It seems Black Mask is at it again, releasing cool comic books! Yep ‘Last Song’ is out July 12th and it’s yet another excellent debut issue. There’s a lot of heart pumped into the story of Last Song and if you’ve ever played music and especially ever been in a band this one should really resonate. I spent a good portion of my life so far playing in bands, touring and dreaming at times of hitting it big. This awesome 64 page debut follows two guys who grow up together, learn to play music together and eventually attempt to give the rock n’ roll lifestyle a serious whirl. The two main characters Drew and Nicky have done pretty much everything together and decide to move out to L.A. in search of adventure instead of heading off to college to sign up for the mundane working grind. Nicky worries about his future, never being a kid again and states “I want to like what I’m doing so much that money doesn’t matter” as a teenager in the 80’s. He also lost his father at a young age to suicide which is sure to make this journey a bit more difficult down the road.
We follow the pair through high school and into their twenties as they finally attempt to patiently put together the perfect band. What I love about this book so far is how they portray the often epic journey of forming a band. I’ve seen comic books in the past try to hit the right notes on the topic but it’s never truly felt authentic in the approach. This however is a highly relatable story and it makes me wonder if writer Holly Interlandi has experience herself? It showcases the highs and lows of attempting a band, which is nearly identical to being in a one on one relationship with a lover. In the beginning it’s filled with excitement and passion but often times those initial feelings are hit with the realities of the world. Egos and personalities collide as time marches on.
This one captures the feelings of being in a band when the world is your oyster or at least that’s what we believed. It starts off giving us a look at what appears to be the band in the aftermath of a nasty break up. How could these two inseparable best friends have gotten to such a negative space in life? Well the first issue gives us a glimpse into the trouble that likely lies ahead and does so with a strong sense of melancholic urgency on the sidelines. There’s a lot to digest here as we get a pretty strong look into the characters hopes, dreams & impending fears.
‘Last Song’ has some serious substance to it, yeah I enjoyed the book’s extended length (ah..if only all single issue comic books were this long and meaningful), simply because I’m a bit tired of reading a new comic book that literally takes 5 minutes to breeze through that costs 4-5 bucks. It’s also got some excellent black & white artwork from Sally Cantirino as well that fit’s the book’s vibe immaculately. You get your money’s worth. I’m totally eager to check out what happens next here, to me a band breaking up can be just as devastating and heartbreaking as a split between lovers. So I’m curious where this all goes and just exactly what goes down. Check it out, even if you’ve never tried to rock your life away in a band, but if you have it’ll most definitely strike a familiar chord. A great read….the only bad thing about this is now I really wanna hear what their band sounds like!!!
I heard recently that John Carpenter is co-writing an official sequel comic book series to his classic “Big Trouble in Little China” called “Old Man Jack”. It’s set in 2020 and follows the further adventures of the now 60 year old Jack Burton as he once again does battle with evil forces looking to conquer the Earth. Coming this September, this new series from Boom! Studios is getting the internet talking about getting Carpenter to adapt the comic to the big screen by long time fans. Sounds like a god damn bonafide slam dunk huh?!
Well not so fast movie maniacs! What a lot of people have forgotten is that 20th Century Fox has been threatening all of us fans of the original movie with a remake starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson as the new Jack Burton. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like The Rock, but when it comes to the choice of a sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ with Kurt Russell at the very least written by Carpenter, it’s a no brainer. At the very least, give us the damn sequel first!! You can always reboot that shit later. I’d hope at this point Hollywood gets the very simple fact that people want sequels (done with integrity mind you) for their favorite movies rather than another throw away, cookie cutter, “here today gone tomorrow” remakes of a cult classic they keep servin’ us up. It should be proof enough with sequels to Star Wars, Blade Runner & tv shows like Ash vs Evil Dead that prove people don’t really want a full on remake. They want the story to continue. The solution to the problem at hand is simple, just add Duane Johnson to the damn cast of the sequel, have him team up with Kurt Russell! DUH! Continue reading
Damn do I miss me some old school Hulk adventures! The Hulk comics will never quite be the same it seems and I don’t expect them to be I mean it’s goddamn 2017 and we’ve now got “Totally Awesome Hulk” instead. That’s fine, but long gone are the days of the crazy old school sci-fi superhero adventures of the Jade Giant. I just love the look of these old vintage covers and Incredible Hulk #213 from 1977 capture exactly the vibe I’m referring to. I mean, hell, how awesome is The Quintronic Man?! What a classic weirdo Hulk villain. I love this era of Hulk comics where you’d just be super stoked to see the Hulk’s next big brawl as some super powered mad scientists pester him into a total rage. A total classic cover by Rich Buckler and Ernie Chan! Oh those were the days!!
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…
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!
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!
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