Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tarantino Comics - Issue 36

This weekend's issue of Tarantino Comics is truly monumental.  Not only was it drawn by our awesome reoccurring artist, but it's the first issue to feature Django Unchained.  Designed by Amanda RachelsTarantino Comics #36 was illustrated at MegaCon 2013.

Once again, Amanda knocked this cover out of the park.  Her skills are always accompanied by her Tarantino knowledge, where she fits so many entertaining and significant references from his films.  Also it should be noted these images came from her memory since I didn't have any Django references printed.

The cover was designed like an amusement park ad, where our tour guides Calvin Candie and Stephen welcome us to CandyLand.  Making reference to the tense-filled dinner scene, Calvin is holding a fight card promoting the battle between Eskimo Joe and the Black Hercules (also be sure to read the subtitles). And to top it all off, we are enticed to visit CandyLand so we can get some White Cake!

As I've said before, be sure to check out Amanda's work.  As you can see from this piece, her art is always evolving and getting better.  To see what Amanda and her team at Inverse Press are doing, you can find out here:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tarantino Comics - Issue 35

So this weekend was definitely a good weekend.  Not only did I have very little homework, but my girlfriend was able to score tickets to the largest pop culture event of the year... The San Diego Comic Con!  Angie survived the nerve-racking random number generator and got badges for every day except preview night!  Since we were both lucky enough to gain entry  before everything sold out, let's just hope for an awesome panel with the cast and crew of The Hateful Eight!

Anyways, for this week's presentation of Tarantino Comics, we finally move to a new convention -  MegaCon 2013.  Drawn by Jamie Fay, Tarantino Comics #35 was inspired by Kill Bill.

I really like Jamie's approach for this cover.  By designing the layout as a fight card, we know there's going to be a huge showdown between Copperhead and Black Mamba.  Also, Jamie did a terrific job overlaying shattered glass over the image, foreshadowing the opening fight sequence of this revenge saga.

If you ever see Jamie at a con, be sure to check out his work.  He's a super nice guy and draws beautiful women (as seen with these awesome renditions of Vivica and Uma).  If you're ever interested in a commission, you can contact him here:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tarantino Comics - Issue 34

This week's issue was the last one commissioned at The Super Wild Pig Show 2012. Inspired by Pulp Fiction, Tarantino Comics # 34 was drawn by Ian Glaubinger.

Ian has a very unique art style that is composed of retro pop art mixed with modern day cartoons.  In this particular cover, Ian did a terrific job showcasing a simple yet memorable scene from Pulp Fiction:  Breakfast at the diner.  Although Honey Bunny isn't involved, the dialogue box alludes to the seriousness of Jules' retirement.  However, humor breaks the scene with Vincent's word balloon dictating "You've decided to be a bum..."

Overall, Ian's pop art is colorful, memorable, and iconic.  At the Wild Pig Show, his booth caught my attention right off the bat because he was surrounded with prints depicting movies and TV shows that I love.  I also appreciated Ian's talent because I've met other artists who sell prints in a similar style, yet they're not brave enough to draw at the conventions themselves. 

So if you enjoy Ian's art style like I do, be sure to check out his work at

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tarantino Comics - Issue 33

Since this is my first blog post of the new year, I going to reveal my 2015 game plan.  With school finishing up in the spring, I should be able to watch more movies and read more comics - theoretically allowing me to write more reviews.  But until I graduate, lab reports are going to get in the way of my pop culture writing.  Nevertheless, I have a huge backlog of Tarantino Comics that needs to be presented.  So until each cover is displayed, I plan to showcase at least 1 issue a week.  In a way, this is going to be a countdown to media event of the year - The San Diego Comic Con!  Although tickets are not yet available, I have every intention of visiting the con and attending a panel of the most anticipated movie of the year - The Hateful Eight

So until plans become solidified, let's continue with this week's new issue.  Inspired by Pulp Fiction, Tarantino Comics # 33 was drawn by Fred Chao at The Super Wild Pig Show 2012.

Simple in design, Fred's depiction of Jules and Vincent is dead on.  Although the portrait is not from any particular scene of Pulp Fiction, the hit men are totally recognizable.  I also love Fred's color palette - Black and White with a tint of red.

