It’s pride month & U-Dork is here to feature a sweet comic book cover way back from 1986, Marvel Fanfare #28, featuring Marvel Comics very 1st and BEST openly gay superhero, the one and only Northstar!
Yes! Alpha Flight has been an ALL time favorite of mine since 1983. A cool, cast of characters created by comic legends John Byrne & Chris Claremont, and one of the most diverse, even by today’s standards, superhero teams around. Northstar is a true fan favorite as Marvel’s first openly gay character, who officially made news back in issue #106 when he made his reveal January 14th, 1992. I remember back then it was quite a big deal.
However even though the character was always intended to be gay, more conservative restrictions back in the early 80s on comic books wouldn’t allow it. Instead Byrne had to let readers read between the lines. Northstar is a true LGBTQ legend and honestly I’m quite surprised that Alpha Flight has not made its way onto the big screen. Seriously get with the program MCU!
Not only is Northstar one of the coolest mutants in the MCU he’s also got one of the best most boisterous attitudes around. He’s always been a fun read and never a dull moment when dealing with him. Over the years he has even joined the ranks of the X-Men. However I personally enjoy him much more as a member of Alpha Flight..
This cover of Marvel Fanfare #28 is an excellent representation of him and the team as you can see when viewing the full wrap-around cover. It creates quite a stunning full picture, beautifully illustrated by Ken Steacy.
The character of Northstar is one of my favorites and definitely deserves to be honored this month in particular! Props to Northstar AKA Jean-Paul Beaubier!
Here’s a visually stunning cover from the nearly forgotten ‘Falcon’ 4 issue mini-series from 1983! I’ve always loved this one & this sweet series had four super memorable covers. This one by Paul Smith, whom I just love so much for his work on the X-Men in the eighties, always stuck with me as I found it intriguing that the mutant hunter Sentinels had a chance run in with The Falcon, was he a mutant? This again proves how effective, emotionally resonant, and truly memorable a simplistic cover can truly be…
Now I have to revisit the series To find out exactly what was really up with this issue! Its been way too long…
There are some epic comic book artists out there in the world, true legends who produced some of the most iconic artwork of all time. I’ve always wondered if any big name comic book artists were employed by rock bands to make album covers? Let’s face it, one of the most important things as a musician is having an unforgettable album cover. So I did a little research of my own to see who, if any, throughout time had actually enlisted these talents! Here’s what I found!
Mark Texiera: Public Enemy, Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994)
Texiera takes a break from the pages of comic books to spice up Public Enemy’s 1994 release with an awesome LP cover. This is a great example of how wise it is to hire a comic book artist to craft a freakin’ masterpiece cover for your band.
Barry Windsor Smith: The Byrds, Preflyte (1973)
Barry is easily one of the greatest comic book artists of all time, who the hell wouldn’t ask the guy to do the art work for their record? This one though was a real surprise I had no idea he dabbled in the music genre with his skills!
Bob Camp: Newcleus Jam On Revenge (1984)
Bob Camp did some great work with Marvel Comics in the eighties on titles like The ‘Nam, Conan the Barbarian and G.I. Joe. But what a lot of people forget is that he actually did this iconic cover art for rap supergroup Newcleus!
John Byrne: Joe Satriani, Surfing With The Alien (1987)
Superstar comic book artist John Byrne’s rendering of the Silver Surfer was used for Joe Satriani’s most famous guitar rock album. Apparently no one talked to him about using the artwork and apparently he remains uncredited in the album liner notes!
Todd Mcfarlane: Korn, Follow the Leader (1998)
I’ve gotta say I’ve never liked Korn, at all. In fact I can admit that I actually hate their music. But when I found out they hired Todd McFarlane to do the cover art for their album they won me over just a little bit..
Bill Sienkiewicz: RZA, Bobby Digital in Stereo (1998)
Getting Bill to do your cover artwork Is probably about the wisest thing you could do for your damn musical career. The guy is a living legend and one of the best cover artists in all comic book history! He nails it for RZA!
Richard Corben: Meatloaf, Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Corben is responsible for some of the grittiest comic book art out there! He hits a home run here with Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out of Hell’. Recently I had to come to my own conclusion about Meatloaf, and I find myself in the same frame of mind as I did with Korn. NOT A FAN! But still Meatloaf wins me over employing Corben to make this iconic album cover…
Vincent Locke: Cannibal Corpse, Butchered at Birth (1991)
Legendary gore artist extraordinaire, Vincent Locke is best know for his crazy artwork for 80s horror comic Deadworld. With his unforgettable awesome LP cover for Cannibal Corpse he essentially just drew a cover for Deadworld and slapped on their logo and somehow created a truly gore-tas-tic metal massacre masterpiece!
