This week I’m going to mention and recommend some items of pop culture that I either find manly or worth your attention. You may’ve already read, seen or heard of some of these items, if so, continue to pass the word, if not, maybe this’ll help you widen your manly interests.
Eureka is about a secret town inhabited entirely by the best minds in the United States. After World War II ended, America realized that science and technology would play an increasing role in national security. Given the close call with the deployment of the atomic bomb, it could not risk being surpassed by other nations.
With Albert Einstein’s help and that of other trusted advisors, then-President Harry S. Truman had a top-secret residential town built in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest. This town would never appear on any map and be unknown to the public, except those that were authorized to learn of it. It would harbor the greatest minds in the country, as well as protect the country’s most valuable secrets. In this haven, the country’s greatest minds could live and work in a safe and supportive environment, allowing them to work on the next scientific achievements with no worries or distractions. The best architects and planners were hired to make the town a paradise, with the best of everything for all its residents.
From this, the town of Eureka was created. Its residents are responsible for almost every leap in science known to humanity over the past fifty years. However, with experimentation inevitably comes failure, and over fifty years worth of trial and error they have had a number of experiments go awry.
Though Eureka’s residents suffer many of the same problems that ordinary towns do, having a town full of geniuses and virtually limitless resources tends to make their problems a much larger concern than those of a regular town. While transporting a fugitive back to Los Angeles, Jack Carter gets himself tangled up in the town’s latest mishap, and soon ends up its new sheriff after the old one is injured on the job.
The Sci-Fi Channel. Every now and then Hollywood gets it right. By that I mean they create something that has just enough of everything to make it appeal to everyone. Eureka is one of those times where they get it right.
It is a Sc-Fi show first and foremost, after all, it’s on the Sci-Fi channel. The main thing that makes this TV show work for me is that it has that wonderful likeability factor that shows like Brisco County, Jr, Keen Eddie, Boston Legal and the more light hearted episodes of Xena had.
Likeability is something that I always stress with comic book writers for their characters. If you have that factor then it doesn’t matter what powers your heroes have or what planet they’re from. Likeability will make your readers/viewers come back every time.
The cast of Eureka all have that factor. This is a credit to the actor, the writers, casting and the director. The cast is filled with newcomers and character actors that you’ve seen or have just seen for the first time.
Colin Ferguson is the male lead as Sheriff Jack Carter. A good looking guy, but not in that “pretty boy” way we’ve all grown so tired of seeing. He shares the same type of screen presence as Mark Valley (Keen Eddie. Boston Legal) in that James Garner, manly, but humorous kinda way.
Salli Richardson is the female lead and a complete knock out. She will no doubt show up as a Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week. Her character, Allison Blake is with the Department of Defense. She is smart, witty and like I said? BEAUtiful. She can handle her own with Carter as well as the super brainiacs that live in Eureka.
The supporting cast is filled with fun and unique characters. Of course one of my favorites is Erica Cerra who plays the very capable deputy Jo Lupo. She is a knock out both in looks and physically as she proves from episode to episode. She does it with sexuality and strength. She will no doubt be a hit with comic and sci-fi fans.
There are loads of small touches that make the show one of those that you have to watch for every little detail much like Sergio Aragones gutter and off panel drawings in Mad magazine. Sheriff Carter’s “talking house” steals every scene it’s in. When you watch the show you’ll see what I mean.
The special effects are very good and the CGI is just enough without being too much. There are characters that you think they are okay and good guys, but you never know and have to look for clues to their real agenda. There is drama and there are even spooky moments. This is not a lightweight show. As I said earlier, if you like shows like Brisco County Jr. and Firefly then Eureka is for you.
It gets 5 out of 5 Busted Knuckles from me.
Impact: The Action Entertainment Magazine
Like Hollywood, every once in a while the British get things right. Impact Magazine is one of em’.
This is a magazine that I’ve been a reader of for quite some time. When large books stores like Borders and Empire Books started popping up in my area I finally found a regular outlet to buy this magazine. Before I had to wait until I was out of town on business or at a convention to find it.
