Last year, I talked about Six Spectacularly Spooky Spider-Man Villains. This year, I’m talking about six more!
The original Candyman?
Swam has a weird backstory: a Nazi scientist who escaped to South America where he experimented with mutant bees who then consumed his flesh and merged with his consciousness. He is nothing but a skeleton surrounded by a swarm of bees. You have to admit, he looks pretty awesome. He debuted as an adversary for the Champions in the late ’70s, but then later become more associated as a Spider-Man villain.
A version of Swarm appeared in the classic series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. This take on Swarm featured no human host, a beehive sentient due to the radiation of a fallen meteorite.
Not a Nazi.
Jack O’ Lantern
Multiple people have assumed the moniker of Jack O’ Lantern, but o matter who is behind the pumpkin, I love Jack O’ Lantern. In fact, I love actual jack ‘o lanterns and pumpkins in general. Earlier designs featured Jack O’ Lantern as your typical cheesy super-villain dressed up for Halloween, but I love his most recent look where he’s all lanky, with leather and belts and legit rides a jet-powered broomstick instead of a bootleg Goblin Glider like previous versions had done.
Regardless of the villain’s true identity at any point in time, Jack O’ Lantern is ultimately a B-level villain who usually works with, or for, other villains such as the second Hobgoblin, Red Skull, Blackwing, Crime Master, and Norman Osborn. Continue Reading
Why only six? Well, because I need sequel material for Halloween Scream 2016, that’s why! Besides, the alliteration works.
Just like Batman, Spider-Man has all kinds of kooky and gimmicky foes. Both characters seem to excel in attraction villains that would fit right in a horror movie or at a Halloween costume party. Here’s a handful of spooky Spider-villains that are dressed for Halloween all year ’round!
Well, might as well start off with the most obvious one! The Green Goblin has been a thorn in Spider-Man’s side since 1964. Variations of the costume have come and gone, as have the characters behind the mask, but the original version seen above (with both Norman and Norman Osborn donning this look) is iconic. Absolutely perfect design for a villain and perfect for Halloween! C’mon, the guy rides a Goblin Glider and throws pumpkin bombs!
From the same people who put together Nerd Block, Horror Block, Gamer Block, etc. now comes Comic Block! May 2015 is the first month for this new mystery box service and having recently gotten hooked on stuff like this and being a comic book fan, I was excited to see what the Comic Block would bring. I won’t go into details of the service (Hey, I’m not getting comped here, so why should I?) but head on over to nerdblock.com/comic if this ends up looking like your thing.
The Comic Block box as it arrived in the mail! I wonder if they’ll change the theme of the box every month. Lots of cool comic book-related stuff they could do.
Opening the box, the first thing I see is a shirt. I couldn’t remember if a t-shirt came with this Block. All I could remember to expect was some comic books but t-shirts are pretty common for this type of stuff. In fact, I think the t-shirt is usually the best thing about these mystery boxes and they usually make the subscription price or one-time fee well worth paying.
Continuing my reignited fascination with Batman, I was burning through movies based on the character thanks to DVD, Blu-ray and Netflix back in December and January. So here I’ll toss out my thoughts on the original movie franchise, the Nolan movies and a few animated movies. I know there’s tons of animated Batman movies now but I’m only discussing the earliest ones that I recently re-watched.
The other week I discussed the live-action Superman movies. So be sure to check that out!
Batman: The Movie
1966, 20th Century Fox
I grew up watching the ’60s Batman TV show on The Family Channel every afternoon. I was obsessed with it and this was then Bat-mania was sweeping the nation thanks to 1989’s Batman movie. When I realized the TV show had spun off it’s own movie, I nearly went insane.
I thought it was a great idea to bring together the four biggest villains (Catwoman, Joker, Penguin and Riddler) to take on Batman & Robin. This movie is a super-sized version of the TV show, but I mean that in a good way because I LOVE the TV show. It was great to see the villains teaming up and interacting. I don’t think that was ever done on the TV show.
The second annual Pensacon was held this weekend in Pensacola, Florida and I was lucky enough to be able to go on Saturday morning. As someone who deals with anxiety issues and general anti-socialness, I didn’t plan on spending all day there but just a few hours.
