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Sunday, February 28, 2010


Happy Black History Month, muthafukkas!!!

And so ends another Black History Month. Round out this less than thirty days of recognition and appreciation by re-watching COFFY, eating an order of Popeye's Chicken, saying "muthafukka" every seventh word, and kicking down a couple of forties before March starts! Do it now! You only have a few hours left!!!


Dustjacket for the 1964 hardcover first edition.

And so, Black History Month comes to a close, but not before I review the last book in Kyle Onstott's infamous Falconhurst trilogy. This was the final book in the series featuring the direct involvement of its creator before he died, at which point the Falconhurst saga continued (and degenerated) in the hands of sleaze-master supreme Lance Horner.

MASTER OF FALCONHURST follows the journey of Drummage — short for "Drum Major" — the son of the previous book's tragically murdered Drumson, from slave to the literal master of Falconhurst, the slave-breeding plantation where the majority of the action in MANDINGO and DRUM took place. Upon hitting roughly the age of sixteen, Drummage ends up as a house slave to Hammond Maxwell and Miss Augusta, both some seventeen years older than when last seen (at the end of DRUM). After being whipped for an infraction that he did not commit, Drummage is given the house nigger position by Hammond as an unspoken token of apology for disbelieving Drummage's insistence of innocence and from there he becomes the number two power among Falconhurst's blacks, second only to the iron hand of takin'-no-mess uber-mammy Lucrecia Borgia. This position allows him unlimited access to the slave girls and in no time Drummage has fathered a small army of offspring. Much of the novel involves the same kind of shenanigans as seen in the previous books, though thankfully free of the "fightin' nigger" subplot that would have made this book quite a repetition of previously-explored narrative luridness, and we also get the return of Hammond's nymphomaniacal, jungle-fever-havin' daughter, Sophie (actually fathered by Hammond's second wife Blanche's "gotch-eyed" brother, Charles), roughly in her early-twenties, fat, facially unappealing and returned from her studies at a finishing school for young ladies, an institute for higher learning that did little to render her any more classy than the spoiled and monied white trash that always was. Once back home, Sophie proceeds to secretly fuck as many of the male slaves as she can coerce during her daily carriage rides to secluded wooded areas and she of course sets her sights on Drummage, who has the good sense to avoid her. A lot of the usual sleazery takes place, holding the reader's interest as the Civil War breaks out and Hammond leaves Falconhurst to fight for the south and finance the troops. While Hammond is gone, the task of making sure Falconhurst runs smoothly falls to Augusta, Lucrecia Borgia, Drummage and a handful of trustworthy slaves who are too ensconced in the slave mentality to even dream of wanting their freedom. As the war drags on and the once-proud plantations surrounding Falconhurst fall into financial ruin, Falconhurst thrives due to its self-sufficient nature (it grows nothing but slaves and the food to sustain said slaves and, by default, its white residents) but with Hammond absent, discipline becomes lax and the slaves, led by Drummage and the aging Lucrecia Borgia, basically run everything.

When news of Hammond taking ill in battle reaches Falconhurst, Augusta rushes to be with him and both succumb to disease, thus leaving the plantation and family wealth of buried treasure (that only Drummage knows the location of) to Sophie, who marries a near-white freed slave/con man who takes her for all he can, but not before getting shot by one of Sophie's trysting-slaves, leaving her distraught. Since she never had much use for white folks in the first place (she declares herself "more nigger 'n white anyway"), Sophie now openly gets her hump on with any black men available, and with the shift in power so blatantly in favor of Drummage, Sophie regularly pays Drummage in cash and valuable jewelry for his servcies. There is no real love between the two, just a business transaction, because Drummage enjoys giving his dead master's spoiled bitch of a daughter no choice but to buy him. When the war ends and the south loses, the slaves are now free, but since they have nowhere to go, the majority of them stay on at Falconhurst and little changes, except for the inevitable death of Lucrecia Borgia and Drummage aspiring to a social position equal to whites. The first step in his plan is to marry up with Sophie (now heavy with his child), a step quite controversial at home, but downright inflammatory to the whites in surrounding towns, but marry they do, and Drummage takes the Maxwell name as his own, shortly after which Sophie dies while giving birth to their virtually white son, Drummond. Having learned to read and write some years earlier, armed with tons of cash and now being tutored in the ways of white comportment by a Union officer whom he befriends, Drummage becomes every bit as arrogant and douchey as his white former-oppressors, merrily supplying powerful northern visitors with black women to sleep with and financing Union groups that seek to empower the now free black population of the south. Drummage even joins the Union group and prepares for a run for Congress, all while making time with the incredibly avaricious Candy, a light-skinned former-Falconhurst slave who was in cahoots with the con man Sophie had married (and the con man's darker brother), but escaped to New Orleans with part of the Falconhurst treasure. But while blinded to reality by his money and power, Drummage neglects to notice the growing resentment of his now poor white neighbors, a deadly hatred that comes to a head as some redneck members of the newly-formed Ku Klux Klan gang-rape Candy literally to death and then crucify Drummage. Just as he's about to have his considerable manhood removed with a Bowie knife, one of his attackers finds himself disgusted by the wanton lust and bloodthirst of his compatriots and opts to grant Drummage an easier death, shooting and killing him. Drummage's son is left to be raised by the aforementioned Union soldier friend, Chris, and the whole mess is summed up by Big Pearl, a supporting character from the previous novels and Drummage's mother, who reminisces about the trilogy's horrifying events.

