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Canadian Government Uncovers Super-Soldier James “Logan” Howlett

Apparently it’s all true, the Library and Archives Canada has acquired the declassified journals and military records of Canadian Super-Soldier James “Logan Howlett. Details to follow after the jump.

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Happy Thorsday! David Ward on Thor and Loki

Thor is a twit.

He’s boastful, arrogant, temperamental, and downright stupid. His half-brother, Loki, got the advantage on him more times than not, and Thor’s ususal response was to hit him with a hammer or come crying back (well, ok, screaming and yelling – that’s more manly, after all) to the Allfather, Odin. I can’t blame Loki for playing games with the Asgardian; he kept falling for them. He was quite possibly the easiest Mark in Norse myth, and for the trickster Loki, a source of endless entertainment.
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Saturday At The Movies: They’re All Going to Laugh At You – David Ward Revisits Carrie

In October, we will see the release of the remade Carrie, this time starring Chloë Grace Moretz in the titular role and Julianne Moore as her religious-zealot, overbearing, and abusive mother. I am cautiously optimistic about this upcoming film, as I feel both Moretz and Moore are singularly gifted actors who will likely bring something very interesting to the roles, never mind the special effects, which will almost certainly eclipse those in the last twenty to thirty minutes of the 1976 original.

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Given the new film is coming out in the next few months, I decided, for the first time in many years, to re-watch Brian DePalma’s take on Stephen King’s first (well, first published) novel. I wasn’t disappointed. Despite the feathered hair and, in terms of today’s displays, rather lacklustre effects (even for the time, the effects are pretty cringe-worthy in places), it still holds up as a terrific supernatural thriller encased in a horrific tale of adolescent abuse, both at the hands of Carrie’s peers and her mother.

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Happy Birthday To Superman, The Boy In Blue

Superman-First-Comic-Action-Comics-No-175 years ago Action Comics #1 hit the newsstands, which means that today, for all intents and purposes, is Superman’s (née Kal-El of the planet Krypton) birthday. Happy birthday, good sir! As a Canadian, I also cannot help feel a bit of pride about this auspicious day – while created in the United States, one half of the team that dreamed up this mythic icon, Joe Shuster, was a Canadian. Yes, Jerry Siegel was American, but we Canadians take what we can get. (Perhaps we should look at Superman’s creation as an iconic representation of the partnership between our great nations, but even I have to admit that’s stretching the envelope pretty thin)

Anyhow, our esteemed editor, Andy Burns, asked me to say a few things about the Boy in Blue today, given it’s his birthday, and I said “Yes, for sure”, despite not being a huge fan of the series, the hero, or the DC Universe as a whole (not to say I don’t like these things – I’m just more of a Marvel boy). Why? Because Superman was my first introduction into the world of comics, just like he is for so many other fans, or one-time fans, of superhero comics. Superman is the superhero, after all; there was never anyone like him before, and there’s never been anyone like him since (all other attempts have been, at best, pale imitations – even Captain Marvel, who is the magical manifestation of the science-based Superman, never achieved the canonical status of Superman). The American dream made manifest, and a god amongst men, Superman is the dream to which we all aspire, even if we don’t really want to admit it.

Back in about 1980 (could have been as early as 1979 or as late as 1981), my father gave me two oversized comic books: Superman and Captain Marvel. Both contained origin stories and adventures involving the two caped heroes. Yes, I enjoyed the Captain Marvel stories (S-H-A-Z-A-M!), but it was the huge, almost-as-tall-as-me, Superman book that I kept returning to. In rich blues, reds, and yellows, Superman pummelled the bejeezus out of whatever Lex Luthor threw at him, and I loved every second of it; that well-worn, pages-falling-out, tome turned me into a comics fan for life. I was fascinated with his origin story (he’s from OUTER SPACE – what kid doesn’t like aliens and dinosaurs?), and his humble upbringing on a lonely Kansas farm before heading to the Big App…Metropolis as the über-nerd Clark Kent (no one in their right mind, even children, could understand how a suit and pair of glasses hid him from prying eyes, by the way, but it made for good fun) were terrific bookends to the madness and mayhem of Superman knocking Luthor-powered robots with his bare fists.

It was a glorious book, and a glorious introduction to the world of comics, and for that I thank you Messrs Siegel and Shuster, my dad, and above all, Superman.

David Ward On Coil’s Tainted Love

I’m here to speak about a cover of a cover of a cover: “Tainted Love”. The song was originally released in 1965 by American singer Gloria Jones, but it failed to achieve mainstream success (or even hit the charts despite a re-release in 1976) until English duo Soft Cell re-recorded their new wave dance cover in 1981. They’re certainly not the first band to achieve massive success off the strength of a cover, whether or not it was their first hit (Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”, The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn”, Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”, etc.), and they certainly won’t be the last (Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams of This”, Whitney Huston’s “I Will Always Love You”, Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”, etc.). Covers aren’t going away; they’re a mainstay in the music industry.

