Sunday, August 30, 2009

Obscure Character Handbook: Karnage

Real Name: Charlie Karnage
Occupation: Enforcer
Legal Status: Presumably a citizen of the United States with a criminal record.
Known Confidants: Johnny Three-card
Known Allies: Stenville Enterprises
Major Enemies: The Huntress, Blackwing
Base of Operations: Gotham City
Eyes: Brown
Hair: None
Other Distinguishing Features: Karnage is a towering, muscular figure.
Intelligence: Thuggish
Strength Level: Low-level superhuman
Skills: Minor fighting ability.
Superhuman Powers: Minor super-strength
Source of Powers: Unknown
Special Weaponry: Wrist-launching mini-missiles. Electrified bullwhip.
Personality: "...a street punk covered in half-million dollar hardware!" -The Huntress
First Appearance: Wonder Woman #286 (December 1981)
Publisher: DC Comics
Status: Copyrighted
Mission Statement: To become a big name mob enforcer/hero killer
Created by: Paul Levitz & Joe Staton

Charlie Karnage was a street punk who decided his ticket to the big time rackets was to make his name as "the enforcer who offed the Huntress!" To that end, he was outfitted with weapons and a costume by a mysterious new employer named "Mister Stenville." Likely following police reports related to the Huntress centering on Gotham Memorial Hospital, Karnage assaulted the heroine in a back alley the morning after an exhausting nighttime mission. Karnage initially subdued her in a choke hold, but the Huntress broke free with a back flip and kick to the jaw. Karnage then continued his attack with advanced weaponry, but lacked the skill and aim to use them effectively, allowing the heroine to escape unharmed. Karnage returned to his employer, who suggested the enforcer kill Arthur Cranston, "--a lawyer she and Robin risked their lives to protect! Kill him. Then wait for her to come to you."

Karnage burst through the window of Cranston, Grayson and Wayne, a public interest law firm, where he encountered Helena Wayne and litigator Charles Bullock. "I want Arthur Cranston, fools-- and I want him now! That turkey's my ticket to the Huntress' funeral!" While Wayne debated compromising her secret identity, Bullock leapt to her defense. However, Karnage easily caught the shyster by the throat and tossed him aside, snapping Bullock's tie in two with his whip as he fell. Realizing Cranston wasn't on the property, Karnage left. Wayne exposed Bullock to sleeping gas to insure she wouldn't be followed, then gave chase as the Huntress.

The heroine determined that Karnage's benefactor was the same mobster whose Stenville Enterprises had tried to bury Arthur Cranston and his firm before being threatened by Huntress and Robin. Huntress badgered the mobster until he fainted from fright, then interrogated one of his goons at knifepoint to learn Karnage's whereabouts. The Huntress managed to catch Karnage unawares, and quickly separated him from his arsenal. With a kick to the Adam's apple, Karnage was taken out of commission.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Frank Review of "Howling IV: The Original Nightmare" (1988)

The Short Version? Ghost story, except with werewolves.
What Is It? Horror Drama.
Who Is In It? That guy from "The Pretender" and that woman from "Murder One."
Should I See It? No.

VIDEO Not Safe For Work (Brief Nudity)

I loathe ghost stories. Throughout film history, you've had these goddamned things where you spend over an hour getting to know boring, thin characters in a mundane setting-- listening to creaks, window shutters blowing in the wind, and the odd moving object. They often think too highly of themselves to offer even a cheap jump scare. They think they're actually dramas, and the very worst purport to be based on a true story. These films are liars and thieves, stealing hours of your life that can never be recovered. There are exceptions in all things, but generally speaking, I believe ghost stories are the very worst kind of horror movie. Howling IV is a prime example.

So there's this writer, see, and she's having a nervous breakdown, right, so she goes off on holiday with the head of the Lorenzo Lamas fan club she married. She meets this ex-nun, okay, and the creepy locals, y'see, and she is visited by phantoms and hears werewolves but, like, no one will believe her. Sound familiar?

Everything about this flick plays like a low rent foreign soft core porno, from the line-readings-as-acting to the blatant dubbing, to the big hair to the shit music. The flick was filmed in South Africa, and went straight to video. If you're watching a monster movie, and you haven't seen one after forty-five minutes, it's either a very good or very bad monster movie. Thirty-five minutes in, this one had its first kills, largely bloodless and entirely from the point of view of an unseen werewolf. We just get stupid looking reaction shots/running/screaming. There are tits (just) within the first hour, and they're nice, but in no way worth the wait. The first actual werewolf shows about another ten minutes in. The rest of the special effects, and the only semblance of action, occurs within the final fifteen minutes. Somehow, after all those scenes, there's still so little offered that you can't invest yourself enough to care.

Technically, this film is superior to Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf in most every way. There's a logical story, despite some plot holes. Bad as they are, the actors are performing their designated function at the most basic level. Everything feels grounded in a reasonable approximation of reality. The effects work is competent for the budget. The only thing missing is fun... unintentional belly laughs... lunacy... decent groundwork for a drinking game... entertainment value... basically, a memorable anything. There isn't even a proper ending-- just an unlikely resolution with tacked-on ambiguity for no good reason other than convention. There just is anything of value at all in Howling IV, and it should be substituted for whatever else you can find that inspires any emotion at all. This movie just leaves you dead inside.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Frank Review of "The Hole" (2001)

The Short Version? Preppies go down the hole.
What Is It? Thriller.
Who Is In It? Enid. Keira Knightley.
Should I See It? Yes.

Four teenagers have been missing from an English boarding school for eighteen days. One returns, looking like she's just dug her way out of a premature grave. The police and the audience have a host of questions. Answers will be along indirectly, via a serpentine path.

My first viewing of The Hole was fairly gut-wrenching, watching terrible circumstances unfold amongst young actors who, despite playing quite flawed characters, are still made sympathetic through solid performances. I'm quite fond of Thora Birch, because she consistently chooses the least commercially viable and grimiest material that comes her way. Maybe she gets it from being raised by porn star parents? Her accent is reasonably convincing, and she's easy on the eyes. Keira Knightley makes her proper supporting debut, in no way disproving her eventual signature accolade, "the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet." In her case, there will be tits, and you will cry hallelujah. The boys are damned handsome as well, if you go for that sort of thing, and sell what could have been slight personalities as developed. This film is rather dark, and fates unkind, so fair warning.

My second viewing was less resonant. The music is lame, and the direction just stylized enough to irritate. If you were lulled by the story into missing the typical thriller set-ups and cliches initially, you'll kick yourself on review. Once you know the end point, you'll be surprised by how much less tension remains, and how little violence there actually is for most of the running time. Still, it's good for what it is, and if you give the whole thing a bit of thought, you can close most of the glaring plot holes that might interfere with your enjoyment. Just try to ignore the deleted/extended footage reel, which sets up what would undoubtedly have been a nerve-pinching sequel that would give even Sharon Stone second thoughts. No danger of it ever coming to pass, as Dimension Films sat on the flick for two years after its UK release before dumping it on video. Considering the tripe that gets distribution routinely, The Hole deserved a chance, but try not to expect too much of it regardless.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

1986 Adam Warlock by Craig Hamilton

Click To Enlarge
Original art owner Eric Delos Santos:
In 1986, Mitch Itkowitz, in a Marvel Comics and Graphic Collectibles joint venture, published THE MARVEL COMICS LIMITED EDITION SUPERHERO PRINT SERIES. These were a set of five limited edition, signed and numbered prints by Art Adams, Craig Hamilton, Mike Mignola, P. Craig Russell, and Walt Simonson. I was fortunate enough to be able to acquire the original art to two of those prints, of which this is one (see MIKE MIGNOLA gallery for the other). The original measures 11x17 and is a true testament of Hamilton's all too brief time in the industry spotlight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Super Powers Collection 25th Anniversary Mini-Comic Review 17-23

Super Powers Collection: Mantis (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
It's the night the lights went out in Georgia-- and Tokyo-- and pretty much the rest of the world. All that electricity had been drained away to the remote castle that hosted the Power Pod of the energy vampire Mantis, a disciple of Darkseid. Aquaman, Red Tornado and Martian Manhunter gave chase and won out. This was probably the stiffest, most generic SP comic of them all. The writer couldn't even work in a "Sovereign of the Seven Seas" or an "Alien Atlas" to signify the characters, sticking us with dull copy. The characterization seemed to come off the back of the toy packaging, so no wonder it was cardboard. The art was also bland in this one, but what I found interesting was repeated hints of a young Norm Breyfogle (though there's no credits to be sure.) The art was drowning in heavy inks and potentially redrawn faces, though.

