While we're on the subject of first issues of new comics as we were HERE and HERE, there's one more that I thought I'd mention. It's called "Living with the Dead" by Mike Richardson [writer], Ben Stenbeck [artist] and Richard Corben [covers].
It's a "hilariously funny" look at the life of two slackers who've, at least until now, survived a zombie plague. When they discover a beautiful young girl across the way things get really interesting.
I'm giving it a shot since I enjoyed "Shaun of the Dead."
Another first issue that caught my eye while going through Previews was Crawl Space: XXXombies #1 by Rick Remender, Kieron Dwyer and Tony Moore. The idea is it's 1977 and a low rent movie producer has brought together a cast of adult film stars for a weekend shoot in LA... just as a zombie plague hits.
Mix together Remender, Dwyer, Moore and zombies and I'm there. You can be too if you give your local comic shop owner a "heads-up."
The ZONE DVD Store, an affiliate of Amazon.com is now open for business. Any dvd bought through one of the ZONE links sends a small percentage back to the ZONE and doesn't raise your cost even a cent. It's an easy [and appreciated] way to support us!
As I was going through the latest issue of Previews, a new series by Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo caught my eye. I've pre-ordered it and you may want to as well after you read this interview with them.
Nothing is as it seems in Duane Swierczynski’s first novel Secret Dead Men. Del Farmer appears to be an FBI agent investigating a mob hit. In reality Farmer is a dead reporter trying to discover the reason behind his own murder. Yeah, you read that correctly. Farmer is a dead guy. Well…
…he isn’t just a dead guy.
See, Farmer has the ability to collect souls of the recently departed. In his quest to discover the secrets behind his own murder, Farmer has collected the souls of about a dozen others…
… and they live in his brain hotel.
See, the brain hotel is a mental construct, that appears like a typical hotel and allows the recently departed to have a semblance of life. People in the brain hotel go on about living [although it’s just their memories for the most part] but they can also interact with each other. Sometimes, if their skills are better suited to getting him out of whatever jam he’s in, Farmer even uses them to pilot the body that he currently inhabits…
…and if you’re still with me, then my guess is you’ll enjoy the novel.
I loved Swierczynski’sThe Wheelman and The Blonde. And although Secret Dead Men falls a bit short of being as good, we should remember that Secret Dead Men was Swierczynski’s first novel. It’s definitely worth a look.
This is a first for the ZONE. Usually I'm talking up a movie, a novel, a tv show or a comic. Today I want to tell you about a bookbag.
Yeah, a bookbag.
I've got one of the Jansport Big Student Packs and not only can it carry my planner, assorted files, pens, cell phones, glasses and other assorted items, but it can do so comfortably. The bag features extra wide and padded straps and comes in a variety of colors [although I went for the basic black].
We now return to our regularly scheduled programing.
The piece above is a close-up of a fanzine cover created by Willie Blyberg back in 1978. At that time, Willie was a very prolific and talented fan artist who not only created his own fanzines, but contributed to others as well. Willie's goal was to break into comics as a professional inker and his dream became a reality.
My favorite Willie Blyberg ink job was over Paul Gulacy on the Valkyrie: Prisoner of the Past mini-series. I must not have been the only one to enjoy it, because Paul and Willie were nominated for the 1988 Best Art Team Eisner Award. Willie inked a lot of other comics, but then I lost touch with his career.
Tonight as I was looking through my copy of Willie's fanzine from 1978, I wondered where Willie is today. Perhaps someone reading this knows?
I'm a sucker for lists and Classic TV's "List of the Top 100 Shows" sucked me in. Ultimately I whittled the list down to the 25 shows that I'd like to see right now. Basically, these are my favorites on the list, but the order could be argued after the top ten or so. Of course they left out some classics like "The Wild, Wild West" but you go with what they give ya...
So here's my top 25:
Seinfeld (NBC, 1990-98) Star Trek (NBC, 1966-69) The Honeymooners (CBS, 1955-56) The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959-65) I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-61) The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS, 1961-66) Leave it to Beaver (CBS/ABC, 1957-63) Frasier (NBC, 1993-Present) Cheers (NBC, 1983-93) The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-68) The Cosby Show (NBC, 1984-92) The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-77) Hill Street Blues (NBC, 1981-87) Barney Miller (ABC, 1975-82) The Bob Newhart Show (CBS, 1972-78) The Carol Burnett Show (CBS, 1967-79) The Monkees (NBC, 1966-68) Miami Vice (NBC, 1984-89) ER (NBC, 1994-Present) Happy Days (ABC, 1974-84) The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS, 1948-71) Alfred Hitchcock Presents (CBS/NBC, 1955-65) Batman (ABC, 1966-68) Lost in Space (CBS, 1965-68) The Rockford Files (NBC, 1974-80)
I've never been into the whole MySpace scene, but I definitely went to check out "Digger" McCrea's page. It was just as cool, retro, hip and tough as I knew it would be. Christopher Mills not only provides us with Digger's new digs but tantalizes us by saying...
