Run out right now and add DC's Metal Men, written and drawn by Duncan Rouleau, to your pull list. Here's 3 reasons why:

#1: The Baloonatic - a sentient balloon terrorizing Metropolis

#2: The Death Metal Men - a villainous counter-team created by Dr. T.O. Morrow which hosts menacing metallic members like Uranium, Strontium and Thorium!

#3: Psuedo science lessons and amazing artwork laid out in pages like this:



Last night I had a dream about Monkey Magic. I’m serious. I dreamt I was the fishy dude Sandy, but (clearly) I was a girl: call me Fish-She Sandy. And I still found Pigsy repulsive. And I could do cool things with a wooden staff (though it wasn’t magical like Monkey’s, and hold the rude jokes please), kind of like Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess, if she happened to be a human-fish hybrid.
(Now before I go on, I learned while researching this story that Monkey Magic didn’t originally make it to the US, for copyright reasons. And I must say, you guys were SERIOUSLY missing out. This is the funniest, most ridiculous program EVER to be seen on television. And since I want you to read and enjoy this article, I suggest you preview Monkey Magic – which debuted in 1979 – right now. Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iUMWy4hqAg. Now read this article. Then go buy or hire the DVDs.)

Ok, back to my story.

I’m a huge Monkey Magic fan, but even I don’t quite understand its appeal.

I mean sure, it’s got the weird, retro, cross-cultural production thing going on: Monkey, filmed in China, is a Japanese adaptation of a 16th-century Chinese story (Journey to the West, tracing the origins of Buddhism), the actors are all Japanese, but the voices are dubbed in English, with bad and generally unidentifiable ‘Oriental’ accents. Oh yeah!

And all of the main characters are monsters. Monkey himself, who hatched out of a stone egg and flies around on mechanical clouds, is the leader of a monkey tribe (go figure). At one time he was guardian of some mythical peaches, but he got greedy and ate them all (can you blame him? everyone loves peaches), becoming immortal but also getting himself imprisoned in a mountain for several centuries for his crime. His companions Sandy (a water monster) and Pigsy (a pig monster) also got in trouble at the same time as Monkey.

Monkey, Sandy and Pigsy were rescued by the priest Tripitaka in AD 630 (Tripitaka is a man, played by a beautiful young woman, I have no idea why), and now they’re all on a pilgrimage to India to find some holy scriptures. Oh and even the horse is a monster: the dragon Yu Lung ate the priest’s first horse, but when it found out who the horse belonged to, it took equine form to carry the she-male priest around.

Got all that?

And if you can’t quite remember (or never knew) the kinds of adventures this motley crew got up to, here’s a reminder. In one episode, they all got swallowed by a fish monster. Inside the monster’s belly, Monkey and Sandy stumbled across a fairy who was complaining that she’d met a pig who tried to molest her (Pigsy had an eye for the ‘ladies’). They asked her if she knew a way out, but when she suggested they might make it out through the rectum, nobody was keen to try. So instead, the fairy threw a big party where they all got drunk, feasted on food the fish had eaten, and disco-danced to the Monkey Magic theme tune. Now THAT’S my kind of party.

When I was little, my mother, brother and I would gather around the television every day after school to watch Monkey together. And we’d mimic the bad Oriental accents throughout afternoon-tea: “Aw, Moms-eay, I ruv you. Canna preese have raisin-toast and hot chocorate again?”

And I do understand why we adored it. It was funny, magical, and there was a quest: classic fiction for children. What I don’t understand is why I and so many others continue to love this ridiculous program well into adulthood. And why my mother even loved it back then.

In Australia, we really embraced Monkey Magic. We gave it a cult following, and in fact it was (and remains) more popular here than in both Japan and the UK. In 2004, the Chinese Year of the Monkey, we even released postage stamps featuring the main characters.

I’ve tried to find out why we loved it so much, but so far, no answers have emerged. The best Wikipedia could do was praise the theme song, but all I remember of the song is: “Monkey Magic, Monkey Magic. Monkey Magic, MonkeyMagIC”. And when you’re competing with “fighting for your rights / in her nylon tights” (thank you Wonder Woman), I really don’t think it can be the theme song that did it.

No, I suspect that the appeal of Monkey relates more to the fact that it’s just, well, weird. And weird people like watching weird stuff. And Australians as a nation tend to be, well, weird.