Super Powers Collection 18: Green Arrow (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
An action-packed episode, though most of the conflict is between two vehicles from the toy line. The resolution is also ridiculous, but it involves Green Arrow battling New Gods, so how could it not be? I strongly suspect the art was by Alex Saviuk, with inks by Frank McLaughlin or possibly Dick Giordano. They rarely get Martian Manhunter's head right, looking like a malformed embryo's, and those green eyeballs of his are disturbing. GA and Flash look much nicer, thankfully.

Super Powers Collection 19: Darkseid (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
Kenner really wants to sell you a damned Delta Probe One, as Batman test pilots its latest improvements with Firestorm and Red Tornado riding alongside. Reddy blankly asserts, "Yes, with it, all heroes can fly." Good Lord, when your delivery is more wooden and dialogue more redundant than your average Super Powers character, you must be the friggin' Red Tornado, mustn't you? Regardless, the DP-1 is so awesome, even the Lord of Apokolips wants one! To catch it, he'll use his own Tie-Fighter, the Darkseid Destroyer, which is so much cooler you'll wonder why he bothered. There's a screwy aircraft battle across two dimensions whose sole purpose is to show off the accessory vehicles and offer a pat ending.

Super Powers Collection 20: Kalibak (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
The cruel one mounts an assault on Dr. Fate's magical tower in his Boulder Bomber Yours for just $34.99 on!
, though its his Beta Club that does the most damage. Fate signals Superman and Red Tornado, who were arguing over who gets the pleasure of monitor duty (more on that later.) Though positioned as rescuers, Dr. Fate ends the adventure with himself well on top.

The dialogue is mostly expository, and the art is weak late Kirby pastiche (Greg Theakson?) Kalibak ceases to be a credible threat for the last four pages out of thirteen, leaving you to wonder why you're left waiting for an anticlimactic resolution to this nonsense.

Super Powers Collection 21: DeSaad (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
Wow, Dr. Fate got a lot of play in these booklets! I wonder if DC Comics had allowed kids reading these mini-comics a chance to experience the Kent Nelson Fate in their main line, we might have been spared a new, radically different bearer of the mantle every few years?

This book has strong art, and I can't believe the rampant BDSM imagery on display. There's even an explicitly defined "torture chamber!" Robin shows up and is remotely useful, while Green Arrow is clever in the protagonist's role. The only flaws I can find are in DeSaad's stated objective (the unstated is obvious,) and that a toy company executive ever thought a kid wanted to play with an "old pervert in a robe" action figure.

Super Powers Collection: Parademons (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
Just to be clear, the 22nd SP booklet is unnumbered, and the "Parademon" cover logo doesn't match the "Parademons" in the indicia. Anyway, this was a random and intentionally goofy edition, as a wild hair leads the parademons on an unsanctioned excursion to Earth. Firestorm and Green Lantern flounder, while Dr. Fate saves the day. Definitely distinct from the usual books, but like Kalibak's solo outing, the focus on the villain leads the writer to embarrass and diminish the subject at length rather than showcasing their menace.

Super Powers Collection 23: Red Tornado (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
This no good android managed to star in the last mini-comic out of Saigon. Coincidence? Was his mind-numbing dullness alone enough to deprive the third wave of Super Powers toys their own little retarded adventures? Let's just see how this one reads...

Well for starters, Hawkman wonders aloud about how tedious monitor duty is, yet RT loves it. RT emphatically enjoys it. "As an android, I find something comforting about being alone with the Hall of Justice computers." Okay, I'll admit to finding unforeeable allusions to 100% legitimate cybernetic intimacy in the pre-internet era amusing... especially accompanied by a "BZZZZZZ" sound effect!

Green Arrow calls in to alert the team about a parademon invasion of Star City, with some genuinely droll dialogue. The three heroes mount a resistance involving some surprisingly effective violence for a kid's giveaway comic. There's fire, destruction, mob scenes-- even Darkseid forcing the heroes to grovel before him. This is the only time an SP booklet had this sense of magnitude, let me assure you! While the turnabout is ridiculous (the Lord of Apokolips versus a smoke arrow?!?) the dialogue remains strong, and the art doesn't get in the way. Aside from its featuring Red Tornado (along with his unimaginative nicknames "Red" and "Reddy,") this is one of the best of the mini-comics, and a fine final edition of the series.

Still, damned emo robot!

Critical reviews of every Super Powers Collection mini-comic:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Super Powers Collection 25th Anniversary Mini-Comic Review 9-16

Super Powers Collection 9: Robin (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
Here's another quickie, with the Penguin stealing a lunar vessel called the Moonbird until Robin arrives to interfere. The Teen Wonder sadly hasn't been very useful in the series so far, and even his own edition has him calling in Hawkman and Green Lantern to save his hide. A flock of birds commanded by Hawkman do the most damage, though Robin at least got to lay a glove on Penguin, unlike Aquaman in the Sea King's book. The art on the heroes is okay, but everyone else suffers, and the script is strictly for the birds

Super Powers Collection 10: Lex Luthor (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
I suppose Wonder Woman still felt a bit burned about missing half her book, so she took over half of Luthor’s. The criminal scientist kidnaps the president during a parade, so the Amazing Amazon lassos his Lex-Soar Seven (figures sold separately.) Poor Diana gets smashed against one building after another, determined not to lose the president, but unable to right her circumstances. An emergency signal alerted Superman, but as soon as he arrived, he was snared by the kryptonite claw action feature on the Lex-Soar Seven vehicle. His limp body dumped into the ocean, the Man of Squeal signals his Supermobile (Parents: it’s the perfect gift for boys aged 4 and up this holiday season!) Bad enough Superman is leaning on his crutch accessory all the time, but the guy couldn’t even retain consciousness long enough to hop into it. Good thing there’s a shadowy figure swimming toward him…

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman has managed to control herself and “water ski” while Luthor demands the president abdicate his office or “My Lex-Soar 7 will destroy Washington, D.C…” The Princess of Paradise Island nearly drug herself up her lasso when Luthor appeared to shoot her with a laser pistol. Some days, you just can’t win for losing! At least she provided distraction enough so that a whale could leap out of the ocean and crash into Luthor’s aircraft. In the confusion, Superman flew under his own power to catch the president, while Wonder Woman made sure to get her hands on Lex. “I want him in good shape to serve his prison sentence!” As for the whale, Superman made it even more obvious, “there’s the hero of the day- - Aquaman, king of the seven seas!”

Lex Luthor let out a “bah,” something like his third line in the book carrying his name. At least his ship acquitted itself, and the heroes were well handled. Aquaman seems to fare best as a surprise guest, even if it's kinda lame, especially when his only power appears to be supervising marine life. A good story overall, but hey, how about that useless Supermobile, eh?

Super Powers Collection 11: Green Lantern (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
The Joker-Mobile burst into the Coast City Civic Center to kidnap an ace pilot, and while Hal Jordan could do nothing, Green Lantern was on the case! Literally. Hal used deductive reasoning and considered seriously the motivations of a psychotic mind. Yeah, didn’t read like Hal to me either, but he made a darned fine Batman with a power ring. Might also explain why this was a second adventure teaming, of all people, the Emerald Gladiator with Robin the Boy Wonder. I say boy because the Joker of course gets the drop on him, sticking GL with a hostage situation. I guess that’s one way to deal with a massive mismatch between hero and villain.

