Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hey, Kids, It's Shameless Self-Promotion Time!

As I think I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been doing some writing for the wonderful folks at Bongo Comics of late, and I'm pleased to announce that my first issue of Simpsons Comics, issue #129, hits the stands of better comics shops all across America this very afternoon.

I hope you'll pick it up, buy it, read it, and then let me know what you thought of it. I heard back from only two people about last month's issue of Futurama Comics which I also wrote, and I'm starting to become paranoid. Did you all think it sucked runny eggs through a straw so badly, you were afraid to hurt my feelings by telling me? If so, fear not. My wife just bought me an electric oven, so I'm not likely to try gassing myself this time.

Seriously, let me know what you thought. I'd really appreciate it.


Friday, April 6, 2007

Looks Like All of You Were Right

Okay, so very early this morning Showtime Beyond aired what it claimed would be The Hills Have Eyes 2, the current installment in the franchise that is still playing in theaters, and, as many of you had predicted, what they actually showed was The Hills Have Eyes Part II, the 1985 sequel to the original film. So Showtime's listings were wrong. So what else is new?

Based on the generally terrible reviews for the current film, I'm not sure if I should consider myself a winner here or what?

But since so many of you asked, just thought I'd let you know.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Okay, Could Someone Please Explain This To Me?

Twelve days ago, The Hills Have Eyes 2, the sequel to last year's remake of Wes Craven's original The Hills Have Eyes, opened in theaters nationwide to mostly one-star reviews and less than stellar box office. Despite the urging of my buddy Bob Skir, I opted not to go with him to see the film at the local megaplex, saying I would rather wait until it hit cable, then watch it there.

Well, it appears I made a wise choice indeed since, according to my Tivo, The Hills Have Eyes 2 premieres on Showtime Beyond tomorrow night at 10.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, usually the way things go with a film is that it's first released to theaters, then three to six months later, it's released on DVD, and another six months to a year after that, it hits cable. If my Tivo is right, this may be hitting some new kind of record, since the film is also still playing in theaters.

And, before any of you go writing in to tell me that what's airing is actually only the sequel to the original The Hills Have Eyes, let me assure you that I already checked. The original sequel, called The Hills Have Eyes Part II (note the slightly different title), was made in 1985 and involved the atomic cannibals going after a busload of school children. It is also currently playing on cable.

No, according to my Tivo, the film I've marked it to record tomorrow night was made in 2007 and is described as "Vicious mutants attack National Guardsmen in the desert," which is exactly the plot of the new film.

So, my question is this: just how bad does a movie have to be for it to go straight to cable while it's still in the theaters?

I'm just asking, is all.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Hey, That Ant-Man Looks Almost Life-Sized

A few weeks ago, my good friend Ed Green invited me to join him at a local gaming shop for the pre-release premiere tournament of the new DC Heroclix: Origins collection. The basic concept is is simple. You sign up to play, buy three booster packs of the new set of figures, put together the best 300 point team you can from what you find in your packs, and then play four games of Heroclix against various other players for points. At the end of the tournament, the players with the highest number of points win extra booster packs, and various other nifty prizes. All in all, a terrific way to pass an afternoon.

Now, if what I just said to you makes no sense whatsoever, don't worry. You're not alone. Let me try to explain.

Heroclix is a game produced by a fine company called Wizkids. Each Heroclix is a fully-sculpted, fully-painted figure, about an inch or two high. There are numerous sets of various DC heroes and villains and Marvel heroes and villains, even a set of various Independent heroes and villains from some of the smaller comics publishers. And, I've gotta tell ya, gang -- some of them sculpts are spectacular. I started collecting them a few years ago, basically to get figures of my own characters,and had little interest in actually playing the game. Until I finally tried it, of course.

Okay, let me see if I can explain this so even I can understand what I'm saying. Basically, the way Heroclix works is this: each figure sits on a circular disc that contains a dial. A window on the dial shows you several numbers. These numbers tell you that character's range of powers and abilities, often differentiated by various colors. To start, you pick a number of points per side, assemble a collection of characters whose total numbers add up to that limit, put these characters on a board that represents a locale, then start tossing dice, moving your figures around until each side's characters are within a designated combat range. Then the real fun begins. One of your characters announces its intentions to attack one of your opponent's characters, and you roll the dice. If you roll a number higher than the number needed to harm your opponent, that character takes an indicated number of clicks of damage (which is how the game gets its name). Basically, you turn the dial on the bottom of the disc the indicated numbers of clicks, and the numbers in the window are lowered, often changing color and thus the character's powers as well. When the character has taken sufficient clicks of damage, the letters KO appear in the window, and the character is out of the game. When one side has eliminated the other side's characters, the game is over. Tournament rules are a lot more complicated, and I won't even attempt to go into them here.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to the rule. Certain characters, like DC's Captain Marvel, for example, starts with low numbers on the dial, indicating the character is still in Billy Batson mode. The first time he's attacked, he essentially shouts "Shazam!" and his powers are activated. Marvel's Hulk figure, on the other hand, starts out with a high number and every time he's attacked, the numbers on the dial keep getting higher. After all, the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets.

I haven't played the game nearly as often as I'd like, but I must admit to having a real ball every time I do. My fellow players, like poor Ed, for instance, not so much. You see, we'll be playing, and Ed will go, "Okay, I'm attacking your Wolverine with my Storm, and I'm using Storm's bamboozle powers to thwart your claws." And I will say, "What bamboozle powers? Storm doesn't have bamboozle powers." And Ed will point to his dial and say, "Look, see? She has a pink 17, which means she has bamboozle powers." And I'll just smile and say, "But I created her. So, no, she doesn't." And Ed will glare at me and start to say something, and then think better of it, and after a few seconds, he'll just stand there with smoke pouring out of his ears. Which really is a big part of why the game is so much fun. At least, for me.

Seriously though, I do recommend checking out your local comics or game shop to see which Heroclix they have and giving the game a try. It can be incredibly addictive.

Oh. And if anyone happens to have an extra Mongul clix, could you let me know? I'm still missing that one for my display case.