Thursday, August 30, 2012

School's back in full swing, and that means lots of my free time has been taken up these past two weeks, hence the lack of posting. Things will get back to what passes for normalcy in the Batcave soon enough though. One thing that hasn't changed, I still have time for comics. I always have time for comics.

Big things have been promised from the Hellboy stable of books at Dark Horse for this year, and I gotta say so far they've delivered the goods. This arc in BPRD though, is the one I've been itching to read. My initial thought when I saw the title "The Return of the Master" was that Rasputin was being resurrected, and I got all excited. Looks like that's not the case though, and the "Master" being referred to is Dr. Lazar. In any event, the BPRD is going to be neck deep in evil nazi scientists again, courtesy of Zinco Corp, and that friends is the kind of Hellboy comic bookery I love to read. Bring on Kroenen!

If you've followed my advice, you already have the stories collected in this "Neighborhood Watch" one-shot. However, if you love the Beasts of Burden the way I do, you'll buy this anyway. I've been reading comics for almost 25 years, and in that time only once has a book nearly brought me to tears, and it wasn't when Bane broke Batman's back either, it was an issue of Beasts of Burden. I've talked about the Beasts before, when they teamed up with Hellboy, but I simply can not recommend it enough. As I said, Neighborhood Watch is a collection of the short stories that were originally printed in Dark Horse Presents, in which the gang must thwart a devious Goblin who has been stealing chickens, three pups get a history lesson from a wise old dog about a dog's place in the Dark Ages, and they investigate the mysterious appearance of a flock of ghost sheep. Believe me when I tell you this is far from childish, despite how it may sound, and is also a perfect example of comic book storytelling at it's finest.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Got Nards?

This Monster Squad themed beauty, available from Ript Apparel, is one of the best I've seen in a while. It's on on sale for 24 hours, so be sure and get one today.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Special Guest Post - Taking on the Dead with Annie Walls

A while back via Blogger, I met indie author, hockey fan, and all around awesome chick, Annie Walls and learned of the existence of "The Famished Trilogy", a series of novels she's currently working on getting done and promoting. The premise seemed like something I would dig, and I enjoy helping promote indie artists in any way I can, especially those who are attempting to make a living doing what they love, and I inquired as to where I could buy a copy of her first novel, "Taking on the Dead". Turns out I wasn't quite ready yet, but via Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, we continued to stay in touch. Fast forward a few months, and Annie is gearing up for a "Taking on the Dead Debut Celebration", which I of course asked to be a part of.

She graciously accepted my request to join in the fun, and to my surprise she offered to let me post an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from the book! That's right folks, you're only gonna see this here in the Batcave. For your eyes only, a little taste of what we will be reading when Taking on the Dead finally arrives:

Taking on the Dead Excerpt by Annie Walls

I sneak around to the garage, and by luck the door is still open from my escape. Going in slowly, I hear a commotion underneath the floor, confirming they’re below. Instead of going by way of the kitchen, I tip toe through the formal dining room into the master bedroom. Removing the two bottles of tequila from my pack, I use half of one and pour it on the bed. It takes a minute for the tequila to chug out. Lighting it with a lighter, it goes up in flames instantly. I watch to make sure it still catches after the alcohol burns. I open the window so the air will feed the fire. Dry things, like my parents oak furniture that hasn’t been polished in four years, will feed the flames too.

I dump the other half of the alcohol on the couch in the living room. I light it and move on to my bedroom. After opening the window, I dump half of the second bottle over the bed and carpet. I’m moving into the kitchen when raised voices roar up outside. They’ve realized the house is on fire. I glance in the living room – the dry furniture caught fire quickly. There’s a pang in my heart, but my dad would be proud that I’m doing what I need to. 

 I soak the counter and floor the best I can and pull a rag from my back pocket. I put it on the counter to soak it before setting it aflame. The blaze travels across the counter and drips in little fireballs onto the floor, helping the fire spread. It sounds much cooler than it is, because it happens in a split second. Flames lick across the ceiling from the hall and living room, with smoke filling the house. I’m quite satisfied with the job I’ve done. Sweat beads down my abdomen from the heat. The smoke is getting thicker; I need to get out of here.

I race out of the house and pull my crossbow strap over my head so I can carry it by hand. Flames shoot out from the window of my bedroom. Imagining my white washed bed burning and black with char, I inhale the smoke. There’s yelling and shouting in the backyard. Feeling elated, I race through the privacy fences. It’s dark, but I’m worried about the living dead. The fire will attract them more than me. I bump into something, and it grabs me. “Ah, shit!” I stumble, swinging up my crossbow.

