My List of the 19 Best Comic Book Adaptations

The Wasted Lands Omnibus, available through Magnetic Press: http://www.magnetic-press.com/wasted-lands-omnibus/

The Wasted Lands Omnibus, available through Magnetic Press: http://www.magnetic-press.com/wasted-lands-omnibus/

While I do enjoy blogging about cuddling with weatherman Tom Skilling during a violent storm and the late night adventures of Jonesie, my hairless cat, today I’m talking comics.

Jonesie the #hairlesscat - #catsofinstagram #felinefemmefatale

Jonesie the #hairlesscat – #catsofinstagram #felinefemmefatale

Specifically, moving picture adaptations of comics–TV and film. The pop culture world has been flooded with comic book movies and TV shows, and it looks like studios won’t be keeping their powder dry any time soon. There are days when I wish film studios would just take a deep breath. Let it breathe, Warner Brothers…let it breathe. Maybe try vacationing in Barbados.

Ahhhh...Barbados...

Ahhhh…Barbados…

I’m not saying every comic book movie is terrible–far from it! There are just way too many. The quality suffers for it. But I’m no Debbie Downer. I choose to walk in the light of Odin, crop-dusting glitter-filled unicorn farts and rainbows. I’ll save the Batman v. Superman and Green Lantern funerals for another day.

Pretty much my favorite Bitmoji.

Pretty much my favorite Bitmoji.

Bloggers are always big on lists. My first inclination was listing my favorite book hangovers–and yes, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is on there — but today’s quickie post is just the best and worst comic book adaptations of all time. I haven’t done a Top 15 yet of the most mediocre. If I did, normalman would ascend that list. And then there are those I wish would be made into adaptations–Dave Dorman‘s The Wasted Lands, Mike Baron’s The Badger, and Myatt Murphy’s Fade from Blue and Two Over Ten.

I’m not here to to tell you which media you should be binge-watching. I’ll never sit in judgement if you’re revisiting Howard The Duck. Hell, I’ll cop to getting hooked into Martin Short’s Clifford or Chris Elliott’s Cabin Boy when I’m channel flipping. We all have our guilty pleasures.  (Avid readers of this blog know some of mine already. I may not have mentioned my sugar-free Bubble Yum addiction yet.) You can take or leave these lists as my seal of (dis)approval.

19 of the Best Comic Book Adaptations

  • Suicide Squad
  • Walking Dead
  • Preacher
  • Hellboy
  • American Splendor
  • Superman: The Movie
  • The Dark Knight
  • A History of Violence
  • The Crow
  • Road to Perdition
  • Sin City
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  • Watchmen
  • Iron Man
  • The Avengers
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Deadpool
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

14 of the Worst Comic Book Adaptations (Sorry if you liked them!)

Me, apologetic.

Me: The apologetic version.

> Batman and Robin
> Jonah Hex
> Catwoman
> Howard the Duck
> Superman IV: The Quest of Peace
> Green Lantern (2011)
> Judge Dredd (1995)
> The Spirit
> Fantastic Four (2015)
> Daredevil
> Elektra
> Ghost Rider
> Hulk
> Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Disagree?

...here's my #, so call me maybe...

…here’s my #, so call me maybe…

Tell me some of the comic to film or TV adaptations you have liked, hated, or secretly enjoyed.

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Stranger Things: I Want My ’80s Back!

My fitness trainer Kim shared with me her iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts during our Monday night workout. According to Kim, this was no ordinary iced coffee. This one had been cold-brewed for 12 hours. Whatever that meant … it was a new offering on the menu. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. As much of a coffee addict as I am, iced coffee rarely calls my name.

Dunkin' Donuts Cold-Brewed Coffee: Heaven in a plastic cup.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cold-Brewed Coffee: Heaven in a plastic cup.

I took one tiny sip, just being polite. I was instantly transported.

