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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 2/01/2017

Gung xi fat choi comic book fans and welcome to a special Chinese New Year edition of the Crank File, the only place on the web calling the year of the rooster, the year of the cock. I’m your host Ken Lee and here’s what I’m reading this week.



The Top of the Pile: Paper Girls #11

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaugha
Art: Cliff Chiang

What it is: A BOLD NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE! The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning ‘Best New Series’ from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG returns, as Erin, Mac, and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ only to encounter some horrifying new threats in an unexpected era.

Why we love it: Brian K Vaughan absolutely gutted his Saga fans last week (I’m still recovering emotionally), proving once again why he’s one of the best writers on the planet. Anything this dude writes gets fast tracked to the top of the pile, and Paper Girls has been fantastic so far. The dialogue feels completely natural and effortless, but delivers tremendous emotional payoffs. Making amazing comics never looked so easy.




The Mainstream One: Batman #16

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Bane’ part one! Bane is coming for Batman. Bruce must keep those he loves safe for five days in order to save Gotham Girl once and for all. But Bane will stop at nothing, and no one is safe.

Why we like it: This series keeps getting stronger and better with each arc. Last issue’s “Rooftops” was a stark-yet-beautiful glimpse into the complicated Cat/Bat relationship. This week we are back to bat-kicking business as “I Am Bane” starts a new thrilling chapter. Long live Tom King!




The Indie One: Walking Dead #163

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard


Why we like it: The Whisper Wars ended with a 2-page spread that made it very clear, the real war was just beginning. The grand-daddy of all zombie herds is headed right towards Rick’s camp and even by Walking Dead standards, things are looking pretty grim. Oh and holy crap, this is a 25 cent issue.




The #1 One: Darth Maul #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Luke Ross

What it is: Bred on hate, fear, and anger, steeped in the ways of darkness, and trained to kill. Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows, but at last we will reveal his tale of revenge. From writer Cullen Bunn (DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, WOLVERINE) and artist Luke Ross (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, HERCULES) comes a tale of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the Jedi.

Why we like it: After being utterly wasted in that dreadful Star Wars prequel, Darth Maul proved so popular that his character was included in the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. Now he’s getting his own solo comic written by the talented Cullen Bunn. The series will reveal the Sith apprentice’s journey leading up to that dreadful Star Wars prequel. There are a bunch of variants being released with this new #1, as Marvel is wont to do. I’m a sucker for action figure variants, but the Rod Reis regular cover is probably my favorite.




The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover: Avengers #4, Nova #3,  Deadpool #26, Champions #5 Corner Box variants

Publisher: Marvel
Cover Art: Joe Jusko

Why we like it: Do those look familiar? How about these?


Those little guys live in the top-left corner of comic book covers and were created by some of Marvel’s most revered artists. Some wizard at Marvel had the brilliant idea of having Joe Jusko recreate those thumbnail sketches as full-sized portraits with his realistic, painted style. The series of Corner Box variants, consisting of 20 covers in total, will be released throughout the month of February.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (January 27, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Editorial Disclaimer from Chris:  In last week’s Trailer Snark, I slagged XXX: Return of Xander Cage pretty hard and basically promised to not see it.  Sadly, I could not keep my promise as my son’s birthday request was to go see said movie.  Fate is such a cruel mistress.  After watching it, I still stand by everything I said before.  It was awful!

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Screen Gems) – Action/Horror/Sci-Fi
Rated R for sequences of violence throughout
Tag Line: The journey ends.
Starring:  Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose
Plot: Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jim: Two questions—Why do trailers like these seem as long as the movie itself? And does Milla Jovovich ever age?
Jessica: I’m so over these movies. I’ll pass.
Chris: This series has been truly uneven in result, but I can’t help but be pulled in to what promises to be the closure of this long-running genre series.  Milla has proven herself to be a worthy action star with her intensity and appeal. 

A Dog’s Purpose (Universal) – Adventure/Comedy/Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements and some peril
Tag Line: Every dog happens for a reason.
Starring: Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid
Plot: A dog looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Chris: Certainly looks better than Kevin Spacey’s turn as a cat, but not my kind of big screen viewing. Who would have thought such a cute movie would come with such controversy aside?
Jim: Awwwww! How can you NOT be into this trailer?! I’ll even forgive it for playing Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill, surely the most overused trailer song of all time.
Jessica: No way, the videos and investigation of animal abuse on the st of this film has turned me off from a movie that already looked pretty trite to me anyway. I love animals and cannot support anything that might be suspected of abusing them.

