Sunday, April 29, 2007

MallowCon Report

Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend the first Comics Collector's Comic-Con in Port St. Lucie. The show was put on by Keith Mallow [pictured above probably wondering how he ended up in a StalloneZone t-shirt]. You've heard me talk about Keith [and his lovely wife Monica] before. They're good people [well, at least Monica is...]. I was there with my best buddy, Big John Beatty, who was a guest at the con. Here's how the show went...

Beatty and I arrived early. The room was already packed with dealers. Keith led us back to Big John's table. I was surprised to see Jesse "Cadre" Hansen set up at a table behind us. I should have known that Cadre would be at the con since he is "the hardest working man in comics." Jesse had his latest project on hand, the #1 issue to Cornerstone which features four stories by the Cadre Corner Crew [say that three times fast!]. It's a nice package, and I'd have said that even if Jesse didn't give me a shout-out in the "Thank You" section!

Soon enough Ethan Van Sciver arrived. His table was next to Beatty's. My buddy, John Higashi, had asked me to get a sketch from Ethan for him. Ethan agreed to the Star Wars piece [adding another figure to this one that he had drawn earlier].

I decided to take a walk around the room before the doors opened. There were quite a few dealers set up. Tim Gordon was there. Tim's a great guy and he puts on the Tampa show that you've heard me brag about over the years. Keith Mallow and Tim are working together cross-promote their shows and see that they don't overlap. Pictured above is a shot of the America Man table. They were giving away free copies of their America Man comic. Since the doors were getting ready to open, I headed back to Beatty's table.

From the time the doors opened until almost closing time, the show stayed busy. Every fan I talked with said he/she was having a great time and making some good purchases. Dealers seemed to be doing good business as well. When both the fans and dealers are happy, you know it's a great show!

Ethan was able to finish Higashi's sketch, but then about an hour into the show suddenly had to leave. Hopefully, whatever emergency called him away was been positively resolved.

Beatty had a sketch list that kept him busy through the show. That coupled with a ton of autograph requests [and even a couple of newspaper interviews] made the day flow by quickly. Beatty was in the zone when it came to his sketches. Each one was a winner, but this Punisher sketch [purchased by uber Punisher fan Bart ] was my favorite of the show.

As the show came to an end, everyone started to say their good-byes. We told Tim that we'd be at his show in August, if we didn't make the one in May. Cadre said that he and his crew would be down for the next Sketch Society meeting. We told Joe "Ladder Leg" that we'd see him at the next show. There was just one last thing to do before hitting the road... and that was to thank Monica and Keith for putting on a great show... I decided that it would be best for Beatty to thank Keith...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up in September

About two years ago I first mentioned how cool "Shoot 'Em Up" sounded. Then last November advance word started to come in that it was definitely a great ride! We'll finally get a chance to see it in September and my guess is that we'll enjoy it as much as these folks who've already seen it!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Statham & Some Sly Casting

It looks like Jason Statham may take the starring role as "Frankenstein" in the remake of Roger Corman's cult classic "Death Race 2000." Paul W.S. Anderson has written and is set to direct the updated actioner.

Although the remake was originally planned as a [pardon the pun] vehicle for Tom Cruise. Cruise has decided to pass on the starring role, but instead stay on as a producer. The original "Death Race 2000" was released in 1975 and starred David Carradine and a pre-"Rocky" Sylvester Stallone. Word is that Anderson would like for Sly to reprise his role as "Machine Gun Joe."

This could be fun... especially if Sly returns.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Party-time in Port St. Lucie

If you're anywhere near Port St. Lucie, Florida this Sunday you might want to swing by the community center [2195 SE Airoso Blvd.] for a Collector's Comics mini-convention. My buddy, John Beatty will be there signing autographs and doing sketches. Ethan Van Sciver will also be on hand working his artistic magic. The show runs from 10:00am-4:30pm. Phone 772-878-2277 for more details. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sanjaya vs Stern: Class Act?

