Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guest 'Toonist

We are all too afraid to go down to the bunker and break it to King Vulture that the Apocalypse didn't happen as he hoped so Deztroyo at Exploding Toy Box has filled in as guest 'toonist..

Rock Paper Scissors in the Stone age...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

King Vulture's Sound Attack

Five shots of metal brutality...
Mastodon...Curl of the Burl
Corrosion of Conformity...Psychic Vampire
Saint Vitus...Let Them Fall
Crowbar...Cemetery Angels

Stop F'ing With Batgirl!

So DC Comics, in very classy fashion, has fired Gail Simone from Batgirl via email. Someone explain this to me right now. You know what? Nevermind. I don't want to hear DC's explanation. I'll look on the bright side. Simone will have a creator-owned book out at some point with a company that will appreciate her and the fans will be behind her and DC will certainly find themselves on the wrong side of history.
Gail, thanks for Secret Six, Birds of Prey, and especially Batgirl (and hell, everything else for that matter!) Looking forward to what you do next.
Now, as for Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, the series is over for me. I've enjoyed where it was going and I'm not interested in what's next, particularly if its handed over to some dude, even someone I like. Ann Nocenti is probably the only writer that might make me think about continuing with Batgirl, but even then I'll probably just check the trade out from the library.
I don't know any of these people, I probably shouldn't take it personally. But it's crap and it's bush league. You know the old saying; if ain't broke, don't fix it. Well here's a new one; if you break it, f-it, I ain't waiting for you to fix it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Heroes Have Always Been Monsters Part 30


My buddy, Jase, and I made many a pilgrimage to Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Knoxville during high school searching for independent, mostly horror, comics. High on our lists were always Faust; Love of the Damned and Dead World. Kevin Eastman's Zombie War was always a major find since I was a big fan of the original TMNT. We were both Clive Barker fans, so any of the Nightbreed and Hellraiser books were important. Jase lucked out and found Barker and Steve Niles' Night of the Living Dead: London. He also found the only Spring Heeled Jack comics (Rebel Studios) I've ever seen.  


Comics have always been immeasurably important to me. Ever since I bought my first Detective Comics back in '87 I have been hooked. The late 80's/early 90's had a glut of splendid indies to choose from, but where we lived there were no comic shops, so we had to rely on the Knoxville Comic Con and the, maybe, one or two times a year I'd get to go to one of the comic shops in Knoxville or Clinton. Thank God for a drivers license! We'd take a Saturday and drive to every used book store and thrift shop we could find, digging through their shelves looking for treasure. Clinton Cards, Comics and Collectibles was a Mecca. I always found something surprising, like Razor (London Night Studio), Jason Vs. Leatherface (Topps I think?), Calibre Presents, Ashes (Calibre) or Evil Ernie.


 One of my favorite memories was tearing through one of our early comic cons at 13 or 14 and hitting up every table asking for Faust and having every vendor having a negative reaction to our queries. "Demon children!" and "Um...No. We wouldn't bring that book." were common statements. But there was ONE cool table and the dude sold us issues 1 and 6 like he was selling us porn. Which he kinda was. And fitting since I had to hide a lot of my non Marvel/DC comics with my porn!






I lost nearly all comics when I moved to Boston. I was leaving behind a girl who promised to take care of my comics until I could move them, but the relationship went south and I never saw my comics again. Lesson to you, dear readers; leave behind clothes, pictures, whatever, but NEVER leave behind your comics.

Keep watching the sky, nerds!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

King Vulture's Sound Attack

Tonight we load up on tracks spanning the great Steve Albini's career. I was fortunate enough to see Shellac at Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill and it was a dynamite show.
A little bit from Big Black, Racer X
...and Bad Penny
...and one from the unfortunately named Rapeman (the name was lifted from a Japanese manga), Up Beat
...And a little bit from Shellac, Steady As She Goes
...and Crow

Stake Land

 Late to the game, I know! But I just saw Stake Land, FINALLY! Here's my situation; I have a kid who's too young for horror movies and I have a wife who can't sleep for a week if she sees Michael Myers on tv for two seconds, so if I'm going to watch a daddy movie I have to stay up later than everyone else, but my job has me getting up at 3 in the morning, so I'm rarely up later than everyone else.
But two nights ago the boy went to bed without a fight and the wife was deep asleep on the couch and I was all alone with Netflix and oh look Stake Land...
A couple of years ago Famous Monsters had a feature about Stake Land and Hypothermia (another film I'm dying to see) and since then I've waited patiently.
On the surface Stake Land doesn't sound like anything ground breaking; a tough loner picks up a green kid and they travel through a ruined world. This ruined world is over run by vampires, but it could be zombies or a rage virus or any old horde with a taste for flesh. But what makes Stake Land stand out is the impeccable pacing, the fleshed out characters, the compelling directing, a script that contains real logic and not corner cutting B-Movie logic.  
 Stake Land has an art house sensibility in the best practical sense. It approaches the story as a dramatic road movie rather than a horror film, which makes the horror even more palatable. It's a character driven film starring Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Danielle Harris, and Kelly McGillis. Director Jim Mickle brings, not just the characters, but their whole world, to vivid life. The film paints a picture of a post apocalyptic America, but never leans on exploitation to pull it off. But it is still a horror movie and one of the best I've seen in a hell of a long time.
The vampires are fantastic, they rank high with any I've ever seen and the special effects are top notch. If there was any CGI I didn't notice. Seriously disturbing images and a subtext that speaks directly to America's present reality, without ever becoming heavy handed or preachy.
We need more films in the horror genre with this much heart and soul and care given to the craft.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

King Vulture's Sound Attack

Six pack of Screeching Weasel tonight, my favorite band off Lookout Records from back in the day. For a Better Tomorrow and My Brain Hurts are my too favorite albums. I saw Ben Weasle's other band The Riverdales way back in the mid-90's at the Mercury Theatre in Knoxville. 

