Monday, September 1, 2014

Alice Cooper Comic Book Debuts This Week

I never was much of a fan of Alice Cooper but had plenty of friends in high school and college who were into his music so I'm pretty familiar with the rocker.  So I'm sending out this heads up to all those Alice Cooper fans out there that in addition to being a rocker, Cooper is also is joining the geek crowd this week with the release of his own comic book. Dynamite Comic's Alice Cooper #1 will be available to purchase on this week's new comic book day, Wednesday September 3, 2014.  Hey and if you are a really big fan you can even purchase an autographed cover by Alice Cooper himself on this inaugural issue from Dynamite's website for $200.  I'll pass myself, but I'm sure that is probably a tantalizing prospect for long-time fans of the "Prince of Darkness".

So what is this comic book about?  Here's a summary courtesy of Dynamite Comics:

Rock n' Roll legend Alice Copper was never a stranger to the mystic and the macabre.  His stage shows were the stuff of legend, featuring snakes, pyrotechnics, and the invocation of dark themes and darker forces.  But while he was a legend in the waking world, few knew his role as "The Lord of Nightmares" beyond it, where he watched over us while we dreamed and delivered horrors unto the deserving.  Only someone took it all away from him, cast him out of his realm and locked him away...until now.  And if he's going to reclaim his dark throne, he's going to need all the help he can get!

Here's a preview of Alice Cooper's new on-going monthly series below.  So what do you think?

Ash & the Army of Darkness

Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy of horror films with a comedic air to them have become cult classics.  Dynamite Comics has now extended the franchise with a  monthly comic book series titled "Ash and the Army of Darkness" which follows the films' main character through adventures that are a continuation of the 1992 film Evil Dead 3.  The fun of these movies is that Ash Williams, played by Bruce Campbell, truly believes that he is an invincible hero when in reality he is a buffoon that gets out of a lot of jams through foolish luck.  Dynamite Comics does an excellent job of capturing this element of the movies to give readers of the series a good chuckle and the feeling they are watching a sequel to these films.  If you are a fan of the Evil Dead movies, you'll enjoy these comic books.

Dynamite Comics has collected the first eight issues of Ash and the Army of Darkness in a hard cover book that will be available on October 21st at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and your local comic book shop.  The story begins where Evil Dead 3 left off, Ash finds himself battling Deadites from the last scene of the film who have ambushed him and his co-workers at the S-Mart where he had resumed working at upon returning to the modern day after his time traveling adventures to the era of King Arthur.  After dispatching the demons out to swallow his soul, Ash walks out of the store to witness that the S-Mart has been transported back to King Arthur's time.  Frighteningly the building is sitting in the middle of a medieval battlefield where a human army has been massacred by the Deadite bad guys.  Ash discovers that the wiseman who he left the dangerous Necronomicon to for safe keeping at the end of Evil Dead 3 has been transformed into the leader of the Army of Darkness.  New adventures ensue as Ash must rescue the girl, save the kingdom and look for a way to get transported back to his own time period.

Ash and the Army of Darkness does a nice job of connecting its stories and artwork to the movies so that it provides a great Evil Dead vibe to readers.  The negative flip side of that coin though is that much of the material is regurgitated from the films and lacks originality. Of course that point may be moot because if you realize this you are most likely a fan of the movies who won't mind. It should be possible to recreate the cheesy goodness of the Evil Dead films though without it being a retelling of the same scenarios over and over again so in this regard this comic book series is slightly lacking.  The artwork is OK and compliments the story telling but it doesn't stand out enough that I'd purchase the comics based upon an appreciation of its imagery.

If you are a fan of the Evil Dead movies, I'd highly recommend picking up this book or starting to read the monthly series.  On the other hand if you are someone who enjoys these movies only if you come across them on a Saturday afternoon while flipping through the cable channels I'd probably pass on this comic.  This is a comic that you have to have a particular taste for its style to really enjoy but if it is your thing you shouldn't miss out on this dark comedic take on horror flicks.

For more information about the EVIL DEAD movies CLICK HERE.
For more information about the Dynamite Comics series CLICK HERE.

