Here’s another installment of ‘Creepy Comic Book Covers’! This week as we grow closer to Halloween it’s only obvious we’d check out a odd battle that took place way back in 1977 between Iron Man and yeah…Frankenstein’s Monster!! As it states on the cover he’s “the most unexpected foe of the year” and I always loved it when Marvel would pit it’s classic superheroes up against classic monsters. This is an excellent cover that features Tony Stark in some deep shit as Frankenstein’s Monster just got done serving him his ass on a platter! What I really love are Frankenstein’s Monster’s weird ass little minions crowding around Iron Man armed with wooden clubs and out for blood! A great halloween flashback from comic book art legends Val Mayerick & Dave Cockrum!
Seems to me like after the “grand finale” series of the recent shared Marvel Netflix universe show, The Defenders, that Marvel’s lost some serious steam or should I say street cred?! Yeah, final verdict here on The Defenders…weak ass shit! Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t as bad as Iron Fist. BUT seeing the character of Iron Fist in the mix with The Defenders wasn’t really so bad in comparison to his other teammates. I realized that all of the shows are a bit stale when you take a step back and look at them. They all drag on too damn long and when they hit that lull they’re incredibly tedious, every now and again they’ve got their shining moments but they’re few & far between. I was initially pumped for a lean 8 episode, no BS Defenders series, however even 8 episodes felt a bit like a chore to sit through at times!
I wasn’t very impressed with The Defenders, as a longtime comic fan I think of all the ways the show should’ve been amazing and all the ways it was a bit of a let down. I’m tiring of the whole “uninteresting drama, for the sake of drama” these shows fill themselves with. I mean, does anyone really give a flying fuck about Foggy & Karen Page while they whine & worry over Matt Murdock’s Daredevil escapades anymore?! Was anyone captivated by Elektra & Matt Murdock’s “passionate” romance in the last season of Daredevil and this new Defenders series?! We certainly don’t feel anything real for Danny Rand & Colleen Wing! What about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ supposed “love connection” anyone care about that? The whole “Jessica Jones is an alcoholic thing” is so by the numbers that every time she takes a drink I feel like rolling my eyes. Uggh it’s just all feeling a little plastic, this cookie cutter drama factor they keep trying to push, it’s just not very interesting. It takes up a LOT of the actual run time of these series.
Well how about the action? Aside from that hallway fight early on in the first Daredevil season I’m not feelin’ that these shows are setting any new action trends. The way I see it these shows should have really upped the ante in the way of action, especially when it comes to superhuman kung fu!! I’m thinking they should’ve been taking notes from movies like “Big Trouble in Little China” & mashing it up with say the likes of Tony Jaa’s “The Protector”. Compare The Defenders for a moment to something that is actually awesome like the movies I just mentioned. Take a moment and imagine if they would’ve slapped a blonde wig on Tony and had him do the action sequences for Iron Fist or even Daredevil, the Marvel shows should be striving to top action sequences like this one here:
Instead we get some seriously bland kung fu by people who’re supposedly superhuman heroes and villains. Heck imagine at the very least if Danny Rand was breaking bones left and right and seriously fucking people up with that iron fist? How much would that alone have changed the dynamic of things? The shows so far range from decent to barely passable, but they should be a serious spectacle to behold visually at the very least. Instead these shows are kinda lazy, no one’s willing to push the boundaries to give us something we wanna watch again and again. I enjoyed the first season of of Jessica Jones & Luke Cage….BUT…do I every really wanna revisit them? Honestly no. Do I wanna revisit say “Stranger Things”? Hell yeah!
I watched one of the latest ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes right before I started The Defenders. Not a good idea, The Defenders ended up feeling pretty cheap, the acting, action, even the sets felt very “made for TV”. Marvel’s got to make a few changes to it’s Netflix stuff. We need more inventive story telling, plot twists, better writing in general, far better action, actual interesting villains & more damn costumes!! Yeah put Iron Fist in his damn costume, that would at least make shit more fun. Give us some classic super powered villains rather than a gang of blah “bosses” and a bunch of faceless drone fighters for our heroes to do mediocre made for tv kung fu street fighting with. The time has come to start remembering where the roots of this shit came from, the comic books! Take notes on what made the last Wolverine movie “Logan” so good and give the fans what they really want!! I don’t have time to waste on more mediocre media Marvel, so get your shit together!
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’ve expressed my interest in lucid dreaming here at Universal Dork a couple times in the past and today I thought I’d take a moment to talk about ‘astral projection’. First though, if you’re not quite sure what lucid dreaming is let me make it simple, it’s when you have a very vivid dream and something within the dream triggers you to become aware that you are dreaming (movies like Inception & Dreamscape are good examples). In many of these cases often with a little practice and focus you can learn to have them quite regularly. To be honest it makes movies like ‘Inception’ feel pretty boring. It’s one of the most incredible things I’ve experienced and anyone can do it with a little effort.
There’s another practice that’s linked to lucid dreaming called ‘astral projection‘, also known as an ‘out of body experience’ or OBE. I’ve worked a ton on different methods to experience this phenomenon with various degrees of success. I can tell you with honesty that it’s lead to the most bizarre & unexplainable experiences of my existence. I’m to this day a bit uncertain exactly what astral projection really is at it’s core, some believe it’s just an elaborate lucid dream while others believe it’s the complete separation of consciousness from the physical body. I intend to find out for myself what the truth really is behind it. Thus far I’ve had several unexplainable experiences that have lead me to believe that perhaps there’s abilities humans have that involve being able to enter into different dimensions of existence that are not of our physical material world. It’s also made me question heavily my beliefs on life after death. Perhaps there’s more to us than just our bodies of flesh and bone? Continue reading
There was a time when zombies were fucking awesome & not like how they are “awesome” today. That time was way back in the 70’s & 80’s before everyone and their mom and dad were watching ‘The Walking Dead’. Today the zombie craze has brought us countless shitty zombie movies, comic books & merch but back in the 80’s all of the zombie mayhem was quite a bit more underground. I was watching Frank Henenlotter’s ‘Brain Damage’ last night with a group of people and noticed someone in the movie was reading ‘Deadworld’. I was surprised that no one in the group had ever even heard of the comic book. I’ve blogged several times in the past about the book which still remains my favorite zombie comic of all time (at least the first 12 issues or so). Deadworld is punk as fuck and featured some truly stunning undead art from the gore master Vincent Locke who’s done artwork for bands like Cannibal Corpse. The 1986 book featured a prominent villain simply referred to as ‘King Zombie’ and his gang of undead who’ve developed intelligence while still lusting for flesh. He was a total badass who cruised around on his motorcycle and terrorized a gang of teens who’s bus broke down on a desolate highway. The books a treasure trove of totally amazing, legit zombie tattoo designs by the way. There’s been a collection done pretty recently of all of the old issues and they even tried to reboot it a some years back. I suggest hunting those down, they’re a unique read and embody the dirty grit of grindhouse 80’s style zombie flick to perfection. This was the issue featured in ‘Brain Damage’ it remains today one of my favorite pieces of zombie art to date!
And of course here’s ‘King Zombie’…..
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!