Saturday, September 30, 2017

Halloween Seven!!!!!!!

Damn, I was so wrapped up in other projects, this frankly just snuck up on me.

Previous pre-Halloweens.

And here's the prior Halloweens.

Halloween 1, 80's slashers.

Halloween 2, classic monsters.

Halloween 3, Masters Of Horror.

Halloween 4, True Stories.

Halloween 5, Potpurri.

Halloween 6, Potpurri 2.

From last year, this year's is...

Next year, Cannibal Stew!

Which is just another name for Potpurri 3!

See you tomorrow for The Brew Review!

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

I don't h8 the 90's anymore (Part 7).

I've ranted and raved before about how comics ate it in the 90's, but...there was still some good fun stuff in there that made it through the road blocks of economic meltdown and fevered egos.

And magazines held us geeks over until the internet as we know it was up and ready.
Or, "internet 2.0", as the propeller-heads called it when all we had was crackly dial-up.
Indeed, there was kind of a little boom in geek mags.
Sadly it was a bubble that popped, but still.

So, here's all that stuff, as we continue the walk down memory lane of a misunderstood decade.
Misunderstood by none more than myself.
My grouchy, bitter, depressed, self-loathing self.
In hindsight, maybe I needed meds.
Ah, well, I pulled it together without 'em.
On to the books!


Star Trek TV Guides (1991-2005)

Yeah, I know we keep revolving back to it, but Star Trek was big in the 90's, and it went across all media.
The shows, the movies, the novels, the sourcebooks, the comics (see below), the QVC specials, if you were nerdy, you were into Trek.
There was no escape.
Resistance was futile.

And just as it was weird that QVC did Chris Hardwick level geek-out shows about it, TV Guide of all people could be relied upon to do well done magazine pieces on their milestones.
They were an un-sung mini geek mag in their own right.

Anyhoo, let's do the milestones in the graphic...

The nerd debate between Kirk and Picard.
Four Captains later, that feels so quaint...
Yeah, I know, TV Guide didn't give a shit about when TNG premiered, I looked for it.
TNG had to win them over, but once they did, TV Guide sucked their dick.
Balls deep.
It was earned though. IMHO.
Next, the premiere of DS9.
That was a huge deal. Very few shows had 2 spinoffs.
And Trek had never had 2 shows on at once before.
That was the most they would ever have.
"Happy Days", and "All In The Family", had a bunch on at once, but Trek would only ever have the 2. They swapped out TNG for Voyager, and after Voyager ended, they never doubled up again.
I kinda miss it.
Then, the end of TNG.
That was a big fucking deal, everyone was bummed.
They could have gone for 20 years if they had wanted.
I'd've liked to see Trek have a never ending unbroken canon like an action/drama version of SNL.
But, yeah, I know, money.
Trek costs a fortune to do right.
SNL is cardboard sets and imagination.
Next two covers, the start of Voyager.
Ah, our hopes were so high.
Next row, Worf joins DS9.
That was great. He belonged there, and the show really did get better with him.
Next, Q popped up on Voyager. That was fun.
Even in bad episodes, John Delancie saves the friggin day in that universe.
Then, 30th anniversary, and those are always good for looking back retrospectives.
Then, the Borg came to Voyager.
I've got the DVD set of all the Borg episodes from TNG and Voyager, and it's a fun binge.
You get to see the whole growth of Seven Of Nine compressed at super speed.
Then, Seven got her own cover.
Her character basically took over the show, and became the Spock/Fonzie/Urkel.
I didn't complain.
Next row, the end of DS9.
Another big deal, it was the most beloved by fans and critics by the end.
Then, the end of Voyager.
It had a fandom. Howard Stern even loved it.
Only in internet circles is there the hate-boner.
Then, the start of Enterprise.
Then, the 35th anniversary.
Then, the end of Enterprise.
And the end of Trek for 12 fucking years.
During which time, TV Guide ceased as a print publication.
Even their website is a dying dinosaur.
Yeah, all the ones after the end of DS9 are 00's, but I wanted to finish a row, and point out that you can see the format change on the last one to a full sized magazine.
They tried that for awhile.
Didn't work.
I didn't do every single issue, or every single collector's cover of every issue (that was a gimmick they tried too) I just did the big hits.
I've got a bunch of those packed away somewhere....

