Tagged: Twilight

Emily S. Whitten: It’s Hard Out There for a (Fan)girl, part 1 – I Would Like to Buy a Shirt, Please

So in my first column discussing differences in the way guys and gals are treated by the comics industry, I’m totally going to start with a gender stereotype, ‘cause that’s just how I roll. Here it is:

Women love to shop.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read anything by me before that I will now say, “Okay, stereotypes are silly and that’s actually not true of all women. My sister, for instance, hates malls and isn’t a huge fan of shopping in general.” But it is true that I, a grown female comics fan with a desire to occasionally spend money on comic-y things, do love to shop; and since this is my column, we’re going to talk about me! (That’s also how I roll.) And about the fact that I am often disappointed, as both a shopper and a comics fan, by what’s offered to female fans in the way of comics merchandise, and generally by the way the industry seems to view the female demographic.

I do feel like there’s been some (read: glacial) improvement in this area in the past few years. But I don’t understand why it’s taking so long, or why there’s such difficulty in marketing to women (and in, simultaneously, not insulting them in the process).

The way I see it, the goals of comics merchandisers are to take all my monieessssss and maybe have me advertising comics for them along the way, right? And to do that in such a way that I’m overjoyed to give them all my monieessssss and, say, wear the Bat-symbol across my chest?  Okay, I don’t actually know what their goals are – although I do know that in 2009 Marvel’s president of consumer products seemed to think that in some way, marketing stuff to women might“alienate” their core of male consumers. Which is hilarious, since literally any geek guy I’ve ever talked to either wouldn’t even notice women’s products at all or thinks it’s cool to see women expressing their geek side.

But if I were a Comics Marketing Overlady, those would be my goals. Which could also be stated, in a slightly less evil way, as “Making successful products that promote the brand and appeal specifically to the target demographic.” Or even, “Making spectacular shit women would punch other people in the face to obtain.” You know, something like that. There could also be something in the mission statement about making people happy, I don’t know. Maybe the marketeers are also genuine geeks and they actually get super-hyped about their products and want us to be too. If so, that’s extra-awesome. That’s where the best products come from.

But if these are their goals, then why isn’t there more truly amazing comics merch out there for women? Don’t get me wrong – I love a good collectible figure just as much as the next geek (and I would, for instance, consider robbing a small child if it meant I could afford to buy this statue). But along with the stuff that anybody might like, there’s also a lot of stuff out there that’s pretty much designed for guys, with gals being a marketing afterthought if they’re thought of at all; and not only is that a saaaaad imbalance, but I also think marketers are missing out on some shockingly easy money-making opportunities.

Here are just a few examples of areas where the comics industry could really do better in marketing to women.

T-shirts: As stated, I’m a woman. Ergo, I ain’t built like a man, and any time I try to wear a shirt cut for a dude I look stupid. No matter how great the image, I never buy a tee unless it’s cut for women. Even if I get a man-cut shirt with a cool design for free the best it can hope for is to go in my “possibly pajamas someday” pile, because I refuse to leave the house looking like I’m wearing someone’s big brother’s clothes. Now, happily, this is an area where there seems to be more choice lately. In fact, I own that Batgirl shirt (photo above) and have worn it to at least two cons. I love it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t think of a bunch of times when I’ve seen a cool shirt design and it isn’t available for women. Despite there being more choice now, a majority of shirts still seem to be available only in guy-cut. And even when there are gal-cut shirts, sometimes the design that looks great on a guy shirt doesn’t work so well on a gal shirt, and I have to wonder if the designers are paying much attention to what women look like (hint: if you put a big rectangular design on the front of a woman’s shirt, it is going to be weirdly distorted and possibly some of it will disappear entirely). Maybe do some women’s shirts with smaller designs on the front, and the big panels on the back of the shirt? Just a thought, y’all.