Consider: Our first police force was a group of 12 convicts who had impressed their bosses. In 2003, our human population officially reached the same numbers as our kangaroo population. Thongs are our footwear, not underwear, so a group of women wearing black rubber thongs may not be as exciting as you’d hoped. Our $2 coins are tiny, but our 50 cent coins are enormous, and dodecagonal. When we say the word “can’t”, people from North America think we’re being VERY rude indeed. We shorten everything – the smaller your nickname, the better you are liked. A Volkswagen van is a combi; sunglasses are sunnies; the afternoon is the arvo; a sandwich is a sanga; sausages are snags … you get the idea. We’re responsible for Crocodile Dundee and we practically deified the late Steve Irwin. Oh and we do weird things with Tim Tams (look them up).

So … Japan’s Fuji TV released a remake of Monkey Magic early last year, managing to pull in one-in-three Japanese viewers for each episode, and selling it across Asia and the UK. But for me, and possibly for a lot of Australians, it’s just not weird enough. I mean, some of the effects actually look realistic. What’s with that?



From Marvel's Crazy Magazine #8 written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Marie Severin circa 1974.

Click to enlarge.


There are few places on Earth that I love more than the City of Brotherly Love itself, Philadelphia. I spent six years or so in the city and miss it immensely. Now's your chance to get a little piece of pretzel and cheesesteak with our It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia giveaway!

Returning for it's third season on FX this September 13th, IASIP has some major antics and highjinks to look forward to include the gang finding a live baby in a dumpster, the gang trying out for the Philadelphia Eagles and everyone being held hostage at Paddy's Bar.

We have several prizes to give away including t-shirts and posters. To enter, please send an email with the subject heading "PHILLY" to forcesofgood at gmail dot com by midnight September 12th EST.

One entry per person and winners are chosen at random.

FOG! will have a full review in the coming weeks of the first two seasons of IASIP as well as the first four episodes of season 3.

And for all you college kids out there, check out the Sunny Road Trip Experience where you get a chance to appear in a scene with the gang. There are still several major cities left on the tour, so if you get the opportunity to check it out, by all means do so!

Wednesday, 9/5

Market: Chicago

College: U of Illinois-Chicago

Time/Location 10a-5p (still finalizing time) North end of Lecture Center Plaza (near Student Center East)

Friday, 9/7

Market: Washington DC

College: U of Maryland

Times: 11a-4p

Monday, 9/10

Market: Philadelphia

College: U of Pennsylvania

Time/Location: 11a-4p U PENN Bookstore at 36th Street & Walnut Street

Wednesday, 9/12

Market: New York

College: Hofstra U

Time/Location: 11a-4p The Mack Student Center

Thursday, 9/13

Market: Boston

College: Boston U

Time/Location: 11a-4p Marsh Plaza near George Sherman Union (GSU) on Commonwealth Avenue


So, in Cuero, Texas, a woman claims to have found the mythical cryptid, the chupacabra! AYE!

read the story here . . .

here's a look at the supposed beasty . . .



Check out the poster to the left. That's for the documentary debuting on 9/7/07 titled, "You Must Be this Tall."

It's a doc about the now abandoned and destroyed Rocky Point Amusement Park - a RI institution until about 15 years ago when it went bankrupt.

I spent many a summer day at the park in my youth, often feeling sick on the Rock & Roll, the Corkscrew, or the Musik Express after chowder and clam cakes from the Shore Dinner Hall.

Click on the link and check out the site, and come September, if you are in the Little Biggest, please see the movie.

Also, 75orless Records will be issuing the soundtrack to the film, later in the month. In case you didn't know, I created the logo for the label, do a lot of the layout and design work for the albums they produce, and have had a personal hand in printing more than a few (thousand) of the hand-pressed cd covers myself. So head over and check out all of their selections as well.



I've been trying to get through stacks of dvds, books and comics the last few weeks, and did manage to catch a few of the Summer television series. I really like the concept of a finite series, call it a mini-series or whatever, but a story ultimately can only be judged by it's resolution. That's why I hope Lost will succeed by having a definitive end as opposed to the many series that I loved that fell apart as it had little or no sense of where it would ultimately end up (X-Files, anyone?)

I just watched the first three hours of the eight hour The Kill Point, a Spike television series set during a standoff following a botched heist by a group of U.S. soldiers, having recently returned from Iraq. The cast is full of familiar B and C list faces including Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo and Tobin Bell, all of whom deliver solid performances.

