Today’s 12 MUST OWN DvDs and BluRays in the Age of DIGITAL!!!!

Go back ten years in this blog and you will see I was singing the praises of Walter Hill’s EXTREME PREJUDICE as not just one of Walter Hill’s best films, but one of the best action films ever made.

Here is where all of Walter Hill’s loves and inspirations (from John Ford to Sam Pekinpah) took him furthest and took all involved furthest. Much like Anthony Harvey’s seminal THE LION IN WINTER it was the best film of everyone involved.

So EXTREME PREJUDICE‘s lack of availability in a great Bluray, and better yet Steelbook format, has always struck me as a missed opportunity.

While the US has yet to correct that wrong, Germany and Japan (and the UK had an out of print version as well) evidently know a brilliant movie when they see one, as you can get Walter Hill’s best film on BluRay thru those countries.

Shame on you US!

In my best PLANET OF THE APES growl… “BOW YOUR HEAD!!!” 🙂

But yeah, came across the below BluRay version from Germany…

I have recently gone on a steelbook kick thanks to recent absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful steelbook releases by Shout Factory. I’ve kinda grown to despise the titular blue bar on the top of traditional BluRay packaging. I was never a fan of that branding, but accepted it because, that was all there was.

Well today we have great companies releasing wonderful Blurays done with an eye to aesthetics, that makes not just the film a work of art, but the whole gestalt, the whole process, a work of art. Which is what hopefully anything that takes up space, precious space, in our homes and our lives should be… a thing of beauty.

A thing that makes us smile, to look upon it.

The twelve movies below, including the aforementioned EXTREME PREJUDICE release… make me smile.

Reach out to me, if you need assistance in acquiring any of these.

Without further ado… 

Today’s 12 MUST OWN DvDs and BluRays in the Age of DIGITAL!!!!

The Japan and Uk version use similar art for the BluRay, but both are out of print. But they have that blue branding at the top that I can deal with, but does not inspire me to rush out and get a copy. These days I drag my feet before buying anything that doesn’t completely thrill me. Streaming has spoiled us, even us DVD and Bluray fans: today even for an increasing # of us, owning physical media is a luxury that has to justify itself, in an age of Digital.

Digital… meet justification. The German mediabook of EXTREME PREJUDICE…

 

HOLY … BLOODY… HECK!!! 

That is a magnificent cover! And I even forgive it the Blue branding at the top.

Man… when I saw this, even though the book portion is in German (And the title is AUSGELOSCHT which translates loosely to Elimination or Annihilation), I had to have it. Especially when I saw that it was sold out nearly everywhere. 

Okay that was one Bluray down, here are today’s other 11 must own BluRays.

 

 

https://amzn.to/2LeMZ4s

Yes, I listed THE THING Steelbook last time, and yes it still takes my breath away. SHOUT FACTORY has just knocked it out of the park with this and their other recent Steelbook releases. I own it now and still am impressed with it every time I see it on my shelf.  And people, this is nearly out of print everywhere. Pick it up while you can.

 

And moving on, here are the remaining must own Blurays of today!

 

 

https://amzn.to/2Lgq2Oj

https://amzn.to/2NKS3iF

 

https://amzn.to/2zMhgkM

The Blue Branding is just a removable cardboard piece, thankfully, and at the price this classic is a must own.

https://amzn.to/2NLjN6X

https://amzn.to/2MS9CxN

https://amzn.to/2NLzsmF

 

https://amzn.to/2MR0HMT

https://amzn.to/2HCv1qf

I do not love THE HOWLING steelbook, but it is growing on me. I kinda like it. And it is currently affordable.

https://amzn.to/2MSacvt

While everyone is proclaiming the death of physical media, I have to tell you, there are people like me, who will always support beautiful things. And while it is great to stream movies, and stream comics, and stream books, and stream magazines, there is no substitution for being able to hold and peruse and showcase a well designed work of art.

