Archive for July, 2012

30
Jul
12

2 in 1 Showcase at the Movies Episode 30: Silent House and a Cinematic Rundown

At the Movies Episode 30: Silent House and a Cinematic Rundown
by Blake M. Petit
This week, Blake takes a look at the new-to-DVD horror film Silent House, then takes the time to do quick reviews of several other recent films he’s watched in the last few months, from the sublime to the surreal to the surprised anyone would make such a thing. In the picks, he urges you all to rush out and get the hardcover collection of The Monolith. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

At the Movies Episode 30: Silent House and a Cinematic Rundown

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28
Jul
12

Back to school-proposed policies for 2012

As much as we all hate to admit it, summer is rapidly coming to a close. In a little more than a week I’ll be heading back to my classroom, getting things in order, writing lesson plans, wondering what that funny stain in row three left by a summer school student really is, etc.

To help get back in the swing of things, here are a few new policies that will make the 2012-2013 a little more enjoyable for everyone. (Please note, some of these policies may not have been technically approved by the school board.)

  1. Required reading for all English classes: Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo series. Also required in science, math, and home ec.
  2. Students must supply teachers with their parents’ names, thus allowing us to address them as Klingons. (Example: “This is the third time you haven’t turned in your homework Joey, Son of Cooter. What’s up with that?)
  3. New dress code policy includes “Casual Fridays,” “Black Tie Tuesdays” and “Dress Like Your Favorite Muppet Wednesdays.”
  4. Presenting the teacher with an Apple is expressly discouraged. Teacher prefers Toshiba products.
  5. Oprah will randomly appear in classes, give everyone a car.
  6. Use of catch phrases like “YOLO” will be punishable by immediate detention. Use of “YOLO” while wearing a popped collar will qualify student for the Hunger Games.
  7. Science fair projects will be judged based on whether Phineas and Ferb would consider the construction of said project to be a challenge. All project names must end in suffix -INATOR.
  8. Students will be given random tickets with the names of other students. If their partner gets an “A,” student wins a free Big Mac from McDonald’s.
  9. Any student who has not been seen in the same room as Batman will be under constant suspicion.
  10. Pop SATs.
  11. Faculty lounges will feature a New Orleans-style snowball machine and a wide assortment of syrups.
  12. All extra credit assignments will include running the Gauntlet from American Gladiators.
  13. New faculty members will include Bill Nye the Science Guy in Chemistry, Nick Fury as ROTC coordinator, and The Stig in Driver’s Ed.
  14. Students are forbidden from telling their teachers what they did this weekend because we really, REALLY would rather not know.
27
Jul
12

The Olympics return — sadly, so does Matt Lauer

People who know me know how much I love the Olympics. Every two years, like clockwork, I glue myself to coverage for 16 days — summer or winter, doesn’t matter, I will watch any Olympic event I can find. And I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

But one thing really needs to change, and that’s NBC’s coverage of the games.

The networks of NBC have carried every Olympic games for several years now, and as in the past, NBC’s Today show talking head Matt Lauer has been freeze-dried, shipped overseas, and allowed to show the world America at its most obnoxious. Lauer, as he does daily on Today and annually at coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, came across as a pompous, condescending windbag throughout the ceremony, interrupting moments of brilliant majesty, quick humor, and beautiful music with his own pontificating and blathering about what was on the screen, working under the assumption that the American audience is too stupid to understand what it is we’re watching.

That’s not my theory, though, that’s basically what an NBC spokesman said in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times.

“It was never our intent to live stream the Opening Ceremony or Closing Ceremony. They are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large prime-time audiences that gather together to watch them.”

That’s right, friends. If you watched the coverage on NBC, you just wouldn’t have understood what you were watching if not for Lauer and Meredith Viera providing us with such brilliant insight as reminding us that children in the US will have heard of Madagascar from the series of animated movies, clarifying that the six people in the Nigerian delegation are “six athletes,” or — my personal favorite — telling us in the first few minutes of Friday night’s broadcast that in England, they refer to television as “The Telly.”

