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Don’t Worry, Mommy’s Here: 5 of the best moms in horror cinema

When I was just a wee baby (as in barely a few months old), my mom decided to take me to the movie theater with her to see The Lost Boys (released in July, 1987). Jerry Rees’s The Brave Little Toaster was also playing. My mom apparently weighed her options and decided The Lost Boys would have more of an impact in my early development than a toaster with a smile.

I cried during the entire movie. If you’ve never seen it (and if you haven’t, you should), the vampire make-up effects by artist Greg Cannom were terrifying. The vamps kept their human forms, but their faces transformed into something resembling very angry bats. And then there’s the vamp feeding scene at a punk bonfire. Fangs sunk into skulls and blood flew over the fire as the bikers went into a frenzy.


Years later, still a kid, I watched the movie again and managed to get through it without crying out of pure fear, but what stood out this time was how important the movie’s mother figure, Diane Weist‘s Lucy Emerson, was to the story and how much tension and terror the movie extracts from her as we watch one of her sons worry over her safety thinking she was dating a vampire. It left an impression. What if my mom got targeted by a vampire all of a sudden? Could I kill it on my own or did I need my own Frog Brothers to stake the bloodsucker?

It was easy to empathize with Lucy. She was a single parent moving in with her father at a time when her two kids were at their most rebellious in a new place she later learns is infested with vampires. She becomes a calming presence that could’ve helped more if her kids had let her in on the troubles of Santa Carla and the people they hung out with. One thing I admired was how brave she came off as in a place director Joel Schumacher went lengths to portray as dirty, dangerous, and forgotten. She was strong and she proved it in the final moments of the film, taking a decision for the sake of her family’s safety that jeopardized hers. All of this to say, Lucy Emerson was my first horror mom and she’s remained a favorite ever since.

It goes without saying by now, but my appreciation of horror, and The Lost Boys in particular, started getting nurtured the moment my mom decided to lightly traumatize me as a baby by taking me to the movies to see biker vampires on a big screen. So, in honor of the work mothers do from the moment we’re born, here’s a list of 5 horror movie moms that either scare, take care, or bring chaos to their kids. In other words, the kind of moms that keep steering future generations into horror.

Enjoy, and Happy (belated) Mother’s Day!


1. Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist (dir. William Friedkin, 1975)

As frightening as the possessed Regan MacNeil is, none of it would’ve worked to the extent it did if the audience couldn’t channel their horror through her mom. Ellen Burstyn made this possible with a spectacular performance as Chris MacNeil, a mom that embodied both the fear of living with a child tormented by something unfathomable and the strength that’s required to fight a battle that initially looked unwinnable.

Burstyn dug deep to portray a mother that had her entire reality flung out the window and yet still managed to hold out hope as a demon tore apart her kid from the inside. Her facial expressions should be studied by anyone interested in capturing what true fear looks like, but also what anger and frustration look like in a supernatural setting. Each one of Chris MacNeil’s screams is a gut punch that makes you reel, heightening the horror of the possession and the idea of what it means to share a household with a sinister entity hellbent on corrupting an innocent soul.


2. Hitomi Kuroki as Yoshimi Matsubara in Dark Water (dir. Hideo Nakata, 2002)

Mothers have a strange and complicated relationship with child ghosts in horror. In movies where the mother is grieving the loss of a daughter, for instance, the ghost becomes a metaphor for loss and denial in the face of death.

In Hideo Nakata’s Dark Water, though, the connection becomes something different. The story’s mother character, Yoshimi Matsubara, isn’t mourning the loss of a child. She’s getting consumed by the fear of losing hers, all of which stems from the ghost of a little girl that died in the apartment building they live in.

Actress Hitomi Kuroki plays Yoshimi like a tragic beacon of light that lonely ghosts can find a mother in. Her performance captures both the terrors that motherhood brings to the fore and what being a parent represents in the grander scheme of things. Kuroki channels the energy of a haunted house in human form, reluctantly accepting her role despite the consequences of potentially becoming mom to a ghost.


