Great Television Analyzed : Boris Karloff’s THRILLER (1960-1962)

THRILLER is a tv series hosted by the late, great Boris Karloff, that even for fans and students of cinema and television, is more rumored of than actually seen. So imagine my happy surprise to come home from a hard day of work and find the first season of this perennially hard to find show, available on the Roku Streaming Channel for free.

Very much an attempt to ride the popularity of Rod Serling’s TWILIGHT ZONE (1959-1964), THRILLER ran only two seasons, starting out as a crime/thriller series before drifting into pure horror. The show never truly finding its footing or audience, but is remembered fondly by fans of classic television.

After watching the first episode “Twisted Image” I can see why. WoW! As someone watching this episode for the first time, 59 years after it was first aired, I was absolutely riveted. Everything here, works, the cinematography, the direction, the performances, the writing, the undercurrent of sex, dread and desperation… I mean we have seen variations on this theme, in the decades since, and yet this episode  still manages to own every single minute of its 48 minute run-time.

I can only imagine how powerful this episode must have seem in 1960. To a generation just coming off of shows like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER it must have felt nearly X-rated. And yet 60 years removed from that relatively simpler America, the show somehow magically still has power, and is still oddly relevant to our world now. A world of desperate people, doing desperate things, in an attempt to find someone to hold them through the night.

Directed by the esteemed Arthur Hiller, from a teleplay by James Cavanagh, from a novel by William O’Farrell, this is as good a 48 minutes of television as you will find.

And a quick aside about Arthur Hiller, while his cinematic filmography is impressive (see some of his movies below) it is filled mostly with comedies.

It is his little seen early television work that is imbued with this seedy, nightmarish intensity.

Tobruk (1967)The Out of Towners (1970)Miracle of the White Stallions (1963)Man of La Mancha (1972)

Al Pacino, Dyan Cannon, Tuesday Weld, Bob Dishy, and Alan King in Author! Author! (1982)

Liam Nielsen, long before becoming known to a younger generation as a comedic lead, cut his teeth doing serious, often mirthless roles. And this episode of THRILLER is one such role.  He is great here, as is the rest of the cast, but the real draw for me is actress Natalie Trundy, her beauty and fragile madness is the spark, that burns the whole world down.

Just a phenomenal episode. I would buy the boxset of THRILLER on Dvd/BLU-RAY  just to own this episode. It is that good. I put it right up there with the first episode of the original ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. Now as I mentioned not every episode is a hit. Every great episode seems to be followed up with two mediocre ones, but the series is worth having for the great ones. Try it for free courtesy of Roku, and if as impressed as I, use the link below to get the box-set, while you can.

 

https://amzn.to/2IjIrsF

 

 

 

What’s Hot and What’s Not STREAMING/VOD Guide Week 11 – AMAZON PRIME Edition

WORTH FINISHING/PRETTY DARN GOOD:

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Both movies from the early 90s are of course very dated. Martial Arts had only broken into  the main-stream American conscience barely 15 years earlier. And American Martial Arts/Fight Choreography was still finding itself. And we were still in that very formulaic 80s urban crime/ Deathwish style of filming. All those caveats aside the movies remain incredibly entertaining, with a few pretty awesome sequences. Jeff Wincott and Cynthia Rothrock were prolific 80s action stars for a reason. And that reason is on display in these movies. Along with movies such as SILENT RAGE and PERFECT WEAPON and THE LAST DRAGON these films are fun and fine examples of American Cinematic Martial Arts in its early days.

 

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I consider Patrick McGoohan one of the best actors ever. And his SECRET AGENT MAN/ DANGER MAN one of the best TV shows. His fight choreography in that show, which predated the James Bond films, elevated fight choreography. The same way that the first season of ARROW raised the bar. Then the first season of DAREDEVIL raised it even higher. Patrick McGoohan, former soldier, former boxer, brings all that to his roles. And here, a much older McGoohan past throwing punches, is no less, cinematic gold.

Richard Burton in a horror movie? SOLD!

https://cdn.cinematerial.com/p/500x/quedcqtx/the-witch-who-came-from-the-sea-blu-ray-cover.jpgThe late 60s and early 70s was such an interesting time for film. Just as borders were being changed and challenged in our world and ourselves, they were also being expressed in our fiction. Particularly our films. There is a malleability and ephemeral-ness to much of the best films from this period. They are not any one genre, or any one thing. Are like our night-scapes, daringly un-solid, and always changing, depending on the viewer, and the viewed. This film will stay with you, long after you have seen it, until you are not sure it was ever a film, but rather maybe a dream, you forgot to dream.  The sight of breaking bone, and spurting blood, is everywhere in this film, and no where. A haunting film.

This one does not start well. Took me a couple attempts to finish it. Much like GOATSUCKER  that started awful, it just gets better and better, culminating in an impressive ending.

