Monday, March 31, 2008


Last night at WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando, FL, Ric Flair ended his Hall of Fame career in a match against Shawn Michaels. For over 35 years, the "Nature Boy" has been one of the very best in the pro wrestling business. Flair knew how to make an entrance, and last night he made one heck of a memorable exit. Everything in between will go down in pro wrestling history.

Thanks for the memories Ric!

(Props also to the Undertaker for continuing his undefeated streak at WM to 16-0!)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Doctor's Appointment This Weekend

As I mentioned in my post on Friday, my favorite current series is Doctor Who and I found out this week that series four premieres this weekend on April 5th! With new episodes of Battlestar Galactica airing on Friday, there's two more great reasons to look forward to the weekend. It's gonna make for some long weekdays...

The official BBC website has posted a bunch of new trailers for the fourth season. The one that has me the most excited is the ad they released to movie theatres. To see a very good quality version of this trailer, see the one posted at

WARNING!!! There are some SPOILERS in the trailer, but only ones that tease IMHO. However, there are some others posted elsewhere on the site, so be careful where you click!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shufflin' Around

It's raining here on a Saturday night and I'm just surfin' & shufflin' through my iTunes library and thought I'd share. Here's the first five selections randomly generated:

Huey Lewis & the News "Small World"

Perfect example that you NEVER know what your player is gonna choose next! Got this album to relive some of the standards of my youth. Huey Lewis & the News was a fun band that could back it up. I saw them live in '87 and they very nearly tore the roof off the Worcester Centrum.

Meat Loaf "Everything Louder than Anything Else"

Another fun rocker! I guess he released a third "Bat Out of Hell" album, but I have not heard a single track from it. I must seek it out. A main course of Meat Loaf with a side order of Jim Steinman usually makes for a hearty meal!

Kik Tracee "In Trance"

In the early '90's I got this collection from SPIN magazine featuring artists that I never heard of before (or since for that matter), such as Julian Cope, Televsion, Da Da, 4 Non Blondes, Pond, Gavin Friday, Flowerhead, and Kik Tracee. But the tracks on this compilation rocked! I about wore this cd out!

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts "Change the World"

My girl Joan! She is one of my fave rockers of any gender! I've actually seen her perform live more than I've seen any other artist. And after recently watching her cover "Bit and Pieces" at this year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, she can still tear the house down! If there's any justice, she'll be inducted to the Hall herself one day.

Jimi Hendrix "Little Wing"

Jimi has just closed the house down. Time to end the shufflin'. It would be embarrassing to hear any other track try to follow this!

Friday, March 28, 2008

So Say We All

Since I started this blog, I've posted thoughts on comics, movies, music, sports, and various other distractions, but I have not given attention to TV. Which is odd because I watch soooo much of it! I try to be selective, but I do have some guilty pleasures to be sure. However, Battlestar Galactica is guilt-free viewing and I'm very excited that the fourth season begins a week from tonight!

It took me a long time to admit that Battlestar Galactica is my favorite show on American TV (in case anyone is counting, my favorite current series is Doctor Who). I was a big fan of the original series and wanted to see the franchise return ever since it went off the air (Galactica 1980 notwithstanding). When it was finally announced, I was very glad to see that Ron D. Moore was involved as he is one of my favorite television writers ever. But I was not at all sold on the idea of re-inventing the series. And I was not much impressed by the mini-series. In fact, when I look back at my review posted at the forums:

Well I really tried to be objective while watching the new Battlestar Galactica mini-series. I loved the orginal series, but am not fanatical enough to think it was perfect and truth be told, it could have used an update. But this new version, isn't what I had in mind.

I was also disappointed in the story and the characters as a whole. I give the writers credit for attempting to provide backstory to the Cylons, Colonies, and practically every character featured, but some of the ideas worked and some didn't. The origin of the Cylons lies within the Colonists is an idea that makes sense, but has become a bit cliche - the "rise of the machines" featuring a hot blonde sex robot gone bad, now where have I seen that before?

