Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Loch Ness monster: the (Google) search for Nessie continues

From The Guardian UK

Google is not the first to take cameras into Loch Ness in search of the fabled monster. In 1972, the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau captured two frames that appeared to suggest the presence of two large, unidentified animals.

Google has just uploaded some Street View images of Loch Ness in Scotland, above and below the surface. As far as I can tell, there is no sign of a monster. But they did remind me of a historical footnote from the 1970s when conservation pioneer Sir Peter Scott became involved in efforts to scour the loch for a Nessie-like creature.

More than 50 years ago, in 1961, Scott met up with several like-minded colleagues at the House of Commons in London and set up the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau. Over the next 15 years or so, he took part in a quasi-serious effort to explore Loch Ness for signs of monster.

In 1971, the Bureau deployed sonar transducers, time-lapse cameras and strobe flash lighting in Urquhart Bay (which happens to be the spot in which Google has also filmed) in the hope of photographing the monster underwater for the first time. In 1972, two frames showed signs of a spearheaded object. When enhanced by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasedena, they looked a little like a flipper (see here). According to Nessie enthusiast Robert Rines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, these two images “suggest quite strongly the presence of two animals.”


The Loch Ness Monster - the video evidence in 60 seconds

Loch Ness Monster: 81 facts to mark 81 years since most famous Nessie 'photo' as hoax claims resurface

1) The Loch Ness Monster is known by the nickname “Nessie”.

2) She was first spotted in 565AD by St Columba as he took a swim in Loch Ness.

3) She lives in the Loch Ness lake in the Scottish highlands.

4) Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in Britain.

5) The surface area of the Loch Ness lake could hold the population of the world 10 times over.

6) The Loch never freezes.

7) The Loch Ness Monster became famous after the April 1933 sighting.

8) The story of Nessie first appeared in the paper 2nd May 1933.

9) First photographic evidence was also taken of Nessie in 1933.

10) A circus owner promised a sum of £20,000 to anyone who could bring the Monster to his circus alive.




Cover A Main: Joyce Chin
Writer: Shannon Eric Denton
Art: Rey Villegas
Genre: Western, Action/Adventure
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Comic Book
Page Count: 32 pages
UPC: 725130228598 02011

Lady Rawhide and Lady Zorro set out to find the men responsible for the abduction of the village girls but their trail leads them into a remote mining camp! Death is at every turn in a town full of men with nothing to lose but none of it is as dangerous as the women running the brothel! Have Lady Zorro and Lady Rawhide finally met their match?



From Dynamite Entertainment

Cover A Main: Sergio Fernandez Davila
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Art: Aneke
Genre: Steampunk, Action/Adventure
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Comic Book
Page Count: 32 pages
UPC: 725130225054 0301

Sonja always fancied herself a pirate extraordinaire... until now! As she and her newest ally sail the high seas in pursuit of a madman bent on defying death, Red comes face to face with one of the most, ahem, legendary pirates of all time! The question is: whose side is he on? The adventure exploring the outer reaches of the LEGENDERRY world continues!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why Independent Filmmakers Turn To Kickstarter

Arrowstorm Entertainment, the creative team behind the Mythica series of independent fantasy movies, has published an interesting article about why they use Kickstarter to fund their movies:
1. Plummeting Worldwide Sales Revenue - this is a problem for the entire film industry, but Hollywood alleviates this problem via massive box office... Hence, they only produce gigantic franchise films that have a chance of generating $1 billion in the theaters. They routinely spend $200 million on production, and another $100 million in marketing... For indie filmmakers, who don't have the theatrical marketing dollars, theaters are still mostly a dead-end. DVD revenues are also dead in most places - piracy and changing viewing habits have killed that industry. TV channels don't play very many movies anymore, preferring series (and who can blame them with the current boom in great TV). Which leaves streaming...

2. Streaming Video Doesn't Make Much Money - while streaming video is awesome for the consumer, it's not great for indie filmmakers. Yes, more people get to see our films, but we don't see very much money from that model. Netflix generally pays $10,000 to $20,000 for the right to stream an indie film. When you consider that most indie films cost hundreds of thousands - or even millions - to produce, you see how that doesn't add up to much... Ad-supported services like Hulu and CONtv actually end up making a little more money, but still, we're talking about ten cents per view!... And Youtube... forget about it. Here's a screenshot of what Youtube ads make us:

Mythica 1 Trailer Revenue on Youtube
Mythica 1 Trailer Revenue on Youtube
 3. iTunes is Over-Crowded - iTunes is a great place to make money, but it is very hard for the consumer to find your products there because there is just so much content. Studio films with tons of marketing dollars dominate the easily visible areas. So, like theaters, without big marketing, iTunes and other digital sales venues become very difficult marketplaces for small independents.

