Sunday, January 31, 2010

Monster of the Week- Mephilas Seijin

"seijin" = "alien" in Japanese.  don't say you never learn anything here!

Mephilas first appeared in Ultraman episode #33 "The Forbidden Words" where he tried to coerce a young boy into giving him the Earth. 

when that doesn't work he kidnaps Fuji and turns her into a destructive giant, followed by a Kemur alien, a Baltan and Zarab.  Fuji does the most damage though.

he has one really cool design, that's for sure.  it's a bit on the bulky side, like he's almost wearing a suit.  it also gives him the look of a lot of power when he is fighting Ultraman.  the follow up to this episode was presented in Ultraman Taro.  this was a different member of the same species, but the suit was not nearly as nice.

Mephilas has a wide variety of powers- such as this beam, which stops Ultraman's "Shredding Halo" mid flight.  he can either be human sized or giant as need be.  the giant size comes in handy when fighting various Ultras, as he does in his next appearance in Ultraman Mebius (an excellent show, highly recommended, by the way).  he is also physically quite powerful.

the battle between him and UItraman is really well done, though we can't quite hate this alien.  he's looking out for his world and people, but really, he has to be stopped.

and this picture is just because it looks cool!

Fight Dragon!

thanks to celamowari here's an interesting bit of news...

Fight Dragon on DVD!  this is really a cool show and one most of us thought was doomed due to BCI going out of business.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

lets go fight monsters! MAT issue #8

just a quick reminder- issue #8 of Monster Attack Team is available for ordering! go here and check it out!
From Xenoramic Musings

Friday, January 29, 2010

it's... Cookie Man?

anyone else remember Cookie Man commercials from the late 60s/early 70s?  I loved them.

he was Mort Meek and these weird monsters would try to steal his Chips Ahoy Cookies (or someone's) and then he would transform into Cookie Man and save the day.

I barely remember any of the specific commercials now.  I'd love to see one again, see if it's as close to the 60s Batman as I remember.  it sure reminded me of it back then, but as a superhero crazy kid most everything like it would.

I'd also like to see just what the monsters looked like now.  I remember them now as very Ultra-monster looking, but I am just not that sure anymore.  can't find any clips on youtube, either.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


There's a Hole in My Sidewalk

Copyright 1993, Portia Nelson from the book, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am helpless.
It is not my fault.
It takes forever to find my way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a few of my favorite ships

I love cool looking spaceships, who doesn't?  these days, most sci-fi ships tend to be rather bland and realistic.  forget that, gimme a sleek colorful ship any day- the Enterprise, the Jupiter II, or the Ultra Hawks from "Ultra Seven" are all awesome.

this is Thunderbird 2, from the movie Thunderbirds are Go! (1966).  it's generally regarded as the favorite, and it's a great looking ship.  it's used to haul around the various machines and items used for International Rescue's missions.
here we have the Moonlight SY3, possibly the coolest ship ever in Japanese cinema, and that's saying something!  it was used to combat the Kilaak invaders in 1968's Destroy All Monsters, and played an integral role in the saving of the Earth.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Invisible Monster of the Week

from the Jonny Quest episode of the same name...

though I can hear people asking "if it's really invisible, how can I see it there in the picture?"

easy.  our heroes, led by Dr. Benton Quest, decide to use paint to cover the invisible energy beast.  I am sure after seeing it in all it's hideousness they immediately regretted the need to view it.

this really is a scary episode of the series.  not only does the professor who brings the monster to life get killed, an innocent island boy is doomed right in front of us!

Doug Wildey and Alex Toth were designers on the series, and they outdid themselves here with this thing.  add to that the weird vocals and sounds it makes and it's a spooky monster indeed.

and it eats energy from wherever it is found, plants, lights, people... blob type monsters have always given me the creeps, and while this isn't really a "blob" it sure looks and acts like one.  and thank goodness they weren't afraid to show the darn thing in broad daylight, that adds to the menace.

this is the end of the monster, though it involves some suspense.  about two years later Hanna-Barbera remade this episode into "The Energy Monster" for a Space Ghost episode, cramming 25 minutes into one six minute cartoon.

these shots all came from the DVD set from a few years ago.  I love it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

derby mania

it's amazing what can happen when one watches a cheap "reality" tv show, such as "LA Ink".  in the first season in walked a girl who did roller derby to get a tattoo.  I thought to myself, I wonder if San Diego has roller derby.

