Tuesday, June 19, 2018

TAKING A BREAK

At midnight, I started writing today's bloggy thing. I wrote over 1500 words before I decided it wasn't up to my usual standards. Then I started looking over my schedule for the rest of the month: a pitch for a mini-series I want to write, a trip to New York for a special screening of the first episode of the second season of Luke Cage on Netflix, a trip to Los Angeles for the world premiere of Ant-Man and the Wasp, a garage sale at the end of the month, research for the short comics script I'm writing, two "Tony's Tips" columns for Tales of Wonder, a meeting with a filmmaker, the usual stuff I post on Facebook...all this plus an assortment of business and personal odds and ends I've been putting off for way too long.

Something had to give. I love writing "Tony Isabella's Bloggy Thing" and wish I could keep writing it every day through the month of June. That's just not going to happen.

"Tony Isabella's Bloggy Thing" will return on July 1. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tony Isabella 

Monday, June 18, 2018

COMET TV: YONGARY, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP

Comet TV has become one of my favorite cable channels. I have been recording horror, monster and sci-fi movies from the 1950s, 1960s and more, then watching them in bits and pieces when I take breaks from my writing. The prints are awful and the movies are sometimes equally bad, but I get a kick out of reliving my youth staying up late at night to watch films like this as hosted by Ghoulardi aka the great Ernie Anderson.

Just the other day, I watched Yongary: Monster from the Deep [1967] on Comet. It’s a movie I wrote about last July and said I wouldn’t watch a second time. Re-watching it didn’t change my low opinion of the movie, but it did give me a few other thoughts that I wanted to share with you.

First off, here’s my original review...

It’s a South Korean kaiju film whose original version was lost when its negatives were shipped to American International Pictures to be edited for distribution in the United States. Perhaps someday that original version will surface. If it does, I’ll do my best to watch it and write about it in a future bloggy thing.

Here’s the quick Yongary summary from the IMDb:

Earthquakes in central Korea turn out to be the work of Yongary, a prehistoric gasoline-eating reptile that soon goes on a rampage through Seoul.

KIND OF SPOILERS AHEAD
KIND OF SPOILERS AHEAD
KIND OF SPOILERS AHEAD


The film is so forgettable that, just a few days after watching it, I have trouble remembering details. It opens with a small wedding. Driving off, the couple begins to itch painfully because Icho, one of those typical-for-monster-movies mischievous boys, is firing an “itch ray” at them. The ray was invented by Icho’s brilliant if shy with women uncle.

It takes a good twenty minutes before we get the vaguest glimpse of Yongary. Maybe the intent there was to build suspense, maybe it was to delay showing the audience the full Yongary suit. Said suit is well below the quality of Toho Studios kaiju movies, even though it was built by the same guy who built Godzilla and Kong suits for earlier movies.

Politicians, scientists and military men are all familiar with the legend of Yongary. They take learning the creature really exists in stride. Not so much their failure to stop him. In an explicable scene, Icho uses the itch ray on Yongary and the two of them dance to generic pop music.

Icho stumbles on a way to incapacitate the monster. His uncle takes it from there. In the end, Yongary is destroyed.

Icho is sad but philosophical. He knows Yongary had to be killed, but wishes the adults could’ve seen the monster dancing so happily. Icho’s uncle gets the remaining single girl.

KIND OF SPOILERS OVER
KIND OF SPOILERS OVER
KIND OF SPOILERS OVER


The movie’s human characters are likeable, even the annoying Icho. There are scenes of the politicians, scientists and military folks discussing possible courses of action in a manner done much better in 2016's Shin Godzilla.

Yongary was kind of sort of remade in 1999 as Yonggary, released in the U.S. as Reptilian. The remake is a decent giant monster film that casts the title monster as a Godzilla-like hero-villain. It’s a real stretch to seriously consider it a remake of the original.

The bottom line is Yongary: Monster from the Deep is simply not a very good film. The only reason I’d ever watch it again would be if the original uncut version surfaced, giving me a chance to compare the two. I’d recommend the existing version only to those monster movie fans who have to see every giant monster movie.

On to my additional comments...

When the military got together with the politicians and scientists for long and often self-congratulatory meetings, the head military guy really stood out. When he wasn’t doing his little “We’ve killed the monster! No, wait. We haven’t killed the monster! We must kill the monster!” song and dance, he was an arrogant asshat, refusing to consider that his plan might not be the right plan. It wasn’t, but he never acknowledges that. Just goes around glad-handing the other suits when the shy scientist slays Yongary.

When Yongary is dying, after falling in a river and convulsing, we see bloody red discharge from his ass. When I wrote my review, I can’t believe I passed on the chance to make a monster hemorrhoids joke. That’s not like me.

These next several days are going to be crazy busy for me. I’ll do my best to keep the bloggy things coming until I leave for New York  for a few days. Marvel Comics invited me to a special screening of the season premiere of the second season of Luke Cage. I leave on Thursday afternoon and return on Saturday afternoon.

