Sunday, June 25, 2017

Preacher Returns: AMC Blesses Season 2

The initial season of Sam Caitlin/Evan Goldberg/Seth Rogan's "Preacher", based on the DC/Vertigo's cult comic by Steve Dillon and Garth Ennis, ended on a "Star Trek V"/"If you're God..." dangler. As AMC leads us into Season 2, an alleged, richer exploration regarding the Lord's whereabouts begins. 

In truth, the series now becomes more of an official road trip of sorts, but then even when stationary, "Preacher" had that kind of feel. Its characters, after all, always seemed to be in search of something, if not new, bizarre scenarios, than certainly their places in life. 

Again leading the ensemble is the "blessed" Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), who's accompanied by his gutsy gal, Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga); his tipsy vampire buddy, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), and the woeful but sincere Arseface (Ian Colietti).

To propel the headliners along, Graham McTavish's mysterious Cowboy is on their trail, fringed by regulars portrayed by Anatol Yusef; Tom Brooke; W. Earl Brown; Julie Ann Emery; Lucy Griffiths; Noah Taylor; Pip Torrens; Derek Wilson; and the always fascinating Jackie Earle Haley.  

The first season's storytelling sometimes felt sadistic, but then such was rather characteristic of the DC/Vertigo comic. Still, it would be nice to see Season 2 plunge more seriously into its mystical concerns and leave the wise-ass humor behind. (On the other hand, I once thought "Army of Darkness" would have played better straight than quippy, but have since revised my opinion...)

All the same, the atmospheric flow of Season 2 could, indeed, make or break the show, but before a decision for renewal comes, we at least have a hardy thirteen episodes to digest. If the series maintains its fan base (and its voice is heard via letter, email and the like), Season 3 seems pretty much guaranteed. 

For now, Custer's weird trek recommences Sunday, June 25, following (for better or worse) AMC's lackluster "Fear the Walking Dead"; thereafter, it'll be stationed on Mondays at 9 pm, where it has a better chance of expanding its viewership.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


For those excited about Erik Franklin and Daniel Husser's "Brother Bones--the Undead Avenger" movie, there's now a chance (via Amazon Prime) to view the creative duo's earlier, fantasy endeavor..."Revenge of the Lost"!!!

Directed by Franklin, who co-wrote with Husser, "Revenge of the Lost" is a sprawling tale set in modern times: an alternate-reality romp, that is, where dinosaurs have returned to ravage the earth. In the heart of the monstrous chaos, desperate survivalists trek to a military base, only to learn that the flesh-feasting behemoths pale in comparison to the furtive ferocity that lurks behind the scenes.

"Revenge of the Lost" takes Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" concept one step beyond what we find in the novels and big-budget movies, which have only ever teased fans with the prospect of an actual global, dinosaur invasion. The Franklin-Husser Entertainment LLC production is, therefore, a dream come true for those who've yearned for such a logical expansion, but the film also presents significant and realistic characterizations and set-ups, similar to what one finds in George A. Romero's acclaimed "Dead" franchise. In other words, this film isn't merely a series of dinosaur attacks, but rather an epic of imaginative, identifiable depth. 

The cast helps make the concept credible, with Franklin doing a sterling job as Ray O'Brien: a resourceful, former police officer who must maintain his sanity as the terror escalates. He's joined by Ivey Bronwen as Michelle Dixon; Erika Chang as Commander Knight; Matt White as Rico Wilder; Jerry Nash as Jeremy White; Lawrence Ratliff as Corporal North; Grace Xie as Dr. Price; and Jay G. Hill as Dr. Winston. Each plays a pivotal part in the adventure, creating convincing bridges between the well staged action sequences.We end up caring for these people, never wishing to see them perish, even if their chances for survival appear dim. 

Do yourself a favor and give this fine production a view at ...

After you watch, then visit... ... to help get the film version of Ron Fortier's Brother Bones into gear.

It would be wonderful if Franklin-Husser Entertainment could make its next excursion the first, true-blue, New Pulp movie ever made. It's not so far-fetched an idea, either, considering that these capable filmmakers have committed themselves to the honorable task. 

Monday, June 19, 2017



Jesse Lalochezia Gutierrez has a mighty fine surprise for his fans--two, super-duper, comic creations in which they can indulge, with all the cool, brash, exploitation elements we've come to know and love from this marvelous artist/storyteller!!!

