My favorite Christmas comics from Marvel and DC

Christmas, like no other holiday, has inspired a lot of things. Stories, songs, TV specials, movies, you name it. It’s gotten to the point where all these things are (to many) an indispensable part of the holiday season.

Christmas has inspired a number of comic book specials as well. Manic Expression’s own richb wrote his own list of top 12 Christmas comics a few years back. I thought I’d do so as well. There will be at least two overlapping items, but there will be a lot of comics that didn’t make richb’s list. Especially since I’ll be including one or two Marvel items as well.

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The Cartoon Physicist’s Noughtie List – Toolbox Murders

Physicist returns from wherever the hell she’s been to do a (late) Halloween review in honour of the late Tobe Hooper.

(It was very much intended to be released on Halloween when it was filmed, sorry that it’s late.)

Watchin’ Stuff – My Little Pony The Movie Review

We’re watching My Little Pony make its big screen movie debut. If only it were actually good. ENJOY

Laced To Death

This is a short film that I had been working on the past week for the MAD 2017 48-Hour Film Challenge. Me and my group were given 48 hours to produce a short film and were given a genre, prop, character and line of dialogue to incorporate.

What we ended up with is a story of a velcro obsessed killer stalking his next victim. I was the video editor on the project and was very happy with the results but what made this even cooler was that our group won the Horror category for the whole challenge. Very happy right now and just want mine and my team’s work to be up for all to say. So hope you enjoy watching Laced To Death.

The Top 9 Iconic Slasher Movie Villains – By Film Quality! (31 days of Halloween, day 2)

Slasher movie fans have been happily fighting over which slasher villain is “best,” probably long before Freddy vs. Jason pushed the question. But the fights are always over “who the killed the most people?” “Who would win a fight?” “Who’s the coolest?” Well, sorry, I’m not watching if they don’t have a good movie to keep me interested (and the answers, by the way, are Jason, Pinhead, and Freddy.) So now, here’s the definitive look at which slasher villains have the top film series and are therefore the best. You’re welcome.

– The slashers must have multiple movies to qualify, not just one movie or remakes of it (sorry, Pennywise). We’re looking at who holds up best over a series, here.

– ONLY slasher villains (sorry Karloff, Lugosi, and Hopkins).

– No straight-up monsters, even if they’re smart about how they kill (sorry, Thing). It just blurs the line too much.

– To be “iconic,” each slasher has to be known in the mainstream, at least as well as their movie title (sorry, Angela Baker).

– Each series has to have at least one theatrical movie to be iconic (sorry… pretty much everyone who would’ve been more or less disqualified on the last one anyway).

And finally, why only the top 9? Because, unfortunately but often truthfully for these guys, less is more.


  1. Candyman

The definition of a one-hit wonder, Candyman’s first sequel didn’t even do well enough for the inevitable direct-to-DVD follow-up to keep the series going. Still though, his first movie was pretty solid. Roger Ebert said it impressed him by using gore and ideas to be scary (Candyman is the ill-fated son of a slave, who must kill to continue existing), and to this day, even those who haven’t seen it still know how to summon the titular character. He’s still one of the less iconic figures to appear on this list, but he gets the credit for putting in the work that one time, earning his recognition, while box-office draws like Jigsaw are stuck on the outside looking in.


  1. Leatherface

Again, a one-hit wonder, but the fact that they’re still making direct sequels to that one hit, even throwing out the failed remakes in favor of going back to it, tells you how powerful it was. (The newest addition to the series, a prequel, is currently just above the “fresh” line on rotten tomatoes, but we’ll see how long that lasts, once it gets its theatrical release.) Leatherface is one of the biggest horror film icons, and I originally had him all the way up in 5th, before the harsh reality of what he accomplished – or didn’t – sunk in. For the most part, his follow-ups were bad.

Still, there’s a lot to admire about that brutal first Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It has so much gusto, all for a story that really can be summed up by the title, you might say it does for meat-eating what Psycho did for showering. You could argue it’s not the full cinematic experience that the more tactful and subtle horror classics are. But think about how many horror movies try desperately to quilt, stitch together, or even just plain drown in style to defy their peers and earn some respect. Chainsaw’s straightforward documentary look makes it clear that the film already knows exactly what it’s afraid of – and should be. In my mind, I can still see a certain shot with a sledgehammer. Head to head with his rivals’ best movies, Leatherface wields so much power, that I still considered putting him one, even two places ahead of where he is. And if he ever gets another leg to stand on, that’s just what I’ll do.


