Saturday, December 3, 2022

FROM THE PAST...HARLAN ELLISON

 

 

Harlan Ellison is the finest writer of our time. His work inspired me. His friendship meant the world to me. I think of him and dear Susan often. That he liked my writing was something that cheered me through some pretty desperate times.

Two weeks back, while going through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I came across a letter sent to me in 2014 by a reporter who had exchanged some correspondence with Harlan Ellison. In one letter, Harlan mentioned some of my work. I mentioned this in yesterday’s summation of the things that made me happy in November and promised to run the comments in the bloggy thing as soon as possible. Which turned out to be today.

Here’s what Harlan wrote..
 
Isabella's book, 1,000 Comics You Must Read, is a delight, but shows, also, amiability, kindness, and sense of humane generousness one finds rare in persons toiling in any field. Although I might never become the kind of great heart that is Tony, who seems to love most things and most things well. I am not so far on the side of Edmund from Edgar and Kent, not to appreciate a good man's qualities. Although I can hardly tell on merely basis of the Isabella Oeuvre, Tony seems one of the better chaps in the world increasingly the one of "bawds and fools" as caustically lambasted by Thersites in Troilus & Cressids.

Tony's accomplishments as a comics writer shine in two signal achievements, one being his adaptation of August Derelith"s yarn of snow vampires  (which must’ve inspired King's "One for the Road"); the other, Tony's Watcher-What If story detailing if Gwen Stacy had survived her encounter with the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man comics.


Inspired by Harlan’s introductions in Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions, I knew I wanted to be a writer who did the work and did it with clean hands and open heart. It’s because of Harlan and his praise of me that I believe I accomplished that more often than not. I still live and write by the code I developed early in my career. It has not always served me well professionally, but it has entertained readers and given me great satisfaction.
 
Thanks, Harlan. I miss you and Susan terribly.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Thursday, December 1, 2022

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN NOVEMBER

 

 

I’ve been trying to keep the openings to these monthly collections of joy-inducing things light and breezy, but something happened to me recently that I want to discuss. Albeit briefly.

A friend asked me if I hated him because he was a conservative. It wasn’t the proper place to have such a discussion, so I responded with a quick “Of course, I don’t.” Which wasn’t how I really wanted to answer him. In the future, I might well devote a longer column to how I wanted to answer, but, for now, you’re getting the short version...

Was he sure he was a conservative? Because, honestly, I’m not sure such creatures are still among us. They’ve gone as extinct as the dodo bird as the Republican Party falls further into criminality, cruelty, dishonesty, racism, sedition and the treasonous disregard for democracy.

The specifics of those vile traits will have to wait for the future bloggy thing I alluded to. What I will say is that if you support the Republican Party in its current despicable form, you are not a conservative. Not remotely. If you vote Republican, you are a part of their debasement of our country.

I don’t hate him on a personal level. However, if he is supporting the Republicans in any way, I hate him on a moral and philosophical level. That party is the biggest threat currently facing the United States of America and, if he votes Republican, my friend is aiding and abetting that threat. More on this to come.

Here are the things that made me happy in November...

November 1: Saintly Wife Barb and I had delicious salmon dinners at our local Applebee’s and used a gift cards. We’re on a quest to use as many of these as possible.

November 2: As I contemplate my dream road trip, Shing Yin Khor’s  The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 is an fun, informative and inspiring graphic memoir. Solo or otherwise, I plan to travel from end to end of the legendary road.

                                                                               



November 3: Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo! It’s definitely a treat for fans of the franchise. An exciting and funny adventure for all ages topped with delicious nostalgia. I smiled throughout the movie and laughed out loud in places.

November 4: To celebrate Godzilla Day (November 3), I went to the Fathom Event presentation of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) with my son Ed. Also shown were a new Godzilla versus Hedorah short film and a “making of” short.

November 5: Akron Comicon’s 10th Anniversary event was absolutely incredible. The comics-centric show with a “fans first” philosophy presented great guest creators and a host of interesting vendors. Kudos to promoters Dan Gorman and Jason Miller.

November 6: My friend Denine has been volunteering at conventions since the sorely missed days of Mid-Ohio-Con. She’s great with the guests and was been a great help to me at this year’s Akron Comicon and many other events.

