Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Scary Batman

DC has been putting out a variety of Batman statues based on designs by some of the best artists to work on their flagship character.

I told you about this one, based on Eduardo Risso's Batman. It adorns a spot on my bookcase. There have been others in the series based on designs by Joe Kubert and Mike Mignola.

Now there's even one on the horizon based on Kelley Jones' Batman. I always liked Kelley's Batman since it played up the horror aspects of the "Dark Knight."

Of course Doug Moench's writing and Big John Beatty's inks played a key role in making Kelley's Batman so cool... and I don't think that they'll have much to do with the statue. ; )

Monday, March 27, 2006

Dan Curtis - Rest in Peace

Dan Curtis, best known as the creative force behind "Dark Shadows" died today at the age of 78. Curtis's career as a producer, writer, and director spanned five decades. Many would say that the high point of his career was in 1983 when he produced, directed and co-wrote the highly successful "Winds of War" mini-series starring Robert Mitchum. But I would argue that his work on "Dark Shadows" is what most folks will remember.

Curtis created a cult classic that was "must see tv" for the five years that it ran. Ok, ok, truth be told, it wasn't until the second year and the addition of Jonathon Frid as Barnabus Collins that the series really took off; but boy did it! "Dark Shadows" spawned two feature films [not as good as the tv series], comic books, novels, trading cards, and more. Even now, as I think back at how all of my friends and I were "into" "Dark Shadows" I have to smile.

Curtis's wife of 54 years died earlier this month. He is survived by his two daughters and a world of fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with them today.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Something Different from Eric Powell

Today's banner looks like something that you might expect in an Eric Powell drawing. As I'm sure most of you're aware, Eric is the creator of the hugely popular The Goon series. The Goon frequently finds himself up against all manner of mobsters and monsters [werewolves, witches, zombies, etc].

So yeah, that's a typical monster from The Goon in today's banner, right?


Actually it's part of this cover that Eric did for Marvel Westerns: The Two-Gun Kid! Although Eric didn't do the enterior art [Eduardo Barreto did], it should still be worth a gander.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Steranko Returns - Kevin Leaves

Steranko is back, baby!

Just take a look at this limited edition cover for Mr. T.

Man, oh man, oh man!

Steranko shows just why he will always be considered one of the best to ever work in comics. If you want to know more about what the art is for, then click HERE.

On another note, it was Kevin Covais who got sent home last night on American Idol. Although he was the person that I felt most deserving to leave, I didn't go with my feelings when I made my predictions and instead went with how I thought America would vote.

Still I did pick two of the bottom three. Bucky should start sweating now.

Zablo out!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rumble in La Rambla

As I was going through my Previews order this week, I came across a new comic mini-series that you might want to check out.

It's called Rumble in La Rambla from IDW Publishing. I wasn't familiar with the writer [Felipe Ferreira] or the artist [Rafael Albuquerque] so I went to the Rumble in La Rambla website and learned enough to know that I'm pre-ordering it.

Check it out, you may want to order it too.

American Idol - Predictions

It's American Idol and we're down to the final 11. In a few hours it will be 10... so let's see who might be going...

Katharine McPhee did well and looked great. She's safe.

Ace Young was in the bottom three last week and just did "ok" last night. He could be in danger of leaving soon... but not tonight.

Chris Daughtry had the best performance of the night. I loved his take on "Walk the Line." He's safe.

Bucky Covington didn't impress me. I predict the bottom three tonight.

Elliott Yamin can sing but didn't live up to his potential last night. He'll be back next week though.

Kellie Pickler is safe again... but the cuteness factor is fading fast.

Lisa Tucker was one that I initially thought would easily get to the final 4 or 5. She was in the bottom 3 last week [shows what I know]. She didn't impress last night and could be in the bottom 3 again tonight.

Mandisa can sing and has a great personality...if she wasn't the best performer last night, she sure wasn't third... but I still don't think that she'll win.

Paris Bennett has so much talent. She is safe as can be tonight.

Taylor Hicks might have had the third best performance of the night... and the most fun! He's safe.

Kevin Covais had one of his better performances... still I don't think that he should still be around, but I'll bet he's safe for at least another week.

My bottom three for tonight: Lisa Tucker, Bucky Covington and Ace Young.

My prediction for the one leaving: Lisa Tucker [although I'd rather see Kevin or Bucky taking the trip].

Monday, March 20, 2006

Good TV is a Good Thing

This is the best tv season in recent memory.

Tonight Prison Break returns. It has just the right mix of action, romance, drama, and right when it starts to go over the top, reigns it in. It's a fun ride, if you're willing to go with it.

