Who remembers the old WrestleFest arcade game? WWE and THQ have resurrected this classic for the iOS, and I must say that its a lot of fun. It’s a very simple, straight-forward wrestling game, making it a great time waster.

You get to choose among a roster of classic and current WWE stars. So If you wanted to recreate the epic “Stone Cold” Steve Austin/the Rock feud, or fantasy book a series of Randy Orton/”Macho Man” Randy Savage matches. Aside from straight up matches, they have tag teams and the Royal Rumble.

The game play is a little awkward on the iPhone or iPod touch, as the touch screen is a little hard to use at times. It’s a lot of fun, and there are going to be more wrestlers and arenas available as downloadable content each month.They’re also porting this to XBox Live, which I can’t wait for.

Alec Baldwin Would Be The Perfect Batman In A Dark Knight Returns Movie

Did any of you catch 30 Rock last week? The episode had Jack upset after a mugging, and deciding to take back Manhattan for the rich people. This all lead to him confronting a crazed Liz, playing a crazy old lady/Heath Ledger-Joker type. But what does this have to do with comics?

It all leads me to believe that Alec Baldwin–who was up for the role of Batman that wound up going to Michael Keaton–would be the PERFECT choice in casting a The Dark Knight movie. He would be excellent as the older, more angry Batman.

Don’e believe me? Check out the episode “The Tuxedo Begins” and you will see why.

Flashpoint: Blame The Flash

Are you unhappy with the New 52 relaunch DC did this past fall? Blame the Flash. Last year’s Flashpoint crossover set up the new continuity and it was all the scarlet speedster’s fault.

As critical as I can be about Geoff Johns, this was an awesome story. A lot of the Flash’s life is tied to the death of his mother and the subsequent framing of his father. This led  Barry Allen to pursue a career in criminal investigation to prove his dad’s innocence, and we all remember how he got zapped by lightning  in the police lab one night.

Flash has a seemingly fool-proof plan to make everything in his life great; he will go back in time (since, you know, he can run through the timestream) and save his mother. Unfortunately, Flash messes up big time. Flash shows up in a new war-torn reality where there is no Justice League, and there is a looming Atlanteans/Amazons war. Allied with the Batman of this world–Thomas Wayne, since in this it was only Bruce’s father who survived–Flash attempts to fix the continuity. He battles with his arch-enemy Professor Zoom, who is a bit of a red herring as to why everything has happened. The villain reveals that everything was Flash’s doing, which causes our hero to go back in time and stop himself. This causes everything to be reset and now we have the New 52.

What I liked best about this was the whole Thomas Wayne as Batman subplot with him being this super vengeful hero, but I guess it isn’t to be. The ending is really touching, as Flash returns to the New 52 verse which is the new normal. He shares a letter with Batman from his father. Awe…

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Crank masterminds Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor had their chance to reboot the Ghost Rider franchise with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. To no surprise, the film was in the style of Crank, and it was a fun mess.

The story this time is around. Nicolas Cage–I mean Johnny Blaze is hiding out in Eastern Europe, because that is where you would go if you were possessed by a vengeful spirit. Cold weather, great food, nice people…

Anyway, Blaze encounters wino/biker/monk Moreau (Idris Elba) who offers to remove the Ghost Rider curse in exchange for protecting a child who just happens to be the son of the Devil. Apparently the evil lord of the underworld wants to transfer himself into the boy’s body and thus becoming the Anti-Christ, bringing on the apocalypse. Things get weird along the way, as there is a Blaze/son of the devil/his hot mom Nadya relationship, kind of like the Arnold Terminator/Connors relationship in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. To make things worse, they’re all being chased by the Devil worshiper’s army of mercenaries and Nadya’s ex-boyfriend, who has been turned into the supernatural decaying super villain Blackout. And you thought you were having a bad day.

The movie is shot across Romania and Turkey, and visually its awesome. It looks really remote in foreign. The special effects were awesome. Idris Elba was amazing, and the rest of the cast was decent. But the film could have been better.