Sci-Fi Universe Magazine (1994-1999) 

Arrogant as fuck without justification.
They were published by Larry flint, and they strutted into down acting like the cool kids come to bully the nerds.
Which is weird, considering the target demographic was nerds.
I remember the letter from the editor even saying they consider Starlog (the gold standard at the time) to be "a children's magazine".

I guess they felt they had to set themselves apart somehow.
Didn't work.
They're dead.
And look what they went out with.
Phantom Menace!
Ahhh, yeah, you're sure badasses.
The editor was on SF Vortex, and he really was as snotty as his writing persona, and Robert Myer Burnett called him out by saying "I know, why don't you make an ass-kissing dedication to X-Files on your covers some more!? That'll show me!".
I cheered.
Not only did they suck X-Files's dick, they acted like if you didn't join in, you were scum.
You'll note the yawning canyon sized absence of X-Files in my 90's retrospectives.
Yeah, that's no accidental oversight.
Not only did the show just not click for me, but hardcore X-Files fans were worse for arrogance than Trekkies ever dreamed of being.

All of the above being said, they had good articles.
And they scooped a lot of upcoming films.
I grit my teeth through the snotty stuff, which was mostly the editor.
Skip the editor's letter, and the letter's column, you were usually all right.

Ah, what we young cavemen had to put up with in the paper and staples days.

Sci Fi Invasion Magazine (1997-1998)

Spun off from Wizard (see below).
Only lasted 5 issues.
A pity, they were actually really good.
Good articles, good movie scoops, tone was wacky and fun, no dickishness.
Poor bastards were doomed.

They did an article trying to predict what would happen in the SW prequels.
I wrote it down on one of the boards I go to, and cut it up into chunks answering it as a man from the future to show how well they did.

The biggest things I razzed them for was their obsession with the Mandalore, and their hopes that Thrawn and/or Xizor from the books would show up.
10 years later, the Mandalore are a big deal in "Clone Wars", and "Rebels", Xizor's race are in "Clone Wars", and Thrawn is in "Rebels", and both shows are considered canon
Well, that sure shut me up.
You got me from beyond the grave, Sci-Fi Invasion.

I wish I could find that post, but its lost to the memory hole.
Ah, well.

Wizard (1991-2011) 

THE comic book magazine.
This was one of those institutions that was never supposed to die, and did.
Remember how shocked we all were when Twinkies were gone for a year?
Imagine if they had stayed gone.
That's the void Wizard left.
I struggle for other things to compare it to, but every other big thing that died came back.
Twinkies came back.
Trek took 12 years off, and came back.
Star Wars took 10 years off, and came back.
Twin Peaks came back.
X-Files came back.
Dr. Who came back.
KISS keeps breaking up and re-uniting.
SNL is invincible, and has never been off.
Tonight Show rotates hosts, but is still going.
Even MadTV came back for a bit.
Wizard? Still dead.
Well, its only been 6 years.
Maybe in 2021, it'll come out of cryo-sleep.
Here's hoping.

Anyway, all of the above mags filled in the gaps and cracks between the QVC specials and SF Vortex.
If you think I sat idly by, and let myself starve for SF news content, you're wacky.
Nuh uh, I got digging.

Nowadays, I've got my Collider shows.
It re-incarnates format, the same people shuffle around, but the carnival keeps going.
I like that.
It's reassuring.
Very few things are these days.

Heavy Metal (1977-Present)

In 1992, Kevin Eastman bought Heavy Metal.

I've been looking over old back issues on Archive.Org, and man, I remember now, when I'd read it at the bookstore, it never gave me the same thrills and laughs as the movie.
The magazine is actually quite bland.
Oh, beautiful art, to be sure.
But then I realized, Ivan Reitman and the SCTV alums he cast really gave the movie its soul.
Without that, you've just got pretentious Europeans trying to be the 1000th clone of Dune.