And don't forget that The Shield finale tomorrow night is one and a half hours long. My gut feeling is that a major character [maybe Lem] is going to buy it. I'm glad to report that The Shield will be back for a sixth and possible final season.

I'd like to write more, but there's just too much good stuff on right now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Scanning the Day Away

Yesterday, James Howell [top left], John Higashi [top right] and I [middle] spent the day at John Beatty's [not pictured - every time I tried to get a pciture, he shot a bird! LOL!] We get together every so often just to hang out, catch up and share a few laughs. We generally arrange a get-together after a comic book convention to scan in our new art acquisitions and to share "con stories" like this one. It's always a blast and yesterday was no exception.

Of course Higashi was the first to arrive [just as he's always first in line at conventions]. I arrived second and Beatty was already scanning away. Higashi has an unbelievable Star Wars art collection, but he doesn't just limit himself to the realm of the Jedi. Yesterday John showed us two really nice Walt Kelly Pogo strips that he'd picked up, as well as a Stan Drake "Julliet Jones" strip.

Finally "The James" Howell rolled in. James needed to get some pieces for his Batman collection scanned. James is always entertaining and yesterday he had us nearly crying as he told us of his recent charity race. In the last several months James has dropped 70+ pounds through exercise, diet, working out and now jogging. He recently decided to enter a charity run, and not only did he finish, but he had an experience with "the runs" during the run. LOL! Luckily there were strategically placed port-o-potties along the way. James also had us dying as he told us about special preparations and clothes needed for longer races! The thought of James "lotioning up" is just not something you want burned in your mind. Then again, maybe it is.

We decided to go to the Ale House for lunch. Big Beatty has lost over 25 pounds and limits himself to a "sloppy meal" every week or so. He had the Chili-Burger with onion rings. The James, ever vigilant had a chicken breast sandwich with no condiments, steamed broccoli instead of fries and a side salad. I normally would have gone for some wings, but since I've been watching my diet, I opted for the Chef's salad. Higashi, who doesn't need to watch his weight, went for the Mushroom burger and fries.

The meal was a lot of laughs. I had to try to get Beatty to talk a bit quieter when he began to loudly share with us what to expect during a colonoscopy. Luckily our meals came and the conversation drifted. We only had one "near incident" and that was when Beatty asked our waitress if he could see her "tat" and I misunderstood his question... luckily she didn't. ; )

After lunch we hit Circuit City. I picked up a couple of DVDs [Antz and the Thief: Special Edition], and Beatty picked up two DVDs [Big Trouble in Little China and Poolhall Junkies] and a cd. Then it was back to Beatty's for more scanning and nonsense.

The James, Beatty and I were cutting up when I looked over to see Higashi had nodded off. How he could do that with all the noise, not to mention funny stories, is beyond me. I've seen Higashi work all day [overtime even], drive through the night and then work [and I mean work] a convention and still have enough energy to stay up late into the night, only to rise before the crack of dawn and do it again. Yet, there he was catnapping! A sixth sense must have alerted him to the fact that our attention had turned to him and he snapped out of it and picked up the conversation as if nothing had happened.

Unfortunately, The James needed to get back to J-Ville, so the party broke up around 5pm. Still, as we were all leaving, we discussed plans to "do it again."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kevin Dodges the Bullet

Wow! Was I shocked?

When American Idol opened with the annoucement that either Kevin Covais or Ace Young was in the bottom three; I would have bet the house that it was Kevin packing up to go. And, man-o-man, would I have been wrong.

The second shocker was that Lisa Tucker was in the bottom three! I was thinking that she was a lock to get to the later rounds.

The fact that Melissa McGhee got the boot made sense [if it wasn't going to be Kevin] since she forgot her lyrics on Tuesday.

So, Ace and Lisa were on the bubble. I wonder how that will affect their performances next Tuesday. I guess we'll know in less than a week.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Say Goodbye to Kevin

This is, without a doubt, the best season of American Idol yet. We're down to the final 12 and there are at least 4 who have a real shot of winning.

Unfortunately Kevin Covais isn't one of the four. He seems like a nice enough kid and all, but I'm actually surprised he's made it this far.

Let's look at the rest of the group:

Katharine McPhee had the best performance last night and she could go all the way.

Ace Young has the right look and can sing so he has a shot too.

Chris Daughtry can sing, is comfortable on stage and knows "who he is" -- I just wonder if a rocker can actually be the next American Idol.

Bucky Covington seems like a nice down to Earth guy, but I don't think he'll be around much longer.

Elliott Yamin can sing. I mean the man CAN SING. The question is does he have the "it" factor to get enough votes to win?

Kellie Pickler is the country cutie. She's got a great voice for country music. Cute as can be... but that may get old quick. "I feel like I got tarantulas on my eyes! They're not real though!" Arrrgh!

