Thursday, June 28, 2007


Think Harrison Ford is too old to play Indiana Jones?

I sure as hell don't.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fantastic Four Omnibus

You know the people that have to buy a dvd twice because it's the ultra special edition with two minutes of extra footage and one more documentary?

You're looking at him.

I'm an archivist. I need to have the works that have affected and inspired me at my fingertips. And I need to have the best version.

About five years ago, I started buying Marvel Masterworks, expensive hardcovers that collect the best of the Silver Age, including Jack Kirby's entire run of the Fantastic Four. Now comes the Fantastic Four Omnibus. A larger hardcover collecting three volumes of Masterworks.

A ripoff? Seemingly but I was anxious to get it. The art has been completely restored. Even digital snapshots show the sharper linework and rich colors. These things were originally printed on toilet paper and now I've upgraded from glossy stock to thicker, less glossy stock. And I feel smart for doing so.

I skipped volume 1 since the stories there aren't as strong. But volume 2 are the best comics ever made. From the Galactus Trilogy to "This Man, This Monster", this is the peak of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's career, the two most important men in comic history. So maybe I do need it again.

I have this run digitally, in hardcovers and deluxe hardcovers. It's never going to end, is it?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Norm and Conan

Norm Macdonald may be the funniest man alive and this may be the funniest thing he did. Watch him ruin Conan's interview with Courtney Thorne-Smith. And yes there's a reason that's a picture of Carrot Top.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fantastic Four Theme Song

If you wondered who in their right minds would have animated that Human Torch song, it was from the 1995 Fantastic Four animated series. When X-Men and Spider-Man hit in the mid 90's, Marvel wanted all their properties to have animated series that could sell action figures. No matter how sloppily done. This show was paired with Iron Man and aired early Sunday mornings. It was awful but it served its purpose as each show got a figure line that ran for years. I was grateful to finally get a Galactus.

The show was so bad that everyone was fired after the first thirteen episodes. Only the voices of Ben,, Reed and Sue remained for the second season. Larry Houston from X-Men came on board and started from scratch. That season was a decent adaptation of the best of Kirby and Byrne and the only reason I bought the dvds.

How bad was the first season? They had Johnny sing once but this theme song played EVERY WEEK.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Flame On!

Renee starts her maternity leave today. Since we both have the time I'm taking her to see "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer". I don't know if she'll like it as much as I did, but she's bound to think it's better than this:

I'm pretty sure Brian Austin Green wrote this song himself. And it led directly to him getting fired before the second season.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hellboy figure review

Last week I reviewed the Hellboy animated dvd. It came with a figure and I reviewed that. picked it up and you can read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm on Gotham Radio!

Music and comedy aren't an easy mix. Anyone who's rolled their eyes at the musical guest on SNL can tell you that. The worst show I ever did was at the intermission of a music gig. So I wasn't too excited when Billy the Kid invited me to the Waltz Astoria to do a set. But it was a folk show in a coffee house. Where people like to listen.

Billy had a great set which was recorded for Gotham Radio. I did really well but I didn't expect to be on the radio show myself. And yet, here I am.

Listen to the show!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Never underestimate the value of lowered expectations.

The first Fantastic Four movie was bland, medicocre and unfocused. Most of the blame falls at director Tim Story's feet who, if the dvd extras are any indication, is the least effective director this country has ever seen. There is footage of set designers, stuntment and cg effects heads literally telling this guy what to do. Explains all that product placement.

There's no way to know if he's gotten more serious this time out but the story has and everyone else knew what to do with it. This film is an adaptation of Lee and Kirby's peak on the book, borrowing heavily from both the famous Galactus trilogy and the Dr. Doom/ Silver Surfer saga that followed a few issues later. It would be hard to screw this up and for once, Story doesn't. There are no dalmatians covering their eyes here. When the Surfer arrives he is serious and otherworldly. The rest of the film falls into place behind that tone and we get a cosmic tale, a scary Doom and a smart Reed Richards. It's about time.

