, his show films in a basement, has no lighting or band...and genuinely does have very little in the way of budget. What he will be doing is visiting Scottish landmarks, pubs and locations from his youth with some of his talk-show friends like Michael Clarke Duncan and Mila Kunis, and there's a cool new cover of his theme song from The Imagineers. Plus, the TARDIS is involved somehow, and how could that possibly not be awesome? Just so I can be extra disappointed when this doesn't come to be, I'm going to leap to the conclusion that he has a cameo in an upcoming Doctor Who episode.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I didn't actually purchase that many comic books at this last weekend's Ottawa Comiccon. Which means that I successfully fell into the hypocrite trap of not being a supportive to the medium comic geek at a comic con. I tried to walk away with a big stack of comics, but there weren't the traditional last minute / last day sales that are usually a great way to score some reading material deals at a con.

Did manage to get a few things though. I found an old Kirby comic for a very reasonable price. The comic itself is in fairly bad shape, but I don't really care that it's not in a mint condition grade and kept in a permanently sealed hard plastic case. I just love Jack Kirby think it's cool to have a pre-Marvel fame and greatness Kirby comic book treasure that's well over five decades old in my hands.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's a different age for attaining comic con sketches than when I first started collecting them back in my youth in the early 1990's. It used to be a nice little interaction between fan and professional, they would draw a little sketch, you would have a treasure for life.

Now-a-days many artists charge for commissions, and very rightfully so. Drawing stuff is what these folks for a living after-all. I'll always remember Commander Rick on Prisoners of Gravity on TVO saying that if you were a fan of someone's bicycle shop you wouldn't expect a free bike from them, so why would one be shocked to pay for a comic book artist to draw something for them. So, I'm not complaining about that, merely pointing out that in years gone by the practice hadn't been instigated yet. Hence I was in the right place at the right time to get great pieces of work from the likes of John Romita Sr, Dale Keown, Charles Vess, amongst others. There's also a reasonable point made that jerk comic fans would get a free sketch and then sell it on ebay, there-by successfully ruining the fan / professional respect and bond.

None-the-less, thanks to a good attitude, possible geek mutant powers, and friendly connections, I still manage to snag a drawing here and there. The one I got at the Ottawa Comic Con yesterday was from comic book lettering legend, and fine writer and artist to boot, Richard Starkings. Richard has written a bit for comics such as Doctor Who, Superman / Batman and She-Hulk.

He is of course also one of the finest and most prolific letterers in the history of the medium, and one of the pioneers of computer based lettering and effects. His lettering work includes...well...pretty much everything from every publisher. And he is creator of the character Hip Flask from the comic Elephant Men, which he was kind enough to draw for me. Another fine addition to the collection, and more proof that a lot of non-artist comic book pro's seem to be very decent artists in their own right.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

After having stayed up late at the roller derby after party, managed to still get up bright and early, have some bagels for breakfast and return for round two of some Ottawa Comic Con-ing. My girlfriend and I had Pro badges, what little power I'm afforded thanks to the Mayfair connection, and we Jedi mind tricked our accompanying friend past the line.

Attended a couple of panels, first up was Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica, second geek celeb was Adam Baldwin from Firefly / Serenity. Both were fine public speakers who handled the Q&A with the utmost skill that all comic con attending actor's have learned to posess over the past few years. Bamber had some great stories at the initial fear to eventual friendship of Edward James Olmos. Baldwin told familiar stories of the genius of Firefly, and of working on Full Metal Jacket for Stanley Kubrick.

Got in some visiting with friends from local Ottawa publisher Mirror Comics. I have a couple of projects that I hope to be working on with them in the near future. The ideas are out there and have been discussed, now it's a matter of getting them out of my brain and typed into a computer. Also chatted with high school friend and two time San Diego Comic Con condo-mate Tom Fowler. Tom has recently drawn some stuff for Spidey spin-off Venom, a Jim Henson's Storyteller comic, and is currently in the trenches of drawing a big fat 100 page Hulk Season One comic.

