Friday, April 30, 2010

Hank Azaria's Live-Action Gargamel Revealed


From cinemablend, The live-action elements of the Smurfs movie have been filming in New York City in the last week, which means we're finally getting a sense of what this crazy-ass movie is actually going to be. Lucky for everyone, Hank Azaria is going to be playing one of the few human characters in the film, and he wasn't just spotted by the paparazzi, but he hammed it up for the cameras right on the street corner. Azaria is playing Gargamel, the film's villain.

Batman 3 will be out in July 2012


From ew, The Dark Knight sequel finally has a release date. Almost two years after the killer clown crime epic dominated the box office and spawned a million Halloween costumes, Warner Bros. has announced that the still-untitled Batman 3 will be released on July 20, 2012, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (In other news, I’m going off the grid from July 19, 2012 through August 1, 2012.)

There’s not a whole lot of information about the movie, which is still in the very early planning stages. Director Christopher Nolan and writer David Goyer have always been focused on presenting a more realistic take on the Batman mythos, so we’re probably not going to see Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, or Clayface. Even though he’s a bit more outlandish, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Riddler, if only because his presence could pump up Batman’s mystery-solving detective side. But what do I know? None of my films have ever grossed over a billion dollars.

Free Comic Book Day arrives at local comic shops


From usatoday, The first Saturday in May is always a wonderful time of year if you're a comic book fan. That particular day marks the annual Free Comic Book Day, in which comic book shops give away select free comics to anyone who comes into their stores.

The annual event, which began in 2001, has grown tremendously over the years — both in terms of the amount of titles available and the popularity of the program. Publishers produce special titles just for this day as a means of attracting new readers. The stories are usually brief and serve as preludes or previews for upcoming releases.

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day 2010. Readers are encouraged to take a trip to their local comic book shop and take a peek at some of the tremendous work that's being produced these days. After all, it's the one day of the year when, even if you choose not to buy a book, you won't leave the shop empty-handed.

See all 33 comic books here

Gorilla Glasses Help Prevent Animal Attacks


From geekology, Gorilla glasses make it appear as if you aren't really looking at what you're looking at (unless you're trying to see your own brain), so gorillas won't kick your ass for making eye contact. They also work for staring at boobs (wear them over x-ray specs).

The Rotterdam Zoo is giving away cardboard glasses that make it appear that you're looking off to one side; these are gorilla-viewing glasses, meant to avoid incidents in which gorillas attack visitors for making eye contact with them. The glasses' introduction follows an attack on a woman by an escaped gorilla...

The specs are sponsored by a local health-insurance company.

Well of course the glasses are sponsored by a local health-insurance company, that's just good business. Nothing drives up your premium like getting beat to shit by a gorilla.

Watch Iron Man get his ass kicked!

This clip also features the very, very cool Suitcase Suit.

I'm still hopeful about this, despite the cinemablend post about meh reviews that JPX put up earlier this week. I just watched the first one again, and agreed with the cinemablend guy's comments. (Which I'm pasting below because I'm too lazy to conjure anything of my own. Also I'm at work.)

"Most reviewers seem to think the film is wildly uneven and too light on action. They say that keeps it from being as much fun as the first one, though I wonder how long it’s been since they saw the first one. Much as I love the original Iron Man it’s also wildly uneven and, to be frank, kind of light on action too. The first act of the film is a blast but that final act never really takes off and zooms into the stratosphere the way it should have. To me the things most of these critics complain about are the very same things that didn’t work in the first one. And the first one, in spite of those things, was a lot of fun."

Watch the clip here.

There are a few more clips here.

First image of Thor emerges - a big improvement over the Thor used in The Hulk television series


From slashfilm, I’d like to see a full shot of Hemsworth, including the hammer, the helmet, and some lightning just for good measure. But as a first taste this is pretty good. And it’s a sign that, while Iron Man has represented the lighter side of the Marvel equation, Thor is likely going to be a more serious, brooding affair. Hopefully not too much so, but the film is about a guy learning humility, after all.

Here’s ye olde synopsis again, in case you’ve already forgotten what Thor is about. The film opens on May 20, 2011.