Really distinct art on this one, with some fantastic inking (Paris Cullins and Terry Austin?) The story was surprisingly strong, with the “y” word never coming up.

Super Powers Collection 12: Hawkman (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
Birds make off with antiques from Carter Hall’s museum, scratching up and ignoring Hawkman as he asked “*Wheet wheet* My friends, stop your attack.” It's okay-- I snickered too. Suddenly, Aquaman’s appearances don’t seem remotely as lame. Rather than the Penguin, it's Lex Luthor behind the attack, and his Lex-Soar 7 disables the Winged Wonder’s anti-gravity belt. Good lord, leave the guy with some dignity! Next you’ll castrate poor Carter with his friggin’ mace!

A giant green trampoline saves Hawkman, and there’s the familiar simpleton Hal Jordan we all tolerate again! Green Lantern and the Flash were both in Midway City pursuing Luthor, though the Scarlet Speedster was soon snared in an energy net. To fend off the attack birds, the Emerald Gladiator creates dozens of individual though identical cages. God, what a waste of a perfectly good power ring.

Anyway, Hawkman gets fixed up and blows Lex... out of the sky. The Lex-Soar 7 hits the drink, and somehow, Aquaman doesn’t show up. Lex said “Bah!” Someone buy Lex a slang dictionary. We could use a “drat” or a “shnickey” for variety’s sake. The story doesn’t make much sense, but the art was quality, and reminded me of work from the ‘70s Philippino invasion.

Super Powers Collection 13: Steppenwolf (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
Woo-hoo! We're now in the second wave of Super Powers figures, offering a much greater variety of characters, especially villains! Here, the story opens with Red Tornado, Dr. Fate and Wonder Woman as guests of the Pentagon to observe war games. Steppenwolf and his dog cavalry turned the games real, as these Apokolipsian raiders could conceivably take over the nation. "Bah! What need does the great Darkseid have for your puny country-- when he can rule your entire planet!" Clearly, Steppenwolf has been hanging with that bahsturd, Lex Luthor.

The typically useless Red Tornado helped explain that Steppenwolf's Electro-Axe could hack the Pentagon's computers in every sense of the word, then got choked out like the wimpbot he is. Dr. Fate really steps up to mystically avert a nuclear winter, Wonder Woman holds her own, and Steppenwolf plays as a major badass. I guess Boom Tubes were replaced by the Star Gate here, allowing for a Darkseid cameo.

I'm really curious if the potent art was heavy with swipes or featured round robin inking. There are panels that recall Sal Buscema, Joe Kubert, and Carmine Infantino, which makes for an exceptional mini-comic.

Super Powers Collection 14: Martian Manhunter (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
DeSaad runs around with a fear machine because he's a creepy sadist, but covers his kink by proclaiming his undying devotion to Darkseid. Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman take offense, but are put on defense, so they call on Firestorm for help. The Nuclear Man said something that I assume through context clues was supposed to be a funny, but this booklet must have been scripted by a Vulcan.

The heroic trio battle Darkseid, the book's star is given a chance to shine and show off (some) of his main powers, the art is solid, and there's even a subtle-ish product placement for the Delta Probe One with detachable Criminal Capture Pod.

Super Powers Collection #15: Doctor Fate (1984) (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
This story opens with Kent Nelson in pompous mystic meditative mode, so we know the lead's in character. Superman and Martian Manhunter show up at his place for a surprise visit, turning Dr. Fate into a total geek. 'Ooooo, check out my 3,000 year old Egyptian artifact... Don't you think I'm cool enough to rate a Post-Crisis relaunch with a name creator?" Nope, you get José Antonio Muñoz-influenced Giffen and later, Shawn McManus. I don't mean to be hard on Fate, who has a great costume and lots of potential, but he's in typical stuffed shirt mode here. On the plus side, the booklet's art also takes cues from Keith Giffen's early '80s pre-Muñoz period, and the Kirby/Ditko hybrid suits him well.

Anyway, the Kryptonian and Martian are mentally possessed by Darkseid and DeSaad, giving the Doctor a chance to show how big league his powers are. Say, does Dr. Fate have any nicknames? Seriously-- stupid, alliterative nicknames are an important part of iconic super-heroes. No wonder the Master of the Mystic Arts, that Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Strange has always gotten more face time.

The two aliens attack the mystic, but Fate works his mojo on them, and ends up on top. The Doctor didn't do all the heroic work, but enough to come off well. The dialogue is pretty lousy in this one, and the art only serviceable for what amounts to an extended, Marvel-style misunderstanding fight.

Super Powers Collection 16: Firestorm (DC/Kenner, 1984, Free With Purchase)
Firestorm and Green Arrow test the Delta Probe over New York. Shag will have to help me on this, but it seems like the writer had only a very loose idea of what the Nuclear Man's powers were. He creates rings of fire like the Human Torch here, then turns radio transmission "residue" into a trail of breadcrumbs to be followed over a long distance in midair. Forget super-powers, I'm now questioning the writer's command of grade school science.

The Statue of Liberty is treated to yet another disfiguration, courtesy of Mantis. The Kirby villain is a lot more impressive looking as redesigned for this line, but I'd have to break out my Who's Who to see if his powers were handled correctly. There's a cameo by Superman, and Green Arrow has a brief moment to shine. This is mostly Firestorm's show, and okay at that.

Critical reviews of every Super Powers Collection mini-comic:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Super Powers Collection 25th Anniversary Mini-Comic Review 1-8

It's time once again for another blog crossover masterminded by The Irredeemable Shag! The subject this time is the 25th anniversary of the release of Kenner's line of DC Comics action figures, the Super Powers Collection. This multi-blog event will be different from those past, however, as the manner in which the topic is addressed has been left up to each individual blogger. Further, several bloggers have decided to stretch their coverage over a string of posts/days, so just keep your eyes peeled for updated links at this page's bottom.

As for this blog, ...nurgh... will offer a critical review of every mini-comic packaged with action figures of the day, in much the same manner as our Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care column...

Super Powers Collection 1: Superman (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
In this one, Luthor amps up his battle suit by taking over a nuclear power station. There's a nice meta moment in the first panel, when a security guard asks "Ed, ever have the feeling something is going to go wrong?" This was also back when Lois wore her hair in those hot little braids, although that bolo-tied top's gotta go. Superman shows up to confront Luthor, and when kryptonite rays overwhelm him, he signals the arrive of his Super-Mobile via belt buckle.

There's clumsy transitional dialogue between the last two pages that repeats " safe again..." and Lex keeps calling Superman his friend, but otherwise this one is pretty fair. For once, the Super-Mobile finally makes sense to have around, and the art is quite nicely on model.

Super Powers Collection 2: Batman (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
The Dynamic Duo exchange fay dialogue with Alfred before encountering Jokerized Gotham citizens. All by the numbers until Wonder Woman shows up in her invisible plane to help out against the Clown Prince of Crime. Aside from that bit of randomness, everything remained numbingly standard. The art on this one drove me nuts, with elements of Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, and Joe Staton, but of course nowhere near as good as any of them.

Super Powers Collection 3: Wonder Woman (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
When Superman foiled Brainiac's plans to destroy Metropolis with a meteor, the evil robot got even by turning the Man of Steel nasty with his mind ray. While the destruction of Earth's great monuments by Superman is fun, I can't help but be peeved the titular heroine doesn't show until halfway into the booklet. On the other hand, Wonder Woman drops Supes like a sack of potatoes as soon as she lassos him in magically delicious fashion. Another nice thing is that Diana Prince figures out Superman was being mind-controlled and who was responsible almost immediately with her keen intellect. Of course, you could argue her swiftness in flying her invisible jet up to Brainiac's ship whilst avoiding being manipulated herself was due to half her book going to set-up with another hero, but I'll happily whitewash in her favor. While it might be a drag the Amazing Amazon proves herself with another guy's foe, the resolution is fantastic (imagine the skeletal Ed Hannigan Brainiac grinning like a sentient marital aide!) Finally, Wonder Woman is always upbeat and in control of the situation.