Another talented friend, Kelly Tindall, was nice enough to draw a picture of Walter for my girlfriend after discussing her love of Roseanne and that Big Lebowski is a perfect movie. Then we found ourselves on an outside of the comic con adventure with Kelly. We sprinted from the con to his vehicle and pointed him in the direction of a local mall where he might grab some gifts for his wife in honour of mother's day. A book and some wine was found and mother's day was saved! A true comic con miracle.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I happily stand corrected on my thoughts that the Ottawa Comic Con might've been a bit of a train wreck on it's first day of existence. I was afraid there might be a nerd caused traffic jam, and that a few thousand geeks in X-Men, Star Trek and Jedi garb might overflow the public transit system in attempts to get to the airport outskirts of Ottawa. I still think the location is a bit convenient, but everything seemed to go rather swimmingly. There was a gargantuan line-up to get into the place of course, but seemingly no disasters. My favorite thing was that all the comic con attendees seemed to just q up on their own. Without barricades or security guard assistance, we politely and Canadianly waited to get inside and partake in the festivities.

My favorite thing about approaching a comic con is the bizarre sightings that you won't ever see anywhere else. The first out of place from the norm thing that we saw was a man putting on a cardboard Optimus Prime costume in the parking lot. Then as walking towards the blocks long line-up we saw a guy pushing a TARDIS covered in Doctor Who attired Muppets, still not quite sure what he was up to. From line we saw a Darth Vader Mickey Mouse, Ghostbusters, Ramona Flowers with giant hammer in tow, and a lil' kindergarten sized Hulk / Thor Avengers mash-up. Which makes sense to me, why pick between dressing as Thor or Hulk when you can be both? After getting inside, the best and most ponderous costume was a panda in a Star Trek: Next Generation uniform. He was furry and trekkie all rolled up into one confusing cute yet creepy get-up.

Highlight of the day was being in the presence of our greatest living Canadian, William Shatner, for the second time in my life. The man is getting up there in years, and is getting a wee bit forgetful, but does he ever know how to entertain a room. His Q&A sessions are on the verge of being one man shows, where he talks about everything from horses to politics to being a struggling stage actor in Ottawa in his youth. He actually talks very little about Star Trek, which you think would be front and centre. The crowd hangs off his every word no matter what's on his mind though.

Didn't buy a lot of stuff...a Hellboy book, a Hawkeye collection, and the bestest thing, a Creature from the Black Lagoon bobble-head. Had to duck out a little bit early to o and participate in shooting some roller derby for the documentary, but will be back tomorrow for more geekery.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Ottawa Comiccon eve! I have a friend currently on a plane all the way from the wilds of Moncton, on his way for a weekend of wondrous geek times. We're going to go see The Avengers tonight, which I have happily and successfully remained spoiler free on. I rarely cheat on The Mayfair, but this is a special occasion and I won't use actual money, just some free passes. Then this weekend to follow will be all catching up with comic artist folks I know who are in attendance, digging through cheap comic book bins, and basking in the presence of our greatest Canadian, William Shatner. I have fingers crossed that it will all go well, and that the inconvenient location (I wish it was downtown at the OCC) along with potential public transpo and parking issues won't cause any nerd riots.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A while back I was loaned a couple of books. I'm always hesitant to borrow books, just because I am so behind on reading books that I have around the house, and I keep getting more comics and being lured into the library. My friend was insistent that I would thoroughly enjoy them though, and I took them home to add to my unread books stack.

When told about a book that crosses over the Star Wars universe with the zombie fad that's currently sweeping the land, the first thing that might come to one's mind is how stupid that sounds. In actuality, the mash-up works surprisingly well. A little while back I read Death Troopers, the first novel to make use of concept, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. To be fair, I am pretty much the ideal target audience for this type a thing, so mayhaps not the hardest sell.

