Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: Batman '66 Meets the Man from UNCLE #1

Batman '66 meets the Man from UNCLE.  This is a great concept. The first issue of this miniseries, written by Jeff Parker, sets things up nicely. In a unique narrative, Parker has Batman and Robin and UNCLE agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in separate story lines.  Needless to say they will cross paths soon, but its nice to start the story with two separate story lines than to jump right into a team up.  Batman and Robin chase an escaped Penguin, a great pick for this miniseries, seeing that UNCLE's adversary is THRUSH.  Meanwhile, the UNCLE agents are after a new THRUSH agent, Olga Queen of the Cossacks.  The inclusion of this weak third season villain is the low point of the issue.  There is a nice nod when Solo introduces himself using the alias "Ross Webster", the Morgan Edge-like character actor Robert Vaughn played in Superman III.  The art by David Hahn is acceptable, but at times misses the mark on the likenesses of Vaughn and David McCallum. The format of the story is closer to the Man from UNCLE TV series, which itself partially inspired the creation of the Batman TV series. In return, at the height of "Batmania", UNCLE took on a campier Batman tone. Since Warner Brothers owns the UNCLE franchise, via their buyout of Ted Turner who got the rights from MGM when they were selling their back catalog due to bankruptcy, I always wondered why WB didn't hand the property to DC to incorporate into their Universe. Indeed, Marvel's SHIELD was created as a rip off of UNCLE, so it would seem natural for DC to incorporate the original into it's universe.  It certainly would make more sense than its own lesser-grade spy agencies like Spyral or Argus.  All in all, this is a good start to what should be a great miniseries. The first issue earns a B.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #30

The old phrase "save the best for last" rings true with Batman '66. This final issue is by far the best of the series. Written by Lee Allred and drawn by Mike Allred, everything about this issue is perfect. In many ways, it reads like it should have been the first issue, not the last. In a pseudo-sequel to the 1966 feature film, the Allreds very cleverly reconstruct, or maybe deconstruct, the TV series' opening credits sequence.  Penguin, Joker and Catwoman have teamed up, taking over a vacated movie studio, to teach all of Gotham's arch-criminals to perfect their craft. Noticeably missing is the Riddler, essentially blackballed for his compulsion to leave clues for Batman. Again, this would have fit as the premiere issue so much better, explaining why the Riddler was all but absent from this comic book series.

 A highlight is the "window cameo", featuring none other but the 1950s TV versions of Perry White, Jimmy Olson, and Lois Lane. The George Reeves version of Clark Kent also appears at the end of the story along with several other reporters, including Vicki Vale, and... Holy Moley, a certain boy radio reporter from station WHIZ!  Since the on going Batman '66 series is going to be replaced with various miniseries (the first of which, Batman '66 Meets The Man From UNCLE, will have issue #1 published next week), hopefully these cameos will be the foundation for a Batman '66 Meets Superman '52 miniseries, and a Batman '66 Meets Shazam '74 miniseries, the latter as I speculated before, has precedent in the 1979 Legends Of The Superheroes TV specials. Kudos to the Allreds for producing a perfect issue of Batman '66. This issue earns a well deserved A+.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Batman '66 #29

The penultimate issue of Batman '66 opens with a story featuring second season villain Ma Parker and her clan. The story, be Jeff Parker is sparse, but fairly enjoyable. The art by Dean Haspiel is typical of this series, somewhat rushed looking. Ma Parker has a motherly moment, where she helps Batman rescue two of her kids who can't swim when they fall into a lake after a car crash.  It stands out as a more unique moment.  Overall this story earns a C+.
The second story, a sequel of sorts to the first, features Catwoman. Parker gets more in this story, and overall is better written. Robin and Batgirl are captured by Croc, Grundy, and Killer Moth, who escaped from prison when Ma Parker broke her boys out.  Batman captures Catwoman, but when he finds out from a couple of kids, one of whom is wearing a weird green hood that stands out, about the capture, Catwoman volunteers to assist him in going after the trio. Parker gets in some introspective moments on the Batman-Catwoman relationship as they capture the trio and rescue Robin and Batgirl. For the first time in too long a time, Jonathan Case returns to do the art, and turns in an excellent job.  This story earns a B+, making the total grade for this issue a B.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: The Darkseid War - Shazam