                                                                                 



November 7: So Much For Love: How I Survived a Toxic Relationship by Sophie Lambda, as you can imagine, can be a little difficult to read at times. But her sure storytelling and sometimes dark humor makes it one of the most important comics of 2022.

November 8: Baron Helmut Zemo, created by Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema and myself and recently seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, has joined my Funko Pop! collection. I’m always on the lookout for figures of characters I created or co-created.

November 9: My post-election grief was lightened by a surprise gift from a colleague. We haven’t worked together for decades, but his friendship and kindness are appreciated. It was a perfect gift for the end of democracy. An assortment of nuts.

                                                                         




November 10: Comics legend Don McGregor was interviewed for ABC’s Black Panther: In Search of Wakanda special. As the guy who truly brought Wakanda to life, it was a well-deserved honor for my dear friend.

November 11: Diego Jourdan Pereira. My Last Kiss gags always look amazing when Diego adds his colorful magic to them. He’s one of the best in the business and I hope that, someday, I get to work with him on a comic book or graphic novel.

November 12: John Lustig is a great editor. He works hard to make my Last Kiss gags better without making them his gags. That skill isn’t as prevalent as you would think.

                                                                                



November 13: After losing several eBay auctions, I now own a 2018 She-Hulk (Lawyer) figure, a 2018 spring convention exclusive and I got it for much less than all the auctions I lost. I wonder if they make a Matt Murdock figure.

[There is a Matt Murdock figure and it’s a bit too expensive for me at the moment. Which doesn’t mean I won’t find a way to get it. I’m thinking of adding a barter option to the appearance fees I charge most conventions.]

November 14: Ted Sikora (Hero Tomorrow Comics) took out a full-page ad in the November 2 Hollywood Reporter to promote his HT universe. It’s a smart move because studios are still hungry for comic-book properties and his line-up is a stellar one.

November 15: Actor, author and fellow geek Wil Wheaton continued to be a rock star in the Celebrity Jeopardy semi-finals. He won again and was a dynamic and passionate advocate for all who struggle with mental-health issues.

                                                                                 




November 16: Vernee Watson, currently seen in Bob Hearts Abishola. I feel I’ve grown up with this wonderful actress, first seeing her in Welcome Back Kotter and countless times since. She’s never less than terrific and her every appearance brightens my day.

November 17: Our Funko Christmas collection grows with the addition of this Groot with present figure. I can no longer make a case that I’m not a Funko collector. Indeed, that particular ship sailed a long time ago. 

                                                                            




November 18: Jeopardy’s Amy Schneider showed her Ozma of Oz tattoo on tonight’s Tournament of Champions episode. It’s lovely in design and in what it represents. I’m a fan of her fun personality, skill at the game and transgender advocacy.

November 19: Leverage Redemption is back for a second season. Three episodes are streaming online and the first - “The Debutante Job” - guest stars Aldis Hodge who played Hawkman in the Black Adam movie. I’m a huge fan of this Leverage revival.

November 20: I found a letter sent to me in 2014. It was from a fan who had interviewed Harlan Ellison who, in the course of answering, said incredibly kind things about my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read and my comics writing. I’ll share it soon.

[I shared Harlan’s remarks on my Facebook page and will do so again in a future bloggy thing.]

November 21: The 2022 Jeopardy Tournament of Champions finals were nothing short of magnificent. Three of the finest players in tight games with my hero Amy Schneider winning the championship. This was a thrilling competition.

November 22: Reality show clowns Todd and Julie Chrisley have been sentenced to 12 and 7 years in the slammer for tax fraud. I love it when famous and rich people face serious consequences of their bad  actions. It needs to happen more often.

November 23: Going through my closets as part of an ongoing effort, I found a belt I bought a few years back that didn’t fit me then.It fits me now. Will you still all love me when there is less of me to love?

                                                                              



November 24: Black Panther Wakanda Forever. A fine film, engaging and thoughtful with numerous wonderful performances. I appreciated the emphasis on heroic women and also the “made me smile” acting of Winston Duke as M’Baku.

November 25: I had a lovely Thanksgiving with Barb, Eddie, Kelly, Nora and Terry Fairbanks, Barb’s Aunt Pat, and friends Jess, Greg and Sherri. The downside is that there are many leftover pastries
waiting to kill me.

