I can’t believe it’s been two years since I posted a Super Powers TCT! Hopefully this one featuring the Super Mobile and the Lexor 7 (SP?) will make up for it. Looking back at that older post and then watching this clip remind me of how much I freaking loved toys back in the 80s. I used to have so much fun taking my guys (that’s what I called them) and having all kinds of crazy adventures around my living room, even building my own playsets and using whatever I could find to make things more dangerous for our heroes, just like the kids in this commercial. Do kids do this anymore? If not, they should be taught how to play based solely on Super Powers, Secret Wars, He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers commercials.
Thanks to Horror Movie A Day’s review of Black Roses, I’ve been introduced into the weird world of 80s rock and roll horror movies. Well, technically, I’d seen the ridiculously bad Slumber Party Massacre 2 when I was in high school and again at a Manly Movie Night which has to count with the weird demon Elvis impersonator running around and killing kids with a drill guitar, but I didn’t realize it was a whole sub genre. HMAD’s post and the comments pointed me towards Black Roses and Rock N Roll Nightmare, both of which I added to the top of my queue. It’s too bad you don’t see more punk rock, glam, grunge or hip hop based horror.
Anyway, I only kind of half paid attention to RNRN, but I still thoutoughly enjoyed it, even though the beginning eerily mimics a story I’ve been working on since last summer. Anyway, it’s about this metal band that goes to a remote-ish house to record their new album, but things don’t go as planned as his band members and their groupies start getting eaten by some evil force which takes over various peoples’ bodies. Then, at the end, the demon turns into Satan and the lead singer from the band reveals that he’s an archangel. There’s some weirdness about shadows and whatnot at the end, but their battle is pretty rad. I really wish I had watching this flick at a Manly Movie Night or with a few friends because it seemed like there were plenty of laughable parts. I mean, hell, just look at that DVD cover. It’s a think of weird glory.
On the other hand, I did pay attention to Black Roses and man is it a strange movie. It starts off with a monster band playing a show and then getting broken up by the cops, but zombies run around. Then we see a couple of rad, 80s-tastic sports cars roll into a small town, stand around and then plaster fliers everywhere. Soon enough we meet the hip, cool English teacher at the high school and are shown that there’s a group of parents who are outraged that a metal group wants to perform in their town. So, it’s going to be like a horror version of Footloose? Nope, right after that, the mayor gets up and he’s pretty level headed about the whole thing. In fact, the adults end up coming off WAY better than the kids in this flick, as seemingly every kid in town is very easily swayed by the band, who of course really are demons whose sound somehow transforms the rest of the town into zombies or demons or girls who will have sex with old men or parent killers. There isn’t a single hero kid who doesn’t get sucked in and tries to help. In fact, the hero is actually the English teacher, which might be a first for horror. So, really, the message of this movie is that metal really is evil and English teachers are awesome.
The end of the movie is pretty great as the teach faces off against the lead singer-turned demon. You also get a scene where Big Pussy himself, Vincent Pastore gets eaten by a monster coming out of a speaker. Gah, plus, look at that poster it looks like an Ed Hardy shirt! And this one where a kid wearing an Incredible Hulk sweatshirt starts throwing his Super Powers figures (Superman, Batman and Aquaman) into the fire place, but keeps his Masters of the Universe Scare Glow figure safe. His dad, who is clearly in the same room looks up and says “Jason what are you still doing up?” Then the kid says he was punishing the bad guys. Oh and a few minutes or scenes later, the dad screws his daughter’s friend after coming back from one of the many demon rock concerts. So, overall it’s a pretty crazy movie. Not particularly violent or gory aside from a throat slicing that’s kinda rough. Black Roses would also make for a great viewing with friends. Anyone know of any other rock and roll horror films I should check out? I guess Jennifer’s Body might kind sorta count and so might Dark Floors even though you have no idea the characters are base don a band if you go in cold.
Hey, let’s pretend it’s Tuesday and I didn’t forget to post this yesterday. Today’s toy commercial is a double whammy of Super Powers from YouTube featuring all kinds of figures, vehicles and even the Hall Of Justice playset. You know what else it has? Brainiac kicking the Justice League in the nards. I didn’t have a ton of Super Powers figures as a kid, but I still have my Superman and Hawkman figures somewhere in my collection and do like how the DC Universe Classics team has redone almost every figure in their line. Now we just need that playset!
