Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #79



TV

Homicide: Life on the Street: The Complete Series

Shout Factory is set to release a DVD set of the entire 122 episode series of the classic show Homicide: Life on the Street for a retail of $120 July 4. Homicide: Life on the Street is one of the finest TV series ever and was a show that would go onto inspire other series like The Wire and The Sopranos years later. What I find funny is that 15 years ago I bought the first few seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street on DVD when those sets were retailing for around $100. Even today those original sets will still retail for around $90. That would’ve meant buying a complete set of Homicide: Life on the Street back then would’ve cost between $600 and $700, making $120 now seem like a bargain.

From Shout Factory:

Executive produced by Barry Levinson (director of Rain Man, Wag The Dog and Bugsy) and Tom Fontana (the creator behind HBO’s Oz), and based on the book Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets by David Simon (creator and executive producer of The Wire), Homicide: Life On The Street presented viewers with a gritty and realistic examination of detectives working the homicide division in Baltimore.

The Mist TV spot

Comics

DC Comics/Dark Horse: Batman vs. Predator Paperback

A newly reprinted edition of the Batman vs. Predator comics is out this week. I remember buying the first issue of Batman vs. Predator at a drug store on a spinner rack and the story of a Predator invading Gotham City with Batman being the only hope of stopping them has always been one of my favorites. Especially since Bats gets to wear one boss piece of anti-Predator armor in the comic.

From DC:

After investigating a series of gruesome murders, Batman realizes that these crimes aren’t perpetrated by anyone from Gotham City…or even this planet. Soon, the Dark Knight finds his real enemy—the intergalactic hunter called the Predator! This collection features BATMAN VS. PREDATOR #1–3, BATMAN VS. PREDATOR II: BLOODMATCH #1–4 and BATMAN VS. PREDATOR III: BLOOD TIES #1–4 and is co-published with Dark Horse Comics.

Movies

Predator

The first time I saw Predator I was 13 years old and it was the night before a family trip to Washington DC. My brother, a cousin and myself were camped out that night in the living room and were watching the movie of the week on HBO, which just so happened to be Predator. Even though I hadn’t seen that movie in the theater, nor would I have really had the opportunity to do so back then, I was aware of Predator from it being covered in magazines like Starlog and Fangoria. But still, when I actually saw the movie I was completely blown away. It was like the creators of the film had gotten into my teenaged head, found out all the things I was interested in and put them up on the big screen.

And, nearly 30 years later Predator is still one of my favorite films. Let’s put it this way — at various times I’ve owned Predator on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and I’m sure that whatever the next thing is that comes along to improve on what’s come before be it 3D or holograms I’ll buy that too.

Predator is the rare movie that actually expanded the sci-fi genera, I think by not exactly adhering to just the sci-fi genera. It’s kind’a a war movie with a group of special forces soldiers lead by “Dutch” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) on a rescue mission in the jungles of Central America. It’s also kind’a a horror movie with the alien Predator gruesomely killing just about anyone who gets in its way. And it’s also kind’a a sci-fi movie with the Predator coming from space on a hunting mission here on Earth.

And it’s probably because Predator isn’t just a war movie, or isn’t just a horror movie or isn’t just a sci-fi movie that it’s stood the test of time and is still a beloved movie by fans of those generas to this day.

I think one thing that sticks in my mind about Predator all these years later are the interesting details. Like the way the Predator’s heat vision is shown on screen in big bright primary colors along with a weird “Bwrarrrrrrrrr” sound every time the Predator is looking about. And the details of each soldier in Dutch’s crew, how they’re all different yet all have the same strange professionalism as warriors in the jungle. They feel like guys who are probably screw-ups when they’re back at home in, say, Idaho but are at their best when they’re in the jungle and people are trying to kill them and vice versa.

I’ve seen Predator many times since that first time and everytime since I catch some new detail that I had missed before, which to me is the mark of a great movie.

That being said, looking back at this movie 30 years later there are a few things that make Predator almost a stereotypical 1980s action movie in that I think some elements in Predator would go and be used in future 1980s and 1990s action movies. From how just about all of Dutch’s soldiers have muscles upon muscles, a weightlifters physique not typically seen in soldiers, to carrying around more firepower than a small army would have, let alone six guys. The most famous weapon in the movie is the mini-gun, it’s the kind of firepower usually seen on jet fighters that fires hundreds of rounds a minute, that a) would be practically useless since the amount of ammunition it needs would make it impractical to haul through the jungle along with b) the weight of the gun that would mean someone would need to carry around hundreds of pounds of hot, unforgiving steel in order to fire the thing once for a few seconds of, “Brrrrrap!”

But in the confines of an action movie made in 1987 — it’s a wonderful “Brrrrrap!”

