Wednesday, May 31, 2006

McFarlane Toys: A Lost Opportunity

McFarlane Toys, which produces the most detailed action figures on the market, has scored a major coup. They will produce several series of action figures based on the hit tv series Lost.

Series One will feature Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, Charlie and Shannon. All figures will be 6 inches tall and come with a detailed base and "photographic backdrop, capturing an episode-specific moment in the character's story." In addition, each figure will come with a sound chip so that you can each hear "signature lines taken directly from the show's soundtrack."

Lost "deluxe boxed sets" will also be available. The first series of Lost figures is scheduled to be released this November.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mel Gibson Has a Brave Heart

Yesterday my son and I were channel surfing. Suddenly we came across "Braveheart." We both stopped talking and turned to watch the scene.

Mel was giving the troops the famous pep-talk. You know the one... "They can take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEEEEEEEEDOM!"

The next thing you know we were both grinning from ear to ear as we spouted classic lines from "Braveheart."

I can remember Entertainment Tonight doing a piece about "action star" Mel Gibson on location starring in and directing "Braveheart." I thought at the time, "Man, is he taking a risk!" Mel was walking away from barrels of money to do another "Lethal Weapon" and instead was directing [and starring in] a movie about some guy who lived hundreds of years ago that hardly anybody even knew existed.

We all know how it turned out.

Just a few years ago I remember when I first heard Mel's plans for "The Passion of the Christ." This time Mel was walking away from trunkloads of money for another "Lethal Weapon" to instead direct a movie [which he wasn't going to star in] about Jesus Christ. To make the movie even more unlikely to be successful, it didn't feature a cast of international [or even national] superstars and was subtitled!

We all know how it turned out.

Mel's next film, Apocalypto, is a violent tale which takes place 3,000 years ago and follows a Mayan hero who is on the run. Gibson won't appear in the film and it will be subtitled.

Anyone wonder how it will turn out?

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Short Look at Wolverine

"X-Men: The Last Stand" opened beyond all expectations earning just over $120 million dollars this weekend. That's the biggest opening ever for the Memorial Day weekend, the fourth best three-day opening ever as well as the best single Friday in movie history [$45.5 million]. Earning that kind of bank almost insures a sequel. My guess is that before the next X-Men movie comes out we'll see a film that focuses just on Wolverine.

Wolverine used to be my favorite comic character. That was back in the days when Chris Claremont [writer], John Byrne [penciler] and Terry Austin [inker] were amazing everyone with the classic comics that they were creating. At that time Wolverine was the cool secondary character that would have only a scene or two, but more likely than not, they'd be THE scenes that you'd remember.

Not much was known about Wolverine. What we did know made him an unlikely American comic book hero. He was from Canada. He was a loner. He was just a bit over five feet tall. He had a berserker rage and would actually kill those who threatened him or his friends. No other hero in comics looked or acted like Wolverine.

Of course over the years, because of the popularity of the character, he's been over-exposed. He's been a secret agent, a team leader, a father figure, a pirate, etc., etc. etc..

Even his look has changed. Hugh Jackman is tall and lean. Wolverine should be short and stout [no teapot jokes, please]. Robert Blake in his prime would have made a great Wolverine.

The classic Wolverine is still Byrne and Austin's version. Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein's take is also a favorite of mine. Not too long ago I talked about some new riffs on Wolverine. Joe Lisner's Wolverine looks interesting too. All of these guys draw the shorter Wolverine, like he's supposed to be. The funny thing is, most folks who only know Wolverine from the movies will think that he should be drawn taller.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More Fear in Every Issue!

Rick Remender and Tony Moore have teamed up to create a really fun comic, Fear Agent, which follows the adventures of Heath Huston an "Alien Exterminator."

Fear Agent has been one of Image's most popular comics with each issue selling out! Fans and pros alike are jumping on the Fear Agent bandwagon. In fact Remender and Moore started hearing from so many pros who wanted to do a story about Heath Huston that starting with issue 5, "Tales of the Fear Agent" will begin appearing as an 8 page back-up to the main story.

So far Steve Niles, Jeff Parker, Kieron Dwyer, Eric Powell, Jason Latour, Mike Manley, Dan Panosian and many others have signed on! If you aren't reading Fear Agent, maybe it's time for you to sign on too!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Long Live the King... Or Off With His Head?

There was a time when I loved all things Stephen King. It started with Carrie which I read in 8th grade. I thought it was a really cool book. When I was a junior in high school I saw Carrie at a Midnight Movie. I loved it. It was my introduction to Brian DePalma. I still laugh when I think that I nearly jumped into the next row when Carrie's bloody hand came shooting out of the grave.

In college I got into King in a big way. I was reading everything that he published. The Shinning [great book -- I read it in a single night! and a pretty scary movie], Salem's Lot [another excellent novel with a cool, modern twist on vampires -- and a decent tv mini-series] The Dead Zone [perhaps the best movie adaptation of a King novel] ... and the hits just kept on coming [although the movies weren't always as good]... The Stand, Cujo, Pet Sematary, Firestarter, Christine, It, etc. etc. etc.