Lisa Tucker is the youngest in the finals and without a doubt, one of the best. She... could... go... all... the ... way!

Mandisa can sing and has a great personality... but I don't think that she'll win.

Melissa McGhee has her moments, but my guess is that she or Bucky will be the next to go.

Paris Bennett could take the crown. Her rendition, a few weeks ago, of "Midnight Train to Georgia" was the best performance that I've ever seen on American Idol. The only thing that could mess her up is that her "cuteness" may wear thin as the weeks drag on.

Taylor Hicks won't win. He'll go far but I just don't see him taking the crown. I love the guy's style and he's a fun performer but I don't see him beating out some of the others. I think I look forward to his performance more than any of the finalists, but he's still a longshot to take the crown.

So, am I on the right track?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

They're Coming to Get You, Barbara!

Many of you Zoners, like me, love a good zombie story. You can't get enough of "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," "The Walking Dead,"... well, you get the idea.

So how does this sound:

An event of nightmarish proportions has begun! The dead are walking the Earth and tearing the living limb from limb in an endless pursuit to quench their insatiable hunger for flesh. Yet not all killers are undead.

Eight of the country's most notorious murderers are being transferred across state when their bus enters a town overrun with feasting corpses! Now the town's remaining survivors find themselves fighting
a battle on two sides. Five innocents, countless zombies.

If you like the sound of that, then you might want to check out Zombies! a new series from IDW written by Shane McCarthy and art by Chris Bolton. Look HERE, HERE, and even HERE for more about the series.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Checking in with Vin

I'm a big Vin Diesel fan. Yeah, even after "The Pacifier," I'll still admit to being a fan. Yep, even after "The Chronicles of Riddick."

Vin has the ability to own a screen. Watch nearly any scene in "Pitch Black" or the scenes in "Knockaround Guys" where Vin lays out his plan to get the money back and then carries through on it.

Sure, Vin's had his share of misses, but still he's taking chances and trying to build a foundation for a long career. Don't believe me or in him? Then check out this article and tell me what you think.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

So What Are You Watching?

In one of the best tv seasons in recent years, 24 continues to shine just a bit brighter than anything else.

Now, that's not to say that I'm not totally digging what's going on with The Shield. I am. Forrest Whitaker is a great addition to the cast. I love how he's tearing apart the strike team as he slowly falls apart himself. Vic Mackey is still the man. So much so that I find myself knowing that he should go down for his past deeds but hoping that he finds a way to save himself and his team.

Lost continues to entertain and intrigue. Michelle Rodriguez was a great addition to the cast, but from all I hear, her days are numbered. Mr. Echo is perhaps the best new character on ANY show this season. I was surprised at how much the last episode gave away... or seemed to.

The West Wing returns tonight with a new episode. There are only a handful left and then it'll be gone. Still, it's been a great run and I look forward to the rest of the journey.

American Idol surprises me that it can remain so popular despite being on three nights a week. Of course, my family watches every episode, so I shouldn't be too surprised. Usually by the time we're down to the final 12, I have a pretty good idea who will win. At this point I still think that any of maybe 4 different performers have a real chance.

And finally, 24. This is my favorite show this season. Jack Bauer continues to be the best "hero" on tv. The writing, direction and acting all continue to be top notch. What takes this season to the next level is that no one is safe. [Former] President Palmer gets assassinated in the first few minutes of the first episode. Tony Almeda's wife dies in an explosion. Edgar Stiles buys the farm last week. [And I have to tell you that I was REALLY thinking that Curtis was going to be blown to bits last week. I would have hated that since I think that it would be cool to see a season focus on him!] I can't wait to see what's going to happen next!

So what are you watching?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Powell and Oeming on The Goon!

I've been singing the praises of Eric Powell's The Goon for more than a couple of years now. If you like great art, comic books, monsters, mobsters, zombies, witches and lots of [sometimes sick] humor, then you ought to give this book a try.

It just keeps getting better and better.

Issue 16 is on the stands now. Of course it features the writing and art of Eric Powell and is a great jumping on point for those who've never read The Goon. Here's a full look at the banner from the top of this point. Purty, ain't it.

As an added bonus, Michael Avon Oeming provides the art for a Goon short adventure written by Tom Sniegoski. Frankie and the Goon decide to rescue a baby held for ransom by a horde of zombies!

I aboslutely love Oeming's art for this. Here's a shot of Frankie and the Goon. Ya gotta love it. Here's a reaction shot that is priceless. Of course you'd understand why I like it so much if you read the story.

So what are you waiting for? It's available at your local comic shop now!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Which 3 do You Prefer?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Seems everyone today is talking about the new trailer for X-Men III.

