Halloween Countdown #25: Fanboy Wonder

I was gonna save this for the last day of the Halloween Countdown, but I’m stuck for  what to post today. As such, let me give  you a photo from nearly two decades ago.


That’s yours truly as Robin on the right and my father as Lou Farrakhan Alfred. I posted this picture last year as well, during my old blog’s Halloween week countdown. While I am posting this as a bit of easy filler, I do have another reason.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a love for Robin. Mostly because when I was a young ‘un I could self project my as the sidekick of the greatest superhero ever, but it was a little more than that, I think. I have a thing for the unappreciated or underappreciated of certain franchises. And when I was growing up, people seemed to (and still do, in some way) want to distance the larger Bat franchise from anyone and anything that didn’t fit the narrow “grim and gritty” view of the World’s Greatest Detective. As such, Robin (especially the Dick Grayson version) always seems to get opted out or shafted, particularly when going for media outside of comic books.

I’m sure I’ve got a long rant on Robin in me, but as of right now I don’t have the patience or desire to write one right now. One of these days I will, but for now, I fine with knowing that I love the character and almost everyone who’ve worn his red and green tights.




Halloween Countdown #24: Chick Track

So, Jack Chick is dead.

I never knew or met Jack Chick, nor was I a big fan of his work, ironically or otherwise. I had no opinion of the man for the longest time until a few days ago.


F#%^ off, lady.

I recently read the “Happy Halloween!” Chick Tract while looking for material for the Halloween Countdown, thinking I might get a few chuckles from it. The plot involved a small child being damned to hell for not going to Sunday school and  falling in with the “wrong crowd”. This pissed me off to no end, especially since I’m a Catholic who has never had any time for the kind of repressive, paranoid and downright cruel type of faith that’s often espoused by Chick and his ilk.

And now, Chick’s dead. I cannot say I will weep for the man, but I will not wish him to end up in hell or any of his family and friends any ill will. He was a symptom of a larger rot that can get inside you when it comes to faith; a combination of  paranoia and superiority complex that can infect the soul. To all my readers, faithful or non-faithful, please remember: do not forget that this darkness is out there, lurking in your own heart. Recognize it, and fight against.

Halloween Countdown #23: A Matter of Fact

Toddlers are not scary.



Fear me!


I don’t care if you raise ’em from the dead and give ’em super-strength, there is no way you’re making a toddler a figure to inspire fear. Especially if you put ridiculous looking top hats on them.



“Ain’t I just the cutest little murderer?”


In all fairness, Pet Sematary  is a halfway decent movie. The acting’s hammy (especially from Dale Midkiff) but Fred Gwynne really sells every line he’s given and Denise Crosby does pretty good too. It’s just when they resurrect Gage and try to make him scary, the movie becomes a pretty funny unintentional comedy.



Halloween Countdown #22: My First Horror Movie

Army of Darkness was probably the first “scary” movie I ever sat through.

Army Of Darkness.png


That’s not to say I never saw bit and pieces throughout my childhood. I remember seeing pieces of Tales from the Hood on cable and I grew up with the original Ghostbusters on VHS. And I’m pretty sure I sat through The Faculty at one point, but I remember being less scared and more aroused by that movie (if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about). But Army of Darkness is what I consider my first.


Terror beyond compare!

Now I know what you’re thinking; “Jordan, Army of Darkness isn’t all that scary!” Well, you’re right. I still count it though. The reasons are twofold:

  1. It led me to watching Evil Dead II, which is one of my favorite scary movies ever.
  2. It was probably was the first sorta mainstream movie I ever saw that included “scary” imagery (i.e. zombies, hags, walking skeletons, possessed people, ect)
  3. It’s way better than The Faculty.

So, nah nah nanah nah.


Fright beyond imagination!

I was probably around fourteen when I first saw it. I was home from North Junior High (it went through freshman year back in the day, making it the teenage me’s halfway point between St. Anthony’s and MFHS). I was avoiding my homework when, checking for something to watch, I saw Army of Darkness playing on HBO or something. I’d heard about the film, but never had actually seen the thing, so I decided see what it was like, and I was transfixed throughout the movie’s entire run time. The movie’s comedy, action, and horror elements all blended together to make one of the most entertaining movies I’d ever seen. I still have a deep affection for it, even though I haven’t watched it in full for at least five years.