Then for some reason, I stopped reading King. I really don't know why. It just happened. I have a bunch of his novels and even some short story collections sitting on the shelf waiting to join the other King novels in a place of honor on my bookcase. But there they sit.

I did buy and immediately read Cell when it came out in hardcover. I was hoping for a more traditional zombie story, but never the less, I did really enjoy it.

Tomorrow night ABC is presenting a three hour adaptation of Desperation. For some reason, I'm really looking forward to it. Most likely I'll record it for viewing some late weekend night. I haven't read the book, but if the movie is works, perhaps it'll give me just enough reason to pull it off the shelf and see if the novel is good enough to make it to the book case.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Highlander: There Can Be Only One?

The original Highlander is one of my favorite movies.

I can remember seeing it in a theater for the first time and just loving everything about it. The classic tale of good vs evil, the blessing/curse of living forever, the coolness in being immortal and the sadness of losing a true love who isn't. Then there was the great direction by Russell Mulcahy, the soundtrack by Queen, Christopher Lambert in a role that he owned, Sean Connery as his mentor and Clancy Brown as the Kurgan. Everything came together to create a movie that was magical.

Highlander II took everything that was cool from the original and trashed it. Literally. Highlander II is without a doubt the worst sequel in history. I actually left the theater angry.

Highlander III was almost as bad.

I never even gave the tv series a single viewing.

In July, Dynamite Entertainment is releasing Highlander #0 which will jump start the Highlander comic book series. Written by Brandon (Battlestar Galactica) Jerwa with Michael (Red Sonja) Oeming, and art by Lee (Red Sonja) Moder and will set you back just a quarter! 50% of the covers will feature a photo from the movie with the other half sporting a painted cover by Gabriele Dell'Otto.

I'm going to pre-order a copy, but I have a feeling that it might still boil down to: There can only be one! [And if that's the case, for me it will be the original movie!]

Monday, May 15, 2006

Charlie Huston - We Have a Problem!

I discovered Charlie Huston's work a month ago when I read his first novel, Caught Stealing. Last night I finished Huston's second novel, Six Bad Things. Both books are among the best that I've read in the last year and both tell the tale of Hank Thompson.

Ten years ago Hank was a hot prospect to play some college baseball. A broken leg and some bad choices killed any shot of college ball and so Hank drifted up to New York where he found work as a bartender.

Things were going smoothly untl one night when two guys pulled him over the bar and beat him nearly to death. The next thing Hank knew he was on the run from the Russian mob, two Black cowboys, and a dirty cop. If Hank can figure out what's going on, he just might get out of this alive and with some of the $4.5 million that everyone thinks that he has!

On the strength of Caught Stealing, Charlie Huston jumped onto my "Author's to Watch for List." Seeing that Six Bad Things was just as good, he's now on my "Buy It Now List."

I'm putting in my pre-order for the final book in the Hank Thompson trilogy, A Dangerous Man, and also ordering Already Dead, Huston's novel about a detective who happens to be a vampire!

That means that I'll have all of his novels. He's just going to have to start writing faster.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The End of a Great Season

I guess that maybe a picture of the cast of The West Wing would have been a more appropriate banner for today's post, but I just couldn't not use that great shot of the entire cast of Lost.

I really hate that this tv season is winding down.

The West Wing is ending for good. I've tuned in since the first episode and think that it's pretty sad that President Bartlett and crew aren't getting a bigger send off.

What may have been the best seasons ever on American Idol and 24 are almost over. Medium, Lost and Survivor are also getting ready to pack it in for the summer. The Shield, Wanted, Thief and Over There already ended their seasons.

There's always the chance that a summer replacement show will end up being as good as Over There [Bring it back, FX] was or as fun as So You Think You Can Dance. But even if that's not the case, I still have a ton of novels that I'm dying to get the time to read.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

And Then There Were Three - Shocking!

Remember when I posted here about the shocking ending on Lost and how surprised I was, especially since it wasn't the season finale?

Well, last night American Idol had an equally surprising ending. Chris Daughtry, who many thought would BE the next winner, was sent packing. Everyone was shocked.

And. I. Mean. Everyone.

Look at Chris' face in the banner above and you can see even he was stunned.

So what happened?

My guess is that everyone thought that Chris was such a shoe-in to reach the finals that many folks decided to vote to keep in their 2nd favorite contestant. The strange thing is that before the show started my wife predicted that it could be Chris' night to leave for just that reason. I thought that either Elliot or Katherine would get the axe.

So, who's going to win now that Chris is gone?

I'd predicted a showdown between Chris and Taylor [with Chris winning], so I'll stick with Taylor as the next American Idol. [Of course, my wife may have a more accurate prediction...]

Big Beatty Says, "Come On In!"

My best buddy, John Beatty has started a second blog. [Don't worry, his art blog isn't going anywhere!] His new on-line journal will look at his personal life, past, present and dreams of the future.

It's a side of the big guy that most folks don't get to see. So what are you waiting for? Click HERE to get there!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Heroes Won't Be Hard to Find

This year's Heroes Convention is going to be the best in its 25 year history. At this point there are over 300 guests scheduled to attend. The convention has been a part of our family's vacation for years and this year will be no exception. At Heroes, there's something for everyone.

