Monday, January 31, 2005

Saw the film "Million Dollar Baby" yesterday.

When I first heard about this film, old grizzled gym owner becomes manager for young woman boxer, well, it sounded pretty lame. I've seen this film before, haven't I?

Boy was I wrong!

Clint Eastwood is gym owner/trainer/manager, Frankie Dunn. As the film opens he's currently managing an up and coming boxer. An estrangement from his daughter has left him a hardened and embittered man. A young woman, Maggie Fitzgerald, enters his gym with the sole purpose of having Frankie train and manage her. Despite her raw talent and determination Frankie refuses to have anything to do with her.

After a professional setback, Frankie is left without a fighter. Something about Maggie draws him out of his shell so he reluctantly decides to train her. Over the next several months they work hard to hone Maggie's skills and she slowly climbs up among the ranks, knocking out would be challengers.

Sound familiar? Well, it really isn't. The film has such a high quality and strong performances that it feels fresh and new. Clint is solid as Frankie and Hilary Swank defines Maggie keeping her from becoming a cliche. Helping to round out the cast is the ever dependable Morgan Freeman. You almost can't go wrong with a film if you have Morgan in it. As Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris he helps to tie together the whole story. (besides, you can't go wrong when you have Morgan Freeman narrating a film, remember Shawshank Redemption?)

Million Dollar Baby is a very good film. It runs the gamut of emotions and allows you to get sucked up into the story and with these characters.

I've currently seen now four of the five nominated films for Best Picture and unless Ray totally blows me away, there's no way in hell that this shouldn't win best Oscar.

I give this film a "knock-out":

Happy Birthday! (1/31/05)

You may remember her as the dead school teacher in The Birds, or perhaps as the love interest in The Shaggy D.A., but the world will always remember her as Emily Hartley from The Bob Newhart Show.

So here's a "Hi Bob" Happy Birthday to ....

The current Mrs. Tom Poston is 68 today.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/30/05)

What can you say about this guy? From Det. Popeye Doyle of The French Connection, to Harry Caul of The Conversation, to Little Bill Daggett in The Unforgiven, not to mention Harold the blindman in Young Frankenstein, to....

Well you get my point.
A big Birthday shout to that versatile of actors ....

Harry Moseby (of Night Moves, my personal fav.) is 75 today.

Saw the film "Finding Neverland" on Saturday.

It's London in the early 1900's and play-write James M. Barrie befriends a widow and her four sons. Though married (in a loveless union with wife Mary) James's innocent relationship with Sylvia Davies and her four sons causes a local scandal, but most importantly inspires Barrie to write Peter Pan.

Finding Neverland is an excellent story and enjoyable film. Once again Johnny Depp puts in his usual great performance. His choice of roles and projects are often daring, but whether portraying a horrible film director (Ed Wood) swashbuckling Pirate (Pirates of the Caribbean) or a man with scissors for hands (Edward Scissorhands) he has a range that few of his contemporaries can match.

Along with Depp we have another fine performance by Kate Winslet (to go along with her Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in '04), the return of Julie Christie and a funny cameo by Dustin Hoffman. (not to mention the four young actors who portray the Davies boys.)

The film both touching and tragic helps us see into the imagination of a talented writer and what inspired him to pen a classic that is still relevant to this day.

The Academy got it right when they nominated this for Best Picture.

I give Finding Neverland a (never grow up):

Kneel before Zod!

Ever wonder what General Zod thinks about the new, upcoming Superman movie?
Or what it's like traveling through the universe? Do you need any advice with a significant other or want to know which is better Sega Dreamcast or Sony Playstation? How about who'll win the Grammy this year?

Well all these questions (and more) can be answered here, by that most evil of Kryptonian despots, survivor of The Phantom Zone, General Zod!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/29/05)

Many know her as Felicity Shagwell in Austin Powers 2, while others remember her as the wannabe actress, Daisy, in Bowfinger. But of course, to me, she'll always be Rollergirl in Boogie Nights.

Happy (Besides, it gives me the excuse to put up a picture of a hot babe) Birthday .....