After that, I’m home for one full day. Because Marvel also invited me to the world premiere of Ant-Man and the Wasp in Los Angeles. I leave on Monday morning and return on Tuesday evening. Needless to say, I’m excited to be attending both events.

Am I cheating on DC Comics? Well, you know, a guy likes to be asked out every once in a while. It’s not like everyone at DC could have lost the bar napkins they wrote my number on.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

TONY'S TIPS #262

This week in TONY'S TIPS...Tony buys a t-shirt and a new suit, then he reviews Marvel's Cloak and Dagger, The Asylum's Avengers Grimm Time Wars and the second season of Marvel/Neflix's Jessica Jones!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, BARB!

Historical note. On this glorious date in 1984, Barbara Jean Kepke married Anthony Louis Isabella at St. Ambrose Catholic Parish in Brunswick, Ohio. And since I can’t possible top the joy that being married to Barb and raising our family together has brought me these past 34 years, that’s it for today’s bloggy thing.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Friday, June 15, 2018

GARAGE SALES ARE GO!

                                                                                 
My first Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale of 2018 is pretty much 100% ready to go. When dawn breaks, I’ll hang a huge Superman poster next to the garage door so my customers will know they are at the right place. I like to think of it as the cheap-ass version of that giant key outside Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Once that task is completed, I’ll bring out the cash box, change, sales pad, signing pens, writing pens and whatever else I’ll need for the sale. I’m currently half-anxious and half-excited about this first sale. It’s been too long since I’ve had one.

The VAOS garage sale takes place at Casa Isabella, 840 Damon Drive, Medina, Ohio today and tomorrow, June 15-6, 9 am to 1 pm each day. After I finish writing this, I’ll spend a couple hours working on additional sales items for restocking. My neighbor Sue is helping me, so I might even be able to restock during the sale.

My friends Martin and Pam Arlt are coming in from Michigan for the garage sale and to spend a quick vacation in nearby Cleveland. We usually see each other at G-Fest, but, alas, this year I won’t be able to attend. I had too many unexpected expenses this year to be able to afford a convention that wasn’t directly related to comics and my business thereof. I hope to return to G-Fest next year and again participate in that event’s fine programming. After the sale, my son Ed and I hope to take them to lunch at one of Medina’s many fine eateries.

Over the weekend, in between my garage sale stuff, I’ll be writing a pitch for a comic-book mini-series that I think is something we haven’t seen before. It would star two characters I’ve written in the past, but I’m not gonna tell you which ones.

Other writing stuff for the weekend: a couple of bloggy things, my weekly “Tony’s Tips” column and researching for a short comic-book story I’ve agreed to write for a client I haven’t worked for prior to this. Then, come Thursday, Ed and I will be flying to New York for a special screening of the premiere episode of Luke Cage Season Two.

The screening is Friday morning and Netflix drops the entire season later that day. But, since Marvel was kind enough to invite me to this screening and since I don’t get to see my Marvel pals often, I decided to make the trip. If all works out, we’ll also go out to dinner with my godchild Kara and her mom.

Come the following Monday and I’m on the move again. Saintly Wife Barb and I will be flying to Los Angeles for the world premiere of Ant-Man and the Wasp. To show how secure I am in our marriage, I’m taking Barb there even though I know she used to have an enormous crush on Michael Douglas.

That’s all I have for you today. I’ll be back tomorrow with stuff to amuse and inform you. Failing that, it’ll just be another one of these columns I write mostly to remind myself of what I should be doing next. Always forward.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

Thursday, June 14, 2018

GARAGE SALE COUNTDOWN

It may not look like it from the above photo, but I'm on track to launch my first Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale tomorrow morning from 9 am to 1 pm. What you see in the photo is my "British Invasion Fifty-Cent Table." On that table are issues of the U.K.'s 2000 AD, Beano and Commando, plus many other cool items priced at only half a buck. 

There are boxes of dollar comics, Beanie Babies for a quarter, some cool VHS tapes for a quarter, lots of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands and other Isabella-written items. There are bargain-priced comics collections and more. There are Black Lightning, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Superman posters. There will be a selection of Marvel Collector Corps, DC Legion of Collectors and Stan Lee boxes. Plus whatever else I can fit in the sale between now and tomorrow morning.

The first sale is Friday and Saturday, June 15-16, at Casa Isabella, 840 Damon Drive in Medina, OH. I'm planning to restock between the Friday and Saturday sales and maybe even during them. As always, I'm happy to sign comics and other Isabella stuff for free with any purchase from my sale. I'll also do my best to answer your questions about my career, comics in general and my plans for future garage sales. I expect to hold a lot of them this summer.

I hope to see you soon.

Tony

P.S. I may not be posting much in the way of actual bloggy things for the next week or so. In addition to these garage sales and a comics script I'm writing, I will be attending Marvel Comics events in New York (June 22) and Los Angeles (June 25). I'm just a globe trotting Marvel Maniac!