3. Essie Davis as Amelia in The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent, 2014)

Perhaps the most influential horror mom in recent times, Essie Davis’ Amelia landed on the scene with a force that reminded viewers how brutal the experience of motherhood can be. The Babadook runs on her intensity, on her up-close and uncomfortably personal pain.

Amelia is a single mom taking care of her high-energy kid, called Samuel. Her life has essentially halted, fully, just because Samuel and his behavior take up so much of her existence, every inch of it, in fact. When the titular demon comes into their home, it finds Amelia ripe for murderous possession.

Director Jennifer Kent managed to paint a rage-filled portrait of a mother that was dealt an extremely bad hand. Essie Davis leans into Amelia’s frustrations and makes a compelling argument against becoming a mom, but only in certain moments. At others, she manages to flip the horror of the Babadook to show how incredibly beautiful it can be to take care of a life you created.

Bates Motel

4. Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates in Bates Motel (TV series developed by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, and Anthony Cipriano, 2013-2017)

I’m going to cheat here really quick and go for a horror TV series instead of a movie because this example is just too good, and it should be discussed more as a whole. Vera Farmiga’s interpretation of the iconic Norma Bates in Bates Motel is one of the most fascinating takes on the role in the history of the moms in horror.

The series modernizes the Norman Bates story by making the motel he shares with his mother part of a larger ecosystem and by having Norma be very much alive. Drugs, late night rendezvous, and dangerous relationships form in their place of business, and Norma has a hand in everything in one shape or another. And yet, nothing with her is predictable. She can turn a bad situation worse or offer comfort in times when those closest to her are in need.

What’s impressive is how the show interweaves outside influences with the peculiar intricacies of Norma’s relationship and outright manipulation of Norman. Farmiga switches with ease between scheming and selfish to loving and nurturing. She’s a source of torment one episode and a pillar of stability in another. She’s both what Norman needs as a mother and what he desperately needs to run away from. Farmiga puts on a show for the ages as Norma Bates. Her contribution to horror should not be overlooked.


5. Natalia Solán as Valeria in Huesera: The Bone Woman (dir. Michelle Garza Cervera, 2022)

A baby can be a terrifying thing, especially as it grows inside you. It can either be a great source of happiness or a force of existential oppression that can shatter a parent’s identity. Add the fear of some foreign entity shaping and corrupting the life you’re carrying and things can get scarier fast.

Michelle Garza Cervera’s Huesera indulges in this kind of fear, asking what a child is supposed to mean to a mother and whether they should submit to whatever the answer is. It places the mom-to-be, Natalia Solán’s Valeria, at the center of the story as a kind of victim of pregnancy, someone who went along with social expectations only to open the doors for something sinister to latch onto her baby.

Solán approaches Valeria as a ticking time bomb-type of character that suffers quietly at first, but is then forced to face the entity and the prospect of becoming a mother in the worst ways possible. Watching Valeria unravel is tough, but it comes with the development of a different point of view regarding a mother’s obligations and whether it’s okay to resist them. The very meaning of personal sacrifice is explored here, and it leads to an urgent question more people should ask themselves: is the parent’s life, their dreams and desires, less important than that of the child’s? The answer, Huesera would argue, is not so simple.

Review: Shudder’ s 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time

Horror Movie

Lists and rankings concerning the best of anything are bound to be controversial by their very nature. Some might argue against the inherently subjective dimensions of the premise itself, saying it invalidates the entire exercise altogether. Others find validation through them, a way to dole out a few “told you so’s” in a debate. For me, lists aren’t about any of that.

A good list offers a service, a good excuse to go through the things being discussed by either engaging with them for the first time or getting reacquainted with them to test out the premise of the list. Shudder’s 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time does precisely that. It’s not interested in laying down the law in the field of horror in an inflexible way (despite what the series’ title blatantly implies), instead it’s all about giving viewers more than enough reasons to indulge in well-crafted scares or to get reacquainted with old haunts with a fresh set of eyes.

The horror streaming service’s new series is basically a spiritual successor to Bravo’s 2004 miniseries The 100 Scariest Movie Moments, an influential production in its own right that gave horror fans material to debate and revisit once it aired. The first episode of the Shudder series, which is currently available to stream, goes from entries 101-89, stopping on each one to give a general idea of what the film is about and why it’s memorable as a whole before finally landing on its scariest moment.

