Back when I was a curly-haired child of the '80s, I was secure enough in my dudeness to watch shows meant for chicks. I didn't think twice about watching She-Ra, My Little Pony (before it was "cool"), Jem, or Beverly Hills Teens.
However, until recently, I had never even heard of Maxie's World. Which isn't too surprising, since it lasted for a grand total of one month before getting cancelled.
It was a tie-in to Hasbro's Maxie toy line, which they hoped would dethrone Barbie. Maxie was not only, like, super pretty and super smart, but she was also a high school cheerleader, a surfer, a fashion model, an actress, and a mystery-solver. Wow!
Sounds pretty incredible, right? Well, don't let me try to sell you on the concept. Just watch this short promo and let this kid school you on the world of Maxie:
Sword of the Valiant is a medieval fantasy quest movie that’s loosely based on a collection of Arthurian legends, most notably the tale about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The film’s director, Stephen Weeks, had such a hard-on for this source material that he adapted it into a movie twice (his first attempt was in ’73, and had the much briefer title Gawain and the Green Knight).
Apparently, Sean Connery wanted to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of his amazing portrayal of a post-apocalyptic barbarian in Zardoz by taking on another role that made him look completely ridiculous.
If you haven’t seen the 1974 John Boorman film, Zardoz (which is actually the first movie Jessica showed me when we started hanging out), this is what I’m referring to:
And this is Sean Connery as the magical Green Knight in Sword of the Valiant:
As if that’s not enough reason to see this movie, it also stars Miles O’Keeffe as Sir Gawain, sporting a pageboy cut that would put He-Man to shame.
'80s barbarian movie fans should know Miles as the star of the first three Ator movies, the second of which was lampooned on an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 under its alternate title, Cave Dwellers.
I’ll be honest. I rented this one mostly because I caught the trailer and wanted to see more of that hair. But it ended up being more entertaining than I expected. It’s certainly not a good movie, but it helps that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I’m a sucker for fantasy quests. It also has a stronger supernatural element than I was expecting, which I dig. I’d place the tone of this movie somewhere between Monty Python and the Holy Grail and John Boorman’s Excalibur. It’s not nearly as good as either of those classics, but it’s a fun watch.
Satan Factor: I suppose the Green Knight is sort of a satanic figure. He’s a mysterious supernatural dude who comes out of nowhere to challenge a mortal to an unfair game of life and death. There’s also an evil witch.
Ninja Factor: Uh … there’s swordplay. Oh! And a black knight. That's sort of ninja-like.
Boob Factor: Sadly, the only flesh on display in this movie is Miles O’Keefe’s ripped abs and chest.
‘80s Factor: It’s a medieval period piece, but it does have some rad low-budget ‘80s special effects.
Pageboy Haircut Factor: As Jem would say, this factor is so high it’s totally outrageous!
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 pentastars. (Someday I’ll edit all these to include little pentastar icons, once Jessica gets a chance to make ‘em for me.)
Once upon a time, back when I still had hair and Sega was still making video game consoles, I sang in a horror-themed rock band called The EverDead. Here's a typical picture of me from that era (taken in 2003):
I formed the band in the spring of 2000 with a few of my buddies, mostly to shake up the lame local music scene and also to hopefully get laid. Since I was the only one who couldn't play any musical instruments, I assumed the role of the singer. Of course, I couldn't really sing either, but I figured I could learn on the job.
Here we are in the studio where we recorded our first demo in the summer of 2000 (I'm the dude in the middle with the rockin' hair):
The EverDead was mostly inspired by Glenn Danzig's unholy trilogy of bands: the horror-themed punk band The Misfits ('77-'83), the gothic-punk band Samhain ('83-'87), and the dark heavy metal band Danzig ('88-present day). Unknown to us at the time, a whole bunch of other bands had formed around the same time and they had the same basic idea as us. In fact, there were enough of us Glenn Danzig worshipping bands to warrant the creation of a new music genre: horror punk (or as I preferred to call it, horror rock).
The EverDead was mostly active for about three years, although we kept the band limping along for another three before finally announcing that it was over in 2006. During that time, we released a handful of demos, one official EP called Slumber Party Massacre, one pseudo-official live album, and a re-release of the EP with a whole bunch of bonus tracks called Slumber Party Massacre II (which you can stream or download for free here).
Quick bit of trivia about that album. If you go to the IMDb page for the movie Slumber Party Massacre II, the trivia section claims this album is inspired by that movie and that "The cover art even portrays a drawing of the killer with a guitar drill as featured in the movie." Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not seeing a guitar drill on the cover of my album—the dude's obviously holding a drill dick. But they're right, the album does contain a song that's inspired by the movie Slumber Party Massacre II (although the song is just titled "Slumber Party Massacre"), and the title of the album was a nod to both the movie and the fact that it was the second version of our Slumber Party Massacre EP.
