Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Birthday Special: Stan Lee - Top 10 Comic Books

Stan "The Man" Lee
 has been THE single most influential person in comic books and popular culture for the last 50 years! He is all things including: writer, editor, producer, publisher, the former President and Chairman of Marvel Comics Group, currently Chairman Emeritus of Marvel Comics, Founder, Chairman and CCO of POW! Entertainment, TV personality and even sometimes actor! He is most known as the creator (or sometimes "co-creator") of Marvel Comics' characters such as The Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The X-Men, and of course, The Amazing Spider-Man!
Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922 in New York City. Stan had an early interest in writing and journalism and when he enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWII he worked in the Signal Corps. When he was hired by comic book publisher Martin Goodman at Timely Comics it wasn't long before he began writing for the comics including for such characters as Captain America. As comic book superheroes were gaining popularity in the late 1950's and early 60's including DC Comics' own Justice League of America, Stan saw the opportunity to create new superheroes with real character and personality. Already dissatisfied with his own work, he was prepared to quit the business entirely until he was assigned to create a new team of superheroes. What resulted was the creation of the Fantastic Four and their popularity sparked even more creations such as Spider-Man and The X-Men...and of course the rest, is history! CHERNOBOG'S BLOG Proudly Presents in honor of Stan Lee's 89th Birthday The Top 10 Stan Lee Comic Books! "Excelsior!"

#10 Spider-Man/Kingpin: To The Death (1997) - In this one-shot graphic novel Spider-Man is wanted for a crime he didn't commit and both fellow heroes and villains alike are after him! With the help of Daredevil he's able to clear his name and protect the city from the rivalry between Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin and Zoltaro.

#9 Daredevil #47 (Dec. 1968), "Brother, Take My Hand" - Daredevil visits a blind African-American soldier who later seeks out the help of Lawyer Matt Murdock in one of the first anti-prejudice stories in Marvel Comics.

#8 The X-Men #9 (Jan. 1965), "Enter, The Avengers" - While The Avengers interfere with the X-Men's mission, Professor Xavier seeks the villain Lucifer who was the one caused the loss of his legs.

#7 Thor #180-181 (Sept./Oct. 1970), "When Gods Go Mad" - Loki has switched bodies with Thor and is wreaking havoc on New York City! Also featuring Mephisto!

#6 Amazing Spider-Man #50 (July 1967), "Spider-Man No More!" - Peter Parker's life has become too complicated, with Aunt May in the hospital, J. Jonah Jameson continuing his anti-Spider-Man publicity and Peter's falling grades in college he decides to quit being Spider-Man! But soon, he realizes that he is needed and becomes Spider-Man again!

#5 Marvel Premiere Featuring Dr. Strange #3 (July 1972), "While The World Spins Mad!" - Dr. Strange is hit by a truck and lost in the Dream World pursued by Nightmare!

#4 Silver Surfer #5 (Apr. 1969), "And Who Shall Mourn For Him?" - The Silver Surfer steals the Space Scrambler from the Fantastic Four in order to break the dimensional barrier that imprisons him. Also featuring The Stranger!

#3 Captain America #16 (Nov. 1940), "Red Skull's Deadly Revenge" - One of Stan's first Capt. America stories as a young writer for (then) Timely Comics. The Red Skull escapes from prison and learns the identity of Capt. America!

#2 Fantastic Four #48-50 (1966), "The Galactus Trilogy" - Considered to be one of the most monumental story-arcs in the early history of Marvel Comics. It featured the first appearance of Galactus and The Silver Surfer!

#1 Amazing Spider-Man #96-98 (May-July 1971), "And Now, The Goblin!" - One of the most controversial and influential stories in comics, the story dealt with anti-drug themes and was published without the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval despite the current censorship standards. This three-issue arc featured a major battle between Spider-Man and his arch-enemy The Green Goblin and dealt with Norman Osborn's son Harry's drug addiction. This changed the way comics were viewed in the public and mainstream media and it started a legacy that Stan lee helped to create setting the standard for Marvel Comics' long reputation for innovation and unique story-telling. "'Nuff said!"

