Happy Halloween from Ze Wretched and Ze Robot!! / Hawthorne / Johnson/ Mack/ McManus

Happy Halloween to my dear kittlings and readers!!! I attended a costume party this past weekend - here is a rather cell phone quality shot of my costume to the left. WHERE'S MY DYNAMITE?

Some treats are in store for you as we catch up with Mike Hawthorne, aka "Hellthorne" and participate in some Halloween Mad Lib fun with some of my favorite creators. Check it out :
A monster a day keeps the boredom away! Mike Hawthorne has been working diligently on his "Monster Blog" available right here on his web site. I asked him some questions about what seems like a daunting undertaking:
MARY BRICKTHROWER:I'm going to do a Special Wed column, for Halloween - my former
editor Alex [Miller] has
mentioned your Monster blog????
Tell me more about it!

MIKE HAWTHORNE: You're telling me you have NOT gone
to my new site?!
Shame, shame!

Check here - http://www.thinktankcomics.com/mad.asp
BRICKTHROWER: So seriously, a monster a day?

HAWTHORNE: Oh yeah, one a day. Color monster on Sunday. ((see the photo to the right))

BRICKTHROWER: What a great idea - is this a hard task for you?

HAWTHORNE: Well, yes and no. My wife actually helps me come up with names by reading the dictionary. She's brilliant. All I gotta do is let my sick imagination run with it :) It has proven to be tougher then I expected to keep it going just b ecause I can never find enough time. BUT, it's worth it. Great fun to do.

BRICKTHROWER: Do you feel its a way to stay fresh and keep in "practice" so to speak?

HELLTHORNE: Well, I never feel too stale! But, yeah. It's a nice thing to do at the end of the night and just relax and let myself run without a leash.

BRICKTHROWER: What is your favorite Horror Film?
Oooh.... tough one. I think
Return of the Living Dead is way up on the list. The "tarman" scared the shit out of me, when I was a kid. And, you can't beat a naked punk rock Zombie chick! Two of the coolest zombies ever from the days before CGI.
- http://a2.vox.com/6a00c2251dc877f21900c2252a3462549d-320pi
Punk Zombie - not a good pic

BRICKTHROWER : Do you decorate your house for Halloween? Are you into the Halloween season?

HELLTHORNE: Oh yeah. Nothing too crazy, as we're out
on Halloween. I actually did

some handmade monster window hangers.
I'll get you pics. (((pics pending)))
BRICKTHROWER: What else you got going on right now Mike?

Mostly the Hysteria web comic http://www.thinktankcomics.com, my series of prints: http://www.thinktankcomics.com/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=14 And the Un-men
BRICKTHROWER: Thanks Mike! Happy Halloween!

100 Bullets
cover artist and Warner Bros. darling Dave Johnson really goes all out for Halloween. Like firreal yo. The past 2 years were bad-arse Vikings from hell but this year Johnson really stepped it up a notch. I will describ e this costume as a "CYBER SAMURAI" and say its an absolute TRAVESTY that he didn't win "best costume" @ the 4th Annual LACME MUSE Costume Ball in L.A. Just look at this thing!!!
Dave was able to secure runner-up though so Congrats to him on that! You can view some more pics here: http://flickr.com/photos/28813576@N00/sets/72157602787207066/ . As for Johnson's favorite Horror Movie? "It was DELIVERANCE. It took place on the Chattahoocee river in Georgia where I grew up. It scared me because used to play in the woods all the time and being "attacked" by a couple of amorous hillbillies became my biggest fear."
And finally, here is some fun Mad Lib action with David Mack (Kabuki), M. Sean McManus (of THE LAST SIN OF MARK GRIMM), Mike Hawthorne (Hysteria!) an
d others. Click on the thumbnail to read the WHACKY ZANINESS of Haunted Mad Libs!

~Till Next Time Kittlings.


Indiana Jones / We Want the Money Lebowski / Johnny Walker / Teh Return of 35mm Film

I have to preface this by saying thanks to Hunter for tipping me off to this pic - a little cast photo op from the upcoming INDIANA JONES film:

Be sure to make with the clicky to view the photo full-size. First of all, I have loved Karen Allen since I saw SCROOGED for the first time. She has what I would call a "winning smile." Harrison Ford is looking a little "old man skeleton-like" but other than that, Bravo! Shia Lebouf just looks like a hoodlum. I think that guy in the back is this Ray Winstone bloke. And of course - Steven Spielberg. Well anyway - cast is looking good and I'm getting psyched for this film!