Which leaves: YOU, the fantasy fan... without your direct support, we cannot make these films. Yes, we still make a majority of our money selling to distributors all around the world, but every year that number shrinks as their marketplaces shrink... but thankfully, the number of Kickstarter backers willing to support our projects has grown. And this is not unique to us... this is a trend across the independent film (and music, art, comics, etc) industry. Without direct fan-support, independent artists cannot survive. We know you could be like the millions of other people around the world, who just download our films for free from Bittorrent... But sleep easy tonight knowing that your support negates their actions.
Arrowstorm's latest project is the second part of their epic Mythica saga: The Darkspore (starring Kevin Sorbo) and you can find more about it on their Kickstarter page here.

Are Aliens Fans Of Earth Wars?

Human history has been (and continues to be) filled with and endless series of wars and human conflict. According to many sources, these conflicts have been observed very closely by UFOs and whomever or whatever control them. Apparently we, as a warlike society, put on the 'greatest show in the galaxy.'

From the Huffington Post

The public rarely hears about interactions between military personnel and unexplained aircraft -- especially during wartime.

As time goes on, however, UFO stories stuck behind red tape begin to see the light of day. The Vietnam War saw its share of UFO activity in the 1960s.

One close encounter, in 1968, involved the crew of an American patrol boat that reported two glowing circular craft following them in the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam.

The crew aboard a second patrol boat later reported seeing the UFOs over the first boat and a flash of light, followed by an explosion that completely destroyed the boat. These Vietnam reports included close observation of the unknown aerial craft which appeared to house pilots (see recreation image at the top of this story).

Wartime UFO stories are recreated in the premiere episode of the second season of History's "Hangar 1: The UFO Files." The accounts are drawn from tens of thousands of UFO cases in the archives of the Mutual UFO Network, the world's largest UFO investigation group.

"The military was interested in [UFOs] because they had capabilities far above anything that we had, and they wanted to find out what the technology was and, frankly, who they belonged to," according to former Air Force intelligence officer, Capt. George Filer.

While in Vietnam, Filer -- who had a top secret clearance -- gave daily briefings to Gen. George S. Brown, deputy commander for air operations in Vietnam.

"Frequently, the Vietcong or North Vietnamese would be attacking an outpost and I would explain that, and we would have ground-air support, particularly at night where we'd go in there with these gun ships, and I would give briefings on all of that," Filer told The Huffington Post. "Some of the time, there would be unidentified craft over the DMZ."

Filer described a typical report that he'd receive and which he included in his briefings to Brown:

"You'd have an aircraft flying along, doing around 500 knots and a UFO comes alongside and does some barrel rolls around the aircraft and then flies off at three times the speed of one of the fastest jets we have in the Air Force. So, obviously, it has a technology far in advance of anything we have.

"I would be told this unofficially. People tell you a lot of things that they don't put in writing or sign their name to. There was always this part of UFOs that, if you got too interested, it could mess up your career. And this is true today even with commercial pilots. I've also heard from people serving in Afghanistan saying they've seen UFOs, and the Iranian news carries UFO reports pretty regularly."

During a 1973 press conference, five years after the patrol boat UFO encounters, Brown -- as USAF chief of staff -- was asked about the Air Force's position on UFOs:

I don't know whether this story has ever been told or not. They weren't called UFOs. The were called enemy helicopters. And they were only seen at night and they were only seen in certain places. They were seen up around the DMZ in the early summer of '68. And this resulted in quite a little battle.

And in the course of this, an Australian destroyer took a hit and we never found any enemy, we only found ourselves when this had all been sorted out. And this caused some shooting there, and there was no enemy at all involved, but we always reacted.
Always after dark, the same thing happened up at Pleiku at the Highlands in '69.


'Star Wars: Rogue One' Centers on Death Star Heist

From Yahoo Movies

On the final day of the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, one of the newest members of the Lucasfilm family —spin-off director Gareth Edwards — took the stage to talk about joining a galaxy far, far away.

Josh Trank, who was also slated to appear at the panel, was not able to attend. Moderator Pablo Hidalgo said he has been “under the weather.”

Edwards is set to direct stand-alone film Star Wars: Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones, which is slated for release in December 2016. He was able to share more details about the film, including a logline, concept art and a bit of a sizzle reel at Sunday’s event.

