Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm a Less-Fat Bastard

I've always been a heavy dude. Probably a little heavier than I look, because I've got the kind of frame that carries it well, or so I've been told. I'm built like Wolverine, short and squat, but my healing factor doesn't so much as eliminate the toxins in beer as much as it converts it directly into fat. I don't have a Danger Room that keeps me on my toes; I've got a Living Room that keeps me off of them.

But, yeah, I'm a big dude. Black guys can pull off "Big Dude" easier than white guys can. (We can also do bald much better. For the record.) A caucasian fella carrying my weight might look like he's never left his basement, for fear that his carefully-painted D&D figurines will finally succumb to that "animate" spell he's been casting for the past 15 years and he'll miss it. A black fella will just look like someone you don't want to fuck with. (There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. I'm just saying.)

But enough was enough. I drew a line when I got on a scale and was pleasantly surprised that I hadn't hit 300 pounds. And that's fucked up. So, the diet.

Severely cut back on the carbs. Two slices of breadstuff a day. Or a serving of low-carb pasta. Salads. Fruits. Lots of protein. Gallons of water. Walking to work. The occasional McNugget. Because otherwise, life is just too damned cruel.

I started at 285. I'm now 258. A nice, round, dyslexic figure. But still just the beginning. I'll see what I can drop before San Diego, when it's almost impossible to eat like a sensible human being, even with the walking 3 or 4 miles a day.

So if you see me on the street, shouting obscenities at the hot dog vendor, those obscenities are borne of a love lost...

Friday, May 25, 2007

'Great' Ideas

It's entirely possible that history will prove me wrong—as it so often does—but, for my money, adapting He-Man and The Sims into live-action motion pictures may be the worst ideas I've heard in years.

He-Man is bad because, well, we've already seen what a He-Man movie would look like. And even if you added state-of-the-art effects and someone less ridiculous than Dolph Lundgren, you've still got a dude in a thong announcing that he's got the Power of Greyskull.

The Sims, jeez, I'm not even sure where to start. It's a videogame where you micro-manage people's lives. Make 'em eat, go to work, date, buy furniture, etc. That just screams to be a movie. "The Sims has done an interactive version of an old story, which is what it's like to have infinite power and how do you deal with it," said Sims studio head Rod Humble in today's Variety. So, basically, we're in for another Bruce Almighty, with even less of it's mediocre charms.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Horses? Really?

I really want someone to explain to me why the hell there are police officers on horseback in New York City. I've been thinking about this all morning—okay, for about 15 minutes—and I can't see the logic in it.

First, they're Fucking Horses in New York City. Which makes no sense. While Central Park may have a decent chunk of natural landscape, not so much that you need the friggin' cavalry.

Second, they shit everywhere. Why I should have to dodge massive mounds of hay-strewn feces on my way to work—which is not on a farm, mind you—is beyond me. The New York's Finest are keeping your city clean...so their giant method of transportation can poop all over it.

Third, they can't be cheap to stable. Those nags can eat. Are they any cheaper than a good motocross bike? Yes, I know motorcycles wouldn't help the enviornmental conditions in New York. But see point No. 2: shit boulders.

Fourth, they are animals with minds of their own. Who may not feel like engaging in a criminal pursuit. And let's say this is an armed criminal, who decides to take a shot or two at the mountie. Now two creatures with free will have to decide to continue the chase, as opposed to one dude on a Honda. (And this chase, mind you, is being executed on a beast who's tiny piggies are designed for almost every other kind of terrain besides asphalt.)

I'm sure there are some who call it tradition, a throwback to a simpler, stinkier time. And tradition is fine...in moderation. But when tradition gives way to a total ignoring of fiscal logic and peacekeeping methodology, that's when I call horseshit.

Just Because

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The 'Monster' Lowdown

Monster Attack Network
Written by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman with art by Nima Sorat

MARVEL! At the Pacific island of Lapuatu, perfect in every way…except for the giant monsters. THRILL! As Nate Klinger and his daring team of first-responders at the Monster Attack Network expertly deal with the frequent rampaging-beast-related crises. WONDER! If the shady American industrialist who comes to the island bearing "gifts" and the mysterious, gorgeous Lapuatuan ex-patriate are up to no good. ENJOY! The hair-raising adventures of the noble men and the drop-dead sexy women of the MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK!

Diamond: Ships July 2007
ISBN: 1-932051-50-3
$12.95 96 pages

Head to the AiT/Planetlar site for more. Or, actually, the same info. But there will be more...


So, this is what the Sci-Fi Channel's new Flash Gordon looks like (thanks EW.com!). And Dale Arden. There's something kind of Mutant X about it. Vancouvery. Of course, I haven't seen any of the "awesome" sets or effects or, well, anything at 30 frames per second. But it's just so...Smallville.

