11.07.2015

[Be Kind, Rewind™] The Anchor Bay Godzilla Movie Collection (Anchor Bay Ent., 1997)


Historically speaking, the Toho Master Collection DVD series (blogged about here) wasn't the first time that the Godzilla films of Japan's Toho Studios were given the serious home video treatment in America. A decade earlier, a shelf stomping collection of six Godzilla films was unleashed upon an unsuspecting marketplace by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 1997. 

It was in wide-reaching association with home video license holders StarMaker Video, R&G Video, Golden Books and New World Video that Anchor Bay released its very handsomely packaged Godzilla film collection on VHS cassette. The films included in the series were Son of Godzilla (1967), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (1964), Godzilla 1985 (aka The Return of Godzilla, 1984), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), and Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973). 

At the tail end of the 1980s, several releases of the aforementioned films had already been made for the home video rental and retail markets by various distributors, including StarMaker. These regularly appeared on shelves at Blockbuster Video and in home entertainment specialty shops like Suncoast. But the presentment quality there often varied greatly. While some of the films came packaged in slipcases that were expertly designed using images lifted from the original Japanese promotional posters or production stills, others boasted amateurishly illustrated images that, while maybe having a kind of "shlock cinema" charm, only poured petrol on the pyre of associations made by people who equated Godzilla films with low quality Japanese movies made for children...and adults of dubious intellect.


The graphic treatment of Godzilla films in the Anchor Bay VHS releases, however, raised the bar to suggest that these imaginative and richly detailed sci-fi films made in Japan––yes, that featured actors in rubber suits, romping around on miniature landscapes––should be taken a bit more seriously. Perhaps to the point of simply seeing Godzilla films for what they were: an enduring global pop culture phenomenon and the longest running film franchise in history.

But there was a sizable profit incentive for Anchor Bay in making this series too. The release of this VHS tape collection hit the domestic marketplace the year before a new Godzilla film by New Line Cinema was scheduled for release in the summer of 1998. Anchor Bay's set was timed perfectly to coincide with the rekindled interest amongst old school Godzilla movie lovers, and the newly sparked interest in the next generation of "Big G" fans. 

In light of this timing, the Anchor Bay Godzilla film collection wasn't planned to be anything in the way of a definitive or chronologically sequenced set. But what the collection offered was a thoughtful, although somewhat random sampler, showcasing six of the fourteen Godzilla films made in Japan over a twenty-year span. The period in question streched from 1964––the middle of the Showa era of Godzilla films, which began in 1954––to 1984, the beginning of the Heisei era. And the effort put into this set by Anchor Bay made for an appealing collection that grabbed both the eyes and the retail dollars of home video shoppers. 


The fronts of the slipcases in Anchor Bay's Godzilla film collection boasted across the top portions of each "Gojira's" Americanized name, rendered in a style suggestive of the beautiful forms of Japanese brush writing. In the background appeared a recurring motif, comprised of a faded composite of Godzilla's head and torso and snippets of a Tokyo skyline culled from The Return of Godzilla production stills. Superimposed over the composite image on two of the six slipcases were two different images of Godzilla in the foreground, one of which also included Minilla (aka Son of Godzilla) for the film in which this character appeared. And superimposed over the composite on the covers of the other four releases were images of rival monsters Ghidorah, Megalon, Gigan, and Mechagodzilla.


Another motif worth focusing on in the slipcase design was the possibly overlooked phalanx of orange and red flames coming from the open mouth of the Godzilla figure on the cover of the Godzilla 1985 release. The flames were cleverly made to extend outwardly in east and west directions, along the bottoms of all six boxes, binding them together graphically with yet one more unifying design element. Appearing in a white typewriter font at the bottom of each slipcase was the title of each film. 

As is standard in slipcase design, the left side of the box prominently featured the title of each respective film. But the right side of the slipcase was reserved for something special. The right side of each box featured a de facto puzzle piece that, when lined up front to back with the other VHS tapes in the series, combined to form an impressive Godzilla 1985 poster-related display. 