Horror movie
It Follows

I’m not going to spoil the whole list here, but I will reveal entry #101 as it sets the tone well and signals a desire to not just go over the same horror classics that have dominated these kinds of countdowns before. David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014) kicks things off fast and intense in what I took as a kind of statement. It had that “this isn’t your parents’ best of horror list” feel to it and it imbued the following entries with a surprising sense of anticipation.

Part of what also made the first entry so exciting was how it presented the format for the series, especially when it comes to its commentators. Instead of going for a mashup of quick edits and cuts of speakers giving bite-sized observations on the movie, each segment focused largely on one leading voice supported by shorter horror expert interventions, which included directors, journalists, scholars, experts, actors, and celebrity fans. The tone was celebratory but focused, not interested in quick quips or in making fun of the movie (something that Bravo, E!, and VH1 would go on to do in their own countdown-type shows).

An impressive cast of commentators graces the screen throughout, too. Tananarive Due, Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Tom Holland (the director of Fright Night and Child’s Play, not Spider-Man), Tony Todd, Brea Grant, and Gigi Saúl Guerrero are among the experts brought in to dissect each scary moment and their insight is the stuff of horror nerd dreams.

There’s a good mix of veteran industry names and newer or emerging voices within the community to make each discussion come off as fresh. Nothing feels recycled, giving every movie a chance to be seen through a different lens. This seems to be the aim of the series, to favor new interpretations and to dare consider films that haven’t had the chance to get much of a spotlight elsewhere.

Mulholland Drive

For instance, I never expected David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001) to be one of the selections, but its inclusion was not only welcome but given the treatment it deserves as a unique film that freely indulges in horror in its storytelling. Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath (1963) follows close enough to make the ranking come off as modern and not tied down by tradition or cannon.

I was also pleased to see the range of time periods on display as newer lists tend to add newer productions at the expense of older ones despite their relevance and overall filmic impact. On the contrary, the show goes lengths to reassure fans the old and the new can coexist and elevate each other. There’s even recognition of a previous selection’s influence on a movie that comes further down on the list.

All of this to say that The 101 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time is shaping up to be an invaluable piece of horror content, especially in getting viewers to watch more horror. It’s a fun, non-combative celebration of the genre that invites appreciation rather than contentious debate over which movie should come first or last. Give it a watch and then go and get scared watching the movies that made it into the list.

5 Scariest Movie Villains Since 2000

I used to not understand fans of horror movies, but in recent times, I have been expanding my horizons. While I still have a long way to go, I think I now have a better understanding of the appeal of horror movies, their plots, and especially their villains.

Having said that, why don’t we take a look at some of the scariest movie villains from the past decade or so? If you want to scare the crap out of people with your costume this Halloween, you can go as one of them.

Voldemort (Harry Potter)

Harry Potter has changed the lives of countless people, and while it is not technically a horror story, it does have its share of scary characters, of which Lord Voldemort in his gory glory is the scariest. The books and the movies both portray him as the evilest of evil, but his portrayal in the movies can give you nightmares.


The Joker (The Dark Knight)

The Batman franchise has been going on for decades, and the Joker has always been one of his best foes. The Dark Knight’s Heath Ledger is the scariest of them all, not only because of the awesome makeup work, but also because of his portrayal of the character. He just screams crazy while not even literally screaming, and not the kind of crazy that makes you laugh.

The Joker

Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw 3D)

One look at that face, and who wouldn’t be scared? Leatherface is the villain in the (yet another remake) of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In 2013, Texas Chainsaw 3D was released. While the movie was a flop, its chainsaw-wielding villain is certainly not. Contrarily, I bet that anyone who has watched the movie would say he’s the stuff nightmares are made of.


Chucky (Curse of Chucky)

Disclaimer: I haven’t seen any of the Chucky movies because I am terrified of this doll. In fact, horrific children and dolls scare me more than anything else.

Setting that aside, take a look at that poster. The combination of Chucky’s face and the tagline is enough to give one the creeps. Bloodshed and chaos from a freaky doll. Don’t tell me that’s not scary!


