Archive for January, 2009

31
Jan
09

More “Don’t Drink the Water” goodness

Two more shows, friends. We’ve got a performance tonight at 7:30 and a matinee tomorrow at 2 o’clock — you can catch the play and still be home in time for the Super Bowl! We’ve been taking an avalanche of photos on this production, too. You can check out all of ’em at my Don’t Drink the Water Flickr album, but here are a few gems from our “pick-up” rehearsal on Wednesday evening:

Krojak (Paul Cook) faces off with Axel Magee (Randy Mayeux)

Krojak (Paul Cook) faces off with Axel Magee (Randy Mayeux)

Chef Ken Poon has lost a cake to the Communists gunshots!

Chef Ken Poon has lost a cake to the Communists' gunshots!

Axel, Walter Hollander (yours truly) and Marion Hollander (Katie DeHart) start to crack up during rehearsal.

Axel, Walter Hollander (yours truly) and Marion Hollander (Katie DeHart) start to crack up during rehearsal.

Director Heather Keller peruses the script.

Director Heather Keller peruses the script.

Burns (Erica Annis) and Kilroy (Nick Guillot) tote a cot for the Hollanders.

Burns (Erica Annis) and Kilroy (Nick Guillot) tote a cot for the Hollanders.

Father Drobney (Westley Annis) shows off his magic tricks for Marion, Susan (Clara Arceneaux) and Walter Hollander.

Father Drobney (Westley Annis) shows off his magic tricks for Marion, Susan (Clara Arceneaux) and Walter Hollander.

Working Drobneys straight jacket.

Working Drobney's straight jacket.

Katelyn Thibodaux relaxes backstage.

Katelyn Thibodaux relaxes backstage.

Nick is either slipping or breaking into A Chorus Line. Im not sure which.

Nick is either slipping or breaking into "A Chorus Line." I'm not sure which.

Convincing Walter to escape.

Convincing Walter to escape.

I swear, Im not slapping Katie here.

I swear, I'm not slapping Katie here.

Look! Its the Sultan of Bashir! (Damon Stentz.)

Look! It's the Sultan of Bashir! (Damon Stentz.)

At the party for the Sultan -- Heather gets artistic with the camera.

At the party for the Sultan -- Heather gets artistic with the camera.

Ambassador Magee (Tom Simons) reads his son the riot act.

Ambassador Magee (Tom Simons) reads his son the riot act.

But at least w all have fun.

But at least w all have fun.

30
Jan
09

Mini-Mates: Spidey and the Cosmic Crew

The Marvel Comics Mini-Mates line recently put out a new set of two-packs, and I picked up three of them this week. I liked this one a lot — a figure I’ve craved, a figure I needed, and a figure I never expected. In order!

Gamora and Nova

Gamora and Nova

First up, let’s agree that Nova is currently one of the best comics Marvel is publishing. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are kicking 18 kinds of butt, and I was quite happy to get their cosmic hero in Mini-form. He comes with his ex-girlfriend, Gamora, which must have been kind of awkward when they were being packaged together. I really like the look of the Nova suit, and Gamora came out nice too.

Classic Spider-Man and Shocker

Classic Spider-Man and Shocker

The next two-pack is “Classic Spider-Man” and the Shocker. By “Classic,” they mean the webbing and eye design on this particular mini-figure is much closer to the original design, as done by Steve Ditko, way back in Amazing Fantasy #15. I’m glad this was in here — can you believe I didn’t have a Mini-Mate of just the basic Spider-Man? I have the “Ultimate” version (no webs), the “Battle Damage” version (no mask) and the “Zombie” version (no soul). Now, in the midst of the alternates, I’ve got the real thing. The Shocker… well, he wouldn’t have been my first choice of villains, but the toy looks fine. And speaking of alternates…