The two-part series finale airs this Sunday, August 26th and all of the episodes appear to be available at ifilm. Having watched the first three episodes in one sitting, I'm pretty excited to see how this turns out. The Kill Point represents what a finite series should be: fun, entertaining and completely satisfying.



Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in "Heat." Nas and Jay-Z on Hip Hop Is Dead's "Black Republican." When two artistic icons come together, the expectations are nothing less than epic. So when Kanye West and Lil Wayne (a.k.a. The Rapper Eater a.k.a. The Best Rapper Alive) team up on "Barry Bonds" for West's upcoming Graduation...well, disappointment is a strong word, but it could have been better. Kanye's lyrics and beat are better than average, but not good enough to be a single. It may have also served to have West rap by himself on it. The Best Rapper Alive spits a better than average verse, but nothing jaw-dropping. His verse lacks the lyrical prowess that's vaulted him to the top of the rap game. One of the shortcomings is the chorus: "Here's another hit/Barry Bonds/We outta here, baby." I don't know if there's ever been a lazier chorus. ("Whoomp! There It Is" may have it beat in terms of laziness.) The songs seems like they rushed through their lyrics.

Overall, it could have been better. Barry Bonds? Not quite. Maybe a long single and reaching second on a throwing error.

Kanye West feat. Lil Wayne - Barry Bonds (Courtesy of spinemagazine.com)



written by Paul Dini and Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray; pencils by Jesus Saiz

written by Paul Dini and Adam Beechen; Keith Griffen handles breakdowns; David Lopez & Mike Norton, pencillers

THE RECAP: Things go haywire world-wide, and the JSA, the JLA and others scramble to clean up a wave of computer attacks that cause nightmare scenarios all designed as a distraction, so the Calculator can get inside Oracle's mainframe. Sounds vaguely sexual, but I promise, it's kid friendly! While she fends off the attack on her system by her newest arch-rival, directs the world's heroes to battle the computer-related problems popping up across the globe, and chats up the all-new, all-different Question (who happens to be dealing with our favorite Rogues - more on them in a minute), the former Batgirl is also dealing with the break-in of Karate Kid and Una of the Legion of Super-heroes. Apparently, the Kid's dieing and he's come to Oracle for help.

After a full analysis however, Oracle can't determine what it is that's wrong with Karate Kid. Since Oracle can't make heads or tails of the situation, she points the Kid and Una to a man named Elias Orr (Rundown HQ is thinking Oracle is referring to Mr. Orr from the Superman: For Tomorrow storyline by Lee and Azzarello, but we could be wrong.) It seems that Una does have an idea what's going on though, and mentions again, in hushed tones, the ever-present Great Disaster . . .

With all this talk of the Great Disaster, preview images of toppled Statues of Liberty, and the Atomic Knights operating out of the decimated Bludhaven, its only a matter of time before Kamandi shows up!

Speaking of disasters, the Rogues Piper and Trickster simply can't catch a break. Fresh from escaping the new Task Force X/Suicide Squad in Week 39, they run smack into the latest Gotham dynamic duo: the Question and the Batwoman!

Although, for once they luck out: former homicide detective/current vigilante Renee Montoya just knows the two bumblers are "too stupid" to have been in on Bart Allen's death and the unlucky Rogues escape a beating from the lovely ladies. True to their poor decision-making skills, however, they decide to hole up in one of Gotham's abandoned botanical gardens. Which, obviously is the home of Poison Ivy! We'll see how they get out of this one in Week 36.

While this story is one that just seems to tread water with the not-so-smart Villains Defiant "Three Stooging" their way into every possible bad situation, it's actually their storyline that Rundown HQ is enjoying the most. They are being written true to their characters' histories, with a good bit of wit and the pacing of their scenes is almost always spot on. Obviously there are other story lines in Countdown more important, but its these incompetent bunglers that shine week after week.

Checking in on Mary Marvel and Zatanna, their run-in with the Deep Six ends with the amphibious Fourth Worlders dead at the hands of the god-killer, who we finally get a glimpse at (although, only in silhouette.) Looks a bit like Takion's powers to us . . . another DC character with strong links to the Source and the New Gods.

On a personal note, what editor has the heart to kill a character named: Shaligo the Flying Finback!??!

Mysteriously ignoring the fact that a super-powered being just killed six other New Gods, Mary and Z decide to go back to Z's place in Gotham for lunch and a chat.

Huh, what?? No Justice League distress call??

