Anthrax’s 1987’s thrash metal epic ‘Among the Living’ was always one of my favorite albums of the genre! I used to listen to it all the time back then and it was the soundtrack to many skateboarding sessions I’d have with my friends. I even had the Among the Living t-shirt with Judge Dredd on it, who they had written a song about on the album. So now Anthrax & Z2 comics have developed a rad new way to explore the album with an original anthology graphic novel comic book! Come July 6th, each song on the album has been given it’s own unique story from an impressive creative team, with a new NOTMAN design by Greg Nicetero of Walking Dead fame!
The album is infectiously catchy, with choruses that stick in your head for years and iconic metal riffs galore, It’s an album of anthems and most uniquely known for it’s songs bases heavily in pop culture of the time. So I’m stoked to take a journey with this when it comes out and give the album a spin while I jump into these new stories.
With big names like Brian Posehn, Corey Taylor & Rob Zombie involved it’s certain to be worth a walk down metal memory lane. The album which a fan favorite, definitely deserves a new audience and I’m ready to mosh like it’s 1987 one more time!
Are you hungry for some classic Star Wars after the conclusion of the Mandalorian? Well this week the second episode of the animated fan series for the classic ‘Dark Empire’ storyline from the 90s just dropped!
From what I understand the dialogue and voice actors are lifted from an older “radio drama” and apparently the voice of Lando here is actually the one and only Billy Dee Williams! Sit back and check out some classic Star Wars, as fans continue to produce the content themselves that’s so many of us have wanted to see you for so long. Nice work Wilkins Animations!!
I’ve been hearing lately that the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie franchise is going to again be rebooted after the shit show of the Michael Bay era of the reptilian heroes in a half shell. So it sparked me to revisit the original 1990 movie the other night which I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so. I was amazed at how well that movie has aged, seeing it in theaters back in the day I’d enjoyed it but kind of dismissed it as “kid stuff” at the time as my older brother in the 1980’s collected the original indie comic series and I’d had the chance to read them as a kid. If you’re aware of the TMNT early beginnings you’ll remember that it started off as a dark, gritty & violent comic series. I was blown away back then at the sheer oddity of the characters and the equally bizarre story lines of the originals. When I decided to revisit the 1990 TMNT film I’d forgotten just how dark that original movie actually is, especially considering today’s climate of safe moviemaking. The movie is almost closer to an R-rating than it’s original rating of PG. There’s kids smoking & drinking alcohol, robbing people, the foot beating up April O’neil, Raphael beaten into a near coma by The Foot and a badly beaten and bloodied up Splinter strung to a fence. It’s actually a pretty dark and gritty movie with the addition of the comedic surfer dude Turtles to lighten things up.
So currently we’ve got these new “TMNT” flicks, a big bloated Michael Bay produced, soul-less mess of CGI, uninspired storytelling and poor character development. The current franchise just hasn’t been connecting with fans the way they’d hoped, mainly with the amount of money that the films have made. Now they’ve got plans for a brand new reboot and it’s never been more clear just what this franchise needs to do: go old school.
So first off let’s address the obvious big issue, imo the latest Michael Bay era CGI Turtles look terrible. They’re massive 8 foot tall green hulking humanoid turtles with creepy ass faces and not in a good way. Compare the newest incarnations with the very original designs. They couldn’t be more opposite. Even the Turtles of the 1990 movie do essentially look pretty much like what you’d hope for, sure they’ve been made much cuter but they stay fairly true to the original vision. So let’s face the facts, the original designs of the 80’s weren’t broken so why try and modernize them by making them the opposite of what they were intended to look like? Bring back the smaller classic versions of these characters, go simpler with their general design. It’s a lot easier to digest and most definitely not rocket science folks.
Next I’d say you could go the similar route that many movies are taking by making the next movie a direct sequel to the original or at least setting the movie in the late 80s’ or early 90’s, it’s clear people love that era of film today (Stranger Things, IT anyone?). That being said bring back the suits!! Put real actors in real costumes with modern day animatronics the Turtles could look absoluterly mind blowing. The 1990 movie Turtles STILL look great and that was with a micro budget of 13.5 million dollars for the whole damn film. What they could do now would be incredible, we all want to believe that the TMNT are actually living breathing creatures and the latest movies sadly look like fakey cgi rendered cartoon characters inserted into the “real world”.
Lets get real here and let’s keep the budget low, we don’t need a TMNT movie to be on the scale of an Avengers film, we need a smaller more personal, more heartfelt movie with high stakes like the original. Next let’s get some real martial arts, real choreography and some real stunts again. One thing that blew me away revisting the 1990 movie was the actual real on screen martial arts that were displayed, it was pretty amazing actually and I’d love to see something in that vein in a brand new Turtles movie. It’d be like nothing out there in the mainstream that’s for sure. Lastly I’d love to see a darker more serious storyline, of course an “R-rated Turtles” movie would be my first choice, one that evokes the original comics would be absolutely insane. However, I know that’ll never happen so I think at the very least going as dark as the original movie would be more than good enough. Let’s see the Turtles roaming the city streets at night, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and roaming the dank sewers. Bring on the amazing real life set pieces, puppets and crazy creatures once again, I think fans would go bonkers for a throwback style TMNT. However I doubt Hollywood has the courage to try something as unique and inspired as the original movie. What do you think?!