Cosmic Spider-Man and Venom

Cosmic Spider-Man and Venom

“Cosmic” Spider-Man comes from Marvel’s Acts of Vengeance crossover from 1989. In this story, Thor’s brother Loki put together a coalition of super-villains to try to defeat the world’s heroes by “trading” enemies. The U-Foes attacked the West Coast Avengers, the Grey Gargoyle went after the Hulk, Typhoid Mary tormented Power Pack, and so forth. Unfortunately for the likes of Titania, the Brothers Grimm, Goliath, and the Trapster, at this same time Spider-Man got the powers of Captain Universe, an entity that temporarily bestows incredible cosmic power on different hosts in order to save the world. Cosmic Spidey kicked butt. He’s packaged here with one of his own foes, Venom, who didn’t take part in the Acts of Vengeance, to the best of my recollection.

Six cool figures, but in each pair I seem to have one that I like more than the others. Still, I’m not complaining.

29
Jan
09

The show goes on, and Dave Kellett speaks

Just a quick post tonight, friends. The production of Don’t Drink the Water is going along wonderfully. We had a great audience tonight — very responsive, very energetic, and most importantly, it had a few old friends of mine I haven’t seen in a long time. That’s always fun. We have three performances left — get there.

Second, in the wake of Diamond Distribution’s horrifying decision to raise their order threshold from $1500 to $2500, effectively killing a lot of small publishers, we at Comixtreme.com are doing a series of articles dealing with the situation. In addition to my column from last week and this week’s podcast, I also managed to ask a few questions to Dave Kellett, creator of one of my favorite webcomics, Sheldon. He had some nice insights into this whole situation check ’em out:

5 Questions With Dave Kellett

28
Jan
09

Don’t Drink the Water — TRAILER!

No time for a real post today, friends. I’ve got to dart off to Thibodaux for a “pick-up” rehearsal to prepare for the final four performances of Don’t Drink the Water at the Thibodaux Playhouse. Still not sure if you want to see the play or not? Take a look at this trailer edited together by my buddy, and co-star, Westley Annis:

There, that should convince you. Check out ThibodauxPlayhouse.org for ticket information and directions to the theatre! We perform Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.!

27
Jan
09

Everything But Imaginary #293: Comic Strips Scrolling Across the Screen (GMR7)

It’s time once again for The Great Movie Ride, my Everything But Imaginary column-within-a-column in which I attempt the absurd task of watching and discussing every comic movie ever made. This week, I look into six films based not on comic book, but on newspaper comic strips. Then, you lucky people get to pick which movies I’ll be forced to watch for the next installment!

Everything But Imaginary #293: Comic Strips Scrolling Across the Screen (GMR7)
Inside This Column:

26
Jan
09

Summer Love Chapter 22: Hungry Heart

Chapter 22

Hungry Heart

Nobody expects to get a lightning bolt hurled into their chest, not even if they’re facing off against the ancient Greek god that was responsible for forging the things. But even so, the fact that Hephaestus threw the bolt into me wasn’t nearly as surprising as the fact that, somehow, it didn’t kill me. In fact, it didn’t even hurt. But it took me off guard enough for me to fall backwards. Nothing was damaged in the attack – not my heart, not my lungs, not my insurance rates – but as the electricity splashed off my chest, scattering like water sprayed against a brick wall, it forced me backwards. I was lifted right off my feet and tumbled off the edge of Hephaestus’s floating island. I plunged through the night, tumbling backwards and spinning out of control through the ink-black sky. The whole way down, I screamed. It may not have been a particularly manly thing to do, but I found it to be a logical course of action, and I’m comfortable with my decision.

I spun backwards as I fell, pitching my way past the floating islands of Hades’ underworld, and never getting more than a glimpse of any of them. There was the odd burst of flame, frequent screaming, and every so often, an enormous thing lurching through the darkness that may have been a tentacle, or a tail, or a long neck for something gargantuan and most likely unpleasant. Like everything in Hades’ realm, my fall felt like it took a very long time. I got completely disoriented and, soon, I couldn’t even tell in which direction I was plummeting. My spinning became more rapid as well, and I felt like a twirling baton when I collided, full-force, with the surface of another island.

