Rich Koslowski: Writer, Artist, Genius
homeView and Buy Rich's StuffReviews of Rich's BooksRead Rich's RantsLinksAbout RichContact Rich

IMAGE EXPO REVIEW & WONDERCON PREVIEW

Giddyup!

The first ever IMAGE COMICS EXPO was a rousing success. While Friday and Sunday were a tad slow and the crowd sparse Saturday more than made up for it. Big crowd, good sales coupled with the fact that the show was well-organized, great site (and clean bathrooms!), friendly con staff and great neighbors all around me. Stella was also able to nab the table right next to mine and she sold quite a few pieces of her original art so she had a great weekend!

I was also able to talk with a couple publishers and it's looking very promising for a couple big projects I've been chomping at the bit to get going on. Stay tuned!

All-in-all it was a solid 6 out of 10 which I consider to be tremendous for a first time show. I'd definitely go back next year should they do it again.

Another highlight of the show was the dinner on the way out of town. We visited local legend, Chicken and Waffles, and the food was so scrumptious and comforting after an exhausting weekend it was just a great way to end the weekend in Oakland.

And so in a could more weeks I'm off to WonderCon in Anaheim. Yup, the same WonderCon that the Image folks replaced up in the Bay area. They have, temporarily, relocated this year in Anaheim because they couldn't get a big enough convention space in San Francisco this year. So we're looking forward to WC as the last couple trips there were terrific for me. I'll be manning the Top Shelf booth again this year so make sure to stop on by. Don't tell the pubs but I'll be making ridiculous deals! And, of course, besides all the fantastic TS books (mine included of course) I will also have a nice selection of my other books and original artwork for sale.

In other news...

Thanks to Justified and The Walking Dead for giving us something to look forward to watching again. Justified has been very solid so far this new season and remains our favorite show of the past three years. If you have yet to jump on board do yourself a favor and go rent season 1. The Walking Dead has become a bit stale. They really need to get off that damn farm. Move. On. We definitely need a serious change of scenery here, folks. Part of the fun of "Zombie survival fantasy" is seeing how people adapt and overcome. They've been nestled in there too long too comfortably. And that's why we're getting so much damn bickering between them. Seems that that's all they do now is bicker. I know it's the Zombie apocalypse but c'mon, there'd be the occasional moment of triumph...of levity. Give us some levity for god's sakes, writers.

In other news...

Best comics of late... Journey Into Mystery has been the best, most consistent Marvel comic the past year. I have canceled anything with Avengers on the title after decades of never missing an issue as that title has failed miserably by becoming the most bloated and boring comic since the X-Men went horribly awry with tangential titles in the 90s. So JIM has been the most pleasant of surprises. Truly terrific writing! And, hey, some levity!

I'm also liking Batwoman by DC. I haven't collected much DC in the past few years but since Marvel's been losing it lately with all their shameless "event" crossovers I'm looking elsewhere for new series to follow. And BW has been a nice new "must read" for me.

And, of course, I continue to scour the great independent publishers for the best our medium has to offer. Drawn & Quarterly NEVER fails me as a publisher. They continue to set the standard for excellence in graphic novels. IDW has also been consistently producing high quality reads.

Okay, I should...SHOULD have some pretty exciting news in the next month so stay tuned. I know you haven't seen a new BIG project from me in awhile and there's a reason for it. I've been working hard on developing a few new projects and, after a couple years, it looks like a couple are coming to fruition...and if they do come to fruition they are going to be HUGE.

I will leave you with that teaser.

word.

R

BB WOLF MAKES THE TOP 100 LIST!!!!

Hey all! It is with great pride that I report the news that the prestigious COMIC BOOK RESOURCES has listed BB WOLF AND THE THREE LPS as one of their Top 100 books of 2010! We even cracked the Top 50 nabbing the 47th spot on the list! And checking over the rankings I've gotta say I'm quite proud because there's some really fantastic books on this list.

JD and I would like to thank everyone who bought, read and spread the word about the book. And also thank the fine folks over at CBR! They've always been kind to me in the past and work very hard and take their jobs very seriously giving fans of the industry excellent insight, views and news about our beloved hobby.

Here's the link to check out the list. I'm guessing that if you're reading this you've already got a copy of BB and don't need any more pimping by me but I really think you ought to peruse the other selections and make sure to go out and pick up a few of them.

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30135

word.

r

P.S. Next blog I'm goona do my "best and worst" of 2010. Yep, Favre's on the list! I'm gonna let you sweat wondering if he's in the "best" or "worst" category! Right!

AFTER CHRISTMAS MATH

Get it?... "After Christmas Math"? Like Aftermath!... Like Christmas was, y'know, all hellish and a pain-in-the-ass and everything... Ha! Damn, I show my cleverness once again with this witty and insightfully poignant play on words! THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is WHY I am an award-winning writer!

Whoo!

Okay, well, that being said I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. And if you don't celebrate or recognize the holiday, well, whatever. I'm sure you still took advantage of the days off of work or school and didn't gripe about it, eh? Or swooped in and saved a few bucks on the after holiday sales, perhaps? Hmm?....

Sure you did.

Anyway, our holiday was rather enjoyable going back to the frozen tundra (or as I unaffectionately refer to it, "Hell") and seeing family and a few friends. Stella, of course, reaped the biggest harvest being the only grandchild on Sandy's side of the family and just plain old being the most awesome on mine!

So, again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance!... and don't drink and drive!

