Friday, May 31, 2013

The Art of Ramona Fradon - Coming Someday?

I am a big fan of the work of artist Ramona Fradon. I am pretty sure I discovered her work through DC's Super Friends comic. She also co-created Metamorpho, one of my favorite superheroes. So I was delighted when Dynamite Entertainment announced The Art of Ramona Fradon. I made sure to pre-order through my store and waited anxiously for it.

...And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

I have periodically been checking the scheduled publication date for this book via Amazon. The original press release came out in February 2012, with the book slated for April 2012. That is the date still listed on Dynamite's website. My memory is that it got pushed back to late (November?) 2012 at first, then June and later July 2013. Now, according to the Amazon page, the current date is January 2014???? That's almost two years late, and that's if they make this date!

Dynamite Entertainment, what is WRONG with you?!?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad Girls of Major City

Wow, who are these naughty ladies? Why, it's Sultura, Doppelgirl, and Princess Nikatonia of the Owariverse, of course! But what have we here? Are these ACEOs from Kabuki Katze? By Jove, they are! She's been running a special this month on them, and I elected to have three more of my world's character immortalized in tiny trading card form. Here they are assembled!

If you act NOW (as in RIGHT NOW), you can still get in on this sweet, sweet ACEO action. But hurry! It's ending within the day. Details here! And like she says, this is likely it for 2013!

If you read that journal, you may have seen that I have a couple of other cards that I'll be posting. We'll discuss them when the time is right, including one that is a special gift for someone. You won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pason on Soap Operas

Clearly, I am inattentive at times. I know I read this news item from the fabulous Pason, but this excerpt only recently caught my attention:

[Mario Lopez] told me I have a great look and should be in Soap Opera’s. Hum, Mario you might be on to something. I hear my niche is comedy but would love to be in a Soap Opera!

And all I can say to this is "Yeah!" It wasn't an idea that would have immediately occurred to me, but why not Pason on a soap opera? I know she would do a good job as a series regular on one of them. She has the "chops" (as they say) and can certainly come though on a tight shooting schedule. That's really what you need on a show that films 5 days a week.

Oh, and in case you had forgotten, Pason would certainly fit in as far as glamour goes. I'm not saying she's one of the most beautiful women in the world...OK, I am totally saying that. Would you mind seeing that face on your TV every day? Didn't think so.

Pason tells me she has an updated demo reel coming soon. If you'd like to be able to see that ASAP, you should subscribe to her YouTube channel. It is a decision you won't regret!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Incredible Petrified World

I once said to pal David McRobie "Life is too short to be watching Jerry Warren movies." So why did I watch THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD, produced and directed by Jerry Warren? I dunno - because it was there? I think it somehow manages to be the only Warren film in all the movie sets I've recently purchased. It has been a few years since I endured the twin wonders of THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN and FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND, so I was feeling charitable.

Ooof. How did Jerry Warren ever convince anyone to give him money to make even one movie, much less almost a dozen? That was what I said on Twitter after starting this sucker. I waved the white flag later in the day, but then girded my loins and somehow finished the movie.

The amazing thing about this movie is that it is a big pile of nothing. If it was any more nothing, it might cease to exist entirely. Pretty dull stuff all the way around, and a waste of some interesting performers. It's not even as good as this trailer.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Post #1000

Well, here we are again. Today, we reach the impressive milestone of 1,000 entries on "Christopher Elam's OWARI." No one is more surprised by this than me.

I've told the story in the past (I imagine), but this particular blog was originally only created as an emergency precaution. It quickly took on a life of its own, and eventually became the kind of site I'd always wanted to have. Part of that was mixing my penchant for being all over the map with a certain discipline in how I posted. It has paid off in the most consistently satisfying project I've ever spearheaded on the Internet. Over four years later, I'm not even close to being tired of it.

That's not to say that this blog is perfect, or that it always pleases me. There are any number of clunker posts on here, but they will remain as part of the overall picture. I mean, I wanted to write about that subject (whatever it was); I just maybe didn't do the best job on it that day. That's part of the creative process, and part of the ongoing learning curve with writing. I'd rather own those poor entries than pretend they never existed. Well, most of 'em, anyway.

