Saturday, October 10, 2015

Real LIfe Concerns Intrude On Laughing Reindeer Ranch

This has been a sobering week, gang. I have to admit that I seriously contemplated stopping the blog.

I've hinted somewhat here and more obviously on Facebook regarding issues related to my health. Honestly, I'm not ready to open up too much about that yet, but I can say that I'm having another day of testing done. I will eventually reveal what's up, but be aware that if there are no postings her for a couple of weeks or more, that's probably why it happened. 

To say the least, it's definitely a scary situation...

Second of all, my Aunt Mary who was my Dad's oldest sister and my Godmother passed away. She was 93 years old (we live long in my family). Her last few years were stolen from her by Dementia. My youngest memories of her were how she laughed and always had a smile on her face. This last year also saw the demise of her younger sister, my aunt Millie. She is missed. 

These two (or three) incidents and growing doubts about the place where I actually work, have caused me to re-examine my life. I'm 55 and I feel that despite the many things I've done in my life (created Creepsville, made a feature film, actually won an Eisner Award, which Will himself gave to me), there are still mountains to climb (literally in one case, taking the wonderful walk up to the Continental Divide at Glacier National Park, throwing snowballs above the snowline on a summer day). There's also an island that I need to get back to with my wife!

Let me cut to the chase here. I was very close to stopping the Blog. However, after taking time to think about it and not wanting to do anything rash that I might regret, I've decided that I will keep the Laughing Reindeer going but post stuff as needed and focusing on geting other things done. There are ideas that I would still like to explore on it, but I also need to have the time to work on things with a purpose like my Agents of Peril comic. I really want to get that one story I have spent years working on done with... and then maybe at least 2 more stories. A have a number of ideas in the comics area, but I'm also biting at the bit to try to get another movie done (NOT a monster movie this time).

With time being precious, rather than posting comics from older Creepsville issues, I thought I would show you something that I don't think I've ever shown here before. Below is the cover art for what I had previously called Creepsville #7. I'll eventually have more to tell and more to show in the future. It is fully inked... and has been so for quite awhile.

In this Blog on previous Halloween seasons, I have usually reprinted the Halloween issue of Creepsville. This time it decided to pull out rarity, a comic book that was actually an invite to an open house a printer in the East Dubuque, IL, area have each year. My buddy, Tom Schild, had been working there and suggested the comic idea and asked me to do it. It was fun, and I got to create another bunch of Halloween oriented characters. 

Oh, and I'd like shout out to Jim (aka Mr. Ski from Creepsville) that my backing off some from the Blog will finally get those comics you're alter ego is in done and hopefully published soon.

I truly appreciate all of you your patience and hope you will continue to check the Blog for new stuff. As for now, hug your family and your friends and let them know how much you love them.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

MAD About the Exorcist

MAD Magazine was and still is this country's longest lasting satirical publication. Besides the funny jabs at authority and culture, each issue featured a parody of a contemporary popular film and/or a TV show. A lot of times I recall reading the magazine and never catching the movie... but the satire was darned close to the real deal.

It's not surprising that MAD took a look at The Exorcist. It was the biggest film at the time of its release. Everyone wanted to see it. Let's all take a look at it. By the way, All the editorial material shown here is (c) & TM 2015 MAD Magazine and is only presented here for historical perspective.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Yes, True Believers.. It's time to stare in awe at a most unusual Godzilla LP!

First of all, as those of you saw here yesterday, I have declared the entire month of October "Halloween Month." So, Happy Halloween!

For today's little college lecture, I thought I would take a look at this unique rarity, though not so rare that I couldn't just buy it like any other CD in a Japanese bookstore years ago. I think it's more likely to be more rare today, because albums like this don't stick around).

HOWL is a dream come true for the nerd inside of me. To this day I can almost hardly believe that it exists. It really is an album of almost only the roars of the monsters in the first 20 or so years of Godzilla films (the classic ones). A surprising amount of screaming, roaring and pooping (just kidding, no pooping) is on here with the whole variety of roars from each of them. Godzilla wasn't always full tilt pissed off. Sometimes he was just mildly pissed off. There are different roars for all him stomping up on Tokyo, screaming at Mothra, and prancing like a little girl (no kidding... okay, I'm kidding). All the other monsters get this special treatment, but Big G has the most, because he's in the most movies. Can you dig it?

The booklet that came with this also has pictures of all the monsters spitting and cursing. The pages are shown below.

Spread #1 - We see two costumes for Angilas, the spikey-backed monster who is one of the very few monsters who mostly stays on all 4 feet. Angilas was the first monster to battle Godzilla and lose, in the sequel to Gojira, called Godzilla Raids Again, which was retitled Gigantis, the Fire Monster in the U.S. Below those two suits is Varan (or Baran, in Japan) who was originally created for a Japanese TV network who wanted to have its own monster. Honestly, if I heard Baran on the street, I wouldn't know it from a giant, hungry human in the upcoming Titans movie. I will still hide my ass somewhere bulletproof and monster proof. The final monster shown here is Rodan, The Flying Monster. It's a great flick, but Rodan becomes something of a battling lightweight when he's with Godzilla. 