Milwaukee's finest is 35 today.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Oh yeah... this'll help.

The Arizona Cardinals, of the NFL, made a bold move yesterday.
This much traveled football franchise were losers in Chicago.
Then after moving to St.Louis, they were losers there.
Now, after years in Arizona they're- you guessed it- still losers.

So what better way to turn around your club, draft and develop better players?

Change your logo.

Make the Cardinal "meaner"!

I can see their opposition shaking in their cleats now.

It's hung.

Drove back to the framing place last night and picked up the final product.
The Incredibles poster is now hanging in the living room between the Toy Story and Blade Runner posters.

Happy Birthday! (1/28/05)

To many he was surgeon Hawkeye Pierce of the 4077th, to others husband Jack Burroughs of The Four Seasons , while to viewers of today he's Sen. Arnold Vinick of The West Wing , but to me he'll always be writer George Plimpton of The Paper Lion .

So here's a martini-swilling Happy Birthday to ....

Joe Tynan is 69 today.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bat Man loves "water sports"

I don't know what I find more disturbing about this picture of the Dark Night Detective.

The fact that he has a trigger in his crotch

or a water plug in his ass.

I'd like to slap them silly.

I finally got my Incredibles poster in the mail the other day. So today at lunch I drove over to the framing place that dry mounts and frames with metal & glass for a decent price, and they get it done in a day!

As I unroll the poster, so the framing guy can take measurements, he says:

Framing Guy: " The Incredibles . Did you see this movie?"

(Ok- I guess someone can buy and then frame a movie poster- without seeing the movie.
I guess) so I say:

ME: "Yeah, I saw it. It was very good."

Framing Guy: "Oh. I guess you have to see those movies with the kids".

ME: "I don't have any kids".

Framing Guy: (with a stunned look) "Really? I never thought that if anyone didn't have to - that they would go see one of those movies."


I gritted my teeth and held back my standard tirade. You know the one, where just because a movie is animated, it doesn't mean it's just for kids. Just because something is drawn, not live action, that there's a law on the books that states:

"This form of entertainment, being animated and with a cartoon look can ONLY be enjoyed by someone under the age of 10. Anyone over this age can only see these films if in the company of their own child."

Yes, there are people out there who actually think that!!!

Therefore, I believe, that as of this day forward, we as free people have the right to slap anyone who makes such an absurd statement.

We'll all be the better for it.

Happy Birthday! (1/27/05)

For today's birthday, wee stretch waaaaaaaaaaaay back, and down the rabbit hole.
An author known for having written perhaps the most subversive children's book of all time.

Let's give a Cheshire Birthday greeting to .....

He'd have been 174 today.
(and probably wouldn't have gotten around too well.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"They're gonna put me in a super suit..."

"... they're gonna make a big hero outta me..."

From today's USA Today:
Ringo Starr has joined with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment to develop a franchise in which the former Beatle will play a superpowered animated version of himself. The project will launch as a DVD, then possibly expand to TV and features. Starr will provide the voice for his character and contribute original songs.

(Hell, you can't make this stuff up.)

It's Clobberin' Time!!!!!

Or at least Stompin' Time.

I'm scared.
About an hour ago while posting elsewhere, someone mentioned the Hulk Hands that came out a year ago, and how much their kids loved playing with them. Jokingly I said that they should make a matching pair of Thing feet.

Lo and behold......

(I wonder if they come in a size 12 1/2.)

Worst Secret Ever!

I first read this on Mike Sterling's blog, and was just going to offer a link as well. But being the "Simpsons" fanatic that I am, thought that I'd save you the trip and post it here.

This is written by Don Kaplan from The New York Post online edition.

January 25, 2005 -- THE elusive real name of Comic Book Guy will finally be revealed in "Simpsons" episode No. GABF02, Act 1.

The blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment airs in the show after the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

In the episode, Homer inadvertently performs a wild, crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival and is hired by several major sports figures to choreograph their victory dances.

He is so successful that he gets tapped to choreograph the Super Bowl halftime show.