Artist's Alley and and Indie Island will be filled to the brim with artists sketching, signing autographs and hanging out with fans. Dealers will fill the convention hall selling everything from vintage toys, comics and magazines to the latest games, t-shirts, and dvds. Comic book writers, horror novelists, publishers and editors will also be on hand. There will be a ton of informative [and fun] panels where creators will discuss everything from how to get into comics, to self-publishing to what's next for them. Gaming tournaments will run almost non-stop. And of course there is the traditional art auction.

I can't wait. If you can make it, you should. I can guarantee you'll have a blast!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

So You Think You Know John Beatty?

Today happens to be the birthday of my best buddy, John Beatty.

Most ZONERs know "Big" John from his appearances on the SZ message boards, but in honor of his birthday, here are:

Some things about John Beatty that you might not know:

* John Beatty was quite an accomplished break dancer in his youth. Rumors abound to this day that he was the first choice to play the role of "Rerun" on "What's Happening?"

* John Beatty invented the "spoiler alert" used on the internet to let folks not that plot points and surprise endings are forthcoming.

* John Beatty is quite a singer. Perhaps most famous for his cover of Elvis tunes, Jim Ivey [noted raconteur, in the Who's Who of the World] continues to say, "It's not Christmas season until Big John sings 'Blue Christmas.'

* John Beatty is an accomplished actor. He appeared as the evil "Patch" in "Nightveil: Witch War" [available on dvd from]. Rumors of an action figure are too scary to think about.

* John Beatty is an accomplished pool player. He has been known to repeatedly spot an opponent every ball on the table and still win!

* John Beatty is an accomplished poker player. He's been known to go both ways in a game of high-low five card stud having nothing but an Ace High and a ten low and beat the table where players had better lows and better highs!

* John Beatty was ahead of the curve when it came to home computers. While still in his teens he had work published in several books on computer use!

* John Beatty's comic career is full of highlights: he worked on the first Secret Wars series [which spawned the popularity of the mini-series]; he worked on the first Punisher mini-series [which kicked the backup character to leading man status]; he worked on the first new Batman book in 50 years [which was also the first comic to start the trend of multple covers]. It is also rumored that Big John, while still a child, was the first to utter Alfred E. Neuman's famous, "What, Me Worry?" line.

Although unconfirmed, it is believed that John Beatty was the first to wear the haircut made famous by the lead singer of Flock of Seagals, that Beatty encouraged Brian Setzer to give up glam rock and try something with a rock-a-billy style, that Beatty suggested that James Cameron follow up "Terminator 2" with something "Titanic," that Beatty was the first to suggest the ideas for "American Idol," "Survivor," and "What's Happening Now?"

Many people find it hard to believe that Big John has done so much in just 45 years on this planet. Speculation abounds that he is much older than that. Unverified pictures of someone looking like John Beatty from the civil war era are rampant in conspiracy circles.

Happy, Happy, Big J!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

And It Ain't Even the Season Finale

If you haven't seen last night's episode of LOST yet, then you may not want to read any farther..... SPOILERS are coming!





Still here? Ok... Whoa! What a great surprise ending!

I know my jaw hit the floor when Michael blasted Ana-Lucia in the chest from point blank range. My eyes were probably still buggin' out when he then popped a couple of caps in Libby!

If that had been the season finale, I would have applauded. With a few episodes still to come, I believe that a standing ovation is in order. I knew that Michelle Rodriguez [Ana-Lucia] and Cynthia Watros [Libby] were supposed to be leaving the show. Still, ya gotta give big props for the shocking way that they went.

So, where does that leave Michael? Has he been brain-washed? Is he fully aware of what he's doing? Is Libby really dead? [Poor, poor Hurley!] And did you know about the novel [Bad Twin] that's referenced in the show and written by one of the passengers... but was just released in real life?

Talk to me, folks!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Does He Have Connery Cool?

Bond. James Bond.

Talk about an iconic character.

For my money Sean Connery WAS James Bond. He had the right mix of charisma, playboy attitude and tough guy machismo to pull off the role of 007.

Roger Moore's Bond had his moments but swayed too far over into comedy for my taste.

Pierce Brosnon had the playboy attitude and some charisma but not enough tough guy machismo to reach the levels of Connery cool.

Daniel Craig is the next guy to step into 007's tux and although initial reports were not so hot, this trailer has me thinking that he may do alright.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why Superman Stands Alone

What are you waiting for?? Click HERE and prepare to be amazed!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Superman Stands Alone

After my last post, Murph had this to say:
"Craig, seems your very selective in your choices for seeing films on the big screen."

Wait til he gets a load of my movie pics for next month...

Surprisingly, after looking at the films that will be released in June, only one made my "see in a theater" list. That movie is Superman Returns.

Most folks who predict this sort of thing are saying that Superman Returns will probably make the most bucks at the box office this year. Who am I to argue? Although I think that The DaVinci Code may just give it a run for it's money. [Pun intended].