The film follows the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans. A beautiful young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, as she ultimately becomes his first love. It’s while here on Earth that Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

James Cameron To Film 3D Movie on Mars?


From slashfilm, Yes, you read the headline correctly — filmmaker James Cameron plans to shoot a 3D movie on the planet Mars. I’m not talking just about Mars, but actually on the surface of the not-so-distant planet. Okay, you caught me, it’s not exactly as simple as that.

It was revealed today that the next generation Mars rover will be equipped with a high-resolution color 3-D video camera. Director James Cameron reportedly lobbied for NASA to include the technology in the planned 2011 launch of the rover named Curiosity.

According to the Pasadena Star News, Cameron met directly with NASA administrator Charles Bolden in January to convince him to buy a 3-D camera for the mission. The camera will sit on top of the rover’s mast and record 10-frames per second. Cameron is now officially listed as a “co-investigator” for the Curiosity camera team.

While it is not said specifically in the article, speculation is that Cameron may use the footage in a future Mars documentary.

“It’s a very ambitious mission. It’s a very exciting mission,” Cameron said. “(The scientists are) going to answer a lot of really important questions about the previous and potential future habitability of Mars.”

The article also says that “Cameron believes will help generate more excitement about Curiosity’s work.” They are unsure if the camera will be built in time for the launch, but San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems are trying to complete the design.


Read more: James Cameron To Film 3D Movie on Mars? | /Film http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/04/29/james-cameron-to-film-3d-movie-on-mars/#ixzz0mY3zvN2d

Roger Ebert on “Why I Hate 3-D (And You Should Too)”



Here is an excerpt of the first paragraph:

"3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for."

Read the rest here

Was there really any question?


JSP's hilarious summation of The Giving Tree made me literally laugh out loud, and kept me giggling all day. I have never been very fond of that story for the exact reason that Johnny pinpointed. Thanks to everyone for continuing to participate - even after we all knew he had aced it:

The boy was greedy
He used the tree like a whore
And gave nothing back

Congrats, JSP!!

Everything That's Right In The World: A Slave Leia Bikini Carwash For Charity


From geekology, I was going to type some words here but then I realized that would be a waste of my fingers, so I recommend you just go ahead and hit the jump. Unless your name is Luke, in which case I wouldn't if I were you. Here Luke, you can click THIS instead. Haha -- gotcha. THAT'S YOUR SISTER SICKO!



More pictures and video here

Magic 8-Ball Movie Will Most Likely Be Awful


From iwatchstuff, We've got movies based on Stretch Armstrong, Battleship, and Ouija Boards coming out; might as well make a Magic 8-Ball movie, right?

According to Vulture, that impeccable logic has led Paramount and Mattel to hire writers Jon Gunn and John Mann to throw together a script about the prophetic novelty item. Once envisioned as a romantic comedy when it was in the hands of Paramount, the film will now spare us the split-screen image of Drew Barrymore and Bradley Cooper vigorously shaking an orb to find out if they're truly in love with each other (in the end, it turns out the love was in their hearts, not some plastic ball), as it's now being approached as a "National Treasure–style action-adventure."

I can already imagine Brendan Fraser squeezing the mystical 8-ball as he attempts to "concentrate and ask again," his eyes squinting to decipher its message in the dim light of the lava lamp besides him, his chest adorned with an "Over the Hill!" t-shirt, a poster of a large-breasted woman with the title "Got Milk?" hanging beside him. (I just figure if they're going to make a movie about Magic 8-Ball, they might as well make it accurate and set the whole thing in a mall Spencer's Gifts.)

Yawn


From slashfilm, Entertainment Weekly got their hands on the first teaser poster for "Scream 4," which stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette. Wes Craven is returning to direct the new installment, which will begin shooting this June for an April 15th, 2011 release date. Check out the poster below.

"It's a total integration of Sidney (Campbell), Gale (Cox) and Dewey (Arquette) and new kids. The story of Sid, Gale, and Dewey is very much a part of the movie," said Craven. "[Sidney] kind of put her life back together in the course of these 10 years. But, certainly, there would be no Scream without Ghostface, so she has to confront him again, but now as a woman who has really come out the darkness of her past."

