Wednesday, March 30, 2011


They did things a bit oddly for this year’s C2E2. Usually, when you have a couple of artists or writers sitting together for a signing, there is one line for both of them. However, at the Bill Willingham/Brian Azzarello Vertigo signing, even though both of them were sitting at the same table, they each had a separate line. I didn’t know this at the time, and I wound up getting into Willingham’s line, thinking it was for both of them.

An authoritative-looking guy with a black shirt came by to make sure the line was kept orderly, and he handed the guy behind me a placard saying that we were capped off. The guy then asked us all if we were in line for Willingham.

I said yes. “And Brian Azzarello,” I added.

“There’s a different line for him,” the guy said. “It’s on the other side.”

I squinted to see what he was talking about. Surely another line would have caught my attention. I saw Azzarello sitting at the Vertigo booth to Willingham’s right. But where was this other line?

Wait. I saw two guys standing in front of Azzarello. Was this the line? Or just the beginning? They had us off to the side so only one person at a time could approach Willingham. Was it the same way for Azzarello?

Nope. The convention curse strikes again. I personally believe Azzarello to be the greatest American comic book writer of our time. Don’t believe me? Try 100 BULLETS as a starting point. Or maybe the JONNY DOUBLE mini-series. If that isn’t mainstream enough for you, try his LEX LUTHOR mini-series. If that doesn’t set you straight, I don’t know what will.

But every time I’ve seen him at a convention, I have never seen him with a respectable line. I once saw him with five people in line for him, but that’s the biggest it has ever gotten. Shame on you, comic book readers! To put it in terms you might understand, imagine if Stephen King had a signing at your local bookstore, and no one showed up.

Anyway, I stood in Willingham’s line, and it didn’t strike me that there were a lot of people waiting to meet him, either. But I’ll tell you, that line moved as slow as FUCK. I sometimes wondered if these people were sitting down to a quick meal with the writer of FABLES while he signs their books.

There were two women in front of me wearing blue scarves. It took me a minute to figure out they were statements of their love for Blue, one of the characters in FABLES. Very subtle. I kinda’ liked it, especially since I was in a place not known for an appreciation of the little things.

But this line was moving too slowly. I looked over and saw Azzarello had nothing to do. He was just hanging out, and here I was, feeling stupid for getting in this line first. I called Leo to find out what he was doing, but he was in a panel and didn’t answer his phone. I called Cliff next, and he came by. We talked for a bit while the Willingham line just DID NOT FUCKING MOVE. Finally, I asked Cliff if he’d keep my place in line while I went over to see Azzarello. He agreed, and I moved in with my stack of books.

The authoritative-looking guy was there, and I remembered he’d said there is a five-book limit. I tried thinking about which ones I wanted signed as I approached. We greeted each other, shook hands, and I asked about the rule of five.

Azzarello looked over at the authoritative-looking guy, whose back was turned. “Forget it. I’ll sign ‘em all.” I thanked him and placed them down in front of him. During our conversation, he kept looking up to check on the guy who was clearly supposed to keep tabs on him.

“Where the fuck did you find this one?” Azzarello asked, pointing to a pre-Vertigo comic of his. I will not name the title, for reasons you’re about to learn.

I told him that the guy at the comics store I usually went to (Unicorn in Villa Park on Villa Ave. just south of St. Charles—best store in the world, bar none) stumbled upon it one day and thought I’d want it. Naturally, I scooped it up.

“I never sign this one,” Azzarello said. “I never got paid for it, so the hell with it.”

It’s a story that’s all too common in the industry, and not too many fans know about it. Sometimes, the folks who put forth the hard work to produce great works that you enjoy get stiffed by the publisher. This was one of those cases. No wonder the company went out of business.

He started signing the others, and we talked about the interview we’d done at Wizard World, and how everyone seems to think that was the best feature we did for the Napalm Assault. Azzarello had read the interview and thought it was good, but he didn’t know why people found it so interesting, since we didn’t talk a lot about comics in the interview. I’ve given it a lot of thought since then, and I suppose they find it interesting for the same reason I do: we talked not about pop culture, but CULTURE.

When he finished signing, I told him that he’d just finished signing the complete run of 100 BULLETS for me. Over the course of several years, I finally had them all signed. He told me that I am the third person to have ever told him that. “Now I have to work on Risso,” I said.