"Oh – and by the way, there will be some exciting news about the future of McCrae's criminal career coming soon...."
I lovedDuane Swierczynski’sThe Wheelman which opened in the middle of a bank robbery gone wrong and was a fast paced, violent, at times humorous and always unpredictable story. So I couldn’t wait to read Swierczynski’s next novel The Blonde. I’m happy to say that I was hooked from the opening sentence [one of the best in recent memory]:
“I poisoned your drink.”
From there we are taken on a wild ride as Jack Eisley attempts to learn why he was poisoned by a beautiful blonde named Kelly White and why she is infected and on the run from a covert government agency’s hitman. The Blonde is fast paced, lean and will keep you on the edge of your seat as the pages fly by. Duane Swierczynski has another winner that left me excited to start on Secret Dead Men! ___ Update: Duane Swierczynskijust posted up the paperback cover to The Blonde which will be available October 30th!
John Beatty called me at work this morning to tell me the news. Mike Wieringohadpassed away. It was hard to fathom. Mike was only 44 years old and appeared in good health. He worked out, ate right and by all appearances was in fine shape. The news hit hard. Big Beatty was at a loss... and so was I. What could be said? What could be done?
Mike was one of the most popular artists currently working in comics today. Fans loved him. Pros loved him. I never, ever, heard a single negative thing said about Mike or his art. My dealings with Mike were limited, but they were always positive. I first met Mike about 5 or 6 years ago. Mike was gracious and kind to both my son and me, but that's the way he was with ALL of his fans.
I became a regular visitor to Mike's blog and would often leave comments about his weekday posts. When Mike posted a sketch of Rocky Balboa along with his thoughts on the movie, I wrote to say that if he ever considered selling the sketch, I would be interested. Mike wrote me back to say that several of the fans who post on his site had already suggested that I might like to have it for my collection. Mike said that as he was drawing it, he thought the same and it was mine for the taking... gratis. Mike went on to say that he would be honored to have his work appear in my gallery. Can you imagine? That's the kind of guy Mike was. I suggested that if he wouldn't take money, since he liked the movie, I would be happy to purchase the dvd for him. He said that wasn't necessary, but did finally agree and acted like I was doing him the favor.
I knew that my blog today would be about Mike Wieringo. Mike positively touched so many lives that I knew that my voice would just be one of the many remembering him, but I knew that I had to mark his passing. I figured that I would probably post the Rocky sketch that he gave me. The when I checked my mail, I found a letter from my old friend Jim Ivey. Jim has always teased me about being a Sylvester Stallone fan. One of Jim's comments is that Sly has sad eyes... and Jim drew them on the envelope of his letter. Talk about appropriate.
Today Mike Wieringo's family, friends and fans are in mourning. Yes, there are tears in our eyes. We've lost not only a great artist, but a wonderful human being. My life was better for knowing Mike Wieringo. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.
A few minutes ago it came over the wires that Merv Griffin had passed away from prostate cancer at the age of 82. Mr. Griffin started out as a singer, but really hit it big with his self-titled talk show which ran for more than 20 years. He is also known for being the creative genius behind two of television's most popular and longest running game shows "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune."
Growing up, I enjoyed watching The Merv Griffin Show. Merv always seemed like a down-to-earth guy who was having fun hanging out with the celebrities joining him for the day. He was a true success story. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.
A couple of posts downRafael Kayanan mentioned the "Enter the Dragon" re-make that Kurt Sutter is going to write and direct for Warner Bros. Since I hadn't heard anything about this, I decided to find out the scoop.
Kurt Sutter is an executive producer, writer and occasional actor on "The Shield."Sutter told Variety that he's...
'writing "Awaken the Dragon" as a contemporized drama about a lone FBI agent who pursues a rogue Shaolin monk into the bloody world of underground martial arts fight clubs.'
"Enter the Dragon" is one of my all-time favorite films. I love Sutter's work on "The Shield" and have no problems with him updating, re-making or re-imagining "Enter the Dragon." If his movie is great, then it will bring more awareness to the original. If his movie tanks, it doesn't change anything with the Bruce Lee classic. Sounds like a win-win situation for us action fans especially if Sutter's FX pilot "Forever Sam Crow" [a drama set in the "world of outlaw motorcycle clubs] is picked up.
