TV Review: The Comic Book Greats: Episode 1 – Spotlight on Todd McFarlane (1991)

Released: 1991
Created by: Stan Lee
Directed by: Rick Stawinski
Music by: Rick Stawinski, Rob Stawinski
Cast: Stan Lee (host), Todd McFarlane

Excelsior Productions, Stabur Home Video, 1 Episodes, 50 Minutes

Review:

I didn’t have all of these VHS tapes when I was a kid but I did have a lot of them. Luckily for me, and all of you, these are on YouTube. I’ve wanted to revisit these for ages but I haven’t had a working VCR since the Bush II administration.

I was going to review the series as a whole. However, after watching the first episode, which featured Stan Lee interviewing Todd McFarlane, I felt that each episode probably deserves its own review.

This was great to see, twenty-seven years later, as I’m no longer twelve and I had a much greater appreciation of this now than I did back then.

First of all, it was fantastic seeing Stan Lee, still with some youthful vigor, interviewing Todd McFarlane and discussing art techniques and the history of the business, as well as Todd’s career.

It’s pretty clear that Todd would have been a great teacher, as he shows the how and why he employs the techniques he does. For those wanting to get into drawing comics, this is a pretty valuable tool and I’m assuming the other episodes in this series are too. That’s actually why I bought a half dozen of these back in the early ’90s.

All in all, I liked hearing Todd and Stan share stories of the comic industry. Watching them shoot the shit for an hour was a lot of fun.

McFarlane is one of the all-time greats and what makes this even more interesting, is that it came out when he was transitioning away from Marvel and Spider-Man and just gearing up to establish Image Comics and his greatest creation, Spawn.

I really enjoyed this episode and I hope the others live up to the precedent set with this first one.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other episodes in The Comic Book Greats video series.

Talking Pulp’s Pull List – 4th Quarter, 2018

*This is a feature I had planned to launch in 2019 but I figured I’d actually start now because why wait?

This is my personal pull list as it stands, right now. From month to month it changes, as I read a lot of limited series stuff but I figured that doing a quarterly update would be cool for my readers that keep up with current comics.

So this is what I have my local comic shop pull for me each month, most of which I will review every time I get to the end of a story arc.

I’ve broken them out by publisher and alphabetized the list to make it flow easier.

And if there’s anything you like that I’m not reading, tell me in the comments.

Marvel Comics:
-Daredevil
-Dead Man Logan
-Guardians of the Galaxy (upcoming Donny Cates run)
-Infinity Wars
-Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker
-Marvel Knights 20th
-Marvel 2-In-One
-Mr. & Mrs. X
-The Punisher
-Return of Wolverine
-Superior Octopus
-Typhoid Fever
-Venom

DC Comics:
-Batgirl
-Batman: Damned
-Batman: Kings of Fear
-Deathstroke
-Detective Comics
-Doomsday Clock
-Drowned Earth (all related crossover titles)
-Electric Warriors
-The Green Lantern
-Justice League Dark
-Justice League Odyssey
-Nightwing
-Red Hood: Outlaw
-Sideways
-The Silencer
-Suicide Squad
-Suicide Squad: Black Files

Dark Horse Books:
-Mystery Science Theater 3000
-Stranger Things
-Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

Dynamite Entertainment:
-Battlestat Galactica Classic
-Elvira
-The Shape of Elvira (upcoming)
-Turok (upcoming)

IDW Publishing:
-G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

Image Comics:
-Murder Falcon

Valiant Comics:
-Bloodshot: Rising Spirit

Comic Review: Farmhand

Published: July 11th, 2018 – November 7th, 2018
Written by: Rob Guillory
Art by: Rob Guillory, Taylor Wells

Image Comics, 165 Pages

Review:

I hadn’t read Chew by John Layman (with art by Rob Guillory) but I’ve heard good things. So I figured I’d check out Guillory’s Farmhand when the first issue came out back in July. I was glad I did because this is one of the most unique comic books that I’ve read in years.

I’ve always liked Guillory’s art style, as I’ve seen a lot of his work in Chew. The reason I never picked it up is that I was turned on to it kind of late and I really need to go back to it’s genesis and pick it up from there. I plan to in the future.

Anyway, Guillory’s art is great in this but he also goes to show that he has a talent for writing as well.