One note - the title is entirely too long. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL? This is obviously a new trend in Hollywood, following the long album and song titles from the likes of Fiona Apple (When the Pawn...ETC) and Panic! At the Disco ("I write sins not Tragedies"). Critically acclaimed
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the icing on the cake. Now that is a name!

Anyhow, my Hidden Robot Editor in Chief Mr. Daniel has thrown some interesting INDIANA tidbits my way but I'm still researching those. Stay tuned Kittlings.

As I type this column, my good friend and amazing artist Scott "Wegs" Wegener is chatting with me on AIM - taking a quick break from drawing Atomic Robo Volume 2 (or 5) to share some random news with me. Seems that he has recently been punished by his research into Atomic Robo's torrid past; Wegener is reading old war journals and real life accounts to understand the background for his character. When asked how tedious this work was, he simply replied "Actually it's quite a Marvelous situation to be in." Congrats on the so far success of AR Scott sir! Can't wait for issue #2 the 2nd week of November!
(Aside - Scott does not prefer to be called Wegs but does an amazing job tolerating it, once again showing what a wonderful human being this man is!)

I am typing this column from the privacy of my own apartment, where my cat lounges on our exceptionally comfortable futon (so sayeth 2 houseguests), and I sip on water and watch THE BIG LEBOWSKI for the 3rd time this week. It has become an obsession. Comic book writer M. Sean McManus is a hardcore fan as well so Goddard and I recently got him this book:

I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You
by Bill Green (Author), Ben Peskoe (Author), Scott Shuffitt (Author), Will Russell (Author)

Sean was kind enough to relay the scoop about the book:::
Times like these call for a big Lebowski.

Sometimes there's a book that, well... that's the book for it's time and place. It fits right in there--and for the cult favorite, The Big Lebowski, the book that gleams like a
freshly waxed lane in Saddam Hussain's eyes is "I'm a Lebowski, you're a Lebowski" by Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Scott Shuffitt, & Will Russell. Literally a "textbook" to Lebowski fandom, this thing is chock full of all sorts of new information you're just not privy too and stuff. This book helps you put your homework in the bag. They got interviews and all sorts of great little morsels that won't burn a hole in your shorts, but rather, gives you a smile of that only comes from the insider knowledge that really gets your Lebowski Geek on. You little achievers out there need this info, trust me. We all do, because let's face it-- at some point we all need to know exactly how many times fuck is mentioned in a movie. Sometimes we need to know the proper way to mix a Caucasian. Sometimes we need to know exactly which three real life people where combined to create the awesomeness that is Walter Sobchak. Who wouldn't be impressed when you know who the six other guys were in the Seattle Seven. I know the Dude sure as hell can't tell me, but thanks to this jem of a book I can tell him what size of jellies he wears. Tell me, does is scare you when I say the words "Sometimes you buy the book, sometimes he buys you"? I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski is no ringer. It's the real deal. If you're not out of your league, then right now you be wondering where to find a cash machine in Pasadena. We can tell you where to go! Not only because we're just about as big a Lebowski geek as you, but we've got the book that ties it all together, and you don't. You + Book = Viking Bowling Goddess.

Hey, here's a little game for you-- count the number of cutesy Big Lebowski references I just might win tickets to Mary's dance recital. Then again, she might just pull the trigger until it goes click.


Last evening I attended "The Johnnie Walker Journey" with my good friend Loretta here in my fair city of Philadelphia. I was going to give you a link to Johnnie Walker's web site - but it's not agreeing with me right now. So anyway, its this scotch tasting. They fed us and gave us a free cocktail beforehand. Then we went into this large curtained off area with projection screens on all 4 sides and stark white lounge seating. We got to sample every label of the Scotch blends that make up Johnnie Walker's family of liquor. My 2 favorites were the Gold and Blue label. Actually the Gold Label reminded me of Patron Tequila and the Blue Label was just absolute heaven. It was a bit cheesy with a host and projections inter-spliced to announce each label; and there was definitely not enough Walker for us - but it got us giddy for the rest of the evening.

