Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wonder Woman is turning 70

Seventy years ago next month, Wonder Woman made her first comic book appearance. I'm celebrating her every Wednesday in December. I hope you'll join me.

By Adam Hughes

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'The Cat and the Canary' is a cool silent flick

The Cat and the Canary (1927)
Starring: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Martha Mattox, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor, Flora Finch, Forrest Stanley, Arthur Edmund Carewe, George Siegmann, and Lucien Littlefield
Director: Paul Leni
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Twenty years to the hour after the death of millionaire Cyrus West, his relatives gather for the reading of his will; West loathed all of them, and he was determined to make them wait to pick at his dead reamins. His strange will leaves everything to his niece (La Plante) but only if she is certified sane by a doctor before dawn. If she is not declared mentally fit, a back-up heir--supposedly unknown to any living soul as the name is on a paper in a sealed envelope--will receive West's estate. As the relatives spend the night, soon the mansion becomes filled with strange and terrifying events... which may or may nt be in the mind of the young heiress--or perhaps even caused by her! Is she insane, or is someone attempting to drive her insane, so that they might gain the West fortune?

The grand-daddy of all Dark Old House mystery films and a collection of what would become standard fare in 1930s horror flicks and B-thrillers--gnarled grasping hands, masked killers, vanishing bodies, secret doors and passages, stylish damsels in distress, inept leading men, and just about anything else you can think of--this film is great fun and a must-see for anyone with a serious interest in the horror genre as an art form, or just a love for the gothic horror genre.

Your level of enjoyment of the early part of the picture will be dictated by your tolerance for the acting style of silent movies, but once the will has been read things start revving into high gear and the tension and action keeps building until the "big reveal" of the villain at the end. What's more, the bits that were supposed to be suspenseful in 1927 remain so today, and the same goes for the bits that were supposed to be funny.

There are a couple of disconnects story-wise--such as the point where one character talks another out of going for the police by saying that she'll do it and then never goes anywhere--but those are more than made up for by scenes such as the one with the main character fleeing in terror down a curtain-lined hallway, the stylish arrival of the police on the scene, and the action-filled climax that is equal-parts funny and frightening and which cuts back and forth between a milk-cart speeding through the night and a furious battle between the comic relief character who's emerged as the film's hero and the caped, murdering madman.

If you enjoyed just about any horror film from Monogram Pictures or "The Old Dark House", you should check out this flick, even if you have yourself convinced you "hate silent movies."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sampling one of the greats: 'Oh, My Goddess!"

Several years ago, I bought and read my last volume of English-language reprints of Kosuke Fujishima's "Oh, My Goddess!"

It wasn't because I'd grown tired of the series--while I thought Fujishima's art was starting to fray a bit around the edges as he was seeming to begin to succumb to the stagnation that seems to hit every comic book artist whose style stops evolving for a long period of time, I still loved the sweet humor and overall story-lines of the books.

No, I abandoned this series, because, within two more releases in the series, Dark Horse Comics went from providing properly translated, flipped versions of the comic, to the slip-shod non-flipped translations that are now the norm in the marketplace. As much as I liked "Oh, My Goddess!", I didn't want to support that move with my patronage.

No matter... Dark Horse and Fujishima didn't need my money, as the series is still going strong and into the 40s as far as the number of reprint books go.

I was going through some archived files, and I found this review from October 2005. I figured I'd repost it. It may be the first in a series of "Oh, My Goddess!" reviews, as I may enjoy my improving eyesight by re-reading those great graphic novels.

And now... re-presenting a review exactly as it first appeared on "Rotten Tomatoes" in 2005...

"Oh, My Godess!" Vol. 17: Traveller
Story and Art: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Kosuke Fujishima's "Oh, My Goddess!" series has ranked among the very best graphic novel series in the world for at least the past decade. His story-telling techniques have continued to evolve, and while I have some personal nitpicks with where his art style is heading, they are exactly nothing but nitpicks. The latest volume in the series shows that this series will be going strong for years to come. The art is gorgeous, the stories are funny and touching, and the characters are as charming as ever.

In "Traveler," the threats faced by mechanic and college student Keiichi and the three goddesses (Belldandy, Skuld, and Urd) that have taken up residence with him in an abandoned temple are not of the reality-shattering variety--they prevented all of time from being unraveled in the previous volume, "Mystery Child"--but instead are on a smaller, more personal scale.

The first half of the book introduces a new continuing cast member--a sentient robot built by Skuld as a companion to Banpei, Skuld's first self-aware robotic creation. Unfortunately, the new robot hates Banpei with a passion.

The second half of the book opens with Belldandy losing her divine powers at a very inopportune moment. The timing becomes even worse when she and Keiichi become stranded at the center of an infinite space generated by another of Skuld's inventions. To make matters worse something is in the space with them....

This second half of "Traveler" is Fujishima's finest effort so far. Keiichi is firmly at center stage, shining like he never has before even while dealing with yet another weird creature that's ended up in his life due to the presence of the goddesses. The flow of the story is perfectly paced and the ending is very satisfying.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Picture Perfect Special:
Princesses of Mars, Part Fourteen

For the rest of the year, we will be traveling to Mars every other week for visits with the deadly and exotic princesses who dwell there. Keep your arms inside the ride at all times, or they may get cut off.

By Mike Hoffman

By Adam Hughes and Karl Story
By Gene Gonzales

By Anna-Marie Cool

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No posts on any of my blogs this week.

I am having really bad eye trouble. Hopefully, tomorrow's trip to the doctor will start to make things better.

I hope you'll check in at some point in the future.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bringing some class to NUELOW Games

One of the first releases in the NUELOW Games fiction line was my "remaster" of John Kendrick Bangs' fabulous tales of the Associated Shades of Hades, "Houseboat on the River Styx". We felt the fact we could say "Look! It's Shakespeare!" lent a touch of class to an outfit that otherwise specializes in offerings featuring supermodels beating each other up, and mockery of current political and pop cultural events.

But, seeing that I'm desperate to be respected and taken seriously as a writer, critic, and game designer, I'm once again trying to infuse a little class into the NUELOW Games line-up. I'm returning to the Shakespeare/Houseboat well.

Here's the cover for the next release for the "ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters". Shakespeare and other Houseboat characters make a return, and Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, is added to the mix. There will also be a very special guest star, a newcomer to the Houseboat crew. Can you spot him in the picture?

NUELOW Games: Putting the ass in Class Since 1994!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Space Girl Adventures, Part Fifteen

I'm running low on Spacegirl material (and catching up with Travis Charest's creation of new material), so this series is going bi-weekly... and there will be a little less stuff in each post.

By Adam Warren

by Travis Charest
Part Fifteen

To Be Continued....

By Terry Moore

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Picture Perfect Wednesday: Random Ninjaosity

From Pale Rider 2: A Town Called Sakura

Ninjas support a woman's right to choose--the sword she kills you with.
(Yeah, I'm just making crap up. I don't know where those pictures are from--although the top one is probably a publicity still for one of the many versions of "Black Hood". I think I grabbed them from this very excellent site for reasons I no longer recall.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Picture Perfect Wednesday: Here be Ninja Babes

Brought to you by the letter N and the annual Cinema Steve Nine Days of the Ninja mini-blogathon.

By Kim DeMulder
By Karlonne Santos
By Adam Warren
By Louie Snoozzzzzz

The deadliest of blogathons....
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