What a cliffhanger! I want more NOW! Ahem... Not content with merely doing a guest spot to talk about The Famished Trilogy, and giving me that awesome exclusive excerpt, Annie asked for a topic to talk about for her post. I thought about it for a bit, and asked if she would be interested in writing about being an indie author, putting in the hours and hard work trying to get published. I was worried that it might be a bit of a boring subject, but honestly I feel like most of us who put in the time to blog are, in some sense at least, aspiring writers. Maybe not novelists, but interviewers, reviewers, whatever. It's certainly a topic of interest for me anyway. She happily obliged, so without further ado, here's Annie...

Jumping into Indie Publishing
I just want to say how much Mitch rocks for letting me take over his blog. I feel kind of cool being in the Batcave. Why is he letting me take over his blog today? I’m getting ready to independently publish my debut novel, Taking on the Dead, Book One of The Famished Trilogy! I want to share some things I’ve learned and picked up on along my publishing journey.
Taking on the Dead was written a few years ago. In fact, the whole trilogy is completed. I didn’t know I wanted to publish until I had some family tell me it’s a story that needs to be shared. I wrestled with the idea. Mainly because I’m an introvert. I can’t stand the thought of speaking in front of people, meeting new people, signing books, or just being the center of attention. My own wedding consisted of 25 people, and that was fine by me.
Anyway, I did my research on publishing and come to find out there are several ways to publish. It’s really overwhelming, but it comes down to what you want and what’s right for you.
The worst thing about Indie Publishing is anyone can do it. It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry are publishing their work. This isn’t that great. I mean, sure follow your dreams and all that. Just don’t sell yourself short and do it half-assed. Why do I say this? I read A LOT of indie books. Only one out of ten are good. Maybe one out of twenty are spectacular reads. I’m not saying their stories are bad, just the writing. Writing is a craft, even if you’re the next Stephen King, that can be constantly improved. There are all kinds of writers, even if you just blog on your passion in life, you're a writer, BUT you should never stop wanting to improve. With that said, I'm always submitting for review requests, and some book bloggers completely overlook me because I’m self publishing. I understand where they come from because I’ve gotten to the point where if I’m editing on the first page, I stop reading it. Sadly, this is almost always the case. And no, I’m not saying I’m great or better, and my story is the next best thing since fish sticks. I’m only saying indie authors have a bad rep for laziness and taking the easy way out because most of us are lazy. And every single one of us knows if we are the bad apples or not. You know if you are doing it right or not. Indie publishing has ups and downs with pitfalls along the way. It’s a learning process. 
There are certainly good aspects of traditional publishing, and I’m not saying that I hate it or it’s a bad thing. Honestly, if a publisher were to offer something... I’d give it some serious thought. The first thing, in my opinion, the reason some people go through the angst of submitting to agents and publishers is for the simple fact they’re looking for someone to say, “Your book is the next best-seller, and I want to take a chance on you.” Just remember major publishing companies receive over 100,000 submissions a year. So, if you’re looking for someone to say, “You’re the best I’ve ever read! Your going to make millions!” With the hopes for mass production, you’re not going to get that. At all. That brings me to another grand point of trad publishing, having your book available ANYWHERE! It takes MOOCHO MULA to distribute to different platforms in print for paperback and/or hardback. I have to admit walking into Walmart and seeing my book on the shelf, would be AMAZING! But, like I said, chances are slim. The last, and in my opinion, the best point for going traditional is you can focus more on your writing. I spend 60% of my time promoting and marketing my book, when I wish I were writing instead.  
Now that I’ve probably pissed off every single author on the face of the earth, there is a point to all my truths here. Why would I want to deal with this seemingly terrible backlash of independent publishing?  
For the simple fact of, I don’t like being told what to do. Period. This is my way of fighting the traditional system. If one should do this, they should do it right. I can’t tell you how many revisions I’ve made to Taking on the Dead. Two years worth. I’ve got an editor. I’ve got a graphic designer. I’ve got a street team and several beta readers. A small platform of loyal readers and a major support system of authors and writers. I take my time, think things through, and I have goals (that I have to reset because I’ve met most of them by a landslide). I also do not expect to be the next best thing, and if you want to publish realistically, then you should set realistic goals. On my release day, I’ll be extremely happy to sell one copy for each one given away. That is a realistic goal. Honestly, by what I’m already doing, what’s a publisher going to do that I can’t, besides mass produce? Even now, big publishing houses are encouraging their authors to take more time connecting with readers.
The best thing about indie publishing? All the awesome people you meet. If I didn’t start blogging and building relationships, I don’t know what to say to that because my life has certainly changed in the past year of promoting Taking on the Dead. I’ve made a few friends, joined a writing group with other writers, just like me, that want to do it right. It changed my whole outlook on publishing. When things are bad, the support system is there to help you through it. Not to mention, all I’ve learned and how much better my writing has gotten and continues to get better. In fact, I hope it never stops getting better. I’m starting to thrive on the friendships I’ve built with like-minded people. I’m glad I didn’t send in my MS to any agents, it’s not what I’m looking for. I love connecting with the readers and sharing their excitement. For me, this long, frustrating, anxious journey has been worth it. 
Indie Authors are also the best at communicating with readers on a personal level. I take the time to read and respond to messages. Granted, some might not have the time, but I’ve never known one to not respond to me.  
Great Ways To Support Indie Authors
-Buy our books, they are cheap.
-Leave a review on the distributer site or a star rating on a book site such as Goodreads.
-Share! Share, share, share! Share with everyone, especially if you loved the book. Pimp us whole-heartedly, we do not care.
-Tell a local library or bookstore about your favorite indie reads. If you request it enough, they’ll grab a copy to stock!
-Don’t accept pirated copies! We work our butts off and spend countless hours writing, revising, editing, and promoting so we can share the landscapes of our imaginations. If you want to read it, request it from your library! =D 
Mitch has posted an exclusive excerpt from Taking on the Dead. I hope you like it! Don’t forget to visit me on my site, Facebook, or Twitter! All week long, there are giveaways for Taking on the Dead. I’ll also be doing another guest post on The Good, The Bad, and The Undead: The Hardships on Writing the Apocalypse and Zombies.