Kudos to the unidentified writer! My best guess on art would be Eduardo Barreto (who was doing the real book around that time,) perhaps with a heavy-handed inker (Colletta?)

Super Powers Collection 4: The Flash (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
Apparently, Brainiac didn't stay straight for long, as he turned his ship right around and started nabbing heroes (including the DC Trinity and Hawkman) with the intention of stealing their powers. "I have captured half of the Justice League of America... soon the rest shall be mine as well." The Flash was in that latter half, and fared best of the lot mentioned. His story was solid, with the nicest art so far. The pencils vaguely resemble early Sal Velluto, but the stellar inks are where the real action is at, possibly from Mike DeCarlo.

Super Powers Collection 5: Brainiac (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
Despite the collectible numbering, this third outing by the living computer in a row convinces me these booklets were not meant to be read in the assigned sequence. Brainiac takes over Earth's computers and starts wrecking stuff. Batman is the first to notice, probably because he hadn't gotten around to fighting Briainiac yet. Surprisingly upfront about not being wholly up to the task, the Cowled Crusader calls up Superman to avert disasters. Then the Dark Knight goes it alone against Brainiac's rather silly looking Power Action Computer Kick, and proves "I possess the greatest super-power of them all! My power is my brain! I can outthink even you!"

Decent story, nice art, but please no more Brainiac!

Super Powers Collection 6: The Penguin (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
Bruce Wayne and the surprisingly chipper Carter Hall attend a Wayne Foundation charity benefit that's assaulted by trained birds. Hawkman uses his ability to communicated with all things feathered to calm the birds, then captures most of Penguin's men in a net. Batman nabs his fowlest foe himself.

Seeing Batman and Hawkman in good spirits, cracking jokes and such, reminds me how long ago 1983 was. Besides that though, run of the mill.

Super Powers Collection 7: The Joker (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
Most of this one is a chase scene involving Batman, and so far this booklet has featured more of the title character than any of the rest. It goes by quick, with a surprise guest appearance to wrap things up.

Super Powers Collection 8: Aquaman (DC/Kenner, 1983, Free With Purchase)
So Wonder Woman isn't the only star late to their own story, but I'd feel better about it if Aquaman weren't also a disrespect magnet. The Penguin starts a ruckus at the new seaside aquarium, and when the Flash fails to stop him, the Scarlet Speedster calls on Aquaman to save the day. The Sea King then commands the creatures of the ocean to do all the work for him. A pun-laden script and middling art do no one any favors.

Critical reviews of every Super Powers Collection mini-comic:

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Frank Review of "Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf" (1985)

The Short Version? New wave vampires, except with werewolves.
What Is It? Horror Comedy
Who Is In It? Hammer Dracula. Sybil Danning.
Should I See It? Probably not, but just maybe.

I've never seen The Howling all the way through, though I was traumatized by its movie poster and knew the basics. It revolutionized the werewolf of the 1980s, moving away from the tired old Wolf Man toward a more unnerving hybrid that influenced everything that came after. As I stopped being a sissy boy, not to mention experienced the onset of puberty, I held Howling's oversexed sequel in my sweaty little hands at the video store. Imagine being a young hormonal wreck, anxiously awaiting the promised lupine orgy, and getting... well, a friggin' lupine orgy. I grew up on '70s bush, but that shit was b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Billed as "the rocking, shocking new wave of horror," Howling 2's tagline was derived from the awful club/punk fashions on display and the Bauhaus wannabes whose theme song will stick in your brain for the rest of your life. To a large degree its actually quite old fashioned, opening with Christopher Lee as a Van Helsing type reading from a sacred text about the harlots and the evil of the world, all against a corny bluscreen starscape. Lee then hangs out in cemeteries, making ominous proclamations and burning through as little screen time as possible to earn a paycheck/top billing. That's a shame, as only Lee has the gravitas to pull this sham together, completely convincing in every word he speaks. However, whom he's speaking to is Reb Brown, best known as the Captain America of the '70s, with a Southern drawl too thick to cut with a butter knife. He's the brother of the original movie's star, and investigating his sister's death with her co-worker/androgynous anorexic love disinterest Annie McEnroe. The trio pull the Mina Harker shift, then travel to Transylvania to confront the queen of the werewolves. Yes, really. IMDb lists the original title as Howling II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch, which should clue you in to the Eurotrash bag of shitballs crazy this movie becomes.

Okay, there's a Nubian princess werewolf who, like most of the lupine here, thinks she signed on for a vampire movie instead. Perhaps she was distraught over having lost the lead in Vamp to Grace Jones, and signed on here without due consideration. This might explain why she only transforms once, and the filmmakers just rerun the same footage over and over. She kills a bunch of punks just to give the gorehounds something to bide their time.

An old woman sucks the lifeforce from some dame at a cult orgy and becomes B-queen D-cup Sybil Danning in awkward bondage gear. Danning is the sorcerous queen of the werewolves, which grants her the privilege of a semi-werewolf menage a trois with the black chick and a gypsy dude. This goes on for days, continuity and anything resembling actual sex be damned. How can werewolves have sex without at least simulated doggy style, I ask you? Also, for some reason Danning keeps jerking her hands like she's working through arthritis. Danning casts a bunch of spells during the movie, which involves PBS budget special effects and speaking in tongues while wearing Terminator glasses. Needless to say, Danning's tits are the main draw, everyone knows it, and this is why they're exposed on a loop throughout the closing credits. For serious. The other orgy-goers are so unarousing, they might as well be on National Georgraphic.

Director Philippe Mora is the spiritual ancestor to the mad Dr. Uwe Boll. His favorite technique, used repeatedly in every god forsaken scene, is to have characters flashback to an earlier scene for a few seconds. It successfully pads the running time, and is sort of retard stylin'. Reusing footage gets way out of hand at times though, like the same terrible transformation effects being repeated, and the synth band from L.A. still playing at the same club intercut with action in Transylvania. It's wretched, but a warm, gooey, microwaved guilty pleasure as such.

I don't want to spoil too much more, because this shit has got to be seen to be disbelieved. Keywords include zombie midget, exploding eyeballs, worst wig ever, priest fellates gargoyle, silver immunity, worst sex scenes ever, titanium stakes, blood marinate and longest running werewolf series to hardly ever feature werewolves. It's so absolutely ludicrous, I cannot believe it wasn't intentional, and everyone involved seems to be having a blast. Even Lee's grave tones seem designed to provide chuckles just through the force of will to play this insanity straight. It takes something that could have been unwatchable and made it a very guilty pleasure.

For more, try here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Frank Review of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: An IMAX 3D Experience" (2009)

The Short Version? 3D bitch boy wizard shit.
What Is It? Fantasy.
Who Is In It? The usual suspects, like the little girl that filled out and flashed her crotch, and the little boy that whipped out his cock around a horsey. Welcome to the internet age, right?
Should I See It? Whatever.

I'd heard buzzing about the Harry Potter phenomenon for a while before seeing the first picture, which I thought was crap. Since I'm a bookish brown-haired Caucasian with glasses in the barrio, I got nicknamed "Harry Potter" by a few idiots back in those days, though it never really took. I didn't mind, because even after much greater exposure to Potter fans and films and fiction, I still just really don't give two shits and a dull penny.

My girlfriend severely and unfortunately digs on this shit. I have to listen to the audiobooks in the car sometimes, and hear once again about the incredible award winning narrator who invented over 200 voices for his work that to me all still sound like a washed up middle aged actor. I drew a line in the sand over attending any of the movies, not out of macho pride as she claimed, but just because I damned well knew I didn't want to watch over two hours of this goddamned shit. I don't care how "dark" and "mature" folks claim the series becomes-- it's still a bunch of queer Tolkien retread shit built for kids. Take your retarded gobbledygook names and your sissy wands and use them to stir your fucking ass-cunts full of milky dew.