While munching on mini pizzas and quiche and enjoying Red Zingers (Johnnie Walker red label, sprite and lime juice) my cohort and I noticed a younger man sipping on some scotch on the rocks. And really sipping is exaggerating because this bloke was actually pretending to sip. As Loretta so aptly put: "there are old men sitting at the tables with empty scotch glasses, one of them even ate his ice because he loved scotch that much" and this young hip dude couldn't drink his Johnnie Walker. When they herded the crowd into the tasting room we were asked place our glasses on the tables. Young hip bloke leaves behind a FULL GLASS of Walker on the rocks. I took photographic evidence but alas, I'm using a 35mm camera again so instant satisfaction for you! I will put the picture up when it becomes available. The point being - young boys need to be real men and drink their scotch whisky like they mean it. Girls notice! =)

35mm is annoying. Digital cameras are a godsend. I can't look at the picture I've just taken. My autofocus doesn't work in low-lit areas. I can't delete bad pictures. To make a long story short - this house is devoid of working Digi-cams, and we are suffering for it. Thanks for my "whine of the day"
~Till Next Time Kittlings.


Rutu Mordan's Exit Wounds / Movies VHS-style / Scarface

So we went to see Rutu Modan's lecture at the Free Library this past beautiful Sunday in Philadelphia (and yes, it is always Sunny here in "the City of Brotherly Love"). She was promoting her new graphic novel EXIT WOUNDS.

The lecture was supposed to start a little late because of the parade going on near the Library, but when the library-man left Rutu went right into her lecture without waiting. After a few minutes, the infamous Charles Burns sat down next to us in the lecture room. That was pretty cool, and so was Rutu's slide-projected-accompanied presentation on her process. I was not clear that she does all of her work on computer until the very end of the lecture during the Q&A section. Her art does not lend itself to the usual idea of computer-generated artwork - rather the idea that the computer is just another medium like "oils" or "inks." Adi Granov is another one of these comic book artists that comes to mind.

Modan explained the use of photo reference in EXIT WOUNDS, and her fascination with old photographs at flea markets. She told a great anecdote about buying back a photo album from a flea market that they had accidentally sold the album to when her father passed away. The seller tried to outrageously gouge the price on her (usually $3 a pop, he wanted $150).

Modan may not be a well-known name to mainstream comic book followers, but it should be. Her work in EXIT WOUNDS as well as her self-publishing collective ACTUS TRAGICUS, after her work on the Israeli version of MAD magazine. For more info you can always check out her Wiki page right here.

I plowed through EXIT WOUNDS, a quick and rather sustainable read. The ending is magic and refreshing. Do check it out if you're into Biographical comics and eccentric love stories.

VHS is the 8-Track of the visual media. I can honestly say I haven't watched a VHS tape in ages. This weekend proved to be my triumphant return to VHS with the viewing of 3 classics, 2 of which 1st came out when DVD's were just a twinkle in scientists minds'.

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL - this is the best-known PYTHON film, and while LIFE OF BRIAN is probably my favorite PYTHON feature-length, I will always have the utmost respect for ...GRAIL. I used this film in High School to explain traveling "minstrels" to my senior English class (the Tale of Sir Robin). My favorite memory of this film is when I was watching it on TV for the 1st time and the "holy hand grenade" scene came on to which my dad stopped, listened to about a minute, and left the room muttering "blasphemous." I was 16, and so happy to upset my dad in such a secular way.

STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (Special Edition) - Ugh, I know - special edition. It had some good moments - it just happened that I watched this earlier in the same day that CARTOON NETWORK showed both the ROBOT CHICKEN and FAMILY GUY "Star Wars Specials". All this Star Wars hubbub coincides with me finishing THE HOBBIT on CD (my entertainment for my drive home from work) and started THE STAR WARS ORIGINAL RADIO DRAMA. With the voices of Mark Hammill and Anthony Daniels this is a great listen so far. It really gives some background into Luke and Leia's backgrounds prior to the opening of A NEW HOPE. Thanks again Goddard for such a wonderful anniversary present. =)

