Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sketch Society Report

My August Sketch Society Report is now up HERE for those of you interested in that sort of thing.

Roman Thug Life

Evan Bryce is an artist to keep an eye on. His blog should be a regular rest area on your internet travels. Evan's new sketchbook, Roman Thug Life is now available. It contains 54 pages of Evan's work. I'm looking forward to getting a copy. Check it out and you might be too!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zodiac Killer Unmasked?

If Dennis Kaufman is right, his stepfather was the infamous Zodiac Killer. Kaufman has turned over evidence including handwriting samples, a [potentially blood] stained knife, rolls of undeveloped film, and DNA from his step-father. If Kaufman is correct and his step-father turns out to be the Zodiac, then it may also be true that his mother was one of potentially many victims that were never attributed to the Zodiac. You can read the full story HERE.

[Thanks to Neatorama for the link.]


US Transporter 3 Better

Ten days ago I was pretty sure that I would like the American Transporter 3 poster better than this French one. Now thanks to IMPAwards.com, I'm sure of it.

1-Hit-1-Ders 2

These 1-Hit-1-ders are just too easy. Don't believe me, try this one yourself!

Friday, August 29, 2008

1-Hit-1Ders

I'm on a bit of a roll with a perfect score today. I thought that this quiz of One-Hit-One-Ders was the easiest test yet; which is a bit surprising considering I'm much more into movies than music.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

One Shot the One Shot

It's hard to believe it's been a little over three years since my last post about Jason Pearson's Body Bags. I guess if Jason did more issues, I'd talk about them more often. At any rate, he's got a Body Bags one shot aptly titled One Shot coming soon. CBR.com has a preview [not suitable for all ages due to language and comic book violence] that you can see by clicking HERE [if this sort of thing is suitable for you].

Sketch Society Saturday!

Our next Sketch Society get-together is this Saturday. If you like to draw and live within traveling distance to Daytona Beach, Florida, come and join us. Click HERE to learn more about the meeting!

A Scary Start

Ah, finally success. A perfect score in the Scary Beginnings quiz.

5 Years of Walking Dead

It's really hard to believe that The Walking Dead has been around for five years. But it has. And from the very first issue The Walking Dead been one of the best monthly comics published. Longtime ZONErs know that I've been singing it's praises for years.

In October, Image is coming out with the Volume 4 hard cover Walking Dead [which collects issues 37 - 48 of the series] as well as The Walking Dead: The Covers hard cover [which collects the first 50 covers, as well as the various collected edition covers plus sketch book material and commentary].


The Walking Dead is one of the few comics that I like enough to purchase monthly and then again when it comes out in the collected hard cover. The stories are so good that I don't want to wait a year to find out what happens and the price on the hard covers [1, 2, 3] is so inexpensive that trading in my single issues more than pays for the collections!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mignola's Return to Hellboy

Since we have a lot of Hellboy fans here at the ZONE, I thought I should mention that Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, will be back in October with the first Hellboy comic that he's drawn in three years! Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch is a one shot that finds Hellboy investigatating an ancient chapel where he discovers "an artist compelled by something more sinister than any muse" locked away in order to complete his "life's work."

You can see the entire cover and read more about the issue here.

Unperfect Streak Continues

My unperfect [yeah, I made it up] streak continues with this Opening Lines Quiz. This time I mixed up the opening line to "Shrek" with the opening line to "Sleeping Beauty." Tune in tomorrow and see if my unperfect streak continues!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Babylon AD Director Unhappy

If you've been around the ZONE in the last day or so, you know that I planned to check out "Babylon A.D." this weekend when it premiered. I wasn't going in with high expectations, just the hope that I'd have an enjoyable couple of hours. Now I'm not so sure.

That's Mathieu Kassovitz, "Babylon A.D." director in the photo with Vin Diesel above. Kassovitz says he's very unhappy with the film and that he "never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way [he] wanted it to be." He's especially upset that the film has been cut down to 93 minutes instead of the 108 he was hoping for. Kassovitz doesn't call the film a total waste -- "I like the energy of it and I got some scenes I'm happy with," he says. "But I know what I had -- I had something much better in my hands but I just wasn't allowed to work."