INTERESTING / JURY IS OUT

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NOT WORTH YOUR TIME / AVOID

Nightshot (2016)https://i1.wp.com/www.dreadcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mortalremainsnew.jpgStarts interestingly, but like most failed horror films, loses any concept of common sense by the third act. Is this something any rational person would do? If the answer is no, then do not put such stupid actions in your darn movie. I wanted the time I spent watching it, back. Avoid.

 

My Favorite COMIC BOOK Youtube/Roku Channels of 2018!!! Starting off with AFTA COMICS, MERCENAUT and HERB TRIMPE!?!

COMICS

  • TheGO2 Geeks
  • Silver-Aged Dave
  • AFTA Comics
  • Regie Simmons IFBB Pro
  • DS Comics
  • Earl Grey
  • Comics with Bueller
  • Wallace Ryan
  • ComicTom 101
  • Pop Culture Philosophers
  • SleepyReader666
  • Professor Thorgi
  • Metarog
  • Chycho
  • ETA Nick
  • Nighttiger
  • Comichyjinx
  • LeeKirbyDitko
  • CurtisCamron
  • Farley’s Nerdcave
  • Rwheatley0206
  • Saddle City Comics
  • Forest City Coins and Comics
  • BargainHuntersThrift
  • Area 51
  • Arkham Comics las Vegas
  • Comic Buying
  • Tony Sanders
  • Tony Tothe
  • Tom Ryan
  • DrVonChilla
  • CaptainStrangeLife
  • Simon Comics
  • UltimateChance
  • Thugie1
  • Comic Book Ninja
  • ComicHero77
  • Comic News Network
  • Gotham Comics
  • HeroHunter81
  • Longshanks_78
  • Master X
  • Lord Tatman
  • Symphonic-Elk
  • Knights_of_Old
  • Jerno’s Comics
  • YicketyYackety
  • TJ Watson
  • WhatCulture
  • Wiebes TV
  • Windy City Comic
  • Yanni Gogolak
  • Islord 372
  • Batzman’s Classic Cars & Comics
  • Mercenaut

I will be speaking on all these channels in more detail, regarding why they made my 2018 best of List.

I am going to start with the last on this list MERCENAUT and work my way up.

https://www.youtube.com/user/mercenaut

Mercenaut is on this list, not for being a White Supremacist or Black Activist ( inside joke, watch his channel) but for a single show he did in 2018, where he showed off a copy of CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8. With that episode, this guy along with the Epic Marvel Podcast and Afta Comics, started my hunt and love for Herb Trimpe covers in 2018. The CAPTAIN BRITAIN mag sported a STUNNING Herb Trimpe cover which is shown below.

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Prior to that while i remember Herb Trimpe, I never really paid attention to how great of a cover artist he was. Between MERCENAUT’s showing, and the brilliant Trimpe Western cover’s that AFTA Comics showed, this year has very much been the year of collecting Herb Trimpe and Larry Leiber comics. Some of Trimpe ones I picked up this year are:

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As great as Trimpe’s Super Hero Covers are (With his work on the INCREDIBLE HULK being arguably his finest) his western work which I did not get exposed to until this year, I love even more. Just look how much storytelling he puts into those covers.

In an age where modern comic covers no longer tell a story, largely are just pinups having nothing to do with the content of the book, Herb Trimpe was able to tell a great story using just the cover.

Thank You Mercenaut, Afta Comics, and Epic MArvel Podcast for putting the late great Herb Trimpe on my radar!!

Okay quick rant on variant/multiple covers.

Darn you Variant Covers!!! You are diluting the medium. You can not have an ICONIC issue and multiple covers. Now again everything in moderation. A variant cover here or there is fine, but it has become the rule rather than the exception.

As a consumer, buy what you like. But as the publisher/producer of this content too much choice in a market can be as harming as too little, if it generates confusion, and stymies adoption by potential readers, in favor of courting speculators.

 

And that is just what is happening in the market place. In an effort to milk a diminishing audience, the mainstream publishers resort to the skankery of pimping multiple covers (yes I did just coin the word skankery 🙂 ) to the speculator segment, which harms the iconic nature of a work as much as alternative endings, to those of us who actually think books should be read.

To be iconic a thing must live memorable, in the shared consciousness and memory of the audience.

A memorable cover, or a memorable line, or a memorable poster, or a memorable ending. You think of Exorcist you think of a singular poster, You think of Casablanca you think of that ending, you think of Citizen Kane you think of that beginning, if you think of the original UNCANNY X-MEN 138, you think of the classic cover of Cyclops walking way from the X-MEN and toward the reader. And the background framed by all these beautiful UNCANNY X-MEN covers tinged in purple. For my money the single most beautiful and poignant X-men cover of all time, by John Bryne, another great artist,

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That… for an image, or line, or scene, to stay memorable not just in your memory, but in the memory of a generation,… is to be iconic. People my age have a shorthand, a shared pop-culture language, that makes us part of a shared conversation.

Unfortunately people growing up on comics today, have no such singular, iconic cover or image to define a moment or a book. Because that one clear vision is muddied and diminished by multiple covers so the publisher can try and milk the speculator market, rather than serve the longer and more far reaching nature of creating something singular and memorable.