The story is about fathers and sons and really, family in general. Beyond that, the story deals with science run amok. There are lots of Frankenstein-esque things in this story but instead of bringing together dead body parts, this looks at the melding of human and plant DNA.

I’d say more but I don’t want to spoil things more than I may have already with my cryptic plot synopsis.

Farmhand is just a really interesting comic with several neat ideas that come to life quite well on the page. I know that there are plans for a sequel miniseries and I definitely want to see where things go beyond this story, which really just whets the palate for something bigger.

But with that being said, the comic feels small and cozy. You feel at home with these characters and their small town farm life.

Image Comics has been really hit or miss for the last several years but this is definitely worth the investment. Especially if you just want to experience something very original and enjoyably bizarre.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Chew and Rob Guillory’s upcoming follow up to this.

Comic Review: Die!Die!Die!, Issues #1 – #2

Published: July 11th, 2018 – August 22nd, 2018
Written by: Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman
Art by: Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn

Image Comics, 56 Pages

Review:

Generally, I like Robert Kirkman’s work. This didn’t do a damn thing for me though and it really just felt like some outdated ’90s edgy boi bullshit.

So it’s violent. In fact, super violent. There are characters that act like generic one-dimensional badasses. There’s apparently a cloning story mixed in. And then there’s more super violence. This is like the wet dream of a twelve year-old from the ’90s. So I probably would’ve loved this when I was in middle school.

Other than that, there just isn’t much here.

To be fair, maybe I should give it more than two issues but I can’t. It was a strain trying to get through the second issue. I accepted the first issue and didn’t hate it but it’s because I thought that it would be followed up with some interesting context, it didn’t. And really, I don’t want to keep waiting around to see if it eventually does. My time is precious and so is my money. I buy a lot of comics but I want to buy stuff I like. Stuff that isn’t going to end up being a waste of my funds and my time.

You may like this if you’re a pre-teen, live in 1992 and The Savage Dragon isn’t violent enough and mindless enough for you. In 2018 and as an adult, I expect more from my comics. Sure, I can escape into mindless fun but this completely lacked the fun.

Rating: 4/10
Pairs well with: other bad, super violent, edgy boi bullshit from the ’90s.

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (2015- )

Original Run: August 23rd, 2015 – current
Created by: Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Music by: Atticus Ross, Paul Haslinger, Danny Bessi, Saunder Jurriaans
Cast: Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason, Lorenzo James Henrie, Rubén Blades, Colman Domingo, Michelle Ang, Danay García, Daniel Sharman, Sam Underwood, Dayton Callie, Lisandra Tena, Maggie Grace, Garret Dillahunt, Lennie James, Jenna Elfman

Square Head Pictures, Circle of Confusion, Skybound Entertainment, Valhalla Entertainment, AMC, 48 Episodes (so far), 43-65 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

The Walking Dead really didn’t need of a spinoff. But as these things go, when you’ve got a cash cow, you’ve got to milk it until the teets come off.

What made this spinoff intriguing, however, was that it started when the zombie outbreak started. In The Walking Dead, we follow Rick Grimes, as he wakes up from a coma and enters a zombie infested world, months after the outbreak. Fear the Walking Dead starts on any given normal day and then the shit hits the fan. The first season shows society crumbling and how the main characters respond to it.

That rookie season was good but a somewhat unsatisfying origin story for The Walking Dead world. But once the show moved beyond the initial chaos, it got more interesting.

The sophomore season was broken into two halves, like a typical season of The Walking Dead. This show would follow that formula going forward. And while that season was a bit rocky, it found it’s footing in the second half, once our characters got off of the boat they lived on for eight episodes.

Season three switched things up quite a bit and by this point, a lot of the main characters were already wiped out.

But season four, the current season, is where the show really reinvented itself in a bold way. By the time you get through the first half of the season, only one person from the pilot episode is still alive. Additionally, Morgan from The Walking Dead comes on the show, officially crossing over, connecting this show directly to the events of the more popular parent show.

The fourth season also brings in a bunch of new and interesting characters and to be honest, it’s a completely different animal than what Fear was when it started out.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this show, which I have also had with the regular Walking Dead series, but it’s moving in a really cool direction.

It’s hard to tell where this will end up but I find it to be the more enjoyable of the two shows, right now. But being that this is The Walking Dead, that could change at the drop of a hat.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: The Walking DeadDeadwoodSons of Anarchy and Hell On Wheels.

