Simplicity often times is the best strategy for constructing an amazing comic book cover. Also having the artistic charm and skill of icon Barry Windsor Smith definitely helps too! Well here today I am featuring one of my favorites from Barry, a simple bad ass line-up of everyone’s favorite webhead and the X-men back in the 80s when the characters had a sort of punk rock weirdo mystique to them. Check out Marvel Team Up #150 from 1985, bsck when the X-men still had an edge and life was a bit simpler…
I love a great 80’s flick and I love it when I see something from the era that’s somehow eluded me throughout the years. So I was pretty stoked to get a copy of 1989’s Blue Vengeance on Blu Ray, a movie I’d never even heard of until recently. How the heck was that possible? Well from what I understand the movie was never given a proper domestic vhs or dvd release back in the day so I’m giving myself a pass for being clueless this time on this one!
That being said, let’s get to it! Ok if you’re a fan of 80’s metal and underground music in general you’re going to immediately find something to love about this movie. Not only is the deranged psychopathic villain a full on metal head, but he’s basically triggered into a serial killing spree of former band members whom he proclaims have “sold out”. I dig his motivation, as I’ve never heard of a slasher with passion for metal ideals like this dude! He seems also totally obsessed with his old band’s song lyrics as well, like they’re the damn holy grail writings of satan himself! He escapes from prison and heads off to NYC to raise some hell and then jam some riffs in his old bedroom at his mom’s place before going on his poser killing spree. Then there’s a cop who’s got PTSD who jumps on the case, leading him to some cool indie hot spots like CBGB’S where punk rock band The Lunachicks are on stage performing was quite a pleasant surprise.
There the cop meets a young female punk who attempts to help him crack the case of the metal maniac killer roaming the streets. Yeah, Blue Vengeance has got some pretty fun and colorful characters at it’s core that bring a certain odd charm to the whole viewing experience. The killer has delusions of being stuck in some midieval fantasy of swords and sorcery that drive his rampage further down a rabid rabbit hole. While the cop and his underage punk rocker sidekick have a sort of weird romantic relationship going on that somehow works without getting too creepy. The movie’s pretty cool on it’s own as a basic low budget 80’s cop thriller with some strong horror themes for most of it’s duration but it really ramps things up in it’s glorious final act. That’s when things go in ultimately ridiculous directions in it’s final showdown and it’s well worth the wait. There’s some surprising moments of gore to behold here as well and some really entertaining dialogue, while none of it can be taken too seriously, I truly admire how surprisingly straight it’s all played. Check this one out, I think it’s on Amazon Prime now and also available on blu ray! A great hidden late 80’s gem!
Ok it’s summer time and I’m gonna admit, I’ve been slackin’ on the blog lately! I’m sure you all’ve missed me sooooo much right?! Well anyway I’m throwing down some mini reviews of some of the movies I’ve checked out recently this last coupla’ weeks! So with out further adieu!
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
I really enjoy when a new Tarantino movie drops at the theater, let’s face it, he’s really one of the only big filmmakers that puts out interesting often risky movies to the mainstream these days, love him or hate him. Most bigger Hollywood movies are far too safe and generally feel like their plots have been drawn up by researching what’s been trending on Twitter. Well ‘Once Upon a ‘Time in Hollywood’ doesn’t follow the rules and it’s super refreshing for that simple reason alone. This one feels like a slice of life in a long gone era of movie stars with a very loose plot that ties up in a bloody bow by it’s stunning finale. It’s filled with colorful unique characters and some familiar faces from Hollywood’s past. The Bruce Lee scene has a lot of controversy around it, mainly concerning his portrayal not being accurate to real life. But hey, c’mon it’s a Tarantino movie, does anyone really think it’s going to be a damn biopic?!! Tarantino hit’s another home run more or less in my opinion with a movie that’s truly a breath of fresh air in a barrage of mindless, soul-less Hollywood cash grabs!
Slaughterhouse Rulez (2018)
This is the latest Simon Pegg / Nick Frost horror comedy if that means anything to anyone anymore in 2019? Well surprisingly this neat little creature feature was actually a pretty sweet little spur of the moment rental from Redbox. Basically a kid heads off to a snooty private school out in the middle of nowhere England. There he finds that a fracking company is digging deep in the nearby forest looking for natural gas and accidentally frees a gang of hungry monsters from the earth’s crust. Nick Frost plays a hippie activist guy who’s looking to shut down the frackers and Pegg plays a pathetic teacher at the school obsessed with his ex co-worker Margo Robbie, with whom he had a brief fling with. The movie’s got some neat practical creature fx, good action sequences & pretty decent humor as well. Not nearly quite as awesome as their previous team up flicks but most definitely worth a watch for monster movie fans.
Beyond the Seventh Door (1987)
Here’s a pretty sweet 80’s movie that’s def worth a watch with a gang of rowdy cinefiles and a case of beer! Starring Lazar Rockwood(what a name!), who somehow manages to capture that same moronic charm as The Room’s Tommy Wiseau! Yep, Lazar is quite a guy to say the least and this movie’s a long lost gem of a bad movie. Basically Rockwood is an ex criminal who’s looking for a big time heist teaming up with his ex girlfriend and plans to bust into a nearby mansion to get the ultimate goods! There he and his “girlfriend” face “seven deadly curses” each…behind a door together masterminded by an evil billionaire in a wheel chair! James Wan clearly used this as the template for the damn ‘Saw’ franchise-I just know it! Anyway there’s some truly idiotic stuff going on here, and Lazar is in the thick of these dangerouschallenges! He’s the hero you never knew you needed and he’s clearly got the most sex appeal to seduce a woman in the most awkward of moments. Check this out if you dig movies that are truly so damn bad that they’re awesome!
Holy shit, I finally checked this out and as a BIG fan of the comic books and the del Toro movies (even though they aren’t comic accurate) I’ve gotta say, this was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in maybe the last two decades. Going into this I was actually half expecting to like it for the possible campy-ness I’d heard about it. Nope!! This was just a downright powerfully painful experience, It was so bad I couldn’t make it past the hour mark. It’s been a while since I’ve actually turned off a movie because it was truly legit terrible. Sometimes I do it if it’s boring, but this was next level horse shit for sure. Absolutely wretched plot, terrible pacing, fully unlikable characters (trying to be edgy with F-words galore) & beyond shitty CGI fx that look like they were pulled from a bad third rate 90’s horror movie. I just can’t believe Neil Marshall who helmed two of the best horror movies of the last 2 decades (Dog Soldiers & The Descent) fucked this thing up so, so, so damn bad. I was so pumped to hear he was doing the movie and really saddened that he single handedly ruined Hellboy for the big screen for who know how long. This was a fully pathetic attempt at movie making and to be honest I thought David Harbour sucked in the role!!
I’m a big fan of horror anthologies and was pretty excited to check this one out as it’s got a great VHS cover. Well as a lot of 80’s horror anthologies go, most aren’t much to write home about. Nightmares almost falls into that category, like many of these movies they usually deliver one good chapter at least. For Nightmares that one’s the second installment, starring Emilio Estevez who plays a video game obsessed teenager who hangs out in arcades all day blaring punk rock tapes on his walkman. He literally battles an arcade game one night when he breaks into the local arcade late one night. I mean that the video game comes to life and he fights the graphics in real life. It’s a pretty cool little segment that oozes with the 1980’s in the best way. The rest of the stories however are pretty standard made for tv type of stuff 9as that is apparently what this thing was supposed to be, a made for ABC tv Twilight Zone type series that didn’t make it to prime time). The last story’s about an “evil” killer rat and features such a fully terrible finale it’s almost worth the uneventful wait. Talk about the worst evil killer monster rat FX of all time! This one’s got it FOR SURE! Anyway if you just can’t get enuff of 80’s horror anthologies you might wanna check it out at least for the video game segment but Creepshow this one is NOT!
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 had the pleasure of seeing Green Room last night here where the film was shot in Portland Oregon! I’ve gotta say you’re not going to find a more tense, visually stunning thriller this year. Wow, this movie had me on the edge of my seat and ready to pee my pants for nearly it’s entire duration-yep it’s that intense. If you’re a fan of punk rock like myself you’ll really appreciate this one and if you’ve ever been in a touring band you’ll dig this even more.
The story is simple young struggling punk rock band The Ain’t Rights are on tour and it’s a bit of a disaster. Low pay and cancelled shows almost stops the band’s trek cross country until they get a last minute gig out in rural Oregon at a secluded punk venue with a guarantee of $350.00. The band jumps at the chance and upon arriving to the club realize that their audience will be a freaky aggro crowd white supremacist punks. So naturally the band gets the bright idea to open up their set with a cover “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by The Dead Kennedys. Yeah always a good idea right?
This is the least of their worries though as the band gets ready to head off to their next destination they run back into the green room to grab their charging cell phone and discover a young woman murdered there surrounded by angry skins. This is where things get crazy. Real crazy. From this point on the movie becomes so intense it’s almost impossible to look at or away from the screen. The clubs swarms with a mob of angry skinheads who’re dead set on letting no one from The Ain’t Rights out alive.
The angry gang of racist dicks takes orders from white supremacist grandmaster Patrick “Professor X/Picard” Stewart, in a role truly unique for him. The first time I’ve seen him play a truly sinister, menacing character. The movie plays like a punk rock version of Precinct 13 and is soaked with some serious grit and some seriously, serious gut wrenching scenes of survival. This one is NOT for the faint of heart. No one is safe and by the end you’ll have been through the ringer and back. Green Room is jam packed with action, totally impressive fx and great convincing characters. Anton Yelchin is excellent as well as the bands bass player who’s determined to make it through the night alive. I highly recommend this one for anyone who digs an incredible thriller that’s got a truly unique spin. It’s the perfect follow up to director Jeremy Saulnier’s equally shocking “Blue Ruin” if you’re looking for the ultimate punk rock survival flick look no further…..
So what happens when Danzig & Rollins celebrate Christmas together? Check out this cool little cartoon from a few years back that shows best these buddies hanging out in their apartment celebrating Anti-Christmas together, because well we all know Glenn worships the devil right?!
Based off the comic book series by Tom Neely this one gives us a glimpse of these punk rock legends lives together around the holiday season!! Oh and let’s not forget their next door neighbors Hall & Oates!
This week the final installment of the first arc of ‘We Can Never Go Home’ hit the stands with issue #5. It was a great finale filled with a ton of well placed twists and turns. This also just might be my favorite new title of 2015. We’ve been following the unpredictable exploits of teen runaway misfits Duncan & Maddie for only five issues but hell, what an adventure it’s been so far.
The series takes place back in the late 1980’s a time I remember quite fondly as a kid/teen growing up, so perhaps I’m just a little more than partial to this tale from the start. It’s also a series that involves 80’s references galore and even more so in the realm of underground music & punk rock of yesteryear. Mix that with some seriously deep in serious shit troubled teens on a road trip that seems to get more dangerous with ever mile traveled and you’ve got quite an intriguing story.
The final issue comes to a blood soaked boiling point to a once seemingly innocent start of budding teen crushes. The final issue pulls no punches a lot of questions are finally answered and maybe not quite in the way you might have hope they’d be. That’s fine though as a truly great story never really wraps up the way you think it will. This last issue takes place in the compound of this first arc’s villain, Mr. Carroll, where he’s trapped Maddie and Duncan and tests their “superhuman” abilities.
Certain aspects of this final issue might piss you off, you might suddenly find yourself questioning some of our lead characters motivations in this series. Ultimately though this dynamic conclusion delivers on all cylinders, (with some excellent artwork to boot by Josh Hood) and I already find my self ready to read it all over again.
It also has me quite ready for more which we can expect in 2016. So if you haven’t checked this out yet I advise getting the trade when it hits as the individual issues are hard to track down and going for a pretty penny online. This series makes the $3.99 price tag on comic books these days feel not quite so sleazy. “We Can Never Go Home” is a full on home run.
I had to put up some of these awesome variant covers for one of my favorite comic books out on the scene right now- We Can Never Go Home. Being a big fan of classic punk rock I can’t say enough about how cool these are. If you haven’t checked out the book yet it’s a super fun read and set back in the 1980s. They’ve been doing some various variant covers in the theme of classic 80’s punk rock album cover. Here’s are the comic book covers along with the album covers they’re based on! Get this book from Black Mask Studios and yeah if you haven’t already – get these albums!!