To all of you who took advantage of my Holiday Sale on the website a very big Thank You! I'll get around to adjusting the prices back soon but right now I'm just too tired and lazy so if you missed out, guess what?...you haven't missed out yet! Order away while the sale lasts.

In other BIG NEWS!!!!... My boy, Russ Colchamiro of Finders Keepers fame has landed "the BIG ONE" and got himself and his debut book reviewed by Publishers Weekly! And anyone in this business can testify that that ain't no easy feat! So, without further ado I shall post the review right here right now for your reading pleasure!

Web Exclusive Finders Keepers Russ Colchamiro, illus. by Rich Koslowski, 3 Finger Press (www.richkoslowski.com), $13.99 trade paper (301p) ISBN 978-09794801-4-0 As the Milky Way Galaxy is being created in Eternity's laboratories, a jar of CBM (cosmic building material) goes missing on Earth (thanks to the on-the-clock "getting' it on" of two employees). Hapless New Zealander Theo Barnes discovers the jar but has no idea what it contains; when the sea creatures start talking, however, even he realizes that it holds great significance. Eager to learn more, he goes on a backpacking trip through Europe, where he meets Jason Medley, an aimless American on a quest of self-discovery. The two meander across the continent, while all around them people search desperately for the CBM, intent on salvaging the scheduled unveiling of the Milky Way. What Colchamiro's unique and funny novel lacks in coherence, it makes up for in style and panache. The author has created the quintessential bumbling duo in Barnes and Medley, two clueless dudes drifting through a rather dense narrative, and most of the large supporting cast from Eternity (from ex-lovers Emma and Lex to the husband-and-wife team of Donald and Danielle, who lost the jar in the first place) are funny and well-drawn. This is a strong debut from a very imaginative writer. (Nov.)

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/reviews/fiction.html?page=8

Congrats to Russ! I know just how hard he's worked on his book (available on this here site! And STILL on sale I might add) and how hard he's worked on promoting it. This is a very well-deserved recognition of that work and I am proud to have been a part of the project. Dang it...I said I wasn't going to cry!...sniff...

Okay, thassit for this week's installment of witty banter, observations and social commentary!

Word.

R

BEST REVIEW EVER!!!!!!

Hello kiddies, Okay, I was more than a little shocked when I came across the picture you see here. I will, on occasion, troll the internet for new reviews on my books and lo and behold, the last time I did this, this is what I found!

It seems that a couple years back, at the comic shop, Comicopolis, in sunny Santa Cruz, CA., three young ladies happened upon the store. It is still unclear as to whether they came in together, or not, but store owners Troy and Johnnie both witnessed what was about to unfold...

Apparently the two store owners heard the girls conversing in the background while they discussed the upcoming week's orders. As they were busy they did not, at first, notice that the discussion between 2 of the girls began to get heated! By the time they did become aware that the conversation had escalated into a full-blown argument it was too late. The girls were already on the ground rolling around, viciously tearing at each other as the third girl stood stunned watching! There were screams and profanity laced accusations! Johnnie and Troy were back behind the counter, and, initially, too shocked to even move at what they were seeing, so the fight progressed a few more seconds before they sprang into action! They got out from behind the counter, ran around one of the bookshelves and approached the two screaming girls ready to separate them before one of them got seriously hurt! But by the time they got to arm's reach the fight--as often fights between the ladies do--evolved into something entirely else! Yes, the girls were still agitated but it was somehow...different now. The aggression had turned...become more focused...more HEATED if you will. The wrestling was now more of a...writhing. Again, Troy and Johnnie found themselves paralyzed by what they were bearing witness to. Their shouts of "HEY! STOP!" petered out into feeble whimpers of, "hey....h-h-he-eyyy..." And the third girl was so distraught all she could manage were low, gutteral groans as her eyes squeezed tightly shut and her body shuddered.

It was fortuitous for Troy and Johnnie that longtime customer, Harry Coe, happened into the store that day with his camera. Well, he had his camera but it was in his car. Good thing his car was right outside of the shop; just two blocks down the street and four more blocks over in the nearby parking structure up on the fourth floor. Yep, good thing! He got back just in time to snap a series of photographs for pals Troy and Johnnie in case there was any damage to the store and they had to file a claim with their insurance company. Harry managed to snap off a few dozen pictures! (several are posted at Love Bomb Review! For, you know, the insurance company if they need to see them.)

The disagreement lasted well over an hour and everyone was exhausted. Troy, Johhnie and Harry as well as it has been documented that mental exhaustion and stress can be just as intense as physical exhaustion. The girls left together, still calling each other nasty names but the tone was different now somehow, the hitting more of a spanking concentrated on the hind quarters of each girl. But before they left Johnnie was able to ask them what instigated the fight--this was after asking them where they were going, what were they doing now, what were their phone numbers, their astrological signs and who they thought would win in a fight Thor or Superman (Johnnie saying Thor).

He was denied answers to all questions but one... Apparently, there was only one copy of "THE 3 GEEKS: WHEN THE HAMMER FALLS!" TP left on the shelves and they were fighting over that (didjya spot the book in the pic??)!

Huh?! Go figure.

So, naturally when I heard of this terrible situation I contacted Troy and Johnnie to find out if it was true and to offer them more copies of the Trade Paperbacks to, hopefully, help avoid any more violence in their store! They did, indeed, verify the fight and thankfully order copies of my books.

But, curiously, they only ordered ONE copy of each book.

Hmmmm?...

Word.

