Every day, I marvel at the ease of access to information on the Internet. Whether I’m looking up the filmography of an obscure actor or actress while watching TV or finding how to fix a plumbing problem on YouTube, the Internet has it all. But it’s definitely a different beast from what it was even ten years ago. Sure, the world as a whole has changed, but in some ways it’s also a case of same stuff, different day of the week. As a preteen I desired access to much information, but that required checking out a stack of books from the library or spending a chunk of cash I didn’t have on film and genre magazines. Nowhere was this more apparent than with information pertaining to that old taboo known as sex. Fragments and elements of sex were accessible on TV, but it was ultimately confusing indeed, like setting out to construct a He-Man jigsaw puzzle that winds up being a Smurf. (more…)
On April 4, 2013, film critic Roger Ebert passed away after a long battle with cancer. His career as a critic spanned over forty years and three mediums – in print in the Chicago Sun-Times, on television with Siskel and Ebert at the Movies and on the internet with both his blog and his endlessly entertaining Twitter account. He edified a massive audience in his time and inspired countless writers to try their hand at criticism. In fact, there is no critic in the world today who had as far a reach and as much esteem as Roger Ebert. His loss is a terrible one. (more…)
Whenever I’m in a dollar store one of my favorite things to do is look for the toys, specifically action figures. More often than not comedy gold can be found In the form of cheap knock-off figures based on Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, Transformers, Robocop or even generic G.I Joe knock-offs with names like “Action Fighting Man”, the packaging promising such exciting things as “Aplomb!” and “Service!”.
I love dogs and I love stuff about outer space.
For many years, my family owned a dog in some capacity or another, from when I was a baby until I was twenty-one. Because of this, I’ve always been uncomfortable with malicious harm coming to dogs in TV shows, movies, books, videogames and comics. As for outer space, I became fascinated with it pretty like any other kid alive during the 70s and 80s from watching Star Wars, Star Trek, the NASA launches on TV and stock footage from the moon landings, not to mention eating astronaut ice cream. (more…)
Written in Mission, Texas, February 1932; suggested by the memory of the hill-country above Fredericksburg seen in a mist of winter rain.
-Robert E. Howard on his inspiration for Cimmeria, home of Conan
It is on an appropriately gloomy day that I write about the sullen barbarian hero Conan, and the other creations of his equally sullen creator Robert E. Howard. With The Hobbit still somewhat fresh in my mind and a new season of Game of Thrones around the corner, it’s easy to forget about one of the first examples of the modern sword and sorcery genre. Unlike the professorial majesty of many of Tolkien’s stories (or quaint Hobbit whimsy), Howard wrote in a pulpy manner, freely imbuing horror, graphic violence, swordplay, nudity, magic, epic battles and humor into his tales. (more…)
The first time I ever encountered Dave Sim’s anthropomorphic aardvark-in-a-vest, Cerebus, was in Spawn #10. Sim was guest writing the issue and Todd McFarlane was still doing the art. It was the second issue of Spawn I ever picked up, after Neil Gaiman’s wonderful guest spot writing issue #9. Issue 10 deals with comic book creator rights, and the characters Spawn and Cerebus are more like Sim and McFarlane than their usual selves. Young me did not know this; I just thought that the characters were teaming up for a one-off issue with some subtext pertaining to creators and their creations. I figured the stories were always like this, with melodrama and insanely dense writing. When Al Simmons is reunited with his family at the end I thought something in continuity had happened. Rereading years later, I’m still moved by the entire story, even if it was just “a very special issue” of Spawn. This emotional issue led me to pick up more Spawn, and thanks to a friend years later I embarked on the quest that is Cerebus. A quest that for Dave Sim led to madness on and off the page. (more…)
There are many things that I am thankful for as we come up to the end of 2012. As I am writing this I am sitting at a table in a hotel room with my mom, my sister and my two wonderful nephews while my father and brother-in-law watch TV. On Thanksgiving I saw relatives I haven’t seen in many years, and it was excellent catching up with my aunt and my cousins. (more…)