Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Jesse Lalochezia Gutierrez's TANGIBLE VANDALISM #3 has hit print and boy, does it ever rival expectations, but then Gutierrez's work has never failed to surprise and stimulate. 

The latest installment pays proper homage to the Mexican monster-movie/wrestling superhero scene. Tangible Vandalism #3: The Mexi-Horror has it all, in this regard, including the lovely Tina and super-wrestler, the Aztec Angel as its hosts; plus Dracula; the Frankenstein Monster; and the Wolfman in a surreal "Three Bears" variation. There are also wonderful sketches of the Batwoman (based on Mexi-movie lore); the Baron of Terror (aka, the Brainiac); Phil Tucker's much maligned Ro-Man; and more!!!

Of course, if you're a Gutierrez fan, you already know what distinguishes his Bandido Studios Comics and Arts entries: ultra-detailed illustrations, snappy dialogue, inside jokes and plenty of feminine curves. Each and every page of Tangible Vandalism delivers in this respect, making it more imaginative (and therefore, superior) to the many predictable comics one finds in most mainstream stores. 

If you're in tune with Gutierrez's distinguished fancies (and how could you not be?), you'll jump at the chance to purchase a copy. At a mere $5, you're guaranteed to get more than get your money's worth.

You can touch base with Gutierrez at his Facebook pages: Bandido Studios Comics and Arts or under his name, Jesse Lalochezia Gutierrez. Act now while copies are still available!!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

An Alternate Reality #12: I saw IDR...

Whether one admits it or not, “Independence Day” (aka, “ID4”) is a blatant knock-off of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. That sets it alongside other film versions, official and unofficial, such as “War of the Worlds ’53” and its '86 television-series sequel; plus the three adaptations that hit in ’05 (of which one spawned a direct-to-disc sequel); “War of the Worlds Goliath” (an animated companion piece to the novel); “Invaders from Mars ’53 and ‘86”; “Mars Attacks”; “The Mysterians”, “Earth vs the Flying Saucers”  and well, you get the picture.

As an unofficial remake, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin's “ID4” was one of the biggest to come down the pike, though some would argue it polarized audiences as to whether it was the best or worst of its kind. Still, it seemed the epic would have spawned a sequel much sooner than twenty years down the line.

Nonetheless, director Emmerich's “Independence Day: Resurgence” ("IDR") is finally here, offering an alternate, present-day reality, based on the notion that we did, indeed, defeat hostile extraterrestrials via a computerized virus (a play upon Wells' biological version). Regardless of this monumental accomplishment (and that Earth has since incorporated alien technology into everyday life), more creepy creatures are on the way, responding to a stress call that the original invaders transmitted. The question is, can Earth repeat its clever success against its aspiring conquerors?

Our heroes (some old, some new) are determined to repeat the historic outcome, and leading the technological charge is none other than the calculating engineer, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), now director of the Earth Space Defense Program. Per the script (by Emmerich, Devlin, Nicholas Wright and James A. Woods), the scientist eagerly engages the task, with his always encouraging father, Julius (Judd Hirsh) in the consistent backdrop. However, the magnitude of the new tentacled vanguard (led by a gigantic, revenge-thirsty queen) is all the most discouraging, considering there are more monsters now to face. 

Former President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is well aware of what's about to come down, and as in "ID4", he finds the mettle to stand up to the invaders. Though Levinson may occupy the story's center, it's Whitmore's steely pledge to fight yet again that steals the show, inspiring all participants to mount their fortitude. (Sela Ward's President Lanford also pushes the folks along, but in the shadow of the legendary Whitmore, she's at best an honorable johnny-come-lately in this second great war of the worlds.)

Joining the struggle is ace pilot Dylan Dubrow-Hiller (Jessie Usher), son of Steven Hiller (portrayed by Will Smith in the original), who we learn was killed in a test-run mishap. Dylan's mom, Jasmine Dubrow (Vivica A. Fox), gives the lad ample support to follow in his crackerjack dad's footsteps, though the youth also gets friendly competition from Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), whose parents perished in the initial invasion. (Guiding their zeal is William Fichtner's General Joshua Adams, who projects a far more reserved, though no less resolute approach to combating the enemy.)

