Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Triple Play - 8/31/14

Howdy, folks, hopefully most of you are enjoying a three-day weekend for Labor Day.  Aside from knocking out the final round of album reviews for Blabbermouth this month and doing daddy duties, my brain is turned off.  Thus, this week's Triple Play has no rhyme or reason, just three jams I've got noodling around in the gray matter. 

First are British punk icons the Subhumans with the scathing "Apathy" from their start-to-finish brilliant album, Worlds Apart.  The title should be indicative enough of what you're getting if this is your first step up to it.  Next is a complete mood changer with The Cure's shoegazing dream-a-rama, "Out of This World," one of the most soothing songs I've ever heard.  Finally, a monster hit from the Scorpions and my vote for the greatest love ballad of all-time, "Still Loving You."  If you never made out to this song, you've missed out.  Point, endpoint.

For those readers looking for yesterday's pre-empted Cool Comic o' the Week selection, drop back here tomorrow!


Subhumans - "Apathy"

The Cure - "Out of This World"

Scorpions - "Still Loving You"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Batman Rules Tokyo, Not Gotham

Yes, there's the Batman of Japan in the DC universe as part of Bruce Wayne's international army, comprised of Batman, Incorporated.  However, a real-life, would-be Batman was seen cruising the Tokyo highways as captured in this photo.

Apparently this cat has the same kinda bank roll as Wayne himself.

                         Listenin' to:  Zero 7 - When it Falls

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Scorsese to Film Ramones Movie for 2016

Photo of The Ramones with Punk Magazine editor John Holmstrom and famed music journalist Legs McNeil, 1976, by Tom Hearn, courtesy of Spin.com.

The Ramones will always be dear to my heart as the band that saved my life, and one of my finest moments as a music journalist was spent in the company of Marky Ramone.  Joey's passing is still the only celebrity death I took badly, but with the entire original lineup now snapping off four counts in the great rock club of the afterlife, I'm feeling bittersweet about the announcement of a forthcoming Ramones movie.

Thank God it's Martin Scorsese doing it, since he's one of the greatest directors of our time, and his closeness to New York and Jersey gives him tremendous cred to take this project on.  I've no fear he'll nail it, even though his Ramones film is reported to be a biopic drama instead of a documentary. 

Gabba Gabba Hey, suffice it to say!

                             Ramones - End of the Century

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Triple Play - 8/24/14

This week's Triple Play features three awesome cover tunes.  I'm not a big fan of covers per se, but in certain genres such as blues and country, the cover tune is part and parcel and serves to honor those who've come before while sustaining the genre for future generations.

I have one simple criteria for the enjoyment of covers, no matter what genre:  Make it your own.  For instance, Grace Jones does a banging dance version of Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug" and Anthrax nails a metalled-up version of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time."  Janis Joplin and Big Brother crushes Erma Franklin's (though the song was written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns) "Piece of My Heart" like nobody else, so much most people think it's their song.

The covers I've chosen for this week are as left-of-center as you can get to the original versions and are thus my top three favorites.  First is a lightning fast take on The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" by obscure thrashers, Realm.  This could've turned out a sick joke, but it's highly proficient at such velocity and it remains a cult favorite of metalheads worldwide.  Afterwards is Devo's hilarious, manic dismantling of The Rolling Stones' hump classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," perhaps the greatest cover in rock history.  Finally, the Stones themselves get the last say with their incredible honky tonk jiving version of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away."  I was never the same as a young boy when I learned it was a cover. 

Let 'er rip, not rip off...

Realm - "Eleanor Rigby"

Devo - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

The Rolling Stones - "Not Fade Away"


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cool Comic o' the Week: Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman (2014) #1

DC Comics roots through their Silver Age archives to resurrect the classic Sensation Comics, the World War II-era forum that showcased the Amazonian dynamo, Wonder Woman in her salad days. Part of the big hype to the rebooted Sensation Comics is not just the fact Wonder Woman will be pitted against foes she's normally unaccustomed to, but it being a digital-first serial publication prior to mass print release.