It’s the same way mainstream publishers are diluting their most popular characters with these shoddy imitations/iterations that only help to eradicate what was unique about the original character. You have now 15 variations of wolverine running around, Including one that is part Hulk, part Wolverine. Really? This is fan-fic, being done by the publishers, with no real consideration beyond milking the speculator market. They have strip-mined their own effectiveness as a sequential platform. 

That and the price point of Marvel and DC Comics is why I have stopped getting them in periodic format. There is no reason the mainstream publishers can not hold their price point at $2.50 or $2.99 cents, and make a profit and sell millions of copies at that price point.

The movies and video games have done the hard work of providing name recognition to the masses,the publishers inability to translate the billions these characters make in other mediums to even millions in the comic medium, comes down to mismanagement and an outdated vision/model from the comic publishers.

So these days if I need a monthly comic, I gravitate to the Independents. If I hear good things about a mainstream storyline, I pick it up in collected format or rent it from my library.

And if I really yearn for the days of great iconic covers, in mainstream comics, well thankfully there are always great Herb Trimpe comics to pick up in back issues!

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave your comments or send emails! I will be covering other channels in upcoming updates.

Excelsior!!!

 

 

 

Streaming VOD Channel Review -BLACK NEON- And a review on WOLF and the films of Robert Bresson!

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the benefit of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things are not worth having or keeping. So Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now.

This installment, the channel that is up for review is…  BLACK NEON.

BLACK NEON  – first thing that strikes you about this channel, is unlike the hundreds of options of other channels, this one has a very limited number of movies. Many I have to confess to being unaware of or not having seen on other channels. Always a plus in my book.

To avoid the mishap of doing a lengthy listing of its titles, only to determine the actual streaming service is crap, or ad infested. I decide to pick a movie and test it out.

Wolf (2018)

My eyes gravitate to a film called WOLF, a thriller of some type seemingly, and without reading the description I just start the film. From frame one I’m captivated. And over sixteen minutes in and not a single ad.

I’m loving the movie and the channel so far.

BLACK NEON may be a home-run. I’ll update after finishing the movie and looking around a bit.

***UPDATE*****

Okay I just finished watching WOLF courtesy of the BLACK NEON channel. Do a search for new streaming movie channels to add and you will find BLACK NEON.

Wolf (2018)

They do not have much content, maybe a dozen movies.But it is worth getting the channel just to see WOLF. What an incredibly strange film. Very off kilter, and always has you on the edge and not knowing where it is going, which I find refreshing.

It is very Bressonian. Robert Bresson was a French director, little known, and unfortunately little remembered today, but he used most effectively and most notably the idea of the pregnant frame. An empty frame, and the emptiness, the waiting for it to be filled would create tension.  And while not a horror director, his films such as A MAN ESCAPED and PICKPOCKET (both absolute masterpieces) build incredible amounts of tension by using the empty frame, and our desire to have it filled.

It has been used by directors since, and is used here in WOLF to great effect.  It is a slow burn movie, and has a WTF turn, that you never quite recover from, and is never truly made clear. You leave the film arguably with as many questions as you came, the final meaning of the film, and of what actually happened left up to individual interpretation.

Wolf (2018)

That can be frustrating to some, however I really liked it. I loved it actually, the patience of the film, and its willingness to court confusion.

That does not always work for me, sometimes it is the sign of a lazy filmmaker. But I do not think that is the case here, the filmmaker and writer Michael Jones has crafted a compelling story and wanted to let it finish cooking in the mind of the viewer.

Love it or hate it, I do not think it is a film you will easily dismiss.I fall in the camp of being very impressed by this raw nerve, of a movie.  

WOLF (2016 Australian release/2018 VOD release)

A Michael Jones Film

Grade: B+.

Recommended! This is definitely a movie that deserves to be owned on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

Streaming VOD Channel Review : FILMRISE HORROR – For week ending Saturday 27 Oct 2018

So while I advocate always keeping things you LOVE in physical media, DVDs , Blurays, CDs, etc; the beneft of Streaming and Digital is that it is GREAT for exploring, and finding out what out there is worth having. Most things aren’t, so Streaming is great for a try before you buy methodology, or simply finding new things to watch right now

This installment’s channel up for review is FILMRISE HORROR.

FILMRISE HORROR  – nice interface and good Halloween selection for this free ad -supported VOD/Streaming channel. Also I like that it gives the movies ratings. The lack of ratings and trailers is one of the reasons I left Netflix. Highlight of this channel, as we gear up for Halloween, are:

  • BIG BAD WOLF – readily available on other chaneels, it is always a good one to watch
  • CREATURE – nice 80s Alien ripoff. But despite that, a good although cheesy watch
  • SWAMP SHARK – I’ve actually been meaning to watch this one. A shark in the swap? I’m there! 🙂
  • ALIEN CONTAMINATION – Another film I have been meaning to check out
  • IMAGES i This is a FANTASTIC early Robert Altman film, during his very experimental phase. With stunning cinematography and a brilliant discordant score this is a film I m proud to own on Bluray. But it is good to know streaming channels are showing it some love.
  • MEMORY OF THE DEAD – another one I want to take a look at
  • MANEATER – Gay Busey fights a Tiger. I’m there. 🙂
  • LYCANTHROPE – I’ll try most horror films that have to do with Werewolves.
  • NIGHT OF THE DEMON – I’ll try  most horror fiilms that have to do with Bigfoot.
  • STRIGOI – sounds intriguing
  • BITE MARKS – intriguing sounding Vampire flick
  • THE 4th FLOOR – a top notch cast in this interesting sounding film about an apartment build and a dangerous neighbor
  • SPIDERS and SPIDERS 2- I saw SPIDERS 2 and really, really enjoyed it. So looking forward to watching the first one.
  • BLOODWORX- I remember this being pretty good
  • DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE – interested in seeing this made for TV version
  • LARVA – intrigued
  • FRANKENSTEIN – A 2015 vod version. May be worth a look.
  • WITHER – A swedish I believe, version of EVIL DEAD. A good film.
  • BLOOD PUNCH – Fantastic. Lots of fun.
  • DER SAMURAI – Disturbing, slow burn film, that is worth a watch.
  • IN THE SPIDERS WEB – Another fun Lance Henriksen horror film

All in all, this week FILM RISE HORROR has plentiful selections, good quality, a nice interface, and effective ratings to help you narrow in on a choice, unfortunately the ads are WAY too invasive and plentiful. Grade for this channel is : D-. It is not worth adding to your list.

THE FILMRISE HORROR CHANNEL GETS A FAIL. Do not subscribe to it this week.

Youtube Channel Roundup : On Harlan Ellison, DC Comics, Brian Michael Bendis, and SLEEPYREADER666!

This blog post is on a recent video courtesy of SLEEPY READER, via his excellent Youtube Channel. Watched it courtesy of the Youtube Channel on my Roku streaming device

SLEEPY READER 666 Vlog #76 I like the fact that Sleepy reader covers diverse content, rather than just showing you the latest comics, or variants. I like that his stories are a little deeper than that and more informed.

In his most recent episode he discusses the late great Harlan Ellison, as well as Brian Michael Bendis, and kinda wags his finger at them for being too self aggrandizing. Based on a bad meeting he had with Harlan Ellison when he was 24.

And that got me thinking about the impressions we make of a person, the life long animus, or bad impression we somehow cement of a person, based on a cursory meeting in our youth. When you might have been catching your idol on a bad day.

Evidently seeing Ellison being bombastic and vocal, an impression of Ellison was created,  a definition of Ellison based on that one meeting, that some can carry through an entire life.

It is a common mistake that young people do (I have done it), imagining that one moment is the man. A lot of people go to conventions or meet their heroes, and because the hero doesn’t say what they wanted him to say, or respond how they expected him to respond that creator is suddenly for all time, and in all things, an asshole, or pompous, or whatever.

And most of the time it is that the person may have have a bad day, or a bad interaction, or a bad lunch, or a rude fan before you, or his mind is on a personal issue at home, so perhaps he doesn’t fully pay attention to the 200th person in the line, asking  him the same stupid question, or make the same inane joke as 50 people before.

Most of us barely are able to get along with the small circle of people who make up are 9 to 5. A celebrity mutiplies those interactions by the thousands arguably, and even if he is on most of that, 99% of that time, that leaves 1% he is not going to satisfy, or be at his best for.

I’m saying that basing your view of a person on one peripheral incident, that that person arguably has forgotten, five minutes after it happened, if he were to bump into you the day after he would likely not know know you from Adam, yet for you that incident of decades ago has become a defining , enlightening moment on that person’s personality for all time.

And all of us have done this at times. It is the reckoning of someone very young, and the mistake of someone very young. We who are older, who have been on both sides of that being disappointed, and disappointing a person, should hopefully grow to know better.

 

People have bad days. You call em on it, or you don’t. But either way you let it go, and you do not try and define a person you really do not know, based on just that one incident at a convention or party.

An idol doesn’t owe you the approval of his character, he produces work, an if the work speaks to you, he’s done his job. The judging of his soul or his character is not a part of that contract we develop with those who amaze up.

I’m one of those who grew up on the work of Asimov, Bradbury, Baldwin, and Harlan Ellison. Along with a good helping of Stan Lee, and Bill Cosby and Edgar Allen poe and Electric company.

What I gained from all those influences, those creators remain. I’m an immesurably richer person for the creativity of people I know only through their work for the most part.

And if later time finds them in places far from the heroic heights we met them on, it does not change the great things their work did for us, and many like us.

It’s the concept that is lost on a witch hunt America, that a man’s evil does not erase his good. No matter how our culture of championing falls, would like it to be so. 

I think sometimes, particularly in America, we raise people up, just to tear them down. That is arguably not the way, I’m not a bandwagon guy.   Judgement not by the consensus of the media or Social media, or one cursory interaction.