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You might think I’m here to talk about Marilyn Manson’s 2001 cover of “Tainted Love” (a brief respite in a trite performer’s decline into mediocrity) – nope. I’ve instead brushed the dust off some ancient CDs and dug out my copy of Coil’s 1985 cover of the Jones-cum-Almond/Ball smash hit.

While far more reminiscent of the Soft Cell version than the Jones original, Coil’s lament is simply unnerving as it twists the dance-pop hit into a gothic-post-industrial dirge.

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May The Force Be With Him: David Ward On JJ Abrams and Star Wars

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A few months ago, we were all hit with the news that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm for a staggering $4.05 billion, which, in an unbelievable act of altruism, George Lucas will be donating to charity. While jokes and memes hit the Internet within minutes of the announcement, as well as superficial complaints, it quickly became apparent that this acquisition was likely going to be a good thing. Yes, while Disney is responsible for a colossal amount of trite and repulsive shorts, films, and merchandise, it is also the owner of Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, and The Jim Henson Workshop. None of these staples of modern pop culture suffered from the change in ownership; in all cases, its creators kept total control of their visions and properties and made, arguably, the best feature films any company had ever produced after the change.

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And then, the news yesterday: 2015 will bring us Star Wars VII directed by JJ Abrams, which is possibly the biggest and most exciting bit of Geek News to hit the Internet since the announcement that Joss Whedon was handling Marvel’s The Avengers. I, for one, welcome our new Jedi Master.

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Strange World: A Biff Bam Pop Short Story Anthology Now Available

A writer learns to craft a murder mystery the hard way. A trucker with a craving for coffee finds his family at the end of the highway. A couple faces the zombie apocalypse. Strange World: A Biff Bam Pop Short Story Anthology is the first short story anthology to be curated by the pop culture website Biff Bam Pop. It features previously unpublished works by various authors from across North America, and includes an introduction from New York Times bestsellng author Jonathan Maberry.

Strange World: A Biff Bam Pop Short Story Anthology is available exclusively from Kobo right here.

Featuring stories by:

Anne Michaud
Jason Shayer
Rathan Krueger
Andrew Burns
Jim Morris
David Sandford Ward
Glenn Walker
Kayla Tyson
Andre Narbonne
JG Chayko
Ken Haigh
Lucas Mangum
Ian Rogers

BIFF BAM POP! ANNOUNCES SEPTEMBER RELEASE FOR STRANGE WORLD SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY

eBook anthology to be released in the fall, featuring 13 unique horror, thriller and suspense stories, plus an intro by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry.

BiffBamPop! Loho

August 7, 2012, Toronto, ON – BIFF BAM POP! has announced a tentative September 2012 release date for the inaugural horror, thriller and suspense project, Strange World: A Biff Bam Pop Short Story Anthology. The collection will be released in eBook format with an introduction from horror icon Jonathan Maberry.

The book will include 13 “imagination altering” short stories, all sourced from the BIFF BAM POP! community of writers and readers. With the success of last year’s Biff Bam Boo comics collection, the team behind the BIFF BAM POP! culture outlet expect to find an even bigger audience with the Strange World anthology.

Featuring an introduction by multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, Strange World: A Biff Bam Pop Short Story Anthology will also include the following authors and their stories: Read the rest of this entry

Avengers Assemble – They Show Up, Something Explodes

Superheroes are a ridiculous bunch, but damn it, they’re entertaining. Where else can you find a bunch of grown men and women running around in some of the most ridiculous outfits you have ever seen (most of which would cause the judge of the most outlandish and bizarre drag-show you’ve ever thought of stand up and leave the room, giggling) rescuing us mere mortals from the enslavement of some slime-beast/alien/horde/robot/equally-hilariously-dressed-supervillain-whose-only-distinguishing-features-are-a-goatee-and-differently-coloured-codpiece? But, man, the explosions.

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March Madness: A Little Bit Of The Ultraviolence With Alex From A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange: I won’t bother summarizing the plot. If you haven’t seen this magnificent film by Stanley Kubrick (or read the less-than-magnificent-but-still-pretty-good novel by Anthony Burgess), stop reading this column right now and head to your local video store/shop/torrent site, get a copy, sit down with a glass of whisky, and dedicate two hours to absolute brilliance and jaw-dropping horror. Seen it? Good. Now we can continue.

Alex: a morally empty young man whose leisure activities include opiate-laced lactose, theft, battery, bloodletting, and rape. Like Frank Castle, the subject of my previous post, the man is a sociopath. He lives outside our laws and levels of moral behaviour because he considers himself above them; he is a law and force unto himself, and he revels in his self-imposed position. He’s not psychotic: he doesn’t break into fits of uncontrolled rage or mania; everything is cold, calculated, and considered. He’s fully aware of his actions; he simply doesn’t care.

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