So if companies up their game like SHOUT FACTORY is doing, don’t just slap a photo on the cover, but put some bloody creativity into the packaging. Custom artwork, great design, and they will sellout their SteelBook Blurays… just like SHOUT FACTORY is doing. People will support… quality.

Choir… preach. 🙂

Guys if you like this post. go ahead and support this blog by using the links provided. Purchases thru the included links earn this blog a few much appreciated pennies to keep the virtual lights on. 🙂

Thanks for viewing, leave a comment, like or email or subscribe. It is all appreciated. Till next time… be well!!

 

Best Comic Book Covers of All Time: Joe Kubert’s LOSERS run

What makes a great comic book cover, in this age of virgin variants and gimmick covers, is the same thing that has always made a great cover. When all these flash in the pan virgin covers, are resigned to the 50 cent bin (where most of them belong), the really great covers, will still be… great covers.

They will still have stunning typography, married to great art, with great placement of the various parts, and together the whole, in one moment, both tells a story and sells a product. It is not just this lazy and brainless current fad of a pretty image, but with no context to the story or to the storytelling. Today’s cover artists and editors and art directors, and buyers, confuse a pinup with an effective and affecting cover, and the two are not the same.

Now that is not to say there are not exceptions, where the pinup is so good that you want it for eye candy’s sake alone. That does happen, and is fine, but in my experience it is rare, and is not conducive to books you are actually buying, serialized entertainment you are actually buying,… to read. In that case a pretty picture does not cut it, you need a storyteller as an artist and an art editor, to design a cover that tells a story.

And like i said it is a marriage of many things, some of which are not in the artist’s hands. But when all those disparate elements come together, you have have some of the greatest covers of all time.

There were a lot of people I could have started this new segment with, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson, Jack Kirby, but for my money the best cover artist of all time very rarely worked in Superhero Comics, and that is the great Joe Kubert.

Kubert had many magnificent cover runs to choose from but the one that launches this segment is the work of his that made me a Conflict Comics collector. His run on OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR. Not the whole run, because while he did hundreds of covers not all of them have the elements that make an iconic cover. I mentioned a great cover having to do with things sometimes beyond the artists control such as typography and placement of disparate elements on a cover. But Here, for this run of issues, Kubert had complete control over the typography of his covers, and completely integrated that typography into his artwork, in a manner that would have made Eisner impressed. Creating a brilliant image AND telling a story and selling a product.

In the 181 issue run of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR, all of which had good covers,  there are nineteen covers that stand out as masterpieces… only nineteeneighteen. They are not ‘key’ issues, they are seminal issues in the history of comic book cover design. The following scans were the best I could find on short notice, and do not do the books justice. But they give you a taste of the brilliance that make these 19 consecutive issues of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR a milestone of cover design, and worth owning.

They are…

 

Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #123Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #124  Our Fighting Forces #125 Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #126Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #127Our Fighting Forces #128  Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #129File:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 130.jpgFile:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 135.jpg

 

Issue 142 would signal the end of the ground breaking covers, as well as heralding the end of Joe Kubert as editor on the series (his name would officially be removed as editor two issues later). Archie Goodwin would take over for a while as editor, followed by Jack Kirby(with all due respect to Jack Kirby, I am not a fan of his work on this book). And while Kubert would continue to do covers sporadically for the series up till the end, never again would the typography and mast-head be part of the story-telling. 141 would be the last of that wild imaginative experimentation with art and typography, the last of nineteen issues of the best and longest consecutive run of great covers by one creator in the history of comics. Pick them all up today, while they can still be had affordably.

 

Use the link below to get your issues today:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180611&AffID=200301P01

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it, please subscribe, leave a like and comment. And what are your favorite cover runs, or cover artists/artwork?

Till next time… be well!!

Youtube Video of the Day : 10 FIGHTS That Made Us Question MMA

 

I’m a huge boxing fan. And an MMA fan. But perhaps not to the same extent as Boxing. and I’ll get to why in a second.