We all make up opinions on people, but perhaps those opinions should be as cognizant of our own… fallibility, as we can make it. And look at the supposed sins and failings of others, always in relation to our own sins and failings.

Something I absolutely do not think is currently happening in the media.

Was Harlan Ellison a prickly, abrasive, off-putting, and arguably contrary and combative person? As someone who has listened to just about all his recordings as well as read and listened to his writings… I believe Harlan Ellison would be the first one to say Yes!!!

He famously said, something to the effect ‘I’m a snake on a rock, don’t mes with me I’ll leave you alone. Mess with me i’ll bite you and hang on.’

That was Harlan Ellison. He suffered not fools. And he believed, he believed the wrong things should be railed against.

And that fire permeated his work, like the fire of invention. Harlan Elision changed the landscape of fiction, with an almost incendiary mirror to the fallacies of our age. His DANGEROUS VISIONS, written before I was born, and that I discovered as a teen, is (I think) for most who read it… the defining anthology of an age.

And in the decades since its publication that anthology and its sequel, continue to be the standard bearer by which all future anthologies are measured.

Harlan Ellison has been chastised for having been self aggrandizing, for his ‘look at me, aren’t I great’ attitude.

I, for one, think Harlan Ellison was a great writer. And his body of work will remain… great and essential, and oddly timeless.

He in many ways was some odd ying to Ray Bradbury’s yang, both of them being the voice for reason, in a world embroiled in madness. They both were masters of the cautionary tale, and their shadow looms large in the works of popular culture to this day. Like Poe they were the masters of the short story, and those short stories will only grow more beloved and adapted in the years to come.

Was Harlan Ellison self aggrandizing. It is the poor creator who isn’t , if he wants to sell his work.

Some creators are bad or uncomfortable with it, and hire others to do it for them. Some are great at it.

Harlan Ellison in addition to being a great writer, was arguably just as great a performer and showman. Like Jim Steranko he had the circus in his blood from a young age. Likely the way such men came up, kicking down doors is the reason the world knows their name today.

So to expect them to be something meek, because you are not comfortable with their breed of strong, is both inane and arrogant.

I love reading Ellison’s Books  for the very brashness of them. and their elegance, and the breath of his imagination, all  imposed by a hard early life, where dreams and the scraping, and shouting, and biting for them was all that made them real.

The very  ‘center of attention’ nature of Ellison, that so can put off others,  is the very thing that galvanizes me to him. And is one of the reasons listening to him perform his works makes them even richer.

He was a natural performer, and one of the best audio performers. Which is surprising giving his slightly nasally voice, but him performing was the audio equivalent of the energy Jack Kirby brought to his panel breaking drawings. It was raw energy and emotion and passion.

If you only know Harlan Ellison’s fiction from just reading, pick up the audio books.

He was one of the best audio actors of the 20th century, right up there with Orson Welles, Vincent Price, James Mason, Roddy McDowell, David Birney.

The thing about Ellison, he earned the right to be proud of his work. As did Bradbury, who had his own very good tv series. And there were plenty, and remain plenty to sing the praises of Ellison’s work. i own his 50th anniversary tome. An updated followup to it, containing the newsletter and other work he did prior to his passing, I definitely look forward to.

So to bring this back, if anyone does not like people who they feels push their importance’ that is their right.

But for every one who for whatever reason finds that behaviour bragging or pitiful, there are a lot that find it neither bragging or insincere, but simply informative, and the person’s personality.

And for me, Ellison, the personality I saw as a fan, was a great personality. And God knows we could use more of his take no bs personality  now, in a world of sheep meekly being bled to death by corporate gleed and malfeasance.

I’m sure he saw in this 21st century, everything he railed against in his fiction.

People also to do a sharp, awkward pivot off Harlan Ellison to accuse Brian Michael Brendis of disappointing publisher DC  Comics, because he misled them by , like Ellison, over-hyping himself.

That is to paraphrase some complaints I have heard. I like the work of Bendis, but he is no Harlan Ellison. The two do not fit in the same sentence. But you can get the gist of the thematic comparison Sleepy was making, by checking out his channel, and the video in question at the link below.

And to be clear, i like Sleepy Reader’s channel. I think it is very informative and you should subscribe. I have enjoyed just about all his shows and find him a highly intelligent, informed and informative person, providing a wealth of great information to this niche community of Comic Book fans on Youtube.

I take the time to write this post not to highlight how all of us in this talk show age, even the most intelligent of us, have started to internalize the sloppy thinking that has brought us to an America, that is regressing rather than progressing.

 

I am reminded of an Alan Moore line, that highlights the discrepancy between the truth of who we  were as angry young men, and who we hopefully grow into being.

As angry young men we have monologues rather than a conversation.  ‘Monologues  we have mistaken for the world’ to quote Alan Moore.

In closing HUGE FAN of Harlan Ellison here, as I mentioned, I hope they will releases a 70th anniversary anthology to follow up his 50th anniversary book.