MASTER OF FALCONHURST is a compelling read and almost as good as DRUM, but if not for the inclusion of the Civil War and its aftermath, it would have been a case of just more of the same, only better-written than MANDINGO. Once again, an Onstott novel gives props to Lance Horner for his assistance and, as I've said before, I believe the novel is a case of Onstott doing the main writing and leaving the tightening of it to Horner. While MANDINGO was unquestionably lurid as hell, it was not outright designed as a showcase for prurience; Onstott clearly intended to bring the horror and inequities of chattel slavery straight to the faces of his white readers and force them to take a deep, bloody-splattered, shitty whiff of it in all its awfulness, pulling no punches in its raw depiction of graphic (for its time) sex, violence and unbridled dehumanizing cruelty. When Horner entered the picture in earnest (with the by-then-deceased Onstott still being credited), the writing took a quantum leap in quality, but the visceral/sexual content became a source of titillation for those who get off on borderline sado-masochiostic pornography, thus reducing Onstott's intent to fodder for the kind of sleazy novels that once lined the racks in airport and bus station bookstores. After MASTER OF FALCONHURST, the Falconhurst saga continued on for at least a decade, but I can't be certain of exactly how long it went on because there's surprisingly little information about this stuff to be found on the Internet. I can think of at least six or seven sequels off the top of my head and I'm certain there are even more than that, but out of the followups that I've read, only one of them is worth reading as anything other than a mere time-killing potboiler. Easily my favorite of the entire Falconhurst genre, FALCONHURST FANCY (1966) takes place about ten years prior to the events in MANDIGINO and does not focus on Falconhurst at all (although it does include brief cameos from a tweener Hammond Maxwell and his father), instead giving the spotlight to Dovie Verder of the Cote plantation, a rare and well-written female protagonist for this sort of thing, and Colt, the Nubian Adonis who is the object of her forbidden desire.

The immediate followup to MASTER OF FALCONHURST, it's a damned fun piece of exploitation quasi-literature and I intend to read it again as soon as possible so I can provide a detailed analysis.

The direct sequel to MASTER OF FALCONHURST (in narrative terms) is HEIR TO FALCONHURST (1968), which skips the story ahead to chronicle the grown and white-looking Drummond and his adventures in the post-Civil war south. I bought as many of the Falconhurst books as I could find on eBay some years ago and I confess to not having read all of them, but this one has my interest thanks to me having just finished re-reading its immediate narrative predecessor just two days ago.

I'll read HEIR TO FALCONHURST before re-discovering the lurid joys of FALCONHURST FANCY, but don't expect a post on it in the immediate future.


No, your eyes are not deceiving you. A 2-disc porn version of JERSEY SHORE exists and the twenty-six-year plummet of the worthiness of human life has officially hit an all-time low.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Back in the 1990's, my pals and I had a sort of running contest to see who could come up with the most sordid and disgusting annual birthday gift for our college compatriot Greaseball Johnny, and for a while he enjoyed being showered by sundry manifestations of filth and pornography.

Yer Bunche with Greaseball Johnny, c. Halloween 1994. He was dressed as "the world's sexiest witch."