He went on to say that there is a strong possibility that there will be a couple killed at the beginning of the film. He said: "You will recognize the DNA of the film: a very complex murder mystery, a shocking action picture, wonderful humor based on character, and lots of surprises, as well as a movie that kind of copies itself. It’s a pretty amazing script."

Sacrelige - Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Commando" Remake is Moving Forward


Deadline is reporting that 20th Century Fox is planning to remake Arnold Schwarzenegger's action flick "Commando" and has already hired David Ayer (Harsh Times, Street Kings) to write and direct.

Ayer will put his own real-world spin on the original premise, which revolves around a retired elite special forces operative who sees his daughter kidnapped and is told she'll die unless he gets on a plane and kills the rival of a nasty exiled dictator.

The actor who will replace Schwarzenegger will be less brawny, but more skilled in covert tactics and weaponry. Back in June of last year, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was rumored to step into the role, but that will likely not happen.

J.J. Abrams Collaborating with Steven Spielberg on Next Movie?


From slashfilm, We’ve known that J.J. Abrams had a movie in mind to make for Paramount — thanks to Brad Grey for talking about it in nebulous terms back in December — but we haven’t known any real details about it. Now, however, there is some interesting info. Supposedly Abrams, the guy who masterminded Cloverfield in addition to a couple of TV shows you might have heard of, has a plan for a feature that will be a serious homage to the ’70s and early ’80s movies of Steven Spielberg. Intrigued? Yeah, so are we.

REad more here

The Epiplectic Enterprise


First off, DCD, I loved the haiku topic, and there were definitely some gems this week. I tried coming up with something, but just couldn't muster the mojo this time around. While I was searching for inspiration, I came across a link for this hilarious rendition of the Star Trek Tribble episode, as if it were a story written and illustrated by Edward Gorey. I thought you all would get a kick out of this.

Link.

Included with the images is a clip from from a Boston Globe article (circa 1978) with quotes from Gorey, himself. From the article:

"Edward Gorey watched television for the first time this summer, or so he claims, and in the process, the 52-year-old artist became a 'Star Trek' fan. He watched the science-fiction program re-runs twice a day, five days a week, and once on the sixth day, and despite this faithful viewing, he has yet to see the TV show's most famous episode, 'The Trouble With Tribbles.'"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

HHD brings you

Children's Books! You know you love them.

The ones we grew up with,



The ones we made our parents read over and over again,




The ones we couldn't wait to read to our own kids,


The ones we secretly still read to ourselves.


The ones we avoid....for whatever reasons.



So. Would you, could you

tell me true? Which children's books

are the best for you?

5 traditional Star Trek elements I would like to see in the next movie



1) Yeoman Rand

2) duplicate Kirk

3) brig force field

4) argument with computer

5) Vulcan lyre

The First Iron Man 2 Reviews Are In And Everyone Seems Disappointed


From cinemablend, The first wave of Iron Man 2 reviews have arrived on the internet and the reaction is… strange. Though the film currently holds an 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 17 of the 20 reviews there listed as fresh, a closer examination of what most of these critics are saying reveals something else: disappointment.

If you read through all of those reviews you’ll discover conflicted critics, most of whom seem to be zeroed in on the same, specific problems over and over again. Most reviewers seem to think the film is wildly uneven and too light on action. They say that keeps it from being as much fun as the first one, though I wonder how long it’s been since they saw the first one. Much as I love the original Iron Man it’s also wildly uneven and, to be frank, kind of light on action too. The first act of the film is a blast but that final act never really takes off and zooms into the stratosphere the way it should have. To me the things most of these critics complain about are the very same things that didn’t work in the first one. And the first one, in spite of those things, was a lot of fun.

Read excerpts from multiple reviews here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2012

(2009) **1/2

Or as I like to call it: Trope-a-thon or What a Bunch of Crap or Knock Some Shit Down Already.

Julie and I watched this from Netflix over the weekend. Our tag-team review follows. There are spoilers coming up, but believe me, you don't care.