November 26: Netflix’s Wednesday is creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky. It’s also intriguingly suspenseful with many excellent actors. I’m one episode and there’s little doubt in my mind that I am in for duration.

[I binge-watched the rest of the first season over the next couple days. It did not disappoint in the least.]

                                                                              



November 27: Breakfast at Medina’s Cool Beans Café with the Saintly One and Kelly. We were served delicious flights of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup by our dear friend Jess. A different but great way to start our day.

November 28: Holiday delivery persons. Be they Amazon, UPS, United States Postal Service or others, these men and women are doing an amazing job bringing gifts and joy to millions of people. If you see them, take a moment to thank them.

November 29: Marvel’s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is charming. A little rough around some edges, but the comedy duo of Drax and Mantis are hilarious. The legendary Kevin Bacon touched my soul. I now feel there are no degrees of separation between us.

November 30: I live in a world where a company is making video game consoles for dogs that will help their aging canine brains and give them treats when they win games. Who’s a good tech company? You’re a good tech company.

It’s a new month and that means a new effort to create more comics and content for you. I’ve got my December writing schedule mapped out and I’m also ready if bandits try to rob me and my family when I’m home alone.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU, DEAR!

November challenges have kept me from writing any new bloggy things. I should be back up to speed in December. 

Here's wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 3, 2022

AKRON COMICON (November 5-6)

Akron Comicon is one of my favorite events and my last convention appearance of the year. It will take place Saturday, November 5, and Sunday, November 6, at Emidio’s Expo Center, 48 E. Bath Road in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The show hours are 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday. One-day and weekend tickets are $10 and $15 respectively. Child tickets are $5 and $10 respectively. One child thirteen or under is FREE with a paid adult ticket. Considering all the wonderful people and things to be found at this convention, I think the ticket prices are among the biggest bargains to be found anywhere in the country.

Akron Comicon is centered on comics. Part of the event’s mission is placing an emphasis on what it calls “Comics Future.” This means striving to keep Comicon affordable for all families so adults have the opportunity to pass on their favorite comics traditions to the next generation.

Akron Comicon was founded by my friends Bob Jenkins and Michael Savene in 2012. Led by local creators Dan Gorman and Jason Miller, Altered Realm Productions bought the event in 2019. They continue the emphasis on honoring comic books and strips with a guest list dominated by comics creators. The 2022 comics roster includes Tom Batiuk (Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean), Mike W. Barr (Batman and the Outsiders and Maze Agency), Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), Ted Sikora (Apama the Undiscovered Animal), Craig Boldman (Archie), Sam De La Rosa, Don Simpson, Jay Fife, Matt Horak, Jason Moore, Dave Nestler and more.

Other guests include actor Gianni Decenzo from the hit Netflix TV  series Cobra Kai and a host of horror hosts: Son of Ghoul, Leopold and Lenora, Drac and Carita and the Mummy and the Monster. Also at the convention: Hero Initiative, Akron’s own Rubber City Cosplay and Star Trek groups USS Lagrange and USS Renegade. I was named an honorary member of the Lagrange many years ago and, to honor their 40th anniversary, they’ve asked me to wear a red shirt. Hmmm...are they trying to tell me something?

Halloween 1972. On that day, I reported for work at Marvel Comics in New York City.  to commemorate my fifty years in the industry, my talented friend Dan Gorman created a special poster showing all the monster-type characters I worked on during my years at Marvel. Both Dan and I will be selling the poster and, no matter which of us you buy it from, I’ll sign it for free.

                                                                          



Speaking of selling stuff...

At my Akron Comicon booth, I’ll be selling the usual mix of dollar comics, more expensive comics, books, magazines and stuff written by me. This will include the exclusive-to-me reprint edition of the first appearance of Misty Knight in a Marvel comic book.

When Misty Knight was set to debut on the Luke Cage TV series, my friends at the House of Ideas decided to do a “Marvel’s Greatest Creators” reprint of her first appearance in Marvel Premiere #21. They called me up and asked if I wanted an exclusive variant of the reprint, one with an exclusive cover and only available from me. The numbers worked and a limited print run of 1500 copies was made and delivered to me.