I still may still go see "Babylon A.D." this weekend... but with even lowered expectations. Anyone want to bet that a "director's cut" dvd will be released at some point? You can click here to read the full SciFiScanner.com article.

Beaten by Bela

Arrrgh! Just missed a perfect score again. 8 out of 9. Knocked out of the Gold Medal slot by Bela Lugosi. Here's the link if you want to give it a go.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Diesel is Back, Baby!

Looks like I'm not the only one posting about Vin Diesel today. Slashfilm.com picked up the talk of not one, but two new Riddick movies. JoBlo.com posted the trailer to next summer's "Fast and the Furious" pre-se/quel.

Of course I'd love two Riddick movies twice as much as one... but I'd settle for one done right again [as in Pitch Black right]. I have to admit, the Fast and the Furious trailer had me smiling. I'd be there for the mindless action when it opens.

Vin Diesel Speaks

Vin Diesel has a new movie, "Babylon, A.D." opening Friday. The reaction to what we've seen of it so far, at least from most ZONErs has been mixed. I'm actually looking forward to "Babylon, A.D." with midlevel expectations.

Even if you're not interested in
"Babylon, A.D.", you still might want to check out this Vin Diesel interview at Newsarama.com. Diesel talks about the "Fast and the Furious" pre-se/quel that brings back the orginal cast [Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Paul Walker], his dream project "Hannibal" and "Dark Athena" which is the third in the Riddick trilogy. According to Diesel, writer/director David Twohy is working on the script now. I love the Riddick character and would love to see him in a new adventure.

Movie Polygraph Quiz

Here's another quiz. I thought I had a shot at 100%, but I missed the question on the noir classic "Double Indemnity." Shame on me. Like Fred MacMurray, I should have known better.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cheating Death Quiz

80% means that I got two wrong. The only way to get one wrong is to use the same answer twice. If you use every answer once and aren't perfect, the best score possible is 80%. Beat my score [or at least give it a go] by clicking here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rushing to a Very Dark Place

James Hibberd, a senior reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, posted a spoiler-free review of the first eight episodes of The Shield's final season. at his blog.

Here are a few snippets that really stood out for me:

  • ...gives viewers exactly what they want.
  • Some old faces return to tie up loose ends...
  • ... the highly effective premiere...
  • ...Vic Mackey immediately seeking retribution against his longtime partner Shane Vendrell.
  • ...the Strike Team devolving into a cannibalistic game of survival.
  • ...hugely suspenseful...
  • ...leaves viewers impatient for each new episode.
  • ...Mackey... his every move to save himself only sucking him further down.
  • On “The Shield,” we are rushing to a very dark place.
  • ... "The Shield" has returned to demonstrate how serialized television is done.
You can read Hibberd's entire piece here.

Brubaker: The Sleeper Option

It's no secret that I'm happy about Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip's "Sleeper" graphic novels being optioned for the big screen. The fact that Sam ['Spider-Man"] Raimi may direct with Tom Cruise set to star sweetens the deal, at least in my humble opinion.

If you wonder what Ed Brubaker thinks about it, wonder no more. Simply click here.


Friday, August 22, 2008

You Say Fantasy, I Say Horror

One of my favorite authors, Charlie Huston is the subject of this interview at FantasyBookCritic.

Huston's new Joe Pitt novel, Every Last Drop comes out next month, so that's probably the reason for the interview... and I guess
Every Last Drop could be classified as "fantasy" since it features modern day vampires. Still, if anyone asks me, its genre when I'm reading Every Last Drop, I'm going with "horror."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Weather Report Anyone?

It's good that I didn't bet that things would be back to normal tomorrow. Compare the map from 11am in the post below and the one above from 5pm and you can see the problem. Tropical Storm Fay is hardly moving. Who would have thought that this blog would turn into a weather report? Yeesh.

Word at 2pm was that schools would open tomorrow. Teachers, administrators and support staff would arrive on time and prepare for the students who'd come in one hour later. At 6pm a new notice came through. School tomorrow was cancelled due to flooding, winds and above average rain everywhere.

I still think that tomorrow I'll go in and get some work done. Then again, maybe I shouldn't plan so far ahead. If we've learned only one thing with this weather it's that projections, predictions and plans seldom work out.