Comic Book Guy, the snobbish know-it-all, pops up in the episode clad in a "Nerds do it Rarely" T-shirt. Since the series began in 1991, his real name has never been used.

รข€” Don Kaplan

Happy 100th Birthday! (1/26/05)

It's not often that you can wish someone a happy 100th Birthday - and that they're still around to accept it - but today we can. To most he was an employee of the villainous Mr. Potter in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, but to me he'll always be the "evil" Homer Bedloe, trying in vain to shut down the Cannonball Express, on Petticoat Junction.

A happy centennial to that great character actor .....

To read more about this venerable thespian, click here

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My soft and squeezable thing.

If anyone's looking to get me something for my birthday this spring....

The nominations have been announced.

Yes, I know, you can go just about everywhere on the net right now and read today's Oscar Award nominations.

But these aren't them.

I'm talking about the RAZZIE's, The 25th Annual Golden Raspberry Award Nominations!
(and it's somewhat appropriate that I'm writing about this today, since I've been working on the artwork for a package of Razzles most of the day.)

Without further ado:

Worst Picture

Worst Actor
George W. Bush (FAHRENHEIT 9/11)
Colin Farrell (ALEXANDER)

Worst Actress
Halle Berry (CATWOMAN)
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen (NEW YORK MINUTE)
Shawn & Marlon (The Wayans Sisters) (WHITE CHICKS)

Worst Supporting Actress
Carmen Electra (STARKSY & HUTCH)
Jennifer Lopez (JERSEY GIRL)
Condoleeza Rice (FAHRENHEIT 9/11)
Britney Spears (FAHRENHEIT 9/11)
Sharon Stone (CATWOMAN)

Worst Supporting Actor
Val Kilmer (ALEXANDER)
Ah-Nuld Schwarzenegger  (AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS)
Donald Rumsfeld (FAHRENHEIT 9/11)
Lambert Wilson (CATWOMAN)

Worst Director
Renny Harlin and/or Paul Schrader (EXORCIST 4: THE BEGINNING)
“Pitof” (CATWOMAN)
Oliver Stone (ALEXANDER)
Keenan Ivory Wayans (WHITE CHICKS)


CATWOMAN = 7  (Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Couple, Director, Screenplay)
ALEXANDER = 6  (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay)
WHITE CHICKS = 5 (Picture, Actress, Director, Couple, Screenplay)
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 = 5 (Actor, Couple, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress 2x)
SUPERBABIES = 4  (Picture, Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay)
SURVIVING CHRISTMAS = 3   (Picture, Actor, Screenplay)
JERSEY GIRL = 3 (Actor, Supporting Actress, Couple)
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAZE = 2 (Supporting Actor, Remake or Sequel)
EXORCIST 4: THE BEGNINNING = 2 (Director, Remake or Sequel)
NEW YORK MINUTE = 2 (Actress, Couple)
STARSKY & HUTCH = 2 (Actor, Supporting Actress)

Happy Birthday! (1/25/05)

He was the king of those wacky Disney films in the late 60's early 70's.
From That Darn Cat - to - Blackbeard's Ghost, The Million Dollar Duck - to - The Shaggy D.A., and The Love Bug - to - Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, you couldn't see a G rated film then, without seeing him.

An "approved for all ages" Happy Birthday to .....

Linc McCray is 74 today..

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Venture Brothers!

Is my current favorite show on TV!

The Venture Brothers, Hank and Dean, are teenage fraternal twins and are the son of celebrated scientist, Dr. Venture. Protecting the Ventures, is their hired bodyguard Brock Samson. Dr. Venture's notoriety and work take the group on dangerous adventures and run ins with bizarre villains.

Sound familiar? Well, yeah, kind of. The Venture Brothers is part Hardy Boys, part Jonny Quest with a whole lot of great satire thrown in.

To say that this is just a "spoof" of JQ and it's like couldn't be further from the truth. The scripts (by creators Publick and McCulloch former writers of the hilarious animated "The Tick" and the live action "The Tick") are extremely clever and filled with some great fleshed out characters.