I’ve been signing and numbering the comics ever since. I’m selling them at a bargain price of just $10 each. Considering I charge $10 just for my signature, and you’re also getting an exclusive signed and numbered limited edition comic, that’s a deal.
                                                                                


 

Finally, for the first time, I’m bringing a whole bunch of terrific Godzilla items to Akron Comicon. We’re talking action figures and much more. These items were a big hit at my garage sales over the summer. Be sure to check them out.

Akron Comicon also has a full schedule of panels and other special events to entertain the fans:

Saturday

11 am: Comicsburgh with Marvin Wynn, Grant Lankard, Heroineburgh & Casey WhiteNoise

Noon: The History of Horror Comics with Michael Walton

1 pm: Self Publishing 101 with Ted Sikora!

2 pm: Horror Writing for Comics with David Hayes!

3 pm: Meet Gianni DeCenzo!

4 pm: Cosplay Contest hosted by Rubber City Cosplay

Sunday

11 am: Tony’s Tips Live! With Tony Isabella

Noon: A History of Horror Hosts in NE Ohio with The Mummy and The Monkey!

1 pm: Q&A with Sam DeLaRosa.

2 pm: Batman by the Decades with Chris Lambert


As I wrote up top, this is my final convention appearance of 2022. I’ll be hunkering down to work on a variety of projects through the end of the year and into February.

My first convention appearance of the new year will be Pensacon in Pensacola, Florida, February 24-26, 2023. If you are a convention promoter and would like me to appear at your event, e-mail me and I’ll do my best to make that happen. The same holds true should you want me to speak at a library or school, do a signing at a comic- book store, or act in your movie or TV show. While I’m not planning to do many conventions and such in 2023, I will try to accommodate any requests that come my way.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY IN OCTOBER

 

 

In lieu of thinking about grim stuff as we launch into a new month, I thought I’d share a couple cool moments from near the end of the previous month. Local moments that made me smile.

Some clerks at my local post office are Black Lightning fans. One of them likes to introduce me to any other people of color who are there when I am. This time, the person was a fellow employee and he was thrilled to meet me. Black Lightning is his father’s favorite TV show and his son is also a big comics fan. He asked about comics conventions and I told him about this weekend’s Akron Comicon. He hopes to bring his son there. As I was leaving, this gentleman came out into the lobby and asked if he could take a selfie with me for his father and son. Which, naturally, I agreed to. Comics fans are my people.

Later that same day, I called the Medina Library. Some books I had requested had arrived. I asked for them to be put into one of the outside lockers so I could pick them up after the library closed. The librarian handling my request knew I was a comics writer. We spent a few minutes discussing Black Adam, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and DC’s League of Super-Pets. I haven’t seen the first two yet, but I recommended League to her.

In so many ways, I lead a comic-book life. If only it included real super-heroes that could save us from the likes of Putin and Trump and their followers. Sigh.

Here are the things that made me happy in October...

October 1: Though the comics industry does not treat me well, the comics community of colleagues, fans and fellow creators manages to remind me on a daily basis that I am loved, respected and valued in ways I can’t always talk about. Thank you.

October 2: The end of another garage sale season. I truly enjoy my sales and chatting with and selling to those who come to them, but it’s nice to be able to take the rest of October off from the work. And then start working on my 2023 garage sales.

October 3: A neighbor walking by our house complimented Barb on how nice our lawn always looks. Which thrilled her ‘cuz that’s all her doing. It’s not just laziness on my part. If I try to mow, my hands swell up like Popeye’s after he eats spinach.

October 4: Pure Leaf Raspberry Tea. As I try to wean myself off the Pepsi, this seems like a delicious and healthier alternative, at least until someone crushes my spirit and tells me it isn’t. I like the lemon flavor, too.

October 5: When a comic book, comics character, comics creator, comics movie or TV series is an answer on Jeopardy. Also...when a former comics reader asks me questions about their favorite comics from when they were young. The true Golden Age of Comics is right this very minute.

                                                                             


                                                       

October 6: Hello Cleveland: Things You Should Know About the Most Unique City in the World by Nick Perry with illustrations by Jason Lock. A fun little book that will explain why so many of my future stories will be set in the city of my birth.

October 7: Young Sheldon. To help with the family finances, Missy is working in a comic-book store. I love Sheldon’s astonishment at this turn of events and Missy’s dedication to learning more about comics. This is comedy gold.