The concept of the Galactica being the oldest ship in the fleet, is interesting but doesn't fit within their own newly created continuity. They say the ship is 20 years old, just like the vipers and other vehicles featured in the original series (now on display in museums), but the new version of the Galactica itself doesn't at all fit with the look of the original series. In fact, I am really disappointed with the new design of the Battlestar.

I was not disappointed in the new Cylon fighters. Not only did they look very sleek and menacing, but I LOVE the idea that they are robotic fighters sans pilots. That makes a heck of a lot of sense! The only complaint I have is the red eye feature which make them look a little silly.

As far as the characters go, Adama is by and large the best of the bunch. Edward James Olmos is an excellent choice and had some great character moments throughout. My second fave is the now female Starbuck. I don't agree with the decision to make the character female, but I don't hold it against Katee Sackhoff - she energizes the scenes she's in. I also liked the character of Chief Petty Officer Tyrol (Aaron Douglas).

There were two characters that they really dropped the ball on IMHO. The first is Apollo, who is played by the rather bland Jamie Bamber. In the first part of the mini-series, he's just not likeable at all, and in the second half, he does very little except give his dad grief. The second, and perhaps the greatest injustice done to any of the original series players, is the new version of Baltar. He used to be the "Great Deciever", the betrayer of the entire human race. Now he's a spineless sack that doesn't even seem capable of planning what he'll have for breakfast tomorrow. What a waste!

It was a bit too obvious that the producers want this to be continued. There were way too many plot threads left exposed, most notably the announcement of Boomer as a "sleeper agent" at the end, which I found to be unnecessarily sensationalistic. If it does continue in some form, I'll be there to watch, but I hope it gets better from here.

However, from the very first episode of the actual series, I was hooked! Many of the critical issues I wrote about in my review are now positive attributes. The writing is easily some of the best on TV! The creative staff may have begun with a familiar concept, but they have deeply explored the ideas and characters to an extent in which I am no longer trying to work out the story and where it will go. Instead I am watching "real" characters interact in ways I could never expect. They really feel as though they have a lives of their own and are not written but just are. Baltar is still my least favorite, though I have no problem with the actor nor the role of his character in the series. I just wish the decision had not been made to make him so pathetic.

Little did I know when I wrote that review how sad I would be to learn that this next season of Battlestar Galactica will be the last. Because this is is the final run, I imagine that the series will be even more intense, if that's possible! I can't help but have high expectations going in to next week's premiere. It should be fun watching to see if the series can meet them or as they have done so often, exceed them.

I'm ready for the jump to Earth!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Buffy Goes into the Fray

Last year, one of my favorite comic covers was the beautiful Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #6 piece by Jo Chen. And it looks like Chen's cover for issue #16 might be a top contender this year as well. Not only because of the beautiful art, but because of who is featured on the cover - Buffy vs Fray!

Check out the preview pages at MySpace Comic Books. Penciller Karl Moline returns to the futuristic character he co-created with Joss Whedon. We'll have to wait until July to find out exactly how this encounter takes place, but in light of recent events in the series, anything could happen!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Artist Spotlight - Jeremy Haun

A great way to use this space is to spotlight talents who have entertained, educated, fascinated, and inspired me through the years. These are people whose work I devotedly follow from project to project and I would be very honored to work with someday.

A perfect example is artist Jeremy Haun. I first encountered Haun's work on the 2002 Image series Paradigm. To be frank, I had a lot of difficulty following the story of that book, but the art kept me coming back for more (that's meant as no offense to the writer as I'm pretty sure the complex narrative was the intent). Since then, I've enjoyed much of his independent work in Desperadoes, Battle Hymn, and The Leading Man. I've been really jazzed to see him now working for the "big boys." He and Christos Gage were responsible for one of the few Marvel Civil War books I really liked, Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy at Heroes Con in Charlotte last year and he is as nice as he is talented.

But enough words about the man. Check out his art!

This is a commission he did for my Dracula collection last year.

Here's an image of Christine Spar included in his 2007 Convention Sketchbook. I liked it so much, when he put it up for sale on eBay, it was mine!

Title page from first issue of The Leading Man:

Yes, he can draw superheroes too...

