Tagged: Dark

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: The First Comic That Mattered… To Me

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: The First Comic That Mattered… To Me

Strangers (Malibu Comics)

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome back, friends. After the hate-spew I delivered in the first few weeks, and the near love-in I had over the last two… I asked myself what was the obvious next step.

Yes, Marc?
What’s the obvious next step?
Hell if I know. I still hate Flashpoint. And about half of the DC reboot. And the X-Men. And walnuts.
Well, that’s no help.
Sorry. Why don’t you talk about Malibu?

Seems simple enough. Let me set the scene. It was 6th grade. 1993. I’d just met this crazy kid named Matt who drew better than me, and loved comics. I was insanely jealous of his talent, and unlike my other friends at the time, he wasn’t a brilliant mathematician well on his way to being our eventual class valedictorian. He invited me to a sleepover birthday party, which pretty much meant by the next week, we were hyper-awesome bestest friends.

27 days after his birthday party, he showed up at my house, in the frigid December air. He handed me a box. “Happy Birthday, dude.” Paper rips, bow is tossed to the stoop. Before my 12 year old eyes, bagged and boarded, were copies of UltraForce #1 and The Strangers #1. Matt had remembered that I’d seen the short-lived UltraForce cartoon show, and loved it. Especially the episode featuring The Strangers. Excuse me for a second… I need to go wipe my eyes. It’s dusty down here. Dusty!

Suffice to say, I read those two books near instantaneously. And then reread them. Looked over every nook and cranny, too. Something about these books spoke to me in a way no other sequential literature had.



Theater of Vampires, a Jason Dark Supernatural Mystery by Guido Henkel

by Suzanne Fuller

Having enjoyed Demon’s Night despite not having much of an emotional connection with the investigating Protagonist Jason Dark, I was looking forward to reading Theater of Vampires. Already comfortable with Henkel’s writing style, I was excited to see his take on everyone’s favourite creatures of the night. So I dived head first back into his dark, foggy world. With familiar characters reappearing for your nostalgic pleasure and new ones shuffling their way in. I was left feeling pleasantly surprised and sad that it ended so quickly.

The second book in a Series is a hard one to tackle. There’s the worry of not being able to keep up the excitement from the first or keep the characters true to themselves without endangering the plot. And to tackle possibly the most over-done creature in horror literature takes guts.

The story was fast paced and hard hitting. The characters were all believable and fear quickened the pace of my heart when the creatures of the night appeared from behind their human masks.

The setting was indeed creepy but I was beginning to worry that it sounded an awful lot like a particular vampire story many of us know. The last half of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire took place in a theater, where Armand and his un-dead family tricked their human audience into believing the death performed on stage was acted, when in fact it was not. But, just before the book takes a turn away from following Rice’s footsteps a comment from Selene, the supposed master of the vampires, says, “I swear, I couldn’t bear another one like that insufferable blonde French guy De Lioncourt.” Which, of course, is a nod to Lestat. I had to place my cup of tea on the bedside table very carefully and hope that I didn’t choke on the gulp I’d just swallowed. There was another nod to a classic vampire at the very end but I will not say for fear of giving away anything inside the plot. All that will be said about it is it was a very, very good last line. One that left a mark, so to speak.

If there was any complaint to be had about this novella it’s that Sui Lin, Dark’s young, beautiful accomplice is so skilled in the art of fighting that it almost seems as though Dark himself falls behind. It happened in Demon’s Night and again in Theater of Vampires and no matter how much I love the strong, female character I worry that the series should be renamed A Sui Lin Supernatural Mystery.

With a great twist at the end that leaves you with many questions, for Dark’s future, moral rules and how the rest of the stories will unfold if the conflict were to raise it’s head once more. That is the wonderful thing about a series of stories, when you read the next instalment it’s like slipping into a pair of comfy slippers.




Edited by Chris Gabrysch

Twit Publishing LLC

213 pages

I make no bones about loving anthologies as I’m a huge fan of the short story format.  And with pulp anthologies of this kind you are bound to find some really amazing nuggets as well as an assortment of lesser quality entries.  Overall, if the number of excellent, fun tales outweighs the bad, you’re in good hands. Which is why it is easy for me to recommend this book edited by Chris Gabrysch as the majority of the twelve included within are truly worth your perusal.