October 8: Lyle Lyle Crocodile. It’s a delightful movie filled with fun action sequences, great music, sometimes heartbreaking emotion and Brett Gelman playing the neighbor from Hell. There were a bunch of young kids in the audience and they loved it. So did I.

                                                                          



October 9: Bring it On: Cheer or Die is B-movie magic. Low budget notwithstanding, it’s got a good premise, adequate acting, decent kills and, best of all, characters who, once they realize they’re being hunted, stop making dumb horror movie moves.

October 10: The Simpsons: “Lisa the Boy Scout” is nothing short of brilliant. The episode is highjacked by Pseudo-nonymous, who demand a ransom to not show unaired clips that will destroy the franchise. Wonderfully weird clips.

October 11: My Facebook friend Mike Buckley, who was not at NYCC, nonetheless posted a hilarious series of accounts of his adventures there. All in good fun. If I did this, it would’ve involved tossing some people over a balcony. They know who they are.

October 12: At NYCC, MeTV announced original Svengoolie comic books coming next year from Frank Miller Presents. I know someone who has always wanted to write such a celebrity comic book. Hint: it’s me. Just saying. Pass it on. Start the hashtag.

[NOTE: Alas, it seems unlikely I will be writing a Svengoolie comic book in the future. Any other celebrity who wants me to take a shot at turning them into a comic-book hero should e-mail me.]

October 13: It’s not on the same level as NYPD Blue, but East New York is winning me over with great performances from Amanda Warren, Jimmy Smits, Olivia Luccardi and, especially, the ever-entertaining Richard Kind.

                                                                                



October 14: The Werewolf by Night special was fun, but I agree the breakout star was the Man-Thing. More please. Note to Kevin Feige: I’m available to play Man-Thing’s wacky next door neighbor if this goes to series.

October 15: CSI Vegas: In the October 6 episode “The Painted Man,” J.P. Manoux gave an outstanding performance as awkward horror fan Gene Farrow. It was a deep-dive into an odd man out that forced the stars to rethink their prejudice towards such.

October 16: Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate (2019) was one of the fruits of recent streaming surfing. Nostalgic and still funny. The series was an American classic, even if it did give a boost to Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign.


                                                                  

October 17: Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame. The award-winning author of My Brother’s Husband is a coming-of-age tale of a closeted young gay man and the regrets of an older gay man who becomes a mentor of sorts to the younger man. Heartwarming and hopeful.

October 18: Reboot. Two episodes in, I’m enjoying the show. Props to the wondrous Rachel Bloom for becoming her character so well I didn’t recognize her until the first episode’s end. Also loving the performances of Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer.

October 19: DC League of Super-Pets. What a delightful, satisfying  movie. Suitable for all ages without playing down to kids. Action, drama, humor. I’ve done the math and it’s ten thousand times better than the Snyderverse.

October 20: The Cleveland Guardians honored their new name with an exciting season of baseball. While they lost to Satan’s team in the ALDS, they were strong contenders. They should add an exorcist to their 2023 roster.

October 21: The finale of the Jeopardy Second Chance Tournament’s first week was the game at its best. After a close two-day contest, winner Jessica Stephens goes to the 2022 Tournament of Champions. Another Second Chance series starts on Monday.

                                                                                



October 22: Forbidden Worlds #94. Robert Hughes hasn’t quite nailed his greatest creation in “Herbie and the Spirits,” but it’s close. Ogden Whitney did nail the visual. This wonderful early tale can be found in PS Artbooks’ Forbidden Worlds Volume 15.

October 23: I’m making good progress going through closets to find and donate things that no longer fit me. The next step will be to downsize what does fit to get what I laughing call my wardrobe into just one closet.

October 24: In manga creator Mero Okano’s Donald Duck Visits Japan, the Three Caballeros are sent to Japan to learn how to better serve customers. The art is off-model, but the culture is fascinating and their comical determination is heartwarming.

October 25: Funko’s 90s Coca-Cola Polar Bear has arrived! This is the first of two figures I ordered for Casa Isabella’s Christmas mantle. I prefer Pepsi, but Pepsi doesn’t have any cute creatures in its ads. Unless they hire me.

