The Line is Drawn for Comic Book Art

Not that they need the extra traffic, but I really have to give it up to the Comic Book Resources website. They consistently post great, informative articles and are one of the best places to get the latest comics news. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about two things, CBR’s “Comics Should Be Good” blog, specifically its weekly series called “The Line Is Drawn” where a group of artists (about 16 regulars) post artwork based on suggestions to the blog’s weekly topic on their twitter account. This week’s was “…come up with a sidekick for a superhero who’s never had an official sidekick”, which leads me to the other topic of this particular post. A bit of praise to a good, old friend of mine, and a fantastic artist, John Trumbull.

I met John while performing in the local Rocky Horror show. He had recently graduated from Joe Kubert’s art school at the time. In all these years, I’d never really seen much of his art, save for bits and pieces he showed us, or posted in the early innerwebs days.
As of late, he has been a regular artist for the “Line is Drawn” series and I have consistently found myself more and more impressed and proud of my friend. This week’s piece, however, is his best yet. But then, I’ve said that with each new piece he posts.

Art by John Trumbull –

So go check out CBR’s blog, subscribe to their feed, and of course make sure you tell ’em who sent ya in the comments, go check out John’s work on his deviant art page! And John, I know you’re going to read this, Great job buddy and keep ’em comin’!!

Movies You May Have Missed: Yor, The Hunter from the Future

Yor, The Hunter From The Future     Welcome to the first entry in a series of reviews covering obscure, rare, and/or forgotten films. Some of these gems have barely survived the VHS generation. Some of them are relegated to the “cult”, “underground”, or “b” grouping. Whatever you want to call them, they’re movies that deserve watching. So grab some snacks, read these reviews, then go get yourself a copy of any of these cinematic masterpieces and fill that aching hole in your soul!

First up, if you haven’t yet guessed by the article title, is one of my absolute FAVORITES, “Yor, The Hunter from the Future”, possibly the most “metal” and “manly” film every made.

I’m thinking that the makers of this film saw a ManOWar album cover, brought it to a production meeting and said, “See this? This is the movie I’m going to make.”

“Yor” was unleashed upon the world for a week in 1983. It was slapped together from what was, or was supposed to be (details of this are somewhat sketchy and to my knowledge proof is non-existent), a four-part mini-series on Italian tv. It did managed to pull in nearly $3mil. Soon after, it would find its way to the local Video Store in my neighborhood, and my life would be forever changed.

Yor starred only one actor of real note, Reb Brown. Reb is best known to most audiences, recently at least, for starring as Captain America/Steve Rogers himself in the two made-for-tv movies, “Captain America” and “Captain America II: Death Too Soon” which are rather special in their own rights, he gained notoriety in the late 90’s when Mystery Science Theater 3000 got a hold of his movie, “Space Mutiny”, but those are for another article all-together. Reb Brown is a definite treasure of the b-movie world. Seriously, I mean, if it weren’t for him, we’d never have this touching moment between Captain America and the Hulk!!!

The film opens with what some consider the most epic opening sequence of the early-80’s Post-Apocolyptic boom. A lone, bare-chested, blonde warrior daintily skips runs around the same rock formations through the wastelands, searching for adventure and the thrill of the hunt, all to one of the most epic synth-rock ballads to ever grace your tender ears. Here, have a listen:

Without doing a full scene by scene breakdown, let’s hit some of the points of interest in relative chronological order that make this movie really “work”:

  • Yor bursts in on a cave woman (who’s oddly attractive compared to the rest of her tribe) and her grandfather protector just as they’re being attacked by a sort of stegosaurus/triceratops hybrid and slays it with his mighty axe and the wits of an expert “Hunter”.
    Once dead, he screams like a maniac, drinks it’s blood that evidently “burns like fire” because “the blood of your enemy makes you strong”  commands the weak old man to, “Help me cut the choice meats!”. Dialog=Classic
  • While rescuing his “damsel in distress” new girlfriend from a tribe of blue cavemen,  he kills a giant bat monster with one shot of a bow and arrow that look like they were made by the village pre-school class, then proceeds to use its instantly rigor-ed body to hang-glide down to save her in what may be the most awesome, manly thing EVER filmed….okay, I really didn’t want to post a lot of “spoiler” vids, but you just HAVE to see this:
    (side note: The best comment on YouTube for this clip is “this is the scene that made Chuck Norris cry for the first time”)
  • EVERY time Yor does something awesome, his theme song plays and your body produces testosterone.
  • Yor nonchalantly commits what can be considered as genocide no less than 3 times during this movie without much as a moment of guilt, inflection, or the bat of an eyelash. Twice before the movie hits its halfway mark.
  • Yor gets a flaming sword for a short time and becomes the embodiment of every D&D geek in the world. He then throws it like a spear in the most epic-manly fashion you can imagine. Yor IS the man.
  • There’s a cat-fight and some marijuana allusions.
  • Yor battles the poor-man’s Emperor Palpatine and his army of cut-rate Vader drones.
  • You will see the single most masculine trapeze scene ever shot on film utilizing little plastic men that you totally won’t care are obviously fake and you will have sprouted some new chest hair by this point.
  • Yor and his lady-friend fly through a flaming explosion in an epic space-fighter-jet-machine that he just happens to know how to pilot. Well, since he’s going to rebuild a better world using his “Superior Knowledge”, I guess that makes sense.