With the advances in home entertainment since the late 1990s, when the Anchor Bay Godzilla movie collection was made, these films have since been released again in DVD format, all variously issued by different film license holders. But only one of the films included in the Anchor Bay collection, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, was also featured in Sony's 2008 Toho Master Collection DVD series. The overall absence of duplication by Sony benefited the owners the older Anchor Bay collection that may prefer still having at least some of their Godzilla flicks in analog format. Especially when, on the shelf to this day, they still make a rather smashing display.


10.24.2015

[Personal Shoplifter™] Agent Aika Complete Collection (Bandai Anime Legends, 2008)

The 30-day Amazon Prime trial subscription initiated by this blogger some 29.9 days earlier [bats eyelashes innocently] was within minutes of expiring as he tossed the Agent Aika Complete Collection DVD into a cyber shopping cart and pimp strutted over to the virtual checkout aisle. He hadn't previously viewed any of this 7-episode OVA (original video animation) before, and was only vaguely familiar with Aika from having seen the cover of the 7th episode DVD on a store shelf a time or two. What had prompted this last minute impulse purchase, with free 2-day shipping, was the $4.90 list price on a 2-disc DVD set with an original SRP of $39.98!

Another significant selling point was that fact that the Agent Aika Complete Collection was produced under the Anime Legends line of the dearly defunct Bandai Entertainment (1998-2012). Anyone who owns any of the other Anime Legends releases––the Cowboy Bebop Remix Complete Collection, Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig Complete Collection, and Gurran Lagann Complete Collection among them––knows the level of geek friendly care that was lavished upon these sets. And the Agent Aika Complete Collection lives up the Anime Legends reputation admirably, as there are oodles of cool extras packed into this 2-disc set!

Now regarding the actual anime itself? Well, let's just say that Aika offers viewers gratuitous levels of 'fan service' that may catch the uninitiated (yours truly included) a bit off guard. But it's really all in good, clean...ok, almost dirty fun. And it's also deftly illustrated and beautifully animated. In fact, in terms of execution, I'd put Aika up against any of the best anime titles produced in the '90s, including Giant Robo and Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's that well done. And still priced at $4.90 at the time of this post (buy here), this one is a real steal of a deal™.

10.18.2015

[Flashback] Japanese Cartoon – In the Jaws of the Lords of Death*

*Previously on YKFS blog in September 2010

The year after Kanye West blind-sided pop music by freeing his inner torch singer on the critically acclaimed 808s & Heartbreaks, his West Side connection, Lupe Fiasco, let loose his inner punk rocker on the even more unpredictable In the Jaws of the Lords of Death. But, in direct contrast to Ye's clearly branded tunes, Lupe's guitar-grinding post-punk music was clandestinely leaked to the web under the unknown band name Japanese Cartoon. For weeks after the release of the first singles––which featured Lupe singing in a faux British brogue––the rapper feigned as if he had nothing at all to do with the tracks. And though he wasn't exactly foolin' anybody, Lupe had managed to impress nearly everyone. In the Jaws of the Lords of Death gave new and old Lupe fans a splendid set of '80s flavored rock. It was cool music from a mysterious punk band with a famed frontman whose primary Grammy-grabbing forte is hip-hop. And yet, despite that successful genre-jumping accomplishment, accompanied by the promise of more to come, Japanese Cartoon has thus far turned out to be little more than a clever experiment by a brilliant rap artist who seems to bore quickly and who threatens to retire from hip-hop often. Still, the project provided Lupe Fiasco (aka Lupin III) with a much-wanted opportunity to flex his creative muscles. It also gave listeners a chance to hear and see that when it comes to making music, Lupe is an Akira-like force to be reckoned with. – SP

:::Download:::

10.10.2015

[Personal Shoplifter™] Astro Boy: The Complete Series DVD Collection (Sony Pictures, 2003)

In July of this year, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the 50-episode Astro Boy animated TV series (2003), amazingly priced at under $10 dollars! And although this blogger is an unabashed fan of the Japanese film and TV import releases of Mill Creek, he has decided against getting this particular Mill Creek release in favor of the now-super-duper-low-priced 2005 edition from Sony Pictures. Back when the Sony release first hit the marketplace, it carried an SRP (suggested retail price) of $39.99. But today, due to the atom smashing price on the Mill Creek set –– oh, and those pricing algorithms that internet vendors love to use –– the price has dropped big time! On Ebay, DVD-Closeouts has the Sony set for $10.75––with free shipping. In aggressive, algorithmic response, the price has dropped on it at Amazon, as of this writing, to $8.05!

