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Crop Tops, Body Snatchers and Dead Fathers: I Watched a TV Show Episode From My Childhood that Was Gloriously Terrible

How’s that for a clickbait title, eh? Anyway…

When I was a kid, I used to love going to my Grandma’s place, not only because she was a wonderful lady who sometimes looked the other way when I cheated at solitaire, but also because she had satellite TV. This was the early ’90s, so it meant she had one of those massive dishes that actually moved when you changed channels.

It blew my little mind.

There was one channel to which I was particularly hooked. I can’t remember the name of it (maybe an earlier version of Space or Syfy?), but it always had the coolest old shows — if it was weird, wacky or worrying, it was on that channel.

Every day at lunch, I’d tune in to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, followed by The Twilight Zone. (This was only a few hours after Pro Stars and Pinky and the Brain — one of which stars insane non-humans attempting to take over the world and the other is Pinky and the Brain. Swish!) I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the creepy, unsettling yarns the shows spun. I completely missed any subtext, as kids do (for example, re-watch Pinky and the Brain one day and see which jokes you laugh at now that sailed well over your stupid mushroom cut as a child).

Don’t defend your mushroom cut, and for the love of all things good and right, don’t attempt to bring it back.

One episode of The Twilight Zone stuck with me for years. In it, some kid’s mom is dating for the first time since his dad was killed on the job. He wears his dad’s glasses, and while doing so, can see his mom’s suitor for who he really is — a purple monster. Of course, no one believes him, etc.

I finally searched for it a while ago with no luck. No such Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Twilight Zone episode with a plot that resembled that one even a little bit. I was about to give up when I googled a few keywords from the plot, and boom, my answer: it was an episode of Monsters, a show I don’t even remember existing, one whose episodes first aired years before I ever saw them.

This particular episode is “The Family Man,” the second season finale no less, and you can actually watch it in it’s entirety on YouTube. I strongly recommend doing so.

How about that, huh? I’m sure glad I remembered that for nearly two decades.

Things I noticed about “The Family Man,” Monsters, episode 24, season 2 

  • Sweet set, dudes. There’s nothing more your typical wholesome American family wants than a astroturf-coated cement yard that backs onto a brick warehouse. And Neil’s room makes it appear he more than idolized his dad — he straight-up fetishizes his profession.
  • About Neil’s dad’s profession — What’s an airport cop? How do you die being one, especially in the ’80s? Did he get sucked into a jet engine? Did he get drunk and crash a Cessna, as I’m assuming everyone did at least once after the Berlin Wall collapsed? Or some combination of the two?
  • There are some pretty heavy-handed analogies throughout the episode, especially regarding men’s tendency to drain women and their families physically and emotionally (in this case, literally using their emotions as a source of life or something). Also, the natural distrust children feel regarding new figures in their lives.
  • Neil’s sister is kind of useless to the overall story. She’s great for her mom, both as someone to have honest talks about relationships with and apparently as on-demand muscle. She asks to beat the shit (or rather, “the stuffings”) out of Neil twice. To her mom’s credit, she says no, but the second time she does so reluctantly (which may’ve just been terrible editing).

    “Listen here, you little shit. You keep fuckin’ around, and I swear to god I’ll DDT you in the backyard. And you best believe cement has no give.”

  • I’m actually convinced the sister’s motivation is to transform their home into a dual-income household, eventually increasing her allowance, giving her the opportunity to buy more Waldo-stripe crop tops and scrunchies.
  • Actually, what she’s wearing in that screenshot (the only one I could find of that episode) would be totally on point at the next artisanal toilet paper fair or whatever it is hipsters attend.
  • This episode is probably what pro-gun nuts reference when they say guns keep families safe. They’re for protection from purple body snatchers!
  • But seriously, was the gun just hanging out on the kitchen table or something? Wait, scratch that. We only know for certain this family’s house has one room — Neil’s. Which means he likely had a .357 magnum in his desk drawer, right next to his crayons and Etch-a-Sketch.
  • This is Warren, whom both Neil’s mom and his sister think is super hot:

    Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.51.55 PM

    Maaaaaad Raper Face going on here. That should’ve tipped them off right away.

  • I wonder what the Warren-creature’s damage threshold was before he revealed himself. Something less substantial than a gunshot, perhaps? I’d like to see the prequel episode where he was outed by stepping on a LEGO piece.
  • That was one hell of an ending. A backyard shootout that’ll make the kid a legend among his friends and will likely give his mom some serious trust issues? Everyone wins! Except Warren, but fuck that guy.
Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.55.26 PM

Fuck ‘im.