I'm not sure how to adequately describe the idiocy posing as the scientific basis for this plot. When Armageddon came out there was all the back chatter about the possibilities of actually being struck by a killer asteroid. This movie tries for the same thing with the popular hooey attributed to the poor Mayans, and then after dragging their good name through the mud it decides to give our friend the neutrino a hard time. Apparently neutrinos are known for passing through matter and doing nothing and bothering nobody, but this time they -- gasp! -- do something! "They've transformed into completely different particles!" Which is about the same as saying the plot is magic. "Oh my God! With (science words) like that, epic, sweeping events will occur! (cough! science...)"

Julie sez: While there were many logical flaws that made themselves immediately apparent, only later did this one drift to the surface of my mind. Hero scientist Chiwetel Ejiofor flies 20 hours and interrupts the President's Chief of Staff at a dinner party with urgent news--news sooooo incredibly urgent it cannot wait for a proper appointment. And then--THREE YEARS LATER, the shit goes down in LA. I mean, I understand, three years isn't a long time to mobilize the salvation of the human race, animal species, and great works of art. But come on. Wait until after the party for criminy's sake. And then how the hell do you expect this whole thing will stay a secret when you bust into a party and announce, "I've got urgent geological news that all the leaders of the Earth need to see!" Do you really think everyone at the party is just like, "Man, whatever. That guy is just talking shit. Oh, looks like the Chief of Staff is pretty upset--you know, whetEVer, I need to get my drink on here."

Octo: Whether you watch this whole movie or not, it is worth the effort to check out the scene of Los Angeles's destruction. It's a two-part chase scene, (limo, plane), but the car full of bad guys has been replaced with EVERYTHING FALLING EVERYWHERE. It's pretty cool. Roland Emmerich may make you want to bang your head on a wall, but he knows his spectacle. And if you've gotten that far you might as well get to Yellowstone erupting. And so on.

BUT, when I say "worth the effort" and "you might as well get to," I honestly think your time will be served better to just fast forward to these scenes. The LA quake is the first real jazz in this movie, and I think it was at least 45 minutes in.

And the stereotypical human drama is some of the most boilerplate stuff you've ever seen. I like Chiwetel Ejiofor well enough (I always want to see actors from all things Firefly do well), but I wanted to kick his whiny ass when he does the impassioned speech about saving our very humanity along with our lives. And it's all crap! He's just trying to get with the President's daughter Thandie Newton, who's there watching the speech with a painful knot of Impassioned Concern on her brow.

Julie Sez: I disagree. The emotional scenes of this movie were absolutely the best part for me. It was like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show or something. I like Amanta Peet and John Cusack well enough that I figured they were kind of slumming it in this movie. I mean, as much as anyone can be slumming it in the tentpole movie of the year and making millions of dollars. I like to think that Cusack spent every day hitting the bong, which probably contributed to the fact that I actually believed most of his lines, even considering the whole Bad Dad Who Finally Comes Through in a Tragedy thing is so definitely played out. He played it one more time anyway, and he did an okay job. And then you have Amanda Peet, sort of looking around and going, "Wow. This is totally different from TV." I mean, she didn't actually ever say that, but she might as well have. It's like, yep, after whatever acting training you might have had, you get to play a woman unhappy with her ex who marries a surgeon, a surgeon she just might not be in love with anymore. Watch out, this could be the role that pushes you right over the edge. I mean, there's Hedda Gabler, Lady MacBeth, and then there's bitchy coal-digging sarcastic mom who still gets horny for her writer ex husband--that's gotta muster up a wellspring of emotional depth heretofore untapped--Oh, why am I even bothering with the thick layers of useless sarcasm--women in these movies are a friggin' nightmare.

Octo: and now an array of pointed questions for 2012 regarding the giant apocalypse-proof escape arks:

Why have only one giant hatch?

And why oh why build it so you can't start the engines unless it's sealed?

And if that's so important, what's the point of the interior decks being sealed off with automatic bulkheads?