Azzarello then told me that I was in luck: at this upcoming Wizard World (if it’s still going to be called that), he will be sitting with Eduardo Risso AND Dave Johnson. To be honest, after last year’s shit-fest, I didn’t know if I was going to cover it. Now armed with this information, I can’t miss it.

Finally, he looked at the one unsigned issue and said, “What the hell.” He signed it and then wrote “FU!” under it. I thanked him, told him it was great to see him again, and I retreated to the Willingham line . . . which had not moved.

I told Cliff about what had just happened, and we shot the shit for a while before he decided to move on his way. By then, I looked over at the signing table. Only Willingham remained, and there was still a half an hour left. It’s a good thing I went up to Azzarello when I did!

After a while, the line did move a bit. As hard as it was to believe, it took me until the last minute of the signing to get up to the man himself. I asked about the rule of five, and the authoritative-looking guy said that’s indeed the rule. As I went through the books, trying to figure out which ones I wanted to get signed, I let the guy behind me go ahead. By then, seeing as how I was the last guy in line, Willingham said, “What the heck. I’ll sign them all.”

We didn’t get the chance to talk as much as we did last time (see my C2E2 2010 interview with him), as he was speaking with the authoritative-looking guy, but he signed everything I brought in. He was surprised to see an issue of FLINCH in the pile, and the two of them discussed that for a moment.

Back when I was in college, I reviewed comics for THE LEADER, and one of them was FLINCH. I remember saying that they were rehashing old ideas at the time, but I never got to rectify my opinion publicly. Now it can be said: when all was said and done, FLINCH was worth it, especially after they adapted a few Lansdale stories.

Now, apparently, I’m one of the few readers who remembered the title, and Willingham seemed grateful for it. I shook his hand, thanked him, and I went on my way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The first thing one notices about this movie is its packaging. Look above and you will see it looks like a floppy disk. It FEELS like a floppy disk. That alone is an awesome selling point. But as soon as you pop the DVD in your player and see the opening credits, you know this is a hell of an homage to the ‘Seventies.

Writer/director Chris Lukeman clearly has a love for the seventh decade of the last century. Even the film quality seems like cleaned up ‘Seventies footage. The one interior set looks like it could have been your grandparents’ house. The “special effects” are even old school. When most crews would have gone to CGI, Lukeman sticks with good ol’ fashioned puppetry and green screens.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN 1972 is the tale of Springheel Jack, who uses robotic springs to get around. He fights robots with the help of highly sophisticated (for the ‘Seventies) weaponry and with information contained on floppy disks. He comes upon a robot (maybe not FORBIDDEN PLANET old fashioned, but perhaps a descendant) stalking a woman, and being the typical hero, he must save the damsel in distress.

The story is lackluster, but this isn’t about content. This is about style. Ordinarily, such exercises are unforgivable, but as it is a short film, it is worth it. Where the movie really shines is with the dialogue. At one point, as Jack is getting his ass kicked by the robot, the damsel in question shouts, “Why aren’t you better?” Between taking blows, Jack replies that he didn’t think he’d given her the impression that he knew what he was doing.

That seems to be the theme in this film. Very few, if any, of the characters know what they’re doing at any given time. They’re just flying by the seat of their pants, which is contradictory to the idea of heroism back in 1972, but it adds flavor.

There is another moment when Jack, cocky with having defeated (for the time being) the robot, decides to crack wise. The damsel looks at him in horror and demands to know why he’s joking at a time like this. Which is the way it would probably happen in real life.

The acting is kind of blah, but it was probably meant to be that way. Jonathan Harden, who plays Springheel Jack, comes off most times like the title character in MATTHEW BLACKHEART: MONSTER SMASHER. In other words, like a Bruce Campbell wannabe. But again, in context it makes sense.

The true star of this DVD, however, is the fifth commentary. The cast and crew got together and decided to play a drinking game while watching the movie. The idea was to take a drink each time a ‘Seventies reference is made. It becomes very clear in the first minute that they take EVERYTHING to be such a reference. They get rip-roaring drunk within minutes. This alone is worth the price of admission.

Written and directed by Chris Lukeman
Produced by Kill Vampire Lincoln Productions
13 minutes


Friday, March 25, 2011


It was horrible! There were only three panels I was interested in going to this year at C2E2, and they were all happening at the same fucking time! Avatar, Vertigo, and Dynamite were all taking place at around the same time (Avatar 1-2, Vertigo and Dynamite 1:30-2:30). Sophie didn’t have this difficult a choice.

