Wednesday, August 31, 2016 • Midnight Edition • "Special collector's edition 4D variant!"

World At Large: The Silent Majority

World At Large: The Silent Majority

By David Bird in Blog on February 8, 2011

One month ago Representative Gabrielle Giffords was meeting constituents in a supermarket in Tucson when a gun man walked up and shot her in the head. He shot nineteen people in all, killing six, including a young child and a federal judge. Like most people I was appalled. I was angered at the disingenuity of the right wing media, who have long made the baneful influence of media a central plank in their promotion of family values, but seem incapable of weighing the influence of their own behaviour. I also wondered about the apparent collapse of American civil society, the shared values that allow people with widely differing views to live peaceably together.And like most people I moved on. Right now Middle East unrest has everyone’s attention. Will Mubarak fall? How violent will it get? How much further will this unrest spread? And why not? After all, violence isn’t anything new in America. Much of its nation building was been at the barrel of a gun: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the many Indian Wars. Four of its presidents have been murdered. One senator was beaten almost to death on the floor of the Senate chambers itself. But I wouldn’t be writing about it now if it didn’t still bother me. How could things come to this? Is it an isolated incident? Given the four dead presidents and the many threats US politicos face, it obviously isn’t. Is it the Right’s fault? The Lefts? Personally, I think its time we placed the blame squarely where it belongs, with the great silent majority.Remember the silent majority? It’s a phrase Nixon coined in 1968. He wasn’t courting the support of the protestors in the streets, no, he was relying of the great number of Americans who didn’t like the way things were going and felt ignored by the media. It was a winning strategy, and in the decade to follow the right worked hard to capitalize on it, but the truth is the majority has remained largely silent. In a country that teaches its citizenry that they live in the greatest democracy in the world, most people don’t care. If a president isn’t on the ballot fewer than half even bother to turn up. And no one cares that no one cares. People’s eyes glaze over then you start talking about voter turn out. Those in power are happy about the situation. They’d never say it, but they consistently block any attempt to widen participation.You have to wonder at the health of a system when most people feel so alienated from their representatives--and that’s who your politicians are, your representatives--that they look on government as something totally divorced from their reality. But it isn’t hard to see where the hate comes from when you consider the long tradition of distrust Americans have towards government. Thomas Paine called it a necessary evil and for two hundred years Americans haven’t been debating whether he was right or wrong, but how much of this evil is really necessary. Disenfranchisement, real or imagined, is a part of American civil society. Now America isn’t Egypt, or China, or any one of a number of countries in which change isn’t going to happen from within the system. If you think the country’s in the proverbial hand basket, you can do something about it. Mark Twain once said, “A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.” Likewise, a person who won’t vote has no advantage over one who can’t vote and a person who won’t act has no advantage over someone who can’t. Politicians, with very few exceptions, are not known for their moral courage. If enough people make up their minds to support something, government leaders will rush to the head of the crowd and gleefully announce that they were on our side all the time. But if people keep their collective mouths shut, they are ignored. And that’s the problem. Indifference, apathy, disillusionment, whatever you want to call it, the fact is most American’s are most content to complain than act. Even if acting means little more than casting a vote. US economic growth is anemic. Its international influence is waning. A prosperous, well educated nation is spinning its wheels. And a huge number of its citizens are silent. If you think right, of left, wing-nuts are in charge of the asylum, take a moment and consider if you’re one of the people who gave them the key.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Canada Reads

Canada Reads

By David Bird in Blog on February 6, 2011

Its time! Canada Reads starts tomorrow.I've blogged about this before, but once a year CBC radio invites five well known Canadians to defend the book they think every one should read. Things were a little different this year, its the tenth anniversary, and the most important difference was that the show broke out of its typical Can Lit rut and nominated a graphic novel. Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara, will be defending Jeff Lemire's Essex County.Now Can Lit (that's Canadian Literature) is one of the most hide-bound and parochial genres out there. I know this. I have been a Canadian bookseller for more than ten years. If there is one book listeners to this program are going to resist, its this one. I would be very disappointed, but not at all surprised, if this one the first voted off the show. So say a prayer, spin your prayer wheel, think happy thoughts, do whatever you can and give some support for Quin and Lemire.UPDATE: Essex was the first one voted off. Why? Because its a graphic novel. Full points to Quin for trying, but if you listen to the comments of the other panel members, its obvious they were never going to give it a fair shot.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Godland Celestial Edition Two

