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Number 80 (Vol 2, No. 40).  This edition is for the week of October 1--7, 2001.
Back on track...

The last 2 issues of Nolan's Pop Culture Review were the biggest issues, text-volume-wise, of all time! (#79 was only behind #78 by only, like 100 bytes!) Y'alls response to the World Trade Center crisis accounted for most of it, which, combined with the already prodigious ramblings of our regular honored contributors, made for an unprecedented outlay of.....well, contributions. I'm happy the situation is stablizing however...whew.

And I'm happy and proud the state of the Union remains strong despite what transpired. The American way continues to succeed.


I'm little disappointed there wasn't more reaction from you guys on the new Star Trek series, "Enterprise". I was expecting to publish several excerpts of micro-reviews, but none ever arrived! I spoke on the phone briefly about it to PCR contributors Terence Nuzum and "Count Poffula". They both fairly agreed with my review, but neither were all that enthused with the premiere (nor, via Instant Message, was Drew Reiber), altho Poffula liked the series' letterboxing. We all agreed the theme-song sucked, tho! LOL! Now come on, I know some of you guys must've seen it. What did you think?
MATT'S CHALLENGE. Well, he's done it again! Last issue, stalwart PCR columnist Matt Drinnenberg issued his latest Top Ten challenge: The Top Ten Greatest Debut Albums of all time! Long-time readers will recognize Matt's propensity for thought-provoking "list challenges" as he did when he started all this with last year's Top Ten Best Albums of all time (arguably our greatest success), and a host of others. (To new readers: educate yourself in PCR fandom with a visit to the PCR Archives 2000. It's a hoot.)
In any event, for better or for worse, I'll get the ball rolling with my list. The usual disclaimers are in order: these are albums I've actually owned and heard. Some of these are also on other lists, like the "greatest albums". I'm an old rivet-head, so the list will reflect that. Here goes. (Note: The albums whose titles are just the artist's name, that's all I list to avoid redundancy.) UPDATE: (10-03-01) Terence's list follows. UPDATE: (10-4-01) See Mike Smith's list in "Rant", this issue.
 Top Ten Debut Albums Of All Time.       Nolan B. Canova
1. The Beatles--Introducing the Beatles (on VeeJay) /Meet the Beatles (on Capitol). The revolution started with this. You hadda be there.
2. Led Zepplin. Zep took the classic blues that rock-n-roll was largely based on and went way further...and heavier. This and Black Sabbath was when I first figured out what heavy metal was and I was never the same.
3. Black Sabbath. Heaviest guitar sound of all time. Among the top 5 of any list for heaviest anything of all time. Plus, Ozzy's a psycho.
4. KISS. I remember the first time I saw this album was in a local drugstore (when they stocked stuff like this). The make-up lured me in. I was hooked instantly. Their latter years are sad, tho.
5. Van Halen. After Zep, Sabbath, and KISS re-defined what it was to be a guitar-player, Van Halen broke down the doors and re-invented it again with this album. Guitar-playing in rock bands had new standards.
6. Devo--Are We Not Men? In the pit of time that was the disco-70s, only a few emerged successfully against the grain. Devo annihilated me with their original techno approach. I still miss them.
7. Cheap Trick. This is another, perhaps the finest, group to ignore the '70s. Ironically, they became linked symbolically to that era. Punk and rock-n-roll merged for the mainstream here.
8. The Sex Pistols. (Never Mind The Bollocks or God Save the Queen, whatever.) Ha ha, these guys just slay me, that's all.
9. Cheech and Chong Nobody said comedy albums couldn't make the list! I remember the first time I heard this, I almost died laughing.
10. Boston. Not because of their staying power,obviously. But, this album set a new highwater mark for excellent recording and songwriting.
An honorary number 11 goes to Nirvana's "Nevermind" album ALTHO, YES, I've been reprimanded that it's not technically their debut album. It's their first one signed to a major label, however, (I think that affects things, see "Introducing the Beatles" in this list), and it buried classic heavy metal forever. You may wonder why I'd think it's so great then? Well, it is great, but, more importantly, it's historical to the '90s in a similar way that Van Halen was to the '70s.
 Top Ten Debut Albums Of All Time.       Terence Nuzum
1. KING CRIMSON: IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING. Art-rock masterpiece by which all others are measured.    HIGHLIGHT: 20th century schiziod man.
2. THE DOORS: THE DOORS. Don't talk about this album, just listen and you'll understand. Morrison moans of death and apocalypse while flower-power blooms.    HIGHLIGHT: The End.
3. SMASHING PUMPKINS: GISH. This was before the hype, the Corgan ego-trips, and the bombast. Sounding unlike any of their grunge counterparts, but more like Velvet Undergorund-meets-Jimi Hendrix-meets-The Cure; brilliant.    HIGHLIGHT: Rhinoceros.
4. FRANK ZAPPA: FREAK OUT!. The line "Suzy creamcheese, what's got into you?" says it all.    HIGHLIGHT: The Brain Police.
5. BLACK SABBATH: BLACK SABBATH. Some say heavy metal was born before this. But, this is what heavy metal became when it grew up. A completely pop-free, theme-cohesive classic.    HIGHLIGHT: The Wizard.
6. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: THE VU & NICO. Again, like the DOORS, they sang of death, transvestite hookers, drugs, and doom. They were the worms hidden underneath the pretty green grass of the peace and love era.    HIGHLIGHT: Venus in Furs.
7. THE PIXIES: COME ON PILGRIM. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is where NIRVANA came from and just about every other band of the 90's. Sounding like no other band in the '80's, the Pixies laid the groundwork for the decade to come, and more, it ended with them. Everything just sounds like a cliché after them. Their sound is still being ripped off to this day, and their records still sound ahead of the pack.    HIGHLIGHT: Caribou.
8. THE SEX PISTOLS: NEVERMIND THE BULLOCKS HERES THE.... Yeah, they couldn't play, the songs all sound the same, and the guitars are so messy and loud you get a headache, but so what, it's one hell of a way to spend 30 mins.
   HIGHLIGHT: Anarchy in the UK.
9. JOY DIVISION: UNKNOWN PLEASURES. Blues for the suicidal. Singer Ian Curtis sounds like Jim Morrison meets Nick Drake with Sonic Youth as a back-up band. What more could you want?    HIGHLIGHT: Disorder.
10. GARY NUMAN: THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE. Industrial music began with Eno, but ended here. The ultimate truimph of keyboards and synth guitar sounds. Never cliché. Never repeated. This still inspires bands like Ministry and Nine-Inch Nails, yet it still holds a power all its own. File under: Sounds of the future.    HIGHLIGHT: Films.


