Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Have fun, everyone! Hope you get lots of goodies!

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Trick or Treating

Beyond the nostalgia of wanting to treat our kids to the same kind of Halloween experience that we had at their age, Trick or Treating serves an important purpose. When nostalgia is all parents care about, we can rationalize that kids can get that same experience by dressing up and going to the mall or the grocery store or the church parking lot. And maybe they can. I'm not going to argue against it.

But what I will argue is that doing that robs us - and our kids - of the most crucial part of the entire exercise. Halloween has always been about facing our fears and in our current culture, one of the things we're most afraid of is each other. I'm happy to blame this on the 24-hour news cycle and the ratings-crazed fear-mongering that goes with it, but whatever the reason, people are afraid to get out and meet their neighbors. We even create urban legends around Halloween to express how unsafe we find the whole thing. Did you hear about that guy who put razor blades in the apples he was handing out? Or the creepy lady who injected cyanide into Snickers bars?

Trick or Treating is one of the last neighborhood social activities we have left. It would be a serious shame to give in to our fears and abandon it for the "safety" of a corporate-sponsored replacement.

Elsewhere... Mad scientists pose as vampires

Flick Attack!

Flick Attack is a new blog by the folks behind Bookgasm, the awesome book review blog. They can explain what Flick Attack's about much better than I can:
We’ll have no news. No scoops. No rumors. No set reports. Just one kick-ass review a day, Monday through Friday, with the occasional article on Saturday to make your weekend that much awesomer.

Yep, that’s right: Every day you get one review, so take it or leave it. While everyone else pees their pants over the latest multiplex releases, we’re gonna dig through our archives and toss out something that’s not playing a theater near you. Maybe you’ve heard of it; maybe you haven’t; maybe it’s easy to find; maybe it’s not — doesn’t matter. You will read it, and you will like it.

So if you like discovering cinematic trash-terpieces, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got horror, sci-fi, action, kung fu, comedy and sex. But no drama. If it’s tears you want, we’ll be happy to kick you in the shin.
And they're letting me play with them. My first review - for the Bela Lugosi masterpiece (and possible origin of vampires' saying "Bleh!") My Son the Vampire - went up last Monday.

Food or Comics?

This week's comics on a budget column included Beasts of Burden/Hellboy and Sky Pirates of Valendor amongst other things.


Finally, this week's Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs was a look at Richard Moore's Boneyard.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown isn't the only Halloween special we watch every year, but it sure is the best. We watch it every Halloween night during dinner before David and Diane head out for Tricks or Treats.

We also live by it's profound advice: "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin" and "Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker."

Friday, October 29, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Jack O'Pizza

Every Halloween night, we have our traditional meal before David and Diane hit the streets and I man the candy basket.

Pass the Comics: Kill! Kill! Kill!


Kate Beaton drew a whole coffinload of Dracula comics.

Your Grave is Ready

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine shares two werewolf comics in the same post. The other one explains that Wanda Was a Werewolf.

The Legion of Monsters

If you know Man-Thing, you can see where this is going. Read more about the world's spookiest super non-team at Diversions of the Groovy Kind.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins

Is there any better candy on the face of the planet? I don't know why these taste better than regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but they do.

The only possible competition might be the new Butterfinger Pumpkins. I haven't tried those yet, but I'll let you know.

Update: Just tried the Butterfinger Pumpkin and Reese's holds on to its crown. The Butterfinger one is just solid chocolate with Butterfinger chips stirred into it, not a pumpkin-shaped Butterfinger. No contest.

The United Monster Talent Agency

AMC's got an awesome short film about the greatest fictional talent agency of all time. It's worth watching for the Dr. Zaius appearances alone.

Thanks to Dan Taylor for pointing this out.

Lego Dracula

Mark Kelso is primarily a nature painter, but he also builds some mighty fine Legos. You can see more at his Flickr page.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Cupcakes

I know. I know. It's always time for cupcakes. I agree. Especially since I learned how to make a cupcake sandwich by taking the bottom part of the cake off and putting it on top of the frosting. It's the only way to eat a cupcake.

Halloween's a special time for cupcakes though. Whether they're brought to school with orange frosting and black (preferably bat-shaped, as above) sprinkles or the fancy monster-faced creations that your favorite bakery comes up with, it's not Halloween until you have one.

Art Show: Meddling Kids

Bad Night for Graverobbing

By Pat Lewis.

Bear and Witch

By Andrea Tsurumi.

The Fly

By Francesco Francavilla.

Scooby and the Gang

By Andry Rajoelina. Have any of you guys seen the new Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated show? It's the best Scooby Doo show since Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and The New Scooby Doo Movies and there are times when I think it may be better than either of those. [Art Jumble]

Productive Member of Society and all that

I'm sorry I didn't get a Land of the Lost post up yesterday. I'm sure I mentioned at some point that I was laid off last Spring. In the interest of keeping things fun around here, I haven't talked about that whole experience (and I'm not starting now), but I'm very pleased to report that it's come to an end. The reason I didn't post yesterday was that I spent the afternoon filling out paperwork to begin a new job that I'm pretty excited about.

Land of the Lost will return next week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Tissue Ghosts

Without contest, my favorite kids craft for Halloween. They're like Thanksgiving's hand-tracing turkeys, Christmas' Santa drawings with the cotton-ball beards, and coloring-book Easter eggs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Kids Costumes

These are the best costumes of all. Pets and grown-ups can have cool costumes too, but the kids are what it's all about.

Trick or Treating is kind of a genius thing - and, again, I'll have more to say about this later - and one of the best parts of it is the bartering of services. You provide candy; the kids entertain you with their costumes. It's a great contract and everybody wins. Can't wait to see who comes by this year.