Godland Celestial Edition Two

By David Bird in Blog on January 31, 2011

Writer: Joe Casey, Artist: Tom ScioliPublished by Image, 2010I can’t believe its only been three years since the last Celestial Edition. It feels like so much longer. For those few who don’t know the series, Godland is Casey and Scioli’s cosmic space adventure and the story of Adam Archer. Archer was the only survivor of our disastrous first manned mission to Mars. He survived only because of an encounter that transformed him into a cosmic superhero. Returned to Earth, the Pentagon has put him, and his sisters, up in the Infinity Tower. While publicly hailing him as a hero, the military, and much of the public, fear and distrust Archer and he knows it. The cast is rounded out with Archer’s sisters, a very entertaining Rogue’s gallery, and the expected alien visitors.Volume two focuses on the dynamics within the Archer family. Adam’s sister Neela was an astronaut herself, picked for the next Mars mission, only to see it and her career sidelined after the failure of Adam’s mission. She spent the first Edition resenting having to live in her brother’s shadow and took a radical step towards regaining control of her own life. The consequence of that decision plays out here, aliens try to destroy the Earth, and his Rogues… well, they seem lost in a sub-plot and don’t really bring as much to this volume as they did to the first. There is certainly no ‘Violence is the new black.’ I missed that, but you shouldn’t take it as a criticism of the book. Casey does a great job of keeping us entertained, engrossed, and turning pages. My only real problem with it was the cover art. I mean, why Lucky? He’s a C list character at best. Artistically we do see Scioli making some big changes. Kirby’s influence character design is toned down and a much more delicate line is adopted. The characters stop being blocky and become… willowy is the word that comes to mind. It took me a couple of issues to get used to it, but the people certainly look a lot better.In a market flooded with oversized, hardcover editions, this book is a high water mark. Beyond the twelve issues, for much less than the Big Two charge for these collections, we get a lot of extras; including an extended essay on the series, individual interviews with the creators, an issue by issue commentary by Casey and Scioli, and more! The commentary is especially interesting. They steer away from just trying to sell you a book you’ve already bought and discuss real problems and changes in the series.I have always enjoyed cosmic adventures myself. When I was a kid, way back in the 70s, Starlin’s runs on Captain Marvel and Warlock were two of my three favourites. In fact, The night I first started reading it I had a dream that was obviously inspired by this comic. That’s not something that happens to me--I can’t think of another comics inspired dream--but that’s Godland. It gets in your head. Its just the sort of ambitious, joyous, mad adventure you want to read when you open a comic.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

January’s Comics

January’s Comics

By David Bird in Blog on January 23, 2011

Shape of things to come. Although there were four Wednesdays in January, I only had comics to pick up on two of those days. I’ve got nothing coming this week; which is why I can review the whole month now. As I shift towards trades, there will, theoretically, at least, be more and more Wednesdays when I have no reason to go to the shop. I have a dozen monthlies on my pull list, but only six came out in January.B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth: Gods #1: Solid beginning to a new arc. It introduces a new female character, who'll no doubt be replacing Liz. The only time a regular character turns up is for the final panel. My one complaint: titles should never have more than one colon.Batgirl #17: A fun issue in which nothing important happens. Its just Stephanie and Damien interacting and getting in trouble (and saving the day). It doesn't feel like money wasted, but its totally disposable fun. In fact, after reading it I decided to put this one on the trade only list. Hopefully they will make more of an effort to put them into trade than they did Cassandra’s run.Batman Streets of Gotham #19: Not bad. In fact, it is better than most issues lately. But this story arc wraps up with the next issue and then I am dropping it too. I picked this one up during the whole Batman Reborn run and never really intended to read it this long.Casanova: Gula #1: Reprints the first two issues of the Image run and adds an interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley. It's interesting to re-read this knowing the answer to the question everyone is asking, "When is Casanova Quinn?" The story practically screams the answer on every page, but I’m not going to spoil anything for you here.Infinite Vacation #1: Very good and an interesting idea. If there exists a multitude of alternative dimensions, each determined by the choices you’ve made, or could have made, what if you could buy the experience of living one of those other lives? And what if they had an app for that?Red Robin #19: Like Batgirl this is also disposable fun. But it is fun. Comics like this have me wondering if my superhero phase, which has pretty much dried up over the years, is completely over. I mean, I liked it, but I don't need it. One more issue and its done. That’s three series drawing to rapid ends. Soon the upcoming Batwoman will be my only superhero comic (and I am getting that one for the art’s sake). Also: for those who like to follow DC's proofing mishaps, this comic refers to the next issue as #21. As in "Next: The Teen Titans Crossover Begins In Red Robin #21! Red Robin Vs. Catman!" Guys, even in the DCU its 19, 20, 21.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Oh, The Horror! #60: Frozen