I dunno what I was expecting.
Well...I wanted a mag that was like "Liquid TV", on paper.
Guess you had to go into the forbidden curtained off area in the comic shop for that.
Ah, well.

Eastman didn't really do anything to the day-to-day running, he just steered the financial ship, and let the magazine be what it is.
I guess that's to his credit.

Nowadays, one episode of Thrones gives me more joy than an entire stack of Heavy Metal ever could. But that's just me, and my brain wiring.
Your mileage may vary.

Fangoria (1979-2017)

Speaking of dying institutions...
(see Wizard above)
They're dead as a print publication, and their website is chugging along on fumes.
Their Facebook feed updates so seldom, I genuinely forget I'm subscribed.
But what a thing of wonder and beauty they were in the 70's, 80's, and 90's.
They championed free speech and expression, and railed against the MPAA every step of the way.
Them, Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler.
Who else was gonna do it?
"Field & Stream", didn't give a shit.
Time and/or Newsweek didn't give a fuck if a Friday The 13th was PG-13 instead of R.
You did good, Fangoria, you did good.
I'll dearly miss you.
Even though towards the end, you pussed out over Human Centipede.
Rest peacefully in your grave.
Hopefully, one day, to rise again, rested and strong.
And hungry for brains.

Gore Zone (1988-1994)

Spun off from Fangoria.
I always had trouble distinguishing them from Fangoria.
I guess they got more into splatter films, and special effects gurus.
Tom Savini wrote for them.

They recently revived it for a couple print issues picking up from its old numbering, but it looks like it's dying along with Fangoria.

They still have a website, but it's a glorified blog.
There's a million other horror and movie news sites you could get the same news from.

Also, same thing I said at the end of Fangoria.

OMNI (1978-1995)
(Lasted online until 1998)

I used to while away hours reading these in the high school library.
Happy times.
Published by Bob Guccione of Penthouse fame.
Of the big three porno mag barons, I probably relate to him the most.

It was an even mix of science fact, speculative science fiction, and outright quackery.
It was all tossed together in a joyous madcap stew.

They're trying valiantly to resurrect it.
All the old issues used to be free on, now they're for pay on Amazon.

Playboy (1953-Present)

Well, shit, stop the presses, Hugh Hefner just died.
I mentioned Playboy in the Fangoria chunk, and mentioned Bob Guccione in the Omni chunk, so let's talk Playboy.
In the 80's as a preteen, I tried to get a glimpse at the Vanna White issue, and got cock-blocked by a convenience store clerk.
In the 90's, I tried to buy the Sandra Hernhard issue, and got cock-blocked by the whole universe like I was in a really frustrating Warner Brothers cartoon.
Why did I wanna see Sandra Bernhard naked?
Because I'm fucking weird.
I think what planted the seed in my mind was "The King Of Comedy".
I wanted to see her demonstrate what that "Good! Old! Fashioned! All American! FUN!!", looked like.
Jesus, look at her on that cover, you can hear her saying it.
Anyhoo, I've seen it online.
You can Google that shit.
Curiosity is satisfied.
Seen Vanna, Farah, Drew (Barrymore), The Swedish Bikini Team, and everyone else I missed too.
Fuck you, universe.
And fuck you, clerk who's probably dead now.
And thank you, Hugh Hefner.

Nintendo Power (1988-2012) 

Covered their death here.

I was subscribed to them for a good long while.
Into the 00's, at least.

I dug around in pricing guides, and they aren't worth shit.
Might get 100 bucks for the whole lot.
Fuck it, I'll hang on to 'em.
Somebody torched the archives of Starlog and Fangoria, so suddenly those are worth a bundle.
You never know what could happen.

Gamepro (1989-2011)

The Pepsi to Nintendo Power's Coke.
They were more hip, like Wizard.
NP towed the Nintendo corporate line.
Of course.

I was never into Sega, or the other systems, so I never needed them on a practical level.
And by the time I got into PS2, there were the individual game walk-through books.