So I guess I have to do a review of The Darkseid War: Shazam. As readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of the rebooted New52 Shazam. Frankly, I'm not a fan of the New52, period. The rebooted character has changed more than just his name from Captain Marvel to Shazam.  He's really a different character, to the point I think it would have been better all around, if Geoff Johns took that one extra step, and gave new names to Billy Batson, Dr Sivana, Freddy Freeman, and Mary Batson.  There's not much of a plot in this issue.  It's more or less one giant introduction to the new gods who will now give Billy his power in the wake of Darkseid's death. Why Darkseid's death was able to change Billy's pantheon, I have no idea.  I dropped Justice League -the only title the New52 Shazam appears in- from my pull list a couple months ago because I got tired of seeing this character in a couple panels each issue, just standing in the background and reacting to the main characters, like one of the lesser Bowery Boys.  That, or, he usually plays the role of Cyborg's idiot sidekick.  To paraphrase Green Arrow, "Geoff Johns, you have failed the World's Mightiest Mortal".  So, if this new pantheon is permanent or just for this Darkseid storyline, either way there's not much in this issue.  Written by Steve Orlando, I do give him credit for making Billy Batson the main focus of the story, even if it is just a "meet and greet". He still has the obnoxious New52 personality, which the Wizard Shazam comments on.  Or is his name now Mamaragan, one of the new pantheon, even though "Mamaragan" sound like someone is calling for Nancy Reagan. Apparently Darkseid's father is now one of the pantheon too, Zonuz. Kind of like the upcoming movie. Zonus is good news.  Really, who came up with these names? Ate? Yeah, I went to Burger Clown. Anapel? Is there a pail missing? H'ronmeer?  Come on, that's gotta be from a Three Stooges routine, with the Maha. S'ivaa? What?  All this book lacked was the Snap song "The Power" playing over and over, until the reader is driven insane. And guess what?  The story continues in JL #48, which I won't be buying, because I'm sure Shazam will just stand in the background like Benny Bartlett, and he'll have one line of dialogue directed at Cyborg that will include the word "badass".  The art in this issue is by Scott Kolins, and he does a good job, even if it's a bit generic, and Shazam has a downgraded costume. To contrast this issue with the spectacular Thunderworld Adventures and Convergence Shazam is more than frustrating. This issue earns a D-. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #28

This issue features two short stories.  The first introduces the Scarecrow into the 66 Universe. Writer Jeff Parker turns in an acceptable script, but he misses some golden opportunities. It was established that Shame used fear gas in the TV series, so why didn't Parker, who loves to team up TV villains with comic book villains, allude to Crane getting his fear gas from Shame, rather than a hillbilly backstory, or Batman using a sample of Shame's fear gas to deduce the ingredients of Scarecrow's?  Batman and Robin's fear hallucinations come off as an attempt to conform this series with generic DC continuity. The art is by Lukas Ketner, and while not the best art in this series, it is much better than the recent, sloppy and crude art in this series.  This story earns a C.

