Tagged: San Francisco

Tweeks: Experience The Marvel Experience

TweeksMEXthumbnailLast week, we went to The Marvel Experience during its stop in San Diego.  Taking place in seven large domes, visitors become S.H.I.E.L.D recruits who undergo training in order to fight alongside the Avengers against Hydra in a final showdown. It reminded us of a Marvel themed amusement park, but is it worth the ticket price (ranging from $24.50 to $34.50) when it comes your city?  Watch our review to find out.

The Devil Comes to San Francisco This March in DAREDEVIL #1!

This March, the Eisner Award winning creative team returns for the next chapter in the saga of Matt Murdock, as the Man Without Fear rushes headlong into All-New Marvel NOW! Marvel is proud to present your first look at Daredevil #1 – from the blockbuster creative team of Mark Waid & Chris Samnee!

Gifted with an imperceptible radar sense, blind lawyer Matt Murdock patrols the streets with a billy club and a passion for justice. Only this time – it’s a brand new city, with even more dangerous foes. Join Matt Murdock as he journeys from the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen to the sun-drenched boulevards of San Francisco.

“With a new status quo that demanded an ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! launch,” says Editor Ellie Pyle, “this is a perfect time to jump on to Daredevil.”

“With the Eisner-Award winning creative team and the kick-butt San Francisco setting (and did we mention the Netflix series starting next year?) you’re crazy not to give Daredevil #1 a try!”

And the scenery isn’t the only new thing in store for Ol’ Hornhead. A world of changes are in store for Matt Murdock as old haunts and familiar faces rise up to give the devil his due. Changes that will turn his life upside down yet again! Don’t miss one moment of the highly anticipated series this March when Daredevil #1 comes to comic shops and digital devices!

DAREDEVIL #1 (JAN140630)
Written by MARK WAID
Art & Cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
75th Anniversary Variant by ALEX ROSS (JAN140633)
75th Anniversary Sketch Variant by ALEX ROSS (JAN140632)
Variant Cover by PAOLO RIVERA (JAN140631)
Animal Variant by CHRIS SAMNEE (JAN140634)
Young Variant by SKOTTIE YOUNG (JAN140635)

FOC –02/24/14 On-Sale -03/19/14

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Martha Thomases: Are Pro Women Con Women?

In last week’s column, I raised the issue of how many women are invited guests at comic book conventions.  As you can see, of the four shows I selected rather randomly (the criteria was that I wanted to go to them because I had heard good things), not a single show had a guest list that was more than ten percent female.

Was I being unfair?  Should I be more systematic?

The short answer is, “Yes.”  There are lots and lots of shows, and somewhere, there must be a few organized by people who want to celebrate the work of women as much as the work of men.  More commercially, there must be some shows that want to attract convention-goers interested in comics that represent multiple points of view, because there is money to be made.

(more…)

Reviews: “Crazy in the Blood” and “Fangtabulous”

A nutty-crunchy cult, a human-gorgon PI, a family fit for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, hot god guys (not a metaphor), Federal spooks, zombie minions, and a dreamy Italian detective… welcome to San Francisco and Lucienne Diver’s second installment of her Latter-Day Olympians series, Crazy in the Blood, which delivers all that and a gaggle of ghouls (Samhain, $15 trade, July 2013). The story picks up at its usual breakneck pace soon after the events of the first installment and Hell (literally) hath no fury like a pissed-off mom—putting the whole earth and human race in danger in this family feud between god parental units with Dionysus, maenads, and health food in the mix for good measure. Shredded dead bodies are showing up and Uncle Christos has disappeared and his fav niece, part-gorgon PI Tori Karacis, is determined to find him and discover the links, if any, even addicted to ambrosia and…well…Apollo (blond, bad-boy god) vs. her Detective Armani.

Conflicted romance! Dark and light hot dudes! What’s a gal to do?

