Category: Comics

Is the New HELLBOY Movie in Good Hands?!

Wow! So yesterday Mike Mignola made a stunning announcement that Hellboy will be returning to the big screen! BUT and there’s a big BUT here, without Ron Perlman & Guillermo del Toro’s involvement. This is a bit shocking to many as we’ve been waiting the third and final installment that’s been teased for years. I wish they’d have done it and I feel a bit bad for Ron Perlman as he gave the role his all and has been fighting for the fans for so long to complete the trilogy. With that being said, David Harbour, the cop from ‘Stranger Things’ will be stepping into the role of the big devil himself and he seems like an amazing choice for the role. I can already easily picture him as Hellboy just on his looks alone and the guy is a decent actor as well. So I think they’re off to a great start in terms of casting. I’m hoping that they’ll create Hellboy in the same way they did with Ron Perlman. His and the rest of the BPRD’s make up was incredible in del Toro’s movies and I’m hoping that they’re not going to simply CG Hellboy and the gang. One thing Guillermo did extremely well was the creation of incredible monsters using mainly practical fx and incorporating CGI only when truly necessary.

Also announced was director Neil Marshall, who I was immediately thrilled about, for the simple fact that he’s made easily two of the best horror movies of the last twenty years, Dog Soldiers & The Descent. Both of these movies are mind blowing-ly awesome and they’re 100% rock solid proof that this director just might bring us the best Hellboy movie possible. Heck, I go as far to put ‘Dog Soldiers’ right up there with ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and ‘The Howling’. As excited as I am at the possibility here I realized that ‘The Descent’ was released all the way back in 2005 and it got me thinking just what the hell has Neil Marshall really been up to the last twelve years? Lets find out as it may give us a better idea of exactly what we’re in store for with this new Hellboy flick.

After ‘The Descent’ Marshall went on to direct the lackluster ‘Mad Max’ influenced movie ‘Doomsday’ in 2008. The movie was a bit of a box office bomb and to me didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table honestly in the post apocalyptic adventure genre. I guess I give him an ‘A’ for effort for giving it an honest shot but the movie was just too bland to make any real waves and has been largely forgotten for the most part.

After that he did ‘Centurion’ in 2010, with Michael Fassbender starring. It was a an ok attempt at a historical hack and slash war movie about the disappearance of the Roman empire’s ninth legion. This was also a bit of a bomb at the box office and largely went under the radar of movie goers. Once again this movie didn’t bring anything to the table that hadn’t really already been done before. One thing though I’ll say are that his movies look great and even Doomsday visually was at least effective in that area. Still ‘Centurion’ is one time viewing and it doesn’t have much to differentiate it from anything else that was being cranked out in the  genre at the time.

After that Marshall disappeared from the movie scene directing 2 excellent episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ as well as episodes of ‘Black Sails’, ‘Constantine’, ‘Hannibal’, ‘Timeless’ & ‘Westworld’. In 2015 he was one of the directors in the horror anthology movie ‘Tales of Halloween’ and directed the excellent installment “Bad Seed” about the killer GMO pumpkin! Loved it…

So what we’ve got here for Marshall is a big return to the silver screen on a big budget flick. I don’t have any reason to believe that he’s going to fuck it up, in fact with a great script which I’m certain Mignola will be part of and the supposed “R” rating the movie’s rumored to get we just might see a more true to the comic version of the character. I think it’ll be much darker, bloody and quite possibly a much bigger hit this time around. I’ve always thought cinematic Hellboy was ahead of it’s time and that the strange Mignola-verse would fare far better in today’s landscape than that of 2008 to movie goers. Hellboy & The BPRD are easily my favorites of the current comic book franchises out there, so this next movie means a lot to me.

If they lift the amazing feel of the del Toro movies and add a bit darker tone (don’t lose all the comedy though) we’ll be in for one helluva Hellboy flick. I’m also hoping that the movie might make a role for Ron Perlman, Doug Jones & Selma Blair (perhaps as villains?) because we all know how badly they wanted a third film. How cool would Ron & Doug be starring as some crazy creatures? Let’s let Neil Marshall return to his true roots and give the Hellboy movies the lethal does of horror they need today. The guy is super talented and his two incredible horror movies he made are proof that Marshall is exactly where he needs to be. I’m hoping this will begin many more Mignola-verse based movies or a BPRD tv series dammit!! So don’t fret I think Hellboy’s indeed in good hands… 

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The All Time Greatest One Shot Comics: The Incredible Hulk’s Wisconsin Rampage!

