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Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Batman. Show all posts

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Green Slime

When I find something interesting on the station, I certainly do enjoy watching TCM - Turner Classic Movies on television.

It's why I watched Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven, an American version of Kurosawa Akira's (surname first) Seven Samurai classic... which itself was inspired by American westerns.

Preceding it that night was The Blob, an American monster movie classic that I had never seen on TV before. It also starred Steve McQueen. It was actually quite a good flick! Perhaps realizing that showing too much of the monster, owning to the cost of special effects in the 1950s, or the lack of sophistication in such effects, The Blob didn't show the creature very much.

If only such restraint had been shown in the movies following the Steve McQueen bundle on TCM, specifically The Green Slime, a 1968 monster movie.

Since I had not even heard of this movie until I saw it listed, speaks volumes... but what the heck... in for a penny, in for a pound.

The Green Slime started off quite well... decent enough science... and a plot that was eventually stolen by the sci-fi disaster flick Armageddon. In Armageddon, a group of deep-core drillers is sent to space by NASA to load explosives deep into an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

In The Green Slime, some space jockeys ride a rocket out from a space station set that looked like it was borrowed from the British marionette TV show The Thunderbirds a few years previous, to an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. They job is to plant some explosives by digging into its surface in the hope that it blows up before striking Earth.

The plot for The Green Slime differs when the astronauts encounter a green slime that gets all over their equipment, and they inadvertently carry it back with them to the return rocket and thus to the space station. To the movie's credit, the astronauts all underwent a decontamination procedure, but said procedure did not kill the alien slime.

The slime grew, and then morphed into a really crappy-looking alien... which is when the movie falls flat on its face.

If they had only worked with a green slime monster rather than an alien that grows from the slime, it would have been a better movie... though even then I'm unsure.

So what has this to do with Japan? I've mention Steve McQueen, The Magnificent Seven and the Seven Samurai and Kurosawa... but none are directly related to The Green Slime.

The Green Slime (ガンマー第3号 宇宙大作戦, Ganmā Daisan Gō: Uchū Daisakusen was directed by Fukasaku Kinji (surname first), and produced by Walter Manley and Ivan Reiner. It was written by William Finger, Tom Rowe and Charles Sinclair based on a story by Reiner.

Wait a minute... William Finger... Bill Finger... the guy who co-created Batman??!!?? with artist Bob Kane. Yes... the very same. Sigh.

The Green Slime was filmed in Japan using the Japanese director Fukasaku, along with a Japanese film crew, but with a non-Japanese cast.

It starred Robert Horton, Richard Jaeckel (the training sarge from The Dirty Dozen), Italian actress and former Bond Girl Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball), who despite her beautiful red hair and curvaceous fleshy parts, was quite wooden in The Green Slime.

American Robert Dunham was also in The Green Slime playing Captain Martin... he lived in Japan during the 1960s, and in the 1964 flick Dogora, he played Mark Jackson. He also played Antonio, Emperor of Seatopia in 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon. He sometimes was billed as Dan Yuma or Danny Yuma.

The rest of the cast were mostly semi-professional or amateur actors - meaning, if you were a White dude living in Japan in the 1960s, you could have been part of this... mess.

Here... I'm taking this from Wikipedia:

The Green Slime was a co-production between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Toei Film Company. MGM provided the funding and script while Toei provided the film crew and location to shoot the film.
The original storyline for The Green Slime originated in Italy, where MGM also had dealings. Years before The Green Slime went into production, MGM had contracted Italian filmmaker Antonio Margheriti to direct what was originally intended to be a series of four television movies about the adventures of a space station called Gamma One. Margheriti's films in the series consisted of Wild, Wild Planet, War of the Planets, War Between the Planets and Snow Devils, all created over a period of three months and released in 1965. MGM was impressed with Margheriti's films and released the four films theatrically. Gamma One producers Manley and Reiner were eager to take advantage of these films and made The Green Slime as an unofficial fifth entry in the film series. The only connection the film had to Margheriti's films is the space station, retitled Gamma Three, which had a similar design as the one in Margheriti's films.


