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An Ode to Mike Allred's Madman

On the surface, Allred’s Madman is a remix of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Frank Einstein (formerly Zane Townsend) aka Madman has more in common with the mythic heroes of legend and inhabits a world equally fantastic. The audience can see that Allred poured his heart into this series. The cast is eclectic and unique (ranging from a scientist with detachable heads, invisible assistants, villainous beatniks turned heroic mutate band, infernal g-men, a beatnik-alien hybrid, jungle themed heroes, an alien inventor, an adult Astroboy pastiche, unlikely celebrity cameos, and comic book guest stars). Allred took great steps to flesh out each character and grant a unique voice.

The thing that stood out most about Frank Einstein is his purity tempered humanity. He’s not an aloof alien judging us & looking down on us like Kal-El or a pinnacle of piety or perfection. He made mistakes, worked to fix them, and helped those in need around him. Madman didn’t perform heroics for attention, adoration, or reward; he just did what was right. His relationship with Josephine Lombard is so organic and beautiful free of the “will they won’t they” that plagued other iconic couples like Pete & MJ/Lois & Clark.

Madman embodies everything that made the 50′s and 60′s era of comic and science fiction great (down to its stylized artwork). If you are comic fan who misses the Golden Age where the focus was on telling an epic and captivating story (minus graphic violence and sadistic acts that emerged during the gritty 90’s) then this is the series for you!

Celebrity Guests:
Conan O'Brien & Andy Richter

Robert Rodriguez

Images courtesy of Warren Peace's blog, Mike Allred's official Site, Mike Allred's Art Blog, and Comic Art Community

Farewell, Good Sir

My first real exposure to Dwayne McDuffie was the Static Shock cartoon. I was aware of Static before the cartoon (due to the 90’s Milestone Comics, but I didn’t read a Milestone book until recently). Mr. McDuffie gave the audience an engaging narrative in addition to a different type of African American lead, a positive one. Virgil Hawkins was an honor roll student from a good family and not a gang banger, drug dealer, champion athlete, aspiring rapper (otherwise stereotypical black roles).

With the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons, Mr. McDuffie provided complex and rich stories that made the audience yearn for a world where Wally West, Bruce Wayne, and Clark Kent existed. His iteration of Clark Kent stands out in my mind because his Clark was damaged, burdened with such hurt and pain, yet soldiers on doing what he feels is right.
Later Man Of Action would put their Ben 10 series in his skillfully hands and he took that lump of clay and molded into a magnificent structure. He added so much depth and layers to the characters, put the characters through crucibles which caused to grow, and he also played with the concept of redemption along with good and evil. Now that he’s no longer here, the future of this fictional universe and its cherished characters are uncertain. Hopefully the staff will soldier on and make Dwayne McDuffie proud.

His films, Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths and All Star Superman, were treats for fans of excellent animation, DC fanboys, and lovers of an enthralling stories. I loved how he portrayed the Crime Syndicate as posthuman mafia with Ultraman ruling like some untouchable don as well as his nihilistic iteration of Owlman. He wowed with the way he was able to capture everything that made Kal El fantastic in Grant Morrison’s original story.

A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me the Icon trade (Icon was one of the flagship titles of Milestone comics). This book stood out because it dealt with issues that the Big Two (Marvel and DC) backed away from, such as teen pregnancy, inner city poverty and racism.