Disclaimer: I received temporary access to a digital pdf of "Ash and the Army of Darkness" from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Forever Evil

What would a world dominated by super villains look like?  DC Comics approached this topic in its recent seven issue mini series Forever Evil.  The premise is that a crime syndicate has defeated the Justice League (which is DC Comics way of uniting all of its popular super heroes on one team similar to what the Avengers is to Marvel Comics) and is now working to establish its global rule over the Earth.  The twist to this scenario though is these villains are evil alternate versions of the Justice League from a parallel  dimension known as Earth-3 in the DC multiverse that have now arrived to dominate Earth-Prime.  There is Super Woman (Wonder Woman), Ultraman (Superman), Owlman (Batman), Deathstorm (Firestorm), Grid (Cyborg), Johnny Quick (The Flash), and Power Ring (The Green Lantern) who bring together all the super villains of this universe to join them to create an army they call the Secret Society.  As the story starts no one knows if the members of the Justice League are dead, captured or on the run, the world is just brutally made aware that they are now gone and a new era of Forever Evil has begun.  If you missed picking up the monthly issues of Forever Evil that started their run in September of last year and want to know what happens, don't despair because you can catch up with the whole story collected in one hardcover book that goes on sale this September.

Forever Evil was a huge cross-over event for DC Comics that was a primary focus for the publisher between Sept 2013 to May 2014 which was kick started with "Villain Month" last September featuring  the first issue of the Forever Evil mini-series plus numerous villain themed one-shot comic books (where the story is self-contained within that one issue and doesn't continue on into future issues) that had special 3D lenticular motion covers on the front of the title.  Plus there were Forever Evil story arcs contained within several of the DC Comics normal monthly publications including Justice League #24 - 29, Justice League of America #8-13 and Suicide Squad #24-29.  Following the release of the principal Forever Evil mini-series three other tie-in six issue mini-series were introduced titled: A.R.G.U.S., ROGUES REBELLION and ARKHAM WAR.  Note though only the seven issues of the initial Forever Evil mini-series are being reprinted in the hard cover publication being released on September 9, 2014.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Forever Evil does an exceptional job of playing out plots full of twists and pivots featuring the Criminal Syndicate members from the alternate dimension.  Lex Luther's role as planetary savior shows how villains are best when portrayed in shades of grey.  He starts off the series acting despicable and devious threatening to destroy someone who doesn't bend to his will and ends the series actually of all things saving Superman's life.  In between we witness Lex create a Bizaro Superman, kill the original Robin aka Dick Grayson aka Night Wing, and fight in a battle against of all people ... himself.  Forever Evil also leaves us with a cliff hanger as it concludes with Lex Luther gaining a little tidbit of information that could have big implications for future stories down the road...he learns that Batman is Bruce Wayne.  Lex really is the core character in this story and that aspect is one of the most enjoyable parts of reading it.  It is interesting how Luther really uses intellect and financial advantages to overpower people that have super powers.

This comic isn't for children as characters in it die, real deaths too not the ones where people are reincarnated a few issues later (aka Johnny Storm - The Human Torch, Peter Parker - The Amazing Spiderman, or Clark Kent - Superman).  These are graphic and brutal deaths too.  Power Ring has his arm chopped off and than is torched to a crisp.  Johnny Quick is frozen and shattered into pieces.  Another character has his heart heart pulled out of his chest.  One of my favorite scenes though is Lex Luther squashing one bad guy with his boot like a bug.  I'll admit enjoyed seeing evil villains getting taken down in the same vein as enjoying a horror flick but these absolutely aren't images I want my 5 year old twins flipping through.

While I was happy that one of my favorite villains Black Manta had a lot of involvement in the series, I was disappointed that most of the super villains gathered for the Secret Society really were treated as an after thought and not referred back to after the first issue.  It seemed DC Comics really dropped the ball on that aspect of the series.  I collected all of the Villain Month one-shot issues too and have to say that while the 3D covers were very impressive the stories on the inside were all pretty bad.  The focus of this min-series is on the alternate Justice League or as they call themselves the Criminal Syndicate, Lex Luther tackling this threat, and how the heroes of Justice League reappear.  Unfortunately, I have to say that the return of the Justice League is very anti-climatic.  Everyone reading this book obviously knows they are going to bring them back at some point but essentially the story wraps up and suddenly they just reappear.  After reading through this story I would have liked a little more meat and detail to that plot point.  To give DC some credit the super villains are much more focused on in the stories contained in the cross-over publications that I mentioned earlier that aren't being reprinted within this hardcover book though it would have been nice to have seen a greater role for them in the principal mini-series itself.