October 26: Funko’s Coca-Cola Santa will be joining 90s Coca-Cola Polar Bear on the Isabella Christmas mantle this year. I’m open to suggestions for New Year’s Day figures.

                                                                                



October 27: The Green Glove Gang. On Netflix, Barb and I watching this Polish comedy about three “Robin Hood” thieves hiding out in a nursing home. A different tone than we’re used to, but the ladies and their crimes are great fun.

October 28: Out of the Blue by Garth Ennis and Kieth Burns. Of all the fine things Ennis has written, I’m most fond of his war comics.This story of a Royal Air Force pilot and new husband is dramatic with action, conflict and dollops of dark humor.

October 29: Rowan Ward. They were everything I want from Jeopardy contestants. Brilliant. Personable. A smile that lit up the place  when they questioned correctly. I’ll be rooting for Rowan when the Tournament of Champions begins next Monday.

October 30: Wil Wheaton did multiple fandoms proud when he won the latest Celebrity Jeopardy contest by a large margin. He moves on to the semi-finals. The contestants this season have been big fun and great players. Host Mayim Bialik has also been terrific.

October 31: Ok, yes, Tracee Ellis Ross' 50th birthday bash was not a costume party, but it was cool to see Kim Kardashian as Mystique with fellow X-Men Magik and Selene. Who could have imagined such a thing back in the 1970s? 10-31-22.

My bloggy goal this month is to bring you more bloggy things than have been the norm of late. I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

I OHIO VOTING?

 

I’m sure Ohio’s current secretary of state is a very busy man. He’s a Republican and part of the GOP’s unconstitutional redistricting in my state, as well as that vile criminal organization’s attempts to disenfranchise those unlikely to vote for them.  Still, someone in his office should have had the time to come up with a better and clearer sticker for voters.

Though I’m not 100% back up to speed, I got up this morning, made myself presentable and went to vote at the Medina County Board of Elections. As I was pulling out of my driveway, I noticed someone had vandalized my Tim Ryan sign. From a distance, it looked as if someone had punched it.

Ryan is running to be reelected to the Senate. His opponent is the truly creepy J.D. Vance, who, after being against Trump in 2016, is now a loyal Trump ass-kisser. Of the several signs on my lawn, the only one vandalized was for a candidate whose opponent was endorsed by Trump. That it was singled out for vandalism does not surprise me. We know Trump’s followers are violent.

I’ve been voting at the Board of Elections for a couple decades or so. I used to vote at the local high school until I had enough of being harassed by an obnoxious Republican poll worker who, knowing I was a proud and relentless liberal, tried to get my goat election after election. When I complained about his behavior to his face, he loudly exclaimed “people like you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Which was enough for me to get him removed from his position as a poll worker. You fuck with the tiger, you get the claws.

Those who work at the Board of Elections are efficient and friendly as they carry out their duties. They seem to be pretty good when it comes to prohibiting campaigning within a certain distance of the polling place. They’re also excellent at accepting drop box ballots from drivers who would otherwise have a difficult time getting out of their cars to vote. I assume many of the workers are Republican,
but I think they can be redeemed someday.

There was a small line to vote, but it moved fast. I was in and out of the place in ten minutes. Part of that was because of the aforementioned efficiency of the workers. The other part was that I had downloaded the ballot and made my choices in advance.

Voting for Democrats over Republicans was easy. There were a couple of judge races which were ridiculously considered “non-partisan,” but I knew which candidates were Democrats.

There were two issues on the ballot. One concerned bail, the other voting. Both were race-baiting Republican garbage. I voted “no” on them.

There was also a proposed tax levy renewal for the Medina County Health District. It doesn’t cost voters more than they are already paying. The Health District does fine work. I would’ve vote for an increase if they needed it.

Here’s my voting advice for those of you haven’t yet voted. Three simple guidelines.

Don’t vote for Republicans.

Don’t believe in the myth of “non-partisan” positions. Find out who Democrats support and vote for them.

Make sure you know what the issues actually mean. The two issues I voted against would have led to unequal “justice” for low-income, non-white suspects and an easier path for Republicans to deny the vote to those not likely to vote for them.

