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Craig Zablo Posts

Dick the Bruiser

Posted in Pro Wrestling

For some reason, the image of an obviously enraged Dick the Bruiser all dressed up in a suit and bow tie and sporting stitches in his head seems such an odd combination, that every time I see the picture I smile.

Dick the Bruiser, whose real name was Richard Afflis, was a real-life tough guy. He played professional football and developed a reputation as a bar room brawler. Bruiser was 6′ 1″ and 260 pounds of muscle, so when his football career ended, it was only natural that he turn to professional wrestling.

Bruiser started his wrestling career in the 50’s and wrestled into the 80’s! Even after he retired, he worked as a talent scout for the WCW. Bruiser died in 1991 at the age of 62. He left behind a legacy as one of the most popular wrestlers to ever step into the ring.

I was fortunate to see the Bruiser wrestle live many times when I was growing up. Those memories bring an even bigger smile to my face than the picture.

Below Rises to the Top

Posted in Movies

On October 11th, there are three films coming out that I really want to see. My bet is that you’ve heard of two of them.

The films are “Below,” “Knockaround Guys,” and “The Transporter.” Had you heard about all three, or was I right?

“The Transporter” has been advertised everywhere and looks to be an, action-packed thrill ride. “Knockaround Guys” has a great cast including Vin Diesel. Despite the fact that it’s been sitting on the shelf for quite a while, I think it’s going to be enjoyable and will do well at the box office. It’s funny, the one I want to see most has had the least press.

What’s “Below” then? It’s co-written and directed by David Twohy. Twohy did the same duties on “Pitch Black.” Remember how that turned out? “Below” is the story of an American submarine facing Nazi war ships on the surface and something worse below. Harry Knowles calls it “a haunted house flick, where there is no door to sneak out of…” that “… combines elements of CAINE MUTINY, Robert Wise’s THE HAUNTING, LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, DAS BOOT and some stuff that I haven’t seen in any of those movies.” Stuff that Harry hasn’t seen?!
Whew!

Still not sold? Check out the full review. Want to see more? How about a look at the trailer? Here’s the website. I think that despite the terrible publicity, this will be the movie to see on October 11th.

It’s been a while since there have been three movies coming out on the same day that I want to see.

Any bets on which one I’m gonna see first?

A Real Hardcase

Posted in Authors, Books, and Crime

Have you heard of Dan Simmons?

Simmons‘ first published story, “The River Styx Runs Upstream,” won the Rod Serling Memorial Award. His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award. His first horror novel, Carrion Comfort, won the Bram Stoker Award. His first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award.

Even with all the awards, I was only vaguely familiar with his work. I don’t read fantasy, and very little science fiction or horror. I do love a hardboiled thriller though! You know, the kind written by Vachss, or Izzi, Hunter, or Stark… or Simmons. That’s right! With one book, Simmons has jumped to the top of the list!

Joe Kurtz was a PI… before he was an ex-con. See he killed a man, a couple of men actually. They’d murdered his girl and unborn child. While it’s pretty reasonable to me that he threw one of ’em off a six story building, the jury didn’t see it that way.

Now, out of prison after eleven-and-a-half years…

…you’d think things would be looking up for Kurtz. You’d be wrong. Too many people want him dead…

Hardcase is the best novel that I’ve read this year [tied with Jack Kelly‘s Line of Sight]. For more about Hardcase, click here.

Ever heard of Dan Simmons?

My prediction is that you will. But remember that you FIRST heard about him here!

Hardcase rates an A+

Emmy Predictions

Posted in TV

In the last few years I’ve found myself being much more selective about the television that I watch. I map out my viewing for the week and then pretty much stick to that. This helps me to not miss the few shows that I really enjoy, and it also helps me avoid “vegging” out in front of shows I don’t care about.

The Emmy Awards are on tonight, and while I probably won’t watch them [I haven’t mapped out the week yet], there are a few shows/actors that I hope win.

