Monday, September 1, 2014

Stories Of Stone!

Sometime during the late summer of 1969 I got hold of my very first issue of Turok Son of Stone. The issue was the one above, number sixty-seven dated October of that year. I love it. Two Native American braves struggling mightily to bend a giant bow to kill an admittedly somewhat stiff dinosaur. The premise of Turok is one of the purest in all of comics, a recipe for adventure and touching the fantasy buttons of any pre-teen. Turok, a somewhat dour adult and his younger charge Andar are trapped in an impossibly large hidden valley filled with dinosaurs and a multitude of various and sundry cave dwellers. Always looking for a resolution, but like Gilligan and his ensemble, destined never to find it, they hunt relentlessly for an escape. The escape though is for the fans who get the read about their exotic adventures month after month.

Back in 2009 Dark Horse began issuing archive collections of the Turok saga, and I was in from the beginning, though it strained the budget to get what began as bi-monthly installments. Alas as the years passed the frequency dwindled and sadly in 2012 with the tenth and final volume the saga came to an end just as the stories reached the point above where so many decades ago I first discovered the stalwart braves. I despaired ever getting the whole of the saga.

Then the other day I found my local store had a near full run of the series. It took several days of searching, but I at long last found my Turok collection secreted in the most remote corner of a room overcome with volumes and identified the issues I needed. I was able to fill in all the gaps save for several issues at the very end of the run in 1982, and eventually I'll have those too.

But for the very first time I'll be able to read the complete saga of Turok and Andar in its glory. I'm very much looking forward to it. It's been a long time coming.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shark Attack!

Leo O'Melia
August has been "Shark Month" at  Rip's Favorite Cover-of-the-Day feature. Here are the covers which have been featured this past month. Enjoy!

Bill Everett

L.B. Cole
L.B. Cole
L.B. Cole
George Wilson
Mo Gollub
Joe Kubert
Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
Jack Sparling
Bob Oksner
Mike Grell
John Romita

Joe Sinnott and Vince Colletta
Wayne Howard
Jay Scott Pike

Rich Buckler
Jack Kirby
Jim Aparo
Bill Lignante
Don Sherwood

Gil Kane
John Buscema and Frank Giacoia
John Buscema and Dan Adkins
Steven Pugh
Rich Corben

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Whisperer In The Darkness!

One of H.P. Lovecraft's most completely successful short stories is "Whisperer in Darkness". It's a an enthralling tale of Albert Wilmarth, a skeptical academic who discovers a real horror lurking in the wild of the Vermont hills.

And now Whisperer  in Darkness is a successful movie. The second big movie adaptation from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, this very compelling movie attempts to evoke the early black and white talkie style of movies from 1931, the year of the original stories first publication. So in some ways this movie is like finding an hitherto unknown horror classic in the vein of Lugosi's Dracula or Karloff's Frankenstein.

If you know the story you'll definitely enjoy seeing it adapted to the "big screen". And if you don't then you'll really get a charge out of reading the Lovecraft original. The movie is a faithful adaptation, but does choose to make some cinematic choices which alter the expectations without, to my mind, undermining Lovecraft's wonderful mood or atmosphere.

This is a fun movie made by folks who love Lovecraft and who seem to love the thrill of film making. It's fun to watch the behind-the-scenes features which reveal how the tricks were done, on a shoestring often, but mostly show how these people seem to have fun making a really convincing adaptation of a Lovecraft classic. Here is the trailer. 

This is the second movie from these folks, the first Call of Cthulhu, I looked at here some years ago.

Both are highly recommended. 

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Elvis Has Left The Tomb!

I was prowling around the local Dollar Store the other day, getting a few household items, when I stumbled across a bin of DVD's. I can't pass these up, you never know when you'll find a gem.

For just a few dollars I landed a copy of Bubba Ho-Tep - The Limited Edition, which comes encased in a delightful and exceedingly weird little mock up of a vintage Elvis super suit. It's unusual and highly distinctive. Glad to have it.

This find comes on the heels of my having found (for very cheap) the above volume which offers up not only the screenplay itself by Don Coscarelli (a hoot to read) but also the evocative story by Joe Lansdale which launched this joyride into pop culture and horror.

There's no doubt whatsoever that Bubba Ho-Tep is the best Elvis-JFK-Mummy movie of all time. I'll stake my reputation on that one.

TCB Baby!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kull The Conquered!

Kull the Conqueror is not a very good movie. Despite adapting two of Robert E. Howard's best stories ("By this Axe I Rule!" and the novel The Hour of the Dragon) it is short on story, atmosphere, energy, action and ultimately cash.

Kevin Sorbo was fresh from his success as TV's Hercules when he was tapped to play the Atlantean usurper Kull. At moments in this movie he's convincing, but mostly he's not and his charms are wasted despite the possibility that physically he's up to the role. Tia Carrerre has flash of real evil in this one and frankly she's the best thing in it as the monster Akivasha, a sorceress from a distant time intent on destroying the kingdom of Valusia. Some of the lines these folks have to say are pretty hamfisted and they are both better off when they merely glower.

Other folks in the cast are largely wasted in a movie which while it purports to evoke an ancient land seems to full of quirky pop culture references to effectively pull that off. A wretched rock score which pops up when Kull goes into action is woefully misplaced. And the action itself is strictly unconvincing, the choreography painfully evident as the actors parry blows with various and sundry weapons.  These movies should be violent, not action-packed and that's a crucial difference.

Having just read The The Hour of the Dragon again, I was struck by some of the plot parallels this time which I'd overlooked on previous viewings, but there's never enough done with any element. This ultimately seems to be a movie that lacks the funding to really offer up a convincing Valusia for Kull to play in. The crowd scenes are barely that, with sound effects which fall miserably short of convincing.

Ultimately it's just sort of boring. And that's the worst thing any movie can be.

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