  1. Pinhead

Whether Pinhead has one good movie or two depends on who you ask – unless you ask his hardcore fans, in which case almost every horror movie ever made is good (and at least half of Pinhead’s too). But that’s still enough to put him tentatively above Leatherface.

What makes me laugh about this guy in particular is how people describing his concept development always want to make him sound like this entrepreneur. You see, audiences were all prejudiced, back in the day, and they didn’t think slasher villains could be sophisticated. Poor Pinhead had to struggle through so much typecasting, with studio executives either wanting him to stay silent and one-note or crack jokes like that Freddy sellout. But he had faith, yes, he had faith that just maybe, a killer who carried himself with a little dignity was the slasher everyone didn’t know they wanted. And he proved it, by creating one of the least-profitable long-running horror franchises in history!

Still, onscreen, it’s hard to take Pinhead lightly, in some ways beating Jigsaw to the punch by over 15 years. And even if you’re not a Hellbound fan, with its greater gore and arguably lesser story, one movie about unleashing the sadistic forces of Hell and the twisty, brutal ways in which they deal might be more than enough.


  1. Chucky

Chucky is like that long-running celebrity just outside the mainstream, like a Bruce Campbell or a Lou Reed, someone who was never quite the man but kept coming up with new ideas for hits that made people keep coming back, over the years.

After a solid first outing that filled the “evil doll” horror niche so well, it’s still the go-to example, Chucky started down the usual “series” route, continuing the same plot and battling the same character. I’ll say he did okay (sort of) in Child’s Play 2, but by the third movie, he was running out of steam. So in a surprise move, he let the book close on the story of his nemesis Andy’s childhood and embraced his silly side, in the satirical Bride of Chucky. It wasn’t perfect, but it made people want to watch again. His follow-up Seed of Chucky seemed to signal the end of ultimately just another unremarkable slasher series, but 9 years later, he was back on DVD with the dark, dour, and surprisingly enthusiastic Curse of Chucky, which some called the best film in his series (“some” being the unfortunate keyword).

Like Pinhead, you could argue Chucky’s total number of good movies is still at one, and if you prefer Pinhead’s grandiose horrificness to Chucky’s greater emphasis on fun, you might rather he have gotten the nod. Still, of the two, Chucky definitely pushed past “typical” and “humdrum” more often, and Curse of Chucky is perhaps just a little too good to deny. It’s enough to tip the scales in his favor.


  1. The Predator

This came really close to breaking my “no monsters” rule. But in the end, if the Predator happened to be from earth and everything else were the same, he’d fit the slasher villain description to a T. He stalks and hunts down his choice of victims with his choice of weapon, they can never see him coming, and the gore factor in how he kills is part of the horror. If Jason Voorhees had been the son a genius big game hunter, instead of a deranged camp cook, it would look something like this.

Once I got past that, ranking the Predator this high was easy. That adrenalin-pumping, testosterone-fueled first outing is my favorite of any movie we’ve talked about so far. Imagine a film that could make you afraid for Arnold Schwarzenegger and his band of well-armed, B-list 80s action stars. It doesn’t hurt either that you really get to like most of them. And in 2010, after a cute novelty pairing with the Alien series that soured fast, The Predator got a second half-decent entry, with a remake titled Predators. Simply put, Chucky is outgunned. It’s only the lack of a true horror classic, one that will never need the word “cult” as a qualifier, that keeps him from ranking any higher.


  1. Michael Myers

If Michael is the ultimate one-hit wonder, it’s a hit that can’t ever be overshadowed by just a couple of decent horror movies. The original Halloween hits home the sheer paranoia of being stalked, the simple and plausible terrors we imagine on nights like Halloween, well enough to be the definitive maniac-on-the-loose suspenser.

Its only weakness might be that it waits one or two beats too long to get moving. Apart from that, with a set-up that feels like it was taken straight out of some local urban legend and a haunting, slow-burn chase that feels one-of-a-kind, even after an infinity of imitators, Halloween locks Michael in the top five. You could argue this is too much for one movie, but in Halloween H20, Michael did get a semi-worthy sequel (maybe less-so when compared to his first movie), which cements his spot ahead of Predator. Sometimes you’ll also find a fan who likes part two or even thinks it’s better than the first one (HA!), but that’s not enough to save him from a loss that might seem embarrassing, given his reputation.