Anyhow, my girl passed her last semester by the skin of her teeth after entirely too much drama, so I finally broke down and suggested we see Harry Ballsack together (her second time,) so she could see the woo-hoo IMAX 3D version. I also made it very clear I intended to finally use the flask given to me for being a groomsman at a Spring wedding in order to spike the fuck out of my theater beverage with rotgut Russian vodka to ease my suffering. However, we ran around all that day, hit my favorite but rapidly declining Mediterranean buffet chain, caught an earlier feature, and developed food poisoning. I recall one bathroom break that went like I was running a bath out of my anus. I had no intention of throwing gasoline onto that diaretic bowelstorm, and would have to take on a midnight showing stone straight.

We got our chunky, too-tight 3D glasses and shared a theater with about two to four other humans. The trailer for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs looked like my bathroom breaks, at which I would have gladly bypassed toilet paper for a beefy sponge. 9 made my penis swell. Where The Wild Things Are never impacted me much (I rolled more with Seuss, Judy Blume, James Howe, and even Shel Silverstein back then,) but the movie looks indie enough, and the 2D didn't make me feel woozy like the rest. The Final Destination was all balls and no brains, but I'll see it for the spectacle.

We were advised when to wear our 3D glasses, and at what point we should remove them. The Potter logo projected over our heads. We flew through a city really fast with these sentient black cloud fart things. A big bridge shook and shit broke. That was about it for the ostentatious 3D. Cut to Harry hanging out in a subway station restaurant. A fine ass black chick was serving and flirting with him. Especially in light of being subjected to a Harry Potter movie, I really had to fight the urge to reach out and grope this finely and accurately realized Nubian princess. Instead of getting his fuck on, Harry ditched the chick to visit an old wizard and other non-sexually arousing British people. This involved more flying and morphing, at the end of which we were deposited back in 2D land. You could tell by the row of no-3D glasses signs flashing on screen for a minute or so, just in case I was returning from a bathroom break. This was very important, as looking at normal film through 3D glasses will blind you quicker than a solar eclipse. Your eyeballs will smoke and you may well go stark drooling mad. It was a public service.

The total 3D trip time was about ten minutes. There was some stuff in there referencing previous movies I didn't get. The 3D experience was not new watcher friendly, as though exposition would do your brain worse than lingering with your 3D glasses on. I asked my girlfriend about that after the show, and she droned on for way longer than my attention span for the question. I've mentioned that I don't give a fuck, and was mostly making conversation. Maybe some of this shit was resolved during the 2D, but I proceeded to lay down across theater seats and go to sleep. Sadly, these seats were firm, and I really wished we could have seen it in a theater with reclining faux leather seats instead.

Anyway, the brief 3D sequence offers extraordinary perceived depths, among the best I've ever seen. Way not $13.50 per ticket best, but still awesome. If you like Harry Potter and/or getting reamed, I'd recommend seeing the picture in this format, though I can't imagine not being crushed by roughly two hours ten of the remaining picture without the 3D. If it helps, check out the cute black chick and think about how much closer we are to VR porn.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

nurghophonic jukebox: "No Hard Feelings" by The Bloodhound Gang

Written By: James Moyer Franks
Released: 2005
Album: Hefty Fine
Single?: Billboard Modern Rock Top 50

Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday anymore
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday anymore

Maybe you got screwed but i dumped you 'cause you ain't nothin' but trash
I put out despite the fact that you're like a hawaiian punch moustache
Right under my nose thinking i'm so colonel klink oblivious
But how could i not see you got off scot-free 'cause i know this means it

Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday anymore
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday anymore

If i want to be repeatedly shit on i'll go make dutch porn
When roughly translated even your naked truth means squat and what's more
I'm missing you like a hijacked flight on september 11th
I don't know who got on you but i'm not wrong in thanking them since it

Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday anymore
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday
Ain't my job
To fuck you on your birthday anymore

Maybe it ain't your birthday but then again
Ya know i wouldn't give a fuck
When what i shoulda got is over ya sooner so now
I'm just gonna wrap it up

Maybe it ain't your birthday but then again
Ya know i wouldn't give a fuck
When what i shoulda got is over ya sooner so now
I'm just gonna wrap it up

Ain't my job
I'm just gonna wrap it up
To fuck you on your birthday
I'm just gonna wrap it up
Ain't my job
I'm just gonna wrap it up
To fuck you on your birthday anymore
I'm just gonna wrap it up
Ain't my job
I'm just gonna wrap it up
To fuck you on your birthday
I'm just gonna wrap it up
Ain't my job
I'm just gonna wrap it up
To fuck you on your birthday anymore
I'm just gonna wrap it up

[Four minute pause]

This is bam, and hidden track shit dicks out!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Frank Review of "The Motorcycle Diaries" (2004)

The Short Version? Pre-revolutionary Che on holiday.
What Is It? Bio-pic.
Who Is In It? Gael García Bernal
Should I See It? Yes.

My girlfriend, in her Prada glasses and scented with Dolce & Gabbana, fancies herself a Latin-style communist. These means I've been subjected to hours of torture in forms such as Che and Fidel, the latter a mini-series featuring Gael García Bernal as Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Both of those films had their charms and drawbacks, and each was the product of undeniable bias on their producers' parts. Political histrionics can be ever so tiresome, but at least some joy could be found in Bernal's twitchy, agitated take on the famed Argentine revolutionary. Four years later, Bernal played the same character several years younger and far more subtly to sound effect. In fact, in his native land Che was nicknamed "Fuser," and is divorced enough from his popular Marxist identity that The Motorcycle Diaries can be enjoyed on its own merits, without any baggage.

Fuser and Alberto take a break from their medical careers to attempt a motorcycle trip through South America. Their misadventures along the way are at turns amusing and affecting, with consistently beautiful cinematography and scoring. You do see glimpses of the Che to come, but setting the knowledge aside, you can view it as the simple story of a young man learning about and being moved to confront the inequities of common people's lives. In that sense, it's almost like a classic western, but without any white hats riding in to save the day. Fuser feels for the disaffected, and helps in his own small ways, but is ultimately just another fish in the stream. Alberto isn't oblivious to this, but as foil and comic relief he's a bit preoccupied chasing every bit of tail he passes along the way. Again, the film works with or without prior history with the subjects, and is a tour worth taking.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Action Comics #598 (March, 1988)


Lois Lane was a bit miffed when the Quaracan Minister of Defense backed out of a scheduled interview just because the reporter was a woman. Before the Minister could give her a smack for her impertinence, the pair were kidnapped by terrorists led by the Jackal.

Aboard the U.S.S. Weisinger, prisoners had been taken by another group of terrorists, the Angels of Allah. This brought the attention of Checkmate, whose Knight-Two emancipated the Minister and Lois on land.

At sea, Superman also benefited from Checkmate's aid. The Angels rigged the ship's nuclear reactors to blow, so Superman sent them to the stratosphere.

The Minister was placed on his private jet and ordered back to Qurac by Knight-Two. Once in the air, Checkmate commanded a bomb on the plane to detonate over international waters.

Also, Superman sulked over a batch of recent personal problems and an irritated boner over Wonder Woman.

by Paul Kupperberg, John Byrne and Ty Templeton.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Action Comics #597 (February, 1988)


Lois Lane headed for Smallville to investigate Clark Kent's disappearance following Lana Lang's assault against him at the Daily Planet. Lane spied a crashed Manhunter ship.

At the Lang house, Lois found Lana in Superman's arms. Lane learned from the pair the story behind the Millennium crossover, but was asked to keep silent about the event. Lois asked if Superman was Clark Kent. Ma & Pa Kent arrived to deny they were one and the same, instead claiming they found Superman and raised him with their birth son Clark. Lois figured Clark and Superman had been jerking her around for years, handing her the occasional scoop. Lois was pissed, and wondered if she could return to the Planet under these conditions.

Later, Lana Lang led Lois Lane to lunch. The waitress was reading Lois' novel, Shadows on the Grass. Lana said Clark really loved Lois, and could never lead her on. Lana confessed Clark wasn't in love with her.