But Tori is not alone—BFF blonde starlet Christie won’t let her go alone and Hollywood’s made her tougher than she looks. Grandma Yiayia plays air traffic control—she never appears in the novels, so far, save for on the phone. Fabulous office assistant Jesus is the…well…fabulous assistance. Hermes wants a front row seat to the chaos, of course.  And then Thanatos, the Grim Reaper, shows up on papa Hades’ orders, slashing his scythe like the boss that he is. But there is a bit of anti-deus-ex-machina when the Three Fates step in and twist the threads of the plot even twistier. Demeter is the eternally spurned mom. Hades can’t get along with the mother-in-law, and he and Persephone have their marital problems. Bring in Dr. Drew or Phil or…nope.  Bring in the gods and the spooks and Tori’s Scooby gang. There is a fair dose of Buffyverse flavor here, still—hey, learn from the best!—which makes it fun and familiar even for those who’re new to the Blood series. The Romance tropes’re still there, all adult-like, so those fans will stay happy, but this is a cross-genre work that many can enjoy at almost any over-13 or so age. Let the party begin!

And speaking of parties… we find Gina, Bobby, Marcy, Brent, and the rest of the vampi-nista gang in Salem, Massachusetts (y’know, home of the witch hysteria and trials of old made famous in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible) on the run from the Feds who want them as experimental weapons, battling the Salem Strangler, in Fangtabulous (flux, $9.99 trade/$11.50 Canadian, 2013) #4 in the Vamped series. And it’s all about the magic…from the stage magician to the haunted tours of Salem to the Goths to…the real Big Bads. This volume has all the fun you’d expect from Diver and her gang, but a bit more grit and angst and a dialogue on racism, government corruption, and child abuse that is present but not so heavy-handed as to spoil the fun for younger readers, but surely to be noticed by most readers with a clue. This is not a bad thing, but it does lend the tale a more serious tone amongst the mayhem and quips that are this series’ hallmarks. This is definitely PG-13, with genuine gore and violence, but not gratuitous…no Tarrantino-ing here. And if you know Salem you’ll have the extra bonus of the veracity of the setting. I enjoyed this, in a thoughtful kind of way. The characters growing up. It’s cool. I won’t say more as to keep this a spoiler-free zone.

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Pulp Fiction Reviews and The Red Reunion

New Pulp Author Ron Fortier returns with another Pulp Fiction Review. This time out Ron takes a look at Stein and Candle Vol. III by Michael Panush.

STEIN AND CANDLE Vol III
By Michael Panush
Curiosity Quills Press
232 pages

From the talented imagination of writer Michael Panush comes this third volume in the adventures of Mort Candle, a grizzled ex-Sergeant and his ward, the teenage occult expert Weatherby Stein.  Panush continues to chronicle their post World War II exploits as paranormal investigators and within these pages you’ll find the duo’s newest exploits as they travel the globe encountering all manner of supernatural monsters.  There are a total of six cases set forth here and each is a well presented pulp actioner, all worthy of the 1930s classics.

The book kicks off with our guys in Japan in “Trouble in Tokyo.”  They are hired by a police detective discover who it is attacking rival Yakuza clans and in the process fomenting a gangland war that could severely hamper the city’s reconstruction efforts.  Soon Candle and Stein aren’t only dealing with sword wielding crooks but a secret ninja clan controlling ancient Japanese creatures of mythology to wipe out their foes.  This one is exotic wall to wall action without let up from beginning to end.

The X-Files meets Happy Days in “Teenage Wasteland” when Weatherby goes undercover in a suburban high school to investigate teenagers meddling with the occult.  Along the way he encounters ethnic prejudices, an athletic bully and a Sandra Dee like blonde beauty that turns his head and melts his heart.  Easily one of the weirder but most enjoyable stories in this series yet.

Then there is “Lounge Lizard” wherein our heroes head for Lake Tahoe to find a missing crooner who has run off with the his boss’ cash. This leads them into a deadly parallel world of dinosaurs and their lizard-men riders.  Exactly the mishmash Panush excels at.  Whereas in “Drac’s Back,” Castle, short on funds, accepts an assignment from a group of American vampires to help them travel to Transylvania and resurrect the greatest bloodsucker of them all, Count Dracula.  Stein is opposed to the idea and has good reason to be.  It doesn’t turn out well.