In the end, I decided that Avatar deserved my attention most (as they put out the best books). When this panel was done, I’d see if I could make it into Dynamite (since I covered Vertigo last year). As it turns out, Avatar ended early, and I made it to Dynamite just after they made the introductions. So I didn’t know who was who . . . EXCEPT FOR GARTH ENNIS! Yes, my favorite comics writer was sitting front and center, surrounded by other folks who I didn’t know. (Although I noticed one of them was wearing a Chaos shirt; more on that later.)

They decided to do a Q&A for the whole time. When they first asked for questions, no one rose to the occasion . . . except for me. You see, of all Ennis’ Section Eight characters from HITMAN are dead but for one. Bueno Excellente, who fights evil with the power of perversion (i.e. he rapes the bad guys) is still roaming the DC Universe. I asked Ennis if he ever wanted to do a Bueno spin-off. He told me that he’d love to revisit Section Eight, but for now there are no plans.

Remember last year, when I asked him about the possibility of bringing DICKS back? Great news: DICKS 3 IS IN THE WORKS! To quote a great man, “I have an erection.”

John McCrea, who illustrated DICKS (among others, including HITMAN), was a latecomer, and his fellow panelists seemed to give him shit. It is clear that he is the hard-drinking member of this crew. The way they talked about him made it seem like he was always drunk and he worshiped the devil on a regular basis.

Someone asked a question about Kevin Smith working on THE BIONIC MAN for Dynamite. No one could comment on it, so I’m just going to assume it’s happening. Not that I give a shit. I find THE BIONIC MAN just about as interesting as clipping my nails. Considering Smith’s recent run on THE GREEN HORNET, I would stay away from more licensed stuff. Not that GH was bad, but Smith is capable of doing much more entertaining things.

Speaking of GH, Joe Rybandt, the moderator for the panel, admitted that they saturated the market with GH titles (and how!). They consider it a mistake and don’t plan on doing anything like that again. We’ll see.

Did you know that Dynamite acquired the rights to VOLTRON? Why? Who knows? Who cares? What’s next, SECTAURS? CENTURIONS? Will we ever reach a point where we’re done with the ‘Eighties?

Speaking of licensed crap, ARMY OF DARKNESS is making a comeback. There’s a crossover with Danger Girl coming soon, and then the AoD monthly will return. Which is a shame, considering how awful those books were. Don’t believe me? Remember the time that Ash saved Obama? That’s what I thought.

In other news, one of the audience members asked when we’ll be getting VAMPIRELLA out of her pants and back into her traditional outfit. Rybandt said that they did that because they didn’t want people to think of her as a T&A character, and that the only place we’ll see her in the little red number is on the covers. I hate to break it to you, but VAMPIRELLA is a T&A title. Do you think people read the book for the story? And the fact that she’s still on the covers like that says something, don’t you think?

Dynamite’s big announcement was their acquisition of all the Chaos characters (except for LADY DEATH, obviously). The guy with the Chaos shirt, Jesse Blaze Snider, is apparently the new writer of EVIL ERNIE. They plan to bring a new character back every four to six months.

I am a hardcore EE fan. This is the book that got me back into reading comics, along with HITMAN and PREACHER. I am a one time Fiend of the Month. And I know, some of you are pointing out that EE creator Brian Pulido is my friend, but I’d like to say that our friendship came from my love of Ernie, not the other way around. So I can see why you’d think what I’m about to say is biased, but keep in mind that I became Fiend of the Month that one time because I wrote an 8-page heavy criticism of where EE was going wrong.

These Dynamite fucks didn’t treat Ernie with ANY respect. While Snider went to lengths to prove that he’s a Chaos fan (he says he used to wear his shirt back in his CBGB days, and it makes sense, considering that his father is Dee Snider, who promoted a lot of STRANGELAND stuff with Pulido during the Chaos years), he completely shit all over the old books, saying that there wasn’t a lot of story to them. “They were good for what they were,” he said, but there wasn’t much in the direction of plot.

Bullshit. Fuck you. But I’ll bite. What’s your idea of story?

Well, they recognize that LADY DEATH was the lynchpin of the old Chaos Universe, but since Pulido held on to the rights and is publishing it with Avatar, Dynamite needs someone else to hold everything together. Evil Ernie is that fellow. The idea is to depict the battle between Heaven and Hell on earth (yeah, that’s a new idea). The reason good people die young is because Heaven needs them for their army. To keep up with the competition, Hell has sent Evil Ernie to earth to kill a whole bunch of baddies while they’re young for Hell’s army.

