The Great Gremlins Goof

I tried getting over it, but I just can’t. As regular readers will hopefully remember, I’m a big fan of both Gremlins movies. I even watched both of them leading into Christmas again this year. Heck, I watched Gremlins twice because I realized after I finished it the first time that director Joe Dante and company did a commentary track that I had never listened to before, which spawned me to watch the sequel with a similar commentary.

So, when I saw that Mondo would be selling the above, awesome Gremlins poster drawn by Ken Taylor I was pretty excited, I even mentioned it in my increasingly sporadic Casting Internets section last week. In an effort to get my hands on one of the posters–I liked the above basic one better than the variant–I started following Mondo on Twitter and kept my eyes peeled. In fact, I only left my computer for about 10-15 minutes to take a shower. And guess what? That’s when the poster went on sale. Blam, I missed it.

Now, I don’t usually get too excited about these things. The reality of the situation is that I don’t actually have space to put up cool posters like this. I don’t currently have an office and as cool as this poster is, it wouldn’t really fit in our living room. I’ve been cutting way down on the amount of geeky stuff I purchase mostly because of space and financial restrictions, but I figured this poster would be worth it to buy now and hold on to for that fateful day when I actually have an office or man cave.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. By the time I got back to my computer it had sold out. It was about 10 minutes. The Gremlins 2 poster was still available, but it just didn’t strike me as much as the other one. I know I should be over it by now. I had a wonderful Christmas with my wife and daughter–her first. I’ve had some great time off with family and friends. And yet, it still gnaws at me a bit. I made the mistake of looking them up on ebay yesterday and they’re going for hundreds of dollars. Ugh. Well hopefully, this post will help get the disappointment out of my system. I mean, there’s way bigger things in this world to worry about than a poster, right?

Ad It Up: Power Lords Video Game

I don’t know much about Power Lords. I might have had a few of the toys, but the majority of my knowledge comes from a ToyFare articles I read years ago, but even that has become something of a fuzzy memory. In addition to the toys and the comic book from DC, there was apparently also a video game back in 1984 as you can see from this ad scanned from the second issue of the supremely weird Jack of Hearts mini. Like many of its fellow properties, I think the toys of the 80s are ripe for the picking in full-on IPO reboots, especially in the world of video games which seems to have a fan base that is both nostalgic while at the same time willing to absorb new properties as long as they’re well put together. Someone needs to make this happen.

Books Of Oa: Green Lantern Brightest Day

Green Lantern: Brightest Day (DC)
Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Doug Mahnke
Collects Green Lantern #53-62

First and foremost, I have to say that Doug Mahnke should be the biggest artist in the biz. The fact that he isn’t boggles this long time reader’s mind. He has such a knack for creating big, bold figures that seem iconic while also having a style that’s all his own. I love that about him and have since my days reading his run on Superman: Man of Steel and later JLA. A book like Green Lantern is perfect for him because he gets to draw those classic characters while also rendering big crazy monsters like Atrocitus, Larfleez and various members of the Sinestro Corps while also getting to play with a rainbow’s worth of constructs.

So, I guess I should talk about the book itself. After the events of Blackest Night, there’s a whole lot of lanterns running around, including several still found on earth like GL Hal Jordan, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris, Red Lantern Atrocitus, Blue Lantern Saint Walker, Sinestro and even Orange Lantern Larfleez. And, it’s a good thing because a mysterious figure is trying to round up all the emotion entities like Parallax and Ion to start some intergalactic shiz. Throw in Indigo and you’ve got a pretty impressive line-up of folks trying to stop that from happening. We also see what I believe is the first mention of Guy Gardner’s secret pact with Atrocitus and Ganthet that spurs GL, GLC and Green Lantern Emerald Warriors on between Blackest Night and the upcoming War of the Green Lanterns (upcoming for me, I mean).

In the meantime, as everyone figures out what’s going on, there are some awesome scenes for your reading enjoyment and most of them are made all the better for Mahnke’s involvement. You’ve got Larfleez approaching Lex Luthor again, Hector Hammond getting involved with the orange lantern, Sinestro trying to lift the white lantern that’s still on earth and–best of all–the appearance of Lobo who throws down with Hal, Sinestro and Carol. I’ve always been a fan of Lobo’s look and no one should ever draw him again after Mahnke absolutely murdered his interpretation.

Overall, I found this to be a fun collection that mixes the big, overarching stories that Geoff Johns is known for and also a lot of the smaller moments that might not mean as much to the larger story, but still tickled my DC fanboy fancy. It also includes the back-up story origin of Red Lantern Dex-Star which nearly brought me to tears the first time I read it. I actually skipped it in this collection because I’ve become even more of a softy since I first read it way back when. Kids will do that to you, I guess.

Casting Internets

For once, I’m close to up to date on my Read It Later reading, so I figured I’d do a CI before Christmas comes and I ignore the internet fort a while!

