Saturday, January 29, 2011

Public Domain Theater: Monstrosity

Today on Public Domain Theater, we have the 1964 effort Monstrosity.

Also known by it's alternate (and substantially more interesting) title The Atomic Brain, this extremely low budget film was shot in 10 days. The alternate title was a clear attempt to make this relatively mild little film sound more like a creature on the loose extravaganza. Needless to say it is not. If you could not tell from it's 64 minute running time, this is what we used to call the "B" picture of a double feature.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Will Rant For Food

By Steve Breen, from Newsbusters.  

The Vault Of Startling Monster Horror Tales Of Terror Episode 6: The Fog!

It is night. It is cold. It is coming.

Take a trip back in time to 1980 and experience the terror of John Carpenter's ghost story, The Fog!  Chris Honeywell, the Hair-Metal Hero and yours truly El Jacone pay homage to one of the more underrated films from Carpenter's catalog, and give our props to the subtle fright of a proper spook show.

Check it out in Episode 6 of The Vault of Startling Monster Horror Tales of Terror!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Looks Good?

I am really falling behind on the blog these last couple of weeks... unlike Diamond, who always makes sure your comics are ready for your consumption every week!

Kull The Hate Witch #3 -- Kull... back in Atlantis!

Namor: TheFirst Mutant #6 -- Namor has beaten back the Aqueous, but what new threats await in the shadows?

Futurama Comics #53 -- I need to buy the new DVD set!

glamourpuss #17 -- The continuing saga of beauty, art, and comics.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Giving Something Back

Have a bunch of extra comics sitting in a spare longbox or printer box, or even piled up on the bottom of your closet?  Who doesn't these days?  Not sure what to do with them?  Not interested in dealing with eBay or trying to sell them through Craigslist or at an LCS?  Not really keen on paying the big bucks to ship them to an online charity?  At the end of your rope and ready to go bonkers insane trying to figure this out?!

Have you considered donating them to your local children's hospital?

I took some 350-odd comic books ranging from the early 70s straight on through 2010 over to the Greenville Hospital Systems Children's Hospital today (after some snafus with the directions).  This is the culmination of a couple of weeks worth of effort of culling down the comics I wanted to donate -- including taking out the Mature Readers books and anything else which might not be age appropriate.  The final result runs the gamut from Superman to Power Man & Iron Fist to Silver Surfer to Avengers and all sorts of other stuff in between.  It's quite a substantial pile of comics, as I discovered while lugging it from the parking garage to the front desk.  

My personal goal from this was to not only get these books out of my house in an effort to cull things down, but also to pass on these comics to kids who really could use a break from reality.  And if I can help contribute to the conversion of a few new young readers, well, that's all the better, right?  I am hoping to get some pictures of the kids reading the stash at some point; I'll be sure to share if I do.

So if you just don't know what to do with all those unwated old comics you got, why not skip the capitalism and go for charity instead?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Public Domain Theater: The Devil Bat

On today's installment of Public Domain Theater, we are screening the 1940 horror mystery The Devil Bat, starring the legendary Bela Bela Lugosi.

Released by Producers Releasing Corporation, this nifty little thriller was a success for the small outfit, leading them to make a fake "sequel" after the war entitled Devil Bat's Daughter. Bela Lugosi, who at this point was pretty synonmous with Dracula despite having branched out into other roles, provided a big boost to the picture and helped bring in audience. Lugosi would go on to appear in many more cheap quickie horror and sci-fi films, often playing a role not too dissimilar to the one he plays here.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Critical Commentary: Invincible Iron Man #32

Well, Iron Man (oh excuse me, Invincible Iron Man) #500 comes out soon, so I figured it would be worthwhile to take a look back at Fraction and La Rocca's finale to "Star Resilient," which wrapped in Invincible Iron Man #32.

For those who missed it, our story involves the reborn Tony Stark, "fresh off of the line" after Stark: Disassembled, and his new business plan: to provide clean, free energy to the world using Repulsor Technology.  To this end, and since he has almost nothing of his personal fortune left after Norman Osborne was done with it, he puts together a small team of engineers (along with administrative assistant extraordinaire Bambi Arbogast) to form Stark Resilient, with the stated goal of produced a replusor powered supercar.  At the same time, Justine Hammer and her daughter Sasha have bought up as much obsolete Stark technology as possible and created Detroit Steel, an armored warrior for today's theaters of operation.  The Hammer Girls sell Detroit Steel to several bidders, including Japan and the US.  Using their new powerhouse as a base, the two Hammers set out to completely destroy the memory and future of Stark, including sending a cellular-controlled fleet of drones (controlled by mobile device gamers who think they are playing a Detroit Steel game app) to annihilate Stark Resilient.  

