Ahoy, Maties! Set Sail With “The Ghost Pirate”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Michael Aushenker is one of those folks that I automatically associate with one particular genre of comics storytelling — that being slapstick humor — but then, I also consider him to be a cartoonist who draws as well as writes his own material. What the hell do I know, though? His latest self-published release, The Ghost Pirate, puts paid to both of those notions in that it’s decidedly not aimed directly at the funnybone and is also, in point of fact, a collaboration with artist Marcus Collar that relegates Aushenker to scripting duties only.

All of which is to say, I suppose, that if you think you know “what to expect” from a Michael Aushenker comic — as I surely did — you’re in for something of a surprise here.

A time-twisting tale that starts off in 1775 with our titular pirate, who answers to the name of Molitar…

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Capsized:Blood in the Water, Review by Case Wright, Dir: Roel Reine’


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Capsized: Blood in the Water- It’s Lifetime with Sharks! I’ve watched Shark Week since I was a wee lad and in all of my years this is the first MOW for Shark Week that didn’t have any narration explaining/teaching about sharks. This was a movie that could’ve just been on Lifetime and it would’ve fit right in if they threw in a creepy babysitter or doctor.

The characters were a crew of five VERY stupid people.  I don’t just mean kinda dumb. I mean they should’ve been monitored in daily life on sea and on land.  Mark (Josh Duhamel) is the captain who makes nothing but bad decisions.  Mark (Joshua Close) is the first mate who is a self-centered alcoholic. Meg (Rebekah Graf) – the captain’s girlfriend who spends most of the film not doing much.  Brad and Deborah who don’t really do much either.

The director does try to build suspense, but all of the character’s decisions are so dumb that it makes you really lose sympathy.  The death scenes are also a little light on the gore.  I know this is a true story and all, but Shark Week- you root for the sharks (at least, I do).

They set sail, which I gotta say is a little weird to me.  I never understood the allure of sailing when wind powered vessels became obsolete since the steam age.  Once at sea, we learn that Mark is a stubborn, alcoholic, and incompetent first mate.  He drinks himself into a stupor so they miss the storm warning.  Meg is supposed to go to safe place down below during the storm, but she ignores everyone and gets injured.  Eventually, this injury is both life threatening and attract LOTS of sharks. Then, they get the storm warning, but John ignores the Coast Guard’s instructions to stay put, causing them to get capsized.

They manage to get a raft, but don’t go into it and attract lots of sharks with Meg’s open wound.  Why don’t they go inside the raft? Who knows?  John tries to apply a tourniquet to Meg’s wound, but Mark tells everyone that Meg gonna die anyway and starts fighting everyone.  John goes nuts and starts swimming for a mirage and gets eaten.  Mark gets the great idea to drink the ocean.  I say, Let Mark Be Mark! Drink That Water! Fly Mark Fly! Live Your Saltwater Drinking Truth!

Of course, the saltwater makes Mark go crazier and he tries to knock the boat over.  Mark falls out of the boat and we watch him slowly get eaten, but not enough really.  This is just too light on the gore for me. I want some Giallo levels of gore, but nope. I gotta wonder if IRL Mark really fell out of the boat.  Hmmmm.

They remain adrift for a long long long time more and Meg succumbs to her wound and the last two survivors toss her out of the raft as we see a shark coming up to I guess her remains… we don’t know for sure because they don’t show it.  UGHHH.

The Coast Guard stops looking for them and the last two survivors decide to flip the raft over because there’s water in the boat, which is making them cold, but they were adrift for over a week- how didn’t it dry out? A Russian freighter finds them, but as they swim for the boat Deb gets tire and Brad’s like – Sucks to be you! He eventually decides to help her, but that was coooold blooded.

I enjoyed this.  It was Lifetime on the waves.

 

Great Moments In Comic Book History: Crisis on Campus


This has always been one of my favorite Spider-Man covers.  Credit for it goes to John Romita, Sr.