While I was critical of a few points, the story angles for the Crime Syndicate, Lex Luther ... oh and did I mention Batman and Catwoman happen to play a big part in this story too that help make things interesting but you'll have to read it to find out how...make for a good read.  If you didn't happen to read the original monthly issues of Forever Evil when they were on store comic book stands I'd recommend picking up a copy of the hard cover compilation to peruse.  It is an entertaining romp of a comic book adventure.

You can pickup the Forever Evil hardcover edition on , Barnes & Noble or by visiting your local comic book store. 

DISCLAIMER:  I received temporary access to a digital edition of this product to review.  I was not compensated for this post and my opinions and views are my own. DC Comics maintains the copyright of any picture used in this post which were used for the marketing of their product in this blog and they should not be reused without their expressed permission.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Another of Famed Author Elmore Leonard's Works Transferred from Print to the Silver Screen

LIFE OF CRIME now playing at Select Theaters & OnDemand Cable
Win a $15 Fandango Gift Card in this Labor Day Flash Giveaway

Detroit area native Elmore Leonard was a fixture in the literary scene for decades until his untimely passing last year.  He had numerous novels published in the genres of Westerns, Crime Fiction and Suspense Thrillers during his life and many of them were made into movies.  Movies based upon his writings include 3:10 to Yuma, Hombre, Jackie Brown, Get Shorty, and Out of Sight, among others. Now another movie joins this list as Life of Crime has been released in theaters and OnDemand cable.  To celebrate the release of Life of Crime, A Geek Daddy Blog is providing one lucky reader with a $15 Fandango gift card. 

To enter to win the Fandango gift card, watch the movie trailer below and e-mail thegeekdaddy [at] yahoo [dot] com your name, mailing address and describe your favorite part of the trailer.  For a second entry comment on this blog post what your favorite Elmore Leonard inspired movie is.  All valid entries will be assigned a number and one number will be randomly selected to win the $15 Fandango gift card.  Must be a US resident over 18 years old to be eligible for this prize. Entries must be submitted by Monday, September 1 at 11:59pm EST.


When a pair of low-level criminals kidnap the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer, they get both more and less than they bargained for in Life of Crime, a dark caper comedy based on legendary author Elmore Leonard's novel The Switch.  Starring Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Tim Robbins., Life of Crime is packed with the outrageously eccentric characters, black comedy and unexpected twists that earned Leonard a reputation as one of America's sharpest and funniest writers.

Mickey Dawson (Jennifer Aniston) the wife of crooked real-estate developer Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins) is kidnapped by two common criminals who intend to hold her for a $1 million dollar ransom and extort her husband with inside information about his illegal business dealings.  But Frank, who is in the Bahamas with his mistress decides he'd rather not get his wife back, setting off a sequence of double-crosses and plot twists that could only come from the mind of master storyteller Elmore Leonard.

For more information about this new flick, visit

A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of this contest, but LIFE OF CRIME is responsible for fulfillment and delivery of the prize.  By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion. A Geek Daddy Blog hosted this contest and blog post based upon LIFE OF CRIME providing a $15 Fandango Gift Card to the selected winner. If you win this prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Prize will be delivered by UPS or FedEx so no P.O. Boxes are allowed as mailing addresses. US residents only.  Any emails collected in this contest will only be used to contact the winner and all those received will be deleted at the conclusion of this contest.  A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any compensation beyond the prize that is being awarded to one of our readers for hosting this contest.  A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this contest as a benefit to our readers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Garbage cans can be used for more than just taking out the trash

Disclosure:  This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media and Rubbermaid, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #fallfixup

This summer we splurged and had fun filling up our backyard with a splash pool for the kids and all the stuff that comes with it (beach balls, inner tubes, foam thing a ma jigs and so on) plus toys, sporting gear, bikes and all the other types of things parents use to entice their kids to play outdoors.  Now that fall is approaching though, I have to figure out how to get all of these things that are spread out across my yard packed up neat and tidy so they fit in my shed before the weather gets cold, wet and dreary.

It figures that I never can seem to fit something back into the same box it came in when I want to store it.  That pool and filter just weren't going to fit back into its original box, plus I wasn't sure if I wanted it to if I could repack it in.  The flimsy cardboard box seemed welcoming to invite moisture and bugs into it if I used it again to store the pool over the winter.  Last thing I want is to pull out a mildew or mold covered plastic pool covered in spider webs next summer.  Additionally, I needed some ideas for storing all the miscellaneous kids stuff that we've accumulated over the summer that shouldn't be just left out in the yard to corrode over the winter.  So it was off to Home Depot to look for some ideas to help clean up our yard.

I decided to think outside the box and use a garbage can to store the pool.  Hey garbage cans can be used for more than just taking out the trash.  The Rubbermaid Roughneck 32 gallon trash can turned out to be a perfect fit and for $15.47 was a more affordable buy than some of the other storage options on the store shelves.  We were able to fold up the pool, its cover, the filter, and pack them all snugly into this Roughneck trash can.  We even had room to throw in the deflated pool rafts and toys in for added measure.  The Rubbermaid Roughneck 32 gallon trash can's sturdy build and tight lid will keep the elements and bugs out so that our pool is in the same shape I put it away in when we roll it out next summer.

I didn't want the toy trucks, baseball gloves, soccer balls and so on that were thrown all about to get ruined by leaving them in the yard through Michigan's snowy winter or by just tossing them in the shed.  So we also grabbed a Rubbermaid 18 Gallon Roughneck Storage Tote to keep all these other play things safe over the winter.  These durable totes have nice tight lids to keep the items they are storing protected.  They have these great built-in handles too making these totes easy to carry around the yard.  Plus they are tough enough that you can stack a few of these totes on top of one another and not have to worry about them collapsing.  The Rubbermaid 18 Gallon Roughneck Storage Tote costs $8.97 at Home Depot and I found that to be a reasonable price for this sturdy tote.

We packed up the pool supplies, picked up all the toys and sports stuff, and tidied up the yard.  The Rubbermaid Roughneck trash can and tote fit perfectly into our shed.  Voila! a nice clean backyard for the fall...well at least until the leaves start falling and we have to get to raking...and all our stuff is stored away so that it will be ready for us to enjoy it next summer.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Be Prepared...Do you have a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit in your Home?

We recently made one with a Rubbermaid Roughneck Tote from Home Depot

Disclosure:  This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media and Rubbermaid, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #fallfixup

It was a sunny morning on Monday August 11, 2014 making it appear as if it was going to be just another average Michigan summer day.  Around noon it started to rain and it didn't stop raining for nine hours making it Detroit's wettest day in 89 years.  By the time rush hour started that evening the ground was saturated to the point that flash floods began to submerge roads and freeways throughout the Metro Detroit area.  More than a thousand cars were abandoned as they became engulfed by rushing water.  Thousands of people found themselves with flooded basements, without power and in some cases, of all things to lose access to on this wet summer afternoon, without water as communities' infrastructure were overwhelmed or washed away.  Some of the flooded highways looked more like rivers than roads for several days following the great rainfall.  Many businesses didn't open up for a day or two following the floods.  People found themselves stranded with no transportation, power or water.  Miles and miles of street curbs became flooded not with water, but with all the garbage people were tossing out from flood damage to their homes.  Metro Detroit had become a disaster scene...and no one had seen it coming until the flooding had started. A lot of people were caught unprepared.

The interstate freeway by our home the day after the great flood of 2014

Garbage from flooded homes lined the streets of Metro Detroit

Our family had it pretty lucky.  My wife and I made it home from work without our cars getting submerged and our basement was one of only a handful in our city that didn't flood.  While thousands lost their power and water service, we didn't experience any disruptions.  The event was a reminder that disasters can happen unexpectedly and at any time.  It also made me think that we should put together a disaster supply kit for our home because up until now we had neglected doing that.