It is fascinating to see what brings people to this blog. I have written a lot about comic books, Japanese sci-fi, music, and the creativity of my friends and I. I always get plenty of traffic about those things, especially Batman and (strangely) me. I think the greatest joy is exposing the works of my friends and acquaintances to people who might otherwise have missed them. A few of them even have their own tags - Kayleigh, Sean, Sara and Nicky. But that doesn't diminish people like David, Lewis, Jon, Paul, Mike, Roy, Corey, Josh, Kenna, Jess, or any of the numerous people I am forgetting who have either been featured here or promoted OWARI elsewhere. Even if your name slipped my mind, your contribution to this enterprise is warmly appreciated.

There is one subject that brings people here in the greatest numbers, and it's one I didn't anticipate, but really should have: beautiful women. The primary subcategory there is Naomi Morinaga, and the interest in her was so great that I started a separate image blog devoted strictly to her. It doesn't have many actual followers, but I bet it is the most popular site I've ever maintained.

However, Naomi is not the only lovely lady who brings people to this blog. I get hits all the time for Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Kumi Mizuno, Maren Jensen, Rene Bond, Bridgette Monet, Pason, and (again) probably others I am forgetting. I'm honored that the fans of these women drop by all the time. I especially hope that visitors sense the affection I have for Rene, and my sorrow at her passing at such a young age. I also hope they can sense my respect and affection for Pason, who is the only one of these women listed I've actually gotten to know. We'll be talking about Pason again soon, so watch this space!

Now, we begin the journey of the next thousand entries. I don't know about you, but I can't wait!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How Does This Work?

Today, I discovered there is a "5-hour Energy" that is labeled as "decaf." Now, I was under the impression that this product was nothing but caffeine. Since it also says "zero sugar," I'm wondering where the five hours of energy are supposed to originate? Magic fairy dust, maybe?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift - A Review

Well, this is funny. I got my copy of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift from the fine folks at Pulp 2.0 Press not very long ago. I have been thinking, "Y'know, I ought to review that." Tonight was going to be the night I did.

One problem - in looking back, I said pretty much everything I wanted to say about the story in this January entry. Huh. Now what? Well, I could always tell you if this new collection does the story justice and is worth your hard-earned money. So I will.

Yes, yes it is. If you are unfamiliar with Pulp 2.0's books, let me assure you that it stands proudly alongside collections published by major comics groups. Maybe it's even better than some of them (no names, please!). Design, binding, and paper stock are all top-notch. The reproduction of the art loses nothing from the original comics. It's a quality product, and you can order it with confidence. I would say that even if I didn't get name checked in the text feature.

...But yes, I am name checked in the text feature. Thanks Bill! And thank you to Gary, Chris, and Ben for putting together such a wonderful story that still entertains after all these years.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Legend of Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame is considered one of the greatest guitarists ever. How great? Great enough to be mentioned in utter reverence in two wildly different songs.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mission Stardust

The first film I watched in my movie pack madness was MISSION STARDUST (1967). This was not the original plan. I'd initially chosen the Matt Cimber-directed warrior woman film HUNDRA to kick off this little project of mine. But when I found that disc and loaded it up, I impulsively decided to scratch my long standing itch to see MISSION STARDUST.

MISSION STARDUST is based on the "Perry Rhodan" novels, and apparently has a bad reputation among the fans of the source material. While I've read some Rhodan, I can't call myself an expert. So having said that, this movie is a lot of fun. I'm not sure it deserves all the scorn I've seen heaped on it.

Don't get me wrong - MISSION STARDUST is not a classic that will change your life. But it is an engaging and likeable little epic, even though nothing really happens for the longest time. It is also achingly 1960s, in a way that could only come from that era. This alone might be sufficient enticement (or warning) for some of you.

Let it also be known for the record that this film features an actress named Essy Persson as the character Thora. Thora has become my latest fictional character crush. That's both for her personality (which I cannot show you here) and her looks (which I can).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Beastie Boys - "Licensed To Ill"

Over a year ago, I called this album "the soundtrack of my being 15 years old." I just listened to it the other day, and you know what? It still holds up remarkably well. That's quite a relief, because the things that you think are cool at that age don't always sound the same as you get older.

