Nothing on this planet is cooler than wasting money on garbage.
Today I bought a fine little release that’s sure to benefit everybody on the entire planet: “Toxie’s Triple Terror Vol. 1 (of 7)”, a $12 box set of three movies from the absolute rock-bottom of the Troma Films library. Troma (careful, not very work-safe), as all red-blooded Americans know, is the oldest independent film studio in the United States still in operation. “The Toxic Avenger” series is perhaps their most famous in-house production, and they are currently approaching the release of their latest epic, “Tales From the Crapper”, a four-year ulcer of a troubled production, as reports suggest. But Troma’s vast catalog is mostly composed of films they have acquired, rather then produced. And it seems they’ve struck a deal with Brentwood Home Video (Troma also produces their own discs) to release some of their most obscure items onto seven ultra-low priced dvd packages, perhaps figuring that at $4 per movie some people will buy anything. They were correct.
But who can resist such classics as “Curse of the Cannibal Confederates” (looks like a rip-off of H.G. Lewis’ “2000 Maniacs”), “Demented Death Farm Massacre” (co-produced and co-directed by Fred Olen Ray) and “Deadly Daphne’s Revenge” (the ad copy really wishes it were “I Spit on Your Grave”). Sure it’s $12 I could have saved for gas or used to buy small gifts for my loved ones, but damn it all to hell, I’d rather sit around and watch Civil War zombies kill stuff.
Hey, how about some reviews of two books from Avatar that came out last week (and one book that came out quite a while ago)?
Yuggoth Creatures #1 (of 3)
A while back, Avatar put out a three issue miniseries, essentially a repository of hard-to-find Alan Moore material, with some new sequential adaptations of Moore’s non-comics material added in. Some of the adaptations were derived from stories Moore wrote for an abandoned Lovecraft-influenced book to be called “Yuggoth Cultures” (“The Courtyard”, another Avatar miniseries, also sprang from the same source). The miniseries was given the same name as this incomplete project. This new miniseries has nothing to do with Moore or the prior miniseries, as far as I can tell, save for the Lovecraft influence. It’s a collection of (very) short stories by Antony Johnston, who usually performs the adaptation of Moore’s prose/poetry work to Avatar comics, illustrated by many of the Usual Avatar Suspects. In execution, the series appears to be an excuse for artists like Juan Jose Ryp and Jacen Burrows to draw monsters and wacky architecture. This first issue opens with a brief framing sequence (illustrated by Dheeraj Verma) in which a literary agent meets with one Prof. Ericsson to examine his book of fantastic discoveries. Each story is taken from the Professor’s memoirs. I shall now give a brief synopsis of each of the stories, so we can better appreciate our hero’s exploits:
Story #1: Ericsson goes to a village. He sees a bunch of monsters and runs away.
Story #2: Ericsson goes to a graveyard. He sees a bunch of monsters and runs away.
Story #3: Ericsson goes to bed. He has visions of stuff.
Story #4: Ericsson goes to a mine. He sees a bunch of monsters and runs away.
Story #5: Ericsson goes into a volcano. He sort of sees a monster and runs away.
Story #6: Ericsson falls into the ocean. He has visions of stuff.
It should also be noted that other people are typically eaten/absorbed/made love to by the monsters as the Professor scurries off. I must confess, it all started to become rather entertaining around the fourth retreat in the space of twenty pages. A plot also surfaces regarding Dagon, father of the Deep Ones, and an evil crystal and the alignment of planets, but it’s really all about bitch-ass beasties for Ericsson to hastily avoid. Johnston keeps it moving, although his captions get a bit wordy at times. I’m sure there was plenty of Lovecraft references for me to miss. The issue ends on a particularly delightful note as the agent compliments the Professor on his stories, prompting our athletic academic to pull out of his drawer a second volume of Things I Have Fled From (and yes, a third is visible in the back), assuring his guest that these stories are “Positively unbelievable.” Oops! Tune in next month kiddies! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!
Faintly amusing, and fun to look at.
Nightjar #1 (of 4) and Nightjar: Hollow Bones
Another thing that came out of “Yuggoth Cultures” (issue #1 to be exact) was the completion of the first installment of “Nightjar”, a story Moore and Bryan Talbot began for “Warrior” magazine, which had published early portions of Moore’s “Marvelman” (AKA “Miracleman“) and “V for Vendetta”. Avatar decided to continue the Nightjar story, with Antony Johnston scripting, and Max Fiumara on art (Sebastian Fiumara co-inks). I think issue #2 of the miniseries came out in June, but I haven’t seen it in any store. This will also tell you exactly how late I am to reading this book, which I’ve owned since it came out.
The plot of Moore and Talbot’s story concerned Mirrigan Demdyke, the final Bird (no no... it's a sort of magician) in her particular lineage, the Nightjars. Her father was once Emperor of the Birds, but he was killed, not in the honorable method of one-on-one combat, but through a coalition of seven Birds. Mirrigan has thus vowed to kill all seven of them, and reclaim the throne for her family. Issue #1 of the miniseries finds Mirrigan meeting up with her aged mother, and some old friends. Her Grandma’s spirit watches over everything, and the new Emperor of the Birds, the Kingfisher, decides to get one of his six aides, the Phoenix, to take care of her. It’s mostly set-up, but the Fiumaras’ art is nice, and the plot has potential.
Also out more recently (last week) is “Nightjar: Hollow Bones”, which contains the full script of issue #1 of the miniseries (heck, why wait for the trade?) as well as a new prose story (a good 24 pages long) by Johnston, which fills in some of the background material for Grandma, as well as one of her son’s seven killers. The Fiumaras provide some illustrations. It was a pretty nice look into the Bird world, with the freedom of magic matching the growing carefree attitude of post-WWI America. Whether the story and the script are worth $4.00 will probably depend on how much you like the series in general, but I‘ll admit to being intrigued.
It looks like the rest of my reviews will wait for tomorrow. World’s latest “Ex Machina” review: NOW ONE DAY LATER!!!