Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Podcast of the Month for November 2012 is:

Comic Geek Speak!

I've been listening to Comic Geek Speak for over a year now and they are without a doubt the most informative and industrious podcast about comic books. They regularly produce three to five podcasts a week and every one of them is well worth listening to.

Once a month they go over the Previews magazine and each podcaster picks out comics, trades and other items that they think will be worth buying. I find it is helpful in finding out a few months in advance what may or may not be worth buying at the comics shop that month.

Another monthly feature is Off the Racks, in which they pick one DC, one Marvel and one or more Independent Comics to review as a group. This past month they reviewed Joe Kubert Presents #1 from DC, Uncanny Avengers #1 from Marvel, Multiple Warheads #1 from Image and Cyberforce #1 from Top Cow. Their rating system is fun and unique: They rate them BUY, BORROW or PANTS: Buy being great, Borrow being good and Pants being not so good. Pants was used to substitute Pass at some point; possibly as a joke or mispronunciation involving the moderator Brian "Pants" Christman.

Yet another regular feature is Comic Talk, which is a comics news-based episode. They discuss the latest comic book-centric news and how they think it will affect the industry. In the November 14th episode of Comic Talk they discussed Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and how it might affect the Star Wars movies, comics and toys; DC's upcoming Katana, Vibe and Justice League of America books; and some spoiler-filled TV talk on The Walking Dead and Arrow.

They also do regular features on important events in comics. They recently reviewed every single issue of Marvel X-men Vs. Avengers 12-issue event series; even going so far as to live stream a special podcast on the twelfth and final issue. They are currently doing a series on Marvel Now, with the latest podcast, Round Three, discussing All-New X-Men #1, Fantastic Four #1, Thor: God of Thunder #1, X-Men Legacy #1 and Avengers Assemble #9.

There is too much for me to tell about these hard working podcasters, so I’ll let them describe their podcast and themselves to you in their own words:

Comic Geek Speak (CGS) was started in March, 2005 when Bryan and Peter decided to try their hand at the then-new world of podcasting. They quickly invited their friends to join them and then the show was complete. CGS initially released one or two episodes a week, but before long they were cranking out three. Nowadays, the CGS crew produces daily episodes (Monday through Friday) ranging from regular episodes to more focused episodes, such as Footnotes, World of Toys or Exploring Bede.

CGS is far more than just a few friends in a room with microphones. CGS is now a worldwide community of comic fans that helps to foster and grow the love of comics that is vital to the industry's success. Produced by a group of life-long friends, Comic Geek Speak is a daily look at comic book history, current comic news, and a general look at the industry. Experience all the joys of a Wednesday afternoon at the comic shop, from the comfort of your own headphones.

Here are some of the fine gentlemen that regularly speak on Comics Geek Speak:

Brian Deemer
Bryan is the guy that decided to do this crazy podcast. After reading an article about podcasting in Wired magazine in February, 2005, Bryan recruited Peter to start CGS. Bryan started reading comics in 1985 after getting a copy of Groo from his friend. It wasn't long before he was reading everything in sight. He worked at his local comic shop, Golden Eagle, for a few years in college, which is where he met and befriended most of the other geeks. He's a man of many ideas, and never really knows when to quit. That's probably a good thing for CGS.

Shane Kelly
Shane Kelly is a comic book, toy-loving, Sci-Fi fanatic! Whose earliest memories are watching re-runs of the Batman 60's TV show, Star Trek and Superfriends cartoons on Saturday mornings in the late 1970s. For 25 years Shane has been reading and collecting comics starting in 1984 with GI JOE: A Real American Hero issue 21, quickly expanding to DC Comics with titles like Batman and Justice League in 1987 and Marvel with The Amazing Spider-Man. Shane has been friends with the rest of the Geeks for twelve years. When Bryan and Peter asked if he would like to join them for some comic book and toy talk on a new venture they were trying called a podcast, he jumped at the chance. Anything to hang out with friends, talk toys and comics. It has been four years of fun, opening up to new new comics that he would have never read and meeting tons of new people Shane is proud to consider friends. All through Comic Geek Speak! There is even a spin off show called World of Toys which Shane co-hosts with fellow CGS member Brian (Pants) Christman.

Jamie D
Having read comics for over 30 of his 43 years on this earth, Jamie is the elder statesman of the group. He is a Marvel boy at heart but hasn't met a comic or comic company he wouldn't try at least once. He wears his love of comics on his sleeve and champions the artform wherever and whenever possible.

Confused with 24601, Number 6, or even being associated with Comic Geek Speak at all, he's got the wit of a Web-Head and the skills, cunning, and social skills of a Dark Knight. Matt has worn several hats since he started on the show: A-Hole to some (though refreshingly honest to others), Object of focus for the Church of Mattitude, Roast Master General, and Host of alternate universe CGS (see episode 666). He's the first to add fuel to any fire and the last to back down. Prefers the Dark Knight Detective (as opposed to the Caped Crusader), the Shadow, and a feisty Black Cat. Blunt. Unapologetic. Old School (power of Pulp Comics). Carries his backbone with him at all times. Respects strength, privacy, and blunt honesty and abhors coddling. Love him...hate him...have no idea who even is: Matt will be the one giving you a back-handed compliment one minute, then watching your 6 o'clock the next. When you have a problem, and no one else can help, and you realize you're screwed either way, Matt's the guy to have at your side. Lock and load, fanboy, wimps need not apply!!

