Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Rex Dexter of Mars!

 Dick Briefer's Rex Dexter of Mars was a delightfully bizarre interplanetary adventure strip that ran in Mystery Men Comics from Fox Publications in the early 40s. In the Fall of 1940, the space-hopping Rex received his own comic - which lasted exactly one issue, the cover of which is posted above.

Someday, stargods willing, I will write a Rex Dexter graphic novel; he's one of two Golden Age space heroes (the other, of course, being Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk) that really fascinate me. As the character is now in the public domain, all I need to do is find the time... and an artist to collaborate with! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Richard Matheson R.I.P.

Sadly, after an anxious day of rumors on Facebook and Twitter, it has been confirmed that the extraordinarily talented fantasist Richard Matheson has departed this plane at age 87 after a long illness.

Matheson has always been one of my greatest literary influences and inspirations, a man whose imagination knew no limits, who could see the fantastic in the mundane world around us, and paint vivid, indelible, unforgettable images with words. He was a master, and his influence on popular culture - from the Twilight Zone to The Incredible Shrinking Man to Roger Corman's colorful Poe films to Somewhere In Time (the movie theme was played at our wedding) to I Am Legend and beyond - is immeasurable. In fact, I was just watching the 1971 film adaptation of Legend, The Omega Man, last night.

When I was writing my Kolchak The Night Stalker comic book miniseries a few years ago, it was Matheson's teleplays for the original TV movies that I used as my guide to the character.

Rest in peace, sir.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stallone & Statham Reunite For HOMEFRONT

Here's another upcoming action flick I'm looking forward to. Sylvester Stallone writes and produces this vehicle for his fellow Expendable, Jason Statham: Homefront. According to the IMDb, this Gary Fleder-directed thriller co-stars James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder and Clancy Brown.

The plot is described thusly: "A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord."

Not a lot to go on there, admittedly, but the cast looks good. Director Fleder is an unknown quantity to me (looks like he's mostly done episodic television), but, as we all know, I'm pretty much always up for a Statham flick. Homefront is due in November.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


A Sneak Peek at GRAVEDIGGER: "The Predators." Art by Rick Burchett
Just wanted to remind folks about my two free weekly webcomics: Gravedigger and Perils On Planet X. Both comics premiered in February, and neither one has missed a week yet.

Gravedigger, which updates every Monday, is a hardboiled noir comic in the tradition of 60s Gold Medal paperbacks and 70s crime films, drawn by the incredibly talented and underrated Rick Burchett. We're actually closing in on the end of the first adventure, "The Scavengers," which will wrap up in August. On September 2nd - barring disaster - we'll be beginning our second caper, "The Predators," which is brand new and never been seen before in print or online.

If that story proves popular, I've got a third caper in mind, tentatively titled "The Marauders," which both Rick and I are eager to do.

A Sneak Peek at PERILS ON PLANET X: "Flight Into Terror!" Art by Gene Gonzales
Perils On Planet X, which sees a new page every Friday, is a swashbuckling interplanetary adventure in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars or Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon. It's drawn by the amazing Gene Gonzales and colored by Ian Sokoliwski. As with Gravedigger, we're closing in fast on the end of the first chapter, "Captives Of The Corsair Queen," which will conclude in July. The second chapter, "Flight Into Terror," is currently scheduled to debut on August 1st. Chapter Two will run for 28 weeks, with Chapter Three, "Blood Horde Of The Forbidden City," to follow.

Both comics have pretty decent followings, but I'd really like to see both titles garner more regular readers. We had a nice bump a few weeks ago, when comic writer/author Greg Rucka gave them a very kind plug, but I still think they could be doing a lot better. 

Unfortunately, I don't seem to have the knack for effective self-promotion; beyond posting weekly notices on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, I've had comparatively little success getting much attention for the comics. I'm going to keep trying, though! You can help, too - if you dig Gravedigger or Perils On Planet X, we'd definitely appreciate you mentioning them on your own blogs, on appropriate message boards, on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyway, the clock on the wall says 4:30 AM... it's a lot later than I thought, and I really need to get some sleep....

Friday, June 21, 2013

Escaping The Tomb

Speaking of 80s action icons, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger will soon appear in their first film as genuine co-stars (I don't really count Arnold as a co-star in the Expendables flicks, as his appearances there were really just cameos)... something 80s action aficionados have been waiting 30 years to see!

Escape Plan (formerly known as The Tomb, which was a far cooler title, in my opinion) is due out in October, and casts Stallone as a “structural-security authority” who finds himself locked up in a prison of his own design. In order to figure out who framed him for the crime he didn’t commit, he’ll have to use his expertise - and, no doubt, Arnold's invaluable assistance - to escape.  Sounds promising. I'm looking forward to the first trailer.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Catching Up On The Action

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I love goofy action movies (particularly those of the 80s and early 90s), and that a few months ago, I was particularly looking forward to Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand and Jason Statham's Parker. Well, last month, I picked up the Blu-ray editions of both of those films, and wanted to just post a few thoughts here.

I pretty much loved The Last Stand. Yes, the story defies logic, but 1.) so what? and 2.) I really don't care when it's this much fun. I thought Arnold was great in his role of small-town sheriff, mentoring a small crew of deputies, and while the real action doesn't kick in until the third act, it's well-staged and executed by director Kim Jee-Woon, his stunt team, and the aging Arnold. The rest of the cast was adequate (I almost always enjoy Luis Guzman, and he's got a fun gag with Arnold's Conan sword), and I thought that actress Jaimie Alexander (Sif from Thor) was particularly good.

As for Parker, well, it turned out pretty much as I expected. It was an okay Jason Statham action flick and a poor adaptation of Donald "Richard Stark" Westlake's literary antihero. The filmmakers made the same mistake that nearly everyone has in adapting the character to film: they made him too human. The character in Westlake's novels is almost a machine, an unemotional, taciturn professional criminal with laserlike focus on the job at hand, whether it's a heist or revenge against someone who's wronged him. Here, they have the character verbalize (at least twice!) a "code of honor" that is both nonsensical and completely out of character. Too bad.

Statham does a professional job with what he's given, and I can't blame him for the mis-characterization. No, that falls fully on the script by John J. McLaughlin and the pedestrian direction of Taylor Hackford. Surprisingly, I thought Jennifer Lopez was pretty good.

Anyway, the movie has its moments, and I don't hate it, but it is a disappointment. Maybe they'll get it right next time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Cover: The Wrong Quarry

The "Quarry" series, chronicling the life of a Vietnam vet-turned-hired killer, is my favorite of author Max Allan Collins' various crime fiction series. Originally published in the 70s, the series got a new lease on life in recent years at neo-pulp publishing house Hard Case Crime, for which Collins has written five new Quarry novels. The latest, The Wrong Quarry, will be out next year under this gorgeous cover painting by Tyler Jacobson.

I've neglected this blog of late, while I concentrated on wrapping up a couple of projects, but I'm back and should be posting about comics, B-movies and other pop culture goofiness fairly regularly again... for a while, anyway. Stay tuned.