Gail Simone, who just can't lose these days as writer of Batgirl, Red Sonja, Tomb Raider and now Sensation Comics, returns to her one-time post as Diana Prince's chronicler.  She's reunited with her Firestorm creative partner, Ethan Van Sciver on Sensation Comics, which has completed its first arc online and has now been issued in full as a standard issue in comics shops this week. 

You couldn't ask for a more intriguing opening yarn, "Gothamazon," as Simone and Van Sciver not only pit Wonder Woman against the main bulk of Batman's infamous rogue's gallery, they turn the pages back (or perhaps create an alterverse, since that's uber-vogue in comics these days) to bring Oracle back into the picture.  Barbara Gordon is featured in this story, not as the butt-kicking Batgirl, but back in her clandestine ops center, paralyzed post-Killing Joke.

As it's established in "Gothamazon" that Batman is injured, Oracle sets about recruiting someone else from the Justice League to clean house in Gotham once the gaggle of main baddies including Joker, Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and Man-Bat begin turning Gotham on its collective duff.  Choosing Wonder Woman over Superman, Green Lantern and Flash, Oracle guides Diana Prince into a fray that sets up one of the cooler premises DC's dished up recently.

As an Amazonian princess, Simone has Wonder Woman carry herself with a bit of a swagger and when it seems apparent she can mop up Batman's adversaries with relative ease, the story takes a wild twist.  Summoning her Themyscirian sisters to the battle when things heat up, the failure to contain the massive threat finds Wonder Woman begrudgingly demanding help from two unlikely allies:  Catwoman and Harley Quinn.

I'll leave you to see how this all plays out, but what I loved best about Sensation Comics # 1 is its back-to-basics comics ethos.  The regular Wonder Woman series by Brian Azzarello is a complex, entwined arc detailing a bloody power struggle of the gods, to which Diana finds herself an unwitting mediator.  I've championed Charles Soule's superb Superman/Wonder Woman series, though I'll be more than happy when it bows out of the annoying "Doomed" storyline.  With all the serious, brainy writing required for most mainstream comics these days (Avengers nowadays being one where a physics degree is prerequisite for reading, much less writing), the new Sensation Comics is thus far a different, welcome beast.  Like the Captain America:  Homecoming one-shot from a few months back, this is old-school comics fun.

"Gothamazon" is a well-played bash 'em up tale where even The Joker is dealt a trump card courtesy of Two-Face that figures into the story's ending.  Simone has all of Batman's villains (as they used to be before the New 52) nuances down pat, while Ethan Van Sciver draws the characters via how they appeared in the eighties and nineties.  Even Harley Quinn is back in her playing card-themed jester tights instead of her contemporary Riot Grrrrl revamp, and that's just too hard to resist.  Wonder Woman herself is depicted by Van Sciver with a merge of two eras, where the bottom section of her outfit drapes just enough over her hips at certain angles like the shorts-shorts height-era Wonder Woman.

The supplemental story in Sensation Comics # 1, "Defender of Truth," by Amanda Deibert and Cat Staggs brings Wonder Woman back into the New 52 era, including a quick reference to her romance with Superman.  Diana is pitted against the feministic Circe, who's turned loose gargoyles and sorcerous spells for Wonder Woman to thwart.  The best part of "Defender of Truth" comes at the end with a poignant statement by Deibert focusing on a boy getting harassed by his young male friends for thinking Wonder Woman's cool, only to receive a kiss from the Big W.W. herself for his loyalty.

While it's tempting to get on my high horse in denunciation of a favor toward digital media potentially killing off prints (since I've been firsthand collateral damage following the demise of numerous magazines I wrote for), the comics shops aren't doing too bad in adverse times.  Part of it is the success of superhero films, part of it from variant covers and part of it from Free Comic Book Day.  Mostly it's because this medium caters to something special many of us aren't willing to surrender, no matter what age we get.  It's something base yet escapist in nature we inherently have a need for.
Sensation Comics feeds that need in a big way.

                   Listenin' to:  Ace Frehley - s/t Kiss solo album

Friday, August 22, 2014

More of Ray's Blabbermouth Reviews Are Live

A few more of my Blabbermouth reviews are live: Entombed A.D., Seether, Grave Digger, Vallenfyre, Goatwhore and a couple of late catch-ups, Helstar and Autopsy.

Even more to follow...

