Author: Joseph Dilworth Jr.

Joseph Dilworth Jr. has been writing since he could hold a pencil (back then it was one of those big, fat red pencils, the Faber-Castell GOLIATH. Remember those? Now that was a pencil!). As editor-in-chief and instigator of this here website he takes full responsibility for any wacky hi-jinks that ensue. He appreciates you taking the time to read his articles and asks that you direct any feedback, criticisms, questions about life directly to him by clicking here.

New Iron Man Photos!

Yahoo! has put up a slide show of some new pics from the upcoming Iron Man film. There are a few shots that have been floating around for a while, but mixed in are some new scenes of Iron Man in action as well as more Tony Stark. There’s also what appears to be the movie poster, which I particularly like. Check out a preview below and click here to view them all.

Let us know what you think of these pictures and the upcoming Iron Man film in the Pop Culture Zoo Lounge!

Does Portland Believe In Harvey Dent?

The ‘Dentmobile’ heads to PDX to rally support for Harvey’s bid for Gotham District Attourney…

The viral marketing campaign for the upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight rolls on. The campaign, part viral-marketing and part ARG (Alternate Reality Game) has lead fans on a series of elaborate clue hunts, both on the internet and in the real world. The latest chapter in The Dark Knight ARG is centered on on Harvey Dent, a character known to comic fans as Gotham’s embattled District Attorney and eventually the villain ‘Two Face’. The upcoming Batman film is rumored to feature Dent’s rise to power as Gotham’s D.A., as well as his eventual downfall at the hands of the mob.

The Harvey Dent Election Campaign rolled into the Rose City today, making three stops in downtown Portland, OR. The morning started out slow, with only a few attendees at the first stop at Waterfront Park. SoniaTheRed, our intrepid Publicity Dominatrix, did her best spread the word by gathering new recruits and helping to pass out campaign materials. The festivities came to an abrupt end when a pair of security guards for a local business told the crowd that they needed to move along. Clearly, they were uninformed as to Mr. Dent’s importance and his potential impact on cleaning up Gotham City. We gave them a sticker and headed onto the next stop…

The Dentmobile’s second PDX stop at Pioneer Courthouse Square was scheduled to start around 1:00PM and by 12:30, a small group of Dent supporters had already started gathering. We waited patiently in the rain and by 1:30 there was a good size crowd eagerly waving banners and voicing their support. As a growing police presence (ok, a security guard and one cop, but still…) eyed us warily, the Dent campaign truck was spied just down the street. We waved our banners to let them know we were eagerly waiting for them. The reason for their tardiness was because the Dentmobile had broken down at the first stop that day. There were rumors that this mechanical failure was caused by ‘a bunch of misfits in clown masks’. But the Dent campaign rolls on and the crowd welcomed the new truck with cheers as it parked across the street. After passing out a liberal amount of t-shirts, buttons, stickers and banners, the campaign organizers lead us on a support march around the block. We shouted and chanted our support and faith in Harvey Dent and let everyone know that crime and corruption was at an end in Gotham City. We tried to organize a rally in the heart of the Courthouse Square, but local law enforcement informed us that we would not be allowed to do so. Were these the ‘corrupt cops’ that Harvey had warned us about? We took a group photo and the Dentmobile moved on to prepare for their final Portland stop at OMSI.

For the final Portland campaign stop, the Dent organizers needed something to show our fair city that Harvey needs its support. So, a small band of Harvey backers paraded through the OMSI front lot and made their way onto the Hawthorne Bridge. There, we sang fight songs, encouraged support from oncoming cars and made certain that Portlanders wouldn’t soon forget that Harvey Dent’s goal of ridding Gotham City of corruption. At the end of the day, we collected a few remaining campaign materials and trudged back to our separate corners of the Portland-metro area, confident that Harvey would be proud of our efforts!

We have photos from all three Portland stops of the Dentmobile over on our official photo gallery.