To offset the militaristic zeal, Area 51 expert, Dr. Brakish Okum (Brent Spiner) re-enters the saga (after awakening from a long, prophetic-dipped coma), exuding a conspicuously comical awe toward the unsettling circumstances, but then, what science-fiction blockbuster doesn't need at least one such individual to instill some levity?

Alas, though the leads are identifiable (and are supported by likable characters portrayed by Angelababy; Ryan Cartwright; Charlotte Gainsbourg; DeOloia Grace; Chin Han; Maika Monroe; John Storey; Patrick St. Esprit; and Travis Tope), their mission-driven presence mirrors that of the first film almost to a fault. Like "Starship Troopers" or the alien-modified "Battleship", "IDR" becomes an attain-victory-at-all-costs adventure, with minimal depth and social commentary, differing in this respect from Wells' allegorical novel, which scorned imperialistic conquest. 

Also, though "IDR" teases us with several subplots for its primaries, it never explores such to the extent it could, focusing instead on rapid-fire dogfights and dizzying, global explosions. Such gloss serves its purpose well, but also becomes achingly superfluous. A clever means to defeat the invaders also gets lost in the obstreperous cacophony, making the path toward victory mundane for this type of epic, even when help emerges from an unearthly, left-field source. 

By the time the credits roll, one will likely label "IDR" the proverbial popcorn movie, equipped with familiar friends and scenarios: a compliment in one sense, but a jab in another, if only for the predictability it implies. "IDR" is, therefore, one of many in a long line: a Wells tribute that's satisfying while it lasts, but by war's end falls short of being the best of its kind. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Have a PERSONA update, folks. 

The novel is currently set for its final proofing and its illustrator, Art Cooper (see April '16) has inked all interior panels. Airship 27 publisher Ron Fortier has also assigned artist, Shannon Hall, to complete the cover, based on Fortier's image "outline". 

To say the least, I'm ecstatic to see my mysterious pulp hero enter the Airship 27 scene, and yes, I'll keep you posted on the publication date, which I do believe will happen soon. 

BTW: As an extra, little tease, I'm including a shot of screen siren, Jean Harlow, an inspiration for the novel's lovely, leading lady, Stacy Standish. Ah, what a delightful vision and I should think further incentive for you to read my mystical tale!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016


You've left us far too soon, Mr. Yelchin, but your portrayals of Pavel Chekov, Charley Brewster and Kyle Reese will be long savored by your legion of fans. May your adventures beyond this terrestrial realm be as fulfilling as those that have graced the silver screen.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Monster Team-up Reflection #30: The Groovie Goolies

Continuing the classic-creature craze of the '60s, Filmation Studios commenced the '70s with its own joyous salute: "The Groovie Goolies", featuring cartoon impressions of our most beloved movie monsters. The animated "Goolies" is, in this respect, similar to the Billy Van/Mitch Markowitz live-action "Hilarious House of Frightenstein" (see "Monster Team-up #27: Oct '15), which aired around the same period.

The 16-episode "Goolies" sprung from Filmation's "Sabrina the Teenage Witch", which in its own right was derived from "The Archies". However, much like "Frightenstein", this monster "get together" was distinguished by a "Laugh-In", variety-show structure, which included jokes and skits, parenthesized by Horrible Hall's ghastly (and musically inclined) hosts: Drac, Frankie and Wolfie. 

Other monster favorites figured into the fun, such as Jekyll/Hyde (with the personalities conjoined as two heads on one body) and the Mummy, in a design reminiscent of the General Mills' cereal companion, Yummy Mummy. In addition, there was Hagatha, the rotund, green-skinned witch; Bonepart, a Napoleonic skeleton; Bella La Ghostly, a switchboard operating Vampira; Tiny, the Mummy's long-haired cousin; Missy, Tiny's mysterious Cyclopian spouse; little Hauntleroy, a Puglsy Addams-like ghoul; and his counterparts, Batso and Ratso, irascible Eddie Munster knock-offs.

