All posts by ghostmann

Steve Dillon, 1962-2016

There was a time when I stopped collecting comic books. When I had “grown up” and moved on to other things. Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s I was a huge comic collector and, with my favorite company being DC, I followed the adventures of Batman, Superman, Swamp Thing, and a host of others, religiously. Then came the 90’s and Jim Lee’s X-Men. I was hooked on the spectacle of it all. Enter Image Comics in 1992 and I was picking up every single comic they printed – Spawn, Wildcats, Cyberforce, Savage Dragon, The Maxx, and yes, even, Liefield’s Youngblood. But soon I was growing bored of all the style with no substance. Cool art alone couldn’t sustain me and I hung up my collectors hat for years. Continue reading Steve Dillon, 1962-2016

DC Universe: Rebirth #1

IMG_0732IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

It’s all Alan Moore’s fault.

There have been three major events in the world of comics:

1. Action Comics #1 (1938): Superman is introduced to the world [The Golden Age begins]

2. Showcase #1 (1956): The first appearance of The Flash [The Silver Age begins]

3. The Dark Knight Returns #1 / Watchmen #1 (1986): The deconstruction of the superhero and the introduction of reality into the four-colored world [The Bronze Age begins]

In 1986, the one-two punch of Dark Knight and Watchmen knocked us all out. True works of art that redefined what comic books could do and should do. But something went wrong. These two testaments became the gospel that the industry followed religiously. Left unchecked for decades, the world of comics became shrouded in darkness and despair. Heroes that once inspired hope became tainted by “our” world and no one seemed to know how to stop it. Continue reading DC Universe: Rebirth #1

The Best of All New All Different Marvel #4: Invincible Iron Man

Invincible Iron Man

Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez

Believe it or not, there was a time when you couldn’t find an Iron Man Halloween costume at Target. Nowadays he’s everywhere – Iron Man beanies, Iron Man pj’s, Iron Man coffee mugs – and we owe it all to Robert Downey, Jr. Back in 2008 the Marvel movie universe consisted only of sub-par Brian Singer X-Men films, a lame Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, and some truly awful Fantastic Four and Daredevil flicks. Enter Downey and director John Favreau, who fired the opening shot that would redefine the Marvel cinematic world and,  ultimately, the comic books it’s based on.

IMG_0627Iron man is now one of Marvel’s flagship titles and one that people are most likely to buy on name recognition only. But what the unsuspecting casual buyer doesn’t realize is that this new Iron Man comic is written by one of the best in the business. Brian Michael Bendis knows what he’s doing and instead of trying to distance the comic from the films, he brings his own flair for the theatrical to these pages and his spot-on dialogue rolls off your lips. Helping Bendis out is the magnificent art of David Marquez whose cinematic vibe only enhances the writing. Employing a photo-realistic style meshed with manga-influenced action scenes, the art here is stellar. Continue reading The Best of All New All Different Marvel #4: Invincible Iron Man

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Continuing the original Star Wars Trilogy breakdown, 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!”

PART 7
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 01:00:01 – 01:10:00

No disintegrations.

• Han shoots the floor of the cave which causes an asteroid-quake, which in turn causes Han, Leia and Chewie to reenact an old episode of Star Trek: “Okay, now everyone fall to your right! Now fall to your left!
• “I am not a committee!”
• “This is no cave.” You’re right Han, it’s not a cave, its a exogorth, or “space slug.” The space slug was developed in sketches by artists Ralph McQuarrie and Nilo Rodis-Jamero before being realized as a puppet seventy-nine centimeters in length and twenty-eight in diameter. The puppet was covered with an exterior designed by visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett and was operated by special effects artist Jon Berg for more than fifty takes over a period of one week. The space slug was a heavy puppet whose jaws were closed by a return spring mechanism. Gag footage was shot by night shift camera operators involving an alternate space slug puppet made out of a sock.