Also, there have been some weird missteps when the companies do try to aim for that female demographic. Take the “Girls Rule!” shirt with full-grown lady superheroines on it that came out a couple of years ago. Maybe it’s just me, but I think calling women “girls” all the time trivializes them and yet is so culturally accepted that most of us do it without even thinking. But do think about it for a minute – would most grown men gravitate towards a shirt with grown male superheroes that proudly declared “Boys Rule!”

Haaaaaa, please.

And then there were those oh-so-charming “I heart men in uniform” and “I only date superheroes” shirts. I mean, okay, it’s cute I guess. Some women might buy that. But still – flip the demographic again and think about how many men would go for a “I only date superheroines” shirt over other designs? Although I think this particular issue goes to a much larger issue regarding women in comics, I really feel that we could get some better t-shirt designs for women if more people out there gave a toss about trying.

Beauty items: I love it when the comics industry tries to market beauty items (like make-up and such) to women, because almost always it fails spectacularly and I get to either laugh or rant about it. But, okay, I’d love it more if they actually started getting it right (I feel like the only time I’ve seen that so far was with the JADS International’s Black Widow perfume, and even there, they really should have done at least one more perfume, in a cool scent). Here’s a great example from 2009 of how the industry is kind of clueless about this stuff. The Lotta Luv Cosmetics partnership discussed there had me shaking my head and scoffing.  Okay, yes, if they are only aiming at fairly young girls, the bubble-gum colors and flavors might appeal; but if they want to market to the people who are most likely to spend money on make-up (adult women) they should try another tack; and either way, what is with the ‘50s femme vibe they’ve got going on, which is  far removed from anything I or most modern gals would identify with? Not what I want to see in my modern female comics products, something I also noted after the recent SpyGal Marvel/Benefit Cosmetics partnership announcement.

Also, I’m going to let Marvel (and everyone else) in on a little secret here: if female fans are going to spend money on comics make-up, it’s going to be because the make-up is good, or unique, or both. Sure, we’ll buy it over other stuff if everything else is equal, or if it’s a super-awesome product, but the product itself is key. Here’s an example: Last weekend I went to the Nebula Awards Weekend, which honors science fiction writers each year. And while a bunch of us ladies were geeking out over our friends’ geek accoutrements (like io9’s Annalee Newitz’s awesome iCufflinks) one showed me her nails – which were painted with tiny planets. Perfect for the Nebulas, and I was totally in awe and immediately jealous of her unique and geeky nails. I would have gone to a salon and plunked down money to get those, too! They were super-awesome, and you know what else would be? Superhero nail decals! Get on that, comics marketers. I’d wear ‘em.

Another example: I think Twilight is awful, at the very least because Stephanie Meyer slowly serial-kills the dignity and grace of the English language page by page, to say nothing of the bizarre lessons it seems to be teaching regarding relationships and self-worth. Nevertheless, when my friend told my there was a blood red Twilight lip plumper product on the market, I bought it. Even though I had never once considered trying a lip plumper before that. Why? Because I actually needed some red lipstick for a costume I was doing, and because I was fascinated and curious regarding the apparent effect of the gloss (my friend’s description was something like, “it stings a lot and then it makes your lips look bigger!”).

Hey, I’m a geek, which is usually accompanied by an appreciation for quirky things; so I had to try this stuff that apparently changed the very fabric (so to speak) of one’s lips. This is also why I bought magnetic nail polish. Because what geek can resist a product that gives your nails awesome designs through science? But I digress. My point here is: if you want to market beauty items to geek gals: 1) remember that we are gals who likely know a lot about make-up, and make sure the product is awesome or geeky, not just the packaging; and 2) make the packaging cooler. And no stuff from the ‘50s, please.