Will and Camaro at the beachUFOs in FloridaMagnified view of UFO
by William Moriaty

A QUICK UPDATE ON THE PRESENT AS WE BEGIN:
Unconventional aerial activity still vexes Florida's skies. The National UFO Reporting Center in Washington state ranks Florida as fifth in the United States in the sightings of unidentified flying objects ("UFOs"). As of September 1, 2001, the center has Florida at 505 sightings reported from January 1, 2000 to the present. The only states leading us are California (1,701), Washington (1,118), Texas (575), and Arizona (514). For the UFO enthusiast, the NUFORC organization is an incredible clearinghouse of sightings information. Its web address is www.nwlink.com/~ufocntr.

TWO PILOTS ENCOUNTER HIGH STRANGENESS IN THE SKIES ABOVE PASCO AND HERNANDO COUNTIES:
   It is August, 1946, in the gentle sloping hill region of northeastern Pasco and southeastern Hernando Counties, Florida. The late summer heat is oppressive, the high humidity producing a glaring white haze that almost obscures the area's hilltops. Maybe the thunderheads forming to the east will provide some relief for this region's thirsty plants and sweltering farmers. Although only 30 to 40 miles north of Tampa, this was a basically desolate area consisting of pine plantations, citrus groves, and woodlands. What few settlements were (and still are) there have names dating back to the stagecoach era: Mondon Hill, Spring Lake, Hickory Hill, and Blanton. Unless this area's citizens took the time to look into the skies after wiping the sweat from their brows that hot and humid day, they'd miss a very significant event unfolding directly overhead.
   At the controls of an Army Air Force C-47 transport plane were pilots Lt. Henry F. Glass and Lt. Col. Jack E. Puckett. While beginning their initial descent into Tampa's MacDill Army Air Base from a flight of Langley Army Air Base in Virginia, Lt. Glass glanced outside the cockpit window and noticed a bright, shining metallic object up in the skies with them moving at incredible speed. Fearing a possible mid-air collision, Lt. Glass immediately pointed this out to Capt. Puckett. Before any immediate evasive action could be taken the object narrowly passed them by. It was an object the likes of which Glass and Puckett had never seen before--metallic, cigar shaped, about the size of a then-convention B-22 bomber, with a smoke trail blazing behind it. Based on reference points and the duration of the sighting, the pilots estimated its speed at 2,000 miles per hour! But the most significant thing about this sighting is that it was the first such post-war sighting reported where the pilots clearly saw portholes on the craft. This would suggest that the cabin of the object had some form of life within it.
   Needless to say, with the Second World War having ended not even a year earlier, such a report undoubtedly caused major freakout with the war boys at the Pentagon.