It's a heck of a better setup than the last couple of epics from Fraction and La Rocca, that's for sure.  For one thing it is not based entirely around Tony Stark's need for redemption.  Sweet Christmas I am tired of hearing that.  Beyond that, it has a good use of continuity (something which has been hit or miss from this team) and a basic Shelhead story which remains relevant and interesting.  This particular issue is primarily a chase, as Detroit Steel and his drones chase Tony all over Seattle in his supercar.  I would have been nice to see Iron Man and Detroit Steel throw down, but as this is the first chapter of what I am sure Fraction hopes to be a long rivalry, that is forgivable (and to a degree expected).  But as a general arc for a story, I liked this one a good bit and thought it was worthy of most of the regard it has received.

La Rocca's art continues to be a mixed bag, but I will give him credit -- he is consistent.  Everyone looks "on model" from issue to issue, and his eye for continuity -- the other kind -- is commendable.  The offices of Stark Resilient, for instance, have clearly identifiable rooms and offices from one issue to the next, a detail often overlooked.  Also, he gets to flex his design muscles a little bit with admirable results -- Detroit Steel is sort of the Robocop 2 version of Shellhead, with his top heavy, muscular beefiness (not to mention arm mounted chainsaw, ala the old Toy Biz animated Titanium Man).  The drones are a nice melding of modern air drones and Marvel Comics supertech, and even the Resilient (or whatever it is called, one of the better running gags of the story) looks like a nice combination of wind tunnel slipperiness and Stark "subtlety."  Overall his art is suitable and generally pretty strong.

There are, as has been the case since the launch of this title, some aspects to the way which Fractions handles Tony Stark which really get under my skin.  First and foremost is this leftist idea that Tony has to ask for help constantly.  Maria Hill once again dresses Tony down in this issue for not coming to her for help.  In an era in this country where "cowboy" has taken the connotation of a nasty insult by the Left, having multiple characters bash Tony for "cowboying off" or whatnot gets grating after a while.  The early part of this story absolute hammers home the fact that Tony needs help to get anything done.  And while there is truth to the idea that it's easier to do things with help, Tony is not some useless moneybags who needs a team of engineers to get the most basic things accomplished.  It irritates me to see him written as borderline ineffectual.  Also irritating to me as a long time reader is the way which Tony behaves in flashbacks -- including one incident where he fires an employee in public, in front of a jam packed panel at an Expo.  That might fly for some, but I don't dig that at all.  Tony is a lot of things -- arrogant, aloof, technocratic -- but mean spirited he is not.  

I have said it before and Lord knows I will say it again, but while Fraction plays some sour notes, he also plays some really sweet ones as well.  The entire "date" between Tony and Sasha is extremely well realized, including her little "surprise" for our hero.  Detroit Steel himself is a great new take on the Dynamo/T-Man/Force/Iron Monger concept, and the cellular drone fleet garners a huge "thumbs up" from me.  The return of Mrs. Arbogast, still as sharp as a tack and as quick witted as ever, is very welcome (including her little spiel about what she has been up to).  The rest of the supporting cast -- primarily Pepper and Rhodey -- are also treated well.  The Hammer Girls make for great villains in the mold of their sire.  Even the Spymaster makes a small appearance in here as well.  There's a good deal of action, though it tends to get spread out due to the page count of the overall story.  

Overall, while there is still room to grow here -- isn't there always -- this story arc was a big step forward for Fraction and La Rocca and I have high hopes for more growth as we move forward.  Iron Man is one of the Marvel heavy hitters and I am glad his book is finally getting some attention.  Let's keep the trend going, fellas, and make Shellhead the best book on the stands.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

JLA #54 Variant Featuring Eclipso!

Released yesterday by DC, this is David Mack's variant cover for Justice League of America #54, which kicks off the Eclipso storyline.

Very artistic, with a little creepiness in there which I like.  Definitely a big change from the standard cover by Brett Booth.  Me, I like them both.  But I am a sucker for Eclipso!

Justice League of America #54 hits stores on February 16.

What Looks Good?

