Now THAT’S the Spirit…

Wow. Hard to believe after all the, uh, not so great stuff we’ve seen, but this trailer for Frank Miller’s movie adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit actually looks viewable. I still have no illusions that it will be on par with Sin City or 300, but it now looks MUCH better than other trailers and clips have presented it.So, that begs the question: Is this just a well cut trailer hiding a really bad film?

Who is the Cold Warrior?

Yesterday Variety announced Shane Black will direct Universal Pictures’ “Cold Warrior.” Black is best known for his screenwriting abilities having written “Lethal Weapon,” “The Last Boy Scout,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” [which he also directed] to name just four.

“Cold Warrior” will be based on a script by Chuck Mondry, and involves a Cold War era spy who is called out of retirement and teamed with a younger agent to take on a Russian-backed domestic terrorism threat.

My bet is you can guess who I’d love to see play the spy called out of retirement.


Santa vs Satan; Rocky vs Rambo Are Two Fights in Santa vs Satan: The Official Compendium of Imaginary Fights

A little over a year ago, I was contacted by Jake Kalish. He said that he was writing a book about imaginary fights and was looking for expert opinions. Jake wanted me to weigh in on the Rocky vs Rambo fight. So I did. Jake recently contacted me to let me know that a copy of the book, Santa vs Satan: The Official Compendium of Imaginary Fights would be coming my way and that a link to the StalloneZone was printed along with my commentary. Here’s how I saw the fight:

  • “Rocky Balboa vs John Rambo. Its the battle of the ages (and no, not because they’re, at this point, no longer spring chickens). Sylvester Stallone is brought in as the guest ref. There will be no judges as this is a fight to the finish. Rambo starts out fast and takes an early lead as he gives Rocky a beating that would kill most men… BUT… Rocky… never quits. In the later rounds Rocky made a comeback and looks to have Rambo beat. After twelve grueling rounds with both men bloody and bruised, Sylvester Stallone, in a SLY (groan) move, calls the fight a draw.” – Craig Zablo

How did the other experts see the fight? Ari Voukydis went with Rocky in an upset, Graham Thompson said it was Rambo in an easy win, and Roger Barr gave the nod to Rambo. Jake Kalish says Rambo wins via split decision.

If you’re wondering about the other fights in the book, there are some imaginative ones: Muhammad Ali vs Bruce Lee, Han Solo vs Indiana Jones, Donald Duck vs Daffy Duck, Michael Corleone vs Tony Montana, My Dad vs Your Dad, Captain Crunch vs Tony the Tiger. Each fight has expert opinions and then Jake gives us the “official” fight commentary and results.The book reminds me of junior high kids wasting an afternoon deciding “who would win if…” [Not that there’s anything wrong with that.] I do have to caution that sometimes the humor crosses the line of good taste, but if you can get past a few, “I can’t believe he wrote that moments” you’ll find plenty of chuckles as you drift back to junior high and think about “who would win if…”

– Craig

Prayers for the Assassin

The Pitch: “Red Dawn“ with Islamic Radicals25 years later [and without the teenage freedom fighter aspect].

The Overview: The year is 2040 and the United States is long gone, replaced by the Islamic Republic and Bible Belt. Both factions exist in a state of constant unease. Sarah, the daughter of an important Islamic leader is missing. She was working on a book which could show that the demise of the United States may not have happened the way the history books say. Rakkim, her lover and a former member of the Fedayeen, is on her trail. So to, is Darwin, a sadistic assassin.

The Good: Ferrigno creates a world that could exist now. It’s the subtle changes that jolt. “The second half of the Super Bowl began right after midday prayers.” // The book could accurately be described as action-adventure or mystery or science fiction. // The pace is quick. // There are plenty of twists and mysteries. // Rakkim is a very cool, very capable hero. // Darwin is the ultimate assassin. “My name is Darwin. I’ll be your killer tonight.” // The scenes with the “werewolves” [which are not really werewolves]. // The SWAT ambush. // The entire book.

The Bad: “See there? Your liver’s been shredded. Amazing how quickly the bile backs up when the ducts have exploded. The human body… what a playground.” // “You’ll be dead in a couple of hours, but I wanted us to have some time together first. I so very rarely get to discuss my handiwork.”

