On Tuesday September 1, 2015 at 8pm The Morbid Anatomy Museum (MAM), one of Brooklyn’s most unique spaces, will present a screening of RKO – Radio Pictures’ The Most Dangerous Game. “Movie Mike” will project a 16mm print of the classic 1930’s jungle adventure with its lurid pre-Hayes Code themes of violence, sex and extreme (pre-Predator) big game hunting. Grab tickets here.
The film has an interesting production backstory that just happens to intersect with one of my favorite obsessions, RKO’s 1933 film King Kong and its debt to the art of 19th Century illustrator Gustave Doré.
Thanks to museum director Joanna Ebenstein I get to shed some light on those connections via an illustrated guest blog on the Morbid Anatomy website. This link will take you there.
Mourning Becomes Eclectic…
The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Research Library is a cabinet of curiosities focused on the parallel evolutions of the occult and medical sciences, with lots of side trips that include anthropomorphic taxidermy, gothic tropes, and religious reliquaries. Check out the museum’s calendar for future events including MAM’s Common Shade lecture series, presented in conjunction with the Green-Wood Cemetery Historic Fund, which has yielded two exceptional installments thus far.
Well, I’ve already seen Halloween decorations displayed at Lowes Home Center, so I guess an October surprise preview from the folks at Dark Horse Comics isn’t too early to report.
If you are a horror fan and haven’t been following their Harrow County series it’s time to get on board. I think you’ll fall in love with it, and I tell you why in this post reviewing Harrow County #1.
Dark Horse recently announced that the ongoing graphic novel is one of several of the company’s titles being developed by Universal Cable Productions for episodic television, “with direct involvement from the comics creators.” That’s good news because writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook‘s work is top notch and I would love to see their aesthetic translated to the screen.
Release Date: August 26, 2015
I Took a Dog’s Paw, A Hog Jaw, and Tied ’em in a Knot…
There is no rest for the expired when you happen to be Hellboy. He’s dead. He’s in Hell. He’s all messed up. Yet even in death he’s going to have to face a world of deadly problems, possibly the expunging of his eternal soul thereby becoming a hollow howling haunter of hell. He is not without benefactors but their needs are reciprocal and large.
Written and rendered for the printed page by HellBoy creator Mike Mignola and his trusty wingman, colorist Dave Stewart, issue #7 of Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy In Hell presents us with the first of the two-part story “The Hounds of Pluto.”
I Took a Black Cat, A Cave Bat, and Threw ’em in a Pot…
Inspiration can come in the strangest forms, and editor Scott Allie informs us that Mignola found his muse for a key story element in a skeletal feline Halloween ornament. That item is elevated to star status on the cover of HBiH #8 (September 2015).
Mignola brews his stories in a cauldron of classic motifs that often suggest the frames of a silent era film. Caligariesque street-scapes, post grave grudges, glitchy golems and Shakespearean incantations are all part of the mix here. To heighten the effect, colorist Stewart juxtaposes the hard lines and stark tones of Hell’s very active memento mori against subtle watercolor washes depicting Hellboy’s verdant reveries of Alice and the rebirth of existence in the wake of what was once England.
What role must HB play in the rise of the new Albion? Not even those intrinsically involved know for sure, but you can begin your own deductions when this issue hits the bookstore shelves.
If you want to catch up with just how our hero got to this place in time and space before HBiH #7 is released, check out Dark Horse’s The Storm and The Fury: HellBoy Volume 12 compilation which pulls together the two story arcs you need under one cover.
BTW, if you’re wondering where my lyrical paragraph headers come from give Johnny Otis‘s “Castin’ My Spell” a listen. I particularly dig the version done by Johnny Kid and the Pirates in 1964.
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Alex de Campi
Penciller: Fernando Ruiz
Inker: Rich Koslowski
Colorist: Jason Millet
Cover Artist: Andrew Pepoy
#BFF’s, Battle Friends Forever…
The end is nigh but what started out as a “you can’t be serious” concept turned out to be a ridiculously fun excursion into post-millennial farce. Issue 4 of Dark Horse Comics‘ Archie Versus Predator finds the last few Riverdale residents intact preparing for their ultimate fight for survival, while also attempting to stay well appointed in the best of togs.
With a cover blurb like “Frenemies No More” it’s no spoiler to tell you that our forever teenage gal rivals Betty and Veronica make formidable foes for the extraterrestrial hunter in the finale.
Author Alex de Campi has kept the plot unpredictable and the action on high, ramping up the body count on an issue by issue basis. The swift scenarios almost make you forget that iconic characters are meeting their demise in the bloodiest of ways.
From here I’m totally prepared to learn that My Little Pony is the God-Head overlord of the Engineers in Prometheus 2. Mr. Ridley Scott, if you’re listening, the old Hollywood axiom “If you can’t make it bigger, make it funnier” applies.
New York City’s Chelsea Pier complex was the site for the 2015 Sweet Suite event designed to alert traditional press outlets and the exponentially expanding blogger community to the play industry’s newest goodies. This season’s gathering, mounted by the folks at Adventure Publishing Group (APG) (Toy Insider, The Toy Book, The Licensing Book) was the biggest ever, encompassing the wares of almost 100 vendor/sponsors. See the link loaded list of participants on the Sweet Suite Sponsor List.
Sweet Suite 15 was a sensory riot with so many wonderful items vying for deserved attention. To document the afternoon APG president and Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht conducted on-site interviews with the industry sponsors and attendees were banging out Tweets, Instagram pictures and videos posts by the hundreds (thousands?) It was especially cool to find The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark providing the live soundtrack performing songs from the group’s Are We There Yet album.
As an information gathering excursion co-editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez and I have found the invitation-only opportunity to be invaluable, often leading to months worth of pre-holiday roll-out features about the newest toys.
It’s also a perfect platform to explore new products and have an easy-going tet a tet with their creators. Heck, I got so “toy-tipsy” I was even cajoled into donning an “Amy Poehler” wig for the gals at the Goldie Blox booth. Do blondes have more fun? I can’t say for sure but it likely beats being a balding 60 year old guy in a baseball cap.
What caught our collective eye? I know Andy was particularly taken with the I Am Elemental action figures and their empowering message for young ladies. I zoned in on Crayola’s “Color Alive” Easy Animation Studio and Hexbugs’ newest Vex Robotics kits (including an operational Zoetrope). Both were still in early development when first spied at the New York International Toy Association Fair last February.
I also enjoyed a thorough demo and up close look at the eye-popping next-gen graphics of Activision’s Skylanders SuperChargers multi-platform game. Anki Overdrive’s track hugging robotic race cars promise to be an exciting experience, and Madame Alexander Doll’s mirthful Muppets will be available just in time for ABC’s Muppet TV relaunch.
Also ready to launch in the vanguard of inevitable Stars Wars mania is Build-A-Bear Workshop‘s Darth Vader and Chewbaca bears.
Expect us to be reporting on those items and many other products in depth as they reach their release dates in the coming weeks. In the meantime enjoy this teaser gallery of pictures from the event.