The second story introduces Croc to the 66 Universe, after an origin tied to King Tut from an earlier issue, and Parker's script seems very rushed. As with other recent issues, the inclusion of this modern character into the 66 Universe just doesn't work, and feels forced by corporate mandate. The art by Dean Haspiel seems crude in some panels, but overall has a moody tone that rises above its shortcomings. This story earns a D, giving this issue a C-.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #27

This issue continues the trend begun in issue 25 of fast tracking modern Batman characters into the 66 universe, this time Bane. As with the previous two issues, this issue is lacking. Readers of this blog will note I have lamented that the main villain of the 66 universe, The Riddler, has not been utilized much in this series. Writer Jeff Parker finally brings the Riddler back, but in a very haphazard way. Our first view of him is with John Astin's likeness, proven to be merely a mask.  From there, Bane is worked into the plot as a Mexican wrestler in what can be best described as a sequel to the third season episode "Ring Around The Riddler". I just don't understand Parker's determination to base this series on the extremely weak third season (and a good helping of Schumacher). Its almost to the point I'm ready to throw in the towel on this comic, but DC beat me to it, announcing that this series has been cancelled, with issue 30 slated to be the finale with at least two Batman '66 miniseries slated to take its place (Batman '66 Meets the Avengers and Batman '66 Meets the Man from UNCLE). There has to be a shake up in the spin off miniseries, bringing it back to the first season roots, and I doubt Parker is the guy to do it.  Also, this issue continues the trend of weak, sloppy, and rushed-looking artwork, this time by Scott Kowalchuck.  This issue earns a D. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Monkees to come to HD BluRay

A few months ago I asked my readers to petition Rhino to transfer the Monkees TV series to HD and release it on BluRay.  Well, mission accomplished.  Today, Rhino announced The Monkees will be coming to BluRay in HD in January. Thanks to everyone who emailed Rhino. The set will include "Head", "33 1/3", the unaired pilot, screentests and outtakes. Hopefully, the 1997 ABC TV special will also be included.  And hopefully there will be an un-numbered retail version for those who do not have credit cards. A few more emails to Rhino may help.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #26

This issue, written once again by Jeff Parker, introduces Poison Ivy into the 66 Universe. Poison Ivy was created shortly before the TV series went into production, but never made it onto the show, instead doppelganger characters like Marsha Queen of Diamonds and Louie the Lilac were created for the series. Unlike Harley Quinn or Clayface or Croc, Poison Ivy is a character that could really fit naturally into this continuity. But my problem is Parker, true to form, is only about 50% inspired by the 1966 Batman, and 50% inspired by Joel Schumacher's Batman movies.  His take on Poison Ivy seems to be more in harmony with Schumacher than William Dozier and Lorenzo Semple Jr.  What also hurts is the art by Jesse Hamm, like so many artists on this series, turns in art a little sloppy, a little raw, and a little too Mad Magazine satire style.  This issue earns a C-, and another plea from me to DC to bring in better artists, and to bring in Andy Fish to write the scripts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #25

This issue has two stories.  First is an introduction to the Harley Quinn character into the '66 Universe, written by Jeff Parker with art by Lukas Ketner.  Since the beginning of this series, I have not been a fan of incorporating aspects of the generic DC Batman into this universe, despite it most likely being a corporate mandate from the powers that be at the DC offices.  Harley Quinn, or Harlequin, as she's called in this continuity, is perhaps one of the worst of the lot. I know Harley is reaching new levels of popularity thanks to Margot Robbie portraying her in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, but the character is just so unnecessary in the '66 Universe.  Parker does his best to make this version of Harley as different as he can (like giving her a Roller Derby motif) while still being essentially the same character, but it ultimately falls flat. The artwork is average with nothing really standing out.  At the end of the story, Harlequin asks if she has achieved Catwoman level or even Egghead level.  The answer for me is Lord Marmaduke Ffog level. This story earns a D.
The second story is simultaneously better and more frustrating. Written by Gabe Soria, the premise is brilliant. A Mad Med parody where the United Underworld (Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and Joker) go to an ad agency, where Barbabra Gordon just happens to have started a temporary job, to re-brand themselves. Brilliant premise, but a flawed execution. First, Batman and Robin do not appear. Technically, Batgirl doesn't even appear except for a brief daydream sequence. The fearsome foursome are portrayed as being virtually harmless and inept, being outwitted at every turn. This story could have and should have been so much better. The art by Ty Templeton is is excellent, as he's one of the best artists to work on this series.  However, even though the feature film's United Underworld is used, Templeton used Eartha Kitt's interpretation of Catwoman instead of Lee Meriwether's, whose likeness he did use in a one-panel flashback to the feature film in Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet. The premise and art gets an A while the execution gets a C, averaging out to a B-. That averages out the entire issue as a C.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #24