Lois returned to Metropolis, and checked in on Gangbuster. The fallen vigilante hero would probably never walk again, and wished he'd heeded Superman's warnings. The Man of Steel arrived to reveal that an autopsy of Combattor turned up nothing. Lois left, disregarding Superman.

by John Byrne with Leonard Starr & Keith Williams.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

nurghophonic jukebox: "Never Say Never" by that dog.

Written By: Charlie Grant, Pete Woodroffe, & Melanie Chisholm
Released: 1997
Album: Retreat from the Sun
Single?: #27 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.

i was blind
as a bat
and still knew
where you were at
i was deaf
and dumb
and still knew
that you're the only one.

i could show up
at your door
and still know
what you're looking for.
i could wait
in your line
and if you had no money
i would give you my last dime.

i never
(never, never)
took it out
no, i never
(never, never)
took it out on you
no, i never
(never say never)
take it out on you.

no, i never
(never, never, never)
took it out
(never, never, never)
no, i never
(never, never, never)
take it out on you

never say never
never say never
never say never
never say never

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

101 Best Movie Posters Commentary

I was informed via email that the Only Good Movies blog/site had used my negative review of The Shining as the featured link for their entry of the movie on their 101 Best Movie Posters countdown. I'd never heard of these guys, but they asked nicely for a callback link, and they offer brief movie reviews, while I've got posting gaps to fill here. Therefore, a commentary on their countdown, and likely irregular inclusion in my new Linkypeux section. Follow the link above to actually view the posters and read their reasoning.

101. The Son of the Sheik: Fairly erotic for a silent picture. Motion picture, I mean. If static figures talk to you, put down the greeting card or seek professional help.
100. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005): Simple, but I've always liked the use of negative space here.
99. Scream: Terrible choice here. Generic as hell.
98. Terminator 2: Ahnold on a bike with a shotgun on my nerves.
97. King Kong (1933): Offhand, I can't think of a bad Kong poster, as they pretty much all feature a gigantic agitated gorilla, a hot blond, and phallic imagery. I think I prefer the '70s poster though, if only for the nostalgia from its appearance in many of my earliest comic books.
96. Papillon: Awesome. This was at a video store I worked at, and this art never failed to catch my eye.
95. Taxi Driver: Never really did it for me. I prefer the mirror shot.
94. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: We've discussed this.
93. Tootsie: Not bad. Never wowed.
92. The Blair Witch Project: Love it or hate it, you've got to admit this poster is not only iconic, but the text still takes hold of your imagination.
91. Escape from Alcatraz: Eastwood has been blessed with some excellent posters in his day. Just look at The Gauntlet alone.
88. Punisher: Yeah, one of the Bradstreet numbers. No, please.
90. Pretty Woman: So very '90s, but damned if it doesn't work.
89. Swingers: Forced perspective FTW.
87. The Man Who Fell to Earth: It's Bowie. 'Nuff said.
86. Evil Dead 2: They chose the first and my favorite of many options.
85. The Mummy (1932): Ohhh, yeah!
84. Clockwork Orange: Not the version you're thinking of, but still great.
83. Alcatraz Island: Never seen it before, but gorgeous art.
82. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: You know you wanna shudder.
81. Bringing Out the Dead: An underrated film whose DVD cover needed this striking image.
80. Spider-Man: I hate these heavily shopped autumnal duds.
79. City Lights: That's just plain art, poster or otherwise.
78. The Untouchables: This one has been lifted for lots of other films for a reason.
77. Matrix: Very memorable and instantly identifiable, yet still kinda stiff and shitty.
76. Freddy vs. Jason: vs. entertainment.
75. La Dolce Vita: My subjective opinion is irrelevant. This is objectively stunning.
74. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: This looks like a Mad Magazine Fold-In. It reveals Al Jaffe's anus.
73. I was a Teenage Frankenstein: Weird. Not bad, but weird.
72. Andy Warhol’s Bad: Did I stroke to this in my youth? It looks like a Penthouse Forum illustration.
71. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!: Excellent! Brand new/you're retro.
70. The Italian Job (1969): The O.G.
69. The Flower of My Secret: Unfamiliar, but good.
68. Pink Floyd The Wall: Another one that unnerved the shit out of me as a kid.
67. The Howling: Nice pairing with The Wall. Nowhere near as effective, but still solid.
66. Airplane: Goofy, but that's the point.
65. For Your Eyes Only: Ohhhh, yeah. See Andy Warhol’s Bad above. The British quad is even better.
64. Rocketeer: They show off the excellent teaser poster, much better than the theatrical version.
63. Ghostbusters: Who you gonna call indeed!
62. High Plains Drifter: Eastwood again. Still The Man. I'd also take this one over any of the Leone flicks.
61. Oceans 11 (1960): Nifty French version.
60. World Trade Center: Too on the nose.
59. Marlene: Nice.
58. Halloween: You know the one. The pumpkin knife. Aw yeah.
57. The Shawshank Redemption: Solid, but never wowed me.
56. M.A.S.H.: A justified classic!
55. Mississippi Burning: A new variation to me. A bit too "slasher film," but the floating heads and flaming crosses general edition isn't very interesting, either.
54. Office Space: Not great, not lousy.
53. Frankenstein (1931): Duuuude!
52. Metropolis: I've seen a number of posters for this film, none bad. The movie makes me sleepy, but the visual inspiration is A-1.
51. Dirty Harry: Eastwood again. The tagline is retarded, but the picture works.
50. Dinosaur: Ugh. See gee eye.

You'll have to click the link to see the rest, which are typically more solid than the ones here. There's two more Eastwoods, thought they get repetitive with the big guns. Rock a little Every Which Way But Loose or something. Also, the justifiably forgotten Brando version of Island of Dr. Moreau in the top five is bug fuck crazy talk. The top two bear this out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Frank Review of "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" (2006)

The Short Version? Fake foreigner sends up American "values."
What Is It? Mockumentary
Who Is In It? Sacha Baron Cohen.
Should I See It? Yes.

I thoroughly enjoyed Borat when I saw it at the theater in 2006, laughing heartily for extended periods of time. I still dug it when it went into heavy rotation on cable prior to the release of Brüno. I finally bought it on DVD, which is a rare thing for me, as I find comedies don't have a great shelf life for my money.

I expect a big part of my enjoyment is the loose narrative tying together diverse episodes that would only become predictable after a great many viewings. Borat is also an endearing character-- sort of a perverted, anti-semetic Balki Bartokomous. Sacha Baron Cohen is incredible in the role. The performer is intelligent enough to come up with brilliant set-ups to trap his unwitting victims into saying inappropriate things or provoking hilarious reactions without tipping his hand. Borat always comes off as good-naturedly dim, and you either sympathize with those who try to accommodate his failings or gleefully watch as he skewers bigoted, mean-spirited fools without their knowledge.

The film does have lulls, usually due to the demands of the through story. In particular, the sequence where Borat learns his newfound love Pamela Anderson falls more than a tad shy of purity, and ends up at a revivalist church, drags on for ages. I'll also buck the Brüno-bashing trend and state that the very queer Austrian is much more consistently funny in his cinematic outing than Borat. I think audiences felt more comfortable laughing at and with the Borat character, especially at a time when even the party faithful had about their fill of Bush administration excesses. Bruno's flaming homosexuality seemed to unnerve and anger a large portion of Borat's audience, where others may have just disliked the Bruno character, and certainly the pair's scripted portions were a might too similar. I recall reading a negative review of Brüno that called it on the carpet for too many quick cuts, but that critic must not have seen Borat in a while, as the camera rarely lingers for long here, either.

Anyway, Borat holds up better than most comedies, and the DVD only enriches the experience. The packaging, disc and menus all offer gags worth a chuckle, and there are actually deleted scenes worth your viewing here. If you've somehow managed to avoid the hit film for this long, do get around to it, won't you?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Batman #432 (April, 1989)


Batman investigated a break-in at a lawyer's office. The Dark Knight found Maxine Kelly, private investigator, checking a file on William Sanders. Batman allowed Kelly to leave, following her to her loft. Maxine Kelly in turn caught Batman trespassing in her home, going through a file on her current case.