Gold (Dimension) – Adventure/Drama/Thriller
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: It was never about the money.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bruce Dallas Howard, Cory Stoll
Plot: Kenny Wells, a prospector desperate for a lucky break, teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.
Running Time: 121 minutes
Jessica: I have adored Matthew since Dazed and Confused so I watch his movies whenever I can. He’s only gotten better with age. This one looks fantastic.
Chris: The only thing missing was an inner monologue from McConaughey.  Looks excellent!
Jim: It’s got Matthew M, so it must be worth seeing, at  least at home.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Gold (Jim and Jessica) and 1 for Resident Evil (Chris)


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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/25/2017

Greetings super heroes and heroines and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that believes the freedom to punch a Nazi in the face is a god given right. I’m your host, Ken Lee, and here’s what I’m reading this week:




The Top of the Pile: Saga #42

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: END OF STORY ARC ‘THE WAR FOR PHANG,’ The Epic Conclusion! Hell is war, as Hazel and her family learn the hardest way.

Why we love it: Still the best book on the stands, and once again the top of the pile. It’s the end of another spectacular Saga arc, which is always bitter sweet. It means that something jaw-droppingly awesome is going to happen, but it also means a couple months off before we get another issue while the creative team goes on scheduled hiatus.




The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #15

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: ‘BIG APPLE SHOWDOWN’ STARTS HERE! Amadeus Cho is slowly learning how to become a team player, but he better learn fast when Ms. Marvel, Shang Chi, Silk and a host of other heroes come to town!

Why we like it: I didn’t realize how much I wanted this team-up until I saw the cover art. Marvel’s assembling a group of Asian super heroes, which will eventually need a catchy team name. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’m thinking “The Persuaders”.




The Indie One: Divinity III #2

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine

What it is: Cold world war! Welcome to the year 2017 where the Soviet Union has spent decades as the the world’s reigning superpower and the Iron Curtain now encircles a planet riddled with war, strife, and oppression. Freedom is a thing of the past in the Stalinverse. So why can’t Russian intelligence officer Colin King shake the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong? He’ll put his freedom and life on the line to uncover the truth. Even if that means finding out whatever happened to the long-missing cosmonaut Abram Adams – the one man who just might hold the key to unraveling the dystopian world of today. This is no alternate reality. This is the Valiant Universe as we know it and, soon, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine will lead Valiant’s event-level epic to the architect behind this new world order!

Why we like it: I’ve dipped a toe into a Valiant series or two over the years, but never found any of their titles interesting enough to add to my pull list. But since Valiant unleashed the Russian cosmonaut slash demigod, Divinity, upon their universe, I’ve been hooked. Divinity is THE reason to read Valiant.




The #1 One: The Dregs #1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Lonnie Nadler
Art: Eric Zawadzki

What it is: A gentrified city. Its homeless population restricted to six square blocks called The Dregs. When people start disappearing, a drug-addled homeless man obsessed with detective fiction becomes addicted to solving the mystery. Equal parts Raymond Chandler and Don Quixote set in a thriving metropolis that literally cannibalizes the homeless, The Dregs is the first homeless meta noir ever made.

Why we like it: I haven’t heard much about this series, but it already wins the award for the most bizarrely intriguing synopsis. Black Mask lost some goodwill from fans due to uneven release schedules, but there’s no denying that they have published some of the best alternative comics in recent history. Definitely will check this out on Wednesday.




The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Deadpool #25

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Gerry Duggan
Art: Scott Koblish
Cover Art: Mark Brooks

What it is: DEADPOOL 2099 reaches its DOUBLE-SIZED CONCLUSION! Wade’s two daughters battle for his legacy! PLUS: The old man himself gets in the game! AND: IRON FIST shows just how IMMORTAL he is!

Why we like it: Nothing really jumped out at me this week for cover art, so I’m falling back on an old, reliable tactic. Everyone loves a good DP cover.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (January 20, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (Paramount) – Action
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language
Tag Line: Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you’re doing it.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Samuel Jackson
Plot: Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Chris: I didn’t like the original, and I don’t plan on entertaining the sequel.  Vin Diesel is probably the most overrated action star in Hollywood.
Jessica: NO THANK YOU. I got mad love for Vin, but I didnt like the first one, I don’t want to see a second one.
Jim: This was going along well until that cheesy shot of him running out of the plane at the end. I dunno…

Split (Universal) – Horror/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language
Tag Line: Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy
Plot: After three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 distinct personalities they must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from the others.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Jim: In 18 years, M Night has made one good movie, The Sixth Sense. Pass.
Chris: I am the sad fool who keeps hoping that Shymalan is not the one trick pony that he is known to be.  And like so many of his trailers, this one seems to be full of the promise of a creepy and entertaining ride.  But that has been a familiar feeling with each release after The Sixth Sense.
Jessica: I adore McAvoy, but I detest Sxamalanan, oh however you spell it, I really really really REALLY don’t like this movies. Really don’t. So just in case you’re wondering, this is a pass for me.

The Founder (Weinstein Company) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Tag Line: He took someone else’s idea and America ate it up.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman
Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Jessica: I love seeing Keaton back in the movies and this looks really interesting. Totally something I’d want to see.
Jim: Yes! Another part of the triumphant return of Michael Keaton. Definitely a must-see.
Chris:  Aside from the fact that Michael Keaton is a national treasure, I find the birth of industry and commercial enterprise fascinating.  To see the humble beginnings of what would soon become a giant makes for great entertainment.

The Sunshine Makers (FilmRise) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring: Nick Sand, Tim Scully
Plot: The story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture.
Running Time: I don’t know man…I’m freakin’ out here. 101 minutes.

Chris: Watching this for me is akin to watching people orchestrating a train wreck.  I suggest art and sport as escapism.  Screw the drugs.
Jessica: This had me at LSD.
Jim: Looks freaky, man.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (High Top Releasing) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements including a crucifixion image.
Tag Line: If church can change him it will be a miracle.
Starring: Brett Dalton, Shawn Michaels, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes
Plot: A washed-up former child star, forced to do community service at a local megachurch, pretends to be a Christian to land the part of Jesus in their annual Passion Play, only to discover that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.
Running Time: 92 minutes
Jim: Been done before, but it looks entertaining enough.
Chris: Looks charming enough, but has a total tv movie feel to it.  Nice to see Brett Dalton again though.
Jessica: Oh Brett Dalton, this is such a … Massive cliche. Though that being said, if I was sad and bored and it was free, I might watch it.

Detour (Magnet Releasing) – Thriller
Rated R for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language throughout
Tag Line: None
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen
Plot: A young law student blindly enters into a pact with a man who offers to kill his stepfather, whom he feels is responsible for the accident that sent his mother into a coma.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jessica: I have a weird suspicion this has a twist, like a “Fight Club” twist going on…Meh
Jim: Worth a look if it’s free.
Chris: Absorbed me with the dual personality trailer.  Not sure I’d hit the theaters to see it, but I’ll be putting this one on my watch list.

The Red Turtle (Sony Picture Classics) – Animation/Fantasy
Rated PG for some thematic elements and peril
Tag Line: None
Starring: A red turtle and some dude
Plot: The dialogue-less film follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds.
Running Time: 80 minutes

Chris:  No dialogue animated film.  I appreciate the interpretive nature of such films, but at the end of the day, it does not hold much interest for me.  I think I might max out at about 20 minutes before losing interest.
Jessica: Interesting.
Jim: Another beautiful and amazing-looking effort from Ghibli. I’m a sucker for things like this.

Tickets Purchased: Three for The Founder (Jim, Chris, and Jessica) and Jim pulls double duty with a showing of The Red Turtle.

McDonald's Fries should be sanctioned by theaters, and mandatory concession snack for showings of The Founder
McDonald’s Fries should be sanctioned by theaters, and mandatory concession snack for showings of The Founder


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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/18/2017

Hello comic book likers and welcome to another episode of The Crank File, the only place on the web that judges a comic not by the logo on its cover, but by the content of its pages.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:




The Top of the Pile: Batman #15

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: ‘STREETS AND SWAMPS’! Swamp Thing comes to Gotham City with a mysterious request for Batman-but these longtime allies will have to make up for lost time and work together in order to confront a growing threat that only they can stop!

Why we love it: Some weeks it’s a battle for the top of the pile. This was not one of those weeks. My favorite and second favorite DC characters teaming up for an adventure scripted by my favorite up and coming writer. Too easy.




The Mainstream One: Gamora #2 (Mattina variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nicole Perlman
Art: Marco Checchetto

What it is: OUT OF TIME AND OUT FOR REVENGE! The story continues as we follow GAMORA to the doomed planet that is UBLIEX. Perched on the brink of a black hole, its inhabitants count down the hours to their planet’s imminent demise as it is swallowed up by the approaching Singularity. Will Gamora find her revenge among the inhabitants of Ubliex before the black hole consumes them all? Or will the citizens of this world – including a doomsday cult, junkie bounty hunters and a young woman with a tremendous destiny – stop her first?

