I was rewatching some of my favorite eighties cartoon episodes straight from my childhood recently & was reminded why The Incredible Hulk series from that era remains one of my faves! It used to be paired with ‘Spider-man and His Amazing Friends’ during the Marvel “power hour” on Saturday mornings!
I’ve stated here a few years ago that as much as I liked The Incredible Hulk animated series of the early eighties there just wasn’t enough appearances from the jade giants rogue’s gallery. As far a real villains, he only really went head on with The Leader, Doctor Octopus oddly and the Puppetmaster. As a kid I’d always hoped to see The Abomination, The Rhino, The Bi-Beast or M.O.D.O.K. pop up to cause The Hulk some trouble. Instead in a strange twist we got an epic battle between the green goliath and of all people, The Hunchback of Notre Dame(?!) in an episode from 1982 called ‘When Monsters Meet’.
Yep, Quasimodo for some reason showed up not only in the animated series but also in a special one shot issue from 1983 the that I still personally adore to the this day! And at a mere 60 cents you just CAN’T complain right?!
What’s so perplexing is I could never quite figure out just why the hell they chose to pit the Hulk against him in the first place? I mean surely there were better villains to feature in an animated series! But still…
…And really who would’ve thought that Quasimodo actually had the super human strength to go one-on-one with The Incredible Hulk in the first place?! I’m impressed! They actually managed to make him into a pretty frightening and formidable foe. Go Quasi!
I’m guessing that this particular one shot issue, which featured actually a pretty sweet savage battle, was created in some sort of way to generate more excitement around the animated TV series? Either that or someone was just a real BIG fan of The Fighting Irish and just simply couldn’t resist making Quasimodo into a bonafide Incredible Hulk bad-ass villain. I think the results worked shockingly well, don’t you?
Whatever the case I just had a an 80s flashback of owning this weirdo one shot comic book beautifully illustrated by Sal Buscema and seeing this particular episode for the first time. Believe me, though an ODD choice of a story and semi stupid villain, it made me long for those Saturday mornings and sugary cereals of sooo many years past…
True believers! I know that I always seem to mention here the simpler times of yesteryear. But hey that’s only because of how fucked up the world has felt for the last couple of years or so. These days people seem to fight about everything even in pop culture demonizing each other politically becuz of it! There was a time though where things just were not this damn polarizing, believe it or not! So let’s take a moment to go back to the seventies and take a quick look at the Marvel Comics publication called Pizzaz!! OH YEEEEAH!
“Pizzaz” was a pop culture magazine Marvel Comics put out that dealt with important things, pop stars like Shaun Cassidy for instance and even more important characters like The Incredible HULK! Only running for 16 issues I guess it just didn’t have enough drama for even the 1970s! But man if this commercial doesn’t bring back bring back some memories of simpler less dramatic times…
I’m all for 80’s throwback nostalgia, it was the decade where I spent most of my damn childhood for cryin’ out loud. That being said HBO’s “home pandemic theater” holiday release ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ should have really been a dream come true for me. Literally tailor made for someone just like me who still often longs for the good old days and full on nostalgia of the 1980s. However ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ somehow completely misses the mark and simply seems to try an make a checklist of what Hollywood thinks we want to see from that era, it’s the DCEU’s version of 2016’s ‘X-Men: Age of Apocalypse’, which in my opinion supremely failed at what should have been a sure-fire nostalgic hit with the awesome source material they had in their hands.
The funny thing is I’m not quite sure how to pin point just exactly what doesn’t work for me with Wonder Woman 1984. On paper it sounded like a wonder-ful idea to have Diana Prince hangin’ out in that particularly colorful fun filled era of cinema. It just made sense. There seems like so many totally radical scenarios to put her and the supporting characters in, but as the movie slogged by with it’s flimsy plot it was quite clear to me: This was not the 1980s I remember sooooo fondly. I guess the main problem is the plot’s pointlessly random approach to almost everything that occurs in it 2 hour and 30 minute run time. Dressing it all up in wild neon 80s fashion and the whole “fish out of water” approach just doesn’t save this one from being a bit of a stinker. I know Patty Jenkins was attempting to recreate the magic of Richard Donner’s Superman and and in the first 20 minutes it seemed like she was on track. It was soon apparent though it had more in common with say, George Lucas’ ‘Howard the Duck’ than ‘Superman II’.