Now, the main reason this blogger leans toward the Sony set is 'cuz he's a big, fat geek when it come to original releases. Not in all cases, but in some––like this one. And Mill Creek has been known to load all of the discs in a multi-disc set (4 in this one) on a single spindle inside one DVD keep case to keep costs down. And that's all fine and good when no comparable product exists. But the Sony set has 5 discs (ten episodes per) in separate slim cases with full-color cover inserts, and all housed together in a glossy black slipcase with embossed logo lettering on the face and spine.

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner (this is a great stocking stuffer for youngsters and the young-at-heart, by the way) whether you go with the Sony or the Mill Creek release, you're getting a steal of a deal™. But, for geekish collectors with other Sony releases like TekkonkinkreetSteamboy and Cowboy Bepop: The Movie on the anime shelf, the 2005 Astro Boy: The Complete Series has something of an edge. Well, at least while the price is still right.

10.05.2015

Betcha' didn't know who voiced Dr. Tenma on the Astro Boy animated TV series...


That's right, you super cool otaku, you––actor Dorian Harewood! You probably also knew that this longtime presence on the American stage and screen has used his velvety voice to breath life into a variety of characters in other animated film and TV productions over the decades. Included amongst this notable list are: Spectacular Spider-Man (2008), The Land Before Time (2007), Static Shock (2000), Godzilla: The Series (1998), Sonic the Hedgehog (1993), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) and many, many more.

10.03.2015

[Press-N-Play®] Ice Box Baby – HUTOCCHO MAMA


Judging the CD by its old school influenced cover, the last thing a listener might ever expect to hear mixed into this 10-track album of retro and internationally seasoned pop music from Ice Box Baby (a mid-1990s here-today-and-gone-the-day-after J-Pop group) is a head bobbin' hip-hop track. But the listener's ears are tossed a dizzying curve ball with "Hutoccho Mama," track five on the group's immensely enjoyable 二人の夏曜日(1995). Paying homage to uptempo rap jams like JJ Fad's "Supersonic" and Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It," "Hutoccho Mama" features Ice Box Baby kickin' the back and forth rhyme ballistics over a booming 808 bass line, and doing it like true school queens of rap. Yours truly has absolutely no idea how much play "Hutoccho Mama" got when it was released as a single back in the day, but he hopes that it somehow saw its fair share of pretend 'hootchie mamas' up in the club, moving their lil' rump shakers on the dance floor, and rapping right along with every well placed word.

10.01.2015

[Archives] Manga Mania #38, September 1996


Guys love dolled up hunnies with big'uns, right? And maybe even more so when they're fake––Whoa, whoa, wait-a-minute. I'm talkin' about big guns that are fake. What did you think this blameless blogger was taking about? Oh, no, no. For shame!!  Anywhoo, the September '96 issue of the dearly defunct magazine Manga Mania boasted an über cool, cover and an anime-inspired fashion spread inside that featured two sexily dressed hotties...with big'uns.


 The powerful looking peashooters featured in the photo shoot were courtesy of the Weird & Wonderful division of Elstree Film Studios. The clothes and styling of the spread's "video vixens" Ning and Nong was handed by Ad Hoc of London. Suzuki Quattro handled the photography, and the "Japanimation" screenshots inserted into the spread as backdrops were taken from Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira and Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Cyber City Oedo 808.


 That sultry expression says it all: size does matter. 