This was freakin awesome of Annie to do, and I want express my gratitude to her for taking the time to do a write up for the Batcave. Be sure and follow along with the progress of The Famished Trilogy, and the rest of the Taking on the Dead Debut Celebration by visiting Annie's website, liking her Facebook fan page, checking the book out on Goodreads, and giving her a follow on Twitter. Do your part to help support indie writers!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Infinite Playlist - Ballad of a Broken Man

After a bit of a lull in new music, lately I've finally had some stuff to rock the eff out to. Topping my current "listening to constantly" list is the new album from Miss May I, entitled "At Heart". I dig the entire album, but hands down my favorite track is Ballad of a Broken Man. Check it out, and prepare to have your face melted, in a good way. A very good way.

Monday, August 20, 2012

True Romance

For Tony Scott, may he rest in peace...

Way back in 1993, I had never even heard the name Quentin Tarantino. It was a dark time, before the bright, shining light that is the wealth of information known as the internet. Growing up in a small town, I had to rely on television, magazines, and the trailers that were included on vhs tapes I rented, to keep up with my favorite actors, actresses, directors, etc. Kids, it wasn’t as easy back then as it is today. True Romance showed up on my radar in absolutely no way due to it being written by Quentin Tarantino. Hell, I had never even heard of Reservoir Dogs. No, it was because of Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette that I knew I had to see it. I of course first discovered Patricia in Dream Warriors, like most of the rest of us did. To this day I have a crush on her. Christian Slater I knew from Gleaming the Cube, in which he made me want to be a skater, then Heathers which pretty much made up my young mind that I liked this guy, and would watch anything he was in. Other than those two, and of course a few other familiar faces I was almost completely clueless as to the rest of the cast. Looking back now, I can honestly say that I’m embarrassed at how little I knew then.

True Romance at it’s core is a love story, about two characters named Clarence and Alabama. Clarence is a lonely guy who doesn’t have a lot of luck with the ladies. He works at a comic book store, and doesn’t get out much. He loves Elvis, Sonny Chiba movies, and hamburgers. Basically, aside from the Elvis thing, this is a guy I can relate to. Every year on his birthday, he takes himself out to a movie. For this particular birthday, he’s taking in a Street Fighter triple feature, when a blonde stranger stumbles into the theater, spilling her popcorn all over him. She sits down beside him, they begin to talk, and she introduces herself as Alabama. After the movies, she invites Clarence out for pie, and he of course agrees. He then takes her and shows her the comic book store where he works, which seems to impress her greatly. Now, we all know at this point that something isn’t exactly right here because there are no women on this planet who go to Sonny Chiba triple features by themselves, let alone do so and start talking with random strangers they see in the theater, then proceed to have pie, and then follow said stranger to the comic book store he works at, and actually think all of this is cool. Clarence seems oblivious to all this though, and invites her home for the night.

