Moomins on the Riviera


Created by Finnish writer/illustrator Tove Jansson in the late 1940s. The Moomins are a family of eccentric, oddly-shaped creatures slightly resembling Hippopotamuses that inhabit Moominvalley along with Snufkin, Snork Maiden, My Little and the Hattifatteners, among others. Initially published as a series of books that lead to a regular comic strip, TV show and eventually films that have been translated into various languages and gained a worldwide following.

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Hello Kitty, Hello 40


I can’t remember the first time I laid my eyes on Hello Kitty but I have passed my Hello Kitty obsession down to my daughter who has Hello Kitty lego, a bean bag, towels, tea sets, DVDs, clothes and toys. Yes I am buying the stuff I wish I had as a kid for her, but then one of her first words was kitty, so that makes it ok…right??

Hello Kitty, Hello 40 is a collection of 40 stories (plus one for good luck) about Hello Kitty from different comic artists, muralists and toy creators. The book is a celebration of 40 years of Hello Kitty. The book includes a blurb from contributors about what Hello Kitty means to them before their comic segment. There’s also an introduction from Babymouse creators Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm.

What makes the book so awesome is all the different interpretations of her character, she’s presented in ultra cuteness to macabre horror-esque stories (one story reminded me of Roman Dirge’s Lenore). There’s a story in here to appeal to everyone from role playing geeks (yes there’s a RPG story here) and toddlers to grumpy old granddads, no one can resist Hello Kitty’s charm and cuteness.

I’m not a big comic fan and I haven’t heard of any of the contributors but enjoyed every single story in the book. I pretty much read novels and non-fiction so it was nice a nice reminder of how powerful images can be as there’s no speech bubbles in any of the stories. An impressive collection of Hello Kitty stories and an impressive array of art.

Hello Kitty, Hello 40 is a beautiful 144 paged hardcover book that is a must have for any Hello Kitty collector. Lots of Kitty and Kawaii!!!!

At the back of the book there’s an index of artists with a profile (see picture gallery.) Artists who contributed include: Alberto Arzeni, Franco Aureliani, Art Baltazar, Chuck BB, Alan Brown, Juan Calle, R.J Casey, Jacob Chabot, Chanmen, Belinda Chen, Gemma Correll, Brianne Drouhard, Jerzy Drozd, Chris Eliopoulos, Theo Ellsworth, Chynna Clugston Flores, Susie Ghahremani, Chris Giarrusso, Stephanie Gonzaga, Sarah Goodreau, Habbenink, Charise Mericle Haper, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm, David Horvath, Corin Howell, Matrin Hsu, Debbie Huey, Leslie Hung, Phillip Jacobson, Karl Kerschl, Cynthia Liu, Ian McGinty, Alex Eben Meyer, Jorge Monlongo, Becka Moor, Travis Nichols, Sirron Norris, Luke Pearson, Lark Pien, Philippa Rice, Dave Roman, Brian Smith, Jay Stephens, James Turner, Gene Luen Yang.

Hello Kitty, Hello 40 is available from Madman Entertainment.

Bordello of Blood


Most fans of late 80s horror are familiar with the HBO anthology series Tales From the Crypt and its host the Cryptkeeper. The show was arguably one of the best of its kind and it enjoyed a successful run unlike its attempts to crossover to the big screen with Demon Knight and Bordello Of Blood.

I never really got why Demon Knight got so ragged on by critics, I thought it was a blast and one of the best horror films of the 90s. Totally killer soundtrack too that really made things blow up for the band Filter with the prominent use of their tune “Hey Man Nice Shot”. Demon Knight had a poor run at the box office and as I mentioned was totally savaged by the majority of critics so it’s kinda surprising Bordello Of Blood got the green light. I guess Scream made horror flicks a more viable commodity so Universal decided to take the plunge hoping it would pay off (it didn’t). Although Bordello Of Blood isn’t nearly as good as Demon Knight it’s still a great example of a flick not taking itself to seriously and being a totally entertaining piece of junk food for the brain.

Former Baywatch star Erika Eleniak is on the hunt for her missing rebellious brother Corey Feldman who has fell into the clutches of some bloodsuckers using a whorehouse as a lure for potential prey. Feldman really injects some laughs into the flick and plays the over the top part with glee. Dude’s no Edgar Frog in this one but it’s easily one of his better roles since his 80s heyday.

Those viewers expecting Eleniak to bare some flesh like in her role in Under Siege will be disappointed as she plays the role of a squeaky clean prudish Christian. Perhaps this was her downfall as I don’t remember her being in anything big budget after this outing. Eleniak’s character Katherine enlists in the help of a private eye Rafe Guttman (comedian Dennis Miller) to help her find her wayward brother. If you’re a fan of Denis Miller’s stand-up comedy this film is well worth your time as it’s filled with his trademark style of humour.

Bordello Of Blood sets its target on religion and is at the butt of most of it’ humour. Fright Night’s Chris Sarandon tears it up as a totally overblown psycho evangelist Rev Jimmy Current who has awoken the vampire queen Lilith (Angie Everhart) to rid the world of the sinners and lowlifes who frequent the brothel. Current is able to control Lilith because he is in possession of the vial of blood from Demon Knight but of course the good Reverend is tricked out of the vial and all hell breaks loose. It’s up to the trio to put an end to Lilith and the vampires and set things right.

Plenty of gore and tongue in cheek humour make this a great watch and essential viewing for those with a taste for the cheesier side of cinema.