Akira

Back in the early 1990s I bought a copy of the animated movie Akira on VHS for $30, which with inflation is about $60 today. I was getting $5 a week in allowance and saved up any money I got from Christmas to buy Akira on tape I so badly wanted to see. And this version of the movie was cropped from widescreen and in “pan and scan” with the original audio dubbed from Japanese to English without subtitles. Still, for many years until I picked up a copy of the movie on DVD this was the only film version of Akira I’d be able to see. So today when I was wandering around Walmart and saw they had a 25th anniversary edition DVD of the movie for just $5 I was a bit flabbergasted. For a movie that originally took me many months to get — my original VHS order was lost in the mail and I had to convince the company I bought it from that I wasn’t lying and I really didn’t get it — to see a good quality version of the movie for that low price, just $2.65 in early 1990s dollars, was quite a surprise.

Black Panther teaser trailer

American Made trailer

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars trailer

Toys

Aliens vs Predator figures

NECA is set to release some figures based on the original Aliens vs. Predator comic later this year. First up is a Predator known as “Broken Tusk” that’s the first Predator to have any personality other than “I kill things.” Also being released is a figure based on the character of Machiko Noguchi, a human who ends up joining a clan of Predators at the end of the series.

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1973: Battle for the Planet of the Apes premiers in theaters
  • 1982: E.T.:The Extra-Terrestrial premiers in theaters
  • 1983: Superman III opens in theaters
  • 1985: D.A.R.Y.L. premiers
  • 1987: Predator opens in theaters
  • 1989: Ghostbusters II premiers
  • 1990: Gremlins 2: The New Batch opens in theaters
  • 1993: Jurassic Park opens in theaters
  • 2008: The Incredible Hulk premiers in theaters
  • 2013: Man of Steel premiers in theaters



Chris Warner Predator Drawing



chris-warner-preadtor




Aliens: This Time it’s Comics



This year the movie Aliens turns 30. It’s a seminal movie for me — it’s still one of my favorite films and for a time was my favorite movie. And while I suspect a lot will be written on it this year, I don’t think anyone else will be writing about something Aliens that’s just as important as the movie is to me; the Dark Horse Aliens comic books.

ca9f16c9251cfcafb2b316114c8895d9One of the things I find fascinating about Aliens is that while the movie was a hit at the 1986 box office there wasn’t an immediate rush to release a sequel. If Aliens were released today a sequel would go into production immediately and be in theaters in a year or two, but back then there was a six year gap between Aliens and the next Alien 3 in 1992. Which meant that fans of the Aliens story like myself were clamoring for anything Aliens related. Which meant that when Dark Horse Comics released a comic book sequel in 1988 we were all over it.

Written by Mark Verheiden with art from Mark A. Nelson, the six issue Aliens continued the story from the 1986 film in a comic form. Here, survivors of the movie Hicks and Newt must come to terms with what it means to have lived through the alien swarms where no one wants to be around Hicks since he was scarred by the creatures with Newt suffering mental problems from basically having her life destroyed as a young girl on a far-off world. Plus there’s government agencies wanting to weaponize the creatures and a religious group trying let the alien loose on the Earth as a cleansing force.

And like the movie, the Aliens comic was also extremely successful. The series was reprinted many times — one issue I have is from the fifth printing — which would lead to two additional Aliens series as a continuation of this story as well as a host of other Aliens comic books after. Even today Dark Horse is still producing new Aliens stories and comics.

aliens_book_1_cover_4_by_syl3ntbob-d3929p0I discovered the comics in a roundabout way, by buying the first issue of the second Aliens series first, being blown away then collecting the rest of the second series as those were released monthly. Then, later on, I saved up enough cash to order the first six issue series direct from Dark Horse to complete my collection.

(One funny thing about the first Aliens comic series is that when the film Alien 3 was released Dark Horse went back though the early series to feature Hicks and Newt and renamed them as Billie and Wilks and re-lettered those issues for future publications since in neither Hicks or Newt live to see the events in Alien 3.)

With Aliens comics being so popular Dark Horse would also do the same thing with the 1987 Predator movie, continuing that story too from the movies to comic book form in 1989. And with Dark Horse doing both Aliens and Predator comics it was only a matter of time before those two characters would cross over with Aliens vs Predator.

While the Aliens vs Predator movies of the last decade were, to put it mildly, quite lame. The Aliens vs Predator comics were anything but and are things I still pick up and read to this very day.

3Comic books back in 1988 didn’t have much edge to them. To be sure things like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns had been released and were redefining the genera. But for the most part comics then were mostly super-hero in nature and were directed at kids. But the Aliens comic was anything but — it had an edge and wasn’t meant for kids. The comic dealt with adult things and Verheiden told the story on adult terms which appealed greatly to myself — a young teen who still loved comics but was quickly aging out of Marvel and DC’s core demographic.

If the movie Aliens were released today I doubt the movie studio would give Dark Horse as much latitude as they did in 1988 with the Aliens comic. My guess is that they’d either be limited to publishing a comic book adaptation of the movie or of perhaps telling a story in the same universe but not about two of the characters from the film.

The first three Aliens comic book series that tells the Hicks and Newt…errr…Billie and Wilks stories can be found collected as, in order, Aliens: Outbreak, Aliens: Nightmare Asylum and Aliens: Earth War or all three collected as Aliens Omnibus, Vol. 1 and a brand new hardcover Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series is also available.




Dark Horse Aliens reboot universe comic covers



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