I’ve had a lot of good luck when it comes to entertainment choices lately and wanted to talk about them all in one place! First, let’s talk about comics. In addition to reading a ton of Guardians of the Galaxy and monster comics for Marvel.com I’ve also been going back through the 90s Aquaman series (which will get a post of its own soon) and also the first two volumes of Paper Girls from Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Image Comics.
Considering BKV is one of the best, most innovative writers in comics and the fact that, aside from Ex Machina I’ve loved everything of his I’ve read, I had high expectations for Paper Girls even though I knew nothing about the series. And they were surpassed. This comic starts off as an 80s-set look at what it means to be a paper girl and perfectly evolves into this giant epic about time travel, giant monsters, clones and the eternal struggle between young and old. BKV and Chiang do an excellent job of capturing the angst of early teens and backdropping that against these big crazy events, which was a cornerstone of the kid-based films of the 80s that I still love. Plus, if you’re into tales that go wild places you didn’t expect, then this will also be one of your favorite comics around. I won’t get into the details too much aside to say that, if you like Stranger Things, I think you’ll love this story. I can’t wait to read the third volume AND catch up on his excellent Saga series with Fiona Staples!
Moving on to movies! I discovered a director while looking around the options on Amazon Prime and his name is Greydon Clark. First I watched his 1978 car gang flick Hi-Riders while I was on a kick of 70s American movies. The Hi-Riders hang out at an abandoned western movie set where they basically do all the things bikers do, but they’re car dudes instead (some are bikers, it doesn’t really matter).
Like a lot of the lower budget counterculture films I’ve seen, it’s a collection of scenes more than a full through story, but thanks to a wild sense of tone it covers everything from a super goofy love scene in a field followed in quick succession by a car race, a fiery death, a bar party and the massacre of several Hi-Riders at a gas station. This movie is all over the place, but that’s life, right?
After that I realized that another of Clark’s films, Angels’ Brigade, was not only on Prime, but also my queue, so it was next. In this one, a teacher puts together a team of bad ass ladies to take on some local drug dealers. Clark decided to mix up the timeline, starting with an assault on the compound and then shooting back to how the team got together. It’s an interesting choice, but that’s what I like about Clark’s films: he does a lot with a little budget and makes just about every scene interesting in one way or another. These are definitely not cookie cutter projects. It seems like a lot of his films are on Prime, so I look forward to digging through them and seeing how they do against these. I’ll even give Joysticks another watch. I’d also like to get my hands on a copy of his book On The Cheap: My Life In Low Budget Filmmaking.
Finally, I’ve gotten back into listening to Old Time Radio shows on the regular again. Over the years I’ve bought a few different DVDs and CDs packed with old shows, but haven’t actually listened to too many. After some flipping around I saw that the Alan Ladd show Box 13 was on there and figured I could use some noir-ish adventures in my ears.
The 52 episode series revolves around Dan Holliday, a former newspaperman turned fiction writer who placed an ad in the paper stating, “Adventure wanted, will go anywhere, do anything — write Box 13, Star-Times.” Each episode he gets word from Suzy about a note that sends him on an adventure he hopes to use as source material. As a wannabe writer, I love the basic concept and have had a good time listening to the first few episodes which involve him being framed for murder, tracking down a seemingly dead man and helping an old lady with a corpse in her hotel room. If this sounds even remotely interesting to you, you can check out every single episode for free over at the excellent Archive.org site.