Oh, The Horror! #60: Frozen

By Greg Anderson-Elysee in Blog on January 10, 2011

I was original suggested this movie by my oldest god brother a few months back. Since then, I've been hearing other people from the online community recommending it and giving it rather good feedback. So a few weekends ago, I'm spending time with my older godbrother and one of my brothers and I finally sit down to watch Frozen. I didn't know this was even out in theaters, I assumed it was direct to DVD. But this seem to be a flop in the box office. After watching this, I do sort of wish I saw it in theaters just to hear the audience reactions through out. This move was very tense and director, Adam Green, set out to make a clear horror-thriller and in my opinion did a very fine job. It wasn't excellent but this was by far a very well executed horror film that I would truly recommend.The film follows three friends (two best friends and a girl friend) at a ski resort. They lie their way to pass and go on a sky lift and later on attempt to take advantage of this again only to accidentally get trapped in mid air. Due to mistakes and circumstances, they are left stranded there and the next time the resort will open will be in five days. So there they are hoping for the best as they're stuck in mid-air, freezing cold with no food, water, and no cell phones. This movie could have gotten incredibly boring but it seem near impossible too. The way shit and more shit started to go wrong kept you at the edge of your seat wondering how they'll get out of this mess. A true reason for the intensity of this film was due to the fact that something like this can indeed happen to anyone. It also got pretty exciting when wolves came into the picture, waiting for those humans to make a mistake and take advantage of that fresh white meat! The only really issue I had was that I was coming up with various ways they could have gotten out of quite a few predicaments, and sometimes they'd come up with it a bit too late. There were quite a few dumb decisions in this film that just made me want to face palm and could take away from some enjoyment.The movie could have been better than it was but that doesn't make it any bad of a film. It seems with a lot of horror films now, either they suck or either they have elements to be truly great films with some stuff missing. The acting was decent as such with the character work. Wasn't great but it did a well enough job for you to like the characters. Suspense was well made with some very good practical special effects. One of my favorite parts contains a particular shot of a wolf staring at one of the characters out of nowhere. The sub-plot seem to come out of nowhere yet it still set up right and added to the intensity.Once again, not a perfect film, but truly a good film to watch to pass the time and enjoy.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Oh, The Horror! #59: Black Swan

