Saturday, May 30, 2015
What a lovely day indeed.
I haven't seen a movie like "Mad Max: Fury Road" come from a mainstream studio in quite some time. It's a glorious throwback to the films of the 60s/70s/80s where a bargain basement plot wasn't shoved down your throat combined with modern filmmaking technology. Right from the time the opening narration ends to the film's final frame, it's non-stop, insane, holy mother of fucking shit I can't believe what I just fucking saw action...and it's absolutely bloody brilliant.
Normally this would be the part where I would talk about the cast and the plot, but both are irrelevant here. Maybe not the cast so much, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are fucking awesome, but what little there is of a plot is so damn little and unnecessary that it doesn't matter. Normally in any other film this would be a detriment, but here it isn't. There's no exposition or real character development because there doesn't need to be any. Director George Miller knows what the fuck he's doing here, and sweet fucking Christ is it glorious.
I could come up with a million other cliché things to say about "Fury Road", but no matter what I say it will not serve the film justice. You have to see it with your own eyes and you absolutely HAVE to experience it in a theater while you still can. You will not see a big-budget action film like this come from a major studio in mainstream America ever again...at least until there's a sequel...which by that time who really knows if it'll even come close to holding a candle to "Fury Road".
When we were on our way out of the theater after the film concluded, having to make a pit stop in the bathroom, my buddy (not a euphemism for my penis) and I overheard some young dudes that were bashing the film, calling it "weird" and "stupid". For a generation that has grown up on nothing but flashy "Fast and Furious" movies and Michael Bay "films" (I use that term very loosely), "Fury Road" and the idea of Mad Max as a whole is lost on them, and I feel truly sorry for them for that as well.
Oh, and "Fury Road" was directed by a 70-year old man. Directors in their 20s don't nearly have the eye for the kinetic energy that George Miller managed to craft here. I can keep stroking myself about this movie all damn day, but I think this is a good place to stop for now. Go see it if you haven't already. You'll be surprised how much it sticks with you afterward...and you'll be even more surprised how badly you'll want to see it again.
One last thing: if seeing a guy strapped to a war-machine vehicle playing a flame-throwing guitar isn't the most METAL thing you've ever seen, I don't know what is.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
When you think of Konami, what do you think of? I mean they're a video game company that has been around for so fucking long and have been responsible for so many numerous classic games and franchises that you can't just even think of just one game when you think of Konami. Let's run down a basic list here of games/franchises from the Konami banner:
Metal Gear Solid
Blades of Steel
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Zone of the Enders
And that's only a small selection. They've had numerous releases in arcades, on consoles and computers, etc. They have a hell of a legacy and a special place in people's hearts (especially mine), and they even have a few upcoming releases that are going to be nothing short of amazing.
Or at least they did.
Some strange things have been brewing within Konami. One of the biggest game gurus in the world, Hideo Kojima, is the mastermind behind Konami's smash hit Metal Gear Solid franchise. The long awaited next installment, "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain" is on the horizon...but it seems that Kojima has disappeared. The logo of his production studio has disappeared from any promotional material, he's practically vanished from Twitter, and something else he had been working on has been flushed down the toilet.
That game was going to be the eagerly anticipated "Silent Hills", which was going to be a revival of their stagnant Silent Hill franchise and was even preceded by a "playable trailer" that scared the holy living fucking shit out of everyone (which has since been yanked). I was fully erect with excitement over this, but alas, the game is no more...and it looks like Konami as a whole is following with it.
They're not going bankrupt or anything like that, but instead have recently revealed that they will be focusing almost exclusively on mobile gaming instead.
That's right, one of the most beloved and revered video game publishers/developers will be moving on to cookie-cutter mobile gaming laced with microtransactions.
Fuck me rigid.
Now from a business standpoint, maybe this makes sense. Cell phone games rake in tons of cash, and Konami's recent console releases...well, they haven't. Not to mention the fact that with Kojima saying fuck it and leaving (which is almost certainly what happened, no matter what any press releases may say) helps point to the fact that Konami was probably looking to switch gears this way for some time.
Now it isn't just Konami doing things like this. Sega recently announced that they would be focusing almost exclusively on mobile and PC gaming. Hell, even fucking Nintendo is entering the mobile realm. What the fuck is going on here?