The fifth tale, “Stein Family Reunion,” has Mort and Weatherby in San Francisco encountering Adam, a monstrous individual created from parts of dead bodies by an earlier member of the Stein clan.  Thus do our heroes come to the aid of one of the most iconic monsters in English fiction.  After introducing Dracula to the series, we just knew “the monster” couldn’t be far behind.

The book wraps up with “Big City Showdown,” parts one and two and is the longest single Stein and Candle adventure yet.  And it deserves that extra space as it has a sense of climatic finality to it.  Dracula and the Stein’s twisted wizard ancestor, the Viscount Wagner Stein, team up in New York with an audacious plan to conquer America.  The challenges these two powerful entities posed singularly proved to be difficult to our heroes in past encounters.  Now combined, they are virtually unbeatable; unless that is, our two occult detectives can assemble their own team to battle them.  And this is exactly what transpires until almost every major supporting character in the series reappears for this one cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil.

There is a definitive air of closure by the story’s end that had this reader both pleased and sad.  If this is the end of the Stein and Candle Detective Agency, then they go out on a grand note that we applaud.  But we truly hope this isn’t the last chapter in one of New Pulp’s most imaginative series ever created.  Please, Michael Panush, we want more!

PULP FICTION REVIEWS AND THE RED REUNION

PULP FICTION REVIEWS AND THE RED REUNION

New Pulp Author Ron Fortier returns with another Pulp Fiction Review. This time out Ron takes a look at Stein and Candle Vol. III by Michael Panush.

STEIN AND CANDLE Vol III
By Michael Panush
Curiosity Quills Press
232 pages

From the talented imagination of writer Michael Panush comes this third volume in the adventures of Mort Candle, a grizzled ex-Sergeant and his ward, the teenage occult expert Weatherby Stein.  Panush continues to chronicle their post World War II exploits as paranormal investigators and within these pages you’ll find the duo’s newest exploits as they travel the globe encountering all manner of supernatural monsters.  There are a total of six cases set forth here and each is a well presented pulp actioner, all worthy of the 1930s classics.

The book kicks off with our guys in Japan in “Trouble in Tokyo.”  They are hired by a police detective discover who it is attacking rival Yakuza clans and in the process fomenting a gangland war that could severely hamper the city’s reconstruction efforts.  Soon Candle and Stein aren’t only dealing with sword wielding crooks but a secret ninja clan controlling ancient Japanese creatures of mythology to wipe out their foes.  This one is exotic wall to wall action without let up from beginning to end.

The X-Files meets Happy Days in “Teenage Wasteland” when Weatherby goes undercover in a suburban high school to investigate teenagers meddling with the occult.  Along the way he encounters ethnic prejudices, an athletic bully and a Sandra Dee like blonde beauty that turns his head and melts his heart.  Easily one of the weirder but most enjoyable stories in this series yet.

Then there is “Lounge Lizard” wherein our heroes head for Lake Tahoe to find a missing crooner who has run off with the his boss’ cash. This leads them into a deadly parallel world of dinosaurs and their lizard-men riders.  Exactly the mishmash Panush excels at.  Whereas in “Drac’s Back,” Castle, short on funds, accepts an assignment from a group of American vampires to help them travel to Transylvania and resurrect the greatest bloodsucker of them all, Count Dracula.  Stein is opposed to the idea and has good reason to be.  It doesn’t turn out well.

The fifth tale, “Stein Family Reunion,” has Mort and Weatherby in San Francisco encountering Adam, a monstrous individual created from parts of dead bodies by an earlier member of the Stein clan.  Thus do our heroes come to the aid of one of the most iconic monsters in English fiction.  After introducing Dracula to the series, we just knew “the monster” couldn’t be far behind.