                         Listenin' to:  Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Real Classy, Rook

Not even an official NFL season and not yet officially the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel commits a rookie's faux pas by flipping off the Washington Redskins' sideline in last night's preseason game.  Tempers flare, nasty words are traded by players on the field and taunting is always part of a game infested by showoffs and loudmouths (generally speaking, of course).  Still, you compose yourself if you call yourself a professional, rookie or not.  Even more so if you're vying to be a team's leader.

Caught on national t.v., expect this to be the hot topic amidst the sports press that already can't go ten minutes without bringing up Manziel's name.  Though the Atlanta Falcons have provided a good show so far, you have to figure HBO quietly wishes their Hard Knocks cameras had been swarming over Cleveland's camp this year.

                                   Listenin' to:  U2 - Boy

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Few of Ray's Reviews Are Live at Blabbermouth

Currently live at Blabbermouth are my reviews of new releases from Ace Frehley, Fozzy, Belphegor, Society 1, Novembers Doom, SOS and the posthumous live DVD from Ronnie James Dio, Live in London:  Hammersmith Apollo 1993. 

Plenty more reviews to follow in the immediate future.

              Listenin' to:  Ace Frehley - Space Invader

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Triple Play - 8/17/14

This week's Triple Play's selections all come from the early nineties, a period of transition in my life also marked by a major transition in modern music.  I don't have any picks for grunge, the most obvious swing away from the commercial dominance held by party metal and hip hop.  Instead, I picked three vibes that got my attention in a big way back then, though an industrial band could've easily made this cut, since I was following that scene pretty closely then too.

However, I'm going with three artists, two who are no longer together, who really ramped up my enthusiasm as heavy metal music was taking a nosedive and I was turning to other styles of music throughout my collegiate years.  Quicksand were still pretty damned heavy and their methodic, slow-rolling Slip album is evidence how minimalist aggression can be a powerful, emotive thing.  It's one of my all-time favorite records and "Fazer" is as good a lead track as any ever put down.

I really miss the hell of Lush.  The UK alternative scene was monster and though I was a late comer to it in the late eighties, I fell in love with this act as they were able to take the shoegazing ether of Ride, My Bloody Valentine and to certain latitudes, The Cure, and frequently turn a melodic dime.  "For Love" is Lush's most accessible tune, even though they strove for a pop-fused blend of punk following their stellar Spooky album.  The ploy worked, but they were gone as fast as they ascended, sadly due to circumstances beyond them.

Sade, what else needs be said?  A divine diva if there ever was one.  Her classy style of soul and jazz hit immediate resonance with me as I started trolling through rap and R&B in this same period of personal music exploration.  I was raised on sixties and seventies soul from my mother, and Sade was the first artist to capture me like those classic singers of yesteryear did, even if her style is nothing like them.  "No Ordinary Love" is, for me, one of the top five sexiest songs ever laid down.  The smooth operator was hardly masculine; it was Sade herself, if you take my intent.

Quicksand - "Fazer"

Lush - "For Love"

Sade - "No Ordinary Love"

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cool Comic 'o the Week: Creepshow

One of my absolute treasures aside an original fine grade copy of Tales From the Crypt # 44 is the Plume graphic novella for Creepshow. 

Obviously a cult film favorite, Stephen King's loving nod to EC horror comics was right on the mark in merging noir, camp and bloody mayhem with these five gruesome shorts.  They appear in the film by George A. Romero and of course, this comic adaptation that was drawn by the immortal Berni Wrightson.

You know the stories, or you damned well oughtta if you're a horror fan:  "Father's Day," "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill," "Something to Tide You Over," "The Crate" and "They're Creeping Up On You."  I won't rehash each plot-for-plot, but this comic edition from 1982 is a mandatory grab if you can score it on the collectors' market.  Berni Wrightson alone sells this thing, but of course, Stephen King's creature features are the reason for the season and Creepshow the book transcends the film.

