This Island Surf EP 7: Captain Ron’s Escape from Little China

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October is here and a podcaster’s mind drifts to thoughts of horror movies.

Granted, I’m not really a horror aficionado – there are thousands, if not millions, out there far more invested in the realm of the macabre than I. However, I do have a select pocket of films I reserve for this time of year…and most involve the criminally underrated Kurt Russell.

Those who love Kurt Russell tend to be a touch fanatical. He is, after all, an A-list actor who has stared in some of the most brilliantly bizarre blockbusters: From the xenomorhic exterminator R.J. McReady to braggart quasi-hero Jack Burton to lethally apathetic Snake Plissken to historic bad-ass Wyatt Earp to the flamboyantly macho Captain Ron, Russell brings to each role a swift and diligent charisma that lets us believe, even for a moment, that we would be half as cool under a quarter of the pressure.

But his tough-guy roles are only one end of the pool. He’s played losers and menacing marauders. He’s been victim and victimized. But above all else he makes each role unmistakably his. Kurt Russell is The Man.

This month began as a tribute to my favorite horror film of all time, The Thing, and quickly blossomed into a discourse of only a fraction of Russell’s 91 acting credits. So enjoy and Rage Well.

The drink for this episode was going to be the Snake (Plissken) Bite. A drink consisting of half cider and half beer. Then I tried it and decided I wasn’t tough enough for that sorta venom. So, instead, you get The White Lantern (thanks JD for the name). It’s a great drink for those nights when the scratch at your window maybe a morphing monster of dubious intentions.

The White Lantern:
3/4 cup of a medium roast coffee. Black.
1/4 Kahlua Pumpkin Spice
1 shot Vodka
Milk to taste
Cover the whole thing in whipped cream and Mexican hot chocolate.

Drink to keep the creepers away.

The Krontjong Devils – Space Creature
The Cosmic Vampires – Panico en Urano
The Abstinence – Horror Tetrico
Los Straightjackets – Galaxy Drive
Los Twang! Marvels – Space Tiki Twist
The Space Cossacks – The Space Victory Theme
The Pornadoes – Cosmic Sign
The Starfires – Space Needle
Dick Dale – Scalped
Jack Nietzie – The Last Race
Agent Orange – Pipeline
Frankie and the Poolboys – Dead Man Surfin’
Santo & Johnny – Caravan
Mexican Weirdohs – El Bueno, El Malo, y El Weirdoh
Untamed Youth – Sophisticated International Playboy
Ursala 1000 – Beatbox Cha Cha
The Dynotones – Devil’s Martini
The Phantom Dragsters – Prince of Darkness
Phantom Surfers – 20,000 Leagues Under the Surf

“Have you paid your dues, Jack?” Big Trouble comes to comics

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Like a fair number of kids in my generation, I love Big Trouble in Little China.

It was one of the few VHS movies I owned growing up and, alongside Evil Dead II, I watched it with a passion bordering on fanaticism.

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Snake Plissken – One man President saving machine

Carpenter’s ridiculous hero, the habitually boisterous Jack Burton, is a loser we can all get behind. One gets the sense that Burton was always just a few brain cells shy of becoming something great. He’s got razor sharp reflexes, a substandard amount of fear, and a lounge-lizard’s way with the ladies. If he were real, we’d hate him.

But he’s not and we love him for it. In fact, throughout the film, Jack is a failure as a hero. Sure, we see the tale unfold through his eyes, but he’s the one screaming to call the cops while his Chinese brethren are prepared to fight supernatural forces. He misses every fight by either getting stuck in his truck, hiding in a shed, getting knocked out, or having a corpse pin him to the ground. He’s the guy getting into bar fights on Friday night hoping his friends hold him back. Jack Burton was great because he hid his fear by whining and complaining the entire film.

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Wyatt Earp had Hell come with him to tombstone

The 80’s were huge on white guys saving the day. We had Mel Gibson, Arnold, Stallone, and Willis, all showing people that heroes could take several rounds of gunfire and still wind-sprint across New York State or chase down cars on foot. Adults wanted to think that they were that tough. Conversely, what made Jack Burton great was that he was the bumbling comedic sidekick dressed as a hero. Kids knew that was what adults were really like.

