Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels: A History Of Comic Art (1996)

Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels: A History Of Comic Art (1996)

Author Roger Sabin weaves together a tight narrative of the entire history of the comic book medium, moving from its beginnings in the Middle Ages (yes, that’s right, way back in medieval times) and how it has evolved into the art form and pop culture powerhouse we know and love today. Explore how the comic book moved from being newspaper fodder to hard-hitting social commentary and how it fell from grace before rising like a phoenix once the comic book witch hunt ended after the 1950’s. With plenty of great full-cover photo references to go along with the narrative, Sabin creates a helpful tome of comic book knowledge that will give you a one-up on all of your nerdy comic book friends who THINK they’ve heard everything there is to hear about comic books. I picked this book up at the library because I was writing a research paper and was pleased with just how much information was packed into its pages. It provided a good chunk of my research content and on top of that, I learned a ton of new stuff.

I have seen some folks posting about this, saying it was biased or what have you, but I didn’t really get any of those vibes from anything within. It was a great trip down memory lane, too, seeing all the old comic book covers and comic book pages displayed throughout the entirety of the book.

Give this a shot if you can find it. I think it’s on Amazon.com. It would make a killer addition to the coffee table collection, or in an office somewhere.

JOE Rating: ★★★★★

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Bordello of Blood (1996)

Bordello of Blood (1996)

The second in a series of Tales From The Crypt movies finds Rafe Guttman (Dennis Miller) investigating a funeral parlor that just so happens to be a front for a whorehouse….run by vampires. Lilith (Angie Everheart), the Queen of all vampires, plans on shedding her shackles and turning on the world (and also taking it over). That is, of course, if Rafe doesn’t get in the way of her plans.

If I have to say something about Dennis Miller, all I’ll say is that he’s a fine comedian but he’s never really been cut out for the acting gig. This is the only real instance in which I can say that I liked his presence within the context of a film.

This movie bombed at the box office but it’s always been a sort of guilty pleasure for me. Angie Everheart is gorgeous, despite her terrible acting…and so is Erika Eleniak. Corey Feldman shows up, too, and actually isn’t bad in his role although it’s kind of a similar role to the one he had in The Lost Boys.

The film itself is just silly and campy….sort of as if Quentin Tarantino directed an SNL skit. The puns are abundant and so are the boobs and the blood. This movie is definitely good to laugh-bond over, for sure.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Escape From L.A. (1996)

Escape From L.A. (1996)

Original Theatrical Release Date: August 9, 1996
Director: John Carpenter

It’s 2013 and Los Angeles is now an island for undesirables, deported from America by the U.S. Government. Once you go there, you can never get back. The President’s daughter, Utopia (A.J. Langer), steals a doomsday device and heads for the island in order to help free the prisoners there and daddy isn’t happy. He gets Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) to go after her by having him injected with a disease that will end his life in hours and promising him the cure if he’s successful. However, a revolutionary named Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface) and L.A.’s many dangerous denizens stand in the way.

Sequels are rarely ever able to outshine the originals, and this film is no exception.

The entire movie is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the entire culture of Los Angeles, and that it probably the most entertaining aspect of the film. It’s an action film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is fun for the most part but makes for a movie that’s hard to become attached to, unlike the first film Escape From New York.

Kurt Russell really channels his inner Clint Eastwood for this installment, and other actors such as Steve Buscemi and Peter Fonda fall into their roles with seemingly great joy. Who doesn’t want to see Bruce Campbell as the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills?

The movie plays out like an Extreme Sports story, with Kurt Russell taking on extreme forms of basketball, hang gliding and surfing, which is really strange in the context of this film, but made for some entertaining scenes.

The special effects have not held up well over time and some of them, while laughably funny, tend to take you right out of the movie. However, at this point in his career it seemed like John Carpenter was just having some fun, and the fun did shine through and it’s sort of infectious.

Still, for those who weren’t introduced to this series of films back when they originally came out, it might be hard to fully appreciate this sequel by today’s standards, though the original still holds up.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For Escape From L.A.

Bio-Dome (1996)

Bio Dome (1996)

Original Theatrical Release: January 12, 1996
Director: Jason Bloom

Bud Macintosh (Pauly Shore) and Doyle Johnson (Stephen Baldwin) are two stoner best buds with environmentally conscious girlfriends; Monique (Joey Lauren Adams) and Jen (Teresa Hill). The girls play a prank on the guys after the slackers back out of helping them on Earth Day which sets Bud and Doyle in motion, ending with them mistakenly thinking the Bio Dome is a mall, when in actuality it is an eco-project with doors that seal for an entire year once closed. The hapless duo find themselves inside and they must show their eco-conscious ladies that they have the chops to care for Mother Earth or risk losing them for good.

Okay.

I hadn’t seen this in a very long time and from what I remembered even back then, I didn’t like it (and I was probably 12 at the time).

Pauly Shore actually doesn’t annoy me as much as some other actors *cough*RobertPattinson*cough* but really, if I’m honest with myself, the only films I ever liked that he had any involvement with were Encino Man and probably Son In Law. This one, not so much.

Shore and Baldwin were trying to play up the Bill and Ted aspect, to little effect, and at times I was embarrassed for the two actors (especially Stephen Baldwin). Then, I remembered that neither of them have been in anything terribly good aside from Baldwin (The Usual Suspects…amazing film and performance from him). This movie seems to have killed Shore’s career, so there’s that.

The story itself was harebrained and inconsistent. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tenacious D in the movie (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) along with Phil Lamar and also brief appearances from Kylie Minogue and Rose McGowan. (Hawt!)

Aside from a few chuckles at random intervals, I actually couldn’t wait for the movie to be over with.

JOE Rating: ★★

Movie Trailer For Bio-Dome