Tuesday, May 7, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

Nerds, film buffs, and, well, everybody... we lost a giant today. A monster. A dinosaur. A grinning skeleton. Actually, tiny armies of ALL those things and so much more. Tentacled beasts and flying saucers. The hands that brought a thousand dreams to life are stilled.

Ray Harryhausen has gone. This will be a deeply sad time for my friend Darrel. I don't think I've ever met anyone who loved Ray Harryhausen and his body of work more than Darrel. And who could blame him?

If you've ever seen Stop Motion Animation in any movie, you probably have Mr. Harryhausen to thank. Because even if he didn't painstakingly, tediously, obsessively create every single frame of the movement of that beast or beauty, then as sure as the Valley of Gwangi he was the guy who inspired the guy that did.

George Lucas has said there wouldn't be a Star Wars without Ray. My fantasy life would be so much the poorer without his pioneering talent and towering imagination.

I'm pretty sure Clash of the Titans was the first of his movies I ever saw, although it could have been One Million Years B.C. instead. Check them out, won't you? You won't be sorry.

But if I have a favourite, it's First Men in The Moon. Those icky, sticky, appalling, enthralling moon monsters (the Selenites) and their chittering maggoty mooncalf. Just... yikes! Good old fashioned nightmare fuel.

May technology never supplant the artistry of one man and his marvelous mind and hands. Thanks for sharing your strange dreams with all of us. It's not enough, but thank you, Mr. Harryhausen.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Calgary Entertainment Expo 2013

I raved about the Calgary Convention in 2012, and of course I went back this year, too.

I'd give a hail... and hearty handshake to the volunteers and organizers and security who ran a tighter, less crowded ship this year. Yes, it sold out. Yes, it had lines upon lines to stand in in order to get to more lines. But it was still amazeballs, you guys.

My thanks to Anthony Jones for suggesting the trip and doing the driving. My thanks to the 404s Improv Troop for having me back again.

My hat's off to Kirby Krackle and Weird Al Yankovic and his band. Such a great concert! I'm really looking forward to their next albums. I love the video clip where Al is the bandleader on the Titanic singing such hits as "I wonder what it feels like to die" and praising the Captain for his bravery... in leaving dock without enough lifeboats.

I met and briefly spoke to Adam Warren, writer-artist of such comics as Dirty Pair, Gen13, and Empowered! So cool! Gave me a sketch of his superheroine, EMP. Thanks to Anthony, I acquired a signature from STAN 'THE MAN' LEE on my copy of The Savage She-Hulk #1 from 1980! Believe it, Marvelites!

I even got a signature from and even a photo with Sylvester McCoy, Classic Doctor Who's Seventh Doctor and fellow August 20th birthday boy. What Whovian gets to hug a Time Lord? THIS GUY! Radical! And I managed to look only HALF-crazed!

I helped out (catching the leader of the Autobots tripping down the stairs) at the costume contest, saw boy Harley Quinn propose to the girl Joker, and got a high three from a Ninja Turtle! I met an adorable Sailor Moon, the daughter of a formidable singer and an fantastic improviser. And I got a high five from a young guy who enjoyed my performance with the redoubtable 404s in 'Stump The Nerds'.

The financial cost was pretty frakkin' high, but it was pretty frakkin' worth it. Long Live Nerd-kind!