Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Cover: Claw the Unconquered

Yep, another Wednesday, another sword & sorcery comic cover from the Seventies. Crom help me, I love this stuff. This time around it's the cover to DC Comics' Claw The Unconquered #2, their attempt to cash-in onrival publisher  Marvel's runaway hit Conan series. The art is by the great Ernie Chua (a/k/a Ernie Chan), a terrific Filipino artist who passed away just last week.

I first noticed the artist's work on Batman and Detective Comics, where he drew a damned fine Dark Knight. He was also DC's go-to cover artist for a couple of years there in the mid-Seventies. Later, he was praised for his work on Marvel's barbarian, where he often inked John Buscema on both the color Conan comic and the Savage Sword of Conan B&W magazine. I'll always associate him with the short-lived Claw, though. His Conan work was more polished, and his Batman stuff more widely-seen and appreciated, but Claw was his book. He was the first artist on it, and defined the character's fantasy world.

I always loved his lush inkline, and thought he was a great storyteller. He'll be missed.

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Skyfall?" "Done."


Well, it's an intriguing teaser, I'll give it that, and visually, it looks good. But I haven't really been much of a fan of the Craig era of 007, and was really disappointed in Quantum Of Solace. I also miss the James Bond theme. But... I look forward to seeing more, and hope that the producers surprise me in a more positive way with Skyfall....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sherlock Holmes, Ninjas, and Cavemen

The Warner Archive online store not only offers their own line of Manufactured-On-Demand DVDs, but also carries the MOD lines from Sony and MGM. Right now, they're having a sale on those titles - three MGM or Sony MOD discs for $45. The sale ends Sunday, so I jumped and ordered three cult films I've wanted in my DVD library for a long time.

A Study In Terror - the 1965 Sherlock Holmes thriller, starring John Neville as Holmes. A terrific pastiche, pitting the Great Detective against Jack the Ripper. More pulpy than the similar Murder By Decree.


Pray For Death - arguably the best of Sho Kosugi's Eighties ninja vehicles.


 Yor, The Hunter From The Future - the wild and weird saga of caveman Reb Brown and his adventures fighting dinosaurs and laser-wielding aliens. Utterly crazy stuff from director Antonio Margheriti.


I can't wait...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Cover: Dagar

Gold Key Spotlight was a showcase series for the publisher, and this issue featured an original tale of Don Glut's barbarian adventurer Dagar The Invincible, with interior art and dynamic cover painting by the astounding Jesse Santos.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This Week at DVD Late Show

After a couple week's drought, I've recently posted some new reviews to my DVD Late Show site, and hope to have a few more before the end of the week. The most recent posts include the 1984 Tom Selleck caper film, Lassiter; the new 42nd Street Forever - Blu-ray Edition exploitation trailer compilation; and Logan's Run - The Complete Television Series, starring Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies.

Over the next couple of days, I expect to post reviews of the sleazy 1969 Raquel Welch thriller, Flareup; Nazis At The Center Of The Earth, the 1933 movie serial, The Perils Of Pauline; and the Spaghetti Western classic, A Bullet For The General, which is new on Blu-ray.

I hope you'll swing by the site and check 'em out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Crayon Dragon


This delightfully whimsical student film by animator Toniko Pantoja is not only incredibly charming, but exhibits some of the most expressive character animation that I've seen in a long, long time. Take three minutes out of your day and watch it - unless you're a hopeless grump, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What I'm Working On

Princess Odyri of Planet X by Gene Gonzales
As is my lot of late, the last few months haven't been very productive due to the usual array of chronic ailments. I have, however, been slowly - if not necessarily steadily - working on finishing up my ends of the Gravedigger graphic novel and the long-delayed, initial Perils On Planet X saga. I had hoped to have both of those wrapped up last month; now I'm shooting for the end of May.
Captain Midnight by Gary Chaloner
I have agreed to write a short Captain Midnight novel(la) for Moonstone (tentatively titled Sword of Damocles), which I have mostly plotted. Once the Gravedigger & POPX scripts are off my desk, Cap is next on my schedule, and I plan to get it written over the Summer. I am also hoping that we'll get the long-promised Captain Midnight one-shot comic done sometime this year, as well.