I pulled myself up to my knees, but almost immediately fell back down, dizzy from the pinwheel fall. As the underworld continued to spin around me, I grabbed onto the ground and took deep breaths, eyes shut, trying to reorient myself. After long moments of breathing and dry heaving, I started to notice things again. For example, I noticed the ground I was clinging to in the hope that it wouldn’t hurl me back out into the void wasn’t bare dirt or rock like the other islands I had visited. I was, in fact, clinging to grass – long, soft grass with a sweet smell to it that seemed to be helping calm my churning stomach. There was a sound too, a stomping sound nearby that came right up close to me, then stopped. After a few more breaths of the grass, I opened my eyes and looked in the direction of the sound.

“Holy cow,” I moaned.

The cow in question was a huge, beefy animal, with a pure white coat and big, baleful eyes that looked at me while it quietly gnawed its cud. Once it had its chance to examine me, it turned its attention away and took another hearty mouthful of the grass. I pushed myself up and cautiously returned to my feet. Looking around, I saw on this island a vast field of grass, with a few other cows roaming and chewing, and a few more drinking what looked like pure spring water from a creek dribbling through the center of the island. There was a sun, too – a yellow-white globe in the air above us, giving the island heat and light, and making it feel alive while everything around us was dead. While most of the other islands I’d encountered had been horrible, nasty places, by comparison this island was a vacation paradise.

“Am I here, Bossy?” I asked the cow. “Did I really make it to Elysium?”

From the thick grass, a sad laugh simmered. A man sat up, terribly old. His hair and beard were wild and unkempt, and there was a hunger in his eyes his body seemed to reflect. I’ve never seen anyone so horribly gaunt before. His jaundiced skin looked like someone had stretched a hairy, yellow balloon over a skeleton. “Elysium?” he said. “Maybe for the cattle, but not for me.”

“Who are you?”

“My name was Eurylochus. Welcome to my hell.”

“I’ve seen worse,” I said.

“You haven’t started for three thousand years. There’s not a morsel of food on this entire damnable island.”

“What about the cows? Why don’t you butcher one of them?”

“That’s how I got here in the first place. I was on a ship that was running out of provisions, and a storm trapped us on an island. We were dying of hunger, and the island was rich with cattle. But the captain told us to leave the cows alone. They were the personal cattle of Helios, the Sun-God, he could sees all.” He laughed weakly. “He sees all.”

“What happened?” I asked, although I suspected I already knew.

“We waited. We waited until the Captain left us and slaughtered the cows. It was my plan. I told the men it was better to die by the wrath of the gods than die of hunger.” He laughed again, and this time it was a pathetic sound. “I still say our death was better. I just never stopped to think about what happened after death.”

“Geez, can these guys hold a grudge or what?”

“So now, I find myself here… surrounded by the very cows we slaughtered, unable to eat a thing.”

I wished I had some food to give the poor guy, even a tin of Altoids or something. But I suspected that, even if I did, I wouldn’t be any more successful at sating his hunger than I was at quenching Tantalus’s thirst.

“That was quite a fall you took,” he said. “I’ve never seen anyone plummet like that without a mark.”

“I don’t quite understand it either,” I admitted. “And I sure don’t know why that lightning bolt just splashed off me. I’ve felt worse shocks plugging in a toaster.”

“Immune to lightning? You’ve been given some elixir? Some potion from the gods?”

“The last liquid I even touched was when I took an impromptu swim in the river on the way here.”

Eurylochus looked startled. “The river? You mean the Styx?”

“I don’t mean the 80s band.”

“That explains everything. When a person bathes in the waters of the Styx, he becomes impervious to harm! Haven’t you ever heard of Achilles?”

“The heel guy?”