And I'll sign off with the following:

Woody Harrelson, playing Lone Nutjob Who Knows, shows John Cusack his blog which features a flash-animated recap of the plot. Which means this movie copies from one of the worst parts of Jurassic Park

In the end the waters recede and our hero gets to go out with the President's daughter. Which means this movie copies from some of the worst parts of Deep Impact and Mars Attacks

Julie sez: No matter how you criticize this movie, it is totally rad to see the world come apart. And the cheesiness? It kind of says to me that the film's producer's had the same cynical approach to the making of this film that Oliver Platt's character had to the making of the ships. It's all about the Benjamins, baby. They phoned it in on character and story development, not to mention plausibility. And you can almost see Oliver Platt, jaded Secretary of Staff, saying, "Because audiences don't fucking care about that." We all know we want to see giant waves destroy cities. End of story! I almost wish they'd just gone the extra step and hired Will Ferrell to play the lead and just made all the corny dialogue actually funny dialogue. But still have shit crack apart and slide into the ocean. See people? This is why you need Julie as a development exec. Look at the entertainment that awaits you once I take over in this town.

But still, I was excited to see this one, and even in all its disappointingness, it didn't disappoint. So I guess cynicism reigns supreme in Hollywood. Um, again.

Creepy 'Buried' poster


From worstpreviews, Thanks to FirstShowing, we now have a brand new poster for the upcoming Ryan Reynolds' "Buried" thriller, featuring a claustrophobic look at where Reynolds will spend the majority of the movie. Check it out below.

Plot: Paul Conroy (Reynolds) is a US citizen working as a contract driver in Iraq. After a swift and sudden attack on his convoy, he awakens to find himself buried alive inside a coffin with nothing more than a lighter, a cell phone, and little memory of how he ended up there. Faced with limited oxygen and unlimited panic, Paul finds himself in a tension-filled race against time to escape this claustrophobic deathtrap before it’s too late.

The new film is directed by Rodrigo Cortes from a script by Chris Sparling and is expected to hit theaters on October 8th.

Ewok Karaoke


From geekology, Now drink some hot-ass tea and get ready to sing your face off, son!

This is a video made for singing karaoke to 'Ewok Celebration' (aka 'Yub Nub)', made famous by everybody's favorite teddy bears at the end of Return of the Jedi. It's pretty hot and I've been singing it into a hairbrush for the last half hour. Just kidding, the last time I sang along with a bear I was on stage at Chuck E. Cheese and had just finished relieving myself in the ball pit. What do you mean there's no pinball machine?! This arcade suuuucks. Huh? No you can't kick me out! PUBES IN THE PIZZA, PUBES IN THE PIZZA!!

Sing along here

Paramount to Make The Ring 3D


From slashfilm, It has been five years since the original sequel to the US remake of The Ring. 2005 saw the release of The Ring 2, in which Naomi Watts was directed by Hideo Nakata, the man behind Ringu, the Japanese version of the film which helped kickstart the early ’00s infatuation with J-horror.

Now the easy lure of a sequel and an increasing desire for 3D fodder has Paramount literally going back to the well. The studio is moving forward on a film that is currently being called (quelle surprise) The Ring 3D.

And Now the ‘Vintage’ Japanese Commercial for Pixar’s Lots-o-Huggin Bear


From slashfilm, Someone at Pixar is having a great time coming up with ad materials for Toy Story 3. Just a few hours ago we pointed out the ‘vintage’ commercial for Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear, which purports to be a 1983 commercial, recorded on videotape, for the real-world version of the new bear character in Toy Story 3.

Now there’s a Japanese version, which was made with the same excellent attention to detail as the US ad.

Or: based on other real Japanese commercials I’ve seen from the time, it seems like all the details here are right. The US ad certainly nailed the style of early ’80s toy commercials in every respect. As a result, it is just as irritating as most of the other stuffed doll ads at the time. I say that with the greatest respect for the abilities of whoever put these together.

(Anyone who spent a morning or afternoon just waiting for Battle of the Planets to come back on while wading through a few ads like these will probably remember the feeling these toy ads created.)

Whether intended as viral ads or simple gags, these work as a way for a couple designers and editors at Pixar (or an external firm) to have a good time with some cute ideas. It’s easy to see how a whole line of similar toy commercials could be made for Toy Story characters, but this gag works so well now because this character isn’t yet well known. After Toy Story 3 is out they’ll still be well-done parodies, but the impact now is as great as it is going to be.

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Bill Elder!


Here are seven more Bill Elder classics from the "older, darker" Mad.