9.30.2015

[Personal Shoplifter™] Speaking of Cyber City Oedo 808 (US Manga Corps, 2005)


Just so'z you know, Amazon has the classic 3-episode OVA (original video anime) Cyber City: The Final Collection listed at the low, low price of $4.99––but sometimes even lower! For instance, it was listed at $3.81 when this blogger unhesitatingly snagged a copy of this DVD on Black Friday back in 2012. At that time, he hadn't even heard of Cyber City: Oedo 808. But there wasn't much to lose, getting the title for that price. And the reviews on it were enticing. What's more, the buy seemed like a super safe bet when considering that the folks behind Cyber City were director Yohiaku Kawajiri and Madhouse, the makers of the cult-classic anime Ninja Scroll. If you're also a fan of cyberpunk-themed anime productions of the late '80s and early '90s like Bubblegum Crisis and Ghost in the Shell, then this "exciting and well-crafted" (DestroyAllMonsters) OVA is a highly recommended steal of a deal™.

9.27.2015

[Archives] Vintage Mobile Suit Gundam animated GIFs, circa 1999-2000


One great thing about being a pack rat living in the 21st century is that a lot of what you [ahem] "archive" is in digital format. Thus your acquisitions can be saved to a computer's multi-gigabyte hard drive, or stored on an even larger external drive...where they can then be completely forgotten all about, as was the case with these now vintage animated gifs depicting robots from the Mobile Suit Gundam anime universe. Who knows what this blogger intended to do with them when they were downloaded from Buddha-knows-where in the spring of 2000. He wasn't even doing much in the way of blogging then, and wasn't a follower of Gundam-related anime, instead being a tremendous fan of the transforming robots of Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross (aka Robotech), MSG's biggest rival in anime then. But these animated gifs were super cool looking in the "low-fi" early days of the interweb, and today they've provided a fairly fantastic bit of fodder for this backwards-glancing blog post, fifteen years after they were [ahem] brilliantly stored away for posterity.  

9.21.2015

[Archive] A longing look back at the anime 'Video Comics' of Streamline Pictures

[Click to Enlarge]

As of late, I have found myself missing the golden age of anime in the US, a time some two decades ago when fans of the genre here were actually limited to fewer than one hundred different "Japanimation" titles––yes, which seemed like a lot back then. During the late 1980s, animated productions from Japan had finally become available to rent and buy thanks to a handful of American distributors. One of the best at that time was Streamline Pictures. This was the company that brought Akira, Fists of the North Star, Robot Carnival, Wicked City, Megazone 23 and several others to home entertainment specialty stores and comic book shops across country. Most of what the old school otaku in America like myself know about anime is due largely to what was carried in the Streamline Pictures catalog.

Anyway, with an expanding sense of nostalgia for the anime of that bygone time gnawing away at my heart's innards, I pulled a box out of the closet and began thumbing through some old copies Heavy Metal magazine; this done with the desire of finding an old two-page ad of Streamline's so called "Video Comics", whose forgotten place in my memory had somehow been recalled. When I'd found what I was looking for, I wasn't sure that I'd discover anything pictured on those pages I'd want to watch now that hadn't already bought or borrowed in the twenty-plus year since those ad pages were printed. But I was fairly certain that looking at the pages would stir up again an old sense of longing that this same act always had in the not-so-distant past.

9.18.2015

Acknowledgement is the first step: Confessions of Prince Planet cartoon junkie

The black and white kid's show Prince Planet (aka Planet Boy Papi), for countless numbers of snot-nosed kids living in and around "Chicagoland" in the mid-1970s, was an innocent-looking cartoon gateway drug that lead an untold many into lifelong spiral patterns of addiction for the animated films and TV shows of Japan. This blogger/failed addict in recovery was an impressionable 4 year-old when Prince Planet was aired at 3:00 in the afternoon on WSNS Channel 44, a station situated on the ultrahigh frequency or UHF dial of antique analog TVs. On weekday afternoons, after being awakened from my midday nap, I would scramble like a little lunatic to the television in the living room, 'jonesing' like a junkie for my quick fix, my daily dose of that half-hour high called Prince Planet.   