(Though I plan on fixing that.)

So yeah, Army of Darkness is my first scary movie. Come at me.


Oh, the horr…wait, this is actually a little creepy.




Halloween Countdown #20: We Will All Go Together When We Go

And now I present to you, dead reader, straight from the mad mind of Wallace Wood, my candidate for the best creepy illustration ever done.


The above image is from “The 10th at Noon” a tale of impending atomic age apocalypse form EC’s Weird Fantasy #11. The story is broken up between two scientists experiment with a time travel device and the reports of an ultimatum from the “Eastern Alliance” to either meet their never given demands by December the 10th at noon or face the Hydrogen bomb. The story ends with the scientists taking a picture of said date in New York, only to find the Big Apple blown to smithereens.

I first saw the image above on page 144 in the book Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America by Bradford W. Wright sometime back in high school. Obsessive s I was back then for info on the medium’s past, I never expected to see such a grisly sight. While I cannot say it’s “haunted” me since then, I’ve come to look at it as possibly the best pulp portrait for the apocalypse that, so far, humanity has done a damn good job at avoiding.


Halloween Countdown #19: Best Left Buried

Welcome back to Fix It ‘Til It’s Broke!, where there is no such thing as a bad idea until fans react to it with complete apathy. I’ve got to say, dear reader, that even now, coming in at our third ever entry in this thing, I’m starting to get a little worried. I mean, how many bad reboots, retoolings and regurgitations are there really in American superhero comics?  I often fear that I’m going to run out of material before the year is out, even with the once-a-week pace. Then, I remember the Bloodlines reboot…


A comic from 2003 0r 2016? You make the call!

…and I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing I’m not running out of material too soon.


Dialogue from an award-winning writer.

For those of you unaware, Bloodlines was a line-wide crossover event DC Comics published in 1993. In it, aliens that look like a cross between a xenomorph and a horse invaded Earth to feed on the spinal fluid of humans. This left dozens of random people as “New Bloods”, giving them powers beyond those of mortal men. This event gave us such great characters as Hitman and….pretty much nobody else, as all the other New Bloods ended up fading into the DC ether. And there they would have remained until J.T. Krul decided to revive the name for a six issue miniseries this year.

In this new fangled reboot, the town of Pine Ridge (sister city to Rock Ridge) finds itself invaded by tiny parasitic aliens after a meteor strike. The invasion unleashes the horror of the Demon Deer™ on the unsuspecting town….


…and also grants several people superpowers. Our main characters consist of revamped versions of:

  • Loose Cannon: teenage ALS sufferer Eddie Walker (go to hell, comic), now is able to turn into a blue version of the Hulk
  • Sparx: Dana; black girl who can’t shut up for the first two issue we see her, given electrical powers
  • Geist: boy genius Albert (seriously, go to hell, comic) with the power to become invisible
  • Gunfire: Blake; African-American cop who’s given the power of blowing things up
  • Razor Sharp: Hayley; mechanic and girlfriend of Blake, who can grow spikes and stabbing weapons out of her body
  • Duncan: a normal human who’s basically Morgan from The Walking Dead.

You know what it is? A bad horror comic.

Together they must stop this alien invasion and defeat evils such as an evil priest with mind control power,  the Alien queen mother of the parasites and…

…that’s it. Blake gets his mind possessed by the parasites and in then killed (because the book is functioning on the “only one black male allowed to live” rule of The Walking Dead) and there’s a teaser involving a re-imagined Terrorsmith as an evil little girl (ah, the evil little girl; a cliché almost as shop-worn as an evil priest) and dear God may we please not have more of this.


An off-screen Duncan tries to spare the reader from the rest of this comic, to no avail.

Now, I will admit this upfront: I only skimmed issues 4-6 of this series, so maybe, just maybe, I missed something that would make this flaming pile worth it all. I sincerely doubt this, though.