Besides our main group, the extremely naive Hank and Dean, their caustic, self-centered father Dr. Venture and the homicidal strongman Brock Samson, the cast is peppered with a unique mixture of villains and hanger-ons.

There's the Ventures' "arch-nemesis" The Monarch, an insecure madman who wears the wings of a Monarch Butterfly. Dr. Girlfriend, a husky-voiced confidant of The Monarch who's more capable than he. Their next-door neighbor, Dr. Orpheus, the master of mysticism.
And there's also The Phantom Limb, Master Billy Quizboy, Mr. White, Baron Underbelt and more!

As all 14 episodes of the first season (and I just heard that the show's been renewed! Yay!) concluded, I realized how strongly this series grew. It may have begun as just another one of those spoof shows on Adult Swim, you know like Space Ghost and Harvey Birdman, which relies more on "tearing" down the straight adventure animated series from the 60's - and nothing more than that, but the characters have developed so well that any reliance on it's "roots" are no longer necessary.

Since the networks have already proven that they can no longer produce a smart, strong, FUNNY, half hour show, and you're looking for one, check out The Venture Brothers on Adult Swim one of these weekends. I think you'll agree that it's worth tracking down!

Hang my head in shame.

(No, this has nothing to do with the football game last night)

It was rightfully pointed out that I goofed on the Bill Bixby description the other day. Yes, I know, Bill played Ray Walston's ("Uncle Martin") nephew on My Favorite Martian, not his uncle.

As much a Television trivia master that I am, I should have caught that -

I won't let it happen again.

Happy Birthday! (1/24/05)

To many he was the plucky pilot Dominic Santini on Airwolf, to others he was Cabbie from Escape From New York, but for most he was the lonely butcher dating a dog in the ultimate single guy film, Marty.

Grab a conch and blare out a big birthday greeting to .....

"Mermaid Man" is 88 years old today.

Happy Birthday! (1/23/05)

(late today - busy day digging out of the blizzard and watching the *sigh* NFL Playoffs)

He was one of the original pioneers of television and one of the most innovator users of the medium - as well as a member of the Nirobi Trio.

Let's give a big birthday shout out to Mr. Edie Adams.....

Ernie would have been 86 years old today.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/22/05)

He covered a lot thru 20+ years on TV. He was a magician, Eddies father, a stressed out Dr. David Banner and a Martians' Uncle. But I'm sure we'll always remember him as the spoiled brat who changes his ways in Mayberry. (or maybe we won't, since that's pretty obscure.)

A "please don't make him angry - you wouldn't like him angry" - birthday shout, to ....

The "Goodnight Beantown" actor would have been 71 today.

Friday, January 21, 2005

One of the most Incredible DVD's of all time!

Yes, it's an over-used play on words - but it fits.

The best movie of 2004, The Incredibles, (IMHO) comes to DVD this March. While that news isn't all that "incredible" it's what will be on the DVD that makes it so great.

Everyone remembers the frantic phone messages that Kari (the babysitter) left on the Incredibles phone and the revelation of Jack-Jack's powers at the end of the film. Well, added special for the DVD will be an all-new animated short:

Jack-Jack's Attack chronicles "what takes place at the house with (babysitter) Kari and Jack-Jack while the rest of the family is on the way to the island or on the island," Pixar DVD producer Ann Brilz says. As the story plays out, the toddler reveals his latent powers.

and there'll be extras (of course) including an alternate opening, deleted scenes, bloopers and commentary from director Brad Bird, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). A making-of-the-film featurette began as soon as Bird came to Pixar to start work on the film. "When he walked in the first time, he carried a camera, and it was rolling the whole time," Brilz says. "We had this great body of footage to draw from."

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is why they created DVD's.

Here's a link for a pre-order on Amazon (I know, I know this is the Full-Screen Edition, for some reason the Widescreen version doesn't have an image with it)

Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" trailer

Ok, he made the HORRIBLE (unneeded, uncalled for) remake of Planet of the Apes, but IMO, Tim Burton has produced more good work then bad.