Last night Sanjaya Malakar was voted off of American Idol. Truth be told, his time had come more than a couple of votes ago. And while it was time for Sanjaya to go, my bet is we haven't seen the last of him. He has a solid fan base of little girls and enough "cuteness" and talent to at least get a shot a something. What? I'm not sure, but something.

Two more things before we close: 1] Sanjaya took more flack, bad comments and teasing than any other American Idol contestant that I can remember. Sanjaya kept his sense of humor and showed class through it all. 2] Sanjaya's leaving puts a rest to the Howard Stern claim that Howard has the power [through his audience] to take Sanjaya to the finals and kill American Idol. Let's just hope that Stern can show the same class as Sanjaya now that Stern's mission has failed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Six Million Wouldn't Cut It

I was a big fan of The Six Million Dollar Man back in the day. So I thought that it'd be cool to take a look at its intro. [PS - Jazz is right that a redo would be cool... but today Steve Austin would probably be a Six Billion Dollar Man.]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cool "Crime" Cover -- 1st in a Series

I've always thought this was one of the coolest covers.

Painted by Dan Brereton, it may have seen print elsewhere [Chris Mills would know!] before landing on the seventh issue of Draw! magazine. If it wasn't painted for a specific story, it cries out for one to be written around it. It has all the right elements for a great crime saga... a tough dame, guns, money, and a rough thug [gotta wonder where that scar came from] on the run [note the hanging handcuff].

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bad Blood Leaves bad Taste

I'm a big fan of the UFC. I never miss The Ultimate Fighter. I seldom miss Ultimate Fight Nights, Inside the UFC, or UFC special events. Heck, I even can be drawn out of the house to attend the pay-per-views! In other words, UFC programming seldom disappoints. I would have said never disappoints, but I recently watched "Bad Blood: Dana White vs Tito Ortiz."

If you're a fan of the sport then you probably know that Dana White [co-owner of the UFC] and Tito Ortiz [one of the top fighters in the UFC] used to be good friends. This was before White took over the UFC and still acted as Tito's manager. After that they had a terrible falling out and became bitter enemies.

So they decided that they'd end their feud in the ring. White used to box and Tito challenged him to a three round boxing match. The thing ended up taking on a life of it's own. White had to have the bout sanctioned and fans were clammoring to see it.

The thing of it is, the fight never took place. For all of the hoopola, Tito decided two days before the event not to fight. He probably figured it was a no win situation for him. If he beat up Dana White, it would have been expected and he could come off as a bully. If he lost or even looked bad though, it could hurt his reputation as a fighter. So he bowed out.

Did that stop the UFC and SPIKE TV from hyping the event? No. In fact the show is airing several times. So let me save you an hour of your life: If you tune in expecting to see Dana White vs Tito Ortiz, you won't. You'll see a big build-up and a lot of hype but ultimately no pay-off. So my advice is to skip it and instead tune in to one of the other UFC shows, at least they have never disappointed!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"28 weeks later" Wanted Sooner!

I'm looking forward to "28 weeks later" even more after reading THIS REVIEW and seeing THIS NEW POSTER and THIS NEW ONE and THIS NEW ONE and even THIS OLD ONE.

Hundred-Dollar Baby

Robert B. Parker's Hundred-Dollar Baby is his 34th Spenser novel. A new one comes out every year, and when you've been reading them for as long as I have, each new novel is like a visit from an old friend. That's both good and bad. It's good because the characters have a long history and are well-defined. It's bad because after so many years the reader can anticipate how the story will unfold. With a long-running series like the Spenser novels, the journey becomes more important than the final destination. Well... normally that's the case.

Hundred-Dollar Baby breaks that mold. Sure, the story begins like most Spenser novels when he accepts case for a young woman [who first appeared in two earlier books, Ceremony (1982) and Taming a Sea Horse (1986)]. The story moves along in a very predictable fashion until about 3/4 of the way through when it takes on an unexpected twist. Hundred-Dollar Baby concludes with one of the most memorable endings of any Spenser novel.

