She-Hulk Ruins The Great Lakes Avengers’ MR. IMMORTAL?!

OMG! Disney Plus MCU really does make dreams come true?! I’ve been begging for the appearance of the Great Lakes Avengers, one of my favorite ridiculous “D-lister” comic book teams to appear in their cinematic universe for years. Today on the latest episode of SHE-HULK they gave us the live action version of the classic GLA team member/founder Mr. Immortal.

Unfortunately they of course, completely ruined the character, Craig Hollis, transforming him from a frumpy but charismatic, misunderstood, misfit, underdog superhero to a pompous, rich, lame, uninterseting, selfish old prick. Yet another unlikable character to add to the shows already long list of IMO crappy cast members.

Mr. Immortal from the comic books was a poor, down on his luck, extremely depressed person who mustered up the strength and courage to form a team of misfit superheroes at his local YMCA  thrrough ads in the local paper’s want ads.

Being a native of Wisconsin of I’d always found this team particularly endearing being based in Milwaukee. The Midwest never got to have cool superheroes & their origin story, I always imagined, would be a unique one to see unfold on the big or small screen. Even the Russo brothers who helmed Avengers: Endgame/Infinity War had recently suggested the team would make a great addition to the Marvel cinematic universe. I really couldn’t agree more, there’s so much  fun to be had with them…

So unfortunately everything on these terrible Disney MCU TV streaming shows seems to be cannon. Yep they have indeed officially ruined the character and likely any hope for a Great Lakes Avengers show to ever materialize.

Apparently they even inserted a QR code into the episode when the character appears which will lead you to West Coast Avengers #46, the 1st appearance of the team just to rub it in all of our faces..

If you’re going to change a character this much from the comic book version why not just avoid it alltogether and introduce someone different in the role? Ughh..After watching this pathetic attempt at comedy today, I can honestly now confidently say that She-Hulk is easily one of the worst things I have seen in the MCU.  It’s absolutely incredible how “funny” they think their show is too, when in reality I think it’s completely possible that these scripts are being generated by AI. It also leads me on to believe another sad fact, if you were a die hard fan of the classic Marvel Comics, the current version at least of the MCU is most definitely NOT for you. 

Hey I’m probably the only person out there who actually gives a damn about The Great Lakes Avengers or Mr. Immortal, but this one kind of hurt. They already completely ruined the live action version of The Wrecking Crew in this series so it’s no surprise I guess.

So at the end of the day I guess I really don’t care because The Great Lakes Avengers were always destined to fail. Especially if they were introduced into the current version of the MCU. They’d never have the guts to actually tell their truly unique darkly comedic origin story on their platform anyway. That all being said, if you’re diggin’ She-Hulk I’m really happy for you, no ill will there, continue on, however the exit from the MCU for me is looking much closer than it ever has before…

VHS Verdict: Corey Feldman’s Forgotten Survival Gem – Edge of Honor!

Being a big fan of classic Corey Feldman films I was quite surprised to stumble across a movie (I’d never heard of before) from 1991 which in my opinion is a bonafide forgotten Feldman classic! Yes, ‘Edge of Honor’ is a sweet survivalist thriller set in the Pacific Northwest that not only features Corey Feldman but also one of my late 1980’s mega crushes, Meredith Salenger too. Awwww yeah!

The beauty from ‘Dream a Little Dream’ and also the star of another totally forgotten gem of a horror film I love from 1988: ‘The Kiss’ (watch it THIS Halloween season!). Oh and it also features another sort of unfamiliar, yet familiar face: Don Swazye, lesser known brother of superstar Patrick Swayze! Director Michael Spence crafts a special coming of age action thriller that more people need to watch! Here’s Don as a weird backwoods criminal who’s dead set on hunting down a few kids.

Feldman stars as a boy scout, joined by two of his rascally peers exploring the deep wilderness together, they run into problems when they stumble across a cache of weapons. Of course things get dangerous when the criminals come to collect the goods and Corey & co have taken them elsewhere in the forest. Meanwhile, Meredith encounters her own problems with one of the backwoods criminal gang members who terrorizes her family and sends her on her own path of vengeance. Edge of Honor brings the thrills, Don Swazye plays a great unhinged villain and there’s another wild evil leader dude who’s got a retractable blade attached to his wrist on their trail. Gotta love that!