New Art From Stephanie Murr

Check out the wife's blog! Here's her latest...Such a sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvaniaaaa

My Top Ten DC Comics Characters

So tonight we're swinging on the low hanging fruit of blogdom-The LISTING. If someone makes a list of, say, their top ten favorite DC characters and their choices aren't YOUR choices, you're going to feel  MAD and my esteemed colleague, Paul O'Connor at Long Box Graveyard, has done just that. His list does include some true winners, but, ahem, Wildcat? Wildcat is no one's favorite anything. And you will speak with RESPECT when referring to Aquaman! 
Deep breath-let it out-focus.
I've decided to make this list devoid of Batman (family or rogues) to get at the depth of awesome that is the DC line up. Other wise we're talking Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Nightwing, Red Robin, Robin (Damian Wayne), Talia Al Ghul, Riddler, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Batwoman, and Batman and we never get to these fantastic four color heroes and villains...
10. Deadman
The ghost of an acrobat who has to possess the bodies of the living to interact with them. Boston Brand is a compelling character and part of DC's darker line of heroes. Mike Baron and Kelley Jones probably told the best Deadman stories until he became a major player in Brightest Day.

9. Phantom Stranger
The classic version of the Stranger could be explained pretty simply by his his name, it's what he was and everything else was a mystery. The new series has given him a proper origin that's pretty interesting. The Stranger has often dropped in on the DC universe to be creepy and cryptic and awesome. Sometimes a direct force in the action, sometimes just there to advise or warn. When the Phantom Stranger arrives something cool is about to happen.

8. Animal Man
There's something cool about a lot of DC's characters; no matter how goofy they may have been in the early days, there was always at least a sliver of awesome to be capitalized on later. Grant Morrison did just that to Buddy Baker aka Animal Man and turned him into one of the most compelling and entertaining characters in comics. After Morrison left, the series went on to get darker and weirder, evolving into an adults only Vertigo title and pushing the envelope of what a super hero comic was. The New 52 Animal Man series continues with that attitude keeping him one of the most unique and original heroes out there.
7. Raven
I actually became a Raven fan because of the Teen Titans cartoon series. The teen Titans comics could never hold my interest very long when I was a kid-I really only cared about Robin, but times and attitudes change and I've developed bit more interest in the Titans, with Raven being my favorite. The daughter of a demon and a human, Raven possess powerful magic powers that she must always be careful to control.
6. Starman
Let's be specific here. I'm talking about the 90's version, the reluctant hero who takes up the mantle when his brother (who had become Starman after their father had retired) is murdered. Industrial/punk/geek. Cool look. I want to see this guy come back.
5. Green Arrow
Same with Animal Man, you've got a goofy guy with a goofy suit with a goofy gimmick and in the right hands one of DC's best characters. Start with the Neal Adam's in the stuff in the 70's and go forward. Green Arrow stays good almost the whole time, especially with Mike Grell and most recently with Ann Nocenti.
4. John Constantine, Hellblazer
The good old Vertigo stalwart. Piss poor attitude, aging punk rocker, magician, and all around asshole that manages to do some good. Pals around with Swamp Thing, screws with Satan, and puts everyone he knows in mortal danger at some point. Constantine has been one of DC's most enduring and beloved characters. It's nice to see him back in the regular DCU with Justice League Dark!
 3. Swamp Thing
Here's one Long Box Graveyard and I agree on. Swamp Thing has to be in everyone's top ten list, or their list is broken. That's a judgement call and I'm making it (as Bill Hicks said). Some the best creative minds in the history of comics have laid their hands on Swamp Thing over the years and in all of comics there are few characters that provide as rewarding and exciting stories as this rip off of the Heap. The Alan Moore years are most famous but the last Vertigo series, starting with Bad Seed and the current New 52 incarnation get high marks from me and are extremely recommended.
2. Deathstroke
This was a character that I thought looked really cool, but never cared about until Identity Crisis, then he became one of my favorite villains. His origin owes a nod to Captain America, but he becomes the world's greatest assassin and mercenary. The main enemy of the Teen Titans, Slade Wilson is a tactical genius and one of the coldest bad asses in all of the DCU.
1. Gorilla Grodd
I can understand people raising an eyebrow at this one, but I love talking monkeys, sorry. Planet of the Apes ranks high with me, so does King Kong. The idea of an evil genius talking ape is  a pretty good foundation for weirdo/fun storytelling. Part of Flash's rogues gallery, he gained his powers from exposure to a meteorite. He now sees himself as a superior to man. Hell, he even ran for governor once. Not to mention that he makes a damn cool action figure.