If you've never read Robert B. Parker's Spenser, then I'd suggest that you start with The Goldwolf Manuscript [the first in the series]. If you used to read the Spenser novels, but drifted away, then Hundred-Dollar Baby would be a good place to rekindle your friendship.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mills Doubles Up

I told you HERE just how excited I was about the release of "Payback - The Director's Cut."

Although I've got my copy, I won't get a chance to view it until this weekend [at the earliest]. Still, thanks to Chris Mills's review, I'm even more excited about the odds of me loving the new version.

Chris and I enjoy a lot of the same movies, authors, and comics. When Chris says, "This new edition does not replace the old one for me, but does improve upon it in most ways, and I'm grateful for it," I feel that I will be as well. Of course, I'll let you know for sure once I watch the new version. Until then, check out Chris's full review and swing by his new Guns in the Gutters blog. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

4.0 & 28 Go International

Click HERE to see the international trailer to "Die Hard 4.0"

Click HERE to see the international trailer to "28 weeks later."
I like both of these trailers better than the previous ones.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Time for a Little Payback

I can't wait to get my copy of "Payback - The Director's Cut" when it goes on sale tomorrow. Although the theatrical version of "Payback" is one of my favorite Mel Gibson movies, I have a feeling that the Director's Cut will be as well. I know what you're thinking, how could it not be? It's the same movie with just a few extra scenes that were cut out when the movie was originally released.

Not so, good buddy!

Paramount and star Mel Gibson originally felt that writer/director Brian ["LA Confidential"] Helgeland’s adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s novel The Hunter was too dark. So they told Helgeland to do some reshoots. He refused. Surprisingly, he was fired and Mel Gibson took over the director's chair. About a third of the movie was re-shot, new characters were added along with a happy ending.

There were always rumors that Helgeland’s version was better. Tomorrow we'll be able to decide for ourselves. In the mean time, scored an exclusive interview with Brian Helgeland who talks about what happened to get him fired and why Mel Gibson helped to make it possible for the new version to be released. Click HERE for the interview.

As I said, "Payback" is one of my favorite Mel Gibson movies. My guess is that "Payback - The Director's Cut" will be as well.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Grindhouse Fails to Score

Weekend box office returns for "Grindhouse," are in and they aren't good. The Tarantino / Rodriguez double feature brought in only $11.6 million which puts it in fourth place for the weekend, and far below the mid-$20 million predicted.

In hindsight, we can all speculate on why the movie hasn't, at least this far, lived up to it's hype. When I told people that I planned to see "Grindhouse" this weekend, most hadn't heard of it. A few vaguely remembered seeing some ads for it, but then asked, "So what's it about?" That's never good. Others wondered why they should go and see movies with "scratches, splices and scenes missing." In other words they just didn't get it. My son, Mike, before seeing the movie with me said, "I think 'Grindhouse' is going to be like 'Black Snake Moan' -- everyone talked about it, but no one went to see it."

Seems like Mike may have been on to something.

Serra Stuns the World

There's an old cliche: That on any given night one athlete / team can beat another.

Last night Matt "The Terror" Serra stunned the world by knocking out George St. Pierre in the first round. Nobody [except Serra himself] thought that St. Pierre would loose. As we were getting ready to watch the fights, I told my son, "The only shot Serra has is if he rocks GSP and then jumps on him. Serra can punch and punchers always have a chance." Even knowing that, I didn't think that Serra would win so quickly and decisively. Congrats to Serra. My guess is that he will next fight Matt Hughes. Serra would be a huge underdog... just like in his fight against GSP. I doubt that will matter to Serra.