The next morning Clarence wakes up, and finds Alabama sitting by herself on the roof outside his apartment window. Obviously upset, when Clarence approaches, she decides to come clean with him. Alabama is a call girl, hired by Clarence’s boss. Apparently he knew Clarence was a bit of an introvert, and he just wanted him to get laid on his birthday. What none of them saw coming was it being love at first sight between Clarence and Alabama. The call girl thing doesn’t appear to bother him in the least, especially being that it’s only her fourth day on the job, and the two of them profess their love for each other, running off and getting married that same day. After they leave the courthouse, Clarence learns of the existence of Drexl, Alabama’s pimp. Knowing he would be a bit of an issue, he decides to pay him a visit to let him know that Alabama was now spoken for and to collect her things. When he arrives, Clarence offers Drexl an envelope containing what he was willing to pay for his “peace of mind”, relieving Alabama from her services to him. The envelope is empty.  Being that you don’t typically get to just walk into a pimp’s home, with an empty envelope, and proceed to tell him that you’ve married one of his “workers” and that she won’t be employed with him any longer, of course a fight breaks out, which leads to Clarence killing Drexl and a few of his associates. Before leaving, he orders one of the other call girls to put Alabama’s belongings into a suitcase, which he collects and leaves.

When he returns to the apartment, he hands Alabama the suitcase, which she opens looking for clean clothes. Instead she finds a half-million dollars worth of uncut cocaine. Now, while most of us would view this as a problem, Clarence views this as an opportunity for he and his beautiful bride to make enough money to hop on a plane to a small island and live the rest of their lives on. He stops in to visit his father, whom he hasn’t seen in 3 years, to ask a quick favor. Turns out his dad is a former police officer, who still has friends on the force, and can check and see if the police have any leads on who murdered Drexl. When he’s confident they’re in the clear, he and Alabama leave for Los Angeles, where he plans to meet up with an old friend of his named Dick Richie, who he hopes can help him sell the coke.

Again, what most of us would probably stop and consider, but Clarence never does, is that a small-time pimp doesn’t exactly just tend to have a half million dollars worth of uncut cocaine lying around. That shit probably belongs to somebody. A somebody who is way bigger, way more dangerous, and is probably going to miss it. Sure enough, a Sicilian enforcer for a big time drug lord soon visits Clarence’s father, and discovers where Clarence is headed. Meanwhile, Clarence and Alabama have already arrived in L.A., and Dick, through a mutual friend has hooked them up with a potential buyer for the cocaine, a big time movie producer named Lee Donowitz. Dick’s friend Eliot works for Lee as an assistant, and has to do some convincing before Lee will even agree to meet with Clarence, as he’s highly suspicious of someone he doesn’t know being in possession of half a mill in coke that he’s offering to part with for only 200k. Really, who wouldn’t be suspicious?  He finally does set the meet though, but tells Clarence he will need a sample bag of the coke before things can proceed. Of course, Eliot takes the coke himself and proceeds to get busted for reckless driving, speeding in his Porsche while getting head from a prostitute.

Enter the police into this equation. Eliot, being the sniveling little bitch that he is, falls victim completely to the classic “bad cop, worse cop” routine when he’s taken in. He is eventually scared into wearing a wire to the deal, which is taking place in Lee’s hotel room. Clarence, Alabama, Dick, and Eliot arrive, and introductions are made, pleasantries are exchanged, and everything seems to be going along smoothly. It’s when Lee decides it’s time to talk business that things go to shit, and quickly. The police bust in first, with guns drawn, ordering everyone to get on the ground. Lee’s bodyguards, with guns of their own, refuse to comply. During the shouting, the Sicilians arrive to the party, and suddenly we have ourselves a three way standoff between the cops, Lee’s bodyguards, and a drug cartel. At the time, Clarence was oblivious to it all, in the bathroom having a heart to heart with his imaginary friend, Elvis. Things continue to escalate, and the movie culminates in an explosion of gunfire, blood, foul language, and gratuitous violence, or as I’ve now come to expect, the only way a movie written by Quentin Tarantino can end.