Mole! (December 1952)
Shadow! (April/May 1953)
Shermlock Shomes! (October 1953)
Shermlock Shomes in The Hound of the Basketballs! (October 1954)
Restaurant! (October 1954)
Howdy Dooit! (December 1954)
Mickey Rodent! (January 1955)

Where can I get one? Admiral Ackbar toilet


From toplessrobot

Stupid fun for Horrorthon 2010, Piranha 3D trailer


See it here.

Vintage 1983 Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial… Toy Story 3 Viral?


From slashfilm, A video appeared online last week on YouTube claiming to be a television commercial from 1983 advertising the Lots-o’-Huggin’. Many of you following the site know that Lotso is one of the new toys/characters in Pixar’s Toy Story 3. The thing is… I’m 99% sure Lotso was a custom creation of Pixar and didn’t actually exist in 1983. Watch the commercial, embedded after the jump, and judge for yourself. Is it real, or Toy Story 3 viral marketing? It’s incredibly well made, from the jingle to the wardrobe, to the VHS-tape appearance… but I vote the latter.

The 9 Countries With The Worst Toilets In The World


India

See the rest at Huffingtonpost.com, here

Stephen Hawking says trying to contact space aliens is 'too risky'


From usatoday, Renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says intelligent alien life-forms almost certainly exist, but trying to communicate with them is "too risky."

Their arrival, he says, would be like Columbus landing in the Americas, "which didn't turn out out very well for the Native Americans."

The 68-year-old Hawking speculates on alien life in a new documentary on the Discovery Channel in which says advance life-forms may be "nomads, looking to conquer and colonize."

Box Office


From slashfilm, The weekend box office estimates are in, and we have some good news and some bad news:

The bad news: Word of mouth did not help Lionsgate’s Kick-Ass, the comic book adaptation dropped an estimated 52% in its second weekend at theaters. In fact, it will place #5 on the Box office results listing this weekend with only $9.5 million in 3,065 theaters.

The good news: The word of mouth buzz on How To Train Your Dragon continues to draw more and more people to the theater. In its fifth weekend of release, the film took over the #1 spot with an estimated $15 million, overtaking new releases like The Back-Up Plan ($12.25 million), The Losers ($.6 million) and Disney’s Oceans ($6 million).

In limited releases, one of my favorite films of the year thus far, Exit Through The Gift Shop, packed $13,545 per screen, for a total of $149,000 — not bad for a movie playing in only 11 theaters. To give you a comparison, Kick-Ass made $3,100 per screen this week — but yes, A LOT more screens.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Favorite panel


There are so many candidates...but this is probably my favorite panel from "Starchie." Mainly because you get to work your way through the whole "Betty and Veronica look alike" joke in all its elaborate detail, and think you're done with the panel...and then Bottleneck punches that kid in the face as they walk past.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Starchie


Since you guys are going bananas over Archie, you should read the June 1954 Mad parody "Starchie" (drawn by legendary crazy genius Bill Elder). If you're not familiar with the history of Mad, all you need to know is that it started out as a much more insane and evil comic book (from EC Comics, the publisher of Tales From the Crypt), but, along with the other famously extreme EC titles, got corralled into the Fredric Wertham "Seduction of the Innocent" scare that prompted the congressional hearings that, in turn, led to the creation of the "Comics Code Authority." Mad's Editor in Chief (and co-founder, with artist Harvey Kurtzman) William M. Gaines was amongst those from the comics industry who testified before congress, making an impassioned "free speech" argument, but to no avail (remember that this was the mid-fifties). Under the newly-formed Comics Code Authority, a voluntary cooperative standard agreed to by all concerned, including Detective Comics Inc. (now DC) and Timely Comics (now Marvel), all the EC titles were cancelled except Mad, which was was re-born as a folio-sized black-and-white "magazine" (therefore exempt from the Comics Code)-- the format it's kept up to the present day. (Stuff from the original run of the comic was frequently repeated in the paperbacks and "Super Specials" we all read growing up, so despite everyone's best efforts we kids got exposed to the evil anyway.)