The fight I really wanted to see was Josh Koscheck vs. Diego Sanchez. I figured that this would be the action-packed fight of the night. Sanchez was undefeated [19-0] and had beaten Koscheck before. There was a lot of bad blood between the two and both repeatedly promised in interviews that they would knock the other out. The reality is that the fight was less exciting than the pre-fight interviews. I do have to congratulate Koscheck. I thought that the fight would go to Sanchez since his stand-up was better. Well, you couldn't tell that from what happened in the cage last night. Koscheck was quicker, landed more punches, and made Sanchez pay each time that he tried to score. Koscheck did enough to win and ended Sanchez's undefeated streak. My guess is that these two will fight again. If so, I just hope that they live up to their hype.

The most exciting fight of the night was Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia. Huerta won a unanimous decision, but the fight was far from one-sided. These guys threw punches in bunches, went to the ground, reveresed each other repeatedly and at times each looked on the verge of being knocked out or knocking out his opponent.

Overall it was a good card. I'd say that the fans got their money's worth... but one cliche per post is probably enough.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bob Clark - RIP

Director Bob Clark and his 22 year old son Ariel were killed early this morning when a car suddenly swerved over and hit them head on. The driver of the other car was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and gross vehicular manslaughter. While the accident killed Clark and his son, the other driver suffered only minor injuries.

Bob Clark is best known for co-writing and directing the classic "A Christmas Story". Mr. Clark was also the brains behind the very successful "Porky's" [which he co-wrote and directed] which in turn led to several sequels. Mr. Clark directed many other films [horror, comedy, children's], including "Rhinestone" [with Sly Stallone and Dolly Parton].

I'll never forget the first time I watched "Porky's" with my brother-in-law. We laughed until we cried and talked about the movie for days. Christmas isn't Christmas without watching "A Christmas Story" with the family. Bob Clark not only left us with some fun films, he provided the source of some great family memories as well.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans.

I Was Out of Bullets

The new trailer for Live Free or Die Hard can be seen by clicking HERE. It looks much better than the first teaser. Yeah, I'm back on board.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Season Six Starts Tonight

Tonight. 10pm. FX. The Shield returns for season six. Comments are welcome.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Guns in the Gutters

Chris Mills has started a new blog called Guns in the Gutters. There you'll find Chris's reviews of crime comics. Chris has great taste [in other words we like a lot of the same movies, books, comics, etc.], not to mention he wrote one of my personal favorite crime comics, GraveDigger: The Scavengers! Okay, okay, so I mentioned it. Believe me, the comic is more than worth a look.

But don't take my word for it. Check out Guns in the Gutters. Chris will turn you on to some cool stuff if you give him half a chance.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Huston Continues His Streak

Charlie Huston just keeps hitting homeruns.

No, he's not a baseball player. Huston's a writer. And a very good one. I told you about how much I enjoyed Huston's writing HERE. Now he's back with his second Joe Pitt novel called No Dominion. It's even better than Already Dead [and you know how much I liked it]!

So who is Joe Pitt? Let's let Huston tell you in his own words:

Joe is a kind of a detective. Kind of. In the same way he’s kind of alive. Duck around the issue as long as you want, sooner or later it’s gonna bite you. See, Joe’s a vampire. Yeah, a blood sucker. But not in the usual way, least not in the way you’re thinking from the books and the movies. Joe’s got a sickness, same sickness a lot of other poor slobs got. And all of them are creeping around Manhattan, trying to stay out of the public eye, out of the sun. Got themselves organized into Clans, each one laying claim to some turf. Wanna stay alive, gotta be with a Clan. Except Joe. He doesn’t hold with that way of life. That way is no life at all as far as he’s concerned. Ha, life, that’s funny. Sort of.

At any rate, you can read more about Joe Pitt while you're checking out Charlie Huston's web site. While you're there, be sure and check out his Hank Thompson trilogy. [You should start with Caught Stealing, then Six Bad Things, and finish with A Dangerous Man.] They're as good as the Joe Pitt books. And it doesn't get much better than that!