My favorite was easily “A Shot in the Dark” by Peter Michael Rosenberg which features a marvelous protagonist in Cairo based Chief Inspector Walaa Yousesef.  This Egyptian Hercules Poirot won me over from his first appearance revolving around the body of an English photojournalist found crammed in an old cabinet in her hotel room. I hope Rosenberg writes many more cases for this unique detective.

Another enjoyable entry was “Balalaika” by Jennifer Loring.  It deals with vengeful vampire stalking the citizens of an isolated Russian village.  It is well written and haunting in its depiction of rural Russian settlement and the horror visited upon it. Whereas “The Schitzel Connection” by Cyril C. Young Jr. had me in stitches.  It’s a cautionary tale wherein we are warned evolution can easily go backwards instead of forward depending on how much pretzels and beer one consumes.  If you can’t chuckle after reading this, there’s something totally wrong with you.

“Install” by Drew Wilcox is a scary tale of a cable guy’s visit to a very bad address. Horror shorts are hard to do but Wilcox pulls it off and this one really had me flipping pages to get to the end.  Noire crime stories were also well represented with two nifty yarns.  “Smooth as Sharkskin,” by Slade Grayson is a classic crime pulp story and delivers as neatly as its title portents while “My Date with Red,” by Tom Swoffer, is an oddball, highly readable story of a drug dealer scared witless done in a Quentin Tarrentino style.

As this collection is eclectic in subject matter, I was pleased to find “Montana Jack” by Dave P. Fisher, a no-frills classic western tale; truly superb writing.  Another contender for my favorite in this book.  Fisher really should stretch his writing muscles and try a full length western novel.  He’s that good.

And finally there is the fantasy comedy “Whatever Happened to the Dark Lord?” by Frank R. Sjodin that has some really hilarious moments and twists nicely on its own logic.

The remaining four stories did nothing for me at all; obviously not my cup of tea. One, a long crime piece, “Double Take,” by Chris O’Grady was competently written, but in his attempt to mimic other successful hard boiled writers, he completely homogenized his tale so that it comes across bland and spiritless.  Even the toughest, most cynical writers of this genre know you need to inject some melodrama to grease the plot wheels.

So eight out of twelve gives this collection a big thumbs up in my accounting.  Try a copy and let me know if you agree with me.  Or not?

Win a Copy of Transformers: The Japanese Collection – Headmasters

transformers_japanese-_headmasters-_product_shot-272x450-5803484Capitalizing on the popularity of Paramount Pictures’ third installment in the live action Transformers franchises, Shout! Factory is releasing the long-awaited Japanese animated series which we talked about previously. The DVD set is coming out on Tuesday and to celebrate, we have one copy to give away to a lucky fan.

All you have to do is give us your best educated guess what the total domestic box office revenue of Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be when the theaters close at the end of business on Monday, concluding the holiday weekend. We want your guess by 11:59 Monday evening and the winning tally will be based on the finals as released by our friends at Box Office Mojo on Tuesday.

Meantime, here’s a look back at The Transformers: The Japanese Collection — Headmasters. The four disc set will come complete with Original Japnese Audio, English Subtitles, and an Art Gallery.

Charlie Sheen meets Archie, Betty, and Veronica

Wednesday Window Closing Wrap Up: 3/16/2011

Charlie Sheen meets Archie, Betty, and VeronicaWe haven’t done one of these in a while, and things are getting a bit backed up here with March Madness, so if we don’t do it now, we may never get around to it because our computer will collapse under the weight…

Anything else going on in the world? Consider this an open thread.

Spider-Man The Musical Sneak Preview on GMA – UPDATED

Spider-Man The Musical Sneak Preview on GMA – UPDATED

Spidey-Fans, make sure you’re up Friday morning for a chance to sneak a peek at the upcoming Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Good Morning America. The musical, which is rumored to be one of the priciest to swing into the Foxwoods Theatre, opens November 15. Lucky for all us musical theater geeks, director Julie Taymor and Spidey himself, Reeve Carney, will bring a solo song to GMA via a performance at the Hudson Theater, with fans invited to come down for the free show. We television viewers will enjoy a post-performance interview with the director and the authors of the music and lyrics, Bono and The Edge. Word has it that aside from this musical, both men dabble in rock and roll in a quartet by the name of U2.

