Thursday, March 30, 2006

Surface Again

Pigalina mentions in a comment below that there is a petition urging NBC to renew "Surface" for a second season.

I thought I would pass that on. It's here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

One of My Horror Comics - The Mantus Files

I had a devilishly fun time writing The Mantus Files, a horror graphic novel about an investigator of the paranormal. Though the title might sound like a ripoff, it actually pre-dates the X-Files. I just happened to be influenced by The Night Stalker and The Norliss Tapes just like Chris Carter.

Peter Mantus, my haunted hero, was scarred by his past. His father was a sorcerer who tried to sacrifice him in a dark ritual. Surviving that, he devoted his time to opposing the forces of evil.

In the Crescent City
The storyline took him to New Orleans and cool places like Jackson Square and St. Louis Cemetery to investigate the disappearance of his friend and mentor, the man who saved him from his father, and Mantus had to face down vampire cults, hideous demons and a dark magician with world domination on his mind.

The artist and the inker had different styles (I was fond of saying at the time it was Joe Kubert artist being inked by a Russ Manning inker) so the full potential of the pencils didn't make it to the page with all of their eerie glory, but there were some great moments and flourishes.

I've posted a few pages on Photobucket - kind of large jpegs. It's usually available from Nostalgia Zone and turns up on ebay now and then, if you're just dying for the whole story.

Graveyard Monsters

Tarot reading

Monday, March 27, 2006

What's on the iPod? - Dr. Who Podshock

I find Podshock, which I've mentioned here before, to be one of the most addictive listening options out there.

Each week it's a sometimes lengthy conversation between three long-time Doctor Who fans, Ken Deep, James Naughton and Louis Trapani, and it's the item on my iPod I always work into my schedule.

News and analysis
There are news tidbits from both sides of the Atlantic, reviews of Who audios--there's a seemingly endless supply from a company called Big Finish--and of course discussion of the new and stunningly good Doctor Who now airing on the Sci Fi Channel.

But it's not the news or the reviews so much as it's the fan analysis and camaraderie that makes this a great show.

Reviews of the new show are wonderful and welcome, but it's just as entertaining to hear Deep riff for ten minutes on intrusive station identifications or program promos.

If you're just discovering the Who universe, Podshock is the spot to get caught up. I suspect you don't really have to be a serious Who fan to enjoy their show, but after listening to their enthusiasm and reverence you'll probably feel compelled to check out Doctor Who in one form or another as well.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I've decided NBC's Surface got a bad rap from critics somewhat undeservedly.

It's the story of a group of strange, unidentified sea creatures, and I had no plan to watch it when promos began last summer.

But I did, and I was hooked from the first episode.

Paging one heroic scientist
As the plot goes, one heoric scientist is faced with unraveling the mystery of the strange creature's existence along with an insurance executive who lost his brother to a creature while SCUBA diving. (The insurance man is played with great earnestness and authentic Southerness by Jay R. Ferguson.) A parallel plot involves a young North Carolina boy who's unwittingly-at first-raising one of the creatures hatched from an egg. A mysterious scientist and his evil henchman loom behind everything.

I watched the final four episode-arc this weekend, cleaning off my DVR a bit. There were moments it reached a level of 24-style suspense as its plot threads converged to reveal a complex scienentific conspiracy. Not to mention the fact Ian Anthony Dale made a devilishly evil bad guy with surprising secrets as it all wound down.

TV movie climax
A tidal-wave finale in the final hour was a little like a typical TV-movie climax, but even that played out with some edge-of-the-seat complication.

I'll grant the sea-creature raised by the North Carolina boy, named Nim--short for Nimrod the hunter-- is a little cute, but the relevance of their union excuses any generated sentimentality.

--You're a Dean Koontz fan
--A fan of supsense with science fiction elements
--Appreciate a bad guy who makes you want to hit him
--Need something for your iPod

get caught up on this show and hope it returns for a second season.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Muse's Tune

I haven't posted in a while, but I've been productive in other areas of late. I guess the muse is just singing a slightly different tune.

Or maybe blogging has had it's impact. The writing manual The Artist's Way encourages journaling as a way of uncorking creativity, and my creativity certainly seems to be stimulated of late.

I feel like I did once upon a time when ideas seemed to come from all directions.

I'm slower and more meticulous these days, but it's good to feel more creatively alive. Maybe Clio handed off to Calliope or something.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cool science fiction podcast

It's hard for me to pick a favorite podcast, because the offerings are so rich and diverse, but I've certainly been enjoying Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine of late.

Each installment includes an introductory editorial followed by top-notch short stories and occasional short-shorts called flash fiction.

The story so far
So far, I have not found a tale that I dislike. They tend to skew toward humorous, but there's still significant variety.

One of my favorites is a zombie tale: "My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie," that's loads of laughs, but the jokes are held up by a solid voodoo terror plot.

Recent entries
Recent entries including a fractured fairy tale called "Practical Villainy" and an erotic science fiction story called "Little Helper."

If you're remotely interested in literature of the fantastic, this is a great download choice. Check it out. For convenience, it's also available via iTunes.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Blue Dog Relief

I had not thought of the famous Rodrigue Blue Dog in a while but ran across this poster via a banner this morning.

Took me back to visits to a Blue Dog Gallery in the French Quarter ages ago, located as I recall, behind St. Louis Cathedral.

The "FEMA Throw me a Bone" version is certainly a wonderful Blue Dog variation and very topical today.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cell Phones - A new did ya ever notice

Everyone talks about how annoying people on cell phones are. That's possibly even a topic of some of the people talking on cell phones. They certainly talk about every other topic, while I'm stuck next to them.

I sat in a waiting room one day listening to a woman tick off symptoms of her digestive disease, and yeah, digestive disease is a euphamism.

I had a "Did ya ever notice" moment this afternoon while I was on my cell phone, however. Shoe is on the other foot, mile in someone else's moccasins.

Here goes:

When you're next to someone on a cell phone, they're annoying.

When you're trying to talk to someone on a cell phone, everyone around you is annoying.

You just can't hear very freakin' well on a cell phone.

I guess that's the whole cell phone social problem in a nutshell.

Recalling Invictus

Of late, I've found myself recalling lines from "Invictus" (the "I'm the captain of my soul poem) by William Ernest Henley.

For me it resonates most for its sheer tone of defiance as I can apply it day to day life:

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I hope I can always be that strong.
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