Quality accessories: I won’t go on too much about these, since there’s really not that much to criticize at this point… but that’s kind of the problem. Why aren’t there more, say, necklaces with a nice sterling silver (maybe with enamel for color?) comics symbol charm? I mean, I would wear the hell out of a Deadpool charm, especially if it was classy enough that I could wear it to work without anyone thinking it was out of place in a professional office (stealth geek attire!). Heck, I’ve actually worn my hand-made Deadpool earrings to work any number of times, and have gotten compliments on them from people who have no idea they’re from a comic. They just thought it was a cool design. Also, why aren’t there more cool comics-themed purses or whatnot? I’ve seen people making their own, so clearly there’s a desire for it. What’s stopping the actual companies from jumping on that? Oh, comics companies. I have so many accessory ideas. Why haven’t you had them already?

Costumes: …Okay, we’re going to save that one for another time. Because that’s a whole column in itself.

In summary – I love shopping. I love comics. I love shopping for stuff related to comics. But I’m a woman, which is apparently still the minority in the comics fandom, and there isn’t as much cool stuff out there for me to buy as there should be. Comics companies, it’s hard out there for a fangirl. Make it easier for me to geek out by making more cool stuff I’ll love. I promise I’ll buy it.

Do you agree with me, readers? Then tell me what products you’d like to see (or what marketing missteps you’ve noticed) in the comments.  And until next Tuesday, everyone: Servo Lectio!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Assaults The Secret Identity



MARTHA THOMASES: To Kill a Mockingbird, Mein Kampf, and Comic Books

It’s spring, that magical time of year when the flowers bloom, birds sing, and school libraries publish the list of books most frequently banned or attempted to be banned.

This year’s list is a mixture of new best sellers and timeless classics. You’ve got your Hunger Games, your To Kill a Mockingbird, your Brave New World and your Gossip Girl. There is a guide that explains to kids about what happens to mom when she is pregnant, and the reason it’s listed is because it is “sexually explicit.”

Look, I understand that most school libraries have limited budgets and limited shelf space. They can’t stock every book in the world. Someone has to make decisions about what gets purchased and where it gets shelved.

The problem is who gets to decide.

I’ve been the mother of a first-grader, and if there arose a ridiculously hypothetical situation wherein my six-year old came home with Brave New World, I probably would have a talk with his teacher. I think it is inappropriate (my kid would have just learned his ABCs, so I think Alpha and Beta might be a stretch), but rather than try to get it banned, I would hope to understand what the teacher was thinking. Maybe there is a new pedagogical theory that I don’t understand.

But no one is complaining about Aldous Huxley being taught to first graders.

The idea that someone is objecting to To Kill a Mockingbird because of “racism” is ludicrous. It’s a story about racism, how it affects people of all races in a community. It’s great novel, beautifully written and evocative. It’s also a great opportunity to start a conversation with students – most likely middle school or older – about how our country evolved and is still evolving.

A lot of the books on the list made their places because, according to their critics, they contain “sex,” “violence” or both. Some contain “nudity.” Some have “language.” I have trouble imagining books that don’t have at least a few of those elements. How can you describe human interactions without at least one? How can they teach the Bible (any version) or Shakespeare without them?

Some parents say things like, “I don’t want the schools teaching my child about sex/racism/war. I want to do it myself.” And that’s all well and good. However, one doesn’t teach a child by restricting information. If the school teaches something with which one doesn’t agree, one should use that as an opportunity to demonstrate one’s own position. As a Jewish parent in a predominantly Christian society, this was something I did regularly.

Some parents don’t want their children exposed to any ideas that might influence their kids to think independently. I have to wonder why these people had children. They would be happier with dogs.

Why does this matter to comics fans? Because the people who decide to ban books from school libraries are the same people who think comics are just for kids, and therefore should face the same restrictions they think are appropriate for school libraries. These people are why the American Civil Liberties Union has always included comics as part of their mission, because they remember that the attacks against comics in the 1940s and 1950s were attacks on all of us.