The helmer was joined by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and head of development Kiri Hart for the event, held at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Hidalgo revealed that the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, which debuted on Thursday, was viewed 88 million times worldwide in the first 24 hours.

But the focus of the panel was the stand-alone films. “We really wanted freedom to do some films that could stand on their own, and tell new stories,” said Hart, who revealed that they’re calling them “anthology films.”


See Also: 'Rogue One' explained: A brief history of Rogue Squadron

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beginning The Week With THE WARNING

Written By: Ken Hulsey

Would it surprise you to learn the the most talented rock musicians out there right now are three preteen girls? ... from Mexico?

Prepare to have your minds blown by "The Warning" (comprised of sisters Alejandra, Paulina and Dany) three hard-rocking young ladies from Monterrey, Mexico who have the stones to cover the likes of "Metallica", "AC/DC" and "Twisted Sister". I think it's safe to say that these are not just covers, but from a technical standpoint, near mirror image reproductions of their original counterparts. This may be the most significant trio of rock musicians to come together since Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Pert. (That's RUSH, you dolt)

Don't believe me? Check this out!

Is your mind blown yet?

Here is some history from their website:

Throughout most of our lives, we’ve had the blessing and opportunity to learn from very talented musicians whom not only shared with us their knowledge in music, but also had the patience and dedication to guide us through our journey into this fantastic world of music.

Because we know that every path we’ve crossed have had an imprint in becoming who we are now and whatever chance we have to make our dreams come true in the future, we’d like to thank each and every one of those who helped us forge, in one way or another, what we are now most proud of: The Warning.

Right now the girls have a 'Go Fund Me' page where they have raised over $30k to fund studies here in The States and also to obtain premium visas. I urge you to donate to that at http://www.gofundme.com/fjjyhs?utm_medium=wdgt


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rondo Voting Ends Sunday Night!

by Armand Vaquer

Above, from the Los Angeles Daily News.
Only a few more days left before the end of the balloting for the 2014 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. According to the awards adminstrators:
Balloting ends Sunday night at midnight, April 19. Many categories remain too close to call. So you can still make a difference.
Please vote for the Superman Celebration (Ballot Item #21) as "Best Fan Event."

To vote, go to: http://www.rondoaward.com/

Ten More Days Until "In The Footsteps of Godzilla"

by Armand Vaquer

Above, Godzilla approaches the Kachidoki Bridge on the Sumida River in 1954. Photo: Toho Co., Ltd.
Ten more days from today is the Japan Society of Northern California's "In The Footsteps of Godzilla" event in San Francisco.

The April 26 event begins with a screening of the original Godzilla (1954). It is in Japanese with English subtitles. Following the movie screening, I will be talking about Godzilla movies with a focus on the locations and landmarks used. After this, we will be migrating to the Izakaya Roku Japanese restaurant for a V.I.P. dinner. I will have copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan available for purchase.

Here's the schedule:

This event benefits the Japan Society of Northern California as it will help to fund future programs.

As we are nearing the date of the event, now is the time to purchase your tickets while you still can.

For further information, including tickets, go here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wonder Woman Movie Derailed Over Talking Tiger Sidekick

Batman had Robin, The Green Hornet had Kato, and if Michelle MacLaren had her way Wonder Woman would have had a talking tiger sidekick.

From Comics Beat:

The official reason for her leaving is ‘creative differences,’ and that seems legit according to the scuttlebutt that has reached me. MacLaren and Warner Bros couldn’t agree on anything – including what time period to set the movie. More than that, MacLaren had some very particular visions for the film, visions that maybe would have alienated fandom. Although perhaps Diana having a tiger sidekick/pet she could talk with would have appealed to people more than I expect.

As of now it seems like Wonder Woman is still on for a 2017 release – which means they need to get a director in there soon. I don’t even know if any of the stuff they developed with MacLaren, storywise, will last. It’s quite possible that whoever comes on next will start from scratch – or will basically take orders from Zack Snyder, who could be shaping up to be the driving creative force behind the DC Movieverse.

So basically with a tight-for-a-blockbuster two years out schedule, they STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH WONDER WOMAN. Talking raccoons—no problem. A test pilot who gets a glowing green mask—think of the possibilities. A guy who shrinks down to the size of an ant—the kids will love it. A guy who got frightened by a bat in a cave—worldwide box office records. Woman who fights evil….hm…boy…jeez, that’s a tough one.

Now, I seem to recall that Golden Age Wonder Woman had a lot of female sidekicks, but I don’t know if she had a tiger pal. I know she FOUGHT a tiger.


When Xena And Wonder Woman Meet Geeks Go Wild

From E! Online

What happens when Xena meets Wonder Woman? Dreams come true, that is what happens. Seriously, dreams. Lucy Lawless and Lynda Carter together to make geeks everywhere (including me!) lose their minds.

Lawless, who is in New York City promoting WGN America's Salem, posed with Carter, TV's Wonder Woman who is in New York promoting her concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and let's just come out and say it: This photo is everything. Everythinggggg. Just like all the world has been waiting for Wonder Woman (according to her theme song), the world has been waiting for this photo.

Lawless played the title role in Xena: Warrior Princess for six seasons from 1995-2001. Carter was the Amazon princess in Wonder Woman from 1975-1979. The TV heroes had—and still have legions of fans and of course received quite a few comparisons.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Miles Morales Faces the Death of a Universe for Ultimate End #1 Variant

Mark Bagley homages Ultimate Spider-Man #1 for a stunning variant cover!

From Marvel Comics

He was the artist that started it all – and now he’s going to finish it!

Marvel is pleased to unveil Mark Bagley’s exciting variant cover to ULTIMATE END #1! In a stunning homage to the very first ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN cover, Bagley brings his inimitable style to a now classic image! The wheels are in motion, and the Ultimate Universe is set to crash headlong into the monumental Secret Wars. The end is nigh…but is there any hope for the Ultimate Universe or its most beloved hero? No fan should miss out on this iconic, can’t-miss variant cover – only in comic shops this May!

Adi Granov Covers Two Classic Star Wars Adaptations

First look at covers to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi!

From Marvel Comics

This May, Marvel and Lucasfilm Ltd. are set to return you to the story that started it all with the STAR WARS™: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE OGN. Completely remastered for the modern age, this iconic story now comes to an entire new generation of fans. But before that can’t miss graphic novel hits shelves this May – Marvel is pleased to present your first look at the covers to STAR WARS™: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK OGN and STAR WARS™: EPISODE VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI OGN!

Brought to life by famed artist Adi Granov, these stunning images will grace the covers of the original Marvel adaptations of these iconic films. Also remastered and recolored, don’t miss your chance to relive these iconic stories when the oversized STAR WARS™: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK OGN and STAR WARS™: EPISODE VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI OGN come to comic shops and book stores in 2015!

Pre-Order Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back OGN on Amazon!

Pre-Order Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi OGN on Amazon!

See Also: A Modern Classic Reborn in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope OGN



From Dynamite Entertainment

Cover A Main: Sergio Fernandez Davila
Writer: David Avallone
Art: David Cabrera
Genre: Steampunk, Action/Adventure
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Comic Book
Page Count: 32 pages
UPC: 725130226945 03011

Alliterative action, as Vampirella faces and fights corruption with Kurtz, romance with Rassendyll and violence with Van Helsing. Hentzau's plot is in motion, Vampirella's secrets are revealed and the moral of the story is never let Dr. Moreau give you a haircut.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Batman #410 - August 1987 Issue - DC Comics

Batman #410 - August 1987 Issue - DC Comics

From View Obscura Comics

Price $24.99 - Order Here

1st printing.

This comic book is in new condition. Comic is complete with cover and all pages attached. This comic has some flaws that warrant a NM grade.

Comic Book will be shipped bagged and boarded!

Script by Max Allan Collins, pencils by Dave Cockrum, inks by Mike DeCarlo.

After six months of intense training, Batman presents Jason Todd with a Robin costume, anointing the teen Batman’s new partner, much to the chagrin of Alfred. When the new dynamic duo answer the Batsignal, Commissioner Gordon meets the new Robin then shows the heroes an envelope that was delivered earlier that day. Inside is a poker hand consisting of two pair and a deuce and four photographs of two pair of petty criminal twins. Noticing it as the M.O. of the villain Two-Face, Batman and Robin travel across the “Bi-State” Bridge to the Lucky Dollar Casino in Casino City. Encountering the former district attorney, the heroes disable Two-Face’s henchmen, but the duo is unable to prevent the villain from taking a hostage. Playing on his penchant for “twos”, Robin offers himself up in place of the hostage, stating that it is fitting seeing as how he is the second Robin. Two-Face agrees and speeds off with his new hostage, but the new Teen Wonder frees himself from the villain’s grasp. Back at the Batcave, Jason discovers that Two-Face is presumably responsible for the death of Willis Todd, Jason’s father.