The second Star Wars zombie book written by Joe Schreiber is titled Red Harvest (a tip of the hat to Blue Harvest, the fake working title for Return of the Jedi). This novel takes place in the Old Republic era, well over 3,500 years before Luke Skywalker and his friends blew up the Death Star. The story reveals the back-story of the zombie like inducing virus, and would be appealing to both science fiction and horror fans. In fact, the story is so self contained that it exists on it's own even for people not interested in the Star Wars galaxy. There's not a commitment of having to read another dozen books upon reading this one. It just happens to have lightsabres in it, has mentions of a thing called the Force and has good guys called Jedi and bad guys called Sith.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are gearing up to shoot their next geek masterpiece in a short four months from now. Fan-boy expectations are high, but I doubt that there is anyway that these guys will disappoint. By the time the movie comes out next year, it will have been an impatient counting-down-the-moments incredibly long six years since their last joint masterpiece was up on the big screen. All we really know is that it is an apocalypse movie of some sort, and that there is a pub called The World's End where-at some of the script might take place. As long as these guys keep making movies, separately or even better as a team, watching movies won't be a complete train-wreck. Wright / Frost / Pegg equals something cinematically great to look forward to.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

New logo for Riot Squad, my friends on the Rideau Valley Roller Girls team. Shot a bunch of stuff tonight for the derby doc. Got some fancy character intro shots, filmed practice and scrimmage stuff all night, and rigged getting a nifty apex jump shot. I'm sure that time is going to fly by on the production of this thing, before you know it it will be August, and the final product will be on the CBC. Next time someone complains about tax dollars being wasted on CBC productions, be sure to let them know that at least we got a cool roller derby girl documentary out of the policy. It is very much appreciated. It will be even more appreciated if via some insane bit of luck this leads to doing a whole series about roller derby.

Monday, May 07, 2012

My girlfriend texted me while I was at work to let me know that the floor-plan for the upcoming Ottawa Comiccon was put online. Three guys I know are conveniently all sitting right beside each other, with some other guy named Herb Trimpe sitting between them. To which my reply was to exclaim out loud, "Herb Trimpe!" (which I then texted as well). I spend a lot of my time at comic conventions sitting around with friends who are there to draw sketches and sell books. Hence, I don't really like paying to get in to these things, 'cause sitting in artist alley with friends doesn't quite seem the over-inflated price of admission. Not anti-con, but I'm just cheap. I'd rather spend that cash that would've been spent on a ticket on comic books. So now I get to visit with friends while they sit beside the living legend who amongst other artistic accomplishments was the first artist to ever draw Wolverine. And I cannot lie, I will be using all my eek powers and luck skills in an attempt to get an old school Wolverine sketch to add to my collection. This geek weekend now has a mission.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Back from a Toronto roller-derby road-trip, where my friends in the Vixens rather resoundingly stomped the GTA Rollergirls G-Stars 278 - 37. I was there helping out as a NSO (non-skating official, helping keep the score correctly on record), and as per usual I find it difficult pretending to be neutral in my volunteer capacity in the referee department. I don't cheat or anything, but I have to refrain from cheering when one of the girls goes on a giant point run or completes a stunt of a move. That's why I went to Beast of the East in a purely spectator capacity. RVRG opens up their season on May 12th. Come and check it out, it's better then any of those other lesser sports.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

It's Free Comic Book Day! Get yourself over to your friendly neighbourhood comic book store and participate in one of the greatest ideas ever conceived and put into action by human beings. In my youth, before geek culture had completely taken over the world, never in my wildest dreams would I have believed the concept of walking in to a shop once a year and being able to walk out with a big stack of free comics.

It's great that someone not only came up with a day like this, but that at a decade in the industry not only still has it, but has overwhelmingly embraced it. It's a chance to thank the fans, to try and lure in some new readers, and grab a bit of media attention. There's also a ton of proof at how comic books can focus on any genre and are amazingly diverse. On FCBD you can pick up some super-hero action, sci-fi, horror, crime drama, comedic stuff, weird indie tales, kids friendly stories, continuing adventures of your favorite tv, movie and video game characters and more. The event has become so big, that Hollywood makes sure to release a big tent-pole blockbuster comic book movie on FCBD weekend every year (this year it's Avengers of course).