THE SCOUTMASTER HAS A CLOSE ENCOUNTER NEAR PALM BEACH--and it ain't with a beach bunny!
   It is August once again. This time around it is the year 1952, and the location is the woods of Palm Beach County, Florida. Unlike the location in our first story, this area is as flat as a pancake. A constant breeze off of the Atlantic Ocean makes summer life habitable for the residents of this opulent East Coast community. It is also nighttime, and scoutmaster D.S. Desverges and his troop are returning back to their homes from a camping trip. With diamond skies glimmering above them, they continue their drive through the south Florida pine rocklands eastward towards West Palm Beach, when one of the scouts noticed a strange reddish light and a ball of fire off in the adjacent woods. Fearing that a plane my have crashed, Desverges pulled off the road in order to take a closer look. Upon later notification of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's department, Desvesges claimed that after several minutes of woods walking he spotted a metallic, disc-shaped object hovering silently over the treetops near a clearing. He also claimed that one of his arms and part of his face was struck by a red beam of light that was shot out of the craft, resulting in mild skin burns. The Sherrif's department confirmed Desverges injury claim, and a scorched area was found in the subject clearing, but no craft was spotted by them. If Desverges claim was not a hoax or hallucination, it may well have been the first bona-fide report of such a close encounter with a non-conventional aerial craft in Florida history.

A FLORIDA GOVERNOR CHASES AFTER A UFO, hoping to maybe capture the alien vote?
   It is April 1966, and former Florida Governor Haydon Burns is firing up his November reelection campaign by stumping the Sunshine State in hopes of getting votes. After schmoozing with the crowds in Orlando, Burns and his entourage of Florida news journalists board the Governor's Convair 340 aircraft for a return flight to Tallahassee. Not long after climb out, somewhere over the rolling hill horse farm country of Marion County, Florida, a journalist for the Tampa Tribune spots an unusual disc-shaped object pacing the Governor's plane. Soon afterwards, the same object is spotted by reporters from the Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel. After much excited gossip in the aircraft's cabin, the matter is brought to the Governor's attention. Upon this notification, the Governor orders the pilot of the Convair to pursue the UFO (rather stupidly as far as I'm concerned--that's when you call out fighter jets from the Air National Guard or USAF- you don't risk innocent civilians in a matter of this type). Almost immediately, possibly knowingly, the UFO pulled away at rapid velocity leaving the governor's plane in the proverbial dust, and disappeared in short order. That's not all that disappeared in short order--after the November election, incumbent Burns was defeated by Claude Kirk. Kirk was the first post-reconstruction Republican governor elected in Florida. Who knows? Maybe the space defense initiative (or "Star Wars') touted by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980's was in place long before that with the purpose of ending once and for all what some Republicans see as the true "Evil Empire"-the Democratic Party!

NEXT WEEK: "La Floridiana" reports on a Palm Beach County air traffic controller who gets a bogey on radar and then an aerial pursuit begins. Also, a home builder in the panhandle finds a Polaroid camera helpful to capture on film all those pesky flying saucers dropping by his house, and lastly we explore the tale of a man allegedly involved time travel, teleportation and UFOs who dies mysteriously in Miami. All next week in PCR!


Wake Up and Smell the Comics
# 4: The Marvel Knights Ride Out

It was 1998 and Marvel Comics had decided to take a major gamble. With far too many of their most popular franchises now in the toilet, both creatively and financially, it was time to do something drastic and fresh. Enter the creative team and founder/owners of Event Comics, Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti. Making a deal, Marvel agreed to allow the two men to establish a new imprint that would publish Marvel material but finance it through Event. They would then take many of their most underrated and/or fallen properties and revitalize them with new themes and hot creative talent. Financing the books through Event had become a strange necessity, as Marvel had become an unwelcome place for many veteran creators and especially poisonous to new ones. Editors Quesada and Palmiotti set up the Marvel Knights office so that any professionals working under their label would only deal with them, never having to work through any of Marvelís editorial or even receive a check from the publisher (which would instead come from Event). With the editorial barrier, Marvel backing and properties, Marvel Knights was off looking for their new creative teams.

The talent procured during their first year was truly astounding. For their initial wave, a relaunched Daredevil monthly would serve as their flagship title followed by a new Punisher mini-series, a Black Panther monthly and an Inhumans maxi-series (you heard right, Inhumans). Writer/director/actor Kevin Smith opted to write the first 8 issues of the new Daredevil along with Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti functioning as penciler and inker. Needless to say, this series shook the entire comics industry to its very core. Bringing back older readers, along with new readers, the relaunch brought both the character and the creative team to the top. However, the shock didnít end there. Black Panther pulled in critical acclaim for its witty political satire and enjoyable adventures. Written by comic veteran Christopher Priest and a host of artists (including Mark Texeira, Joe Jusko and M.D. Bright), the series was also one of the few major monthly titles to star a black character. If Priest doesnít sound familiar to you, donít be surprised. Originally known as Jim Owsley, or James C. Owsley, he worked as a popular writer for Marvel through the 70ís and 80ís (Power Man & Iron Fist, various Spider-Man books) before changing his name after some marriage issues. As for the other two Marvel Knights books, famous artist Bernie Wrightson (Swamp-Thing) recreated Punisher as an undead angel-powered avenger (donít ask!) while the Inhumans was written by Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer) and drawn by artist Jae Lee. Inhumans actually won the prestigious comic award, the Eisner.

Just halfway through their first year - a popular term they us to describe the length of their publishing slate combined with two launch ďwavesĒ of projects - the Marvel Knights office had already garnered major attention for their somewhat edgier and definitely better quality comic books. Finishing off the introduction of the imprint, they launched the second wave of three more limited series. Black Widow penned by Devin Grayson and J.G. Jones, Doctor Strange by the creative triumvirate of Tony Harris, Dan Jolley and Ray Snyder (content was derailed halfway through the project over creative differences) and another limited with the new angel Punisher, Wolverine / Punisher: Revelation, by Tom Sniegoski and Pat Lee. Looking back, more than half these projects took off for Marvel, re-establishing popular franchises or creating completely new ones. Many of the creative teams were asked to come back for another year of Knights, which proved to be very interesting indeed. Though Jimmy Palmiotti soon left his editing position to pursue a career in writing comics, exciting talent continued to approach the office with proposals.

Kicking off the first wave of year two in the winter of 1999 was the cheery, holiday-themed one-shot, Ant-Manís Big Christmas by screenwriter Bob Gale (Back to the Future trilogy) and artist Phil Winslade (Steve Gerberís Nevada). For the monthlies, Kevin Smith was succeeded by David Mack (Kabuki) with regular penciler Quesada staying on, Black Panther was moved to the regular Marvel offices, while veteran Chuck Dixon and artist Eduardo Barreto created a new series starring all the Knights characters in one team, aptly titled Marvel Knights. The Punisherís new angel concept just never took off, so Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (both of DC/Vertigoís Preacher series) were hired to bring the character back to his roots in a new yearlong limited series. This new book was an immediate success, rising to the top 5 of Diamondís pre-orders list and remaining in the top 10 through the entire run. That year also saw the introduction of two completely new characters, Marvel Boy and the Sentry. Written and created by Grant Morrison (JLA, Invisibles), the new Marvel Boy shared very few similarities with the original, bringing more of an anarchistís approach to societyís issues and structured like a modern action film. The Sentry was actually the strangest of the bunch, as it introduced the concept that both the fictional Marvel universe and the real comic book industry had somehow forgotten the first and greatest superhero in Marvel Comics. Created by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee (Inhumans) with input from comic legends Stan Lee and Rick Veitch, the limited series spread itself into the furthest reaches of Marvel history and lasted into the next year.

During the next fall of 2000, three more limited series and two more one-shots were launched for the second wave. Brian Michael Bendis (Jinx, Torso, Sam & Twitch) and Rob Haynes provided a 3 issue spin-off, Daredevil: Ninja, tapping into the background of the hero with ties to Japan and his own ninja training. Returning to Black Widow, Grayson brought co-writer Greg Rucka (Detective Comics) along with artist Scott Hampton for Black Widow: Breakdown, a direct sequel to her last mini-series. Acclaimed painter Joe Michael Linsner wrote and painted a Killraven one-shot, about the almost forgotten 1970ís character who led humanity in rebellion against the tyranny of a second Martian invasion set after the events of War of the Worlds. Garth Ennis, along with artists Joe Jusko and Dave Ross, penned a crossover special starring the latest incarnation of the Punisher along with Event Comicís own Painkiller Jane. To top off the list, Paul Jenkins managed yet another mini-series to coincide with the Sentry, collaborating with artist Phil Winslade on Daredevil/Spider-Man. The title does make the story quite obvious. By the tail end of that year, not only had the foundation of the Marvel universe been shaken to itís core by titles such as the SentryÖ now the publisherís editorial had been as well. The Editor-In-Chief of 5 years, Bob Harras, had been fired. Marvel Knightís own founder and editor, Joe Quesada, had become his successor.