This is definitely a glaring hallmark of this series. There is a ton going on, and while it is plausible that Jimmy Olsen might not tell Superman that he watched Sleeze die a week before he watched Lightray get murdered, it's hard to believe that Zatana - a former member of the Justice League - wouldn't clue in the League to the murder of six New Gods from Apokolips!

Anyway, back to the stories at hand . . . While Mary shows more of her dark desire for power to Zatana, the Jean Loring Eclipso is still lurking in the shadows and really crushing on this bad-girl version of Mary.

Moving on.

Week 37 checks in briefly with Holly Robinson, who Harley is overjoyed to learn, has been invited to Athena's meditation group. Looks like Athena has some training in store for the former Catwoman replacement. Training that might lead to becoming a warrior in the Amazon Attacks war? Who knows . . . this story is the slowest and seemingly least important of all of Countdown's ongoing shenanigans.

The new Challengers of the Unknown (Jason Todd, Bob the Monitor and Donna Troy, along with Ryan Choi, the new Atom) continue on the hunt for the missing Ray Palmer in the nanoverse and continue to be stymied by weird inhabitants of that microscopic world. They also keep getting told that the Great Disaster is imminent, but none of the Challengers except for Bob the Monitor seem to be too concerned.

Kind of a recurring theme developing here of heroes who aren't concerned with the evidence of impending doom staring them in the face. I seem to recall a similar blase attitude towards a certain Blue Beetle's proclamations that things in the DCU were wonky. As you recall, that Blue Beetle ended up with a ventilated head and the DCU ended up with an Infinite Crisis.

Jimmy Olsen/Mr. Action has no luck joining the Teen Titans (really, would you let him into your super-hero club?!) and broods about it back in his office. Suddenly, he's hit with a thought that he can't quite understand how he got - he knows that Superman is really Clark Kent! Lucky Clark's in the room with him and Jimmy wastes no time ripping his shirt to prove himself right. This sudden investiture of knowledge might also be how he knew that Jason Todd was the Red Hood and that Dick Grayson is Nightwing from way back in Week 50 or so, but the hows and wherefores are still to be revealed.

The only other notable development in the last two issues of Countdown was a brief cameo by Darkseid at the end of Week 38, in which he proclaims that as the New Gods die like the Prometheans before them, only he will survive and rule over the "Multiversal Dynasty" to come. Big machinations afoot!

With Week 38, Dan Jurgen's History of the Multiverse twelve chapter backup feature concluded. The Monitors of the 52 universes come to a fateful decision: those with the bearded Monitor who killed Duela Dent in Week 51 stand against the lone Monitor of New Earth (this is the main Earth of the regular DCU that has been around since the end of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, changed during Zero Hour, and survived Alex Luthor's manipulations during Infinite Crisis.) The lone Monitor a/k/a Bob the Monitor, as we've already seen, has decided to aid the heroes in their battle against the coming Great Disaster. So 51 against 1 doesn't look like great odds for Bob. Check out future issues of the Countdown spin-off mini-series, Countdown Presents the Search for Ray Palmer and the All New Atom for that story spanning the multiverse.Week 37 re-introduced a great back-up feature that was much missed from the issues of 52, The Origin of . . . series. These two page origin stories were one of the many high points of DC's previous weekly series, all written by Mark Waid and illustrated by some of the best artists in the industry (my personal favorites were Eric "The Goon" Powell on the origin of Metamorpho - see above - and Brian "Killing Joke" Bolland pencilling Animal Man). While the back-ups in 52 were focused squarely on heroes (Black Adam, Cat-Man, and Lobo were all nominally heroes in 52, smartguy), it looks as though (and word from DC confirms this) that all of the Origin Of back-ups in Countdown will be of villians.

So, with Week 37, we get the Origin of Poison Ivy by Scott Beatty with stellar art by Stephane Roux. These concise 2-page histories are a great addition to this series, and we at Countdown HQ look forward to the weeks to come (keeping our fingers crossed for a Bolland Joker origin!)

Next week: ISSUE 36 - Black Mary vs. Zatanna!
Winner = Eclipso!


R.I.P. MIKE WIERINGO 1963-2007

Comic artist; co-creator of DC's Bart Allen a/k/a Impulse; co-creator of Tellos; best known for runs on Fantastic Four and Flash with writer Mark Waid

Rest in Peace

Stefan Blitz adds:
More details of Mike's untimely passing can be found at Newsarama. forcesofgood sends it's condolences out to Mike's friends and family.