Saturday, February 28, 2009

ANNOUNCING... INK



If you read comic books, you've probably heard of a little event called FINAL CRISIS. That was the storyline that turned the DC Comics universe upside down, but you probably know it better as the storyline where BATMAN DIED. And if you haven't read it, boy, was that a SPOILER or what?!

(Don't worry. He's already come back to life, although HOW has yet to be explained...)

Anyway, DC COMICS is following the success of this series with four "Aftermath" specials. Each will be a FOUR-ISSUE MINISERIES following a secondary character from the Final Crisis story. I'm happy to finally share with you that I'll be writing FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK. The picture above is promotional artwork for the cover to issue #1. Cool, eh?

FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK follows former villain Mark Richards aka THE TATTOOED MAN as he deals with life as a newly-minted superhero and honorary member of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. Set in the fictional ghetto of Liberty Hill outside Washington D.C., INK is a gritty crime drama in which the Tattooed Man must fight to save his community. But will he lose his family... and his soul... in the process?

Find out May 27, 2009 when the 1st of 6 issues hits stands. For those of you who subscribe to comics at your local comic book shop, FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK #1 is now available for pre-ordering in your latest issue of PREVIEWS. And here's more from the DC Universe website:

FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK #1

Written by Eric Wallace
Art by Fabrizio Fiorentino
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze

In the wake of FINAL CRISIS, the Tattooed Man is considered a hero for the first time in his life. At first, the rewards from his new lifestyle are a welcome change from the rest of what his existence has been, but soon the pressure to stay above temptation and evil start to wear him down. Matters are quickly complicated when he wakes up in the middle of the night to find his body covered in unfamiliar tattoos that seem to have a life of their own. In this 6-issue miniseries from newcomer writer Eric Wallace (TV’s Eureka) and artist Fabrizio Fiorentino, the Tattooed Man finds himself in the middle of a life and death struggle with his own powers and the master plan they seem to have for him – whether he likes it or not!

On sale May 27 • 1 of 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Check it out, comic book fans. I think you're gonna like it! And I'll have more on INK as Summer draws near...

Friday, February 27, 2009

SMILE.



And you thought you were having a bad day...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"WICKED" AVAILABLE... REISSUES COMING



My DARK SHADOWS audio drama, "The Wicked and the Dead," is now available for purchase or DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (at a reduced rate of almost 40%!) from Big Finish Productions.

I finally got a chance to listen to the completed version, and I have to say... it's far crazier than I'd imagined! We're talking Edgar Allan Poe on acid. The performances by Jerry Lacy (Reverend Gregory Trask) and John Karlen (Carl Collins) are awesome and very intense. The whole thing takes place in 1897... and has a wild ending that I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed writing it!

So pick one up now and make listening to it a Halloween tradition in your household!



In more DS news, the FIRST EIGHT audio dramas are being REISSUED. Here's the scoop about everything from the Big Finish/DS website:

"Big Finish Productions are to reissue a number of their Dark Shadows CD audio dramas for the US retail market, as part of a new broader distribution for the range. Eight titles have been repackaged in larger DVD-style cases, with the aim of making the stories available from more mainstream sales outlets.

The new editions will be available from February 25, and are only available from US retailers. The CD case editions will continue to be available from Big Finish directly, along with new titles in CD casing as they are released. Big Finish will continue to be the sole outlet for downloads of the Dark Shadows stories."


I'm a total DS nut, so even though I bought all the first eight CDs individually, I'll have to own this, too.

Damn you, retail gods!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FREE QUIZNOS SUB... NOW



That's right. QUIZNO's wants to give away one MILLION sandwiches today, and you and I have to help them. Just go to the web address below and get your free coupon. As for me, I'll be having a Tuscan Turkey on the house later.

http://www.millionsubs.com/

Thanks to Pop Candy's Whitney Matheson for the head's up!

Monday, February 23, 2009

AT LAST... "FLIES!"



If you LOVE DARIO ARGENTO as much as I do, then you're probably going crazy over the fact the FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, the long-missing Giallo classic, comes out this week on DVD.

Argento's 3rd movie, and the final chapter in his "animal trilogy" ("Bird with the Crystal Plummage" and "The Cat O'Nine Tails" are the first two, FLIES has NEVER been available anywhere. Not on import DVD. Not even on VHS... except in horribly bastardized forms. Just how bad was the old crappy VHS release? This is how bad -- the movie is in ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN. We're talking a full 2:35 to 1 aspect ratio, and the only known releases cropped the film to 1:66 to 1 and were so washed out, wobbly and out of focus, that you could barely even tell what was going on. They were all taken from the same crappy non-anamorphic, fading release print that made the horror festival circuit during the 90s. How do I know that?



Because I SAW that crappy print in 1994 when I met Dario himself at the American Cinematheque tribute to his work... then purchased the crappy VHS tape afterward and RECOGNIZED the exact flaws on the tape that I'd seen earlier on the big screen.