Fay Decided to Stay

On Monday we received word that the Daytona Beach area was in the direct path of Tropical Storm Fay. At that time, it was projected that Fay would come across the state at tropical storm strength, hit our area at about 2am Wednesday morning and then head out to sea.

Tuesday morning I went in to work to assist in running a special needs shelter. Schools and many businesses closed in anticipation of the high winds and rain. Tropical Storm Fay changed paths. Because of the storm shift our area didn't get near the winds or rain predicted. Our shelter closed down at 2:30pm and we were sent home. Those who had come for shelter had the option to go to another shelter.

It was then projected that Fay would cut across the state, head out to sea and then double back slamming into our area at about 8am Wednesday. But that's not what happened. Instead Fay slowed down and didn't move for hours. She just kept dumping rain and wind. News reports came in from areas south of us that homes were being flooded, streets washed out and that people should not go out unless absolutely necessary. The local news warned to be careful of snakes and alligators that could be in newly flooded areas. Schools and many businesses opted to close down for Thursday. At 10pm Wednesday evening, I received a call that we might have to go back and open up the shelter at midnight. Fortunately, the call never came [which means the current shelters were able to handle the people in need].

So here it is 11:50 on Thursday morning. The prediction is that Tropical Storm Fay will be out of our area by Friday morning. If that's the case then things will pretty much back to normal tomorrow. Since Fay has yet to follow her projected path and timeline, I'm not betting on it.

The Death Quiz

So I'm pretty good at figuring out who's more likely to die. Is that a good thing? Can you beat my score? Click here to give it a shot.

Emily Is Not Real

Emily is not real, but she's a better actress than some I've seen. All kidding aside, that is some pretty amazing animation.

We're getting close to the point that I wrote about nearly two years ago when discussing that lifelike animation
"will also usher in the next generation of all-star movie casts! Think about how cool it would be to see Sly Stallone, young Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Lee Marvin acting alongside each other. The possibilities are endless.

So, what would your dream cast be?"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Transporter Poster Disappoints

Remember the other day when I said, "Quite often foreign posters are cooler than their American counterparts" and then gave a rare example of an American movie poster looking better than the Russian version? Well, I'm willing to bet that I like the American poster for "Transporter 3" better than this French one. My photoshop skills are weak, but I think I could come up with something more interesting.


The Shield Goes Out in Style

FX has announced that the season/series finale for The Shield will air on November 25th. The good news is that the network is planning events to make the send-off special. There will be a retrospective with a roundtable discussion with the cast and crew. The official The Shield website has already posted exclusive new clips, photos and more. You can see them here.

Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse

The Pitch: “Mad Max“ meets your real life.

The Overview: Through a series of events [natural disasters, flu epidemic, wall street collapse, nuclear bombs blasts, etc.] the world as we know it is gone. Mortimer Tate, (formerly) an insurance salesman, has spent the last nine years alone in a cave. Tate saw the end coming and was prepared for it. Now after nine years, Tate is ready to venture out and see what, if anything, is left of civilization. Through his journey he will meet heroes, villains, survivalists, business men, cannibals, mad men and more. [Doesn’t sound like much has changed does it?]

The Good: Gischler provides just the right mix of horror, gore, and humor. // The pace is quick. // There are plenty of twists and just the right number of outrageous characters. // How the trains are powered. // “Jack Daniels: The Tradition Survives.” // “The man sitting in the throne stood to face Mortimer. He wasn’t ten feet tall, not even eight. But he was seven feet if he was an inch, and when he smiled, Mortimer saw the man’s teeth had been filed to points. He wore a leather vest, no shirt, muscles rippling like Conan. He had a square Frankenstein face, greasy hair. He carried a wooden club like a caveman’s. He wore a necklace of human ears and noses. Mortimer gulped. “Who dares come to see the Red Czar?” His voice was thunder.” - The next two paragraphs are worth the price of the book alone!

The Bad: What happens to trespassers. What happens to those caught by cannibals. And perhaps worst of all what happens after Ruth steps aside!

The Ugly: Mother Lola… oh, the horror, the horror.

The Summary: Victor Gischler is a very good writer. I’ve read Gun Monkeys and The Pistol Poets and would recommend them to those who enjoy crime novels. His latest, Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse is even better. If the title alone doesn’t get you to run out and pick up a copy, then I’m curious as to why you’ve read this deep into my review. And if you’ve read this far, you know you gonna love the book!

Sketch Society

My buddy, John Beatty asked me to become a moderator on his Sketch Society blog. I'll still do reminders and updates about Sketch Society meetings here at the ZONE, but now the major reports and photo dumps will occur at the Sketch Society blog. The next sketching get-together is coming soon. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sleeper No More

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips work together. I discovered them by way of their award-winning Criminal series. That led me to their first team up, Sleeper. I couldn't believe how good it was. [Can these two hit nothing but homeruns?]

Sean announced on his blog today the following: Sleeper.

Wow! Great news for Sean and Ed and their fans everywhere. Let's hope that a team comes together to make the movie with the same care and ability that went into "Iron Man," "The Dark Knight" and "Watchmen". In the mean time, if you haven't already, you should check out the four volumes that make up the Sleeper series: Out in the Cold; All False Moves; A Crooked Line; and The Long Way Home.

Fay Just Teased Us... So Far

The diagram above shows the projected path that tropical storm Fay is expected to follow for the next few days. How accurate it is, is hard to say. Fay was supposed to come through the Daytona Beach area starting tonight and hit hardest around 2am. Before that ever happened she shifted and headed out towards sea. As you can see now, Fay is projected to double back and land further up the coast. We'll find out tonight if schools will be in session tomorrow. We're still supposed to have high winds and rain through Wednesday.

Oh, if you're wondering how the day at the shelter went, it was pretty uneventful. We opened on time at 10am. Usually, when we open a shelter, there are bunches of people waiting to get in. Not today. The first person didn't arrive until almost eleven. At 12:30, only six people had come in. At 2:30pm we were closed down and people who still wanted shelter were sent to a new location. So the end result was no injuries, no property damage and only one story. [One of the people who came to the shelter ended up getting arrested. When the man signed in, a Deputy ran his name and it turned out he was wanted on an outstanding warrant.] My guess, is the man won't be worried about shelter for a while.


Sons of Anarchy

Hey! I thought maybe it was time for another reminder about the new show, Sons of Anarchy which will premiere soon. Seems like the folks at FX felt the same way since they've just put out this cool Sons of Anarchy poster.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Better Babylon

Quite often foreign posters are cooler than their American counterparts. That's not the case with the new American Babylon A.D. poster. I like it much better than the Russian version.

Fay is Gonna Smack Us

Four years ago three hurricanes struck the Daytona Beach area in just over a month's time. Try calculating the odds of that. For each of the hurricanes I spent time working at a special needs shelter. The stories I can tell. On a personal level, although we were left without power during each storm [and once for a five day stretch] no one in the family was hurt and property damage was minor.

Tomorrow morning I'll go in to work at another special needs shelter. You see we're directly in the path of Tropical Storm Fay. I'm planning to be there for at least two days [hopefully the shelter won't be needed longer]. If we're lucky, no one will be injured, property damage will be nil and I'll come out with a good story or two.

The Shield's Final Season

Isn't that a cool poster?

I am so ready for the final season of The Shield. It's not because I'm looking forward to the series to end. I'm not. In fact as the final season draws to it's ultimate conclusion, you just know that I'll be wishing that there was more to come.

I've been with The Shield since the first episode of the premiere season. I've never missed a single show. It's been a great ride. I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

3 Real Life Heroes

Comic book legends Neal Adams, Jack Kubert and Stan Lee have teamed in an effort to do what their creations are known for... to right a wrong. The only difference is this is not fiction.

Dina Gottliebova Babbitt is an 85 year old woman who survived Auschwitz due to her artistic talents. Sent to the camp at the age of 19, Ms. Gottliebova [she was not yet married] came to the attention of the infamous Nazi, Josef Mengele, after she painted a mural of Snow White in an effort to raise the spirits of young children being held there. When she was taken to meet Mengele, Ms. Gottliebova believed that he was about to order her execution. Instead he told her he wanted her to paint portraits of the gypsies he used in his experiments. She would also paint portraits of Nazi officers and their families and even Mengele himself. Ms. Gottliebova summoned up her courage and said that if her mother would be spared the gas chamber, she would agree to his demands. Her mother was spared and Ms. Gottliebova created the artwork. Ms. Gottliebova and her mother both survived until the camp was liberated.