Then came the day when the competition was forever ended by mountain man Jared and his discovery of DAS CAVIAR DINNER, a "German" chunk of fetid, steaming horror for which none of us were prepared, and after which all who viewed it were ruined for life. (Jared's story about buying the VHS tape and the vendor's reaction is priceless and I hope he writes in to the comments section to share it.) Needless to say, I had to do a cartoon movie review of it and share it with my co-workers in the Marvel Bullpen. Anyway, what you are about to read is very, very nasty, despite considerable efforts to keep the visual depiction of these foul acts as light and "palatable" as possible, so PROCEED WITH CAUTION, double-click on the art to see it large (you WILL regret it), AND ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.

You may now take a long, thoroughly-scrubbed shower.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Wow. Just...WOW.

If you love the stuff that Warner Brothers has been doing with the animated DC Universe, I suggest you get off your ass and get your hands on a copy of JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS immediately. I can't really go into the minutia of the plot without giving away a lot of the fun, but let it suffice to say that it takes the oft-used trope of parallel worlds and gives us an intelligent wall-to-wall slugfest fueled by the following basic plot: the Justice League gets called on by the good-guy Lex Luthor of an alternate universe to help him put an end to the reign of their evil doppelgangers, the Crime Syndicate, a pack of super-sociopaths who operate like the metahuman answer to Tony Soprano and his colleagues. But much as is the case in the Justice League's own reality, the Crime Syndicate has a brain on par with Batman in their ranks, and that brilliant mind is Owlman, who is voiced to 100% believably-perfect and cold malice by James Woods.

Owlman (James Woods) in the midst of doing something very, very, VERY bad.

But, unlike our Batman, Owlman is calmly and terrifyingly insane. Yeah, our Batman is not exactly what anyone would call the model of sanity, but Owlman is really and truly bugfuck crazy insane, and he has an agenda up his sleeve that's simply the worst thing ever conceived by man.

That's all I can really say without giving away some truly kickass surprises (Dwayne McDuffie's script is a DCU-fan's wet dream), but here are some relatively spoiler-free observations:
  • I have an issue with Lex Luthor, even the Lex Luthor of the Crime Syndicate's world, using the word "nuculer." I'm hoping that was just a line read they missed in the final edit.
  • I never thought I would live to see an animated version of Vibe, the Puerto Rican breakdancing hero, one of lamest characters ever created.
  • James Woods' performance as Owlman steals the film and is a study in how to do cold, brilliant villainy just right. And during the course of the story, as we come to kind of admire him as the anti-Batman, we also realize in no uncertain terms that he is completely and calmly insane. And quite chillingly so.
  • I was already in love with Gina Torres, but her vocal turn here as Super Woman will haunt me on lonely nights.
Super Woman (Gina Torres) gets gooey over Owlman's sheer evil.
  • Only regular readers of DC Comics will appreciate the idea of the alternate world having Slade Wilson as the President of the United States.
Hail to the Chief? President Slade Wilson (Bruce "Willard" Davison). Yes, you read that right. Fucking Deathstroke's the Commander-in-Chief!!! (NOTE: no explanation whatsoever is given as to who Slade is, so if you're in the know, it's a great touch.)
  • There are several blistering fight sequences, including one where Wonder Woman administers a beatdown that does the WWE proud.
My girl Diana, laying down some Greek mythology-style ass-whuppins.
  • Mark Harmon does a pretty good Superman voice.
The extras are rather sparse; there's no commentary, but there are two episodes of the JUSTICE LEAGUE TV series featuring the alternate reality where our heroes impose a fascist rule, and a boring and rather self-congratulatory piece where various DC writers and editors pat themselves on the back for all the post-9/11 CRISIS stories (most of which sucked, especially the odious and offensive IDENTITY CRISIS). But there is one bit of bonus content sure to be of interest to comics fans, namely the first "DC Showcase" short, an item bringing The Spectre to animated life (?) for the first time that I can recall.

The Spectre makes his animated debut. To crib a line from my man Kenshiro, "You are already dead."

Voiced by Gary Cole, The Spectre does his vengeance/personified-wrath-of-God thing in a style designed to be reminiscent of films from the character's Seventies-era Michael Fleischer-scripted/Jim Aparo-drawn run. But even though it's now nearly forty years since those amusingly gruesome stories appeared in ADVENTURE COMICS, The Spectre's signature vicious and appropriate takedowns of his deserving victims have been rendered far more tame than Fleischer's excesses, and as a result the end result is atmospheric but ultimately toothless. Still worth a look, though.