When you think of mobile gaming, you think of casual gaming at its most...well, casual. And once again, that's probably just a good business decision. Making games that anyone can just pick up and play that is laced with microtransactions is sure to be a hit and roll in some fast cash. The days of publishers letting their developers craft labors of love with deep gameplay is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Now maybe this isn't such a bad thing. I don't know about any of you, but since I've been getting older, I don't have the crazy amount of time to devote to playing such a deep game. I usually end up playing games in relatively short spurts here and there. Maybe with our ever-consuming lives we just don't have the time as a whole to devote to big time video games, and the rise of casual mobile gaming is a reflection of that. Maybe this is truly what is for the best.
Or maybe not.
In the end it's up to all of us and we decide with our wallets. I'll personally miss big time video games released from major companies I grew up with, and I'm still super fucking peeved that we're not getting "Silent Hills" and that the Metal Gear franchise will probably be absolute pure shit without Kojima, but maybe there's people out there that are totally happy and okay with all that.
If there are, fuck them. And fuck the future.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
This month marks 20 years since the Sega Saturn launched in America...and began to doom Sega's future as a console manufacturer. See, after the success of the Genesis and the ongoing console war with Nintendo, Sega launched a number of ill-conceived add-ons for the Genesis, namely the Sega CD and 32X, before the Saturn ever came out. After botching their own launch, and pissing off third party publishers, it's a wonder that the Saturn, and the Dreamcast that would follow it, managed to last the few years they did. That aside though, it doesn't take away from the fact that the Saturn was a dreadfully underrated console.
With its main competitors being the mega-successful Playstation and Nintendo 64, the Saturn sat far back in third place with little third-party support. What it did have was some wonderful 2-D fighting games, a whole shitload of great racing games, and even more RPGs; many of which are regarded as the best of the era. Sadly, a lot of the best games to be released for the Saturn weren't released in North America, but fortunately, the Saturn is one of the simplest consoles to play foreign games on.
With all that in mind, in celebration of 20 years since the Saturn hit our shores, this is a list of the 20 best games available for the console. Some of these games were available on other consoles, either at the time or were in the future, but that doesn't take away from the fact that these were the absolute best games the console had to offer.
Let's get started.
20. ROAD RASH
A 32-bit version of EA's hit racing series from the Genesis, "Road Rash" features all the great racing action that fans of the franchise had come to know. Combined with a fucking fantastic soundtrack and wonderfully cheesy FMV sequences, "Road Rash" is a blast. It was also available on the Playstation and 3DO, along with a souped-down version on the Sega CD some years prior.
19. MR. BONES
A multi-genre video game that features an assortment of different style levels and gameplay scenarios, "Mr. Bones" is still a Saturn exclusive that featured some great graphical effects (for the Saturn that is) and a kick-ass soundtrack. It quickly faded into obscurity upon release, but has since become a cult classic and a sought-after game for Saturn collectors. Check this out.
18. MEGA MAN 8
Capcom's classic "Mega Man" series hit the Saturn and Playstation, and provided more of what the franchise had become known for. That's pretty much it, nothing too innovative here, but since it's a Mega Man game, there's nothing wrong with that. The American Saturn version of this is rare, and it's actually cheaper to import the Japanese release instead.
17. GALACTIC ATTACK (U.S.)/RAYFORCE (JAPAN)
A vertical space shooter arcade game, "Galactic Attack" has about 10 different titles depending what region of the world you're in, but every single one is just as fucking fun...and harder than shit. It's simple and fun, and one of many shmup-style games that the Saturn has to offer. I still pop this in now and then to this very day.
16. VIRTUA COP 2
One of Sega's flagship franchises at the time, "Virtua Cop 2" was the best of the series with more branching paths, better graphics, and loads more action. Many of the elements in this game would wind up being used in Sega's better known "House of the Dead" series, but sadly that home port of the game to the Saturn was nowhere near as good as either of the "Virtua Cop" games ended up being.
15. DAYTONA USA: CHAMPIONSHIP CIRCUIT EDITION
An arcade classic, "Daytona USA" was one of the first games most people ever played on the Saturn. It was close to being an arcade perfect port, but the Championship Circuit Edition, released towards the end of the Saturn's life-cycle, added a few more modes and even the option for playing online (then again, Sega's NETLINK service at the time was fucking horrendous, but I digress), helping make this the definitive version of the game for its time.