Alex Ross: Anthrax, We’ve Come for You All (2003)
Mr. Ross is a true legend and Anthrax made an excellent choice in getting him on deck to craft this beautifully mysterious album cover. Ross is in league of his own and this adds more proof of that bold claim.
Jamie Hewlett: Senseless Things, The First of Too Many (1991)
An amazing power pop punk album from the Senseless Things! This one was in heavy rotation for me when I was in high school. I didn’t make the connection until recently that this artist went on to produce the iconic Tank Girl comic book series!
Brian Bolland: Beautiful Happiness (1988)
Who’d have ever thought that Brian Boland, comic book artist extraordinaire, most well known for Batman: The Killing Joke, was a punk at heart? Easily one of my favorite comic book artists/cover artists of all time, this shows his true skill in crafting the ultimate punk rock compilation cover!
I’m not gonna lie, it’s been quite a while since I bought any new comic books from Marvel. Every few years I give it an honest shot, but time after time the same thing happens, They only remind me of what I so desperately miss from the eighties. The unique and edgy storytelling that Marvel actually brought to the table. Yeah and I miss when comic books looked and felt like comic books Rather than glossy computer scans on synthetic paper.Today’s cover is yet another example of an artist on top of his game, John Byrne’s cover for ‘Marvel Comics Presents’ #47: Wolverine! His eye for detail was always incredible and this damn cover shows his skill level at its peak! It also shows Wolverine when he was still a mysterious bad ass! There was nothing quite like Wolverine in the 1980s…
It’s getting so damn close to Halloween! So of course we have to honor some of the greatest creepy comic book covers of all time! As a kid this one spooked me, when I think of classic creepy comic book covers this is one of the first ones that always comes to mind, New Mutant’s #3 from 1983! Bob McLeod lays out this brilliant nightmarish horror themed classic cover. The New Mutants had its fair share of frightening freaky storylines going on in the early eighties when they first made their debut, This easily remains one of the scariest-Happy HALLOWEEN weekend!
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…
Hey I’m back & I’m coming at you with 5 badass movie recommendations for everyone who’s staying home as much as possible due to the crazy ongoing crisis in the country. It’s definitely been a strange summer so far and it’s looking more and more likely that many states might go back on lockdown. So with that being said I think it’s a good idea to have some cool shit planned for those days ahead whether or not it ends up happening. I’ve got 5 flicks that you’ve got to check out if you’re a fan of 80’s and early 90’s cult/cinema/horror goodness! You know, movies that took place in far simpler, more totally rad times in general! So let’s get down to business-it’s been too long!
Miracle Mile (1988)
Damn this movie was a great surprise, especially if you are obsessed with the 1980’s. Right off the bat, It’s got one of the coolest soundtracks around from the masters Tangerine Dream. It’s basically the story of a guy in L.A., in a brand new relationship, who late one evening randomly answers a ringing pay phone. He has a bizarre conversation with a soldier who claims to have secret info of a nuclear missile that’s currently headed there for a collision course with the city! There’s so much tension as he tries to figure out what the hell to do next and if the threat is even real at all. If it is he’d better come up with one helluva plan to get out of dodge, save himself and his new love before the city is turned to a big pile of rubble. It’s filled with thrills ‘a plenty, true heart, action, comedy, romance and a looming sense of impending doom that’s hard to shake! Track this down if you’re looking for a nearly all but forgotten pitch perfect 80’s gem.
Full Eclipse (1993)
Yeah, Mario Van Peebles kicks major ass in this awesome early 90’s horror/action hybrid cult classic. It’s got a full on “Blade” vibe to it too as Mario plays a cop who bites off more than he can chew when he meets an elite group of vigilantes who get jacked up on a weird drug that mutates them into wolf like super humans. He eventually gets tricked into getting a dose of the drug and finds himself conflicted in the ranks of his new gang of “crime fighting” friends. Filled with frenetic action, lots of blood, cool fx and a big hairy ass werewolf, Full Eclipse is 90’s horror action gold. It also showcases Mario’s skills as an action hero that really deserved much more cred back in the day. I love that he basically becomes Wolverine with a gun! You can’t go wrong with this one, it’s kind of like werewolf vigilante version of The Lost Boys meets the X-men!
