Tuesday, August 30, 2005

No Fun Today

I try to keep the focus of my ZONE posts on fun stuff; things that I find interesting and hope that you do too.

This entry isn't about the comic convention that I went to last weekend, the great book that I'm reading, or even the tv shows that I've enjoyed this summer


This entry is about the horrific wake left by Hurricane Katrina.

Daytona was hit by three hurricanes last year. Three! And I'd go through six more, to avoid one like Katrina.

The worst part was not when the storms were hitting. By far the worst was when the storms had passed and we were left to deal with the aftermath. Flooded streets. No power for days. Which meant no air conditioning, no refrigeration, no hot water or warm meals. And then there was the damage. People left homeless. Businesses wiped out. People injured or killed as a direct result of the hurricane.

We experienced all of that. But on a scale no where near the one facing the survivors of Katrina.

Don't worry, I'll be back with a more upbeat topic tomorrow. Maybe I'll post up pics and a con report, or tell you about The Killings of Stanley Ketchel, or even the tv shows this summer that have kept me entertained. But until then...

Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of families facing the days ahead.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Who Will Show Up Next?

I really don't read comic strips much anymore. You would think that I still would since I love the form. It's just as I got older, I just found myself reading fewer strips. One that I still take the time to check out is Blondie.

It's hard to believe that Blondie celebrates it's 75th anniversary on September 8th. What's really cool is that many comic strip creators are joining in on the celebration by having their characters make appearances in the Blondie strip and vice versa.

Here Dagwood shows up to personally invite Garfield to the party. Rose gets her invite. BC has a subtle reference. Many characters decide to show up early for the party. The Wizard of Id plans to attend. Dick Tracy is on a case but takes time to make mention of the event! Mutts' invitation arrives as even more guests arrive early. Dagwood sends the Wizard of Id a gift. Beetle Bailey and Dagwood hang out playing poker. Mother Goose and Grim provide a witty set of directions to the Bumstread's. Dagwood drops off an invite for The Family Circus. The Wizard of Id decides on the perfect gift. Blondie shows up in Shoe's hangout. Even little Trixie is welcome. And of course there are many special guests showing up in recent Blondie strips.

If you like this kind of stuff, then keep your eyes peeled. The cross-overs will be going on for at least another week. [A special tip of the derby to Mark Evanier for pointing out all these great guest appearances!]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tampa, Here I Come!

This weekend I'm heading down to the Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention. Tim Gordon puts on the show and it's ALWAYS a blast.

This time the guest list includes: Cindy "Tron" Morgan, Marty "Green Lantern" Nodell, Ethan "Green Lantern" Van Sciver, Alex "Spider-Man" Saviuk, Pablo "Conan" Marcos, and many others. The second Tampa Indie Film Fest will also run during the show.

If you're in the area, you ought to join in on the fun!

Monday, August 22, 2005

MI 3 and Zero Chance of Failure

Yep, you're looking at the first pic from Mission Impossible 3 to show up on the web.

The Hollywood News has the honor of the scoop and a slightly bigger version of the pic as well.

That's Kerri Russell alongside Tom Cruise... they look like a pretty good team and with JJ Abrahams [Alias and Lost] directing, it can't fail!

And speaking of things that can't fail, does anyone here remember when Coca Cola released New Coke? Talk about a big time mistake.

New Coke was promoted as being THE, well, new Coke. The idea was that New Coke would replace the traditional Coke. The powers that be thought that the hype and "new" taste would bring in more Coke drinkers without losing the faithful millions already drinking Coke.

Guess what? New Coke tanked. It was a long time before the Coca Cola Company tried "new" recipes. But things have changed. Now you can get Coke, Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Coke with Lime...

Last month Coke Zero was introduced. It's a diet cola with no caleries and no after taste. It's really good. For me, it's my new Coke.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I'm Glad That I Waited

From the title of this post, you might think that I'm going to talk about the success of "The 40 Year Old Virgin," but I'm not.

Instead, I'm here to talk down the "bare bones" dvd release of "Sin CIty." As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and especially the Sin City series of graphic novels. The mix of Rodriguez and Miller with one of the best casts in recent memory made Sin City a must have for my dvd collection.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to get the current "bare bones" edition and finally decided to wait. I figured that the deluxe edition would be out maybe as soon as Christmas, I'd already seen Sin City twice and would be taking a stand against this kind
of marketing.

Beatty bought his copy and really tempted me to break down and get one as well.

But ultimately I didn't. And in a weird way I felt like I wasn't supporting Rodriguez, Miller and Sin City.