I would LOVE to see him on a pirate series (written by me of course)!

Battle on, Jeremy Haun!

Check out more of his stuff at and his MySpace page. And, of course, fine comic shops and book stores everywhere!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

プレイボール (Play Ball!)

The 2008 MLB Season officially began today and I'm pleased to say the BoSox are still #1!

Despite some of the changes during the off season, I'm pretty comfortable predicting another chance as World Champions for the Boston Red Sox. Here's my full predictions:

1. Boston Red Sox
2. Evil Empire (aka New York Yankees)
3. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Kansas City Royals

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Oakland A's

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves
3. New York Mets
4. Washington Nationals
5. Florida Marlins

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. St. Louis Cardinals
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Diego Padres
5. San Francisco Giants

Ever since Boston won the World Series a few years ago, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe this is the year the Cubbies finally get it done. They look good on paper, but that paper has gone up in flames way too many seasons in a row. And here's hoping that no one on any of my teams gets indicted this year!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Movie Review - Justice League: The New Frontier

WB Premiere's DC Universe animated adventure, Justice League: The New Frontier is based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke. I'd read the original mini-series years ago and was very much looking forward to this film - it did not disappoint! It may be the most faithful comic book adaptation I have ever seen. Sure, a lot of material was cut - there's just no way to squeeze 400 pages into just under 70 minutes. But the core of the story remained intact and there are a lot of character elements that were great to see: Wonder Woman vs Superman, Batman vs an extremist cult, Flash in action in Las Vegas, the origin of Green Lantern, the acclimation of Martian J'onn J'onzz into life on Earth, etc. And all the while bridging the gap between the Golden Age and Silver Age of comic superheroes.

I thought the voice casting was spectacular. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many recognizable names cast in a cartoon:

David Boreanaz as Green Lantern
Miguel Ferrer as Martian Manhunter
Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash
John Heard as Ace Morgan
Phil Morris as King Faraday
Joe Mantegna as Crooner
Keith David as The Centre
Vicki Lewis as Iris West
Kyra Sedgwick as Lois Lane
Brooke Shields as Carol Ferris
Jeremy Sisto as Batman
Kyle MacLachlan as Superman

and in my favorite bit of casting...

Lucy Lawless as Wonder Woman

If it were up to me, Lucy would voice Wonder Woman in every project that DC animation develops! It is always odd for me hear any voice coming out of the mouth of Batman other than Kevin Conroy, but Sisto performed well as a younger Bruce Wayne.

I'm not sure this movie would appear to everyone. It is especially not for little kids (the first DC animated film to get a PG-13 rating). I also think that if you are not familiar with the original graphic novel or many characters in the DC Universe, you may not be able to follow some of the story. I would have preferred they added more footage to really do justice to the comic (pun intended), but as it stands it is still one of the best animated superhero movies I've ever seen.

Happy Easter!

Took the day off! Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It Happens Every Spring

Once again, it's time to play ball! Fantasy Baseball that is. This season, I am going for a three-peat as League Champion. In fact, I have won the last three out of four years in a head-to-head league setup via Yahoo! Sports. This year, some new blood has been invited as well as some friends I haven't played with in a few years, so it will be an interesting challenge. Not to mention fighting off the usual suspects too! Earlier tonight, we held our draft. I didn't get everyone I wanted, but I'm pretty happy with my team.

Here's my 2008 lineup:

C Jason Kendall (Mil)
1B Derrek Lee (ChC)
2B Chase Utley (Phi)
3B Mike Lowell (Bos)
SS Édgar Rentería (Det)
OF Torii Hunter (LAA)
OF Brad Hawpe (Col)
OF Jeff Francoeur (Atl)
UT Todd Helton (Col)
UT Kosuke Fukudome (ChC)

SP Josh Beckett (Bos)
SP Brandon Webb (Ari)
SP John Lackey (LAA)
SP Brad Penny (LAD)
SP Ted Lilly (ChC)
SP Jason Schmidt (LAD)
SP Gil Meche (KC)
SP Barry Zito (SF)

RP Francisco Cordero (Cin)
RP Trevor Hoffman (SD)
RP Jeremy Accardo (Tor)

I'm sure there will be some roster changes during the course of the season (I love "discovering new talent"), but these guys should get me off to a good start. The fun begins this Tuesday as the BoSox take on Oakland in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Movie Review - Superbad

Earlier this week, I finally sat down and watched Superbad on DVD. I had heard from quite a few people that it was the funniest movie of 2007. I didn't see very many comedies at all last year and out of those I did see, only Hot Fuzz and The Simpsons Movie stand out. I would not rank this movie above those, but it is difficult to compare them since they are so different in style and substance.