It covers all the manly things in entertainment that you need. Stuff like action movies, the Asian action film scene, TV, films, DVDs, Games and Comics. They even through in an anime section so your girlfriend will have something to look at.
They have a crack staff of writers that put a whole new slant of the things you like to read about. Where Entertainment Weekly is the McDonald’s of entertainment magazines, Impact is the very cool diner where you get big chunks of red meat on a man-sized bun with all the fixin’s plus hot sauce. Do you want a Happy Meal or a man’s meal? Your wife reads those other magazines with make up ads in em’. You read Impact where the only make up you’ll find is in the special effects of a massive creature in a sci-fi film and blood squibs from shoot outs.
Impact covers A-List, big budget movies like Superman Returns and The X-Men, they do it in a way that nobody else does and they ask the questions you really wanna know the answers to. It is without a doubt THE place to find out what’s going on over seas in Asia and other action movie hot spots. I used to have to depend on my buddy Chuck Dixon for this kinda news, but now I have Impact and don’t have to see Chuck’s big ass Wookie face.
Just as an example, in the July issue of Impact there is a great interview/article on the upcoming District 13 movie that I’ve been dying to see. If you enjoyed The Transporter or The Nest, then District 13 will make your day. Impact also treats comic books with respect. That alone means a lot to me. Comics and comic book related materials get equal footing with the movies and other parts of action entertainment.
Impact is sold over in the U.K. and is easy to find. Over here in the states you can find it at any quality bookstore or newsstand. You can also contact them direct through their website http://www.martialartsltd.co.uk/impact. Just make sure you tell John Mosby and the gang that Beau sent ya.
Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week
Last week we went exotic and dark with Navi Rawat. This week we go sunny and blonde with rising hot actress, Leslie Bibb. She’s athletic, she’s funny and she has a million dollar smile to go with those billion dollar legs. Most of you will know her from the new Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby. In that one she plays his sexy and funny trophy wife. The rest of ya will know her from her TV work on ER, Crossing Jordan and other such stuff as Just Shoot Me.
Bottom line is that you WISH you knew her.
The Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4
Tower Comics 1966
1966? when men were men and women liked it that way. Tower Comics did what DC Comics couldn’t do in the late 60s. They came very close to not only being as good and cutting edge as Marvel Comics, but in many ways they were way better.
They had the best artists like Wally Wood (he did this cover), Gil Kane, Bob Powell and many others. The writing was excellent and even had a very good sense of humor to it.
This cover is a wonderful example of how Tower Comics always came through with testosterone. Look at Dynamo (so tough he didn’t need a mask) plowing through the scum of the desert-The Warlord-and his sheet wearin’ thugs. You’ve got the always seductive Iron Maiden (one of the best villain femme fatales ever) laying around and enjoying the mayhem while The Warlord gives his men the old “Kill him , you fools!” line from the safety of his throne. (All good bad guys had thrones.)
As you can also tell from the panel I threw in from this story, it was filled with sexual tension and manly humor.
Great stuff from a time that I’m trying to bring back.
Cobb: Off The Leash #3? It’s Coming
This month the wrap up to the most manly and exciting 48 hours of comic book action is going to wrap up in Cobb: Off The Leash #3. You’re gonna find out who lives, who dies, who gets double crossed and who, if anybody walks out of this in one piece. So I thought I’d give you a little behind the scenes insight to the series. This will also appear in the part of the special features that will be in issue #3.
- Old School-The Method of Higher Learning
By Beau Smith
I grew up in a time where right and wrong was black and white. The “gray area” hadn’t been invented or at least been glorified yet. In the last few years I’ve found myself longing for a more simplistic hero that did the right things because it simply was the right thing to do.
I wanted to prove that you didn’t have to have “anti” in front of the hero to make him interesting. I think we’ve drifted away from the core of what makes a man a hero. To be more specific, what makes a man? a man.