guess what?  it does!  I found out about it from their blog here, and then their facebook page as well.

so I decided I would go to the game that was played yesterday (01-23-10) about three weeks ago.  then, they posted a notice on FB about needing referees.  that was an intriguing idea...

so I contacted the team captain, Lady Diesel, and she told me when to come down and discuss what I could do to help out.  I went down on Sunday the 17th, and Thursday the 21st where I became the Jam Timer.  and learned a LOT about roller derby in those few days!

it's kind of amazing to go from never seen a live match before to a rather important part of the game- I started the "jams" and stopped them if they got to the 2 minute mark.  that's a lot of pressure, for a novice whistle blower like myself, I must say.

here's the edifice that houses the rink.  I bet it has not changed since it was built, or at least the 70s.  the color scheme is exactly the same as every rink I've ever been in.  my friend Sharon called it without even having SEEN the inside!

when I got there the skaters were leaving.  this is one of the few rinks left in San Diego and I was surprised to see how many kids and parents were there.  pleasantly surprised, as I thought it might have been just hanging on to surviving.  seemed pretty healthy to me last night, though!  we all pitched in to get the place match ready and that happened pretty quickly.  then I had a ref's meeting with the head ref "McFly" but going by "Hooker Spit" tonight (sorry mom).  he was very helpful with the sixteen thousand questions I had.

here are the San Diego Starlettes warming up and scoping out the competition, the OC Rollergirls.

the bout started at 5:30, which is when I began blowing my whistle.  did anyone else know that there's quite an art to doing that?  I was a string player, never had to learn to blow into something before.

there are 2 thirty minute halves and a 15 minute halftime.  these women are TOUGH.  and great skaters as well.  a very pleasant thing was a lack of ego out on the floor- even between the teams, no tempers flew out of control (that I saw, anyway).

the OC Rollergirls took the match last night, by the way.  just in case anyone is interested, the complete phone number is 858-560-9278.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

stop the pigeon... how?

as I have mentioned before, I saw a lot of cool superhero cartoons on WDCA Channel 20 in WV.  I never cared too much for the "Scooby Doo" variety of cartoons (except for Josie and The Pussycats, more on that sometime) since they had flooded the airwaves starting in 1969 or so.

I do like the Hanna-Barbera comedy cartoons from before that time period- such as this one, the one my brother and I referred to as "Stop The Pigeon".

Spun off from the successful "Wacky Races" this featured Dick Dastardly and his henchdog Muttley trying to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon from delivering his messages across enemy lines.  apparently this takes place in WWI.  this is also why we referred to it as such.

Dastardly and Muttley stole the show.  there was a segment where Muttley would daydream about different things, a la Walter Mitty.  there were some goofy segments called "Wing Dings" as well.

our hero here never actually does too much to the Vulture Squadron, he usually doesn't have to, as they manage to stop themselves all the time.

the show has influences from the Road Runner/Coyote series of cartoons, Snoopy and the Red Baron and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965).

it was an agreeable way to spend a half hour on the way to the shows I wanted to watch- Ultraman, Speed Racer, Superman/Aquaman cartoons, live action Batman or whatever the lineup was at the time.

"Yeah yeah yeah yeah"... Muttley outlived his boss, and went on to appear (sometimes with different names, such as "Mumbley") in several shows.  yeah, I know "Mumbley" wasn't supposed to be him, but come on, a dog's gotta take what jobs he can to eat, right?

no Aquaman, you must NOT marry her...

in the superhero cartoon boom of the mid 60s, Filmation acquired the license for several of DC comics characters.

Aquaman was part of the Superman/Aquaman hour, which featured two cartoons of each hero, and then repackaged with the rest of Filmation's DC heroes (Superboy, Batman, and the "Guest Hero" spots.

I saw a LOT of Aquaman cartoons in West Virginia when visiting, more than any of the rest of the heroes, save for Superman or Superboy, I'd say.  and despite the limited animation, these episodes were very exciting, with cool music and lots of villains from Aquaman's rogue's gallery.  some of them were a bit sillier than others, but they were there, right from the comics, and that was the important thing in adaptions.

Filmation always had great looking cartoons.  this is a really cool shot from the episode "The Devilfish".  there are 36 episodes in this run, and Marvin Miller voiced Aquaman.  Ted Knight did the sometimes breathless narration.