This issue, written by Ray Fawkes, is an enjoyable issue despite the use of one of the weaker made for TV villains, Marsha Queen of Diamonds. Actually, the script for this issue is, in fact, superior to Marsha's debut episodes. The plot deals with Marsha using a hypnotic reflection diamond to brain wash millionaires into falling in love with her, and giving her their riches.  Bruce and Dick attend a millionaires' event to scope out the crimes, but Dick gets an eyeful of the hypnotic reflections. As Batman and Robin chase Marsha in the Batmobile, Batman notices Robin has removed the Batmobile's diamond-studded brakes to give to Marsha.  This causes a terrific death trap (and resolution) inspired more by old cliffhanger movie serials than the TV series. An amusing scene is when Batman and Robin need to take a bus to Commissioner Gordon's house.  The art this time around is by Jon Bogdanove, who over all does an excellent job. There are a few panels that have a near photographic reproductive look to them, similar to an effect Neal Adams used to do in the early 1970s. Not as well done, in contrast, are a few other panels that take on a Mad Magazine caricature look.  All in all this was an excellent and enjoyable issue, and earns a solid B+.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: Convergence: Shazam #2

The 2nd issue of the pre-Crisis Earth-S Marvel Family micro-series continues the high quality set forth by writer Jeff Parker and artist Doc Shaner in the first issue, but yet isn't quite as satisfying. Part of it is the inherent problem of a company wide crossover event. The first issue was an ideal Captain Marvel story in the style all us fans have been clamoring for.  But issue 2 has to get to the business of conforming to the crossover storyline, making this issue seem a little more forced.  This issue guest stars Batman, and since Batman and Captain Marvel are my two favorite heroes, this should be a great event.  And in a certain way it is... but it's the alternate reality Gotham By Gaslight Batman. It would have been so much better in my eyes if it were a Bob Kane style Golden Age Batman, or a classic Bronze Age Jim Aparo style Batman. Mr Parker and Mr Shaner, how about an issue of Batman 66 guest-starring the Jackson Bostwick/Filmation Captain Marvel, using the Legends of the Superheroes TV specials as the foundation?  Another thing that weighs this issue down is the fact we don't get  Doc Shaner sketches like in the first issue.  Instead it's a sneak peek of an upcoming Constatine book, and a multi-page advertisement for the "New DC Universe", which is really just the same old crappy "New 52" (really, guys... you're not even making the Earth-5 Marvel Family's Thunderworld Adventures an on-going series...epic fail right there). Never the less, Parker and Shaner bring their A game.  Parker continues to get the former Fawcett characters' personalities spot on, and he has a very unique and brilliant inter-transformation scene between Billy and Captain Marvel, that is punctuated by Shaner's artwork. As with issue 1, there are lots of cameos and Easter Eggs. This issue earns an A-.

Review: Batman '66 #23

This issue presents two short stories instead of a book-length one.  First up is the introduction of Solomon Grundy into the 66 Universe. The script, written by Jeff Parker, has Marsha Queen of Diamonds' Aunt Hilda conjuring up one of Marsha's deceased husbands as Grundy.  Being a short story, it is fairly simple and straight forward, and to me, reminds me very much of the simple stories from the Batman coloring books of the era.  The art by Brent Schoonover is excellent, some of the best in this series, and is a homage to Carmine Infantino. 