A number of the show's supporting characters were likely influenced by the live-action, costumed actors found in various Sid and Marty Kroftt Productions: a gargoyle duo named Icky and Goo; the vulture-inhabited Spookoo Clock; the mystical Ask-It-Casket; Ghoulihand, a giant, ghostly glove; and Orville, an adorable, man-eating plant. 

The memorable character voices were supplied by a who's who of popular and seasoned performers: John Erwin; Larry D. Mann; Dallas McKennon; Howard Morris; Larry Storch and Jane Webb. For the discerning ear, these vocalizations gave the series distinction and prestige. 

Like "The Archies", "Goolies" wasn't shy about sharing song-and-dance, and music videos populated each installment. In fact, the song, Chick A Boom became a hit, and its video, featuring Hagatha being crooned by Wolfie, is accessible on YouTube. 

To enforce its musical ambiance, tailor-made groups appeared on "Goolies": the Bare Boned Band (a skeleton ensemble akin to "Mad Monster Party'"s Little Tibia and the Fibians); the Spirits of '76 (Colonial Period specters); the Rolling Headstones (anthropomorphized grave markers); and the Mummies and the Puppies (comprised of big, bandaged Mama Casket, the aforementioned Tiny, and a purple, puppy quartet). 

From a pop-cultural perspective, "Goolies" had wide-range impact. It's catch phrase, "I needed that" was arguably a poor man's equivalent to "Laugh In'"s "Sock it to me", and the show spawned profitable merchandise, including a PVC figure set; board game; coloring book and Halloween costumes. 

In '72, the series went the crossover route with a televised "ABC Saturday Superstar Movie" entitled "Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies". The episode is not only significant for its Mel Blanc overlap and inclusion of the Phantom of the Opera, but for its live-action footage of Drac, Frankie and Wolfie in a wacky race to catch runaway Hauntleroy. (The footage may have inspired, or at least holds resemblance to, Stanley Ralph Ross' live-action NBC series, "The Monster Squad", where a similar inspired trio engages in crazy, crime-fighting capers.)

A 2006 "Goolies" DVD box set is still available through various Internet sources and features fascinating making-of extras. Various clips are also available on YouTube and Dailymotion; and the series still surfaces on cable television, proving its appeal several decades after its premiere. 

"Goolies" is enchanting, charming and above all, fun: a worth while pursuit for monster-rally lovers young and old.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Last week I reviewed Michael Ferentino's latest BEDTIME FOR ROBOTS album, Big Sleep, Small Death. On the heels of that daring endeavor, we're now blessed by an equally eclectic production from Michael and Jennifer Ferentino: a monthly, half-hour Facebook/YouTube series entitled "After Hours".

"After Hours" is an absorbing (and sometimes irreverent) blend of storytelling, with atmospheric dashes of "Twilight Zone"/"Night Gallery"/"Tales from the Darkside", coupled with an old MTV type structure. In other words, it taps into a time when anthology television yet thrived and music-video experimentation was at its celebrated peak. 

In addition to Ferentino's engaging musical/movie material (btw: "Bizzarnage" will stay with you long after you view it), the initial episode includes the imaginative samplings of innovative WEATNU artist, Almark Thaolen, whose visual/audio manifestations are nothing short of mesmerizing. Trust me, they'll elevate your senses a hundredfold; Thaolen is truly that good. (Accompanying the material is an interactive section where one can share comments and creative jaunts, based on the episode's eccentric inspirations.)

"After Hours" is the sort of stellar show we need more of, but alas, material of this sophistication is a rare in today's sea of mediocrity. The Ferentino series, however, compensates for that, leading us into the boldest explorations imaginable, and for that, we should be most grateful.