R

SOME QUICK REVIEWS

Hey all,

Got elbowed in the jaw/chin area very hard the other night at basketball simultaneously by my two good friends (or are they?!) Big Tim Lyons and Tony Krebs. Bit the s**t out of my tongue--and have three nice teeth marks to prove it, plus some pretty serious swelling--and knocked the crud out of my jaw. As a result I now have to talk through gritted teeth and a mewling, swollen slab of ground up meat I call my tongue. Swallowing is difficult and chewing painful, to say the least. Good thing I still have some Vicadin left over from my vasectomy! Weeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

So, anyway, I'm in pain. But DAMMIT I can still write! And write to you I shall!

I've noticed that I have been slightly remiss of late in reviewing the periodicals that I, as an industry professional, am so closely and professionally involved in...i.e. comic books! I read thousands of the darned things every year and yet only give my 2 cents on occasion. Is this, perhaps, a result of inferior product and I find myself having nothing really of merit to say? Nay, not always. Certainly the bulk of comics being printed are found to left me wanting, but there are a goodly amount that are of superior readability and deserving of praise.

Basically, the reason I have been negligent in my duties to you, oh faithful readers, as a purveyor of sound advice and critique is that I am so submersed on a daily basis with comics that at the end of the day (when I usually write these columns) that's the last thing I want to be thinking of. That's my theory anyway, take it or leave it.

Okay...so what's good lately? A'ight, here's my "2 cents" for today...

Brubaker. Yeah, sure, we all go apeshit for his stuff he's doing on CAPTAIN AMERICA. Yes, it's fantastic. I wholeheartedly agree. Buy it. But I think he's even doing better things on his series CRIMINAL, that's co-created by one of my all-time favorite artists, Sean Phillips. This series is freaking phenomenal! It's about the best crime genre stuff I've ever seen. Great story and art told with grit, realism and the kind of snappy dialogue and situations we've come to expect from Brubaker at his best. If you loved GOTHAM CENTRAL (which was also phenomenal) you'll love this.

END LEAGUE by Dark Horse. Hey man, I'm too lazy to go downstairs and get my copies and see who did the creative chores (I think Rick Remender & Mat Broome) but this book kicks a-hole! Only 2 issues out so far but I'm pretty stoked. That's not to say this thing can't go into the dumper yet, but so far so good.

Same goes for THE TWELVE by J. Michael Straczynski and artist Chris Weston. So far so VERY, VERY good. I've never been a huge Straczynski fan (I have enjoyed most of his stuff though) but he's really struck a chord with me so far on this one. A series about a group of Twelve heroes from the WWII era frozen in time and recently revived in modern time and finding themselves trying to come to terms with this...ala Captain America but done with a fresher, more realistic and more relevant twist(s). Straczynski's also having himself a nice run over on THOR right now, revamping that character (one of my personal favorites) and doing a bang-up job of it. Maybe I'll turn out to be a huge fan of his after all.

Got THE NEW FRONTIER dvd as a gift from my good pal, Gary Sassaman, a couple weeks back. Enjoyed it but it didn't measure up to the comic book series. I thought the story was a little choppy compared to the brilliant comic book by the brilliant Darwyn Cooke (he's one of my top ten!)

Um, what else?...what else?...Oh yeah! THE INCREDIBLE HERC! I love this! Hercules has always been one of my favorite characters and grossly underused or misused as a character. With the "goings ons" with the Hulk and WORLD WAR HULK (which fizzled out a little in the end BTW in my estimation after starting out SO wonderfully) Hercules has taken over THE INCREDIBLE HULK series while the Hulk gets his life sorted out. And the book has never been better! Fun, smart (has to be with Amadeus Cho, the world's seventh smartest human along for the ride), action-packed, and full of all the oafish, simple-minded, arrogance and charm you'd expect from Hercules. I can't recommend this comic enough.

Well, that's about enough for now as I have to get over to Stella's school for Career Day and espouse my wisdom to the 5th graders about what a great (HA!) career being a writer and artist can be. We'll see how well I do talking through gritted teeth for three classrooms...should be interesting.

I'll leave you with one last review...perhaps the most important one you'll ever read in your entire life!...

RICH KOSLOWSKI'S run on MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS has been a revelation! To use words like "brilliant!" or "astounding!" simply do not do this amazing talent justice. They fall far short of what Koslowski truly deserves as one of America's--nay, the WORLD'S--great literary talents. Perhaps only Koslowski himself, great writer that he is, can come up with the proper pronoun that justly describes the elevations he's gone to with the written word. Perhaps mankind can only achieve the proper descriptions of how great he is after we've learned to communicate by telepathy and empathically, merging verbal, mental and emotional all into one. Then, perhaps, we will all be able to fully appreciate and understand just how wonderful his works truly are!

'Nuff said!

r

p.s. Yeah, really, MCP has been pretty cool. Has it been my "Opus"? No. But it's been a decent read and I'd appreciate any fan support I can get on it. Thanks, man.

TOP 10 LIST! 6-8-07

Hello friends! A quick follow up on last week's foreskin column...My friend's Dirk and Melissa had their baby boy last Friday and, apparently, didn't read my blog in time. They butchered the poor kid. He is now one of us...the poor, foreskinless wanderers of this cookie-cutter world we live in.

Sigh...I tried.

Onto other things...

I am always asked "Who's your favorite comic book artist?" or "Who's your favorite comic book artist?" to which I always reply, "Why, ME, of course!" and that's pretty much true. I am the best. And I answer this question so often that it bores me. So, I thought I'd do a "Top 10" list of my 10 favorite comics of all time! But I'm going to go with comics that come to me off the top of my head...the ones that left the most impact on me when I first read them. Some of these were from when I was much younger and the impact they made at the time simply blew my mind! Would they hold up today? Maybe in some cases they would and in others, probably not, but they made a huge impact, nonetheless, and so they're on the list.