First off, I’m really happy there is a convention like this in the area for fans of comic books, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc. to gather together. Any time there’s some type of event going on in my region, it usually involves country music or seafood: two things I couldn’t care less about.
Pensacon features the usual convention fare like gaming tournaments, costume contests, celebrities panels, artists alley, photo ops/signings, plus a large assortment of vendors selling things like steam punk gear, leather goods, Pokemon plush dolls, trading cards, comic books, movie posters, old video games, toys, vinyl records, jewelry, t-shirts, artwork. It was crazy how many vendors there were and how much they had to sell. One item that really stuck out to me was a vinyl copy of the Doctor Who serial ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ from the Tom Baker era and it featured the original voice cast from those episode. It was $30, which is about the going rate for it online as well, but I didn’t pick it up. One very cool toy I saw was the original G1 Galvatron from Transformers. Used, but complete and in box for $150.
First I was on a Batman movie kick (more on that later), then I got on a Superman movie kick. So here’s the rundown on all of the live-action movies and my not-so-quick thoughts…Superman: The Movie (1978)
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980)
Superman Returns (2006)
Warner Bros. Pictures
I’d never owned the first two Christopher Reeve movies and had Superman Returns on DVD. When I decided I wanted to re-watch all of the live-action Superman movies, I couldn’t pass up getting this Blu-ray triple feature for only $10 on Amazon.
It had been an extremely long time since I’d seen Superman: The Movie and Superman II. I don’t think I’ve watched either in full in over 20 years. I remembered bits and pieces of them (mostly from the sequel) though. I think the first two Reeve movies had a great style to them. It really felt like a comic book come to life and the movies seemed to take a lot of inspiration from Superman’s 1950’s and 1960’s comic book appearances.
Though a bit on the slim side, Reeve was a great Superman/Clark Kent, Gene Hackman was a great Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder was surprisingly hot at times playing Lois Lane.
The Blu-ray I bought featured Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II, or as close as Warner Bros. could get to using the rest of the Donner footage that was cut from the film. Some of Donner’s shooting script was unfilmed. He was replaced by another director during shooting and alterations were made to the story.
I don’t think either of these movies are great, but they are worth watching at least once to see how superhero movies used to be. Looking back on them now, they feel more like campy made-for-TV movies because it doesn’t feel like a whole lot actually happens and Luthor’s plans in the first movie seem so ridiculous and flimsy.
Superman Returns was the much awaited return to the big screen for the Man of Steel. I remember being very excited to see this movie when it came out and walking away mildly disappointed after seeing it. I was never a fan of Bryan Singer trying to make this movie a pseudo-sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve movies and didn’t like the fact that the movie begins with Superman returning after a five year absence from earth. It never made sense to me that Superman would leave Lois behind for that long.
I didn’t care for the casting of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane but Brandon Routh as Superman and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor were great choices. But, this is third movie in a row (since Singer’s take on Superman does not acknowledge Superman III or Superman IV: The Quest for Peace) where Superman loses his powers and gets beat up for awhile. They really couldn’t have come up with something else? At least Man of Steel gave us a Superman movie with some real knockdown dragout fully-powered fights. Yes, Superman II had some fight scenes but they were done at a slow pace.
For some reason, I have this need to comment on virtually every superhero cartoon or movie I watch. Actually, I could’ve sworn I wrote up (and possibly posted) reviews for Son of Batman and JLA Adventures but I can’t find any proof of that. None of these movies are fresh in my mind anymore but I’ll briefly give my thoughts on these animated Marvel & DC movies for the record books. :)
Son of Batman
2014, Warner Home Video
Instead of randomly releasing direct-to-video movies set in their own universes in order to adapt certain stories from the comic books, it looks like DC is finally having many of their recent animated movies set in the same ‘New 52’-inspired universe. Son of Batman shares its world with Justice League: War (which itself will have its own sequel in the form of Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis).
Son of Batman is still based on a storyline from the Batman comics called “Batman and Son”. This was during the Grant Morrison era of writing the Batman comics and I think he’s one of the worst and most overrated comic book writers of all time. That probably explains why I wasn’t that big of a fan of this movie.