This Christmas season seems to be a pretty good time to see an adaptation of a superhero comic. With Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Aquaman garnering a great deal of positive buzz and this year’s Deadpool 2 being re-released for the holidays, I’ve decided to take a look at the 2002 short film The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special. Based on the eponymous 1991 one shot comic by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and Simon Bisley and directed by Scott Leberecht, the short features DC Comics’s hypermasculine, pseudo-parodic alien bounty hunter Lobo (Andrew Bryniarski of Batman Returns and Street Fighter fame) on a mission to assassinate Santa Claus at the behest of a desperate Easter Bunny.
In May of 1977, an innovative motion picture was released that forever altered the way we understand and create films. It depicted a fast-paced, fantastical adventure that has fueled many imaginations and taught many important life lessons. Of course, I refer to the Hal Needham opus, Smokey and the Bandit! Just kidding, you know what I’m talking about.
There’s no denying the immediate impact that Star Wars has made on the pop cultural landscape, especially in the franchise’s early years. A wide variety of products were made to capitalize on the film’s widespread popularity, ranging from exciting new stories based on the universe, like the early Marvel comics and Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures (which I highly recommend), to othermoviesandshowsthat tooktheir cues from George Lucas’s modern-day space serial. Even John Williams’s iconic orchestral score became in vogue, with Meco’s various disco remixesof the leitmotifs from the films being the most famous example.
One of the more obscure tributes to Williams’s work on the films is double bassist Ron Carter‘s 1980 album, Empire Jazz, an easy listening homage to the then-recent music of The Empire Strikes Back, including the themes for Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Leia/Han romance motif. Here is my personal favorite track on the album, the underrated theme of Cloud City kingpin and Rebel general, Lando Calrissian.
Today marks the 99th birthday of comic book virtuoso Jack Kirby (1917-1994), creator of the Fourth World saga and co-creator of many popular and influential superhero titles, including CaptainAmericaand The FantasticFour. Here are a couple of videos showing that his real life experiences were just as extraordinary as the characters and events he depicted on the page.
First, here’s a clip from an interview where Kirby details a chilling account of his involvement as a soldier in World War II:
Finally, here is a clip from the 1987 documentary The Masters of Comic Book Art featuring Kirby discussing his approach to storytelling (with an introduction by HarlanEllison):
When most people think of their introduction to the Ghostbusters franchise, they usually mention the classic 1984 film but for me, I was first exposed to this quirky quartet of extranormal exterminators through the 7-season animated series The Real Ghostbusters. This series (and its cool yet highly underrated sequel series, Extreme Ghostbusters) helped to expand the universe established in the films and with its popularity came a plethora of ancillary merchandising, ranging from toys, toothpaste and even a pretty decent soundtrack album released in 1986 featuring songs included in the first two seasons of Real Ghostbusters performed by Tyren Perry and Tonya Townsend. Here’s one of my favorite tracks from the album “Charge You Up!”
I just saw X-Men: Apocalypse, which was pretty good. Oscar Isaac’s take on the titular villain, created in 1986 by writer Louise Simonson and artist Jackson Guice, had the right amount of godlike solemnity and bellicose bravado that the role needed. If you ask me, no portrayal of Apocalypse can come close to the performance of John Colicos in the 90’s X-Men animated series. Here’s a montage of some of Apocalypse’s greatest quotes from the show compiled by thejokersonyou!
One of the things I love about the Star Wars fandom is the high level of creativity that they display when it comes to showing their love of the franchise. Case in point: the wealth and variety of fan films and shorts. From straight-forward, action packed lightsaber duels to clever parodies, the Star Wars universe has been a vital inspiration to many independent filmmakers.
Speaking of parodies, here is one of the first videos I’ve seen on one of the top Star Wars fansites, TheForce.net. Here’s the 2000 short, PA Wars, featuring Scott Hahn, Dennis Stay, Tadd Callies and a Taco Bell Yoda cup.
Holy first appearances! Today marks the 77th anniversary of the publication date of Detective Comics #27, where a certain cowled, Chiroptera-themed gumshoe made his debut in a grim, six-page story called “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate“. Let’s celebrate this day by focusing on the twostars of the much more lighthearted 1966 Batman TV show that, at the time, sparked a wave of enthusiasm about the character. So sit back in your Bat-recliner and listen to a couple of songs that Adam West and Burt Ward performed in the midst of Batmania.
First is West’s “Miranda”, a strangely moody pop tune about a Batman-esque hero attempting to balance his crime fighting career with his relationship with the titular damsel.
Finally, check out this schmaltzy yet charming musical team-up of Ward and the experimental music maven Frank Zappa in “Boy Wonder, I Love You”. Never before has a recitation of fan mail sounded so pleasant!
Hope you enjoy these and don’t forget to share your favorite Batman stories and moments in the comments section!
Today’s date marks two significant occasions! First is the baptism of the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. If you need a quick primer on his 37 plays, let this music video from the Kids’ WB show, Histeria, bring you up to speed.
The second occasion is Alien Day, a celebration of the Alien film franchise! To commemorate it, check out this amazing 2003 fan film by Sandy Collora, Batman: Dead End, featuring a Xenomorph engaged in mortal combat with both the Caped Crusader and a Predator!