(To document "After Hours'" growth, I'll faithfully comment on the series' continuing installments below this post. Stay tune!!!)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Collectible Time #60: Lindberg's Mad Maestro Model Kit Reissue

Thanks to good, ol' Z&Z Hobbies, I got another nostalgic reissue...Lindberg's Mad Maestro!!!

This 1:8 scale kit is in tune with the Big Daddy Roth craze of the '60s, where similar comedic, monster kits populated hobby shelves.

The re-release is a big deal among collectors, since the Maestro made but a brief appearance in '65. (Also, the original release fetches monstrous prices, whenever one resurfaces.)

Mad Maestro is extra special among such characterizations, possessing motorized action (i.e., his head, arms and right foot move when activated). The kit also comes with the required, orchestral equipment and customizing "hair" to accentuate Maestro's odd aura. 

Kids today don't understand the fun that these crazy caricatures generated in their time, but thanks to Maestro's re-release, we old folks can at long last re-taste their imaginative flavor. 

Mad Maestro sells for about $25-$30 at most retail stores: a most reasonable fee for such a clever creation. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Michael Ferentino's BEDTIME FOR ROBOTS offers amazing, electronic musical journeys. I've reviewed BEDTIME earlier among my posts (see Music from an Undisclosed Location: Nov '15). A new, innovative sojourn has just arrived via the maestro, and it's an imaginative spree for both spirit and mind.

Entitled Big Sleep, Little Death, the experimental excursion is loaded with disquieting sounds and otherworldly melodies, but to say such only scrapes the surface of what this fantastic compilation can induce.

Per its title, the album conjures notions of ease and unease, of light and dark, of treks into lands forbidden, grand and uninhibited, just like the scenarios found in our most demented horror and science-fiction tales. As we generally learn from such fables, what we fear is often what delights us most: Death is not the end, for within its ensuing sleep, worlds of weird wonder await. In addition to that, Big Sleep has the strength to call upon (and expand) whatever predominates our thoughts (good and bad) at the time of listening. 

Upon my initial indulgence, I couldn't help but recollect my recent views of such unconventional classics as Ib Melchior's "Angry Red Planet" and Sidney Pink's "Journey to the Seventh Planet": stories that trigger the fear of death and/or doom, but also the ecstasy of alien danger. The ominously drippy "Inside the Outside" captures the latter most effectively, but in many ways so does the spacey "Easter" and the epic title track (rendered with support from Mangabros), which lures one into the creepiest of crawly terrains.

However, Big Sleep didn't just spark dark-fantasy/science-fiction contemplation in me. There were times when I found it marching head-on into terrestrial madness and of the most unconstrained sort. "Don't You Scream" (featuring Tenno Andra) could very well be culled from the subconscious corridors of Norman Bates or Michael Myers (especially when the Carpenter tonality sets in), with its guttural, electronic cries: a hammering descent into point-of-no-return contempt, though blessed by woeful acceptance upon its concluding chords. 

Other tracks, such as the snappy "Electric Liar", the croaking "National Lobotomy" and the guffawing "Rev Laz" (again with Mangabros) traveled farther into such morbid territory, with "All My Idols Are Dead" grazing upon the despair of Samuel Fuller's "Shock Corridor", while lamenting the unjust passing of heroes lost too soon. Additionally, I imagined a seasoning of Edgar Allan Poe and Clive Barker among these collective, driving strands, but then so inclined is my disposition as a horror fan. 

In all sincerity, you're likely to find the varying compositions imply something all together different, which is good. After all, it's up to you to decide what Big Sleep means and what strange, exotic places it sends you--but trust me, Ferentino's work will, indeed, transport you to such, matching and rivaling your most unsettling, deep-seated designs. 

There's no reason to hesitate. Your latest BEDTIME is stationed at https://bedtimeforrobots.bandcamp.com/album/big-sleep-little-death. Don't be afraid to open your mind and let the sounds hypnotize. Indeed, a little "death" never hurt anyone; for in the dark, infinite aftermath of reverie, the imagination has no boundaries.