  1. Ghostface

The slasher who pumped life back into scary movies, Ghostface’s horror might be closer to the “mystery thriller” brand than anything truly scary, but he makes up for it with likable supporting characters and a satirical edge that’s razor sharp, at the top of his game. In hindsight, a killer attacking teens who are huge horror movie fans almost makes too much sense…

Ghostface wins out over Michael, plain and simple, by having more legitimately good movies. Ghostface has Scream 1 and 2, half his series, while Michael only has the first Halloween. And even if Scream 3 and 4 don’t measure up, they’re probably better than any two sequels Michael ever came up with, so forget supplemental points. Weighing against that is Michael’s status as a genre-definer, a true icon, with one of the few essential horror films. But what gets Ghostface over the line is that he can’t be too far behind. Shooting down an entire formula, to the point where horror movies that used it are called “pre-Scream” slasher flicks and everyone knows the quip about virgins surviving by heart – not mention creating a more signature Halloween costume than the actual Halloween movie – is enough to tip the scales.



  1. Norman Bates

This list wouldn’t be complete without the slasher who started it all (no, not Jason). Many people don’t even know that Norman Bates has sequels in his series, and a good portion of those who do almost see it as their duty to respectfully give them a thumbs down, because of what a classic the original is. So what if I told you that even Psycho 2, for me, is on par with any movie in the Scream series? You can probably see why Norman is a shoe-in for a spot this high.

Other than maybe his fourth outing, a TV movie prequel that also serves as a retcon, it can be argued that Norman never missed. Psycho 2 lets us spend time with him as an underdog protagonist and learn why this poor, sympathetic man is so scary all over again. Psycho 3, while a bit conventional, has the most tragic moment in the series and, with Norman’s actor Anothony Perkins in the director’s chair, brings Norman to a fitting end. And of course, there’s the original, which I think I’m just starting to truly appreciate, even with my darn aversion to black and white cinema.

Even without the single most famous horror movie moment in history, Psycho is a tense and disturbingly relatable movie, tapping into plenty of little fears and a couple of big ones too. Norman Bates is both sympathetic enough to draw you in and uncomfortable enough to keep you in suspense. And the way it tells his story plays you like a piano, until the climactic high point and the eerie final notes that drive home why he makes us afraid.


  1. Freddy Krueger

The Springwood Slasher has three well-respected movies, none of which require you see more than the other two to understand them. But then, on several cards including mine, over half of his nine films are at least passable. No slasher villain with a series nearly as long can make any kind of claim to that. A friend of mine wasn’t far off when he dubbed A Nightmare on Elm Street “the one where the sequels are actually good.”

But beating Norman Bates requires a movie that at least rivals the all-time great first Psycho, and Freddy has one. The first Nightmare on Elm Street is on par with any horror movie classic, perhaps the definitive film to blur the line between dreams and reality. Thematically, you could argue Nightmare has the most depth of any movie on this list – which is ironic, considering Freddy’s status as a go-to commercial brand slasher. Freddy, the gleeful and sadistic child murderer, is a bizarre horror that the Springwood parents couldn’t reconcile with their normal, suburban life. Now, as they try to suppress him, erase what happened, he tightens his grip on their family stability, ready to destroy their children from their very subconscious.

Even if you want to be an old time purist and side with Psycho (personally, I prefer Elm Street), there are still the supplemental points. Freddy’s New Nightmare has more than enough thrills and brains to match Psycho 2 and actually got better critical reception. Nightmare 3 and Psycho 3 are oddly comparable, light on real scares but solid on entertainment and character resolution – and again, the critical reception is more or less in Freddy’s corner. Freddy had a few more stinkers, but nobody said you had to watch them, and his options like Freddy’s Revenge, The Dream Master, and Freddy vs. Jason do have their fans. In the end, he offers more and better options than Norman, than everyone, and for that, I crown him the king.

Oh, and he totally beats Jason in a fight. It kind of goes without saying, when only one guy has the means to get rid of the other.


