Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Here's some odds and ends for today.

A rewrite of an urban action script, THE PAYBACK MAN, for director Ivan Rogers; and some work for Polonia Brothers Entertainment, who just began work on a four-feature direct-to-video agreement to complete over the next year. I have already polished over RAZORTEETH, about some people full of problems and a lake full of pirahna; and have started on a solo writing assignment for them, DEMON ON A DEAD END STREET. I will be polishing/rewriting the other two features at some point as well.

I've been reading a good novel called WAR MEMORIALS, by Clint McCown, about a southern man's midlife crisis. He was the leader of a writer's workshop my wife went to this summer, so I thought I'd see what he was all about. An entertaining, philosophical read. I also have a stack of HAWKMAN comics from my pal Doug; it's the new James Robinson (of STARMAN fame) relaunch, and if you liked STARMAN you'll like this one, though sometimes the similiarities are a bit alarming. I also have THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE, a 50s-style sci-fi epic with 70s sensibilities, which I put down for a bit but will pick back up at some point.

I commute an hour a day, so I listen to a lot of books on tape. I just finished THE SMILE ON THE FACE OF THE TIGER by Loren Estleman; he writes a lot of hard-boiled Detroit-area detective novels, full of snappy patter and bare-knuckled action. This one is about a pulp novelist who is trying to make a comeback, but abruptly hangs himself. Or does he? Estleman's love for the pulp era comes across even more strongly in this outing.

My pal Jason loaned me the microcinema opus HARDCORE POISONED EYES, and that thing really got under my skin. Three young women with different backgrounds and agendas spend a weekend at a remote cabin that was the scene of one of the women's grandfather's death a few years before. One ill-conceived drunken phone call later and the women are in for a long night of soul-searching mixed with stone terror. A hearty heapin' of Catholic guilt along with very good performances and production values add up to a solid package.

CHASE, from DC Comics, is a somewhat recently defunct comic series that I bought in its entirety off of ebay.
The Suicide Squad, the Rocket Reds becoming the Russian mafaia, the return of Green Lantern's cousin Air Wave and Infinity Inc's Mr. Bones--It's hard to believe that Chase didn't last. But there's today's market for you--just keep the shelves stocked with mutants and demons, and everything's hunky-dory. Anyway, Chase is a new agent with the Department of Extranormal Affairs, whose main reason for existence is to keep an eye on all of those pesky
supervillians--and superheroes, for that matter--running around causing trouble.
Chase's encounters with a mixed bag of characters is interesting, but her backstory is even more so--she seems to be supressing some superpowers of her own, possibly because her father was a costumed hero called Acro-Bat from the "Justice Experience" (a new group created for the series, I think, but quite seamlessly introduced) who was killed when she was a child.
I wish this book had been given a chance to play itself out, because there were many interesting plot threads left dangling, and lots of interesting avenues to explore. I've noted that already the DEO and its head, the rhyme-spouting Mr. Bones, have started appearing elsewhere. I think it's a credit to D. Curtis Johnson and the other creators that their themes are being incorporated elsewhere. And Brian Michael Bendis' book ALIAS owes it no small favor. Worth looking for.

KARATE KID, from DC Comics. Not the Karate Kid of the movies, but an older, worse one. This is the guy that was in the Legion of Super-Heroes, and traveled back in time to chill out in the 70s for a while. I can't decide which is worse--70s kung fu comics or 70s blaxploitation comics. But I'm irresistably drawn to both. I was given a huge stack of these once upon a time by my pal Doug (at least I thought he was my friend). I say a huge stack, but I think it only ran about a dozen issues. There is some solace in knowing that he gets killed off later (in fact, I think there's been at least two more since then). And how can he avoid it? He and Iron Fist both have a huge stand-up collar attatched to their costumes, convenient for sneaking up behind.

If you want to talk about any of this stuff, I'm at

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