All bets are off here too as things oftentimes get pretty damn dark and dire pushing the stakes high. Boy Scouts of all ages join the fold for the adventure, and many of them won’t survive the night. The danger is real and Corey, Meredith and the scouts have to use their keen survival skills to try to eliminate the enemy and rise above the natural dangers of the dark thick woods of Washington. Luckily this movie has a totally charming cast of characters you can really care about as well as root for and villains who’re actually pretty legitimately terrifying in that cheezy 80s sort of way. It excels as well from its stunning filming locations set in the Pacific Northwest, the perfect backdrop for a wild backwoods adventure/showdown. Rambo eat your heart out!

It’s classic “Amblin kids/teens in danger” style story as well (that’s again quite popular today) and Corey legitimizes it all with his presence alone. The movie does go dark places, the action sequences are top notch as well, having an R rating sets it above your average teen adventure flick from the era. It’s got some real bite!

 If you ever wanted to see a gang of Boy Scouts concoct an “Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator” type of plan of action against enemy dickheads, this movie will definitely tickle your fancy. The comraderie on screen is a true delight too behold, my only real gripe with it all was I’d hoped for a little bit more of Meredith Salenger in the film. However when she does show up she’s ready to throw down, proving herself to be no damsel on distress. This one’s definitely a lost gem and more fans of Corey most def need to know about it! He proves again why he’s such a beloved charismatic actor, especially from this particularly special era of movie making. It’s also odd because though the movie was released in 1991 Corey looks to be about only 14-15 years old here making me wonder if this was maybe filmed in 80s? He really sells the part and gives the movie an extra “edge” (no pun intended) as well as his younger scout co-stars. 

I had the pleasure of viewing this on a projector, pumped through the stereo with a gang of eighties movie fanatics who’d ALL never seen it before. We teamed it up with 1990’s ‘The Prayer of the Roller Boys’ with Corey Haim, another movie I’ll be touching upon here soon. It was the perfect double feature! Edge of Honor is in desperate need of a special edition blu ray release, it’s got all the right moves & ingredients of a true cult classic and deserves a cult of its own in 2022. Check it out and go back to the basics of a campy but compelling form of storytelling sorely missed in modern day movie making….

 

 

Comic Cover of the Week: SHOCKWAVES of ’85!!!

One of the most memorable Marvel Comics covers of the 1980s oddly comes from the most unsuspecting title!! The Teansformers #5 is one of the best of the era hands down! It’s a brilliant work of iconic art by Mark Bright from 1985 that gave the series sn “edge”, transforming it from a mere kids toy property to a possibly gritty sci-fi series..A truly stunning example of how to execute comic book cover perfection….

‘WARRIOR: Predator’ The 2019 Fan Film ‘PREY’ Ripped OFF?!!

‘Prey’ the surprise Predator prequel hit of 2022 was that great original idea right? Not so fast. I was a bit shocked to come across this eerily similar 7 minute fan film from 2019 the other day! Maybe I’m late to the party and this is common knowledge but I’ve heard no one mention this short film at ALL when ‘Prey’ hit the scene recently. 

 The short film ‘Warrior: Predator’ was released 3 years before Prey and was surely conceived and filmed much earlier than that. Director/writer Chris R. Notarile  apparently has received no compensation or admission of conceptual ideas at all from the major studio from what I understand.  Who knows perhaps the fan film project got wind of the major studio film and ripped them off? Or maybe they knew each other and this was meant as some sort of early promotion? Check out this interesting little film and let me know what you think? It seems Prey director Dan Trachtenberg and writer Pat Aison might have some explaining to do?!!

Disney SHE-HULK: A Four Episode Gamma-Migraine!

I’ve been a She-Hulk fan since the 80s and been highly anticipating the “live action” version of the character in the MCU for quite some time! I really enjoyed the original 1980 Savage She-Hulk series and LOVED that the character replaced The Thing in the Fantastic Four in the mid eighties. By 1989 I was a teenager and got heavily into the John Byrne ‘Sensational She-Hulk’ run, it was one of my favorites and I’ll admit right now I had a major crush on the character!

Flash forward to 2022! One of my childhood wishes finally came true, She-Hulk got her own “live action” series. I’d initially been worried that they were going to botch this show by making her look and act more like The Incredible Hulk, not sticking to the original character’s classic vibe. Lucky for me they stuck to the landing and gave us a more traditional comic book accurate version of the character. However they also managed to make the character look incredibly unrealistic with some truly unimpressive dated looking CGI.

I’m still baffled that Disney/MCU has such an aversion to casting a real actor in the role, instead of using some weird looking rubbery CGI. There’s absolutely no reason that the green giantess couldn’t have been a real living breathing person. I’m guessing they really do want everything to look like a video game? But Hey I’m willing to set that all aside, even though it bothers me and just take the show for what it is. So after 4 episodes I can firmly say that the most the most appropriate word to describe this show in my humble opinion is: annoying. 

