The Start Of Something Big : Tana Oshima’s “Pulp Friction”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I find it downright fascinating that Tana Oshima has gone back to press with her first self-published mini, Pulp Friction, not only because I’d never had the pleasure of reading it before, but because it frankly takes a certain amount of guts for an artist in any medium to draw attention to their “warts and all” earlier work at a point in their career ouevre when they’re in a really confident creative groove — and, as regular readers here already know, I think Oshima’s been in the midst of a very solid groove for some time now.  Which isn’t my roundabout way of saying that this debut effort is necessarily lacking, mind you — in fact, the “lower dose” of refinement with which she tackles subjects that are still very much at the heart of her ongoing artistic project lends this comic an extra degree of immediacy which…

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The Dalton Gang (2020, directed by Christopher Forbes)

In this western, Arkansas Sheriff Frank Dalton is gunned down by an outlaw.  Seeking justice, Frank’s three brothers — Bob, Gant, and Emmett — become members of law enforcement themselves.  They kill a wanted outlaw but when they try to collect the reward, they’re told that the reward money has already gone to fund other projects.  (It’s hinted that the new sheriff stole it for himself.)  They’re also told that, since they’ve been smuggling whiskey to the Indians, they probably won’t get paid their salary.  The Dalton Brothers quit law enforcement and decide to become outlaws themselves.

The Dalton Gang is a low-budget western that tells the true story of the Dalton Brother and their career as outlaws.  Some of the film’s wildest developments — like the Gang attempting to rob two banks in one day — are based on fact.  Unfortunately, though the film gets the facts right, it’s done in by its own low budget.  From the muddy soundtrack to the tiny cast to the overuse of slow motion, everything about The Dalton Gang reminds you that you’re watching a movie and not particularly well-produced one.  Some members of the cast have the right look for a dusty western but the performances are so inconsistent that it’s sometimes difficult to watch the film with a straight face.  Jerry Chessman plays Bob Dalton and yells his lines so loudly that it’s hard not to jump whenever he starts speaking.  Undoubtedly due to the low budget, much of the action takes place off-screen.  The Dalton brothers spend a lot of time riding up to trains and then later talking about how much money they stole from the train but it’s rare we ever get to see them actually robbing anything.

Personally, I would like to see more westerns being released.  In the modern era, it’s a genre that seems to go through brief moments of resurgence followed by long periods of being pushed to the side.  Hopefully, though, future westerns will be better than The Dalton Gang.

Artist Profile: Stewart Rouse

Stewart Rouse was an illustrator who was active in the 30s and the 40s.  The majority of his work appears to have been done for aviation and car magazines and he also served as a staff artist for Popular Mechanics.  According to a brief bio that was published in a 1946 issue of Popular Science Magazine, Rouse was trained at the Chicago Institute of Art and “once built a homemade airplane that a harsh government refused to let him fly.”

Below are a few of Rouse’s covers, along with some illustrations that he did for an article on how to take care of a car.  The covers are from the 30s and the illustrations appear to be from the 40s.

The Sleeper Awakens with the new Dune Trailer

Just about everyone’s waiting for Denis Villeneuve’s remake of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Having grown up on the David Lynch version (and making my way through the novel), it has some big shoes to fill. Thankfully, what we’ve seen of it so far seems interesting. Villeneuve should have an easy time with the source material, though the movie has had its share of reshoots and dealing with the pandemic. We’ll see how it goes.

We finally have a trailer and some Wormsign!!. I’m liking the look of it. Chalamet’s Paul Atreides has some attitude to him, and I’m curious to see what Stellan Skarsgard does with the Baron Harkonnen.


<- Artwork of the Day: A Bloody Business Artist Profile: Stewart Rouse ->

Music Video Of The Day: Blood Makes Noise by Suzanne Vega (1992, directed by Nico Beyer)

Blood Makes Noise was the 2nd single to be released from Suzanne Vega’s underrated 1992 album, 99.9F°.  Vega is a performer that deserved to be a bigger star than she was.  If you’re the right age, you remember Tom’s Diner but otherwise, I don’t feel like she ever got the type of success and recognition that she really deserved.

This video was directed by Nico Beyer, a German director who has worked extensively in advertising and who also directed music videos for The Verve, The Pet Shop Boys, They Might Be Giants, and others.