RUSHMORE - Wes Anderson has me all hyped again, I'm ready to see THE DJARLEEING LIMITED. Heck, I still have to watch the short film that is apparently available on ITUNES.com that goes with the new film. As previously stated, my Halloween costume is based on THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (Anderson's prior film) and just the other night I popped in RUSHMORE which Goddard only has on VHS. The 1st film to put Anderson on the radar (although BOTTLE ROCKET is a great and often overlooked movie), Jason Schwartzman solidifies himself as Anderson's darling and Bill Murray as the very best in weird comedy.
And finally, how can I not talk about the DVD I finally watched from the "Oeming Collection" - (i.e., the movies Mike gave us that he no longer wanted when he was trying to pare down his collection). Yes kittlings, I finally saw SCARFACE in all its glory!!! I absolutely loved the insanity of this movie. A bit more camp than BLOW but just as entertaining. You have not lived until you have seen Al Pacino play a Cuban and suck a WHOLE LOT of cocaine up his nose. His accent is great, the lines are better, the dramatics are priceless. I cannot recommend this enough. SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!!!
~Till Next Time Kittlings.


Movies and TV insanity + That which is BRAZIL [a study]

THE FOUNTAIN was just not my cuppa. While the story was at times intriguing, it was dull at others and I found myself stifling guffaws whenever a bald-capped Hugh Jackman came on the screen. Apparently the graphic novel is pretty cool so I'll have to check it out at some point.

I've started watching horror movies to commemorate Halloween with THE SHINING, DONNIE DARKO and OPEN WATER. THE SHINING is my fave movie, period. DONNIE DARKO is set during October and Halloween is a major plot point, and OPEN WATER is just a creepy movie that Goddard got on a discount. OPEN WATER is full of some really great shots, but for the most part is a so-so movie. All in all a good start to the spooky month of October. I also wrote a Halloween-related film quiz - do you dare take it? Then by all means click here - but be forewarned!! QUESTION# 5 SHOULD READ: 5) There is a little rhyme that creepy girl's sing in one of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movies. It begins: "One, Two Freddy's Comin' for you Three, Four..." WHAT IS THE NEXT LINE? Good luck - and feel free to share your scores in my comments!!!

The Rock of Love reunion show was pretty lame; more attention was paid to Lacey than anyone else really - it was all pretty silly. With the end of Rock of Love comes a new season of I Love New York, this time with more little people. As in 1 little person. Who got past the 1st cut.

Speaking of reunions, Top Chef's reunion show was last night, and I actually got so bored I turned it off half-way through. It was a lot of speculation and stiff answers. Yeah, pretty bored with the whole thing. America's Next Top Model had their ever-anticipated "makeover" show, which included hair getting completely shaved off and some major extensions for others. Victoria and Saleisha were in the bottom 2 this episode but it was Victoria that got the axe.
Mary Brickthrower met Hans Rickheit and told him he was creepy. I think I should be banned from Alternative comic cons. Perhaps not the best way to start a conversation. But get this - right next door was a celebration of German Americans, Bratwurst and Hacker Pschorr right next to a book show = GENIUS!
Call yourself a Terry Gilliam fan and never seen BRAZIL?? Shame on you!!! Actually...I'm just trying to pass the buck as I had not seen this film until last week. A hardcore FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and casual BARON MUCHAUSEN fan, this should've been viewed by yours truly years ago. But kittlings, I fell short but now have redeemed myself.

BRAZIL has quite a cast of American and British actors, and is set in the dystopic future a la 1984. As Goddard accurately stated at the beginning of the movie (he had seen it before) - "this is a movie about bureaucracy." And BRAZIL most certainly is. A small document error turns into a matter of life or death amidst an avalanche of paperwork and "procedure." Jim Broadbent, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm and Katherine Helmond all make appearances. But it is Jonathan Pryce's priceless (ha-ha!) role as Everyman Sam Lowry and rogue A/C repairman Robert DeNiro is bloody awesome. The acting is only overshadowed by Gilliam's only Phantasmagoric and uniform picture of the future.

