Thursday, September 27, 2012
Here we are on the hind leg of summer in California. One shake away from an unexpected migration into an autumnal world where all comic conventions retreat and go dormant before a barren winter. The beast that is San Diego ComicCon hibernates until roused next year. Relative newcomer Big Wow! recoups for 2013's battle in San Jose. And WonderCon appears to have gone AWOL... Is it North? Is it South? Only time can tell.
But one thing is for sure. This Sunday, September 30th, in Sacramento is the quarterly continuation of Northern California's most reliable and fan friendly convention, Sac-Con. Built with all the amenities as a large convention, Sac-Con offers panels and workshops, card game tournaments, cosplay competitions, vendors, and a distinct group of guests: Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, The Frighteners), Hynden Walch (Adventure Time, Teen Titans), Liam Sharp (Gears of War, Judge Dredd), Joshua Ortega (Gears of War 2, Gears of War), Morrie Turner (Wee Pals), Ron Lim (Silver Surfer, The Infinity Gauntlet), Mick Gray (Promethea, Batman and Robin), Skinner (Blood Wizard) and Rafael Navarro (Sonambulo).
If you miss the small, quaint atmosphere of an independent and local comic convention, I highly encourage you scout the talent and pleasantries at this hidden gem. For more Sac-Con brain food, click this.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Looks like this year's Sacramento Horror Convention has undergone a major face lift. Cousin to the quarterly Sac-Con in Sacramento, CA, Miss Misery's Days of Terror is a budding horror convention sure to douse all horror fans with buckets of blood and grotesque goodies. Besides a massive guest list (check out the list below), the convention will offer a costume contest, scream contest, and Friday night musical performances by First Jason and Dammit! This is one horror convention fans of the macabre will not want to miss!
Guests currently include Ari Lehmen (Friday the 13th), Amy Steel (Friday the 13th Part 2, April Fools Day), C. J Graham (Friday the 13th Part VI), Tom Fridley (Friday the 13th Part VI, The Karate Kid), Suze Lanier-Bramlett (The Hills Have Eyes, The Hills Have Eyes 2), Dominick Brascia (Friday the 13th V, Once Bitten), Eileen Dietz (The Excorcist, Helter Skelter), Lyn Lowry (The Crazies, Cat People, and Welcome to the Darkside) and more! To preorder your tickets now, visit the official website here.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Eerie Archives Volume 11 continues Dark Horse's trend of collecting and printing Warren Publishing's horror anthology. Set in an impressive deluxe hard cover edition, this volume contains issues #52-55 of the original Eerie magazine. The book features 248 pages of black and white comics (besides two Will Eisner comics colored by the master Richard Corben), which is currently being sold for a little under $30 now at Amazon.
As far as artwork goes, this Eerie volume features roller coaster highs and lows of artistic talent: Neal Adams, Vicente Alcazar, Aldoma, Jaime Brocal, Rich Buckler, Richard Corben, Bill DuBay, Will Eisner, Ken Kelly, Esteban Maroto, Isidro Mones, Paul Neary, Martin Salvador, Sanjulian, and Tom Sutton. Although each artist is different in their own ways, they all demonstrate classic comic art that evokes the tone and atmosphere of Eerie comics. Gently haunting, unexpectedly gruesome, and creatively inspiring--always a pleasure to behold. My personal favorite artist goes to Tom Sutton, whose short Fathom Haunt tale "Spawn of the Dead Thing" strangely reminds me of Rick Veitch and Steve Bisette's bizarre art and layouts in Saga of Swamp Thing. Also strange how Sutton's Fathom Haunt character is strangely reminiscent of John Contantine (I smell a conspiracy).
Story is where this book is mostly lacking. Many of the comics that appear in this volume are Warren's attempt to create on-going characters, like the Mummy, the Werewolf, and Dax the Warrior. Most of these characters are blatant ripoffs of classics and show Warren's attempt to cash-in on famous but unregistered Universal and Hammer monsters. Personally, I was afraid my generation leap from the original readers of Eerie magazine might have caused this objective attitude. But according to letters from readers that are reprinted in these volumes, I am not the only ones who was put off. One reader writes: "What the $#%(& do you think you're doing to EERIE? These series of yours are terrible...It's like having one long, boring story instead of ten short, good stories. Enough!" This letter made me laugh and nod in agreement. Strange how the years may pass but like minded individuals remain the same.
One particular on-going story that stood out was written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Vincente Alcazar called "Schreck." Undeniably similar to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the first "Schreck" story is a brilliantly narrated account of a man struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world filled with "loonies"--an infected group of lunatic people caused by radioactive testing on the moon. The first Schreck story, "First Night of Terror" is a brilliantly narrated account that switches from past to present causing a perfect amount of tension for the series to take off.
All together, this Eerie Archives Volume makes for some perfect lazy Sunday reading. Although some of the stories are not too original by today's standards, the art work is sure to please fans of horror and emits a desire to stroll through all of the Warren Publications yesteryear.