“It’s what made him such a fearsome warrior. You’ve been given quite a gift.”

“The only gift I want is Stephanie back.”

“The love of a woman drives you? You sound like the captain.”

“I need to get to Elysium. I need to find help.”

Eurylochus sighed at the mention of paradise. “I was almost in Elysium. I had almost earned my reward. If not for the wrath of Helios…”

“Do you know how to get there?”

He looked at me like I’d grown an extra head. “Are you serious?”

“Of course I am.”

He turned at looked at the small sun orbiting the island. I had to squint to see it, but from up close I could tell there was a stone bridge extending from the lip of Eurylochus’s island, reaching up into the heart of the sun.

That’s Elysium?”

“It used to be bigger.”

“So I’m told.” I started walking in the direction of the bridge.

“Where are you going?”

“Across.”

“You can’t! Not without the escort of Zeus!”

“I don’t have a choice. Thanks for all the info, Eurylochus.”

As I got closer to the sun, I noticed that the light wasn’t actually getting any brighter. In fact, the closer I got, the less difficult it was to see the burning globe. It’s not that the sun was dimming, it just wasn’t blinding me like suns usually tend to do. By the time I got to the stone bridge, it almost completely filled my head-on field of vision, but it was still no task to view it at all. Halfway across the bridge, an outline appeared against the curve of the sun. It looked like a sort of box. Another 20 yards down the bridge, the outline sharpened into the shape of a door. I got closer still, and I saw someone standing outside the door, holding a staff, waiting for me.

Next: Chapter 23-With a Little Help From My Friends

 

Creative Commons License
Summer Love by Blake M. Petit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.evertimerealms.com.

25
Jan
09

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 103: Aquaman and Diamond Distribution

Blake and Chase spend this week chatting about the king of the seven seas, DC‘s Aquaman! The boys talk about the character’s various eras, best stories, how they’d fix him up and make him viable again, and why he gets less respect than Rodney Dangerfield. Then, getting a bit more serious, the guys discuss the new Diamond Distribution policy and why it may spell death for smaller comics. In the picks, it’s a good week for the Sons of the Bat (or at least their enemies), as Blake goes with Robin #182 and Chase picks Nightwing #152! Write us with comments, suggestions, picks of the week, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com.

Episode 103: Aquaman and Diamond Distribution
Inside This Episode:

PLUS: Blake and Chase get together for a special Week in Geek. The guys pick apart the fifth-season premiere of Lost, and compare notes on the Legion of Super-Heroes episode of Smallville. Then Chase gives his thoughts on the beginning of Battlestar Galactica‘s final season!

Week in Geek #8: Lost Premiere, Legion on Smallville and Battlestar Galactica

 

24
Jan
09

What’s in your Queue?

So, Netflix. I know a lot of you have got it. I joined up about a year ago, shortly after my good friend Jason closed down the video store he used to run in favor of a job with Verizon. I must say, I don’t know that I’ll ever feel the urge to go to a video store again. I love the sheer convenience of Netflix, of having the movies delivered right to my home, of being able to keep them as long asI want without worrying about late fees or anything like that. It’s also great to help me sample television shows that I’ve heard good things about, but never got to watch. I’m not going to spend $50 on a boxed set of a TV show I may wind up not liking when I see it. But there’s no risk at all with this system, I just add the DVDs of the show to my queue. After I watch the first one, if I like it, I get more. If I don’t, I remove the rest of the discs from the queue and go on to the next show.

So far, I’ve already gotten into the shows Titus and Dexter this way, watching the first seasons of each in fairly short order, with the rest added to the queue and waiting to come to me. Today I’m trying out another show I never saw before, Torchwood. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a huge fan of the BBC show Doctor Who, but as the spin-off series never aired on Sci-Fi (and we don’t get BBC America on my cable provider) I never got a chance to try the other show.