So out of the DC direct-to-DVD movies, I rate JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS as on par with the equally terrific GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT and WONDER WOMAN. Very highly recommended, so all I have to say to the folks coming up with stuff is...MORE!!! And give us a Kamandi feature! Oh, yeah, and OMAC!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Let's face it people. Movie sequels tend to suck a monkey's left nut, and shitty sequels litter the cinematic landscape like the sidewalk dog turds near where my pal Greaseball Johnny used to live in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens (I swear to god the place was like a dogshit mine field). The seemingly endless FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH droppings and AMERICAN PIE followups continue unchecked while other film series dump out mediocrity after mediocrity, so when a sequel that's actually worthwhile happens there's a moment of pause in which we appreciate and contemplate just how good the continued use of favorite characters and concepts can be. Provided they're in the right creative hands, that is. While thinking this over I initially contemplated coming up with a look at sequels that were better than their predecessors, and while what follows certainly contains a number of such films, not all immediate sequels — meaning the first sequel to follow an original, duh — are better than what came before them, despite what popular consensus may dictate as law. In several cases the worthy sequel deviates in theme or tone from its progenitor and comes up with something that potentially broadens the franchise's potential, so that factor must be taken into account. Anyway, here are the movies that first pop into my head when I think of outstanding first (and sometimes only) sequels.

ALIENS (1986)

The creators of ALIENS had the good sense to not even try and go down the same path as the landmark ALIEN (1979), instead kicking the horror-movie-in-space angle to the curb in favor of making what is essentially a war movie set in space. While lacking the intimate terror of the original, the threat demonstrated by the first film's lone xenomorph is multiplied exponentially as a cohort of space-Marines find themselves hopelessly outmatched when taking on what's pretty much a colony town full of the damned things. While not necessarily scary, ALIENS is certainly suspenseful, action-packed and entertaining as hell, so James Cameron's status as a guy who can deliver the action/eye candy goods was ensured.


Not just an excellent immediate sequel, this is by far the best of the PINK PANTHER sequels and should be checked out immediately by those who missed it because it lacks the familiar PINK PANTHER label. Establishing Inspector Clouseau as the central protagonist and not just a goofy side character, the film kicks comedic ass as he lets his cock guide him through the investigation of a series of murders where all the evidence points to a smokin'-hot maid (Elke Sommer) being the killer. Funny as hell in that way that only Blake Edwards could pull off during this film's era, A SHOT IN THE DARK also introduces series regulars Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) and Kato (Burt Kwouk), and if you ask me, it's advisable to skip the original PINK PANTHER and use this flick as the real series starting point. The only other Clouseau movie that rivals this one for classic status is THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN (1976), in which Dreyfus goes totally insane (again) and builds a working death ray.


A complete one-eighty in tone from director James Whale's appropriately grim-as-the-grave FRANKENSTEIN (1931), THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN ups the emotional ante and packs a gay subtext that's as plain as skunk stripes in the Bride's pre-new wave hairdo, something I can't believe they got away with at the time (I think this one may have just squeezed under the Hays Code's radar). Camp as Christmas and loaded with memorable sequences, this remains one of the most visually lyrical horror films ever made and may be the best of the classic Universal monster cycle.


Hands-down the best of the pre-reboot STAR TREK films, THE WRATH OF KHAN benefits from a solid script and direction, as well as the aging Enterprise crew facing their own decrepitude and dealing with it. We get the (not) death of Spock, a chilling torture scene that's somehow suitable for the kids, the still-spectacular demonstration footage of how the Genesis Device works, a tense space battle and, most memorable of all, the titanic ham-off between William Shatner's Captain Kirk (see the above pic) and Ricardo Montalban as the chesty eugenics superman, Khan.

MAD MAX 2 (1981)

Known to us Yanks as THE ROAD WARRIOR, the first sequel to MAD MAX (1979) takes the previous narrative's future dystopia (that I always thought of as Australia during the time of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) and inexplicably turns it into a nightmarish wasteland, completely ripe for a Campbellesque heroic journey of regained humanity and fuel-injected badassery. By transforming the landscape into a mythopoeic speedway, the story can shed nearly all pretense of reality as we know it and thus revel in tons of high-speed, bone-crushing vehicular homicide as entertainment. If ever there were a movie that ran on pure adrenaline, this is it. (I still prefer MAD MAX, though.)