Art Show: Careful what you wish for

"I wish I knew more of the ways of queens."

By Sidney Sime. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]


Artist Unknown. I can't quite make out that signature. "C Fletcher?" "Fletchy?" [Never Sea Land]

Pass the Comics: Attack of the Octo-Man!

The Fantastic Voyages of Sinbad

Sinbad hates cephalopods (and dragons and giant spiders). [Gold Key Comics!]

Arms of Doom

A mad scientist creates a human octopus! [Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Boo Blast

This is a great Twin Cities tradition. One of the nicer grocery chains around here is Lunds & Byerly's. Every year, they host a Boo Blast, where kids get to go to the stores in costume to Trick or Treat the various departments. They can pick up fruit in Produce, milk in Dairy, and chips and soda pop in Grocery. I forget what they give out in the Deli and Meat departments, but it's cool. The tour always ends in the Bakery where kids get to decorate their own cookie to take home.

All the employees dress in costume too and it makes a great dry run for Halloween night. That's the best part of it: they don't run it on Halloween in competition with actual Trick or Treating. It's usually sometime the week before with the day varying from store to store (there's a schedule on the chain's website). I understand why a lot of parents take their kids Trick or Treating at malls, grocery stores, and church parking lots on Halloween night, but I think it's a missed opportunity to get out and meet your neighbors. I'll have more to say about that later in the week.

Picture of Me on This Day

I apologize for cramming the whole weekend's posting schedule into Monday morning. It was a busy weekend of apple orcharding, pumpkin farming, and Spooky Joe making. It's going to be a crazy week too, but hopefully I'll be able to stay on top of things.

This post is another item from Calvin's List, by the way.

Twin Cities Adventure: Geek Meet-Ups

If you live in the Twin Cities and enjoy nerdy activities, but either a) don't find out about them soon enough or b) don't have anyone to go to them with, I have good news. There's a Meetup Group called Geeks, Nerds, Dweebs, Dorks & Other Assorted Social Misfits whose sole mission is to get self-proclaimed nerds together for some group fun.

A couple of my family members run the group and I've volunteered to "host" meetups at comics functions like the MCBA conventions and MIX and whatever else cool that comes up. There's a lot more than just comics though, including improv comedy, scavenger hunts, karaoke, sushi crawls, and the ubiquitous Much Much More. Well worth checking out.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Bobbing for Apples

This is one of those things where I love the idea of it more than I love actually doing it. It's such a Halloween staple that nostalgia kicks in whenever I think about it, but I've never really enjoyed plunging my head into cold water. And the only way I've ever been able to retrieve an apple is by grabbing the stem with my teeth, which some people think is cheating.

FallCon Report

Sorry it's taken me so long to get a report up about FallCon. This week's been crazy and next will be even more insane as we get ready for Halloween. The show was a great success though.

I had David with me this year and we met Grant Gould for breakfast before the show. The conversation revolved heavily around Aliens and Predators, two of David's favorite topics right now, and David and I continued the discussion in the car on the way over to the fairgrounds. We were delighted then to find this fellow lurking around, hunting down some great deals on comics (ba-dum ching).

More costumes and the rest of the report after the break:

Elsewhere... Holmes for the Holidays


Last weekend's Five for Friday assignment was to Name Five Comics You've Re-Read This Year. Mine were:

1. Artesia
2. The Killer
3. Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne
4. Okko: The Cycle of Water
5. Boneyard

Food or Comics?

For this week's "comics on a budget" column, I picked Dragon Puncher, Marvel Her-Oes, Zorro: Matanzas, and (with reservations) the DCU Halloween Special.

What Looks Good for December

This week's Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs was a look at cool, new adventure comics coming out in December. Lots of Sherlock Holmes and dinosaurs, but also pirates, Dracula, Sinbad, and talking primates.

Friday, October 22, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Spooky Soundtracks

No Halloween party or haunted house is complete without a running soundtrack of spooky music and/or sound effects playing in the background. Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House was the one we had growing up and it was awesome. I have vivid memories of sitting in the dark, listening to the sound effects and making up my own stories about what was causing all those creepy creaks and shrieks.

Art Show: Pocketses

What is he, My Precious?

By Sam Bosma. [Picture Book Report]


By John Buscema. [The Pictorial Arts]

By Evan Shaner.

The Hoard of the Gibbelins

By Sidney Sime. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Hot Apple Cider

I know I already covered apple treats in general earlier, but hot apple cider holds a special appeal for me at Halloween. It goes back to one of the first Halloweens Diane and I spent together as a couple. We were at my place, watching some old Universal monster movie on TV and passing out treats to Trick or Treaters. I'd give candy to the kids and Diane would serve a cup of hot apple cider in a disposable cup to the grown-ups. It was a big hit and a lot of fun.

Nowadays, Diane takes David Trick or Treating while I stay home with the monster movie and the candy basket. The stove is too far away from the front door to make serving hot cider practical for one person, but it's still not Halloween until we've had a cup for ourselves. Spider Cider, Diane calls it.

Art Show: Anubis and the Amazon

Anubis Guard

By Francesco Francavilla.

Wonder Woman

By Michael Dooney. [Pink of the Ink]


By Ben Caldwell.

DC Elementary

By Tom Bancroft. [Project: Rooftop]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

31 Things I Love About Halloween: Parties

I haven't been to a Halloween party in years, so we're going to throw one ourselves this time. Because it's been so long, we're starting small. A few friends, some games, a couple of costume prizes, and plenty of spooky food ought to do it.

What's your favorite thing to do at a Halloween party?


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