So what should go into a basic disaster supply kit?  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), every home should have stockpiled the following supplies in case of a disaster impacting your community:
  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench and pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual can opener  for food.
  • Local maps.
  • Cell phone with chargers or solar charger.
  • Copy of your insurance policy.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
  • Complete change of clothes for each member of your family, especially if dealing with wet or cold conditions.
  • Household chlorine bleach & medicine dropper -  when diluted nine parts water to one part bleach can be used as a disinfectant.  In emergency can treat water by using 16 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Matches in a waterproof case.
  • Paper cups, plates, towels and plastic utensils.
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
Once we threw together all these items, plus an extra Swiss army knife I had in the garage because you can always use one of those when you are in a bind, for our disaster supplies kit we needed to find something to store all this stuff in...and once you put everything together it is a lot of stuff.  So we headed to Home Depot to pick something up.

Rubbermaid 18 Gal. Roughneck Tote @ Home Depot
We needed a container for our disaster supplies kit that would be durable and water resistant.  The Rubbermaid 18 Gallon Roughneck Tote was a perfect pick for our needs.  Big enough to store our items but small enough to conveniently place in our home it was just what we were looking for.  Another plus is that this sturdy container is designed to withstand harsh temperatures that go from hot to cold.  Roughneck containers are made with a durable polyethylene material that Rubbermaid backs with a 10 year limited warranty.  It also has a lid that securely snaps on to protect the contents you place inside.  Guaranteed durability and nicely priced at $8.97 made this a great buy for us during our visit to Home Depot.

If you are concerned that you may need a storage tote larger than 18 gallons for your family's needs Rubbermaid also produces a 54 gallon Roughneck tote that you can pickup at Home Depot.

Mission Accomplished! We have a basic disaster supply kit packed and stored.  If disaster strikes hopefully we'll be prepared for it.  Are you ready for the unexpected?

Comic Book Aims to Help People Prepare for Emergencies

One of the challenges of preparing a community to be ready if an emergency strikes is educating them in advance with safety tips.  Unfortunately that is often easier said than done as the format many educational tips are provided in often doesn't connect with its audience.  Understanding that posters, film shorts, and pamphlets weren't getting the job done in educating kids about how to handle themselves if confronted with an earthquake or tsunami the Oregon Office of Emergency Management partnered with Dark Horse Comics to create Without Warning a 12 page comic book that tells the story of a high school student caught in an earthquake and illustrates how she gets back home safely by following her family's prearranged safety plan.

Without Warning written by Jeremy Barlow and Althea Rizzo with artwork by David Hahn incorporates safety tips into their story so readers are learning through their inclusion within the story rather than just having information thrown at them to be memorized.  It is hoped that by presenting realistic situations to readers they will have a greater comprehension of why these tips are important to follow in an emergency and will be more likely to retain that knowledge for future use if they encounter dangerous situations themselves.  Rizzo, who is the Geologic Hazards Coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, hopes this comic book will help with educating kids.  "Most public education programs are not interesting to kids," she said in an interview with the online publication Comics Alliance. "This comic book allows us to reach a new audience not often targeted in existing preparedness materials."

Oregon residents can pickup FREE print copies of Without Warning through the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.  People can also download a digital version of the comic book from Dark Horse Comic's web site by CLICKING HERE.

There is some nice artwork in this comic book that shows Hahn devoted a great deal of time and effort into trying to make this project stand out.  The story also provides some decent tips with realistic scenarios.  The only negative about the publication is that it portrays the high school student Angie as an overachiever ready to go when an earthquake and tsunami strike her coastal town.  A high school student having a backpack with her filled with emergency supplies, including a rope used to lasso someone from a car trapped in a flooded road,  takes away from the realistic tone the authors are trying to set and seems awkward against the the comic's title Without Warning.  The comic book probably would be more influential if it portrayed a normal student who wasn't prepared in advance but used her family's emergency plan and remembered safety tips to get through the situation.  Despite that criticism it is applaudable to see some out-of-the-box thinking to help people get ready for dangerous situations.  We recently had flash floods in our community during the evening commute home that left Metro Detroit highways looking more like rivers for a few days putting thousands of people in peril in the blink of an eye.  Hurricanes in the South, Blizzards and Tornadoes in the Midwest.  Earthquakes and Tsunamis on the West Coast.  You never know what twist weather may throw your way so it is so important for people to be prepared.  So kudos to the Dark Horse Comics and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management for being creative in trying to help people understand the importance of being prepared through providing this #FREE comic book.  No matter where you live, I'd suggest you take a look at Without Warning because it is a nice teaching aid for an important topic.

#comicbooks #earthquake #safety