Ed Wood is great, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Batman Returns, Beetle Juice and Edward Scissorhands are excellent and my personal favorite is the animated The Nightmare Before Christmas.

So of course I was excited to see the first trailer to Corpse Bride, which is being called a companion piece to Nightmare, which you can see here.

(you know, after seeing this I can almost forgive him for making yet another, unnecessary remake. This year's upcoming Willy Wonka.

Well .... almost.)

Happy Birthday! (1/21/05)

If you ask the question"Who's the funniest comedian of all time?" you'll get a lot of different answers and arguments to be sure. And while today's birthday boy may not be the funniest of all time - if you can't laugh at this guy, then you're dead!

"Yes it's the .....
BENNY HILL Birthday!"

Fred Scuttle would have been 80 years old today.

Why I haven't blogged in the last few days...

After a cool 5 year streak of having no colds or taken a sick day, -it finally caught up to me this week.

POW!! I was hit by the flu!!!

It started creeping in on me this past weekend, and took full grip on Monday night. Somehow, I made it into work on Tuesday, sitting at my desk most of the day in a delirious fever. Left early and got home after 3PM. I then proceeded to sleep the next 14 hours (taking a break at 10 to try and eat a bowl full of chicken soup.) The next day (again, somehow making it into work) felt the fever burn off around 10 that morning!

The good news: With the exception of an occasional cough, the remnants of the flu are just about gone.

The bad news: It's put me behind in my work and have not allowed me to work out at the gym in the last three days.

The good news: Well, since I've had no appetite in the last three days I sure and hell haven't gained any weight!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/17/05)

OK, while Lee Meriwether, Michelle Pfeiffer (and especially) Julie Newmar were "hotter" as Bat Man's sexy villain, Catwoman (and no Halle Barry's film doesn't count) this woman gave a unique depiction of the felonious feline.

Let's give a Purrrrrrrr-fict Birthday shout to.....

Eartha is 78 years old today.

Comic Reviews

(From books bought 1/12/05)

The Incredible Hulk #77 - I haven't read an issue of the Hulk in years. What made me pick this one up? First the return of writer Peter David who had a great run on this title in the '90s and artwork by Lee Weeks and Tom Palmer. Beautiful stuff!!!

This issue, part 1 of a 6, is just a set up for the story, which takes the Hulk through the ocean and ending up on Monster Island. Though not much happens, story-wise, the work by Weeks & Palmer is worth the price alone.
Four **** out of Five.

Concrete The Human Dilemma #1 - Paul Chadwick and Concrete are back!!! Great news. One of the standout B&W series from the '80s about a man trapped in an alien body made of stone allowed Chadwick to tell a vast array of stories centering on the human condition.

This issue is the first part of a 6 part mini series. Concrete has been contacted by a large corporation to help them sell the concept that would stem the population explosion. Like previous Concrete series this looks to be another story that will touch upon mature, life changing situations and I for one will go along for the ride.
3.5 out of 5

Spider-Girl #82 - Is one of those rare comics these days that is just a plain fun super hero series. This issue, part 1 of a three parter finds Spider-Girl (the daughter of the original web-slinger) in the middle of a fight between two of her most fiercest foes (Fury, the Goblin Queen and a new version of Venom) and a mysterious avenger known as Darkdevil.

Spider-Girl is the type of book that harkens back to the Silver-Age books of Marvel, and in these days of an overabundance of grim, gritty characters and books, there ain't nothing wrong with that.
3.5 out of 5

Captain America #2 - So far this relaunch is a winner. Ed Brubaker's really knows how to handle Cap/Steve Rogers. The man out of time, haunted by his past, and Epting's art has never looked better, some gorgeous work here (though the coloring is at times too muddy and dark).

Last issue ended with the (supposed) death of Cap's arch foe, the Red Skull. Now Cap, Sharon, Nick Fury and SHIELD must find out why he was in New York to begin with and what his plan was. Mix in AIM, the Cosmic Cube and a certain masked Red Skull henchman, I'm anxiously interested to see where this story goes.
4 out of 5

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/16/05)

He directed such classics as Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York and the remake of The Thing. (and a lot of crappy movies as well)
But he'll always be remembered as the director of the best of the slasher films, the original Halloween.