Here’s the second installment of the all time greatest one shot comics, featuring small self contained stories that begin & end all within the span of one single issue! Today we’ve got an excellent story from 2001 in The Incredible Hulk #26 (vol. 2) written by Sean Mckeever and drawn by one of my personal favorites, the amazing Kyle Hotz. I immediately had a soft spot for this issue as it  takes place in Wausau, Wisconsin (and even features ‘Eagle River’ on a highway sign, a place where my family’s had a cottage for ages) a state that we don’t normally see superhero adventures taking place. I had a feeling that Mckeever must’ve been a Wisconsin native to include such random small towns in this story and I was right as his Wiki page states he’s from Appleton (I used to live there!).

Anyway the story features The Hulk as he wanders aimlessly through the night on a lonely highway being drawn to a nearby city’s lights in the distance. The Hulk appears to be at peace in the quiet night, but hey we all know for the jade giant tranquility never lasts long. The cool thing about this particular issue is that Hulk kinda takes a back seat as the story really follows the exploits of b-lister down on his luck supervillain ‘The Killer Shrike’ and his wife Nadine who’re traveling the country aimlessly in his beat up van. I love what this one brings to the table as we’re able to see Simon Maddicks (The Killer Shrike) life as a real person. We witness the struggle of a woman who’s stuck by her mate as he’s chosen a life as a superhuman criminal constantly on the run from the law. She’s tired and ready to live a normal boring life. Shrike’s promising her soon he’ll be ready and willing to give up the life of crime and pulls into Wausau claiming that it could be the city for both of them to settle down in.   

 

It doesn’t take long for her to realize Simon’s lying through his teeth as he eyes up a convenience store and tells her he’s got a new plan. Rather than looking for the big score like he has for years he’s gonna hit small towns hard where there’s no superhuman resistance. We get a real glimpse in to what life might really be like for a supervillain who at his core is just a regular small time crook. There haven’t been too many comics that have covered this topic so intimately and really given us a look at the starving supervillain’s daily life. It’s too bad The Killer Shrike doesn’t realize this small city’s also harboring the most powerful brute force on the planet-The Hulk. We get a compelling introspective into just what makes The Hulk tick and where his thoughts wander to when he’s in a state of peace with his surroundings. There’s a lot of great dialogue packed into this little story and Hotz’s unique artwork really brings this tale to life

The Killer Shrike suits up in his van and hit’s the convenience store with an easy small time score, or so he thinks. On his way out with the cash he nearly runs head on into you guessed it…good ol’ green jeans himself. The Shrike in sheer panic attacks The Hulk, who really just wants to be left alone. He’s doesn’t let up either as he’s convinced he can take down The Hulk himself, he keeps on striking until he levels an entire building upon the jade giant. The Killer Shrike however quickly realizes that very building also crushed his getaway van with his lover, Nadine inside. As things often go wrong when puny humans decide to pester the Hulk, this issue delivers a heartfelt punch to the gut as we witness one fateful night in the life of Simon Maddicks. I wish Marvel could capture this type of depth in their characters and villains more often as The Incredible Hulk #26 would be great issue to present to Marvel executives today as they ponder upon why their comic book sales have declined so much recently. Check this issue out next time you’re at the comic shop roaming through the back issue boxes, it’s a damn fine little slice of storytelling! P.S. here’s an old Marvel Universe profile for the Killer Shrike!

Comic Review: ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is Seriously Strange & Sexy!

Here’s a cool solid debut comic book from Black Mask Studios called ‘There’s Nothing There’ from the co-creator Patrick Kindlon of the awesome series “We Can Never Go Home”. This issue starts off instantly with a cool but familiar feeling set up as we follow a woman named Reno who attends a mysterious elite costume party with one of her friends. Think a little ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ here as soon it’s revealed that things are set to get kinky real quick.

We’re not entirely sure who’s party this is or what’s at stake as we’re introduced to some mega richie rich ‘Bill Clinton’ looking dude who emerges and delivers an odd slightly religious sexually charged speech to the party goers that seems to signify they’ll be creating something important together. The place quickly erupts in a full on orgy, and Reno fully partakes in the festivities as we’re given a fairly detailed look at the sexual endeavors that ensue over a few pages. During it all Reno sees something strange appear outside in the sky that at first appear almost like some sort of UFO’s floating in a pink cloud shrouding the sky.