"Starchie" is from the original, untamed EC comics version of Mad, and its pretty typical of the extremely high quality of that period. Artist Bill "chicken fat" Elder excelled at the Mad practice of filling each panel with so much insane crap -- so many gags threaded through so much erudite surrealism -- that you practically go into a trance-state while reading the stuff. (Notice the characters' propensities for screaming at the tops of their lungs while frantically racing around -- more Elder trademarks.) They put out a CD-ROM anthology of the entire run of Mad ten years ago, and I bought it; hence my ability to deliver any material from any issue to customers like yourselves in mere seconds.

http://www.jordanorlando.com/starchie

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Archie Challenge


In addition to roping me into the Horrorthon contest in 2004, the brothers XPants also got me into their summer Archie contest. Not a contest, really, but a way to express their love of Archie comics.

Basically, to illuminate the corny (albeit adored) formula of stories in the Archieverse, one brother would give the other a single word, around which a short Archie adventure would be written.

My first challenge was "Wedding Chapel." My response is reprinted below. (Yes, I know "wedding chapel" is two words. Shut up.)

Wedding Chapel

Riverdale is all abuzz over the big State Fair. Exhibits from all over are attending. Big Ethel is all decked out in a checkered farm dress when she passes the "Ground Round Wedding Chapel," where they offer a free wedding service if you buy their giant Bucket o' Burgers. "That's it!" cries Ethel, "this'll get Jughead to say 'I do,' I just know it!" She zips into the makeshift canvas chapel, emerging seconds later with a burger bucket so large that looks like someone just sawed a barrel in half. In front of the exhibit next door, Weatherbee's Flower Show, she spots a Fair Staff car, which is a red golf cart with a pickup-like space in the back [JPX and I used to drive such contraptions when we worked at the golf course in Barrington]. She tosses the bucket in the back, among all the flower pots, and tears off in search of Jughead. When she pulls away, she reveals Archie, who was kneeling behind the cart in his Fair Staff shirt, arranging some flowerpots. He looks at the retreating cart with a big question mark over his head. The next panel shows Jughead, also with a big question mark over his head, since he was sneaking a nap in the back of the cart and was just awakened by a giant bucket of burgers landing in his lap.

Big Ethel careens around the fair, asking various members of the gang if they've seen Jughead. We see Betty and Veronica behind the kissing booth, fighting over who has to kiss Reggie. We see Moose and Midge eating ice cream cones. (Earlier they had their photo taken with one of those things that you stick your head through so your face is on top of a drawing. The board is still stuck around Moose's head, with a picture of a Strong Man that isn't as big as him.) We see Ms. Grundy and Mr. Svenson jitterbugging on the dance floor. Each group tells Ethel "no," and when she pulls away they watch perplexed as Jughead lazily waves to them from the back, the pile of burgers getting smaller each time.

Finally Ethel pulls to a stop right in front of Archie, who is standing by the Ground Round Wedding Chapel. Nervously, Archie says "Ethel, I think you're going to need more burgers!" Exasperated, Ethel says "What?! More burgers! Who in the world needs more burgers that THAT?" With that, she turns to the back of the cart, seeing Jughead. He is sitting in the empty bucket, his legs flopped over the edge and his stomach bulging. He has the last burger in his hand, and he says "I do!"

Pixar Announces "Brave" and "Monsters, Inc 2" for 2012


From worstpreviews, Disney has just announced that Pixar will be moving forward with two new animated movies; "Brave," which is scheduled to hit theaters on June 15th, 2012, and a "Monsters, Inc" sequel, which is set for November 16th, 2012.

"Brave," once known as "The Bear and the Bow," is written and directed by Brenda Chapman (Cars) and features the voices of Reese Witherspoon and Billy Connolly in a tale of an impulsive princess (Witherspoon) who aims to shed her royal ties and become the world's first, great female archer. It is the company's first-ever female-driven pic.

"Monsters, Inc," directed by Pete Docter, grossed $525 million worldwide after its release in November 2001. The film will become only the third Disney/Pixar property to get a sequel. The others are "Toy Story" and "Cars."

Ridley Scott’s Alien Prequel Details Revealed


From slashfilm [excerpt],“It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver's character Ellen Ripley]. It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey?’ The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle — there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair. … [The film] is about the discussion of terraforming — taking planets and planetoids and balls of earth and trying to terraform, seed them with the possibilities of future life.