 

For those reading this who want more from the late, great Harlan Ellison, as well as some of the other greats mentioned please use the following links:

https://amzn.to/2KNsJDA

Originally published in 1962 and updated in later decades with a new introduction, Ellison Wonderland shows a vibrant young writer with a wide-ranging imagination, ferocious creative energy, devastating wit, and an eye for the wonderful and terrifying and tragic. Among the gems are ”All the Sounds of Fear,” ”The Sky Is Burning,” ”The Very Last Day of a Good Woman,” and ”In Lonely Lands.” Though they stand tall on their own merits, they also point the way to the sublime stories that followed soon after and continue to come even now, more than fifty years later.

https://amzn.to/2MDGrLa

 

https://amzn.to/2MeAHv9

A Lit Fuse is an unguarded, uncensored, unquiet tour of the life of Harlan Ellison.

In late 2011 Harlan Ellison the multi-award-winning writer of speculative fiction and famously litigious personality did two uncharacteristic things. First, he asked biographer Nat Segaloff if he d be interested in writing his life story. Second, he gave Segaloff full control. The result is the long-anticipated A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison. The expansive biography, which is the first such project in which Ellison has permitted large portions of his varied works to appear, is published by NESFA Press.

Segaloff conducted exhaustive interviews with Ellison over the course of five years and also spoke with many of his friends and enemies in an effort to get inside the man and pin down the best-known Harlan stories. Their wide-ranging discussions cover his bullied boyhood, his storied marriages, his fabled lawsuits, and his compulsive writing process with more depth and detail than has ever before appeared in print. But it also delves deeply into the man s deeply held principles, his fears, and the demons that have driven him all of his 83 (so far) years. Friends, colleagues, and admirers such as Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Peter David, Robert Sawyer, Michael Scott, Edward Asner, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Bryant, Alan Brennert, Robert Silverberg, and many other notables add their voices.

Along the way the reader is treated to an analysis of the Connie Willis controversy, the infamous dead gopher story, allegedly pushing a fan down an elevator shaft, and the final word on The Last Dangerous Visions. What emerges is a rich portrait of a man who has spent his life doing battle with his times and himself, always challenging his readers to reach for a higher plane and goading himself to get them there. It s funny, wise, shocking, and well, it’s Harlan.

https://amzn.to/2Me0vY7

Rediscover the Early Ellison. This collection restores to print fifteen never-collected tales from the first dozen years of his career. Hard-hitting crime stories like “Thrill Kill,” “Girl at Gunpoint,” “Kill Joy,” “Knife/Death” and “Burn My Killers!” share the table of contents with stories of betrayal, including “Death Climb,” “Riff,” “Mac’s Girl,” and “The Honor in the Dying.” And, together for the first time, Ellison’s three detective stories featuring insurance investigator Jerry Killian. Toss in the solo outing of a diminutive private dick named Big John Novak (of whom Ellison expected to write much more, but never did) and a sexy Western called “Saddle Tramp” and you’ve got quite an assemblage of tales from the seamier side of life. All that, plus “The Final Movement,” a never-before-published story from the mid-1950s. Better than a poke in the eye with a white-hot bone of Amenhotep, I think you’ll agree.

 

https://amzn.to/2Oyn6vw

Harlan Ellison is probably best known as a script writer for sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV series such as the original Outer Limits, The Hunger, Logan’s Run, and Babylon Five. But his range is much broader than that, encompassing stories, novels, essays, reviews, reminiscences, plays, even fake autobiographies. Essential Ellison includes contains 74 unabridged works, including such classics as “A Boy and His Dog,” “Xenogenesis,” and “Mefisto in Onyx.” Includes black-and-white photos.

https://amzn.to/2KQ2Z9I

 

 

Best to any one reading this!

 

Today’s best and worst Comic Book related Youtube Channels

First Point, Youtube via your laptop or computer I find annoying and not worth your time.

Youtube via Roku, on my big screen TV, and absent all stupid comments I find incredibly useful and watchable.

Here without further ado, my additional points, Youtube Winners and  Losers for First Quarter 2018.

BEST

I like buying artbooks, and graphic novels, and collected editions, so I find some of these channels very helpful in helping me decide if  an item is worth buying. Especially when you are dealing with something like artist editions that can run hundreds of dollars.

So here are channels that helped me make great purchase decisions.

GABE INFINITY WATCH

GEM MINT COLLECTIBLES

NEAR MINT CONDITION

WALT’S COMIC BOOK CHANNEL

EARL GREY

OMNIBROS  LIVE

GORE VIDAL

WALLACE RYAN

 

WORST

Anyone who uses acronym’s such as SJW in their headlines, or as a snarky insult (I’m looking at DIVERSITY & COMICS channel, which is not about Diversity and is not about comics, but is about click baiting and laziness) is generally not a channel you should support or be subscribed to. The thing with acronyms is you end up blindly lumping things together that have nothing to do with each other. And instead of dealing with a specific argument, you tend to become the very caricature you are arguing against. You become as misinformed, in your ‘lumping together and your stigmatizing’ as those you accuse of lumping together and stigmatizing others.