I laughed a lot while watching Superbad. It is an honest but extremely exaggerated coming-of-age teen comedy that displays some real talent. Whenever he is on screen, Jonah Hill owns this movie and I see many starring roles in his future. Christopher Mintz-Plasse makes his big screen debut and has one of the funniest lines of last year:

My only real critique of Superbad is that I wish it had remained focused on the teen plot and not spent so much time with the two cop characters. I know that one of the officers was played by Seth Rogan who was the co-writer and an executive producer, but I wish he'd had less of a presence onscreen. As much I loved the McLovin' character, the countless scenes with him and the cops just took me away from the main story.

Otherwise, Superbad belongs on the same shelf with the best teen comedies. It is raunchy, rude, and over-the-top fun. And here's a fun fact: according to the IMDB, the f-word is used 186 times in the movie. The movie itself is only 118 minutes long. That averages to approx. 1.6 uses of the word per minute! However, Christopher Mintz-Plasse did not utter the word at all since he was only 17 when the movie was in production.

My Ears Are Still Ringing!

I'm a bit late with my blog entry tonight, but it is for a good reason. I was rockin' to the sweet sounds of my favorite band of the new millennium - Back Door Slam. These three young British lads really know how to bring it! I could go on and on about how great they were, but you'd never believe me. Luckily, there were professional videographers all over the place so I think there's a good chance this show will be available for viewing in some format.

Until then, you'll just have to make do with the following:

A pic from my cell phone of two thirds of the trio...

Someone's poor attempt to video them last time they were in Atlanta...

A link to the band's recent appearance on CBS's The Early Show.

Not all these combined do the band justice, IMHO. If you ever get the chance, see them live - Back Door Slam will rock your soul!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This Way Lies Madness

Below you'll find my completed bracket for the 2008 NCAA Tournament. This year is a tough one for me. First, because the Fighting Illini are nowhere to be found. I'm not saying they deserved to be invited, I'm just sad their record wasn't good enough this year. I have only followed college basketball a little this year and have no honest idea how this is going to go down. I found that a coin was handy to have around while picking some of the match ups! Nevertheless, here's my Final Four:

East - Tennessee
Midwest - Kansas
South - Texas
West - UCLA

Final is Tennesse vs UCLA

Winner is UCLA

Here's the full story for those who dare...

Who knows? I will probably end up doing better this year than all the times I thought I knew what I was doing!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A More Perfect (State of the) Union

Senator Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech today in Philadelphia was one of the finest political moments I have ever been witness to (albeit indirectly - much thanks to YouTube!). It was courageously honest, well-presented, strategically sound, eloquent, and inspiring. And by no means necessary. Too many times I have seen political candidates try to sweep embarrassing associates or past failures under the rug. Simple denial. It has become much to commonplace. When the Reverend Wright videos began to pop up everywhere last week, I thought that Obama would perform the norm for today's politicians - denounce and dodge. But he did not. This afternoon, he met the race issue head on and spoke frankly, which was a refreshing change.

There have not been too many political figures in my lifetime that have inspired trust. Ever since I can remember, I've leaned to the left, despite growing up in a relatively conservative household. I was not even in first grade when Watergate broke and maybe on some level it severed my faith in government. Perhaps since I was born and raised in Massachusetts, I was as destined to be a Democrat as I am a proud member of Red Sox Nation. Or could it be my love for Star Trek and a future full of infinite diversity in infinite combinations? Whatever the reason, I have often been referred to by others as the most liberal person they know. So it is to no one's surprise that I've been in Barack Obama's corner since day 1. But what continues to surprise me is how much Obama is proving to be a candidate worthy of my support. He's not the perfect nominee by any means, but he has already given me something I have never before been given by any governmental figure in my lifetime - hope.