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
Here’s a cool new comic book from ‘Black Mask’ that packs a visually stunning slice of dirty raw color to the space pirate genre. From page one I’ll admit for this one it really didn’t matter how solid the plot would be for ‘Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality’, the first page showcases some awesome artwork that’s a breath of fresh air in the current comics spectrum. Black Mask has been putting out some pretty impressive shit for quite some time now. Space Riders #1 continues that trend with a solid debut that could possibly be more fun to look at than read. This is apparently a sequel series, but it’s new to me and I’ll have to take a moment to hunt down the first trade. So if you’re late to the party like myself, I don’t think it really matters all that much. We’re given a cast of outrageous characters from the get go, some crazy space bikers, weaving through the stars, wreaking havok on a refugee ship full of aliens. It doesn’t take long for the giant floating skull space craft, with our main characters aboard to vaporize the scavengers dead in their tracks. This sets the tone for the type of crazy shit visually and plot wise that’s on the horizon.
I totally dig it, it’s a straight forward story so far filled with some insanely colorful characters that harken back to classic vintage style space voyage that would’ve fit nicely in the pages of ‘Heavy Metal’ magazine. We’ve got the gruff wise guy Captain Peligro, a tuff guy baboon human hyrid co-pilot, cyborg babes, bat people, marauding space bikers, galactic maidens and cool space vagina portals. It’s a damn fun first issue that’s jam packed with eye candy galore and just a ton of weirdo oddball landscapes & evil aliens. I like these kind of stories sometimes that don’t rely too much on paying attention to crazy details and more so on just having a good old fashion ruff around the collar space adventure. This is the perfect book to roll a joint, kick & absorb the madness of it all.
Now the problem here I gotta say is that Space Riders takes about five minutes to read. I’m not exaggerating either it’s filled with a ton of huge panels and splash pages. While those can all be cool to look at I’ve said before comic books these days need to make some changes for readers who’re expected to throw down four bucks per issue for five minutes of story. Too many books out there don’t seem to give us enough bang for our buck. What do you think? Can you afford the rising prices of comic books? Well if you can I recommend Space Riders #1 it’s got a unique look and it bound to go to some pretty cool ass places…
The Skeptics #1 (Black Mask)
I just read the debut issue for the new Black Mask series “The Skeptics” and was quite pleased with this sweet little intro to a thus far promising retro adventure. Brought to you by Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi we’ve got a solid story of two teenagers during the Cold War era that are brought in by the US government to test for paranormal abilities. There’s a claim made by the Soviets that they’ve got a new breed of soldier in the works, ones with intense psychic abilities. But is it just a hoax to scare us Americans during those tense times? Either way it doesn’t matter because of course the US is determined to find people with similar unique abilities here in our own country to face off with the Soviets.
Well all just is not what it seems when Mary and Maxwell are brought in for testing, for unknown reasons these two have figured out a way to to trick the scientists and even the President into believing they’ve got telekinetic abilities. The President claims they’re the key to stopping World War 3 but it seems there’s more going on than meets the eye. The two young “psychics” quickly decide to take matters into their own hands when they realize that perhaps it’s not a hoax. The Soviets may indeed be harboring people with superhuman abilities.
I had a pretty fun time with the first issue, it’s really simplistic, pure story telling with some decent artwork as well. It’s a refreshing break from all of the ultra edgy stuff being cranked out these days, I’ll check out issue number two and see just where this all goes but either way the debut is worth a look if you’re looking for something a little different.
Black #1 (Black Mask)
Here’s another decent debut issue that finds it’s plot ripped from the media headlines. It’s a story about police corruption and racism in America with a superhero twist. We’ve got corrupt white cops who shoot down three black teens who’ve done nothing wrong in broad daylight on the streets of the inner city. Sound familiar?
Well things get more interesting when one of the teens who’s presumed dead awakens alive and well in the ambulance on the way to the hospital with seemingly superhuman energy and endurance. On the run from the cops he meets a Morpheus like character (from the movie The Matrix) who helps him to safety and soon it’s revealed that people do indeed exist on this planet with superhuman powers….except only those who are black can have them. This like The Skeptics is also a pretty quick and simple read with an interesting spin on the superhero genre. This idea spun out of a Kickstarter campaign and was soon picked up by Black Mask. The art adds to the experience as it’s really well drawn and in black and white.
The writing for this by Kwanza Osajyefo is solid yet at the same time a bit on the predictable side. Starting out with a fairly popular view point being, corrupt cops are running rampant and they kill black people for no apparent reason. I think it’s fair to say from most of the news stories we’ve heard reported on point to this similar scenario. So we’ve definitely got a story here thats basis is controversial and hotly debated. I can already see people being upset about the race issue presented here, it is indeed written to get a response from white readers and continue the much needed dialogue about racial tension today. I think however it’s not much really of a different concept than say “Y The Last Man” yet this comic’s timing probably is the most controversial aspect of it.