aswweslugtcrop
this space slug prop sells for a mere £4,245

Industrial Light & Magic chief model maker Lorne Peterson created a four-and-a-half foot long model of the creature’s hinged jaws for the shot of the Millennium Falcon racing out of the asteroid tunnel, casting the five-inch-tall teeth from a plastic urethane that possessed a translucent ivory quality. Additional teeth were later given as gifts to celebrities or industry guests to the model shop. The set of the interior of the space slug was created by the laying of black Visqueen plastic on the floor of the Echo Base hangar set, draping black curtains around the Millennium Falcon, and releasing a fog of dry ice. Visual effects supervisor John Knoll called it “undoubtedly the least expensive set built” for the film. To create the sound and feeling of slime when the film’s characters were walking on the slug’s tongue, Foley editors Scott Hecker and Robert R. Rutledge used nearly twenty-five pounds of pure beef fat in large slabs, as well as dozens of raw eggs, which they then walked on with various pieces of footwear to create the sounds of the characters’ footsteps.
• I like Luke’s Yoda Backpack. You can get one at Disneyland.
• Luke enters the cave that is powerful with the dark side. But how did that place get that way? welllll……Hundreds of years before the Clone Wars, the Jedi Minch battled and killed a powerful Bpfasshi Dark Jedi leader, and his energies absorbed into its surroundings, first tainting the passage with the dark side.
• Darth Vader shows up and fights Luke. This is what you call foreshadowing.
• “Bounty Hunters. We don’t need their scum.” No, but I do…
LETS GET READY TO RUUUUUMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLLLLLE!
Hailing from Corellia! Dengar, AKA Payback, is one of the galaxy’s most efficient bounty hunters. And just look at the way he rocks that head-scarf.
Next up we have what looks like a demonically possessed C3PO, but no, that’s just 4-Lom, an ambitious protocol droid who overwrote his own programming in order to embark on a life of crime! Well done, 4-Lom.
His friends know him as “The Uncanny One” but we just call him Zuckuss, the bounty hunter from Gand with a renowned ability to discover hidden quarry, Never play “hide-and-go-seek” with this guy.
Weighing in at 113 kilograms, Bossk is one heavy-hitting bounty hunter. This Trandoshian’s name means “Devours His Prey.” You don’t have to convince us of that, we believe it Bossk!
Designed by Holowan Laboratories, this Assassin Droid has made a name for himself as one of the deadliest bounty hunters out there. Ladies and Gents, IG-88!

Boba Fett from The Holiday Special
Boba Fett from The Holiday Special

From his first appearance on September 20, 1978, at the San Anselmo Country Fair parade, and on television two months later, animated by Nelvana Studios for The Star Wars Holiday Special as a mysterious figure who betrays Luke Skywalker after saving him along with Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 from a giant monster, this bounty hunter has become number one on everyone’s list. I give you Boba Fett! I’m sure we can look forward to many, many, many more years of Fett.
The Good: Boba Fett
The Bad: The “Star Trek” like flopping around during the space slug scene.
Bantha Poodoo: Dengar just looks like Bantha Poodoo. Continue reading Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

Continuing the original Star Wars Trilogy breakdown, 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!”


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 00:00:00 – 00:10:00

I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.

• Here we go! The opening crawl, this one written by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and not Brian De Palma.
• According to the crawl, Darth Vader now knows it was Luke Skywalker that blew up the Death Star. I betcha Luke bragged WAY too much about “Oh man, did I tell you about that time I blew up The Death Star?” and eventually he ended up telling the wrong dude and it got back to Vader.
• The Imperial Probe Droid’s beautiful design was courtesy of comic book artist Moebius.
• The stop-motion used in this film holds up remarkably well. Phil Tippet had come up with a new technique called “Go Motion” and for all intents and purposes it was the CGI of its day. This shot of the Tauntaun running through the frozen landscape of Hoth is superb.
• Wampa attack!
• Luke’s all messed up. Mark Hamill was in a car accident before filming Empire and had to get reconstuctive surgery. There is a legend that the writers wrote in the Wampa attack to explain why Luke’s face looks different. But after reading some article on the subject, it’s clear that the Wampa scene was written before Mark even had his car wreck. Just chalk it up to luck.
• The full size set of the Millennium Falcon is amazing.
• Princess Leia was cute in A New Hope but now she’s hot, and don’t think Han hasn’t recognized that.
• I want Han Solo’s winter jacket.
• Okay, the scene where Han is getting ready to go out on his Tauntaun to find Luke, there is a dead Tauntaun on the ground. When Han says, “That’s right, and my friend is out in it.” you can see a big blood splatter on the wall behind him. This came as a result of a Wampa attack inside the Base. There was a whole side plot about Wampas inside the base and the rebels having to deal with them that got edited out of the movie. If you do enough searching on the Internet you can find footage and stills and storyboards of these scenes. Pretty cool stuff.
• There is not a Star Wars fan alive that hasn’t tried to move an object into their hand by using the force.
• The Hoth exterior scenes where filmed in Norway. No fake snow here; this is the real deal.
The Good: Han and Leia’s exchange in the hallway.
The Bad: Harrison Ford’s over-reliance on “the pointy finger” acting technique.
Bantha Poodoo: The Wampas scene getting cut. Continue reading Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Continuing the original Star Wars Trilogy breakdown, 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!”


Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) 01:00:01 – 01:10:00

“Where did you dig up that old fossil?”

• This one line perfectly sums up Han Solo: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
• Luke is already displaying Jedi skills with the remote.
• In the scene where Grand Moff Tarkin says, “She lied. She lied to us.” Darth Vader replies by saying, “I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion.” Watch Vader’s hand after he says that; it’s still moving like he had more to say but it got edited out. He was probably saying, “You should have let force choke her!”
• During this 10 minute stretch of the film Obi Wan Kenobi suddenly turns into “Know-It-All-Kenobi. Behold…
Han – “It’s been totally blown away.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Destroyed by the Empire”
Han: “There’s another ship coming in”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “It’s an Imperial fighter.”
Luke: “It followed us!”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “No, it’s a short-range fighter.”
Han: “Chewie, jam its transmissions.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Be as well to let it go, it’s too far out of range.”
Luke: “Look, it’s heading for that small moon.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”
Luke: “I have a very bad feeling about this.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Turn the ship around.”
Han: “They’re not gonna get me without a fight.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “You can’t win, but there are alternatives to fighting.”
Han: “Damn fool – I knew you were gonna say that.”
Know-It-All-Kenobi: “Who’s the more foolish? The fool? Or the fool who follows him?” What does that even mean?
• Ben Burtt created the sound effect for the Tie Fighters by combining an elephant call with a car driving on wet pavement.
• As they are getting closer to the Death Star, Han asks Chewie to “lock in the auxiliary power.” Chewie either doesn’t hear him or is doing something else because Han has to ask him again to “lock in the auxiliary power.” Finally Chewie locks it in but by then it’s too late; they are caught in the tractor-beam. Chewie could be responsible for them getting captured. If only he had locked in the auxiliary power the first time!
• Those Stormtroopers might be riding the slowest elevator ever!
• Dudes, get a dolly for that scanner! Thing looks like it weighs a ton!
• TK421 must have been some kind of slacker Stormtrooper for them to keep tabs on him like they did.
The Good: Probably Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill’s best scene together in the whole trilogy – when they are dressed up as Stormtroopers wondering how they are gonna get out of the mess they are in.
The Bad: ILM still hadn’t perfected the effect of turning the light-saber on and off.
Bantha Poodoo: Know-It-All-Kenobi Continue reading Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 2

Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

I will be taking the original Star Wars Trilogy (no “Special Editions” here) and breaking it down 10 mins at a time – starting with the first 10 minutes of A New Hope and ending with the last 10 minutes of Return of the Jedi. Each segment will include a brief synopsis, some truly nerdy trivia, thoughts about the scenes, as well as the moments that were Good, Bad, and Bantha Poodoo. All this leads to the premiere of the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens!” Lets get started!

PART 1
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) 00:00:00 – 00:10:00

“This is madness…. were doomed!”

• We get the opening crawl (written by Brian De Palma no less!)
• Space battle! Although by today’s standards it moves a little slow and static, it still packs a punch.
• First appearance of C3PO and R2D2, the only two characters to appear in every Star Wars movie filmed. (No, I’m not going to count the character of Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. To me they are two different dudes.)
• First appearance of Darth Vader
• First appearance of Princess Leia
• When Princess Leia places the plans in R2 and then goes to hide, it sounds like R2 says “Okay see you later Princess Leia” in his beep-beep tones. Don’t believe me? Go listen to it again.
• Droids crash land on Tatooine
The Good: Opening shot of the Star Destroyer. This scene changed everything!
The Bad: C3PO and R2D2 walking across the laser battle without a scratch.
Bantha Poodoo: Threepio leaving R2 and going off on his own. Whatta jerk! Continue reading Episode IV: A New Hope – The 3D Breakdown, Part 1

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 4: #20 – 11

I made a list of of my favorite 50 films of all time – with #1 being my most favorite. Here are the films that make up numbers 20 through 11.