Well, this new disc is a GODSEND.

Perfect picture quality. Great sound. Trailers. Original cover art. At last, this lost horror gem can be seen as it was originally intended!

Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that FLIES is as good as the brilliant and groundbreaking BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE. That movie is a masterpiece of suspense & horror. However, I love FOUR FLIES more than CAT O' NINE TALES (probably because the lead character in the film is a rocker and so am I. Although, ironically enough... I love the SCORE of CAT O'NINE TALES more than the score for FLIES. Hmmm....)

Here's some trivia for you. The rock band in the film's opening? No it's not GOBLIN. Goblin didn't exist yet... But it was supposed to be DEEP PURPLE. (How awesome would that have been?!) But they didn't do it (for whatever reason). I'm not sure who the band in the movie is, but they ROCK.



Like all good Argento movies, the plot of this film is CRAZY. Seriously. When you finally find out what the secret behind the "four flies" actually is... you will LAUGH, then APPLAUDE... then probably be impressed that anyone had the audacity to actually make such a ridiculously crazy idea work so well! Talk about setting the imagination free...

And yes, I'm not telling... you'll just have to watch the movie.

As with all Argento films, FOUR FLIES is not for everyone. If you like BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE (or any Italian Gialli for that matter...) you're going to love it. If you love CRAZY SEVENTIES SUSPENSE MYSTERIES WITH A TOUCH OF CHEESY GORE, then you'll TOTALLY DIG this.

If you like traditional Hollywood fare, go rent CHARADE instead.



If you don't believe the picture above... TRUST ME, there's nothing wrong with a little Audrey Hepburn. And there's even some Gary Grant action for the ladies. But if you're looking for an insane time warp back to the Golden Age of Italian Thrillers, BUY OR NETFLIX this lost Argento gem NOW.

(WHAT?! You've never seen "Charade" either?!!!)

Oh, God... why do I even try...

Monday, February 16, 2009

ANOTHER FEBRUARY, ANOTHER GALLIFREY!



Yes, in my home February is known for lots of things: my birthday, my dad's birthday, Valentine's Day, Black History Month, plus the occasional leap year. But as important as all of these are, nothing compares to another GALLIFREY CONVENTION, LA's annual celebration of all-things-DOCTOR WHO.

This year was Gallifrey's 20th Anniversary. Twenty Years! Now my first Who Convention was as a kid in the mid-80s where I met John Pertwee (The 3rd Doctor) and Anthony Ainley (The 2nd Master), but I've been attending Gallifrey Cons ever since "Gallifrey Goes Fourth," back in 1993 and have only missed one or two since then.



This year was another great time, although due to prior commitments (family, work), I was only able to hang out for the Saturday events. As a writer, I always love listening to other writers talk about their craft. Pictured above is this year's Writer's Panel featuring (from left to right): Robert Shearman ("Dalek"), James Moran ("The Fires of Pompeii"), Paul Cornell ("Human Nature," "Family of Blood"), Keith Temple ("Planet of the Ood") and Phil Ford ("Sarah Jane Adventures"). For those wanting to know more about the craft, I always recommend checking panels like this out. Not only do they give you insight into the professional writer's life--"Write as much as you can in a variety of mediums" was this year's big piece of invaluable advice--but they're also funny as hell, because.. hey, these guys are writers.

And they're British. Which makes them even funnier.



Also amongst the many guests of honor this year was the Sixth Doctor, COLIN BAKER. That's him pictured above being interviewed by Big Finish's Jason Haigh-Ellery. Colin's always wonderful, nice, and damn entertaining. And it was great to discover what I've known for almost a decade: The Sixth Doctor (according to Haigh-Ellery himself) is now officially the most POPULAR Doctor for the BF Audio line! Again, you didn't have to tell me that. I loved the Sixth Doctor back in the Eighties, and always felt he got a bum rap. Probably because of that annoying jacket...

Oh, and if you still haven't checked out the Big Finish line of audio dramas, I highly recommend you do so. Go to the link below and start with Robert Shearman's "Jubilee" (the basis for his episode "Dalek" in Doctor Who Series One) featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor or "The Chimes at Midnight" featuring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. If you love Doctor Who, you'll love these stories!

www.bigfinish.com

Of course, you can't have a Doctor Who convention without companions. Thankfully Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Wendy Padbury (Zoe) were there to entertain fans. There was also a strong TORCHWOOD presence this year with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones) dropping by. But one thing I like most about these conventions is that you never know who else you're going to run into from your other favorite genre series. As my Facebook friends have already found out, I met BUFFY'S Tara aka AMBER BENSON this weekend, and was not too proud to geek out and get an autograph! When asked what she was up to, Amber reported that she has a fantasy novel coming out at the end of this month. Can't wait to check it out...