Wow... four movies made in three months...

Anyhow... a truly horrible movie was The Green Slime.

Of true historic note however, is that The Green Slime was the very first movie speared in the pilot episode of the film-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1988.

Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Batman Vs Pokemon - Amended Again

Holy crap - I posted the wrong video game and link below! This time for sure.

Why is Batman smacking Robin? In this case, it isn't because Robin got Chicago White Sox tickets instead of Chicago Cubs tickets, it's because  of Pokemon.

Further, this is light of the fact that some people are upset that along with little kids playing Pokemon Go on their phones et al, adult men are, too... leading many to wonder if the game is being used as an excuse by pedophiles to get close to children as they explore the vast world of Pokemon.

I don't have a portable phone and wouldn't care to use it as a toy anyhow - even to play a cool game like Pokemon Go... if you are wondering what the hubbub is about, take a look at the trailer video I posted in a blog a few months back:

The write-up I did on it is HERE

No... I can't guarantee some perv walking around with his underwear outside his pants isn't going to smack around some kid or worse while using this mobile game as a tool...

Yes... if kids played this game the way it seems like it should be played, they'll be out on their own wandering streets and parks with their head staring out at their phones rather than paying attention to the real surroundings about them - like semi trucks... or semi trucks driven by child molesters.

Like anything in life... monitor your kids the best you can... and let them enjoy whatever it is they enjoy doing... and then make sure they get their a$$ outside, play some sports, hang out with friends, and look for real bugs in nature, rather than stare at some stupid video screen.

You know you're doing it, too. Right now. 

As of July 13, reports are coming in that people are going to the Holocaust memorial in Arlington Cemetery because the game tells them there's a pokemon there to find. Really? What is wrong with people - you players and game programmers?! It's an effing memorial to Holocaust victims!

As well, in the U.S., people are bursting into hospitals (I heard an operating room) looking for a pokemon! Let's kill the patient with your nerd germs!

Look... Pokemon Go seemed like a great concept, but apparently people aren't responsible enough to create it properly or to use it properly.

You can't be a great pokemon trainer if you don't respect others in your surroundings. 

Andrew Joseph
PS: Thanks Vinnie! I snorted coffee OUT of my nose when I saw this!
PPS: Yes, I wrote all this after I published... I felt guilty for not explaining the context of the joke. 
PPPS: Yup... I wrote the last four paragraphs (and first two paragraphs) with my second amendment. It's getting worse. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Batman - Go Go Go

The year 2014 is the 75th anniversary of The Batman - my favorite superhero - in comic book form... though I freely admit that my favorite comic book character is Donald Duck, only partially because he doesn't wear pants.

The Batman... the tragic tale of young Bruce Wayne, who witnessed his parents gunned down in front of him, and who vowed to fight crime eventually using his family's fortune to help him become the scourge of criminals everywhere as The Batman.

What's not to love - here was a young boy filled with tragedy... who became a hero in a costume... not simply born on a planet under a Red sun, that when he comes to Earth and its yellow sun gives him super-human powers... not finding a magic lantern, not being doused with chemicals and a lightning bolt, not being injected with a super soldier formula, not being irradiated by gamma rays or cosmic rays, not finding a magic hammer, not being born a mutant, and not simply being a man in an iron suit.

No... is just a man with no special powers except those fighting and deducting skills he learn from others... just a man... something you and I could inspire to should we have had the inclination, billions of dollars for some cool gadgets, and a bat cave hidden under the family mansion.... at least we could be something special...

That's what I loved about The Batman. Yes... I add a capitalized The in front of his name.

My brother, Ben, went to the 2014 San Diego Comic Con (again) where he was once more part of a writer's panel, bringing back and giving me the convention's souvenir book.