This comic version is gorier than the movie and Romero and King hardly slouched, especially with "Father's Day," "The Crate" and of course, the gonzo bug burst from E.G. Marshall that crowns the film as its most over-the-top gross-out.  Wrightson's graphic slaughter of Adrienne Barbeau's bitchy character (you know, "just tell it to call you 'Billie'") in "The Crate" will satiate any gore hound.  The film would've had to go unrated (or, actually an "X" in those days) in order to live up to Wrightson's visceral carnage in this book.  Then I've still yet to decide which gives me the shivers more, the comic or the film depiction of "Something to Tide You Over."   Each pricks my skin as the most plausible revenge-on-revenge scenario of the five stories in Creepshow.

The film sequel Creepshow 2 was decent and effective at times, if a bit hurried, though I can't chime in on the third movie since I've yet to catch up to it.  Kinda hard to make the effort when you crack open King and Wrightson's masterpiece of comic schlock and it's all you need.  Their take on The Crypt Keeper, The Creep, is a pretty nasty bugger himself and he's a convincing homage.  It would be cool of Mr. King to take another shot at a horror comic since both genres are red-hot right now.  A little penance for the atrocity that is CBS' criminal bastardization of Under the Dome.

Suffice it to say, you should dig this up, pun intended.

                       Listenin' to:  Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

For my money, the best of the best of my times.  Unfair it had to end this way, but sometimes you just never know when someone with unrivaled talent and the propensity to stir the human soul on many levels is himself hurting deep inside.  For the funniest man I grew up with to be reportedly suffering from depression prior to his departure from life, that hurts as much as his passing itself.  Be at peace now, Robin, and thank you for the zillion laughs and the introspective performances you revealed to the world.

                 Listenin' to:  Lizzy Borden - Menace to Society

Monday, August 11, 2014

Just Because...

                         Listenin' to:  LL Cool J - Mr. Smith

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Triple Play - 8/10/14

This week, I have my son, Nolan, sitting at the desk with me as we troll for this week's Triple Play selections.  He and I voted on numerous video clips and came up with the following three.  First is my kid's new favorite song courtesy of The Specials, "A Message to You, Rudy."  It's the cutest thing watching him sing this track.  He's learned the words so quickly after only four listens, and I'm beyond impressed.

Though I can't play Nolan one-time electronic auteur LaTour's most famous song, "People Are Still Having Sex," we both started dancing around like goofballs to "Blue."  "Blue" is best known as the slamming dance track at the rave scene in Basic Instinct.  Finally, is Nolan's mandatory pick, The Great Wakkarotti from one the greatest cartoons of all-time, Animaniacs.  If you're a parent to a six-year-old or even a six-year-old yourself, it's a no-brainer why Nolan's all over "The Summer Concert."

Thanks, kiddo, great picks!

The Specials - "A Message to You, Rudy"

LaTour - "Blue"

The Great Wakkarotti - "The Summer Concert"

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cool Comic o' the Week: Groo vs. Conan Miniseries

At long last, it's happened.  Comics and fantasy fans thought the threat had been thwarted, but not so. 

Long in development and finally come to fruition is the mash-up some and none have wanted:  Groo vs. Conan.  What stemmed from non-serious comic book geekspeak of the nineties is now a reality.  Robert E. Howard's enduring pulp hero Conan the Barbarian is pitted in a four-issue frolic against Sergio Aragones' caricaturized and brain-dead doppelganger, Groo the Wanderer. 

When Groo became an overnight sensation for Marvel's one-time sister imprint, Epic Comics, many readers were found joking (usually over a spliff) about how the wakizashi-brandishing buffoon might fare against his hulking inspiration.  Well, now that Mad magazine doodle icon and Groo creator Sergio Aragones has recovered from a sidelining back surgery, Dark Horse Comics takes up an old cause with Groo vs. Conan and aims to settle the nutty debate once and for all.

In the first of the four issue miniseries, both Groo and Conan are introduced, but exposition of the story actually belongs to Aragones and writer Mark Evanier.  Conan gets a quick trad carve 'em up rescue operation to set up the story, but oddly, Aragones and Evanier become a part of the tale.  Set in a purported real-time, Aragones and Evanier trip across a comic book shop that's slated for decimation by developers.  Compelled to see what's up by the gaggle of protestors trying to preserve the store, Groo vs. Conan takes a zany twist as Aragones becomes victim of a series of slapstick head injuries that compels him to think he's Conan himself at times, and a confused artist at others. 