Follow Stan Lee on Twitter @TheRealStanLee, and visit The Real Stan

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Well, it's that time of year again and with all the awful and annoying Christmas specials and movies out there we sometimes forget that a lot of those movies have some of the best (or worst) villains this horrible holiday has to offer. Forget about "Peace on Earth" and Christmas cheer, these holiday badasses are devoted to spreading Christmas FEAR! What would this jolly holiday be without a few merry miscreants to cause trouble. So, in honor of this frightfully festive time of year CHERNOBOG'S BLOG Presents: The TOP 12 BEST (WORST) XMAS VILLAINS! Why 12...? Duh, Twelve Days of Christmas! Enjoy and Bah Humbug! (Why is it so short, because I've been to busy to write it and you're probably too busy to read it...LOL)
#12 Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), Die Hard (1988)
#11 Jack Frost (Martin Short), Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
#10 Snow Miser/Heat Miser, The Year Without A Sanat Claus (1974)
#9 The Winter Warlock, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (1970)
#8 Mr. B.Z. (John Lithgow), Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
#7 The Abominable Snow Monster, a.k.a. "Bumble", Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
#6 Stripe, Gremlins (1984) - Gizmo
#5 Mr. Henry F. Potter, a.k.a. "Old Man Potter" (Lionel Barrymore), It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
#4 Harry and Marv, a.k.a. "The Wet Bandits" (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), Home Alone (1990)
#3 Mr. Oogie-Boogie, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
#2 The Grinch (Boris Karloff & Jim Carrey), How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1964/2000)
#1 Ebeneezer Scrooge A Christmas Carol - (Reginald Owen, Alastair Sim, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Jim Carrey and 200 others!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


METALLICA!!! Formed in San Francisco, California in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, Metallica is THE most popular heavy metal band in the world today! Along with their definitive lineup during the 1980's which included lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and virtuoso bass player Cliff Burton (1962-1986) Metallica was a powerful part of the Bay area Thrash Metal scene. Through all of the lineup changes (Dave Mustaine fired in 1982), deaths (Cliff Burton death in 1986), injuries (James' burning in 1992), breakups (Jason Newstead leaving in 2000) and controversies (Napster) Metallica is still #1. With their current lineup of James, Lars, Kirk and bassist Robert Trujillo, this year Metallica celebrates their 30th Anniversary with special perfomances (Metallica's 30th Anniversary Shows) and releasing previously unreleased songs from their last album Death Magentic. So to celebrate Metallica's 30th Anniversary, CHERNOOG'S BLOG Presents: The Top 10 Metallica Songs!

#10 "Some Kind of Monster", St. Anger (2003) - After bassist Jason Newstead left the band to pursue other projects it formed a schism in the group that also unearthed other problems as well, such as James' alcohol problems. James entered rehab and returned over a year later to begin work on a new album. With the addition on a new bass player, Robert Trujillo the band became whole again and released St. Anger, an album which would cause much controversy in critics and fans alike. "Some Kind of Monster" reflects the bands inner demons that revealed themselves during that time. The song title also happens to be the name of the documentary released in 2003 which revealed the turmoil in the group as they went into therapy.

#9 "The Day That Never Comes", Death Magnetic (2008) - The single and accompanied music video to this song is very powerful. As the band returned to more of a heavier thrash sound with Death Magnetic, the song's arrangement is much like "Master of Puppets" era Metallica. "The Day That Never Comes" addresses the issues of forgiveness and resentment while the music video reveals scenes of soldiers in the Middle East.

#8 "Until It Sleeps", Load (1996) - When Metallica returned after a long break in 1996 they stunned their fans and the music industry with drastic changes to their style and image to a more alternative sound and short hair! "Until It Sleeps" is a hauntingly powerful song about anger, loss and emotional pain. The music video is a surprisingly artistic and surreal visions featuring hellish images akin to the artwork of Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch.
Metallica circa 1983
#7 "Orion", Master of Puppets (1986) - One of the few instrumental songs in Metallica's career, "Orion" is a progressive symphonic masterpiece. The song features solo's from former bassist Cliff Burton, with his classical-style rhythm and harmony. Coincidentally the song was played at Cliff's Funeral and is rarely played live.

#6 "Enter Sandman", Metallica, a.k.a. 'The Black Album' (1991) - The "Black Album" is Metallica's most commercially and critically successful albums to date earning a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and has sold 22 million copies worldwide. With producer Bob Rock, the band spent almost a year in the studio recording it and fine tuning it until it's release. Although there was much tension and animosity between Rock and the band the final result would soon become Metallica's most popular album. "Enter Sandman" would become the most played single from that album and would earnt hem a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1992.