In addition to my daily Spinoff posts, I also wrote a bunch of stories for CBR including an interview with Jim Valentino about Shadowline, Tim Seeley relaunching Bloodstrike as well as Seeley and Ron Marz on Witchblade.

James Kochalka once again captured one of the thoughts that runs through my head every day back on December 20th. So much coffee…Um, I almost can’t write how much I like this Gremlins poster from Mondo.

How freaking awesome is it that the Foo Fighters and their audience in New Zealand emitted volcanic tremors? (via Rolling Stone)From the world of sketchblogs, I’ve been really enjoying Scott C’s Christmas themed Showdowns and Glen Brogan’s 25 Days of Christmas entries.

I’m fascinated by places writers write, so I dig seeing Peter Straub’s entry on Write Place, Write Time.

Ron Marz did his most recent Shelf Life post on a similar subject: writing location. Makes me want a desk and and miss my old coffee shop hangout at the same time.

I’m very curious how the Beach Boys will sound on their 50th anniversary tour. (via Rolling Stone)

Jeffrey Tambor has learned quite a lot of interesting things and passed them along to us through Esquire. My personal favorite bit: “The secret of life is to be surrounded by people who get you — just the people who get you.”
I haven’t seen any of the Peter Davidson Doctor Who stuff, but I very much like the Springfield Punx version of him. Fabio Moon drawing a Serenity story for Dark Horse’s Free Comic Book Day offering? Yes please.

Canceled TV Cavalcade: Party Down (2009-2010)

I don’t remember exactly when my wife and I tried watching Party Down for the first time. I think it was before we finished Veronica Mars (possibly before we even started) and might have even been while she was still pregnant. We watched the first two episodes of the show about a group of LA carterers who all want to be doing something else and then stopped. I’ll get to why in a bit.

To break things down, you’ve got Ken Marino playing the very enthusiastic boss who wants to own his own salad restaurant franchise, Adam Scott plays a former actor just trying to make ends meet, Lizzy Caplan wants to be a comedian/actress, Martin Starr wants to write hard sci-fi screenplays, Jane Lynch was an actress and Ryan Hansen also wants to be an actor. Each episodes features the gang working some kind of event from a funeral to an NFL draft party and sweet 16s to singles parties. The events themselves lead to various misunderstandings, but there are also overarching stories about these people, their relationships and what’s going on outside of work.

Much like Louie, a show whose first season I watched and wrote about over on my dad blog Pop Poppa, the thing that makes Party Down click for me is how real it gets at times. Sure, there are the usual sticky relationships between some of the caterers, but  there are also some real moments of camaraderie between these people who would otherwise not even know one another.

The moments that got to me the most, though were the ones closest to home. Seeing as how the cast of characters is essentially made up of people trying to follow their very-difficult-to-attain dreams, there are several moments throughout the 20 episode series where they question whether their goals are actually attainable or not. As someone who would love to get his act together and write a book or a screenplay, I can completely relate to this. When is it time to finally give up and move on to a job at the Post Office or something? Or isn’t there a time? The great thing about this series is that, one of these low points actually takes place at an awkwardly planned orgy party.

The reason my wife and I stopped watching Party Down the first time around is because the second episode isn’t very good. The mostly liberal caterers find themselves working a college conservative party that Governor Schwarzenneger is supposed to attend. The political angel is actually fine, but Marino’s arc in the episode is just ridiculous and involves him not only dealing with one ruined flag that’s supposed to be given to the governor, but later taking a different flag, dirtying it on the ground right out in front of the party and accidentally setting it on fire. It sounds like something out of an old slapstick movie. I’ve got no problem with slapstick, but it just doesn’t fit the overall tone of the show and didn’t make me want to keep watching. I know a few other people I’ve talked to stalled out here, but I really recommend powering through or just skipping that one and moving on through the rest of the series.

Christmas Stories: Gentle Giant Snowbunny Padme Mistletoe Bust

In previous posts, I’ve written about Gentle Giant’s awesome holiday themed statues that they send out to folks around Christmas time. Back in 2008, I received the Commander Cody statue with light-up snowman and scarf, then in 2009 I got the Yak Face with reindeer antlers and candy cane cane. I figured, since I was no longer working at ToyFare, ol’ Yak Face would be the last one I’d get, which was a bit sad but totally understandable. Then as if delivered by Santa himself instead of the mailman, I was surprised and excited to find a Gentle Giant box in the mail.

Since it came after Christmas (or maybe after we left to see family for the holidays, I can’t quite remember), I didn’t put what has been dubbed Snowbunny Padme up, so she was a welcome addition to my little Star Wars shelf when the missus and I started putting our  decorations up. The mistletoe and furry cape are a really nice touch. I’m not going to get my hopes up this year, but you never know when a Christmas miracle is going to happen!

