What Are Your Favorite 1-Shot Comics?

Comics bannerWe haven’t had a “Top 10” post in a bit. Everyone seems to love those, but there’s so many out there, coming up with an original idea for them can be a bit daunting. But now I’ve an idea, and I’d like you, our readers to help out building this one. Why am I turning to you? Have you ever read the comments on the lists out there written solely by the authors? EVERYONE has their own advice. I don’t consider myself a definitive authority. Yes, I love comics, but I know there are plenty I’ve never read.

So, email me at info (at) nerd-base.com and let me know your favorite 1-shots!! Fantastic stand-alone comics that you’ve read that stuck with you. They could be part of a series, but not part of a story arc.

When submitting, please include a quick review, images if you have any, and a link to your own blog/page/twitter if you have one so I can add attribution to the entry. The team and I will check out the reviews and pick from there.


Nerd-Base's 10 Best Remakes/Reboots Part 2

A little over a week ago, we gave you the first half of this list, here is its conclusion, the Nerd-Base’s top 10 Best Remakes/Reboots #5-#1!!!

5) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

The first true “reboot” on this list, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” blew me away.
I don’t really know what I was expecting. The original “Planet of the Apes” series is one of my all time favorite films. One of my earliest TV memories is of watching the live action TV series and being so amazed and excited about these “ape-men” on the screen. Not to mention, those movies are simply great fun to watch. I’m not one of those guys who immediately hems and haws first thing when I hear a film or show I love is being remade.  I had high hopes for the Tim Burton travesty, but as we all know, it was a severe disappointment. So you can imagine, despite the pedigree behind this movie, my trepidation going into the theater. Thankfully, I was more than pleasantly surprised at what I beheld.
More of a re-telling of the story of “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (1972),  this movie’s strength lays less in trying to recapture and pay fan-service to the original, not to say it doesn’t, but rather, it focuses on telling a great story and character building. There are some scenes with the ape, “Caesar” (played by CGI/Mo-cap veteran, Andy Serkis), that convey such strong emotion, glee, heartache, frustration, anger and determination, that you will truly let him carry your heart in his furry hands throughout the film to its ultimate, intense and moving conclusion that will leave you begging for more.

4) Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

What to say about “Little Shop of Horrors”?
To start, it’s a questionable film to include on this list. Perhaps it’s the most deeply ingrained as a remake? Perhaps it doesn’t count? This little horror musical about a boy and his carnivorous alien plant is a remake of an off-broadway play, which itself is a remake of the original 1960 Roger Corman movie. So, I suppose, in a weird way, this is a wrap around, traced back, remake of the original film…kinda…

“Oh please, grow for me!” If only he knew what he was asking…

At any rate, the movie itself is a blast. The music is fun, catchy, kitschy, and hilariously dark. It stars the inimitable Rick Moranis and Steve Martin plays the scene chewing role of the “evil” masochistic dentist. It also has some great cameos by 1980’s legends, Bill Murray, John Candy, and Jim Belushi…okay, well, two legends. Actually, the dentist’s office scene between Martin and Murray is comedy gold.

Interesting tidbits, Ellen Greene who plays Audrey (1) was the only actor in the film that performed with the Broadway musical cast, and the voice of Audrey II was Levi Stubbs, better known as the frontman/lead singer of the legendary Motown group, the Four Tops.
The film originally had an incredibly dark ending which was changed when the test audiences almost unanimously hated it. This 23 minute original ending footage, included from the B&W work-print. was released VERY briefly on DVD in 1998 and subsequently pulled from the shelves almost immediately when David Geffen found out about the release (he owns the rights) and said, “They put out a black-and-white, unscored, undubbed video copy of the original ending that looked like shit.” Thankfully, due to the incredible powers of the internet, we don’t have to pay $150+ for ebay copies of this rare DVD, you can watch it right here:

3) The Blob (1988)

Were it even possible to argue this movie’s entry in the top three, the only person who would do so would most likely be one who has never seen it, or didn’t understand how to truly appreciate it. Oh yeah, also, all you’d have to do is mention that it’s one of the first few studio pictures written by one Mr. Frank Darabont. If you don’t know that name, well, you need to get educated. You can start by watching this fantastic remake of 1958’s “The Blob” (then, watch “The Mist” and make sure you have a box of tissues nearby at the end).