14. SATURN BOMBERMAN
"Bomberman" is always a fun blast, especially if you have a room full of people, but "Saturn Bomberman" is one of the best releases in the long running franchise. Everything about it is perfect: it's arenas, it's animation, how simple it is to pick up and play, etc. This also goes for a lot of money on eBay and all that.
13. DARIUS GAIDEN
The long running"Darius" franchise has seen release on all kinds of consoles and computer systems in the past, but "Darius Gaiden" is one of the absolute best pure 2D shooting games ever made. Super enjoyable with ridiculous boss fights and a pumping soundtrack. Also released on the Playstation and has been ported to many other consoles over the years.
12. FIGHTERS MEGAMIX
A mish-mash of characters from Sega's "Virtua Fighter" and "Fighting Vipers" franchises, "Fighters Megamix" is a big blast to play. Between the large character selection, which also includes a bevy of unlockable and secret characters, plus the many homage's to Sega's franchises, this game is just plain awesome. You can usually find this pretty cheap and it has never seen a re-release either. Check it out.
11. VIRTUA FIGHTER 2
While we're on the subject of Sega's 3D fighting franchises, "Virtua Fighter 2" was one of the best 3D fighters of its era. Granted it was never for everybody, but it was super enjoyable for what it is. Playing like a way more refined version of the original game with graphical effects that pushed the Saturn's poor 3D processing power to its limit, this was one of the premiere games for the console to own.
10. X-MEN VS STREET FIGHTER
An arcade fighter crossover, the Saturn version of "X-Men VS Street Fighter" never made it over here on our shores, instead we got an inferior Playstation version that couldn't handle all the sprite movement and animation. For the Japanese Saturn release, the game came with a cartridge that expanded the RAM so all the game's animation and tag-team action remained intact. One of the best of Capcom's Marvel fighting games.
9. SEGA RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
An arcade perfect port of Sega's off-road racing hit, "Sega Rally" is still super fun to play to this very day. There's been sequels and spin-offs in the years that followed, but this remains one of the best games on the console, and an essential addition to your Saturn library.
8. NIGHT WARRIORS: DARKSTALKERS REVENGE
The second installment of Capcom's "Darkstalkers" fighting franchise, the Saturn release of "Night Warriors" was a near-arcade perfect port that proved the Saturn could do 2D animation and graphics way better than the Playstation ever could. It flows smooth as silk and is still super fun to play. Oh, and Morrigan makes me feel funny in my pants...in the front.
7. STREET FIGHTER ALPHA 2
What I just said about the Saturn doing 2D games way better than the Playstation could? Well, it's true, and "Street Fighter Alpha 2" is a prime example. This is without a doubt the best home port of the game to ever see the light of day.
6. NIGHTS...INTO DREAMS
An instant cult classic upon its original release, "Nights" featured wonderfully fun gameplay and was even packaged with a "3D" controller that made the game even more fun (a controller that one can tell right away was an early precursor to the controller that would be designed for the Dreamcast). Unique in its art design and gameplay elements, the game also boasts an amazing soundtrack that is regarded as one of the best...well, ever. We finally received a long awaited sequel on the Wii a few years back, as well as an HD re-release for a new generation.
5. RADIANT SILVERGUN
The best vertical shooter to grace the console, "Radiant Silvergun" sadly never saw release over here. Instead, it remained in Japan, where it became a fan favorite and a critical darling, which is a real shame that American gamers didn't get to experience it back then. Anyway, eventually it did get an HD re-release on XBox Live, which is pretty fun, but there's just something about the original that does it for me. It'll cost you a pretty penny to import it, but it's worth it.
4. SHINING FORCE III
One of the final games to be released for the Saturn, "Shining Force III" is super rare, and super awesome. With great animation, voice acting, and a deep quest that will keep you plenty entertained, this game has a lot to offer. Sadly though, as long as this game is, there's more to the story that never made it over to our shores. Additional scenarios would be released in Japan, while we missed out on them. Ultra pricey.