Jigsaw (Saw)

Saw is one of the horror movies I’ve seen that contributed to a lot of sleepless nights. Jigsaw, the serial killer, not only looks freaky, but his psychological games increase his scary factor.


For sure, there are more scary villains than these five, but you can’t go wrong with any of them if your goal is to be noticed this Halloween. Which one is your favorite villain?

This post was written by Kelvin of Pure Costumes, the site where you can find anything and everything when it comes to dressing up as someone else.

She-Hulk #1 Through the Eyes of a Lawyer

She-Hulk_1_Young_VariantCharles Soule‘s She-Hulk hit the shelves this week and has been flying off ever since, particularly here in lawyer heavy Washington, DC. Soule is a real life lawyer on top of his comic writing duties, taking on She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters a superhero/lawyer herself. I am not a lawyer, but I thought it’d be fun to see what one thought of the first issue.

Here’s the Top 5 thoughts in no particular order about She-Hulk #1 from the lawyer I trust the most, my fiance.

  1. Despite the smoking gun piece of evidence it’d really take years to get the case through court.
  2. She billed 2800 hours that year, plus saving the world… when does she sleep? That 2800 is what was billed, not worked. You bill about 70-75% of what you actually work. That is if you’re good. So, you can imagine what’s worked for that 2800 hours.
  3. It was a bit hard to believe it wasn’t clear upfront when she was hired it was as a “rainmaker.”
  4. She loved the part with Legal where he goes off into fine print. Literally the lettering was fine print. Loved it. When multiple lawyers get in a room. This is what happens. They will start talking in fine print.
  5. She-Hulk’s not wrong about CEOs being out of touch with their legal department. Because no one likes dealing with legal.

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week, but the holidays are that many days closer.  Yay!

Around the Blogs:

ComicBook.com – Top 10 Comic Book TV ShowsNot a bad list.

Buffalo News – Collector bargainingThis is where I really started my collecting and know most of these shops.

Gainesville Times – Graphic novels are not only for geeks – They’re for nerds too.

Kotaku – Sunday Comics: You Must Be This Tall to Raid – Each week, Kotaku posts some great webcomics.


Around the Tubes Reviews:

Paste – The 20 Best Comic Books of 2011– With a month to go, isn’t this a bit early?

My Summer Movie Schedule

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With the summer movie season just a few weeks away from kicking off, I’ve been going over the release schedule to figure out my game plan.  Below is my must and likely see list for the next few months.  Notice some high profile omitions.


Hobo With a Shotgun – May 6 – This unlikely movie is a rage on the Torrents and there’s not enough B-movie grindhouse flicks out there. Plus, how can you not see it with that title?

Thor – May 6 – Um, yes please. With each video and teaser, I want to see this more.

Something Borrowed – May 6 – I’m a sucker for rom-coms, but this one will likely be seen through television and Netflix

Priest – May 13 – I haven’t read the graphic novel, but the trailers have me sucked in.

Bridesmaids – May 13 – This one is on the edge, but it’s possible it’s a female version of the Hangover.

Everything Must Go – May 13 – The story of a man who gets rid of everything. It looks very interesting.

Skateland – May 13 – I’m sure it won’t get much coverage, but this seems like Adventureland, but in a skate rink.

The Hangover II – May 26 – I’ve seen the first one too many times to count. This is one of my most anticipated movies of the summer.

The Tree of Life – May 27 – Brad Pitt and Sean Penn? This screams a nice adult night out during the big action summer.


X-Men: First Class – June 3 – I remain skeptical, but the trailers have got be a lot less worried.

Super 8 – June 10 – J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg?  Sign me up.

Green Lantern – June 17 – I still remain skeptical but the first trailer has me a lot less worried.

Bad Teacher – June 24 – Justin Timberlake is hillarious.  Don’t believe me?  Check out any time he’s on SNL for proof.

Conan O’Briend Can’t Stop – June 24 – This documentary has me intrigued and a lot of buzz coming out of SXSW.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon – July 1 – The second movie was horrible. I’m crossing my fingers the second one is much better.

Horrible Bosses – July 8 – This comedy looks hilarious.  I think it has potential to be a Hangover like summer breakout.