So, without further ado...

#10) Giant Size Super Stars #1...This is the first memory I have of buying a comic book. I remember seeing that glorious cover with the Thing and the Hulk inside of a boxing ring slugging it out and it blowing my little mind! This "first comic" story of mine is well-documented as on the very first day I bought this comic I also lost it when, in a gas-hazed state, I left it behind at the dentist's office after having a cavity (or three) filled. It was all-at-once the greatest and most tragic day of my comic book life. Decades later the memory of the whole incident came flooding back when I was paging through an old "Son Of Satan" comic and saw the ad for GSSS #1 in the back. It was surreal. Needless to say I went out and found that comic immediately. The story's okay, but the memory and impact it made on me was indelible.

#9) Watchmen #1...I picked this up months after everyone else did...maybe even a year. I'd heard all the hububb and knew I needed to check it out, but for whatever reason didn't do it right away. Needless to say that when I finally did I was floored! Floored, socked in the guts, completely opened my mind that there could be even MORE in comics! Alan Moore set the bar that day for me. He set the bar for alot of people and comics owe alot to him for setting that bar.

#8) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns...As with The Watchmen, Frank Miller similarly set the bar on this 4 issue mini-series. He made Batman relevant again and did it in such a unique, riveting, mind-blowing way. This was Miller's opus. Seeing Batman take out Superman was one of the best single moments in comic book history!

#7) Avengers # 164-166...This was the 3-issue arc that culminated with Count Nefaria absolutely kicking some serious ass! The start with the Avengers battling The Lethal Legion was completely kick-ass (and would've been cool enough all on its own) and then Count Nefaria pops in and completely blows me away (again! yes)! Not only do we have a nigh-omnipotent super-powered baddie here, but we have an Avengers team in disarray with Wonder Man suffering a heavy dose of self-doubt and The Vision immobilized and in need of repair. The arrival of Thor and temporary turning the tide of the battle was phenomenal! Powerful! It really showed Thor at his greatest...the power that he holds. Thor was handled perfectly here. And the fear that Nefaria felt was palpable! And then!...not only does Nefaria withstand Thor's attack but he gains confidence and turns the tables on him! I was in complete shock. The moment where Cap realizes he's done and gives Wonder Man his shield gave me the chills (still does upon writing this!) and he ending with Hank Pym realizing he was of better use in the lab restoring The Vision was cool and the Vision's saving the day by dropping from outer space onto Nefaria!!!...Awesome! Another spectacular John Byrne moment for me. I was completely "head over heels" for Byrne.

#6) Batman: The Killing Joke...Another Alan Moore moment in comics's history. And the art by Brian Bolland is first-rate. This was one of those one-shot stories that makes such an impression that you read it over and over and over again. I think I read this comic 20 times in 2 years. EASILY! It's the perfect Batman story...Great story, great art, Batman's greatest villain and a few shocking and brutal moments that forever changed the world of Batman and the world of comics. This one still, definitely, holds up when you re-read it.

#5) X-Men #57...This was an early X-Men issue that, when I finally discovered it, opened my mind to the world of the brilliant Neal Adams, and after that I found myself on a mission to find every single issue this man had ever drawn! This happened with me a couple years earlier after discovering John Byrne and now it was happening again! And it was as intense, if not more intense for me. Neal Adams was a revelation for me. I had never seen such sophisticated and dynamic artwork before. I can honestly say I was "addicted" to his artwork. I know, it sounds weird and creepy, but that's the way it was for me. I simply HAD to go out and find every comic this guy ever drew. And I think I pretty much have. And this cat did a LOT of covers...whew!

#4) Fantastic Four #236...This was that double-sized anniversary issue featuring Doctor Doom where Doom had them trapped in a device that made them think they'd been living altogether different lives without their powers. They were trapped in this reality until Reed discovered the truth and set them all free. But Ben was reluctant. This was written & pencilled by John Byrne and the level of intelligence behind the story really impressed me when I read it. I hate to sound redundant but it blew me away!

#3 The X-Men #112-113...The Big Fight With Magneto 2 issue arc! I thought that this was the most perfect X-Men book of the time and, perhaps, the best story ever! Great story, great art, great action, and the best villain! This arc had it all. And the teamwork was poetry in motion when the X-Men--having previously gotten the tar beat out of them by Magneto--fought back from impossible odds and worked together as a team to beat him! It was brilliant. A true "stand up and cheer" moment for me as a young comics reader.

#2) The X-Men #137...The Death of Jean Grey issue. I just couldn't believe it. I actually cried. And I was a pretty tough kid. But also a kid with empathy and emotions and a pure love of my comic books and the characters within. The way that Claremont and Byrne handled this issue was so perfect and moving and I've never experienced the same impact since in comics. And the fight with The Imperial Guard was awesome and heart-breaking seeing them, one-by-one, defeated. This was a perfect comic book.

And, drumroll please...my numero uno "Biggest Impact" comic book ever is!...