A horrific Happy Birthday to ....

The director is 57 today

The Jersey is now 13-0!!!!

As I settled down to watch Saturday's Division playoff game I was once again garbed in my old Greg Lloyd jersey. Since the Steelers were 3-1 this season I pulled this old black jersey out of the back of my closet and wore it while watching the fifth game, a Steeler win over Cleveland 34 - 23.

14 weeks later, having worn it while watching all the games, the Steelers have now won 13 straight games!

Yes I know, I know. It was the play of the Steelers defense, the offensive line, the running of Bettis and the unrookie play of Ben Roethlisberger, and not some old piece of wardrobe that I wear while watching the games on TV.

But while watching the uncanny circumstances that took the Steelers to a comeback, overtime win in yesterday's Divisional Playoff game over the Jets, 20-17, you could call it luck,
you could call it destiny,
or maybe the luck of the jersey!

Saw the film "Elektra" last night.

First, let me get to the important stuff. Before the film they ran the first trailer for the Fantastic Four movie.

What did I think? How will the film adaptation of my all time favorite comic book characters look on the big screen?? Well.... not as bad as I feared, at least in this trailer. A film version of the FF though, should be as great as the Spider-Man films, and so far.... well, I guess we'll find out on July 4.

Now what movie did I see? Oh yeah,

Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is a high paid assassin who has uncanny abilities thanks to her training by her blind mentor Stick. (though anyone who read the excellent run of Daredevil issues in the early 80's already know her story, of course that would be a tiny % of the movie viewing public.)

In the beginning of the film she's a cold hearted assassin, who after finishing a job reluctantly takes on another assignment. She must kill a man and her daughter, but something inside prevents her from carrying out her deed. She sees something of herself in the girl, and yes, it turns out that Abby (the girl) also has the talents of a warrior and the evil group who call themselves "The Hand" want to capture her for their side.

The bulk of the film follows a group of killers with (pretty cool) unique powers as the must battle Elektra to capture Abby for their own.


The story itself is really nothing that we haven't seen before. What could have set this apart are two things.

1) A REALLY bad villain. Someone who comes across as a genuine threat.
Yes, the powered henchmen are neat, Tattoo (a man who's body covered tattoos can come to life), Typhoid Mary (her very touch brings death to any living thing) and Stone (a big strong guy as strong as stone). But their leader, Kirigi, is a pretty lame advisory.

2) Elektra herself. Yes, the main character. Sure, Jennifer Garner is nice to look at, but she brings nothing to the screen. I believe though, it's not all her fault. Elektra is a pretty lame character. After you get past the atypical "angst lone killer" routine, there's not much to get caught up in. And when you're main character isn't all that interesting....

(and for those viewers who haven't seen the Daredevil film, you don't really understand that she was killed! Yes, she died in Daredevil and was brought back to life by Stick. But you wouldn't know that from just this film.)

Elektra is a nice looking film. It has some nice fight scenes and effects but it's not nearly enough to overcome the uninteresting title character.

I give this a sai wielding:

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/15/05)

Years ago she was known only as Mrs. Xavier Cugat, these days nobody would know who the hell Cugat is (or was).

Let's give a "Cuchi - Cuchi" birthday greeting to .....

Who is.. well if you believe her official Spanish documents she's 64, if you believe her she's 54.

Friday, January 14, 2005

It was 15 years ago today...

Yes, even though a month earlier, December 1989, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" ran just in time for the holidays, it was oficially on January 14, 1990 when "Bart the Genius", the first Simpsons regular episode, was first aired!

I'm writing this so It gives me a chance to run a picture of my Simpsons Toy room.
I'm writing this so It shows just what a geek I am.

