I implore you- if you have yet to do so- get all up on this Morrison dude. 

For those who wonder what I do….

There is a firm basis in the works of Grant Morrison, who took part and parcel teachings from Spare and Crowley.

And Grant made it explosive and fucking sexy with his Scottish accent.

This method is FUN, but unstable and consumes much more energy than you’d imagine.
It’s a constant divination and branding.
It’s life as a scrying mirror.

What you have to understand is that these practices do affect change in perspective, hence change in your life.
You will notice things you’ve never noticed before.
And it may not be things you can control.

Beware. Enjoy. Run wild.

Morrison’s pop magic stuff was a real mind blower for me back in the day. I ended up reading more about magic than actually practicing it, but I did get some sigils to work for me.

(via sarkos)

A cover and several pages from Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future #1-4 by Grant, Pugh, Perkins, Perkins, Robins, Stewart, Hansen, McTeigue, Amara, and Berganza.

I didn’t even know this miniseries existed until I cam across it in a dollar bin. It’s the sort of story that doesn’t make any sense if you think about it too hard. How can Superman exist in the same world as John and Sarah Connor? How could Skynet possibly take over a future filled with superheroes? And I won’t even get into the fact that Steel basically creates the robo-apocalypse by pulling Superman into the future at the wrong time.

Head scratching nature of the script aside, the set-up allows for some fun images of Superman vs. weird robots. I love the nail spitting bit and the half-Henshaw/half-lady mega Terminator boss fight finale.


what in the name of arse

(via sarkos)

Johnny Foreigner - Le Sigh and Shipping

Awesome session performance of the first two songs on their excellent new album You Can Do Better. Noisy, catchy indie pop at it’s very best. You can follow their tumblr here.

Thanks to the original uploader.

The cover and several pages from Superman #406 by Kupperberg, Norvick, Hunt, Saladino, D’Angelo, and Schwartz.

Here’s another comic where Superman gets embroiled in pro-wrestling shenanigans. He’s attacked by a washed up wrestler with ties to the mob who may or not be able to influence reality with his dreams. This issue seems to be a nod to Action Comics #372, but it’s not as fun as that comic. This one is bogged down by Kupperberg’s overwrought dialogue and a too-serious tone. Still, I’m a sucker for books where Superman fights twisted versions of himself and that’s what happens here, visually if not literally.

Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)

You might as well have it stuck in your head too.

The late Lana Clarkson stars in this sword swinging Roger Corman production, playing a warrior princess out for revenge against the fascist warlords that destroyed her town and kidnapped her betrothed.

Anyone familiar with these post-Conan sword and sorcery flicks will know roughly what to expect with this one. There’s plenty of clumsily staged swordplay, loads of gratuitous nudity and a bit of tame gore. The most memorable scene involves Clarkson nude and strapped to a deranged scientist’s table. The madman rapes her, having his way until the queen uses her mighty lady bits to crush his member, forcing him to cut her loose. She then tosses the dude into a vat of acid which just happens to be directly behind him.

It’s funny how growing up can change your perspective on these things. When I first saw Barbarian Queen 8 years or so ago, I thought it was a bit of mildly entertaining yet formulaic exploitation filmmaking. After a recent viewing though, I came away disturbed by all the sexual violence in the film.  It’s not that the movie is especially explicit, but it just casually includes rape and allusions to rape and isn’t smart or serious enough to even begin to deal with the issue in a respectful or interesting way. The rape stuff is presented as being on the same level as the ‘fun’ gratuitous nudity shots and it really, really shouldn’t be. All the nudity and sexual violence is shown in the same banal, lifeless box-ticking manner. It’s rather infuriating. Nor is the movie otherwise amusing, exciting, or aesthetically interesting enough to balance out the uglier elements. This is one of those films that pretends to be about female empowerment but is really just creepy, in a bad way.

I was actually impressed with Lana Clarkson though.  Before this I had only heard her name in passing as the unfortunate victim of murdering music producer and troll doll lookalike Phil Spector. She’s a charismatic, striking presence, easily the best thing about Barbarian Queen. Too bad the rest of the movie is such offensive, dreary dreck.

Tiny upside - because of the title, I’ve had Billy Ocean’s ‘Caribbean Queen’ stuck in my head for days.

The cover and several pages from DC Comics Presents #47 by Kupperberg, Swan, DeCarlo, Manak, Oda, and DeAngelo. Back-up by Barr, Delbo, Calnan, Chiang, and Ziuko.

Here’s another comic I’ve had for many years and never read. Since I’m on a Superman/fantasy flick kick this month, I thought it was high time to check it out.

Unfortunately, it’s not especially good. I’ve started cringing when I see Paul Kupperberg’s name in the credits of my back issues and he doesn’t change my mind here. He just overstuffs every scene with tedious dialogue, and it’s all the more groan inducing because he uses ‘ye olde’ fantasy lingo, which was never really part of the Masters of the Universe style.

At least it’s fun to see Curt Swan draw all these guys.

The back-up may actually be of more interest, especially to DC diehards. It tells the story of how the Golden Age Sandman’s sidekick Sandy got his earth moving powers, which Geoff Johns made good use of in his JSA stuff.

