American Vampire: A Cover Story

Are you enjoying the American Vampire mini-series by writers Scott Snyder and  Stephen King with art by Rafael Albuqerque?

If so (and even if you’re not), you might get a kick out of this post by Mark Doyle over at the Official Vertigo Blog.  In it, Doyle takes us through the steps and changes that went in to the creation of the cover to American Vampire #3.

Preview of Stark/Cooke’s The Outfit

Newsarama recently ran a six page preview of Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Richard Stark’s The Outfit.  It’s the sequel to Hunter [also an adaptation of a Stark novel] and it…

…won the 2009 Diamond Gem Award for Original Graphic Novel of the Year, is nominated for a 2010 Eisner and was a New York Times bestseller.

If that doesn’t make you want to check it out, nothing will.

Predators Posters Fall Short

I am really not feeling the Predators poster above or this one here.  First of all neither tag line works.

Above: “They are the most dangerous killers on the planet.  This is not our planet.” Huh?  Perhaps it would have been better had it read, “They are the most dangerous killers on our planet.  This is not our planet.” And the tag line for the second poster, “Fear is reborn” is equally as bad.  Does Adrian Brody look even the least bit scared?  Nope.  Worried?  Nope.  “Fear is reborn” indeed.

Let’s not forget the layouts on both. (Or better yet, let’s do.)  Above: They look like a team with the leader being the huge shadow creature — is that a Predator?  While the second poster makes it look like Adrian Brody is giving a Predator a piggyback ride.

I was really hoping for cool posters to go with a cool movie.  Let’s hope that these are not signs of the movie to come.

Survivor: Final Thoughts

If you’re a Survivor fan, then there’s a good chance that you thought that this past season was the best yet.  Once again, I felt that Russell deserved to win and once again he made it to the finals only to lose.

After Russell’s first time on Survivor, I declared him the best to have ever played the game.  Now I’m not so sure.  I was going to write a post about why my feelings changed, then I read Survivor host Jeff Probst’s final blog about the season and decided he summed up my feelings about my change of heart better than I could.

100 Greatest Movie Characters

Last week did a four part series on their choices for The 100 Greatest Movie Characters.  Using just their characters, here is My Top Ten:

10. Preacher Harry Powell played by Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter.  I first watched this as a youngster on a little black and white tv.  The story pulled me in and Mitchum’s evil preacher had me loving every scary minute of it.

09.  Sam Spade played by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon.  Was Bogie ever cooler than when he went head to head with Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon?

08.  Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.  If Bogie ever played a cooler character than Sam Spade, it had to be when he played Rick Blaine and found himself once again knocking heads with Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, but this time joined by a town overrun with Nazis!

07.  Phyllis Dietrichson played by Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity.  The only woman to make the list and I’m as surprised by that as I was when I first watched Ms. Stanwyck seduce Fred MacMurray and manipulate him into killing her husband.  I knew Ms. Stanwyck as the older matriarch on The Big Valley and Mr. MacMurray was the older father on My Three Sons.  To think that they had once been so young and so good in their respective roles!

06.  Don Corleone played by Marlon Brandon in The Godfather.  To think that the studio made Brando audition and still almost passed.  Thanks to Francis Ford Coppola for his vision and Brando for his skills since we were given one of the best movie characters ever.

05.  Forrest Gump played by Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump.  The new [at the time] technology coupled with Hanks’ portrayal made for an unforgettable character.

04.  Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the sequels.  Ford was perfect as the swashbuckling adventurer.

03.  Hannibal Lecter played by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the LambsHopkins wasn’t the first to play Hannibal the Cannibal, [that distinction goes to Brian Cox who played him five years earlier in Michael Mann’s Manhunter], but he more than made the role his own.  My guess is that after seeing Hopkins’ riff as Hannibal, census takers all over the country dreaded home visits.

02.  Harry Callahan played by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry and the sequels.  It’s hard to remember that when Dirty Harry premiered in 1971, there weren’t any other cops like him.  Eastwood’s iconic performance created a new genre of cop movie… but none were better than Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.

01.  Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky and the sequels.  Was there any doubt who my number choice would be?

The Fandomania list was a solid one, but I had to wonder about these characters that didn’t make the cut:

  • Lee played by Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon
  • Snake Plissken played by Kurt Russell in Escape from New York and the sequels
  • Ethan Edwards played by John Wayne in The Searchers
  • Connor McLeod played by Christopher Lambert in Highlander
  • Riddick played played by Vin Diesel in Pitch Black
  • Lornetta “Mace” Mason played by Angela Bassett in Strange Days
  • Samantha Caine played by Gina Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight

Okay… I’m going to stop before I end up with a list of 100… but, just one more before I go…

  • Jack Carter played by Sylvester Stallone in Get Carter.  Yeah, I know, but the character really struck a chord for me.  And it is my list.  ; )

Mark Pennington’s Rambo

Mark Pennington graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in 1985.

Upon graduation Mark became a toy designer at Hasbro. Mark created designs for the G.I. Joe line of action figures including a Rocky Balboa GI Joe that never saw production! Mark’s first work as an inker in the comic book industry was for SQP on Judge Dredd!

When I started collecting original sketches of Sly, Mark was one of the first artists that I approached. I was excited to get this Rambo head sketch from him. In the next few weeks I’ll post Mark’s take on an “older” Jack Carter. Like today’s Rambo sketch, it’s another winner.

The Frazetta/Stallone Connection

A couple of days ago when I was looking for art to accompany my post about Frank Frazetta’s passing, I considered a ton of pieces.  The decision was a tough one because Mr. Frazetta had created so many iconic images throughout his career and because so many had made such an impression on me.  One that I had considered was the Judge Dredd cover that Frazetta had painted for Mad magazine.  I thought that the cover might be an interesting choice since it had a Sly Stallone connection.  Ultimately, I decided against it.

Today, as I was reading Mark Evanier’s blog, I came across a piece about Frank Frazetta that included a story about how that Mad cover came to be and why the painting’s background had to be yellow.  It’s an interesting post even if you’re not a Stallone or Judge Dredd fan, but even more so if you are.  Plus it gave me the opportunity to post the Frazetta/Stallone connection art.

Joel Carroll’s Topaz

Today Joel Carroll started his new weekly web comic, TopazTopaz is…

… a space trucker with a heart of gold, blasting from world to world, hoping to make the galaxy a better place.  But trouble seems to follow her…

If this sounds like something you’d like, then check out Topaz by Joel Carroll.

Frank Frazetta – RIP

Frank Frazetta died today.  He was 82.  Although Mr. Frazetta had been in failing health for many years, the news of his passing is shocking.  Perhaps it’s because his paintings had such strength, such life.  And perhaps because Frank Frazetta’s art has always have been a part of our lives. Mr. Frazetta’s art appeared on the cover of over 150 books and comics, as well as movie posters, album covers, comic book stories, newspaper strips and more.  Equally as important are the number of artists and writers who have been influenced by Frank Frazetta’s talent.  Thankfully, Frank Frazetta’s art will live on to influence future generations.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Frazetta’s family, friends and fans.

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