Patreon Preview Week : “Reckless” By Ed Brubaker And Sean Phillips


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I did this last year, so I’m doing it again : in an effort to gin up interest in my Patreon site, I’m posting a selection of reviews that ran on there originally with the brazen goal being to get you, dear reader, to part with a buck (or more, if you wish) per month so that yours truly can find some level of intellectual justification for the sheer amount of time I put into cranking out so much comics criticism. Really, anything helps and is much appreciated. Next up : proof that I don’t ignore the comics mainstream entirely, as I take a look at the first volume in the new graphic novel series from the fan-favorite creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips —

Here’s the deal : the crime comics “dream team” of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been at it for so damn long…

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Film Review: Night Terror (dir by E.W. Swackhamer)


“There’s a killer on the road.

His brain is squirming like a toad.”

So sang Jim Morrison in the song Riders on the Storm. Now, whatever you may think of Jim Morrison and the Doors (personally, I think the music was good, Jim was pretentious as Hell, and I look cute in my Doors t-shirt), this is a perfect description of the character who is at the center of the 1977 film, Night Terror. He’s played by Richard Romanus and, in the credits, he’s simply called The Killer. The Killer spends his times driving up and down the highway, killing people seemingly at random. We never learn why exactly the Killer does what he does, though the film does offer up a few hints. For one thing, he has no voice. He carries an electrolarynx with him and holds it up to his throat whenever he wants to speak. Of course, he only does this two times in the film and, both times, it’s to basically howl with rage. In another scene, he can clearly be seen to be wearing military-style dog tags. Given when this film was made and the unfortunate popularity of the “deranged Vietnam vet” trope in the 70s and 80s, it’s easy to pick up on what exactly the film is implying.

Night Terror follows one night in the life of both The Killer and Carol Turner (Valerie Harper). Carol is just trying to get to Denver, where her son is in the hospital. When she sees a police officer pulling over a sports car for speeding, Carol decides to ask the cop for directions. Unfortunately, the sports car belong to The Killer and, as soon as the cop turns his back on him, out comes the shotgun. Carol slams down on the accelerator and speeds off, with the Killer pursuing her in own his vehicle. Unfortunately, Carol’s station wagon (which comes with wood paneling because, again, this is a movie from 1977) is nearly out of gas. What follows is a fairly tense game of cat-and-mouse, as Carol tries to hide from the Killer while the Killer stalks the highway, relentlessly searching for her. Along the way, a few familiar character actors pop up. John Quade is a homeless man living in a gas station. The great Nicholas Pryor is another motorist, one who proves to be not much help. Making things all the more dangerous for Carol is that the Killer knows what she looks like but she has no idea what the Killer looks like.

Night Terror owes an obvious debt to Steven Spielberg’s Duel and a host of other 70s car chase films. While Night Terror really can’t compare to the Duel, it does do a good job of creating and maintaining suspense. Fortunately, the film never makes the mistake of tying to turn Carol into some sort of badass action girl. She’s just an average person who has found herself in a terrifying situation and, as played by Valerie Harper, she’s never less than relatable. Richard Romanus, meanwhile, makes for a terrifying killer. The fact that he occasionally flashes a rather child-like smile only serves to make his single-minded pursuit of Carol all the more frightening. We never learn much about what’s led The Killer to becoming what he is but Romanus gives such an intense performance that we don’t need to understand him in order to be scared of him. He’s a nightmare come to life.

Night Terror ends on a somewhat awkward note, as if the filmmakers suddenly remembered that they were making a made-for-TV movie as opposed to a feature film. But, that said, Night Terror is an effectively scary and suspenseful road film. It can currently be viewed on YouTube.