Masters of the Universe was one of the first two films I ever saw in the theater. It’s either this or Benji the Hunted, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve watched the movie very infrequently since 1987, but I was glad to find that it holds up as a bit of lighthearted, energetic fantasy fluff with cool visuals.

For whatever reason, the film eschews the more traditional sword and sorcery set-up of the old MOTU cartoon in favor of what is basically an alien invasion angle, with Cox’s Julie and her boyfriend Kevin caught in the middle of the Masters’ other-dimensional power struggle. Cox is quite young here, but she has an obvious natural charisma that anchors the whole picture. James Tolkan also shines as the comically incredulous copper Lubic. It would have been neat to see a live action MOTU movie that stuck closer to the source material, but at least the filmmakers cast some engaging performers as the earthlings in peril.

Since the script focuses so much on the two teens, Dolph Lundgren and his good guy cohorts are actually given very little to do, for better or worse. The villains prove more interesting, with the iconic Meg Foster and her amazing eyes inhabiting the role of Evil Lyn, and an almost unrecognizable Frank Langella as Skeletor. The latter’s make-up is stiff and limiting but Langella manages to deliver a decent performance all the same, and it looks pretty damn cool to boot. The henchmen characters are all kind of neat too, though they’re disappointingly scrawny given that the toy line is famously filled with little bodybuilder dudes.

Again, the filmmakers broke with the source material and provided us with some new baddies and skipped over existing characters. Of the guys created for the movie, the most memorable one for me was also, oddly, the most simply designed, and that’s Anthony de Longis as Blade, the confident swordsman looking to test himself against He-Man. (Incidentally, Mattel is days away from releasing a Blade figure that more closely resembles the actor. Feast your eyes on this bad boy right here.)

While the movie abandons a lot of the existing MOTU aesthetic, it still manages to be rather interesting on the visual level, in large part thanks to production designer and fantasy artist William Stout. He personally designed or re-designed most of the characters and sets, and even brought in the legendary Moebius to help with some of the visuals. Evidently Moebius assisted on the look of the massive throne room, which was, according to this Stout interview, the biggest set built in Hollywood since the 1940s. I love the way it actually resembles a skull in the still above.

Moebius isn’t the only comic book genius to leave his mark here. Director Gary Goddard grew up on Jack Kirby and actually tried to hire the King to work on the film. The producers didn’t go for it, but Goddard maintains that his love of Kirby influenced the script, which might explain why the Masters travel from world to world via boom tubes!

As I suggested above, Masters of the Universe is a light, fast moving sci-fi/fantasy adventure. It’s not especially deep or clever but it’s action packed, amusing, and pleasant, with some good messages for younger viewers. The ties to comic book royalty are icing on the cake.

The cover and several pages from Action Comics #378 by Shooter, Swan, Abel, and Weisinger. Cover by Swan and Neal Adams.

This is, surprise, a rather weird story from 1969, wherein a villain called the Marauder brainwashes a space traveler into thinking he’s Satan, then sets the pretend Lord of Darkness against Superman. The battle between Supes and Satan is great fun, dynamically rendered by Swan, but it would have been even better if this devil wasn’t an impostor. Especially when the mysterious traveler is revealed to be Superman’s godfather from Krypton! The whole story seems an odd, long way to go to introduce what should have been an important character. It looks like this godfather never appeared again, but at least we got this diabolically amusing story out of the bargain.

From Action Comics #378 by Shooter, Mortimer, Esposito, and Jetter.

A cover and pages from Action Comics #372 by Dorfman, Swan, Abel, Binder, Schaffenberger, and Weisinger. Cover by Neal Adams.

In this wrestling-themed issue of Action Comics from the late 60s, Superman has somehow gotten partial amnesia and forgotten his secret identity. He reads in the paper that a pro-wrestler who looks pretty much exactly like him has gone missing, and he assumes, as you would, that his alter ego is said pro-wrestler. Hijinks ensue.

In the second feature, Supergirl wins a date with a movie star and gets to star in a jungle movie while dealing with a dangerously jealous co-star.

I’ve enjoyed the two Action issues I’ve read from this era. They’re weird, frothy fun. I have one more to go, wherein Superman evidently makes a deal with Satan!

The cover and several pages from Action Comics #362. Story 1 by Dorfman, Andru, and Esposito. Story 2 by Binder and Schaffenberger. Cover by Neal Adams.

This is one of the weirdest Superman stories I’ve read in a long time if not ever, but to be fair, I haven’t read a lot of stuff from before the 80s. An evil ventriloquist uses a giant robotic Superman head to hypnotize Clark Kent into trying to kill his own alter ego. Kent tunes up for his seemingly impossible bout with Supes by beating the heck out of an old gorilla. Adding an extra layer to the oddness, the ventriloquist drags around a life-size dummy of his dead brother.

The second story is almost as strange. Supergirl wins a trip to the future to visit her alma mater but finds out that she is remembered as a great villain for supposedly stealing space mail. Robin mysteriously appears and represents her in court. Not all is as it seems.

Both these stories were a lot of fun. I’ll be on the lookout  for more of these late 60s Action issues.

As an aside - I love that someone wrote ‘Geist’ on Superman’s chin on the cover. I actually picked this copy over a nicer one because of that bit of graffiti. It’s like the book is haunted by a previous owner.