3. DRAGON FORCE
Regarded as one of the best real-time strategy games to ever see the light of day, "Dragon Force" features multiple storylines and paths that determine how the game will wind up. Achieving massive critical love when first released, like many other Saturn games it didn't sell well, and has since become a sought-after collector's item.
2. GUARDIAN HEROES
A 2D side-scrolling beat 'em up with RPG elements thrown in, "Guardian Heroes" was another critical darling that no one played, and has thus become one of the most sought-after games the Saturn has to offer. It has received an HD re-release on XBox Live with new artwork and gameplay elements, but there's something about the original Saturn version that it just can't hold a candle to it.
1. PANZER DRAGOON SAGA
Well, this is it. The big granddaddy of Saturn games, and one of the rarest video games in general. An RPG take on Sega's cult "Panzer Dragoon" franchise, "Panzer Dragoon Saga" was a massive undertaking that saw an extremely limited release during the last days of the Saturn's life. Seriously, this game goes for hundreds of dollars, especially if you can find one with all the discs included in its original packaging. That aside though, it's one of the best games Sega ever made, and is begging for some kind of re-release in the future. Hell, I'd just love a new "Panzer Dragoon" game honestly, but that's another story.
So there you have it. Did you own a Saturn in your youth? Did you ever play it? Do you want to? Well you fucking should. Captain Nick says so.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
There's a whole era of horror directors whose work has not only stood the test of time, but are considered the masters of the genre. George Romero, Tobe Hooper, David Cronenberg, Wes Craven, John Landis, and of course, John Carpenter. All these filmmakers achieved both mainstream success, and massive success within the horror genre over the years, but among them all, there's always been something in particular about Carpenter's filmography that has stuck out to me above all the previously mentioned. Maybe it's because he's always been kind of underrated, even within the horror genre itself if you can believe that. Either way, a majority of his films are among my favorite films of all time in ANY genre...and he's the only filmmaker alive to hold that distinction to me personally.
Now not every film Carpenter has directed has been a classic (just watch "Memoirs of an Invisible Man"...or rather, don't). That aside, he's made more great films than he has bad, and a large handful of which are fucking excellent. So without further adieu, here's my top ten John Carpenter films in the history of fucking ever. If you've never seen some or any of these before, not only are you missing out, you're out of your fucking mind.
10. STARMAN (1984)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith
The only Carpenter film to ever have an Oscar nomination (Bridges for Best Actor), "Starman" is a slightly sentimental but surprisingly endearing story of a recently widowed woman that comes across an alien being that has taken the form of her late husband. Unlike nearly everything else on this list, "Starman" is far from horror, but it remains one of Carpenter's best-made films, and features one of the best performances of Jeff Bridges' legendary career.
9. PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987)
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker
It's not everyday you find a film that blends meta-physics with Satan, but here we are. A priest invites some physics students to check out a mysterious vat of green liquid in the basement of an abandoned church, only to learn that it's really the essence of Satan himself. There's demonic possession (including Alice Cooper as a homeless bum!) and some supremely interesting ideas that get thrown around in the midst of all the murder and mayhem, combined with a surprising amount of dread and the fact that you really don't know what the fuck is going to happen next. Supremely underrated film in Carpenter's body of work.
8. IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (1994)
Starring: Sam Neill, Jurgen Prochnow, David Warner
Speaking of supremely underrated films in Carpenter's body of work, "In the Mouth of Madness" is a gleeful take on fandom, namely that of current horror authors like Stephen King. Sam Neill plays an insurance investigator tasked with learning more of the disappearance of a popular horror novelist, only to learn that the author's creations seem to be coming to life...and driving people murderously insane. There's a lot of Lovecraft-ian touches here and there, and its ending is a total fucking hoot.
7. BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Kim Catrall, Dennis Dun
There isn't much I can say about "Big Trouble in Little China" that hasn't already been said plenty of times already. This film, like many other of Carpenter's films on this list, was a box office bomb that ended up finding its audience some time after its initial release. Now recognized as a bona-fide cult classic, "Big Trouble in Little China" is a mix of Chinese martial-arts mysticism and American-ized, John Wayne-archetype thrills. The makeup effects are fan-fucking-tastic, and Kurt Russell is one of the most memorable asshole heroes ever. Though this wasn't his first time as an asshole hero in a Carpenter movie...we'll get to those films in a bit.