#1) The Uncanny X-Men 141 (and 142)..."Days of Future Past" quite simply stunned me into a state of sheer speechlessness and had me frantic for the month between the two issues. I was in the 8th grade and had just subscribed for the first time! This was the first issue I received in the mail and I remember rushing out to the mailbox every day for weeks before that first issue came. Every day running out there until that one fateful day seeing the thin comic wrapped in that plain brown sleeve, ripping it open as I ran up the driveway, seeing that cover with Wolverine in front of the posters claiming the other X-Men all dead! I was freaked. And then I read it...and I read it again! And again!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading! Could it really be? Was this the future in store for my beloved characters? This single issue left a mark on me that I will never forget. The impact was indelible. I've come close to having felt that same impact a few times since...very close...but none have, or ever will, make that impact again. The time was right for me. A great book at a time when comics were "pure magic" for me.

And there it is. I'm sure if you're a comics fan you've noticed a pattern and timeframe for my choices. You can glean from these choices that the biggest impacts for me were when I was a young lad and comics were very magical and somewhat fresh for me. Also that The X-Men were a favorite and John Byrne was my favorite artist of the time. These were the books that changed me. Are they all still books I'd regard as "the best" written or drawn today? Not necessarily (Although they are still all great!.) But they did make the biggest "impact" on me.

Now go ahead...discuss. And make your own lists, it's fun!

Word!

r

GRINDHOUSE!

Yes, that IS how most of my friends refer to my house, but it is not the GRINDHOUSE of which I refer to in this column. Perhaps in later columns I shall write of the legendary bouts of coitus that transpire within the confines of these four walls, but not right now. It would, really, require a series of columns to properly convey the levels (and depths) of otherworldly flesh-minglings that coalesce here. It's true.

So, no, it is not MY "grindhouse" I write of today but the MOVIE Grindhouse which is now being shown in theatres nationwide. If you are not aware of it, it is a double-feature with movies written and directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarentino. Both films pay homage to the bad B movies of the 70s that studios seemed to crank (or "Grind") out one after the other paying little attention to quality. This lack of attention to quality, seemingly, had little effect on the films popularity as audiences flocked to see them, filling the theatres and drive-ins. The movies were exploitation films mostly centering on horror and breasts. Really, when you think about it, what's NOT to love? And. apparently, Rodriguez and Tarentino were huge fans of the genre. And with these two magnificent films, and the absolutely brilliant fake trailers filling the gap between them, Rodriguez and Tarentino have payed brilliant homage, indeed! All told you spend over three hours in the theatre and it was three of the most fun hours I've had in months!

Rodriguez's feature is "Planet Terror" and is an absolute HOOT! Zombies, scheming scoundrels, hot babes (one with a machine gun for a friggin' leg!), tough heroes, and action, action, action! I had never realized just how sexy Rose McGowan was before this movie...maybe it was the Howitzer prosthetic? I guess I've discovered my bizarre fetish after all these years. Who knew?

"Planet Terror" is a pretty standard story as all those "Grindhouse" films tended to be. The acting is heavy-handed, cheesey and over-the-top. The effects gross for the sake of grossness and the ending predictable. And the film skips, stutters and is poorly edited (there's an entire sequence missing right in the middle of the hot sex scene for God's sake!). And that's what makes the film so brilliant! It's all done intentionally. And you might ask yourself, "Why make a bad movie on purpose?" And that's a fair question. The reason is because they made this "bad" movie so damn good! Ingenius, really. I am jealous. Rodriguez found actors so good at acting bad you are in awe. Bad actors could not have pulled this off! I know it sounds confusing but you gotta trust me. This film is just so fun to watch.

The Tarentino film, "DEATH PROOF," pays homage to all those "car" films which were so popular in the 70s. Long car chases with plenty of violence and mayhem. And sexy women of course. This film is not as good as the Rodriguez film but fun, nonetheless. The only problem I had with this feature was it was about 20 minutes too long and Tarentino chose to use an actual stuntwoman playing herself (maybe two, I'm not sure) who, quite simply, didn't act very well. I know, I know, they're supposed to be "bad" right? No. They're supposed to ACT bad on purpose...there's a difference. This stuntwoman was just bad. Her delivery was stiff and forced. And the dialogue between the two groups of women was also a bit forced and contrived. Not the usual "spot on" dialogue Tarentino writes and his audiences have come to expect. These conversations, quite simply, ran too long and were so riddled with the "F" word that they became tedious and annoying. I DO NOT need to hear the typical rage-filled stereotype of a black woman say motherf***er 30 times. And that's between her saying F*** about 100 times. It got trite and I expect better from Quentin. There were points in the film where you sat there thinking, "alright already, enough!" because the conversations went nowhere--they added nothing.

In the past he's been the "master" of the trivial conversations that take place between his characters (think Travolta and Jackson discussing cheeseburgers in France) making these, seemingly, unimportant discussions amusing, entertaining and a smart device to humanize his characters and give them depth. In this film the conversations do little of this, adding nothing more to this film than 20 minutes of unnecessary "filler" to make the movie come in at "full-length feature" status. 20 minutes too long.

That being said, Kurt Russell is the gem in this film! He plays the best scoundrel you "love to hate" that I've seen in years--maybe decades. You can tell he had a lot of fun playing this role. I won't give away too much here but I've read reviews that say the "audiences stand up and cheer at the ending!" I didn't stand up but I did cheer! And I laughed my butt off.

So, I give Planet Terror an "A", Death Proof a B, and the trailers an "A+!"

Definitely go and see this double-feature now before it's out of the theatres! There's talk of the studio splitting the films up and playing them seperately since ticket sales have been more sluggish than they anticipated. Go! NOW!

Word!

R

I'M A MAN!!!

Hello.