The second story, also written by Parker, has a lot more to the narrative. It establishes the secret origin of False Face: none other than Basil Karlo, the original comic book Clayface from the 1940s. It turns out False Face didn't wears masks. He ingested a serum that allowed him to morph into anyone one he willed. In hot pursuit of False Face in a swamp area, he ingested an altered version of the serum that radically changed him into the Matt Hagen version of Clayface from the 1950s comics.  This story alludes to a new trophy area in the Batcave, which includes a Joker playing card and a giant penny. The art, by Giancarlo Caracuzo, is good, but a notch below Schoonover's work. This issue earns a B.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Avengers: Age of Ultron is, in short, one great movie. A visual spectacular that deals with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner creating an artificial intelligence lifeform, Ultron, that severly backfires when Ultron decides to wipe out humanity, and the Avengers need to save the world by stopping Ultron and his army of robots. Director Joss Whedon brought back what worked and fixed the problems the first movie had. Gone was the slower paced first hour the primary film suffered. This one starts with an amazing action sequence, and things only get better from there. All the action scenes are highlights, and unlike the Nolan-Snyder approach, are fun and colorful and still convey danger and thrills. Another flaw in the first film was that many scenes happened on a SHIELD aircraft, giving the movie, at times, an almost made-for-television feel.  The sequel avoids such a contrivance, yet still has quieter character scenes that match the big budget spectacle of the action scenes. Stand out moments include the Avengers' party, that concludes with everyone trying to lift Thor's hammer, and the banter between the various characters, such as everyone ragging on Captain America after he tells Iron Man to watch his language during the film's first sequence.

All of the actors return to their respective roles. Chris Hemsworth, who kind of phoned in his performance in the lackluster Thor: The Dark World, redeems himself with a stellar performance. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johanson, and Mark Ruffalo all continue with great performances as their characters.   Jeremy Renner, who was kind of the odd man out in the first movie, shines here as Hawkeye in character scenes, and if Tony Stark is the brains, Thor the might, and Steve Rogers the soul, you could say Clint Barton is the heart of the Avengers. Three new major characters are introduced: The Vision, played by Paul Bettany, The Scarlet Witch, played by the Olsen Twins' younger sister Elizabeth, and Quicksilver, played by Aaron Taylor Johnson. Of the three, I thought Scarlet Witch had the best portrayal, perhaps due to Whedon's credentials in similar characters dating back to his Buffy The Vampire Slayer years. Quicksilver has a pivotal scene, where as the movie seems to be setting up Hawkeye for a heroic final fate, only to give us a "you didn't see that coming" swerve, that needless to say, means Quicksilver may now be the sole property of the X Men franchise.  Ironically, as good as Johnson was as Quicksilver, I thought Evan Peters' competing portrayal in X Men: Days of Future Past was slightly better, and the film effects of his speed were better realised (and I'm saying this as someone who isn't a big fan of the X Men franchise). The film ends with the founding Avengers moving on, leaving Captain America and Black Widow to train a new incarnation of the team consisting of the Vision, Scarlet Witch, the Falcon, and War Machine.

I've always been a DC guy. But I have to say the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting it right. I kind of fear for the upcoming Batman v Superman and Justice League movies because the powers-that-be at DC/WB have lost sight of what a superhero movie could be. Colors are washed out, everything is taken to a level of seriousness one would expect from a documentary on the Holocaust.  The fun has been sucked out. The Marvel Cinematic Universe remembers that superheroes could be fun. Avengers: Age of Ultron squeaks in just below Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the second best Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Convergence: Shazam #1