Of course now it's Monday. The con glow is starting to fade and I'm already looking forward to next year. Word is that the Fifth Doctor, PETER DAVIDSON, will be the guest of honor. Hmmmm. Maybe he'll sign my Key2Time poster...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

THE "TARGET" RETURNS...?



Is that full of awesome cheesy goodness or what?!

Yes, the word on the genre street is that FOX TV is developing a new pilot based on the DC Comics character called "The Human Target." It's a great idea, really. In order to protect clients with dead threats looming over them, Christopher Chance impersonates them in order to uncover and capture their would-be killers. He uses disguises to done the faces of his clients, becoming a Human Target.

Neat, eh?

Yeah, it's just the right kind of cool spy / intrigue / mystery type of premise that makes for fun, guilty pleasure television. Plus, your lead actor gets to play different people each week, something actors love to do (along with adopting bad accents).

But no matter how great the new version might be, can anything top RICK SPRINGFIELD? I don't know about you, but until seeing this retro title sequence, I'd forgotten just how popular this guy was at one time (still is?!!). Hit songs. A soap opera stint. A prime time show. Touring to millions of screaming female fans?

Please... if there is any justice in the world and HUMAN TARGET actually gets made, have Rick Springfield be a recurring character whom the new Human Target--FRINGE's Mark Valley--impersonates on a semi-regular basis! I'd totally tune in for that...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

COMING SOON...



I can't wait!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

ADVICE FROM A GENIUS



No, not me. Jeez...

Above is a note from jazz great THELONIOUS MONK to the musicians in his band. Talk about insight into a brilliant mind. I love all the advice on here, but notice what's first:

"Just cause you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time."

As I thought about this, I looked back on all the bands I've been in dating all the way back to high school. The good ones always had a great drummer, but the great bands I was a part of--the ones I hold fondest in my heart--were the ones where the communication between musicians was practically psychic. Where we always felt that if someone went somewhere odd, strange, or bizarre in the middle of a song or long jam that everyone would be able to follow along and enchance the risk that person was taking. The goal was to go along with them on a musical tangent--an act of spotaneous musical creation--without allowing the music to fall apart. Great bands to do all the time, most of the time without the audience never knowing.

Yes, it's all about listening.



But that got me to thinking about Monk's advice. Listening to each other or "keeping time" doesn't just apply to music. It applies to life, doesn't it? I mean, come on. Isn't this what a successful relationship of any sort is all about? A marriage. A business partnership. A friendship. Contributing to a successful one means listening to the other person, not just hearing them. That's why this very random note from the past jumped out at me so much.

Maybe we should all take a moment to start keeping time more effectively with each other. With those we care about. With our planet.

Who knows what they might be trying to tell us?

Friday, February 6, 2009

CHEWBACCA & VERONICA MARS... ENGAGED!



At last, the love that rocked two very special hearts can be shared with the world!

And that's exactly what happened at the premiere of the new movie FANBOYS when Veronica Mars' KRISTEN BELL confirmed that she is, in fact, engaged to everyone's favorite wookie, CHEWBACCA. "I've loved him ever since I saw the Star Wars Christmas Special," said Bell who wasn't even born in 1979. "But even from the womb, I could sense his fragile humility, his gentle power, and his alien virility." "HRRWWW, HUNNNGG, ROOOOIIIIKKK," said the lovable Wookie moments later, confirming that he is both 1) an alien and 2) extremely virile.

Although they haven't set the date, both Bell and 'Bacca hope to have a June wedding on Kashyyyk, although as that is the planet's rainy season they've reserved the House of Blues in San Diego, CA as a backup.



The happy couple promises a star-studded affair, but assured relieved reporters that actor Jake Lloyd--still bitter over losing the Anakin Skywalker role to Hayden Christensen in Episodes II & III--would not be invited.

As you make recall, Chewbacca and Lloyd, now 19, had a falling out at WonderCon last year when they argued over which was a better film, "Return of the Jedi" or "The Phantom Menace." While the assembled crowd seemed to not care for either film that much, Chewbacca was seriously injured in the brawl when the youthful Jedi master singed his back fur with a double-sided light saber, and although the two have since publicly reconciled, it's clear that bad blood still remains.



When told about Bell and 'Bacca's impending nuptuals, Lloyd issued the following statement: "No F@#KING comment."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WHAT WE DIDN'T SEE ON SUPER SUNDAY



Yeah, and that's just NUMBER TWO.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/lists/funny-superbowl-commercials-013009?src=nl&mag=esq&list=enl&kw=ist

See all FIVE TOP BANNED ads for this year's Super Bowl by going to the web address above. But remember gentlemen, just because vegetarians have more sex doesn't mean that it's going to be with women who look like THAT.

Monday, February 2, 2009

GALACTICA: THE SITCOM (Opening Titles)



For those BSG fans like myself who grew up on a ton of 70s & 80s sitcoms, here's what the LIGHTER side of "Battlestar Galactica" might look like...