Want to learn more about The Dark Knight ARG? Visit the official Batman ARG wiki, which has a thorough rundown on everything that has occurred so far.

Got any photos or stories from the Dentmobile that you’d like to share? Head on over to our Lounge…

Indiana Jones Omnibus Volume 1

I really like the format of these Omnibus Editions that Dark Horse is publishing. They’re sturdy, pack a lot of pages and are a nice size to take with you anywhere. Of course, it’s no coincidence of timing that Dark Horse is releasing their classic Indiana Jones tales just a few weeks before the premiere of the first Indy film in nearly twenty years. This first volume is a perfect way to get you back in a sweeping adventure frame of mind and is a great reminder that, when handled correctly, Indiana Jones lends himself very well to the comic book medium. There were attempts earlier by other companies to chronicle Indy in the four color world, but they fell pretty flat. Granted, translating a film or TV property to comics is a slippery slope, but Dark Horse has proven that they are unmatched in quality when it comes to doing so.

It seems odd attributing the word “classic” to comics that are only about fifteen years old, but these adventures truly are. Contained herein are three mini-series from the early ’90s, “Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis,” “Thunder in the Orient,” and “Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold.” The first adventure is adapted by William Messner-Loebs and Dan Barry from a LucasArts video game with art by Barry and Karl Kesel. The second adventure is all Dan Barry goodness with art assist by Andy Mushynsky and Dan Spiegle. “The Arms of Gold” is written by Lee Marrs with the pictures provided by Leo Duranona.

Of the three collected mini-series “Thunder in the Orient” is definitely my favorite. Dan Barry had such a perfect grasp of Indy’s world, which makes sense as he previously did the Flash Gordon and Tarzan newspaper strips. His pacing is definitely in keeping with the flavor of the old adventure serials and his art grabs your eyes and drags them happily along for the ride. “Orient” and “Fate of Atlantis” compliment each other very well, sharing a stylistic continuity and the great female lead character physic Sophia Hapgood. Much like Marion Ravenwood and Willie Scott before her, Sophia is a strong, independent woman who is wise to the charms of Doctor Jones while not being entirely immune to them. Both of the Dan Barry stories are on par with any of the films and even surpass one of them (rhymes with demple of toom). That these were Barry’s last comic books is wonderful in the sense that he went out at the top of his game, but sad in the loss of any further adventures.

So, does that mean that I hated “Arms of Gold?” Not at all. For me, it’s not as strong a story as the previous two, but it’s definitely worth being collected with these. Saying it’s my least favorite mini-series in this collection should not be taken as a slight to Marrs and Duranona. “Arms” is a rollicking Indiana Jones adventure and is a lot of fun to read. It’s still Indy doing what he does best, preserving a priceless, ancient artifact while narrowly avoiding death and managing to keep his skin, hat and whip intact. My personal preference would be to read this one first, but that’s just me.

Anyway, this is one terrific collection and, at 352 pages, a great value as well. Watch the three films again, sure, but also read these classic tales in whetting your appetite for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You’ll be glad you did.

The Flying Friar

It’s been a while since I’ve been as pleasantly surprised by a book as much as I was by The Flying Friar. Granted, the only thing I knew about this book going in was the title and having been a reader of writer Rich Johnston’s online comic book gossip column for years so I had no preconceived expectations, but I wish there were more comics like this one. Put simply, Johnston has taken actual records of a 17th century friar whom multiple witnesses claim flew and subtly remade them into a story of Superman versus Lex Luthor. Really. And it works far better and way less contrived than any Superman Elseworlds you can name. It’s either a credit to the story or a highlight of my somewhat being clueless that I was a third of the way in before I realized what Johnston was doing with the narrative. I then immediately started the book over just to catch the little things I missed, for what a rich (no pun intended) tapestry Johnston weaves with this tale.