Our democracy can only succeed when all members have access to the marketplace of ideas. That includes Mein Kampf and Heather Has Two Mommies, Twilight and The Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter and Captain Underpants. It also includes Superman and Spider-Man, Hellboy and Preacher, Fun Home and The Playboy.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


MARTHA THOMASES: Hunger Games, Buffy, and Goldie

My friend, Goldie, said, “I’m reading the best book. You would love it.”

I was skeptical. My friend, Goldie, usually likes different kinds of books than I do. She likes historical novels with a sense of place. She enjoys literary fiction, with Serious and Important themes. Still, she is my friend, and I was curious. “What is it?” I asked.

The Hunger Games,” she said. “I can’t put it down.”

“Isn’t that a young adult series?” I asked. Goldie is circling 60.

“It’s so good,” she said.

The next week, I found myself sitting around a lot and I managed to plow through the entire trilogy. At the same time, another friend (also older than me) and a woman whose job required extensive medical training both told me they were reading it.

Why are four reasonably sophisticated urban women, all but me with advanced degrees, reading a science fiction series aimed at tweens? Are there others like us? Are we statistically significant? Will the lines for the upcoming movie look like the Twilight audience, but now with more feminists?

Because The Hunger Games is definitely a work for those of us who have grown up with feminism. The heroine is brave, strong, skilled and smart. There is almost no mention of her beauty, or even if she is attractive. The two men vying for her affections never comment on her appearance. The challenges she faces throughout the books are about politics, the individual’s obligations to the larger society, and the repercussions of personal choices. She does not shop, talk about shoes, or even hang out with other girls. She doesn’t dislike other girls. She simply has no time for friends.

There is no comparison to serial science fiction in comics. Perhaps Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, but only because it’s based on a (deliberately) feminist television series, one in which the producer retains creative control.

The Hunger Games seemed to me most like the Philip Pullman series, [[[His Dark Materials]]], with the same mistrust of authority, the heroine with a mission whose scope is unknown to her when she begins, the complex and dystopian society. Pullman is a better writer, creating a richer world. There is no love triangle, but there are talking bears.

If you like your fictional worlds created for an adult audience, I highly recommend the books of [[[Elizabeth Hand]]]. The early ones especially are dense and humid, cheaper than a trip to Mexico and much longer-lasting.

Hand, along with Paul Witcover, created a series for DC in the 1990s. Anima was also big fun, mythic while also grungy and pulpy, a Rrriott Grrl for the DCU. Naturally, DC cancelled it before it could find its audience.

This is why there may be lines outside the theaters for the opening of The Hunger Games, but there won’t be lines outside the comic book store.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


MICHAEL DAVIS: Shit And The Comic Book Industry

Please take a moment to look at the graphic that accompanies this article. Chances are you seen it before on the net or right here on ComicMix when Glenn posted it a few days ago.


I’ll admit it’s clever as shit. It’s interesting as shit. It’s thought provoking as shit.

I came across this on Facebook and I must admit I was mad as shit when I read it. I was even madder when I saw it was a marketing ploy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great marketing ploy and I freely admit that shit.

I went to the website and the Facebook page of the person who put it up. After reading some of the stuff on the Facebook page I was disappointed that I was so upset. Why? Because this is the sort of person I should like. We share a great many thing with regards to politics and he seems like a great guy.


But I know a wee bit about the comic book industry and I know a wee bit more about building franchises and a wee bit more about mentoring talent.

I also know you do not do any of that shit with fear.

In any and I mean any part of the entertainment business you will find incredible success and dismal failure. That’s not the industry’s fault.  The industry was not set up for you to be either an incredible success or a dismal failure.

That shit is on you.

Are there barriers to entry?

Yes. Tell me, what profession does not have barriers to entry? There are barriers to entry for everything.

That’s what school is for. That’s what working on your craft is for. That’s what life experience is for. That’s what you go to comic conventions for.