Doesn’t look like things will be letting up any time soon and seeing as I’ve been falling asleep pretty early these days, I haven’t been able to watch many movies. I will get around to the second part of that Thanksgiving weekend round-up though, because I want to get to my Squirm and Return to Sleepaway Camp (love that movie!). But, I’ve got some time now and I’ve been doing some trade reading so here we go.
SCALPED: DEAD MOTHERS (VOL. 3) (Vertigo/DC)
Written by Jason Aaron, Drawn by John Paul Leon, R.M. Guera & Davide Furno
Scalped is one of those books that I got to late in the game and have yet to actually catch up to the monthly issues, so I’m mostly grabbing the trades from the library as they come out. I dig the story for the most part, especially because it takes me to a world that I’m otherwise unfamiliar with in the form of an Native American reservation. Plus, there’s all kinds of action and intrigue and some great names (I especially like our main character’s Dashiell Bad Horse).
This particular trade focuses mainly on Dashiell working on a dead hooker case because he promised her son that he would while others investigate his own mother’s death. There’s obviously a lot of history between Dash and pretty much everyone else on the reservation and Aaron does a good job of giving just enough details as we read to keep us from getting completely lost but also not overwhelming the reader with needles detail. It’s a harder balance to achieve than you might think. I also like how the villain of the story, Lincoln Red Crow (the guy that Dash, an undercover agent is trying to pin a murder on) is more interested in finding his mother’s killer (they used to be lovers) than Dash himself. But even he’s got problems of his own as various outside forces are trying to push and pull him and the casino he runs.
Really, that’s what I like about the series as a whole: there’s a lot going on, but not too much. Aaron’s got a great sense of pacing and knows when to throw in some kick ass action scenes to balance all the other personal aspects of the book. I’m really curious to see where the series goes (they introduced a new character in the form of honest reservation cop Franklin Falls Down who seems like he’ll have a lot of potential). I’m also looking forward to seeing how Aaron writes a long form story like this one. I’m not sure if there’s an end point in mind that he’s working towards, but I’ve only read a handful of his other books, some I liked, some I didn’t, so I hope he ends this one with a bang.
SWAMP THING: LOVE AND DEATH (DC)
Written by Alan Moore, Drawn by Stephen Bissette, John Totleben & Shawn McManus
This is the second Swamp Thing trade collecting Alan Moore’s run on the book that helped launch his career and shoot comics to whole new levels. To me, it’s one of the last few epic comic runs that I haven’t read yet, so I’m glad to finally get to it (though I don’t have any more of the trades, so we’ll see how that goes), which is too bad because I really dug this book and am curious to see where it goes.
Most of the trade follows the developing relationship between Swamp Thing and Abigale including her short-lived death. There are all kinds of horror elements bouncing around these pages, including Swamp Thing’s visit to the afterlife which boasts guest spots by Etrigan, Phantom Stranger, Deadman and the Spectre. I really like how firmly Swamp Thing takes place in the DCU, proving that you can do Vertigo type stories in the same world that Superman flies around in (Sandman also did this on a few occasions).
I’ve also got to mention the semi sex scene between Swamp Thing and Abigale at the end of the last issue. It’s not as gross as it might sound as Abby eats a fruit that Swamp Thing grows from his chest and then they go on a super-trippy ride that we become voyeurs to.
But I didn’t like everything about this collection. There’s a story called “Pog” which featured some tiny cartoon-like aliens landing on Earth hoping to find a new home to call their own. The story itself is interesting, but the problem is the dialogue. These aliens talk different, making up words that seem and sound an awful lot like English, but took me way too long to read as my brain kept trying to read the words I’m used to. Props to Alan for coming up with this new language, but it drove me a little crazy. Oh well. I’m probably going to ditch these trades in favor of the hardcovers they’re putting out shortly (or is it out yet? I dunno).
DIANA PRINCE WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2 (DC)
Written & drawn by Mike Sekowsky
Man, I love these swinging Wonder Woman issues, each one is like a Roger Corman movie starring my favorite Star Spangled Amazon (missing her stars of course). For those of you who may not know, these Diana Prince tales follow Wonder Woman around after losing her powers and becoming a kung-fu boutique owner hanging out with blind martial arts master I Ching.