In it was the image above, admirably rendered by Brian Miller of Surprise, Arizona, USA.

It reads "Batman Go Go Go" in Japanese Katakana and English... though I am hard-pressed to accurately determine what is written within the small yellow bat symbol in the bottom left hand corner, except for Batman written in blue.

The drawing features The Batman jumping out in front of the classic 1966 Batmobile from the old television show... and a childlike Robin in the inset.

I was scanning the image from the book and explaining to my wife that I was going to write about The Batman and also the funny way that Go Go Go is also the Japanese word for 5-5-5... which was a chain of Love Hotels... where a single man could take his woman for a bit of hanky-panky... in other words, a chance to go-go-go...

Then I focused on that image of Robin again... peering out from the Batmobile's trunk... and it hit me!

This wasn't JUST an homage to Japan and The Batman... no... this was something more....

It was an homage to Japanese manga and anime legend Speed Racer and his Mach 5 automobile (see images below!) Mach Go Go Go!

Yup... that image of Robin was an homage to Speed's little brother in the animated show peeking out from the car after hiding in it - a familiar theme from the show's animated credits!

Congratulations to DC Comics on the 75th anniversary of The Batman - long may he continue to fight crime - Go Go Go!

Andrew Joseph

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Japan Link To New Batman Movie

Because you are probably all wondering just what the hell funny sh!t does Andrew have up his sleeve now that Ben Aflck has been seen in costume for the new Batman franchise of movies... let's begin.

I do like Ben Afleck. I have no idea what he is like as a real person, but even though the script for Daredevil sucked, Afleck did a decent job. Marvel, for a while couldn't make a movie of its properties to stop it from going bankrupt... except maybe Blade. Just the first one. Maybe Ghost Rider (Just the first one, because I like Nicholas Cage in everything he's in.)

Look at the Howard The Duck, Elektra and the Fantastic Four movies - just crappy scripts. And who makes one of the most beautiful women on the planet - Jessica Alba - the Invisible Woman? She's someone we want to see all movie long. Not to mention the very hot Lea Thompson (big crush!) in Howard or super sexy Jennifer Garner (who is married to Ben Afleck) who played Elektra the super bitchy but hot ninja assassin.

How bad were the two FF movies? Consider that the actors in those movies will never reprise the role again... in any Marvel property... considering the guy who played Johnny Storm the Human Torch is now Captain America. Yes he is.

DC Comics... I have loved DC Comics since I first read a Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams Batman or Flash or Green Lantern story. But even DC made crap movies... Swamp Thing, the Batman movies #3 & 4, Jonah Hex... and Green Lantern (sigh).

Then look at the cool DC TV shows: The Human Target and Arrow... and the trailers for The Flash look awesome... as does the one for Gotham. (Marvel did well with Agents of SHIELD, and hopefully with the movie Guardians of the Galaxy - as I have always thought Marvel's space opera comics were the best (thank-you, Jim Starlin).

I have owned or own the first or second appearance of every character mentioned since this blog began except for Batman (maybe one day). Marvel should bring back Doctor Strange!!! I have every comic book he has ever starred in.

Sorry... the inner comic book geek in me yearns to be free sometimes. Being broke, I haven't purchased many new comic books in two years. I do own over 1-million LEGO bricks, however.    

And so now we have a new Batman movie set to debut... with people complaining that Afleck's bat-suit looks like crap. Uh... it actually looks a lot like it did in The Dark Knight comic... or, as I suspect, it looks a lot like Batman: Year One.... but Afleck's too old to pull off being 21...   

Or maybe they just wanted a simple costume and wanted a new actor... someone less moody or diva-like to play the role.

Whatever... let's give it a shot first before condemning it.

Anyhow, that doesn't mean I can't have some Bat-fun.     

This is obviously not as easy as the Godzilla movie jokes, because I have to ensure there is a Japan connection... and there is.