This time, it is not just a town in Arkansas.

Invisible Scarlet O'Neil Panel of the Week

FYI, every Monday I post a new Panel of the Week over at the Invisible Scarlet O'Neil news blog. I have lots of fun searching through the fifteen-year run of daily and Sunday strips spotlighting the diversity of the character and her many adventures from action/adventure to romantic intrigue to gut-wrenching horror to slapstick comedy. Creator Russell Stamm made sure that readers would not know what Scarlet was getting into from one week to the next! The only real trouble I have is deciding which panel to choose!

If the single panels have you wanting more, please feel free to check out whole adventures available in the Archives at

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Movie Review - Doomsday

It has been said many times that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is indeed true, than there are a whole bunch of films that should be flattered by Neil Marshall's Doomsday. I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic action flicks and you can easily tell that Marshall was inspired by the best - the Mad Max movies, Escape from New York, Resident Evil, 28 Days Later, and many others. Too much so. The film has all the elements but comes up just short combining them into one unique package.

Doomsday stars the stunning Rhona Mitra as Eden Sinclair, and for the record, watching her for 105 minutes is alone worth the price of admission. Sinclair is a character with franchise potential, much like Milla "the Zombie Killa" Jovovich's Alice and Kate Beckinsale's Selene. Craig Conway and stuntwoman Lee-Anne Liebenberg bring much life to the party as Sol and Viper, and there is a host of familiar cameos as well, but in the end the script and dialog just isn't up to their talents.

Despite its flaws, Doomsday is a fun ride once it gets going. After a slow start, Marshall keeps the action going until the very end. The last scene (no spoilers) is one of the most intriguing in the entire movie. In fact, it definitely left me wanting a sequel. I actually hope that Marshall and co. get a chance to bring us life after Doomsday. It has potential to tread new ground and bring this material up to the level as the films that inspired it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March

Late last night, a twister tore through the city of Atlanta, cutting a 6-mile path of destruction through the city. It is the first time a tornado has ever hit downtown, with a path of 6 miles and winds up to 130 mph. The storm interrupted the Mississippi State-Alabama SEC game at the GA Dome as the building itself was hit.

Roof of the GA Dome

Blown out windows of CNN Building

Downtown Omni

More destruction

Like a warzone

Storms have continued throughout north Georgia, and there is still a tornado watch in effect until 7pm tonight. So far there have only been two reported fatalities - one in Polk County the other in Floyd County, both near the Alabama line. We actually live NE of Atlanta in Gwinnett County and have been very fortunate. We have not yet seen any signs of tornados, just heavy showers and thunderstorms. Other areas are seeing massive hail storms. Due to the drought, we have repeatedly wished for rain, but not like this.

Photos courtesy of AJC readers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Heavy Metal Noise

Today, it was officially announced that Paramount Pictures is planning a new animated Heavy Metal film. This comes as hard, head-banging, loud, rockin' music to my ears! The new animated film will consist of eight or nine individual shorts that will mirror the format of the anthology magazine. So far, three directors have already been named participants - David Fincher, Tim Miller, and Kevin Eastman (owner and publisher of the Heavy Metal magazine).

This comes a GREAT news to me as I loved the first Heavy Metal film almost as much as I was disappointed by the 2000 sequel. However, I have one suggestion I would strongly recommend at the top of my lungs to Paramount, David Fincher, Kevin Eastman and anyone else who has a say in who will be involved in this film:


I cannot think of a better talent to bring into this project than Rob. He knows how to rock. He knows animation and comics. He knows sex, violence and irreverent humor that would fit perfectly with this project. And if that doesn't sell you on his qualifications, how about the idea of a segment featuring two characters based on Julie Strain and Sheri Moon Zombie (the wives of Eastman and Zombie)...