They were a nifty mag though.
Wish now I'd collected them.
Ehhh, I've got enough borderline hoarder shit laying around.

Wired (1993-present)

Yep, they were born in the 90's.
I'll cut right to it, Equifax has doomed us all.
There is no golden future coming.
We're all fucked.
Each and every one of us.
Somewhere buried in Wired's pages, someone probably predicted it.


The Death Of Superman (1992)

Old review of the book here.
Old review of "Superman Doomsday", here.
Big chunks of it were adapted into "Batman v Superman".

Knightfall (1993-1994)

The one where Bane broke Batman's back.
Was kinda-sorta adapted into "The Dark Knight Rises".

Kingdom Come (1996)

See old review here.

No Need For Tenchi! (1994-2000)

My old review of all the Tenchi shows and movies here.
Updates on the home video releases of the old stuff here.
My review of "Tenchi Muyo: War On Geminar", here. 
My review of "Ai Tenchi Muyo", here.

So, these take place first after episode seven of the OVA series, then after episode 13 of the OVA series.
They basically wedge in between seasons.
Given the anti-climax that was OVA season three, I wish this stuff happened instead.
Screw it, in my canon, it did.
It's lost episodes of the show on paper, enjoy.

This series is 12 volumes, then there's a whole other series of 10 volumes after this.
So, you get quite a bit.
If it's a series you get addicted to, you'll probably want it all.

The Toxic Avenger (1991)

Old review here.
Said all of it there.

Ren & Stimpy (1992-1996)

How weird and cool was it that you could go to your comic shop, and get extra episodes of all your favorite properties no matter how obscure or out there?

And it's important to note that fuckin' Doug & Rugrats didn't get no fuckin' comic.

Beavis and Butt-Head (1994-1996)

Ditto what I said about Ren & Stimpy.
And how wild was it that Marvel was the one doing this, Ren & Stimpy, and Toxic Avenger?
It's like they got my telepathic letter to Santa or something.

The Big Book Of______ (1994-1997)

Old 90's review here.
These are in my recommended reading list as "Factoid Books".
Yeah, remember that old thing?
Haven't updated that in ages.

The Mask (1994)
The Mask Returns (1994)

Old review of the movie here.

Could have sworn I did these before!
I think they were supposed to be in "great graphic novels of western civilization", but I punked out for some reason.
Whatever, here they are now.

So, the big difference from the movie is it's R rated and twisted.
Stanley Ipkiss (the Jim Carrey character) is actually corrupted by The Mask into a murdering psychopath, and his girlfriend murders him with The Mask off to end his bloody reign of terror.
Then, in "The Mask Returns", Lt. Kellaway takes up the Mask, and uses it for the heroic things you see Ipkiss do in the movie.
So, the two characters are actually smooshed together in the adaptation.

I wonder if the R rated bloody gory version could be put to screen nowadays?
We've got "Deadpool", "Logan", and "IT", as loyal unflinching adaptations.
Why not?

Superman: Kal (1995)

An Elseworlds where Superman is raised in pre-King Arthur times.
It's not held in the same esteem with classics like "Gotham By Gaslight", or "Superman: Red Son", but I dig it.
Super short too, think it's about as long as a standard comics issue.
Worth looking up IMO.

Hulk: Future Imperfect (1992)

By Peter David.
See "What Savage Beast", here.

Prequel to "What Savage Beast".
Introduces the evil future Hulk, The Maestro.
Spoiler, Maestro dies at the end.
Un-Spoiler, an alternate-alternate Maestro who isn't dead is the villain in "What Savage Beast".
Max Landis was right, "The Death Of Superman", killed death itself.

Anywho, lazy death resurrections aside, this was still pretty good.

Scud: The Disposable Assassin (1994)

Set in a dystopian future where you can buy an android assassin out of a vending machine, set it on a target with a photograph, and then after it kills its intended victim, it self-destructs leaving no evidence.

Scud becomes self-aware that he's a disposable assassin, and keeps his victim, a mutant with an electric plug for a head, alive on life support so that he doesn't explode.
He pays for the life support by doing other assassin jobs, but without the threat of self destructing.