The cg effects are wonderful. There are fights in London, Latveria and Tokyo that actually feel like the epic clashes of the book. Yes, Galactus is a giant cloud but he's still frightening (I like to think the classic Galactus was IN that cloud. Helps me sleep at night.). The Silver Surfer himself is handled perfectly. I particularly love how when he was weakened, the silver tarnished into a dull grey. And on the prosthetic side, Doom and Thing are tweaked to emanate their classic looks more accurately.

The movie is lean at a mere 90 minutes. That keeps it from getting bogged down in subplots like Spider-Man 3. And unlike that movie, I'm looking forward to seeing this one again. Even in a comic book movie, less is more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Drucker Won!

Mike Drucker won the PIXAR Ratatouille Contest!! He'll be flown to L.A. on Monday where he'll do a spot at the L.A. Improv. Three comics will perform and if he wins that, he'll open for Jeaneane Garafalo and Patton Oswalt in a theater the next night.

Thanks to everyone who voted for him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Got Comedy. I Got It Bad.

Last night I stopped by the Limerick House to see Jimmy Q and Rich Shultis' show. I haven't done a lot of spots lately so I was glad they put me up at the end of the night. Had a great time and tried new material but after the show Gabe Pacheco and I ran out to the PIT to do a 2 minute open mike. I mean, ran. Why isn't 10 minutes of free stage time enough?

The mike was worth the run and the Limerick House went well. So well that I'm back next week.

Method And Madness
The Limerick House
23rd St between 5th and 6th Ave.
6/19 9:00

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hellboy: Blood and Iron

The dvd is out today and it delivers on its promise. It's better than Sword of Storms.

The first animated movie was good but episodic and too weird for its own good. It had a giant turtle man with a water bowl head in it. This film is more what I expected. It's a moody vampire tale set in an old castle. There are nods to Mignola's classic "Wake the Devil". In the first five minutes Hellboy fights a minotaur in a sewer. Any Hellboy fan should feel comfortable here.

The dvd is once again loaded with features. There's a commentary with Mike Mignola and directors Tad Stones and Vic Cook that's so enlightening it's worth listening to immediately after the film. There are two comics, one digital and one insterted in the package. A robust making of documentary is a welcome sight. There's even a new Hellboy short based on Mignola's "The Iron Shoes". And if you go to Best Buy, you'll get an exclusive bonus, a 6 inch superposeable Hellboy action figure. Three guesses where I got my copy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos Finale

If all David Chase wanted was to defy audience expectations, it was a rousing success. If all the audience wanted was closure, it was frustrating waste of time.

After last week's explosive episode, everyone was led to believe this would be a bloodbath. Instead it was the most subdued episode this season. Half of the characters were written out earlier so last night took its time with the remainder. I wouldn't have guessed we'd spend so much time with A.J. or the FBI agent. Uncle Junior's senility and Paulie's superstitions had been well covered earlier this season but revisited. And for some reason, this final episode set up new threads rather than tie up old ones.

I imagine the final scene will be as controversial and hotly debated as the Seinfeld finale. Personally, I'm just glad I was never emotionally invested in the series. I watched it solely for plot. Too bad the final episode had none.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weird Week

Things I learned this week:

1. Renee's blood pressure goes up when she's happy. Or nervous. Or thinking about a baby.

2. A seven pound baby needs a dresser twelve times its body weight.

3. When you order a hundred pound dresser, the delivery guys will only take it as far as your front steps.

4.You can pull a groin muscle right next to your hernia without it affecting the hernia. Still hurts like hell.

5. Three pounds overweight and a pulled groin muscle ends in a stalemate. And no dessert.

6. Don's stare Fozzie in the eyes too long. He will chase your pulled groin ass all over the house.

7. Too much downloading will clog your memory until you reboot. 700 Justice League comics count as too much.

8. The Youtube sketchies should have had more finalists in round 1.

9. A great crowd for me is a disappointment to Todd Barry.

10. Stevie Ray Vaughan was about my age when he died. He died when I was in high school. And I'm still nowhere as good as him.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Doctors All Day

If stress and anxiety are bad for your health, why do doctors work in an environment that promotes them?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Nightwatchman

Now I know why Audioslave broke up.

