Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Obviously, I don't need to tell you about the horrible storm and its aftermath

Holy cats, y'all.  I confess that I thought the storm, Hurricane Sandy, was going to be the bajillionth false alarm the 24-hour news cycle mutants had thrown at us in the past few years.  Keep in mind, I'm the guy who refused to leave the house for most of a Saturday because I thought I was going to see a tsunami hit Hawaii and then it was just some mildly choppy waves.  That was a tremendous let down.

In retrospect, that probably doesn't make me sound like a good person, and I probably could have kept that to myself.

But Sandy was and is all too real.  I don't need to tell you that.

I am a little disappointed that somehow Disney buying Star Wars seems like bigger news than the potential weather-related damage to our economy, infrastructure and political system, but: priorities, I guess.

Signal Watches: For Your Height Only


How do you make a Bond-knock-off better?  You cast a homunculus of an action star who the audience will adore.  I am, of course, speaking of Tom Cruise in all four Mission Impossible movies, but that's not what we watched this weekend.

Saturday night Doug was here, and that meant he came with media fit to seer the brain.  In our case, it was the 1981 spy thriller For Your Height Only, starring internationally renowned superstar, Weng Weng.

For years The Alamo Drafthouse has shown clips of this film as part of their pre-show, enough so that I knew exactly what this movie was when it started.  And, frankly, if they don't show some of this before SkyFall, I'll be shocked.

I've now watched this movie, and I could not tell you what it was about.  Golden banana thieves?  Evil bakers?  Kidnappers?

Everything about this movie holds together a bit like when you're in college and you watch a movie while drinking and try to remember the plot later.  I was stone cold sober, and yet trying to hold the movie in my mind is like waking from a sweaty fever dream wrapped in pool of prescription medicated hallucinations.

I do know the characters were snappy dressers.

only bad guys would so brazenly mix stripes and patterns

October Watch: House (1986)

I kind of suspect this was a "you sort of had to be there" thing in 1986.  I think I was a full 45 minutes into the movie before I figured out it was supposed to be funny.

Sorry to those of you who have a fondness for this movie.  I think my comedy/ horror allotment was already filled first, in 1987, by Monster Squad, and then in 1993 when I saw Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.

Monkeybrain Comics Does an Amazing Thing

Full disclosure, I have, of course, met Chris Roberson and Allison Baker.  You are unlikely to find two more decent folks in any setting.

A while back, as iZombie was wrapping up (a series you can and still should pick up in trade paper back format), Chris made a statement about wanting to see companies do right by creators, and that he did not feel that was happening in mainstream comics.

Of course my fandom for Superman feels increasingly tainted by the ongoing litigation between the Siegels/ Shusters and Warner Bros., who own and operate DC Entertainment.  And you don't have to look further than Steve Ditko or Bill Finger to see how credit and financial compensation rarely goes where it could or should in the realm of intellectual property.

Chris and Allison understand the change in access and the opportunity presented by digital comics and platforms like Comixology.  They also understand fair agreements with creators.  They launched Monkeybrain Comics not so long ago in order to provide a home for creators where they could have a shake at publishing their own work with a fair deal in place and be on the digital shelf with other books.

Very cool.  I was excited, and I'm a fan of a large chunk of Monkeybrain's output.

Now, however, Chris and Allison took it up a notch.  For the month of November, they're giving all profits headed for Monkeybrain to The Hero Initiative.  I'll let their press release describe what this is and what it means, but I will say:  It's nice to see the rare opportunity for comics folk on the business side do something far above and beyond what business is usually willing to do for their own contributors, let alone contributors who never worked with or for the company.  Monkeybrain is supporting the folks who gave us, as readers, the stories and characters we've loved since childhood by supporting The Hero Initiative.

This is what heroism looks like.  Other publishers, especially those who have built their companies upon stories and characters taking steps beyond human to help others, who became empires built on the work of those they never offered anything beyond the next check for the next story...  they haven't quite sorted this out yet.  I imagine a legion of attorneys advises against any acknowledgment of contribution.  In any case, they aren't famed for stepping up and doing the right thing.

Monkeybrain is a new publisher.  This decision should tell us all a lot about what they value, and that they've built a moral compass directly into the DNA of their company.

Below the jump: the press release

Octoberama! War of the Worlds on the Radio!

On October 30th, 1938, the Mercury Theater performed a radio show adaptation of HG Wells' War of the Worlds.  I expect that most of you will have heard of this presentation.

On the eve of Halloween, 1938 - war brimming over in Europe, Asia in chaos, science and engineering on the march despite a decade of financial instability - Americans tuned into the radio for their after dinner relaxation.  Sure, everyone knew Halloween was coming, but like the first April Fool's joke sprung on you each year, it may not be the first thing on your mind.

The broadcast was the one that supposedly set the nation into a panic and had people driving around, shooting at water towers and running from imaginary space men.  It also ended in folks calling for the head of Orson Welles - well before he decided not to sell any wine before its time or voice the monster planet in the Transformers Movie.

Monday, October 29, 2012

AXE COP. NICK OFFERMAN. GO!!! (Halloween, Cartoons and Awesomeness)

If you're like me, you're busily trying to model your entire work persona off Ron Swanson, head of the Parks Department on NBC's Parks and Rec.*  Ron Swanson is played by the amazing Nick Offerman, the man manly enough to be married to Megan Mullally.

Mr. Offerman is now also The Voice of AxeCop.**

Here is the first clip from the upcoming show, an adaptation of one of the "Ask AxeCop" mailbag sections popular in the comic strip.

Bear in mind, the strip is written by a 6 year old. That may fill in some important blanks as you consider the mind-boggling sequence about to beset your eyes.

*and, seriously, Parks and Rec is one of my favorite shows right now
**thanks to Kristen B for the link!