If you want to work in comics, you go to comic book conventions to learn the industry not to hang out with your 20 friends in one hotel room with the sole intention of going to the Twilight panel to kiss the ass of the movie company so they will give you a glimpse of that bullshit movie which is the same movie as the previous 15 but “this time it’s personal.”

Yeah, I called the Twilight movies bullshit. That’s my opinion.

The Twilight franchise?


I don’t have to love a thing to respect a thing and I respect the shit out of the Twilight franchise. When it comes to how they run that shit I’m Team Edward all the way.

Instead of going to a portfolio review or a small press panel the young creators who will fall for that “call me” ploy from the comic industry poster spend their time trying to catch a glimpse of Jim Lee at the DC Comics panel. Jim is not there to talk to you about getting into DC he’s there to sell you the books you are already buying.

So, how does any of the above help your career?

It doesn’t.

The graphic depicts the comic book industry as an industry of people who will try and stab you in the back. Really? You think Jim Lee wants to stab you in the back so he can steal your idea? That great idea that you drew with a ballpoint pen, inked with a magic marker, colored with Photoshop 0.1 in tones of nothing but blue?


You know why Jim Lee does not want your great idea, which all your family and friends have convinced you will be bigger than Superman?

I’ll tell you why, because if you have been reading comics and using that as your only education and attending Twilight like and not career oriented panels at comics conventions then most likely your idea is shit.

Why would all your family and friends tell you had created the greatest thing since Star Wars? I’ll tell you why; your family and friends love you. They are bias as shit.

Think of what you say to that fat ass 300-pound girlfriend when she’s asking you if she looks fat in that dress.

Fat 300-pound girlfriend: Do I look fat in this dress?

You: No.

You lie. You lie because you want to tap some of that fat ass. Guess what? She knows you are lying. She’s 300 pounds, dude. She would look fat in stranded in the middle of the ocean.

Your family and friends are your family and friends; they are supposed to lie to you.  Your family and friends they don’t know shit about what makes a concept a good idea.

Secondly, your “bigger than Superman” concept was drawn with a ball point pen, inked with a magic marker, colored with Photoshop 0.1 in tones of nothing but blue and your can’t spell so your lettering sucks also.

Is the comic book industry fair?


Does some projects that suck get published?


Is there an “old boy” network at many publishers?


Are there people who don’t want you to succeed?


Welcome to Earth, motherfucker. Or more specifically, welcome to the real world of grown-up business.

In every single business on the planet there are unfair policies, projects that suck that get green lit, cliques of people who won’t let you in and people who do not want you to succeed.

Fuck that shit and fuck them.

Learn the game before you hook up with somebody who claims he can help you with your “franchise.”


Give me a fucking break. Learn to write, learn to draw. Ask Jim Lee for advice not an autograph. Stand in line to hear Marv Wolfman or Harlan Ellison talk about writing. Stop standing in line to see clips from a movie you are going to see anyway.

Comic creators like giving advice. You will be surprised to see how much you can learn from an conversation about that creators craft.  Set realistic goals for yourself. Seek criticism from people that know what they are talking about.

Here’s a hint. Make appointments with people you would like to talk to. All they can say is “no” but would not a “yes” make your day and help you?

Take classes, go to school make an effort to learn the industry.

Yes, think about your own Franchise!

Yes, build, your own Franchise!

But before you call someone to help you do something that they have not done, do the work that’s needed to achieve your goal. Yours – not someone else’s.

When you do all of that and more, when you have gotten to a place of excellence in your craft and still don’t succeed, try again and again and then again.

Frankly, if you are that good you won’t have to keep trying because you will succeed.

Anything less, anything quick, anything that does not involve the kind of commitment to your the craft is just bullshit.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Gets Sentimental

Summit Entertainment Unveilsd 2012 Line-Up

Summit Entertainment wants to ensure we know they are responsible for more than those annoying Twilight movies. Here’s a look at their 2012 release schedule although release dates are subject to change.