For Part 1: #50 – 41, click here

For Part 2: #40 – 31 click here

For Part 3: #30 – 21 click here

Before he talked to empty chairs, Eastwood shot the hell out of people.

#20. Unforgiven (1992)

Why? Clint Eastwood’s last western could just be his best. I love Fist Full of Dollars and High Plains Drifter, but those movies just focused on kicking ass – Unforgiven on the other hand has a lot more going on with it (although it does have a few kick-ass parts too). This is a film about redemption and if it’s still possible to attain it after a lifetime of sin. Can William Munny lead a normal life on the farm and put the past behind him? Or will temptation lead him back to his evil ways? Beautiful scenery dominates this film and Eastwood lets it alone tell the story for many scenes. A perfect end to his westerns – Unforgiven is a classic.

Best Scene? When Will comes back to Big Whiskey during a thunder storm to avenge Ned’s death and we finally see the person he’s tried to make amends for. But Will knows it’s too late and so does Little Bill – “I’ll see you in Hell William Munny.” Will’s response? “Yeah.”  He knows he is damned.

Best Quote?

“We all got it coming, kid.” – William Munny

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 4: #20 – 11

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 3: #30 – 21

The countdown to my number 1 favorite movie of all time continues with the next 10 films on my top 50 list. Here are numbers 30 through 21.

Click here for Part 1: #50 – 41!

Click here for Part 2: #40 – 31!

This is what happens after Kubrick makes Jack do 103 takes of one scene. But it works and it’s take 103 where Jack really has “lost his mind” and it’s that take Kubrick will use!

#30. The Shining

Why? It may not be anything like Stephen King’s novel, but I think that’s a good thing.  Stanley Kubrick made it his “own” and The Shining will forever belong to him and Jack Nicholson. Both of those dudes brought to the table a perfection for their respective arts and turned a great early King novel into a pulse pounding exploration of the descent of the human mind into madness. From the opening shot of this movie there is a noticeable build up in tension that finally explodes when Jack comes smashing through the bathroom door with that ax, looking for Wendy. Like bricks, each scene builds on the last, and each one holds more and more DREAD until it all comes crashing down.

Best Scene? When Wendy interrupts Jack at work and we see just how much the Overlook Hotel is affecting him. (see quote below)

Best Quote?

“Now, we’re going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing [types] or whether you DON’T hear me typing, or whatever the FUCK you hear me doing; when I’m in here, it means that I am working, THAT means don’t come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?” – Jack Torrance

“Yeah.” – Wendy Torrance

“Good. Now why don’t you start right now and get the fuck out of here? Hm?” – Jack Torrance

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 3: #30 – 21

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Films of All Time! Part 2: #40 – 31

The countdown to Number 1 continues!

I made a list of the Top 50 films I love the most – with # 1 being my favorite of all time. Out of a Long List of 250 movies here are the films that made #’s 40 through 31.

Check out part 1:  #50 – 41 by clicking this link

Now, back to the list…..

Jay going “circus seal” on Bob

40. Clerks (1994)

Why? El Mariachi may have ushered in the “Do It Yourself” age of film-making, but Kevin Smith’s Clerks made it clear that it was here to stay. Made for pennies and shot at the video store that Smith was currently working in at the time, it once again proved that if you had the talent (in Smith’s case, it was his flair for dialogue not his cinematography) you could make a movie. Smith would go on to make bigger movies but it’s this one that is his finest work and stands up the best.

Best Scene? Randal’s brilliant rant about Return of the Jedi.

Best Quote?

“My love for you is ticking clock BERSERKER! Would you like to suck my cock BERSERKER!” – Olaf Oleeson

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Films of All Time! Part 2: #40 – 31