Superior to DR. NO (1962) in virtually every way, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was one of the two films that really established the template from which the James Bond films would define themselves (the other being GOLDFINGER). The international scope is increased, the violence is nastier, the sexual content is extremely tawdry for its day (007 and Tatiana unwittingly starring in a porn reel being perhaps the most obvious example), the bad guys are perfect Cold War antagonists (Lotte Lenya's Rosa Klebb being an especially creepy standout) and the series' signature gadgets make their first (and relatively realistic) appearance in the form of Bond's well-equipped briefcase. Connery's cooler than the Abominable Snowman's dick, and his fight with Robert Shaw as SPECTRE psycho Red Grant is one of the most realistic on record, so if your taste in 007 runs more to the non-over-the-top flavor, you cannot go wrong with this, the best of the James Bond series.


Unlike the majority of the horror-lovin' world, I was not a fan of EVIL DEAD (1981), so in my eyes just about anything would have been acceptable as a followup. Luckily its first sequel was this delirious more-or-less, kinda/sorta remake of the first film, only with a bigger budget and director Sam Raimi displaying bolstered confidence behind the camera to compliment his visual imagination. Like a live-action cartoon filtered through a modern sensibility as influenced by a dosed-on-mushrooms Charles Addams, the movie is a roller coaster ride of crazed incidents and a sense of loony humor that would have been right at home in a Three Stooges short.


THE GODFATHER (1972) is a favorite film of myself and just about everybody else on the planet, so the fact that its first sequel actually surpasses it on several levels can be seen as somewhat miraculous. The narrative jumps back and forth in time between the events in Michael Corleone's criminal world in 1958/1959 and the incredibly compelling story of how his father made his way from the hills of Sicily to New York and founded his empire, and there's not a single wasted frame or boring second in its entire two-hundred-minute running time. This was my first Robert DeNiro film and his quiet, thoughtful portrayal of the young Vito Corleone won me over for life.


Often compared with THE GODFATHER PART II as being one of the minute number of sequels that surpass the original, this second STAR WARS film remains the strongest of the bunch thanks to it taking the time to flesh out its characters a bit (well, as much as you can in a space opera anyway) and dazzle the eye with sequence after sequence of briskly-paced latter day Saturday afternoon serial thrills. We get the budding romance between Han Solo and the Princess, Luke's early Jedi training under Yoda (back when the tiny Jedi master was still awe-inspiring and full of genuine wonder), the battle on Hoth, the Millennium Falcon hauling ass all over half the galaxy and getting into a number of memorable scrapes (chief among which is undoubtedly the asteroid field chase)...the list just goes on and on. But the real genius of the film lays in the decision to make it Darth Vader's movie and give the bad guy a showcase worthy of his towering evil. Killing off failed subordinates at a rate that's almost comical and being simply amazing as the most pimped-out villain in the history of deep-space nefariousness, Vader rocks this one like a motherfucker, capping it off with his now-immortal revelation to Luke Skywalker near the picture's end. Some make the point that STAR WARS was a perfect stand-alone film and that both THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983) can't necessarily be enjoyed as a satisfying whole without seeing the original, but in the case of EMPIRE I could not disagree more, and nearly thirty years after the fact it remains my hands-down favorite of the entire STAR WARS series and is the only one I will ever sit through again and again.


The original DRUNKEN MASTER (1978) is by far the funniest of the numerous comedic kung fu movies, plus it contains classic fight scenes from start to finish and firmly established Jackie Chan's well-deserved place among the pantheon of martial arts movie stars. When its sequel opened in New York City's Chinatown back in Februrary of 1994, I was long a huge fan of the original and was completely skeptical of any attempt at a followup, especially since I very much doubted that Jackie could still cut the mustard with the kind of high-speed martial acrobatics required for his version of the legendary Wong Fei Hung character. What I did not know going into it was that it was co-directed by Lau Kar-Leung, the veteran star and sometimes-director of such all-time Shaw Brothers masterpieces as 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (1978, aka MASTER KILLER), DIRTY HO (1979), SHAOLIN CHALLENGES NINJA (1979, and a film I really have to do a write-up on one of these days), MAD MONKEY KUNG FU (1979), and the superlative LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA (1982), each and every one of which I cannot recommend highly enough. The teaming of Chan (who was by this point well-skilled in directing in his own right) and Lau yielded results that were both jaw-dropping and eye-popping, as Chan's Wong Fei Hung gets epically shitfaced and fights like a motherfucker's motherfucker, and in the process kind of put an end to an era. Some consider this to be the best kung fu movie ever made and, indeed, it's hard to come up with another martial arts movie that is as uniformly high-quality in its every aspect. Released in a dubbed and slightly cut version as LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER in 2000, this is definitely worth checking out for both the martial arts movie enthusiast and the newbie alike. Simply put, this is one of the best action movies ever made. And for the record: although I don't personally think it's the single best kung fu movie ever made, I would certainly rank DRUNKEN MASTER II among the all-time Top 10.