Were this a Twilight  Zone episode, you’d see that bad special effect of me, sans color, dizzily spinning backwards in time, calendar pages flipping past me in fast succession. In my case, I time machined back to age six. I was standing on our kitchen stool so I could reach the sink, washing the family’s dinner dishes. The first part of this evening chore meant washing my dad’s lunchbox tupperware, and his khaki-green metal coffee thermos. Dad had engraved his name into the side of the metal. I’d trace his signature with my fingertips as I was washing the outside of it. When no one was looking, I’d sneak a sip of its contents — his day-old java — pretending I was a grown up. (I know, I know … I’m still pretending.) This Dunkin’ Donuts cold-brewed fare mimicked Dad’s day-old coffee, perhaps because Dad’s had steeped for a good 12 hours in his thermos. While it can’t bring my father back, the nostalgia of those lost days washes over me with every swallow. I’m hooked!

On the website CockedEyed.com, you can create your own "STRANGER THINGS" Lightbulb Message Encoder. How cool is that?!?

On the website CockedEyed.com, you can create your own “STRANGER THINGS” Lightbulb Message Encoder. How cool is that?!?

The much-talked-about Netflix horror series Stranger Things became my other childhood time portal recently. I binge-watched the entire series in two nights. It was beyond amazing. Winona Ryder portrays the emotional fragility of a frantic parent as believably as Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. Maybe moreso. The camaraderie feeling we get from Stephen King’s Stand By Me (and the origin story to that film, The Body) combines with the government conspiracy style narratives of Dean R. Koontz. The music, the fashion, the cars, the bad basement decor. The vulnerable, gawky, tender awkwardness of being a teen. It all felt so familiar — like an old friend returning. A friend I didn’t realize I had been yearning for as hard as I had.

For us Gen-Xers, those were magical times. Whenever I discuss Stranger Things with my peers, I always ask them, “If you could go back to the ’80s, would you?”

Without hesitation, faces telegraphing that “Are you daft, girl?” expression, every single friend has declared, “In. A. Heartbeat.”

Introducing My Newest Business Offering: Meme Editor

Yes, I am that jerk. Admittedly. The one who judges people by their spelling and grammar. Judgey Judgerson. The “Grammar Geek.” Let’s just get that out of the way. Just as musicians can listen to a symphony and that one wrong note jumps out at them, the same thing happens to me, even when I’m reading for pleasure, which I do often. I believe the texting generation has destroyed many people’s ability to spell or punctuate correctly anymore, and I steadfastly refuse to text “u” when I mean “you.”

This.

This.

 

Just had to add this one, from a Facebook friend who read this blog.

Just had to add this one, from a Facebook friend who read this blog.

However, I think there’s a business opportunity at play here. I am now officially offering my proofreading services for meme creators. I’m offering to charge any meme creator 50 cents per meme to avoid the embarrassment of putting a typo-riddled meme out there, representing them poorly in perpetuity. It only takes me a mere second to spot the problems–like the unfortunate misspelling of “discreet” in this one below–so I could power through several in hundred in an hour and actually earn a decent living! I should probably add tattoos, signage, and gravestones to my suite of proofreading service offerings.

There are so many memes out there that I adore, and I’d really love to repost them, but I just can’t bring myself to be visually represented by typos. Here are some examples:

When Webster's Dictionary is your friend...

When Webster’s Dictionary is your friend…

And this one…yes, even Alan Moore (if this is really his quote–without an extensive Google session, one never knows) doesn’t escape my scrutiny, but I loved the sentiment so much, I just had to post it, despite my inner turmoil over the missing apostrophe:

When apostrophes are your friend...

When apostrophes are your friend…

Then there’s this guy’s direct message to me on Facebook. As my friend Allyson said so eloquently, “I don’t know if I’m more disgusted by his intentions or his grammar.” That actually made me LOL!

 

Screenshot 2016-04-05 17.19.16

There isn't enough alcohol in the world to make me gravitate toward someone who spells and disrespects women this way...

There isn’t enough alcohol in the world to make me gravitate towards someone who spells and disrespects women this way…I mean, “I’d” NEEDS an upper case I and an apostrophe!

I once dated someone who emailed me some love poems, riddled with typos. Since he wasn’t the type to write love poems, nor was he overtly romantic, I honestly couldn’t discern his intentions in sending them to me…so I edited them in red ink and emailed them all back to him. All I could think of was that he must be merely sharing someone else’s poor grammar with me. That should have been my red flag. Yeah…as you might surmise, that relationship ended.

For those who don't wish to pay me .50 cents. Your loss.

For those who don’t wish to pay me .50 cents. Your loss.

So…if you have a meme you want to post, but you’re really not sure if the correct spelling is two, to, or too, I’m your girl. Send it to me FIRST. That is, after you Paypal me .50 cents.

And finally, THIS.

And finally, THIS.

 

 

#Foodgasm Alert: The Turducken of Pies

I was just reading this hilarious article about the new 5-pies-in-one, or the “Turducken of Pies.” 

Screenshot 2015-12-18 15.05.38

A few years ago, my dear publicist friend Stephen Crane and I headed up from his SoCal home to visit my other friend, Tony Swatton in Burbank. (I always stay at Stephen’s house for a few days after San Diego Comic-Con to recuperate.) Tony, whom I had just seen at Comic-Con, could be a blog in and of himself. He was the “Pirate of the Year” for Pirates Magazine and has graced the cover more than once.

Our favorite pirate, Tony Swatton.

Our favorite pirate, Tony Swatton.

Tony formed the “Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings” Club, which started out as lark; he and his buddies all dressed up like Vikings and showed up at Ikea for Swedish meatballs, bemused when they were firmly escorted out. Here’s a typical biz card:

Image courtesy of Matthew Hunt Designs.

Image courtesy of Matthew Hunt Designs.

You see, Tony makes all the costumes and weapons for those memorable Capital One ads, and they are all stored at his fabrication shop. Yeah, I’ve tried some on. Since Tony tends to hang with fellow pranksters, the hijinks never stop. (If I ever move to California, it would be Burbank just to be near our funny actor friend Dan Roebuck, plus Tony’s shenanigans.) Tony also makes the swords for all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and most recently, was the star of the internet sensation show Man at Arms. His Sword and Stone shop in Burbank, CA is legendary.

On Victory Boulevard just a few doors down from Tony’s storefront is this wonderful Greek restaurant. Actually, I’m not sure they refer to them as Greek restaurants in California, but that’s what we call them in Chicago. Diners, maybe? You know the kind. The menu goes on forever. If you have a tough time making food decisions, this is no place for amateurs.

So in all, it was Tony, Stephen, Scott Empey (Tony’s BFF and my custom jewelry designer) and me. We entered and walked past this well-lit, glorious display case of pies. You could almost hear the choir of angels singing inside of it. As we sat down and discussed which sensible foods we should be ordering, the discussion took a dangerous turn, shifting to those damned delectable pies. I opined that it was criminal that no one ever made a banana-coconut-cream pie, since I always hated having to choose between the two, like two calorie-laden lovers who could both satisfy me equally. At that point, Tony excused himself to go wash his hands, and I noticed him getting chatty with the woman at the counter on his way.

As our meal ended–our bellies sore from laughing at all of Scott and Tony’s crazy exploits–a vision of beauty arrived at our table: a coconut cream pie, flipped over atop a banana cream pie, with four forks! We four foodgasm’d out! To this day, it remains the most exquisite dessert I’ve ever had, in no small part because of the company who shared it with me.

If they ship, I’ll be ordering the Turducken of Pies for my next trip to Burbank, reassembling my merry band of knights of the round pie table, plus Tony’s new wife Karen, whom I love and adore. I even have a new name for my epicurean kindred spirits: The Norse Hollywood Dining Pie-Kings–Pie Pillaging Specialists.

Dave Dorman STAR WARS Marvel Variant Comic Featured in Limited Edition STAR WARS LOOT CRATE

And what, to my wandering eyes, did appear…but a $100 Limited Edition STAR WARS LOOT CRATE, pulled by eight tiny Tauntauns…

Usually Jack will say, “Guess what came in the mail today?” followed by “Deez nuts! Ha!” and he goes off on his merry way. But today was different. Today was followed by the scream of “LOOT CRATE!!!” which was probably heard all of the way to Tatooine. Since Dave couldn’t get a copy of his own comic, he just had to spend the $100 to order it via LOOT CRATE. You know…that monthly geek tzotchke box that is the bane of my existence? I think the NDAs Dave signed were probably more onerous than those from the State Department. So here’s a play-by-play:

The STAR WARS LTD. ED. LOOT CRATE: I'm just surprised it didn't feature the radioactive glow of the briefcase in PULP FICTION.