BRAZIL's final scenes (of the cut I saw; it is common knowledge that there are several cuts of this film akin to BLADE RUNNER) is both beautiful and haunting. Goddard says that the movie resonates more with me as I'm a bureaucrat. My day job includes office politics, data entry and documentation. But I'm not sure if I can agree with Goddard's bold statement. Does this kind of movie not truly frighten everyone - or at least those with a strong conspiracy theorist vein in their blood?

I see Terry Gilliam as one of hte most prolific of the MONTY PYTHON comedy troupe. John Cleese had Fawlty Towers and bit parts (at least in America) here and there. Terry Jones has found his biggest success in the Pressed Fairie Books by the Froud's. Michael Palin (my favorite PYTHON) has continued his career in a rather different direction than comedy with broadcast travelogues and writing. I feel Eric Idle has suffered the worst fate, besides Graham Chapman who died of liver cancer. After THE RUTTLES, he has relived his Python fame over and over again. With his 2 stage shows (Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python and Spamalot), he has solidified his ability to not let go of the past. I say all this in nothing but bitterness: my ultimate dream has always been to see the PYTHON troupe to reunite. Ask my parents. I was obsessed.

Yet I digress. My point is that Gilliam seems to have transposed his eclectic animated vision to his films in such a perfect way. He is a director that is to be admired and studied. Yet another Criterion Edition I'm adding to my mental wish list: BRAZIL is a must-own. And to think that the biggest DeNiro fan I know hasn't seen this movie is absolute blasphemy.
~Till Next Time Kittlings.


Chrome Fetus Comics // 215 Festival // TV Programming // Halloween Costumes


Hans Rickheit sorta creeps me out. Ok, I've never met the guy - but his comics are something like a H.R. Giger-inspired phantasm with a fine sprinkling of sexual perversion. His self-published Chloe was so hard to read and yet impossible to put down. This bloke lives in Philly and just performed last week with some puppet theater but he will be at this weekend's 215 Festival (link above)- doing some performance art with violinist Katt Hernandez. They will be performing at 2pm at the "Lovingly Bound Book and Arts Fair." Later that evening he will be at the "Kablam-O : A Show of Comic Book Art," along with plenty of other independent creators. If you're in the Philly area, you best check it out. And for the love of Pete - Its FREE!

Halloween is coming swiftly, do YOU have your costume ready yet? While my glasses and Harry Potter fascination almost beg me to be Moaning Myrtle, Goddard and I are going for the slightly more obscure this year as members of "Team Zissou" from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Too bad the almost exact replica red beanie hats are sold only in Europe. Did you know they even made the shoes? People are selling them on Ebay, too bad I'm not a mens size 13. Other Team Zissou facts to be found here at: http://www.thelifeaquatic.org/redhat.htm

I must say that by the end of Top Chef's live finale, I was rooting for Hung - and the little bugger won! Good for him too, in my opinion he was the most talented chef, Casey really fell apart at the end. Kitchen Nightmares is trucking along - and I see a pattern forming. It seems that General Managers SUCK! I could be wrong in this assumption but there have been all of 3 shows and if memory serves it was always the Managers that brought down the restaurants the most. At least this week's eatery didn't have to do any major cleaning or shut down due to serving rotten food like last week's digusting New York kitchen. I still get the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

As for The Office - wow, now that Jim and Pam are together I just feel like all the life is gone from the show. Kudos to the British version for waiting until the last 5 minutes to unite the couple that was meant to be (Tim and Dawn) and then ENDING THE SHOW.

And generic Kimberly bites the dust on America's Next Top Model - and the bitch Bianca gets to stay. I'm still waiting for the nic fits to set in (as smoking was banned by Tyra in the 2nd episode) and the cat claws to really come out. Next week: MAKEOVERS. Easily the most anticipated episode of every cycle. To watch these girls break down over some hair loss is just dramatics at their best.

Ah yes, and how could I forget the Rock of Love finale - the stripper failed Bret Michaels "final test" - I call shenanigans on that statement Bret. If both would've said yes to sharing him, he would've been all for it. Instead Heather got canned and Jes captured Bret's heart. The best part of this final episode was Heather cursing up a store in the limo taking her away from the Bret "compound" and talking smack on the guy whose name she now has tattooed on her neck. This weekend is the Reunion show. Huzzah!

~Till Next Time Kittlings. (((FIGHTIN" PHILS!!!)))