Adam "Murd" Murdough
Adam is perhaps the least talkative of the Geeks. He has been reading comics since 1991, beginning with Marvel's Infinity War, but he only recently became aware (thanks to CGS) of the benefits of discussing them with groups of friends. He has a Master's degree in Popular Culture Studies (yes, really), as part of which he wrote a thesis about Crisis on Infinite Earths; he's proficient enough in comics trivia to keep up with the Rios; and, as a distant cousin of Matt's, he can make with the witty comments sometimes. Mostly, though, he prefers to sit quietly (especially during interviews) until one of the other guys prods him to spit out some obscure fact or say something intelligent. Turn-ons include parallel universe stories, Kitty Pryde, and long walks on square planets; turn-offs include rude people and continuity violations.

Brian "Pants" Christman
Brian Christman, perhaps better known as "Pants", joined CGS in the fall of 2006. He is known for his obsession with collecting - both comics (over 17,000 books - mostly DC - going back as far as the 1950s) and comic book art (sketches of the original Batwoman and original art pages from a certain weekly book). He's also a frequent convention attendee, once going to two different shows in one day.

Comic Geek Speak’s motto is "We Are Uniting the World's Mightiest Heroes One Listener at a Time", which they end every podcast with. This speaks volumes for the energy and the positive focus they put into each and every one of their podcasts. If you are a fan of comic books or even just a casual fan of comic book based movies, you should definitely give Comic Geek Speak a listen.

To learn more about Comic Geek Speak go to their website at:

Or to listen to one of nearly 1400 (!) podcasts go directly to:

Monday, November 26, 2012


“This version of Spider-man offers enough new insights into the character’s past that the first film didn't,  that I think it will keep you interested enough to get to the good stuff.”

Superhero, Fantasy and Action

Starring - Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Sally Field as May Parker, Irrfan Khan as Dr. Rajit Ratha and Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson

Director - Marc Webb

Writer(s) - James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence

Runtime: 136 min.

I bought my first issue of The Amazing Spider-man from the magazine rack of my local drug store in the summer of 1971 at the age of thirteen. I had been buying and reading several different comics sporadically before then (most notably JLA, The Flash and a few others I’ve forgotten), but the cover of The Amazing Spider-man #100 with the John Romita drawn image of Spider-man wall-crawling over a chalkboard-like background of the portraits of all the supporting characters from the past just set my young imaginative mind afire! Most of all, in typical Marvel fashion, the cover blurb announced “At last! The long-awaited 100th anniversary issue! With the wildest shock-ending of all time!” I had to read this comic! I never missed an issue of The Amazing Spider-man after that for many years to come and even when I was a Marvel Maniac throughout the ‘70s – buying almost every Marvel superhero title - Spidy was always my favorite Marvel character!

I bring up my historical relationship with Spider-man, because I think it helps to explain why I was not a fan of the three previous Sam Raimi directed films and why I enjoyed the latest Marc Webb directed film so much. I don’t want to waste time comparing Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007) to The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). I’ll just say that I never liked Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and I didn’t like the many stylistic changes to the character that director Sam Raimi and writer David Koepp made; the worst being making Spider-man’s webs biologically shoot out of his hands (yuck!).

So what is it about The Amazing Spider-man that made me think it was the best film version of the character yet? The most important part of Spider-man’s characterization is that he is a high-school geek, a loner, a quietly angry teenager who has never gotten over the loss of his parents. When he is bitten by the radioactive spider and acquires the proportional strength and agility of a spider, Peter is elated and revels in his new found powers. The Amazing Spider-man establishes all this characterization in the first forty minutes of the film. We see Peter riding his skate board in school, belligerent to school rules. We see Peter being bored in Physics class, because it’s obvious that he already knows more than the teacher. We see Peter watching Gwen Stacy from afar, wishing for a way to meet this beautiful girl. We see Peter being beaten by Flash, despite his best efforts to try and avoid the confrontation. We see Peter’s warm relationship with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in the form of quiet moment between he and Ben, when Peter attempts to hide the beating from his Aunt.

The performance of Andrew Garfield is amazing – especially when you consider he is a 29-year old, who grew up in England – is playing a 17/18-year old Manhattan high-schooler. Before and after he becomes Spider-man, Garfield plays Parker with just the right balance of darkness and inner strength. He plays Peter as the awkward geek and Spidy as the quippy jerk; making both likeable and identifiable. I can’t say enough good things about Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy. She plays her as a beautiful and smart teenage girl, who still is self-conscious and quiet around Peter, who she clearly likes before he becomes Spider-man. This relationship between Peter and Gwen is very important in making Peter and Spidy the man he needs to become.