"Night of the Bloody Chupa-Apes", by its very name, invokes the gruesome, Mexican horror classic, "Night of the Bloody Apes" (aka, "The Horrible Man-Beast": a quasi remake of "Doctor of Doom", as one might know). And yes, Gutierrez's tale is tinged with qualities of '69 film, but his story equally conjures the atmosphere of  New World Picture's drive-in favorite, "Humanoids from the Deep", in the way his green simians slink their way into attack. There's also a fine heapin' of beautiful babes, including the voluptuous Tina and the buxom Batwoman; capped by one helluva rambunctious, lucha-libre climax. Also, don't be surprised if that shape-shifting, "brainiac" Baron Salazar surfaces or a particular, pasty-faced chauffeur in the "Burnt Offerings" vein. 

In addition to "Chupa-Apes", Gutierrez gives us his latest chapter in the devilishly dynamic, "Phantom of the Barrio" saga. Issue #3 extends the investigative, Edgar Wallace structure we've come to expect, tinged by an atmosphere that smacks of Argento, Bava, Naschy, and Ossorio. Most importantly, the Phantom continues to heighten his reign of terror in the most merciless of ways: precisely what we fans crave.

What's neat about the Phantom is his slick, off-kilter, guitar-strummin' style: in one sense, an embodiment of Angela and Luciana Giussani's Diabolik, but fueled by the wry drive of Jose Mojica Marin's Coffin Joe and Wes Craven's Freddy Krueger. 

I adore both issues and recommend them to any one with a sincere interest in collecting the best among today's indie comics.
BTW: To accompany my order, Gutierrez included a limited-edition, "Mexi-Loteria" card sheet, which presents a superb smattering of his colorful artwork. To enhance this fine collectible, the back features a reproduction of the gutsy, Pancho Gila/Bandido Studios logo. To say the least, I'm most pleased and grateful. 

If you want to get in on the action (and I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so), leave a message for Gutierrez on this post or better yet, contact him on the pricing and availability of his products at ...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Just finished the novella, THE BLACK BAT/THE PURPLE SCAR: FACES OF FEAR, the latest crossover adventure from Moonstone Books. Gotta say--whoa!!! This one sure overflows with action and intrigue. It's also written by Black Bat raconteur and Airship 27 Publications founder, Ron Fortier (a good sign, if ever there was one, for no one weaves a New Pulp yarn quite like Captain Ron). The adventure is also graced by gripping illustrations from his creative pal, the legendary Rob Davis!!!

Faces of Fear deals with the evident rise of dead criminals within Black Bat/Tony Quinn's NY turf. It appears that the insidious, porcelain-faced Mr. Mask is responsible. Naturally, Black Bat (accompanied by his faithful assistant, Silk Kirby) leaps in to tackle the situation. However, as the weirdness mounts, another enigmatic figure enters--that hard-hitting, rubber-masked avenger, the Purple Scar, aka Miles Murdoch. 

After the Black Bat rescues the Purple Scar from a sticky situation, the crusaders decide to join forces to untangle the perplexing manifestations.   

As with Fortier's Black Bat comic-book entries, Faces of Fear moves at a rapid clip, but the blistering action never blurs the characterizations, which remain distinct throughout, courtesy of the author's crisp, engaging style. The story also does an excellent job probing concepts of identity and the secrets people tuck beneath their various facades. 

Davis' wonderful illustrations give a film-noir ambiance to the tale: each image projecting a moody, almost three-dimensional depth that pulp fans will relish. 

By the adventure's conclusion, one side triumphs over the other, but I won't reveal exactly how. Experiencing the way Black Bat and Purple Scar (or more precisely, Fortier and Davis) make it click is all part of the fun. 

Incidentally, the stunning hardback-cover artwork is by Davis, with Eric Enervold having rendered the dynamic, softcover version. Cool!!! 

Give Faces of Fear a try. You're guaranteed a rousing treat, with either edition you buy. Heck, why not splurge for both? 

Order today at ...

Saturday, June 10, 2017


You were my hero when I was a little boy and remained such through these many decades. Your version of Batman taught me how to dream big dreams, to be a good see the world as a colorful and exciting place. Because of your series, my mind opened to other forms of fantasy and adventure--none of which would have happened if you had not made such an enormous impression on my life. 

No matter where you appeared, Mr. West, you were always the real deal, whether rubbing elbows with the Three Stooges in "The Outlaws Is Coming" or Sammy Davis in "Poor Devil", indulging in a "Zombie Nightmare" or crossing paths with the wholesome "Lois and Clark", the curvaceous "Black Scorpion" or the somber "Robinson Crusoe on Mars". I can still recall how I excited I was to find you in the great Karloff's "Voodoo Island"; hosting the offbeat anthology, "Tales from Beyond"; and let's not forget that harrowing "sand shark" encounter on "The Outer Limits".

I'll miss you with all my heart and especially savor that wonderful moment when you visited Rider College in the '80s: without question, the fondest memory of my young adulthood. Gosh, it still puts me on top of the world just to think that I was in your awesome presence!!!