If you enjoyed Fred's artwork, be sure to checkout his graphic novel Johnny Hiro, nominated for 4 Eisner Awards in 2010.  Also check out his unique and awesome artwork at  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorites of 2014 (a.k.a The Year of El Rey)

Once again, I apologize for my long hiatus.  Between school, work, and a girlfriend moving in, I've barely had time to watch movies (much less write about them).  Nonetheless, of the movies I watched this year, these were my favorites:

5) Gone Girl - David Fincher knows how to tell a compelling crime story with a lot of suspense.  He has become a master of manipulating the audience with his camera.  With stark contrasts between environments (warm flashbacks versus cold reality), the imagery of the film had me on the edge of my seat.  I believe the casting was quite good and the score maintained an intense vibe.  This may not be my favorite Fincher film (that spot goes to Se7en), but of all the films I've watched this year, this is the one I want to revisit the most so I can take it apart.

4) Guardians of the Galaxy - This was the film that surprised me the most.  Even though I'm a big comic book fan, I had little expectations going into this film.  However, James Gunn surprised us and made an entertaining space opera.  With cool visuals, characters, and an awesome soundtrack, I can sum up this film in 1 word - "FUN!"

3) Godzilla -  The King of the Monsters is back!  I loved the direction and how they strayed away from the "bad" Godzilla.  This won't be an Oscar nominee for best picture, but this franchise has me excited for more.  The back story was solid and it was a great way to re-introduce Godzilla to a contemporary audience.  I can't wait for more "Legendary" battles and hope Kaiju are here to stay.

2) Interstellar - If I were to describe this film, it would be hybrid between Signs and 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  Having come off the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, I believe audiences were underwhelmed by Nolan's latest film -  I think people were expecting a visual splendor like Gravity.  However, this film is much smaller even though it spans across the space-time continuum.  It is character driven and visits some really neat concepts.  If anything, other than feeding my man-crush on Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar has fed my interest in space exploration (it even got me to visit the Kennedy Space Center over the holiday).

1) Nightcrawler - I believe I had way too much fun with this movie.  It's gritty, disgusting, and shows the flaws of humanity - Yet I still loved it.  Jake Gyllenhaal's performance was mesmerizing, playing an ugly character I didn't really like.  However he was so intriguing, I couldn't stop watching him.  The director, Dan Gilroy, does a fantastic job of showcasing how Gyllenhaal grows into a news chaser.  Showing the tricks of the trade, we discover Gyllenhaal is an adaptable creature that becomes a cameraman who is just as despicable as the news.  This isn't an uplifting film, but it's a terrific character study mixed with the procedural aspects of building a business from the ground up.  Although I'm not really familiar with the director, I can wait to see what Dan Gilroy has in store for us next.

So besides film, here's some other shout-outs I'd like to mention this year:

-Favorite TV show:  Sons of Anarchy - There's not much I need to say other than I will truly miss this show. 

-Favorite Podcast:  Film Junk
- Comic Geek Speak will always be my home, but the cast of Film Junk has kept me highly entertained during my commute between home and work.  Although I respect their movie reviews, its their interactions that keep me awaiting for next week's download.

-Favorite Radio Show:  Serial - Since I haven't listened to a lot of music this year, I figured I needed to represent the radio some how.  Even though it's technically a podcast, I'm going to group it with the FM airwaves since it originally aired on This American Life. Even though I came to this late in the game, Angie and I binged this crime case driving across the state of Florida.

-Favorite Blu-Ray Release:
  Twin Peaks - I don't normally buy a lot of TV series on home video, but this was a good year:  True Detective, From Dusk Till Dawn, Batman, and Pee Wee's Playhouse.  But the one I've enjoyed the most has been Twin Peaks.  It's contained in one beautiful package and you can't complain about getting more David Lynch on Blu-Ray.  Although I haven't fully dived into the special features, rewatching this series gives me a good excuse to have some Cherry Pie and Coffee.