Dwayne McDuffie’s passing has impacted his fans and colleagues alike:

“I can’t wrap my mind around the notion that he’s not here anymore, to be honest.”
Warren Ellis

“To work with Dwayne McDuffie was to be instantly at home with a kindred soul. You spoke the same language, you read the same comics, you tossed around ridiculous characters like B'wana Beast and the Ultra-Humanite with the same ease as two musicians riffing on a beloved childhood song. And like a musician, Dwayne fine tuned his stories until they sang. Dwayne made it easy because he was so good.”
Paul Dini

Images courtesy of Denys Cowan, Comic Book Resources, Phil Bourassa, and Comic Art Community

Quotes courtesy of Warren Ellis Dot Com and Comic Book Resources

When Robot met Zombie… I meant Deathlok…
Monkey King

I know that I am a known necrophobe but I dig this idea. Although the Deathlok character is a reanimated corpse, he lacks the mindless cannibal angle and is outfitted with state of the art cybernetics. In the 90’s, I discovered Deathlok in his Professor Michael Collins iteration, a pacifist whose brain was transferred into a cyborg killing machine and frequently interacted with A List heroes like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

In recent years, robotic zombies returned as prototype troopers of Norman Osborn’s HAMMER organization (while they were more shambling zombies than cyborg killers they did plant the seed for a more fleshed-out reintroduction). The idea made a more faithful return in Jason Aaron’s Wolverine run as anonymous Deathlok soldiers outfitted with web shooters, rapid self-repair function, repulsor ray technology, and laser version of Wolverine’s claws. This February, Rick Remender transformed the concept into a pan-temporal virus that has infected Marvel’s posthuman populace and utilizes them as a military force. I appreciate what these writers have added to the tapestry but I yearn for the days of a solo Deathlok soldier. Below are my ideas about how to accomplish it.

My primary Deathlok idea involves a dystopian future 616 where most of the posthumans have been eliminated and humanity is oppressed by the industrial military complex. The resistance group would recover Steve Roger’s preserved corpse, revive it and outfit it with the technology of fallen heroes (Cap’s body is preserved so that the Super Soldier serum could be reverse-engineered). The Deathlok would possess Captain America’s Ubermensch brain and most of his body, Wolerine’s Adamantium claws, Tony Stark’s repulsor ray and Uni-Beam, the Iron Spider’s camouflage technology, Henry Pym’s size change technology, the energy version of Captain America’s shield and the Thor Clone’s hammer.

My other idea merges Remender’s viral version with the Techno-Organic Virus (Marvel’s version of the Borg). AIM or Hydra creates a variant of the Techno-Organic virus that grants the host posthuman abilities in addition to integrated weaponry. In true comic fashion, the vial containing the modified virus ends up in the possession of SHIELD operative who eventually uses it to become a super hero.

Images courtesy of Comic Book Resources

Predators: Original Predator Remixed
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I thoroughly enjoyed this film and felt like it set the Predators franchise back on the right path. I was impressed by Brody's performance the most, he played a very convincing bad arese. The upgrade and tweaks to Predator technology were interesting and appealed to the tech nerd in me. The homages to the original film were a nice touch. My only regret is that the Predator weaponry wasn't shown

This is a must-see summer blockbuster!








Images courtesy of IGN Movies

Videos courtesy of Official Predators website

Darth Vader Who?

3 decades ago, Darth Vader was the epitome of bad arse in a galaxy far away. In recent years, the creative people at LucasArt have redefined what it means to be a bad arse Force User!

Vader's apprentice: Galen Marek aka Starkiller(Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I & II)

Starkiller in action

Darth Malgus (from Star Wars: The Old Republic)

Malgus in Action

Images courtesy of Wookieepedia

Videos courtesy of

Shamanism: A Recurring Theme in Warren Ellis Fiction

A shaman is defined as a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc.

Mr. Ellis created/redesigned characters that functioned as shaman in his books (like Nate Grey, in the Counter X series, and the Doctor from Stormwatch/Authority).