Neat little indie.
As with movies, indies were where it was at.
Scud pops up in "War Of The Independents".

Star Trek/X-Men (1996)

See here.

Oh, right, this is the Star Trek comic I referenced up top in the TV Guides section.
Um....pretty much everything I said in the link there.
There were a bunch of other ones.
A TNG, a DS9, a Captain Pike prequel comic, a Starfleet Acadamy one.....this one is the only one worth remembering though.
The Trek license has bounced back and forth between Marvel and DC like a ping-pong ball, but I think right now, it's with IDW.

Aliens vs Predator (1991)

See here.

Funny thing, movie licenses were what Dark Horse was built on, but as hinted above, now IDW has just about everything.
And Marvel has Star Wars back.
But I think that's their only licensed property anymore.
Dark Horse has Alien, Predator, and now Prometheus, I'm sure of that much.
They're hanging onto to those with a grim death grip.
As they should.

Robocop vs Terminator (1992)

See here.

Batman vs Predator (1991)

See here.

Superman vs Aliens (1995)

See here.

Batman vs Aliens (1997)

See here.

Jason vs Leatherface (1995)

See here.

Marvel vs DC crossovers! (1994-1999)

See here, here, and here.

Or just see here for fucking everything.

Batman & Dracula Trilogy (1991-1999)

See here.

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999)

See here.

Harry Hembooks!!! (1989-1996)
(Published 2012)

While all of the above was going on, I scrawled these out with my own two mitts!!
See here, for...everything.

Illustrated books-

Barlowe's Guide To Fantasy (1996)

Sequel to 1979's "Barlowe's Guide To Extraterrestrials".
Every geek worth his/her salt should have these.
Basically, he takes heroes and monsters from sci-fi and fantasy, draws them, and does a little character file on them.
Kind of like a very beautiful and colorized "Tobin's Spirit Guide", but drawn from pop culture.
His illustration of The Thing from the original story that "The Thing", is based on is bone chilling.
That's from the sci-fi one, but again, you should just be grabbing both.

Aeon Flux: The Herodotus File (1995)

It's not a conventional graphic novel, so I had to put it here.
Done kind of like the middle segments of "Watchmen", with files, and documents, and photos, and magazine interviews, and newspaper clippings, and transcribed audio inreviews, and printouts of security cam images, etc, etc.
In fact, the concept is the whole book is done up as a file, hence the title.

The story is basically a prequel to the show, showing how Aeon and Trevor first met.
Very cool.
They re-issued it when the movie came out with Charlize Theron on the cover, so the old '95 one is out of circulation.

Beavis and Butt-Head books (1993-1999)

I only own....

Beavis and Butt-Head: This Book Sucks (1993)
Beavis and Butt-Head: Ensucklopedia (1994)
Beavis and Butt-Head: Huh Huh For Hollywood (1996)

These were during the height of Butt-Head-mania.
They're all pretty funny.
The premise for each barely matters, because Beavis & Butt-Head will just wander through and destroy everything with mayhem and stupidity.
Not a lot of re-read value.
Although, I think the Hollywood one would've made a better movie than "Do America".

Far Side Gallery 4 (1993)
Far Side Gallery 5 (1995)

See "The Far Side (ends)", here.

Yep "Far Side Gallery 5", was pretty much the end.

He came back one last time to do a children's storybook told from the point of view of a worm eating the corpse of a dead princess.

You are missed, Gary Larson, you are missed.

How To Be A Superhero (1990)

Exact opposite of the Beavis books, I could read this a thousand times, and not get sick of it.
Points out all the weird things about the superhero mythos that have crept in over the decades, but that we don't think about, and subversively shows how those things would butt up against real life, and then tries to come up with practical workarounds that are equally hilarious.

The gist you get is, if you're anything less than Superman level powerful, don't even do it.

Shit, I should dig this out, and read it again....

Aaaand, done!

Next up, games, music, and internet!! FINALLY!!!!

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