While most comic fans are skeptical of their favorite web-spinning hero spinning songs and soliloquies on the Broadway stage, stranger things have become a success. Lest we forget, the Evil Dead Musical was damn good. So, before we light our torches, let’s give the ol’ webhead a chance to sing his spandex off.

UPDATE: So, we watched the telecast, action figure firmly placed in our palms, ready to watch our hero make his way to the stage. Would it be webtastic or a kill a little bit of our soul, like One More Day? Let’s let some pasty white people wax poetic first:

A “pop-up book” set? Those costumes? The Swiss Miss? Is this some kind of cruel joke? Is Norman Osbourne financing this play in hopes of murdering the wall-crawler on the stage? Our high hopes haven’t been crushed this hard since the dance sequence of Spider-Man 3: Attack of Emo Parker. And to put the final nail in the coffin? How about a song from the show:

Let’s be honest here. The song is actually catchy. And because it’s being performed with a rock band, with absolutely no context to the final play, we’ve no idea how terrible this will be once it’s sewn into the “pop-up book” scenery and gaudy costumes. Kudos to Bono and The Edge for writing a catchy rock song (a feat that shouldn’t be that hard, given their 20+ years doing it), but frankly we’re scared for the final product. A lanky rock singer running around in a body sock, whilst a cast of dancing, prancing chorusmen flail about over a rock-and-roll score? Someone give us a copy of the “Death of Gwen Stacy” so we can recall the last time Spider-Man was worth our fanfare.

Spider-Man Swings To Broadway At Last

After an infinite number of delays, the Wonderful White-eye Webster will be swinging his tunes on Broadway at last.

Why am I not thrilled? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because the idea of a Spider-Man musical is stupid. Maybe because the Superman musical sucked. Maybe because Spider-Man 3 was too much of a musical for comfort. Or maybe because it’s called Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

Directed by Julie Taymor (The Magic Flute, Salome, Titus Andronicus and, oh yeah, The Lion King) and written by Taymor and Glen Berger, the Spider-Man musical will sport toe-tapping tunes by Bono and The Edge, evidently because Elton John was busy. It stars Reeve Carney in the lead, with Jennifer Damiano as Mary-Jane and Patrick Page as Norman Osborn and, of course, The Green Goblin.

What, you were expecting the otherwise unburdened Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Willem Dafoe? No such luck. If you were expecting Rachel Wood and Alan Cummings, they bailed out of this thing some time ago.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark opens at the Foxwoods Theatre,
formerly known as the Hilton Theatre, on December 21; previews start November 14. Ticket prices for this $50,000,000 extravaganza have yet to be announced, but the going rate these days for seats on Broadway is about $125 – $135 per. Take a family of four to Spider-Man after dinner and you’ve spent close to a grand.

You’ll be shocked to learn they’ve got a web-site.

Does Disney buying Marvel mean ‘Spider-Man: Turn On The Dark’ is back to Broadway?

Does Disney buying Marvel mean ‘Spider-Man: Turn On The Dark’ is back to Broadway?

The Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark may not be as dead as previously thought.

According to a report in Variety, the rumor mill is spinning with word that the financially troubled production will resume production this week or maybe next, with at least some folks being called back to work. The production stalled earlier last month due to “cash-flow” issues. There is no official word as of yet.

They’re saying there is no connection to production on the musical picking up again and Disney acquiring Marvel, but I don’t believe that for a minute. Disney has tremendous experience working on Broadway, including Julie Taymor’s previous adaption of The Lion King for Broadway.

No word yet on if the musical will open on time… it had been set to begin previews on February 25, 2010, and officially open in March.

Marvel’s 4Q report: Studios and money making

Marvel’s 4Q report: Studios and money making

Marvel Entertainment announced today operating results for its 4th-quarter ended December 31, 2008 and record net sales, net income and earnings per share for the full year 2008. For Q4 2008, Marvel reported net sales of $224.3 million and net income of $63.0 million, or $0.80 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $109.3 million and net income of $27.6 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, in Q4 2007. "The improvement reflects recognition of $135.5 million in film production segment revenues principally associated with the DVD performance of Marvel’s Iron Man feature film," the company said. For the full year 2008, Marvel reported net sales of $676.2 million and net income of $205.5 million, or $2.61 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $485.8 million and net income of $139.8 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, in 2007. The revenue and net income growth principally reflects the contribution from Marvel Studios which released its first two feature films, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, in the summer of 2008.