Something this time around about Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman just didn’t resonate with me in the way it did in the charming first installment. Sure we got the ‘Mandalorian’ himself Pedro Pascal as the greedy “Lex Luthor” type villain who apparently has spent his entire life searching for some ancient magic crystal that grants wishes-why? Who knows and I guess who really cares right? Then you have Kristen Wiig playing the frumpy coworker of Diana’s at the Smithsonian Institute, who’s also set on becoming the next Iconic villain for Wonder Woman. Far from it. Of course Pedro Pascal or ‘Max Lord’ conveniently figures out that the two of them are in possession of and studying his most coveted crystal treasure. Things from there increase to get incredibly uninteresting, the pace slows way down and lets you enjoy the most boring aspects of the 1980s. Oh but wait, we just cannot forget Diana’s ex-lover, Chris Pine shows up, resurrected from the dead and randomly in the body of another man for some reason that I guess is connected to the magic crystal’s wish granting power.
The action scenes are decent, the acting isn’t half-bad and the 80s backdrop was for the most part handled fairly well. But this movie’s bland overly random plot points combined with it’s stereotypically boring supporting characters (mainly two uninteresting villains with ridiculous motivations) had me checking the time counting down the minutes tell it’d finally be over.
We do of course get to see Wonder Woman in a fully CGI final battle against a (for some reason fully CG) generated Kristin Wiig “Cheetah” that harkens back to that terrible final fight underground train sequence in the Black Panther! Yeeehaw! Trust me as someone who grew up in the 80s I can assure you they were much more totally radical than this. As a fan of the first outing this one, as we said in the 80’s this one gagged me with a spoon….I’ll gladly take THIS instead any day!
Here’s a super sweet old school comic book cover from waaaay back in 1973! This super spooky Christmas horror issue of ‘The Witching Hour’ urges us to “never kill a Santa Claus” a truly classic cover filled to the brim with holiday horror. This largely forgotten horror anthology comic series ran for nearly 10 years from 1969-1978. Clearly inspired by the legendary EC comics ‘Tales from the Crypt’ this issue features some truly frightening Christmas horror imagery, particularly impressive for the era it appeared in…
Damn there’s a lot of Joker news going around these days, first and foremost the release of the upcoming solo ‘Joker’ movie’s trailer that dropped today! Joaquin Phoenix stars as the clown prince of crime and if you haven’t seen it check it out now:
I’m totally impressed with all I’m seeing here with Phoenix’s take. It’s looks totally intriguing and so far of all the movie Jokers I actually think Phoenix looks most like the actual comic book version of the character. He lost a TON of weight for the role and finally we see a much thinner version of the character more in line with his comic book look, instead of say Nicholson’s more “husky” version and Leto’s “jacked up Juggalo frat boy” style Joker. Add to this the fact that Phoenix is a grade A actor with the chops and then some to make this more than some glossy CGI superhero flick. I think there’s also a truly mysterious quality to this new movie, as it’s not connected to anything out there in the current DCEU. Is Batman somewhere out there in this version of Gotham? Is this the start of a whole new DC movie universe altogether? It’s odd because we, not too long ago, were just introduced to a new Joker in Suicide Squad. So this random Joker flick certainly came out of left field. So far I’m fully invested and going as far to say this one is one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. What do you think?
…..So there’s yet ANOTHER new Joker as well that’s set to appear in the season finale of the Gotham Tv series and boy thhis one looks pretty damn crazy literally. The Joker appears to be some sort of psychotic burn victim and is yet another pretty damn bizarre version of the character. Again I should say I’ll literally take anything to avoid more Jared Leto Joker! I’ll admit I’ve never watched Gotham simply because I tend to avoid shows that are are on regular TV as I find most to be bland as hell. This though raises the level of interest and just maybe I’ll give it a shot!
Still one of my favorite and overlooked Jokers remains to be from the legendary Batman Dead End short film from 2003 and feature the Joker played by the late Andrew Koenig. The look of the Joker here is ripped straight out of the comics. If you’ve never seen it check it out, it’s a TON of fun and has plenty of twists!!
