Ultra the Multi-Alien AKA The Hero of Dalesville

No superhero has received more ridicule than Ultra the Multi-Alien. Even Aquaman garnered more respect during the years when cooler fans denigrated him as the useless Justice League member who swims and talks to fish.  Jon Morris includes Ultra in his The League of Regrettable Superheroes, stating “Ultra resembles a mixed-up box of puzzle pieces.”  […]

Help! Universal Monsters Are Terrorizing My Bookshelves!

Books based on or related directly to Universal Monsters have been appearing for decades.  Many read like lighter versions of Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula, bursting with Easter eggs from other sources within the Universal library and beyond.  I’ll discuss a few to show you how writers and publishers have drawn inspiration from these classic films. […]

Power Records: The Action Comes Alive!

I can’t do audio formats. When friends went mad for Welcome to Nightvale, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and podcasts, I hoped for print editions of these recordings so I could join the fun.  Thankfully, the forces behind Welcome to Nightvale have come through for me, publishing scripts I can read while listening to episodes. But […]

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Musicals aren’t my first choice for entertainment.  I’m more agnostic than atheist with this genre, however.  I’ve enjoyed sing-along performances of My Fair Lady played at the Retrodome, now 3Below, here in San Jose, California.  During my 1989 three-month tour of Europe, I spent a week in Salzburg, Austria, where I stayed at a hostel […]

Midge and Lenny

The first episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel contains the greatest television scene I’ve witnessed to date. Until reaching that magic moment, viewers receive introductory material about Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a well-to-do resident of the Upper West Side in New York during the late 1950s.  Her husband’s a professional, her father’s a mathematician at Columbia […]

Finding Shinganagh: An Irish Homecoming

As part of Team Journey Planet, I’ve been a Hugo finalist four times, and thus I’ve been blessed to attend Worldcons with golden tickets to the best parties, which in turn puts me in touch with those who keep expanding my knowledge of science fiction and comics.   At Worldcon 77, for example, I fell in […]

Swamp Thing Joins the Challengers of the Unknown (or Not)

In 2016, Justice League Action premiered on Cartoon Network. Each episode featured two fifteen-minute segments during which members of the Justice League faced off against any number of villains. The series lasted for one season and although the format was geared toward younger viewers, references to Silver Age heroes and concepts kept older fans interested […]

Swamp Thing’s Kin

If you ever go back into Wooley Swamp, son, you better not go at night! There’s things out there in the middle of them woods That’d make a strong man die from fright! There’s things that crawl, and things that fly, And things that creep around on the ground! And they say the ghost of […]

Two Cinematic Stabs at The Tower of London

Two films bear the title The Tower of London, both offering interpretations of events surrounding Richard III that exploit elements of horror.  I saw the first forty years ago, and when Chris Garcia proposed an  issue of The Drink Tank focusing on all aspects of the Tower of London itself, I decided to not only […]

A Thank You to Maurine Starkey: Jim Steranko’s History of Comics and the Dream

My excellent friend the Hugo-Award winning Maurine Starkey reconnected me with a significant artifact from my childhood, Jim Steranko’s two-volume History of Comics.  My first copies disappeared from my father’s storage warehouse during the 1980s, along with a large portion of my library.  Online agencies – eBay, for example — have helped many to acquire […]