The snow is all but gone here in South Carolina, meaning that we can go back to the things that really matter, like comic books.

Brightest Day #18 -- We're getting closer and closer to the end and I still don't see how all of these threads are going to intertwine, which makes it all the more awesome.

Tiny Titans #36 -- Aw yeah!

Invincible Iron Man #500 -- At least this renumbering makes more sense.  I wanted to write a critical commentary on the last issue, maybe I will have it done before I get this one, huh?

Charmed #5 -- The Source invades San Francisco!

Darkwing Duck #8 -- Let's get dangerous!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Public Domain Theater: Hercules

On today's installment of Public Domain Theater, we are featuring the classic peplum Hercules starring Steve Reeves!

Shot and produced in Italy with a primarily Italian cast (except of course for the star), Hercules was subject to an intense marketing campaign in the US, with a insanely large coast to coast opening for a movie with a budget this low. The ploy worked: the film was a financial success as audiences flocked to see the muscular Reeves on the big screen, and a sequel, Hercules Unchained was quickly put into production, and suddenly Rome found itself inundated with an endless parade of peplum starring various historical strongmen, including Samson, Goliath, and Italian mythical hero Machiste. These films were long staples of double features, and later, TV syndication in the US, including the memorable "Mighty Sons Of Hercules" syndication package.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Frank gets us started with a look at DOOMSDAY and The Baron!

Shag brings the killer Killer Frost cosplay.  (See what I did there?)

Greg Elias talks to the artist of the original Flashpoint.

rob! gets a little comic strip action.

And finally, Hang In There!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What Looks Good?

I had intended to post my picks for this week yesterday, but things got away from me.  So I headed over to Diamond this morning and took a look at the list... and found nothing.  Nada.  Not a single book or collected edition I ordered or intend to buy.  So...

What looks good to YOU?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Thanks to a solid 5" of snow, followed by some lovely sleet and freezing rain, my wife and I stayed home today with the little guy. So no post today -- hopefully things will get back to "normal" tomorrow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Public Domain Theater: Gammera The Invincible

Welcome to what I hope will become a new feature here on the Bunker: Public Domain Theater! Bringing you the best of film which has fallen into the public domain!

For your viewing pleasure, we have the first installment of Daei's Gamera series, starring everyone's favorite giant turtle/friend to children/guardian of the universe. Gamera was Daei's answer to Toho's substantially successful Gojira (Godzilla, of course) series and was produced at the height of the so-called kaiju Golden Age, 1965. The film was localized to the US a year later as Gammera, The Invincible. The extra "m" was added to help Western audiences pronounce the name correctly. It would be dropped by the next, known stateside as War Of The Monsters. This was also the only Gamera film shot in black and white. The film itself was highly edited from the original Japanese version, with extensive shots of American actors inserted ala Godzilla, King Of The Monsters, but not nearly as well done!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Looks Good?

It's a new year!  But some things never change.

Brightest Day #17 -- Welcome to Zamaron, Hawks!  Hope you survive the experience!

Doom Patrol #18 -- Where do the freaks, I mean the team go from here?

Steel #1 -- Doomsday is back!

Weird Worlds #1 -- Making a science fiction anthology a limited series is something we like to call a preemptive action.

Marineman #2 -- Haven't even had a chance to read #1 yet.

Iron Man: Legacy #10 -- What does The Pride have in store for Tony's new friends in Imperio?

Iron Man / Thor #3 -- The High Evolutionary running wild?  Time to call in the big guns.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mars Attacks #4

#4: Saucers Blast Our Jets

Under orders from the White House, a squadron of jet planes was sent up to try and locate the enemy saucers which had attacked a U.S. military base. For the first hour there wasn't any sign of a spaceship. Just as the pilots headed back to their base, radar revealed four saucers soaring toward the jets at fantastic speeds. The U.S. planes fired at them, but the ammunition bounced harmlessly off the metallic exteriors of the saucers. Returning the fire, the alien ships sent two jets crashing to the Earth in flames. One of the pilots tried to get a look at the inside of a spaceship. Seeing this, the saucer smashed itself into the jet without any damage to itself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Here's To 2011

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  -- Mark Twain

Happy 2011 everyone.  Why, it seems like merely a decade ago that we started making all those ridiculous Arthur C. Clarke jokes.  And look where we are now.

In regards to that, one more quote for everyone to think about this year:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  -- C.S. Lewis