This volume not only collects Wonder Woman issues, but also a Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane issue in which the constantly swooning Lois gets jealous of Superman spending so much time with Wonder Woman who appears to have regained her powers. There’s even this hilarious scene where Wonder Woman takes Superman to a club and he starts dancing so intensely that he almost sets the floor on fire, after which he thinks to himself: “Did I goof! I can’t forget myself for an instant! That’s the trouble with being super! I can’t relax like ordinary people!” I don’t want to ruin the ending, but it’s your average cheesy silver age stuff (which is pretty different than the rest of the trade, because this particular story was written by Robert Kanigher).
There’s also an issue of Brave and the Bold with Wonder Woman and I Ching in another country (though I don’t think they ever say which one) in which a big car race is happening. It just so happens that Bruce Wayne is also there racing along with some bad dude (his name’s not really important). Well, the bad dude tries to kill Bruce because he’s such a good driver so Bruce calls Gotham and gets his buddy Batman to come race for him. There’s actual panels with Batman driving and his cape shooting out behind him flapping in the wind. I had literally just watched a Roger Corman movie with similar themes that I had just watched (Young Racers). Man, that movie was boring (hey, look, a movie review!), but this comic is great.
The rest of the trade involves the return of Dr. Cyber along with an adventure to Hong Kong and the addition of a new young lady who Diana saves from THEM (always written in big red block letters) and then gives a job in her boutique. I really love how the series bounces around from somewhat typical superhero stuff to all kinds of other genres without missing a beat. There’s also something fun about seeing Wonder Woman mingling with Superman and Batman even back in the late 60s/early 70s. These are great books for anyone even remotely interested in Wonder Woman or movies and TV from that time period, these are the books for you.
JACK KIRBY’S FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS (VOL. 4)
Written & drawn by Jack Kirby
I’ve had a very on again off again relationship with these New Gods Omnibi (Ominbuses?). Sometimes I’ll get really into them but then I’ll put the book down for weeks or even months at a time, which was the case with this, the last in series. The main reason is that, for reasons that are probably explained in the intro by Mark Evanier that I haven’t read yet, Jack’s books weren’t doing so well and were canned, which means this book collects the last issues of The Forever People (which I liked a lot more than I thought I would), New Gods (my personal favorite of the ongoings) and then a bunch of Mr. Miracle issues (it lasted longer than the others), the new stories Jack created for the reprints and finally the Hunger Dogs graphic novel. The problem is that it’s like watching a TV show that you know doesn’t have a real ending, one that got canceled before it’s time; all the pieces are good, but you’re not sure about the pay off.
I read the FP and NG issues completely but ended up skimming the Mr. Miracle stuff as it wasn’t really my favorite of the books. I did enjoy the final two stories though, because it felt like Jack was finally able to tell the story that he intended to tell years before. But, man, just think of how cool it would have been to see Jack get to do his thing for real. It’s too bad because it feels like that’s a huge missed opportunity, a story only preserved in the library of unwritten books. Oh well, I really like Hunger Dogs, especially the big huge collage spread that Jack did in the middle of it. Check it out and see how many Star Wars pictures you can find (I spotted the rear end of a Star Destroyer first).
Anyway, there’s a pretty interested ending to Hunger Dogs that I’m not really sure how it was resolved later on when the New Gods re-entered the DCU. I did have a basic history explained to me by Rickey. He said that, basically, Jack created the New Gods, but after he left they just kind of sat around and no one used them until the Super Powers cartoon came along and was looking for a villain. They dug up Darkseid and he’s been a dominating force of evil in the DCU ever since. For someone who’s been reading comics since the early 90s, it’s pretty crazy to think that there was a time when Darkseid and the rest of the New Gods weren’t a big deal.
And finally, if you’re like I was when I first started reading these books and think that these older stories don’t really offer up much to a modern, more sophisticated reader, give them a try. Sean Collins helped me realize what I liked about these stories even when I wasn’t quite sure if I actually liked them. The true art isn’t in the words (the dialogue boxes are pretty easily skipped for the most part in my opinion), but in the art and the emotions and gut punches that Kirby is able to convey with his trademark pencils. Plus, if you can’t find a certain amount of giddy joy in tracing the lines of a Kirby machine, I feel bad for you.
Okay, that’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll get another post in this week, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you (seriously, that’d be crazy).