We also released one t-shirt, featuring this concept I thought up (which was brought to life by Ravenous, who also drew our album covers):
I was pretty proud of the email I once received from a young fan who got suspended for wearing this shirt to his high school. I'm sure he was a hit with the ladies.
Oh yeah, and we made one no-budget official music video, which we shot in the living room of my old house (yes, I was a dumbass and painted my walls black):
The EverDead didn't perform live too often. I was of the mindset that I wanted an EverDead show to be a special event. I didn't want to be some band that you could catch playing at a local bar any given weekend. In fact, we rarely played in our home city, since we didn't fit in with the local scene and most of our fans were out of state. But we played some glorious shows and got to share the stage with some really awesome bands, like Cancerslug, Ghoultown, DBX (basically GWAR, minus their costumes,) and Blitzkid. Here's a short video of us performing at a Halloween show (it was filmed in night vision due to the dark spooky atmosphere).
We became just popular enough to get a tiny taste of the rock star life... Taking pictures with fans, signing autographs, and getting fan mail from around the world. It was pretty rad.
But one thing we never occomplished was releasing a proper full-length album. We started recording one in 2002, but abandoned it after finishing only two songs. Then we tried again in 2005. That time we got super close to finishing the album, but then the band fell apart and the nearly-done album got put on the backburner. Here's the final EverDead lineup, taken in 2004 (I'm the dude in the center wearing sunglasses):
So our album ended up rotting away on a hard drive for nearly a decade before I finally decided to just fucking finish it. Most of the instruments had been recorded back in 2005, so it was mostly a matter of recording the vocals and then mixing and mastering the album. Most of my bandmates had scatted to the four winds like the dragon balls post-wish, but fortunately the keyboardist Michael Mortis was still around, so he handled all the mixing and such.
And now, about a decade after it was actually relevant, The EverDead's full-length album has finally been released. You can stream it or download it for free here. Here's the cover art, which Ravenous finished for us waaaay back when we first planned to release this in 2002:
So if you're into any sort of dark rock music, or are just curious to hear Jessica's excellent portrayal of a bimbo groupie, you should totally check out the album (if you don't give a fuck about the music and just want to hear Jessica, skip to "The Nightmare (Interlude)").
So now maybe you're sitting there thinking, "Okay, good for you, Adam Dravian. But what the fuck does this have to do with your comic?"
Well, for one thing, Jessica and I wouldn't be together if it weren't for The EverDead. As those of you who have read the About the Creators page know, Jessica had been a fan of my band since she was sixteen, years before we met. We ended up meeting after an acquaintance of mine sat next to her in one of her college classes and TheEverDead happened to be mentioned. He gave her my screen name, and I just so happened to be looking for a young chick to play a role in a movie I was attempting to make. So of course I was intrigued when I heard about this eighteen-year-old girl with blue hair and a leather jacket who was a fan of my band. Then we hit it off big time and sappiness ensued.
Quick anecdote about our very first phone conversation. Being the classy gentleman than I am, I asked Jessica if she'd be willing to do a topless scene if I cast her in the movie and she promptly declined like a total prude. Jokes on her though, since I totally got to see 'em anyway.
But that's not the only connection between The EverDead and Satan Ninja 198X. The mysterious Mr. Skull character who torments poor Psycho Sam is a reference to the titular character of The EverDead song "Samhain Eve (The Night of Mr. Skull)," which, in turn, inspired me to write a full-length slasher movie script called Samhain Eve. The movie was never made, but elements of it have been cannibalized to use in Satan Ninja 198X. Speaking of Psycho Sam, he's partially inspired by my real-life buddy and long-time EverDead guitarist, Sam Bones, during his teenage years:
Okay, I'll shut up about my glory days as a rocker now. My next blog post will take a look at an obscure '80s Sean Connery film.
As I mentioned in my last movie review, the success of Conan the Barbarian paved the way (in blood!) for a slew of low-budget barbarian movies looking to cash in with muscular heroes, busty babes, scant clothing all around, and cheap sets. Perhaps the first of these to make it out the gate was the Roger Corman produced film Sorceress.
For those of you not familiar with Roger Corman, the guy’s produced like a million sci-fi, fantasy, and horror b-movies since the 50s. He’s known for cutting costs whenever he can (such as reusing film scores and special effects from one movie to the next, over and over again), not being shy with the T&A, and for helping to launch a lot of Hollywood careers. Dudes like James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola all got their start working on Corman productions.
So as soon as Corman noticed that Conan the Barbarian got a good reception, he tasked one of his writers with churning out a barbarian script in one week so they could rush it into production. The end result was Sorceress, and it’s fucking glorious.
Now, I don’t want to spoil everything this amazing movie has to offer, so I’m just going to walk you through the opening scenes.