Overall I dig it, the idea of just one race being graced with superpowers is an odd angle but given the recent headlines this one’s certain to make some waves. It’s also written & drawn by an all black team as the above The Skeptics is an all female team. So we’re getting a lot more projects out there now that are created with race appropriate and gender appropriate teams attached. It I guess raises questions about whether or not it’s ok in modern times to have people writing books that aren’t of the same gender or race of the characters in the book? This topic alone has become somewhat of an issue lately for movies, books and tv shows. I’m still under the belief that at the end of the day in works of fiction, in a free society none of that needs to really be micro-analyzed. So therefore I welcome anyone to bring a unique story to the table no matter what their race, gender, sexuality or association may be. With that being said I’m curious to see where the story of “Black” ultimately goes. I’ll be back for a second issue…
Rise of the Back Flame #1 is another totally solid debut straight from the Mignolaverse. This one traces the origins of the legendary villain, The black Flame from the pages of Hellboy/BPRD and gives us an excellent set up for an intriguing jungle horror adventure that I’m sure Indiana Jones would most certainly sign up for. The setting is Burma and there’s been a series of disappearances of young girls that the locals believe to be the devilish work of a near by cult.
On the case are two Brittish detectives who’re on the case searching for clues, quickly meet Sarah Jewell and Marie-Therese Lafleur who tell them they’ve got an expedition set up to find the Temple of the Black Flame. Sarah Jewell goes on to tell them of some of her incredible supernatural adventures she’s shared with The Witchfinder himself Sir Edward Grey. I’m getting the feeling we’ll be seeing much more of these characters in the future of the Mignolaverse….if they can survive this expedition that is.
Here we have again everything I love about reading comics, grand adventure set in exotic locales with a supernatural mystery brewing. Like I’ve said before Mignola’s books to me are the best on the scene, whether it be Hellboy, BPRD, Witchfinder or Lobster Johnson. They’re always a helluva great time to read and are all connected by a deep lore that’s been running strong for decades. So here we have the opening of another chapter in the saga and a true prequel for fans of the villain of the BPRD’s ‘Hell on Earth’. I’m certainly going to be back for issue #2 as it’s bound to be filled with some excellent storytelling and some creepy jungle adventure, for a good time check out this debut!
Here’s an interesting new comic book from Black Mask called ‘The Forevers’ due out in shops September 14th. It’s got quite an intriguing story set up in the debut. It follows a group of people hungry for fame, fortune & adoration who all perform a strange ritual together. They make a pact for life together. They Flash forward ten years and it seems their wishes have for the most part seem to have come true. They’re all living a life of success, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bed of roses. It’s actually quite the contrary as most of them living the dream are immersed in an ugly culture of wealth, drugs and meaningless relationships. It’s clear fame has changed them, but just how much?
We’ve got a cast of pretty unlikable characters in the first issue and as one of them suddenly dies it sets their world into a bizarre mystery as a masked killer appears into their lives for reasons yet unknown. It’s an interesting premise and this debut shows this book has some potential to shape up into a unique read. However it felt a bit like a glimpse into the oddly pathetic and highly superficial lives of people like the Kardashians & the like of ego maniacal rockstars. So there’s not a real connect here for me thus far as most of these characters so far are totally un-relatable to me and I imagine will be for most others. This in a way could be the book’s strong point in the end and hopefully we’ll get some fleshing out of these characters that will indeed rope us in to actually giving a shit about what happens to their greedy asses. Perhaps with more flashbacks we’ll see exactly how they came to this point and that perhaps they weren’t always a gang of total d-bags.
Now as far as the art goes I’m going to admit I’m not exactly a huge fan of this style. It feels a bit like it’s trying be a bit Bill Sienkiewicz or Jon Muth but ends up feeling like someone pulled up some shots of famous stars and copied them altering them via rotoscope. I could be wrong though, i’m not sure how people make modern comic books like this, but I assume there’s a computer involved for most of the process. It however might work here for the type of story trying to be told. Even though not being a big fan of the art I’d at the least check out issue #2 to see where this all goes. So far it’s a decent debut with some potential to bring us something unique to the table. So if you’re a bit bored with all those superhero titles this might spice things up a bit in your weekly journey to the comic book shop…
There’d just be no better time to post this legendary comic book cover, yesterday we lost boxing legend Muhammad Ali at the age of 74. I really don’t need to go into much detail about the legend as he’s one of the most well known athletes of all time. However some people may not have known that he had a part in the DC universe when he took on Superman in a boxing match!
Yeah the two squared off in a fight to save planet earth from an alien invasion! This was an epic comic at 72 pages in length Superman was in the fight of his life!! Ali is also rumored to have written all of his own dialogue and make a specific request, that in the book he would discover Superman’s true identity.
RIP Muhammad, you were a real life Superhero…..
Here’s the full scoop on the legendary comic book-check it out!!!