Thanks to Netflix, I just watched the first episode. I like it. It’s very, very different from Doctor Who, first of all. It’s a much darker show with much more mature content — the violence is more explicit, the sexual content is increased, and the language is harsher. It’s easy to forget, after all, that the good Doctor was originally concieved as a show for Children — it’s just that the original fans never grew out of it and a whole new generation has come in since then. Torchwood is a show about a secret government agency formed to deal with the sort of alien technology that the Doctor’s adventures have left strewn about the Earth. I really dug the first episode, and I’m watching the second right now. And yep, I’ve decided to keep the rest of the series in the queue.

So my question to you is, Netflix users, what have you got coming up in your queue? After this disc, I’ve got the 2000 movie Storyteller and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of Hamlet. Yes. Hamlet. So what have you ordered? And why?

23
Jan
09

What I’m Reading: Infected

Since I’m currently hard at work on the transformation of my first novel to a podcast and second print edition, I thought it might be nice to shine a spotlight on some podcast novels that have made it to print. I recently finished reading Scott Sigler‘s Infected, a pretty hardcore sci-fi/horror book that is not only a damn good story, but proves that the new media model can really move dead tree edition books.

Infected traces several concurrent, connected storylines, including a group of federal agents who are tasked with determining the cause of a strange sickness that’s turning ordinary people into homicidal killers, a cop who has lost his partner to one of these people, and a young man who is horrified to find himself becoming one of the “infected.” Perry Dawsey, a college football star whose post-college days have been less than stellar, finds himself with a series of bizarre blue triangles growing on his body. At first they itch, then they begin to transform, but when the voices start whispering in his head, the real terror begins.

Sigler really crafts a fantastic story. The threat is very different from most other horror novels I’ve read, and although the theory presented behind the triangles here is certainly plausible and would be satisfying, there’s enough ambiguity to leave plenty of room for later development. The book also includes blood and gore by the bucketful — this is one of the bloodiest books I’ve ever read. If you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you may want to stay away.

The characters are rounded enough, although there’s definitely an opportunity to delve deeper into most of them in the future. This isn’t really a character piece, though, it’s about a very strong plot. If there’s any weakness in the book, it’s that it’s a little too obviously just the tip of the iceberg for a longer series. Like I mentioned back when I discussed Twilight, I really do think the first book or film in a series should be able to stand on its own as a singular story — sure, set up things for future installments, but close it off enough that the reader can put it down and feel complete. That isn’t the case here. In fact, the end is nearly a cliffhanger.

The good news is, you don’t need to wait for the second installment if you enjoyed the first, as I did. The sequel, Contagion, is already in bookstores. And even more interesting, from a New Media standpoint, is the fact that Siegler is currently serializing Contagion as a podcast novel, just as he did with Infected beforehand, over at ScottSigler.com. So if you’re interested, but  not sure if it’s a book you want to read just yet, here’s your chance. Subscribe to the podcast, give it a listen, and if you like it, buy it! It’s how the New Media works, friends, and in Siegler‘s case, it’s working very well. I’ll be picking up Contagion before too long.

22
Jan
09

On With the Show!

Well guys, it’s that time again. After months of rehearsals, hard work, and sacrifice of huge amounts of time, the Thibodaux Playhouse is about to go on stage again. Tonight is the audience dress rehearsal for our production of Don’t Drink the Water, a play by Woody Allen and directed by my very own sister, Heather Keller. DDW is the story of a family of American tourists in the 1960s who get trapped in an embassy behind the Iron Curtain when the Ambassador’s dimwitted son accidentally stirs up suspicions that they’re spies. This is actually the second time I’ve been in this play. Back in 1997, I played the father, Walter Hollander, in my college’s production. Now I’m back in the same role again, and I’m having a great time.

We officially open to the public tomorrow, Jan. 23. We have shows on the 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31st of January at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on February 1. For ticket information, a map to the theatre, and whatever else you need, check out the theatre’s website at www.ThibodauxPlayhouse.org.




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