Happy Birthday! (1/14/05)

He was Babe Ruth years before John Goodman suited up.
He was the original TV not-too-bright father on The Life of Riley.
But to me, he'll always be the fat guy who died drinking salt water in the Hitchcock classic, Lifeboat.

Let's hear it for that long forgotten actor.....

Bill would have reached 99 today.

An "Action Figure" 5 page story.

As many of you may know - (or maybe don't know) I'm a member of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society (which is just a fancy name for a group of Cartoonists' in the Philadelphia area).
Besides all of us having successful Art-day jobs, we also find time in our "free hours" to produce and publish our cartoon work in newspapers, magazines and comics.

Late last year during one of our monthly get togethers, we decided to publish an anthology book, showcasing each member's work in a five page short story. As of today the work is being collected and prepping for the printers.

As all this is going on, along with my day job as Creative Director for Concord Confections (a division of Tootsie Roll Industries), I've also been hard at work on a new comic series. Unlike my last book, Bastard Tales, this is a (sort of) an auto-biographical comic, mixing drama and humor.

It's called Action Figure; The Life and Times of Richard Marzelak, a series loosely based on my days at Hasbro Industries and Hallmark Cards.

As sort of a form of "batting practice", to use a baseball metaphor, I've worked up a couple of 4 and 5 page short stories featuring Richard Marzelak from Action Figure, filling in the time before the publishing of issue #1.

The first story was printed in the Baboon Books Free Comic Book title, A Bunch of Baboons. I submitted the second story for the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society's Anthology. Unfortunately the Anthology had to be printed in Black & White and since Action Figure issues are in Black & White & Red, I had to substitute grey for the book.

But on the net, color doesn't cost a thing!

So without further ado, follow this link to read the 5 page story, "Create".

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/13/05)

Many may remember this man as villainous Horatio J. Hoodoo on Lidsville, while to others he's the voice of Mermaid Man's arch foe The Dirty Bubble, but he'll forever be known as the panelist who sat next to Brett Somers on Match Game.

Let's give a big Birthday hello to the acerbic man with three names.....

Charles is 74 years old today.

Saw the film "Beyond the Sea" tonight.

Another night at the cinema and another film biography. This one, Beyond the Sea follows the life of Walden Robert Cassotto, or as he was known to the world, singer Bobby Darin.

Bobby had severe rheumatic fever as a child and despite being told that he wouldn't live past age 15, through determination and drive became an award winning recording star, nightclub headliner and actor.

Yeah, that sounds like a good synopsis for a film. So,... does it work?
Well.... yes and no.

First the good stuff. Kevin Spacey (who at certain angles really looks a lot like Darin) not only stars as the singer in this film, but he produced it, directed it and sang all the music. It's an obvious love-fest for Spacey and it shows.

Beyond the Sea is a biography about a singer so there are many dance and song numbers in this film. This works when depicting the night club appearances but sometimes often detracts during the every day scenes .

Which brings me to the bad stuff. The story isn't told in a linear fashion. I have no problem with that, but it's hard to tell exactly how it's told. Are we flashbacking? If so, from when? And will we ever get back to the present? The film opens' with Bobby rehearsing a film about the story of his life. He stops singing "Mack the Knife" halfway through saying that he's not sure if this is how he should begin the film.

Next we're whisked back to his childhood days in the Bronx. From there the story twists and turns through his early days as a singer, though often the characters step out of the scene and question how it's being told. Song and dance music numbers pop out at odd times, like when he's trying to romance Sandra Dee during the filming of the film Come September.

My biggest complaint, ironically, is Spacey himself. I know I said earlier that he looks the part, and he does, when he's the older Darin. It's during the younger years that he doesn't look right.
When he meets Sandra Dee he's supposed to be 24, but he looks 44!

A nice supporting cast including John Goodman and Bib Hoskins don't get to do much, though Kate Bosworth looks great as Sandra Dee.

The good intentions of Spacey keep this from becoming a bad film, and a I applaud the interesting story-telling, but this looks a lot like a rental. I give it a "Splish, Splash":

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mr. Incredible Fawcett-Majors????