For as much as I spoiled in that “way more detailed than I normally do” movie synopsis there, I don’t want to spoil the ending. I will say that the first time I watched it, I was genuinely surprised at the ending though. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, given the situation and how things had played out until then. I absolutely fell in love with this movie the first time I watched it though, and I swear I love it even more every time I see it. While he didn’t direct it himself, this movie has Tarantino’s signature all over it. Say what you will about Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, or any of his other work, all are great, but for my money this is as good as Quentin’s ever been. True Romance is also a great indication as to how good of a director Tony Scott is. For as much as I love Top Gun, and enjoyed Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, and even The Last Boyscout (what?), this is by far my favorite of his films.

No movie, no matter how well written, can achieve this level of excellence without a good cast. In True Romance’s case, it’s one hell of an amazing cast. Let’s do the list, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Tom Sizemore, Chris Penn, Dennis Hopper, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Beach, Samuel L. Jackson, Val Kilmer, Bronson Pinchot (Balki!), Michael Rappaport, and of course, Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater. Sure, a lot of those names are now synonymous with Quentin Tarantino movies, but at the time? Not so much, and this is an incredible ensemble. Some are only bit parts, but almost everybody brought their “A” game to True Romance. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal favorite standout performances though. First, Gary Oldman. What can I say about the man that hasn’t been said before, in much better ways than I’m capable of? He’s absolutely a master of his craft, and absolutely genius as Alabama’s pimp, Drexl. I honestly still listen to him speak in this movie and can’t believe it’s Gary Oldman. I’m not exactly a big Brad Pitt fan, but he’s absolutely hilarious as Dick’s burnout roommate Floyd. He only has three scenes, and he never leaves the couch, but if you can watch him, using an empty bear-shaped honey container as a bong, attempt to give a room full of gun holding, Sicilian drug cartel members directions to a hotel, and not laugh, then perhaps your sense of humor is broken. Christopher Walken is at his Christopher Walkeney best as Vincenzo Coccotti. His scene opposite Dennis Hopper (as Clarence’s dad) is one of the best in the movie in my opinion. Tom Sizemore and Chris Penn don’t enter the movie until late, as the aforementioned “bad cop, worse cop” duo, but I don’t know if I’ve ever liked either of them more than I do in this film. They play off each other so well that I wish they had only done movies as a duo from this point on. I particularly enjoy the scene just prior to the standoff in the hotel, when they’re listening to Clarence and Eliot’s exchange in the elevator on the way up to the room. The only two times Val Kilmer’s even been cooler than he is as Clarence’s imaginary friend Elvis in True Romance is when he played Iceman in Top Gun, and Doc Holiday in Tombstone. He only appears a couple of times, but his dialog is fantastic. You can’t help but fall in love with Alabama from the very first time she’s on screen, and that’s all because of Patricia Arquette. She’s not only beautiful, but she never breaks character as this sweet, innocent girl that you can’t help but care for, even though she’s a prostitute, who is taking part in a major drug deal. It’s easy to see why Clarence fell in love so quickly with her. Even when she’s forced into situations where she ends up being a total badass, she pulls off sweet and innocent. This character was going to make or break the movie in my opinion, and Patricia ends up turning in the best performance of her career.

Finally, the reason we’re all here for Slaterocalypse, the man of the hour himself, Christian Slater. As mentioned earlier, it was in Gleaming the Cube that I discovered him, and Heathers that made me a fan. I’ve followed his career ever since. Friend, you are reading the words of a man who saw Kuffs in a theater. On purpose, and not because it’s what a date wanted to see. Is he always great? Not necessarily. Is he always entertaining? You bet your ass. Mobsters, Pump Up the Volume, Robin Hood, Young Guns 2, Murder in the First, The Wizard, and the list goes on. For as much as I love some of those, they all pale in comparison to his portrayal of Clarence in True Romance. Clarence is a quirky weirdo, with an Elvis obsession and an unhealthy addiction to hamburgers. Slater brings all of it to life perfectly, and his delivery of Tarantino’s trademark dialog is spot-on. Sadly, for me his career peaked with this film. I’ve stuck with him through almost everything he’s done since, even the near career suicide that was Uwe Boll’s “Alone in the Dark”. It looked as though he was going to get a much deserved bit of resurgence when he got the lead in Breaking In, which I thought was a great show, unfortunately it aired on Fox, and as with all great shows on Fox, it was cancelled halfway through the first season. Still, he has several projects in the works, and you can bet I’ll be watching all of them.