The Ugly: What happens to Sarah early on.

The Summary: Robert Ferrigno is an excellent writer. I started reading Ferrigno’s work with The Horse Lattitudes, his first novel and my favorite by him. Prayers for the Assassin now has that honor. There is a chance that it may soon be replaced by Sins of the Assassin, the second in the Assassin trilogy. It sits in my To Be Read stack calling me back to a world very much like, yet subtly different than, that outside our windows today.

All Time Top Musical Artists

Recently Billboard posted The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists. Using just the choices in their “Hot 100” here is my Top 20 [in alphabetical order] with a few comments on each.

  • Beatles, The: I can still remember my mom getting me out of bed to come out and see The Beatles when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. Some folks say, you’re either a Beatles fan or a Rolling Stones fan. I’m a Beatles fan. 
  • Bee Gees: I liked ’em before “Saturday Night Fever” and continued to like ’em even after the disco craze died. They could work the falsetto like nobody’s business. There was a period in the late 70’s when they owned the charts and created the soundtrack of some really fun years. 
  • Bolton, Michael: Quit rolling your eyes. I like Bolton’s singing. 
  • Chicago: Man, did they have a run or what? I first discovered their music in the early 70’s. I loved how they brought in the horns and were such a huge band and made it work. Different band members over the years, and they kept on making chart toppers. Put on their greatest hits and I’ll bet you wouldn’t skip a single song. 
  • Collins, Phil: Think of early 80’s music and you have to think of Phil Collins. He was the powerhouse behind Genesis, hit it big with music on “Miami Vice,” and rocketed to the top of the charts with a solo career and movie soundtracks. 
  • Eagles: I always liked their music, but it wasn’t until I was older and really started listening to their work that I realized how truly good they were. 
  • Earth, Wind & Fire: Chicago with soul. 
  • Hall & Oates: “Sarah Smile” was a classic and then about 6 years later they started pumping out hit after hit. Together Hall & Oates were gold. 
  • Houston, Witney: I loved her voice. Who didn’t? I also loved her squeeky clean reputation. Really. There was a time when she had one. 
  • Jackson 5: Anyone my age [late 40’s] grew up during the Jackson 5 craze. Hit records, commercials, cartoons and a lot of fun music. 
  • Jackson, Janet: Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty. At one time Janet seemed pretty normal. Each year she seems a little more out there. Despite all that, I do enjoy her music. 
  • Jackson, Michael: The King of Pop. The man who could do no wrong. Mr. Entertainment. And then the child abuse allegations… not once, but twice and they killed his career. But I can still “Remember the Time…” 
  • Joel, Billy: would make the list if the only album he ever recorded was 52nd Street. I can’t tell you how many times I listened without ever growing tired of it. He was one of the few musicians whose music I would buy without question. 
  • John, Elton: became a favorite of mine when I was in junior high. It’s funny, now but I can remember the rumors of him being gay [believe it or not youngsters, that there was a time when it wasn’t obvious] and the surprise when he came out of the closet. Elton has continued to evolve and his music [especially with song writer Bernie Taupin] remains timeless. 
  • Madonna: was like the weather in Florida. If you didn’t like her music/persona just wait a bit and it would change. I liked that she was willing to take chances, [although the acting thing was too much], be provoking, and produce fun and sometimes thoughtful music. 
  • Manilow, Barry: “Mandy” and “Time in New England” would get him on the list even if he didn’t have bunches of other hits. 
  • McCartney, Paul: My favorite Beatle. Paul had lots of great songs after the break-up of the band. Of course he makes the list. 
  • Richie, Lionel: Loved him with the Commodores and when he went solo. At the time, he had the best romantic songs going… of course that was before his wife caught him cheating and punched [kicked?] him out. 
  • Segar, Bob: The opposite of disco when disco was king. Loved his work — still do. 
  • Simon & Garfunkel: I was a little kid when they owned the charts… but every song was a winner.

Pearson’s One Shot

Who doesn’t love Jason Pearson’s art? And when Pearson kicks it into high gear to write and draw Body Bags, who can resist? Of course with a title like Body Bags, you can guess that the violence is over the top. If that doesn’t bother you then check out this interview about the latest Body Bags One Shot and six page preview!