Thursday, June 16, 2005

Weekend Waster

Organize Your Comic Collection – Here is one of those dangerous things that are perfect for a weekend with nothing else to do. Organize your comics. Depending on your collection size, this may take several weekends, but once done, is a big help if you actually want to go into your comics and reread or just look at them. This is also helpful if you want to go back issue hunting.

The first thing to do, is get a sheet of paper, a computer program, say Word, or something else helpful. While you go through your collection, you want to get everything listed and into order. The best way for this is to number your boxes, and take them to your computer (or your computer to them) and start inputting the issues into your program, so that you can add comics in the middle and put them all into alphabetical order. This is the only way to actually get everything in order. Also, while you input the issues from each box, place those in order. This will make things a bit easier later on. It is also wise to put the first letter of the alphabet contained within the box on the outside of it. Once you’ve gone through your boxes and counted your comics, then you can continue on with the actual organization aspect.

Now, print out your sheet of every comic you own, and grab a pencil. The fun is about to begin. You start with the first comic on your list, find it, and place it in the front of one of your boxes. The easiest thing is to buy a new box so you have one empty box to start with. You move through each of your boxes, placing the comics in order, while you do this, the other boxes should empty out a little. When you need a new box, either try to combine two of the half full boxes, keeping the comics in order, or just pull the issues out of one of the boxes. Eventually, you will begin to empty out boxes the whole way and be able to fill back in the comics that you removed. Now, one thing to try to do is leave at least 2-3 inches open in each box, so that when you get new comics you can place them into the boxes. And write (in pencil) a box number with the letters contained in each box to make this easier for you.

Now, once you are done with the entire list, checking off each comic as you go along (and adding any that you might have missed), what you do is keep a spare box for your new comics. Once that box fills up, you can then place it in the regular boxes. And when one of those boxes fill up, buy a new box and split the full box into halves between the two boxes you now have. This will help make things easier for keeping your collection in order, without having any troubles of mixing boxes, or ending up with boxes and boxes of new comics that need sorting into the old boxes. Either way, next time you do need a sorting, most of your comics will be done, so you can go through them much easier, and have more fun pulling out issues and remembering them for the fun they were.

Good luck, it can be fun!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The DVD Review

Bad Taste

Every great director must start someplace. They either make a student film that catapults them to bigger and better things. They might make a film for little to no money, using their friends as the cast and doing whatever they can to film their movie. Such is the case with Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings. Long before he was making millions and adapting Tolkien, he was making alien horror movies.

Filmed over four years on the weekends, Bad Taste stars Peter Jackson and his friends, as they find aliens taking over a small town in New Zealand and turning people into food. It’s an odd, odd movie, which will leave you wondering how anyone could go from this, to Lord of the Rings. Not only did Peter Jackson go on to win awards for Lord of the Rings Return of the King for the same things he does here (direct and write), but Academy Award winner (Editing: Return of the King) Jamie Selkirk also started his collaborations with Jackson as editor in this movie.

Jackson double stars as one of the aliens and as Derek, a member of the aliens named Robert. And any movie with the line “I’m a Derek. Dereks don’t run” and features the director headbutting a seagull has to be brilliant. And it is brilliant. Near the end, the bad guys all turn into their true alien forms, and you can see some home baked alien masks in use. But overall, the aliens aren’t bad looking. And Derek even passes through an alien, in one of the weirdest scenes this side of a Miike movie. It’s insane fun.

But that’s not to mean that it is any good. Bad Taste is bad. In the category of so bad it’s good. The acting is some of the worst you will ever see. The story is more of a collection of scenes that eventually lead somewhere. Then again, any movie where it was filmed over four years, with no set script is going to be like that. Whichever “Actors” were available were filmed, and it shows. But for being a super low budget, first time try, it’s actually pretty interesting. And the effects are damn good, especially for a no budget movie. The most interesting aspect, of course, is the fact that this is the movie that started it all. And watching Peter Jackson grow into the director he became is a very interesting journey. As well as seeing a very skinny Peter Jackson.

The Limited Edition of this movie also featured a documentary “Good Taste Made Bad Taste”. This is interesting in seeing how the movie got made, and listening to everyone talk about it. You also can see some very early special effects Jackson did in his youth. And if anyone wants to know what you need to do to make a movie, see what kind of camera Jackson used. The effects work is very good, and one wonders how it Jackson can superimpose flashes over his fake guns and make it look good, why do Hollywood movies have to have the increased dangers of real guns?

Bad Taste is available. The Limited Edition can be found online for sale at either the Amazon individual shops, or at eBay. The documentary is actually pretty interesting and I would recommend it just for anyone who wants to make a movie but feels that they don’t have the money or resources.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Comic Review

House of M starts interesting, but can it collect?

This past week, House of M #1 came out, and while it started with an interesting premise, it also fell into the usual Bendis trap. Lots of talking heads, no action. But here, his characters (at least Magneto) come alive.