Read more here

Archie Comics announces new gay character


(CNN) -- Riverdale High School, the stomping ground of comic book legend Archie Andrews, will open its doors to its first openly gay student.

Kevin Keller will be the new student to join Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and Reggie, Archie Comics publications announced Thursday.

"The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books," said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics co-CEO.

Kevin will make his entrance in the comic book in September.

Archie publishers provided a sneak peak of the the plot and a page of the comic book on its website.

The story begins when Kevin comes to Riverdale and promptly beats Jughead in a burger-eating contest. This gets the attention of Veronica who realizes that she is falling for Kevin.

"Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent," Archie Comics said on its website.

Finally, Kevin confides in Jughead.

"It is nothing against her. I'm gay," the new character says.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Einstein's Desk At The Time Of His Death


From geekology, This is a never-before released shot of Albert Einstein's desk the day he died. And you know what they say: a cluttered desk is a sign of genius. Also, laying on the couch with a laptop scorching your privates. Guilty as charged!

HHD Results!


Great showing, everyone. Here are my favorites.

Octo knocked me over with this early on:

I spend my whole life
Trying to find that feeling
Of Christmas morning

Well put. Whistful. And so true for him.

Catfreek came out of the closet as Italian white trash with this one:

What's for dinner Mom?
Your Dad hasn't killed it yet
Yes, in Barrington

I want to hear more about just kilt' dinners. Great stuff.

And then she shared an experience all too familiar to most of us:

Field behind my house
A plethora of wonders
Gone. Now huge houses

This makes me sad on two levels. One, development that mows over kids' fields is sad. Two, I can't afford one of those huge houses. Nicely done.

JSP had a couple that really captured the essence of kid-dom:

An unpleasant truth
My earliest memory:
Green poop on the beach

A few questions: um, whose poop was that? Why was it green? And do I want to know the answers?

First time I saw boobs
Stash of Playboys in the woods
I was like “jackpot!”

There is something so innocent and natural about finding Playboys in the woods. But maybe I only think that because we had to go foraging through dumpsters to find our childhood porn.

Loved this one by AC:

my nose in a book
the cause or consequence of
lacking social skills

So well crafted. It presents us with a chicken / egg dilemma, doesn't it?

Absolutely taking first prize in the "funny because it's true" category, was 50:

but seriously
giant robots are scary
everyone fears them

This was part of a larger conversation between a few of you, but I have to say, it stands well on its own. It's just telling it like it is.

Then 50 got into a whole story about Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger stealing his natural wonderland. Yeah...it's gotta be tough, being a rich kid in LA, when celebs move in and take the back yard woods away. My heart is bleeeeeeeeding.

But right in there were a couple verses from his epic haiku that were, well, for real, actual beautiful haikus:

pine tree canopy
fields of ivy and tall grass
the smell of clean soil

bottlebrush bushes
flowers like red sea urchins
pungent perfume leaves

Prrrrrretty.

JPX summed up the whole sorry, intolerable situation of childhood:

I don't like my age
I can't believe I'm 40
How did this happen?

How indeed. Let's face it, we're all doomed.

But then DCD saved the day with this one, which I declare the WINNER!

The joy of Christmas.
You really do get it back
when you are Santa.

Hooray! Thanks for reminding us that even though we're all on the slippery slope into an open grave, there's still happiness because we've followed our biological imperative and reproduced, starting the whole silly cycle of old age, suffering, sickness and death over again. But it's sooo much fun sometimes!

Congrats, DCD!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Haiku Hump Day Topic: Childhood


I've been thinking a lot about this topic, for obvious reasons. Having a kid makes you remember what it was like to be a kid. Sort of. Because the brain you have now can't perceive things the way you used to.


And it was your young, immature mind that made all the memories you have of childhood. So things probably seemed kinda weird back then.


And let's face it, some of us had it weirder than others.


Some of the contributors on this blog knew each other pretty well back in those days.


Some of our greatest friendships were made in childhood.


Literature had a profound impact on us.


Things seemed bigger then.


And scarier.



And funner.


We might remember it as sweet and pleasant, or terrifying and traumatic. But let's not forget the true horror is where it always ultimately leads.