-Entertainer of the Year:  Robert Rodriguez - I don't care what people say, I still enjoyed Sin City 2.  And besides, he's created the greatest cable network in the world - El Rey.  I can't get enough of this channel - it's usually what I have playing in the background as I'm doing stuff around the house.  If you still haven't checked out the El Rey Network, see the commercial below that presents everything I love about pop culture and cinema:  Kung Fu Films, Godzilla, John Carpenter, Grindhouse, Luchadors, Jessica Alba, and Quentin Tarantino.  Thank you Robert Rodriguez for an entertainment hot spot!

So 2014 was a pretty good year, but I'm anticipating a lot for 2015.  Yes, I'm excited for the big franchises: The Avengers and Star Wars.  But as you all know, what I'm really waiting for is The Hateful Eight!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This Month on El Rey - August 2014

So if you haven't taken my advice and checked out the El Rey Network, here's some of the movies showing this month (with plot summaries provided by IMDB):
Assault on Precinct 13:  The lone inhabitants of an abandoned police station are under attack by the overwhelming numbers of a seemingly unstoppable street gang.
The Harder They Come:  Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers.
Duel:  A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.
The Street Fighter:  When an important business magnate dies, the Mafia and Yakuza want to hire Terry to kidnap the daughter so they can obtain her newly inherited fortune. When they refuse to meet Terry's exorbitant price, they try to kill him so they conceal their secret plans.

Electra Glide in Blue:  A short Arizona motorcycle cop gets his wish and is promoted to Homicide following the mysterious murder of a hermit.  However, he is forced to confront his illusions about himself and those around him in order to solve the case.

Rolling Thunder:  Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a POW. When some greedy thugs decide to steal a number of silver dollars from the Major, they murderer his family and destroy his hand in the process... Hence Revenge!
As for original Content, Matador has been a fun show.  Part DEA, part CIA, and part Soccer player, Tony Bravo is a superspy saving the world in this Mexiploitation. 
As for The Director's Chair, some cool guests are being interviewed by Robert Rodriguez.  At the beginning of the month, Guillermo del Toro was featured.  He was a fitting pick for his involvement with horror, his Mexican roots, and his friendship with Rodriguez (Fun Fact - He was del Toro's Second Unit Director in Mimic).  Airing tonight (August 13th), we get my dream interview - Quentin Tarantino Volume 1!

So until I give another update next month, make sure you check out the El Rey Network!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bullet Points - A Scream Factory Edition


Today's Bullet Points are brought to you by Scream Factory:

Halloween III: Season of the Witch - For the longest time, I wrote this movie off.  From my edited viewings on AMC, I always considered this to be a cheesy movie with no Michael Myers to support the franchise.  However, after watching this Scream Factory release, I now realize how great this movie is.  Besides the beautiful transfer, we follow a doctor (played by Tom Atkins) investigating the death of a patient.  With some gruesome scenes involving children and Halloween masks, this movie is quite entertaining (oh, and you can't forget that catchy Silver Shamrock jingle).  As discussed in the special features, we learn the Halloween franchise was supposed to be a new tale for each film.  However, after Halloween 3 bombed, it was decided Michael Myers must return as the star of the series.  Although I like the boogy man, I wish this series would have stuck to its original plan because some interesting original stories could have come into fruition.

Death Valley - Starring Ralphie from A Christmas Story, this a pretty solid slasher that takes place in Death Valley.  When a mom (played by Catherine Hicks) takes her son on vacation to meet her new boyfriend, the young boy discovers evidence from a murder scene.  When the killer realizes the boy took a necklace that may link him back to the murder, his family becomes his next target.  With a fun set piece taking place in a mock western town, this was a fun gem uncovered by Scream Factory.

Terrorvision - Although it's a cheesy 80's film, the effects, props, and sets make this an enjoyable watch.  When a family gets a new satellite system for their television, an alien literally invades their channels.  As the alien releases itself from the television set, bizarre murders occur.  Made by an Italian director, this movie is a weird mix between a Giallo and an early Tim Burton film.

The Amityville Horror -  When a family moves into an old house with a dark past, the father begins to lose control of his senses and develops murderous tendencies.  I'm not an expert of the subject, but I'd say The Amittyville Horror is the beginning of the modern haunted house film.  Sure, William Castle made some entertaining haunted house flicks with Vincent Price in the 1950's.  However, this movie transformed the sub-genre since it was based on the accounts of real life people (even though James Brolin and Margot Kidder didn't believe in the events).