From the ledge of the 25th floor of a NYC skyscraper, where one wrong step means death, a cornered Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) must orchestrate a dangerous plan to prove his innocence for a crime he didn’t commit.

Rated PG-13.  In theaters January 27, 2012. (more…)

Setting Foot Into City Lights

written by Joshua Pantalleresco

One of my all time favorite book signs.
I received my orders via email from the all powerful Hancock.  He commanded me to write about this wondrous place where I found classic pulp during my vacation.  A giant talking head that reminded me of a powerful wizard was just something you couldn’t ignore; besides, I love bookstores.
With this in mind, I head to City Lights, one of my all time favorite bookstores while on vacation in London Ontario.  Like all real gems the entrance to this cave of wonders is located in one of the emptier parts of downtown on Richmond Street and King.  Outside of LA Mood, an awesome comic shop where this writer did a book signing for his comic Veritas (which you can order at Indy Planet), all that surrounds this section of downtown are old and dusty buildings.  Old pawn shops and music places and abandoned apartments line up along the side of the street.  There is graffiti and a faint smell of sewage in the air.  I approach the bookstore with trepidation.  Would it be the same after being gone so long?
I see the familiar bars in the windows and the bargain books in the boxes decorating the entrance way.  The door is old and creeky and I fumble my way inside.
I open the door and gape.  Here there be books.  Seas of them stare up at me on the floor.  Most of them are divided by their sections and categories and are in large cardboard boxes, although a few seem to have escaped from their confines are just hanging around.
To my left is a bookshelf filled with the latest vampire and horror fiction craze.  I notice the books Marked and Twilight hang side by side as two guardians of the gate.  They greet you warmly with their black covers and insignias.  Both series are there in abundance and it serves as a gentle reminder to the reader not to be greedy.  There are wonders here yes, but at the end of the day you have to feel the wrath of Stephanie Meyer and PC Cast as you make your way to the exit.
After that cursory glance I notice some of the other books alongside the vampire army and to my amazement there are some nice books up there.  Brian Lumley is hanging around with his Necroscope series.  There is a touch of romance and violence with Ilona Andrews and then there are the many faces of horror behind Twilight.  Truly there are good books right from the start tempting you to take them home.  The wood creeks as I step inside.  The building talks to me as I try not to sneak past the cashier gazing right at me.  The wall of shame hangs behind him.  The wall contains pictures of silly mortals who thought they’d steal a book in this place and get away with it.  Each victim has their image ingrained in the background forever.  I pass them and wave high to the slightly overweight man behind the counter as I cross the threshold of being an accidental tourist.
I’ve been here before.  I think I know where I need to go.  I proceed to walk to the back of the store.  My quarry was located back there, as was the greatest temptations for a reader like myself.
City Lights has a marvelous science fiction section.  It is easily a quarter of the first floor.  You go past the part where the store sinks and dips and it’s on the other side.  It is not only in alphabetical order but the authors themselves are categorized.  You can see classic ABCs of science fiction like Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke with pulp favorites like Burroughs, Norton, Zelazny.  Series like Conan, Tarzan and Doc Savage…wait a minute, Doc Savage?!
I grab it and look and there can be no doubt:  The man of bronze sits there idly.  I glance inside the cover and find it’s the right price.  Sold.  You don’t find Doc Savage just anywhere.  Satisfied with the book I continue my exploration of the section.  I pass by Charles De Lint, saddened to see they don’t have any more books I don’t already have. At this point, this cave of wonders feels like a familiar haunt.  I love good science fiction and pulp and City Lights has tones of books for me to read and rediscover.
Looking back at the pulp series at the very top, I find a name I am unfamiliar with.  John Norman towers above the B section right beside Tarzan.  The first book is called Tarnsman of Gor.  I open it up and read the first page. I was sold.  This looks to be a fantastic book.  I can’t wait to review it.
I stop there.  My treasures have been found and I proceed to the checkout.  I pay for my books, say a quick goodbye to the Twilight/Necroscope Section and head out the door, saddened that the experience was over, but happy I did it in such a place.
I’ve been very fortunate to be in some very cool book places, but City Lights is one of a kind.  If you ever go to London Ontario it’s worth going in and taking a look, whether you are saying hello to a familiar book or like me are always seeking new works to try.