Ok, I went from insanely excited about a reboot of Hellboy to now wishing that Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman were back again instead for a third installment. I loved the del Toro Hellboy movies but also recognized that they really didn’t capture the true tone of Mike Mignola’s visionary comic book series. Visually they were damn near perfect but I’d always hoped for a darker version of Hellboy to appear onscreen as a fan of the source material. I was positive that latest director Neil Marshall was finally gonna deliver the goods. I’m a huge fan of his debut werewolf flick ‘Dog Soldiers’ and his companion piece ‘The Descent’ was just as damn good. From the start, Marshall made many claims that this new version of Hellboy was going to have the feel of the comic books, much darker, gothic and less comedic than del Toro’s lighter take on the series. Well now after seeing both trailers for the movie at this point it seems the new incarnation of Hellboy is more or less the same take on the character we got from the previous films. At least from what the trailers reveal.
The only thing that feels different is the dropping of the ‘F-word’ and some shoddy CGI blood sprinkled about in the trailer. Heck it even seems as if David Harbour is doing a full on Ron Perlman impersonation and the wacky comedy seems just as prevalent (if not more so) here in the two trailers as it was in the del Toro movies. Why even replace Ron at this point if you’re just gonna do the same take on the character? Sure Harbour’s version appears to be not quite as cute visually but it still feels basically just like Ron. The trailer’s got a cheaper production quality as well in my opinion, dare I say a more generic vibe to it as well when you compare it del Toro’s perfect gothic style.
I was also a bit surprised to see just how CG heavy this footage was, Neil Marshall had originally boasted the movie was going to largely utilize practical effects over digital to give it a more real world feel. Instead I’m seeing a lot of truly subpar standard Hollywood digital effects at play here and it’s making me miss del Toro’s vision all the more. I’m gonna call it here, a prediction that Hellboy is going to flop. The one thing the first two movies had going for it were that they really stood out from the crowd, while this so far looks sadly like another bland Hollywood blockbuster.
I’d also heard that Mike Mignola, (the creator of the character/legendary artist), stated early on that this movie was much more in line with his vision of the character that the previous installments. I’m not sure as he’d stated that quite some time ago, if perhaps the production somewhat switched gears and now we’re getting a more standard “what you’d expect” from a big Hollywood production. The comic books are are truly incredible and anyone who’s only familiar with the movies might be quite surprised at how different the tone of them are from movies. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that there’s a real Hellboy movie here that hasn’t been presented in these two trailers. I’m still going to see it, but man am I disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. Any other fans of the comic book out there feel the same way or disagree? Let me know!
It’s been a long time since I picked up a DC title, a very very long while. However something inspired me to give Doom Patrol #1 from new DC imprint ‘Young Animal’ a shot. Young Animal is supposed to be like the edgier, quirkier, “indie” feel of the DC universe. It’s also self proclaimed as ‘comics for dangerous humans’. I guess what made me gravitate to try it was one of the several covers done by a personal favorite artist of mine, the legendary Brian Bolland and yearning for a cool superhero title to get into. So was this the answer I have been looking for? Is this storytelling really for “dangerous” humans?!
I’d say this was a decent first issue, more cute honestly than dangerous but still an entertaining and at the same time, empty read overall. It wasn’t the type of debut that punches me in the gut or anything and honestly I’m not quite sure I will be back for seconds next month. It’s got some sweet art by Nick Derington and some really unique covers to choose from. The story is a bit confusing and wierd, which I assume is on purpose. I mean this is the new hip and quirky Young Animal comic book right? So it better deliver the goods!
The story follows a young “quirky” (yeah that word again, I know) EMT named Casey Brinke and her partner as they rush across town in an ambulance to save a man’s life. It’s got an interesting moment where her partner analyzes the possibility of a separate universe happening inside of a gyro he’s eating. There’s also random explosions that happen around Casey who’s for the most part un-phased by the occurrences. There’s then a couple other random characters one hanging out inside of a abandoned building near a pile of bricks and another scene where a man in the woods is playing a keyboard. Then there’s a meeting of business men and women who’re from another planet talking about meat and Robotman being busted up into pieces by a garbage truck. There’s more random stuff that happens as well an I’m sure it will eventually make some sense and i’m probably not cool enuff to get it all. But you get the picture.