It's nearly indescribable, the hold that this cartoon had on myself and also many others who, I would learn later as an adult, were similarly effected by its habit-forming charms. It was an incredible appeal that grabbed at us all from multiple levels; from the catchy, kid-voiced theme song and the show's brave kid hero, to the crazy cast of equally brave supporting characters, wicked villains, and planet spanning adventures. Prince Planet was like no other cartoon show on TV. Unless, of course, you'd been a kid in during in the 1960s –– which I hadn't –– and had the pleasure of seeing episodes of the exciting Astro Boy or Gigantor (which I didn't), two other black and white imports from Japan that also featured pint-sized heroes.   

Well, quite unexpectedly, I turned on the TV one day to find that Prince Planet was gone, replaced in the 3:00 time slot by another show called Speed Racer. Unlike the monochromatic cartoon that I had come to adore, Speed Racer had been produced in color––apparently the kind of thing that was more attractive to advertisers, whose dollars paid for the commercial airtime that sustained TV stations like WSNS. I, of course, being a lil' kid, had no idea about the very shady business side of the TV racket. It took a while to get over the sense of loss that was felt, but soon enough I warmed up to Speed Racer. Despite my age, I was still astute enough then to realize that, like Prince Planet, Speed Racer characters had similarly large eyes. And though I was still too young to understand the connection, I was satisfied just thinking that there was one, and that the large-eyed look suggested something in the way of uniqueness. 

9.17.2015

[Press-N-Play®] Finger 5 – I Want You Back (Jackson 5 cover)


Yes, The download link on the old Finger 5 post on YKFS has been broken for a while, so... "I Want You Back" is being made available again here for a limited time. (Meaning for as long as the free downloads last.) You're welcome.

8.15.2015

Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly wore Onitsuka Tiger

Your second, um...or fifth favorite blogger was this friggin' close to purchasing a yellow pair of Mexico 66's. The temptation to buy arose from my long having it wrongly in my big ol' head that these shoes, made by Onitsuka Tiger since the mid-1960s, were the sneakers that Bruce Lee had on his nimble feet in the film Game of Death. The shoes that Lee actually did have on added a stylish 'grounding element' to an iconic ensemble comprised of a sleek yellow and black striped bodysuit and color coordinated nunchakus.

And to anyone for whom the aforementioned imagery just happens to resonate, imagine what you'd do if you happened to see shoes like those on the feet of some anonymous soul as he perused the racks with his seeds at the comic book shop, or while he roamed the aisles at Trader Joe's with his wifey, or as he did Tai Chi exercises in the neighborhood park? You'd probably walk right over and give him a fist bump or a high five for very obviously following in the footsteps of the most badass man to ever put on a pair of yellow sneakers. Am I right?

Well, as fate would have it, I have recently come to learn–after re-watching Game of Death clips–that the shoes worn by Lee in the film were actually a different and, as yet, unknown brand, possibly of Chinese make. There is a similarity between that shoe and the Mexico 66, but the Onitsuka Tiger sneaker is a better-looking shoe.

Come to think of it, though, looking as nice and as unique as they do, a pair of yellow and black Mexico 66's would still probably trigger the Game of Death association just the same. I mean, when was the last time you saw yellow sneakers on somebody's feet? Well, other than Tarantino's Bruce Lee homage via Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, that is.

Lee, as it happens, did wear Onitsuka Tiger's during the filming of Enter the Dragon, albeit not on screen. His co-star Jim Kelly can, however, be seen wearing a pair during his "unorthodox...but effective" fighting match in the arena of the evil Mr. Han. Behind the scenes photos show both Kelly and Lee wearing the shoes while practicing fight choreography. And these images have now caused this blogger to wonder: Did one of these kick ass icons pass on a superfly fashion tip to the other, or were they both already on the same shoe game level? Were they sole mates, sole brothers?

The world may never know.

