Friday, September 15, 2017

In Memorium: Len Wein and Basil Gogos

Art of Basil Gogos
Len Wein
Well it has been a while .... but unfortunately it has been a tough week for genre fans with back to back losses of a pair of genre icons. Artist Basil Gogos was best known for his incredible portraits of movie monsters which had appeared on the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine during the 1960s and 1970s.  His death was announced on September 14, although I’m not sure if that was his actually death or not. And  several days prior to his passing well known writer and editor Len Wein who was best known for having co-created DC Comics' Swamp Thing and Marvel Comics' Wolverine, for helping revive the Marvel superhero team the X-Men (including co-creation of Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus) and additionally, he was the editor on writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons' influential DC miniseries Watchmen. Wein passed away on September 10, 2017. The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to the families, friends and fans of each of these fine men. I am very glad to have had an opportunity to meet each of them previously.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Star Trek Online

I had never played Star Trek Online on a computer before it became available for Xbox One or PS4 consoles back in September of 2016; however now I can't seem to stop playing it. There is simply a lot to do and with seven years of content, updates, etc. to catch up on ..... well, there is a lot to do! And that does not even include the ongoing addition of new story content and content alterations being regularly introduced by Cryptic Studios the game maker ("sheesh").

I think that my favorite aspect of this game was the Agents of Yesterday expansion which allowed you to create a new character set within the original series timeline of Captain Kirk and Mister Spock (although you won't permanently remain there). Also when starting an original era character, you are limited to males and females of the four founding Federation races (Human/Vulcan/Andorian/Tellarite). That is fine by me!

Be prepared for ample choices available to that entice you to spend real world currency to acquire ships, boosts, and all manner of elective costume options. Within the game there are other currencies that allow you to "buy" stuff too! Many fan favorite actors reprise their roles from various Star Trek television and film properties although a tiny portion of those are repurposed from their originals sources. Tim Russ in particular really shines as Tuvok (from Star Trek: Voyager). If you want to enjoy the thrill of playing the galaxy of Star Trek, give this
game a try!

Monday, March 20, 2017

In Memorium: Bernie Wrightson

One of the true leading lights of the old guard passed away on Saturday at the age of 68 after fighting a protracted battle against brain cancer. Bernie Wrightson was a legendary member of The Studio formed in 1975 alongside Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith and all four of them produced singular work that helped change the illustrative form forever. Bernie was notable for his contributions to horror comics, although he worked with a variety of subject matter for numerous publishers. A lengthy list of his credits would take some time, but the highlights include House of Mystery; House of Secrets; Swamp Thing; Batman; Epic Illustrated; Master of the Macabre and of course his groundbreaking Frankenstein portfolio. Bernie's influence resonated into other media as well with his work on the "Captain Sternn" segment of the animated film Heavy Metal and collaborations with author Stephen King, beginning with Creepshow and Silver Bullet; plus select design work on Serenity in 2005.

Bernie Wrightson was always a pleasant creator to interact with and he made copious appearances at many convention over the years. I am very glad to have gotten a chance to speak with him on numerous occasions. Wrightson simply
can not be replaced. The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Venting for the heck of it!

Thor is not a woman! Captain America’s best friend and long-time partner might change his costume to reflect his regard for Steve, but Sam is his own man (and would not cede his iconic identity over to do so)! Everyone in the Marvel Universe is NOT a member of the Avengers or the X-Men or the Fantastic Four (blending them all together only masks this conceit)! Captain Marvel died and Carol Danvers IS the new Captain Marvel (and although that was a long time in coming, Kelly Sue DeConnick did not create either version)! There are not a half dozen Spider-Men; or Women! Sidekicks and love interests aren’t potential replacements for their super-powered pals and lovers (doing this undermines the core concept and shows that the writer has run out of ideas of their own)! The Falcon, The Black Panther, Shang Chi, Blade, Storm, Bishop ( …… well seriously, the list of available non-caucasian heroes and characters goes on and on), so changing all of the blond & blue-eyed characters into an ethnic version seems pointless (unless you have a point on the top of your head)? Those massive cinematic versions rolling out successfully time and again based upon the recognized iconic versions scoff at the ridiculous print versions that try so hard to be something different? Hey editors and creators, hundreds of millions of movie ticket patrons might want to read the adventures of their heroes, maybe you should stop dicking around with your stupid bullshit and check your egos??