But this issue is all set up for the actual House of M. Here, it is the Avengers, old and new, and the Astonishing X-Men deciding whether to kill Scarlet Witch or not. The art is fantastic, and the best part of the issue. But even the writing is a step up from the majority of Bendis work. Still, not much happens until the end, when the changes into the House of M actually take place. It’s an interesting set up, but as a hook to get people reading, only the last page, and their love of Spider-Man might be able to do that. It’s very possible to make this very good, but right now it’s just kind of there.

The one good scene is with Magneto and his children. Magneto must decide whether to let them kill his daughter, as Quicksilver tries to convince him not to. Bendis makes Magneto a human, rather than the evil villain many writers might have written him as. Here, he wants to be a good man, and realizes all of his mistakes, and how that has affected his children. He wants to help Wanda, but realizes that the best way to help her may be to let her die. He is conflicted, and the art is stunning in this sequence.

Overall, this issue is an interesting set up, but nothing exciting or important. It might have been better to jump right into the House of M story, and then flash back to the events that led there.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Is Chuck Austen Really the Devil?

There is a lot of slinging towards Chuck Austen. His writing is considered the worst in the world. People rag on his soap opera stories, his lack of character consistency, and his lack of strong storytelling. But does that make him a bad writer?

Well, OK, it does. But is he as bad as everyone says he does, including Chuck Austen himself? Austen always plays that the fans hate him for no reason. He even went as far as to call himself “JD Finn” at the end of his Action Comics run because “Chuck Austen” was too hated by the fans. Bull.

Austen is a one man publicity machine. And what he does best is play the “underdog” to the “evils” of the online community. And by doing so, he becomes the villain, hoping to be the villain everyone “loves to hate”. Unfortunately, you have to have enough talent to get people to feel that way. John Byrne gets a lot of bad press, but still holds onto some talent. Austen just uses his confrontational behavior to attempt to get people to buy his stuff. Instead, he is a writer of mediocre stories which do not leave a lasting impact with the readers and does not stand out much against all of the quality work out there. But it does not reach that level of bad that makes everyone want to read it. It has too much good in it, but the execution fails. All it would take is more thought, and better execution to make something good.

So, stop your whining. No one wants you to fail, only yourself. Write great stories, and the fans will come. Writing the equivalent of a train wreck may help sales initially, but people merely slow down to watch the wreck as they drive to their real destination, the don’t stop and stay there. You must become something better. Let it all hang out, and prove that you are as good as you say you are.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

DVD Review

Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – A fun romp through the life of a traveler.

Bill Murray plays Steve Zissou, famed oceanographer…sort of. Zissou tries his best, and looks the part of the hero on his documentaries he produces. But the real Steve Zissou is something else indeed. He’s a man who doesn’t know life. He is unable to connect to anyone, including the person who may be his son.

If you can get through the oddness, you will find the touching story of a man trying to connect with life. He has always been larger than life, and through his son, and the people around him, as well as the loss of someone very close to him, Zissou tries to find that which is missing inside of him. While doing so, there are also many adventures and even a little bit of action, as Zissou does get to play hero. Phenomenal work.

Wes Anderson continues to be at the top of his game, making a movie that is small, while at the same time gives a much larger feel. He invests in the characters, but does so in a way where these individuals never destroy who they are for a joke. They never change their core, and as such their quirks are that much more interesting.

The visual design is interesting, as they went for a “fake” look for the movie. As a movie about a man who is making a documentary (which are always set up as fake by him), this leads an interesting dynamic. What is real from what you see? This film tends to tell you that nothing may be real.

The two disk set is stacked. From the commentary to the making of and the deleted scenes, there is a lot of fun to be had. The commentary takes place from the restaurant the movie was written in. There is the sound of drinks being moved. Servers pass by as the genesis of this film is discussed. The deleted scenes are interesting, as is the Portuguese translated David Bowie songs. The documentaries are fun and informative.

Overall, this is a fun movie that deserves at least one chance. Try it out, you just might like it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


THQ Signs New Licensed Game

After the news and footage of the Godfather and Scarface games, comes news of another movie being turned into a game license. In a Weekends Don’t Suck exclusive, we have learned that THQ will be producing a game based off of the hit movie Sudeways. The game, which will feature the voice talent of Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church returning to their roles, will follow the two friends as they tour wine country, tasting drinks and chasing women.

The main focus of the game will be on the wine tasting aspect. You must use your controller to swirl, sniff, and sip. The difficulty of said actions will be determined by the quality of the wine being tasted. Early reports indicate that the main controls will be using both analogue sticks, in order to properly simulate the motions of the glasses. Other portions of the game will include deciphering the ingredients used in the wine, driving from winery to winery, and as Chruch’s character, hitting on women.

One of the unique factors in the game is the variety of game play. While the wine tasting may take up the majority of game play, the driving portions will be just as important. And as it gets later in the day, and you have visited more wineries, the driving will get much more important and difficult. The other different game play will involve using your charm and knowledge to get laid one last time. This will involve picking the right phrases to say, doing specific movements at certain times, and knowing which women to hit on. Just make sure no one finds out about your upcoming marriage.