First off... this PHOTO was sent to me by my very good friend Matthew, with whom we shared the city of Ohtawara in Tochigi-ken, Japan. "She's mine. That's yours. She's mine. That's... mine too. You get two picks now."

Anyhow... because every photo needs a cutline, which in this case makes the photo funnier, here it is:

Here's the new Batmobile Afleck Batman has been forced to drive around in when chasing The Joker... because Robin borrowed the original so he and Starfire could go strawberry picking. It has a space for a cooler next to one of six rocket launchers.


Apparently the new Batmobile did not come in Black.

That last line is all Matthew's. Unless he stole it, of course.

Andrew Joseph
PS: The Japan connection is the make of the car - Mazda.
PPS: Unless the owner of the car sells baseball bats or works with bats at a zoo, that is the stupidest vanity plate I've seen in weeks. Actually, most vanity plates are stupid. I just find them so... so... vain. Of course, I don't even own a car anymore. Effing Mazda. I'll never buy one again... not even if you do make a BatCar.   

Saturday, April 5, 2014

World War II American Comics Versus Japan - 4

During the days of World War II, with the Allies facing off against the terrible threesome of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, propaganda was a very important aspect of the fight--for every country, regardless of what side they were fighting on.

It was also seen as important to have the kids involved as there were few families not affected by a brother or father marching of to war to fight the Axis.

Comics books and cartoons were seen as an effective means to distribute such propaganda in the United States.

The American cartoons are nearly too numerous to mention (maybe I'll try one day), but comic books… they seem a bit easier to track and present—at least as far as my premise regarding Japan.

Plenty of comic books abound of superheroes messing with the Germans, but there appears to be a slightly fewer amount where they go up agains the Japanese… just a bit.

I think that may have been due to the fact that any war story presented about Japan could only take place on the water with ships or in the air with planes… but dammit… no tanks… no desert locales… no villages or cities… just jungles… and bullets flying between palm trees.

Still, many comic book companies did their patriotic duty.

Companies such as Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) and Fawcett had no problem in having their super-heroes battle the Axis… but National Periodicals (later DC Comics - after Batman's Detective Comics)… this was a rarity.

DC felt that if they showed a superhero like Superman defeating a squadron of Japanese in a story, then kids might wonder why Superman isn't fighting the Germans, as well (he is Superman, after all). He's supposed to be so strong and powerful, how could mere bullets harm him?

The war, with Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Batman, The Spectre, Dr. fate and Batman, should be over in hours.

Little Jimmy's soldier brother would be alive…

Ah… and there's the rub… DC Comics didn't want to confuse its customers… why couldn't the heroes end the war in a few hours… and if they did… well.. why is the real war still going on in real life? Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

So DC Comics pretty much had its characters stay out of the WWII, but would, ever once in a while, create a cover to inspire American patriotism in the global war, usually encouraging readers to support the Allied war effort by purchasing War Bonds And Stamps. 

The cover above is one such example… Batman Comics #18, cover dated August 1943 showing Batman and sidekick Robin smiling as the huge explosive firework they left behind explodes, catching (from left): Tojo Hideki (surname first), Japan's 40th Prime Minister who was key in the attack on Pear Harbor and initiating the war between the U.S. and Japan; der Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany; and Benito Mussolini who ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 until his ouster in 1943.

Drawn by Dick Sprang (which only sounds like a made-up name), this must be one of the worst pieces of art I have ever seen on a DC or Marvel comic book. Ever.

Sprang is a decent artist, but Batman #18 was his first ever work on Batman. The main issue I see here is that the artwork was re-produced from artwork in Detective Comics #84 (published in 1944) - from page 13… which tells you just how long DC held onto the story drawn by Sprang before finally releasing it.
Batman's 1st appearance in Detective Comics #27 shows a grittier Batman than what we see from Dick Sprang above.
Although Bob Kane, the creator of Batman with writer Bill Finger, was the main artist, until 1943 when he left the book to work on the Batman newspaper strip, other artists who contributed to the comic book were uncredited. Kane's work is dark and moody (see image above), while Sprang… I've always found his work more comedic and light in appearance.

