Category Archives: x-files

Doris Danger on ComiXology

I have only recently caught up with the world technology-wise. I have only had my iPad Mini a few months, and I’m still learning. And it’s also only been a short time since I have been reading digital comics the, um, shall we say, the legal way.

ComiXology is my friend, my reding device, and the bane of my wallet, but it has been a new way for me to experience not only comics, but comics in a new way as well. It has also been a way for me to explore comics I might not have read otherwise or catch up on stuff I haven’t read in a while. In other words, I do a lot of exploring on ComiXology.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered an old friend and his work there, and I purchased it right away. I’m talking about Doris Danger by the talented Chris Wisnia. Chris has been doing comics for a while now and I have been following him and cheering him on for most of that time, whether it’s Tabloia, or Dr. DeBunko, or even Doris Danger, it is always a fun time reading comics. And really, aren’t comics supposed to be fun?

Currently only Chris Wisnia’s Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures is available digitally, and some of the stories included are even specially formatted for optimal e-reading. I had read all the stories in the collection before, but still I was happy to not only have them all in one place, but also in electronic form.

This terrific e-comic is ninety-six pages of tales of giant monsters in the Atlas Comics tradition of the legendary Jack Kirby. Yes, Kirby homage is kinda old hat these days, but Chris was not only doing it before it was cool, he was (and is) doing it better than all the other guys. He’s found that elusive groove between respect and humor with falling into insult or mockery. Each page is lovingly rendered and showing what was so cool about 1950s giant monster comics, both good and bad.

The book is described thusly: “As a teen, Doris Danger was abducted by a giant monster. Ever since, she’s had a burning desire to prove the existence of giant monsters, but has been unable to prove her beliefs by snapping an indisputable photograph. While she has convinced many, she has also met many who doubt, who try to disprove, or even lie, manipulate, and cover up evidence. Doris Danger crosses the X-Files with the classic Lee/Kirby giant monster comics, with a little bit of Godzilla thrown in for good measure.”

Chris Wisnia rocks these comics, that also feature fabulous pin-ups by artists you have definitely heard of like Russ Heath, Steve Rude, and Mike Mignola among others; and great letters columns and text pieces detailing the history of these amazing comics, both real and fictional.

I love these books, and whether you have or haven’t experienced them before, you should definitely check out Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures in electronic or hard copy form, and also stop by Chris’ website to see all the other creative stuff he has going on, and Follow him on Twitter as well.

Bates Motel

I’ve never been big on secret origins, except when they are shorter than a sentence or two or a minute or two. Just tell us what we need to know about the character or the situation and start the story. As a matter of fact, one writer rule states that you should always start in the middle of the story – beginnings are for suckers. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho is a near perfect classic of the horror thriller genre, did we really need an ongoing prequel TV series? Why do we need A&E’s “Bates Motel”?

While it might not be the first to do such, I do blame “Smallville.” It’s the story of Superman, before he was Superman. If you’re a comics person, your first instinct is probably Superboy, and that’s really the problem with “Smallville.” All of the names are the same, but nothing else is. “Smallville” bears very little resemblance to Superboy. In the series, there is no Superboy, we see the looong journey of Clark Kent growing to manhood, and in the last moments of the last episode of the series, he finally becomes Superman. Over a decade later. Yeah, that long. And the whole time, all you really want from this show is to see him as Superman.

And that is why I hate secret origins, especially when they disguise themselves as ongoing TV series. I have to wonder, is that what “Bates Motel” will be like? Will we be waiting forever for our young protagonist Norman Bates to begin showing signs of the sociopath he is by the time the events of Psycho roll around? Will it take a decade?

The other obstacle (or perhaps it’s a good thing, for the new show at least) is the many folks who are watching who have no point of reference for Norman Bates. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s a factor. After all, believe it or not, there were teenagers watching “Smallville” who didn’t get the Superman (or Superboy) references and thought it was just a cross between “The X-Files” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” Certainly that worked. Half the audience was there for the soap opera, and half for the pseudo-superhero stuff. Perhaps “Bates Motel” might just work as a show about a gawky kid with a overbearing mother who run a creepy motel, period.

“Bates Motel” is set present day, we begin with Norman’s dad dead, and Mom rushing them away to start over again, a habit she seems to have. The two are a little bit too close, and Vera Farmiga is just as overbearing as Norma Bates, as Freddie Highmore is creepy as young Norman. She’s a bit too pretty for my tastes, even as a young Norma Bates, but her paranoid craziness fills out the rest of her character well.