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Jack Burton – KO’d by plaster

And now that we kids are all grown up, Boom Studios is giving us another journey into the recesses of lost adolescence with Big Trouble in Little China the Comic Book. It’s the continuing, all-new, adventures (like moments after the ape-demon is on the truck) of Jack Burton and the Porkchop Express. John Carpenter, along with Eric (The Goon) Powell, are writing the hell out of it. Its funny and nonsensical and perfectly preserves Jack’s voice. Read it with the Kurt Russell vowel extension in your voice and you’ll hear it. Of course, I hear most things in Kurt Russell’s voice, so I may be biased.

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Frankly, the Big Trouble book is more fun than The Goon has been in ages. The plot centers around Jack returning the demon-ape to China Town and finding a new way to piss off an old evil. It’s just a crazy as the film and, more important, Jack is still a blow-hard covering up massive insecurities with bravado and stupidity. It’s more fun than an open tab at the White Lotus.

By pure coincidence, the local skate shop Civil, released an limited shirt/skate deck featuring Lo Pan. The artist, Evoker, created the ultimate pop art tribute to both the film and our Little Rhody (Rhode Island for those of you not living in out puny state).

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It’s been a good year for Jack Burton.

Episode 31 – Eric Powell’s The Goon

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Here we are, folks! Episode 31: A Celebration of Halloween – which is October 31.

This isn’t really integral to the horror/humor book The Goon by Eric Powell, just a neat bit of synchronicity.

The Goon is a blend of dark violent humor, EC horror, and two-fisted justice with a twist of burlesque and the supernatural. Essentially, it is all things to all audiences provided you enjoy a good belly laugh and beautiful art. If you don’t, well, there ain’t no helping you. This month I chose a resounding amount of rockabilly and psychobilly to sum up the musical feel of The Goon and his world. I could have just recorded a ton of Tom Waits and Slayer, but then I would be sued into the stone-age.

 

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I linked to the Kickstarter the other day and, after a few days of internet mumbling…really, though, when isn’t it mumbling,…Powell and Dark Horse put up a great tactile offer for you to slap slackjaws about the face with. I was holding out for the Louisville Slugger with rusty nails in it or the Official Zombie Smashing Monkey Wretch, but a funny book’ll do.

Also, don’t forget that November is the ALL REQUEST EPISODE…drop me a line at deadrize@ hotmail. com. Be part of internet history.

Enjoy the show, have a great Halloween, and look out for poisoned candy, vampires, and old houses that constantly have lightning storms around them.

Rage Well,

 Episode 31 – Eric Powell’s The Goon

I’ve Got a Knife – Masked Intruder
Here Could Kill You – The Meteors
Trouble Always Comes My Way – Daddy Long Legs
A Bloody Life  – Rev. Tom Frost
Deviant – Dick Dynamite and the Doppelgnagers
Drinkin’ Gasoline – The Baboons 
Got Me a Monster – Big Vinny & The Cattle Thieves    

Cannibal Family – The Wolfgangs
Satans Rejects  – Demented Are Go
A Devil’s Heart – JackRabbit Slim
Redneck Zombies – The Bad Detectives
Scratching On My Screen – Ric Cartey
Saturday Night of the Living Dead – Calabrese
Ugly Stick – Ronnie Self
Shoot Me Down – Rattlin’ Bone (feat. the Vampirettes)
Streetwise  – Guana Batz
Bucket O’ Blood – Hellbillys
Psycho – Nick Curran and the Lowlifes
Gonna Shoot You Down – The Woodies
Back Stabbin’ Baby – Shock Therapy
.44 Love Bites – Big John Bates

(Incidental Music) Diggin’ My Grave – The Monsters

GREED BAG #1

Fugazi once rattled my world with the refrain, “You are not what you own”, and that is too true. However, there is nothing I love more than reading through PREVIEWS each month and pretending I had the cash to order it all.