Wait, so Ernie is a glorified hitman for Hell? That’s the best you got? Where does the story come in? Snider's reason to tell this story was to give Ernie a reason to kill all of those people. Did he not read the original books? Ernie had plenty of reason to kill everyone in sight. Maybe at first he did so under Lady Death’s sway, but after a while, it was clear that this was definitely in his heart.

I’m sorry, but this pissed me off. In fact, the whole panel kind of tasted sour to me. They tried to glorify a lot of their books, and it’s just not true. Almost everything they put out is crap. If they hadn’t had the balls to pick up THE BOYS after it had been canceled by Wildstorm, I would have no respect for them.

Ah, THE BOYS. The main reason I wanted to go to the panel. Here’s a bunch of Ennis news for you all:

--Ennis will be doing two war stories for Avatar. If they are as awesome as BATTLEFIELDS has been, this should be mind-blowing.

--Someone asked Ennis if he was done writing about Ireland’s Troubles. He said that they’ve been over for 15 years, and he’d been living in New York for so long that he views the weird aftermath as an outsider. But he doesn’t discount the possibility of him returning to the topic.

--Ennis will be returning to CROSSED when the monthly begins (more on that when I talk about the Avatar panel).

--Ennis will also be returning to Marvel with a NICK FURY Max series.

--JENNIFER BLOOD will be handed off to a new writer with issue seven. Disappointing, but nothing new, considering Ennis’ approach to CROSSED.

--In July, we will get the first issue of THE BOYS mini-series on Butcher, illustrated by Darick Robertson. Ennis says that he is prouder of writing this book than any other.

--THE BOYS movie news: Adam McKay is attached to direct. Rybandt says that he heard McKay being interviewed about this, and it seems like he knows what he’s getting into, that he understands THE BOYS and wasn’t just looking for some "flavor of the month" to get his hands on. Ennis also said that he saw a version of the script that was rated PG-13, which was kind of startling. No worries; he says that McKay will be going for a solid R. Butcher probably won’t get to say “cunt” as much as he might want to, but it sounds like they know what they’re doing.

And that was it. They went around the table to tell everyone where each of them would be and when (for signings), and they shut the panel down. Rybandt said there would be a bunch of free books at the back, so we could grab ‘em on our way out, but most everyone rushed Ennis to get him to sign their stuff.

“THIS IS NOT AN IMPROMPTU SIGNING!” Rybandt yelled, and most people scattered. Ennis tried to be gracious and signed a few things, but it was clear that he had a tight schedule and couldn’t stick around.

I approached Rybandt because I had a question I wasn’t sure would be appropriate for the Q&A: “I noticed that Dynamite doesn’t have a presence on the convention floor. Why is that?”

Rybandt shrugged. “We just don’t do conventions.” A weird attitude to have for the event that is shaping up to be the biggest comic convention in the world, second only to San Diego.

I asked where Ennis was signing (because he didn’t say when it was his turn), and Rybandt said, “I don’t know. Look it up in the book.”

I searched the book and found nothing. I eventually had to go to an information kiosk to find out that it was a VIP signing, and you had to pay nearly $200 for a pass. I’m a huge Ennis fan, but no thanks.

As I was packing up, getting ready to go, Rybandt and Ennis breezed past me with frantic, rushed looks on their faces. Rybandt apologized for the people who wanted Ennis to sign things, and Ennis seemed to take it in stride. But he also thanked Rybandt for being very clear with the fans.

I also picked up a free comic book.  It didn't look like much, and when I got around to reading it, I'm sorry to say that it blew so much I didn't even want to review it.  The title will remain nameless, as I don't even want to think about it right now.

I finished grabbing my shit, intent on getting down to the Hero Initiative (so I could get McCrea to sign a few things), but I had to take a piss. I went straight to the bathroom and picked a stall.

I got a weird feeling and glanced to my side, to the person who was standing next to me. It was Garth Ennis. Distantly, I wondered if now would be a good time to ask for an interview.

But I kept my mouth shut. The red zone is for loading and unloading only. I zipped up and went to the sink. As I washed my hands, I looked into the mirror and saw Ennis standing there, waiting. Talk about fucking surreal.

Is this going to be a tradition for me at C2E2? Last year, I found myself in the very same position with Peter Straub, another writer I deeply respect. Hm. I wonder who it will be next year . . . .