In the best DRAMA category, I am pulling for West Wing but I wouldn’t be upset if 24 won against CSI, Law and Order, and Six Feet Under.

In the COMEDY category, it would appear that Friends is a lock against Curb Your Enthusiasm , Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City and Will & Grace.

For best WRITING for a DRAMA series, there are several very worthy contenders. I would like to see The Shield • Pilot • Shawn Ryan, Writer win because it was such a groundbreaking episode, but it would be hard to argue against Alias • Truth Be Told (Pilot) • J.J. Abrams, Writer; ER • On The Beach • John Wells, Writer; 24 • Midnight – 1:00 a.m. (Pilot) • Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Writers; or The West Wing • Posse Comitatus • Aaron Sorkin, Writer.

The LEAD ACTOR in a DRAMA is another [though not as] tough category. I am going to pull for either Michael Chiklis as Detective Vic Mackey in The Shield or Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer – 24 who are up against Michael C. Hall as David Fisher – Six Feet Under, Peter Krause as Nate Fisher – Six Feet Under and Martin Sheen as Josiah Bartlet – The West Wing.

I’m gonna pull for Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow star of Alias for the LEAD ACTRESS in a DRAMA category. She’s up against Amy Brenneman as Judge Amy Gray – Judging Amy; Rachel Griffiths as Brenda Chenowith – Six Feet Under; Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher – Six Feet Under; and Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg – The West Wing.

The SUPPORTING ACTOR in a DRAMA is dominated by West Wing actors and my choice is John Spencer as Leo McGarry – The West Wing up against Victor Garber as CIA Agent Jack D. Bristow – Alias; Freddy Rodriguez as Federico Diaz – Six Feet Under; Dulé Hill as Charlie Young – The West Wing; Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman – The West Wing; and Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler – The West Wing.

These are the categories in which I am “pulling” for a winner. For the full list click here. I would have given my predictions in other categories but it’s time for me to plan out my viewing for the week. ; )

The Mechanic

Posted in Crime, and Movies

Charles Bronson had a long career staring and co-staring in a bunch of great movies. “The Dirty Dozen.” “The Magnificent Seven.” “Death Wish.” “Hard Times.” One of my personal favorites is “The Mechanic.”

Never heard of it? Well, it’s coming out on dvd on October 8th and you owe it to yourself to at least check it out.

Bronson is a hit man… perhaps the best in the business. If he takes a job, the target is as good as dead. Jan Michael Vincent is the son of a mafioso who becomes Bronson‘s protoge… not knowing that Bronson has recently murdered his father…

The Mechanic” was directed by Michael Winner [who also directed Bronson in “Death Wish“] with a flair for action without compromising the story. [The opening scene shows Bronson setting up a hit and goes on for several minutes without a word of dialogue!] And although I won’t give it away, be prepared for a great “surprise” ending!

I’m looking forward to adding “The Mechanic” to my dvd collection. Watch it once, and odds are you will too!

The Mechanic” rates an A

Bobby the Brain

Posted in Books, and Pro Wrestling

Bobby Heenan. “The Weasel.” “Bobby the Brain.” Call him what you want, but you’d have to admit that he was an “entertainer.”

Heenan spent nearly 40 years in the world of pro wrestling. He wasn’t your typical wrestler. He wasn’t gigantic. He wasn’t musclebound. He didn’t fly through the air [unless being thrown by the Bruiser or some other good guy].

Fans loved or hated him, but no one was neutral about Bobby Heenan. He could “rassle” with anyone and make them look better. No one could work a crowd like “the Brain.” And Bobby Heenan was witty. His one-liners and off-the-cuff comments were at times more entertaining than the matches themselves.

Bobby Heenan has written a book and he “tells all the stories, names all the names and doesn’t care who gets mad about it.” Hulk Hogan, Andre “The Giant,” and Vince McMahon are just a few of the many colorful characters that Heenan discusses.