I always wanted to have a sea horse named Storm. bet Aquaman these days isn't nearly cool enough to ride around on one of these.

seeing Aquaman in action in these episodes spoiled me.  when Superfriends debuted in 1973 I completely expected it to be as action packed as the earlier versions of my beloved DC heroes.  and we all know how that first season turned out.  ugh.

here's the "fair haired Mera" as Ted narrates it.  not exactly what I would call "fair hair" but he probably didn't see the cartoon first either.

she's never identified as Aquaman's wife or even girlfriend in the show.  I wonder what her horse's name is?

the DVD set is really nice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

amoebas from Spppppaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace...

I remember seeing the trailer for Yog, Monster from Space (1970) in the theater, and thinking it was quite scary.  the poster also made Gezora look huge enough to destroy the world.  hey, it would have about 1971 and I was only 6 or so.

there were some older kids talking about it as well, about how big the squid would be.

the poster of course is one of AIP's best, as it bears precious little resemblance to the actual film itself.  one would think the Enterprise was actually in the movie.  and the name!  there's not a monster or alien called "Yog" in the entire film.

my pal Chris over at Owari has a theory on the name of the movie and why AIP released it.  perhaps he will post it one day (do it!).

anyway, I didn't see the movie in the theater.  probably my mother decided it might be a little too much for my young brain.  but in about 1972 or early '73 it appeared on TV in it's fullscreen pan and scanned glory, and I had a front row seat for that show!  I am not sure if this was before I saw Godzilla vs the Smog Monster (1971) or after, but both were within weeks of each other.

when this title appeared on the screen- just like this, mind you, I was hooked.  due to the sides being cut off, I had no idea I was actually looking at the three main monsters, it was spooky and scary and the music was awesome.  there were tentacles and claws and teeth being shown and that was cool.

as the movie unfolded and the various monsters and the aliens ("Astro-Quasars") show up the goings on are explained. 

this is an "island adventure" and the last of the AIP dubbed and released non-Godzilla Toho movies.  there are no military weapons being used to fight these monsters, just man vs aliens.  we've got reporters, natives and a scientist battling to save our world.  it's a cool premise, and at least a little different than having the monsters run around in a city.

Media Blasters released a DVD of the movie in the near past.  it's a gorgeous widescreen print of the movie with original Japanese language and English subs, plus a fascinating subbed commentary track.  they were forced to use the Toho approved "International" English dub, and this one is not too awful, though not nearly as nice as AIP's version.

I'm glad to have this print, as the movie looks great in it's proper scope, but I'll never get rid of my DVDr version of the one I saw as a kid on Channel 7.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Monster of the Week... Fiends!

imagine psychokinetic experiments done with atomic energy... imagine something going really really wrong...

Fiend Without A Face (1958) is a genuinely creepy and eerie and scary movie.  it's even succeeds when the monster finally become visible, due to some excellent stop-motion effects and nice full size props.

of course, the fiends are invisible for the first 2/3 of the movie, attacking people and sucking their brains out with some of the grossest sound effects you could possibly imagine.  I saw the first part of this movie when I was quite young, and since there was no visible monster I wasn't that interested.

probably just as well, since it would have freaked me out to no end at age 7 or 8, especially given the nasty and gory "deaths" of the brains when they finally attack our heroes en masse.

the animation by Ruppel & Nordhoff
really makes the fiends unusual, and helps make the movie stand out.  it's the surrealism that does it, though at the time they thought this was the most "realistic" effect they could offer.  this film has been released by Criterion and is an excellent disc.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks

here's one of the better Hanna-Barbera funny animal toons:

I find it funny that the vermin of the world tend to be the heroes or sympathetic ones and the much needed predators are the villains.

how long ago?

I moved to San Diego in early 1990.  the reasons were many and varied.

here's one of them.  this is my first pass to the 1990 Comic Con.  I was a volunteer, and since I knew how to run a movie I only had to do 6 hours instead of 8, and I got those done the first two days.

it was a lot of fun.  the Con hadn't moved to the brand new convention center yet, it was still on "C" Street.  this was the last year it was there.  I remember walking in and seeing the dealers' room- it was amazing.  comic books as far as the eye could see, along with a few toys, t-shirts, books and video tapes.

now it's just the reverse.  though I think the comic sellers might be about the same, with all the other nonsense around it seems so much smaller.  hardly about comics at all any more.

let it move to L.A. or Vegas.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

robot, bat punch now!

more on the Brave and the Bold.  while battling Babyface and his gang, Batman transforms the Batmobile into the Bat-bot.  or something, who knows what it's called?

it's fun to watch the car turn into a plane, a sub and now a robot, one starts losing the suspense in the episodes, since Batman is always prepared for anything and everything.  it's very much reminiscent of the 60s tv show and comics of that time.