I thought Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart's Thunderworld Adventures was going to be a tough act to follow. I thought Jeff Parker, with his hit-or-miss writing on Batman '66 would turn in an okay, but not excellent script.  I thought there was no way Convergence: Shazam could come close to equalling Thunderworld Adventures. I was wrong! Convergence: Shazam has, indeed, equaled Thunderworld.  Jeff Parker and Evan "Doc" Shaner hit a home run. You have to understand, as a Captain Marvel fan, it's just so unusual to have two superb Shazam products back to back, and ironically... or perhaps subconsciously prophetic... without Black Adam in the spotlight.  This really hasn't happened since the 1970s.  But we got it now.  Thunderworld Adventures and Convergence: Shazam.
Parker turned in a brilliant script. He wrote all the characters' personalities perfectly, and completely in line with each character.  The plot has to do with a dome covering Fawcett City, preventing Billy, Freddy, and Mary from transforming into the Marvel Family for one year.  Two comments: One, there is a difference between this comic's continuity and Thunderworld. This comic is set on the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-S, where Billy first became Captain Marvel in the 1940s, and after some time, along with the entire cast of characters, was trapped by Sivana in Suspendium for decades.  Parker does a masterful job recapping that bit of history in the story.  Thunderworld, on the other hand, is set on the post-Flashpoint Earth 5, which keeps the entire original Fawcett continuity timeline, but transplants it to the modern day.  Second, the only mistake I noticed is Parker refers to Fawcett City.  The pre-COIE Earth-S had no Fawcett City.  Billy and the others live in New York City (the term "Fawcett City" was first used in COIE).

The story works in some of Captain Marvel's greatest foes, and there are scores of cameos and Easter Eggs.  The art by Evan "Doc" Shaner is excellent, and unlike Cameron Stewart, who captured the C.C. Beck flavor while still making it very modern looking, Shaner's art has a more authentic Golden Age look to it. I can't wait to see what's in store for issue 2 when the Gotham By Gaslight version of Batman comes to Earth-S.  Supposedly, after the Mulitversity and Convergence events, DC continuity will be tweaked (editorial:  I hate the "New 52", so they could scrap that continuity all together as far as I'm concerned), and I am hoping Thunderworld Adventures will get picked up as an on-going series, featuring the Earth 5 Marvel Family... and Parker and Shaner would be a great team to launch it.  And between Thunderworld and Convergence: Shazam I hope Toby Emmerich, Dwayne Johnson and the powers-that-be at New Line Cinema are paying close attention on how to properly bring the World's Mightiest Mortal to life on the silver screen. As for Convergence: Shazam #1, it earns an A+.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #22

This issue features bronze age great Mike W. Barr supplying the script. Since I suggested some bronze age writers, like Barr, should be assigned scripting duties on this series, could it mean the powers-that-be at DC may be reading my blog? If so, you have to give Andy Fish a chance at writing this series, too. Barr's script is good, featuring the Penguin, who is foiled by an umbrella trap set by the Dynamic Duo.  To gain his revenge, Penguin discards his birds and umbrella themed crimes, and starts committing crimes loosely based on various bat references.  The cliffhanger of Penguin trapping Batman and Robin in a plexiglass cage infested with blood-sucking vampire bats is one of the most ingenious ones to appear in this series. One of the finnier moments has Batman impersonating a professor, and we can clearly see the Bat-costume under the disguise, yet Penguin doesn't seem to notice it. Unfortunately, the full enjoyment of Barr's script is somewhat hampered by mundane and cartoonish art by Michael Avon Oeming. This issue earns a C+, knocked down a grade for the poor artwork.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #21

This issue features an excellent story by Jeff Parker featuring the Manga villain Lord Death Man. Parker's effort this time around is top notch, and deals with The Penguin's attempt at smuggling flower seeds to Japan leading to Batman and Batgirl (Robin has to take time off to recover from Pengy's vertigo umbrella) travelling to Japan to encounter the fabled villain.  Highlights of the script include the Penguin's death trap that opens the story, Batman and Batgirl fighting ninja, and a spooky trek through Death Man's cave. Add to Parker's clever script excellent artwork by Sandy Jarrell, and you have one of the best issues of this series in too long of a time.  This issue earns a solid A.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Popeye movie loses director