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Happiness is The Sixth Gun

Have you read The Sixth Gun yet? You should. You really, really should.


Because it’s unlike anything you’ve read before, yet familiar and comforting like home cooking.

At least take some fashion tips from it.

But, first some context: The Sixth Gun is a western/horror comic from Cullen Bunn, a comics vet who’s written such titles as Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe and Deadpool Killustrated, as well as a bunch of the Fear Itself comics. The story follows Becky Montclief, a tough redhead who inherits a sweet gun, and Drake Sinclair, a Mal Reynolds-type with a pencil ‘stache and a past. The two of them run from a pissed-off undead general and his wife, as well as his henchmen and their guns, each with its own unique imbued power.

Simple, enough, yeah?

After a short prologue, you’re thrown right into the story and the action never lets up. You ride along with Becky and Drake as they attempt to fight off “husk people,” take on an entire saloon (aww yiss) and watch in horror as the general’s wife loses a hand and — well, just see what happens:

I won’t give away what happens next. You’ll have to buy the book!

As you can see, Brian Hurtt‘s no slouch in the drawing room, either. His lines are crisp, the shadows terrifying and they still exude fun.

And therein lies the key to this whole series — fun.

Whether you’re revelling in a character’s rebirth as a husk person/guardian, watching the general struggle with hubris and his chains, or fearing for Becky’s life as the living embodiment of thunder comes to life, there’s a grin as wide as the Cheshire Cat’s spread across your face. It’s a fascinating study in writing comics that feel so modern, yet harken back to the comics of yore.

So if you’re feeling it, grab a copy of the first trade. You’ll be hooked immediately.

And if you don’t, this guy’ll come after you.


Betting on DC’s TV

This fall, fans of the DC Universe have a good problem: attempting to choose which TV adaptation to watch. Arrow found unlikely success by taking a middle-aged Justice League member with an awesome goatee-moustache combo and a Robin Hood Complex and giving him the CW treatment.

He wears green stuff. Get it?

The CW Treatment: Take a character, make him half his age, hire Jared Leto’s makeup consultant and cast someone handsome, yet completely unremarkable.

What does any good entertainment company do once it finds success? Beat that formula into the ground! This fall, you can catch The Flash, Constantine and iZombie on the small screen. But which ones are worth watching? Glad you asked…

DC Show Worth Watching With the Best Source Material: iZombie

Chris Roberson and Joshua Hale Fialkov penned a masterpiece a few years back about a young lady zombie who eats brains to sustain herself. It was smart, funny and featured a ghost from the ’50s and a were-terrier, among others. Unfortunately, it never found its readership and DC cancelled it. Now, the CW is reviving Gwen and friends in a very different context… she solves crimes or something.

I think we all knew this girl in high school

“Brrrrrraaaaains – sorry, I mean… Ugh. Brains.”

Sounds ridiculous, but Rob Thomas, the dude behind Veronica Mars, is attached, so it may actually be a quality show with wit, decent acting and charm. If that’s not enough, it starts the freakin’ Yellow Power Ranger, Rose McIver!

If you want to catch up on the series so you can compare and complain, there are only four trades, so you can order them and knock ’em off in an afternoon. I mean, how can you refuse with amazing art like this:


Show with some recent turbulence, so it may be great or terrible, but it has fire and demons and accents: Constantine

Apparently, the show is in need of a tagline writer. 

John Constantine is a great character. Whether helping out the Justice League Dark or doing his own thing, he’s always keeping the darkness at bay, both internally and externally, while smoking, like, seven packs a day (not that that makes him great, but it lends itself to his devil-may-care attitude we wish we all had). His series, Hellblazer, has about a billion trades worth picking up and a nearly endless source of inspiration should the showrunners run dry. Also, it’s running on NBC, which, while not quite as terrible as The CW, is at least, to its credit, running Hannibal, one of the riskiest, coolest, most beautiful shows on television today.

All good, right? Perhaps not. For better or worse, there have been some changes in the Constantine camp lately. The character of Liv was written out of the show, with a different lady named Zed taking her place — not a good sign, but who knows the rationale behind it.

Also, Johnny boy doesn’t smoke and isn’t bisexual anymore — not entirely surprising, given it’s on a basic network, but still disappointing, as his sexuality and addiction(s) were prominent aspects of his character as a whole, not just fun add-ons.

Show for running fetishists, like that neighbour you hate: The Flash


You know that group that gathers at the end of your street in garish gear at 5:30 a.m and trots around your neighbourhood unintentionally reminding everyone how much more fit they are than them? They are going to love this show. Dude runs real fast and wears what looks like an ill-fitting pleather tracksuit. Kinda sounds like your gym teacher, no?