I liked what Neveldine and Taylor were doing stylistically, with all the weird cut scenes. But what they really needed to do was go completely insane full tilt. Maybe it was a decision so they could keep the film PG-13, but I would have loved the film to be a little more absurd. Maybe they cut some scenes out of it. Who knows. It would be interesting to see the director’s cut.

Since Ghost Rider passes judgement on people, let me pass a final judgement on this film. I would give it a solid B. The concept made sense, but there were a few parts that could be tightened and tweaked. It’s a fun super hero film that doesn’t take itself seriously.

The Last Emperor’s Secret Wars

Good pal Pancuco from Action Figs & Things! shared this great clip of Philadelphia based rapper the Last Emperor’s track “Secret Wars”. Last Emp tears it up, describing what would happen if some of the greatest MC’s tussled with some of the best super heroes. Pay attention to the verse about KRS-ONE and Professor X where he just kills it. Check out some more tracks from Last Emperor here.

Method Man Is A Ghost Rider Fan

Who like the Wu-Tang Clan? The Shaolin based rap crew loves dropping references to geek culture just us much as they create dark gritty imagery. Did you know that Method Man is a huge Ghost Rider fan?

Meth takes a few of his nicknames from the character, ranging from flat-out calling himself the Ghost Rider, or borrowing his secret identity of Johnny Blaze, in most of his songs. He’s even named a few of his mix tapes (underground non-label releases) The Ghost Rider Volume 1 and 2 and Johnny Blaze Strikes. He takes his Ghost Rider love to a whole new level in the video for the Wu-Tang song “Triumph”, where during his verse he’s driving around New York City on a flaming motorcycle!

When Wu-tang came out, I was in high school and I always thought it was awesome that Meth was a comics fan. It just showed that people who liked comics are awesome.

Ghost Rider vs. Galactus?

Have you ever wondered who would win during a Ghost Rider/Galactus fight? The Fantastic Four episode “Planet Eater” addresses that problem. Our fiery headed biker joins forces with the Fantastic Four to stop the devourer of worlds. The only difference is that he isn’t that concerned with saving the earth as much as vengeance.

As we remember, Ghost Rider is a spirit of vengeance, a sort of demonic agent of penance. He rides around making those who have taken a life pay for their crimes. So someone like Galactus would be a big target for him.

Think about it this way; our planet has over four billion people living on it. If Galactus ate the earth, that’s the equivalent of killing that many people at once. Galactus has been around forever, so that death toll is pretty high. I won’t spoil the episode for you, but let’s say that Ghost Rider’s “penance stare” (him channelling and projecting the pain and suffering of victims) is pretty good Galactus repellant.

Because this is from the mid 1990s, he does the penance stare and his jacket, it is safe to say that this is the Dan Ketch incarnation of Ghost Rider. In this episode, Ghost Rider is voiced by Richard Grieco from 21 Jump Street.

Black History Month: Christopher Priest

To say Christopher Priest is a groundbreaking comics creator is understatement. Not only was Priest the first African American editor in the comics industry, but he was probably the youngest editor ever. His bibliography is impressive, having worked for Marvel, DC and a bunch of other publishers as both an editor and writer. In addition, he is one of the founders of Milestone. Check out his website Lamercie Park for more information about his career. His essays about working in and surviving the industry are unbelievable.

Captain Atom: Armageddon

Captain Atom is one of the misused characters in the DC Universe. He’s the freaking nuclear man. Captain Atom: Armageddon is his time to shine, as he gets sucked into the Wildstorm Universe. It’s actually one of the best universe/crossover mega series I’ve ever read.

Captain Atom gets sucked into the Wildstorm-verse, which is a whole lot darker than the good old DCU. Super heroes aren’t that well liked in these parts. To make matters worse, the longer he stays the more likely he is to destroy their universe. Eep. The Wildstorm heroes really aren’t sure what to do with him, other than kill him. The plot is simple; Captain Atom has to figure out how to get home, all the while running from the WildC.A.T.s, the Authority and Mr. Majestic, who are all willing to kill him if it means the universe will be safe.

The only person who trusts Captain Atom is a paramedic named Nikola Hanssen, who seems to have an important destiny of her own.

Armageddon is the perfect title for this. Will Pfeifer’s writing makes this really suspenseful, with Captain Atom being hunted as well as the looming apocalypse. The Nikola subplot is very interesting, as well as the subtle love story between the Captain and the Engineer,the  nanotech woman from the Authority. Artist Giuseppe Camuncoli deserves a lot of credit as well, as his art looks awesome.

Since Captain Atom got sucked into a new reality, he gets a new look. Camuncoli modified his appearance from the Kingdom Come mini series, adding some design elements from the Steve Ditko/Charlton costume. I really like it a lot. It combines the same basic designs of his proper silver costume, but a color scheme and pattern that just pop out. Now he doesn’t look like a naked silver guy like in the old JLI books. This look got immortalized in one of the DC Universe figures that was a must buy for me. Maybe I should take some pictures to share in the next week.

Black History Month: Reginald Hudlin

There’s a bit of a paradigm in the comics world that a successful career in comics can be parlayed into the mainstream entertainment world, like how Neil Gaiman now writes novels  and Joe Madureira left comics to get into the video game world. Reginald Hudlin added writing comics to an already amazing resume; he’s the former president of the BET Network.

Let’s look at some of the Harvard graduate’s credits. His first film was House Party, which he wrote and directed. He’s worked on television shows like Modern Famly, The Office and Bernie Mac. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

In the comics world, Hudlin has mostly worked for Marvel and is best known for writing a variety of Black Panther books. And quite honestly, it is some of THE best T’Challa stories ever.

Check out his website to find out more about his amazing career.

Let’s Talk About The First Ghost Rider Movie

You know, the first Ghost Rider film really wasn’t that bad. I recently re-watched Nick Cage’s debut as the Spirit of Vengeance. I won’t say that this was a classic, but I was certainly entertained by it. Here are five things I really enjoyed about this film.

  1. Peter Fonda’s Mephisto was taken in a completely different direction than the Marvel comics version. By not making him a big red devil, Fonda made the lord of the underworld a lot more creepy and a subtle character. In line with that, I liked how the rest of the supernatural characters were more human than monster in appearance.
  2. The visual effects were awesome.
  3. Sam Elliott’s Carter Slade (the original Ghost Rider) was a great addition to the story, as it gave Blaze a mentor, something that is at times lacking in the comics.
  4. Cage enjoyed this…a lot. It’s a pretty well-known fact how much the actor loves comic books, and this was his first comic book movie. He lobbied long and hard to get the title role, battling Johnny Depp for the spot. This translated very well for all the  publicity he did for the film. You could tell that he was legitimately excited about the movie in all of his promotional appearances. I know that is part of the job, but you could tell he genuine about it.
  5. It gave us this Jackson Hewitt commercial:

Do I need to say any more?

Ghost Rider: Trail Of Tears

As we all know from his work on the Preacher series, Garth Ennis can certainly write supernatural fiction set in the late 1800s. His Ghost Rider: Trail Of Tears is exactly that, telling the tale of the Ghost Rider of the post-Civil War era.

This story is about former Confederate lieutenant Travis Parham trying to put his past behind him. Things only get worse after he finds out that his friend, a former slave named Caleb, and his family were viciously murdered. As he seeks to avenge their deaths, a certain Spirit of Vengeance gets involved and I can assume you know how this is going to turn out.

Art on this book was done by digital painter Clayton Crain, who uses a dark moody pallet to bring the story to life. Its haunting and brutal, which totally suits this.

Anyway, as the new Ghost Rider movie approaches, I will be posting more Ghost Rider related things. Definitely read this in the mean time.

