Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Heavies: Geoffrey Lewis

 Geoffrey Lewis was in the pilots for two Robert Urich vehicles, SWAT and Spenser for Hire.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Crow: The Lazarus Heart by Poppy Z. Brite

The Crow: The Lazarus Heart
by Poppy Z. Brite
1999 Gauntlet

Mapllethorpe-ish photographer Jared Poe is framed for the murder of his boyfriend and dies in prison. He comes back to life, and him, his boyfriend's transwoman sibling, and a corrupt closet-case cop chase a trans-hating serial killer. And by chase I mean fall into traps and get killed.

Fairly standard serial killer fare with the Crow elements shoehorned in. He's not a particularly good vengeful revenant, going after phobic cops and prosecutors for mouthing off while letting the serial killer continue his grim work.

In addition to the extensive Edgar Allan Poe quotes, Clive Barker's Weaveworld and Neil Gaiman's Sandman are name checked throughout. A straighter and cis-ier version of some of the plot elements were used in The Crow: Salvation.

Used from Amazon

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

How Old is Captain America?

Steve Rogers was born in 1920. His body was frozen in the Atlantic Ocean in 1943 and thawed out originally in 1963 (I think with him being thawed out a time or two in the middle, it's a bit of a mess). Marvel uses an inconsistent rolling timeline with only occasional, conflicting references to age. I remember Peter Parker being 35, but I can't find that reference. The most recent time anchor I've seen (via Silk) is that Peter Parker was bitten 13 years ago.

This would make Rogers' body around 100 years old, conscious for 36 of them. It always annoyed me that he was treated as some kind of elder statesman when he was only 7 or 8 years older than Spider-Man.

This was roughly the case until the late 90s. I say roughly because he travelled backwards and forwards through time multiple times, usually returning at the point he left.  These trips were only a few days or weeks or the most.

In 1999, Captain America follows Korvak into the future around year 3000 - the scene opens with 3007, but we don't know how long he's been there. Korvak rules the universe with an iron fist, opposed by resistance efforts led by Captain America. Instead of killing Cap, Korvak reboots time, intent on crushing his spirit.

For the first 72 times, Cap doesn't remember prior timelines, and arguably these were just 72 time divergent Captain Americas. For following reboots Korvak allows him to keep his memories to rub his failure in his face. Not sure the mechanism for this, but I'm thinking he sent Cap's consciousness back in time at the beginning of each divergent path, each having more cumlative memories.

We're shown five of these futures, adding up to at least 78 years, but Cap later mentions it happened hundreds of times - he's either wrong, or we were only shown a select number of reboots.

Presumably he only kept the body from the last reboot, which adds at least 10 years to his body's age, but his mind is at least 78 years older, possibly thousands. While I always questioned him being the world's greatest tactician out of three years in World War II, I don't believe they ever reference his centuries of organizing an intergalactic rebellion.

When talking about the age of his body we need to address the number of times he's died, or at least had his body destroyed and recreated. Between the super soldier serum, the Beyonder, and proximity to the Cosmic Cube, his body has a complicated track record, growing old at least twice.

Then there's his "death", where he gets unstuck in time. I don't know what happened to his body or how he got it back and I can't be made to endure an Ed Brubaker storyline again.

Before one of these elderly periods he spent around 11 years in Armin Zola's Dimension Z, where time move slower.  And in Avengers Millennium, Cap is frozen between the prehistoric past and and unspecified point in the future. Hawkeye says 13 centuries but he got educated at the carnival, more like 130, or 13,000 years.

This brings us up to 2015, and since then the multiverse has been rascaled by Beyonders and he came out as a Nazi sleeper agent and who knows what else has been retconned since then.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Marvel 1964: Time Travel

 It took this long for time travel to get complicated

Kang is introduced and almost instantly revealed to be the same as Rama Tut. Immortus is introduced but gets folded into that mess later.

Doom and Rama Tut meet, deciding they may be the same person because they both have time machines.