Evanier sells Aragones out to the cops who are busting up the protest and the brain-mashed Aragones escapes from the hospital (hilariously with his butt on parade from the back of his bed gown) and disappears into the woods. There, Aragones' addled, conflicting personae vicariously assemble Groo's tale, using his art boards as reference. 

Using reality (that being subjective in this case) to spin the yarn, Groo finds himself bumbling into a town where a bakery is about to be razed by the local bourgeoisie seeking to build a castle worthy of their liege.  At first it appears Groo is on the townsfolk's side, but being the bumbling idiot he is, Groo finds himself inadvertently hired by the king's would-be developers.  Naturally, Groo sacks the king's army by mistake, but is sent back to strong arm the same townsfolk he'd (sort of) bonded with. 

Thus prompts the townies looking to save their bakery from the king and Groo by tracking down none other than Conan the Barbarian to perform a hit on you-know-who. Thus the wacky stage is set for an assumedly wackier brawl, and we'll have to wait to see how it pans out. 

It's not just a contrast of art styles at stake in Groo vs. Conan.  Following an amusing but off-kilter intro for the first issue, it should be a zany ride from here on out.  Kudos to Dark Horse for having the guts to put themselves on the line for this project where brawn is sure to be undermined by doofy luck at times and ineptitude is glaringly exposed by a warrior's cunning.  Also sure to happen are more than a few bruised dweeb egos with outrageous deliberation over who's going to win this damned thing.

Personally, my money's on Rufferto.

           Listenin' to:  The 2 Tone Collection:  A Checkered Past

Friday, August 8, 2014

Preaseason Fun - San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Preseason action, Ravens and 49ers!  Football is back!  Thanks for the mad ticket hookup to my boss and co-worker.  My buddy and I had a hellagood time.

Is that a photo bomb from the beer man?

All photos by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

        Listenin' to:  Thievery Corporation - The Mirror Conspiracy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Answer Revealed in One Simple Sentence

Listenin' to:  Halloween III:  Season of the Witch Complete Original Motion Picture Score

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Little Personal PSA From Facebook

A little something I posted at my Facebook today.  Networking comes with many gray areas even without social media, and unfortunately it's even grayer with social media.

"I've been quiet and I'm not trying to be a dick, but it happens too many times, the presumptuousness in social media. I've been there. I have hopes and dreams and the need to connect with people who can point me in the right directions too. I've made the same mistakes years ago. It's a tough gig being an artist, I know. HOWEVER, please don't add me as your friend, then hock me for an album review right off-the-bat. Get to know me first, and I thank ya."

Listenin' to:  Pelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw

Monday, August 4, 2014

Strangely Sexy

Weird, kinda sick, buuuuuuuuuut...

To think these ladies are our potential mothers/grandmothers.  Debauchery reigns, no matter what era.

            Listenin' to:  Type O Negative - World Coming Down

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Triple Play - 8/3/14

For this week's Sunday Triple Play, we focus on drums and percussion.  I had a hard time narrowing it to three choices since drumming in pertinent to nearly every single music form there is.  Even electronic music relies on a digital pulse representing a hard beat to keep things moving.  I could've gone with more rock-oriented choices, some Celtic, Asian or Latin drumming (which I spend much time with in my free listening sessions) but after much deliberation, I narrowed it down to these three cuts.

First is Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's one-time side venture, Diga Rhythm Band.  Hart is renowned for his love of and deep involvement with world music.  DRB probably has the most percussion per square inch of Hart's enterprises and I've always loved the jazzy xylophones that counter the dominant raga flavor of their music.  Next is the late African conga master Babatunde Olatunji.  When I worked in Baltimore City, I met a property abstractor who was a percussionist on the side and I always loved talking to him.  He turned me on to Olatunji and I'm grateful to him for it. 

Finally, we have the immortal Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich in a fun, freestyling jam on The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show.  Art Blakey is probably my favorite jazz drummer, but Krupa and Rich will always be recognized as the best of the best five piece kit slammers who roamed the Earth.  This clip is a joy to watch two legends enjoying themselves and their host, Sammy Davis, Jr. get into the whole thing along with the orchestra.

