Friday, May 25, 2012


"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
On May 25, 1977, a movie opened that would change the world as we know it...forever! STAR WARS is THE single most successful franchise in popular culture today. For the last 35 years it has served as inspiration for millions of filmmakers, artists, musicians and fans alike, influencing the world of film, literature, science and even religion, all over the world! As the creator, writer and director of the first Star Wars film, George Lucas is considered to be THE most significant and recognizable pop-culture icon. He  took all that he loved, from his boyhood love of Flash Gordon serials to his film studies and admiration of the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa and the works of Joseph Campbell and created a new mythology and the whole universe that is Star Wars.With the popularity of Star Wars and it's sequels, he was able to build a vast entertainment empire: Lucasfilm (based at the Skywalker Ranch near San Francisco, California), giving rise to other multi-media outlets such as LucasArts, Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light and Magic and THX Sound.
Star Wars remains a powerful force in popular culture today. It can be seen everywhere in countless books, comic books, movies, TV, music, video games, even food and beverages, everything! If you deny the power of Star Wars and it's fans and followers just look at The 501st Legion: Vader's Fist, an all-volunteer organization of Star Wars costume enthusiasts who also promotes fundraising, charity work and volunteerism. (Also check out The Rebel Legion) On the other hand to appreciate the power and influence Star Wars has on the world at large just visit The Jedi Church or The Temple of the Jedi Order which promote the "Jediism", which is an official religion in some countries.
Star Wars has always been a major part of my life, while I consider myself a Second Generation fan (as I was born after the original release of Star Wars), I was able to be a part of the original trilogy. One of my first memories was seeing Star Wars: Episode VI: - Return of the Jedi (1983) at a very early age, at one of the last few remaining Drive-In movie theaters in Ft. Worth, TX. I was completely obsessed with Star Wars during my childhood (and still am!) and my parents and grandparents indulged my obsession with lots of Star Wars toys and action figures. One of my favorites was a furry Chewbacca doll! I had Star Wars bedsheets, window curtains, and even child-sized furniture including a Return of the Jedi table and chair set (which I still treasure). My Dad worked in the electronics industry and we owned one of the earliest VHS players and I can remember watching the tapes of all three original Star Wars movies many times. I graduated high school in 1997, the very same year that the original trilogy was re-released in theatres as the Special Editions to which I have a strong love-hate feeling for considering the various changes made to the movies. Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 while I was in college and I can remember being both excited and ultimately disappointed at the time.
Even to this day, I am still a die-hard Star Wars fan! My living room is adorned with posters and collectibles. I own all of the Star Wars movies in several different formats from VHS to DVD and Blu-ray. I enjoy watching The Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network. This Summer I will return to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the annual Star Wars Weekends and riding Star Tours. I also hope one day to attend the annual Star Wars Celebration Convention. I'm currently playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MMORPG, on my PC. Every few years or so there is always a big resurgence in Star Wars because of some new release or format but even after 35 years Star Wars is VERY much alive and well. If you are as much of a fan as I am then let's celebrate it's 35th birthday, thank you for reading my blog over the years and feel free to leave your comments or personal stories about your love of all things Star Wars and May the Force be with you...!

LINKS: Star Wars Official Website, Star Wars on Facebook, Star Wars on Twitter, The, Wookiepedia, The Star Wars Wiki

Monday, May 21, 2012


This weekend was the DFW Writers' Workshop's annual DFW Writers' Conference and it was bigger and better than EVER! It was held at the brand-new Hurst Conference Center in Hurst, Texas. The featured keynote speaker was international best-selling thriller author of The Sigma Force Series: James Rollins. The conference also featured special guests, authors Lori Wilde and Jodi Thomas. Other guests in attendance were several prominent literary agents including Writers House LLC and JABberwocky Literary Agency. Also in attendance were authors and fellow DFW Writers' Workshop members Rosemary Clement-Moore, Russell C. Connor, and A. Lee Martinez who presented a number of classes and panels. This year's theme was "The Changing Face of Publishing". Since our goal has always been to put on the best possible conference, we realize the publishing industry has gone through many changes as well as the rise of self-published authors and small-press agencies. The conference was a great opportunity to meet and mingle with many fellow writers of all genres and experience levels and also to meet and network with literary agencies and publishing companies. I have been a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop for almost 6 years and I've gotta say this was our best conference so far. The venue was huge and perfect for our needs and the classes and agent pitches were very successful too! To my fellow workshop members who helped make this conference great, I am thankful for all your efforts! See ya'll next year!
Follow the DFW Writer's Workshop on Twitter and Facebook, and the DFW Writers' Conference on Twitter and  Facebook
Hurst Conference Center

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Mommy's "Special Little Boy!"
 Mother's Day...a celebration of mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds. A day for flowers, candy, greeting cards and maybe even MURDER?! Everybody has a mom and no matter how you feel about her remember this: even Monsters have a mother!  You might have not realized this but mother's have a lot to do with horror movies. From "Psycho" (1960) to "Mother's Day" (1980) horror movies have always featured some of the most twisted, maniacal, and loving mothers ever to wield a butcher knife! As Norman Bates said: "A boy's best friend is his mother." This Mother's Day CHERNOBOG'S BLOG PRESENTS: The Top 10 Horror Movie Moms! Happy Mother's Day!

#10 Mother, a.k.a. Rose Ross (Beatrice Pons), Mother's Day (1980), Directed by Charles Kaufman
#9 Beverly R. Sutphin (Kathleen Turner), Serial Mom (1994), Directed by John Waters
#8 Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody), Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead, 1992), Directed by Peter Jackson
#7 Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar), The Brood (1979), Directed by David Cronenberg
#6 Katherine Thorn (Lee Remick), The Omen (1976), Directed by Richard Donner
#5 Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Directed by Roman Polanski
#4 Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall), The Shining (1980), Directed by Stanley Kubrik
#3 Margaret White (Piper Laurie), Carrie (1978), Directed by Brian De Palma
#2 Pamela Voorhies (Betsy Palmer), (Friday the 13th (1980), Directed by Sean S. Cunnningham
#1 Norma Bates, Psycho (1960) Voiced by Virginia Gregg, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
"A boy's best friend is his mother."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This weekend I attended the eighth annual Texas Frightmare Weekend and it was BIGGER and BETTER than EVER! Held at the Hyatt Regency at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, this humble little horror convention has exploded to monumental proportions to accommodate its quickly growing fan base. Last year's convention (See last years blog entry) at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Irving, TX was so packed and crowded but this year had more space, vendors, activities, screenings and guests! Sponsored by the new video game Lollipop Chainsaw and Rue Morge Magazine, 'Texas Frightmare Weekend' 2012 was one of the best conventions ever! Although I didn't get to meet as many of the celebrities and guests that I wanted to but I did however get to meet some very special guests. My favorites were Lisa Marie, Keith David and Norman Reedus. Some of this year's biggest guests were Ernest Borgnine and Piper Laurie. The biggest draw was the Q&A with some of the cast of AMC's The Walking Dead including Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Irone Singleton, Michael Rooker and Madison Lintz. I also got to attend a Q&A with the cast of John Carpenter's They Live reuniting Keith David, Meg Foster, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. This year's convention was so huge and I was blown away by how many guests there were, even more odd choices like Anthony Michael Hall, Clint Howard and even Verne Troyer! One of the many activities at 'Texas Frightmare Weekend' was "Frightmakers 101", a series of panels on various elements of horror including writing, publishing, film making, soundtracks, and F/X.  Some of the special screenings at this years convention were Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, The Victim, and Father's Day. There were so many celebrity guests, collectibles, props, costumes and zombies than one weekend could possibly contain. I can't even imagine how they are going to top it next year!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


It all started in 2008...after Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man) so boldly announced to the world that "I am Iron Man", it wasn't long before he caught the attention of one: Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and thus, the "Avenger Initiative" was born! What began was a new, highly-successful, film franchise from the partnership of Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures and Paramount Pictures that would span five movies leading up to the largest combination of superheroes ever in one movie: THE AVENGERS! When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) seeks the power of the Tesseract (a.k.a. The Cosmic Cube), along with his new alien army of Chitauri; 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes' must join together to face insurmountable odds as they save the world from total annihilation!
Avengers Roll-call: Capt. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Dr. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), led by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) at his side.
Never before has such a monumentally epic movie been made or has there been so much controversy over a movie of this magnitude, both in talent and production. This movie represents the culmination of years of casting and production. With a budget of over $220,000,000, director Joss Whedon (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel Firefly/Serenity) was the one chosen to eventually take on this ambitious and unprecedented project. After Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010), came The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011), and finally Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), which completed the roster of heroes that would allow for The Avengers to be team. While most of the major heroes already had their own solo movie (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Capt. America) the team itself is also comprised of a few minor heroes who made their first appearances alongside those heroes. Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. The Black Widow made her first appearance in Iron Man 2 (2010) as an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent working in Stark industries. Clint Barton/Hawkeye also had a brief cameo in Thor (2011), as the quick-thinking, bow-and-arrow wielding S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
While these "lesser" heroes have a more prominent role in The Avengers, there are other supporting characters as well as "love interests" from other movies who reprise their roles for this superhero team-up extravaganza as well. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow, from Iron Man) makes a few brief cameos at Tony Stark's side; as well as Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård, from Thor) also appears in The Avengers. As before, I had stated in last years review of Captain America: The First Avenger that I had some issues with Chris Evans playing Cap as he had already established himself as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the Marvel Fantastic Four movies. But as far as Disney is concerned, it doesn't matter since 20th Century Fox owns the rights to The Fantastic Four and it's characters (including Silver Surfer).
The two most surprising (although somewhat predictable) characters who did NOT make an appearance in this movie is of course Jane Foster (Natalie Portman from Thor) who is mentioned in name and image only. As for Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine (played by Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2 and  Terrence Howard in Iron Man), does not make an appearance or is even mentioned. Also definitely NOT present in The Avengers is Tony Stark's ever-present bodyguard and friend 'Happy' Hogan, played by actor and director of the two Iron Man movies, Jon Favreau, who said in a recent interview: "...I'm not going to be available." Favreau also stated recently that he "opted-out" of directing Iron Man 3 (2013), which is being directed by Shane Black. The biggest (and I do mean BIG!) change in the cast lineup comes from the 'Big-Green-Mean-Machine' himself: The Incredible Hulk played by Mark Ruffalo, whose character has been played by two different actors in the past, by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk (2008) and by Eric Bana in Hulk (2003). There has been much controversy surrounding Norton, in not returning to the role as it was posted on his Facebook page about the dispute that " won't work out for me...". Despite all of the debate, Ruffalo is The Hulk for now and also for the foreseeable future. As for the other Marvel superheroes who have been a part of The Avengers in the past rumors abound over the speculated new characters in Avengers 2. As for the original Avengers (created by Stan Lee and jack Kirby) who made their first appearance in the comic books in 1963 included Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp. Captain America was reintroduced into the comics in 1964. The movie incarnation of The Avengers is reminiscent comic title of "The Ultimates" (2002), a modern re-imagining of the classic Avengers.
The Avengers is a non-stop, fast paced action-adventure with mind-blowing special effects and battles. For anyone who is worried that too many superheroes is too much, have no fear. While many of the main characters origins and plot points (i.e. The Tesseract) have already been established in their own movies, their was no need to rehash them. While the film focuses mostly on Iron Man and Thor, it does devote a lot of screen time to Captain America and Hulk, especially as far as Cap's overwhelming feelings of being "out of time" and also Banner/Hulk's constant war with his emotions and the ever-present fear that he will eventually "Hulk-out"! It is inevitable that Hulk will have to unleash all of his green-fury in order to battle the alien threat. The Ruffalo-Hulk also seems to represent a more "manageable" Hulk than any others previous, such as actually working with a team. Although he never really says much as many Hulk's in the past (specifically the comics) have. While the fanboy in me wants nothing but to praise this amazing movie, the critical reviewer in me has just a few "pickies": As Iron man is very much the focus (and the biggest box-office draw) of this movie, he also gets the coolest and most sarcastic lines in the film, even Thor gets a few one-liners and Hulk get's his one line! But unfortunately, Captain America gets some of the cheesiest lines ever in ther movie! Also, even though Loki is the main villain in this film, when the alien army invades he is left literally powerless as a villain and gives up way too easily.
Captain America rises to a leadership status in the team, although he frequently clashes with Iron Man creating personalty conflicts. As in Iron Man 2, Nick Fury (Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. has a much larger central part to play in the story. Without revealing too much (or Spoilers) in this review let's just say there is a lot of "fan-service" in this movie and any fan of the Avengers or Marvel Comics in general will particularly be totally satisfied. As always there is a very special "teaser" as the end credits roll that will no doubt make my fellow 'fanboys' roar with excitement. Also be sure to look out for Stan 'The Man' Lee himself in a very brief cameo appearance! There is also a particularly funny moment at the very end of the credits that will no doubt get mixed reactions from fans and moviegoers alike. There has always been the fear that with the alliance with Disney and Marvel would hinder the franchise. However, as the latest movies have clearly shown, Avengers like many of the others will be and has been very successful. As of now, The Avengers has earned over $200 Million at the box office which will no doubt increase during the Summer making it THE most successful superhero movie ever!

LINKS: The Avengers Official Website

*Personal Note: I enjoyed this movie so very much! As a fan of both the comics and movies, I feel this is THE BEST superhero movie I've ever seen! I was really worried that this movie would not go over well, but all my trepidations were put to rest, as well as my faith in Joss Whedon. The Avengers was not only a great movie, but a great movie experience. I went to see it opening weekend at the midnight premier with friends. The theater was hot and packed, full of my fellow fanboys, some even dressed up in homemade or bought costumes. I have NEVER heard SO much applause in ANY movie! After every epic moment and/or comedic moment, there was either a roar of applause and cheers or laughter. At times it became somewhat distracting, but I knew I was surrounded by my fellow fans so I welcomed it. The Avengers was truly Awesome!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Brendon Small is one of the most original independent artists of our time! He is an accomplished  writer, voice actor, composer and musician. He was co-creator of the animated series 'Home Movies' (1999-2004) originally on UPN and then on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. He is most notable as the co-creator, co-producer, co-writer, composer and voice actor of the heavy metal animated series Metalocalypse on Adult Swim featuring the fictional (or virtual) death metal band Dethklok! Along with the highly popular animated series, he has also produced two albums featuring the music from 'Metalocalypse' including The Dethalbum in 2007 and Dethalbum II in 2009. On April 29th, Brendon Small released his own album of original music called Brendon Small's 'Galaktikon', a full-length, heavy metal album on Small's own label (BS Records) and distributed through Top Spin Media. 'Galaktikon' is described by Brendon Small as "a High Stakes Intergalactic Extreme Rock album!" and likens it to an "audio comic book". While waiting for the 4th season of 'Metalocalypse' to premiere on Adult Swim (also on April 29th), Brendon Small has been working on this side-project which is essentially a concept album.
Brendon Small
The album features a number of prominent tracks starting with the rising, epic, first track "Triton", a story about a lonely space traveler as he searches the vast universe wanting more out of life. "Deathwaltz" is an impressively, heavy track with growling Motörhead-like vocals. The ballad-like "You Can't Run Away" is the most musically versatile track, with it's steady rhythm and inclusion of acoustic and electric guitar sounds. The album also features the high-energy (but oddly named) instrumental track called "Dangertits". The final track on the album is the fast-paced "On My Way" which brings the whole concept album to an abrupt halt.
'Galaktikon' features Brendon Small on vocals and guitars; Gene Hoglan from Strapping Young Lad, Testament, and Fear Factory on drums; Bryan Beller of Steve Vai and Mike Keneally Band on bass; with engineer and mixer Ulrich Wild. The musical style of 'Galaktikon' is much more melodic and a little less heavy (or "brutal") than the music he produces for 'Metalocalypse', which reflects more of Small's own personal style. With Small's unique melodic style, speed and virtuosity. "Galaktikon' is an amazing album! Any fan of 'Metalocalypse' or Brendon Small's music will enjoy it immensely. Brendon hasn't announced any plans yet to tour again with the Dethklok band or with his new 'Galaktikon', but keep your eyes on the stars!

Brendon Small's Official Website
Visit Brendon Small's 'Galaktikon' on Facebook'
Follow Brendon Small on Twitter