Kang gets a lot more convoluted than this in the future.

Doom also posits that if his future self dies in the same time period as himself, then present-time Doom can't live in the present, so they decide against teaming up. 

Over with the Avengers we see our first use of time travel to change the course of recent history, done not by Immortus but by the Enchantress, who rewinds time to have a do-over so the Masters of Evil don't attack Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

In most instances in the Marvel Universe, going back in time to change the present is a futile effort, as it creates an alternate timeline and the original timeline you wanted to change remains. Usually. This case is unusual in that the Enchantress doesn't travel to the past - she rewinds time itself, presumably for all creation.


She never mentions time travel, Zemo does. Her spell may have kept Marvel 616 on the same timeline, wiped everyone's mind, and recreated the world to be like it was in the past, all the while staying in the present.

Either way, this is far and away the most powerful thing the Enchantress has ever done, and it's done when a teleportation spell would have had the same result.


She transported the Masters of Evil to an alternate Earth a few days ago, replacing the Masters of Evil there, possibly transporting them to this timeline where they are captured by the Avengers. This means that the Avengers of this issue (and presumably all previous issues) are a different timeline version than those in future issues


By travelling to the past she created the alternate timeline, so there were one version of Avengers up to the beginning of this issue, with a split happening then, so that the Avengers prior to and after this issue are the same, but the ones in most of this issue are in a different timeline.

Marvel has had a lot of versions of time travel in their comics over the decades, and managed a brand new one in Endgame. Just don't ask me to explain Avengers Forever.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Series Showdown: Horror Paperback Double Shot

 Forgot to add the last round to the brackets:

The Tower was just the antidote I needed after too many tame rural Zebra horrors, including Soul-Eater.

Between two Zebra authors, The Children's Ward was at least readable, edging it past The Doll.

James Kisner and Patricia Wallace move up!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Children's Ward by Patricia Wallace

The Children's Ward
by Patricia Wallace
1985 Zebra

A series of mysterious accidents around a children's hospital caused by one or more kids who have psychic powers, something to do with a mass murdering patient from decades past.  The ending, if there was one, left my head the second after I finished. Actually glad she didn't explain much, better than some rushed exposition in the end. Well written enough, but not much here, and what there is isn't very coherent.

Available in used paperback and ebook from Amazon

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Heavies: The Rousters (1983)

 In a new segment, we'll take a look at actors playing heavies in 70s and 80s detective shows.  Let's start with Fred "Hunter" Dryer and Robert "Goonies" Davi in The Rousters from 1983. If you ever wanted to see either beat up Jim Varney, you're in luck.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Blair Witch: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr by D.A. Stern

 Blair Witch: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr
by D.A. Stern
2000 Gallery Books

An author visits an elderly former priest who set himself and his wife on fire. He receives the old man's diary in the mail, which details his interactions with Rustin Parr, the serial killer in the backstory of The Blair Witch Project.  Or is he? Not giving anything away that wasn't revealed in the scare quotes of the back cover, or early on in the text. The story itself doesn't end with anything more than that, just that the surviving kid might have done it, which doesn't explain the whole standing in the corner thing, the creepiest part of the movie.

I always thought the fake documentary stuff released around the movie was better than the film itself, and I was hoping for more of the same here.  There are some elements of this trying to be a fictional non-fiction book, but it's not, it's structured as a literary narrative. There are some old photos which have a tenuous connection to the story at best, and a couple pages of sources for a book that has two: the diary and the "author's" direct experience. The diary isn't written as a diary, but as a non-linear fictional narrative.

Stories get nested several deep, with the author quoting a diary which has a flashback with someone telling a story, etc.  Nothing wrong with that, except that the book is 90% framing device and 10% story, and at 150 pages that's a lot of filler. 

A missed opportunity. Not much added to the mythos, no more details of the killings, and a big reveal which was already given away. The "entirely different story" is not in this book, just a third of a page of Parr saying he didn't do it.

Used from Amazon