It’s jam packed with annoying one dimensional characters, annoying “plots”, annoying character designs & lazy annoying attempts at comedy.  At this point in the show the most likable characters are merely cameos, I’d rather be watching a series about Wong and Madisynn. Seriously. 

 Also I’m admittedly a bit tired of the MCU brand of “quirky/snarky Joss Whedon” humor and this dials it up to 11. People tell me to just enjoy it like like a classic sitcom but in order for any classic sitcom to work it’s gotta have some stellar comedic timing. The likes of Three’s Company, Martin or Diff’rent Strokes & OG Sex in the City among a long list of many other of my favorites. So if it’s not succeeding (in my opinion) as a sitcom and it’s not succeeding as a superhero/courtroom drama I don’t know exactly what this thing is supposed to be and who it’s exactly for? And kudos to you if you’re enjoying it, I have NO problem with that, this is just my personal opinion as a fan of the classic character.

I’m not so sure about the Disney Plus MCU stuff, the only series I was truly able to make it through was the Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which I dug!). I know there are a lot of overdramatic man babies/woman babies out there whining about the series being too “woke”, most of them merely complaining to get clicks, views and followers on their lame YouTube channels. I don’t honestly give a damn if it’s woke or not I just want a well crafted cohesive storyline and at least a few characters who I genuinely give a rat’s ass about.  I mean is there even an actual plot to this show so far? Do any characters have any actual endearing qualities or charm?  So far I’m really not finding anyone on the entire show to be very likable and I really think the Smart Hulk is bore. But Hey maybe I’m missing the big picture? Does anyone know what that is?

All of this Disney Plus stuff though feels a bit soulless, kind of like our big green CGI generated lead in She-Hulk. It’s sad to say but I feel the end of an era coming for me and the beloved MCU. Now I’ve just got to pull out all of my old Sensational She-Hulk comic books to make sure that I’m not just pining for teenage nostalgia’s sake, I mean who knows, maybe those comics lack the charm I remember them having?! I’m totally ready to admit I’m wrong! Unfortunately I’ve got to admit that my comic book crush has officially come to an end with She-Hulk…so be it!

Crazy 80s Aussie Rock Opera: SONS OF STEEL!

I’ve been stating lately here that I’m just not a big fan of movie musicals. BUT perhaps the type of musicals I’ve seen my entire life just don’t bring the fucking goods to the dance floor! I recently viewed 1988’s Australian musical oddity ‘Sons of Steel’ at a double feature movie night & paired it up with ‘The Legend of the Stardust Brothers’ from 1985! It was a gloriously cheezy musical combo!  

 If you were to ask me to really explain to you the plot of Sons of Steel I’d have a big problem trying to do so. It’s basically a “Dee Snyder” (Twisted Sister) look-a-like who sings a buttload of cock rock songs and also travels into the future or something where he meets some weird barbarians to try to try to stop an evil genius with a “mini-me” sidekick from destroying the planet?!  I guess that’s the gist, but who really gives a damn, it’s one giant awesome mess of a rock opera with a TON of foggy, neon atmosphere, bizarre characters, a meandering wild plot, jam packed with terribly excellent heavy metal songs!

 If you’re looking for a tubular 80s party movie this is definitely a BANGER! It’s sure to get the juices with it’s unusual plot & wild fashion, however, this like many other Aussie genre flicks of this era (Razorback, Fortress, Road Games, The Quest) have some truly stunning cinematography and rich atmosphere that amplify the onscreen antics to eleven. Simply said as dumb (and fun) as it’s story is, this movie looks far more fantastic that it has any right to. Easily one of the aspects here that make this such enjoyable viewing aside from the leather clad wardrobe, roaring motorcycles and two tone proto punk hairdos soaked in loads hairspray.

It’s leading musclebound  man, Rob Hartley, (who portrays Black Alice) is a real joy to watch. He overacts and grunts his way through most of the strange dialogue as well as belts out some mindnumbing musical numbers. Apparently trying to save the world from a nuclear holocaust, he’s not quite the person you want to put the fate of the planet in the hands of. That being said Black Alice gets into some good trouble and there’s some pretty impressive action scenes to chomp into as well. I was excited to check out director Gary Keady’s  filmography, however Sons of Steel remains his sole, one and only contribution! What a pedigree! Lucky for us all this one received received a snazzy fancy new blue ray release last year from Future Video-if you wanna ROCK check this shit out!

Comic Covers of the Week: The Sensationally Savage SHE-HULK!