Diga Rhythm Band - "Razooli"

Babatunde Olatunji - "Oya (Primitive Fire)"

Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich drum battle on The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cool Comic o' the Week: Guardians of the Galaxy # 1 (Third Eye Comics Variant)

I've had my little rants about variant covers, but I end up profiling them from time-to-time nonetheless.  Hypocritical, maybe, but I suppose there's some things you can't fight.  I loathe the phrase "it is what it is," but when it comes to variants, the idiot idiom certainly sticks.  Thus, as a comics fan, you either pick the cover you like best or you go uber-collector-style and grab them all.

Best of luck to you if you're a Guardians of the Galaxy fan trying to gobble up the 21 (yes, 21) variant covers of the # 1 reboot you can scarf out there.  Of course, this series re-launch issue came out in the summer of 2013, so that means you'll likely be paying way more than cover price, so I wish you even better luck.  With the release of the new Guardians film this week, it'll probably be the year 2114 before you ever see any of these variants drop into the dollar bins at your local retailer. 

As many variants are pushed as comic convention specials and comic shop exclusives, it can be a test of mettle (and bank accounts) if you have to have every single cover of a specific issue.  If that applies to you, then Godspeed, chum. 

It's no secret the vast number of people learning about Guardians of the Galaxy are only getting their first exposure with the film.  This series has always been insiders-only, since for most in the mainstream world, the idea of a laser gun-toting raccoon sits as well as...well, a laser gun-toting raccoon.  Word to the wise, though; don't you ever call Rocket a raccoon if you don't want your bunghole blasted apart like a newborn nebula.

What some folks don't know is that Guardians of the Galaxy has actually been around (on-and-off, of course) since 1969, their first appearance coming via Marvel Super-Heroes # 18.  You just never know when a future legacy is bred innocuously within some other forum, i.e. Batman with Detective Comics, Thor in Journey Into Mystery, Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Ant Man/Giant Man with Tales to Astonish, Spiderman in Amazing Fantasy or Sin City in Dark Horse Presents.

The original Guardians might as well be considered one of the original crossovers, as they haunted numerous Silver Age Marvel titles such as Marvel Two-in-One, Marvel Presents and Marvel Team-Up.  They also cameoed in existing character books such as Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Defenders and Ms. Marvel.  In the nineties, they returned in their own series and a subsequent miniseries, Galactic Guardians, albeit caveat if you're a newbie learning the ropes; this isn't the current lineup you see in the film and existing title run by Michael Bendis. 

It'll take another five to ten minutes to run through all of the old Guardians (Yondu Udonta, Martinex T'Naga and the more-familiar Adam Warlock, as examples), so I'll can the history lesson.  If you're just assembling all the pieces behind Star Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora and Drax, you're to be commended for that in itself.  Welcome to a cooler world.

My copy of the new Guardians of the Galaxy # 1 is a variant special to Maryland comics superstore, Third Eye Comics.  I've sung this store's praises in public forums in the past and consider them and Cards, Comics and Collectibles the two best comics retailers in the state.  In Third Eye's case, it's not just because of their stellar service, deep stock and frequent in-store appearances from comics creators.  They tend to get their own variant covers, often for # 1 issues.  Recently, I was able to snag their # 1 variants for Silver Surfer, Nailbiter and of course, Guardians of the Galaxy.  Even better, first printings at cover price and I was late to the game with Guardians # 1.  

See, even jaded jerks like me can play the fanboy game once in a while, and for the record, I am Groot, nyeh...

                         Listenin' to:  Heart - Dreamboat Annie

Friday, August 1, 2014

MSN Movies Picks the Worst Superhero Films Ever

I don't read all of MSN's "Best of" and "Worst of" Hollywood series, but being the comic nerd that I am, I jumped all over this.  Kudos, they nailed it by blowing raspberries at the biggest leather 'n spandex stinkers to this point, albeit I have a small soft spot for Jennifer Garner's Elektra.  I repeat, a small soft spot.

This was well-researched and it pulled some films the average superhero film junkie likely never knew existed.  I would've put Superman III in place of Superman IV:  The Quest for Peace, though both are assured turkeys.  How MSN missed Dolph Lundgren's abysmal outing in The Punisher is beyond me, but God bless them if they missed that dreck altogether.

Check it out:


                Listenin' to:  Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking