I'm gonna bookend this post with movies, so get the popping corn.

*First of all, we have “Tyrants From Afar” a two-minute special-effects demo from Holland, fancied up to resemble a short film. It doesn’t initially appear to be anything super-impressive, until you realize that it was made by only a handful of people in less than three weeks on a non-existent budget, with most of the live-action shot guerrilla-style in DV. Then you start to wonder about how quick the world of low-budget filmmaking is catching up to the $200 million Hollywood machine. Very much worth looking at, but it’s a big file (38 MB) and the main connection’s a little sluggish (and I can't directly link to it); you might want to try one of the mirror links on the film’s website, which you should check out anyway. (Found at Comics Community)

The Goon #9

Lots of filling in of the gaps here, as Eric Powell joins the 50’s crime comic aesthetic of the title muscle’s origin to the 50’s horror comic aesthetic of his contemporary adventures. We’re still in semi-serious mode this issue, as the Goon is approached by an old football star with a proposition to bring joy to the poor folk of the city through starting a sports club. A whole lot of assumptions on the part of several organized crime families leads to a lot of cash vanishing really quick, and Big People get Big Pissed. Meanwhile, someone just might have the Goon’s secret all puzzled out.

Like the goofy Eisner sketch at the top of last issue, we also get a wholly gratuitous sequence of gross-out humor, this time in the form of a fake ad featuring the welcome return of Powell’s drug-addled Golden Age hero, The Atomic Rage, this time drawn by special guest Eric Wight. But it’s Powell’s art that always impresses, this time with his aptitude for capturing period details from an unspecified period, boiling periods of the early 20th century down to their essence and mashing them up into a convincing composite moment. One panel’s view of a cheering crowd, packed with unshaven men in smart hats and overcoats, a few with spectacles, the ladies in the flowered hats and mucky furs, it makes Powell look like a rounded, grimier Seth. In short, the mood is excellent, as always.

The melodrama isn’t quite as half-baked as last issue, perhaps owing to this installment’s alternate purpose as a mythos gap-filler. This way, even if the meat of the affair is something familiar, we at least have a tasty baguette of origin info covering it up. It will be intriguing to see if Powell opts to press farther into the backstory, perhaps dredging it up into the present in a more direct fashion, or if he’ll cease restricting his gonzo humor to ads and intros and/or guest artists, and let it fly in the book once more. Or hey, maybe balance can be maintained.

Ocean #1 (of 6)

Not a particular lot occurs in this introductory chapter, as we have been warned about. But maybe the novelty of being thrown into a non-established universe is strong enough in today’s Big Two comics that the tapping of feet and twiddling of thumbs isn’t as pronounced as it could be. It’s exactly 100 years in the future and UN Weapons Inspector Nathan Kane is blasting off to Europa, famous moon of Jupiter, to peek around on a Secret Mission. Along the way he transforms an assassination attempt into an occasion for ass-kicking, identifies himself as vehemently anti-gun but still a stone-cold killer When Need Be, and even whips up a romantic liaison with a space-pilot over the course of one week. So it’s basically exactly like the life of Hans Blix.

That is all. There’s a lot of ‘OMG space travel in 2004 was lame compared to now’ dialogue and the action scene seems heavily contrived to provide the issue with some sort of action. But it’s a nice start. The opening four pages do a decent job of setting up the mystery. And Chris Sprouse (with Karl Story on inks) draws some damn fine spacecraft and authentic-feeling future tech. A wholly inoffensive beginning, and that’s all I can say for now.

*I thought I’d save the best for last; the Internet has truly served up a bountiful harvest of awesome. What we’ve got here is the trailer to a public-access television show from out in the California area. It's called "Dungeon Majesty". The program consists of a quartet of young ladies sitting around and playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons while their adventures are dramatized through a mixture of chintzy costumes, green-screen effects, loose-leaf paper animation, and vintage video-game sound. There’s also a shady-looking Dungeon Master, and everybody seems like they’ve been partaking of… ah… magical herbs before filming. Jaw-droppingly silly and faintly embarrassing, but it goes so far beyond cheesy and ridiculous it can’t help but be sort of entertaining. It’s very possible that the whole thing’s a piss-take, but that’s not much of an issue for me. (Found at Something Awful, the very heart of our Internet metropolis, our core of iron, our gravitational pull)