Now go out there and make your Uncle Tony proud.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  

© 2022 Tony Isabella

Monday, October 24, 2022

DEEP SEA MUTANT SNAKE

 

 

Deep Sea Mutant Snake is another of the seemingly endless Chinese monster movies I’ve been enjoying on YouTube. They are seldom very good, but, frankly, I’m easily entertained by such films, even when they aren’t in English and lack English subtitles. Most of them are similar to the movies the Syfy Channel used to air every weekend before the channel replaced them (and much of its other content)  with relentless showings of Harry Potter, The Fast and the Furious and other franchises. Boo on them.

Even without subtitles, I can generally figure out the basic plots of these movies. However, in this case, I found a synopsis online:

Qin Yu’s fiancée died while investigating the sinister Cass group. In order to successfully testify against this group in court, Qin Yu followed Jason, who had evidence of the group’s crimes, on a cruise, but was suddenly attacked by a group of mutant snakes.

By mistake, they visit the island where the Cass Corporation conducts illegal experiments. The strange ecological environment of the island and the re-emergence of giant snakes put Qin Yu and others in a desperate and deadly situation...


SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS AHEAD

The movie doesn’t spare the CGI slaughter. We see the title snake, a large (not as large) snake and thousands of more normal-size snakes escape from the research facility and make damn short work of the folks who work there.

They next show up attacking the cruise ship, swarming the ship and making equally short work of the crew and passengers. The big snake wraps itself around the cruise ship. The next largest snakes goes through the corridors killing people, as do the normal-size snakes. Just one more reason I’ll never go on a cruise. Unless my Saintly Wife Barb insists on it.

Naturally, there are the usual plucky survivors: besides Qin Yu and Jason, we get a comely photographer, a young girl, an old warrior type trying to protect the young girl, a somewhat shady comedy relief fat guy, a scientist type and a woman who I think is a high-priced escort. These eight people escape in a large lifeboat as the cruise ship blows up and, apparently, takes all the snakes with it.

When the lifeboat reaches an island - the Cass Corporation island - there are suddenly three more people in it than when it left the cruise ship. This trio exists for one purpose only: to be killed by giant man-eating plants. The only explanation I have for this is: the special effects crew created these plants and wanted to use them and the director forgot to add the “red shirts” to the lifeboat when it left the cruise ship.

Okay, I’m being a wee bit facetious here. The plants are important to the movie. The equivalent of Anton Chekhov’s “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.” Keep reading.

Having created three characters/victims out of nowhere, the movie adds a fourth such character when they need someone to be killed by a monstrously giant spider. This unlucky fellow wasn’t even on the lifeboat when it landed. He just showed up as the survivors trudged through the forest to the Cass research facilities. Alas, we also lose the old warrior who gives his life to save the little girl he had been protecting.

The research facilities are creepy as hell, filled with many dead scientists and staff as well as scattered documents and such. What the documents mean is anyone’s guess given the lack of sub-titles, but, as someone who’s watched many movies like this, I assume they were up to no good.

In short order, we learn the scientist type was affiliated somehow with the Cass Corporation and that the title snake has made its way back to the island. The title snake kills Jason (I think) because Jason acts as a decoy to allow Qin Yu to escape. I can’t remember what happened to the scientist because, by this time in the two-hour movie, I was just anxious to get to Chekhov’s next act. Which played out exactly as I expected.

Qin Yu lures the title snake to the beach where the plants eat the shit out of it. Anton would be proud.

By the way, a similar ending, albeit with snakes instead of killer plants, was the conclusion of another Chinese giant monster movie. I don’t remember which one because my brain can only hold so much
silly trivia at any given time.  

The movie ends with the survivors waiting to be rescued by a boat we see in the distance. They are joined by Gilligan, the Skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and, of course, Mary Ann.


SPOILERS OVER
SPOILERS OVER
SPOILERS OVER
SPOILERS OVER
SPOILERS OVER
SPOILERS OVER


Would I recommend Deep Sea Mutant Snake to be discerning readers? Not really. The extreme carnage at the start of the movie, both in  the research facility and on the cruise ship, is ridiculously fun, but that’s just eye-candy. Lacking subtitles, the film never truly invested me in the characters. The sinister corporation trope has become boring. I need new reasons for the monsters created in these movies. If I get access to a subtitled version of the film, I will watch it again. Otherwise, let my sacrifice in watching it save you two hours of your lives.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.  

© 2022 Tony Isabella