I literally recommend True Romance to anybody who likes movies, and I’ve never had anybody come back and tell me “well, that sucked”. At its heart, it’s a love story, it just so happens to be a love story penned by Tarantino, and as such is filled with foul language, lots of cocaine, and lots of violence. It never feels like a “mean” film though. Of course, it’s not light-hearted in the least either. It falls nicely somewhere in the vastness that exists between the two. If you like action, it’s in there, if you like comedy, it’s in there, if you like a love story, it’s in there, and hell, even if you like blacksploitation, it’s in there, and every single bit of it is well written, well shot, and well acted.

This is a re-post of the True Romance review I did for Back Online, Back On Duty during the Slaterocalypse. I normally would never do a re-post, but I wanted to do something to honor the memory of a director who's films I grew up watching and were a large part of my childhood, and to be perfectly honest went a long way toward creating my love of film in the first place. Tony Scott was a gifted director and storyteller. He will be missed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

Say what you want about it, but this is one of my favorite sequels to a movie that I loved of ALL time. I adore the insanity that is Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I will defend it to my dying day.

But the saw? The saw is family.

Monday, August 13, 2012


As with every Summer, Microsoft attempts to cash in on the drought of new games by beefing up it's offerings in the downloadable arcade marketplace. The "Summer of Arcade" is usually four or five games that come out weekly, and I'm usually interested in at least a couple of them. This year's games aren't quite as good as previous years have been, but there was one game in particular that I was really itching to play, Deadlight. You may recall I actually posted the trailer for this a looong time ago when I was browsing the net for upcoming arcade titles. I had never heard of it before, but I started following it after this post.

Deadlight finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, and since then I have bought and finished it, 100% complete. I just couldn't put it down. The story is your typical zombie invasion flair, only set in Seattle in the 1980's, which removes the convenience of things like the internet and cell phones. You play Randall Wayne, a man who has been separated from the band of survivors he and his family had taken up with. Throughout the course of the game, you must evade zombies, traps, and yes even other humans as you navigate the terrain of a post-apocalyptic city. There's a bit more going on plot-wise, but I don't want to spoil.

This is not an action game, there are those elements as at times you will be forced to use a weapon to dispatch a "shadow" (what the game refers to the zombies as), but ammunition is scarce, and it's almost always easier to either run for your life, or figure out a way around them. This is essentially a adventure game with platforming elements. If you're old enough to remember "Out of This World" then you're on the right track, but with a modern coat of paint, and some Limbo thrown in for good measure. It's a dark game, but has an artistic style that impresses. For as good as the game is, I think the soundtrack might be the most impressive thing about it. Whenever I hear the word "haunting" used to describe a film's score, I usually roll my eyes, but I can't think of any other way to describe the music in Deadlight. It only comes in at certain points in the game, but every time it did, I actually stopped what I was doing in the game to listen.

The game might be a bit on the short side, lasting only about 5 or 6 hours, but there are plenty of collectibles to find; pages from Randall's journal, ID badges on corpses, and even three handheld video games which are actually playable. I will say that on my first playthrough, I managed to find everything without using a guide just by paying attention to the environment and looking for ways into different areas. I did actually miss one thing, and had to go back and look it up, but that's only because it was a collectible that was easily missed as you had to do something to get it that you don't have to do to get any other in the game. Still, even at 100% complete, I'm playing through it again. I like it that much.

Deadlight is currently available in the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft points, or $15 in real monies. For most people that might be a bit expensive for the amount of content, but if you're like me and enjoy a good survival horror experience, it's a small price to pay for one of this year's best Arcade offerings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rest In Peace, Joe Kubert

Sad day in the Batcave, legendary artist Joe Kubert has passed away at the age of 85. He did so much for this medium I love, and he will be missed.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

VonKlingele Customs

Do you enjoy highly detailed, hand painted custom action figures, most of which are based upon obscure horror and exploitation films? Of COURSE you do. Well friend, allow me to point you in the direction of VonKlingele Kustoms. I found out about these custom action figures via a mutual friend on Facebook who was running a contest for a VonKlingele "Dear God No!" figure, which I of course mentioned earlier here. Once I saw the Nixon Vixen figure, I decided to check out some of their other work.