Oh, The Horror! #59: Black Swan

By Greg Anderson-Elysee in Blog on January 6, 2011

So for my birthday shindig, I gathered some friends and family and headed straight to the theaters for a grand time of Black Swan.Wow... just... wow. I love this movie. I do, I truly truly do. I walked out of the theaters feeling as if this movie was done for me specifically. This is the type of movie that I continually pray for as a fan of horror. And not just horror, psychological horror. A solid and engrossing story? Check. Performance? Check. Great direction? CHECK! From beginning to end I was totally engrossed in the story Darren Aronofsky was presenting of a shy and innocent young ballerina dancer named Nina as she struggled with the pressures of being pushed to play the dual role of the Queen Swan. Now, the overall themes and sub-text may have been done before and is nothing new, but the execution and the telling of the story of this particular character was just so very strong. While you can argue there's ambiguity and things to think about, there's a lot of things spelled out to you through implications and obvious symbolism, but seeing Portman's portrayal of an artist going mad for perfection of her craft while also raising into a state of confidence just refuses to let you go. I truly felt glee watching how well made this film was, especially as a film-maker who feels very dishearten with a lot of the current output of what passes as horror films. Thank you, Aronofsky. You're one of the few who comes out to prove to me that I can still proud call myself a fan of this genre in this day and age. The direction, the cinematography, the fantastic and beautiful sound mixing and the beautiful score! Jeez!If you don't know the premise for this film already, Nina Sayers is a dancer in a NYC ballet company. She's been dancing for quite some time now and although has been known for her dedication and being a fantastic dancer, she doesn't quite have that special spark that truly makes her stand out. When the director of the ballet company decides he's ready for a new production, Nina, much to surprise, gets picked the lead role of the Swan Queen. In playing the Swan Queen, she must both portray the White Swan, innocent and sweet and kind-hearted compared to the Black Swan, the evil twin sister who's conniving and devious and sexual. She fits the role of the White Swan to a perfect T, but she lacks any resemblance of the Black Swan. She's constantly being pushed and a target of insults and sexual harassment by her director, Thomas (played by Vincent Cassel, a growing favorite of mine) while having to deal with her overbearing and protective mother (Barbara Hershey). Of course her life doesn't become any easier when Lily (Mila Kunis) from San Francisco joins the company, a dancer who is impulsive, confident and in other words pretty much is the Black Swan and essentially threatens Nina's chances of being Swan Queen. Nina starts to obsess over being perfect and can't seem to grasp a hold of her reality. Things go crazy and we're not sure if anything is what it seems.I had so many favorite parts and aspects of this film that it really is hard for me to pick one defining part. I actually found it surprising some criticism I've heard of the movie walking out with some friends and family as we all discussed the film. A lot of the discussion I would post here, but I truly don't want to spoil this movie at all. Just go and see it and have a grand time of fine directing.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg


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Top 20 Albums of 2010

Top 20 Albums of 2010

By in Blog on December 27, 2010

# Artist Album Label 1. Beach House Teen Dream Sub Pop |Listen|Buy| 2. Manic Steet Preachers Postcards From A Younger Man Columbia |Listen|Buy| 3. Band Of Horses Infinite Arms Fat Possum |Listen|Buy| 4. National High Violet 4AD |Listen|Buy| 5. Jenny & Johnny I’m Having Fun Now Warner Bros. |Listen|Buy| 6. Laura Veirs July Flame Raven Marching Band |Listen|Buy| 7. New Pornographers Together Matador |Listen|Buy| 8. Frightened Rabbit Winter Of Mixed Drinks Fat Cat |Listen|Buy| 9. Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record Arts & Craft |Listen|Buy| 10. Best Coast Crazy For You Mexican Summer |Listen|Buy| 11. Vampire Weekend Contra XL |Listen|Buy| 12. Arcade Fire The Suburbs Merge |Listen|Buy| 13. Twin Shadow Forget Terrible |Listen|Buy| 14. Black Keys Brothers Nonesuch |Listen|Buy| 15. Les Savy Fav Root For Ruin Frenchkiss |Listen|Buy| 16. Yeasayer Odd Blood Secretly Canadian |Listen|Buy| 17. Dum Dum Girls I Will Be Sub Pop |Listen|Buy| 18. Broken Bells Broken Bells Columbia |Listen|Buy| 19. Four Tet There Is Love In You Domino |Listen|Buy| 20. Stars The Five Ghosts Vagrant |Listen|Buy| Honorable Mention: Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises – Caldo Verde Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo – Sub Pop Posies – Blood/Candy – Rykodisc Pernice Brothers – Goodbye, Killer – Ashmont Nada Surf – If I Had A Hi-Fi – Mardev Marnie Stern – Marnie Stern – Kill Rock Stars Sarah Harmer – Oh Little Fire – Zoe Bettie Serveert – Pharmacy Of Love – Second Motions Freedy Johnston – Rain On The City – S/R Teenage Fanclub – Shadows – Merge Matt Pond PA – The Dark Leaves – Megaforce Neil Young – Le Noise – Reprise Local Natives – Gorilla Manor – Frenchkiss Originally Pubished at:


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Playlist:  Best Songs of 2010