6. THE FOG (1980)
Starring: Hal Holbrook, Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau
An underappreciated film, even by some die hard Carpenter fans, "The Fog" is the most atmospheric of all of Carpenter's films. A super creepy ghost story that features a bevy of big-name acting talent, "The Fog" manages to ratchet up suspense and dread throughout its running time. Even if it gets a tad predictable as things begin winding to a close, it still manages to give you the creeps regardless. This film, like many of the next ones to come on this list, received an unnecessary remake, which somehow ended up becoming one of the absolute worst remakes in horror history. No I'm not shitting you.
5. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Harry Dean Stanton
Another film I can't say much about that hasn't already been said hundreds of times already. You all know the plot, and you all know that it has one of the most iconic antiheroes in all of film history. "Escape From New York" is a perfect example of a filmmaker being able to do a lot with very little. Pretty low budget but boasting an immensely talented cast that includes Carpenter regulars like Tom Atkins and Adrienne Barbeau, and big time screen vets like Lee Van Cleef and Ernest Borgnine. It's easy to point out its faults in terms of its production values, but Carpenter and co. truly made the most of what they had to work with, helping the film become a cult classic to this very day. Carpenter and Russell would return for a 1996 sequel, "Escape from L.A.", which is equal parts enjoyable and disappointing. Then again, I guess one more trip with Snake Plisskin is better than no trip at all. Maybe we'll finally get the long awaited third film "Escape From Earth" instead of a shitty remake? I wouldn't count on that, but a guy can dream.
4. ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976)
Starring: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer
Carpenter's follow up to his 1974 debut "Dark Star", "Assault on Precinct 13" is a 70s-era western on steroids. Taking cues from filmmakers like Howard Hawks and even a page from George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead", this film finds a soon to be closed down police precinct under siege by a large cadre of gang members. The inhabitants of the precinct, which includes both cops and criminals, have to team up if they have any hope of survival. It's dark, violent, and can be super nasty (including the infamous scene of a little girl meeting her end while trying to get ice cream); all of which helped gain Carpenter a lot of notoriety as his film career was really taking off. It would be the film he made after this that would cement him as a true visionary of the genre...and we'll get to that soon.
3. THEY LIVE (1988)
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
A film that was seemingly largely ignored upon release, but received so much acclaim over the years and has surprisingly become a timeless classic, "They Live" is a treat. Roddy fucking Piper plays a guy just looking to make a living and finds himself relegated among the homeless and destitute, until he discovers the shocking truth about society: billboards, magazines, and all media are loaded with subliminal messages telling us humans to OBEY and CONSUME...but that isn't even the worst of it. Those in charge are really alien beings and they've been among us for some time. Those that sell out to them are given riches and fame, while the poor keep getting poorer. Loaded with biting social commentary and featuring a brilliantly drawn out fist fight between Piper and Keith David, "They Live" is fucking wonderful. Watch it now. I fucking said so.
2. THE THING (1982)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley
A remake of the 1951 "The Thing From Another World", and much more faithful to its source material than that film ever was ("Who Goes There?"), "The Thing" is one of the absolute best horror movies of the 80s. An American research team in the Arctic comes across an alien being that can imitate and absorb any life form it touches, causing mass paranoia among the group and some of the most gruesome special effects of the era. Seriously, the makeup and creature effects by Rob Bottin are so fucking ahead of their time that it's hard to believe that they were crafted in the era that they were. That, combined with the overwhelming sense of dread and isolation, and the fact that you literally don't know what the fuck is going to happen next, all helps make "The Thing" one of my personal favorite films of all time. Even though it was a relative bomb when it came out (apparently audiences didn't want to see an intelligent movie featuring a blood thirsty alien being after "E.T." had just come out), "The Thing" has grown into a bona-fide classic of the genre, even going so far as to outshining the original film. There was a remake/prequel/whatever the fuck that came out a couple years ago, and that bombed too. That film however is about as far from a classic as a film can get, so don't waste your time.