It’s no secret that She-Hulk has been one of my all time favorite comic book characters since the 1980s! Being that we are currently in the midst of her very 1st streaming series it only seemed appropriate to showcase a couple of my favorite covers from the original ‘Savage She-Hulk’ and ‘Sensational She-Hulk’ from the 80s. First we go SAVAGE! A brilliant cover illustrated by the legendary Michael Golden from 1980!

Next we go SAVAGE again with a sweet cover from iconic Hulk artist Dale Keown. This cool epic cover features her transformation into a grey ultra “Hulked out” version of the character, more in line with the more recent hefty beefy less feminine She-Hulk. A great one from 1989!

1980s Cine-MAGIC From Japan: The STARDUST BROTHERS!

I’m willing to bet you’re just like me and never heard of this near “forgotten ’til now” 80s gem from Japan: The Legend of The Stardust Brothers! This incredible movie from 1985 is most definitely one of the most unique oddities I’ve stumbled upon in quite sometime. An incredibly ambitious musical gem, packed with practical effects and eighties fashion that will likely knock your neon socks right off!

It tells the tale of  two struggling rival musicians: one a rowdy punk rocker and the other an egotistical wanna be popstar who meet a mysterious man while sharing the same bill  at a seedy night club. He offers them the contract of a lifetime, claiming that within one week, if they follow all the rules, the two of them will be rocketed to full blown pop super stardom. That is as long as they join forces, from that point on become The Stardust Brothers and tell the world they are indeed real bonafide brothers.

Now admittedly I’m not a real big fan of musicals, there’s only a few that I really love (Popeye, The Wizard of Oz & Little Shop of Horrors immediately come to mind). However this one has now EASILY made the list as a must watch and it’s something I’ll be watching over and over again. Essentially it’s the wildly unpredictable story of the bizarre rise and fall of this pop duo. It’s firmly glued together with a series of incredible little musical vignettes that are a visual and sonic feast.

A sweet mixture of punk rock, powerpop & some cool new wave numbers, connecting a series of incredibly ambitious music videos within one insane narrative. There are touches of the supernatural as well as a ton of amazing special effects, stop motion & practical monster effects that really impress, especially if your a fan of the 80s. It’s also filled to the brim with some of the best Japanese fashion of the era to go along with the catchy songs. As I write this, their theme song is still stuck firmly in my brain. I’d love to get my hands on some vinyl of the soundtrack. Aside from the cool music, luckily it’s got a pretty unique story that blends elements of scifi, horror and even a bit of romance. It’s unexpected twists and turns deliver a frenetic, action packed finale that will  leave you pondering the events of the entire film. Its all done with a heroic dose of heart too.

Just how far do you really go to live the life of a superstar without any of the hard work required to get to the top? The Stardust Bros go the distance and the musical journey is definitely a wacky one worth taking. Apparently director Makoto Tezuka tried to catch lightning in a bottle a few years ago by producing a direct sequel, but after doing a little poking around it doesn’t seem like he was quite to able to recreate the neon electromagnetic magic of the first.

In the meantime I highly recommend picking this one up on a newly released blu ray from SRS Cinema. The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is packed with pure charisma, tons of vibrant youthful energy and shows you exactly how inventive some directors in the 1980s were in Japan with a limited budget!  Don’t sleep on this one!

 

Larry Cohen’s 1992 SHE-HULK Movie That Should’ve Been!

So today the first episode of the long awaited SHE-HULK series premieres on Disney Plus & though I’m excited for it I’m still a bit saddened that we will never have gotten a LIVE action She-Hulk on the big OR small screen. If I’m not making myself entirely clear it’s because the version of She-Hulk we’re getting today is indeed a fully CGI generated character. However what most people don’t realize is that waaaay back in the early nineties there was indeed a live action She- Hulk movie in the works!

Even more amazing was that at its helm was Larry Cohen one of my all time favorite cult cinema directors- Even MORE “sensational” was the inclusion of Brigitte Nielsen in the title role of the Jade Giantess! This was indeed a match made in heaven. And after watching Larry Cohen’s brilliant 1990 movie ‘The Ambulance’ I’m convinced Stan Lee and him had made the connection for producing a She-Hulk movie during that production.

If you’ve never seen ‘The Ambulance’ you gotta check it out. Eric Roberts stars as a Marvel Comic Book artist who goes on an insane journey chasing a mysterious ambulance across New York City. Stan even makes several  cameos in it as himself (above). 