With the changes in rank within the House of Ideas and the upcoming storm that Quesada would bring to both the companyís business practices and content, Marvel Knights went into a short state of hibernation as Quesada searched for a replacement. Though year three had been scheduled to kick off in January of 2001, only one those projects made it out in time. Hulk Smash, a two issue mini-series by Garth Ennis and John McCrea (both of DCís Hitman), detailed the story of a cowardly soldier and his confrontation with the green goliath. It would be 5 more months before year three would begin again in the summer, during which time Vertigoís (DCís mature content line) ex-editor Stuart Moore would take Quesadaís place at the head of the office. As this pretty much leads into current events, Iíll break off at this point and save the rest for next week. Meanwhile, if any of the above projects seemed at all interesting to you, featured below is a bit more insight into each of the Marvel Knights books I would recommend to first time readers. They are all still available in collected trade paperbacks at your local bookstore or through any comic book shop.

Daredevil VisionariesDaredevil Visionaries: Kevin Smith - This is the title of the book that collects Kevin Smith and Joe Quesadaís entire 8 issue run on the Marvel Knights relaunch of Daredevil. I was never a Daredevil fan before reading this book. I had minimal knowledge of the character from what I had seen in the Trial of the Hulk TV movie of the late 80ís and some bits here and there in comics, but yet I was able to follow the story and was immediately sucked in. If youíve ever been curious about Daredevil or enjoy Smithís work, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. I had a certain level of expectancy from the writer/director due to his previous films, but as they were mostly tongue-in-cheek I didnít really expect what I ended up getting. A dark and atmospheric piece that is at times depressing and shocking, it was never too much and left me with a better understanding of both Daredevil and the world he inhabits. This is definitely a title I recommend first to anyone trying comics for the first time (or second, if itís been a long while). David Mackís run along with Joe Quesada, Daredevil: Parts of a Whole, will be available in January. Highly recommended.

Black PantherBlack Panther: The Client - This is the title for the first of two books collecting the seriesí yearlong stay under the Marvel Knights imprint. Offering the first 6 issues, this is the perfect way to get started on the continuing saga. Blending political intrigue, Edgar Rice Burroughs type adventure, with witty dialogue and satire this book is simply the largest diamond in the rough (being the comics industry). Though I do believe that the book has partially remained a hard sell due to its lead being a black male, itís also one of the more high-brow superhero books out there. The best analogy I could give? Imagine West Wing meets Indiana Jones. Trust me, this is another book I buy month after month and push on as many others as I can. If you enjoy it, pass it along to your friends. Black Panther: Enemy of the State, the second collection, is due out in stores in January. Highly recommended.

The InhumansThe Inhumans - This award-winning 12 issue maxi-series was the debut for the popular Knightsí creative duo, Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, who would later go on to create the Sentry. The story follows the isolationist society of the Inhumans, a race of genetically altered humans whose single greatest quality is that each and every member of their people is unique in their appearance and powers. A monarchy ruled by their greatest champion and king, Black Bolt, they forever live in fear of the human world that wants to plunder their technologies and destroy their kingdom. Through the machinations of Black Boltís twisted and evil brother, Maximus the Mad, their hidden city is nearly brought to its knees as their slave populace is turned against their own, and the local third-world governments besiege their land for their own hidden purposes. Riddled with social commentary, astounding characterization and some of the most unique art to ever grace the pages of Marvel Comics, this is yet another favorite of mine. Highly recommended.

Black Widow - Collecting both 3 issue limited series featuring the title character, this book varies in its intent. The first story, written by Devin Grayson and illustrated by the incredible J.G. Jones, is more of a straight action story providing the introduction of the new Black Widow Yelena Belova. The new version was trained by the current Russian regime to replace the defecting spy and original Widow, Natasha Romanov, a by-product of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Both Widows prove to be interesting contrasts, as they represent two completely different governments and outlooks of the Russian people. For the second story, Greg Rucka infused the tale with more mystery/suspense and international espionage. Cameos including Nick Fury and Daredevil, the sequel provided more characterization and further insight into the conflict that exists between the two women and the worlds they fight for. If youíre a Widow fan, this is definitely a collection you canít afford to miss.

The PunisherPunisher: Welcome Back, Frank - What a fantastic comeback. Kill a guy, bring him back as a stupid angel-powered hero and theyíre still able to save the property? I think itís all due to the creative team of Garth Ennis and John McCrea, whose work on the John Woo-inspired Hitman ongoing series from DC Comics put their gun-toting storytelling on the map. They brought the character back to his roots and by the end of the very first issue (in a 12 issue maxi-series no less), you know very well who this guy is and what he does. Garth Ennis said it best when he described Frank Castle is a serial killer. Frank is a man who killed his familyís murderers and their bosses a long time ago. He had his revenge, now itís all about the killing and you know he enjoys it. If youíre up for a seriously dark comedy with a lot of action and insanity thrown into the mix, look no further. A wonderful story about a mob boss thrown off the Empire State building, a hundred gangsters who make great cannon fodder, a giant brain-damaged killer called The Russian, and the man who was put on the Earth to torment these fools. Fans of cult films by the likes of Peter Jackson (Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and the like), Death Wish and Quentin Tarantino should definitely check this out.