Honorable Mention:
Jason Voorhees – It actually did hurt me a little to leave the very face of slasher film villains off the list, but there’s a good case to be made that Jason doesn’t have a single good movie in his 12 part series. And one of his better cases to the contrary is a team up done more in the style of his nemesis, Freddy Krueger. Otherwise, you could maybe argue his first film, the fan-pleasing Final Chapter (yeah right), or the meta-humor filled Jason Lives, but by the time I remembered The Predator, I realized I had to stop making excuses for him. Jason is the Ronald McDonald of slasher villains. The stuff he offers is easy to make, easy to eat, and cheap from top to bottom.

Jigsaw – The Burger King or maybe the Wendy of slasher villains, Jigsaw worked harder to earn slightly less staying power than Jason. He has a couple movies that people stick up for, and he knows how to make you squirm, but whether anything he made qualifies as “good” is debatable at best. He stands out enough to deserve a mention, but he lacks the muscle power to make the list

Samara Morgan – I had a tough time deciding whether she counted, but in the end, she would’ve been hard-pressed to beat Candyman anyway. Her film series followed almost exactly the same arc of dropping quality.

Three Finger – In the end, it’s the fact that he’s really not iconic that kept him off the list. But I do actually like one of his movies with his fellow cannibals, Wrong Turn 2.


With that, I bow out and wish you a joyful, terrifying October. Enjoy the other 29 days, and Happy Halloween.

My Top 10 Favorite T-kun Unusual Wordsmith III

As many of us probably know, T-kun Unusual Wordsmith III recently went through some difficulties that took her offline for a while and caused her enough additional problems to probably make that the least of her worries. I was largely out of commission myself at the time, and I wish I could’ve been more supportive. Instead, I ended up humbly admiring how many of you seemed to step up to the plate and gave her your voice of support. It’s true you can make some real friends on this site.

All the same, I wanted to tip my hat to how much we all appreciate her around here and show, in my own way, how glad I am that she’s a part of the site. Picking out her top 10 poems is akin to picking out the 10 nicest apples from all the grocery stores in a city. There’s no way I can give due consideration to all of them, even after excluding her best non-poetry blogs. But I have kept track of some personal favorites over time, and I hope you’ll check them out:

-Paint a Picture No. 9 (

If you’re like me, skeptical about your chances of getting into a person’s poetry series, this would probably be a good place to start. This is the poem that T-Kun first won me over with, because of how well she nails the feeling of Christmas Eve when you’re young. (It’s not quite the same as, say, your birthday, when you just can’t wait for all this great stuff to happen to you. There’s almost an antsy kind of anticipation, like it all signals something big on its way, something powerful, magic.) And getting to the picture she chose enhances it even further, really driving home the fun of this particular series.


-Free Write No. 18 (

Let me suggest that after the first few lines, you don’t read this one too slowly or analytically. Instead, try to take it in beat by beat, more like an experience than a story. It might just show you a new side of what writing can do, in all its creative possibilities. T-Kun has certainly done that for me a couple times with her poems, this being my favorite example.

-Fake Fear (

T-Kun can be quite the reflective poet when she wants to be, as she often does, and she likes to single out mindsets that people can find themselves stuck in. This poem doubles down on one I know all too well, how vague fears, perhaps even uncertainty, can hold a grip on a person.

-Free Write No. 65 (

I’ll avoid speaking for people who have gone through something I can’t say I have, to date, but this poem paints a strong and empathetic image of despair, with an equally strong resolution in favor of self-worth and moving forward.

-Drowning Drink (

If you’ve ever had a vice of any kind, you can understand this one. The appeal, the downward spiral, clinging to it, all of it comes through in this poem about the times someone might want to take a drink. And it also takes a look at how one might come to terms with it.

-I’m Going to Lose (

Fighting any losing battle can be a downpour of complicated emotions for anyone, and if any such experience stands out in your mind, this is a poem for you. It starts with the notion of taking it with dignity and staying strong for the next challenge but seems to fight a losing battle with itself in vouching for it. The speaker admits openly that they can’t seem do it themselves anymore and gets lost in their own despair, before coming out the other end, on which one can’t even care about losing. It’s not worth taking that seriously anymore. Bring it on.

-Hand in Hand (

Originally, I had Free Write No. 46 here ( ), but this poem overtakes it with an even stronger meditation on people’s aversion to treating each other well. This one latches onto the notion we have that for ourselves and those we care about to be happy, someone else must be beaten down. It’s a pretty hopeful and encouraging message, for such a true point about the world’s entitled side.