TOY STORY 2 (1999)

While the original TOY STORY (1995) was a very good film, TOY STORY 2 can be added to the short list including THE GODFATHER PART II and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK as a sequel that surpasses its predecessor. This time focusing on Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks, turning in a fantastic voice-acting performance) and his discovery of his own history, the story gives us more frequently-hilarious character bits involving the lovable toys who reside in Andy's room, but the real standouts here are new characters Bullseye (Woody's non-talking but fully-expressive and charming horse) and Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl. Jessie (voiced in an Oscar-worthy turn by the criminally-underrated Joan Cusack) is one of the most endearing creations in animation history and her tragic backstory, told in poignant song by Sarah McLachlan, reduced all the grown men in the audience I saw it with to unashamed tears.


I've written on this one before at length, so for the purposes of this post let it suffice to say that never before or since has a film so chock-a-block with sex and violence been so wholesome.

X-MEN 2 (2003)

Far superior to what preceded and succeeded it, X-MEN 2 gave the fans what they wanted, namely shitloads of mutants kicking ass and doing amazing shit, with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine front and center. Nothing deep or meaningful here, just sheer summer blockbuster fun.


I'm gonna get shit for this statement, but this is hands-down the best movie ever made involving the ongoing flesh-eating zombie apocalypse. Featuring an intelligent script, solid performances
and tons of still-staggering gore, this is the movie that latter-day zombie flicks wish they were.


To be honest, I completely forgot about T2 while compiling this list (as was pointed out by more than one reader). It's good, but I always felt it was the most unnecessary sequel ever, strictly from a narrative standpoint, hence me not including it. Everything that really needed to be said about the characters and the concept was neatly tied up at the end of THE TERMINATOR, even creating an endless time travel loop, so T2 exists solely as a well-made cash-in. Its story adds nothing to what the original put out there except for MORE, namely more of everything and the effects budget to pull it off. But even with those minor gripes noted, T2 is a hell of a lot of fun and features Linda Hamilton's now-buff and uber-tough Sarah Connor proving to be almost as bad as the Arnold model Terminator. This, however, would be the only TERMINATOR sequel of any worth; the two followups sucked ass.


This second in the awesome LONE WOLF AND CUB series of ultra-bloody samurai flicks has unfairly-disgraced former royal executioner Ogami Itto (my man Tomisaburo Wakayama) hired to kill a guy who's about to reveal a fabric-dyeing clan's secret process to the series' main bad guy, Lord Yagyu. The road to Ogami completing the hit is fraught with an assload of danger as he fights of Yagyu's male ninjas, a pack of vicious female ninjas who are supposedly even badder than their male colleagues, and a trio of heavily-armed and highly-skilled killers who are escorting/bodyguarding Ogami's target. It's a non-stop orgy of exceptional swordfighting and graphic violence in which blood gets on the camera lens (I shit you not), but it's also utterly compelling and bolstered by gorgeous cinematography. There are six LONE WOLF AND CUB flicks starring Wakayama and they are all worth seeing, but if you only choose to see one of them, this is the cream of the crop.


Of the many questionable submissions that made its way to Marvel, perhaps none offered greater potential than the brilliant lives-up-to-its-name FILTHIE RICH, a hardcore gay parody of the old Richie Rich and Casper comics that would have fit in perfectly with Marvel's then-defunct CRAZY magazine (had that publication allowed for such raunchy material, that is). This piece was a fave even to those not into gay porn, thanks thanks to its "clever" dialogue, especially the now-immortal "This hobgoblin knows knob-gobbling!!"

To the unknown artist who came up with this: Well done, sir!