In case you're wondering about my title of this particular column, "I'M A MAN!!!", I really have no idea...I thought of a simple title relating to the Easter weekend but that seemed obvious and I really had no desire to espouse any religious opinions of any kind or wish any of you a Happy Easter...sorry. I mean, I hope your Easter is happy if you choose to celebrate this particular holiday, I really do,I'm not "anti-Easter" by any means. So, I guess I hope you have a Happy Easter. But that's not what this column's all about. And so I thought about writing something related to the books I've read this past week (which are many) but I couldn't think of anything catchy or clever. Perplexing since I'm usually quite clever and something of a wordsmith...I am a professional writer after all. So, it is rather puzzling that I couldn't think of some wondrous title relating to recent reads. Of course I really only gave myself about 12 seconds to think of something for the title of this column...didn't really give myself a fair chance one might say. I don't know why...given the opportunity--say, 15-30 seconds--I think I probably would've come up with something quite intelligent, indeed.

Sigh. But here's the rub! I'm impatient. I like to have things right away. I work that way, play that way, interact that way...I'm compulsive.

And so, when thinking for those, seemingly, long 12 seconds (an eternity to a compulsive, impatient person) I quickly lost patience and wrote the first random thought that popped into my head..."I'M A MAN!!!"

Like I said, I don't know why, and I'm sure "Freudian" psychologists would have plenty to say on the subject...That I'm overcompensating and deep down suffer from feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Maybe. It's possible I guess. They might hypothesize that I struggle with my sexuality and my inner woman cries to be released. Hmmm...interesting. I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to be a woman. I think I'd be a nymphomaniac if I was. Yes. Perhaps they would surmise from my title that I long to have my voice heard...that I feel people should recognize my greatness more and that because they have not that I am angry at the world and feel the necessity to stand up and scream for them to do so.

Again...perhaps. All very analytical and plausible conjectures.

Personally, I think it's because I wrote this right after inadvertently bumping myself in my genitalia region where my good buddy, one Mister Gregory Ott, rammed a shoulder into those same nether-regions whilst playing basketball this past Wednesday and has left me with one very sore pee pee. Maybe it just kind of reminded me that biologically I am, indeed, a man.

But hey, I'm no expert in pyschology, so what do I know.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!...

Besides my profound realization of my manhood recently, I have read some pretty darned cool comics this past week. And here's a couple quick recommendations...

CRIMINAL by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. A story about a lifetime criminal who is not only very good at being a criminal--meticulous in planning, never breaks his own rules and always has a way out if the gig goes south--but this guy is also one of those "bad" characters you just can't help rooting for. It doesn't hurt that the other bad guys in this story are a bunch of ruthless, honorless bastards that make the main character look lik Mother Theresa, I guess. This is a wonderfully wicked crime noir comic book by two of today's most talented comic book artists. And what a perfect match of writer and artists. Sean Phillips is one of my all-time favorite artists--ever since I first discovered his talent on Hellblazer many years back. He is a gifted one. He teeters ever so magnificently on the "comic book artist" "fine artist" razor's edge. His take on this series is brilliant and I find myself reading the panels over several times because I'm absolutely enthralled by his art. And that's a great thing...to be so absorbed by both the writing and the art that it literally takes me about three times as long to get through these comics as it would an average read.

And lest I forget Ed Brubaker's wonderful work I must also point out that I've been onboard the Brubaker bandwagon since he was a relative unknown on the indy circuit. Ed's got a way with these gritty, realistic, crime stories and he's really taken it to the next level with CRIMINAL. I am so glad Marvel decided to take a chance with a comic representing the crime genre again. But when you've got these two talents at the helm I guess the risk wasn't all that great now, was it?

And I've also been reading "THE END" FANTASTIC FOUR mini-series by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer. I'm at issue 4 of a 6 issue series and, once again, I am so enthralled with the beautiful artwork that this is probably taking much longer to read than usual. Alan Davis is, by far, one of the greatest artists to ever put pencil to comic book paper and Mark Farmer is one of the top 2 or 3 inkers ever! He should win "Best Inker" every friggin' year! And yet, for whatever mysterious reason, he's never even on any ballots!!! What the hell?

So, anyways, THE END is pretty darn kick ass so far and I'm pleased as punch that Alan has blossomed as not only a brilliant artist but a pretty darned good writer as well. His ideas are intelligent and what I would consider "lofty" in that he seems to like to write his stories on a grand scale. Just like with his popular THE NAIL mini-series he likes to involve a lot of the characters in each respective universe and write an epic storyline where some pretty big things happen..."lofty."

But I haven't finished this one yet so I can't give a final verdict...but come on!...It's Alan Davis! Every panel belongs framed and on a museum's wall somewhere!

'Nuff said!

Word!

r

Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!

Last week I mentioned how insatiable my appetite for reading is--much of that predicated on the fact that I have trouble falling asleep at night. But, regardless, I am a voracious reader and it has occured to me that I have been remiss in my duties of providing you, dear readers, some of my much-coveted opines on what's good and what's great in the reading world! I try and avoid saying what sucks as I believe in that old, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" mantra (except, of course, when it comes to old ladies buying gas station gift cards!).

SO! I thought I'd review one of my favorite authors this week, the uber-best-selling author, Stephen King. I mentioned last week that I was just about finished with his book, CELL...well, I have since finished it and was not disappointed in the least. A taut thriller much in the spirit of the latest WAR OF THE WORLDS movie which Steven Spielberg directed. CELL was told from one character's point of view and it worked very well. The main gist of the book was that the whole world went to hell one day and the cause was cell phones. It seems that anyone using a cell phone went completely bonkers and started killing other people. The "phone zombies" then became a sort of "hive mind" assuming telepathic abilities. I won't give it all away but would like to comment that the reasons were never spelled out as to what specifically caused the pandemonium, or why, and I really liked that in this book's case. Usually I like an explanation but in this case Mr. King made the "unknown" work quite nicely.