Oh how I love the 80’s! There’s something truly unique about that decade and even more so to me, having grown up in that era. That might be one of the reasons why I am loving ‘We Can Never Go Home‘ from Black Mask Studios so much, it really holds some serious nostalgia within it’s pages. In the late 80’s I was probably just about the same age as these characters in the book and was fueled by things like skateboarding, punk rock and well for me…girls. This series is set in 1989 and feature two characters who somehow seem like long lost characters from my childhood, only these two teens have something other than just raging hormones pulsating through their veins, they’ve also got some strange superhuman abilities. So what’s so unique about a story with some teenage misfits with dangerous mutant like powers you might ask?
Well writer Matthew Rosenberg pulls no punches and at issue #2 we see our two leads getting into a boat load of serious, serious trouble. Imagine if you were a teenager with raging hormones and you had a peculiar case of superhuman strength or could kill someone with your mind? It’d be a dangerous scenario and after our two troubled teens Madison & Duncan become friends it becomes quite an unholy alliance. With Madison sending her boyfriend crashing through a car window after he picks a fight with a loner punk rocker Duncan, things begin to get real messy real quick. Soon these two find out they have more in common than they ever imagined.
After one fatal move the two are bound to never go home and head off on a road trip that by issue number two will have you gasping for air. These two teens just seem to get deeper and deeper into a tangled web that could easily cost them and anyone they care about their lives. So what better solution than stealing a car and robbing the local drug dealer of all his cash huh?
I’m also loving all of excellent references to old punk rock, mix tapes with everything awesome & confusing about being a teen in the 1980’s. It’s clear Rosenberg himself is a fan of the era and he captures the heart of a great rebellious 80’s flick within the pages of his book, which isn’t an easy task. I can already see this series transformed into great tv series or movie, kind like if ‘Heathers’ and ‘Firestarter’ got together and had lovechild.
So in a time when superhero books leave you feeling a bit empty inside it’s nice to know we’ve got a true alternative to the genre and one more exciting road trip left to go on with that awesome girl (or boy) that may have have got away many years ago. Just make sure to bring that totally rad old mix tape on this ride because is gonna get epic and most definitely deadly…
If you’re a fan of punk rock and old school 80’s style horror there’s a good chance you’ll get a kick out Black Mask’s “Toe Tag Riot” a new rowdy zombie comic book adventure! This one reads more like an installment of the “Return of the Living Dead” movie franchise than “The Walking Dead” and that’s a good thing because we really don’t need any more comic books hitting the shelves these days trying to capture what Robert Kirkman has so gloriously accomplished. Written By Matt Miner and illustrated by Sean Von Gorman we get bloody good tale of a touring punk rock band with a zombie curse mysteriously cast upon them. They fight with the urges to eat flesh as they spend only part of the time as undead (from what I can tell thus far it seems right before they hit the stage) and when they do turn into flesh eaters they spend much of their time ripping apart Nazi Skinheads, angry moms and pissed off bible thumpers!
This series so far really reminds me of something you might have found in a punk rock fanzine back in the 1990’s, full of crude humor & gore, while hitting on several political and social issues like racism, homophobia and nut job religious groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. It follows the bands exploits while giving us brief flashbacks of how the band came to be and just how they developed into zombies. If you’re looking for a serious zombie epic you’ll most likely be a bit disappointed here, but if you’re looking for a good tongue in cheek comedy you’ll probably dig Toe Tag Riot quite a bit.
The first read really reminded me of a canadian vampire flick called “Suck” which had a pretty similar premise but not hitting on issues Toe Tag Riot delves into. If you’re familiar with that movie, the band, like in Toe Tag Riot are struggling with their popularity & end up tragically becoming Vampires. They use their unique new attributes to their advantage to hit the big time. Still I found the first two issues to be a pretty sweet little ball of mayhem and I’m curious to see where the next couple take us.
A fun read which would go down nice with a few stiff drinks, the only part of it I wasn’t particularly keen on was the odd inclusion of the main dude from ‘Fall Out Boy’ into the story-not exactly screaming punk rock to me at least, I’m actually kinda hoping that guy gets eaten by the band (nothing personal, I just think that’d be kinda cool)….. either way Check it out! A cool zombie comic that’s quite a bit different from the herd!