So go get some comics. How many other days can you enter a store and walk back out with an armful of free stuff without having just committed a crime?

Friday, May 04, 2012

It's Star Wars Day, the eve of Free Comic Book Day, I'm going on a roller derby road-trip tomorrow, and there's a new Joss Whedon movie out. And as sometimes happens on days filled with such joy, you get hit with a throat-punch of a horrible event. While at work earlier today, got hit with the awful news that Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, had died from cancer. Beastie Boys are one of my favorite all time bands, and attending a Beastie Boys concert was right on the top of bucket-list, that dream will now go unrealized. And for the next little while, for the first time ever, songs like Fight for your Right to Party and Sabotage will get me choked up. Attached here is a clip from The Late Show from a few years back, featuring one of the greatest live performances ever recorded for television. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Starting tomorrow night at the Mayfair we'll start our highly anticipated Ottawa premiere of the new documentary Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. It's the perfect film to watch in the days leading up to the first annual Ottawa Comiccon. The film was directed by Oscar nominee Morgan Spurlock, includes Stan Lee and Joss Whedon amongst it's producers, and features high caliber geeks the likes of Kevin Smith, Seth Rogan, Seth Green, Paul Dini, Grant Morrison and more.

On top of getting to watch a great documentary, if you come out to the Mayfair, you will also get a shot at winning some great prizes. The Comic Book Shoppe has supplied some comic and toys to give-away, including the pictured above toy adaptation of Marvel Team-Up # 65. I will do my best to remain professional and give the toys away to a deserved Mayfair patron, and not keep it for myself. I used to love Marvel Team-Up, and never in my wildest geek dreams did I think one day there would be an action figure made of Captain Britain and his weird-o 80's costume. If they make a Frog-Man toy my mind will really be blown.

Plus, our friends over at the aforementioned Ottawa Comiccon have kindly given us four free passes to their upcoming event. What other theatre rewards it's patrons so grandly? If you are a geek, and I know you are, be sure to check out Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope - May 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th - only at the Mayfair. As usual, the film we be presented in glorious 2D for your peak cinematic enjoyment.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I haven't been able to officially talk about this yet, but yesterday my friend and producer put some behind-the-scenes pictures up on her Facebook page, so I guess I'm allowed to talk about this now. We have begun shooting some footage for a TV documentary focusing on my beloved Rideau Valley Roller Girls. It'll be 45 minutes or so, the deadline to hand it in is early July, and it is scheduled to be on the air in August. I'm excited enough about working on this project, the next step will be trying to convince the powers that be to green-light an entire documentary series. It'll be on the actual CBC, not just YouTube or something, an actual good old fashioned TV channel. Over the next few weeks we'll get some interviews, shoot some practices and bouts, and tell a bit of the story of roller derby here in the nation's capitol. Your tax dollars at work.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

On Wednesday and Thursday night at 9:15pm at the Mayfair we're showing the new Canadian Content approved hockey movie, Goon. Everything that I've heard about this one is that it does justice to it's inevitable comparisons to Slapshot. I like that it's a distinctly Canadian movie telling a truly Canadian tale that isn't a bizarre bleak piece of cinema. It also showcases Canadian talent the likes of the director of Fubar and co-writer of Superbad and Pineapple Express, plus homegrown actors Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill and Eugene Levy.

Not that there's anything wrong with the weird and disturbing Canadian genre of film, I like David Cronenberg as much as the next film geek. It is nice though to present a view of our culture to the outside world that doesn't involve evil twin gynecologists or creepy bug monsters. Even if that culture in this case involves guys beating the hell out of each other while an adoring drunken public cheers them on in brutal gladiatorial combat. There aren't any Canadian teams left in the race for the Stanley Cup, so we at the Mayfair welcome all the saddened hockey fans into the theatre to partake in a big-screen theatrical version of a hockey night in Canada.