I haven’t even mentioned the special effects, because at this point, I expect high quality digital effects in a film of this enormous budget (estimated at $230 million!). There are wonderful scenes of Spidy web-slinging through downtown Manhattan and I really loved how much Spider-man uses his webbing as both a defensive and offensive weapon. One of my favorite scenes is where Spidy is hunting down The Lizard in the massive sewer system of NYC and he sits in a web sling at a central hub after shooting web strands down all the adjoining tunnels. The design of the Lizard is not completely faithful to the comic book version; especially in the area of his facial structure. The Lizard was never one of my favorite Spidy villains, as I always thought he just looked like a giant lizard in a lab coat – and don’t get me started on those magenta pants! So, the redesign of The Lizard didn't bother me and as a CGI-only character, I thought he was fairly effective.

The story of Spider-man is well told, even if we do get his “origin” story again only ten-years removed from Spider-man (2002). I liked the fact that the filmmakers didn't rush to get Peter out of high school, just so we could get to him shooting “pics” for The Daley Bugle and working for his public nemesis James Jonah Jameson. Captain Stacy filled in nicely as Spidy’s new public menace, without feeling too forced. The ending, which I won’t ruin here, did feel a little hokey, but of all the Marvel superhero characters, Spider-man is one character that can pull off hokey.

For anyone who didn't go to the theater to see The Amazing Spider-man because they didn't want to see another re-telling of his origin, I recommend giving it a rent. This version of Spider-man offers enough new insights into the character’s past that the first film didn't  that I think it will keep you interested enough to get to the good stuff. The good stuff, by-the-way, is very good indeed!

TECHNICAL: Acting – 10 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 9 Script – 9 Special Effects – 10

VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 9 Emotional – 10 Involvement – 10

TOTAL - 95

Thursday, November 15, 2012


In the sixth part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Doc Freak Disarmed" -- Zombzany regales his viewers with a story about Zacherley running for president with the slogan “Put a Ghoul in the White House.” Despite his fear of punishment, Freak enters the tomb and tells Zombzany that according to his source, the slogan was “Put a Vampire in the White House.” Zombzany refutes this claim and uses a spell to dash Freak to the ground.
Zombzany sarcastically goes into an unflattering description of the next film in the horror movie marathon and Freak can be heard in the background screaming for Zombzany’s attention. At the conclusion of Zombzany’s soliloquy, Freak confronts Zombzany, showing him that his spell has now removed Doc Freak’s other hand. When Freak explains to Zombzany that without hands, he won’t be able to serve his master his coffee, Zombzany attempts a regenerative spell to restore Freak’s missing appendages.
The spell goes awry and Doc Freak is now missing both of his arms!
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Six -- Doc Freak Disarmed.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


In the fifth part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Dominator of the Dummies" -- Zombzany begins to introduce the next film of the horror movie marathon, when he is interrupted by Doc Freak. Freak is complaining that he doesn’t have sufficient bandages to wrap his dismembered hand properly. Zombzany is extremely unsympathetic and concludes his introduction, warning Freak not to interrupt him again.
Zombzany then proceeds to completely ignore the film being shown and read from a book. Doc Freak is curious and swathed in bandages, limps before Zombzany, attempting to get a look at what Zombzany is reading. After his inquiries are rebuffed by the surly Necromancer, Fritz grabs the book and Zombzany and Freak begin fighting over the possession of the tome.  After a brief struggle, both combatants fall to the ground - momentarily stunned!
Freak is the first to revive and uses the opportunity to retrieve the book from Zombzany’s grasp. When Doc Freak sees what Zombzany has been reading, he suddenly has second thoughts about asking Zombzany to use his necromantic magic to heal his wounds.
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Five – Dominator of the Dummies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Only one person voted in - Which of these films do you plan on seeing in October of 2012 – poll and that appeared and disappeared – twice! I don’t know if there was a fault with the Blogger gadget or if no one was interested in any of these four horror films for the month of October. If not, I can’t say I blame any of you as I had only mild interest in two of the four and had no intention of seeing any of them at the theater. If anyone did try to vote on this month’s poll and was unable to, please leave a comment here.
There will be no poll for the month of November, primarily because of the lack of any really interesting genre films being released to theaters. There is the animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph (11/2) which I have a very minor interest in and will likely rent. The Man with the Iron Fists (11/2) which looks amazing, but I’m not a huge martial arts film fan and there doesn’t appear to be enough of a plot to make it more than worth a rental. Vamps (11/2) is a PG-13 romantic comedy about two vampires – enough said – PASS! The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is a PG-13 romantic drama about two vampires and the forth film in a series that I have not watched any of the previous three films – PASS! Rise of the Guardians looks like a CGI animated feature with some actual flair and I like the concept, but I’ll still be waiting to rent the blu-ray disc.
Although not genre per se, I will be going to the theater November 10 to see Skyfall. I am a huge Bond film fan and have seen every Bond film in the theater since The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Daniel Craig as James Bond, but he quickly won me over in Casino Royale, so I’m looking forward to Skyfall – particularly with Sam Mendes as director, who is better known for his dramatic films like American Beauty (1999) and Road to Perdition 2002).
If anyone is going to see any of these films in November, please leave a comment here and tell me why you are interested enough to see it on the big screen.