1. HALLOWEEN (1978)
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, PJ Soles
What, you were expecting "Ghosts of Mars"? The original "Halloween" jump started the slasher genre of the 80s, made Carpenter a household name (relatively), made a star of Jamie Lee Curtis, and gave birth to one of the most iconic horror villains in cinematic history. There's nothing about "Halloween" that I can say that you haven't already heard. It's amazingly suspenseful, atmospheric, and one of the most purely enjoyable horror movies to ever see the light of day. The film has spawned numerous sequels, remakes, toys, comics, and a legacy that cannot be matched. It's become a ritual in the decades since to watch the film every October, and with good reason. Even though nearly everything in the film has become a cliché of the modern slasher genre, this was the one that started them all, and none have done it better since.
Well, there you have it. Now granted, there are other Carpenter movies that didn't make this list that aren't bad like "Christine" and his remake of "Village of the Damned", but these ten films listed here are essential viewing. With that in mind, stop reading this fucking thing and go check them out if you haven't already. Thank me later.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Some of you may be too young to remember, but once upon a time, there were comic book conventions that would pop up every now and then for like-minded fans, or “nerds” if you will, to get together, have fun, bullshit about comics, and even meet and greet writers and artists that work in the industry, and ever so rarely, meet a few lower-tier celebrities that somehow had some kind of ties to the comic book world. Hell, some people would even dress up as their favorite characters, which helped make going to these things even more fun. Sometimes these conventions, or “cons” if you will, would range from a whole day, to a whole weekend, and wouldn’t break your bank either. What an awesome time these cons proved to be; even going so far as to group like-minded people together and inadvertently form lasting friendships and even relationships…all founded on their respective fandoms.
Fast forward to now, and these little cons are barely what they used to be. Instead, the comic con business has turned into just that: a business. While everything I said in the above paragraph still happens, it doesn’t feel that way anymore. Instead, if you go to the big cons especially, you’re bombarded with people trying to sell you shit. Whether it be from cosplayers that know they’re hot and know little about what they’re cosplaying (note: I’m not calling out all cosplayers here, I know for a fact that there are quite a bit that are passionate about what they do and thoroughly enjoy doing it with their endgame not being making a few bucks) to D-list celebrities telling you for 30 bucks they’ll give you an autograph, the fun of comic cons has been lost on me.
Maybe it’s because I’ve had some bad experiences at the last few cons I’ve gone to. Maybe it’s because as the older I’ve gotten, the more jaded I’ve become. Maybe it’s because I get sick of seeing all the media coverage given to them now, which have helped take this thing which was primarily a gathering of like-minded nerds and blown it up so much so that now it’s only another super-commercialized event.
I don’t know, I honestly don’t.
I remember in my youth going to these things and meeting writers and artists in the industry. That was, and still is, my favorite part of cons. Getting to meet and greet the people behind some of my favorite comics. I never had a problem laying down cash to get an autographed print from someone whose artwork I would fawn over…and I still don’t. Those kind of people are who I believe should be the main attraction at comic cons, not an ex-pro wrestler living out of his car or a washed up NBA player looking to make whatever money he can because he blew it all in the past (side note: Allen Iverson at Philly Comic Con? Really? I know he’s a Sixers legend, but come the fuck on…that has nothing to do with any fucking thing associated here at all). If you go to cons quite a bit, the people that actually work in comic books are the ones that deserve your time, attention, and even a few bucks, because they work in the industry and put their blood, sweat, and tears into it.
Like I said before: maybe I’m getting old and jaded and have just fallen away from the audience these things are catered to now. That very well could be. Doesn’t change the fact that I’d take meeting Neal Adams, Grant Morrison, or Ethan Van Sciver (yes, even Ethan fucking Van Sciver) over James Marsters, Virgil, or even Nathan Fillion. Those guys mean more to me than any celebrity charging you 200 bucks for meeting them and pictures.
In closing, all you cats going to the cons this year have fun and all that. I’ll be staying home reminiscing about the glories of yesteryear. Or jerking off to Jessica Nigri (maybe…probably).
Get off my lawn.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Comic book super villains by nature are frightening. They do bad things, hurt people, and generally stand for the polar opposite ideals that super heroes do. As fearsome as some villains can be, there's a select few that aren't just scary or frightening, but are totally fucking terrifying. Their villainous intentions aren't just to take over the world or rob banks or anything super predictable...and that in itself is a cause for concern. Their intentions are mayhem, chaos, or are just sheerly unpredictable; which is what sets them apart from their ilk the most.