What follows is a portion of the press release:

“Travel from winery to winery, searching for the best wine in the West Coast. Taste test from the best wines made. Use your knowledge to discern ingredients and impress women. And search for that one last fling. Enjoy all of this, and more, in Sideways, the game.”

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Comic Review


This week, the second season of Sleeper wrapped up, ending an awesome comic run by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way, including a few at the very end. The good guys get theirs, the bad guys get theirs, but what that is may not exactly be what you expect.

Brubaker has weaved a fantastic story of intrigue and espionage. Every issue features twists and betrayals. All the way up until the end, you never know exactly what will happen, or who is on whose side. Brubaker is wonderful at layering his stories, making each event play into the larger plan of each participant. Some get the advantage, but then the others always come back to press their own advantage. This back and forth action, with the global cat and mouse game, stretches the tension to the absolute limit, and beyond.

But Brubaker really excels at his characterizations. His characters are so complex and full of life, you hate to see one die. And when it gets to the end of the series, you know plenty of them will die. But it is also nice to see those who do not die. Holden does not want to see his friends killed, and so he tries to find ways to get around each of them biting the dust. It does not always work, but it is nice to see a character be conflicted by his actions. Wanting to atone for his evils while committing more evils. These are real, three dimensional characters.

One would be stupid not to mention Sean Phillips. His art brings a fantastic moody atmosphere to the world this takes place in. Dark blacks and faces worn with age define his world. His people are haunted, with their wisdom and age in their eyes. He is one of the top talents working in comics today.

Now, one odd thing in the last issue is the washout effect I noticed. Everything is a light shade of gray, ruining the stunning blacks and losing some of Phillips art. Whether this was a stylistic choice, or just something in the printing, I found it to be lacking. The story though, wraps everything up perfectly, giving enough twists to keep you excited while leaving the possibility open for more stories in the future. This is a must read series.

Sleeper starts with Point Blank, followed by the three Sleeper trades out now, and concluding with the last six issues of Season 2.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

You Can Buy THAT For a Dollar

Blood of the Dragon

(Jimmy) Wang Yu, who was the only actor not seen in the insert yourself into an existing movie for comedic effect movie Kung Pow (unless one counts the credits) is seen in full glory here. He stars as Lung Ti (which from the dubbing is apparently pronounced Long Tie), the White Dragon. He finds a boy who has been given a bamboo tube and charged with delivering it to the Prince. The importance of the tube? Apparently, the rebel forces decided to keep their membership information on the back of a map. Just so, I guess, they knew who all to collect dues from. “Hey, Bob Wang. You owe us your monthly payment of $25 to the rebel forces. It says so right here on my list.” And the map? Must have been so they had the addresses of each of their rebels. Can never be too safe with that kind of information. But things take a turn when the prince turns out to be the son of an old enemy, and Lung Ti gets trapped in a teahouse, injured and being surrounded. And apparently, a small teahouse is so frightening to enter, everyone just waits outside it for Lung to exit. Even though the backdoor is always open. It is, in fact, just a rug covering a wall and everyone knows it is there. But they wait, and wait, and finally, the battle happens. Where not only must Lung Ti battle the forces of evil, but also three end level bosses!

Is it in widescreen? Nope.

Subbed or dubbed? Dubbed.

Great kills: -A man gets a sword thrown through him, tip sticking out the front of his chest, yet still manages to make it to town, pull the sword out and give a container to a small boy before flipping over backwards to his death. –Lung skewers three men on his spear. –Just like a classic episode of Star Trek, watch in awe as everyone in a red shirt bites the dust.

Bad dub: The kid is really annoying, especially when saying he’s blind and in need of money. Shatner style acting abounds. Voices come out of nowhere to say the stupidest things in crowd scenes. Almost makes one wonder if there wasn’t a joke somewhere in it. I can’t believe they actually listed the voice talent as the actors at the end of the movie.

Annoying child sidekick: Yes, there is a child with Lung at almost all times. And he is extremely annoying. Loud, whiny, and full of himself, this little sucker can’t even go five minutes without being caught by someone. And unfortunately, the kid doesn’t get offed as a way for Lung to get angry for revenge.

Bad print: Frequent missing frames or bad red frames plague the movie. But they can’t take away from the fun of the fights.

Child Endangerment: While in battle, when Lung gets stabbed and is bleeding, he makes the child jump on his back in order to stop the bleeding, and continues fighting.

Property damage: No less than three tables at the teahouse get destroyed, yet the owner seems to have an indispensable income, since she doesn’t care.

Alcohol cures everything: When Yung has been stabbed in the back, in order to get back to full capacity, he drinks gallon upon gallon of wine. This helps him prepare for the showdown against 50 soldiers and three boss characters.

Great quotes: “I don’t have time to die right now.” “Roast in hell.” “A man must do what he must do.” – Thank you John Wayne!

A fun movie if you enjoy lots of sword on spear action. The spear tends to slow things down, but does make for some interesting fights. And the bosses all have some fancy type of weapon, like a sword that expands into a whip like device, or a ball and chain. The interesting weapons mix up the fights enough for some fun. And it’s only a dollar.