On their latest ‘start over,’ they buy an old motel foreclosed on by the bank. When a even creepier neighbor starts to harass them because the motel and property had been in his family for decades, well, things escalate. He breaks in, rapes Norma, and Norman saves her, after which Mom finishes the job, killing the attacker. Don’t call the police, we’ll cover this up ourselves is Norma’s battle cry. We kinda start to get the vibe maybe Dad’s death wasn’t quite what it seemed.

As creepy as the killer and the collaborator are, Nestor Carbonell is even scarier as Sheriff Alex Romero. If you locked me in a room with the three of them, he’s the one I’d be most scared of. There are some genuinely chilling moments here, as well as some “90120” caliber teenage soap moments. There’s also a cliffhanger that is very tempting to keep me watching, but I have to wonder, will this drag on forever and take a decade to get to the point, or will it surprise me. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For a different view, be sure to check out my friend and fellow writer Marie Gilbert‘s review over at Biff Bam Pop!.

The Following: Chapter Two

Okay, the hype is over, for the moment at least, and now “The Following” has to sink or swim as a series as opposed to an event. I had expressed in my review of the pilot that I didn’t think it had the legs to be a series. I guess this is where we find out. It has the bad potential to become a freak of the week show like early “Smallville” or “X-Files,” and I hope that’s not where we’re headed.

In the pilot, or rather the setup, multi-flawed FBI agent Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is pulled out of retirement to deal with the escaped serial killer Carroll (James Purefoy) that he had put away. He’s recaptured, but it turns out he’s built a cult of serial killers through social media, and they’ll do whatever he wants. This cult has kidnapped Carroll’s son to lure Hardy into a game of cat and mouse with the baddies.

Again written by creator Kevin Williamson, the subtext is very literate, and I am enjoying the writing theme and the Poe obsession. But I’m a writer. I wonder if other folks are digging this particular vibe or not. It works this way – Carroll was a writer, his crimes made Hardy a writer, and now this whole crazy game is built on the idea of a new book – one written by the followers in which Hardy and Carroll are the protagonist and antagonist.

Bacon and Purefoy continue to dominate the small screen whenever they are on it. Waste of an amazing cast, as I said last time. I just wish that the two of them would give us something edgier than the Clarice/Hannibal and/or Batman/Joker dynamic. I want more Shawn Ashmore, Billy Brown, and especially Li Jun Li.

Much of the episode is taken up by the good guys playing catch up to Carroll’s cultish followers and their shenanigans. I smell the stink of “Alcatraz,” “Revolution,” and “Flash Forward” on this one, as if we’re being played with like a fish on a hook. All we want is the confrontation(s) between Bacon and Purefoy, and the boy found, but you know we’ll only get dribs and drabs, while each episode has its own little underling serial killer story. Just give us what we want.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll be around next time. I think I can see the future, and I’m not sure it has enough fuel to entice me further. We’ll see.

Hoax Hunters

Folks who know me personally know I’m addicted to Coast to Coast AM late nights. They cover lots of different topics on the show, now hosted by George Noory, but the nights that I love are the ones about UFOs, cryptozoology, and conspiracy theories. Yeah, I’m a nut for that stuff. Add in that I grew up in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey, where nobody jokes about the Jersey Devil when they’re outside at night – you know I’m a sucker for the new Hoax Hunters comic from Image.

Writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley have created quite a phenomenon with Hoax Hunters. It’s everything I could want, it’s Coast to Coast AM mixed with “X-Files” in comic book form. Described as “Cryptids. Aliens. Monsters. All the world’s bizarre secrets–what if they were real? Their existence would be debunked by a reality TV show! HOAX HUNTERS is that show, publicly disproving all variety of lore. But their real goal is the opposite: as the world’s dark corners surface, the HOAX HUNTERS cover them up. They demonstrate that the truth isn’t out there.” Again, what more could I want? The creators have even promised a Jersey Devil appearance in the future.

There are two issues of new material out now, plus a ‘zero issue’ that collects the stories that first appeared as back-up in Hack/Slash #1-10. Get out to your local comics shop now and check them out! This comic rocks!

Hoax Hunters has a website and blog that you visit here. And don’t forget to check out this episode of the Biff Bam Popcast featuring Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley!