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Comic Picks of the Week (April 30,2014)

I picked up seven titles this week; the most in quite some time.  Amazing Spider-Man #1 came in at a whopping $5.99 retail price though and included a reprint of Inhuman #1 and seven short Spidey stories of lesser or significantly lesser value depending on which of the seven we’re talking about IMHO.  Why cant we get one of the many variant covers that contains just the new material at a lower price point Marvel?!  I mean don’t get me wrong, Inhuman #1 was pretty awesome, but I just bought it a few weeks ago!!  I know that it “sold out” but really it’s not that hard to come by.  Despite the hefty price tag and add-ons, it was truly great to have everyone’s favorite web-head back.  The banter alone ended up being worth the price of admission.  The Doc Oc arc was great, but it’s nothing short of spectacular to have Peter Parker back in action.

The other two Marvel titles I grabbed were Origin II #5 (of 5) and All-New X-Men #26.  A heart to heart between the original Scott Summers and Jean Grey of the past penned by Bendis with immaculate art by Immonen?!?  Sign me up.


On the Dark Horse front I grabbed Blackout #2, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4, and Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1.  Rebel Heist is written by Matt Kindt and penciled by Marco Castiello.  Everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler is back, and for the record we all know who shot first…and it wasn’t a certain Rodian.

Rounding out the week was Ten Grand #9 from Image.  If you missed out on this gripping tale of Heaven and Hell and a plot to overthrow God and reboot Creation from the beginning, the first six issues have been collected in a TPB format.  

Great stories are everywhere!


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Comic Picks of the Week (April 23, 2014)

I know Original Sin #0 comes out this week, but the first few pages were a rather boring rehash of the start of the Nova series that just came out.  I’ll flip it in the shop, but I doubt I’ll be bringing it home.  For me, the clear winner this week is The 7th Sword #1.  Samurai meets sci-fi in this tale penned by John Raffo; who wrote Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (if you haven’t seen this flick go amend that now!). Artwork is by Nelson Blake II who has previously done some great work on The Darkness and Witchblade.  I’ve very much looking forward to what Raffo calls an “oddball alchemy”.


This week also brings a great jumping on point for Conan fans with the start of a new story arc in Conan: The Avenger.  As far as I know Cap isn’t handing him a place on the squad and we’re sticking to high adventure in Cimmeria, but when I saw the title a bunch of twisted crossover ideas were the first thing to fly through my head.  Last, but not least is Danger Girl: Mayday #1 (of 4) which will feature the return of everyone’s favorite Danger Girl villain.


Great stories are everywhere!



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Tube Watch (Week of April 17, 2014)

Reviewing what the Great Stories team has been watching over the past week, we start with Jim.  Our resident fan of the old classics took a marathon run through some classic Hitchcock films such as Rebecca, Saboteur, Lifeboat, and Spellbound.  He highly recommends all of these movies.  In addition, he also watched 2001’s Bandits, starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett.  Another winner in his book!


Marcel was not happy with our selection of The Sandlot for his Friday movie night this past week, and instead watched The Anchorman 2 with his brother Thomas.  We know Jim was very sour on this film, but to the less sophisticated minds it was a big hit.  He also watched Agents of SHIELD with Chris, as the fall out from Captain America 2 continues to spill into the TV series to great effect!


In addition to watching Agents of SHIELD, Chris took time to see the much lauded Clooney/Bullock movie, Gravity.  The special effects awards were well deserved even if the story was a bit one dimensional, but that was not really the point, right?  Clocking in at just about 90 minutes, it is worth the view (especially for those of you with a nice big screen in your living room)!


Melissa managed to watch nothing Tinkerbell or faerie-related this week, but did catch Frozen for the second time.  Yeah, that movie was Disney’s best animated flick in ages.  She also finally completed season three of Lost and even started on the fourth season.


Rob, on the other hand, was mired in more personal busyness (and comic reading of course!).  But he did manage to keep up with the epic Game of Thrones series on HBO.  Maybe next week will allow him a little more diversity to his viewing pallet?


What were you all watching this week?  Let us know here!


The Great Stories Team

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Comic Pick of the Week (April 16 2014)

Great Stories selects…..


Hulk #1 (Marvel)










Marvel continues to relaunch its brands as part of Marvel NOW, and this week we have the big green badboy getting his turn at renumbering with writer Mark Waid and artist Mark Bagley bringing us the broken pieces of Bruce Banner’s life after two bullets lodged in his brain have brought him to the brink of death at the conclusion of The Indestructible Hulk series.  Who shot Doctor Banner and what are the repercussions?  It all starts here, so jump on board before Hulk smashes YOU!  😉

Check in with us next week when Rob will make our comic pick of the week!

In the meantime, remember that Great Stories are everywhere!

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Tube Watch (Week of April 10 2014)

So, what were we watching this past week?


Chris and Marcel ventured out to the theaters this past Tuesday night to catch Captain America:  The Winter Soldier, which was all sorts of epic!  Do not miss this one!  They both followed it up by catching Agents of SHIELD the following night to see the crazy fall-out from the events that transpired in Cap’s latest movie.  This series has officially arrived after a mediocre start.  The tie-in to the Marvel Universe and the events both surprised us and left us in great anticipation of next week’s show.  In keeping with the Marvel theme, they both watched Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher, which was a decent animated feature film.


Chris also found time to watch the PG-13 horror Insidious 2, which was OK, and not up to par with the first movie.  Additionally, he decided to watch the direct to DVD horror The Fields starring Tara Reid.  Why?  I have no idea.  But he would probably choose waterboarding as an alternate activity next time around.


Jim was getting his Oscar on with viewings of Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, which he found 100% worthy of its award.  Best Picture nominee Nebraska was also on his viewing list, which he found to be quite dull and decidedly not worthy of its place on the consideration list (though he did mention that June Squibb put in a funny performance).  He didn’t make it through twenty minutes of Anchorman 2 before gonging it.  But his palate was redeemed by American Hustle, which he says is well worth our time.  That’s a lot of big time movies in one week, man!


Rob was a little off his viewing schedule thanks to those parental duties (including his part time lacrosse coaching gig) but did find the opportunity to see the season premiere of Friends with Better Lives, which he said was only OK.  The Game of Thrones fan that he is brought him a second viewing of the season opener.  And Big Bang Theory was also on his couch potato to do list.


Melissa, as previously discussed last week, watched Pirate Fairy AGAIN!  Yes, she is a Tinkerbell fanatic.  Somebody get her some help….or some fairy dust…PRONTO!  And she did not catch one episode of Lost Season Three, which means she is still about a decade behind the rest of the world.  LOL.


Well, that is it for Tube Watch this week.  Check in with us again next Thursday for another installment of “Which Tinkerbell movie will Melissa Watch this Week?”  😉

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Comic Pick of the Week (April 9 2014)

Great Stories Selects……..








DC’s flagship property is indisputable.  Batman commands numerous titles on the market at the moment in the New 52, and this one pushes the envelope even further as it is due to be released weekly.  The storyline set up by writer Scott Snyder has a mysterious figure portending the tragic future of Batman and his home city of Gotham before we return to a present day chase that has Batman and Commissioner Gordan chasing down Professor Pyg and his cohorts to a disastrous result.


It is tough to say how this story will fall into continuity with the other Batman titles, but for those of you out there who hate waiting 30 days for every installment, this is the book for you.  The art is looks great in the first installment, and will hopefully not drop in quality due to such an aggressive release schedule.


Great Stories are everywhere!


-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Fresh Popped Corn: April 2014 Movie Trailers

Once per month, we will be taking a look at movies released for the upcoming month, and telling our readers where we would be spending our movie dollars each week, based on the look of the trailers.  Links to the chosen trailers will be provided so you can see just what we are so excited about.  Movie release dates are subject to change.