The walls in my home are covered with framed posters of some of my favorite films. I thought it was time to move some of them around and while rearranging, why not add a new one as well? So a week ago I ordered the poster from the film The Incredibles, thinking that it'll look really good hanging in my living room.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from saying:
We regret that the following item(s) are on back order:

Qty Item# Title
1 982098 The Incredibles
We expect to have these back in-stock within the next weeks. Rest assured, as soon as it lands in our warehouse, we'll ship it to you immediately and send you a Shipping Notification e-mail.


I realize that the film is doing well, but when's the last time that you heard of a poster being sold out???


Happy Birthday! (1/12/05)

In hundreds of "B" western films he starred as Tex Masters, Tex Reed, Tex Randall, Tex Houston, Tex Rawlins, Tex Newman, Tex ... (well you get the idea).

Yee-ha, Happy Birthday to John Ritter's dad (and Jason Ritter's grandfather)

The old cowhand would have been 100 today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

One of the weirdest TV characters ever!

When I'm at the home studio working, I need some background noise. It can either be the radio or music or even television. When it comes to listening to the TV, I prefer reruns. I don't need to devote too much time thinking about what's going on in the scenes' of these shows, especially ones I've watched before numerous times. Just listening to the dialogue will suffice. It's kind of like listening to my old albums.

Thanks to the explosion of TV shows on DVD's (Here's a great site for the latest TV Show DVD set releases) I've been able to build a nice collection of favorite classics to listen when inking pages or penciling panels.

Over the last few days I've had Disc 1 of Lost In Space, Season One, in my DVD player. To admit that you like this old Sci-Fi classic can bring about derisive ridicule from the "sophisticated" viewer. Luckily I never cared what others thought about me.

Lost In Space debuted in 1965. I was 4 years old then, so I was the right age for a show focusing on goofy monsters, a cool robot and a campy villain. (and I use the term campy when describing Dr. Smith, when I was 4 yrs. the word gay still meant happy.) This first season, all in Black & White, is the best of the three year run, IMHO. The stories have a sense of danger, Dr. Smith is still a dangerous villain (for the most part) and there are some excellent scripts that still hold up 40 years later (an episode where Will returns to Earth, "Return from Outer Space" is a stand out as does a two-parter "The Keeper" starring Michael Rennie).

But this is supposed to be about one of the weirdest TV characters, right? In episode three, "Island in the Sky", the Jupiter 2 spaceship lands on a planet to search for Professor Robinson (he had crashed there earlier). While tracking him down, the search party comes across an alien. It's, well, I guess the best way to describe him is with a picture.

Yes, it's Debbie the Bloop! Penny named her Debbie (how she knew it was female....) and it was called Bloop because..... that's what it said. "Bloop, Bloop!"

In reality, of course, Debbie was "Judy" from the TV show Daktari (which ironically enough was the show that replaced Lost In Space when it was cancelled after it's third season), a chimp with long, fake ears.

Debbie, this odd creature, wasn't around too long (unfortunately?) She was only in a couple episodes of Season 1 and the same footage was reused for quick shots in seasons 2 & 3.

So take a bow, Debbie the Bloop! In this day and age of sophisticated special effects and computerized animation, you can't beat a "blooping chimp with long fake ears" when it comes to depicting an alien creature.

Happy Birthday! (1/11/05)

Today we celebrate the birthday of the original H. G. Wells, the star of the best version of Well's "The Time Machine" (let us not speak of that crappy remake).

Let's give a big Birthday shout to that battler of "The Birds".....

Rod is 75 years old today.

Monday, January 10, 2005

While working at home the other night.

Happy Birthday! (1/10/05)

Clear out the corn field and get off the yellow brick road,
today we celebrate the birth of the most famous brainless scarecrow of them all.....

Ol' Ray would have been 101 today.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Happy Birthday! (1/9/05)

Today we celebrate the birthday of America's favorite incompetent First Mate.
(Or for that matter it's favorite non-threatening beatnik).

Let's give a big Birthday ahoy to that "Little Buddy".....

Gilligan is 70 years old today.