Marvel BoyMarvel Boy - Youíre an intergalactic, alternate reality trekking diplomat. You arrive on the latest planet you are to make communications with when your ship is attacked, your crew killed and theyíve captured you for dissection and experimentation. What do you do? You use your genetically enhanced alien powers to destroy the world. By far one of the strangest books to come out of the Knights office in the last few years, this 6 issue mini-series appears as a high-velocity action-adventure but manages to smuggle many anti-government/economy criticisms and social messages in-between the stories. Written by acclaimed scribe Grant Morrison (who was ripped off by the Matrix) and drawn by the incredible J.G. Jones, this is fun romp through the Marvel universe that even manages to pay homage to the anarchist characters of Stan Lee (Sub-Mariner) and the crazy Kirby-tech of the 1960ís. If youíre up for a trippy action movie with inventive subtext that isnít shoved down your throat, youíll want to check out this collection. The sequel is expected sometime next year.

The SentryThe Sentry - Is he a drunkard with delusions of grandeur, or the worldís most powerful and beloved superhero? This series was originally marketed in much the same way The Blair Witch Project was done, giving fans the opportunity to get lost in the legend behind the creation of the character. Originally credited to Stan Lee (who did actually contribute) and the fictional artist Artie Rosen (a combination of two real creators), it was promoted as the return of a long lost Marvel hero that had just been shoved aside before the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and then forgotten. Thousands of readers fell for the story, but even if they didnít the series was incredible on itís own. Besides the 6 sequential issues drawn by Jae Lee, there were 4 one-shots exploring the relationship Robert Reynolds believed he had with the most important characters of the Marvel universe; Spider-Man (art by Rick Leonardi), the Fantastic Four (Phil Winslade), the X-Men (Mark Texeira) and the Hulk (Bill Sienkiewicz). This was one of the best series Iíve ever read from Marvel, because it not only managed to create something that would have terrified anyone at first glance of the concept, but it also defined the very element that makes one a hero. If Iíve remained too vague for you with my description of the series, please understand it would be a crime worthy of the pits of Hades if I ruined it for you. This book gets my highest possible recommendation.

Daredevil: Ninja and Daredevil/Spider-ManDaredevil: Ninja and Daredevil/Spider-Man - While these two books are probably something you may eventually want to track down I wouldnít recommend them for newer or returning readers. To this day Iím not sure what happened in Ninja, as I think it was largely geared towards older Daredevil fans. As for Daredevil/Spider-Man, itís a blast but not for everyone and DEFINITELY not for anyone who hasnít read Daredevil Visionaries: Kevin Smith and Daredevil: Parts of a Whole yet. The continuity of the story takes place after both events and will definitely confuse the uninitiated.

Ok, folks thatís it for this weekís column. As always, I hoped you enjoyed it and have decided to take a stroll out to your local book/comic store to pick up some comics! Otherwise, be here next week as we conclude our tour of Marvel Knights year 3, year 4 and the future! See you then.


"Marvel Knights" and the distinctive likeness of all Marvel Comics characters mentioned and exhibited in Drew Reiber's article are trademarks and copyrighted by the Marvel Comics Group and are used here for reviewing purposes only.



Ghost World                Movie review by Terence Nuzum
* * * *  out of  * * * * stars

Cast:
Thora Birch ........Enid
Scarlett Johansson.....Rebecca
Steve Buscemi.....Seymour
Brad Renfro........Josh
Illeana Douglas.....Roberta Allsworth
Bob Balaban.....Enid's Dad
Stacey Travis.....Dana
Charles C. Stevenson Jr.....Norman
Dave Sheridan (I).....Doug
Tom McGowan (II).....Joe
Debra Azar.....Melorra
Brian George (I).....Sidewinder Boss
Pat Healy.....John Ellis
Rini Bell.....Graduation Speaker
T.J. Thyne.....Todd. (and more)
Written by: Daniel Clowes (comic book). Daniel Clowes/Terry Zwigoff (screenplay)
Directed by: Terry Zwigoff
MPAA Rating: R for strong language and some sexual content.
Running time: USA: 111 minutes

Ghost World Cover
Daniel Clowes' GHOST WORLD. ©Daniel Clowes and Fantagraphics Books.
First off, I do not write movie reviews---or for that matter, I usually don't read them either. They are usually written by some guy or some teenage kid who never quite made the jump to actually making their own films. That being said, my review will not be typical, or even good for that matter. Just a warning.