The next morning Reno’s mind is clearly in a bit of a haze and as she meets a friend for breakfast we discover she’s some sort of star who’s worried about the paparazzi following her and not following her at the same time. She soon begins to have hallucinations of odd people appearing on the streets and we’re not quite sure if she’s suffering from the effects of drugs from the night before or if perhaps she’s developed some sort of sixth sense to see dead people. Is this the result of an elite ritual from night before? Likely, but things continue on this way even after she returns home to get some rest.

There’s some great potential here and has set up a mysterious plot that could easily go in any number of directions and I hope it pushes the envelope as the story progresses into some unfamiliar terrifying territory. We’re treated as well to some pretty sweet stylized artwork here from Maria LLovet that works perfectly with the story’s tone & mysterious set up. I’m not always these days drawn to stories about rich sexy elites as it seems that most characters in comics somehow come from this sort of classist privileged environment. However, I’m getting the feeling that this might deliver a lot of twists and turns that will likely place our main characters into some unfamiliar territory.

Black Mask is putting out cool books and is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers. ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is a solid debut (that’s new on the shelves this week) and it’ll be interesting to see if this one can craft an unpredictable mystery as the series continues. Check it out!

The All Time Greatest One Shot Comics: X-Men #205!

Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.

Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.

The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s.  Continue reading

Is Marvel Comics Exploiting Diversity?

I’ve been seeing an increase  of stories recently online & on social media about Marvel Comics and it’s continuing sales slump. Most of the articles bring up the hot topic of diversity, some say that Marvel’s record low sales of their comics books are simply because of rising cover prices & lack of fresh new ideas for their characters. Others say that it’s directly due to it’s attempt at diversifying it’s star characters by changing their race, gender & sexual orientation. Most of their popular character’s titles have had a bit of a revamp lately, for instance Wolverine is now female, so is Thor, so is Iron Man, Cap is black, the Hulk is now Korean-American etc. etc. You get the point. Could these changes really be the reason why sales are down? Do people just simply hate diversity in the Marvel Comics titles?

I really doubt that it’s really that simple, though rising cover prices and lack of fresh ideas definitely doesn’t help their low sales. What I see personally happening is a bit of a trend within Marvel Comics that feels a bit insincere. I honestly don’t really mind that the traditional characters have been replaced but I do feel Marvel’s move to make all these changes to their most popular titles feels as if they’ve been exploiting diversity to make a quick buck. What I’m saying is that it feels like Marvel is just trying way too hard to be current on these topics rather than crafting interesting stories. I don’t believe you can simply take all of your money maker superhero titles, simply change their identities and expect them all to suddenly bring you boatloads of cash because you finally decided to make them more diverse. It’s just not that simple folks. Continue reading

VHS Verdict: ‘Wild Thing’ Is The 80’s Greatest Homeless Hippie Superhero!

I recently picked up an obscure 80’s flick called ‘Wild Thing’ (aka Asphalt Kid) on VHS and to my surprise it was quite an enjoyable little oddball ‘superhero’ flick. Yeah, ‘Wild Thing’ is the alias of the homeless hippie hero who’s parents were killed by a crooked cop in 1969 when he was just a toddler. His parents were full on flower children too, as the opening scene shows them looking like members of the Grateful Dead driving around in an old VW van around the big city. Instead of living with his aunt and uncle after this tragic event the lil’ dude is chased down by the cops and leaps into a nearby river. He finds shelter with a homeless lady who takes him in as her own. Over the years he learns the ways of the streets, hunts pigeons with a tennis racquet for food, mimics a martial arts master who practices in the park, learns to speak from radio disc jockeys and figures out ways to communicate with alley cats. Yep Wild Thing is a bit of a “Jack of ALL trades”.

Wild Thing grows up a bit and by the late 80’s he’s become somewhat of a local legend and protector of the streets, rumored to have superhuman abilities. He’s a full on hippie vigilante who roams the rooftops looking for trouble. This one’s got quite a plot. Things get interesting when a woman from Wisconsin named Jane (Kathleen Quinlan) moves into the area to work at a priest’s half way home. Sure enough she arrives for the job late at night and is attacked by some crazy local hoodlums, well guess who arrives to save her? Continue reading

Did Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ Really Deserve All The Hate?!

Ok so I’m eight episodes in on Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ and I’m honestly not quite sure what all the crazy hatin’ on it is all about. I liked all the Marvel Netflix stuff so far, Daredevil being the best, then Luke Cage and so far I’m feeling like Iron Fist and Jessica Jones are pretty much on the same level. I remember being a bit bored during ALL of the ‘Marvel Netflix’ shows at some point or another, they are ALL about 3-5 episodes too long. I think keeping them around an 8 episode affair would easily be the best structure for these shows. 