But people are hyped up about this show (“people” meaning “fans of Arrow,” so take that as you will), as its an extension of DC’s current most popular property on the CW. And many more are waiting with bated breath to see how The Flash translates to screen. He certainly has a lot of story to pull from, so it’ll be interesting to see the route the showrunners take.

It would be pretty awesome if they went all out and embraced his time-travelling in all its weirdness.

But we’ll have to wait until fall to see whether any of the hype or worry over any of these shows was justified. Until then — what’s that? There’s an IMAX showing of Guardians of the Galaxy in 20 minutes? Peace.

Yes, I live at the bottom of a seemingly endless cliff. What of it.


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Thor is Going to be a Lady and that Weird Guy that Fixed Your Phone Once is in a Huff About It

So, Thor is a wuss who can’t handle his hammer (… ladies?). So his hammer, Mjolnir, is doing what any good hammer would do and taking off to find someone who can handle it.

The “someone” in this case happens to be of the fairer sex — that’s right, Thor will soon be a *gasp* lady!

Surely I won't run out of hammer euphemisms by the end of this post.

… I think.


Naturally, a bunch of morons got in a huff about the change of gender. See, if there’s anything to get angry about, it would be that Marvel chose to make this announcement on The View, which is… just not a good show, we can all agree on that, right?

Really guys? Well, let’s compare the two.

Thor (Male) Thor (Female)
Flowing Blonde Locks
Eyes in Which You Could Just Lose Yourself
A Propensity for Dress-up
A Funny Way of Talkin’
Outrageous Strength
Father Issues
A Massive Hammer (…Ladies)
Lady Parts (EW!)


Hmm. Not much difference, is there?

How about this? Next time a character changes, how about you focus on how the change will affect the story rather than the character’s gender. Then order the comic, read it and if your knickers are still in a twist, launch a nuanced, intelligent argument. Until you can do that, shut the hell up. Your petulant whining is doing nothing for the reputation of comic readers and comics as a whole.

Also, this is far from the first time a woman has been Thor. Remember when Rogue hung out with Mjolnir for a bit? Or, more recently, Thor Girl? Or what about when Odin tricked Thor by changing him into a woman during Alex Ross’ Earth X? This isn’t exactly new, ground-breaking stuff here, fellas.

Ah do delcare, ah’m glad Rogue doesn’t have a forced accent anymore.

Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw - wait, are you just gonna stare in the mirror forever?

Stellar trick, Loki. What dude doesn’t want to be a lady for a little while?

And really, regardless of gender, Thor still pales in comparison to Throg.


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2014 Banned Books Week: Now Featuring Comics!

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read put on by the American Library Association. This year, from September 21 to 27, the celebration will focus on graphic novels and comics. 

It’s a fitting concentration this year, given the controversy that often surrounds comics and graphic novels and has dogged the art form steadily since its inception. Check out its 2013 List of Frequenly Challenged Books and you’ll notice numbers one and 10 are comics — Captain Underpants and Bone. Yes, Bone. The beloved epic starring this guy:


Who actually wants some comics and graphic novels banned? The Palmetto Family Council, for one, the conservative group behind the College of Charleston’s recent headaches. Heaven forbid adults paying thousands of dollars for an education read a graphic novel that exposes them to such topics as suicide, family and *gasp* sexuality. The irony of a tale of the personal impact of small-mindedness coming under fire from some very small-minded people was certainly not lost on Fun Home‘s author, Alison Bechdel (whose name you may recognize, as she’s the originator of the Bechdel Test). Check out her response.

Whyyyyy? The ALA is actually quite nice about people who challenge books — the have “the best intentions.” They want to protect children from “offensive language and anything “sexually explicit.” Which, sure, is admirable, but misguided. Challenging a book from a school or library only heightens its appeal and makes the challenger look like your neighbour who always complained about the way your family celebrated Christmas. It’s also pointless, like attempting to stop a river by throwing a rock in it. Information, especially in our current age, is cool like that — If someone wants to read a comic, they’re going to find a way to read it. 

So how can we celebrate? Order some comics today and spread the love of frequently challenged comics — BoneWatchmenFun Home, and Strangers in Paradise to name a few. Remember the importance of being able to make up your own mind about the ideas presented to you. 

Then dress up like Rorschach for work and scream “DO IT!” at the end of your weekly meeting.  



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Guillermo Del Toro Trailer Week Continues with The Book of Life

Guillermo Del Toro is busy scribbling his name on things, like we saw yesterday with the Del Toro-produced The Strain, and now today, with a trailer for The Book of Life, an animated awesome time centred around Dia de los Muertos. This looks like it is going to be a heck of a lot of fun. 