Here’s the thing, we are all of us (if not idiots) more than the party line.

Let me say that again, we are all of us more than the party line.

Whatever party you choose to support this day or that. We are conservative when it comes to some things, liberal when it comes to some things. And biased when it comes to some things.

Take me.

I’m not a fan of witch-hunts. Whether that is the Salem Witch trials, or the McCarthy Witch Trials. Or today’s sexual harassment witch trials. I believe no one should lose their job or be punished, based on unproven allegations. I believe people are innocent till proven guilty in a COURT OF LAW. That goes for Cosby, or Weinstein, or Lauer, or Singer or Spacey, or Gibson, or as it affects comics, Berganza.

I do not like mobs. And I do not like Mob mentalities, and I do not like knee jerk responses, and I do not like talk show mentalities, and most of all I don’t like people tried on twitter and Youtube, and based on the accusations of the unproven, the opinions of the uninvolved, and the fear, and in some cases the vendettas of the powerful, people before trial… are tried and punished.

I do not like it.

Not when it comes to movies, or sports, or newscasters, or the medium of comic-books.

I do not know Editor Berganza from a hole in the wall. He could well be guilty. My problem he was fired on allegations rather than proof. As were all those I’ve mentioned. Accolades and awards and honors they have earned, stripped from them at the merest whiff of scandal. So until proven guilty, a man is innocent, and should be treated as such. I don’t like that comic book artist Adrian Syaf was fired for placing the numbers ‘212’ and the number ‘5:51’ in the background of drawings. Artists sneaking easter eggs into the background of drawings is not new for comics or any other medium. And how that is any different from Christians putting bible verses in the background of their scenes. Long story short, it isn’t. That’s what an editor is for to catch that stuff, and if you don’t you don’t. Based on the agregiousness of it, you take  the appropriate action. Which usually involves a good talking to, not ruining someone’s career.

So I do not like witch hunts..

Whether led by a republican, a lesbian, a trans-gender person, a bigot, I do not like witch-hunts. You have a case, prove it in a court of law, not by gathering lynch mobs.

And this overreacting is on both sides of the fence, and the quickness to throw broad dismissive labels, obscures the fact of what you are fighting against, and what you are fighting for.

That is the folly of labels, it makes people side with fools, and fools lead good men to horrible acts.

Labels and acronyms are always shorthand for the lazy, who can’t be bothered to know what or who they are really arguing against or about. If you are using the acronym SJW you might as well carve a swastika in your forehead because that’s the level you are arguing on.

We are all of us gradations of right, and gradations of wrong, and we are all gradations of irrational.

Being aware of those places where the unfair and the fair fight for possession of our soul, being aware of our culpability in any argument, makes us less likely to glibly go along with the mob, or those who would throw the first and last stone.

Being unaware that anyone who uses the term SJW or dem or repub, is in and of himself, guilty of being the exact same thing they would denigrate; makes you ignorant.

But that is fine, we are all ignorant of something.

Staying ignorant however, makes you stupid or evil.

And that is not fine.

You have to know in any argument, you may not be on the side of the right. And you must learn to accept no truth you went to bed with, as the truth you’ll wake up with. Only through constant questioning of yourself, and the things you love and the things you hate, and the things you believe, can you grow and stay on the right side of those things.

And just as surely… assuming you are always right, especially your side or group or acronym is always right, is the surest way to go marching down the road to hell.

Deep waters for Youtube and comics, huh?

Here is the thing, it doesn’t matter over what we conflict, How seemingly trivial or important.  it matters that we always know, the conflict is with ourselves first. And reason and right is not a given, it must be continually retried within ourselves.

I generally do not gravitate to comics that have trans-gendered or homosexual people in it. That has nothing to do with either of those groups, and everything to do with me. I would like to think it is less about homophobia and more my aversion and dislike of talk shows and reality shows and Lifetime movies, and not wanting that in my comic. Though definitely homophobia plays a part. But mostly its an aversion to those topics heavy handedly crowbarred into what should be a a superhero/action genre. That was my problem with Supergirl Season 2. And why I stopped watching it. It was the gay subplot, handled incredibly annoyingly.

Now contrast that to JH Williams III’s BATWOMAN which was a brilliant superhero book, that just so happened to have a Lesbian character. Or Priest’s DEATHSTROKE with its bisexual character, and these things aren’t written in 20 point type, it’s just another brilliantly layered part, or a brilliant superhero story.

But most people aren’t as talented as a Priest or Williams, so when my comic reads more like a mission statement it is time for me to find a different comicbook.

And it is specifically a superhero/comic related bias, I have an archaic definition of what Superhero and other comics are and should be, an idea that works for me. An idea of what entertains me in comics,  So I understand this bias in me, and I buy the comics that appeal.  However I’m not going to have a problem with their being homosexual or trans-gendered comics or creators, that do want to focus on the lifetime channel or talk show extremes. If there is an audience for those stories great. I won’t be reading them, but neither am I going to have a fit because these stories or creators or characters exist. And that is because I ‘m good with the world being what it is, and me being what I am, and I am aware what part of the failing is me rather than the world.