Thursday, March 24, 2011


I was wandering around the C2E2 floor on Friday with Leo when he said, “Check it out.” He pointed, and I saw Kurt Dinse sitting right in front of me. You know, the guy who does ONE YEAR IN INDIANA. It was crazy, because I’d been through Artists Alley already, and I’d missed him the first time through.

We stopped by, and Dinse remembered us from when we interviewed him at Wizard World. I asked him if he had a new book out, but unfortunately he didn’t. He had every intention of having one ready, but too many things got in the way of this happening.

He did, however, have an interesting thing for sale: a cup of goodies. First of all, the cup itself is awesome. It has the main character from OYII holding up a cup of his own (presumably containing an alcoholic beverage) with these words beneath him: “The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” Truer words, my friend. Truer words.

Inside the cup were a few things. The biggest of them was a OYII travelogue, a pamphlet containing “information” about Indiana’s I-65. For example, I-65 was apparently built by the second president of the Highway Authority, Xaphan Wimple, a “rumored cultist.” And do I need to mention the devil’s outhouse?

Also included was this sketch card:

But my favorites were the mini-comics. To give you an idea as to how small they are, check it out:

They’re the brainchild of Brian John Mitchell, who apparently has been doing this for quite a while, as evidenced by the sampler issue. My favorite is “Just a Man,” the tale of a gunslinger who likens killing folks to drinking. A close second is “Xo,” which “is about a sociopath with a heart of gold . . . who can’t stop killing people.” These stories are done with a variety of artists, and one of them happens to be Kurt Dinse.

In STAR #1, we meet a musician who travels from town to town, playing various venues, sleeping with various women in various motel rooms . . . and calling forth demons. As a youth, he raised the beasts up while doing tons of acid, and now he’s on the run from them, hoping that they’ll take his audience members or fuck buddies before they take him.  This is exactly the kind of thing we've come to expect from Dinse.

In case you’re interested, check them out at Silber Media ( They’re fast reads, and they’re only a buck. Not bad, eh?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


First of all, as shameful as it seems, I knew ahead of time that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the C2E2 screening of the movie, BOY WONDER. However, as a member of the press, I requested to have a DVD sent to me for purposes of review.

Then, as I wandered the floor on Friday, trying to get the lay of the land, I came upon BOY WONDER’s booth. I stopped by to let them know how much I enjoyed their movie, and I was told that I was standing next to writer/director Michael Morrissey. I turned to see him talking with another fan, and as soon as the fan walked away, the kind folks at the BW booth introduced me to Morrissey.

We shook hands, and I told him about how I had a great time with his movie. He asked me how I’d seen it, since they hadn’t had the screening yet. I told him about getting the DVD and writing the review. He then saw my press pass and asked me who I was with. I told him the Napalm Assault. He looked the site up on his phone and found the review.

I then asked him to sign one of the BW cards they had on display. He said, “Actually, if you want to stop by around four-ish, the cast will be here. We’ll all sign something for you.”

Which sounded incredibly awesome. I told him I’d be back, and I hit the floor again. Many adventures later, I stopped back by their booth, but the cast was running a little late. In the meantime, everyone at the booth had read my review, and they all loved the hell out of it. I think they might have appreciated my usage of the word “douchebag,” as it is a word that seldom makes it into reviews.

They told me to come back in an hour. I used the time to stand in a ridiculously long line for Bill Willingham (more on that another day) and an incredibly short line for Brian Azzarello before coming back at around 5:30 to see that the cast had just arrived. I saw Zulay Henao (TAKERS, FIGHTING, S. DARKO), who played Det. Ames, first. She had settled in and was ready to meet some fans. Then, I saw Caleb Steinmeyer (LOST and TRUE BLOOD), the star himself, shuffling around to the back of the table. He looked a bit frazzled, like maybe he’d just gotten off the plane.

Morrissey noticed me and brought me by Henao. I shook her hand, let her know how much I liked her performance, and Morrissey invited me to take a picture with her. I then remembered that I’d meant to ask Leo to stick around (since he’s the one with the camera, as you can see HERE), and had totally forgotten. Morrissey said it was okay, that they’d take the picture and post it to their Facebook. I got behind the table, and Henao put her arm around me. At that point, I realized that I’d been walking around all day, which meant I’d been sweating up a storm. By then, I’d dried off, but I started wondering if I smelled bad. I hoped to Christ I didn’t.

The picture was taken, and Henao signed an illustrated version of herself. I then made my way over to Steinmeyer, who was surrounded by press guys. Morrissey cut through them all so I could meet him. Steinmeyer looked kind of tired, but he was very polite and was eager to sign an illustrated version of himself for me. Morrissey then signed both cards and shook my hand.