For those who don’t know, PREVIEWS is the trade magazine for the comic industry and essentially advertises everything that is going to be released through comic stores two months from now. Every month I patiently await its release and even go so far as to avoid many web sites to preserve the unadulterated adventure. I guess it reminds me of when I was a kid and my sister and I would pour over the Sears catalogue circling everything, wishing for something, and expecting nothing

Here is a list of the stuff I want. I call it Greed Bag. Enjoy.

Ghost # 2 – Phil Noto is doing the art on this series relaunch that works the line between smart detective stories, supernatural goodness, and cheesecake. I don’t know muh about Kelly Sue Deconnick as a writer other than her work on Avenging Spider-man, but that Phil Noto…he sure can draw.

MindMGMT #0 – One of the most creative and enjoyable books around.  This is the ‘perfect jumping on point for new readers’.

Conan: Queen of the Black Coast: HC – Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood and their ‘bold new take’ on the Barbarian. I may not always like Brian Wood, but I will always give him a chance.

Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and The Orm of Loch Ness #2 – Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz present a piece of black humor and strong early EC images that creep and entertain. Hotz’s art is an acquired taste but fans of old horror comics will find it reminiscent and harrowing.

The Goon #44 – Eric Powell is back on his A-game and bringing Lagarto Hombre back with him. PS – The Goon will be the focus of October’s podcast. Get your fighting knuckles ready for a brawlin’ good time.

Judge Dredd #1 – Bibliodiscoteque-approved author Duane Swierczynski is bringing Mega-City’s most feared Judge to America with a new book from IDW. Duane is stomping our hearts and conscious with the monster slaying goodness of Godzilla and I can only imagine what he’ll be like when he’s allowed unchecked violence and mayhem in Mega-City. See also DC’s Birds of Prey and Valiant Entertainment’s Bloodshot for even more Swierczynski chaos!

Saga is back! 

Rachel Rising Vol. 2 – I’m not sure how hard I have to push this book on you. If you like horror, amazing dialogue, brilliant art, and one of the best stories in recent years please get to your local comic shop and buy this. It’s even in trade paperback now so you can read it anywhere. This is a book that demands your attention.

Transmetropolitan All Around the World Art Book – I’m a fool for this series. I’m a fool for Spider Jerusalem and his filthy assistants. I just not sure I can spend $50 on what may be one of the coolest art books ever. Seriously, the list of artists is incredible. I will certainly regret not ordering this. Damn.

Love and Rockets – Rockstar T-Shirt – Celebrating 30 years of the Los Bros Hernandez, Graffiti Clothing is celebrating with a shirt I will be living in until it falls off my body ( I borrowed this image for Episode 6: Jaime Hernandez ).

 

Something Nice – Eisner Award Time

The Eisner Awards were announced this past week:

To those of us who are too cynical to enjoy Oscars or Emmys, this is the big time. Each person nominated, and many who aren’t, showcase real dedication and hard work.. Here are my favorites from the list (ps – for fans of Eric Powell note how many are NOT part of the Big Two):

Best Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit (IDW)

Best Penciller: Richard Corben, Hellboy (Dark Horse)

Cover Artist: Dave Johnson, Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain (Dark Horse); Unknown Soldier (Vertigo/DC); Punisher/Max, Deadpool (Marvel)

Best Limited Series: Stumptown, by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth (Oni)

New Series: iZombie, by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred (Vertigo/DC) ((Although it will lose to American Vampire by Stephen King))

Best Humor Publication: Literature: Unsuccessfully Competing Against TV Since 1953, by Dave Kellett (Small Fish Studios)

Best Adaptation from Another Work: 7 Billion Needles, vols. 1 and 2, adapted from Hal Clement’s Needle by Nobuaki Tadano (Vertical)

Best Archival Collection/Project (Comic Books): Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Hellboy, BPRD, Baltimore, Let Me In (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC); Neil Young’s Greendale, Daytripper, Joe the Barbarian (Vertigo/DC)

Best Lettering: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit (IDW)