Web of Deception (1989)
This rad little creepy Hong Kong thriller is a ton of fun! It’s got an all female cast of women who get tangled in a true “web of bloody deception” filled with evil double crossing and plenty of murder. A high profile business woman finds herself being blackmailed by a mysterious stranger right before she’s to relocate to Canada for a new job opportunity. Becoming more than obsessed in finding out who the crook is she’s soon stalked inside of her dimly lit mansion by the money hungry perp. Things get fully out of control & over the top as several “friendly” acquaintances find themselves wrapped up in the drama as well and soon no one is to be trusted. This absurd, darkly comedic thriller takes so many unbelievably fun twists and turns that you’ll have to turn your own suspension of disbelief up to 11, all the way to it’s crazy finale. Great sinister atmosphere & awesome evil females really prove that the ladies can be just as terrible as the men. It can be tuff to find, but it’s definitely worth the trouble to track down..
The Aftermath (1982)
Have you ever seen ‘Empire of the Dark’? If so you’re likely a big fan of Steve Barkett, the most unlikely of action heroes!! If you’ve never seen “Empire” you’ll likely wanna check ‘The Aftermath’ first, though not as ridiculously over the top as it’s predecessor it’s a great intro to the “younger” more “fit” version of Barkett. The Aftermath was written, directed, produced by & stars Barkett and you can definitely tell it’s the case because he’s always way on top of his damn game. It’s got a sort of ‘Planet of the Apes’ type of thing going on, as he plays an astronaut who returns to Earth after a nuclear holocaust to encounter evil gangs, mutants, beautiful women (of course right?) & main diabolical villain, Sid Haig! Barkett pours his heart and soul into making himself the best at damn near everything he attempts and really goes the distance with his limited budget to recreate a demolished cityscape. It’s a grimy world but Barkett is there to clean it up, save the ladies and take no prisoners. It’s a perfect midnight movie, filled with stupidly awesome action sequences and some sweet gore to boot! Double feature this one with Empire of the Dark from 1990 for the full “Barkett Experience’!!
Def by Temptation (1990)
Here’s probably the best Troma release outside of the ‘Toxic Avenger’, a great horror flick that simply deserves more love. One of the few early all black cast/directed horror movies make this a pretty unique viewing experience. The simple tale of an evil succubus who hangs out at a local big city bar to pick up skeezy womanizers and feed on their sinning souls! With a bit of a “Fright Night” vibe going on & a cast of interesting characters (plus a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson!) Def By Temptation def has a lot going for it. The ultra charismatic Kadeem Hardison leads this movie along with James Bond III (who’s sadly the weak link here) as two friends who become involved in the twisted web of the demonic woman, both falling hard for her one night while out at the bar. Add the awesome Bill Nun to the action and you’ve got a pretty well rounded cast of characters looking to get to the bottom of the mysteriously evil barfly. There’s some great 80’s fx here, comedy, gore and plenty of sexy exploits to behold. Much of the movie has a sort of dreamlike feel to it as well and the whole thing just looks fucking great. Super sleazy totally fun horror romp that many fans missed the first time around!
Just a reminder to everyone out there, if you’d forgotten or ever wondered who’d win in a fight between Star Trek’s Spock & Wolverine, I’m here to remind you there is a definitive answer! Yep back in 1996, X-men did indeed meet Star Trek in a one shot comic book crossover and well, just take a look!
Wolverine’s easily one of my all time favorite comic characters & lately I’ve been thinking about the possibility of him entering the MCU and how I hope they go a different direction than the hunky handsome Hugh Jackman version. Don’t get me wrong I like Hugh in the role but this time I hope they go with a shorter, weirder looking actor to portray everyone’s favorite feral mutant.
One of the most important parts of Logan they need to get right is his damn hair! This lead me down the rabbit hole of Wolverine’s hair-do’s and just how crazy they’ve been at times throughout his many years of ass kickin’. Lets take a look at some of his weirdest and wildest do’s!!!
- This one here below is one of my favorites, I like his hair weird and shaped, like it just naturally grows in a way he can’t control, I remember as a kid the first time I saw his hair on this cover I was blown away at how crazy it looked. I like the idea of seeing a dude like this randomly walk into a bar and people being like WTF is up with this guy?!