Brian Flagg – He must use Pantene ©™

In this film as our hero, in lieu of the clean-cut Steve McQueen, we get Kevin (brother of Matt) Dillon’s Brian Flagg (a tribute by Darabont to Steven King’s “Randall Flagg” character from “The Stand”) who is played as an “Outsiders”-y, mulleted bad boy.
The discovery of the Blob sequence is pretty much on par with the 1958 version. Some random old man living in the woods is beset upon by a meteorite that cracks open upon impact and which he proceeds to poke at with a stick. The goop rides up the stick and “consumes” his hand….then his body….then, well then everyone else in the most cringe inducing manners seen in a movie before or since.

No seriously guys…the sink. *shudder*

If you’ve seen it, more than anything else, I think you’ll remember “the sink”.

Oh, and don’t forget to look for a cameo by David Lynch’s own Jack Nance early in the film!

2) David Cronenberg’s “The Fly” 

If you’ve seen this film and the original, the only comparison you can really draw is the theme. The only thing that could possibly be said might be better in the original is the inclusion of the legendary Vincent Price. Aside from that, the 1958 version might as well not even exist…well, except to give us jokes where we say, “Heeelp meeee!! Heeeellllp Meee!”
If you haven’t seen this movie, I hate to tell you to not finish this article, but stop reading now, grab a copy and watch it. If you are a fan of horror, science fiction, or thrillers, you owe it to yourself to see this film.
David Cronenberg is doubtlessly one of my favorite directors. When he was tapped to direct this film, he looked at the script and practically re-wrote the entire thing leaving only the concept that a man and a fly are joined at a molecular level. What he put in is some of the most psychologically visceral storytelling in a horror movie ever seen. Which, we would find after this movie put his name firmly on the map of cinema, would become his trademark style.

Hey baby, wanna fuse?

This is also Jeff Goldblum at his best. Often enough in his films, he plays it either remarkably quirky or stoically straight, in this film, like Brundle and the fly, he merges the two and creates a character that is charismatic and uncomfortable to watch yet at the same time almost completely believable. Geena Davis, who I’m not normally a fan of, plays her role here better than just about anything else I’ve seen her in and their chemistry is SOLID.
If you don’t know the story of this film and you’re reading this article, I’m not going to say anything more other than to reiterate what I said to begin with, go watch it now, but you might want to bring a friend along because you will be afraid, you will be VERY afraid…

1) John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)

If you ask me, the 80’s film industry was ruled by three guys named John. John Hughes, John Landis, and John Carpenter. For me and my burgeoning geeky love of horror and science fiction, ESPECIALLY John Carpenter.
Like “The Fly”, Carpenter’s “The Thing” practically erased it’s predecessor from memory, 1951’s “The Thing From Another World” starring Gunsmoke’s James Arness as the titular creature.
To describe this film, the words, thrilling, claustrophobic, paranoid, dramatic, suspenseful, and ultimately, DEFINITELY frightening are the first to come to mind. This movie was a horror and science fiction game-changer. So much so that to date, very little in the genre has been able to overshadow it or recreate the authentic terror the film exudes.

Hi, my name’s Kurt Russell. What kind of awesome badass can I portray for you today?

Also, this film is Kurt Russell in his heyday. He had recently come off “Escape From New York” where he breathed life into the anti-hero, “Snake Plisskin”, and would soon become one of my personal hero’s in a movie that will forever be in my top five favorites, “Jack Burton” in “Big Trouble in Little China”. Notice something there? No? Both of those films were directed by John Carpenter as well. A note of interest often overlooked is that in the mid-70’s, Kurt Russell was in an episode of “Gunsmoke” starring James Arness who, again, played the role of the monster in the original “Thing From Another World”.
Carpenter’s “The Thing” unfortunately didn’t do very well in the box office as it had just so happened to release at the same time as another, more family friendly, alien-centric film, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”. It also didn’t help that in 1982, film-goers weren’t used to such excessive scenes of gore, although most will tell you, they aren’t really all that excessive when watched in the context of the film. The horrific, suspenseful ambiance is actually enhanced by the discomfort given by seeing such viscera.

One of the only things from a movie to ever to invade my nightmares.

And there you have it! I’m sure not everyone is going to agree with all of these, it was hard enough for me to pick from so many great films, but I feel pretty good about this list. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!

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!!!!