The only extra is the theatrical trailer which most people will more than likely miss because they will switch off before the credits finish rolling. There’s no mention of it on the cover and once again this is another Umbrella release with no menu. These guys should seriously sort it out because the quality of their releases is slipping with the recent half assed repackages.

I have no idea why the iconic Tales from the Crypt logo has been replace with some shitty free Halloween fonts on the cover but it looks awful and tacky. Beyond Entertainment has definitely stolen Umbrella’s crown when it comes to local releases of cult flicks with their all round tidier releases with a cheap price tag (and wow they even treat you to a menu!). Your money will be better spent tracking down a copy of the R1 Tales from the Crypt double feature disc which has a better edition of the film plus its predecessor Demon Knight.

A fun film anyway that is perhaps more worthy of a rental than a purchase due to it being a disappointing shoddy release. Another disc from Umbrella that I’d advise holding off buying to it hits the clearance bin.

Available on R4 DVD from Umbrella Entertainment.

The Walking Dead [Volumes 1 and 2]

jul068351AUTHOR: Robert Kirkman | Order Vol. 1 | Order Vol.2

Zombies are a horror trope that have gone through a number of phases in their undead history. Originally, they were very much the subject of pulp from their voodoo origins as unwilling victims brought back from the dead to serve evil masters. Then, in 1968, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead changed the perception of the zombie forever, making them very much a harbinger of apocalyptic visions. It became a creature of the horde, shuffling flesh-eating masses that inexorably consume mankind in a variety of siege situations.  Continue reading

The Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics

Rock-n-Roll-ComicsORDER DVD

“Rock and Roll is really about two things – it’s about ‘I don’t give a fuck’ and ‘fuck you!’” – Mojo Nixon.

A documentary about comic books might seem a little odd but these weren’t your everyday comic books, these were rock ‘n’ roll comic books, these were unauthorized, these were guaranteed to piss people off and like Mojo said, they didn’t give a fuck!

Todd Loren, the genius behind the comics, didn’t give a fuck either, upsetting musicians, artists, fellow publishers, all while making a buck, exploiting others and creating a niche for himself and his company, Revolutionary Comics. A comic nerd/music nerd who got his start holding comic conventions, Loren soon moved onto to mail order selling “collectables” – t-shirts, badges, programs, bootleg items before combining his two loves, rock and roll and comics and hitting the jackpot straight away with a Guns ‘n’ Roses comic that was given a huge boost when Axl Rose mouthed off about lawsuits, sending all the collector nerds into a frenzy. Continue reading

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope


The San Diego Comic-Con is America’s largest convention for comic books. Formed in 1970 it has, in recent years, expanded to more general pop culture exhibits and events, such as movies, games, TV, books and videogames. It has become a massive annual event attracting more than 100,000 attendees every year and for some, it is Nerd Mecca.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is a documentary by Morgan Spurlock (best known for Super Size Me) that follows a variety of individuals as they attend the convention, each with their own hopes and goals for the event.

Skip Harvey is a bartender who dreams of being a comic book artist. His parents are Star Trek geeks and he has grown up around comics and their culture. This year, he is taking his portfolio with him in hopes of catching the eye of one of the comic publishers.

In a similar boat is Eric Henson. His background is quite different. He is a soldier and feels like the odd man out with his interest in comics. He has never been to any kind of event remotely like Comic-Con and is not sure what to expect. He, too, goes armed with his precious portfolio of his artwork.

Holly Conrad is a costume designer who lives in a tiny, backwater town. A Comic-Con regular, she designs outfits for the ‘masquerade’, a judged event for people to dress up like fictional characters. This year, she is taking an ambitious set of costumes from the video game Mass Effect.

Also attending are debt-ridden comic book dealer Chuck Rozanski, toy collector Anthony Calderon and James Darling, who plans to propose to his girlfriend at the convention.

Director Spurlock shares time between these people, but quickly ditches a couple as the convention progresses and their stories play out simply. The main focus becomes on Conrad as she and her troupe practice and prepare for their unveiling on stage, with problems around the complex animatronics and lighting in one costume. For her, this is also something of an audition, a chance to showcase her work with aims of one day working in the motion picture industry.

The tales are interspersed with talking head interviews with various ‘geek’ luminaries such as Stan Lee, Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon. The names keep coming, including everyone from Seth Green to Olivia Wilde.

Each gives their views on Comic-Con and what being a geek or into comic sub-culture is all about and all are uniformally positive about it.

And that is the problem with the documentary.

Comic-Con Episode IV does not go into the event or the culture in any detail. It is just A Good Thing. When Rozanski opines that the convention is no longer about comics, it is given no examination. When Henson states nobody at his work understands him, no further detail is provided.

Spurlock never investigates why people are drawn to the sub-culture, what it means, whether there is a negative aspect of people often clinging to childhood icons. Instead, the documentary plays like a feature-length commercial for Comic-Con.

The result is a documentary that is a pleasant watch, with endearing people you want to see succeed, but one that is very lightweight and superficial.

The extras consist of some deleted scenes and extended interviews. The deleted scenes are generally spurious, although one where Conrad meets professional costume designers from True Blood reveals how passionate and hopeful she really is and would have been nice included in the doco.

The interviews are generally meandering, repetitive material, although do include some subjects cut right out of the movie – such as Ellen Page and geek poster girl Felicia Day.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.