The book and new DC line is headed by Gerard Way from the band My Chemical Romance, a band I really just can’t stand. I really wasn’t a big fan of his Umbrella Academy either. That being said I could still see this new ‘hip’ Young Animal line of Comics likely taking off, but for me thus far it just isn’t my cup o’ Joe. It might all click later down the line – Sometimes it’s hard to get hooked off of a debut issue & I’d be willing to give the next couple issues a shot, but with the high price of comics I’m sure I could find something else to take a risk on.
Night’s Dominion is a brand new comic from Oni Press that came out today and the first issue is a pretty promising little start to what’s sure to be an epic adventure. I’ve been looking for a cool comic book to quench my thirst for fantasy adventure and stuff like Dungeons & Dragons for a while now. Well this book could end my search with a strong first issue that’s a ton of fun & feels like the opening evening of a great classic game of D&D. The book is written and perfectly illustrated by Ted Naifeh. His artwork and rich colors are quite impressive as well, setting the tone of mystery nicely in this first issue. Excellent artwork is almost always a determining factor of whether I’m gonna drop the cash for a new title. It’s also got some heft in the dialogue so it’s not a five minute blur which is always nice in this age of quick read comic books.
This debut issue essentially starts out much like most D&D campaigns, we’ve got a gang of interesting characters meeting in a dark, smokey tavern where an old bard proposes a dangerous journey in search of an ancient presumed treasure of legend. Of course it’s rumored this treasure is supposedly guarded by a menacing effigy. The group he proposes this to are an interesting bunch, a shady alchemist, his young assistant, an assassin and a bar maid who claims she’s secretly the greatest thief in all the kingdom.
It also in a way feels like a superhero story set in a classic fantasy world as by the end of the issue you’re introduced to a character that reminds you more of Batman than Aragorn. I totally dig it to as I’ve always thought of The Fellowship in the Lord of the Rings & the teams formed in a classic game of Dungeons and Dragons to feel much more like a midieval version of The Avengers. It’s also got some nice meat to it as well as interesting character motivations and cool subplots that drive the desire to get rich for this band of vagabonds.
So if you’re looking for a strong, playful new title to pick up this week I think Night’s Dominion is a super solid offering. I’m feeling a bit of an Indiana Jones meets Lord of the Rings type vibe to the whole thing. if that’s the case then we’re dead set on a path to a ton of fun and hopefully it will take us on a memorable trek through some fantastic and dangerous landscapes. I’ll drop the four bones for issue #2 next month!
Bernie Wrightson is the king of the macabre and Swamp Thing was the perfect comic book for him to display his talent of drawing all things that go bump in the night. If you have a monster that needs drawing Bernie is most definitely your man for the job! Here’s an incredible full cover featuring the Swamp Thing going head on with some dark creatures of the night way back in 1977. This is really a perfect example of why Bernie is one of the greatest comic book illustrators ever.
Hopefully cinematic DC will take notes here when they begin ‘Dark Universe” with Doug Liman attached to direct. While most of the details are being kept under wraps, the plot revolves around a darker Justice League team that consists of John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna and Etrigan the Demon. Hopefully DC won’t mess this up too. I won’t hold my breath but I’ve got to say I’m terribly disappointed that Guillermo del Toro is no longer attached to direct. But I mean really, how bad could they mess it up?! Hmmm…..
We’ve got some artists in the comic book industry who really were meant to draw certain characters and one who always needs mention when it comes to The Incredible Hulk is Dale Keown!! Yep it really doesn’t get much better than Keown’s version of the Hulk & from 1990 to ’92 when he took over the art on the title it was clear his version of the Hulk would go down in history as one of the best. He’s right up there with Sal Buscema and John Byrne in my book as all time best Hulksters. In fact back in 1990 his artwork on Hulk reminded me a lot of Byrne’s version of the character. Keown would go on to Image to introduce us all to his own “Hulk” type character, “Pitt”. Anyway Here’s a great Keown cover from 1990 that shows he’s one of the best Hulk artists of all time!!
Oh and if you still don’t think Keown was one of the best Hulk artists ever here’s a few more images to prove my point!