Remember, America. NBC thinks you are too stupid to understand the Olympic opening ceremonies without this sort of insight.

But look on the bright side — they also protected us by editing out elements of the ceremony such as a tribute to the victims of a London terrorist attack that happened just days after the city won the Olympic bid, instead using the air time to show us Ryan Secrest speaking to Michael Phelps (who no doubt wouldn’t have gotten any coverage at all were it not for this on-the-spot interview). This is context, people. NBC knows, of course, that the people of the United States of America couldn’t possibly understand taking a moment to memorialize the victims of a terrorist attack in a major city.

(Thanks, by the way, to my wonderful girlfriend Erin for bringing this particular bit of stupidity to my attention.)

Of course, this is the same network that can’t figure out what to do with a show like Community, gave Whitney Cummings’ attempt at comedy a second season order, and handled the problems in their late night division with such ineptitude that books have been written about it.

Twice.

And, yes, are still in last place.

But I guess that last one is easy to explain. Clearly we, the viewers, don’t have the necessary context to understand their programming.

22
Jul
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 271: The Ultimate Top Ten Justice Leaguers

We return for another Showcase Top Ten! This week, the boys count down their ten favorite members of the Justice League, then give the complete rankings as voted on by you. In the picks, Kenny chooses Red Hood and the Outlaws #10, Mike goes with Green Lantern #10, and Blake selects Batman: Earth One. We also announce the topic for our next Top Ten special, so get ready to make your lists! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 271: The Ultimate Top Ten Justice Leaguers

20
Jul
12

2 in 1 Showcase at the Movies Episode 29: The Dark Knight Rises

It’s gonna get all spoiler-tastic up in here! Blake and Erin caught the Dark Knight Trilogy last night, and after a few minutes of discussing the latest Batman film, they give up and get into specifics. Spoiler Warnings are in effect for their review of the conclusion of Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

At the Movies Episode 29: The Dark Knight Rises

19
Jul
12

The reason your flight was delayed

Most people don’t know this, but somewhere in the International World Aviation Headquarters of Things That Fly Around the World (IWAHTTFAW), there is an enormous leaderboard with the names and statistics of every commercial flier. This leaderboard is used by pilots, ticket agents, and other airline personnel for a secret competition in which they attempt to screw up the travel plans of frequent fliers as much as possible.

You see, it began with a simple award system for any discouraging, disruptive, inconvenient or life-ruining event they could foist upon any customer: 10 points for a flight delay, 20 points if they miss their connection, 50 points for losing their luggage. (A recent addendum: 150 point bonus if the next time the person sees their belongings is on a reality television show where they’re being auctioned off.) But eventually, as an added degree of difficulty, they began to be scored on a sliding scale, with more points awarded for people who were inconvenienced repeatedly.

Why is this more difficult? Because players are penalized if their actions provoke certain extreme reactions in the customers: cursing at a ticket agent, minus one point; cutting off their head with a commemorative Klingon Bat’leth, minus three points, etc. You see, the goal here isn’t to break the customer, but rather to reduce them to a simmering cauldron of rage just on the brink of spilling over, thereby sparing the airline employees and creating added entertainment value when they go batcrap insane on the taxi driver taking them to their hotel afterwards.

There is legislation currently pending which would deny these people access to bath salts, for obvious reasons.

18
Jul
12

Everything But Imaginary #455: Fans Don’t Forget

Things change in comic books. Characters die, are replaced, come back, go away. It’s par for the course. But if it’s not handled well, the fans can get pretty upset, and if there’s one thing comic book creators need to remember, it’s that fans don’t forget.