Possibly one of the single most epic fantasy posters ever made.

Honestly, “Yor, The Hunter From The Future” is not a “good” film. It’s cheesy, with very poor, obviously cheap effects, bad acting, bad voice overs, ect. But through all that, one very important point lays true, this film is FUN.
You can watch it alone, or with friends, and you will have a blast. You will laugh, you will make jokes, you will sit in awe, and you will cheer on the poor, half-brain-dead denizens of this sad, sad future. Mostly, you will cheer for Yor, as he grins like an idiot while racking up a body count that would make Rambo and the Terminator weep with pride, all while wearing an awful blonde wig and dragging around an octogenarian in a loin-cloth who’s just waiting for morning to get his senior coffee.

As if you needed more convincing, here’s two points to take note of: 1) Notice how many times I couldn’t help but use the term “epic” in this write-up. 2) Watch the trailer:

I need your assistance!!

Starting this site, my first thought was that I want it to be a community place. I want your opinions!!
First off, what does everyone think so far? How’m I doin’?
Second and more immediate, I’m starting another new recurring article chronically all the obscure movies I’ve been watching since, well, all my life. I need a title for the series. I’m thinking something along the lines of “Movies You May Have Missed”.
I like that, it captures the essence of the series, and the “May Have” leaves it open enough for people to say, “I didn’t miss this, I saw that ages ago!”, but it just doesn’t feel “poppy” or “catchy” enough.
So, help a fella out and give me your thoughts on what I should call it in the comments section!!

Thanks bunches,
Christopher Lee

Nerd-Base's 10 Best Remakes/Reboots Part 1

Every site’s gotta have at least ONE Top 10 list these days, right?
Here’s a list of the 10 best movie re-makes (that I could think of, it’s by no means definitive, but  then again, what is? Everyone’s got an opinion). I hesitate to use the new term “Re-Boot”. I think that term is something that some Hollywood PR guy cooked up because of all the press and social ire towards the incredible lack of individuality being pumped out of the big studio movie making machines. I think for something to be called a Re-Boot, it needs to come out within the same decade as the last iteration of its license.
Either way, here’s a list of our favorite unoriginal films!

10) Death Race (2008)

Okay, before anyone starts going “What?! Have you even SEEN the original? They’re barely the same movie!!”, I know. I know. The changes between the two are vast. However, let’s be honest here, the original “Death Race 2000” (1975), like many Corman films, was remarkably cheesy and the only REAL draw to it was the point system (which they sort of hit on in the remake) and the funky cars.

The thing about this movie, and what most of its naysayers aren’t aware of, is that it’s not really a re-make or a re-boot, per se. It’s actually meant as a prequel to “Death Race 2000”. As a prequel, it fits rather nicely. I mean, of course there are inconsistencies, but they can be forgiven, if for no other reason than, are you REALLY going to take a movie about souped up death-cars that seriously? Bottom line is, this movie is an enjoyable action fest with all the bloody-explodey-gritty-boom-boom that makes such guilty pleasures in the genre so memorable.

9) I Am Legend (2007)

“Omega Man” (1971) is one of my all-time favorite films. I’m not saying it’s a great film, but it’s up there in a collection of movies that since I first saw it when I was about 6 years old, I can and have watched multiple times without getting tired of. 

Vincent Price is one of my favorite actors, always has been. Perhaps because there was just something about him that reminded me a lot of a really classy version of my grandfather. Imagine my surprise when I found out while pouring through a video store at about 10 years old that he had made an earlier version of that story called “The Last Man on Earth” (1964)!

So yes, early on, one of my favorite tales of post-apocalyptic earth was the film versions of Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”. Having finally gotten around to reading the source material for the films in my teens, I discovered that the movies I loved had little similarity to the book. The closest being “The Last Man on Earth”, the screenplay of which, I had found out, was originally written by Matheson. Alas, after many rewrites by the studio and production companies, he had his name taken off.

That leads us to 2007.
I’m not one of those big “Oh “f” Wil Smith” guys. I honestly quite like his movies. He’s really not a bad actor. Regardless, with the huge amount of stinker remakes coming out of Hollywood at the time, I was understandably cynical about this movie. It was probably the last time I allowed myself to act in such a way as to dismiss a film before seeing it.
“I Am Legend” is not the book. It’s neither “Omega Man” or “Last Man On Earth”. Rather it is a combining of all three while standing on its own. The beginning of the film, like the beginning of “Omega Man”, really captures the loneliness of the Smith’s Robert Neville. The flashback sequences, telling the story of how the world came to be in such a state, harkens back to “Last Man on Earth”. Lastly, and perhaps most interestingly, the ending…no, not the weird “butterfly glass”, explodey ending that was on the theatrical release, but the original, cut, ending of the movie, was a very big nod to the novel. Neville is made to realize that the creatures are attacking him because in actuality, HE is the monster. They’re defending themselves from him and Neville finally recognizes it. As the character in the book says before he dies, “[I am] a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend”.