William Sanders had been arrested in relation to the abduction of the then-three year old Josh Winston seven years prior. Sanders was acquitted and relocated by the F.B.I. After years and a dozen inadequate dicks, the former Mrs. Sanders' health had deteriorated.

Reminded of his deceased ward Jason Todd, Batman broke into the Federal Building to further the investigation. The Caped Crusader learned William Sanders' whereabouts after fighting through a phalanx of federales. Batman spent three days staring at coded information before calling on Commissioner Gordon, who refused any help on the matter. After another three days, Batman confronted William Sanders in a church, learning he had spent six years studying at seminary before becoming a priest.

Looking through old photographs, the Dark Knight Detective found a shot of a woman staring at Josh. This stalker checked out as a mother whose own child had been abducted, and Batman soon learned she'd claimed Josh as a replacement. Batman found Josh, who was taken to meet the true mother he never knew, Tina Winston, before she died.

by James Owsley, Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

nurghophonic jukebox: "Nobody Move" by Eazy-E (featuring MC Ren)

Released: 1988
Album: Eazy-Duz-It
Single?: No.

Yo Ren, you're ready to go get this move?
[Believe that, boy]
You're strapped?
[Yeah, you know it]
Let's go do this, man, I got it all planned out
[Yeah, shoot any motherfucker that moves]

["Alright everybody..."]

This is a stick-up, everybody get face-down
Ren, gag their mouths so they can't make a sound
Tie em up for the fact that I'm kickin ass
I got my hand on my gat, and I'm tempted to blast
My name is Eazy, but I go the hard way out
This ain't personal, but now I'm about
to commit a crime and go thru with it
You know what, no need for shakin, because I'm used to it
Take out the security guard with a slap of my hand
Yeah, he's wearin' a badge, but he's a old ass man
Pump his ass in the head, and take his gun
so me and the punk can go one on one
Cover the lens on the TV screen
you know, so me and my gang just can't be seen
Lock the doors, and throw away the key
Close the blinds, so no muthafuckas could see
and smile, you know, cause I'm controllin the shit
and no sucker ass nigga's gonna stop the hit
Wardrobes and locs, and a Ruthless shirt
That means I'm ready to work, and rush a fool to the dirt, so


["Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt"] *pow*
(repeat 4X)

[Alright, anybody move and I'll blow yo fuckin head off]

Empty your pockets, but do it slow
Take everything you got and lay it on the fuckin floor
Don't make me have to set an example today
and blow one of you crazy muthafuckas away
I'm in a bank, and it's a little bit funny
takin all you stupid muthafucka's money
Peepin at a bitch cause my dick's on hard
Laughin at the dumb ass security guard
who's tied up for the moment, not sayin' a word
I should have known it before, the muthafucka's a nerd
But back to the bitches I'm peepin
and then untie the hoe, so I can start creepin
Took her to the backroom, about to jack
Cold trailed the bitch, with a gun in the back
I said: "Lay down, and unbutton your bra!"
There was the biggest titties that a nigga ever saw
I said: "Damn", then the air got thinner
Only thought in my mind, was goin' up in her
The suspense was makin' me sick
She took her panties down and the bitch had a dick!
I said: "Damn", dropped the gat from my hand
[What I thought was a bitch, was nothing but a man]
Put the gat to his legs, all the way up his skirt
because this is one faggot that I had to hurt, so


[I said get down. I want you all face-down on the floor
Anybody moves and I shoot]

Stackin up the money and there's more to collect
cause I don't give a fuck, I take traveler's checks
Yo, Ren, peep out the window, and tell me what you see
[Three muthafuckin police starin at me; what to do now?]
Hurry up and get on
Alright, tell me, who is the muthafuckin alarm?
I'm a give ya a chance, and count to three
or else five of ya bitches are comin with me
[Police: Alright, Alright, come out niggers, or we're coming in
This is the only chance to turn yourself in]
Fuck you! We got hostages, and plenty of loot
and don't give a damn and not afraid to shoot
We're sendin out the hostages, all except five
and if you don't meet our demands, they won't stay alive
We want a copter, so we can get away clean
and take some pussy along, if you know what I mean
One hostage got brave, and got off the floor
but I smoked his ass before he got to the door
[Police: They shot a hostage, they shot a hostage!]
[MC Ren: You're a stupid muthafucka tryin' to run
now ya dead as fuck tryin' to race a gun]
[Police: Alright, this is the last chance to get off your ass
or else the tear gas is about to blast]
I ran to the back and Ren followed behind
to a hell of a spot that was hard to find
The bank was fucked up, the shit was smokin
with screamin hostages, runnin and chokin
Gettin away, but I was suddenly stopped
at point blank range, by a muthafuckin cop
And I hope they don't think that a lesson was taught
cause a nigga like the E was finally caught
My gat wouldn't fire, the shit wouldn't work
So, y'all know what time it is


[Gangster: Well I'm giving you five seconds to let us thru the gate or
I'm gonna shoot two of your guards]

[Hehe, they got me once, but they'll never get me again]

Friday, August 7, 2009

Audio Neurotic Fixation: "Beauty & Crime" by Suzanne Vega

"Beauty & Crime" by Suzanne Vega

  1. "Zephyr & I": I like the upbeat, reflective lyrics, but the generic up-tempo musical accompaniment irritates me. The breakdown seems pointless, and this generally feels like a bland opener.

  2. "Ludlow Street": This one has the exact opposite problem. The arrangement is both subdued and propulsive, a solid combination, with a nice breakdown. Unfortunately, the inane and repetitive lyrics, especially the saccharine chorus, fouls things up.

  3. "New York Is A Woman": Now there's the incisive songwriter I love. The lyrics paint a vivid picture, and the instruments don't get in her way. I especially liked the horns that open the song, highlight the odd section, and serve as the breakdown.

  4. "Pornographer's Dream": This one sounds like it could have come off one of my favorite Vega albums, the jazzy Nine Objects of Desire. So much so, if I had a time machine, I'd recommend swapping out one of the few weak cuts. It's easy to love a tune that evokes Bettie Page by both name and feel.

  5. "Frank & Ava": As in Sinatra and Gardner, continuing the '50s theme. Vega is more verbally playful than usual, making me wish the verbal callback in the chorus had been given more punch. Almost a cynical reply to "Ludlow Street."

  6. "Edith Wharton's Figurines": As usual, Vega is at her best while telling a story, but this one is detailed to the point you really get the sense of poetry that incidentally has been set to music. Not that the instrumentation is in any way flawed, especially the bass drum accent.

  7. "Bound": The first song to recall the Mitchell Froom years, my best loved period. Dark lyrics with symphonic accompaniment and electronic touches. Strong, searching number.

  8. "Unbound": Continuing from the previous, this one keeps the strings, but with greater techno noodling, heavy guitar, and quicksilver tempo.

  9. "As You Are Now": At this point, the album begins to feel like a retrospective, working backward from the too-precious moments of Songs in Red and Gray to the folk-pop of her early albums. A heartfelt dedication to Vega's daughter, with a strong orchestral swell in between more intimate guitars.

  10. "Angel's Doorway": Intriguing lyrics let down by entirely inappropriate, misleading music. This one is about a police officer working at ground zero being asked by his wife to leave his sullied uniform outside.

  11. "Anniversary": Another 9/11 song, closing out the album somewhere around Days of Open Hand. It's perhaps a bit too soft, but perhaps the gentility is itself a response to the circumstance. Strong lyrics, and I love the choral hum.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

nurghophonic jukebox

There is nothing wrong with your internet. Do not attempt to adjust the musical selection. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the artists. We will control the decade. We can roll the selection, make it unfamiliar. We can change the focus from Merle Haggard to Vandals to Crystal Method. For the next video clip, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your internet connection. You are about to participate in a sonic adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner ear to... the nurghophonic jukebox.

Ze Greatest Songs Of Mein Time
A progressive "greatest hits" compilation of all the music I love...