I always laugh when people get into a twist over the latest "shocking" lyrics from the latest popular music act. I think about how much I listened to this album (actually, I owned it on cassette at the time) and I never had the urge to copy any of it in real life. It's filled with violence, misogyny, stupidity, and drug use. It's also hilarious, and so over the top that you'd have to be impaired to take it seriously. I'm sure that didn't stop people...

Nah, Licensed To Ill was wonderful as a teenager because of its catchy music and ridiculous braggadocio. I didn't understand the significance of references like "Forty-Deuce" then (New York's 42nd Street, famed for assorted tawdry stuff), but I knew they were speaking a language I wanted to hear. Plus, there was a knowing wink and silliness to all of it. I mean, how can you parse:

I got a girl in the Castle and one in the pagoda/You know I got rhymes like Abe Vigoda

...And think, "Wow, these guys mean it!"?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Movie (Pack) Madness

A funny thing happened during my absence from blogging. I wound up buying over 100 movies in one day. This might sound like an incredible extravagance on my part, and a mite difficult to boot. But no, all it involved was stopping at Wal-Mart to pick up anti-freeze.

As I wandered the aisles of what I term Necessary Evil, I found a display dump with a number of those Mill Creek multi-movie packs. I've long considered buying them, but could never justify it. But could I justify $8.99 apiece? Wha--?!? Yep, that's how much these were. So I grabbed a few, and just picked up a couple more today.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, this is a fantastic opportunity for me to watch and own many movies that I would otherwise never have seen. On the other hand, these multi-packs are one of the things that I think has seriously devalued movies in general. If you do the math, 50 movies at $8.99 comes out to something like 18¢ a movie. Or if you figure out how much you are paying "per episode" on the 150 EPISODE CLASSIC SCI-FI TV, it comes to less than a penny per program.

I realize I'm flashing my Old Man Card here, but I can remember a time when I happily paid $8.99 for one LP speed VHS tape of a movie of questionable worth. How long did that Goodtimes Home Video edition of HORROR EXPRESS stay in print? There were a plethora of others, but that one stands out in my memory. Who could have foreseen a day when even being able to buy cheap tapes of bad old movies would pale next to the ability to buy bad old movies in bulk for practically nothing?

Still, my reservations don't change the fact that these collections exist. And since they do, I might as well use them for my own devious purposes. I have already watched a few films that had intrigued me over the years, but which I was probably not going to otherwise buy. Yeah, I've now seen things like MISSION STARDUST, INVISIBLE AVENGER and SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. And the funny thing is that one of my main worries about these discs - that the image would be all blocky - has not not been an issue. I guess/hope that is something that's been cleaned up a bit in more recent years.

I've added a "movie packs" tag here, to denote films I've watched specifically because they were included in these multi-packs. I don't want to overburden the "general nonsense" tag too much, even though it's not entirely useful for finding anything. This way, you can rest assured you able to seek out all the entries in my strange odyssey in movie watching.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Invincible Alliance by DBed

C. Elam's Invincible Alliance by ~DBed on deviantART

I've been following David Bednarski aka DBed on deviantArt for a bit, so I was deeply flattered when he mentioned not very long ago that he wanted to do fan art for some of my characters. Well, now it's done. I think I've gone from "flattered" to "stunned and thrilled."

That thumbnail above does not do adequate justice to this sucker, because it is so freaking big. Seriously, click over to the full-size version of this one and see my heroes (and one villain!) as filtered through the imagination of this amazing artist. It is truly awe-inspiring for me to marvel at his interpretations of Cap, Shelly and the Invincible Alliance. It might even give me some ideas I want to entertain in the future.

If you haven't clicked any links in this entry yet, consider this conclusion my thrilling endorsement of DBed and his art! Check it out! You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen

Something did come up. Sadly, that "something" turns out to be the death of Ray Harryhausen at the age of 92. It's hard to call it a shock - the man was 92, after all - but that doesn't make it any less of a loss.

If you have bothered to read this blog, I imagine you know who Ray Harryhausen is. If you don't, here's an obituary that will give the details. For me personally, though I can't call his work among my biggest influences, they were undeniably influences on the formation of my imagination. Stuff from the likes of EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, and CLASH OF THE TITANS still bounces around inside my head to this day.

I am sure many other people will say it better, but rest in peace, Ray Harryhausen. The world really won't see your kind ever again.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Not A Vacation

A little over three years ago, I surprised even myself by putting this blog on temporary hiatus. I credit this move with reinvigorating the operation when it finally returned almost three weeks later. It might have been extreme, but it was the right call.