 

TV Review: The Walking Dead (2010- )

Original Run: October 31st, 2010 – current
Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Music by: Bear McCreary
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, David Morrissey, Melissa McBride, Scott Wilson, Michael Cudlitz, Emily Kinney, Chad L. Coleman, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Robin Lord Taylor, Alexandra Breckenridge, Austin Amelio, Khary Payton, Tom Payne, Katelyn Nacon, Steven Ogg, Pollyanna McIntosh, Corey Hawkins, Audrey Marie Anderson, Denise Crosby

Idiot Box Productions, Circle of Confusion, Skybound Entertainment, Valhalla Entertainment, AMC, 115 Episodes (so far), 42-67 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

Do I even need to review The Walking Dead, at this point? Everyone in the world has seen it by now, right? Everyone already has their own opinion of it, yes?

Well, there are a lot of people that quit years ago and it seems like the ratings have been going down the last couple of seasons. Granted, it is still AMC’s biggest show and rakes in higher numbers than nearly anything else on cable but it’s been on for eight friggin’ seasons, which is a whole hell of a lot in this day and age where decent shows get cancelled all the time.

It’s hard to review the show for the fact that it has been on for so long and that it hasn’t been very consistent from season to season. But at least the show mixes it up and tries new things, reinventing itself every 2-3 seasons. The gist of it is really the same but it’s done a decent job of evolving with the timeline in which the show is set.

However, it sort of ignores some of the real world threats that would be happening in a post-apocalyptic United States. Things that a simple comedy like The Last Man On Earth was smart enough to explore. Things like explosions at unattended nuclear power plants, spewing really bad shit into the air.

I have stuck with this show through thick and thin because as cheesy as it sounds, you grow to know these characters as if they were real people and you care about their story, especially if you’ve toughed it out through the good and bad points of the show.

There have been moments during this show’s run that I thought about giving it up but there isn’t much else to do on a Sunday night and their eight episode half seasons are pretty quick to get through. If this show had 23 episodes a year like most programs, I couldn’t stay committed to it. Plus, there was that part of me that was just waiting for the war with Negan to start. That war wasn’t what I had hoped it would be but I was satisfied with how it wrapped up and am interested in what’s to come in the upcoming season, as there are a lot of changes and a time jump happening.

For the most part, The Walking Dead has been a good show. Sometimes it feels as if it has already ran its course but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to walk away from it like some others have. But that could change with Rick, the main character, leaving the show soon.

In the end, The Walking Dead isn’t a show about zombies, it’s a show about exploring human nature and that’s more interesting than the undead.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: Fear the Walking DeadDeadwood and Hell On Wheels.

Comic Review: Comic Review: Hack/Slash – Omnibus Five

Published on: June 12th, 2012
Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Dan Leister, Elena Casagrande, James Lowder

Devil’s Due Publishing, Image Comics, 300 Pages

Review:

I really loved this series back in the day when it was new and fresh. Reading this fifth and final omnibus, however, makes me kinda glad that this series wrapped up. I don’t know why but it lost its luster for me. I know other people still like it but it just feels like it is moving without a clear direction as to where it’s going. But this does end with the series’ official finale.

I’m several years behind on reading these stories but I’ve spent over a decade with Cassie Hack and Vlad and I do love them but even they seem like they’re bored with the proceedings. Tim Seeley has done well with his creation but this just feels like he was ready to move on and put his focus on his other work.

Most of this book just feels like filler that is working towards winding down but also taking its sweet time in doing so. There is an interesting Mercy Sparx crossover thrown in, which was cool to see but not anywhere near as exciting as some of the other crossovers from Hack/Slash‘s past.

When you do reach the finale, which is a story stretched over the final six issues in this collection, it is kind of welcomed. I thought that finale was actually the best part of the book. Granted, the first story dealing with a monster island of kaiju and a mad scientist was also kind of neat.

I do like how this wrapped up even if the characters don’t get a very happy ending. The ending had impact and real finality to it and any return to the series would cheapen it. It’s not the ending I wanted to see but it did bring closure where so many other comic series that call it quits, leave the door wide open for eventual followups.

This series was its strongest when it was at Devil’s Due before moving over to Image due to Devil’s Due’s financial woes. Tim Seeley gave us a damn good series though, overall.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: The other Hack/Slash omnibuses. But They should be read in order.