Project Nim – July 8 – Another documentary but this one with monkeys.  Monkeys!

Captain America: The First Avenger – July 22 – The first trailer got me drooling.  I can’t wait for this film.

Friends With Benefits – July 22 – This is a replay of a certain other movie, but another movie with Justin Timberlake (hilarious) and the very beautiful Mila Kunis is a must see for me.

Another Earth – July 22 – A Sundance darling that’s described part sci-fi, astronomy and philosophy.  Sounds like my type of movie.

Cowboys & Aliens – July 29 – Read the title again, do I need to say why I want to see it? I haven’t read the graphic novel, but you better believe I will before the movie opens.

Crazy, Stupid, Love – July 29 – A movie with Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling has me intrigued.

The Guard – July 29 – I saw a bit about this movie at Sundance, it had me interested at that point.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes – August 5 – I’m a big fan of the entire Apes series (other than the crappy remake).  A new prequel is on a must-see list for me.

Conan the Barbarian – August 19 – The original is a classic.  It’ll be tough to top it.

Our Idiot Brother – August 26 – Another Sundance buzzed about movie.  This is the other that has potential to be a Hangover like summer hit.

50 Best Books for the Comic Book Crowd

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Lists to me are fascinating to me and Onlinecollegesanduniversities.net has put together one of “50 Best Books for the Comic Book Crowd.”  Various sections break down the types of books and sections include, Business and Process, Drawing, History and Culture, Literary Criticism and Must-Reads.

I’ve read about a dozen books on this list.  What about you?  How many have you knocked off?  Any you think that are missing and deserve to be there?

Friday Five: Best DC Comics Movies

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Today, I’m going to take a look at the Top 5 DC Comics Movies. Coming up with the top list of DC Comics-related movies that are of high quality is a lot easier task than it was for Marvel movies.  It’s not that there is a drastic number more Marvel movies, it’s that so few of the DC movies are any good.  Most of them are Superman or Batman sequels and most of the sequels, if fun, aren’t great movies. Very few other DC characters have ever gotten the big screen treatment and when they do, it’s often nonsense like Steel, starring Shaquille O’Neal.  That being said, there are some good movies here, and, in particular, if you can separate them from the source material and view them on their own merits, there are some really great movies here.

Honorable Mention: Superman Returns (2006)

5. Watchmen (2009): I know that the die-hard fans of Alan Moore’s comic don’t like this movie, but I think this is the key example of a movie that is quite good when taken on its own merits.  Sure, it is inferior to the comic by any standard, but if you put that aside, this movie looks great, it has good acting, the story is compelling and Jackie Earle Haley is near-perfect as Rorschach — it’ll be hard for any comic book movie tough guy to ever top this performance.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian is also notably good and most of the other acting is more than adequate.  This may not be a great movie or and it may not belong on the list of “best comic book movies,” but it is a fun and entertaining movie, nonetheless.

4. Batman Begins (2005): I think Christopher Nolan was still really kind of perfecting what he was doing with this one and it kind of comes apart at the seems a bit at the end, but Christian Bale instantly became the best Batman/Bruce Wayne combo in movie history, Cillian Murphy made one of the weaker Batman villains, the Scarecrow, spooky and Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Tom Wilkinson and Morgan Freeman give very good performances as well.

3. Batman (1989): I think maybe Tim Burton’s take on Batman is a bit overrated and I think the sequel to this movie is pretty mediocre, but Burton managed to hit all the right notes with this first film.  There was controversy at the time over Michael Keaton getting the role, but the skeptics, myself included, turned out to be wrong and this movie was, I think, the start of Keaton getting the respect he deserves as one of his generation’s better actors.  Jack Nicholson’s Joker was probably the iconic movie supervillain from the movie’s debut up through 2008.  The rest of the cast, the sets and costumes, the Prince soundtrack, the story and the action all work here.

2. Superman (1978):  As a pure film, Burton’s Batman is probably better than Superman, but in terms of comic book films, Superman is the landmark film.  It proved that comic books weren’t just for kids.  It proved that you could make a man fly and not have it look horrible.  It proved that you could not only cast an unknown for a major part, that in the right type of movie it was preferable to cast an unknown.  Every comic book movie that came afterwards owes a debt of gratitude to Superman and Christopher Reeve.  On top of that, it’s a pretty damned good movie in and of itself and it holds up well enough that you can watch it today and get the same level of enjoyment out of it as you did back then.

