Weekly Reading Round-Up : 09/23/2018 – 09/29/2018, Cole Johnson

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

On deck for this week’s Round-Up column we’ve got a quartet of self-published minis from astonishingly literate cartoonist Cole Johnson, who has staked out his own unique metaphorical patch of turf quickly and is plowing it for all it’s worth. As is the case with John Porcellino, the deceptively minimalist style Johnson utilizes conveys a tremendous amount of information and, more importantly, feeling with as little fuss and muss as possible, consequently allowing his lean illustrations to pack more emotional “wallop” per line than he should, by all rights, be able to convey. Each of these books (three of which are in full color, and it’s gotta be said that Johnson is also a superb colorist) collects a series of thematically-similar short strips which seep into the consciousness of the reader with a heady mix of subtlety and inevitability, and reading all four at once, as I did, definitely has…

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Outrageous Fortune: Vincent Price in THEATER OF BLOOD (United Artists 1973)

cracked rear viewer

Vincent Price  traded in Edgar Allan Poe for William Shakespeare (and American-International for United Artists) in THEATER OF BLOOD, playing an actor’s dream role: Price not only gets to perform the Bard of Avon’s works onscreen, he gets to kill off all his critics! As you would imagine, Price has a field day with the part, serving up deliciously thick slices of ham with relish as he murders an all-star cast of British thespians in this fiendishly ingenious screenplay concocted  by Anthony Greville-Bell and directed with style by Douglas Hickox.

Edward Lionheart felt so slighted by both scathing criticism and once again being stiffed at the prestigious Critics’ Circle award, he broke up their little soiree by doing a swan dive into London’s mighty Thames. His body was never found, and everyone assumed they had seen Lionheart’s final performance, but unbeknownst to all he was fished out of the river…

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Music Video of the Day: Broken Wings by Mr. Mister (1985, directed by Oley Sassone)

A man drives through the desert in a Thunderbird.  A hawk perches in a church.  An unknown couple dance the tango.  The beach awaits.  Yes, this is the video for Mr. Mister’s Broken Wings.

The video was directed by Oley Sassone, who later directed episodes of Hercules and Xena..  According to Sassone, “The subtext of the story and what I wanted the audience to feel was our hero’s own backstory in his mind. The tango dancers, juxtaposed with the images of him getting lost while driving, tossing a map and instead following the hawk overhead was, symbolically, his own soul, his own voice deep inside telling him to carry on – to lead him to a new path, a new beginning.”  Personally, I have always thought this song was about someone struggling to recover from a bad breakup.

Broken Wings is a song that epitomizes the mid-1980s so it’s not surprising that it’s also included on the Vice City: Grand Theft Auto soundtrack.  Getting chased the a police helicopter while listening to Mr. Mister is a surreal experience.