Scale of 1-10 I give this one a solid 7.5!

NOW! While CELL would not make my STEPHEN KING TOP TEN LIST, here are the books that do...And, by the way, I've read all but 2 or 3 of his long list of books...

#10) GERALD'S GAME. This is the one about the couple who are up at a cabin, fooling around in the bedroom, getting kinky with bondage, and the husband has a heart-attack while the wife is tied to the bed. What happens after that is terrifying! is her mind playing tricks on her as dehydration sets in? Is there really someone else in the room with her? Stephen King's always at his best when the situation's set in reality. This one's truly scary.

#9) THE DARK TOWER III: THE WASTELANDS. Part III in the seven volume epic that spanned 20 some years in King's career. The first three installments were, in my estimation, the best thing he ever did. After part 3 I thought the story lost its way, and by the 6th and 7th books I was pretty disappointed but the first three were sheer brialliance! I'm so looking forward to the comic book adaptation coming out this month!

#8) THE EYES OF THE DRAGON. Probably one of his most overlooked novels and that's a shame. This one he wrote for one of his children if I recall. he wanted to do a "fairytale" type of story with princesses and dragons and wizards. I tell you...he puled it off! This book appeals to, both, adults and children. Just a good old-fashioned fairytale with enough twists and turns to entertain even the most critical of King's fans. And there's a Dark Tower tie-in for those fans as well.

#7) DIFFERENT SEASONS. This is one of his "collections" which featured four short stories or "novellas." This was actualy one of the first King books I ever read back when I was a teenager. Four stories, each representing one of the four seasons. From this book came three phenomenal stories and two phenomenal movies, and another movie which was merely great! In this book there was, RITA HAYWORTH AND THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION), THE BODY (STAND BY ME), and APT PUPIL (APT PUPIL) all great stories, all great movies! And the fourth story in the book was no slouch either. That last one was called BREATHING METHOD. This book is sheer magic and few people outside of Stephen King's world realize that Shawshank, the movie, was actually a Stephen King book first. This collection is so good I almost put it at numero uno! Was a very tough call.

#6) CUJO. Saint Bernard named Cujo gets rabies and starts killing people. 'Nuff said! No, not really. What seems like such a simple premise and not nearly enough to encompass a whole 250-300 page novel does all that and more. Y'know, I didn't read this one until just a few years ago, always having another one of his books ahead of it and thinking just what I wrote above...that it sounds like too simple a premise to capture my attention...Wrong! This is another one of King's books that's set in reality like GERALD'S GAME or MISERY that the reader can completely relate to, and because it is so real, and so very possible, it becomes all the more terrifying to read. This dog only kills three or four people, if I recall, but I tell you the story is mesmerizing and one of those books you just can't put down.

#5) ON WRITING. One of two of his non-fiction books he's written. This one is just as the title describes--a book about writing books. Sounds kind of dry, hey? Nope, not at all. Sure it's chock full of great advice by the top-selling author of all time (if not top, then top 5...not quite sure), but it's also chock full of entertaining anecdotes, observations, experiences, confessions and the grim story about the accident that nearly killed him. I bought this book out of curiosity and, as a budding writer myself, hoping to get some "pearls of wisdom" from it. I got the pearls of wisdom and an entertaining read all at the same time. This is actually another one of his books I had a hard time not putting right up there at the number 1 spot! No lie.

#4) THE SHINING. This book scared the crap out of me! I read it when I was at the peak of my testosterone too! In high school...full of vim and vigor...fearless! And I remember getting to the part in the bathroom where the ghost is in the bathtub and Jack is running out of the room and King describes the thing in the tub giving chase! The sound effects, the descriptiveness, and the feeling of absolute hopelessness!...Brrr!...I still shudder! I remember having read that part and having to actually put the book down and, wide-eyed, staring around my bedroom (located in the basement) terrified. I literally slept with a light on. The movie was good--very good--but the book was even better!

#3) MISERY. Great movie! Phenomenal movie! And I was so glad when Kathy Bates won the Oscar cuz she sure deserved it. After seeing that movie I was scared walking through our house (I was a married adult then, too!) that night that she might be lurking! The movie actually captured the book to very nearly a tee. Probably the closest of all the King movie adaptations. Of course, the book is still the superior of the two as it gives more, more, and even more! And the book gives the actual re-writing of the "Misery" novel Annie's forcing poor helpless Paul to re-write (a brilliant touch and nice addition). It also has slight variations and an ending that I thought was even more powerful and chilling than in the movie. Again, King's best books are those set in reality...the ones that are so possible it's, well, scary!

#2) THE DARK TOWER II: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE. The second installment in the Dark Tower series where Roland gains his allies in his quest. We meet these characters and all the "baggage" they carry with them. Eddie the junkie, Odetta the young, beautiful black woman with no legs and the boy Jake. All plucked from different timelines and drawn, reluctantly, to Roland's crazy world. A "Mad Max" meets "Clint Eastwood western" type of future with magic and six-shooters! The dynamic between the characters is what really makes this second book work as we see our enigmatic hero, Roland, not only try and fight the forces of evil on his quest, but also try and deal with this ragtag bunch who are supposed to aid him. It's the development of these secondary characters and the relationship with Roland that makes this second installment really click! The opening sequence alone, where the main character is almost immediately crippled by crab creatures blows the mind! Totally kick ass!