When we were in Niagra Falls, I caught an interview on PBS with Tom Morello. He brought a nylon string acoustic guitar and played two protest songs. Although he had played these songs for years in smaller venues, they came as a complete surprise. I had seen Morello live with Audioslave and he never even sang back-up. His voice is a revelation and carries the right amount of sincerity for the material.

Now the album, "The Nightwatchman: One Man Revolution" is out. The title is a mouthful and the record label doesn't seem happy with the concept (marketing proclaims "Tom Morello IS the Nightwatchman") but the music is worth it. The thireteen tracks contain an outpouring of emotion that must have been bottled up for years. While Bush set to work destroying this country, the most outspoken guitarist of our generation was playing Chris Cornell's "all my friends are dead from heroin" songs. I loved Audioslave but I can't say they were ABOUT anything. This album is about EVERYTHING from the war to poor to the subtle racism that still faces a famous Harvard graduate.

But it's not simply preaching. It's musically sound. Morello channels Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Leonard Cohen in simple chords and elegant orchestration. There's no whammy pedal but there are pianos, organs, harmonies and percussion. Only Morello is credited in the liner notes which makes it the first truly solo album I know since Prince was in his heyday.

Listening to this album in its entirety, I found it an interesting touchstone on the way to the inevitable Rage Against the Machine reunion. But now I can't stop playing the album. It slowly gets into your soul until it becomes a part of it. And that is how you start a revolution. For those of you keeping score, Morello is now three times my hero.

Here's the video for "The Road I Must Travel":

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Vote for Drucker!

He's a finalist in the myspace Ratatouille "So You Think You're Funny" contest. I have no idea what that is and I don't know what the prize is. But I do know winning is a good thing.

He's contestant #1. Vote for him!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fitting Into a Narrow Category

Renee just sent me this. I don't know where she got it.

This is you:

When water rats talk, people listen. Commanding and eloquent, always the center of attention, the Water Rats also have a soft side that endears them to the world. When the world needs, Water Rats are there. Humanitarian fighters against hunger, illness, sadness, they try to bring happiness to others through their compassionate endeavors and smiling warmth. When the world wants a friend, it's the loyal and sincere Water Rat which draws them in. The Water Rat has a successful career but money-wise, it's pretty much middle of the road. Changing free-spending ways could lead to financial security if they are willing to make the effort. Their natural charisma attracts members of the opposite sex like wildfire, but Water Rats often don't set their standards high enough and are quite indiscriminate in seeking love affairs, until they finally settle down later in life. Once this happens, they advance pretty far exhibiting oodles of charm with their loved ones.

Famous RAT people: Richard Nixon, Shakespeare, Prince Charles, Julia Child, Louis Armstrong, Prince Andrew, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Kathleen Battle, Albert Finney

And this is me:
Look no further than the Wood Tiger for true friendship. This compassionate human being is always ready to lend his or her shoulder for friends to lean on. Friends show a reciprocal spirit. When the Wood Tiger needs it, friendship and support are always there and indirectly help the Tiger's successful ascent up the career ladder. Once there, this Tiger experiences such prosperity, it's almost like winning the lottery, except it's earned good fortune. Wood Tigers are very creative in finding ways to make life exciting, never lacking inspiration to change what can be changed and to forge ahead with native wit and charm. When it comes to Love, the male Wood Tiger has to fight his fantasy of becoming a playboy. When he experiences that familiar lust-in-his-heart tickle, he has to give in instead to his ingrained gentility. When it's time for a Wood Tiger to marry, he nearly always attracts a very beautiful wife. Also gentle, the female Wood Tiger is very generous with love and kisses and is always good to her husband. Wood Tigers in general have a very fulfilling and happy family life, with no regrets.

Famous TIGER people: Sun Yat-Sen, Jiang Zemin, Ho Chih Minh,Princess Anne, General Charles de Gaulle, Charles Lindbergh, Beethoven, Queen Beatrix, King Juan Carlos I, Jonas Salk, Queen Elizabeth

So I'm Richard Nixon and she's Tiger Woods. I hope she will be happy with her very beautiful wife.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Last Night Rocked

Like Brian Posehn singing metal.

Honestly, by 2 a.m. it was the best birthday party ever.

Thanks for coming out.