The movie I'm reviewing (which I'm sure you already know, as Nolan will have put up a title and graphics for it), is GHOST WORLD. Based on the underground comic of the same name which originally appeared in the pages of EIGHTBALL in serialized form, GHOST WORLD is by far the greatest comic-to-screen translation I've ever seen. It perfectly captures the theme and mood while still deviating a little from the source material. Daniel Clowes writer/artist of the comic book, and director Terry Zwigoff (LOUIE BLUIE,CRUMB) wrote the screenplay.

The 2 girls from the movie
Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson star as Enid and Rebecca
It follows two outcast girls, Enid and Rebecca as they graduate from high school, and linger in that ever-fading place between adolescence and adulthood. Ghost World. Friends drift apart, old wounds return, confusion sets in, old haunts and memories disappear. And are, in turn, replaced with society's drab, mindless institutions. Much to Enid's dismay. (And mine!!!)
She finds a kindred spirit in Seymour, a middle-aged record collector. Rebecca, now feeling ignored, goes her own way as the girls physically and mentally drift apart. By the end, Enid's relationship with Rebecca, Seymour, and everyone else has deteriorated. Refusing to conform to adulthood, she leaves the ghost world, hopping on a bus that had been cancelled several years back, but magically reappears. She leaves telling no one, just leaves, her "childhood fantasy" (as she states earlier in the film). The last thing left in the fading world she knew.

Original comic panels
From the Fantagraphics book, the girls in their comics form.
Though I will admit it will mostly strike a chord with people of my age and interests (those small few) far more than an older or jaded crowd, it nevertheless gets its point across brilliantly. I don't think it particularly shuts out mainstream audiences, but it will all depend on how open they are to a parody of their own society. If they even catch that.

Clowes is a suprisingly great scriptwriter and adapted his comic well, even when changes were made to the original story. Zwigoff's direction (go see CRUMB, shame on all who haven't) perfectly captures Clowes' comic book's tone of alienation and even manages to somehow capture the blank stares, which all Clowes' character's possess.

Anyone who has ever felt like this society we live in is a droning, complacent drudge-hole of shit will "get" this movie. Anyone who realizes that most movies, music, culture, etc., nowadays is trash, will definitely indentify with Enid's charater (as do I). Maybe this movie speaks only to us few outcasts, losers, or whatever we are called, but then again, it was made for us.

It is the best comic adapted to screen, it is a non-clichéd teen film, it is a great comedy, drama, in short, the best film of the year so far.


Mike's Rant!

Hello gang. A few tidbits and my fave debut albums..............shall we begin?

HOLLYWOOD HAS A CONSCIENCE
In light of the recent tragedy, many film companies have found themselves scrambling to re-edit, re-shoot or even plain cancel films already in production. As reported earlier, both "Big Trouble" and "Collateral Damage" have been pulled from the release schedule. Even the love story "Sidewalks of New York" has been pulled. Also, posters from "Sidewalks" and "Spider-Man" have been recalled. And the poster for "Last Castle," which featured an upside-down flying American flag, was replaced almost instantly by the film company with one featuring the film's stars. Now two much anticipated holiday releases have been moved. November's "Windtalkers," the John Woo film starring Nicolas Cage, has been moved to June 14th of 2002. It was worried that the film, which takes place during World War II would seem in bad taste were America to be at war when it was released. The other film, Dreamworks' "Time Machine," had to be re-edited to take out scenes of meteors hitting New York City. The film will now be released in February 2002.

ENTERPRISE
Unfortunately, I had to attend a High School Baseball meeting last week and was unable to see "Enterprise." A friend did tape it, though, and I plan on catching it soon. I have heard many good things. Also, it seems a genuine consensus that the theme song sucks. The original series theme also had lyrics, but they had the good taste not to sing them!

THANKS FOR THE TIP
Thank you, Terence, for your piece on "Ghost World." We briefly spoke about film when we met, so the fact that you consider it "The Best Film of the Year" holds some weight with me. You certainly put in much higher on my "want to see" list.

BEFORE GARFIELD
There was Heathcliff. Sadly, George Gately, the creator of Heathcliff, passed away this past Sunday. The successful strip started in 1973 and later evolved into an animated television show. Gately had stopped drawing the character about three years ago, turning the job over to his nephew.

