PCR past banners Now in our fourth calendar year
PCR #174  (Vol. 4, No. 30)  This edition is for the week of July 21--27, 2003.

LA FLORIDIANA
"Webb's City, Inc. - - The World's Most Unusual Drug Store"
by Will Moriaty
THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"Bad Boys II"
by Mike Smith
COUCH POTATO CONFESSIONS
"Mega-Opolies"
and who owns television and more by Vinnie B.
ASHLEY'S HOLLYWOOD
Ashley answers her critics...again!
 Ashley Lauren
SPLASH PAGE
"GAIMAN, GAIMAN and more GAIMAN!"
by Brandon Jones
CREATURE'S CORNER
HeroClix, New movies, and Comics
by John Lewis
MATT'S RAIL
80s horror films are over-rated?
by Matt Drinnenberg
MIKE'S RANT
Webb City revisited...Ashley...Happy Birthday...By Your Command...Passing On
by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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Neil Gaiman arrives at Marvel in August with his 8-issue mini-series "1602", which transports several of our Marvel heroes to the Elizabethan era. We know the following from the press releases: Sir Nicholas Fury heads the Queenís intelligence agency, Dr. Steven Strange is the court physician while Carlos Javier, and his "witchbreeds", have fled the Spanish Inquisition taking refuge in England. Matthew Murdock, a blind Irish ballad singer, is Furyís top agent working on the recovery of a secret shipment from the Knights Templar and Peter Parker is obsessed with spiders but hasnít been bitten by "that one" yet.

What does all this mean? Well, not a lot, except GAIMAN, GAIMAN and more GAIMAN.

This is the writer that interwove different historical settings into Sandman and is considered an expert on comic book fiction. The expectations are going to be high. So, how did all of this come about?

After 9/11 Gaiman says that he wanted to avoid technology (i.e. airplanes, bombs, guns etc...) and the Elizabethan era was a perfect mate to superimpose with the Marvel Universe. The politics will allow for exploring the themes of intolerance and tights were commonplace, so itís easy to blend in. (The last comment may have been creative freedom that I will neither confirm or deny.)

If you are unfamiliar with Neil Gaiman or his work, donít fret - youíll be inundated in the next couple of months. He and Dave McKean return with two graphic novels in the fall: Sandman: Endless Nights and Wolves in the Walls. Expect a frenzy of promotion, which is scheduled to include an Entertainment Weekly article, coverage in Spin and numerous interviews. Gaiman says: "People will be completely sick of me by October."

Well maybe, but I canít wait to find out about Count Otto Von Doom, known as "The Handsome."

THE SLUSH PILE

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #169: Tony Harris brings his dark style over to the caped crusader after his work on Starman. Tom Peyer wirtes a great story about hatred. The gift, or curse if you prefer, of mind control is newly presented here. Frank Sharp, a man with a misshapen face, retreats from loving, supporting parents to use his "powers" to quench his thirst for wealth. Peyer attacks the irritating and expanding fabric of society - excusing oneself of responsibilities while hiding behind the handicaps of abnormality. Frank blames everyone but himself for his problems.

Harris brings realism to Batman while presenting the twisted Frank Sharp. A great mood captures the dark, foreboding universe of Gotham, which has been absent from this title.

Fantastic Four "Unthinkable" storyline: Mark Waid amazes as usual. Dr. Doom is "Fantastic" and Reed is "Doomed" - I think a creator finally got it. Everyone knows how smart Reed Richards is and he is often the boring 60ís father figure, but Waid adds the obvious element - heís also an egomaniac. Something heíll have to overcome to defeat Doom and his magical powers. This is a darker Four with great visuals and some 'fantastic" splash pages. (I canít resist.) Some of the family tensions hit close to home and seeing Doom outside of his "armor" was awesome. Waid rejuvenates Dr. Doom with his attack on Richards and the Four, the Richardís children and the impact on Mr. Fantastic. I always felt as though Dr. Doom is underutilized in the Marvel Universe, but Waid gives me hope - hopefully Marvel will agree (heís Fantastic - Iíll stop now.)

Some stuff to AVOID: CrossGenís Lady Death: A Medieval Tale #6, I was never a fan of the busty horror chick and this didnít change my mind. Hereos Anonymous #1 is a new humor comic from Bongo, well I thought so, but this deviants into a serious story of responsibility which is subpar at best. Lastly is Geoff Johns Possessed #1, which is a spin on "The Exorcist" with a younger, ass-kicking priest. It just missed itís target for me - its not scary, in fact, everyone treats possession in a very normal fashion. There is no real chaos or fear, a big let down for me as Johns usually delivers.

ONE SHOTS

Were you amongst the thousands seeking an "extra role" in "The Punisher"? A recent casting call at the Florida Aquarium yielded a massive turnout that began at 6 a.m. The chaos resulted in about 3000-4000 people all hoping for their 15-minutes of fame. I guess. Or at least, to the guy running away from the explosion or the plethora of victims - a better opportunity than an Independent Film, donít you think?

More about "Shrek 2": Larry King as The Ugly Stepsister, Julie Andrews and John Cleese as Fionaís parents, Rupert Everett as Prince Charming and Antonio Banderas as a cat named Puss-in-Boots - a lot of new material to keep things lively. Puss-in-Boots is an ogre slayer and there is a bar called "The Poison Apple" as we discover: not everyone is happy about our ogre couple.

BTW, Tarantinoís film "Kill Bill" has slid back to November and will be split into two parts with the second being released some time later. See, thatís what you get when they let this guy film a 200-page script. I guess thatís more Uma to enjoy.

"Everybody Loves..." Hey, Whereís Ray? Yep, CBS is considering going on without the title star Ray Romano and its creator Phil Rosenthal. The eighth season begins in September. What a great idea - "The King of Queens" without Kevin James, "Baby Bob" without Bob, or bring back "Becker" without Ted Danson - maybe those last two would work. Oh hell, who are we kidding - just add a couple of new reality shows.

N!xau Dead at...well nobody knows for sure. Amongst the tragic recent losses in the entertainment industry, another famous character has fallen. From the 1984 comedy "The Gods Must Be Crazy", N!xau, a bushman from Tsumkwe passed away on July 2. Itís not on the same plane as losing Jed Clampett or Atticus Finch, but the world will be a different place without the man who discovered a Coca-Cola bottle setting off a series of events. The stories about this man are too numerous to list here, but Iíll never forget that smile.

The Curse of Toni: Foxís "Paradise Hotel" reminds us that reality shows have led us to all-time lows in television broadcasting. Forget about marrying a trillionaire, this makes Springer look classy. The show includes the Reality Show "vet" Toni, who was the bug-eyed, psycho aboard Foxís "Love Cruise" in 2001. Despite its poor ratings, FOX has extended the future of this train-wreck.

On the reality show topic "Last Comic Standing" has proved to be a must-see at my house. The show pits would-be comedians in a house against one another vying for a contract with NBC. The backstabbing and nastiness would make "Survivor" and "Big Brother" producers envious. There is a head-to-head stand-up competition which is the weekly payoff that determines who is cast back into the real world. Good stuff, fun for a change. The Spinger-esque "Big Brother 4" introduced previous ex-lovers into the house with the competitors and has added a great distraction for the players and viewers. You are often more interested in the dirty laundry instead of the "game" - if it should even be called that. BB4 is too bad, but has eliminated me from the pool of contestants for the fear of being trapped with an ex-wife.

UP NEXT

The boys of summer, well, MY boys of summer.


"Splash Page" is ©2003 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.