Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The cosmic characters have long been some of my favorites in the Marvel Universe, particularly those penned by Jim Starlin. Thanos is a fantastic villain (and apparently going to be in the next Avengers movie...). Adam makes for a bizarre hero with a cigar-chomping troll, Pip, as a best friend. Then there's Drax the Destroyer, who was created to destroy Thanos, but I guess only recently, forty years after his creation. And the deadly assassin Gamora, who, in her slinky fishnet outfit, was twenty years ahead of the superhero sexpots that would really begin to dominate in the 90's.
Now some may criticize me for lifting these poses and whatnot from others work...but in my mind, those old movie posters were made from set photos, so wouldn't the comics I was referencing be the same? Anyhow, it certainly owes a debt to the aforementioned Starlin, Ron Marz, Al Milgrom, and many others who brought these cosmic stories to life.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
We kick things off with a drawing of Tomas Milian as Cuchillo. The character appeared in two films by Sergio Sollima: The Big Gundown (aka. La resa dei conti, 1966) and Run Man Run! (Corri uomo corri!, 1968). Gundown is easily considered one of the tops of the genre (if you're gonna watch it, you gotta track down the uncut version), although all three of Sollima's westerns are very well regarded (Face to Face (Faccia a Faccia) 1967, is probably my personal favorite.). I believe the above was drawn from a publicity still for Run Man Run!
Friday, June 22, 2012
Our final musician this week is one Domingo Zamudio...better known as Sam the Sham of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Born in Dallas, Texas (1937), Sam took on his trademark loungey robe and turban and named his band the Pharaohs after Yul Brynner's character in The Ten Commandments. In '65, the band had it's biggest hit with "Wooly Bully", which managed to climb the charts in an otherwise British Invasion dominated period. And while "Wooly" remains a bar song classic, it was their other hit, "Li'l Red Riding Hood" that first captured my imagination. On one hand, it's a sort of cute song full of innuendo...but on the other, Sam's method of growling out the lyrics (he adopted the moniker "Sham" as indicative of his vocal ability) along that fat bass line turns it in something creepy and almost otherworldly.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Our second musician for the weak is the fantastic LaVern Baker (1929-1997). A fantastic R&B singer with a string of hits through the 1950's and 60's, most might recognize LaVern for the fun and bouncy "Tweedle Dee". I first fell in love with her work when her single "Soul on Fire" was featured in Alan Parker's controversial horror-mystery Angel Heart. Granted, that was the soundtrack for the over-the-top sex scene that reportedly got Lisa Bonet ousted from The Cosby Show. (Am I dating myself?) Nevertheless it remains a sultry and steamy classic. Enjoy.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
Another week in music for this round of drawings, starting with the darkly spectacled, angelic-voiced Roy Orbison. A favorite of my dad (Happy Father's Day, dad!), I've been listening to Roy's tunes since I was a lad. Born in Vernon, Texas, Roy would first record for the legendary Sun Records before becoming a regular hit-maker in the 1960's. Personal tragedy and difficulty adjusting to the changing sounds, Roy faded from the limelight for much of the 70's and 80's before experiencing a revival as the 90's rolled around. After success with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne as the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys and a final hit album with Mystery Girl, Roy passed away in 1988 at only 52. Though the use of "In Dreams" as a favorite of the psychotic Frank Booth in David Lynch's Blue Velvet added a disturbing lilt to the song, it remains perhaps my favorite of Roy Orbison's catalog.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
"The important thing in writing is the capacity to astonish. Not shock - shock is a worn-out word - but astonish."
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
“Martyrs are needed to create incidents. Incidents are needed to create revolutions. Revolutions are needed to create progress.”
Monday, June 11, 2012
We kick things off with Samuel Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) whose Sam Spade became one of the most influential private detective characters in literature despite only being the protagonist of one novel, The Maltese Falcon (1930), and a couple of minor short stories. My first run-in with Dashiell was Red Harvest, a gritty crime story of racketeers and corruption that featured the surly and stocky Continental Op. The book was one of the progenitors of the "servant of two masters" plot-line that led to such films as Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) and a Leone's Fistful of Dollars (1964).
Friday, June 08, 2012
Today's quickie is in honor of the release of Prometheus, Ridley Scott's prequel of sorts to his sci-fi classic Alien (1979). As many critics have noted over the years, Scott's film appears to owe quite a debt of influence to Mario Bava's 1965 shocker in space, Planet of the Vampires (Terrore Nello Spazio). Do an image search and you're sure to find comparisons between the giant skeletons on board the derelict ship of Bava's with the "space jockey" of Scott's, which appears to be a plot point in Prometheus. Bava's film is simultaneously a throwback of sorts to earlier sci-fi films while also having an innovative and strange production design (such as the high-collared, black leather spacesuits worn by the cast).