Click to enlarge


Side note: The marketing department at Onitsuka Tiger should probably break Mr. Paco off with several different pairs of Mexico 66's (size 13) for brainstorming on the fly a brilliant ad campaign (pictured just above) aimed at the Generation X demographic––and their kids. If I myself happened to see an Onitsuka Tiger parody ad like this, based on the 90's Gap khaki ads, in some über-trendy culture mag, I'd be headin' right off to Footlocker to buy some new shoes. Word is bond. LOL

8.09.2015

7.25.2015

Hey, kids... Come 'n' get your Kung Fu Spex!™

 
Have you ever wondered what it might have felt like if Bruce Lee had roundhouse kicked you in the head? Well, wonder no more! That super-dizzying sensation can be yours every time you put on a pair of Kung Fu Spex™! A blinding blast from the not-so-distant past, Kung Fu Spex™ were made using the same once-top secret technology developed by scientists in the 1970s to assist CIA agents in nefarious interrogations conducted by the spy agency during the Vietnam War. Who needs LSD, acid, heroin, ecstasy, or any other drug for that matter? Just put on a pair of Kung Fu Spex™ and you'll be down on the floor, drooling like an infant and soaking in your own excrement in no time! Talk about an altered state! To order a pair of your own psychedelic sensation-inducing Kung Fu Spex™ send $9.99 (cash only) to Kung Fu Spex c/o Your Kung Fu Sucks, 4321 Sesame Street, Chicago, IL 60666. (Recommended for adults age 18 years old and up!) 
 
Note: Kung Fu Spex™ should not be worn while operating heavy machinery, driving, cooking, walking, or during sexual intercourse. Extreme dizziness, vertigo, vomiting, loss of muscle control and temporary memory loss will occur. Guaranteed or your money back! 

Kung Fu Spex™ © 2015 South Side Superflat

7.23.2015

[Flashback] Marvel Comics X Bathing Ape Limited Edition Sneakers!*


*Originally published on the KFG Myspace blog, circa 2005  

No matter how old you get, there will always be something that can bring out the kid in you. For example, right now the Japan-based clothing brand Bathing Ape has got me feeling like a Spider-Man Underoos-wearing 10 year old. Winter of 2005 will bring the staggered release of "Bape's" new limited-edition sneakers line Bape X Marvel, inspired by the characters that we all know-n-love from the pulse-pounding pages of Marvel comic books.

The shoes in the Bape X Marvel line are coordinated in the bright, primary color palate of our favorite characters: the patriotic red, white and blue of Captain America, the red and gold of Iron Man, and the green and purple of the Hulk, to name a few, with the Bape shooting star logo variously integrated on the side. On the right heel of each sneaker appears one of the old Marvel logos, and featured on the left heel is the classic "floating head" motif––a design staple found on the covers and inside the pages of Marvel books in the late 1960s and early '70s.

As if producing such a cool shoe line wasn't already a big enough coup, for an added measure of design genius, the sneakers from the Bape X Marvel line will come packaged on carded blister packs––the packaging type used on action figures since the days of Mego toys. The card itself is also gorgeously embellished with vintage images drawn by artists from the old school Marvel Comics bullpen like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Byrne, and many other legends.

In line with the adage that sez' that the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys, the prices on the Bape X Marvel sneakers will run in the usual $100-$300 range that Bape's limited-edition sneakers usually inhabit. But if you've been really good at being bad, then go ahead and spoil yourself with a pair of these super cool kicks. Just like the comic books that inspired them, the shoes in the Bape X Marvel line are destined to go up in value, sentimental and otherwise.

6.22.2015

Leaked? SDCC 2015 Ultimate Spider-Man 'Shanzhai' Teaser Poster & EW Magazine Cover!