The book wraps up with “Big City Showdown,” parts one and two and is the longest single Stein and Candle adventure yet.  And it deserves that extra space as it has a sense of climatic finality to it.  Dracula and the Stein’s twisted wizard ancestor, the Viscount Wagner Stein, team up in New York with an audacious plan to conquer America.  The challenges these two powerful entities posed singularly proved to be difficult to our heroes in past encounters.  Now combined, they are virtually unbeatable; unless that is, our two occult detectives can assemble their own team to battle them.  And this is exactly what transpires until almost every major supporting character in the series reappears for this one cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil.

There is a definitive air of closure by the story’s end that had this reader both pleased and sad.  If this is the end of the Stein and Candle Detective Agency, then they go out on a grand note that we applaud.  But we truly hope this isn’t the last chapter in one of New Pulp’s most imaginative series ever created.  Please, Michael Panush, we want more!

Cover Sneak Peek – Honey West/T.H.E. Cat

 
Final Cover Art: Douglas Klauba

New Pulp Artist Douglas Klauba has shared the cover painting for the upcoming Honey West/T.H.E. Cat paperback for Moonstone Books.

It’s Honey West and T.H.E Cat, in the first new Honey West novel in over 40 years, A Girl and Her Cat!

Following on the heels of the first ever Honey West & T.H.E Cat crossover comic, Moonstone’s “Death in the Desert,” comes the Honey West & T.H.E Cat novel, A Girl and Her Cat.

Art: Douglas Klauba

About A Girl and Her Cat:
When an exotic green-eyed Asian doctor hires Honey to recover a stolen sample of a new Rubella vaccine from a rival scientist, the blonde bombshell private eye—suspicious but bored—takes the case. But after she’s attacked not once, but twice, on her way from Long Beach to San Francisco to track down her quarry, she knows there’s more—much more—to her femme fatale client than meets the eye.

Along the way, Honey’s one-time paramour Johnny Doom—ex-bounty hunter and current Company agent—reenters the picture, and the gorgeous doctor’s insidious—and deadly—grandfather deals himself in. But when Honey questions whether Johnny’s playing her game, or just playing her for a patsy, she joins forces—as only Honey can—with the one man in Frisco who can help her recover the stolen vaccine-cum-bioweapon and prevent worldwide genocide by germ-warfare—former cat burglar-turned-bodyguard Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat: T.H.E Cat!

Join writers Win Scott Eckert and Matthew Baugh, and cover artist Douglas Klauba, for A Girl and Her Cat, a groovy, racy 1960s romp coming soon from Moonstone Books.

Dennis O’Neil: Zen Denver

O'Neil Art 130606Yesterday, just outside Denver, I went through an area I must have gone through long ago. My friend and I were a couple of footloose ramblers with no money in an interstice of time between being in thrall to one authoritarian institution, a Catholic university, and another, the United States Navy. (You wanna salute? Go ahead – salute!) We were hitchhiking back from San Francisco because…well, hey, it was good enough for Jack Kerouac and besides, if you’re not going to do stupid and dangerous things when you’re young, when you gonna do them?

(Parenthetical digression: Hitchhiking was stupid and dangerous back in 1961 and it’s way, way more stupid and dangerous now, and if our luck had veered a bit we could have suffered dreadfully. So don’t do it.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, in Colorado getting busted by a state cop.

But, as it happened, the cop was from Missouri as were we, and so, instead of depositing us in the slammer, he flagged down a Greyhound bus and asked the driver to haul us east. The rest of the adventure went well.

As I looked outside the car window yesterday, nothing seemed familiar except those magnificent mountains in the distance. But why would it? A half century-plus had passed and Colorado, along with everything else, had changed and my memory probably wasn’t reliable when I was 22 and is absolutely not reliable now. (Reality may or may not not be malleable, but the truth? That’s generally open to interpretation.)

We were coming from the Denver Comic Con and a pleasant weekend. We were expecting the show to pull in…I don’t know… a couple-three thousand fans? But there was the energy of over 50,000 attendees percolating through the Colorado Convention Center. Plus a lot of comics guys and a whole lot of dealers. And a full complement of celebrities. This was only the second year the con was held. In its infancy and already a monster.

There was a lot to like, but what most pleased us, both at the con and the Hyatt across the street, where we stayed, was the pervasive atmosphere of courtesy. Everyone was extremely polite and extremely nice. Many of the fans who came for autographs thanked me warmly for, let’s face it, not doing much more than signing my name, a trick most third graders have mastered. They also thanked us for coming to Denver – not necessary, because Denver itself had already taken care of that.

In the airport, I was astonished and delighted to see, in large, bas relief lettering, this quotation from Zen master Thich Naht Hanh: I have arrived. I am home. My destination is in each step. Appropriate, but not what you’d expect in a thriving center of commercial journeying.

Then we went over, and past, the geography I’d traveled long ago and when we arrived at our house everything was in good order. Life can be okay. Just remember that the step you’re taking is your destination.

RECOMMENDED READING: Google something like Thich Naht Hanh quotes. Read a few, or a few dozen. Then you might want to try one of his many books.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

Enter the Dragon gets 40th Anniversary Edition

enter-the-dragon-leeEvery now and then you can tell someone is special. Every now and then you know just when something becomes an event, a trend-setter. That’s exactly who Bruce Lee was and his Enter the Dragon remains. All marital arts films are measured against this one and now Warner Home Video is giving us a 40th anniversary edition. Here are the details:

Burbank, Calif., March 4, 2013 – Enter the Dragon, one of martial arts icon Bruce Lee’s last films, will debut June 11 on Blu-ray™ in the Enter the Dragon 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition giftset from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film, which helped bring interest in the Asian martial arts genre to mainstream Western cinema, has been re-mastered for its 40th anniversary, and will now feature new bonus materials, such as the featurette, No Way as Way, on the legacy of Bruce Lee, plus other featurettes and commentary. Memorabilia — which includes collectible art cards, lenticular card and an embroidered patch –are also part of the giftset.

Bruce Lee was an incredible athlete and mixed martial artist who, despite making a limited number of movies during his short life, became a charismatic megastar and left a permanent mark on cinema and popular culture. Even Time Magazine agreed. They included Lee in the “100 Most Important People of the 20th century” issue (Heroes and Icons 1999*).  Enter the Dragon continues to resonate with today’s audiences. It was a major theatrical hit 40 years ago, grossing approximately $25 million domestically – the equivalent of almost $180 million in today’s box-office. Enter the Dragon has sold more than 450,000 units on DVD and Blu-ray since 2004. In 2004, Enter the Dragon was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It also received a 95% positive rating on the critics’ review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Lee was born in San Francisco on November 27, 1940. As a young boy in Hong Kong, he acted in some 20 films there and first became known in the U.S. in 1966 for his role as sidekick Kato in TV’s “The Green Hornet.” He also appeared in TV shows like “Ironside” and “Longstreet,” with his most notable American role coming in the 1969 movie, Marlowe, starring James Garner. Returning to Hong Kong, Lee starred in a number of successful films for Raymond Chow’s Golden Harvest Productions and soon became a superstar in China. His enormous overseas success ultimately reached Hollywood and the attention of filmmaker Fred Weintraub and Warner Bros., who produced Enter the Dragon and tapped the actor to star. Lee died suddenly in Hong Kong, at the age of 32, of a cerebral edema. That was on July 20, 1973, less than a month before the film’s August 17 U.S. premiere. Posthumously, Enter the Dragon rocketed him to international superstardom.

enter-the-dragon-special-edition-20040524022006215Enter the Dragon producer Fred Weintraub, who also wrote the book Bruce Lee, Woodstock, and Me said: “If fans want to hail Bruce as the greatest and most influential martial artist who ever lived, you’ll get no argument from me. He was a shining star who streaked across the night sky of our collective awareness in a flash of white hot unsustainable intensity only to burn up in the atmosphere of fame, wealth, and worldwide adulation. Watching him again (this time even better on Blu-ray), you can see why he became the first international superstar from a third world country.

The plot of the Enter the Dragon revolves around outstanding martial arts student Lee (Bruce Lee), who is recruited by an intelligence agency and then uncovers the evil Han’s (Kien Shih) white slavery and drug trafficking ring located on a secret island fortress. Along with martial arts champions Roper (John Saxon) and Williams (Jim Kelly), Lee infiltrates the stronghold and enters Han’s brutal tournament. Lee and his partners fuse skills in Karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, T’ai chi ch’uan and Hapkido, in a now classic fight-to-the-death epic battle, all staged by Lee himself.

Bruce Lee, John Saxon, and Ahna Capri star in Enter the Dragon, which co-stars Bob Wall, and Shih Kien and introduces Jim Kelly. Music is by Lalo Schifrin. Written by Michael Allen, the film was produced by Fred Weintraub and Paul Heller in association with Raymond Chow. Robert Clouse directed.

Special Features:

  • Commentary by producer Paul Heller
  • New Featurette No Way As Way
  • New Featurette The Return to Han’s Island
  • New Featurette Wing Chun: The Art that Introduced Kung Fu to Bruce Lee
  • Interview Gallery featuring Lee’s wife, Linda Lee Caldwell
  • Vintage pieces
    • Backyard Workout with Bruce Lee
    • Curse of the Dragon
    • Location: Hong Kong with Enter the Dragon
    • Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon
    • Personal Profile Bruce Lee: In His Own Words
  •  Five trailers
  • Seven TV spots

ENTER THE DRAGON 40TH ANNIVERSARY BLU-RAY DISC AND DVD

Street Date: June 11, 2013

Order Due Date: May 17, 2013

Run Time: 98 minutes

Rating: R

Pricing: $49.99 SRP

Catalog# / UPC: 1000351089 / 883929285693

 

Note: All enhanced content and memorabilia listed above is subject to change.

GUEST REVIEW-SALMON GETS IN THE RING WITH GOLDEN GATE GLOVES!

A FIST Out Of Water Tale

A review of Robert Evans’s Golden Gate Gloves

by  Andrew Salmon

This installment in the great Fight Card series starts off in the reader’s comfort zone. As the goal of recreating the classic pulp fight fiction of yesteryear is the goal of Fight Card, having Golden Gate Gloves begin with part-time fighter, full-time dock worker, Conall O’Quinn working hard at the San Francisco docks is typical of the genre and any fan of this type of fiction could probably finish this story from there: fighting to prove who is the toughest on the dock, trouble with organized crime, a penultimate fight with everything on the line. These are the foundation posts of this type of fiction — any fan knows that going in — and it falls to the writer to squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of the formula.


Although Robert Evans, writing as Jack Tunney, begins his tale in this tried and true tradition, with O’Quinn having to fight the dock boss’s son to prove he’s the toughest only to get fired when he meets the challenge, the story then takes a refreshing right hook to the country and the hunt for buried treasure. Yes, you read that right. O’Quinn, in fleeing crooked crime bosses and labor leaders, stumbles upon a treasure map pinpointing buried gold in the abandoned California gold mines.

Only the mines are not abandoned and we are soon treated to a fish (or should I say, fist?) out of water tale with O’Quinn and his partner searching for the lost gold while working for the current owners of the mine. It doesn’t take long for O’Quinn to fall in love with the mine boss’s daughter and it doesn’t take long for the trouble he left in San Francisco to catch up to him while he is left to battle for the hand of the woman he loves.


If it sounds like there’s a lot going on in this stiff jab of a tale, that’s because there is and Evans keeps the pace moving quickly as he introduces us to two distinct settings and casts of characters in 76 pages. The fight scenes are great and you feel every punch as O’Quinn is battling for his life against disreputable opponents. For $2.99 you get your money’s worth in this novella as there’s enough going on here to fill a good size novel. What Evans pulls off so well is to give his tale that full feeling without the needless padding so prevalent in today’s fiction.

Golden Gate Gloves delivers. Check it out.