"Add It Up" by Violent Femmes (1983)
"Cities in Dust" by Siouxsie And the Banshees (1985)
"Kick Him When He's Down" by The Offspring (1992)
"Midlife Crisis" by Faith No More (1992)
"Mutilated Lips" by Ween (1997)
"Skip A Rope" by Henson Cargill (1968)
"Wave Of Mutilation (U.K. Surf)" by the Pixies (1989)

nurghophonic distress
Worst. Fucking. Songs. Ever!!!

"Heartspark Dollarsign" by Everclear (1995)
"One Sided Love" by Mandy Moore (2001)
"Smoke" by Natalie Imbruglia (1997)
"Wannabe" by Spice Girls (1996)

Bad Covers
Why'd they have to go and ruin my jam?
"Careless Whisper" by Seether
"Eleanor Rigby" by Godhead

Audio Neurotic Fixation
Albums rarely reviewed, track by track...

Bastards of the Beat [2003] by The Damnwells
Beauty & Crime [2007] by Suzanne Vega
"The Love Symbol Album" [Unnamed, 1991] by Prince
Students of the Unusual Giant-Sized Music Special #1 [2008] by Various Artists

Audio Neurotic Compilation
All Killer, No Filler Artist "Mix Tapes"

1976 Rolling Stones Black And Blue Comic Book Ad
1989 Pepsi/Madonna "Make A Wish/Like A Prayer" Ad
2001 Aaliyah Album Comic Book Ad
2012 James Bond 007 50th Anniversary Movie Theme Song Countdown

nurghophonic jukebox general selections by song title
"Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)" by Sponge [1994]

"A Little Bit Of Soap" by the Jarmels (1961)
"Afraid" by Nelly Furtado (2006)
"Ain't She Sweet" by Gene Austin (1927)
"American Made" by Oak Ridge Boys (1983)
"Anything" by Sixpence None the Richer (1997)

"Bernadette" by The Four Tops (1967)
"Black Flag" by King's X (1992)
"Breakin' Dishes" by Rihanna (2007)

"Come Back When You Grow Up" by Bobby Vee (1967)
"Como Si No Nos Hubieramos Amado" by Laura Pausini (2004)

"Digital Versicolor" by Glass Candy (2007)
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore" by Nat King Cole (1957)

"Ésta Es Tu Vida" by Hombres G (1990)

"Fake Tales Of San Francisco" by Arctic Monkeys (2006)
"Fashion Freak" by Naked Ape (2005)
"Feeling Without Touching" by Glass Candy (2008)
"Fill Me Up" by Linda Perry

"Here in Your Bedroom" by Goldfinger (1996)
"Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (2009)
"Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro (1968)

"I Got A Girl" by Tripping Daisy (1995)
"I'm Gonna be a Wheel Someday" by Fats Domino (1959)
"I'm Not Your Toy" by La Roux (2009)
"If I Had A Rocket Launcher" by Bruce Cockburn (1984)

"Jungle Fever" by The Chakachas (1972)

"Know Who You Are at Every Age" by Cocteau Twins (1993)

"Leftover Wine" by Melanie (1970)
"Like A Drug" by They Eat Their Own (1990)
"Like A Prayer" by Madonna (1989)

"Maria" by Blondie (1999)
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies (1993)
"Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)" by Sponge [1994]
"Mutilated Lips" by Ween (1997)

"My Girl Bill" by Jim Stafford (1973)
"My Man" by Fanny Brice (1921)

"No Hard Feelings" by The Bloodhound Gang (2005)
"Nobody Move" by Eazy-E [featuring MC Ren] (1988)

"Old Fashioned Morphine" by Jolie Holland (2004)

"Phantom 309" by Red Sovine (1967)

"Rose Of The Devil's Garden" by Tiger Army (2004)

"Saturday Saviour" by Failure (1996)
"Sea Legs" by The Shins (2007)
"Sick and Beautiful" by Artificial Joy Club (1997)
"Silent All These Years" by Tori Amos (1992)
"Stay" by Shakespears Sister (1992)

"Tall Cans In The Air" by Transplants (2002)
"Teach Me Tonight" by Jo Stafford (1955)

"Undo Redo" by Naked Ape (2006)

"Wait" by The Beatles (1965)
"We Need A Resolution" by Aaliyah [featuring Timbaland] (2001)
"Who Is He And What Is He To You?" by Me'Shell NdegéOcello (1996)

"Your Love Just Ain't Right" by Angel (1991)

ALL Songs By Artist
Aaliyah: "We Need A Resolution" (2001)

Tori Amos: "Silent All These Years" (1992)

Angel: "Your Love Just Ain't Right" (1991)

Arctic Monkeys: "Fake Tales Of San Francisco" (2006)

Artificial Joy Club: "Sick and Beautiful" (1997)

Gene Austin: "Ain't She Sweet" (1927)

The Beatles: "Wait" (1965)

Blondie: "Maria" (1999)

The Bloodhound Gang: "No Hard Feelings" (2005)

Henson Cargill: "Skip A Rope" (1968)

The Chakachas: "Jungle Fever" (1972)

Cocteau Twins: "Know Who You Are at Every Age" (1993)

Bruce Cockburn: "If I Had A Rocket Launcher" (1984)

Crash Test Dummies: "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (1993)

Eazy-E: "Nobody Move" (1988)

Everclear: "Heartspark Dollarsign" (1995)

Failure: "Saturday Saviour" (1996)

Faith No More: "Midlife Crisis" (1992)

Fanny Brice: "My Man"

Nat King Cole: "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (1957)

Fats Domino: "I'm Gonna be a Wheel Someday" (1959)

Nelly Furtado: "Afraid" (2006)

The Four Tops: "Bernadette" (1967)

Glass Candy:
"Digital Versicolor" (2007)
"Feeling Without Touching" (2008)

Goldfinger: "Here in Your Bedroom" (1996)

Bobby Goldsboro: "Honey" (1968)

Jolie Holland: "Old Fashioned Morphine" (2004)

Hombres G: "Ésta Es Tu Vida" (1990)

Natalie Imbruglia: "Smoke" (1997)

The Jarmels: "A Little Bit Of Soap" (1961)

King's X: "Black Flag" (1992)

La Roux: "I'm Not Your Toy" (2009)

Madonna: "Like A Prayer" (1989)

Melanie: "Leftover Wine" (1970)

Mandy Moore: "One Sided Love" (2001)

Naked Ape:
"Fashion Freak" (2005)
"Undo Redo" (2006)

Me'Shell NdegéOcello: "Who Is He And What Is He To You?" (1996)

Oak Ridge Boys: "American Made" (1983)

The Offspring: "Kick Him When He's Down" (1992)

Laura Pausini: "Como Si No Nos Hubieramos Amado" (2004)

Linda Perry: "Fill Me Up" (1996)

Pixies: "Wave Of Mutilation [U.K. Surf]" (1989)

Red Sovine: "Phantom 309" (1967)

Rihanna: "Breakin' Dishes" (2007)

Shakespears Sister: "Stay" (1992)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: "Home" (2009)

Jim Stafford: "My Girl Bill" (1973)

Jo Stafford: "Teach Me Tonight" (1955)

The Shins: "Sea Legs" (2007)

Sixpence None the Richer: "Anything"

Siouxsie And the Banshees: "Cities in Dust" (1985)

Spice Girls: "Wannabe" (1996)

Sponge: "Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)" [1994]

They Eat Their Own: "Like A Drug" (1997)

Tiger Army: "Rose Of The Devil's Garden" (2004)

Transplants: "Tall Cans In The Air" (2002)

Tripping Daisy: "I Got A Girl" (1995)

Bobby Vee: "Come Back When You Grow Up" (1967)

Violent Femmes: "Add It Up" (1983)

Ween: "Mutilated Lips" (1997)

Amy Winehouse: "Teach Me Tonight"

Faye Wong: "Know Who You Are at Every Age" (1994)



Blog Archive


Surrender The Pink?
All books, titles, characters, character names, slogans, logos, and related indicia are trademarks and/or copyright of their respective rights holders.