Oh, baby, youuuuuu, you got what I neeeeeed. And you say he’s just a friend. And you — sorry. 


The Strain has a Trailer and it Indeed Looks Horrifying

Guillermo Del Toro, the brilliant mind behind Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy movies, Pacific Rim and probably several of your nightmares involving creatures with eyes in weird places, wrote a book with his book-writing buddy Chuck Hogan a few years ago. It featured an outbreak of a virus which symptoms resembled vampirism and it scared a lot of people.

Then it was made into a comic.

And now it’s a TV show airing in a month and a half, because you need a good reason to not sleep this summer, right?

Check out the trailer:

Oh dear.



It’s The Flash!

This morning, The CW released a quick look at another of DC’s attempts to rule the television world, The Flash. Check it out:

Not that you can glean much from a one-minute trailer, but aside from a baggy suit, it looks like this show might — what’s that? There’s a full five-minute trailer? Alright, let’s check that out:

Interesting. It looks like the show will have some sort of connection to the Wally West-era Flash, which is pretty cool. It also looks like the showrunners have really put some heart into this. It may be worth checking out come fall.

Until then, though, let’s all hope this leads to a Superman vs. The Flash race. The guy from Smallville can’t be up to much, right?


Why An Alif the Unseen Comic Would be Awesome

Have you read Alif the Unseen yet? It’s a fantastic (in every sense of the word) tale of a young hacker in an unnamed fictional Middle Eastern city who accidentally creates an unstoppable program and must run from The Hand, a cruel agent of the dictatorial government. Along the way, Alif and friends enlist the aid of a djinn, a cleric and many more, weaving an adventure on par with Wizard of Oz, but significantly, er, harsher.

Alif the Unseen book

Look for this and dive right into it. You won’t regret it.

Everything about Alif the Unseen lends itself to what could be an excellent comic, such as…

Its Cast of Characters

Though the titular young man isn’t entirely likeable, he is entirely relatable, as anyone can see a bit of himself in him, from his longing for love to his unrepentant cynicism. Dina, Alif’s neighbour and family friend since childhood, is his perfect foil — sharp, shy, confident and an all-around badass in her own way. The rest of the cast is rounded out by characters just begging to be brought to life by the deft hand of an artist, such as Vikram “the Vampire,” a djinn who comes to Alif’s aid (and is easily most readers’ favourite character) and the other unseen residents of the Empty Quarter. Want evidence of what Alif the Unseen‘s characters would look like brought to life? Before the book was released, there was a “Create-a-Genie” contest, and artist Allyson Haller won. Check out her awesome djinn.

Unreal, right? Read more about the contest here and more about Haller’s work here.

Isn’t that just begging to be an variant cover?

G. Willow Wilson has the Chops

While Alif the Unseen is Wilson’s debut novel, she cut her teeth as a journalist and has written some awesome comics, such as the much-loved Cairo, the ambitious Air and the current run of Ms. Marvel, which made headlines all over for featuring a Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenage girl, as its main character (it also happens to be thoroughly enjoyable — order it and you won’t regret it). She knows how to write comics with heart, humour and just the right amount of fantasy.

That fist…

The Empty Quarter Deserves to be Brought to Life

The Empty Quarter, where the djinn reside on the outskirts of the city (and our reality) and to which Alif and the Gang (not the official name of the group of protagonists, but it’s fun to add a bit of Little Rascals flair) escape, is described beautifully. If it were brought to life by an artist with a serious knack for such an Oz-like environment — such as J.H. Williams III or Skottie Young — the resulting art would adorn the walls of nerds the world over.

A spread of J.H. Williams III’s work from Sandman: Overture.

Skottie Young’s Oz work.

We can all agree that this would be awesome, correct? A comic based on one of the coolest novels released in the past few years seems like a no-brainer. So how about it, G. Willow Wilson?


Check Out Gotham’s Debut Trailer

In case you missed it, earlier this year, Fox announced it was airing Gotham, a series about Jim Gordon and the beginnings of Batman and a bunch of future (always temporary) Arkham Asylum residents. Today, it released the first trailer, featuring The OC’s Ryan Atwood, with slightly shorter hair, but hopefully that infamous angst.

I like to imagine every scene ends with Ryan Jim getting in a fight while rich people look on horrified. If that’s not possible, can we at least have good-natured Peter Gallagher teaching someone a lesson in his good-natured way? Or maybe a Mischa Barton cameo as a drunk socialite?

Anyway… Check out the trailer.


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