Warner Announces Aim High to launch as the first ever “Social Series” on Facebook

Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) announced the first-ever “social series” from a Hollywood studio will debut on Facebook starting October 18. Consumers can now become part of the show by seamlessly integrating their profile information – including photos, text and friends – by simply opting into the application on the show’s Facebook page. The action comedy series Aim High produced by Warner Premiere and Dolphin Entertainment, staring Jackson Rathbone (Twilight), Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights), and Greg Germann (Ally McBeal) will debut as the first “social series” October 18 through Facebook.com/AimHighSeries and Cambio.com.

By choosing to watch Aim High in a personalized viewing mode through the show’s Facebook page, viewers will be able to see themselves or their friends integrated into select scenes throughout the series – from their photo appearing on a student body election poster, to having their name seen as graffiti on the bathroom wall. This video application not only allows consumers to have an immersive and engaging viewing experience, but also a social one where they can share comments, scenes and Tweets about their favorite moments from the show.

We are the Night

It takes a lot to make a noticeably different vampire film these days. The genre has been seemingly mined to death through the inanity that is the Twilight series to the more visceral thrills offered in the HBO adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ work in True Blood. Maybe that’s why it fell to a foreigner to offer us something messy but thought-provoking. Director Dennis Gansel conceived of his story, We are the Night back in 1996 and let is gestate in his mind before finding willing financial backers. Apparently, vamps don’t inspire moneymen in Germany so when the film failed to launch in 2006, Gansel went off to direct his acclaimed film, The Wave, and that finally got him his money.

The director says his inspiration came from the 1872 novel Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and it shows. Louise (Nina Hoss) has been seeking the reincarnation of her one true love, thinking she has found her time and again in attractive young women she converts into vampire lovers. Spotting the punk-styled thief Lena (Karoline Herfurth) at a throbbing nightclub, Louise doesn’t hesitate to bring her over to the dark side and only then begins the seduction, which backfires when Lena rebuffs her advances. Louise gives in to her needs rather than slowly explain things to the terrified young woman.

As a result, we get some sense that the male vampires have been killed off by the women and that very few vampires remain active in the modern world. Louise, therefore, fronts a trio of vamps, the other two being women she incorrectly thought had been the reincarnation she sought. There’s the lustful Nora (Anna Fischer) and the smoldering Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich) and the three have reveled in being vampires, giving in to their temptations without a second thought. They eat, dance, drink, fornicate, and drive real fast, sexy cars. All the while, Louise works on Lena, who rebuffs her attempts without a real sense of why.

Meantime, Lena has encountered a cute cop, Tom (Max Riemelt), just before her transformation and he is the only one she thinks she can turn to when it’s clear this is not a lifestyle she wants forever. Tom, though, is investigating cases that bring their worlds onto a collision course.

Shot in and around Berlin, the film is dark and gritty when it’s not being slick and seductive. The dialogue is sparse which is a shame since more character development would have been appreciated. There are some story logic flaws mixed in with some terrific character bits. Gansel can certainly evoke mood, creating an erotic vampire thriller without nudity or copious amounts of blood and gore.

This should be Louise and Lena’s story but instead, the emotional core of being a vampire is stolen by Charlotte, the one-time silent film star, who has the most emotionally powerful scene in the film.

As vampire films go, this one is way above average but far from perfect. It’s currently playing the festival circuit in America and IFC films has already made it available as a digital download. A DVD will be released later this year and it’s certainly worth a look.