April 4th

Let’s cut right to the proverbial chase.  April starts out in a big way as the blockbuster Captain America:  The Winter Soldier storms into theaters.  The fate of the box office top spot was sealed the moment Marvel/Disney put this one on the calendar, and it appears from all the advance word that its top perch will be greatly justified as it is being billed as Marvel’s best movie to date in many circles.  Color me ecstatic to see it, but let’s also review some of the other contenders for left-over ticket sales.  Jesse Bradford and Virginia Williams tell us the 10 Rules for Sleeping Around (as if that was ever a good idea) in this raunchy comedy.  Two friends attempt to find out what the heck is going on when one of the two is stricken with a mysterious virus that enhances his strength but take away his humanity in the horror flick Afflicted.  Steve Coogan tries to make amends for his mistakes as a broadcast journalist in the off-beat comedy Alan Partridge.  Jude Law takes a markedly different turn as an ex-con who adjust to life after being released from prison in another off-beat comedy Dom Hemingway.  Stellan Skaarsgard tries to help Halle Berry who plays a women with a split personality in the drama Frankie and Alice.  In the docu-drama The Galapagos Affair:  Satan Came to Eden, Cate Blanchett provides one of the voice-overs for the true life tale of a German couple who embark on a strange journey of isolation on one of the islands and receive some interesting from the rest of the world.  In the Blood features Gina Carano(prize fighter turned actress)  as a woman whose husband disappears on the Caribbean honeymoon setting her on a dangerous path of criminal underworld elements against whom she seeks justice.  It’s PG-13 horror time in the supernatural thriller Jinn, about a recently married man who discovers a curse on his family has unleashed an ancient evil.  Nymphomaniac Volume 2 continues the awkwardly creepy story of a woman saved by a stranger featured in December’s trailer preview.  The long-shelved thriller Something Wicked was the last movie Brittany Murphy filmed before her passing and it finally gets a release.  It is about a young woman who goes through a tragedy and in her attempts to move on a menace of unknown origin does its best to keep her in terror.  And finally in Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson takes a break from her Marvel Black Widow role (yes, it is double duty for her since she is a featured player in Captain America) to play a seductress preying upon hitchhikers in the Scottish countryside in what is being labelled as a Kubrick-inspired thriller.





April 11th

Kevin Costner takes a turn as an NFL GM out to save the Cleveland franchise with a bold move in Draft Day, as his life descends into chaos.  Jennifer Garner co-stars.  Karen Gillan stars as a young woman out to prove her brother innocent of the murders of their parents, which she blames on a supernatural antique morrir in the horror movie Oculus.  Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg return to voice-over the animated Rio 2, which will likely take the box office by storm.  Nick Frost and Rashida Jones star in the silly comedy Cuban Fury, about a former UK Junior Salsa contestant who loses his confidence but finds a reason to regain it.  Nicholas Cage stars as Joe Ransom, ex-con, who tries to make good in being a young boy’s protector in the simply named Joe.  Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce star in a drama about two lonely souls who may or may not be brought together by a well-meaning prank by a single dad’s teen daughter, in the movie Hateship Loveship.  Tilda Swindon and Tom Hiddleston play vampires who worry about their future immortality as humans continue to contaminate themselves through the decay of civilization in the drama Only Lovers Left Alive.  And in the biopic The Railway Man, a British radioman is caught in WWII Singapore and forced to slave labor building a railway line while being continuously and mercilessly tortured.  Years later, his discovery that is tormentor is still alive and facing the question of reconciliation serves as the background of this story.  It may be tough to find, as it is limited in release, but The railway Man starring Stellan Skaarsgard, Colin Firth, and Nicole Kidman seems like one to check out to us (at least if you don’t have the kiddies in tow!).





April 18th

The third week of the month features a completely unnecessary sequel to a spook comedy brought to you by the Wayans in A Haunted House 2Heaven is for Real stars Greg Kinnear in what could be one of the most impactful releases this year as a boy named Colton recounts his near death experience and returns with knowledge previously not thought possible, based on a true story.  In Transcendence, Johnny Depp is a scientist who is murdered by an anti-tech terror group but is able to send his consciousness into a computer to potentially disastrous and scary results.  This intriguing thriller also stars Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, and Morgan Freeman.  In 13 Sins a desperately indebted man is offered an end to his financial troubles if he accomplishes 13 increasingly horrible tasks as part of a game show.  Alien Abduction is a sci-fi horror take on the real-life Brown Mountain Lights of North Carolina.  John Turturro plays a gigolo for Woody Allen in the comedy aptly named Fading Gigolo, which also stars Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara.  Shirley Knight stars as a woman in the downside of her years who decides she is not too old for a journey of discovery in the Oregon wilderness.  Redwood Highway also stars Tom Skerritt.  Dean Norris who is making a name for himself as a power-hungry selectmen/used car salesman in TV’s Under the Dome, also plays a used car salesman in the movie Small Time, about a kid who desires to follow his Dad’s footsteps in the business instead of going to college to much disapproval.  We’ll be checking out Heaven is for Real for sure, and we encourage you to learn more about the story behind the film!  But if you can’t find that movie playing in a cineplex near you, Transcendence looks very good too.  Check out both trailers below.






April 25th

It won’t be the last time we are graced with the presence of Paul Walker (RIP) on our big screen, but Brick Mansions looks like a capable thriller with an undercover cop trying to take down a crime lord with a very large and destructive goal.  The Other Woman stars Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton in a comedy about a man leading a triple life and the women who come together to expose his disloyalty.  Another PG-13 horror-lite movie called The Quiet Ones as a university professor runs experiments on a young abandoned girl with a team of students to expose the evil she may harbor inside her.  In a tale of revenge gone wrong, a man fights to protect his estranged family in the eerie looking Blue Ruin.  In the thriller The Last Passenger a man traveling with his wife and child discovers that they have boarded a train with sabotaged brakes.  Locke features a dedicated working family man who receives a life-changing call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career in a movie being billed as an exceptional thriller.  Two researchers create the first fully self-aware artificial intelligence that goes horribly wrong when the government co-opts the invention and weaponizes it, in The Machine.  Blue Ruin looks like the winner at the close of the month.  Check it out.






What are you excited about seeing this month?


Coming up will be the slightly delayed Robot God Akamatsu graphic novel review and more, so check back with us again soon!


The Great Stories Team

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Tube Watch (Week of April 3rd)

We are back with another round of Tube Watch.  So what were the Great Stories family and friends watching this week?  Let’s see…..


Marcel watched Khumba, an animated tale of a Zebra who is kicked out of his herd and strikes out on his own to find redemption and acceptance.  From the sounds of laughter emanating from the living room, I’d say the movie was a hit!  He also got back into Agents of SHIELD with Chris for a great episode leading into this week’s Captain America movie premiere (more on that in our trailer blog today).


Rob was all-in on TV series as he caught the season finale’s of How I Met Your Mother (he was not happy with the ending) and The Walking Dead (stupid six month cliffhanger endings!).  On top of that, he watched Big Bang Theory and the animated Spectacular Spider-Man Season One (highly recommended).  He also took the time to view the second installment of The Hunger Games with Catching Fire, which he thought was only OK.


Jim made Catching Fire a very popular choice amongst the Great Stories team this week.  Marcel had seen it last week, so that only leaves Melissa and Chris as the lone holdouts.  He claims (much like Marcel) that the second movie is a big improvement on the first.  Also included in his viewing this week was Enchanted (a movie Melissa has probably seen about 30 times and is her favorite film of all time).  I am not sure he enjoyed it as much as she did, but it was a definite thumbs up with the adorable Amy Adams in the lead role.  Lastly, he caught About Time, a time traveling romantic comedy starring Rachel McAdams, which he thought was funny and inventive.  Richard Curtis directed this one, who is also responsible for the film Love Actually, which Jim recommends to everyone.


Chris kept up the trend of turning to Netflix for tv shows he never got around to.  It was a little more Bates Motel as well as the first three episodes of JJ Abrams’ Revolution, about an event that wipes out the power grid in America.  So far so good on that show!  He also watched the old classic Marilyn Monroe/Tony Curtis/Jack Lemmon comedy Some Like It Hot, at Jim’s suggestion.  But you can read his thoughts on that one in The Honor Roll blog that came out earlier this week.


Melissa continued her quest to get through Season Three of Lost…..she really is upset with that character Julia (yes, she refuses to call her Juliette, since that is her niece’s name).  And she half paid attention to the newest movie arrival in the household while she cleaned the bedroom.  Yes, another Tinkerbell adventure, The Pirate Fairy in now in her possession.  Anticipate a repeat and more thorough viewing by next week’s blog.


We’ll be back next week to check in with another Tube Watch.  Happy viewing to you all!


-The Great Stories Team

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The Honor Roll: Best Comedies (April Fool’s Day Edition) Part Two

The Honor Roll is a Great Stories feature column that gives you the best in class movies, books, and multimedia from the Great Stories team.  This month Jim and Chris make their top picks for the best comedies of all time in observance of April Fool’s Day!  Here is part two with Chris’ picks!

Happy Gilmore

“He doesn’t play golf…he destroys it.”


Adam Sandler graduates from Billy Madison to unveil his brightest shining moment in cinema.  The familial aspect of his film-making, with much of the same cast constantly appearing in all of his films works and helps us to appreciate his motivation of making movies for fun with his friends.  Sandler as a frustrated hockey player who finds his long drive to be the vehicle to saving his beloved grandmother’s house and her life as she knows it.  Hilarious moments that will have you repeating lines for years to come.

Jim’s Comment:  Sorry, not a Sandler fan. I saw this movie once and enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t put it anywhere near the top of a list of great comedies. ‘S about it. Oh, and the girl was cute.



“You’ve read the ad.  Now see the movie.” 


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Leslie Nielsen reinvented himself with movies like the great Airplane.  Slapstick comedy was never finer than in this film with a classic appearance from Kareem Abdul Jabaar.  I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, but if you don’t have a tolerance for silly antics and dialogue, then go rent Tootsie instead.  😉

Jim’s Comment:  See yesterday’s post.



Monty Python & the Holy Grail

 “Makes Ben Hur look like an epic!”



Another one of those quotable movies that do not leave your mind for years thereafter.  The Monty Python crew has really produced some classic tv and movie moments, but here is their finest gem in the storehouse.  From Sir Robin’s “bravery” against the three-headed argumentative giant to killer bunny rabbits to mind games against bridge guardians, this movie will have you in more stitches than the poor ankle-biting black knight in one of the most famous scenes of the movie.  Rent it….But it….Just watch it now you silly kiniggits!

Jim’s Comment:  The Pythons raise silliness to a high art in their 1974 classic.  Yes, nerds have been quoting it for years to the point of annoyance, but it still stands tall as one of the funniest comedies ever made.  Proof that creativity need not come with a budget that would pay off the national debt for several countries.  Ni!


The 40 Year Old Virgin

“Better late than never.”



Both Jim and I find this movie to be one of the finest comedies of the modern era, and we also agree that Paul Rudd may have one of his most memorable performances.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, yes “Yamo gonna burn this place to the ground” is one of the best lines I think any actor has had in the last ten years in this genre.  Steve Carrell really made himself a household name with this one.  Enjoy!

Jim’s Comment:  See yesterday’s blog entry.





The Cannonball Run 

“You’ll root for them all…but you’ll never guess who wins.”



The movie that I grew up watching more as a child than any other (with the possible exception of Star Wars).  Yeah, I’ve probably seen it about 15 times at least, and I am not one for watching movies too many times.  The lineup of stars and the obvious fun they had making this movie really shine through in the finished product.  Maybe not the funniest of funny movies, but you can’t help but feel good when watching it.

Jim’s Comment:  This is an April Fool’s joke, isn’t it?  Because seriously, this was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  I was actually jealous of the actors goofing around during the end credits, because they were obviously having a much better time making this movie than I had while being forced to sit through it.  Despite all of the great work that these wonderful performers did elsewhere, I still wanted to go up to every one of them and let them know about the time and money that I had just wasted watching them.  The only MILDLY funny moment was watching the great Dom DeLuise run past the camera in his Captain Chaos getup.  For shame, Christopher!



And that ends another edition of the honor roll with Jim and Chris.  Rob just posted his Comic Pick of the Week blog (no, not the Bronies one!!!), so go check that out when you get a moment.  Thursday we will be back with another Tube Watch and then first Friday of the month means there is another edition of the Fresh Popped Corn movie trailer blog coming at you!


-The Great Stories Team

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Comic Picks of the Week (April 2, 2014)

Ok, here we go for real this time.  It’s another strong week with four titles I know I will be picking up.


Captain America: Winter Soldier #1 (Director’s Cut), Inhuman #1 (finally!!!), Moon Knight #2, and Punisher #4.

From time to time, Marvel and other publishers will release a Director’s Cut version of a comic.  This issue will often include the full written script for the issue, both concept and unfinished art, and writer, artist, and/or editor commentary that give tremendous insight into the creative process.  To help celebrate what will no doubt be the best movie you can go see this week, Marvel has given us a Director’s Cut to honor the release of the film.  Captain America: Winter Soldier #1 (Director’s Cut) includes the complete script, Brubaker’s original series proposal, concept art, and preview pages from the forthcoming Marvel book on the art of the feature film.  If you know, or are, an aspiring comic artist or writer, tracking down a few Director’s Cuts can be a great gift idea.


Next up comes a personal favorite of mine; artwork by Joe Madureira.  His work is just flat out AMAZING!  Below we’ve got the cover for issue one, some Inhuman pencils, and an alternate cover for your viewing pleasure.  The artwork alone sells this one, but I am really looking forward to seeing what Soule can do as well.  Marvel is billing Inhuman as the next big thing.  So what’s the premise?  A cloud of Terrigen mist has turned regular people into Inhumans with amazing powers.  But not everyone thinks this is a good thing…  Don’t miss this issue!



Next up are a couple of fan favorites around the Great Stories blog.  Marc Spector, The Fist of Khonshu, is back in Moon Knight #2, and so is that dude with the guns that is supposed to be locked in an underwater vault by the Avengers. Continuity?  In comics?  Nah.  Frank Castle is running around the left coast and tangling with one of the webhead’s old enemies in The Punisher #4.


Great Stories are everywhere!