He also introduced ideas like:

"Down there are people called ayahuasqueros. Tribal doctors, mystics, medicine men. They take this stuff called ayahuasca, this awful mush they brew up out of vines and stuff. It's a psychedelic. They hallucinate all over the place -- but it's their belief that the visions are actually another dimension. When you ask them why they take it, they say it's for working with the ancestors. They're necronauts. They travel in the place of the dead. And what they bring back are messages from the afterlife."
- Sam Wilson (in Ultimate Nightmare)

"You are aware through esoteric scientific research conducted by many people over the Twentieth Century. that souls do not die. Souls are some form of electromagnetic field that continue to inhabit the body after death. Bones, crackling with strange and imperceptible energetic activity. And we buried them. Are they still aware? Can the dead still perceive we don't yet know. Is that happens? We lay in the dirt, still somehow aware of being in there? And gravity draws us into the earth. And plants grow. Ayahuasca. Peyote. Psylocibin. Stropharia Cubensis. The drugs. Yes, historically, we consider them shamanic drugs, and they were overlaid with ritual and religion and the other crap of archaic societies. But all societies had their speakers to the dead and their oracles who looked into other places. In legend, the Oracle at Delphi stood at a pool and inhaled its vapor, the pneuma, to oraculate. It was recently found that a vent beneath the pool expressed ethylene, a hydrocarbon gas that creates an euphoric derangement, into the water. Ethylene, the pneuma, is a plant hormone. The dead lay in the ground, their souls oiling out from their bones, into the earth, into roots... that effervesced into the clouds that the oracle inhaled to see new worlds. Into the plants that our speakers to the dead ingested to do their business.
- Melanctha (in Planetary)

"You're a machine. I'm a machine. Our parts are made out of water and meat and minerals, but we're walking pieces of engineering. Everything's a machine. Plants, everything. When we eat a plant, we disassemble it, junk what we don't want and plug the parts we need into our machine. What if these jungle drugs are machines we can ride?"
- Sam Wilson (in Ultimate Nightmare)

His ideas lead me to look at shamanism, the concept of a soul and death from a different angle. I would love to read an Ellis book where he jumps head first into this theme and runs wild with it in a similar manner to his Crooked Little Vein novel.

Images courtesy of Ben Templesmith and Freak Angels.

Warren Ellis' images courtesy of Warren Ellis' Official Livejournal.

Naruto: Dragon Ball Remixed

The similarities between the three main characters from both series are the main reason for my point of view.

Son Goku is Naruto Uzumaki:
• Pure-hearted often underestimated saviors
• Ignorant of their true origins
• Taught by lecherous and perverted masters
• Completed their fathers' goal
• Never knew their fathers
• Eventually avenged the murder of their perverted masters
• Perfected, created variations of their master’s signature technique (Kamehameha and Rasengan)
• Transformed into a raging beast that they were initially unaware of.
• Took steps to suppress the beast.
• Possessed enhanced states that they can not sustain for too long (Kaio-ken and Sage Mode)
• Saved former enemies and turned away from the path of darkness
• Became good friends with former enemies
• Inspired the people around them to become better
• Showed mercy to a villain who mercilessly murdered friends and injured loved ones

Vegita is Sasuke Uchiha:
• Survived the purge of their once great people
• Regarded as geniuses by their peers
• Caught the attention of a greater evil force
• Eventually rebelled against the evil force
• Heart consumed with darkness and desire for revenge
• Allowed light to enter their life through association with title character
• Jealous of title character’s progress in skill and power
• Feelings of inferiority led to them abandoning their loved ones for more power
• Accepted a villain’s mark/seal for more power
• Initially defeated their rival with the power boost

Bulma is Sakura:
• Possesses a close bond with the main character and his rival/foil
• In love with the foil
• Resourceful and possesses great intelligence
• Prone to violently putting perverted characters in their place
• Prone to violently attacking people who insult their beauty
• Abandoned by their love in his quest for more power

Supplementary Similarities:
Mafūba (aka Evil Containment Wave) is Shiki Fuujin (aka the Corpse Spirit Sealing Method):
• Used to seal a great evil force
• Technique cost the practitioner his life
• Attempted by another person with limited success (Tien Shinhan and Hiruzen Sarutobi)

Pikkoro Daimaō (aka King Piccolo) is Kyūbi no Yōko (the 9 tailed Fox Demon):
• Immensely powerful and malevolent forces bent on destruction
• Sealed to prevent further destruction
• Released by (relatively) minor villain.
• Association with the principle of Yin and Yang; Piccolo is Kami’s Yang; Naruto possesses Kyūbi’s Yin (Sasuke is suspected to possess Kyūbi’s Yang)

The Senzu Bean is the Military Rations Pill
• Both restore health to wounded warriors.