So, this clusterfuck of a list is all about the most horrifying villains in comic books. Nothing is off limits in terms of titles the characters are from, but I will admit that this list wasn't easy one fucking bit to put together. Granted you can probably guess pretty easily who takes the number one spot here, but a decent amount of the rest of the lineup here was hard to put together. That aside, there were a few characters that didn't make the final cut, including Omni-Man, Darkseid, Doctor Destiny, Venom, Malebolgia, Mr. Sinister, The First of the Fallen, Mephisto, Clayface, Dollmaker, The Ventriloquist, Killer Croc, and The Saint of Killers; so consider them the honorable mentions.
Anyway, let's get on with this shit...
10. CLOWN/THE VIOLATOR ("Spawn" - Image)
This character hasn't aged all that well since the early 90s admittedly, but the overall character design of Clown, and his demonic form Violator, can still be scary as shit when done correctly. A demon who is originally tasked with guiding new Hellspawn's to fulfill the will of the devil, Clown/Violator usually has his own agendas, which mostly involve death, murder, chaos, and destruction. Not to mention the fact that no matter how many times he's killed, he always comes back. I know no one ever stays dead in comics forever, but Clown/Violator always comes back stronger than ever...much like someone else on this list we'll get to shortly.
9. MARIE L'ANGELLE ("Preacher" - Vertigo)
The wheelchair-bound grandmother of series protagonist Jesse Custer, Marie L'Angelle is a Christian fanatic that had Jesse's father murdered, forced Jesse to be a preacher, and kept doing everything she could to control and ruin his life, and the lives of anyone associated with him. What makes this old cunt truly terrifying is that she believes what she is doing is true and just and in the name of God. Her "family" muscle which includes the cunning Jody and backwoods stick-his-dick-in-anything-with-a-pulse T.C. are almost as terrifying on their own, but since they both answer to Marie, that in itself proves how powerful and frightening this bitch can be.
8. TOYO HARADA ("Harbinger" - Valiant)
Now I know what you're thinking. "Who the fuck is Toyo Harada and what the fuck is Valiant Comics?" Well kids, Valiant was a comic company I remember fondly from my youth that was once operated by former Marvel EIC Jim Shooter, and as a company they managed to produce some quality work before being purchased by now defunct video game company Acclaim. Eventually the line as a whole was gone for good, until a couple years back when they came roaring back with new and amazing takes on all their original properties. One of those properties was "Harbinger": an ongoing title about teenagers with super powers that were targeted by a man named Toyo Harada. Harada is a CEO that also happens to be the most powerful telekinetic in the world. His powers are so vast and limitless that he has managed to convince the world he's a philanthropist, while he's been assembling an army of people that have similar powers. What makes Harada terrifying is that underneath his ice-cool exterior, he is totally fucking unhinged. The few Harbingers that oppose Harada are pretty much terrified of him, and the sheer uncertainty of how powerful his abilities are...and how badly he can hurt them. Seriously, no one fucks with this guy for good reason.
7. THE HOMELANDER/BLACK NOIR ("The Boys" - Dynamite)
Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's super twisted versions of Superman and Batman, The Homelander and Black Noir are the most powerful superhumans on the planet and leaders of this bizarro take on the Justice League known as The Seven...and they're totally fucking psychotic. An extreme megalomaniac, The Homelander is a mass murderer, rapist, and isn't above necrophilia and cannibalism...or is he? Throughout a majority of "The Boys", The Homelander is portrayed as the ultimate antagonist, until it's revealed that Black Noir is the true villain who has committed atrocity after atrocity in his name, because he is his secret clone. Yeah, it sounds complicated, but there's scenes in "The Boys" involving both characters that are just so fucking horrifying that it's hard to put into words. It was a tossup between these guys and Omni-Man from Robert Kirkman's "Invincible", but in the end, Homelander and Black Noir won out, just because of the impact they had on me personally. That, and I enjoyed "The Boys" much more than I ever did "Invincible", but that's a whole different story.