Today, I'm putting OWARI on hiatus again. This is intended to last at least one week, but no more than two weeks. My reason is not because I fear going stale, but simply because I have too many things competing for my limited attention at the moment. There are projects that need to be addressed and, in some cases, finished. I am putting the blog on the shelf for a brief time in an effort to focus on everything else.

Make no mistake - OWARI is very important to me. Part of why I am choosing to make this announcement is because I want all of you to know this. If anything comes up that merits immediate attention, I will be back ahead of schedule. But for now, OWARI shall remain quiet for a few days. If you get lonely in the meantime, why not peep out my Twitter?

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I have been debating putting this post together for at least a week. It's something I wanted to discuss, but I also don't want to feel like I'm exploiting this person for my own benefit. That's why her full name isn't in the title, and why I asked her if I could quote her. I'm also going to try very hard not to assume stuff based solely on my own thinking process. If I fail, I apologize in advance.

Having said that, I want to talk about someone I've mentioned here and here. I want to talk about Sydney.

If you haven't/won't read those previous entries, Sydney was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. Well, truthfully, that doesn't do it justice - were it not for the quick actions of total strangers, Sydney probably wouldn't be with us today. Their efforts to save her life were captured in photos, and at least one of these spawned a false story that had no relationship to the facts. In looking into this and other spurious tales that sprang up after the bombing, I wound up (like you do) at Snopes.

Snopes was where I ran across Sydney's real name. I was curious to find out how she was doing, and Snopes had no hyperlinks to stories about her. Therefore, I went to Google and entered her name. I found stories that filled in the details a bit further. I also found something I hadn't expected. Right there near the top of the first page of results was Sydney's Twitter account.

Oh, it was the same Sydney. I was skeptical, but clicking over revealed there could be little doubt it was the same young woman I'd just seen hurt so severely. The question was: What would I do about it? I thought it over and decided to send her a message of support. I figured it would be a little while before she saw it, but even the smallest gesture can mean a lot.

That was all I intended to do. Then, I realized I was reading her feed. Twitter can't tell you everything about a person, but it can tell you enough that they become real to you. As I read, Sydney came alive for me. So did her family and friends, including her mother who had lost her legs in the blast. The attack had already felt horrible to me, but now it was becoming personal. Seeing the unfolding life that someone had tried to end really connected with me, and it gave a human face to all that had happened.

As you might recall, while this was happening, I was also dealing with the personal identification of the tragedy in West, TX. Then I learned the heartbreaking news that someone close to an old friend had died unexpectedly. In the midst of all this, I decided that Sydney seemed like the kind of person I would enjoy knowing in real life, so I would follow her on Twitter. Again, I didn't expect this to make much difference for some time.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I am not the biggest Rush fan I know - that would be this guy. However, I have a lot of respect for what they do, especially Neil Peart. And one song in particular that always resonates with me is "Subdivisions". It's a song I wish I had heard as a teenager. Though my details don't precisely match, this song describes my life in those days with uncanny precision.

"Subdivisions" is a powerful song, even if you aren't a big Rush booster. I used to keep some of the lyrics in my wallet as a reminder, and it might not be a bad idea to find that little slip of paper now. I bet Neil Peart never dreamed something like that would happen when he auditioned to be the drummer in the band.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Judas Priest's First U.S. Tour

The above is a small scanned excerpt from my copy of Dafydd Rees and Luke Crampton's monstrous (1,000+ pages!) Rock Stars Encyclopedia (New Revised Edition) from 1999. I have not looked for previous or more recent iterations of this massive tome, but the version I own is branded with the logo of music channel VH1. In the days before I had the Internet, I considered it invaluable in answering music questions. It still proves to be both useful and entertaining, though the criteria for both inclusion and omission is...peculiar at times.

Still, that's not why we are here today; the excerpt reproduced here is what interests me. July 23rd, 1977 - Judas Priest opens for Led Zeppelin in Oakland, California, and my friend Melanie is there! What the book doesn't tell you is that, according to Mel, the crowd booed Judas Priest off the stage because they had never heard of them! Three years later, the album BRITISH STEEL (with "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight") ensured that people at least knew who Judas Priest was!