There is a lot of talk on youtube about social justice warriors, mostly by white men (mostly but not exclusively, there are also enough Black and Brown and Red and Yellow idiots to go around), who see comics by creators not like them, and filled with new characters not like them, and they are not comfortable with that.

That  is not a problem. Like I said, I also feel that discomfort for things outside my comfort zone.

But here is the difference, they feel threatened by these things out of their comfort zone, and attack. Rather than allow people to ‘do them’ (as the kids would say), and simply choose to not patronize the books and creators they don’t like, and just buy and read and enjoy the things they do, instead they want to attack, and force the industry to only reflect them and exclude the other.

That is a problem.

It is a problem of ignorance, and it is a problem of fear, and it is a problem of not knowing yourself, that the world is wide and wonderful, and we don’t have to agree to like the same books or like the same creators.

But we do have to agree to, not stop others from liking what they like.

We do have to agree, to fight with ourselves before we fight others, because most of the time when we lose control, and take up arms against others, it is because we haven’t solved something with ourselves.

So that was an incredibly long aside to get you to my list of Youtubers who are doing a disservice to our hobby, by waging war with others, because they can’t just  embrace this idea… that ‘you do you’.  :).

 

Case in point…

cAPN C-SUMTHING (not worth remembering the dudes correct channel, or name) – emphasizes one of my pet peeves, people who think having an opinion is enough. When it comes to sharing and broadcasting it to a larger audience, it is not enough to have an opinion. It needs to be an informed. You are sitting in a movie theater, and because you are warm you start screaming fire, and spreading an opinion, that with two seconds to inform that opinion… you may have realized you still have your jacket on, or the person a row in-front of you is smoking; so the theater is not actually on fire. So your initial knee-jerk animal brain opinion may have been ‘fire’, but shouting out that uninformed opinion, in the theater to a crowd, would create panic and possible injuries; whereas a moment to look around and inform that opinion, makes all the difference.

An informed opinion is worth sharing, an uninformed opinion is not. This Capn C-something perfectly illustrates the type of knee-jerk reactionary that is the bane of the Internet and the world.

First he has the money to buy a 100+ dollar Artist Edition, the time and resources to want to do a video on it and share his opinion on it, however he doesn’t even know what it is. When the description of the artist Edition is on every blurb about it, as well as on the back and inside cover You don’t even know what you are buying, and you are trying to do a review on it. Strike one.

Next he’s one of these reactionaries who uses acronyms and labels coined seemingly just to be denigrative. Social Justice Warrior, and then he is too lazy, to use the whole word. The kind who resorts to shorthand like SJW and Dems, the sign of someone who can’t be bothered to research the bandwagon he is jumping on, or the things he supports or objects to in any great depth. Strike two.

Third he sees a post by Christopher Priest, lamenting his pigeonholing by DC Comics as a Black Writer,and Priest stating that a good writer can write characters outside his ethnicity and gender, and that the publishers should not be lead by the ‘twitterverse’ the vocal minority who comments on titles they have not read and subjects they are not informed on. Capn Crumudgeon responds to this by saying ‘this Priest guy gets it’ while showing his ignorance by not knowing the writer currently works for DC and is one of their most acclaimed writers, and that Capn Cummudgeon by definition is the vocal minority Priest is calling out. Priest is not railing against diversity, he’s railing against editorial mandates decided by people who can not be bother to be informed on the positions they take.

Strike 3, you are out. What really lit me up about this, is a lazy acronym user like this guy, has more subscribers than actually informative people like some of the users listed above. It’s like people subscribing to JERRY SPRINGER instead of COSMOS. People stumble across his channel, probably like I did  (i did not subscribe  to him) because of his numerous Artist Edition reviews, and then he uses that as a platform for this half baked uninformed drivel, posing as a stance or world view. It reminds me of the brain damaged circus that passed for the last presidential debates. Something that debases viewer and viewed. If you are subscribed to this guy, unsubscribe. There are better places to get your book reviews from. And I list a bunch of them above. :).

 

And to not end on a down note here are more people/channels you should be watching and even subscribing to:

 

JARED OSBORN- He offers weekly pull list comic book hauls, and the occasional collected edition

POPE CEREBUS THE FIRST-

THE DARK NATE

IDWPublishing

24FRAMES

CURTISCAMRON

DRACIR’S COMICS AND THINGS

SOLID4STBEND

BRANDON 191

LUTHER MANNING

MARCUS LIM

JACKKIRBYBRONZE

So any of the above are better than those who embrace attacking the difference of others, rather than simply trying to better understand… the difference of themselves.   CAP’N and DIVERSITY (in name only), Youtube channels, come to mind, but any channel using acronyms such as SJW to cloak their ignorance and fear, you should strongly consider unsubscribing from.

Don’t support the uninformed who want to spend their time screaming fire, in a theater where there is no fire. Instead support the above channels that are trying to help people just find the seats, that are a good fit for them.

Here endeth the lesson.