I do much prefer this Batman, who actually can smile and crack a joke and even flirt (I think my new favorite word is "flirterer", thanks Green Arrow) again.  this would almost be my favorite show ever if it had been on when I was a kid.

every robot has a rocket punch.  it is a pretty cool design.

this show makes me laugh all the time, with many in jokes for us older fans.  and it's really cool to see him teaming up with various heroes that have never been animated before, such as the Blue Beetle, OMAC and (I hope I'm not disappointed) the Metal Men.

the episode "The Color of Revenge" begins with an honest to gosh homage to the 60s show.  anyone else think it's a crime that that show hasn't been released on DVD yet?  I mean, really, get it together.

Tetsujin 1-7

mostly known to us over here as "Brain 17" this is a fun show.  it essentially follows the Gigantor/Johnny Sokko theme of boy controls a giant robot and battles evil monsters and such which of course is what every boy dreams of.

I'd never seen an episode of it in Japanese, but found that some kind souls are fansubbing it.  too bad it's MKV sort of thing, as I prefer watching shows on a tv than a computer, but I can live with it if it's just one episode.

I have a ton of these one shot fansubs, Kamen Rider episode 1, JAKQ, Battle Fever J, Metaldar, even Ultraman Neos episode 1 has been done.  I appreciate their efforts, since I certainly couldn't do it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Monster of the Week- Kamakiras

or Kamakira as Ichiro calls the bug in Godzilla's Revenge (1969).  the monsters go by "Gimantis" in the US TV version.

the praying mantis is a fascinating creature and really beneficial one.  of course, when you are stranded on a island and suddenly you are confronted by several giant ones, you might change your mind about that.

this is what happens in the fun island adventure called Son of Godzilla (1967).  scientists doing weather experiments cause several giant mantis to become enormous.  oddly enough, they were on the island before the scientists got there (as well as the egg Minya is hatched from and the giant spider Kumonga (aka Spiga/Spigon).

Kamakiras is brought to life by marionettes, and they look great.  the colors and details are wonderful, a great testament to the craftsmen of Toho Studios.

I first saw the mantis monsters in the aforementioned Godzilla's Revenge in about 1973.  they are mostly stock footage from Son Of Godzilla, but since I hadn't seen that movie yet they were all new to me.  in that one they menace both Minya and Ichiro (in some newer footage) and in the surrealistic styling of the movie are quite scary.

here's a picture of the monster from the US movie The Deadly Mantis (1957).  this movie follows the standard "monster gets unfrozen by a bomb" story and is decently entertaining.  the monster isn't a patch on what Toho would do ten years later though!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

free Gigantor (online, that is)

I think there are pretty affordable DVD sets out there still, but if you don't wanna buy them, this is a good alternative.


and for facebook, go here.

comics that logic forgot

DC superhero comics in the late 50s and early 60s were all about science.  lots of real science was presented in Flash comics, Metal Men comics, the Atom comics and even Green Lantern featured all sorts of practical knowledge, along with the fun science that made our heroes go.

I got this Showcase for Xmas (well, not really, but Julie will forgive me for saying so).  I had never read many war comics, just not a fan overall.  and I never saw one of these growing up, as the series seems to have run it's course about 1968 or so.  I am sure I would have read them had any of my older friends had a spare issue, but it never happened.

anyway, the stories are fun, even if I cringe at all the death and dismemberment of the various dinosaurs and other critters that happens during the stories.

it appears that during the war in the Pacific there were thousands of islands populated by dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.  the seas were also full of giant fish and crustaceans as well, and they never attacked "the enemy" just our boys as they sought to defeat the foe on the land, air and sea.  I never knew dinosaurs were so discerning.  and here we thought Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991) was the first evidence of monsters going after US soldiers!

eventually DC started running some repeating characters- "The Flying Boots", "Robot GI" (named Joe... hmmm...) and then the Suicide Squadron.

I'm only about halfway through the book, lotsa stories.  of course, these dinosaurs are complete monsters.  they charge at any people they see right away, even if they are eating something or fighting something else.  these things are brutes!

