Enroll Yourself In “Space Academy 123”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I’m not normally one to put a tremendous amount of stock in a publisher’s promotional blurbs — they’re over-hyped by their very nature, and get the factual basics of the work in question, which they’ve presumably read, flat-out wrong with surprising frequency — but when Koyama’s pre-press promotional materials referred to Mickey Zacchilli’s Space Academy 123 as a blend of “Starfleet with Degrassi,” they captured the essential character of the book, originally serialized as a daily strip on Instagram, with fairly astonishing accuracy. But, of course, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Zacchilli, who hails from Providence, appears to have picked up no small amount of the residual energy left over in the cultural zeitgeist of that town from Fort Thunder, in that her strips are imbued with, and subsequently convey, much of the frenetic immediacy that her cartooning forebears made their stock in trade, but they necessarily…

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Cowboy Christmas: TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD (Republic 1950)

cracked rear viewer

There’s no sign of Robin Hood to be found in the Roy Rogers vehicle TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD. However, the film has gained a cult following among sagebrush aficionados for the plethora of cowboy stars gathered together in this extremely likable little ‘B’ Western directed by Republic Pictures workhorse William Whitney William Whitney, with plenty of songs by Roy and the Riders of the Purple Sage to go along with that trademark Republic fightin’ and a-ridin’ action (thanks, stuntmen Art Dillon, Ken Terrell, and Joe Yrigoyen!).

Some rustlers have been stealing Christmas trees from ‘retired actor’ Jack Holt’s tree farm. The benign Jack raises his trees to sell at cost to parents of poor kids, but avaricious J.C. Aldridge (Emory Parnell ) and his foreman Mitch McCall (former Our Gang member Clifton Young ) want to put an end to it and corner the Christmas tree market! U.S. Forestry Agent…

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AMV of the Day: Carry a Big Fist (One Punch Man)

One Punch Man

The latest AMV of the Day comes courtesy of one of the AMV scene’s top creators. I am talking about Rider4Z. It was his Best Drama-winning entry at Anime Expo 2010 that got me into anime music videos. That video was “Alchanum” and is still one of my favorite AMV’s despite the hundreds I’ve watched since.

This time around the video was one Rider4Z created in 2015 for Akross2015. “Carry a Big Fist” showcases the over-the-top anime One Punch Man paired with Rob Zombie’s equally hectic track, “Dragula.” Both song and anime fit each other like glove and hand.

One thing which I’ve admired with Rider4Z’s work has been his ability to really time his edits with not just the tempo of the song he’s chosen for the video but making sure that there’s a certain narrative flow to the chosen sequences paired with the lyrics of the song.

Anime: One Punch Man

Song: “Dragula” by Rob Zombie

Creator: Rider4Z

Past AMVs of the Day

Trailer: Men In Black International

MIB International

It looks like we have a set of new agents donning the black suits this time around.

Seems Thor and Valkyrie are doing a side gig for the Men In Black. There’s no Agent K or Agent J to save the world from otherworldly dangers. We now have Agent H and Agent M to take up the mantle of protecting the world. The trailer also shows us that the MIB is a global organization and no more New York as the stomping ground, but we also have London and it’s branch of the MIB.

Men In Black International was a sequel that didn’t garner too much excitement when first announced, but as the cast was finalized and announced the excitement began to rise. And it is quite a cast when one really looks at it: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall and Rebecca Ferguson.

Men In Black International will be out June 14, 2019. A release date with enough time between it and the juggernaut that will be Avengers: Endgame.

Why I Will Always Love A Charlie Brown Christmas

For me, it’s all about the tree.

A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired 53 years ago, on December 9th, 1965.  It’s aired every year since then, often twice a year.  For me, watching A Charlie Brown Christmas is as much of a holiday tradition as wrapping presents, decorating the house, and checking the weather forecast for snow.  I’ve watched every year since I was eight years old and I bet I’m not the only one.

A Charlie Brown Christmas begins with Charlie Brown telling Linus that he just doesn’t understand Christmas.  Even though he enjoys the presents and the tree and all the traditions, he still always ends up feeling depressed.  Charlie says that he just doesn’t feel the way that he’s supposed to.  (Was this the first Christmas special to acknowledge that the holidays can be a difficult time for some people?)  Linus says that Charlie Brown is the only person who can turn a wonderful holiday like Christmas into a problem.  From someone who spends every Halloween in a pumpkin patch, that’s a bold statement.

No one seems to have the Christmas spirit.  Lucy is upset because she never gets real estate.  Sally asks Santa Claus for tens and twenties.  Snoopy is so busy decorating his doghouse that he doesn’t even go after the Red Baron.  Even when Charlie agrees to direct the Christmas pageant, everyone’s more interested in dancing than getting into the holiday spirit.

Look at Pigpen go!  Snoopy and Schroeder get all the attention but Pigpen’s keeping up with them on the double bass.

Charlie Brown and Linus leave rehearsals to go find a Christmas tree.  Charlie’s supposed to pick the best tree they have, a big, pink, aluminum one.   Instead, Charlie picks the only authentic, real tree on the lot.  It’s a tiny sapling that looks half-dead and which leaves needles on the ground.  When Linus says that everyone’s expecting something bigger, Charlie says that the tree just needs some decorations.

That’s why I love A Charlie Brown Christmas.  It’s all about the tree.  It’s all about faith.

It’s not just the faith that Linus talks about when he later explains the true meaning of Christmas, though that’s certainly a huge part of it.  (Charles Schulz had to fight to be allowed to include Linus’s famous telling of the Christmas story, as there were fears that the religious content would turn off viewers.  Cleverly, Schulz made the story a key part of the special’s climax, so there was no way that the network could cut it.)  It’s also Charlie Brown’s faith that, even if he doesn’t full understand Christmas, he can still make that tree into something special.

At first, when Charlie Brown attempts to put on decoration on the tree, it tips over and he says that he’s killed it.

But then Linus comes along and he sees what Charlie Brown saw in that tree and, with a little help from his friends and his blanket, they bring the tree back to life.

Life may never be easy but with “a little love,” even the least impressive of things can become something glorious.  A Charlie Brown Christmas isn’t just about Schulz’s religious faith.  It’s also about the faith that the world can be made a better place, for trees, beagles, and round-headed kids.  Lucy might even finally get her real estate.

For the second time this year, A Charlie Brown Christmas will be airing on ABC tonight.  I’ll be watching.

Music Video of the Day: Thinking About You by Norah Jones (2006, dir by Ace Norton)

Both this song and this video appeals to my sentimental side.  I’m thinking about a lot of people this month.  In fact, I sometimes feel as if I’ve got a thought bubble floating over my head and anyone could look inside of it and see exactly what I’m thinking about.

I guess that’s why I like this video.  Everyone’s always thinking of someone.

This video was directed by Ace Norton, who has basically directed videos for everyone.