BOY WONDER is not just an awesome movie. The people who made it are nice as hell, too. If you get the chance to go to a screening in the future, you should. You’ll have a great time, and you’ll meet good people.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this will be the final installment of Future Booze Jesus. It has recently come to my attention that I have hypertension and diabetes. This means that I’ll have to stop consuming just about everything I love. I am a broken man, and the world will suffer for this. But that’s another story.

Fear not. I am not quitting the booze. Just cutting back. The doctor says that I am allowed 2 alcoholic drinks a week. Now that’s just silly, and it’s not going to happen. But I can no longer go on epic binges, like I usually do at the end of the week. Or in the middle of the week. Or on any day ending with a –y. No more excess means no more Future Booze Jesus, for it is only then that he comes out of my head.

I was just going to make the announcement and move on when I noticed there was still one question unanswered. On my final evening of boozing heavily, I allowed FBJ to take over, and this is his final piece of advice for the world.

Jon M. Lennon asks: "A friend of mine was groped by a midget in a public library!  Should I tell him to kill himself or should I do it myself?"

Future Booze Jesus says: YOU FOOL! Your friend must not be senselessly murdered! He should be venerated! To be groped by a midget is a great honor. Such incredibly good luck has befallen your friend. This means that he is graced by no higher power than my old man. He is destined for great things. President of the United States seems too small for the likes of him. Emperor of Earth has a nice ring to it. Support him in all things. Worship him, if necessary. But not too much. Remember, I’m the star of this show. Don’t make me go Old Testament on your ass.

There you have it, folks. The end of Future Booze Jesus. He was here for such a brief period of time before he was crucified by horrible health problems. He leaves behind this advice column, the video shot by Mike Navarro on my Facebook page, and a metric shit-ton of memories. I hope you were there for some of them.

Who knows? Maybe when my tolerance is lower, it won’t take so many drinks to get him out of my head. Pray for the Resurrection.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

C2E2 2011

Pay attention to this space in the next few weeks.  I'm going to try to have a new feature on this year's C2E2 every weekday until I run out of things to say.  Expect things like reviews of stuff I picked up, what it was like to meet some of my favorite writers and artists (and I ran into a few folks from last time), and what the 2 panels I attended were like, as well as a few impressions I got and observations I made.  I don't think I'll do an overview like I did last time, mostly because we all know that this convention is far superior to Wizard World Chicago.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

COOL SHIT 3-17-11


KOLCHAK:  THE NIGHT STALKER FILES #2:  Holy Jesus, it’s finally happened.  Kolchak has finally found his perfect job:  working at a tabloid.  Granted, he’s reluctant to take it on because he’s a REAL journalist, dammit.  But here he is, working a job where he can pick his own stories and write about whatever he wants (except for aliens; another reporter covers that beat).  And why the fuck would his editor kill any of his stories?  IT’S A TABLOID!  The paycheck is big, and it comes with insurance and a place to stay while he finds an apartment.  And don’t forget the office with a view.  It seems too good to be true.  Kolchak has moved to Miami, and just in time, too.  You see, a skunk ape has been killing folks, and guess who gets to cover this one.  Oh yeah.

Monday, March 14, 2011


He’s an exceptional student, even when his peers fail on a regular basis. He reads books about classes he doesn’t have. He is incredibly observant and can use deductive reasoning to arrive at accurate conclusions, just like a detective. He knows how to defend himself, and he’s a masterful boxer. He speaks more than one language and knows about all about chemistry, even about obscure poisons. By day, he spends his hours perfecting his physical condition and mental faculties; by night, he fights crime.

But Sean Donovan, the protagonist of BOY WONDER, is definitely not Batman.

When he was nine years old, his father was beaten and his mother was murdered before his very eyes, and he’s spent the eight years since then searching for the man, supposedly a carjacker, who did this. He keeps to himself, immersing himself in his studies, drowning out a world with which he’s dissatisfied by listening to classical music, Bach in particular, a love instilled in him by his mother. It’s easy to see how angry he can become with the way things are, and it’s easy to see how he decides to work out this anger.