Iron Fist does move a bit on the slow side from the start, but like the previous Marvel series they all take waaaaay too long to get to the real meat n’ potatoes of it all. The fight scenes range here from good to sloppy, nothing mind blowing but they feel in line with what we have seen thus far from Marvel for the most part. Check out the “nunchucks” scene below, it’s clear Finn jones is definitely no Bruce Lee!  It would have been really cool if they had really took the opportunity to amp of the kung fu to something truly mind blowing. Not sure why they didn’t go that route but if they had this show could have been spectacular. As far as crazy martial arts / action I think Daredevil has succeeded most and remains the best of the bunch. Overall though as much as I do enjoy watching the Marvel Netflix stuff I think all of it ends up a tad on the bland side of things still. The street level realism is personally getting a bit boring in my opinion. They’re better executed than the movies and have definitely had better villains than the theatrical stuff but still there’s something missing. In my opinion ‘Logan’ has set a new standard for the live action superhero stuff.

That being said Iron Fist I think is actually an OK series. I was really prepared for something truly horrendous but I’ve actually had a fairly fun time with the series so far. the amount of shit this show has gotten has reached laughable levels online, like the other Marvel Netflix stuff was The Shawshank Redemption or some shit. The writing is indeed not award worthy but I’ve kinda enjoyed it for that. It’s a bit ridiculous at times with characters their odd “motivations”, Danny Rand is certainly quite a bit different in the way he acts and deals with things. But kinda I dig that aspect of the show. Rand is pretty naive and seems quite often a bit clueless. I’m guessing that it’s because he spent the last 15 years training in the mystical city of K’un-Lun with monks in another dimension. He’s basically new to the real world, as he went missing when he was tween. He’s a bit bratty, he’s got a crazy kinda weird unpredictable temper and though he’s supposed to be “enlightened” he’s a bit of a spoiled privileged poser. Hey those people really do exist, I’ve met a few in my time.

He throws tantrums and really hasn’t much of a clue what to do with his business and his insane inherited wealth. I like his ‘flaws’, he kinda acts a bit like a clueless rich white teenager who’s got a good heart but is a bit of a dipshit. Rand’s got some realism to him, that maybe wasn’t the show’s intention but I’m kinda glad he’s not a carbon copy of Matt Murdock. This could all be due some bad writing but in this case it kinda actually works in the series favor. I also thought Colleen Wing was pretty cool too, she steals the show from Danny Rand quite often and is just as much of main character here. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up getting her own series with Misty Knight, ‘Daughters of the Dragon’ anyone?

There’s a lot I would have done differently here with this show. It should have a TON more crazy kung fu action, it shouldn’t have been 13 episodes and it most definitely should have had the costume dammit!!! That alone would have set this apart from the last two series, we need way more of a superhero presence in these shows, this one was one I was certain was going to deliver on that front. I could easily see this character come up with a bit of a cheezy flashy classic inspired Iron Fist costume and it making perfect sense. Danny Rand should be the one kinda clueless dude who sports a questionable “superhero” costume.

Marvel should play off of that aspect of the character and let Iron Fist go over the top. They hopefully up the ante’ ten fold with his kung fu escapades when we see him next. That being said we definitely DON’T need anymore rich white superheroes. Or anymore weatlhy superheroes for that matter. Let Rand be the last of em’. I’m glad they chose to go with a character based more on his comic book counterpart, I think it was a good choice and it raised some good controversial conversations that perhaps needed to happen in the ever changing spectrum of modern pop culture. Again we also see some pretty piss poor villains, why can’t Marvel get this shit right? This “street level realism” is getting a bit old, bring out some crazy costumed villains already. Even the movies suffer from this, The shows are the perfect place to build excellent villains, they have the time to develop them and I’m not quite sure what Marvel is afraid of. They did a good job with the Kingpin, tried their best with the Purple Man but still they were too afraid to make the guy actually purple!

 I also don’t see the show as ‘racist’ after viewing it thus far and I think that whole aspect of things was way blown out of proportion by critics. Iron Fist is proof if anything that Marvel needs a new formula, if they go for a season two with Iron Fist I’ve got a feeling it’ll be quite different with all the flaws everyone has been pointing out. Let’s hope the Defenders brings something truly unique to the table…