GC158 Keith Carmona and James Burton from Scattered Comics

After Jason Dube of Scattered Comics was on the show, the possibility of having creators of some of their titles as guest came up.  I jumped at the offer to have Keith Carmona and James Burton to talk about their respective comic books Blank and Damage Inc.  We learn how drawing stick figures with big boobs, and teaching High School creative writing classes can lead to the same place in life.

Jeremy also gets a chance to complain about Dc Comics New 52 again.

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Geekish Cast Live Captain America Secret Empire Ends

We are back!  Geekish Cast Live returns after a few weeks off.  Jeremy, Joe (from Joe on Joe), Paul, and Chris (from The Nucleus Podcast) are here to tell you what has us geeking out, to comment on the biggest stories of the week, and to talk about how Secret Empire ends.  Grab your Funyuns and Mountain Dew, we have a lot to talk about!

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GC157 Geek-Girl ‘s Gone Wild with Sam Johnson

Jeremy is joined by comic book writer Sam Johnson (twitter @dasamjohnson) to discuss the collected edition of his mini-series Geek-Girl Lightning Strikes.  They discuss some of the characters and story elements, digital comics, and trends in the comic book industry.

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GC156 writer performer Aydrea Walden has ginger fever

A few months back I was looking for some web series creators to have on.  I found Aydrea and her upcoming series Black Girl in a Big Dress.  As I began to read up on her I found this blurb on her blog “The Oreo Experience”

The Oreo Experience or: A Total Whitey in a Black Chick’s Body

Oreo – Slang: Black on the outside….white on the inside.

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Pantheon The Series Ep. 155

Dan Fletcher joins us this week (recorded right after July 4th 2017) to discuss his web series Panthyon.  Panthyon is a tech company run by ancient Greek Gods.  We discuss the genesis of the series, what was involved in getting the show made, and film making in the modern world.

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The Godzilla-Sized Legacy of Haruo Nakajima

The Godzilla-Sized Legacy of Haruo Nakajima

By Daniel Dockery

For twelve straight films, from the 1954’s haunting Gojira to 1972’s bloody, rambunctious Godzilla On Monster Island, stuntman Haruo Nakajima wore the costume of the titular beast. Along with portraying Godzilla, Nakajima played other various Japanese monsters for the film company Toho, and he is just as important to the history of Godzilla as director Ishiro Honda, special effects guru Eiji Tsuburaya, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, and composer Akira Ifukube. Why? He was hidden by a hot rubber suit literally 100% of the time. He definitely didn’t fit the classical definition of “actor.”

Haruo Nakajima

Because, while many filmmakers have established that Godzilla is a metaphor, Haruo Nakajima is one of the only people to establish him as a character.

To Nakajima, Godzilla wasn’t just a force of nature, an atomic reckoning that lumbered through Tokyo until he got bored with spitting beams and returned to the bay. He was a beast. He was a hero. He had a personality. He wasn’t just a savior to the beleaguered citizens of Japan that had once again found themselves attacked by a King Ghidorah or a Gigan. He was a giant, fire-breathing Hulk Hogan. Go back and watch the way his Godzilla moves and falls and fights and reacts to things. That’s a monster with a soul, not just a man being paid a few bucks to put on a lizard outfit and kick over buildings.

Each time he played Godzilla, he brought something unique to the table. Look at his performance in Gojira. It’s slow and deliberate, but never mindless. Yet, despite Godzilla being Godzilla at his most atomic bomb metaphor-ey, he’s still a creature, swatting at the efforts of the ineffective jets that zoom around him. Then move to Godzilla Raids Again, where he is a savage animal, fighting to the death with Angilas, clawing and scratching and biting his way to a frantic victory.

Image result for king kong v godzilla

Look at Godzilla in King Kong vs Godzilla and Godzilla vs The Thing, where he isn’t just the stronger monster, but a bully. The Godzilla here is the final boss of the whole world. And then, for the exact opposite, look at Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster and Monster Zero where Godzilla, outmatched by a cackling three-headed demon from space, is forced to tag team with characters that he’d previously spent entire movies kicking the crap out of. And then compare that to Team Leader Godzilla in Destroy All Monsters and Protective Daddy Godzilla in Son of Godzilla and Godzilla’s Revenge. Then look at Pissed Off Island Godzilla in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep and Disgusted, Confused Godzilla in Godzilla vs Hedorah. And finally, check out a Godzilla performance that can best be described as “You built a tower that looks like me? Nah, bro” Godzilla in Godzilla On Monster Island. All performances that are definitely and unmistakably Godzilla, but are never phoned in.

Image result for Haruo Nakajima

It saddens me that Nakajima never got the recognition he deserved. Nowadays, film critics debate the merits of special effects-assisted performances, like Andy Serkis’ motion capture roles in King Kong, Lord of the Rings, and War for the Planet of the Apes. And I hope that one day, Nakajima’s name gets thrown into that discussion. This isn’t a plea to get him some kind of reward, but it is a request to remember his legacy in the grand scheme of monster movies, especially the ones that focus on the Big G. Because the King of the Monsters wouldn’t be the icon that he is today if Nakajima hadn’t given the role everything he had.