The STAR WARS LTD. ED. LOOT CRATE: I’m just surprised it didn’t feature the radioactive glow of the briefcase in PULP FICTION.

HISTORY: Dave seeing his VADER DOWN cover in comic book form for the very first time!

HISTORIC GEEK MOMENT: DAVE DORMAN seeing his VADER DOWN cover in actual comic book form for the very first time!

VADER DOWN Marvel Comics variant cover by DAVE DORMAN

VADER DOWN Marvel Comics variant cover by DAVE DORMAN

Even though Dave had to buy this limited edition LOOT CRATE to get a copy of his own book, he feels he “still got a lot of cool stuff I can share with my family.” (Editorial comment: I think by “family,” he means “Jack.”)

Dave would like to thank Jordan D. White and Heather Antos at Marvel, the folks at Lucasfilm, and the decision makers at LOOT CRATE for having Dave paint the cover for this once-in-a-lifetime collectible.

For those of you wanting to hear Dave’s take on the new Force Awakens film, check out our son’s post-movie interview with Dave at https://youtube.com/the_surfmonkey early on the morning of December 18th, as we are attending the midnight showing.

Yelp: The New Form of American Literary Expression

Any gathering with my crazy, comedic family spurs me into creative thinking mode. Yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast was no exception. Here, courtesy of my Facebook post, is one of the props I loaded into Jack’s pockets:

This Facebook post will give you some idea of our family shenanigans.

This Facebook post gives you some idea of my family culture…

My cousin Greg, who blew in from Ohio to join us yesterday, has made Yelp.com reviews his own loving form of literary expression. Within our family circle, his reviews are a constant source of entertainment. Adding to the hilarity, his daughter told me a recent South Park episode was dedicated to Yelp reviews, which means, you know, Yelp reviews are now officially “a thing.” A pop culture snapshot of 2015. And here’s a link to that episode of South Park that you MUST see: http://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s19e04-youre-not-yelping

Cartman, the Yelp Reviewer - South Park Episode "You're Not Yelping"

Cartman, the Yelp Reviewer – South Park Episode “You’re Not Yelping”

My favorite South Park scene? This 50-page review by Gerald…for Applebee’s:

Gerald, the genius behind the epic Applebee's review on South Park.

Gerald, the genius behind the EPIC Applebee’s review on South Park.

“And yet, there is more…in this crisp time as Autumn begins to fade, the chef brines chicken in habanero and even adds habanero powder to the crust…but the heat is restrained. You experience the fruity, delicious flavor of this without any spicy pain. I don’t need any more pain. Hell, does anyone?”

God, these guys are comedy geniuses. Writing scripts for South Park would be the dream job for me, right up there with writing for Mystery Science Theater 3000 #MST3K or Bob’s Burgers.

So for Christmas this year, I’ll be self-publishing this hardcover parody gift book:

“YELP–An Exploration in Modern American Literary Expression: The Greg McDonald Edition.”

If you are interested in having your very own copy of this exclusive, limited edition, Modern American Literature Masterpiece, just shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the list. I’m guessing it will be around $30 + shipping, given my previous experiences with Blurb.com. For an extra $100, I may even score you a signature and stick figure pencil sketch from the original author…the unintentional literary sensation, Greg McDonald!

You  know, I always thought I would be the first in our family to publish a literary masterpiece. Who knew Greg would usurp me?!?

 

What If…We Had an Online #Comic-Con? Artists & Creators: This Quick Survey is for YOU

Some of the greatest ideas and innovations we take for granted today started with this simple premise: WHAT IF…

My friend, Emet Comics founder Maytal Gilboa (all comics written by women!) and I have been thinking about ways to help artists and creators to earn more money. (That’s a never-ending concern in my mind, and why Charlie Athanas and I formed The Devil’s Candy Store years ago.) I also had a better variation of the LOOT CRATE idea 8 years ago, and I’m still pissed at myself that I didn’t get investors and pull the trigger. Historically, I’ve always been 7 to 8 years ahead of the world in my thinking, and I’m an impatient sort.

So…Maytal Gilboa and I have put together a quick survey that we would REALLY appreciate you taking. Please share this link out via social media to all of your friends who exhibit at shows, whether herein the U.S., or overseas. We thank you in advance for your help!

https://surveyplanet.com/56462ebb8535760f14764440

An Unlikely Series of Events: George Barris and Henry Winkler

My life is a non-stop bizarre bazaar of pop culture icon intersections. When I heard car designer George Barris–creator of THE Batmobile–died this week, my heart sank. I spent time with George at his shop in L.A. when I was the writer/producer on cars-and-stars nationally syndicated TV series, The Super Chargers. George provided us with vehicles for one of our episodes–I believe it was the Sally Struthers episode that we shot at her residence, as well as Universal Studios.

The genius, Mr. George Barris

But even more unlikely is the story I’m about to tell. As I write this, I’m still busting out into giggles, since this JUST happened:

I recently took on a subcontractor job, and I was warned that the surveillance was so onerous, I could only communicate with The Sister Wives via texts when I went to the bathroom every 90 minutes. Our daily text message chain is a leviathan tome of non-stop, hilarious commentary. One of the Sister Wives–I believe it was Gina–started calling me “The Fonze” because I was always signing my texts “from Denise, in the 4th stall,” an act Gina deemed as “Stepping into my office,” a.k.a., the public restroom. It was like Happy Days, but smellier, and minus the wholesome fun of 1950s Milwaukee.

I had to add this graphic, since Gina found it and it's so perfect for this blog.

I had to add this graphic, since Gina found it and it’s so perfect for this blog.

So you can just imagine how hard I laughed when I learned that–of ALL peopleHenry Winkler was appearing with Dave at Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend! I texted Dave and begged him to do me this one favor. And he did. In a rare moment of compliance, Dave gave in to one of my typical madcap requests. Somehow, he convinced Mr. Winkler to sign this for my Sister Wives:

Henry Winkler/The Fonze writes: "The Sister Wives, from the 4th stall in my office"

Today Henry Winkler/The Fonze writes: “The Sister Wives, from the 4th stall in my office”

You can ask my BFF since 7th grade, Marovich, or my BFF since kindergarten, Darlene. I’m never one to let an inside joke die…to the point that I’ve not only jumped the shark, but I’ve also made a bitchin’ necklace out of its teeth, a cancer-treating soup from its fin, and wallets from its first layer of glistening skin before I’m done. Who am I kidding? I’m never done.

I will get this treasure-beyond-measure matted and framed. I’m sure it will be rotating the walls of my Sister Wives’ homes. And Dave won’t even have to buy me a Christmas gift this year. This. Was. Perfect.

Dave was a good sport, as was Henry Winkler, truly a class act.

Dave was a good sport, as was Henry Winkler–truly a class act.

 

LOOT CRATE: The Bane of My Existence

I went to get my cards read by psychic RoseWolf of SecondSightRose.com a while back, and I knew she was truly accurate when she said to me, “I’m getting that the decor in your home looks more like a…MAN CAVE?!?” With all of the comic book convention tzotchkes, art, pop culture collections, art books, and work samples Dave Dorman has amassed over his 35-year career, outside of the Smithsonian Institute, there’s no facility existing to properly display all. of. that. shtuff. Oh, wait–there’s Warehouse 13, if only it was real.

So…you can just imagine my reaction when we started getting these LOOT CRATE boxes in the mail every month — it was like a geek menstrual cycle, and equally a pain in my ass. Every time Dave or Jack’s back was turned, I was throwing away these irritating, tiny collectibles into the circular file (which Dave and Jack never seemed to miss) in my attempt to maintain some semblance of decluttering. Outside of the Legends of Zelda terry cloth wrist band, which I used for tennis–and to wipe my brow as I labored over throwing away more LOOT CRATE crap–there was nothing in these LOOT CRATE boxes of “exclusives” worth the $20 a month. But this month, I have to hand it to Loot Crate. They actually sent something that I like. Something with purpose. Introducing my new Breaking Bad apron:

The BREAKING BAD Los Pollo Hermanos Apron, courtesy of LOOT CRATE

My new Breaking Bad Los Pollo Hermanos Apron, courtesy of LOOT CRATE

Mind you, Dave doesn’t enjoy my “clean eating,” so I’m rarely cooking for anyone but me or Jack, but if Jack’s occasional box of Mac & Cheese splashes up, at least my Batman tees are now protected. However, Dave’s t-shirt collection and mine are like constantly warring nations, fighting for closet space territory.

Good thing Dave’s out of town 3 of 4 weekends in September so those, too, mysteriously find their way into the circular file…

Who Can Settle This Argument – What IS the Capital of Northern Ireland?

Today was filled with those minor irritations we all recognize as first-world problems. It kicked off when my Bubble Yum order arrived from Amazon – not the sugar-free kind that I ordered, but $41 of sugary Bubble Yum. I guess my Halloween candy shopping is done early this year. Parents, don’t send me your dentist bills.

Then came the Gloria Estefan CD I ordered, purportedly her “Greatest Hits,” yet it didn’t contain the one song I wanted, “Live for Loving You.” Sigh.

Next came Pub Quiz, a night I have been looking forward to for a very long time, reuniting me with my trivia-loving friends, plus I made a couple of new friends. (BFF Marovich would shrug, “More for your Collection.”)

One of my friends is an older gent named Shea from Northern Ireland. With that gorgeous accent, he could read the phone book and I would be mesmerized. The trivia emcee was a young woman who predicted Shea would get this next question correct, knowing his ethnicity. She queried, “What is the capital of Northern Ireland?” Shea immediately submitted his answer, which was: Stormont. We trusted he would know, so none of us even considered debating him. We only knew of Belfast. And according to the trivia emcee, the correct answer was: Belfast. D’oh!!!!!

As you can imagine, with us 8 rowdies–okay, let me rephrase that–seven rowdies plus Dave Dorman, this created quite the uproar at our table. According to Shea, the parliament is in an area called Stormont, and that is technically the capital.

We asked the emcee to challenge the veto.

Soon, our escalating dissension caught the notice of this woman’s supervisor, the Grand Poobah of Trivia–a 40-something guy with too-long hair, a beer gut, a sloppy t-shirt, and flip-flops–who approached our table with his MacBook Air parked on some Wikipedia page, which he somehow felt trumped the page of proof we showed him on Dave’s iPhone. Grand Poobah thrust his page in Dave’s face, snapped his Macbook Air shut with an air of finality, and walked away in a huff. I couldn’t help but think of Cartman from South Park:

If the Trivia Grand Poobah were a South Park Character...

If the Trivia Grand Poobah were a South Park Character…

We didn’t win our point.

The fact that our score’s outcome was being held in the balance by this Beach Boys wannabe was about a 5 on the Pucker Scale. Especially when we had evidence:

Proof!

Proof!

The other unsettling moment of the evening was learning that the final episode of Third Rock from the Sun aired the same year Train’s song “Drops of Jupiter” came out, which was the same year Legally Blonde came out. Wrap your brain around that for a second. Guess what year it was? 2001! Hand to God! Yeah, that was unbelievable to me, too. Drops of Jupiter just doesn’t seem that old. We’ll  be hearing the Muzak version on some Las Vegas elevator any day now.

Despite losing our footing early in the game with the Northern Ireland question, we managed to come in first place and win the whole trivia game. That showed ’em!

However, I still have to know…the Truth Is Out There…I’ve already emailed my comic book writer/creator friend in Belfast. The journalist in me will be verifying this Stormont business with at least three sources by day’s end tomorrow.

I’ll let you know what I learn.