It is the stuff dreams are made of. The kind of dreams I can't really go into detail about since my parents will probably be reading this. Let me just say that IMHO this is simply too cool NOT to happen. Make it so!

However, one reason that Rob Zombie might pass on the project if it were offered to him, is that he is currently working on his own animated feature (the origin of the second image above), The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. I wish nothing but the best for Zombie's solo work, but I sincerely hope he participates in next Heavy Metal film.

That would truly ROCK!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

City Slicker at the Plate

Okay, everyone who knows me knows that I'm no lover of the Yankees. But I have to admit that I thought it was cool that they signed Billy Crystal to a one-day contract, granting one of their most vocal fans the dream of a lifetime one day before his 60th birthday. Crystal served as a DH and in his one and only at-bat led off the game against Pittsburg lefthander Paul Maholm. I thought he looked in good shape and possibly had a chance against a pitcher with a career ERA of 4.60. Despite ripping the second pitch foul, Crystal ultimately struck out. I'm sure he would have liked to get a hit, but at least he made contact!

I've read and heard critics bemoaning this as a publicity stunt, and it sure did get publicity this afternoon. Sure, this may have indeed been some insidious plot by the Head of the Evil Empire to try to distract Yankee fans from the pain of failing to win a World Series title in 7 years. Or a feeble attempt to win their hearts and minds with comedy when they still suffer from the tragedy of allowing one of the best managers in team history fly west. Or to ease the pain of having to watch two of their best pitchers in recent years get tangled up in a substance abuse scandal this off-season by fulfilling the dream of a beloved wannabe batter from Long Island.

No matter what the Yankees' real motive was, what Billy Crystal got to experience today was something many of us baseball fans only can dream about. As I am about to turn 40 this year, I can only hope that opportunities to reach my goals still present themselves as I get older. And it looks like more stunts like this may be coming - next up, the Lakers are going to allow Jack Nicholson to suit up and enter a game just so he can commit a flagrant foul, NASCAR officials will be assigning a car to Mel Gibson so he can drive around drunk until he gets pulled over and starts spouting nonsense, and the Chicago Bears will put George Wendt on the offensive line until the actor gets hit so hard he forgets he ever was in "Space Truckers".

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Amidst the Horror of War, There Was a Pearl

Pearl Cornioley, resistance fighter in World War II, past away last month at the age of 93. During the war, she served as a British Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) agent. According to a recent article in the New York Times:

Ms. Cornioley, who was 29 when she was sent to France in 1943, commanded troops who killed 1,000 German soldiers and wounded many more — while suffering only a tiny number of casualties themselves. She presided over the surrender of 18,000 German troops.

She was the Golden Age version of the Sidney Bristow character in Alias. Her birth name was Pearl, her code name was "Wrestler", her nom de guerre was "Pauline", and she was often referred to in reports as "Marie.” It has been suggested that she was the inspiration of the Sebastian Faulks novel Charlotte Gray, which was made into a film starring one of my favorite actresses - Cate Blanchett.

Ms. Cornioley received many honors, but the one that stuck in her mind was the one she turned down. That was Member of the British Empire, or M.B.E. She had been offered the civil version, not the military one.

She sent an icy note saying she had had done nothing remotely “civil.”

Possibly not "civil", but definitely heroic. Pearl Cornioley was a remarkable woman worthy of remembrance.

Special thanks to Mark Coale and Heidi MacDonald over at The Beat for posting the story and bringing it to my attention.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dave Stevens 1955-2008

I haven't yet gotten my mind around losing comic great Steve Gerber a month ago, and now it is reported that artist/creator Dave Stevens past away yesterday. Dave was the creator of The Rocketeer and I don't blame him one bit for my disappointment in the movie - the comic was always solid. His forte was drawing glamour girls and there aren't too many others I could name that can draw 'em prettier! Stevens had a particular affection for model Betty Page and was married to Brinke Stevens for a little while. I recall him as a judge at the Betty Page Look-a-Like contests in the early days of Dragon*Con. Recently, I'd wondered why he had not been the Atlanta convention in many years (D*C's Look-a-Like contest for the past ten years has been centered on Joseph Michael Linsner's Dawn character). Little did I know he has been suffering from leukemia for the past few years.

Not much else to say about the man except check out his art. Dave Stevens gave us images that will last forever...

You can find much more beautiful artwork at

Monday, March 10, 2008

Indiana Jones & the Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Today the latest promo poster for Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was unveiled on USAToday.

Once again, stunning work from artist Drew Struzan. I'd love to see the original piece!

It appears there is also a SPOILER contained on this poster as well. The image of the Crystal Skull itself looks as Indy's good friend Sallah would put it, like "it is not of this Earth." Add to this the shot of a crate labeled "Roswell, New Mexico" in the teaser trailer, and forget all the rumors of Shia LaBeouf portraying Indy's son. The big reveal is that a descendent of Henry Jones Jr. is none other than one Fox Mulder!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Movie Review - Sweeney Todd

This afternoon, I finally attended the tale of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Despite the fact that I have loved the soundtrack to the 1979 Broadway cast since I was a wee lad, I have never seen the play actually performed live or on video. I cannot say exactly the reason for this - I loved the audio and wore the cassette out! It had the distinction of being one of my favorite musicals, even though I had never actually seen it. The soundtrack is simply incredible. Whether you enjoyed the movie or not, I suggest listening to the original cast recording. It is Stephen Sondheim at his best. Of course, the subject matter is dark and intense, but the tracks are so memorable and catchy, yet complex. I've been a Sondheim fan ever since.

So the movie had some expectations to live up to, and Tim Burton has disappointed me on multiple occasions. I personally find his work is more style over substance. However, in this case the substance was already solid. Add to that the perfect casting of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the leads (I realize the two are two Burton faves, but in this case I think it works for the best), and I believed this would be the perfect opportunity to finally see the soundtrack in action.

I'm pleased to report I was not disappointed! The core of the play is intact, and Depp and Bonham Carter are in top form. It is true that Johnny's vocal range is limited, but his performance more than makes up for his singing (which is not at all bad, but can't compare with Len Cariou). Meanwhile, Helena Bonham Carter steps out of Angela Lansbury's shadow and makes the part of Mrs. Lovett her own. That alone should have granted her an Oscar nomination. The rest of the cast is solid as well, especially Sacha Baron Cohen as competing barber Adolfo Pirelli. I have never seen Ali G nor Borat, so this was my first experience seeing him and he gave an impressive performance.

My only major complaint with the movie version is that it is too short. The film clocks in at a little under two hours, but the original play is three. I understand the reasons for keeping the movie time low, but I think they cut a bit too much character development of the supporting players. The wonderfulness of the original musical is all the threads progressing throughout the play that eventually come together in a spectacular and (in some cases surprising) way. All these threads are represented in the movie version as well, but those of the supporting characters, particularly Anthony and Johanna, are just given limited face time. I would have gladly stayed in the theater for an additional 20 - 30 minutes to see them explored more. I believe it would have given the ending a bigger punch, or in Sweeney's case, slice.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street arrives on DVD April 1st and I definitely recommend it if you missed it on the big screen. IMHO, it is worth multiple viewings even if you have seen it. I also strongly recommend the original cast recording and I hope someday to see it live on the stage.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Photo Profile

I've seen this done on other blogs and figured it would be a fun way to create a profile. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so this should raise my blog content considerably!

How it works...

1. Go to (or Google images)
2. Type in your answer for each question into the search bar.
3. Choose your favorite photo to represent your answer.
4. Copy the html and paste it here.
5. Answer only in picture form.

1. What is your first name?

2. When is your birthday?

3. What kind of car do you want?

4. Where did/do you go to school?

5. What is your favorite season?

6. What is your favorite type of shoe?

7. What is your status?

8. What is your favorite movie?

9. What is your favorite song?

10. Who is your favorite Disney character?

11. What is your favorite clothing line?

12. What is your favorite vacation destination?

13. What is your favorite dessert?

14. What is your favorite letter?

15. What are you most afraid of?

16. What is your favorite TV show?

17. What annoys you the most?

18. What is your job?

19. What's your favorite animal?

20. How old are you?