Heenan‘s book is available now [and at a 30% discount]. So call him what you want… BrainWeaselEntertainer… but be sure and add author to the list!

Bobby the Brain rates an A

Hostage as Cool as Elvis

Posted in Authors, Books, and Crime

I was lucky enough to discover Robert Crais with his second novel, Stalking the Angel [ his first was The Monkey’s Raincoat which introduced detectives Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.] The series was modern, well written and reminded me of an updated version of Robert B. Parker‘s Spenser and Hawk [well actually, an updated Spenser and Sylvester Stallone‘s Cobra].

Crais is one of the few authors whose work I buy in hardcover as soon as it’s published. With my time being what it is, I just got around to reading Hostage, Crais‘ latest [which is now out in paperback]. Although not an Elvis Cole novel, it is without a doubt my favorite work by Crais [who as I’ve said is always very good].

The cool thing about this novel is that the suspense starts on page one and continues to build and build and build. The book has received outstanding reviews from critics and fans alike. Bruce Willis has optioned the book for a movie [which would be an excellent vehicle for him]!

So what are you waiting for? Click here to order the paperback… and watch for Elvis and Joe Pike to return soon in Crais The Last Detective!

Diesel’s Streak

Posted in Celebs, and Movies

Vin Diesel has a great streak going… Pitch BlackThe Fast and the Furious

…and now XXX.

All of these films are/will be in my dvd library.

With talks of sequels for both Pitch Black and XXX, Vin could actually join Sean Connery, Sly Stallone, and Harrison Ford who all have had TWO movie franchises going at the same time!

XXX works. Diesel is more than believable as the extreme sports junkie recruited to become a government agent. The set-up and “training” sequences are really fun and include some of the best scenes in the movie. [And ya gotta love how they show a James Bond type trying to survive in this “new world.] Samuel L. Jackson is always a plus and I hope that we get to see more of him [in action] in the sequel.

Vin Diesel‘s next film could be the sequel to Pitch Black followed by the sequel to XXX. Both of these are fan favorites so it looks like the streak will continue to grow…

… and so will my movie collection!

The Signs are There

Posted in Movies, and TV

The signs were all there.

M. Night Shyamalan had already written and directed the oh-so-cool “Sixth Sense” and the well done “Unbreakable.” Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix were set to co-star. M. Night was back as writer and director. The trailers were full of suspense, and left you wanting more. Yeah, the signs were all in place for a winner.

But you never know.

I saw “Signs” yesterday and it’s been on my mind constantly since. The story does involve aliens.. but probably not in the way that you’re expecting. It’s as much about family, redemption, and faith as it is aliens… and it is scaryvery scary at times! But it will also make you laugh, move you to the verge of tears, and more than likely leave you feeling very happy for seeing it.

This is my favorite movie of the year thus far. It rates a solid “A.” I think you’ll enjoy it to because…

… the signs are all there!

Nice to be Wanted

Posted in Art, and Comics

Usually it’s nice to feel wanted.

The piece I wrote about me being drawn in a comic with Superman struck a cord with many of you. I received several requests to see more. Well, let me say that attending the Man of Steel’s wedding was a breeze compared to my appearnce with a certain DC comics gunslinger…

So what do you think about the drawing of me on the wanted poster with Jonah Hex?

John Beatty commissioned Bob McLeod to do a painting [reprinted to the left] based on an idea from Mike Zeck. Big Beatty thought it would be funny if my face was on the wanted poster and Bob agreed. The rest is history.

Bob McLeod [probably best known for being co-creator of The New Mutants for Marvel comics] is available for commissions. Bob is a first rate artist who can draw well in a number of different styles. Check out his site and tell him I sent ya!

Yeah, usually it’s nice to feel wanted… unless you’re wanted dead or alive!

Zablo Part of the DC Universe

Posted in Art, and Comics

See the strong, handsome-looking guy in the picture? No, not Superman! The other hunk. Yep, that’s me. Bet ‘cha didn’t know that I’m part of the DC universe did you?