#5  "Master of Puppets", Master of Puppets (1986) - One of Metallica's most popular and complex songs ever, "Master of Puppets" deals with drug addiction and their power to control your mind. One of bassist Cliff Burton's favorites, it is notable for it's extensive use of heavy downpicking style and instrumental bridge.

#4 "Fade To Black", Ride the Lightning (1984) - When Metallica released their second album Ride the Lightning in 1984, the first single to be released from that album was "Fade To Black", a controversial ballad about death and suicide. The song features an accoustic introduction by James Hetfield. The album would cause much controversy from fans who were used to Metallica's signature speed and thrash style, critics and the industry would pan this uncharacteristic song but would soon define Metallica's style and evolution. It remains one of their most popular song and live favorites. Coinidentally, it was during the intro to this song when James Hetfield was accidentally burned by pyrotechnics while on tour with Guns 'n Roses in Canada in 1992.
Metallica circa 1991
#3 "One", ...And Justice For All (1988) - Even though Metallica had already released 3 albums and several singles, they were mostly ignored by mainstream media includeing radio and MTV. In 1988 when Metallica released their 4th album ...And Justice For All  with new bass player Jason Newstead the band finally decided to produce a music video for the song "One", a song about a soldier who is severly wounded during battle and is unable to speak or move. The song was based on the novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (1939). The black and white music video would feature the band playing in a warehouse setting followed by scenes from the 1971 film version. The band also released a band-only version of the video for the home video "2 of One". The song features sound wartime effects in the introduction followed by a slow ballad and then into a heavy machine gun-like guitar buildup.

#2 "For Whom The Bell Tolls", Ride the Lightning (1984) - Inspired by the 1940 Ernest Hemingway novel, "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is one of Metallica's most popular and intricate songs, also a live fan-favorite the song features a haunting bell-chime not unlike AC/DC's "Hells Bells". Another of Cliff Burton's arrangements, the introduction is comprised of one of his signature distorted bass-solos.

#1 "Whiplash", Kill 'Em All (1983) - When Metallica was signed by Megaforce Records in 1982 following the success of their popular demo No Life 'til Leather, they planned to release their debut album originally titled Metal Up Your Ass! However due to conflicts with the record label and distributors, they decided to change the name to Kill 'Em All reflecting the bands initial disdain for the mainstream music industry. As they grew in popularity in the underground metal scene who would've thought that 30 years later they would be THE most popular heavy metal band in the world! The first single to be released from the album was "Whiplash", a heavy, pounding song describing the life of a touring metal band and the energy you get from a performance. The following lyrics would say it best in summing up what would be the life legacy and power that is METALLICA:

"The show is through, the metal is gone, It's time to hit the road!
Another town another gig, again we will explode!
Hotel rooms and motorways, life out here is raw
But We will never stop, We will never quit,
Cause we're METALLICA!"
Metallica's Official Website:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Birthday Special: Top 10 Ozzy Osbourne Albums

Happy Birthday Ozzy Osbourne! The "Prince of F***ing Darkness" was born John Michael Osbourne on December 3, 1948 in Aston, Birmingham, England. The fourth of six children to a poor, working-class family, Ozzy seemed doomed to fail at an early age. A poor student, he dropped out of school at age 15 and had many odd jobs such as working in construction, plumbing, and at a slaughter house. He ended up in prison for stealing, sentenced to six weeks, he was released and given a new lease on life and decided to turn to music. He soon joined several small bands until he joined Earth with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. The band soon changed their name to Black Sabbath in 1969 and changed music history forever creating a new sound which would eventually be known as heavy metal!
After several best-selling albums and world tours, tensions in the band grew as did Ozzy's alcohol and drug abuse, he was fired from the band in 1979. With the help of his now wife/manager Sharon Osbourne, he began a successful solo career and has since become known as "The Godfather of Heavy Metal". From bat-biting lunatic to reality-TV dad, Ozzy Osbourne has been a major figure in hard rock and heavy metal for over 40 years! As one of my favorite music artists I wanted to celebrate Ozzy's 63rd birthday with this list. CHERNOBOG'S BLOG Presents The Top 10 Best Ozzy Osbourne Albums: Enjoy!

#10 Scream (2010) - After the departure of guitarist and long time collaborator Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society), Ozzy had recruited up and coming guitarist Gus G. on his latest album Scream, which features songs "Let Me Hear You Scream", "Life Won't Wait", and "Let It Die".