After the war, Ms. Gottliebova met Arthur Babbitt, an American, who made his living as a cartoon animator. Coincidentally, he worked on the classic "Snow White!" Ms. Gottliebova became Mrs. Babbitt and moved to the United States where she became employed as a cartoon animator for Warner Bros., MGM and Jay Ward Productions. In 1973, Ms. Babbitt was contacted by officials at the Auschwitz State Museum. They had several of her portraits on display and wanted her to verify that she had created them. At her own expense she traveled to Poland and confirmed that they were hers. Ms. Babbitt believed the museum would give her the originals and keep prints for display... but that wasn't to be.

To this day the museum continues to refuse to return her paintings to her. Over the years she has been given a number of excuses: the education value of the paintings outweighs her rights to them [despite the fact the high quality prints are usually on display instead of the originals], that returning her paintings might encourage other survivors to take back their objects on display [somehow this logic gives trump to the museum's rights over the true owners], and even that the paintings were the legal property of Josef Mengele [despite receiving letters from over four dozen lawyers calling the claim "preposterous and offensive" and pointing out "a war criminal does not deserve to enjoy the fruits of his crime."

The paintings still have not been returned to Ms. Babbitt. So Neal Adams, Joe Kubert and Stan Lee teamed up to create a six page summary of her story that was printed in the New York Times. They are attempting to get the word out to the world. You can view all six pages of the strip by following this link to the Times article. The “Multimedia” box in the left hand column of the Times page will take you to the story. After you've read it, if you're so inclined you can send an email to the Museum director personally expressing your feelings.

Mr. Piotr Cywinski, Director
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Oswiecim, Poland
muzeum@auschwitz.org.pl

It's nice to know that Neal Adams, Joe Kubert and Stan Lee don't just create heroes -- they are heroes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Greatest Comic Characters

EmpireOnLine.com posted their choices for The 50 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time. Using just their picks, here are my top ten:
  • I only really read Iron Man way back when David Micheline and Bob Layton were charting his adventures. That coupled with the fact that I really liked the movie is enough to put Iron Man in the number 10 spot.

  • Superman was Empire's #1 character. I can see why: Superman is one of the most popular characters ever created. He's been the star of comics, radio, tv and movies. For my tastes though, he's just too dang powerful. Superman has super speed, super strength, super hearing, x-ray vision, he can fly, he's impervious to pain and he's really, really nice. Unless he's up against a chunk of Kryptonite [and isn't THAT stuff easy to find], where's the drama? Still, I did love me some Superman when I was about 5 and that's good enough to get him the number 9 slot.

  • At number 8 we have Captain America. I've enjoyed the good Captain in bursts over the years. When I was a wee lad, I loved Jack Kirby's Cap. You'd open to the splash and there was Cap having just been thrown out of a plane without a parachute or maybe he was already in battle against Batroc the Leaper! Years later Steranko did a couple of issues and they were beautiful. I still go back and read them from time to time. When I was in college, my buddies Mike Zeck and John Beatty had a nice run on Cap. I went along for the ride and had a blast.

  • Up until high school my favorite comic character was Spider-Man. It didn't matter who was drawing him; although John Romita Jr., Gil Kane, and John Byrne were favorites. Spider-Man aka Peter Parker always seemed to be in just a bit over his head. Despite that, he always tried to do the right thing. And that's why he comes in a number 7.

  • The Punisher never looked better than when he was being drawn by Zeck and Beatty. Throw Steven Grant into the mix as the writer and you have a winning team. They did the first Punisher mini-series and took him from a second rate villain to one of the most popular characters ever. And that's where the troubles started. Suddenly the Punisher had his own monthly comic. He was teamed with a partner [Microchip?] and ended up doing things like being a substitute teacher. Ugh! Still there were more bright spots from time to time. Grant, Zeck and Beatty re-teamed for a couple more Punisher graphic novels and John Romita Jr. had a nice little run with the character. The high spots are enough to take the character to the sixth spot on our list.