Patreon Preview Week : “Gates Of Plasma” By Carlos Gonzalez


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I did this last year, so I’m doing it again : in an effort to gin up interest in my Patreon site, I’m posting a selection of reviews that ran on there originally with the brazen goal being to get you, dear reader, to part with a buck (or more, if you wish) per month so that yours truly can find some level of intellectual justification for the sheer amount of time I put into cranking out so much comics criticism. Really, anything helps and is much appreciated. Next up, a fantastic book that Floating World Comics released in 2019 and seems to have largely floated under the radar —

Strictly speaking, there’s no reason that pioneering underground cartoonist, musician, and SOV filmmaker Carlos Gonzales isn’t on the so-called “A list” of contemporary artistic talents. I mean, whatever you’re looking for — fiercely-realized visions, a legitimately singular drawing style, a…

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Patreon Preview Week : “Future” By Tommi Musturi


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I did this last year, so I’m doing it again : in an effort to gin up interest in my Patreon site, I’m posting a selection of reviews that ran on there originally with the brazen goal being to get you, dear reader, to part with a buck (or more, if you wish) per month so that yours truly can find some level of intellectual justification for the sheer amount of time I put into cranking out so much comics criticism. Really, anything helps and is much appreciated. First up, a comic that pretty much everyone has been talking about, and for good reason —

Finnish cartoonist Tommi Musturi has always been something of a stylistic chameleon, a literal “man of a thousand faces” who can conjure any of them up when the need arises. In times past, this has largely meant that you never know what to expect from…

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Artwork of the Day: Judge (by DeAlton Valentine)


by DeAlton Valentine

This issue of Judge is from 1928, a year when everyone was falling in love with mermaids. Not only does this cover promise romance but it also promises a chance to win a thousand dollars! In 1928, you could probably have used that money to buy your very own mansion with a mermaid fountain out front.

I don’t know much about the credited artist, DeAlton Valentine. He was one of the few cover artists to sign his name to his work so his work will always live on.

Music Video of the Day: Star Wars Medley by Lindsey Stirling and Peter Hollens (2013, dir by ????)


Apparently, May 4th is Star Wars Day and …. oh wait. May the Fourth …. may the force ….. okay, I get it now. Anyway, since today is Star Wars Day, it just made sense to pick this as our music video of the day!

Add to that, Lindsey’s so cool. I wish I could play the violin.

Enjoy!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Wes Anderson and Robert Yeoman Edition


4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films is just what it says it is, 4 (or more) shots from 4 (or more) of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Wes Anderson celebrated a birthday on May 1st. Unfortunately, on that date, I was still recovering from my post-Oscar exhaustion (and I also had a few live tweet events that I was preparing to host that night) and I let the day slip past without proper observation. I apologize for that because Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors. Visually, no one makes films like Wes Anderson and his frequent cinematographer, Robert Yeoman.

So, belatedly, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films Directed by Wes Anderson and Shot by Robert Yeoman

Rushmore (1998, dir by Wes Anderson, DP: Robert Yeoman)
The Darjeeling Limited (2007, dir by Wes Anderson, DP: Robert Yeoman)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012, dir by Wes Anderson, DP: Robert Yeoman)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, dir by Wes Anderson, DP: Robert Yeoman)

Marvel Studios Invites You Back To The Movies


Due to the Pandemic, 2020 was the first year since 2009 not to see the release of any new Marvel films. Many people wondered if the MCU would be able to survive taking a year off. Would people still care about or even remember the Marvel movies without having a new one released every four months? With so many of the MCU’s most popular characters either dead or retired by the end of Avengers: Endgame, would viewers in a post-Pandemic world still flock to theaters to see what Marvel’s fourth phase had to offer?

The positive responses to Disney+’s WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier would seem to suggest that the answer is yes but the first real test will be when Black Widow, Shang-Chi, The Eternals, and the latest Spider-Man film are released later this year. Black Widow is the first solo movie of one of the Marvel’s most popular characters and Spider-Man is Spider-Man so both are expected to be blockbusters. The Eternals are less well-known but, because their movie was directed by Nomadland‘s Chloe Zhao, expectations are high. Shang-Chi is probably the biggest question mark but the trailer generated a lot of enthusiasm.

With Black Widow just a few months away from opening, Marvel Studios today released a sizzle reel to remind viewers of what’s coming out. After a brief look at Marvel’s past, the trailer provides footage of Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and, for the first time, The Eternals. It ends with a list of upcoming Marvel films, including the newly titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Marvels. (The Marvels is the sequel to Captain Marvel, presumably titled to remind people that there is more to the film than Brie Larson.) Finally, things end with a hint that The Fantastic Four will soon be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.