[Click to enlarge] 


Are these leaked images of SDCC Ultimate Spider-Man teasers the reason that Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have so abruptly and mysteriously pulled out of pitching their tents at San Diego Comic-Con next month? St. Paco (aka Professor XXL) ain't really one to spread rumors, boys and girls, but...he's gonna offer a co-sign by spreadin' this one. [Innocent smile]

6.21.2015

[Press-N-Play®] Dezine – My Lover



All songs posted to the Your Kung Fu Sucks! blog are the property of their respective copyright holders.Their use here is strictly intended for promotional and informational purposes only. NOT FOR SALE. Please support the artists featured on the YKFS blog by buying their original CDs and mp3s where and whenever applicable. Any artist who would like to have their music removed from this promotional project may do so by contacting the administrator at stpaco@gmail.com.

6.20.2015

Making the "Leaked" SDCC Ultimate Spider-Man 'Shanzhai' Teaser Poster & EW Magazine Cover


Between you and me...and a bunch of other people who'll read this, I'd also planned to do a Spider-Man-related mini movie poster back at the time that the Marvel Blaxploitation mini movie poster series was produced (blogged about here). I toyed around with a few difference designs, but I just couldn't make it happen. Maybe I had completely run out of creative juice after making the other four pieces in the series. 

Actor/rapper Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) has been thought by many to be a promising prospect for the Spider-Man role in film ever since he sprang out of bed rocking Spidey costume pajamas in the opening credits of the Community TV show. The audacious notion of a black Spider-Man even prompted Marvel writer Brian Bendis to actually create "Miles Morales", an all-new web-slinging hero for the 21st century inspired by Glover. 

Despite a few years of DG buzz, Marvel Studios recently made known the plans that are being hatched to do another Spider-Man movie relaunch, including the character's introduction into the Avengers movie universe. But right off the bat they made it clear that they intend to use some other as yet unnamed actor, instead of Mr. Glover as Spider-Man. I'd bet my comic book money that I was far from alone in feeling annoyed with that news. 

Fortunately for me, though, thanks to the Photoshop™ gods and perseverance on my part, I've had an opportunity to visualize a tiny bit of what has been pinging around inside my brain ever since the idea of Glover playing Spider-Man on screen began to waft through the ether. But first, how about a little bit more backstory.

A week ago, during the early part of a phone chat with my friend Gigi, I was gently scolded for my not yet having put together a zine & art show that I had talked about doing; a ten year retrospective on my underground publications and art. She finally cut me some slack, though, since I am still working on essays for the book that I'm writing and designing.

After that call ended,  I felt inspired to go through old folders on the Mac, and to look over the pieces that I'd planned to showcase in the exhibit. In one of the folders were the previously failed attempts at a Spider-Man mini movie poster. The creative juices promptly began flowin', and somewhere around 2 hours later, it all came together. But I continued to tweek and twerk (no, I didn't really twerk) the design for several more hours.

It's funny how that works, kiddies. Something that didn't at all gel creatively before––no matter how hard you tried to make it happen––finally comes together. Admittedly, though, part of the problem is that you kept (or keep) approaching the subject from the same direction. Yet, by taking the idea back to the proverbial drawing board, and starting from scratch, you achieve the creative breakthrough that you'd hoped for when your project was started.  

Beginning this blog entry, I had planned to share some of the disparate visual elements that went into to making the full mini poster image (there's 30 layers to this thing). But now I don't wanna ruin the illusion. I also thought that I'd detail the story ideas that I have for my "Ultimate Spider-Man" movie, which I've set in Chicago, Tokyo and Hong Kong (NYC settings have become a bit cliché in movies today), but I think that I'll hold onto 'em.

If you liked last year's Marvel Blaxploitation mini movie poster series, then I hope that you'll dig this new addition––and bonus. It was a lot of fun bringing these new pieces to life. Especially when considering the major difficulty that I'd had with making a Spidey piece the first time around. As they say: perseverance pays off. Or is it persistence? [Shrug] Meh. Same thing.  

Shout outs to Donald Glover, Jamie Chung, Jamie Foxx, Brian Bendis, Marvel Comics, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, Entertainment Weekly, Complex, San Diego Comic-Con––and anyone who temporarily fell for the illusion in this digital hatchet job and believed for a moment that an Ultimate Spider-Man movie was on the horizon. Uh, and shout out to Samuel L. Jackson, well...just because.