Friar begins in Italy, 1602 where a meteor in the sky is witnessed by a small town. Notable among the witnesses is a distant descendant of the Protestant reformer Martin Luthor named Lionel and his son Lux. The meteor storm causes Lux to lose his hair. Sound familiar? Several years later, Lux, now a man of science, befriends the hapless Joseph of Copertino, the future patron saint of air travelers, aviators, people with a mental handicap, and weak students. Indeed, Joseph doesn’t seem to be overly bright, but is singularly dedicated to the Church and becoming a friar. The trouble is, Joseph is prone to moments of drifting suddenly into a state of staring blankly into space which sometimes results in spontaneous fires igniting in the direction he’s staring. Since Joseph is Lux’s only friend Lionel, a rich man, is prone to bail him out of trouble and to also use his considerable influence for Joseph’s benefit. Lux also shares a secret with Joseph; he is building a machine which will allow him to fly, something that causes a further division between the two when Joseph appears to fly without assistance. The elegant story touches on themes of friendship, religious differences and the corruption of greed, not only that of money and power, but also in a zealous lust of faith. Those are some very heady ideas for a Superman story, but make this one shine.

The artwork by Thomas Nachlik is crisp and tells the story in a simple yet emotive way. His artwork is sometimes reminiscent of Matt Wagner and I look forward to seeing more work from him in the future. The lettering by Thomas Mauer complements the art well and does a good job of reminding the reader of the setting of the story. The coloring by Ian Sharman in this new edition from Markosia is quite beautiful. He’s taken the black and white story and added an almost sepia tone-like wash to it with subtle use of Lex Luthor’s signature green in places. In all respects this book is a true work of art.

I know that even Rich Johnston describes this book as Smallville meets The Name of the Rose, but I personally found it more in the style of the Silver Age Superman imaginary stories. I can almost picture a Curt Swan cover with Supes in a monk outfit being berated by a purple and green silk adorned Luthor. I think this story would have fit nicely amongst those others. All in all, this is one terrific book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Buy this book, get cozy on the couch with nice cup of tea and prepare to be entertained.

Angel: After the Fall #5

With this issue Brian Lynch dispels all doubt about whether or not he belongs on Team Whedon. Lynch knocks it out of the ballpark with this one as several elements from the previous four issues come together here. Wesley, existing only as an ethereal spirit, is in trouble with the Wolfram & Hart Senior Partners for giving Angel too much help. Lorne, the Lord of Silver Lake, is feeling out of his depth and drowning his inadequacies in a few well-made drinks. A now-human Angel is preparing for a battle against what will most certainly be overwhelming odds. The Lord of Beverly Hills, Spike is planning to make a strategic withdrawal (IE: run away) with Illyria. Connor, Gwen and Nina are digging in and planning for the worse. And a bitter, now-vamped Gunn is watching the whole thing from the sidelines. Definitely sounds like it could be the beginning of a typical mid-season episode of the Angel TV series, not that any Angel episodes were usually what could be called typical. My favorite part of this issue is that the rallying cry for everyone, save Gunn, to regroup to help Angel is given by Lorne. Considering the way he exited in the final episode of the TV series, it was a touching detail. The only maddening thing about this issue is that the nifty cliffhanger won’t be resolved for three months.

I absolutely love Franco Urru’s artwork on this series. He does a fantastic job at composing a page and has superlative storytelling skills. Admittedly, the characters don’t always look like the actors that portrayed them on the screen, but I’m much more satisfied seeing the attention firmly on interpreting the script in an exciting way than page after page of copied-from-photos “posters” as seen in many other media tie-in comics. Besides, the sequence of Angel with a flaming sword battling a T Rex is full of more geek glee than should be allowed. I sure hope he is returning after the three issue flashback coming up.

Whether or not you know anything about Angel the TV series or not you really should be reading this book. You’ll get a fun, interesting story and some fantastic art and you really can’t ask for much more than that in a monthly book. This is a media tie-in well suited for the comics medium and isn’t hindered by being tied to a property. Buy it, read it, repeat each month.