1. The Dark Knight (2008): It’s rare for a movie to have so many other movies that it not only will be compared with, but also that it has to surpass if it’s to be taken seriously.  The Burton Batman was long seen as the gold standard and Nicholson’s Joker was untouchable in terms of quality.  Batman Begins successfully rebooted the franchise, but would a sequel fall into the same trap that Batman Returns did for Burton?  Not only that, Marvel movies were beginning to flood the market in terms of both dollars and critical acclaim.  How would Nolan deal with all that?  By making the best damned superhero movie ever made.  How would Heath Ledger live up to Nicholson’s legacy?  By surpassing it and setting a new standard.  And this movie works on any level and by any standard.  It’s a great comic book movie.  It’s a great action movie.  It’s a great drama.  It’s got great effects, sets and costumes.  It’s got a great cast.  It’s got incredibly great acting.  It’s got a compelling story that works both on a literal level and as an allegory.  It is relevant to current events and timeless at the same time.  This is a great movie.

Friday Five: Best Marvel Movies

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Okay, I’m going to rank what I think are the top 5 movies featuring Marvel comics characters.  I won’t include anything from before 1998, because, well, Marvel movies from before that year are things I’ve tried to block out from my memory.  I also won’t be including Marvel-owned imprints like Icon (so no Kick-Ass, sadly), I’ll just be going with the main Marvel universe comics.  One other thing, for the sake of avoiding repetition, I’ll leave out Blade, since I already specified that last week as my favorite Marvel movie.  So, with no further ado, here are my Top 5 Marvel Movies (Excluding Blade):

Honorable mentions: X-Men (2000), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Blade: Trinity (2004), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

5. X2 (2002): The first X-Men movie suffered a little from having to tell the backstory of so much of the X-Universe and because some of the actors didn’t really fit their roles particularly well, but the second one got all of that out of the way and combined several of the greatest X-Men storylines into one awesomely fun movie.  The movie has a lot of great actors in it, it has a great director in Brian Singer and the special effects couldn’t be better.  It also spends more time with some of the characters that got the short shrift in the first movie.

4. Spider-Man (2002): This is the first of the Marvel movies to really get it right as a comic book adaptation.  It isn’t just a good movie, it’s a good comic book movie.  It’s true to the source material, while at the same time being a really great movie.  The cast, which was suspect going in, all performed better than could’ve been expected and it was a huge success, guaranteeing that there would be many more Marvel movies to follow.

3. Spider-Man 2 (2004): The sequel did everything the original did right, except it had better special effects and a tighter script and story.  There was no way for Spider-Man 3 to live up to the first two.

2. Blade II (2002): Blade II is just a damned good horror movie.  It isn’t so much a comic book adaptation, since Blade really is a minor character at Marvel, so they had to come up with original material that wasn’t taken from the comics.  They did an awesome job.  The enemy-of-my-enemy team-up, the scary super-vampires, the family subplot, the betrayal, the amazing special effects, and, my favorite, the venture of Ron Perlman’s Bloodpack into the clausterphobic sewers to battle an evil you couldn’t have imagined for yourself.  All that along with the always-awesome Wesley Snipes and direction by Guillermo del Toro and this is an awesome flick.

1. Iron Man (2008): Building on the success of the Spider-Man films, this one really perfects the superhero movie.  It is true to the source comics and, in fact, influenced them to go in a new direction that improved them.  The acting is superb and it’s hard to imagine anyone being better at being Tony Stark than Robert Downey Jr.  The rest of the cast is great, notably Jeff Bridges as the villain.  The movie looks better than any superhero movie that I could’ve imagined when I was growing up reading this stuff.  And, most importantly, this is a really good movie.  If you’ve never read the comics, or any comics, you can watch this and have a great experience.  At the same time, longtime fans have things that appeal to them, too, and thus we get a film that appeals to multiple audiences on multiple levels, which is an amazing feat.

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