  • Mike Mignola's Hellboy is number 5. I've been riding the Hellboy express since his first appearance in Dark Horse Presents scripted by John Byrne. It's been a fun trip, although I wish Mignola did more of the driving. Guest artists are fun, but Mike's writing coupled with his art really makes Hellboy soar. And hey, the movies ain't bad either!

  • Wolverine's journey is very similar to the Punisher's. Once he got his own series things went south. At first Wolverine was the mysterious, violent character in the X-Men. Then when he got his own series he was living on an island and wearing an eyepatch with the name Patch. Huh? Give me the Wolverine from the Claremont, Byrne and Austin run on the X-Men. Give me the Miller and Rubstein Wolverine from their mini-series. Give me the Barry Windsor Smith Weapon X Wolverine. Just keep the eyepatch for yourself. Wolverine comes in fourth.

  • Third place belongs to Frank Miller's Marv from Sin City. How can you not dig the big lug? I wish Miller would give us more.

  • The # 2 spot goes to Daredevil on the strength of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's run back in the early 80's. That was comics are their best.

  • Batman gets my number one slot. It doesn't really matter who writes or draws the character. Think about it. Batman has been done as comedy, as camp, with the focus on Bruce Wayne, with the focus on Batman, as a vigilante, as a confidant to the police, as a wanted criminal, with a kid partner, as an old man, as a young man finding his way. Batman just works and that's why he's my number 1 choice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vertigo Crime Comics

Want to know more about the upcoming Vertigo Crime Comics line? Then click HERE.

Severance Package Picked Up!

Big congrats go out to one of my favorite writers, Duane Swierczynski who just landed a movie deal for his latest novel, Severance Package. You can read all about it at his site. Yeah, that's the same novel that I was just talking up on Tuesday.

Let's hope Duane's time in Hollywood doesn't delay his next novel too much.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Immortal

Maybe it's due to some of the programming on RTN. Maybe it's because of posts by Ivan Shreve at his Thrilling Days of Yesteryear site. For whatever reason, lately I've been thinking about tv shows that I enjoyed as a kid. Regular readers know that I was a fan of "The Wild, Wild West," the original "Star Trek," and shows like "The Jack Benny Program," "The Honeymooners," and "The Twilight Zone."

Another series that I really enjoyed was "The Immortal." Christopher George played Ben Richards, a man whose blood made him immune to disease and aging. Richards was on the run from thugs hired by an old billionaire who knew that repeated transfusions from Richards would extend his life. The show premiered in September of 1970 and lasted for one season of fifteen episodes.

I haven't seen it, since it went of the air, but I sure do remember thinking it was great stuff. Of course I was eleven and sometimes things don't age well. Then again, maybe "The Immortal" would fit right in with
"The Wild, Wild West," the original "Star Trek," and shows like "The Jack Benny Program," "The Honeymooners," and "The Twilight Zone."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Need a Ride?

Ridelust.com charts their picks for the 50 Most Famous Cars from Movies and TV. Looking at the list I’m surprised that my #2 choice didn’t show up anywhere! How in the world could Marion Cobretti's custom 1950 Mercury not make the list?

Oh well. Using just their choices here are my top ten:

10. 1970 Dodge Charger from The Fast and The Furious film. Fun movie and a fun car!

09. 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 fastback from Gone in 60 Seconds. I didn’t care for the movie at all. I am a huge fan of Mustangs though. In fact I owned a sweet little 72 Mustang back in high school. I did love that car!

08. 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from Smokey and The Bandit. It seemed that everyone wanted a Trans Am back in the late 70’s. They were cool for a while, but then kind of went the way of disco.

07. 1981 DeLorean DMC 12 from Back To The Future. Who wouldn’t want a car that could be cleaned with a brillo pad?

06. 1973 [heavily modified] Ford Falcon XB GT from Mad Max. Hey, the year 2012 will soon be here, so I may need that car!

05. 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 from Miami Vice television series. Heck, I’d even push my jacket sleeves up when driving it.

04. 2054 Lexus CS from Minority Report. All of my previous choices have been heavily influenced by the movie/tv show that the car appeared in, except for #9 and this one. This car is just too cool looking not to want... despite the movie just being okay.