Combative Sports, seeing talented practitioners display their excellence is a draw, is compelling. That’s why organizations make money, networks make money, athletes make money, because it is a compelling attraction, that people will pay to see.

It appeals to us, to that part of us that lifts, when adversity meets will. There is something inspirational in it, in any athlete at their best.

Whether that is Jimmie Connors on the tennis court, or Sugar Ray Robinson in the boxing ring, those places where will meets adversity, and people come out on the other side as champions and victors… it is rousing.

However combative sports adds an additional layer of danger, in that unlike the goal of tennis or baseball or football or soccer or even rugby, where the goal is to get the ball past your opponent (and I understand these sports, all sports, can be incredibly dangerous, incredibly violent, can be potentially damaging); combative sports, inflicting damage is the goal.

In combative sports the goal is to damage the other person. Not to kill, or cripple, or maim, but enough to get them to submit or to lose. Winning in combative sports defined most clearly by being able to knock out or submit your opponent and have an early night. Now many fights go the distance with no one being knocked out or submitted, but those are potentially even more damaging as you have had people dig deep and go multiple rounds to the finish, trying to knock out or submit the other.

And nothing says highlight reel, like the knockout.

Do a search on youtube for best knockouts of 2019, and you will see that place where will meets adversity, and one person walks thru that door, and one person falls at it.

It is a rousing place for the athlete, and the audience. Look at the crowd or yourself during a great knockout.It impresses, and it rouses. 

So I being human, am as guilty of being roused by those drums of wills colliding. So I like combative sports and knockout highlight reels as much as the next person.

But especially with the rise of MMA, and pound and ground, my ‘like’ is becoming more tinged with concern. Because for all the compelling nature of combative sports, we want these people not to be seriously injured or killed for anybody’s entertainment or money.

And I think Boxing has grown a lot in its history to reduce it from its bare knuckle bloodbath war of attrition origins, to the place where you have gloves of a certain weight, and mouth guards, and rules, and a ref there to enforce the rules, and doctors, and corner people, and yes blood baths do still occur in boxing, but boxing has improved greatly to reduce the risk of people getting maimed and killed for a paycheck.

I think MMA, because it is geared to offer us ‘real’ combat, widens the potential zones of attack, and therefore zones of damage. And a lot rides on the ref. Because if boxing’s goal is to knock an opponent down, most boxers know to pull away at that point where the person is down, and the ref gets to give a standing eight count etc; MMA has a more ill-defined goal.

In MMA when the person is down, that is when for the fighter.. the fight begins, and any MMA fight, the fighter on top is pounding away on the person with maiming and potentially killing hammer blows, not because they want to maim, or kill, but because that is the ‘sport’,… you hit until the ref stops or opponent submits. Now a concussed opponent will not be able to submit, so it falls on the ref to quickly keep people from getting destroyed or killed.

It is a potentially disturbing sport, that runs the risk of transcending what we admire about combative sports, to being what we despise about blood sports.

It is a slippery slope, and I think like Boxing will have to adopt better safe guards, as fighters get better, stronger, faster, and arguably more deadly to each other.

Couple things I don’t like about the UFC in particular, is putting people in a cage like pit-bulls to fight, I don’t like people in cages for any reason. Also, I don’t like the corner people removed from their fighter, it delays the response to throw in the towel if needed, or provide medical attention, etc.

I don’t know any easy answers, but I think we have to start looking for them sooner rather than later.

That’s one reason that made me lookup the ‘effects of knockouts’ on Youtube, and that brought me to the below video.

So I’m not saying ban MMA, I am saying increase the safety of your fighters. At the end of the day someone getting maimed or killed, is not a sport. Let’s keep it a sport by keeping it competitive, and keeping it well regulated and well referred.

And I know a lot of people like to see women fight. And there are a lot of great women fighters. However, while I love to see women looking like the above image for any reason, I personally do not like watching women fight. Which is very hypocritical. And I’m not saying they should not fight, if you are good at something, man or woman, and that is your passion, then do it.