Yeah, I felt that way until I read that Rodriguez "openly loathes" the "bare bones" edition. Rodriguez even goes on to say, "I hate it when they do double-dip stuff, so I don't put any extra **** on there at all so people will hopefully go, 'Ah, I'll just wait.'

So how long will we have to wait? "December [or] not too far afterwards" is the word from the man himself.

Now you know why I'm glad that I decided to wait... and four months compared to 40 years is a piece of cake.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Robert Rodriguez-O-Rama

Robert Rodriguez talks about his favorite films, why we'll never see another Spy Kids movie, why Stallone would make a great Batman, the role that he had planned for Mickey Rourke in From Dusk Till Dawnand a whole lot more an interview HERE.

And in the Robert Rodriguez interview HERE you'll learn about the casting and storyline for Sin City 2 [and maybe 3], the double feature that he's doing with Quentin Tarantino, and the part he had planned for Quentin in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and even more!

That should hold you over until next time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Like Cheap Whiskey, Very Nasty and Satisfying

Today while surfing the net I came across a couple of items that should interest most ZONErs.

The first is that several authors [including Stephen King, John Grisham, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, Michael Chabon and others] are participating in an auction for charity where the winning bidders will get to name a character in each author's novel. How cool is that? For more details click HERE.

The second item of interest is directly related to the first, in that Stephen King's particpation in the auction involves a new novel titled Cell. King describes Cell as "a violent piece of work, which comes complete with zombies set in motion by bad cell phone signals that destroy the human brain. Like cheap whiskey, it's very nasty and extremely satisfying." Stephen King and zombies! Count me in.

And come to think of it... maybe I should take a shot at the auction as well. A zombie named "Big Beatty" is just too cool not to give it a go.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Worth a Watch? You Be the Jury!

A few weeks ago, Chris Mills listed some movies that aren't on dvd, but should be. I, the Jury starring Armand Assante as Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer was one of them.

I couldn't agree more. I saw the movie when it was first released and loved it. I wish I was writing to say that Assante's Hammer has finally made it to dvd, but I'm not.

Instead I'm writing to say that you can see it on the FOX Movie Channel this month. I, the Jury isn't a classic or for everyone. But if you're a fan of Spillane, Assante, or Barbara Carrera then... you might want to give it a go.

I know I will. "I, the Jury" rates an A.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Decade Later, Your Words Still Sting

Mike Hoffman is an artist who has strong opinions. Unfortunately most of what he posts are attacks on other artists that he considers hacks, no-talents, etc. Hoffman has been ranting about many of the biggest name artists in the comic business for several months now. Not only does he denegrate their talents, but at the same time he puffs up his own.

And it's not that Hoffman lacks talent. He's very good at what he does. And what he does is paint and draw in the style of Frazetta. That in and of itself is not a bad thing. Like anything, it is what it is.

Hoffman's style has stirred up a lot of debate among fans and pros alike. Some love it, some hate it. At any rate, everyone has an opinion. And you know how opinionated Big Beatty is. Well, it seems that at some point in the last ten or fifteen years, Beatty said something that got under Hoffman's skin. Well... it finally worked its way out in a a recent rant posted on his website:

And then there's "Big" John Beatty, who went into a blind fury over my artwork way back in the 1990s. I'd post a pic of this moron here, but a Google search turns up almost nothing on this clown. Great career as an "inker" ya got going there, John!

John got wind of Hoffman's comments and responded:

I've had a great career as an "inker" and enjoyed it for many years...now I've moved on to doing other work, which is of no interest to you, or many others so, I'll leave it at that.

You're a scary talent that comics and illustration will lose, but I'm sure your life, as mine, will continue on and hopefully for the better, as I can see staying in the business you are in is making your life practically unbearable...according to what I read in your weblog.

Your a great humorist and I enjoy your rants very much...really...I figure you are working towards a new career goal in commentary, instead of art for your future?

Anyway...big "ups" for the mention and for the memory that I must have left on you since you've been stewing about it since 1990. Finally got the balls to come out and say something in 2005?

I know that someone must scan all of your email due to the fact that you must have thin skin or something, so if this never does reach you, that's fine too.

Have a great life outside of the USA and I hope this means that there really will be a "Hoffman International" once you and the family are outside of the country?

That is if you ever really leave instead of just talking a lot about it?

Best wishes-

I wonder what Beatty said that's been bugging Hoffman for all these years...

I wonder if this is the last we've heard from the two of them...