Stay classy, DC

The writing, while not bad per se, is definitely on the bland to the point of flavorless side. J.T. Krul stated in interviews that he was going for a horror style in a similar vein as John Carpenter’s The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Problem is, the entire enterprise comes off less like those works than as a cheap imitation, a Xerox of a Xerox resulting in a comic that feels less its own story and more an Asylum mockbuster. Krul leans on some of the most overused horror tropes (evil little girl, evil priest, aliens slowly taking control of people’s minds and bodies, teenagers partying in the wood until something starts going on a killing spree, ect.) that half of the comic feels like a bad horror movie.

The other half feels more like a CW show with the gore slightly amped up. Some of that comes down to the art of V Ken Marion, whose obviously channeling the late Michael Turner in his style. Sadly, this all comes off to making everyone and everything seem a bit generic looking at times, especially in the faces. Even things like the Demon Deer™ and a multi-limbed humanoid grotesque in issue four (one of the few things that comes off as genuinely creepy in the series) all have a “Hey, haven’t I seen this in like, Resident Evil or something?” feel to them.

The dialogue and characterization though is what really put a stake in this series’ heart. Everyone comes off as the kind of generic protagonist you’d find on any network TV drama. Even Eddie, the one that gets the most time and effort put into him, never really comes across as anything other than “broody teenager”, even though he has something to legitimately brood about! Everybody else comes of a various flavors of Wonder Bread, save for Dana. She goes from annoying to severely bland in three issues. Because that’s development, right?


On second thought, maybe bland is better…

Before we end, I just gotta ask: who the hell was this $#!@ made for? Who seriously wanted a revamped Bloodlines cast, other than J.T. Krul? Who wanted this bland, non-scary, unentertaining dreck that feels like it’s been fed through several committees to go on the sales rack? The amount of people who’re nostalgic for the old ’93 crossover can’t be that numerous. So was it made to appeal to younger audiences? If that’s the case, there are plenty of movies TV shows and other comics that could provide any one of the things Bloodlines is trying to sell and do it better. So, I ask again, who was this made for?

But those are question I think will never be answered. Suffice it to say, Bloodlines (2016) is an attempted revamping of something that was best left to a bygone age.


Shut up, Dana.

Halloween Countdown #18: Shame of the Past

Hey, you remember that episode of Smallville where Lana throws in with a sorority that’s secretly a bunch of vampires?



This character? Her name’s Buffy, and she’s the leader of the vampire sorority. Go to hell, episode.


No? You had better things to do in 2005 than watch Smallville? Good; you spent your time better than a fifteen year old me did.



Pictured: That sick feeling you get when you realize that the presence of scantily-clad hot chicks is the only reason you liked something as a kid


Looking back at the episode with eyes that are eleven years older and wearier, I can safely call this episode, “Thirst” (Smallville had an extreme fetish for one word titles) complete and utter trash. The vampire sorority segments all feel like a drag to watch, the other to plot threads (Lex vs. Brainiac-in-James Marsters-clothing Dr. Fine and Chloe interacting with a Carrie Fisher cameo) barely rise to okay, and it all coalesces to give the feel of a cheap softcore horror picture without any of the inventive gore or promise of bare boobs that make such things at least watchable, even in a “you’re going to feel ashamed of yourself later” sense.

P.S. I specifically remember an episode of Big Wolf on Campus that did a similar plot, and did it much better. If I ever find it, I’ll tell you about it.



Halloween Countdown #16:The Bedtime Horror

When tucking your little ones into bed at night, be sure to give them a Cthulhu Plush to keep by their side.



The cutest cosmic horror since the Dagon Doll!

This little buddy with be giving them nightmares and making them run for Turkish black mule heroine in no time. So remember, for bed wetting, psyche scarring terror, there’s nothing like Cthulhu Plush.


If the sight of that teddy just makes ya blush

If you wann urn their brains into mush,

Just go down to the toystore in a rush,

And get ’em a Cthulhu Plush!

Paid for by the Innsmouth Toy Company.