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The Dark Tower Review by Brett Yates

Dark Tower Poster
Movie Review: ‘The Dark Tower’
by Brett Yates
The Dark Tower, the newly released cinematic continuation of Stephen King’s epic series of fantasy novels, seems almost designed to piss off fans of the books. This would be kind of cool (for its sheer perversity) if it were true, but given the desperate number of cutesy, audience-appeasing easter-egg references to the author’s works—Misery, Cujo, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining—that are embedded within this otherwise fully generic enterprise, the nearly aggressive uselessness of Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s film adaptation, for the initiated and uninitiated alike, comes across primarily as product of the conflicting commercial visions of various studio execs who were alternately attracted to and intimidated by King’s famous (and famously protracted) property.
PHOTO BY:Ilze Kitshoff

Jake (Tom Taylor) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

The story begins in New York, where a string of unexplained and unusually intense earthquakes are afflicting the city, but pubescent Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is too engrossed in his increasingly vivid nightmares of a monstrous, apocalyptic world to notice. Jake feverishly chronicles his visions in detailed black-and-white sketches that his therapist regards as expressions of emotional disturbance in the aftermath of Jake’s father’s death. But Jake is convinced that everything he sees is real, and when alien goons in human masks show up at his mom’s apartment to kidnap him on behalf of the dark sorcerer Walter o’Dim (Matthew McConaughey, wearing a leather Matthew McConaughey mask), also known as the Man in Black, he flees, determined to uncover the true nature of the fantastical realm that seems ever more determined to mingle with his own.

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

In an abandoned mansion in Brooklyn, Jake finds a portal to the Spaghetti Western world of Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, played by Idris Elba with a dignity and seriousness that feels a little sad given the circumstances. The Gunslinger is a weary defender of the Dark Tower, a magical structure that stands at the center of all worlds, serving as the linchpin of the universe, now under assault by the Man in Black. A war is underway here, with all of its psychologically undefined participants operating as if aware of their roles as mythological symbols within a dualistic cosmology.

It’s pretty weird that we’ve reached a point where a $60 million budget can seem stingy, but here we are: Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, released in May, cost $175 million, and now Arcel is expected to erect his own castle in the air with one-third the resources. Ultimately, The Dark Tower doesn’t spend that much time in the land of the Dark Tower; the Gunslinger ends up in New York for a semi-comic, Enchanted-esque third act, tour-guided by Jake, where he tastes Coca-Cola for the first time and slut-shames the sex workers on public transit.
Roland and Jake from The Dark Tower

Roland (Idris Elba) and Jake (Tom Taylor) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

Based on the movie’s negative reviews, what King’s most devoted fans really wanted was a three-and-a-half-hour saga of the Gunslinger, immersed wholly within the author’s bloated and arguably nonsensical mythos, not a 95-minute YA triviality; producers who feared that it would be impossible to shape King’s broad, discursive cosmos into a working cinematic storyline might have done better to abandon this pragmatic goal in favor of simply transmitting as much of the information from the books as possible, without dramatic form, in order to satisfy the subsection of the fanbase that looks to Hollywood not to create functional stand-alone entertainment but to legitimize, through live-action recreation, the frustratingly immaterial imaginative worlds that they love from novels and comics. Marvel, for instance, understands that forming a full, absorbing universe for its faithful viewers is more important than creating a good movie; Peter Jackson does, too.

(L-R) Stuntman, 2nd Unit Director George Marshall Ruge, Director Nikolaj Arcel, and Gaffer Oliver Wilter on the set of Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER

 With The Dark Tower, Arcel and his screenwriters retreated from this endeavor and instead created possibly the most perfunctory iteration yet of the common Hollywood story in which an ordinary kid is whisked away from his earthbound problems into a world of realized make-believe. This type of story, it’s true, can rely on a fast pace and a sense of adventure in place of extensive world-building. But this is not The Wizard of Oz; it’s not The NeverEnding Story. It isn’t even Warriors of Virtue or Tomorrowland. The fantasyland of Arcel’s Dark Tower is not only conceptually half-baked; it’s also simply grim, a place of barren deserts, ruins, and refugee camps, undercutting the central escapist function of places like Hogwarts and Narnia—no kid would want to have an adventure here, but it doesn’t exactly make for a horror film, either. The movie is supposed to set up a TV series that’ll further explore King’s sci-fi galaxy, but after dipping their toes in here, viewers will wonder why they’d bother: it doesn’t feel like an authentic mythology—it feels more like a hodgepodge of cheapened pop influences, from Sergio Leone and Johnny Cash to Tolkien and King Arthur.
Meanwhile, the life of the orphaned boy, Jake, who takes center stage in this ill-conceived entrée, is incredibly bleak in a way that Arcel doesn’t seem to recognize fully. He has no true character trajectory, only a deeper descent into gloom, and the movie probably would’ve been a lot more interesting if it took seriously the notion that perhaps the equally bleak landscape of the Dark Tower actually is an unreal product of the agitated imagination of a boy thrust by familial trauma into mental illness: half action-adventure fantasia, half portrait of early-onset schizophrenia. The fans probably wouldn’t like that, either.
Brett Yates is a writer in San Francisco, CA.
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