-That Clue (

This is the story of a girl

                Who cried a river and drowned the whole world

And while she looked so sad in photographs

                I absolutely love it

                When she says LET’S ROCK!

Like all good poets, T-Kun drew from her recent experiences and emotions to create and add to her body of work. And while its resulted in some of her best poems (including the next entry) by describing the different hardships and the complex emotions, this unexpected entry makes me want to hold up the “rock on” symbol in her honor. It’s about the side of this that turned out to be an adventure, a path through a new part of her life that she’s actually a bit excited to explore. And wherever it leads, the message to everyone out there is “ride on!”

-Come Hell (

Far be it from me to say what these last few months have been like for our resident poet, but this poem makes for one vivid glimpse. I could describe it, how it brings up the people she’s sharing this burden with, what she had to go through to get where she is, the things she’s still going through, but in the end, it’s best to let it speak for itself. It does so in spades.

And finally, because it’d be too much of a shame to neglect these, one of my favorite non-poetry blogs of hers (collabing with Les):

First Drive: 2017 Subaru Impreza WRX

At the 2017 Houston Auto Show, I got to test drive a 2017 Subaru Impreza. It comes with a 2.0L H4 engine that produces 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. Subaru has a turbocharged version of the Impreza, the Impreza WRX. Subaru had one available to test drive at the 2017 Houston Auto Show. The version that I test drove came with the optional CVT transmission. A six speed manual transmission is standard for the WRX. The WRX comes with an all-wheel drive system. Subaru is known for its flat boxer engines and its all-wheel drive system.

The WRX has a sporty look it. The hood scoop adds to the aggressive styling. The version I drove was the WRX Premium, which comes with foglamps, 18 x 8.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels. It also came with cloth seats. The WRX Premium also comes with manually adjusted driver and passenger seats. I had plenty of head room and leg room behind the wheel.

The WRX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L H4 engine that produces 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds withe CVT and 5.4 seconds with the 6 speed manual transmission. It has a top speed of 155 mph. Like the Impreza, the WRX has a smooth ride. The extra 104 hp is very noticable. This car is very fun to drive. The WRX starts at $26,695, The WRX Premium starts at $28,995. The WRX Limited starts at $30,995. You do get a lot of bang for your buck with the WRX.

Overall, this is a fun sports sedan to drive. It has a smooth ride, plenty of room for a compact sedan, and is reasonably priced. The WRX solves the Impreza’s lack of power. For those who need more power, there is the WRX STi, which comes with a 2.5L turbocharged H4 engine that produces 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. The STi starts at $35,195. There are vehicles with V6 engine that do not have power of the WRX or the STi engine. With the WRX, you can get a fun compact sports sedan for under $30,000.


Photo was taken by a digital camera.

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The Cartoon Physicist’s Noughtie List – The Very Late Second Anniversary



At long last, finally here, the VERY LATE second anniversary of my show. A crossover big enough to deal with an adaptation I can’t stand. (Originally published on July 31st).

Cartoon Corner: Canadian Cartoons

How aboot we watch some Canadian Cartoons, eh? ENJOY!

The Flash #300: A Comic Book Clip Show

There are many different ways  a superhero comic book can celebrate a milestone. Sometimes, they have a big, status quo changing event (such as a marriage, death, birth, costume change, introduction of a new villain, and so on). Sometimes they have a memorable confrontation between the heroes and one or more of their greatest antagonists.

And sometimes they settle for the comic book equivalent of a clip show. The Flash #300, Volume 1, originally published in 1981, is one such milestone issue. Read more

Friday the 13th the game when Jason is chasing you

WIJDW: Superman turning the world backwards

Hello and welcome to Why It Just Doesn’t Work (or WIJDW), where I take a look at moments within movies, television, comic books, or other media and explain why they just don’t work.

Okay, I’m running the risk of beating a dead horse here. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, this article is about the controversial conclusion of the 1978 classic Superman: The Movie, starring Christopher Reeve as Superman. And I know what you’re thinking: Hasn’t this already been talked about enough? Maybe, but there are a few points about it that I don’t think people have talked about enough. Mainly the fact that they get so carried away discussing the visual representation of the event that they don’t discuss the meaning of it.

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Friday the 13th the game the death of Jason

Let’s Play 7 days to Die live Broadcast

Let’s Plat Friday the 13th the game live Broadcast 3