I’m saying as a spectator while i don’t mind seeing a guy hit in the face or knocked out, I do not like to see women hit. I do not like seeing beautiful things marred. It’s like splashing grime on a painting. I personally do not like it as a spectator, so I choose not to watch it. But again, I am not saying women are not great fighters,and should not be allowed to fight. If you are great at something and someone is willing to pay you for it, more power to you.

I’m just saying, I personally am not the audience for female fights. And I accept that my feelings are sexist, and chauvinist, and woefully outdated. They are the thoughts of a dinosaur… and you know what… I’m okay with that.

Anyhow hope you found this post useful, if so give a subscribe and a like. And feel free to shoot me a note about your thoughts on this post.

Till next time… Be Well! 🙂

Best Youtube Channel of the Day courtesy of Roku/Amazon Fire!

If you are not watching CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT you are missing out on one of the essential resources for movies on DVD and Bluray, especially of the classic B movie and cult status variety. CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT celebrates those works of yesteryear that are worth picking up, even in this age of streaming.

His latest episode, and he sold me on purchasing the UNIVERSAL HORROR COLLECTION VOL 1 on Bluray.

Mostly because I am a huge fan of THE BLACK CAT. What is the BLACK CAT you ask? Well beyond being the name of the famous Edgar Allen Poe Short Story, it was also the impetus for many films of that name.

This 1934 Edgar G. Ulmer directed BLACK CAT (which only uses Poe’s story as a aesthetic, to  go places even Poe dared not) is the best of the half dozen or so feature films to use that title.

Powered by a lurid, and haunting, and maniacal story by Edgar G. Ulmer and Peter Ruric, the film grabs and does not let go. Ruric would never write anything as memorable or deranged or sublime again. Which leads me to believe even though the script is credited to Ruric, that it was Ulmer’s hand you see in it. 

 

Ulmer, an unfortunately little remembered director, was one of the best directors of the strange and the avant-garde (experimental, forward looking), and the disturbed. This film fits perfectly in his mold. And with the best combination of big time studio, large budget, iconic stars, talented craftsmen, that he would ever get, he produced his best movie.

BLACK CAT beyond being Ulmer’s best movie, is without argument the best of the Karloff and Lugosi collaborations, and is arguably the best UNIVERSAL movie, right up there with masterpieces such as BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE INVISIBLE MAN.

 

Ulmer’s BLACK CAT is so stylized, and so paired to the bone, that like the short story it derives its impetus for, it is entirely possessive of your attention and your awe. And even though I consider BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN a masterpiece, there is something even more heightened and hypnotic in Ulmer’s BLACK CAT.

The only real cinematic comparative to it, would be the feel you get from watching Erle C. Kenton’s ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, which predates BLACK CAT by two years. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, like BLACK CAT, was both acclaimed and vilified for its horror and its sexuality.

 

Both are films I consider seminal films, masterpieces of mood, and must own films. And i have owned both films for years in DVD, as generally speaking I do not see the need to upgrade to Blu-ray with these earlier 4:3 Black and White films. However with this new Blu ray also sporting multiple new commentaries, it is worth the double dipping for me.

If you are still deciding check out the video below, and subscribe to the CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT youtube channel… and tell them HT sent ya!

 

 

3 days left to PREORDER your comics in October! Here is how! The FINAL Part!

Here is the promised final part.

Just in time to order, pull the trigger by this Wednesday 24 July 2019!

 

Books worth pre-ordering by 24 July 2019, and save money off cover price, of books being released early October! Halloween!

Here then are the recommended books!

 

Books worth buying from Marvel:

While Marvel under the auspices of the great film division helmed brilliantly by Kevin Feige, are doing gangbusters on the big screen and television screens; the comic books are a train-wreck. I’m not talking talent wise, I think Marvel, The Comic Book Division has talented and creative people actually writing and drawing and creating the books.