Books Of Oa: Green Lantern Emerald Warriors

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors (DC)
Written by Peter J. Tomasi, drawn by Fernando Pasarin
Collects Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1-7

After reading every post-Rebirth Green Lantern comic culminating in Blackest Night, I needed a bit of a Green Lantern break. Then, a week or two back I realized I had most of the books that followed and decided to give them a read. I should say that I only read a few random Brightest Day issues and have very little idea of what happened in that book, but from what I can tell by the Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors issues I read, it doesn’t really matter all that much. I should also say that I read these collections a bit out of order. It would have been best to read GL: Brightest Day first and then Emerald Warriors and the GLC books, but it’s not that big of a deal, I’ll explain as I go.

The reason I chose to read Emerald Warriors first is because I really enjoyed Tomasi’s run on GLC and because I’m a big Guy Gardner fan, so it seemed like a natural fit. Basically, Guy hears about some trouble in the unknown sectors which are pretty much what they sound like, areas not patrolled by GLs. He asks the Guardians about exploring these areas and they agree, deciding to send Kilowog and Arisia along as well. Meanwhile, Sodam Yat makes something of a come back as a kind of religious leader.

While the series seemed a little like a fresh start that still dealt with Tomasi’s elements from his GLC run that would stand on its own, giving some fan favorite GLs the spotlight, it turned out to be a big lead into War of the Green Lanterns which I have yet to read. See, Guy was actually working on prophecy that he saw and shared with Ganthet and Atrocitus. The three decided to work together in secret and this formed the backbone of all three GL books. The main threat is an alien named Zardor who has enslaved an army of psychics to help cloud the minds of Green Lanterns into thinking they’re fighting evil when they’re really fighting for him.

Normally I’d throw in a bit here about how I wish the whole series was collected in one volume, but as the few remaining issues of EW were part of the larger War of the GL storyline, it makes more sense for them to be collected in that order. This book isn’t really satisfying on its own, but it is a fun step towards the next big, huge GL story. I probably would have preferred letting each book do it’s own thing after Blackest Night, but what I’ve read of the in-between stuff, War is probably worth the build up. I hope.

Ad It Up: James Bond RPG II

I like this ad for Victory Games’ James Bond RPG a lot more than the one I posted back in April.It’s still a little sloppy, but you can’t go wrong with Odd Job comic book artwork. Man, I really wish there was a quarterly Bond comic by the best and brightest in the comics biz. This ad’s from the second issue of the Jack of Hearts mini from 1984.

Christmas Stories: Why Is Best Buy Being So Mean To Santa?

Seriously, who thought getting mean ladies to pick on Santa Claus, the bringer of joy to millions, would make for a great ad campaign this holiday season. I get that they’re trying to be funny and there’s nothing wrong with the concept itself, but when you’re trying to get laughs off of one of the most popular icons of the past century while also trying to make money off of the holiday he is associated with, it just feels off.

Am I off on this one? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended, I just think these commercials are annoying and a little mean-spirited. Though, considering how people act on Black Friday and in pretty much every mall parking lot from the end of November until the third week of January, maybe that’s fitting.

Christmas Stories: The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Dig That Crazy Christmas

I know I’ve been severely lacking in Christmas Stories posts this year. It’s not because I’m not having trouble getting into the season, but I am having trouble writing posts about getting into the season. Also, turns out I’ve written about a lot of this stuff already, which makes sense because we watch most of the same movies and listen to the same records every single year.

But, I did get a few new Christmas discs that I’m pretty excited about. The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Dig That Crazy Christmas from 2005 has been on my radar since it came out, but it wasn’t until Amazon sold the digital version for $5 (it’s $8.99 now) that I added it to our collection. I’d been a fan of Setzer’s since the swing revival of the late 90s. After getting Dirty Boogie along with the rest of the world, I also went back and got Guitar Slinger and later picked up the one and only ’68 Comeback Special disc. I really dig the rockabilly sound Setzer produces and thinks he really utilized his band. There’s also a lot of surf rock elements that I really enjoy.

Thankfully, all of those elements are on Dig That Crazy Christmas and it makes for a really fun holiday sonic adventure. There’s a great mix of standards like “White Christmas” and “Let It Snow” as well as blues and swing based tunes I hadn’t heard before and even a couple of original songs.

One of my favorite tracks on the record is the noodly mostly instrumental version of “Angels We Have Heard On High.” It’s already such a big and powerful song, which is both exemplified and amplified by the combination of the Orchestra and Setzer’s chops. And that’s really what I’m looking for in new Christmas albums: new takes on old favorites. Usually I’m the guy that wants new inserted into most things and that’s occasionally the case when it comes to Christmas music, but I usually want to sing along and if you can’t do it better or in a different way than Bing Crosby, Dean Martin or Peggy Lee, don’t bother. Setzer and company make these songs their own and thus give a nice rocking take on the songs I know and love.