Archive for the ‘Sexiest People Alive’ category

Comic Art Friday: Witches and warlocks

October 30, 2009

Tomorrow is Hallowe’en — All Hallows’ Eve, if you don’t want want to get lazy about it — which makes today Hallowe’ene’en.

I’m not sure that designation will catch on, but I thought you’d want to know.

The Scarlet Witch and Adam Warlock, pencils by Ron Adrian, inks by Bob Almond

This being Hallowe’ene’en and all, what could be more appropriate than a Common Elements artwork featuring a witch and a warlock? Not just any witch and warlock, of course, but the Scarlet Witch and Adam Warlock — drawn here by the talented Brazilian penciler Ron Adrian and embellished by the man who puts the “king” in “inking,” Bob Almond.

The Scarlet Witch isn’t really a witch, of course, but a mutant with the power to alter probability. Nor is Adam Warlock really a warlock — that’s just his name. Much like Billy Warlock, who to the best of my knowledge is not an actual warlock either, just a soap opera actor.

Not being a real witch doesn’t make the Scarlet Witch any less cool. If anything, it makes her even more cool, because you have to be pretty cool to let people think you’re a witch when you’re really not. Sort of like Kristin Chenoweth, who, although famous for portraying a witch, is not an actual witch. Although she can sing an F above high C, and I’m fairly certain that you’d have to have supernatural powers to do that. So, she might be.

In similar fashion, not being an actual warlock doesn’t make Adam Warlock any less cool. Not being Billy Warlock, however, is pretty cool. Unless you’re Billy Warlock, in which case you’re stuck with it. Although Billy Warlock was married to Marcy Walker, which might have been kind of cool for a while. Then again, Marcy Walker has been married, like, five times, so it might not be all that cool after all.

A Common Elements commission starring the Scarlet Witch and Adam Warlock, however, is totally cool.

Even on Hallowe’ene’en.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

It’s only news if somebody cares

October 15, 2009

This just in from the world of music…

Country star Garth Brooks is ending his retirement.

At the same time, the Norwegian pop trio a-ha — best known for the ’80s hit “Take On Me,” and its influential video — is announcing its retirement.

Here’s the unfortunate news for these artists.

No one knew that Garth Brooks had retired…

…or that a-ha hadn’t.

Swayze goes Swayze

September 15, 2009

Even the legendary Dalton loses a fight once in a while.

The air grew a bit chill around me when I fired up the laptop last evening and read the news that Patrick Swayze had passed away at age 57. We all knew the moment was coming — we probably knew it more than a year and a half ago, when Swayze revealed that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — but while not unexpected, it was nevertheless sad.

Swayze went down battling. In the midst of life circumstances that would have cause many of us to cocoon at home to await the inevitable, Swayze completed an entire season of a physically demanding TV series. He appeared in public when his health permitted. He gave interviews. He talked openly about his fight, and his determination to win.

You think Chuck Norris is tough? Patrick Swayze smacked Chuck Norris in the mouth and stole his lunch money every day for 20 months.

If Swayze had made only three films — Road House, Dirty Dancing, and Ghost — he would have had a career that ninety percent of Hollywood would have gladly sacrificed their own pancreases (pancreii?) for. Most actors would kill for a single role that defined them as pop-cultural icons. Swayze had three.

Road House may be the most frequently broadcast movie in the history of basic cable. (Is there a night during the week when you can’t find it somewhere on the dial?) Dirty Dancing garnered Swayze an enduring image, an endlessly repeated tagline — “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” — and even a hit single… although the less said about “She’s Like the Wind,” the better. Ghost made Swayze’s name a hip-hop catchphrase. I doubt he collected a royalty every time some rapper said, “I’m Swayze,” but he should have.

Of course, Swayze made a ton of other films as well, in addition to his television work. But he’ll be remembered for this immortal trio.

Personally, I think Road House is one of cinema’s great disposable classics. It’s beyond ridiculous (come on… a heroic bouncer with a ludicrous hairdo? that only worked for Mr. T.), horrifically acted (from the expression-challenged Kelly Lynch to the scenery-gobbling Ben Gazzara to the host of bit players embodying every white trash stereotype known to man), and as predictable as tomorrow’s sunrise, but doggoned if it isn’t entertaining. How can a movie that features Jeff Healey’s incendiary blues guitar, a singing spotlight for the always delightful Kathleen Wilhoite, Sam Elliott being Sam Elliott, and a shirtless Swayze ripping out a man’s trachea with his bare hands not be entertaining?

I always liked the fact that Swayze — a serious and thoughtful man, by all accounts — maintained a sense of humor about himself. He famously poked fun at his own image in a Saturday Night Live sketch with Chris Farley, in which the unlikely duo played Chippendales wannabes. Swayze even popped up in an uncredited cameo in the dreadful Dirty Dancing sequel, Havana Nights.

Like the great Dalton, Patrick Swayze kept being nice until it was time to not be nice.

Unfortunately, the bad guys sometimes win.