Black History Month: Damion Scott

Damion Scott is a current comic artist who has one of the most unique styles in mainstream super hero comics. The Kingston, Jamaica born, Brooklyn raised artist melds graffiti and hip hop style art into comic book design. He really is a master in the style, even putting together a book called How To Draw Hip-Hop.

I’m most familiar with his work for DC on Robin and Batgirl. Currently he’s tearing it up in Japan doing painters and murals and the such.

Black History Month: Dexter Vines

Let’s celebrate Black History Month! Today we’re going to look at one of the most accomplished inkers of the 2000s, Dexter Vines! Based in Atlanta, Dexter is best known as the tag team partner of pencillers Ed McGuinness (Hulk, Superman/Batman) and Steve McNiven (Civil War, Old Man Logan).

What I think is so amazing about Dexter’s work is that he is a bit of a chameleon; changing his style to suit the penciller he is working on. He makes everyone look good. His inks are a good part on why Civil War and Old Man Logan are so different stylistically.

And on top of that, he’s super fan friendly. If you’re ever at a comic book show and Dexter is a guest, make sure you stop by. He is one of the nicest and friendliest creators I’ve had a chance to meet and he always has really cool art to show you!

The Secret Origin Of The Ghost Rider Song

Hello everyone! After battling the flu and an office move at my job, I’m back! With a new movie coming back and litigation involving its creator, Marvel’s Ghost Rider is back in the public eye. But today we’re going to talk about the song “Ghost Rider.”

I first heard “Ghost Rider” at some point between the end of high school/early college and just thought it was awesome that Henry Rollins was singing a song about Ghost Rider.

Oh, silly naive Chris.

It turns out that “Ghost Rider” wasn’t an original Rollins Band song. They were borrowing it from early industrial/synth band Suicide.

The proto punk rockers Suicide!

A few years ago I was introduced to the band, which loosely took its name from the title of a Ghost Rider story called “Satan’s Suicide.” The minimalist duo was one of the first–if not the first–acts to call themselves punk rock, and Suicide has been named as an influence to a wide variety of bands and musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead and Primal Scream. Rollins was clearly influenced them, just watch the two videos to see how much of his stage mannerisms (including the way he holds the microphone was borrowed from Suicide front man Alan Vega. You can hear a whole slew of covers of “Ghost Rider” by musicians of all different genres, and M.I.A. even samples the riff in her song “Born Free”.


20 Years of Image Comics

Yesterday Image Comics celebrated twenty years of existence. There’s a lot that can be said about the company’s legacy and history, but I’m going to talk about my experience as a fan with the publisher.

It went something like this. It was summer 1992 and was around nine years old. We had a neighbor in high school who I would pester about comic books and such. Anyway, he had a copy of Spawn that he showed me and we had a brief conversation about it:

HIM: It’s by the guy who does Spider-Man.

ME: Really?

And then he went on to explain the whole reason why they left Marvel. This was really the first time I paid attention to who was creating the comics and the business side of things. I mean at that point, I had a certain affinity for certain creators like Frank Miller, John Byrne and even the Pinis thanks to reading Comics Scene magazine. But like most people into comics in the early 1990s, it would be Wizard that fueled my interest in Image.

Image teamed up with Wizard, and made their whole line cool. Unfortunately, they were a harder sell to my parents, who at that point were still purchasing comics for me. I actually got my first Image books probably in the mid 1990s as part of some post-speculator boom three-for-a-dollar packs at Cost Cutters discount store. It boggled my mind how someone could pick up such valuable treasures as Brigade and Cyber Force comics at such a low price.

As a much more well read comics fan, I now look at these with a certain nostalgia. That first wave of Image has some fun stuff, lots of great artwork, and generally has the excitement that makes super hero comics fun.

To me what is most important about Image that they’ve grown as a company. Today’s product line is much more diverse in subject and genre. And that is a good thing.