The very first pic I saw was this beauty:

This zombie Storm Trooper, or "Death Trooper" based upon the novel Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber, made my jaw drop. As you may or may not know, my brother is as into Star Wars as I am into Batman. In fact it's because of him that I even know of the existence of this book, and I knew I had to get him one. I contacted VonKlingele Kustoms to see if they did commissions, and fortunately they in fact do. Long story short, I told them what I wanted and a couple of weeks later, this beautiful beast is sitting proudly on my brother's shelf:

How amazingly badass is this? I knew I would be getting my money's worth when I asked for the commission, but damn, this went above and beyond what I was expecting. Needless to say, my bro was extremely happy with it. He was surprised too, as all I did was tell him that something awesome was heading his way and to clear a spot on his shelf for it. Never even hinted as to what it was. I can be a bastard like that, haha.

Here are some more of my favorite pics from previous work. These are just in random order, taken with permission from their Facebook page.

Exterminator 2

60's, 70's, and 80's era zombies


Caption N: The Game Master

Invincible isn't the only comic property getting some love, check out these Batman villains!

Finally, my personal favorite. Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes upon the amazing SHARKTOPUS! I don't just want one of these in my life, I fucking need it. I want a Sharktopus diorama, complete with Eric Roberts figure and bungee jumping bikini girl! Make it happen VonKlingele!

Do yourself a favor and visit the official VonKlingele Kustoms Facebook page for even more photos. They are currently taking commissions, so if you want a Death Trooper for yourself be sure and hit them up, or make a request for something different. I guarantee you will get nothing but quality work, done in a timely manner at a very reasonable price. Tell Jacob that Mister Bones sent ya!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Only one book I wanted to spotlight this week, and it didn't even come out this week. First and foremost, let me say this: Sean Murphy's new creator-owned mini series from DC's adults only Vertigo imprint, Punk Rock Jesus, is certainly not going to be for everyone. There is some seriously touchy subject matter going on here. Genetics, cloning, Christianity, evolution, atheism, teen pregnancy, and yes, even *shudder* reality television. For those still reading along here, buckle up, we're about to get biblical.

Punk Rock Jesus takes place in the year 2019. A brilliant geneticist, Dr. Sarah Epstein, has made great strides in her cloning research, nearing breakthroughs in environmentalism by delaying the extinction of polar bears via cloning, and the creation of a Hyper Plant which fought against global warming by feeding off of CO2 at an accelerated rate. Unfortunately, her research requires funding to continue and this is where television studio Ophis steps in. In exchange for the money Dr. Epstein needs, she is tasked with cloning a human being for their newest idea for a reality show. The human in question? Jesus Christ. Ophis wants to manufacture the second coming of Christ and air it as a reality series. The first step of the "J2 Project" is for the doctor to extract DNA from the Shroud of Turin in order to complete the cloning process, the next step? Finding their "Virgin Mary". Open auditions for teenage virgin females are held all over the counrty, and finally Ophis decides on an 18 year old named Gwen. She's implanted with the cloned DNA, fast forward 9 months, and the world is introduced to Ophis' newest reality sensation, J2, which stars Gwen, teenage mom to the second coming of the Messiah, a baby boy named Chris.

Oh my, and to think I almost didn't sign up for this book. Boy, is my face red. I like Sean Murphy's art, I absolutely loved Joe the Barbarian which he collaborated with Grant Morrison on, but that was the only thing he'd ever done that I'd seen. I wasn't sure I would dig Sean Murphy as a writer, and I already read a TON of stuff, plus it was a book about a new reality show about Jesus. If you know me at all, you know there's not a whole lot in the last part of that sentence that I'm interested in at all. But then I read a fantastic interview with him, and he basically sold me on the book. I will be eternally grateful that he did. This book is phenomenal, and I am madly in love with it in just two issues. I will openly weep when the 6th and final issue ships.

Sean's art is absolutely flawless here, it's quite obvious that this is his baby, and he's giving his all to it. It's a black and white comic, which I must admit to being a bit biased to as I absolutely love black and white art, and the pencil and ink work leap off the page. There is some insane detail work that I can't help but feel like would've been covered up had it been colored. Statistically, black and white books don't sell as well, so it's a bit of a ballsy move on his part, but in my opinion it pays off in spades. The story, well I said enough about it above. It's sure to offend the Bible thumpers out there, particularly when they catch a glimpse of the way the Christian protesters are portrayed, but as far as I'm concerned it's a hilariously relevant satire of the state of the entertainment industry and religion in this country today. I've laughed my ass off through two issues so far.

