Sunday, May 15, 2016

Goosebumps - Basement Matinee

Hello and Welcome To Basement Matinee…

Back in the 1990s, Goosebumps was all the rage, with the books, some of which I still happen to own, including Night of The Living Dummy, and a rather fun TV show which aired as part of the FOX Kids block on well… Fox, and to say R.L. Stein got a lot of kids in middle (or junior) high reading is an understatement. The franchise has been on and off over the years, with different series being created, including a graphic novel run I’ll have to track down at some point… with eventually everything come to ahead with the 2015 motion picture starring Jack Black.

So if the movie came out last year, why am I just talking about it now? Because I finally got around to watching it on Netflix earlier today.  According to R.L. Stein himself, the concept of a Goosebumps movie was around for nearly 20 years, but there was a question over which book should be adapted for the big screen, until it was decided instead to do something that involved as many different monsters from the series early days. So we got homages to ‘Night of The Living Dummy’, ‘The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena’ , Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, The Haunted Car, A Shocker on Shock Street, My Best Friend is Invisible… without question this was the best way to go for the film, because again, as someone who read the books and watched the Fox Kids show, it gave me something to pop for.

Now four those you who may not know, the plot of the film is actually a bit basic, a teenager boy and his mom move to a new town, he becomes infatuated with the girl next door who has an over protective father and through a series of hijinks, it turns out the father is R.L Stein, played by Jack Black, a reclusive writer who basically went into obscurity, and it turns out all of his stories are ‘real’, he them to terrorize those who bullied him, but the monsters became real and uncontrollable. He managed to lock them away, but they are freed accidentally, leading to a mad dash to try and capture the creatures who are being lead by Slappy The Dummy (from Night of the Living Dummy) who are out to get and kill Stein...

Okay maybe not so basic… but the execution is done very well, and despite the over the top concept, everything is played straight, which helped stressed the urgency of the story. The special effects were solid, nothing to spectacular so they didn’t take away from what was being displayed… if I had to find a problem with the movie is that… there were a couple of elements out of the Disney / Nickelodeon formula of ‘High School Stereotypes’ , namely with the ‘comic relief’ in the form Champ, who I just wanted to see on the wrong end of the jaws of the Werewolf of Fever Swamp…

And don’t tell me characters weren’t killed in the movie, cause it’s quite clear that that the Praying Mantis ate one teen.

But I digress… outside of Champ, played by Ryan Lee, I think everyone was decently cast and perform their roles well with the material they were given, in fact I would say this would be the first Jack Black movie with the words Kung Fu and Panda in the title that I actually liked.

So the verdict is this: for an hour and forty-three minutes, Goosebumps is fun little flick that plays perfectly as tribute to the source material while also kicking starting a possible film-franchise, as the ending certainly left things open for a sequel.

Basically: I am recommending to check it out, if you have not already seen it.

Street Fighter V #1 Free Comic Book Day 2016 Special - Comics From The Basement

Hello and Welcome To Comics From The Basement…

Let’s talk about Street Fighter… at one point or another, if you’re a gamer you’ve probably played a version of Capcom’s iconic 2D fighter franchise, either in the arcades or on home consoles or computers.

However Street Fighter has had kind of a weird history when it came to ‘expanded media’, with cartoons, anime, movie, and comics of various quality, some good, some horrifically bad, being released over the years.  The biggest problem is that how do you turn a game, in particular Street Fighter II, into something that can fill out a universe and justify characters crossing paths with one another outside of a tournament format to bring them together? Sure all these characters from Guile to Cammy to Ken to Blanka to Ryu to M.Bison all have back stories that work for the games… but somehow it doesn’t always work when adapting the franchise to something else.

Which brings us to this week’s comic, ‘Street Fighter V’ #1 - The Free Comic Book Day 2016 Special. Coming out a little under three months as it’s video game namesake, this is a little anthology focusing on three sets of characters from within the game.

The first tale, or round as this comic calls it, titled ‘Coffee Break’, sees Rashid (one of the new characters in the franchise) going out for and returning to a lab with coffee, while at the same time being tracked by a reconstructed Charlie Nash who steals a prototype device that was being worked on.

The second round, ‘Sibling Rivalry’, focuses on siblings Sean and Laura Matsuda in the finals of  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament, in which Laura wins because she learned techniques from other styles of fighting, which leads Sean wanting to learn a new style so that he can defeat her.

The third and final round ‘Seat of Power’ shows how ‘conflicts aboard airplanes’ is determined when Birdie has the misfortune to cross paths with Karin Kanzuki.

The first two stories both have the same writer on them, Ken Siu-Chong, whose done a lot of work on Street Fighter comics over the years, but he worked on other franchises, such as Robotech and Thundercats. The third story was done by Matt Moylan, who in addition to Street Fighter comics, has worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Transformers. Both appear to have done work with a couple of different publishers, most prominently as far as I can tell being Image comics.

The stories are quick reads perfect for a FCBD issue. The first story is without question the strongest as it is designed to get the reader to find out more about Nash and to read ‘The Life and Deaths of Charlie Nash’. The second tale is alright, just basically filling out more of Sean’s backstory heading into Street Fighter III, which seems like an odd choice, because to my knowledge Laura is in Street Fighter V, but Sean isn’t. The final tale, is ‘cute’ but serves no real purpose other than to have Karin and Birdie fight over a seat on a plane.

The art work duties were split between a few folks, Edwin Huang did the cover, the three chapter pagers and the pencil & inks on the first story, while Jeffery Cruz and Brendon Tapper handled the art for 2nd and 3rd stories respectively. Overall the artwork is very good, with three different styles, however in comparing them, it’s quite clear that Huang’s work is head and shoulders above that of Cruz and Tapper’s contributions. I’m not staying their work is bad, far from it, it’s just comparing them to Huang.

So what’s the verdict on this’s a short anthology, with three quick read tales that has good art work, with only one story seeming aimed at getting readers interested in new content in terms of comics relating to the Street Fighter franchise, one tying into an older video game and third having a silly set up and premise. As a FCBD special, it worked and did it’s job well.

So my recommendation is as follow… if you happen to come across it check it out, I wouldn’t recommend paying more than $1.50 for it on the re-sellers market however.

Next week… I think I will straight up disagree with a guy that has a magic gun when it comes to a mini-series that has the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage...

9/20/2019 A Night Of Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3

This was an interesting stream as I streamed Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, and we had issues with a troll in the later stages of it. Now lets...