Everything But Imaginary #455: Fans Don’t Forget

16
Jul
12

Some (non-plot related) thoughts about The Walking Dead #100

Amidst all the joy and chaos of Comic-Con last week, there was a bit of news that should be of interesting to anyone who, like myself, spends time thinking about the health and future of the comic book  industry as a whole. The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman‘s little zombie comic book that turned into a massive hit and a gargantuan TV show watched by millions of people who have no idea it’s based on a comic book, hit issue #100 last week. In the current marketplace, where the two largest publishers restart comics that have been around since the 30s with a new #1 every time the main character changes his socks, hitting 100 issues in and of itself is pretty impressive. It’s even more impressive when you consider that this is a black-and-white character drama disguised as horror, rather than the four-color superhero comic that has dominated the industry since the 60s. And most impressive of all were the sales numbers — over 380,000 individual units sold. To put this in perspective, this is the best-selling single comic book (not counting reprints) since 1997, and we currently live in an era when a single comic book hitting 100,000 is something to be celebrated.

All this is great news, and I don’t for a moment want to diminish the accomplishment of Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard in the slightest. I do, however, want to think a little bit about what this actually means in terms of the industry. According to Diamond Distribution last month’s issue, The Walking Dead #99, sold 55,712 units. That’s a leap of nearly 330,000 in one month. When you see a number that huge, it’s hard to think of it as anything but an anomaly. Let’s look at all the factors here — issue 100 was released with thirteen different covers, including several by some of the hottest artists in the industry. A lot of people who don’t read the comic but collect anything by, say, Todd McFarlane, would seek out his cover. A lot of people who are completists would buy 13 copies of the same book just to make sure they have one of every cover. A lot of people who speculate on such things snagged copies merely because it was issue #100 and they think that it will be valuable someday. (Hint: it won’t. The value of comic books is based on scarcity and demand. By definition, no comic book that sells this many copies will ever be scarce. I’m not saying you may not be able to sell some of these books for more than cover price a few months from now, but nobody’s ever going to put their kids through college with one.)

And finally, there’s the question of the TV audience — how many people who started in with The Walking Dead as a TV show have migrated to comic books? Statistically, there really hasn’t been any significant, long-term sales bumps for any comics that have movie or TV adaptations in the last few decades. The Walking Dead has been an exception, though. Comic shop owners have reported increased sales on the trade paperbacks of this title since the show launched, and they’ve continually grown higher and higher, along with sales of the monthly comic book. Is this huge #100 bump helped by TV viewers who are using it as a jumping-on point, or who have caught up in the trades?

Any comic book selling that many copies in the current marketplace, for any reason, is good news. But I think it’s going to be a lot more interesting to see how many copies issue #101 sells. This isn’t the end of the story, friends. Hopefully, it’s just the beginning.

15
Jul
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 270: San Diego Comic-Commentary

Comic-Con weekend is here, and although Blake and Erin aren’t in San Diego, that’s not going to stop them from pontificating about all the news from the con. The aftermath of Avengers Vs. X-MenNeil Gaiman returns to Sandman! A slew of new Image comics, the titles and release dates for Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Phase 2…” and is it possible the greatest Marvel villain of them all could be… Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz? Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!
Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

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12
Jul
12

Another Comic-Con…

It’s July, and once again, it’s the week of the annual San Diego Comic-Con. And once again, I’m not there. The annual mecca of comic and pop culture once again rolls on without me, as it has since time immemorial, and I do as I always do, watch the news roll out from home.

Granted, Comic-Con isn’t quite what it once was. I agree in large part with my buddy Adam, who earlier today made a very succinct post about how other media have taken over the event from comics, and calling upon creators to make an effort to visit the smaller regional cons for the sake of the vast majority of fans who just can’t make it to San Diego. That would be wonderful.

Still, I want to go. It’s one of those things I think everyone who loves comics wants to do, at least once. Maybe once will be enough and I’ll never want to go again, who knows. (Yeah, probably not, but it’s possible.)

But at any rate, it won’t be this year. So if you’re there, help out the rest of us. We live in a world of Facebook and Twitter, so post pictures of awesome displays and cosplayers, tweet the news at it happens, and let the rest of us all know exactly what we’re missing.

I promise, if I ever make it, I’ll do the same for you.




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