Dragon Ball Art by Akira Toriyama:

Naruto Art by Masashi Kishimoto:

Images courtesy of and VIZ Media.
The Japanese Names and the precise translation were taken from: Leaf Ninja, Naruto Wiki, and Dragon Ball Wiki.

Spotlight on a Grrl Gamer: Jo Garcia

Jo Garcia is more than just another pretty face. She is a grrl gamer! She is not a casual gamer either! She completed FFXII and got the Zodiac Spear.

Here is an exert from her Kotaku interview:
"People don't understand that that the whole gaming world is not just for geeks, and assume that every person who plays video games is a geek that wears glasses," Garcia said. "It's a misnomer that needs to be put to rest."

Garcia told us she plays PC games and console titles, and owns both a Nintendo DS and a PSP. "It's something that I carry with me everywhere, like some people carry their iPods. It's the norm to me. I've had people send me messages like, 'oh you play video games?' And I'm like, 'why are you so surprised?"

"If I could get a job... being a game tester, I would do that all day long."

Wouldn't she get sick of it? "I don't think I would! I think that's one of those things... like you can eat chocolate all day long, and I can play video games all day and I'll get lost in them."

Her favorite games? "I love RPGs that tell stories," she said, listing the Final Fantasy series, Radiata Stories and the Xenosaga trilogy among her favorites.

"I like those games because they have a lot of sidequests," Garcia said. "You can build up your character doing small things. I'm 100 hours into FFXII and I'm not even done with the game yet. I'm doing all the hunts and the sidequests - I'm probably a third into the game and my guys are at level 60. I hold my characters high so when I go through the game it's a lot easier."

Yeah. But did she get the Zodiac Spear?

"I actually got the Zodiac Spear the first time I played it... you have to go through hell to get that spear, but I happened to get it the first time because someone told me about it. You can't open certain boxes, but then you have to go through and fight that nasty esper at the end... I died three times before I actually beat it."

Fotos De Jo

Jo in Action

Images courtesy of and interview courtesy of Interview: Playboy Cyber Girl of the Year Is A True Player

Jersey Gods: A Must Read for fans of Jack Kirby's work
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Glen Brunswick and Dan McDaid crafted a very organic love story that incorporated signature Jack Kirby elements. It contains warring celestial deities, fantastic technology that border magic, cosmic giants, epic combat sequences, and tender moments. Brunswick's writing style reminds me of Mike Allred's, both demonstrated the ability to make the most extraordinary characters (i.e. reanimated patchwork hero or celestial war deity) appear human. McDaid's art is reminiscent of Kirby with his own unique flair added. This is one series that should not be missed!
Barock thinks that you should pick up the trades as well!

Concept Artwork:

Covers and Pinups:

Images courtesy of Dan McDaid, Mike Allred, Paul Pope, and Darwyn Cooke via, and

Zombie + Robot + Punisher = Franken Castle!
Monkey King
Looks like Marvel took two popular fanboy staples, zombies and robots, and merged with Punisher giving the audience, Franken Castle. This isn't Marvel's first zombie-robot mashup, that title belongs to Deathlok (a dead soldier resurrected as a cyborg). I dig the design and the concept on one level, but I also curious to see this idea done but unburdened by the Punisher factor. Perhaps: a patchwork cyborg mercenary along the lines of Deadpool or some existential ronin-like wanderer. Maybe someone like Warren Ellis or Mark Millar will take that undead robot soldier idea and remix it in the future.

Birth of Franken Castle

Franken Castle in action

Images courtesy of


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