As for me, I prefer the new Japanese trailer for Mission Impossible III.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Walking Dead Still Rules!

I first talked up The Walking Dead about 2 1/2 years ago when the series debuted. It quickly became my favorite monthly comic and continues to be.

If you're not reading it, you really should give it a look!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Creature from the Black Lagoon is Back!

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of monster movies. Especially the classic monsters... Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, and of course, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

So you can imagine my reaction when I found out that a new series of original novels based on these characters was coming out later this year. You can read about The Creature from the Black Lagoon's novel HERE.

Don't worry, I'll keep you posted on new additions to the series.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

MegaCon Report

One of the best parts of attending conventions is meeting up with folks that you don't get to see often enough. MeganCon was no exception. I spent the bulk of the show hanging at the table shared by my best buddy John Beatty and Alberto Ruiz. Now THAT was a blast [and I plan to write about the experience in a seperate blog update].

Directly across from Alberto and Beatty's table, Bob McLeod was set up. Bob's sketch list was full and his new book, Superhero ABC was selling like hotcakes. If you have [or know anyone who has] young kids, Bob's book would make the perfect gift! Heck, I even saw fans without kids buying it for themselves!

Alex Saviuk was set up. Alex is a great guy who's been busy the last couple of years doing storyboards for movies in addition to his comic work. Alex has a true love of film and so it was great to spend a few minutes catching up with him.

Mark Pennington was there on Saturday sketching for fans. Mark had a really cool Conan painting on display. Mark said that it was a commission for a fan and the fan wanted Mark to change it so that Conan was wearing a horned helmet rather than the wolf's head. While I can understand the fan's thought process, I think that the painting would look cooler the way that it is.

Mark was sketching for fans and turning out some really nice pieces. James Howell got a Batman in the rain that was so nice that he went back to get a Joker [also in the rain] so he'd have "bookend" pieces. Matt Hollub also got on board for a piece from Mark. I would have as well, but my reference was with another artist and Mark was only going to be at the show on Saturday. Still, I know just the sketch I'd like to get from Mark, so the next time we're at a show together, you know I'll be in his line.

Although I was on two sketch lists [Adam Hughes and Phil Noto], and Alberto did me three gratis [3!!!] Stallone pieces [more on that later], I wanted to try and pick up a piece of art for a buddy who'd done me some favors.

I thought that Shawn Surface might just be the man for the job, and boy was I right. Shawn has done some work for my buddy, Bill Black's AC Comics, as well as Mitch Hyman's Bubba The Redneck WereWolf. I'd talked to Shawn at a few cons over the years about getting a Stallone sketch from him... but since I wanted to get a piece from my buddy, that had to come first. Shawn was more than up for the task. I really liked the way it turned out. I'd like to tell you that you can click HERE to see the piece, but instead you'll see Shawn and what a Mage sketch might look like. LOL. Ok, ok... it wasn't THAT funny [unless you know James Howell and have read THIS]. Once my pal, Scott sees his piece, I'm sure he'll post it on his site and you can see it there.

Gus Vasquez was there. We talked a bit about the work that he's been doing on an animation feature. I also asked him about his niece, Rosario Dawson. What a year she's had with her involvement in Sin City and Rent. We also discussed the comic, OCT [Occult Crimes Taskforce] that she's co-creating with David Atchison and Tony Shastee. Rosario and Gus will be among the tons of guests at Heroes Con later this year.

Andy Smith was there. When he wasn't sketching for fans, he was looking for something to take back home to his daughter.

Jesse "Cadre" Hansen "the hardest working man" in comics was set up with his crew. I really wanted to spend a few minutes catching up with Jesse, but the time just wasn't there. We did say "hi" a few times as we passed each other though.

MegaCon, like most cons these days, has people showing up in amazing costumes. Sometimes the folks really look like the characters that they're supposed to be.

Thor had a cool helmet and his beard and hair were right. Still I thought Thor would be taller than me. I love Eric Powell's The Goon. And he's a character that people seldom choose to dress up as. Still, I thought The Goon would be bigger than me. A lot of people choose to dress up as Batman. Although, not too many are lucky enough to have Batgirl and Robin [also in great costumes] along for the ride. But I have to admit, I thought that Batman would be taller than me. You might think that I was starting to feel like "the big man in comics" but you'd be wrong... see I met up with the Kingpin!

If you've ever been to a con, you know how much goes on. I'm sure I'm leaving out some stuff... still, I'll post my new Adam Hughes sketch tomorrow [I LOVE IT!] and my thoughts on hanging with Big Beatty and Alberto soon. If you want to see what they had to say, then click HERE or HERE [where you can actually see Alberto drawing my second Stallone sketch!]