Ape Entertainment has announced that writer Christopher [Gravedigger: The Scavengers] Mills will team team with artist Joe [E-Man, Green Lantern, Scooby Doo] Staton to produce a four-issue, full-color miniseries based on their popular webcomic, Femme Noir.
Mills describes what to expect when he says: "The Femme Noir series is my unabashed valentine to the crime fiction genre... All the conventions of the genre - and the cliches - are happily and enthusiastically embraced. It's an amalgamation of 40's Poverty Row B-movies, Golden and Silver Age comics, old radio shows, pulp stories... a little bit of everything I love in Pop Culture, old and new."
Check out the full story HERE! ... and BIG CONGRATS to Chris!
John Greenewald Jr. has been obsessed with UFOs since he was a child. While still in his teens he started requesting, through the Freedom of Information Act, government documents related to UFOs. Greenwald, with one half million documents, may have the most comprehensive UFO collection in the world and it's all online for the world to see at The Black Vault!
In Stephen King's August 10, 2007 column for Entertainment Weekly, he could be talking about why I enjoy daily blogging. King says:
"...the real purpose of these things we write about - to cause a sudden burst of happy emotion, a sudden rush to the head..."
King goes on to say that IT can be a movie, a song, or a book, but whatever IT is causes us to smile and become caught up in the moment. King said that it happened to him when he saw Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and it happens every time he hears Van Halen's "Jump" or gets ready to watch the latest episode of "The Shield."
I know exactly where King is coming from. I felt the same rush the first time I saw "Rocky." I can't help but smile whenever I hear "Grooveline." I still dig the original "Star Trek" and not much is better than Byrne and Austin's run on "X-Men,"or Moench and Gulacy on "Master of Kung Fu." Charlie Huston, Barry Eisler, and David Morrell are just three authors who can bring about "the rush."
We all have things that give us the rush. King calls them our "personal joy buzzers." The great thing about blogging is that we get to share our personal joy buzzers and re-experience "the rush."
The above drawing came with a letter I received today from my old buddy Jim Ivey. You might not be able to tell, but that's Jim remembering how I looked over 30 years ago when I first met him ... well, if I was a cartoon character. The first time Jim ever drew a caricature of me, he turned me into Conan. Those days are long gone...
Jim wrote to tell me about the wonderful time he had in Washington, DC when he was recently honored at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists 50th-anniversary convention. Jim is one of three surviving original members. Not only did Jim get to see them again, but also to meet many new artists for the first time. The highlight for Jim was meeting Ann Telnaes whose work he's admired for some time. Jim favorably compares to Herblock, Rube Goldberg and Roy Crane! Lofty company! [Jim's right, she is an amazing talent.] You can read more about Jim's tripHERE.
What's really amazing is that it's been 50 years since the first AAEC meeting. Jim is 82 and probably in as good of shape now as he was then! Conan, indeed!
You've heard me rave many times about what a great show Tim puts on. This one could be the best ever! In addition to John Beatty, guests will include Bill Black, Alex Saviuk, Herb Trimpe, Gary Friedrich, Chuck Dixon, Pablo Marcos, and many others. There will be something for everyone... artists sketching and signing autographs, a costume contest, a continuously running film room and more.
If you're able to make it, swing by Big Beatty's table and be sure to say, "Hi!"
Newsarama has a brief interview with writer Glen Brunswick about his upcoming miniseries, Killing Girl which hits the stands next week. Brunswick teamed with artist Frank (Rocketo) Espinosa to create a series that is worth a look. If you agree, then check out the 9 page preview by clicking HERE.
We've been talking about "Shoot 'em Up" since it was just an interesting idea waiting to happen. It's been cool keeping tabs as the movie was announced, stars were named, it began filming and moving closer to its premiere. Now the official website is open. And we're another step closer to September 7th!
Hard to believe, but that's a photo of me that appeared in 1980 on the inside front cover of Bill Black's Fun Comics #1. Although it was 27 years ago, it seems like yesterday... ok, maybe not really yesterday, but definitely not 27 years ago.
OrlandoCon 1980. Bill Black, Jim Ivey, and Mike Kott were all friends of mine [still are in fact] and the main men behind OrlandoCon. That year Jock Mahoney was the media guest of honor.
Jock had a long, successful career in movies and on tv. He started out as a stuntman, but soon was playing the lead as The Range Rider, Yancy Derringer, Tarzan [in 3 movies], and in so many other roles. Jock was also Sally Field's stepfather!
Because of my connections with Bill, Jim and Mike, I was able to appear on stage with Jock when he did some demonstrations of how fights are filmed for movies. Jock was a great guest. He even posed with Bill and his wife Rebecca for thefumetti below. Hard to believe that it was done over 1/4 century ago...