Tough guy heroes seem to have been replaced in comics, TV, novels and in film with heroes that border on being as psychotic as the bad guys they chase down. Other writers seemed to rush to embrace this darker side and now it’s to the point of over saturation. It’s become easy. It’s become a crutch too many writers are willing to lean on.
I think we’re getting a generation of writers that have either forgotten how to write a hero with some morals or maybe they’ve just forgotten their own. Granted, nobody’s perfect. But in a hero we have the chance to see what we can aspire to be or maybe what we will be when the chips are down and our backs are against the wall.
Likeability in a hero is something that I also think we’ve been missing. A hero with a human sense of humor and not one that merely spits out a cute one-liner and then walks off stage. There is humor in every day life. Sometimes it comes in small pieces, other times large chunks. The thing is, it’s always there. It’s what lets us invest our emotions into a character and make us care and come back to that character. What good is a big event in comics if it happens every week. There’s no build up of layering and emotions to give a big event a payoff. What you get most of the time is a “Gimmick-Shock” where a long standing character is killed off without you having a recent emotional investment in them. That’s not a payoff. That’s a cheap trick. It’s short term.
In Cobb: Off The Leash I wanted to get back to the basics. I wanted the phrase “Old School” to be a compliment. Every time it’s used I do take it as such. With Cobb I wanted to show the readers that you can tell a good a good action story where the story moves with the action and isn’t left sitting around a table with a bunch of talking heads or floating around in air babbling on and on.
With Cobb: Off The Leash I knew that there was one artist that I could depend on to bring this all to life. That artist was Eduardo Barreto. Eduardo is a legendary master craftsman with art and story telling. I swear there’s a film camera’s lens in his eyeball. I wanted Eduardo as my partner on Cobb because I knew his real life penciling style combined with his own unique inking could bring Cobb and the other characters to life. When you look at his inking style you’ll see that it’s not some super hero template that any chimp with a pen can follow. It has texture and weight. With Eduardo’s help I can say with all out honesty that Cobb: Off The Leash is my most proud work to date. I believe it stands shoulder to shoulder with any other action comic book being done and possibly before.
Comic books are words AND pictures. Comic books aren’t novels, TV shows, or films. There are other fields just for that. There is a craft and an art to doing comic books. Just because you’ve written a Novel, movie or TV show doesn’t mean you can write a good comic book. Nothing is a given. You have to learn and work at it. Just because you do advertising, photoshop, ink tattoos , paint the Mona Lisa or paint houses doesn’t mean you can draw comic books. If you think because it takes you 20 minutes to read a comic book that makes it a great story, you’ve missed the point. Comic books shouldn’t be a sprint or a mile run. They are the 440. The hardest run of all.
When you read Cobb: Off The Leash I want you to read it for pleasure. For fun. For entertainment. After you’re done, then check it out for story telling, pacing, page turners, cliff-hangers, dialogue and character layering. Look at the art. Pay attention to the panel layouts, the clothing, the expressions, the body movement and the camera angles. The smallest most simple details will tell you a mountain of story telling?.Old School style. I hope you’ll find that every story doesn’t have to hold the meaning of life or some other cosmic secret. Not every comic needs to be a walk through the deepest recesses of the mind.
Sometimes you just gotta run.
I didn’t make it to San Diego Con or Wizard World Chicago this year. I’m sorry that I missed y’all. I’m sure we would’ve had a good time making up lies and laughing. It does look like I’ll be attending the Mid-Ohio Convention this fall right after Thanksgiving in Columbus, Ohio. Roger Price puts on a very good show there and always has lots of guests, events, people and stuff of manly interest. This year they’re having it at a new place. You might wanna go to their website and check it out. http://www.midohiocon.com.
I’d sure like to see ya there. Maybe sign your books, drink your beer and flirt with your woman. Sounds like fun don’t it?
Keep those emails, letters, bribes and gifts coming in. I look forward to hearing from you as always and rarely do I forget to answer you. Post up your thoughts on the message board here at the forum and talk with me and your partners in comic book crime.
See ya next week.
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!