03. 1974 Ford Gran Torino from the Starsky and Hutch television series. There was a time when everyone wanted one of these. People with other makes of cars had the Starsky and Hutch stripe painted on them. I believe that John Beatty would have even given up his beloved Charger for this bad boy.

02. 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial from The Green Hornet television series. Who wouldn’t want a car that Bruce Lee used to drive?

01. 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car from the Batman [1966-1968] television series. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now, If I was a rich man, this would be my ride.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When Titans Clash... Indeed

When titans clash... indeed.

This is going to get worse before it gets better... I just don't see how.

Toilets are always funny... apparently not.

I just hope that what we are seeing when we watch this clip is some sort of drug induced dream sequence. Even still... this is not making me excited to to see Frank Miller's movie adaptation of The Spirit.

You know what the best thing about this post is? That Chris Mills may watch the clip and leave more of his thoughts in the comments section.



Severance Package

The Pitch: “Three Days of the Condor“ meets “Die Hard.“

The Overview: Seven staffers for a small financial firm are called in for an early Saturday morning meeting. They convene in the conference room on the 36th floor of the isolated and deserted office building. The meeting is called to order and the CEO tells them that the company is closing down and unfortunately all of them are going to have to die. The good news, if you can call it that is that they can drink poison that will kill them instantly. The bad news is a bullet to the brain awaits those who want to opt out. Should they try to run and are lucky enough to get out of the office, the floor and all doors out have been laced with poisonous gas and booby traps. Bottoms up, anyone?


The Good: Swierczynski’s novels move and Severance Package is no exception. The security guard, Vincent Marella, [a familiar face if you‘ve read The Blonde] tries to overome his fears and do the right thing. The cover and illustrations by Dennis Calero. What people are willing to go through to survive. The twists that Swierczynski throws in to keep things interesting. Stuart’s belief that it’s all a training exercise and how he plans to excel. The last page.


The Bad: Performing a tracheotomy on yourself. The Vincent Marella’s luck. What happens to Jamie’s hand/fingers.

The Ugly: “She was fixated so much, she didn’t fully notice when something cold and wet lashed across her wrists.”


The Summary: I’ve been singing praises for Duane Swierczynski since I discovered The Wheelman just under two years ago. I loved it. I then sought out Secret Dead Men and was impressed. From that point on, I have purchased
Swierczynski’s novels as each was released [The Blonde and now Severance Package]. Each one has left me looking forward to the next. What better praise can there be for a writer? [Click HERE if you'd like to hear how Duane Swierczynski came up with the idea for Severance Package.]



Monday, August 11, 2008

The Art of the Olympics

Did you happen to catch any of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies? As always, they were amazing. I particularly loved the giant fireworks footprints moving through the city, the figures running around the giant globe [much more impressive than it sounds] and the amazing space scene created by the spacemen "flying" around the top of the stadium.

I was surprised [although I shouldn't have been because he always has amazing true stories] that ZONE buddy, Rafael Kayanan worked on the designs of the space suits! You can read more about it here at Raf's blog. [While you're there don't forget to order your copy of Raf's new art book!]

Click here if you want to check out some really nice photographs of the opening ceremonies.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes R.I.P.

Isaac Hayes died today at the age of 65. The multi-talented Hayes, who was a self-taught songwriter, singer, record producer, actor and more, will be missed by fans of all ages. I first discovered Isaac Hayes thanks to his Academy Award and Grammy winning theme song for the motion picture "Shaft." I've never met a person who didn't like THAT song. If the theme from "Shaft" was all that he ever did, Isaac Hayes would have left his mark on popular culture. Hayes went on to produce more albums as well as work on the soundtracks of dozens of movies.

I first saw Isaac Hayes the actor guest starring on "The Rockford Files" as ex-con Gandolph Fitch. He was excellent in the role and who can forget him repeatedly calling James Garner's Rockford character "Rockfish"? Hayes reprised the role three different times. My next memory of Isaac Hayes the actor, is in the cult classic, John Carpenter's "Escape from New York" where he played the Duke of New York. The role was tailor made for Hayes. Younger fans probably know Isaac Hayes best as the voice of "The Chef" on "South Park."

Isaac Hayes will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

UFC 87 Results

Last night's UFC card lived up to it's hype. The graphic above shows who won with a "W" [white if I picked them, red for the one fight I got wrong]. Let's take a closer look at the results.