I miss these types of dinosaurs, as science has now turned them into mere animals.  but that's a rant for another time.

even the plant eaters like the Apatosaurus and hadrosaurus (trachodon) are given violent personalities to menace our various heroes.  often times they are incredibly oversized, picking up submarines and other military hardware easily.

most of the stories are about 13 pages long, which would be about half the book.  not a lot of time for characterization.   it's funny they lack even the rudimentary science employed by the other DC books at the time, since this would have been a grand opportunity to show they could teach the readers something.  instead we get the words "... out of the dinosaur age" in nearly every story.  sometimes more than once!

lotsa fun!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"you're brooding too loudly..."

points to anyone who knows that reference...

Batman: The Brave and the Bold may now just be my favorite cartoon, due to this one scene, which also comes out of one of my favorite comic books.

sure, it's changed a lot, and I miss Black Canary's reaction to NOT seeing the punch, it was still great, even if it was G'Nort in place of the Blue (Ted Kord) Beetle.

speaking the Beetle II, that is one well designed costume for animation.  simple costumes are always better.  far more striking.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yasushi Torisawa

I am posting this so I have an easily remembered place for the artist's name, as I really like his giant monster, dai kaiju, if you will, paintings.

here we have King Shisa, and had this been a more action packed pose, I might have him on my leg instead of Gorosaurus.  heck, I may still get him tattooed on me somewhere.

Torisawa-san doesn't seem to have a website of his own, these are paintings he did for Uchusen Magazine in the summer of 2008.  I think there are some more of his pieces out there, but I have yet to find them again.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monster of the Week- the monolithic kind!

The Monolith Monsters feature some of the most unique monsters in all of filmdom- not animals or vegetables grown to giant proportions, but rocks!

arriving on a crashed meteor (actually stock footage from the most excellent It Came From Outer Space) the rocks are harmless at first.  harmless until the come in contact with water, that is.

then they begin to grow, crash down, and rebuild themselves as the suck the moisture from the ground, which is now saturated due to a very convenient thunderstorm the night before.

the rocks are impressive, filmed in high speed and the sound effects are good.  of course, when watched a UHF station at 2 AM they look really cool.  the recent DVD release is great as well, but sometimes you see a little too much.

I remember reading about this movie in various books and magazines, but never seeing any pictures of the "monsters", so when finally viewing it I was surprised at what they looked like.

makes one think twice about picking up a strange stone or two in the desert, I imagine!  not that it stops me, since i know the solution!

here our heroes watch as the monoliths are stopped in their tracks.  it would have been nice to see some city destruction, though I am sure we were lucky enough to get to see what we did.

I saw this a few times on KWGN Channel 2, usually on Sunday afternoons, but I do believe once was late Friday or Saturday night.  it's not a long movie so they didn't waste too much time on much characterization.

it seems this one would be ripe for a sequel... I mean, what happened to all the space rocks once they were stopped?  dang ol' 50s movies just END when the menace is stopped.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Polly Shang-Kwan Ling Feng

while watching this here movie- The Rangers, is the title that comes up on the screen- and Polly Shang is the star.

she should be better known than she is.  she's cute and funny and immensely talented at several forms of martial arts.  granted, she's been in a ton of movies, but it seems like you really only hear about Cheng Pei-pei or Angela Mao-ying (and deservedly so) these days.

the movie is titled so they can cash in on Mao-Ying's successful Lady Whirlwind, but it bares little resemblance to that movie.  both are good and showcase our heroines well.

this one has some stupid comedy in the middle- there's a shocker!  another big plus is Yasuaki Kurata  who makes all movies cooler.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a team attacks monsters!

MAT #8 has gone to press.  you can find out more about it here, but the issue really truly will be huge.  it has everything featured on the cover and then more inside.  Mike Keller and contributors have done stellar work again, though, if you can believe it, this will be the first issue I will ever own.

how weird is that?

in these days where everything is read online, I am really looking forward to holding this magazine in my hands and enjoying it slowly.

great work guys!

Friday, January 1, 2010

the Brave and the Bold (mostly) Rocks

With it's snazzy jazzy score and thick designs, the opening of the newest Batman cartoon will almost surely displease fans of the "dark and gritty Batman".  however, the whole "Batman is always prepared for everything" mentality that has turned the character into the Silver Age Superman these days is quite present.