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
If there is one maniacally demented cartoon on today's television screens it is certainly Adult Swim's Superjail! Known for its psychedelic battle royale animation sequences (imagine a Hieronymus Bosch painting come alive), applied with some of the most zaniest and disturbing characters in existence, crank that up to eleven and you get Superjail! Fans who have been waiting for Season 3 to premiere will be overjoyed to hear that they are in store for ten brand new episodes, the first airing September 30th at 12:15am on Adult Swim.
Here is the Press Release: The warden is back and the death toll at Superjail continues to rise at an impressive rate! Complete with fist fights galore, baffling love triangles, and psychedlic animation that will melt your face off, season three of Superjail! premieres on September 30th at 12:15am (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.
Time to put on a Cheeseburger album and count this sucker off!
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Have you ever read a comic and thought, "Oh, my God! Why haven't I read this sooner? Why hasn't anyone told me about this? Why am I still alive!?!" These are the exact sentiments I got after reading the Portland inspired tale Bucko. Originally published as a webcomic for free (and still is here), Bucko is a strange comedic mystery written by Jeff Parker and illustrated by Erika Moen. Dark Horse Comics has done us the pleasure of collecting the entire webseries in a wonderful hard cover collection with a healthy dosage of bonus content to please both new and old fans.
Bucko is set in a fictionalized location which bares many similarities to the non-fictional local of Portland, Oregon. Following the main protagonist Rich "Bucko" Richardson after a wild night of drinking, Bucko suddenly finds himself away from home in a stranger's apartment with a hangover and a sudden realization he's late for a very important job interview. After a tedious journey by bicycle, Bucko manages to keep the appointment, only to be hit by a serious case of beer shits while in the middle of his meeting! He storms out of the office and heads for the nearest bathroom but rather than finding a porcelain god he finds a dead man on the floor with a knife sticking out of his neck. And thus begins the crazy shenanigans that befall this 136 page book.
One of the reasons this book works so well is in thanks to Jeff Parker's comedic writing skills. Parker manages to create a world full of exciting and entertaining characters that could only reside in the weird world of web comics. He pulls from many of today's most subversive groups of young adults: etsy artists, hipsters, steampunks, juggalos, suicidegirls, the homeless, and more. While each one of these groups puts a bad taste in my mouth, watching them all come together in this unique rag-tag way is almost like watching The Goonies for the first time. Such an odd assortment. Such an amazing result!
The other specialty behind the comedy is Erika Moen's innocent childish art. Surely if this comic was drawn in realistic fashion this book would read completely differently and probably not for the better. Moen's art manages to make Bucko light-hearted and fancy-free. When someone get's punched in the face, you don't think, "Ouch!" Instead, you think, "Hilarious!" The same way when you see Wile E. Coyote get blasted by TNT you don't shed a tear. Even the moment when Bucko bursts through the door of the men's room and finds the dead body on the floor. This is a scene of sick moral disgust. But it's fucking comedic gold!
One last note to applaud these creators on is their wonderful way of tying up loose ends. Although there are many mistakes made through the comic (and both the creators like to point them out in the commentary--oh, yes! I almost forgot. This hard cover edition includes commentary at the bottom of each comic page. Which makes for just as pleasurable reading as the main story itself), the creators will leave you absolutely fulfilled with satisfying full circle plot structures. I am always amazed when I see writers create works of fiction that are tied perfectly with a bow and ribbon at the end. It just makes the book that much more special.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 -- GREAT
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Looks like Toyfusion (a wonderful hodge-podge toy consignment shop) is trying to start an annual tradition in Sacramento, CA. This September 23rd will mark the first Action Figure, Toy, and Collectible show at the Scottish Rite Center. Check out their web page for more information here.
Available tomorrow in all fine comic book shops is Steve Nile's continuation of his Cal MacDonald mysteries, titled Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit. Over the last few years Dark Horse Comics has featured stories of Cal MacDonald and obviously they believe this character is worthy of your time and money. This is best said about this new release; this hard cover edition is illustrated by comic book and animation artist Scott Morse and features only 32 pages (all of which are unpublished material) for the hair raising price of $19.99. That's right folks, your purchasing the equivalent of a $3 comic for six times the average price of most single issues. Given the fact that this is a hard cover and the size is larger than normal (9" x 12", to be exact), this comic should be worth the fifteen extra Washingtons, right?
Unfortunately Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit does not live up to the retail price. The story finds our main protagonist (or antagonist, for those postmodernists out there) Cal MacDonald once again on assignment, this time recruited by a World War II veteran with an eerie past. This Criminal Macabre episode features the same structure featured in most of Niles' MacDonald tales: customer in desperate need of help, explanation of situation, things go awry, and all ends with MacDonald to the rescue. That's my cookie cutter version.
By the looks of Scott Morse's cover for this book, I was hoping the content inside would be just as glamorous and spectacular. But the tale is not told in normal comic book fashion with panels and word bubbles, but rather in typical story book fashion. This could be fresh and exciting if the illustrations liven up the narration. Instead Morse's artistic depictions are lackluster and come off boring, which is sad to say because the watercolors he uses set a wonderfully murky tone.
If you are a Steve Niles, Criminal Macabre, or Scott Morse completest, chances are you will want this comic to add to your collection. However, I guarantee you after the first read you will regret the amount you spent on purchasing this. Buyers beware, you might wish to bargain shop this one.
Overall Rating: 2/5