8) Fright Night (2011)
“Oh you’re so cool Brewster!”

Say that to anyone who is or was a fan of 80’s horror films and they’ll know almost immediately where it’s from. At the absolute least, they’ll remember that squeaky voice of none other than Stephen Geoffreys’ “Evil Ed”.
“Fright Night” is a film that could only have been made when it was. In the mid-80’s, the larger corporations were starting to gobble up network TV, and the reign of the late-night horror host was coming to an end. The Horror Host shows as some younger readers may not know, where a big staple of late-night TV for about 20 years from the 60’s through the 80’s. The likes of Vampira, Zacherlie, Svengoolie, and of course, Elvira would host showings of (mostly low-budget) horror movies during the late hours on local tv stations as a pull to try to grab viewers that would normally have turned off the tube hours ago. Unfortunately, with the coming of the infomercial, stations found they could make more money from hours-long advertisers/ments, than something cheap just placed there to run more commercials.
The original “Fright Night” was definitely a film for its time, so you can imagine the hesitance when a re-make was announced. Nobody knew what kind of angle they could take. All the general public saw was another studio trying to cash in on a beloved favorite. Even if that’s what it was at its base, it was so much more.

“Fright Night” 2011, was just enough of a separation from the original to really let it stand on its own and feel fresh to new audiences while not feeling like an “insult” to the fans or the 80’s film.
David Tennant (who was brilliantly cast here. The producers knew who they had and really marketed him to the Doctor Who fans as this was his first big American film after coming off his run as the 10th Doctor) plays the spirit of the original “Peter Vincent” so well, replacing the washed up Horror Host with a washed up Vegas magician. Anton Yelchin’s “Charley Brewster” (which honestly surprised me since I’d only seen/noticed him as the garble-accent-mouthed Chekov in 2009’s “Star Trek”) was fantastic and very much like the original. Who now could you possibly get to play the geeky-weird friend other than “McLovin” himself? Well, I will say this, Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s “Ed” is definitely NOT as memorable as Geoffreys’ was, but good nonetheless. Lastly, Colin Farrell’s “Jerry Dandrige”? Creepy. Creepy in an almost realistic, unstoppable serial killer/predator way. Smart, manipulative, and brutal.
If you haven’t seen it yet, and you need a good Friday night creeper, I recommend it.

7) Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I’m not going to do a big write-up on this one. I’m just going to say that this remake of the classic 1956 film of the same name is not as well-known, not because it’s bad by any means, but rather because it’s so damned creepy that nobody wants to think about it anymore after seeing it. Seriously, maybe these are “spoiler-y”, but if you haven’t seen this movie in the past 30 years, I can hardly be blamed, but I’m going to leave you with just these two short clips to watch:
Scene 1:

Scene 2:

Okay? Now try to go to sleep. Can’t do it? Don’t worry, neither can I. *shudder*

6) Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The original “Dawn of the Dead” is, in the opinion of many, one of the greatest zombie films ever made. It is one of my personal favorites. As you can imagine, to this day, there are many, MANY who still complain about the changes made to the feel and especially to the zombies in Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake. I am not one of them.
This remake is only similar in very few ways to the orignal. The setting, (some of) the characters, and the undead are pretty much all that is kept. I’m okay with that. Why? Because I’ll always have my collection of all the different release versions of the original to watch. Also, if you take some “artistic license” and do it well, any changes can be made acceptable. This movie is most definitely acceptable. The human emotion and danger is captured very well. The theme that Romero puts forth in his films, that the “humans” can pose a bigger threat than the monsters is well engrained in this film. Think about it, if everyone just gave a moments thought to the consequence of their actions, they could have survived comfortably in that mall. But really, when does that ever happen in real life? Some concepts in this were brilliantly conceived. Having the other survivor so close, but so far, the “pregnancy”, the greedy power-mad mall workers, all led to the drama and thrill of this movie to the point where the zombies were almost…almost an afterthought.
If you happen to be one of those that have dismissed this movie and/or refuse to watch it because you’re so upset about what it does to the original, you really must get over that hurdle and allow yourself to enjoy this great entry into the genre.

Go check out part 2 covering 5-1 here!!!!

WTF Did I Just Watch!? #4


Let me just start by letting you know that when I started this series, I didn’t intend to post so many so fast. Alas, it seems that people like them, so as long as I keep getting them sent my way, for the time being, I’ll share them with you!

This is going to be a two-fer. Thematically, they’re very similar. They’re also both definitely strange.
The first one, the Birthday Party, was sent to me by my good friend and Rocky Horror Legend, Larry Viezel. I don’t think anything needs to be said aside from “Just watch”. The second one, as you can imagine, was a straight link off the first.

To be honest, if “Spider-Man 3” were more like that, I think it would have been HUGE.
This next video isn’t anywhere NEAR as strange, it’s just odd mostly due to the facts that a) They’re at a pool? b) Tell me that Iron Man doesn’t look weird with his huge head?

…and there you go!