6. PROFESSOR PYG ("Batman" - DC)
A fairly recent addition to Batman's gigantic rogue's gallery, Professor Pyg is truly a sick, demented, fuck. Pyg, along with his Circus of Strange, want to make people "perfect", which usually involves lobotomizing them and using them as his slaves after grafting pig-masks onto their faces. Definitely the most grotesque Batman villain to come along in some time, Professor Pyg may lack in being a non-supernatural foe, but he makes up for it in his sheer brutality and the nature of his crimes. That, and that mask he wears is creepy by itself no matter what.
5. SOLOMON GRUNDY (DC Universe)
One of the earliest depictions of a zombie in comic book history, Solomon Grundy was originally a villain for Green Lantern Alan Scott, before eventually becoming a major villain for Superman, Batman, and the Justice League as a whole. No matter what version of Grundy we're talking about, they always have one thing in common: he's already dead, he always comes back, and he's immensely powerful. The character has gained a lot of love over the past few years, and has thus become one of the most recognizable character in the DC Universe as a whole.
4. JUDGE DEATH ("2000 A.D.")
The arch-nemesis of Judge Dredd and leader of the Dark Judges, Judge Death is the embodiment of death itself. Coming from an alternate dimension called Deadworld, Judge Death dispenses justice like no one else: he reasons that since only the living commit crimes, life itself is a crime...hence all life must perish. After crossing dimensions and running into Dredd, Judge Death has gone on numerous massacres, had his body destroyed, and returned time and time again to wreck more havoc for the denizens of Mega City One. His body is indestructible, since he mostly inhabits the dead, rotting husks of the deceased...and just like a number of the previous entries on this list, he always comes back. Judge Death is unadulterated evil, and one of the most iconic villains in comics.
3. THE SCARECROW ("Batman" - DC)
One of Batman's most iconic villains, Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka The Scarecrow, is also one of his most terrifying. Besides his scarier than shit costumes and looks through the years, what sets Scarecrow apart is his use of his patented fear toxin, which can infest and cause its victims to hallucinate and experience their deepest fears, sometimes to the point of death. Depending on the artist, Scarecrow's appearance can range from kinda corny to flat out so scary you shit yourself, particularly his appearance in the 2009 "Batman: Arkham Asylum" video game. While it's rare that the character gets the justice done to him in terms of usage in Batman's rogues gallery, there's no denying his place as one of the most iconic horrifying villains around.
2. THE GOVERNOR ("The Walking Dead" - Image)
Forget anything and everything you know about The Governor if your only exposure to him was the TV show adaptation of "The Walking Dead". That take on the character was presented in a much more sympathetic, and slightly less psychotic, way than he ever was in comic book form. The first true "big bad" encountered by Rick Grimes and his crew of survivors, The Governor is the brutal and insane leader of Woodbury, who initially comes off as a charismatic and strong-willed leader...until it's revealed just how much of a sick fuck he truly is. Joyfully raping and torturing anyone that crosses his path, with a room full of fish tanks containing the severed heads of the undead, and keeping his zombified daughter/niece (don't ask, his origin is a bit...weird, thanks comic books and novel tie-in) on a chain; The Governor will do anything it takes to get what he wants, and his manipulation of his followers makes him even more of a terrifying threat.
1. THE JOKER ("Batman" - DC)
You didn't really think it'd be anyone else did you? No matter what iteration of the Joker we talk about, he's scary as fuck. Whether it's because you may have a fear of clowns or just that creepy fucking smile, there's always been something just a tad unsettling about the character, even in his most light-hearted of versions. At his worst, Joker is a psychopathic murderer that is obsessed with his arch-nemesis Batman, and does everything he possibly can to bring out the worst in the Caped Crusader, whether it be from murdering innocent people, bringing Gotham City to its knees, or striking close to home by going after those close to Batman. The psychotic laughs, the Joker-gas, the fact that Joker may be either totally insane or perhaps have a form of "super-sanity" (thanks Grant Morrison) all amounts to the Joker being the most terrifying villain in all of comic books. I could go on and on about him, but it wouldn't be anything that any of you don't already know as it is.
Well, that's my top 10 horrifying comic book villains. What'd you think? Agree? Hate my guts? Either way, hope you got some enjoyment out of it...and if you didn't, I'll kill you.