This issue of The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 1969, at the height of the student protests that rocked campuses across America.  Since Spider-Man was a student at Empire State University at the time, it makes sense that he would eventually be drawn into the protests.  In typical Marvel fashion, Spider-Man ended up supporting both the protesters and the police who later busted them.  Spider-Man felt the protesters had a right to protest but that the police were also necessary to maintain the peace.  Of course, in the end, the Kingpin would use the distraction of the protests to steal an ancient tablet, leaving the students to take the blame.

This cover perfectly captured the ambiguous place of both Spider-Man and Marvel in the counter culture.  Spider-Man may appear to be with the protesters but it’s also not a coincidence that he’s swinging above them, indicating that Spider-Man was both a part of the counterculture and yet above it all at the same time.  At a time of intense national polarization, Marvel manged to pull off the balancing act of supporting both sides at the same time.

Is Spider-Man a part of the protest or is he the one being protested?  It all depends on what you want to see.

The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #68 (January, 1969)

“Crisis On Campus!”

  • Writer: Stan Lee
  • Penciler: John Romita Sr. and Jim Mooney
  • Inker: Jim Mooney
  • Letterer: Sam Rosen
  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artist: John Romita, Sr.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman

Titans, S1 Ep7 & 8, Asylum, Donna Troy Review By Case Wright,


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The asylum episode really didn’t have a lot going on.  Rachel’s mother is in an asylum and they rescue her. Rachel thought her mom was dead. Nope, just held hostage at the Evil Well-funded Psyche unit?  Sidenote: this psyche unit looks better funded than anything we have goin on in Seattle and we have a terrible homelessness problem.

Maybe, The Evil Group could franchise or just run our city for a couple of years?  The Evil Group catches Dick and mind messes with him and he burns his Robin suit.  That’s about it.  Nothing great.   Basically, it was a filler episode.

Donna Troy on the other hand is a fun episode.  Donna Troy was Wonder Woman’s sidekick and we dig deeper into that history.  It’s a lot more fun and goes deep into the inevitable PTSD heroes would have after years of violence.

The show opens back in Toronto…I mean Chicago.  Rachel and her mom have bonded overnight.  Really?! You haven’t seen her in…your whole life AND thought she was dead and you’re besties?! Word?

Dick’s “quit” … well kinda.  He can’t figure out what to do with himself.  So, he and Starfire break up and he heads to…..Vancouver..I guess.  Anywho, Donna Troi AKA Wonder Girl AKA Darkstar AKA My Canadian Girlfriend…I swear! She hasn’t quit, but she is a photographer.  I really didn’t know that was a photographer was a thing anymore.  I figured that it was de-professionalized like journalism by the internet and the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Starfire and the rest of the group are traveling to Rachel’s mom’s farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  They get on a train and are nearly captured by the feds.

Dick is at Wonder Girl’s photography artshow and everything is normal.  Just kidding, she’s made a Faustian deal to get hard edged photos of warlords for a fee.  As you do.  She goes to meet some evil guys for a photo shoot, but Dick follows her and he sees the evil dudes and beats the crap out of them.  Donna is also quite the linguist and translates the pictures of an ancient language on Dick’s phone that will explain Rachel and her origin.  FUN!!!

She gets through to him that Dick not done with being a hero, but he is done with Robin.  Soon, he’ll be …. Nightwing!!!! Can’t wait!!!  Dick and Troi do some research on the texts and decide to head to the farmhouse.  Somehow they know the address and start heading on down.

Dick and Troi are still enroute and don’t think to give Rachel a ring.  At the farmhouse, Rachel does a mindmeld on Starfire.  BAD IDEA! She uncovers Starfire’s mission and identity to her.  Unfortunately for Rachel, Starfire’s mission is to kill Rachel and stop her from bringing about the gotterdammerung. Starfire wakes and starts choking Rachel!!!  SO EXCITING!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Video of The Day: Love Is A Parasite by Blanck Mass (2019, dir by Craig Murray)


Blanck Mass is back with another unsettling video!

(That’s not a surprise.  Blanck Mass kinda specializes in being unsettling.)

This video, which features a retro tv studio going crazy over some sexy apples, feels like a bit of an homage to the early work of David Cronenberg.  Keep your eyes open and you’ll even spot a paperback novelization of Videodrome.  And, of course, just the idea of loving being a parasite is a very Cronenbergian concept.

Enjoy!