LET'S TWIST AGAIN
The old twist-meister himself, Chubby Checker, has thrown the gauntlet down to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Considering himself one of the greatest rock and roll influences, Checker stated this week that before he ever accepted induction into the hall of fame they would have to build a statue of him outside the building, further giving claim to his influence on rock and roll. A spokesman for the hall of fame said that it would be unfair to erect a statue of Checker and no one else, as that would imply Checkers' influence on rock and roll was greater than the other inductees. NOTE TO CHUBBY CHECKER: You have been eligible for induction since the hall opened. You ain't in yet!!

AND NOW
Speaking of rock and roll..................here are my choices for best "debut" albums. Please note that some of the other choices that have been listed are excellent. It could be that I don't own them (Led Zeppelin) or don't care to own them (Gary Numan!?............"Here in my car, I feel safest of all") I expected the Corgan album, Terence, but, come on.........Gary Numan? What ranked right below him, Falco? Taco? The guys who did "Pac Man Fever?" Many props though for The Doors. Here they are, in no particular order (except alphabetically):

 Top Ten Debut Albums Of All Time.       Michael A. Smith
INTRODUCING THE BEATLES (1963)/MEET THE BEATLES (1964): Depending on if you have the album from England or the US release pretty much sets the song list. In fact, the only song that appears on both albums is "I Saw Her Standing There." Where the Brits got to hear "Misery," "Please, Please Me" and "Twist and Shout," in the states you got "All My Loving," "This Boy," and the song that started it all for the Fab Four in the states, "I Want To Hold Your Hand." My personal highlights: Introducing the Beatles: "Twist and Shout." Meet the Beatles: "This Boy." I also have a soft spot for "Till There Was You," from the Broadway show "The Music Man," which Paul sings on Meet the Beatles.
BOSTON (1978): Introduced to me a new sound. Tom Scholz's innovative guitar playing was perfectly matched to the vocals of Brad Delp. After their second album, "Don't Look Back," came out a year later, I couldn't believe it would take 10 years (!) for their third. HIGHLIGHT: "Rock and Roll Band."
THE CARS (1978): Like the group above, "they were just another band out of Boston" when they released this debut disc. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Ric Ocasek and bassist Ben Orr (who passed away last year), the Cars went on to have many platinum selling albums. Ironically, both Boston and The Cars, along with Prince, were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award...........they all lost to Chic, who was represented on the charts by "Boogie, Oogie, Oogie." HIGHLIGHT: "Just What I Needed."
LET'S GET SMALL/Steve Martin (1977): Like Nolan said, no need to exclude comedy albums. Funny from top to bottom. This album captures Martin just as his career is about to EXPLODE! Three more albums followed, but this features Martin at the top of his game. HIGHLIGHT: "I come out here and I can't even get a little respect from the back stage crew??????????/ EXCUUUSE, ME!!
JAWS - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/John Williams (1975): OK, so this certainly isn't William's first soundtrack. But it was mine. For the first time, I saw that music played an integral part of motion pictures. I can cue up any part of this album and tell you exactly in the film the music is featured. HIGHLIGHT: "Main Theme."
McCARTNEY/Paul McCartney (1970): The handsome Beatle goes solo with an album of ballads that express his true feelings about everything..........mostly love. Followed this up with his work with Wings (if I was keeping to strictly Wings, "Band on the Run" would have made this album list) HIGHLIGHT: "Maybe I'm Amazed"
THE MONKEES (1966): Sure they were four guys from a television show. But they had the best pop writers in the world working for them, including Neil Diamond, John Stewart (the singer, not the actor) and the team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Heart. HIGHLIGHT: "Saturday's Child."
QUEEN 1 (1973): Brian May, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, Roger Taylor. Together they formed one of the most innovative band in the history of rock and roll. If you ever saw them live, consider yourself lucky. Just watch them perform during the "Live Aid" concert at Wembley Stadium in England. In one minute, Mercury had 80,000 people mimicking his every move. Gone too soon. HIGHLIGHT: "Keep Yourself Alive."
GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, N.J./Bruce Springsteen (1974): A definite sign of the greatness to come. When the Boss' version of "Blinded by the Light" didn't chart, Manfred Mann and his Earth Band covered it and made it a huge top ten hit (by the way, he's singing "Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night). Almost 30 years later, Springsteen is still making music his way. HIGHLIGHT: Spirit in the Night.
VAN HALEN (1978): You knew these guys would be here. Eddie, Alex, Michael and David. Four guys who knew they kicked ass and proved it. Eddie Van Halen paved the way for the "guitar gods" of the modern rock era. HIGHLIGHT: "Running With The Devil." Song that makes me smile..........."Eruption." Nolan and Matt know why!

Well, that's it for now. Have a great week!


"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Wake Up and Smell the Comics" is ©2001 by Drew Reiber    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by William Moriaty    The movie review of "Ghost World" is ©2001 by Terence Nuzum    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

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