By the Fall, I hope to be working on a couple of other comics projects, specifically a new Femme Noir special with Joe Staton and Skorpion with Rick Burchett. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

These Are The Voyages To The Bottom Of The Sea

I've been collecting Irwin Allen's Sixties sci-fi series, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, on DVD over the last few years, and at retail prices of  $25-$35 per half-season set, it's been going slow. I simply haven't been able - or willing - to shell out that much for only a half-season of a show - not when there are so many other things on my DVD wish list that I want to add to my video library that are more affordable.

Well, on Friday, Brandi and I swung by our local Best Buy  to see what they might have in the way of cheap Blu-rays. What I discovered was that they happened to have a bunch of TV-on-DVD sets on sale and, in particular, had all of the Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea sets marked down to just under $10 each.

So I finally snagged both volumes of Season 3, and I'll probably go back today or tomorrow and pick up the first half of Season 4 (I already picked up the second volume of that final season a few months ago) and complete my Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea collection.

Sure, it's silly stuff - especially the last two seasons - but I love it. It's definitely my favorite of Irwin Allen's genre shows. I like Time Tunnel (which I have on DVD) and Land Of The Giants (which I don't - yet), too. Have to admit, though... I've never been much of a fan of Lost In Space. I like the first, B&W season okay (and I own it on DVD), but I like those other shows more.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Assembled!

So, the Marvel movie epic, The Avengers, opened today at theaters across the U.S. after already scoring hundreds of millions of dollars around the world. Advance word is astoundingly positive for a super-hero flick (not a genre generally favored by film critics), and I am very eager to see it.

However, since Brandi doesn't like crowds, we probably won't go to see it until sometime next week. Avoiding spoilers will be a bitch....

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Max Allan Collins' NOLAN On Sale

According to Max Allan Collins, the new trade paperback editions of his "Nolan" series from Perfect Crime Books are now on sale. Not only that, but they're all 20% off through the end of May, if you order directly from the publisher.

Click HERE for details.

Each book comes with a new introduction from Max (aside from Mourn the Living, which includes the intro from the Five Star Press edition) and new covers by some guy named Mills....

Hammer Hotties in HD

Among the many upcoming Blu-ray releases that I am looking forward to, Synapse Films' forthcoming HD edition of the 1971 Hammer horror film Twins Of Evil is easily in the top five. Part of the studio's erotic "Karnstein Trilogy" (which included The Vampire Lovers and Lust for A Vampire), Twins features Mary and Madeline Collinson, identical twins who had posed together for Playboy the year before. Of course, the film also stars Hammer veteran Peter Cushing as a puritanical witchfinder.

I've seen the film once before on VHS back in the mid-90s, and am eager to see the stunning Collinson sisters in hi-def. The disc is due the day after my birthday (July 10th), and will include not only a newly-remastered HD transfer but a variety of exclusive supplemental features. Among them is a new retrospective documentary, the original theatrical trailers, and deleted scenes. For more detailed information, visit the Synapse website.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wednesday Cover: Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos

 
As you can probably tell from recent posts to this blog, I've been enjoying a number of Old School 80s-90s action flicks of late, a phase no doubt ignited by my anticipation of a certain all-star action epic due in theaters this summer. As one of the stars in that film is 80s icon, Chuck Norris, here's the cover to the first issue of Marvel/Star Comics' Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos miniseries, a four-color tie-in with the enjoyably goofy 1986 animated series of the same name.

While the interior art on most of these comics was by the legendary Steve Ditko, the covers were by other Marvel artists. In the case of the first issue (pictured above), the art was by the talented team of Mike Zeck and John Beatty (The Punisher).

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

El Gringo!


I actually rather enjoyed Ninja, the 2009 flick that headlined British kickboxer Scott Adkins. I thought it was a fun callback to the Cannon Films of the Eighties like Enter The Ninja & Revenge of The Ninja, and thought that Adkins was quite decent in the lead role. I have since seen him in the passable DTV action flick, Assassination Games, with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and am looking forward to his appearance in the forthcoming Expendables 2.  As I said in my review of Ninja, I believe Adkins has "all the qualities generally required of an action star - he's good looking, muscular, athletic and doesn't talk too much."

Anyway, I've since started following him on Twitter and Facebook. A couple days ago he posted a link to te trailer for his next starring vehicle, El Gringo. From the the trailer posted above, it looks like a wannabe Desperado, but it also looks like it could be fun.