Spread #2 - Jump to the first spread below. On the upper left of the pix, we can see the second most popular monster in Japan, Mothra. Mothra is not only a caterpillar that came out of a cocoon as a giant moth, but she's a goil who even lays a humongous egg that would have killed any two of us had we tried to do the same. Meanwhile on the right side of the spread, things are getting strange. I'm betting that at least 2 of these creatures will be unknown to most of you. At the upper left Magma, a giant walrus from Gorath, a scifi disaster with a burning radioactive planet beelining for a date with destruction on good ol' planet Earth. Magma only appears for a few minutes and dies at the wrong end of a laser beam. At the upper right of the spread is King Kong from King Kong Vs. Godzilla. At the bottom left is the pet of the sunken Mu empire. It's name is Manda. The title of the film is Atragon. Finally, at the lower right is the most unusual monster of all, Toho's Dagora, the Space Monster, a giant mass of one-celled creatures that come together to eat carbon.

Spread #3 - If you thought the previous spread was crazy, then tie yourself to the wheel for the parade of Japanese rubber suited goodness that lies ahead. Starting at the upper left of this spread is a shot which does not appear in the movie Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster, of Ebirah, the giant shrimp (no, really) flying up out of the water. To the right are two memorable monsters from King Kong Escapes: Gorosaurus and the tres nifty Mechani-Kong. Moving further to the right are three pictures (not at all good photos) of the three giant creatures from Yog, Monster From Space. Finally at the upper right is the beloved and yet misunderstood Hedorah from Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster, a movie so strange within its era that I still feel it messing with what's left of my brain cells. At the bottom right is Jet Jaguar (and to the left of him is Megalon) both from Godzilla Vs Megalon, a film which is awful, but actually was shown on primetime television by NBC in the 70s, with John Belushi hosting in a Godzilla suit. Years later, it was the only Godzilla movie shown on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Next to the left is Gigan, who is also in G Vs Megalon and Godzilla Vs Gigan (aka Godzilla on Monster Island). The next creature on the left is from what I think is nearly the nadir of the Godzilla film series, Godzilla's Revenge. The cat-headed creature here was called Gabborah. Finally at the bottom left are three creatures from Son of Godzilla, which I think is a great movie (really!). They are Minya (the "Son"), Gimantis and Spiega, the incredible giant spider puppet.

Spread #4 - shows us the third most popular monster in Japan, on the upper left. It's King Ghidorah from the classic Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster. Below that shot is Mecha-King Ghidorah from Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah in the 1990s. To the right side are the 4 monsters from Toho's short lived Frankenstein film series. That's the giant-sized Frank at the upper left. To the right of him is Baragon, my favorite Japanese monster... in my favorite non-Godzilla film, the crazy Frankenstein Conquers the World. American producer Henry Saperstein was in on this and the next film. I met him at toy fair back in the 80s, where we talked about Frankenstein, though our focus was on Nick Adams, for whom Saperstein had nothing but good things to say. He noted that Adams truly enjoyed Japan and had a relationship with the film's female lead while he was there. Russ Tamblyn starred in the sequel to this film, War of the Gargantuas. The two furry creatures were called Sanda and Gailah. Saperstein remembered that Tamblyn was a pain in the ass during this film's production. The Frankenstein element was dropped totally when this film came to the United States.

Spread #5 - Here's the last spread of the booklet. At the upper left is King Caesar/Seesaw and Mecha-Godzilla from Godzilla Vs. the Cosmic Monster. MechaGodzilla was very popular with the kids, so they brought out MechaGodzilla 2 for the next flm, Terror of MechaGodzilla. That film ended up being the last Godzilla film of the first series, which introduced the so-so Titanasaur. Godzilla was revived and brought back as the destroyer rather than the big lovable lug, in Godzilla 1985. That weird bug picture at the far left is from the film and is a sea louse that lived on Godzilla. To the right of the bug are the creatures that came the closest to being My Little Pony characters in a Godzilla film, the Dorats. They are man-made lifeforms in Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah, who combine later to become the 3 headed monster. To the right of them is the pre-radioactive Godzilla, the Godzillasaurus. At the upper right is Biollante, from 1985's sequel Godzilla Vs. Biollante, featuring this hybrid creature, half Godzilla, half rose. Finally, at the bottom right is Battra, the evil version of Mothra from Godzilla Vs. Mothra (the second version).

And that is that. I took the booklet and slid it back into the CD case... which I may never open again for years... That ends this class's lecture. On that Halloween point, I strongly suggest that this be Halloween month but this is only the beginning of this plan. My advise is that you refrain from going door to door asking for candy as yet. That is still restricted to the 31st.

Until the next time we get together. Have a great Halloween month, and don't drive into any Godzilla droppings.

Oh, and don't forget to check out this week's Agents of Peril and Creepsville comics. Also, the all-new Agents of Peril strips will be starting very soon.