Say what you want about the '80s movie, but that thing looked alien. And sounded alien. (Queen, after all, is what it sounds like if you gave superintelligent space monkeys a bushel of PCP-laced bananas and let 'em loose in a room full of guitars and keyboards.) And Sam Jones probably thought there were aliens, so astonished does he seem to be by what's around him: "Oooo, these floors are so shiny. Hey, Mr. Von Sydow! That helmet sure is neat!"

I'm just not feeling it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

August Challenge

A couple of weeks back, John August hosted a contest on his blog in which readers were invited to introduce a character. Any character. Write the first time we see them. So, here's what I did...


And it’s a big tunnel, too. Wide enough for a sidewalk-y platform on the edge of the river of sludge heading to the ocean. The strange thing is that there’s a small storefront on the sidewalk, like one of those tiny, barely-noticeable places in the West Village.

A MAN in a track suit that costs more than your mortgage payment walks up, looks behind him to make sure that no one’s on his tail, and ducks in the door.


Here’s a place that looks out of place: it’s a dry cleaners, complete with the conveyor belt of clothes that vanishes into the dim recesses, the 75-year-old Singer waiting for pants to hem, and the counter-top bell.

The MAN enters, gingerly closing the door behind him. It’s been a while since OLIVER made his vast fortune, but you wouldn’t know it to look at him. His blond hair just long enough so that he doesn’t look like a Suit, his goatee neatly tousled, Oliver is in excellent shape…even though his exercise gear looks like it’s never been exercised in. He rummages in his pockets for something.

No need, sir. Your clothes
are ready.

ARIADNE, an old woman with a black silk sash covering her eyes, comes walking over. She doesn’t bump into anything.

How do you do that, Ari?
You never let me get a word out…

Ariadne presses a button attached to the clothes conveyor belt, and the parade of plastic covered togs begins.

It’s the hundred dollar soap
and Old Spice, Mr. Queen.
Dead slumming-billionaire
giveaway. Ah, here we go.

Ariadne pulls a hanger from the belt. All we can see is a hint of green beneath the plastic clothes condom.

Sorry, Ari. It was a rough week.

That what we do here, Mr. Queen.
Repair tough weeks. Now, the
slices were easy enough to
mend, as were the punctures. Spear?

Spiked gate.

Of course. The burns were harder.
I just hope the dye matches.
Hard for me to tell, you know.

Ariadne hangs the clothes on a rod on the counter, and we finally see what they’re talking about. It’s an emerald green vest-y jerkin thing, with laces criss-crossing the chest. A pair of green boots are slung over the hanger.

It’s GREEN ARROW’s costume.

Looks perfect. Put it on the
League account?

Of course.

Got someplace I could change?


Gandalf, Merlin, Dumbledore, ...of Id

All wizards! Thus, here's the Highwaymen interview that's up at Wizard.com:


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Samurai Steel, Indeed

I thought I was familiar with most flavors of samurai flick, but one sub-genre seems to have escaped me. And so, here's Hanzo the Razor...

That's right: He's like Dirty Harry, but instead of a .44 Magnum, Hanzo's weapon of choice is his massive, battle-hardened penis, with which he cowes men and "interrogates" women.

Say what you will, but that's the best training montage I've ever seen.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wait...is HE the Vitruvian Man?

I used to love the mid-'80s Nick Mancuso show, Stingray, when I was a kid. What was not to love: A mysterious drifter with a vintage Corvette Stingray who helped people out of their episodic-TV jams (greedy real estate baron, missing kid, rogue biker gang, etc.) but asked for nothing in return...except for the promise to perform a favor for the drifter, whatever it is, whenever he asks. I remember some line like "And I may never ask you for that favor, but if I do, you must."

Essentially, it was Knight Rider without the talking car. Or The Dukes of Hazzard if you add a roadmap out of town and subtract the casual racism.

But look at this credit sequence and tell me if you get any of that:

Yes, there's a bad-ass muscle car. But the judo? The stock shots of diamonds and slipping mickeys into cocktails? The crazy huge triangle? The obsession with sunglasses? Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man??!!

You'd think that the star of this show was Mike Post's music. What the hell were they thinking, not selling your concept—especially if you have one—and choosing for mindless, meaningless flash? (And not even flash that would be as good as Miami Vice.)

How quickly they forgot the lessons of The Six Million Dollar Man, for my money, one of the best credit sequences ever. Oh, and Buck Rogers, too.

Friday, May 11, 2007

So...THAT'S What It'll Look Like

I tell you, it is the weirdest thing in the world to pick up a random comic, as I did with Stormwatch: PHD, start reading, get to the center spread and see an ad for your own debut book in there. Both surprising and familiar at the same time. It's like I jumped myself in a dark alley.

Didn't know I was coming.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Woo-Hoo, and Inter-View

The first real Highwaymen interview is now up at Comic Book Resources.

Check the goodness.