Playlist: Best Songs of 2010

By in Blog on December 27, 2010

Below is a playlist featuring some of the best tracks off the albums listed on my Top 20 list of 2010.  If you do not see the embedded playlist below please follow this link. Originally Pubished at:


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Playlist:  Best Songs of 2010 – Honorable Mention

Playlist: Best Songs of 2010 – Honorable Mention

By in Blog on December 27, 2010

Below is a playlist featuring the best tracks off of my Best Albums of 2010 Honorable Mention list. If you do not see the embedded playlist below please follow this link. Originally Pubished at:

Oh, The Horror! #58: Horror of Tim Burton

Oh, The Horror! #58: Horror of Tim Burton

By Greg Anderson-Elysee in Blog on December 19, 2010

I'm a huge nut for Tim Burton as he's the reason as to why I'm currently a film major and lover. Since I'm so all over the place with a busy schedule then I've ever been, decided to at least do an easy update posting trailers of Burton's horror films. Now, some of these films weren't horror per se, but the man has a knack for incorporating his love for horror and Gothic art in various of his movies, for one getting various actors from the old black and white horror days to appear in his film, legends like Michael Gough to Christopher Lee.One of my absolute favorites was in PeeWee Herman's Big Adventure. Everyone knows this scene, the Large Marge scene. I can't post an embedded version, but here's the link. It's a lot of fan's favorite scene in this movie and I remember how much it scared me as a kid watching this for the first time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzolCu-QLw0&feature=relatedNext up is the great Beetlejuice, starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, and Winona Ryder. A horror comedy which never gets old. A ton of charm and hilarious moments with some fun, zany special effects.Nightmare Before Christmas. A lot of people mistake this as a Burton directed film, but he was the originator of the story and the producer. It still essential counts as a Burton film as it has all his staple and style. This is a movie that also never gets old, especially for the Christmas season. Great music by Danny Elfman. Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween, wishes to take over Christmas from Santa Claus. Next to Edward Scissorhands, Jack has always been my favorite of Burton's outsider characters. He's just so damn relate-able.Sleepy Hollow, perhaps Burton's most straight forward horror movie. Adapted from Washington Irving's classic tale about the Headless Horseman, Burton does a fantastic job with Andrew Kevin Walker's script with the help of his number one man, Johnny Depp as Icabod Crane.Corpse Bride. I truly cannot understand the aversion for this movie. I've noticed quite a few people don't like it but I find it to be a truly brilliant and haunting movie. The characters were all very done in a sympathetic way and you can tell Burton had all types of fun with this. I do think a problem people have with this movie is that they can't help but compare this to Nightmare Before Christmas. I had that problem initially when I first saw this movie and was disappointed. But watch it as it's own and I find it to be bliss. A romance horror movie about a shy and timid man who accidentally marries a corpse. Has win written all over it. And it has the awesome track, Remains of the Day. Heck, even my mom loved this movie and she's not into animated films.Remains of the Day! It even has Ray Charles!"Die, die, we all pass away! But don't wear a frown 'cause it's really okay! You might try and hide and you might try and pray, but we all end up the remains of the day!""At last! My arm is complete again!" Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Love love love love this movie. Love horror, love musicals, and Burton does a beautiful job which I honestly can't help but see this as a bit of a masterpiece. I feel a lot of his previous films have all been practice to make this one movie. Although very critically acclaimed, I do know from non-critics it seems to get a mix reaction, but that's due to them having terrible taste! Depp once again and the great Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett.Although not really a horror movie, Edward Scissorhands is my favorite film and incorporates a lot of horror elements, from the gothic atmosphere and setup, a Frankenstein influence plot and imagery, some truly dark moments, and horror scream king Vincent Price!!! The soundtrack from Danny Elfman is also a favorite of mine and always cheers me up whenever I'm in a down mood.Last, I'll post Tim Burton's Vincent, his homage to the great Vincent Price, an actor I truly adore. He's one reason as to why I wouldn't have too much of a problem if I end up getting typecast as a horror actor. Him and Boris Karloff. We need more horror actors of their caliber in status.That'll be all for now. Thanks for checking this out. I think I may do more of these type of posts/updates if I can't churn a review out here and there.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Charley's War: The Great Mutiny