ComicMix Six: Vampires That Don’t Suck (Human Blood)

ComicMix Six: Vampires That Don’t Suck (Human Blood)

Vampires are everywhere these days. But long before we had Team Edward and the litany of prissy emo vampires that sparkle in the G-D sun… we had real vampires. They were in popular books, TV Shows, comic books, movies made from popular books, adaptations of comic books turned into movies, and even a comic book series adapted from a popular TV show based on characters from a movie! You get the drift. And throughout all of these various sucktastic productions, the tent poles of vampirism always held true (You getting this, Eddy?). Vampires are generally more pale than the Irish, and hate the sun more then old Jews. And furthermore, they have a thirst for blood worse than the republicans. But we kid, Edward. It seems some popular Vampires (like yourself) don’t stick to traditions. Some don’t even suck blood to survive! Don’t believe us? We didn’t either, until we came up with this list:

Count Duckula – Spinning off from the popular Danger Mouse series created in the U.K., came a vampire with who’d rather toast with a tomato than nibble on a neck. In the series, Igor whilst incanting the resurrection spell of his deceased master, was accidentaly provided ketchup in place of the ceremonial blood. Thus Count Duckula was born! Far more concerned with fame, fortune, and feasting on fennel, fava beans and fresh fiddlehead ferns, Count Duckula was known more for his fondness of broccoli sandwiches than being a creature of the night. And hey, even if he decided to switch menus? Fat chance! The poor duck didn’t even have fangs.

Angel & Spike – Joss Whedon took his video store lump of coal, and coaxed it into a diamond of a TV series. He did so first by fleshing out Buffy to be more than just “Pert. Wholesome. Way Lethal”. Better than that though, he introduced a pair of tragic vamps. Smokey-eyed, bleach-blond Spike and always-afflicted sorrow-souled Angel were both introduced into the Buffy show but eventually outgrew their roles there and turned into breakout anti-heros with a new show, and multiple comics. And what of their diet de-jour? Well, Spike (in the fourth season of the series) was implanted with a chip rendering his bloody biting habit incapacitated. And Angel? Well, cursed with a soul, he’s the vampire forced to pay the world back for the sins he committed earlier in life. Sure both these babe-magnets had their anti-hero appeal, but in the end, Angel ended up solving mysteries with some chick with a thing for bones, and Spike was revealed to be a rather poor version of Brainiac.

Blade – We could get into the comic backstory here…  how the brainchild of Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan in the early 70’s was Eric Brooks. Brooks’ mother was ravaged by vampire Deacon Frost during his birth, thus granting him a swatch of vampiric powers. Of course, this rambles on, as most comic backstories do… But allow us to switch to the recent movie-marvel-verse version we’re all a bit more familiar with. Similar to his comic counterpart, Blade’s mother was attacked by a vampire prior to his birth, and due to it, was imbued with all the vampires powers, and none of their weaknesses; Save for the worst one around, the lust for human blood. But Wesley Snipe’s Blade is a tragic hero, choosing to exist off a concocted “formula” made by his mentor (Stick, aka the dude who opened for Johnny Cash back in the day…) rather than suck the blood from humans. The pros? Well, Blade looks super cool in his trench-coat as he lays waste to vampires ranging from the prissy Steven Dorff to the steroidal Triple H, all while having that “Gritty Hero with the Heart of Gold™” look abouts him. The cons? Well, three decent movies down, and Blade hasn’t really found his audience in the funny books just yet. Sucks, don’t it?


The Point Radio: ‘Planet Hulk” Red Carpet With The Stars

The Point Radio: ‘Planet Hulk” Red Carpet With The Stars

Marvel ran a bi-coastal premiere of their newest direct-to-DVD feature, PLANET HULK and we were there, talking with creator Greg Pak and Editor In Chief Joe Quesada about where the company is headed in the animated market. Plus more LOST teasers, TWILIGHT breaks some new records and WALKING DEAD gets a “GO”!

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