Batman #18 is a perfect example of this.

I'll still give kudos to Sprang and DC for at least being consistent with the way it profiled the enemy in its comics. Yes, the heroes are always thrashing them, but they are not drawn looking like howling, ugly ogres or animals…

Next time, I'll look at a more serious cover from DC Comics and World War II.

Andrew Joseph

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Japanese Batman Art

Japan's Sengoku jidai (Sendoku period) is known as the 'Warring States Period" that extends from the mid-15th century to the early 17th century.

It was a time in Japan's long history when there was constant military conflict and plenty of social upheaval… but the only good that came out of this 150-year-plus civil war was that it eventually lead to the country's unification under one ruler—the Shogun Tokugawa.

It was during the Edo Jidai (Edo Period) (~1600 - 1868) when the Shogun ruled, that Japan closed her borders to the rest of the world, except for some very minor trading with the Dutch and I believe the Koreans.

This closed door rule essentially lasted until just after Japan was forced/coerced to open its borders after the United States and Commodore Perry came a-visiting with their so-called black ships.

But… the Senjoku Jidai… if you were a warrior… this was a time for action.

And that, is what noted comic book artist Scott Wade has imagined—a Japanese warring state populated with characters taken from the Batman comic book mythos.

Now… not only has he infused Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Mister Freeze into typical era Japanese settings, but he has placed them in classic Japanese ukiyo-e (woodblock print) style poses.

Check it out:

Batman as a ninja flying through the night sky! He refuses to use katana swords in his battle against corruption and evil, to honor his parents who were tragically killed by ronin (masterless samurai). While I prefer the extra long bat ears ( a la Kelley Jones), I do like the short blue ones Scott has used here.

Commission Gordon as a Shinsengumi (special police force) official banging a taiko drum calling his secret weapon to a rooftop/tower meeting! I am pretty sure, however, that eyeglasses would not really have been part of the scene back then. What is brilliant, however, is the taiko drum pattern. All I saw was the white fluffy stuff in the middle and only - after 20 views - noticed that the black was made up of the 'bat' insignia. Even now, my brain prefers NOT to see the bat symbols for some reason.

Walking through the snowy mountains, Mister Freeze is a traveling medicine man haunted by the ghost of his dead wife.Same with these glasses, by the way.

I have no idea why Scott hasn't hooked up with a good writer (me) who knows a bit about Japan, Batman and comic books and gone to DC comics with this concept.

Batman is already a freaking ninja working in the darkness of shadow and night. He already is a scourge on the underworld of sick twisted scum. Why not place him—at least for a non-linear mini-series—in Japan's dark ages?

Dark Ages for the Dark Knight detective.

Oh well... until someone comes to their senses and creates a comic book for this concept, Scott Wade is selling copies of his creations.

Presented on gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper, it also uses Epson K3 archival inks. Each image is custom-trimmed with 1-inch (25mm) border for framing… each individual art scene is 7" wide x 10" high (177 mm x 254 mm) and goes for US $18.

The triptych (at the very top of this article) featuring all three prints, is made of the same quality paper, but is smaller at 10" wide x 6" high (254 mm x 152.4mm) and can be purchased for US$30.

Here's what Scott had to say about his own Japanabat creations: "I made these back before I knew how tumblr worked and I had yet to post them as a set. So I kept finding people sharing them (which is great) but they always point back to my cghub page and they also don’t have the Mr. Freeze image with them."

Scott's rambling aside, he is one hell of an artist.

If anyone out there would like to purchase a set of these wonderful images, click HERE.

Andrew Joseph
PS - This blog officially marks MY 2,000 written entry on Japan-It's a Wonderful Rife. There were a few guest articles. Who knew I had that much to say? How bizarre to have it be about comic books and Japan? If I could have squeezed in something about a woman, it would have been about my three favorite things.