"O.J. DINGO" 1994

When O.J. Simpson fled the law in the wake of the discovery of the savagely murdered corpses of his wife and her friend in 1994, America's collective mind was blown when faced with one of a generation's most beloved sports heroes possibly being the killer. When news of the incident reached the Marvel Bullpen, many of us recalled an ad that ran comics just shy of twenty years earlier, back when O.J. Simpson shilled for Dingo boots, so a number of us flew to the Marvel archives room to find a comic that featured the advertisement so we could take copies of it and alter them to reflect the current state of O.J.'s affairs. The first of the two that I did was done with no thought put into it, other than to add as much blood to the images as possible:

The second version, however, displays my raised-on-NATIONAL-LAMPOON sensibilities, and I'm not exactly sure that's a good thing:

Yeah, I know, I know. It's horrible and wrong and all that, but I will never apologize for the first panel's depiction of a bloody O.J. winning the game with a severed head in place of the requisite football.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I refer to SORCERESS — one the greatest bad movies ever made — frequently here on the Vault, and here's the cartoon review I did of it back in 1995. (Double-click on the pages to embiggen them.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


And so, another of the porn stalwarts of my youth has gone on to the great fluff-couch in the sky. Jamie Gillis, star of such tenderloin offerings as COME AND BE PURIFIED (1973), ALL IN THE SEX FAMILY (1973), THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN (1976), CARNAL ENCOUNTERS OF THE BAREST KIND (1978), DRACULA SUCKS (1979), ON GOLDEN BLONDE (1984), NEW WAVE HOOKERS (1985), ANAL INFERNO (1992), INNER CITY BLACK CHEERLEADER SEARCH 6 (1996) and DEVIOUS OLD GILLIS (1999) has succumbed to cancer last Friday at the age of 66. An obituary can be found here.


While raiding the files for SUB-MISSION fodder, I unearthed the series of cartoon movie reviews I used to do in the Marvel Bullpen during any available downtime and have pulled some of the best of that drawn-on-the-fly lot for posting here on the Vault. Some of you who remember them may be annoyed to see that I'm not posting all of them, but in all honesty I've looked them over and feel that only a handful of them really hold up some fifteen years after the fact (which I suppose is only natural when taking into account that they were literally dashed off in almost no time). That said, here's the first of them. (Double-click to see the pages large.)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Yer Bunche, keeper of The Vault of Buncheness.

Dear Vaulties-

in upcoming posts I'm planning to run some items that are considerably more explicit in their visual content than I usually run, so from now on I'll be running one of those disclaimers that ask for verification of age before signing in.

Considering how much completely vile and offensive stuff I write about every week, that may seem rather pointless, but while many gloss over nasty things when they appear as mere words. some are not so kind as to give things a pass when they are depicted visually in all their foul glory. After the kerfluffle last year when my blogs (and the blogs of many fellow users) got taken down in an automated sweep for potential porn or spam sites (permanently losing some of my blogs in the process), I'm going to err on the side of keeping this thing going, hopefully without incident, so please don't take the content warning as either an insult to your maturity or as a marker of the Vault "pussying out."

-Yer Bunche


This letter came in during my time in Vertigo editorial and it was by far the most disturbing I've ever received from an editor (one from the Batman group in the DCU who shall remain nameless), which is really saying something because I have numerous letters from schizophrenics, inmates of maximum security prisons and obsessive conspiracy-nuts.. Double-click to see it large and prepare to be creeped out.

Wow. Just...WOW. And I never saw the artwork he mentions.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Back in the days, there were a number of fans who regularly sent in ideas and proposals to Marvel Comics and there were a special handful whose letters were eagerly awaited by the staff. One such writer was Michael (last name withheld) from Lancaster, NY, who would often send in character concepts of dubious quality, ending each letter with his contact info in case Marvel was blown away by his ideas and couldn't wait to hire him as a writer. Most of his pitches were run-of-the-mill stuff, but the two that you are about to read are oustanding examples of marvel not knowing a pair of sure-fire hits when they were staring them in the face (double-click on them to see them large). First up is "Petey, King of Drugs":

And as if that weren't "edgy" enough for you, check out one of my all-time favorite pitches, the jaw-dropping "Augie":

I don't know about you, but I would have read both of those comics in a heartbeat if they were ever greenlighted.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


ATTENTION, all werewolf supporters!!! Stop what you're doing and read a fantastic display of bald-faced ignorance that will make you want to go and kick the motherfucking piss out of a bunch of fans of sparkly vampire wussies. THE WOLF MAN may have bitten (no pun intended) the big one, but plagiaristic of fucking TWILIGHT??? Sparkly vampire fan, please...