Below is an updated look at the Marvel Studios’ product pipeline. The company also announced today that Kenneth Branagh is set to direct Thor (our spies tell us sets are already being built) which Paramount Pictures will distribute worldwide. It will be released domestically on July 16, 2010. Also, Iron Man 2 will begin principal photography in early April.

Marvel Studios Entertainment Pipeline
(According to its 4th quarter earnings report. Scheduled release dates are subject to change)

Self-Produced Feature Film Line-Up

  • Iron Man 2 (Marvel), scheduled for May 7, 2010 release, starts principal photography in April, directed by Jon Favreau, stars Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle
  • Thor (Marvel), scheduled for July 16, 2010 release, directed by Kenneth Branagh
  • The First Avenger: Captain America (Marvel), scheduled for May 6, 2011 release
  • The Avengers (Marvel), scheduled for July 15, 2011 release

Licensed Feature Film Line-Up

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox), scheduled for May 1, 2009 release

Self-Produced Animated TV Series Line-Up

  • Super Hero Squad (Marvel Animation) 26 thirty-minute episodes in production with Film Roman, scheduled for Q3 2009 release on Cartoon Network
  • The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (Marvel Animation) 26 thirty-minute episodes in production with Film Roman; scheduled for Q3 2011 release

Licensed Animated TV Series Line-Up

  • Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes (Moonscoop SAS – France), 26 thirty-minute episodes airing internationally and on Marvel.com and Marvelkids.com
  • Spectacular Spider-Man (Culver Studios – U.S.) Will air on Disney XD in the U.S. beginning in March and currently airing on various networks internationally
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (Marvel Animation / First Serve Toonz – India), 52 thirty-minute episodes. Episodes 1-26 are currently airing on Nicktoons in the U.S. and are on air internationally, Episodes 27-52 are currently in pre-production
  • Black Panther (Marvel Animation / BET) 8 thirty-minute episodes in production, scheduled for Q2 2009 release on BET
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures (Marvel Animation / Method Films – France) 26 thirty-minute episodes in production, scheduled for Q2 2009 release in the U.S. on Nicktoons and various networks internationally

Licensed Animated Direct-to-DVD Projects

  • Thor: Son of Asgard (Lionsgate), scheduled for September 2009 release

Licensed Broadway Stage Project

  • Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark, the Musical, Julie Taymor director; music & lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge (Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle, Martin McCallum, Marvel Entertainment/David Maisel, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Jeremiah Harris) Slated for a February 18, 2010 opening
World Horror and World Fantasy Award Winners Announced

World Horror and World Fantasy Award Winners Announced

The  International Horror Guild Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in the field of horror and dark fantasy, were announced on Halloween (naturally). The Awards, first presented in 1994, will cease to be after this year.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

Long Fiction: Softspoken by Lucius Shepard

Mid-Length Fiction: "Closet Dreams" by Lisa Tuttle

Short Fiction:
"Honey in the Wound" by Nancy Etchemendy

Fiction Collection: Dagger Key and Other Stories by Lucius Shepard

Anthology: Inferno, Ellen Datlow, ed.

Periodical: Postscripts

Illustrated Narrative: The Nightmare Factory, Thomas Ligotti (creator/writer), Joe Harris and Stuart Moore (writers), Ben Templesmith, Michael Gaydos, Colleen Doran and Ted McKeever (illustrators)

Nonfiction: Mario Bava: All the Colors of Dark by Tim Lucas

Art: Elizabeth McGrath for "The Incurable Disorder"

IHG Living Legend: Peter Straub

Fantasy Award Winners Named

Sunday night at the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary, the winners for this year’s World Fantasy Awards were announced.

Novel: Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

Novella: Illyria by Elizabeth Hand

Short Story: "Singing of Mount Abora" by Theodora Goss

Anthology: Inferno, Ellen Datlow, ed.

Collection: Tiny Deaths by Robert Shearman

Artist: Edward Miller

Special Award, Professional: Peter Crowther (for PS Publishing)

Special Award, Non-Professional:
Midori Snyder and Terri Windling (for Endicott Studios’ Web site)

Life Achievement: Leo and Diane Dillon, Patricia McKillip