Yeah, I don’t like to brag, but I’ve hung out with Superman. LOL!

The artwork to the left was drawn by Jerry Ordway for a story written by Marv Wolfman [and co-plotted by John Byrne] which appeared in The Adventures of Superman #426 way back in 1987. Jerry Ordway was the regular artist and he was drawing friends and friends of friends in scenes in the comics. Since Jerry and John Beatty were friends, I got in on a “hook-up.”

How cool is that?

I’ve also made “appearances” in other comics. I guess I’m part of the DC Universe, the Marvel Universe, and occasionally this one as well.

Jorge Zaffino R.I.P.

Posted in Art, Comics, and RIP

Big Beatty left the message last night. He’d just received word that Jorge Zaffino had died of a heart attack. He was only 45.

I’ve been a fan of Jorge Zaffino since I first discovered his work years ago in a very cool mini-series called Winterworld [still one of my all-time favorite stories].

Jorge may be best known for his work on The Punisher. He completed a hardbound graphic novel as well as some issues of the Punisher monthly comic. Jorge‘s work also appeared in Batman: Black and White and other comic anthologies and special projects [which he preferred] in the US as well as comics in Argentina [his homeland].

Jorge Zaffino‘s art was stark, bold and so very powerful. He didn’t follow the trend of lots of lines and over-rendering and consequently was never considered a fan favorite… until you spoke with artists and writers. Chuck Dixon called Jorge “a true artist’s artist.” Tim Truman said he was an “amazing artist” and Mike Manley was quoted as saying, “His work will stand the test of time and that is the mark of true talent.”

I’m saddened for Jorge‘s family and friends. I’m also sorry for his fans around the world who will no longer have the good fortune to see new art from him. [I’d always hoped to see Jorge represented in the SZ Art Gallery. Can you imagine what his version of Jack Carter or Rambo would have looked like?]

God bless Jorge Zaffino, his family, friends and fans. Like Mike Manley said, “His work will stand the test of time.”

"Reign of Fire" Rocks

Posted in Movies

I went to “Reign of Fire” hoping for an action-packed roller-coaster ride. I wasn’t counting on it, but I was hoping.

Reign of Fire” boasted a screenplay by three people [Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg], that I’ve never heard of, starred Christian Bale, and Matthew McConaughey [neither considered “A” list stars], and was directed by Rob Bowman [who didn’t impress me with the “X-Files” movie]. The odds were that the film would be entertaining at best… the odds were wrong. This film rocks.

Bale did an excellent job in his role but McConaughey OWNED every scene he was in. The direction, production values, special effects were all top notch. I must admit that the ending did let me down a bit but not enough to stop me from adding this baby to my library when it is released on dvd.

Reign of Fire” rates a B+.

Join the TZ Marathon

Posted in Horror, and TV


When I was a kid one of my biggest pleasures was watching scary movies or tv shows. I still get a big kick out ’em in fact. What’s even cooler is that my kids enjoy them just as much as I do.

I’m not talking about today’s gory bloodfests, but instead the old Universal Monster movies, the American-International Films and the like. As far as tv shows, none is better at this genre than the original Twilight Zone!

The Sci-Fi channel is running a two day marathon of Twilight Zone episodes starting at 7AM today. If you plan to check out any, let me recommend two.

The first, pictured above, is “Terror at 20,000 Feet.” A man who has just been released from a mental institution sees a creature on the wing of a plane trying to destroy the engine… only no one else sees it. Is he having a relapse?

The second, pictured to the right, is called “To Serve Man.” Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace… but do they really?

These are just two of many excellent episodes.

Even if you can’t watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old favorite or one you’ve never seen before. I know that I will…

And for just a little while I’ll be a kid again, up on the couch hoping that someone else besides me and Bill Shatner sees the creature on the wing!