After the the Cohen/Stan Lee connection had been established, New World Pictures was seemingly ready to produce a live action She-Hulk movie, shooting for a 1992 release & indeed had Larry attached to direct (and rumored to have written the script). Apparently an attempt was made to attract investors by doing some concept photo shoots for the character with Brigitte Nielsen, who would also be in the role of Jennifer Walters. 

I remember running across these photos in ‘Comics Scene’ magazine way back when and being pretty excited about what the possibilities of this collaboration might produce even if her look and outfit were a bit off in the promo photos. The script is shrouded in mystery and has never really but really had any sort of leaks except that Eric Roberts was to appear as a villain. I can only imagine with Larry Cohen directing we would have gotten something at the very least intriguing and fun. It’s also not certain whether these concept photos were really reflective of the true “final look” of the character. It’s imagined that once production was started on it they would’ve fleshed  out her character design much more & hopefully made her skin tone at least darker green. 

 Whatever the case Brigitte would have filled the role perfectly, The Red Sonja star was a dream cast for the movie. I can only imagine that this ultra campy version of the character might have eventually morphed into a cult classic. The early synopsis promo:                                                         

SHE-HULK (Larry Cohen, 1992). A mild-mannered lawyer (Brigitte Nielsen) receives a life-altering blood-transfusion after being shot by a local mobster (Eric Roberts). As a result, she finds herself transformed into a magical green rage-monster.

Though it sounded promising, they had several cinematic misses under their belt by that time with Howard the Duck, Captain America & The Punisher films all flopping and barely meeting the mark for comic fanatics. However my faith in Larry Cohen as a director and script writer only confirms that this particular project would’ve indeed been something memorable. Brigitte in 1990 was fully fit and definitely ready for the role.

It’s a real shame that never it never happened, I think a She-Hulk movie coming from that era would have been so much fun and I’m so curious where are they would have gone with everything. Even if it had turned out to be one giant ball of gamma radiated cheese it still would’ve been interesting to see a real live action version of the character and given Brigitte a chance to shine like Lou Ferrrigno did in his classic role….

 

 

 

 

The Russo Brothers Next MCU Project: ‘THE GREAT LAKES AVENGERS’?!

I have been pushing here on Universal Dork for quite some time to get an MCU movie or series about the mighty Great Lakes Avengers! It’s bummed me out cuz its seemed that over the years no one gave a damn about my bold ideas for this these “D-List” classic Marvel characters. But maybe just MAYBE, a couple people were indeed listening?! 

 I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Russo Brothers, who crafted some of the best films in the MCU (The Winter Soldier/Infinity War/Endgame), might have just ran across this little p-brain blog, or at the very least, you know what they say, great minds think alike! In case you’ve never heard of the Great Lakes Avengers they first made their appearance in the late 1980s in the West Coast Avengers #46. A unique comedic gang of superheroes from the “cheese state” of Wisconsin. They’ve had some truly ridiculous adventures over the years and have even shared the stage with Deadpool himself. I’ve always maintained that this crew of miscreants would make for a great cinematic comedy especially the  their origin story, portrayed in perfection in the Dan Slott series ‘GLA: Misassembled’ from 2005. It’d surely make for a great rough draft for a for a live action series.

They were recently asked about someday returning soon to the MCU and had this to say: The Russo Brothers answered: “Whatever we say, we’re going to get asked about it 100 times over the next week. So let’s pick the Great Lakes Avengers. Or the story of Cheese-Man!”

 So a lot of people might think this doesn’t mean a damn thing, mentioning it now, what’s the fuss right? They were just jokin’ around? Well the funny thing is this isn’t the first time they name dropped The GLA, they also brought up the d-list super team in 2018 as well. Check it out

They clearly know the Great Lakes Avengers would make for one helluva funny and unique comic book streaming series.  The time is definitely now to bring this show to life as at the current moment. The Avengers have ceased to exist in MCU in any real capacity, leading the perfect moment for this band of Midwest America’s Misfits to take up the mantle in a hilarious way. I think it would be a riot to see this gang of superheroes in their original costumes too, leave aside all of the fancy kevlar and give them their ridiculous spandex look in real life.

Also of course this is the place to introduce the wildly popular Squirrel Girl! It’s also been speculated that GLA character ‘Mr. Immortal’ may have already made an appearance in the She-Hulk trailer, making thus even MORE of a possibility!

The Russo Bros should make this happen, it’s ripe now to be an easy hit series with a truly bizarre, charming, comedic origin story of Marvel Comic’s ULTIMATE underdogs! Please bring on the weirdest wildest superhero adventure yet, THE GREAT LAKES AVENGERS must ASSEMBLE!! Share this post or idea everywhere!