Jason "The Athlete" Macdonald (20-9-0) vs Demian Maia (7-0-0). I picked Maia to continue his streak again Jason MacDonald. The first round was exciting and full of moments when each fighter looked as if he had the other ready to go. Then the pace and action slowed and it went three rounds before Maia was able to sink in a rear naked choke that Macdonald couldn't shake. Maia won by tapout at 2:44 of the third. His streak lives on.
+++++

Kenny Florian (9-3) vs Roger Huerta (22-1) looked to be the fight of the night and maybe even the fight of the year! Unfortunately, it proved to be neither. It was a good, but not a great fight. Huerta, at least last night, couldn't handle what Florian brought to the octagon. Huerta was game and pressed the fight throughout, but it was Florian who won the majority of the exchanges. I had picked Huerta to win, but it wasn't to be.

This is one of those fights where the end result was much closer than the final score would indicate.
The judges gave Florian every round -- and I can't argue with that, but the rounds were close. Congrats to Florian who should now get the respect he deserves and to Huerta for putting up a game effort. I look forward to seeing both men in the octagon again against new opponents.
+++++

The Brock Lesnar vs Heath "The Texas Crazy Horse" Herring fight had one of the most exciting and shocking starts you could imagine. Both men rushed to the center of the ring to exchange blows. Lesnar hit Herring flush in the face and it not only knocked him down, but flipped him over backwards into a complete reverse somersault. Can you imagine being hit that hard, and as you gain your wits and look up [while still on your knees after being knocked ankles over teakettle] you see 285 pounds of enraged muscle running full speed at you? That's exactly what Herring saw.

Unfortunately the rest of the fight consisted of
Lesnar taking Herring down and controlling him with his size and strength. To his credit Herring continued to try to roll Lesnar, look for armbars, but there was nothing he could do with the beast. The outcome was never in doubt once it became clear that Lesnar wasn't going to gas.

A couple of times in the middle of the bout,
Lesnar would "work the crowd" to get them chanting his name. Then with about ten seconds to go in the final round, Lesnar pushed Herring away and raised his hands in victory. The unanimous decision went to Lesnar. Joe Rogan went over to do the post fight interview and Lesnar snatched the mic from him and began singing his own praises. I swear it was like he was in the WWE all over again.

Lesnar is a huge, tough, strong man. He will be a force in the MMA. I just hope that he gains bit more class and remembers that he's no longer a rassler. Big props to Herring for never backing down and making every effort to pull out a win.


+++++

George St. Pierre (16-2) vs Jon Fitch (21-2-1). Before the fight I commented that "Fitch is without a doubt the #2 welterweight in the UFC (maybe the world). The thing of it is, he's fighting the number one guy. GSP is in a league of his own right now." Last night's fight proved both points.

GSP is amazing. He has strength, speed, skills and heart. He hit Fitch with punches and kicks that would have stopped most men, even much bigger men. A couple of times he dropped Fitch and yet... Fitch. Kept. On. Coming. Back. For. More. It was an amazing show of staminia and determine on the part of both men. Here's what GSP had to say after the fight: “After the third round, I was looking at the clock and Jon Fitch, he never died. I tried to finish him. In the first round, I tried everything. I saw him fall down and come back, and I thought, ‘My God, what am I going to have to do to stop this guy?’ It was discouraging.”

GSP won the unanimous decision. He was respectful and humble in his victory. He praised Fitch and showed the class worthy of a champion. [Brock Lesnar, I hope you were watching.] Fitch, in losing, proved himself to be a warrior.
+++++

There were also two fights televised that I hadn't talked about, but are worth mentioning now.

Rob Emerson vs Manny Gamburyan brought together two former combatants from The Ultimate Fighter. At the start of the first round both came out swinging, but it was Emerson who connected and Gamburyan was down and out could at 12 seconds of the first round.

Dan Evenson vs Cheick Kongo. Both are very big men. The difference was that Kongo had more skills in every area. Evenson looked awkward and stiff right up to the point at 4:55 of the first round when Kongo knocked him out. There's talk that Kongo will be Brock Lesnar's next opponent. Poor Kongo.