But most of all I wonder if this means that I'll never get a Hoffman Stallone sketch for my gallery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Maybe 2005 Just Got A Little Better

2005 has NOT been the greatest year for movies.

Sure there was Sin City, and War of the Worlds. And yeah, King Kong is coming. Heck, even The Transporter 2 and The New World might be good... but the year overall has been pretty blah.

So in a year like this, when a movie comes in under the radar and looks to be a winner, ya just gotta love it.

A History of Violence could be THAT movie. Take a look at the one sheet that was just released. Check out the trailer and clip -- heck look all over the official site.

Maybe 2005 just got a little better.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

This Fall, Kong Will Be King

Without a doubt,this fall Kong will be King

Pretty much every movie fan in the world knows that Peter Jackson's King Kong will be released on December 14th. What many of us didn't know until just recently was that Warner Brothers had finally decided to release the orginal King Kong to dvd on November 22nd.

What makes this release even cooler is that Peter Jackson is also contributing to the dvd release. Jackson has created a two hour, seven part documentary titled: "RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World." What will really get Kong fans going is that "part of the documentary focuses on the mysterious 'spider pit' sequence deleted from the film before its theatrical premiere." The dvd will also contain a recreation of it as well as features on director Merian C. Cooper, and commentary tracks by legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen and others.

Of course to maximize their profits, Warners is releasing Kong in not one, not two, but THREE, that's right - THREE editions. You can read about what's in each edition HERE.

I don't know which version, I'm going to get, but you can be sure that one will find it's way into my collection!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Story About a Valuable Stolen Property

If you're like me or any of the other 36 million people who've read Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code, then you probably love a good conspiracy story.

If that's the case, then whoo-boy, do I have a doosey for ya.

Lewis Perdue has not only accused Dan Brown of plagiarizing from Perdue's books The DaVinci Legacy [published in 1983 ] and Daughter of God [published in 2000], but he has taken his case to court and the Internet.

A recent court ruling by Judge George Daniels of U.S. District Court in New York says that "Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalized or otherwise unprotectable ideas."

Still, Perdue plans to appeal this decision and argues that there are over 300 significant similarities between his book and The DaVinci Code. Perdue further argues that "in an analysis of more than 50 pivotal plot events, sixty-five percent of these – 65%occur in the same order."

In his latest blog post, Perdue says despite Judge Daniels' ruling, Perdue's battle to show that Brown plagiarized his work isn't over, in fact, "It's hardly begun."

You can find more of Perdue's thoughts HERE.

I've read and enjoyed Brown's The DaVinci Code.

I haven't yet read Perdue's The DaVinci Legacy or Daughter of God, but I should since they sound like good conspiracy stories.

Then again, maybe I should just follow Perdue's Battle Against Brown.

Who Needs Five Different Sin City Covers?

I've been on quite the dvd kick of late, recommending Lost: Season One and Superman: Season One.

Now comes along one of my favorite movies of the year and my all-time favorite comic book movie and I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to by the initial release.

Sin City [aka The Barebones Edition] hits the street on August 16th. It's already been announced that next year a deluxe edition [with tons of extras] will be available. So, I'm thinking that I ought to just wait for it. It'll only be a few more months -- and it'll have everything that the August 16th release has and more.

Studios release various editions of dvds to maximize their profits and I can understand that. They're in business to make money. What irks me is when they do gimmicks like 5 different covers for the same edition. I guess some people will buy all five.

Me, I'm still trying to decide if I should buy just one.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You Won't Believe a Man Can Fly

Yesterday, I said that I usually don't buy tv series dvds for my collection. Then I talked up one. Any guess what I'm about to do today?

Yep, today I'm recommending the first season dvd of Superman.

If you're anywhere near my age [46], then George Reeves WAS Superman. And sure, the effects were low budget [ok, no budget], but man, did we love the show.

I can't wait to get the chance to love it again!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What Would I Have to Lose?

I usually don't purchase tv series for my dvd collection.

I may make an exception though when Lost comes to dvd on September 6th.

Lost was on my "Must See TV" list from its premiere and it continued to gain momentum with each new episode. What was not to like? Great characters. A great mystery. And just enough info to REALLY wonder what the heck is going on.

The dvd extras and price [$38.99] also add to the appeal for making Lost a dvd addition to my collection.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Treat Your Mother Right

You may remember the sage advice of The Mayor of Carter Country... No, not "Handle it, handle it, Roy." His words of wisdom were, "Always be kind to your mother."

Mr. T agrees. So Treat Your Mother Right and quit yer jibber-jabberin'.

And don't give me no backtalk!