#1) THE DARK TOWER I: THE GUNSLINGER. As if you didn't gather from the previous review. This first installment of the dark Tower series is Stephen King at his finest. A gripping tale told in a world not quite our own but close enough to strike a very raw nerve. There's enough fantasy mixed with familiarity to truly haunt you. A "future world" type of setting that's a little bit "Mad Max" and a little "wild west", frought with bad guys, wizards, mutants and good old-fashioned gunslingers! And a compelling lead character, Roland, that completely tranfixes and captivates. He is everything that is cool about every Clint Eastwood cowboy character and so much more! He also has a nobility about him that I've rarely seen matched in any other book, movie, comic, etc. He is King's single best character ever written! I have raved for decades to anyone who'd listen that these Dark Tower books were essential if you're a Stephen King fan, and I still do! The first three of the seven written are not only the best work by Stephen King but some of the best books ever written, period!!! And I should know...I'm a really smart cat!

And, so, there you have it! My first "Top Ten" list. I had fun doing this. I think I shall do this again soon. Give me your thoughts and feedback on my list. I know there were some ommissions bound to ruffle some avid King reader's feathers but, hey, I had my reasons and, after all, it is MY column!

Word!

r

P.S. Don't forget, if you're in the area, I'll be signing at Westfield's Comics in Madison, WI on January 27th from 1-4 pm. The rumors flying that I will be attending the "after signing" party hosted by Jennifer Anniston and my "relataionship" with Miss Anniston are, by the way, neither confirmed by me or unconfirmed. Sheesh!

Three's a good number!

As many of you may have noticed, I have a certain fondness for the number 3. I do not know why so don't even ask. BUT! It will all be explained (I think) in a new series I have planned for 2008. Why wait until 2008, you ask? Well, because I have 3 new graphic novels planned ahead of the new series for 2007! Yes, that's right...3 new graphic novels. Yes, 3. One will be a new 3 Geeks book (another 3) celebrating their 10th anniversary! Woo-hoo!!! One will be my illustrated novel, The List, which is, essentially, completed and slated for a big summer release. And the 3rd book I have planned for 2007 is an autobiographical book I've wanted to do for a long time. I, tentatively, have that book entitled, Masterpiece: An Artist's Journey. So, 2007 is looking to be a big year with a lot of 3s. There is also the possibility of a HUGE announcement coming very, very soon regarding the 3 Geeks that might also impact 2007. I will, of course, keep you all posted.

In other news and reviews... I finally had a chance to ctach up on my reading since returning from the SPX out in Bethesda, MD. I picked up quite a few new goodies there including a couple of real gems by Guy Delisle. He's a Quebec City cat who now resides in France. He works as an animation supervisor who is frequently sent to foreign lands to oversee the production on his employers (located in France) animated tv series. The lands he has been sent to include North Korea and China. I picked up two hardcovers about these travels. In the first book he details his few months spent in North Korea entitled "Pyongyang, A Journey In North Korea". To say that he's a "fish out of water" would be a massive understatement. This book is absolutely riveting! Especially considering the recent troubles we're all witnessing unfold in North Korea these days. Guy's first-hand accounts and observations he writes about show the complete absurdity of this nation and its backwards ways. The paranoia, propoganda and palpable fear is ever-present and Guy's, seemingly, "go with the flow" attitude is a wonder to behold. the way he plays with his "guides" and interpretors (really spies making sure he doesn't do anything untoward like photograph any trash. Seriously) by asking questions and often responding to their attempts to sway his beliefs with sarcasm is often laugh-out-loud hilarious. the reactions by his guides is priceless...their expressions rarely changing... Unflappable in their attitudes of the West. His tour of the Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il museums sums up this country's attitudes in a nutshell. Keyword "nut" in that last sentence. These people are completely insane...brainwashed beyond all hope. It seems impossible and yet, if we are to believe what Mr Delisle writes (and I for one do), the evidence he presents in this fascinating book leads us to no other possible conclusion. These people are nuts. His follow-up book, "Shenzhen, A Travelogue From China", pertains to his stay as an animation supervisor in neighboring China. Almost equally as fascinating but since China is not quite as screwed up as North Korea not quite. It's still a riveting and oft-times hilarious read, however. His interactions with the chinese people and their attempts to communicate had me laughing out loud. the meals he ate (with apparently no fear) are worth the cover price alone. The books are utterly engrossing, the art is fantastic, and I am now a devoted fan of any and all things Guy Delisle.

In other news... Some of you remember, and have been asking about, the article I wrtote a few weeks back in my friend Wayne's column about a mysterious mole I had removed from my chin. Well, the biopsy came back positive for "Basel-cell cancer". Not sure if I spelled that right. Anyways, it's a skin cancer but, apparently, a very docile one and very manageable. I'm told I have very little to worry about. And yet, I still worry. I'll be researching the heck out of this and getting more answers when I go back for a full-body exam in a few weeks. So, if anyone out there has any info for me I'd certainly appreciate it. Thanks.

Well, I'm off now to take my daughter to her 4K costume party. She's dressing as Rapunzel and her costume is pure laughter. These are the moments, my friends. I have learned to cherish them. Life is short. Word! R

BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version 5.1.004.

Home | View & Buy Rich's Stuff | Read Review | Read Rich's Rants
Links to sites Rich thinks you should see | About Rich Koslowski
Contact Rich | sitemap

RichKoslowski.com All contents copyright©2017 Rich Koslowski

web design, development & maintainence - sitebyMIKE