2. Ok this next one shows just what happens when Logan goes a long time without a hair cut and he’s been under a ton o’ stress! I love his unkempt, insane off the hinges hair-do for sure, I only wish I had hair that could look THIS bad ass!!
3. Well here we have Wolverine with his hair combed pretty neatly & nice, but also we notice that he has an EXTREME widow’s peak. Nice! He must have later decided to shave it off?! I don’t think he should be self conscious though as no matter what, he’s always got that animal magnetism workin’ for him!
4. Ok, now shit’s gotten real extreme, Wolverine must be using some sort of hair gel because his hair here is absolutely NUTS. That’s not to say I don’t dig it, I think it’s kinda punk actually and it’s gonna turn some heads for sure! It’s almost like he’s got two dreadlocks going? Whatever the case I’m a fan of this hairdo but I’m sure he knows it really may not be for everyone!
5. Well here Logan has really decided to start parting his hair down the middle perfectly! I like it. I notice he’s really going for the extreme “chops” / “wild burns” which is also a nice touch, it makes him look especially unhinged, as we can clearly see he spent some serious time in the mirror combing it perfectly to get it to look this way. It’s kinda nice to know he’d take the time to do that.
6. Ok now the “hairspray look” I’m NOT really feeling, I think he got a little too carried away here with his style. I don’t think he could even fit his mask on his head if he tried. Still this look shows he has some real guts and likely really doesn’t care if anyone makes fun of him, I respect that. I guess If I saw him in person I’d tell him it looked pretty rad just to make sure I didn’t piss him off.
7. Yowza!! Here he’s got kind of a different look altogether with his wild hair just kind of freely flowing, I’m still guessing that he took some time with those front strands to get them so nice an curled, I like it, but prefer when it’s slightly more contained, it also makes his face look a bit “gaunt”?
8. Ok, ok this time he’s clearly went WAY too far with the long ass hair, I mean everyone has the right to try and grow it out but this time it seems like it might actually hinder his fighting ability. Still it’s nice to see what happens if he was ALL in on NOT getting a hair cut! It’s not my favorite, but it is pretty damn impressive that he could pull this shit off!
9. Well here it looks like he maybe went to a salon and had his hair relaxed and straightened professionally by a stylist, either that or he spent most of his years going through a LOT of trouble to make his hair stand up the way it had. Who know’s though, it kinda looks like he might’ve went on a meth binge or has the flu or some shit which could explain things as well here. I’m pretty certain though he just felt like trying a whole new look altogether, while I like his obvious effort, I think he just looks too damn average and should always let those locks grow up and away!
10. Clearly here he decided he just got 100% tired of his wild hair finally and just didn’t want to deal with it any more at all. I think he might have ran into the Punisher and decided to copy his look. Like I said above he looks too much like an average Joe with claws. But what the hell do I know, at least he tried something different right?
Well that’s it, I think Wolverine has the best hair in comics, I always have. The proof is there as well because there’re many characters in Marvel comics who’ve copied his damn style! The Beast & The Owl to name a few fully ripped his look off! Did I miss any of his extreme hair-do’s?! if so please chime in!!!
So it’s no secret that the summer blockbusters of 2019 have been underperforming at the box office this year, unless you’re a Marvel movie there’s a good chance you just ain’t makin’ the boatloads of easy cash off of eager hungry consumers like you used to!! So far we’ve had some big flops and under performers in theaters this summer, Hellboy, X-men: Dark Phoenix, Men In Black International, Godzilla: King of The Monsters, Shaft and I’m sure a few more flops to come.
It almost seems that after the extravaganza of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ people just ain’t that impressed with what Hollywood’s a pushin’! So what the heck gives here? I’ve got 5 reasons why I think people just ain’t buyin’ what big ol’ Hollywood’s selling!
Bland, Soulless, Predictable & Safe Storytelling
One thing I’ve noticed over the recent years is that these big ass summer blockbusters don’t bring much new to the table, instead of setting trends they now play off of what’s trending on social media etc to try and ensure they make maximum profit. It’s clear to audiences that they’re being marketed to and a lot of the themes we see in current movies feel a bit forced into the narrative. The plot lines feel predictable & safe, being very careful not to push the boundaries. However, nobody likes to feel pandered to, especially just to make a quick buck. Today Hollywood blockbusters feel a bit too calculated, like a Mcdonald’s happy meal version of a movie. It tastes good for a moment but doesn’t provide much real nourishment. These huge movies need to set trends again and take more risks. Most of these stories being told on the big screen now follow a rigid formula, it’s time to shake things up a bit and develop some compelling content that will blow audiences minds & keep them thinking long after they leave the theater.