Where Marvel falls down is in marketing and pricing their books, and over saturating a small market, with a lot of noise. I think Editorial and Marketing between the two of them are steering the company, periodical wise, at high speed right into a wall.

You do not have to be a genius to realize, Johnathan Hickman or any writer, is not going to revamp crap, if you are diluting and smothering a good idea, (in this case the ‘revamping’ of the X-men) right out the box, by comprising your jump on story 6 to 12 new titles, by that many creative teams. It is the moronic, diminishing returns crap, Marvel publishing has been doing for the last few years. Drowning whatever signal they may produce, under a crap load of noise.

 

One X-men title. One exciting creative team, writer, artist, colorist, letter. One steady price-point, $2.99. Not 10 mutant titles to dilute and confuse your audience. One title. One jumping on point. One easy brand to market to retailer and customers. If you are a Marvel Comic book company, with Marvel Studios having done the hard work of giving you a potential GLOBAL audience of BILLIONS. And you can not sell ROUTINELY hundreds of thousands, if not millions of EVERY issue of X-MEN, the issue is gross mismanagement.

It is not the customer, it is not people do not read, it is not competition from video games or movies, it is gross incompetence by your marketing/management and arguably editorial divisions.

Disney needs to farm out the marketing and management of Marvel Comics, to anyone but the people who are currently failing at it.

Books to buy from Marvel:

None

 

Books to buy from DC:

My above rant about Marvel periodical, also applies to DC periodicals. (With the exception of their $1 reprint line, one of which you will see below).They raised their periodical prices to $3.99 to coincide with hiring Marvel Poster Boy Brian Michael Bendis. And they were on an upswing before doing that. Following their price hike I dropped all of the books that went up in price, except Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE. And to this date, that is the only periodical book I am buying from DC Comics.

 

TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING

 

Alter Ego 161 - Click Image to Close

November 2019 – 100 pages (FULL COLOR)

ALTER EGO #161 (100 pages, $9.95) is a full-issue tribute to Stan (The Man) Lee and his contributions to comics! Roy Thomas writes on his more than 50-year relationship with Stan—and shares 21st-century e-mails from Stan (with his permission, of course)! Art by Kirby, Ditko, Maneely, Everett, Severin, Romita—plus tributes from pros and fans alike—and special sections on Stan by Michael T. Gilbert, Bill Schelly, and even the FCA! Vintage Galactus cover by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta! Edited by ROY THOMAS.

Diamond Comic Distributors Order Code: JUL192270

 

Order Books here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice?AffID=200301P01

 

Today’s 11 recommended Streaming/VOD channels to be subscried to!

Today’s 11 recommended Streaming/VOD channels to be subscribed to!

PAID CHANNELS

  • AMAZON PRIME for their extensive selection of movies that simply dwarfs what anyone else is showing. They have 12, TWELVE, BigFoot movies you can watch right now!!! Dozens upon Dozens of  Spaghetti Western and Shaw Brothers movies, presented in wide-screen, that look better than they ever did in the theaters. They also have access to newer movies, and a mountain of tv shows. As well as great Amazon originals such as JACK RYAN, THE GRAND TOUR, THE ABC MURDERS, THE EXPANSE (possibly my favorite Sci-Fi show since FARSCAPE) to name a few. But it is really just their uber video store level of obscure and great genre films and tv shows, and their great interface that makes them by a long way, the paid channel I watch the most of.
  • HULU- Hulu is great for staying abreast of recent/current shows such as AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR, as well as offering some movie and tv options, that the others may not.
  • NETFLIX- From being my first paid streaming channel, this has quickly become one of the paid channels I watch the least. To the point when they did their price hike a year or two ago I dropped the channel. However another member of the Heroic Times household decided to resubscribe. And I was able to finish up RIPPER STREET, and we have used it to check out their UMBRELLA ACADEMY and currently use it mainly to watch LUCIFER. But I find Netflix does a HORRIBLE job with its interface, and really should take a note in regards to Amazon, in how to better curate and group, and direct viewers to content that they may be interested in. You get the feeling on Netflix that whatever signal you are seeking, is buried under a lot of uninteresting noise. With more competition on the way, and with our household having a 3 paid streaming station limit, Netflix is the channel that likely will end up getting dumped (again) when something better comes along.