Charley's War: The Great Mutiny

By David Bird in Blog on December 18, 2010

Writer: Pat Mills, Artist: Joe ColquhounPublished by Titan Books, 2010I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive starting this book--I don’t usually read the seventh book of a series, if I haven’t read the first six--but I quickly found it accessible, engaging, and informative.Charley’s War was a serial printed in Battle Picture Weekly for almost seven years, starting in 1979. It told the story of Charley Bourne, a British teen who lied about his age to get into the army during the First World War, and then followed him through to its end and the 1919 Allied Intervention, or Invasion (depending on who you’re asking), during the Russian Civil War. Titan Books has been publishing it as a series of hard cover books since 2005.This volume follows a busy four months for Bourne, beginning in September 1917 with the mutiny at Etaples, on through his time as a stretcher bearer during the Second Battle of Passchendale, and ending with the Battle of Cambrai. The mutiny--a real event during which British troops fought back against abuse by their own officers and military police (red caps)--has been the subject of a great deal of debate and denial in the UK. I wasn’t surprised to learn its been swept under the rug. I only recently learned of a mutiny by Canadian troops that happened here in the streets of Victoria in 1919. I’ve been living here for 25 years and know a lot about the place, but if it wasn’t for the release of a new book on Canada’s role in the Allied Intervention/Invasion of Russia I’d have never heard of it. When it comes to the military we’re very fast to forget that we’re democracies and the our armies are citizen armies. Men and women don’t cease to be citizens when they put on uniforms, but we are quick to treat them like so much fodder.Writer Pat Mills, creator 2000 AD, and artist Joe Colquhoun have together created a meticulously researched story, but it’s a story that never loses itself in the minutia of its own research or in glorifying one of the stupidest chapters in human history. Really, anyone who associates anything positive with this conflict does so because they’re confusing it with aspects of the Second World War or because they are focussing too narrowly on the bravery of the young men who were bogged down in these killing fields for four years. Instead we see the war from young Charley’s perspective: the privations and abuse that led to the mutiny, the deserters who lived on the outskirts of the battlefields, having no where else to go, life as a stretcher bearer, one of the more grisly jobs a soldier can take up. This volume ends with Bourne, no longer a medic, being assigned to sniper training.Finishing the book I was left with two problems: How am I going to get my hands on the first six volumes, given my current budgetary restraints? And, what other great comics am I missing? Britain obviously has a huge reservoir of talent in this medium, but unless they’ve worked for an American publisher you never see them over here. Mills has done some work here, primarily in the 80s and 90s, but I think this is the first time I’ve read him. Obviously my loss.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Screen Caps of my film, Crossing Fear

Screen Caps of my film, Crossing Fear

By Greg Anderson-Elysee in Blog on December 12, 2010

One reason as to my busy schedule and not being able to keep this blog as up-to-date and frequent is due to me working insanely on my film thesis, Crossing Fear. Very excited thus far of the product and how it's coming out. Still have a few ways to go before fully finished, sound and animation being the big final touches. Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

By Greg Anderson-Elysee in Blog on November 30, 2010

Apparently this is a remake of an old made for TV horror flick. But this looks all types of sick! Written by the great Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, directed by Troy Nixey. Starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison.Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Oh, The Horror! #57: Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil

Oh, The Horror! #57: Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil

By Greg Anderson-Elysee in Blog on November 24, 2010

A TON of fun is what this one-shot was. To begin, I am a Hellboy fan, from the movies to the animated series and the comics, although I'm not too well versed on the universe of the character in the funny books. I have two trades and a few issues here and there. I know the essentials of the character and I feel whatever story I read of the universe always leaves me pleased and satisfied. The last one-shot I recall was the issue with the Mexican wrestlers teaming up with our hero to battle some demons. Good fun.This issue once again was no different. Mike Mignola continues to breathe life and horrific enjoyment into the mythos of his character as he scripts a double feature piece, two short Hellboy stories where he encounters two different types of evil. The first being a haunted house that pays it's "resident" coins every time he leaves a poor victim for the house to snake on. The second story being a gift shop employee at a museum who gains the powers to summon assistance of Egyptian Gods and control mummies. These stories are big epic stories with deep meanings. While there are other Hellboy tales of that ilk, this one-shot was a way to just entertain you and make you laugh. The ending of both stories got a good chuckle out of me and you can sense the enjoyment Mignola has for this character all these years.Richard Corben's art just works perfect with these two stories. I'm one of the majority of Hellboy fans who wish Mignola continued on art for his character. No one can beat Mignola when it comes to his Hellboyverse, but he always finds the perfect artists that still captures his spirit on each new story. The art, like typical Corben fashion, is grainy but filled with fluidity. It reminds me a lot of the old school horror movies where the film stock was filled with grain and added to overall texture and mood of the film. This book captures that perfectly. And let's not leave out Dave Stewart on colors, both muted and dull yet seemingly sharp and direct at the same time.And speaking of films, starting and ending each stories with a group of corpses sitting down in an old, deserted movie theater and watching the Hellboy adventures introduced us to just what to expect and it left a wonderful smile on my face and a good chuckle at the end when the corpses clapped at the end of the book. Bravo indeed, Hellboy crew. Another winner in your hands.Also, geekgasm at the poster of Val Lewton's Cat People!!!!Rating 11/10Originally Pubished at: Minds of Greg

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (2010)

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (2010)