The steroids probably don’t help his temperament, but the drug cannot be blamed for the bottomless pit of rage that simmers within Sean. You see, unlike Batman, he has no problem with killing the bad guys. He murders two men in the first thirty minutes of this movie. Granted, the first time was probably an accident, but the second was very deliberate. When he encounters an abusive drunk homeless guy on a train, he slips on his brass knuckles and pounds the ever-loving shit out of the man. Even when the bum begs for mercy—nay, weeps for it—Sean continuously beats him. There is no doubt that he would have finished the job if cops hadn’t arrived.

But the most condemning moment is when he’s at a party with his one friend in the world, and a douche-bag makes a scene with his ex-girlfriend. There is no violence, just harsh words. The worst that happens is the asshole pulls the girl’s hair. Sean then steps in and uses his superior fighting abilities to whip the hell out of a stupid teenager. Even when it’s clear that he’s won, he picks up a fireplace poker and starts bending the asshole’s skull with it.

The tagline for this movie is, “Beware the hero.” No kidding.

This is what separates Sean from the typical superhero vigilante (except for maybe the Punisher, who takes it to an over-the-top place), and this is what makes this story interesting. One of the women Sean saved praises him and refuses to help the cops, who are trying to identify this vigilante. However, in order to save her, Sean had to ruthlessly murder a man. This is more than one of those how-far-is-too-far quandaries. This is more of a holy-fuck-how-did-it-come-to-this situation.

Another thing BOY WONDER gets right is its respect for the viewer’s ability to piece things together. Too often, Hollywood feels the need to spoon-feed its audience, making sure that we miss nothing they dish out. Movies over-explain things these days. BOY WONDER, like with some of Faulkner’s best work, lets us play the detective. It lets us piece everything together. And even when giving the viewer so much power, no one can possibly see the ending come. And not to give anything away, but the ending is one of the most incredibly satisfying wrap-ups to be filmed in a long time.

The acting is excellent, the best coming from Caleb Steinmeyer (Sean) and Bill Sage (Sean’s father). Their scenes together are extraordinary, especially their last. That’s not to say the rest of the cast is sub-par. There isn’t a stinker among ‘em. Zulay Henao, who plays the detective on Sean’s trail, turns in an awesome performance, especially when she’s acting opposite from her partner, played to fat slob/foot-in-the-mouth perfection by Daniel Stewart Sherman, and the police chief (Bill Baldwin). Every scene rings true except for one: just before Sean kills a drug dealer, we are shown a scene where a single mother needs her fix and is begging for a score. Everyone plays it kind of stiffly, and the mother tries too hard to seem frantic. Moreso, the actress seems far too clean to play her role.

There really is only one other complaint. This movie is clearly meant to be told from the perspective of Sean with a few interludes from Detective Ames. However, in two instances, we are shown the world through Mr. Donovan’s eyes. The first time is wholly unnecessary; he goes to visit Sean’s mother’s grave and talks to the stone about how Sean is doing. The only point of this is to tell us things we already know. The second time this happens is when we see Mr. Donovan shopping. He sees alcohol, feels temptation, and buys soda instead. This is to notify us that he is a recovering alcoholic (which is something we could have figured out later from the movie). Lastly, considering how things work out near the end, it’s important for us to NOT see anything from Mr. Donovan’s point of view.

These are minor complaints. The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to BOY WONDER. Writer/director Michael Morrissey clearly knows what he is doing. It’s just a shame that he picked such a lousy title. The connotations are all wrong (and possibly misleading). It’s airy and noble and definitely not what this movie is about. Don’t let it fool you, though; there’s a lot of meat to this meal of a film. Just be prepared to think of BOY WONDER from now on every time you hear Bach . . . .

Written and directed by Michael Morrissey
Boy Wonder Productions
95 minutes

Friday, March 11, 2011


I’m back! Yes, I am risen, you fools! You thought I was dead because I didn’t have a column for you last week. Well, you were half-right. I was dead DRUNK! I think I will take MODERN DRUNKARD MAGAZINE’s advice and start naming my hangovers. But enough of this gibberish! On to the mailbag!

The Adonis asks: “Real simple, is Charlie Sheen WINNING?”

Future Booze Jesus says: You bet, just as he always has. I’ve heard a lot of his quotes of late, and I’m having difficulty in trying to find what people find crazy about him. He’s just a guy who knows what he likes, and he knows what it takes to achieve this. He lives life the way he wants to, and that scares ordinary people. The average person wants to live free of society’s expectations, but the Fear keeps him in check. Sheen doesn’t have the Fear. People say he was crazy for fucking up a good thing by torpedoing TWO AND A HALF MEN. Gentlemen, I say he was crazy for sticking with that show for so many years. Sure, it added to his coke-and-whores fund quite a bit, but can you imagine being a free spirit shackled by network censors for years? Soar like an eagle, Charlie, and fuck the trolls. Who needs ‘em? NEXT QUESTION!