Again, this is a hard sell for everybody, but I'm confident that if you're reading this blog on a regular basis, you'll get as big of a kick out of Punk Rock Jesus as I am. Gorgeously detailed black and white art and a story that I wish would never end, 6 issues just isn't enough. I have hopes that Sean will continue this story past this first mini-series, but I have every intention of enjoying this while it lasts, and am sure I will revisit many more times past this initial reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Batman: Puppet Master

What we here is one hell of a Batman fan film. Puppet Master is set in the Nolan-verse, and bridges the gap between Dark Knight and Rises. Dig it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

[Rec] 3 Genesis

Pure. Fucking. Brilliance. That's the easiest way to describe the third film in the [Rec] series. As this one's making the rounds in the horror blogging community, I'm not going to waste much of your precious time, dear reader. There are plenty of places to read about this flick, and I tend to agree with most of the praise it's receiving.

I admit to being a fan of the [Rec] films, and yes, even the second. In all honesty, had Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza just done another similar sequel, I probably would've dug it too. Sequels are generally just more of the same, regardless of the media. These days, things tend to be wary of this and there seems to be a "rule of 3" with studios giving us plenty of movie franchise trilogies. I would've been perfectly happy had [Rec] been a trilogy, and then they called it a day. Well, Balaguero and Plaza didn't see it that way, and decided to do two more flicks, one each though instead of collaborating.

Genesis is Paco Plaza's sequel, which completely avoids any "same old thing" trappings by changing locales from a dark, urban, enclosed environment to a church wedding, in broad daylight. Another first in the [Rec] series, Plaza interjects comedic elements as well. This isn't a comedy, it's still a horror flick filled with loads of blood and gore, but there are a few laughs to be had as well. These changes are gutsy to say the least, but in my opinion, were absolute genius. These are the kinds of changes that don't always work in established franchises, but Plaza didn't re-invent the [Rec] wheel, he just made the series fresh again.

 I urge anyone who is into "infected" movies to give this a watch, it's a fucking blast. Even if maybe you didn't care for the first two, this one is different enough to be enjoyed on it's own. As for me, I really need to sit down and re-visit the first [Rec] because I want to say that it's my favorite of the series, but in all honesty, right now I'd have to say that Genesis takes that honor. That might be just because it's new, and I've fallen in love with it, but I guess time will tell on that one. Either way, Genesis has re-invigorated my excitement for this series, and I'm ready to see Balaguero's final entry, "Apocalypse" right the eff now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Say what you will about his take on Batman, but stuff like this is exactly what I want to read in Superman comics, and why no matter what I will read Grant Morrison Superman every single time.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

And the Winner Is....

I'm totally one of those annoying people who is always saying "I never win anything", but it's true in my case! I enter contests all the time, but never win. Here lately though, my luck has taken a bit of a turn for the better, as I actually won not just one contest, but TWO! You just know I'm gonna show off some stuff now, right?

First up, a supremely awesome and one of a kind prize courtesy of Tromeric's delight Guts and Grog. I never in a million years expected to win this customized figure based on the Nixon Vixens, characters that appeared in the wonderfully trashy Dear God No! The figure itself was done by VonKlingele Customs, and stay tuned for another post in the near future about him. I freakin love this thing, it's sitting proudly on top of my dvd shelf. Big thanks to Eric and VonKlingele Customs for the contest, and more importantly, picking my name from the hat!

Second was a contest run by Johnny over at Freddy in Space. I had actually had my eye on this particular prize prior to the contest, but had just been slacking on ordering one. Behold! The infamous Two-Headed Shark Attack t-shirt from Critters and Gods. I actually dig this shirt WAY more than I did the flick, heh. Thanks to Johnny and Critters and Gods, I'm actually rocking the shirt as I type this, and it looks pretty damn fresh on me, if I do say so myself.

In all seriousness, I am quite grateful for these. It always impresses me when people go out of their way to do giveaways on their blogs. It's a wonderful thing to be a part of the blogger community, particularly the horror blogger community. I've said it before a million times, but I have had the fortunate pleasure of meeting so many great people through this little blog.