#9 Ozzmosis (1995) - After Ozzy returned from his so called "retirement" after No More Tears, he released a somewhat different sounding and experimental album, Ozzmosis, which featured "I Just Want You", "See You On The Other Side" and "Perry Mason". Shortly after this album, Ozzy released a greatest hits album, The Ozazman Cometh (1997), which included a new song "Back On Earth" and several previously unreleased Black Sabbath demos.

#8 Down To Earth (2001) - After a seven year-long hiatus Ozzy released Down To Earth which went platinum in 2003. The album featured bassist Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies) and drummer Mike Bordin (Faith No More). It includes songs such as: "Gets Me Through", "Dreamer" and "Running Out of Time". During the tour which included the performance Live at Budokan, Ozzy recruited former Metallica bass player Jason Newstead after Trujillo joined Metallica which caused much controversy.

#7 Black Rain (2007) - After another long hiatus Ozzy and guitarist Zakk Wylde would join to record a new album, Black Rain, which includes: "Not Going Away", "I Don't Wanna Stop", "Black Rain". Unfortunately in 2009 Ozzy decided to seek a new guitar player, claiming Zakk's style was becoming too much like his own band, Black Label Society, which he had been playing on and off with since 1998. Later that year, Ozzy would perform at BlizzCon, Blizzard Entertainment's annual gaming convention and to the shock of many fans, with his new guitar player Gus G!

#6 The Ultimate Sin (1986) - Ozzy's 4th studio album featured bassist Phil Soussan and drummer Randy Castillo (died in 2002). It included the title track "The Ultimate Sin", "Killer of Giants", and the hit single "Shot in the Dark" (one of my personal favorites) which was also co-written by Soussan and unfortunately later was not re-issued due to continuing legal battles with the bass player.
Ozzy in the '80s

#5 Bark at the Moon (1983) - After the untimely death of guitarist Randy Rhoads, Ozzy recruited guitar player Jake E. Lee, formerly of Ratt, to record his third album which featured "Bark At The Moon", "Rock 'N' Roll Rebel", and "Now You See It (Now You Don't") it quickly went gold. The music video for the title track was filmed in an actual sanitarium outside of London.

#4 No Rest for the Wicked (1988) - After Jake E. Lee left Ozzy in 1987 and Ozzy continued to suffer with drug and alcohol addiction, he soon found guitarist Zakk Wylde and recorded No Rest for the Wicked which included songs like "Miracle Man", "Crazy Babies" and "Breaking All The Rules". With the following tour Ozzy reunited with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. Later they would release a live album, Just Say Ozzy in 1990.

#3 No More Tears (1991) - Considered to be one of Ozzy's most popular and most commercially successful albums, No More Tears featured the Grammy winning song "I Don't Want To Change The World" along with "Mama, I'm Coming Home", "Road To Nowhere", and the title track "No More Tears", the edited version would would see tons of radio play as well as the video on MTV. This would be the second album to feature guitarist Zakk Wylde. Also lending his songwriting talents to the album was Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead. After touring for the album Ozzy claimed he was retiring with his "No More Tours" Tour, but he would soon return...

#2 Diary of a Madman (1981) - Ozzy's second album was released only a year after his first to keep his name and sales fresh on the Billboard charts. It featured such hits as "Over The Mountain", "Flying High Again", "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll", and "Diary of a Madman". Sadly, shortly after the album's release, guitarist Randy Rhoads was tragically killed in an accident involving a light-aircraft on March 19, 1982. His friendship with Ozzy and his musical genius will never be equaled.

#1 Blizzard of Ozz (1980) - The first and the best, Blizzard of Ozz was Ozzy Osbourne's debut solo album. Featuring guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads, Blizzard of Ozz was originally the name of the band but they soon realized that Ozzy's name would be the driving force and with the next album left it simply as Ozzy Osbourne. Blizzard was a huge commercial success, selling over 6,000,000 copies and certified 4X Platinum. With songs like "I Don't Know", Goodbye to Romance", "Mr. Crowley", "Suicide Solution" and of course, his most famous hit: "Crazy Train", makes Blizzard the #1 Best Ozzy album that has since never been surpassed!

LINK: The Official Ozzy Osbourne Website
My photo of Ozzy at "I AM Ozzy"
booksigning in Dallas, TX, 2/27/2010
See my blog entry: An Adventure in Dissapointment