It has been reported  Genndy Tartakovsky is off the developing Popeye CGI film. In all likelihood, the entire project, if not dead, is stalled indefinitely. The test footage that was released a few months ago looked promising, but overall I thought it was too much Tex Avery and not enough Max Fleischer.
Add to that the concept of an "origin movie" where Popeye and Olive were to be portrayed as teenagers (hence the lack of a pipe and tattoos for Popeye) left me feeling this was not the right direction to go.  I would like to see an animated Popeye movie, but with a more conventional premise and preferably with hand drawn animation with perhaps 3-dimensional sets in the style of the Fleischer two-reelers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #20

This issue features a new writer, Rob Williams, who turns in a story featuring the Joker seemingly becoming a crime fighter, which in reality is just an elaborate ruse to snake the loot of all of Gotham's other arch criminals.  Williams' effort is kind of uneven. He gets in some good moments, like a frustrated Bruce yelling "Blast!", only to apologize for his dark side. Contrast that with a Joker who really doesn't come across as the Cesar Romero version.  The art by Ruben Procopio is generally good, but there are some mystifying inconsistencies, such as the second half of the story sees Jokerman in a completely different costume and Jokermobile than the first half with no explanation.  Likewise, the first part of the story has Mayor Linseed portrayed as a generic white man (not looking like the actor who portrayed him, Byron Keith), while the second half of the story sees Linseed once again erroneously portrayed as the African-American mayor from Batman Forever. Despite Procopio getting credit, it almost looks like a different artist drew the second half. This issue earns a C+.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Petition Rhino for Monkees on HD BluRay

With the release of the Batman TV series on BluRay, transferred into HD from the original camera negatives, all Monkees fans should respectfully and politely petition Rhino to do the same for the Monkees TV series.  To use the original negatives would also restore all missing scenes, such as the missing scenes of Vern in "Too Many Girls", and the missing tag in "A Nice Place To Visit".  Some new audio commentaries by Micky, Mike and Peter should be added in addiiton to reusing the ones from the DVD release.  One of the crimes of the DVD release was that Micky only contributed two audio commentaries.  Of course they should include all the expected extras: the unaired color-corrected pilot, all the recently discovered outtakes and bloopers, 33 1/3, the 1997 ABC TV special, the HD version of "Head", the Monkees' original screentests in HD, all the Kelloggs, Yardley, Kool Aid, and Nerf commercials, the 1969 TV musical performances from the Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell shows, the complete 1996 Billboard concert, and the 1976 Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart TV special directed by Micky.
Email Rhino to request this: 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Batman '66 #19

In this issue writer Jeff Parker brings back third season villains Lord Marmaduke Ffogg, his sister Lady Penelope Peasoup, and their finishing girls' class of crime students.  Parker comes up with a good script that in some ways is superior to the original three-part TV episode. Ffogg and his team have come to Gotham during an Old English festival to spread his new fog that drugs people into "seeing things his way".  Clever moments include Alfred saving the Dynamic Duo when Ffogg's daughter Prudence cuts their Bat-rope during a Bat-Climb, and how they handle fighting the all-girl gang without punching.  Once again, Mayor Linseed is incorrectly portrayed as the African-American mayor from Batman Forever, a continuity gaffe that puts it in conflict not only of the TV series, but of Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith's Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet miniseries.  The art by Leonardo Romero is excellent, and ranks up there with some of the best of the series.  His only mistakes are drawing Batman's costume a little too baggy, and getting Robin's tunic wrong in several panels.  Overall, this issue earns a B.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Elvis' 80th Birthday

Today would have been Elvis Presley's 80th birthday.  To celebrate, here are the links to the Elvis articles I published on this blog.

The Best Elvis Songs You've Never Heard

Young Dreams: A Look at Elvis' Movies

What If Elvis Lived?

Of course, it needs to be mentioned Elvis was a big fan of The Marvel Family, specifically Captain Marvel Jr.  With the upcoming movie, hopefully the producers (and Dwayne Johnson- who is a self-professed Elvis fan) are savvy enough to be aware of this, and include several of Elvis' tunes on the soundtrack.

Happy Birthday, Elvis.