FREE CHANNELS

  • Youtube- The channel I watch these days the most, even more than Amazon Prime is Youtube. And one reason I have a Roku over an Amazon Fire TV, besides the fact I just like Roku’s interface better, is out the box, Amazon Fire stopped supporting the Youtube channel. I will do a separate post on the many channels, within Youtube, that I am subscribed to. But they consist of everyday people putting on content more captivating than the studios can; on everything from comics to movies to knives to guns to music to books to food to exercise to how-to to everything in between. Really intriguing, and I am happy there is not a ‘comments’ section, which for years is what kept me away from the online version of Youtube. Their un-moderated hate filled comments section. So the absence of that on the Youtube Roku app, makes it finally a worthwhile viewing experience.
  • TUBI
  • SONY CRACKLE
  • PLUTO TV
  • ROKU CHANNEL
  • VIMEO
  • FOOD NETWORK
  • HGTV

FAVORITE SUPERMAN COMIC BOOK COVER EVER???

My better half thinks I’m a sick puppy for liking this cover, but man, I remember being wowed by this cover as a kid, and as an adult it still makes me literally laugh out loud. Even from the 60s and 70s age of outrageous SUPERMAN covers it is one of the most outrageous and funny.

The thought that even Luthor would stoop to such extremes, is absurd and horrible, both character wise and concept wise. But the absurd part wins out, you can not take it seriously. 

Even as a kid, I knew there was no way anyone was getting ‘killed’ and Luthor would get his well deserved beatdown,  and so even as a kid i saw the cover as a bit of wonderful hucksterism, and wildly audacious fun/comedy. As an adult I still feel that way. I don’t think the interior story is memorable, but that cover… is frame worthy.

 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/8/83/Action_Comics_Vol_1_466.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20081231145516

Lex Luthor turning the heroes into kids is bad enough, but then he is still so cowardly that he is sneaking up behind them and hitting them in the back of the head, rabbit punching them, with his super-powered brass knuckles. Do you get anymore ludicrously, cowardly, mustache twirlingly despicable. It is impossible not to view it like a Chuck Jones Wile E. Coyote skit on meth. :).

Quick aside, my Favorite Luthor in live action, and I have, to varying degrees,  liked all the versions, but the actor for me who is not only the best live action version, but is better than the animated version , is the criminally under mentioned Sherman Howard.

Sherman Howard

His work in seasons 3 and 4 of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, thanks to great scripts and a great cast and crew (including the excellent Stacy Haiduk and Gerard Christopher), was TREMENDOUS. Those two years of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, season 3 and 4, I would have to rate as easily the best live action version of Superboy/Superman on the small screen. Better than LOIS & CLARK, better than SMALLVILLE, better than the second season and up, of SUPERGIRL.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

And a large part of why those two seasons remain worth revisiting are the Luthor episodes, and the fact that Sherman Howard gets to take the character from brilliant to wildly unhinged to sympathetic and back again. It is really a wonderful performance, that I urge you to go out and purchase or view those two seasons if you have never seen them.

They are that good, and Sherman Howard is that good in the role.

Get the shows here:

https://amzn.to/30zujB9

https://amzn.to/2XHHUod

 

Now getting back to the comic book cover… The cover shows MUCH better in person. But you should get a feel from the image whether it is one to add to your collection. If so, get your copy here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=action+comics+466&AffID=200301P01

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, like, share, subscribe, and check out the sponsor link below to order comic book, podcast, and youtube curated laptops or tablets, and/or curated digital picture frames. They also do all manner of repair and customizing for the pop-culture community. Mention you are coming from this blog and get 10% off.

https://techsupport51.wixsite.com/tech-support-2day