Rico (a proud non-ginger) asks: “Remember that episode of DIFFERENT STROKES where Sam the ginger got kidnapped? Why would someone kidnap a ginger?”

Future Booze Jesus says: Ah, Rico. Welcome back. You are clearly unaware of the powers gingers possess. They can restore your youth, but you have to milk them properly, or their ginger juice turns into a poison. Also, they are good at fetching things. NEXT QUESTION!

Zip asks: “Let’s say I know this guy named Chris. Crap, I mean John. Yes, John. His roommate bugs him all the time to actually do things. All he wants to do is be by himself and lay around. Recently John’s roommate said he was moving out and he is worried that no one will support his laziness. John is now confused and lonely. What should he do?”

Future Booze Jesus says: Hm, this scenario sounds familiar. Zip, I won’t lie to you. Let’s get down to brass tacks. Cut this John character loose. Nature finds a way, and slugs always manage to survive. John will find someone else to look after him, because there’s a sucker born every minute. However, I recognize that cutting him loose might not be enough. You may need to encourage his suicide. No one likes a downer, and if he were to die, the world would brighten up just a little bit. Tell him to kill himself for the good of the world. Maybe leave a bottle of pills lying around. Or a gun with one bullet in it. Leave some razorblades on the edge of the tub. He’ll get the idea. NEXT FUCKING QUESTION!

Not Dave Damasssssssssk asks: “Does soaking a tampon in vodka and then putting it in your rectum really work? Should I try it? Have you tried it? Would you try it? I am pretty poor at the moment and could use a ‘getting drunk on a budget’ type tip or five. Thanks in advance!!!”

Future Booze Jesus says: YOU FOOL! If you’re putting booze in your asshole, you’re doing it wrong! There is no excuse for not being able to get drunk on a budget. If you think you’re stretching a dollar, think about this: homeless people every day manage to get enough cash for booze. Sometimes, they can get the good stuff. If they can do it, you can do it. I recommend Cold Brook Whiskey, which you can get for $9.99 a handle at Corner Cottage on North Avenue. It’s far from good, but you’ll get trashed just the same. If you’re going out to a bar or restaurant, fill a flask with some of this stuff. Never buy drinks in public. It’s too expensive, unless you’re at the Spring Inn in Elmhurst. Cheap shots and cheap beer. You can’t go wrong. If all else fails, skip a few meals. As your messiah, I advise you to remember that booze is more important than food. If you’re hard up enough, you can always find someone to give you a sandwich. No one wants to give you free whiskey.

I hope I have enriched your lives for yet another week. If you have any quandaries or comments, please post them in the comments below. Barring another horribly awesome drinking binge, I feel certain you’ll get your answers next Friday. Until then, celebrate the 17th year of Charles Bukowski’s passing by watching BARFLY and FACTOTUM. That should get you through next week.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

COOL SHIT 3-10-11

I swear, I will not talk about the new issue of THE WALKING DEAD. Enough is enough. You guys know I love the shit out of the book, so . . . .

CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER #2: The last issue I could take or leave, but this one kicks it up a notch. Let’s face it, who would ever think that international Fable spy Cinderella’s arch-nemesis would be Oz’s own Dorothy Gale, pigtails and all? The sucky thing is, most of this story is told in flashbacks. This happens so often that I forgot what the actual story is. Still, this is Dorothy as you’ve never seen her before. And who would have thought she’d be a villain? Jesus fuckin’ Christ.

JENNIFER BLOOD #2: What can I say? I just can’t get enough of Garth Ennis’ ass-kicking housewife. This one starts out with just about the funniest parody of TITANIC ever (see above). As I read about this guy (Jennifer’s next uncle/target), I couldn’t help but think of Saddam Hopper from PREACHER: GOOD OL’ BOYS. We’re still in the dark as to why Jennifer is doing these things, and to complicate the whole scene, she now has to deal with a lecherous neighbor.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Sorry folks.  It wasn't like a lot of good books didn't come out yesterday, but I think you're sick of me going on and on and on about THE BOYS, INCOGNITO, LOCKE AND KEY, JONAH HEX, and a bunch of others.  Don't worry; next week, you can find my review of AXE COP #1 at the Napalm Assault!