By David Bird in Blog on November 10, 2010

One thing about starting a new family is getting exposed to a new generation of children’s entertainment. Or, sometimes, the re-packaging of the previous generation's. I have two daughters in their twenties and of course they saw all the Disney movies, including those centering on traditional fairy tale princesses, but they misses out on the whole Disney Princess phenomenon. Thankfully!Not so, Makayla. Even before she saw any of the films she was calling gowns ‘princess dresses.’ It’s strange to think of toddlers and pre-schoolers having their own pop sub-culture, but they do and, if they’re girls, Disney Princesses are their icons. And she picked up on what the movies are telling her too: the goal is to find a prince. If you asked her what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll tell you she wants to get married. (Actually, nowadays she’s likely to tell you to become a doctor and get married, but that’s her mother’s influence.)But if Disney has created a problem--and, yes, it would be silly to lay the whole thing at Disney’s feet--they are also providing a solution in a new series of movies starring Tinker Bell and the fairies of Pixie Hollow. I saw the first two of these movies before our trip to Disney World, but didn’t recognize their potential until we were there. The nice thing about going there at the end of September is how much the crowds have thinned. We rarely waited more than ten minutes for anything. We may have waited fifteen to meet actresses dressed as Princess characters, and I did see a sign saying that the wait to go on the Peter Pan ride was then thirty five minutes, but we had gone earlier and been on the ride in less than ten minutes. No, if line ups are any measure of demand the biggest thing at Disney World was Pixie Hollow. We actually stood in line an hour so the girls (we also took our granddaughter Talia) could meet three actresses dressed as the fairies Fawn, Tinker Bell, and Vidia. I heard a lot of parents muttering about how they couldn’t believe how long it was taking, but I didn’t hear a single complaint from the kids; ours or anyone else’s. (Makayla is dressed like Belle. Talia like Aurora.)The first film, Tinker Bell (2008), tells the origins of Tinker Bell, her birth and how she became a tinker. In the world of Pixie Hollow, where the fairies are hard at work bringing about the changes of the seasons (painting the leaves for autumn, teaching the baby birds to fly in the spring, etc) newborn fairies are presented with the sigils of each fairy guild. The one that reacts most strongly to the fairy’s presence defines that fairy’s role. There are animal fairies, light fairies, water fairies, garden fairies, fast flying (air/wind) fairies, and there are tinker fairies. While the other fairies take what they have prepared out of Pixie Hollow and over to the mainland, the tinkers stay home and help prepare. They provide what the military would call logistical support. When Tinker Bell learns that she can’t go to the mainland, she is determined to develop a new skill, to become another kind of fairy, so that she can. After a great many comic misadventures, she learns to appreciate herself and her own gifts.The second movie, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (2009), sees her happily applying her considerable problem-solving skills and being given the privilege of creating the sceptre for the Blue Harvest Moon ceremony. Every eight years a blue harvest moon shines through the moonstone and creates blue pixie dust, which the pixie dust tree needs if it’s going to keep producing their supply of pixie dust. This dust is a valuable resource for the community, providing them with many of their powers. Without it, for example, a fairy can’t really fly. They just sort of hop about. Tinker Bell feels genuinely honoured to be given the task, but anyone who remembers the original Peter Pan will know that she has a notorious temper and when a friend of hers, the pixie dust keeper Terence (dust keepers seem to be a sub-group of the tinkers), tries to help, he ends up setting off that temper to ruinous results. If Tink is going to save the day, she’s going to have to start valuing her friends.Parents appreciate quality children’s entertainment. Kids really will watch the same thing over and over and over and… anyway, if you’re watching the same show on a regular basis, good writing and production values begin to count for a lot. And the Tinker Bell movies have been very good. They don’t make an effort to reach out to older viewers with pop culture references that will go over the kids head. Instead they trust in the story. A good story is a good story and while an adult is unlikely to pick up one of these films for him or herself, I think the kids who are watching them now will still have fond memories of them ten, twenty years from now. (For cinemaphiles who want some frame of reference, John Lasseter, the driving force behind Pixar, is also the Executive Producer of this series.)What I like about these films is that the fairies, and the focus is on the female cast, are focused on their work and helping their friends and community. Tinker Bell is never going to marry Terence. It’s why I think they are an antidote to the Princesses and not just the Next Big Thing. They are characters who take pride in take pride in their accomplishments, in problem solving, and in helping one another. And they don’t waste time with all the girl power tag lines we’ve all grown so weary of. They simply do the job in front of them.As for the third movie, The Great Fairy Rescue, my wife and I sat down to watch it with Makayla and found ourselves laughing out loud more than once. It was fun. I am sure we’ll be watching it again (and again), but the story wasn’t as strong as the first two. The main plot involves Tinker Bell being captured by a little girl named Lizzy. I am not sure what Tink is doing on the mainland. The whole point of the first movie was that she wasn’t able to go there. Lizzy is a girl that loves fairies and spends all her time fantasizing about them. Her father is the always busy, always preoccupied Dr. Griffins, who doesn’t believe in fairies or anything else without proof. Yes, it’s another little girl who just needs a little attention and another parent who just needs to believe.The motive of this movie, however, has nothing to do with the Griffins. It has to do with Vidia and Tinker Bell. As you might have noticed from the video above, these two characters aren’t exactly friends. Vidia is a fast flying fairy. She’s important, she knows it, and she finds Tinker Bell extremely annoying. If these stories were set in a high school, Vidia would be the Queen Bee. She is not a villain. She is not a bad person--fairy--but she is obviously intended to be Tink’s antagonist. There are two problems with this. First, because Disney had the courage to play her character straight. Kids know she isn’t a villain. She’s the best and she knows it, and that comes off as snobbish, but little children have a strong sense of pecking order. They seem hard wired to defer to the oldest, the strongest, the ‘best’, even if they don’t want to, or don’t like the other kid. They may not like the trouble she causes Tink and they may be glad when she gets in trouble, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t attracted to her in much the same way school children will seek the approval of the class Queen. Second, of all the fairies Vidia and Tinker Bell have the strongest personalities. Tink has four other friends. Rosetta, a flower fairy, has a Southern accent and Iridessa, a light fairy, is black, but accents and skin colouring don’t really add much personality-wise. Both Fawn, an animal fairy, and Silvermist, a water fairy, seem more nurturing, but I could well be reading that into them, given the nature of their work. The truth Tink’s friends exists largely just to be friends and to encourage her when things aren’t going well. Tink and Vidia are the ones that make an impression and the point of this movie seems to be to create a détente between them. Even if Vidia isn’t going to become anther one of Tinker Bell’s BFFs, most mothers don’t want their daughters trying to emulate a snob. (Trust me.) The next movie is due out in February and I am sure we’ll be watching it. I personally hope Vidia’s character remains unchanged. That she remains the oil to Tinker Bell’s vinegar. It adds a nice mix and one we often don’t see in the dumbed down world of children’s entertainment. Originally Pubished at: David Bird

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