Cinematic Politics & Social Media Movie Battles
Sure social media can be a cool way to connect with friends all over the world but it’s also caused a major political rift in movie fans, especially online. Everyone has a damn platform and everyone’s ready to state their opinion for the whole world to hear. The landscape of politics (here in the USA at least) is a gigantic mess, people are more than ready to call each other names and insult each others political beliefs any chance they can and then some. If you’ve noticed now there’re Youtube channels whose main focus is to tear down movies that they feel promote left leaning agendas and vice versa. Now we’ve got boycotts & petitions galore that are raging against movies from angry fans who think they’re promoting a threatening political views. We’ve got Hollywood directors & industry people arguing with angry fans on twitter about their movies and political leanings. When a movie’s released people immediately jump in to examine what side of the political spectrum it falls upon & then get bent out of shape about it on their social media platforms. Most claim they want to go to the movies to escape from the worries of today’s society, but people are so divided (and making good profit off that anger on their platforms) these days and I’m not seeing this trend dying down any time soon. At least until we get a new damn President!
Poorly Planned Franchise Reboots & Sequels
There’s a lot of bad, uninspired franchise sequels and reboots out there these days making their way into theaters. Hollywood is trying their hardest to capitalize off of nostalgia these days. It seems they think that if they simply slap say ‘Star Wars’ brand on a movie that it’s gonna mean butts in seats at the cinema. Not the case, people are clearly smarter these days when it comes to their choice of entertainment. Lots of franchises attempting to reboot with younger “hip” stars and leaving the old actors in the dust. I mean what really is ‘Men in Black’ without Will Smith? How about Star Wars with crusty old grumpy Luke Skywalker that barely lifts a finger in the movie? Or the Ghostbusters without any of the original characters starring in it to properly pass the torch? Hollywood is a bit clueless when it comes to how to execute these sequels, fans want to see a respectful portrayal of classic older characters who’re set to pass the torch to younger generation. Some of these reboots/sequels actually seem downright disrespectful to the original characters, sweeping them under the rug as quickly as possible to usher in the new characters. There needs to be a class taught to all of these clueless Hollywood executives on how to successfully pass the torch in a franchise. If you take a crap on a beloved franchise the fans of it will roast your ass on social media. The fans today have more power than ever and it’s a new angle that’s got Hollywood baffled.
Spectacle over Story
It’s kinda crazy now, almost every blockbuster movie franchise has been trying to set up a cinematic universe because they think they can reap the same benefits as the MCU does. However what most of these franchises get wrong is that they simply haven’t spent the time worldbuilding building the way Marvel has over the the last 10 plus years. Most of these failing franchises spend their movie’s runtime trying to set up the next sequels rather than telling a compelling story with top notch character development. Instead they simply litter the movie with a bunch of shiny, glossy CGI & flashy explosions convinced that lone is enough to entice movie goers to get all amped up for their planned spinoffs. Well listen up Hollywood, going to the theaters is expensive and people just aren’t as dumb as you seem to think they are, yeah we got options these days with all the streaming content out there. Movies better step it with their storytelling otherwise we’re gonna stay home! So many of these franchise are dumbed down to a level that just won’t entice the masses like they used to. We want original stories, not rehashed plots from previous movies in the franchise. Sure the spectacle can be fun, but there’s a certain over saturation of mind numbing movies out there now and yours better be more than just fluff. Stop trying to predict what the masses are going to eat up and spend some time writing stories we haven’t already heard. Most of the movies feel like they’ve been looking at what’s trending on twitter and writing a story around that. I’ll say it again, Hollywood needs to set the trends again rather than blindly trying to follow them.
Star Power Ain’t What it Used to Be
Back in the 1980’s blockbusters were a just as big a deal but they usually had one thing going for them that’s missing today-star power. People would rush to the movies just to see Stallone or Schwarzennegar do their thing. It was an event. Not so much today, the days of larger than life celebs has somehow died, putting one of the stars of say the Avengers franchise in one doesn’t automatically equally box office gold. I’m not sure what changed over the years but people are far less starstruck than ever before. This means Hollywood has got try even harder to put something out that feels fresh and original, a good cast is still important but it’s clearly NOT a deal breaker anymore.