“Drippin'” With Dread And Menace

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Somewhere in the inky depths of a dark, dank, foreboding dungeon, a fish head quite literally out of water finds itself trapped, and in desperate need of escape — will he/she/it make it?

This is the basic question at the heart of cartoonist Laurence Engraver’s 2018 Hollow Press-published Drippin’, a comic that takes absolutely full advantage of its format (obsidian-toned thick paper, dense white inks) and the sheer, enviable skill of its creator to tell a largely-wordless (barring the occasional animal sound effect) and exceptionally harrowing tale of survival against insurmountable odds. You think you know horror comics? This is a horror comic.

And by that I mean horrific to its core — from its dangling hooks to its murky passageways to its creaky wooden stairs to its vaguely Lovecraftian denizens, this book conjures an atmopshere — forgive me, but I’m going there again — dripping with a kind…

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Anything But “Blind”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

The name Evan M. Cohen is one that is unknown to me — but if his new Perfectly Acceptable booklet/’zine, Blind, is any indication, that’s my loss, because title aside, this thing is (sorry in advance) a real eye-opener. And surely this review can only go uphill from here —

Billed by its publisher as a “meditation on corporeality and creation, recollections recounted and reformed,” trust me when I say that only sounds oblique and borderline-esoteric — in truth, if you’re willing to absorb and fully consider these sequences of illustrations with an open mind and heart, what you’ll find here is one of the most disarmingly straightforward, unpretentious comics (a term that probably applies quite loosely in this instance) you’ll have been privileged to enjoy in quite some time.  And that word is key — enjoy.

I needn’t tell you that the production values of this book…

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Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988, directed by Alan Myerson)

Police Academy 5 starts as so many Police Academy films have started.  Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) is getting progressively more loopy and Captain Harris (G.W. Bailey) is plotting to take over the Academy.  This time, Harris thinks that he has come up with the perfect plan when he discovers that Lassard has reached the mandatory retirement age.

With retirement looming, Lassard attends one final law enforcement convention in Miami.  At the convention, Lassard is to be honored as “Police Officer of the Decade” because it was apparently a very slow decade.  Lassard decides to bring along his favorite academy graduates so that they can celebrate with him and meet his nephew, Sgt. Nick Lassard (Matt McCoy, who you may recognize as Seinfeld’s Lloyd Braun or maybe as the spokesman for Hartford Insurance).   The commandant invites Sound Effects Guy (Michael Winslow), Tackleberry (David Graf), Hightower (Bubba Smith), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Callhan (Leslie Easterbrook), and House (Tab Thacker).  Notice who isn’t there?  This was the first Police Academy film without Steve Guttenberg’s Carey Mahoney and Commandant Lassard celebrating his career without inviting his most loyal graduate doesn’t seem right.

Once what is left of the old gang arrives in Miami, they get caught up in the usual Police Academy shenanigans.  Rene Auberjonois plays a jewel thief who accidentally switches bags with the Commandant and who has 24 hours to retrieve the stolen diamonds.  It’s Florida so there are women in bikinis and an Everglades boat chase.  Harris gets humiliated in every way possible.  The jokes are even more juvenile than usual.  Nick Lassard uses sunscreen to permanently label Harris as being a “dork” so everyone on the beach calls Harris a “dork.”  That’s as sophisticated as things get.

Unfortunately, there’s a Steve Guttenberg-shaped hole at the center of Police Academy 5 and not even as formidable a thespian as Matt McCoy can fill it.  Even though Guttenberg always seemed like he was miscast as both a cop and a former juvenile delinquent, Police Academy 5 shows how important he really was to the franchise.  Mahoney was the closest thing that the Police Academy films had to a fully developed character and, without him around, it’s even more obvious how thinly drawn all of the other characters were.  (Guttenberg was filming Three Man And A Baby while Police Academy 5 was in production though, in an A.V. Club interview a few years ago, Guttenberg said the real reason he wasn’t invited to Miami Beach was because the producers couldn’t afford to pay his salary.  “You’ve got to get paid!” Guttenberg explained.)

I will, however, give Police Academy 5 some credit.  Rene Auberjonois does what he can with his bumbling jewel thief and the scene where Tackleberry pulls a gun on a shark made me laugh.  Otherwise, Police Academy 5 is no Police Academy 3.

Tomorrow, it’s time for … you guessed it! …. Police Academy 6!

Artist Profile: Hubert Rogers (1898 — 1982)

Born into a prominent family in Ablerton, Price Edward Island, Canada, Hubert Rogers went on to become one of the most influential artists of the pulp era.  While he worked in all genres, Rogers was best known for his illustrations and cover work for Astounding Science Fiction.  Rogers’s portraits of aliens, astronauts, and especially his spaceships all influenced how a generation grow up thinking about space exploration, extraterrestrial life, and the future.

Rogers, whose grandfather was governor of Prince Edward Island, served in the Canadian army during World War I and trained at the Massachusetts Normal Art School.  After retiring from working as an illustrator, he devoted himself to landscapes and commissioned portraits of historic Canadian and American politicians, justices, celebrities, businessmen, and Commissioners of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Here’s a small sampling of his work:

Music Video of the Day: Sleepwalking by Lindsey Stirling (2020, dir by Lindsey Stirling and Graham Fielder)

Are your dreams your dreams or are they messages from the dead?  It’s something to think about.

Lindsey Stirling is one of my favorite performers and this is another great video from her.  During this stressful time, it’s good to know that Lindsey is out there, creating music.

I should also note that I usually get by on two to three hours of sleep a night.  If I could, I’d get by on absolute zero but I’m not allowed do that anymore.  *le sigh*  Oh well!  I’ve never actually sleepwalked, though I find the phenomena of it to be fascinating.  I do usually have some great dreams, though.  Do people have dreams while they’re sleepwalking?  I would hope so.