Some 'Monster' Love

From PopImage (scroll down a bit):

"Writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman have a mini series from Wildstorm, THE HIGHWAYMEN, that starts in June and it looks like a hoot of a book. MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK looks like a big, fun, action book. The MAN is an international crisis squad that handled the oversized creature issues you might have.

I’m seeing it as sort of a “Ghostbusters meets The B.P.R.D.”

Bernardin and Freeman are relatively untested at this point, but if Larry Young thought it was good enough for AiT/Planet Lar, then that’s enough for me."

Not quite an international crisis squad, but close enough.

Monday, May 07, 2007

My Brief But Illustrious Pugilistic Career, Part 2.5

When I was in my senior year of high school, I had this girlfriend. Let's call her G. She was my first girlfriend and, as such, I loved her with all the heat of a thousand novas. Or, at least, I thought I did, since one's first experience with love is informed by nothing beyond teen movies and Catcher in the Rye. But G was my girl and I was her boy and I was happy as could be. Because I was getting some.

I was a relatively popular guy in high school, predominately because I crossed a lot of cliques. I was on the football team, so I was in with the jocks. I was pretty creative and took a bunch of art classes, so the theater kids were okay with me. I was black—still am—so the black kids were cool with me, and the hispanic kids kind of came with them. I was smart, if unmotivated, so I was good with the brains, as well as the faculty. Knew a couple of stoners, but they didn't really care one way or the other. I was sitting happily at the center of the vin diagram that is the pre-collegiate educational system.

But G, flush with the newfound power women realize they have over men and unable to temper her use of that power, liked to play games. And she got it in her mind to see if I was willing to fight to preserve her honor. Or something. So, I was talking to a bunch of friends in the Commons area of our high school—it was towards the end of the day when people had some free periods scheduled, so it was pretty crowded—when I look over and see this underclassman (let's call him Shaun) shove my girlfriend.

I grabbed him by the shirt and threw him against the aluminum shutters that closed up the cafeteria. He told me that G pushed him first. Which I flatly didn't believe. Why would she? But I think I scared him, and he backed off. And the bell rang and life moved on.

But it didn't. Because Shaun was buddies with his kid named David. And David decided that he didn't like me. And David had friends. And David decided that he wanted to go to war. For pummelling his friend, who shoved my girl. And it escalated to USA/Soviet Union levels of finger-on-the-trigger madness. Setting dates for schoolyard confrontations which never happened. Walking around with football team protection. Shouting matches. Sharks and Jets without the dancing.

It got so bad that the Principal of the school called David and I into his office, so he could get all Colin Powell on our asses and defuse the situation. He wanted to know the problem. I told him my side. David told him his. Mr. Principal believed me, since I was a good kid who'd never been in a fight my entire time in high school. We all decided that this level of hysteria was silly, shook hands, and went our separate ways, letting go and letting God.

Except David didn't. Not that he started anything, but he endeavored to make the balance of my senior year as uncomfortable as possible. Which he only partially succeeded in. Not that I was afraid of him, or any of his cronies, but I didn't really want to have to analyze every situation I was in, looking for defensible positions or high ground.

Only later, after I graduated and decided to attend a commuter college to be closer to my girlfriend, did she reveal her actions and motivations. And later still, she cheated on me and we broke up.


So, that's the non-fight which took over Baldwin Senior High School for, like, a month.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cinco de My Ass

I'm not a holiday guy, really. Once you hit, I dunno, 14, Christmas loses its luster. (Especially if you're not a religiously observant cat.) Easter, same deal, but revise that age down to 10, the last time you get really excited by candy. Thanksgiving is, at this point, a holiday sponsored by Purdue. But at least there's something legitimate to remember—even if it is the rape of the natural world and the beginning of the end for the indigenous peoples of North America. Still, corn!

But Cinco de Mayo is a holiday invented, promoted, and sustained by tequila companies. And Corona. A holiday for alcoholics. And sorority girls. But mostly drunks. There's just something distasteful about that. (And, while I am painting with a wide brush, at least there was, actually, a St. Patrick. That's a holiday that's been co-opted by drunks.) Hell, do you even know why anyone gives a shit in Mexico about May 5th? Neither do any of the people crowding the bar at Chili's. (For the record, it commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Or not, if Wikipedia is up to their usual fact-free standards.)

I'm all for drinking. I just don't need excuses to drink. That's why I never understood drinking games: Getting drunk is fun enough, I don't need to wrap it in a silly activity to want to do it.

But if we've gotta have a Booze Holiday, then I want a Gambling Holiday, too. Fuck that, we should just have Vice Day, when anything and everything bad for you or at one point illegal is encouraged.

Vice Day, brought to you by Baretta and Trojan.

I could get behind that.

Verne Troyer's Recurring Nightmare

Thanks for Chris Nashawaty for tipping me off to this, the Greatest Thing Ever of the Week.