Why we like it: The story digs into Gamora’s past, when she was still Thanos’ daughter and consumed by revenge for the annihilation of her race. Gamora’s on the hunt for her enemy’s last remaining survivor, an innocent baby girl. While the redemption angle isn’t groundbreaking, I was impressed by Chachetto’s gorgeous interiors and Nicole Perlman’s depiction of Gamora’s internal conflict. The Mattina variant is a killer and reminds me of McFarlane’s iconic Hulk #340 cover.




The Indie One: Descender #18

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: ‘ORBITAL MECHANICS,’ Part Two The cyborg cult known as The Between are hit by a Gnishian attack fleet with only Andy, Driller and Tullis standing between them. Will Andy’s love for Queen Between be enough to save them? One of Decsender’s cast members makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Why we like it: I had been trade waiting Descender for a few arcs, but I flipped through the last issue and decided this book was just too good to continue waiting on. Between his work at Marvel and his indie projects (don’t miss out on Black Hammer annual #1 either, also out this week from Dark Horse) Lemire is completely on top of his game.




The #1 One: Curse Words #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Ryan Browne

What it is: ‘THE DEVIL’S DEVIL,’ Part One. A wizard has appeared in New York City, and he’s casting wonderful spells, getting famous, getting rich-it’s great! But it’s not. This wizard has everyone fooled. He is actually an EVIL WIZARD, and EVIL THINGS are on the way. CURSE WORDS is a gonzo modern fantasy, full of darkness, light…and MAGIC.

Why we like it: I heard this one called Lord of the Rings meets Breaking bad, which probably means it’s not as good as either. Slow week for #1’s. But the synopsis sounds interesting enough, so I’ll at least give it a flip through before making an executive decision at the stand.




The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Clone Conspiracy #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Jim Cheung
Cover Art: Gabrielle Dell’Otto

What it is: The darkest Spider-Man story ever gets EVEN DARKER! Doctor Octopus and the Lizard have both been on a tight leash, but decide it’s time to stop playing nice!

Why we like it: Damn Dell’Otto. Dell’otta be hanging in a gallery.


That’s all i got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (January 13, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Monster Trucks (Paramount) – Action/Adventure
Rated PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor
Tag Line:  On January 13, meet Creach
Starring: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover
Plot: Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend.
Running Time: 104 minutes

Jim: How cookie-cutter can you get?
Jessica: Looks dumb. That’s all I have to say about that.
Chris:  This could be Rob Lowe’s newest commercial….”I’m bad career decisions Rob Lowe”.

The Bye Bye Man (STX Entertainment) – Horror
Rated PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking
Tag Line: Don’t think it. Don’t say it.
Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Carrie-Ann Moss
Plot: Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind man’s most unspeakable acts.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: Destined for Netflix streaming, like most paint by numbers horrors.
Jim: Don’t think it, Don’t say it, Don’t see it.
Jessica: I HATE the name of the “creature” and also, this has been done to death. Maybe this is going to be good, but honestly I got a bit bored by the trailer and I really like Carrie Ann Moss. It’s a pass for me.

Live By Night (Warner Bros) – Crime/Drama
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: The American Dream has a price.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleason
Plot: A story set in the Prohibition Era and centered around a group of individuals and their dealings in the world of organized crime.
Running Time:  128 minutes

Jessica: I do really enjoy Affleck and this looks really good. I’d check this out.
Chris: That’s how you cut a trailer, folks!  Makes me want to go read some Dennis Lehane.
Jim: An absorbing Dennis Lehane book, so I’m looking forward to seeing this.

Sleepless (Open Road Films) – Action/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Tag Line: Don’t judge a cop by his cover.
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monoghan, Gabrielle Union
Plot: A cop with a connection to the criminal underworld scours a nightclub in search of his kidnapped son.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris:  Corrupt cops, kidnappings, guns, and car chases.  You might call it one of the most tried and true recipes in the Hollywood cookbook.  But I am in the mood for finer dining this week.
Jim: yet another by-the numbers cop action snoozefest.

The Comedian (Sony Picture Classics) – Comedy
Rated R for crude sexual references and language throughout
Tag Line: Nobody’s a bargain.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Leslie Mann, Billy Crystal, Danny Devito
Plot: A look at the life of an aging insult comic.
Running Time: 119 minutes

Jessica: The cast is AMAZING and it looks excellent acted, directed and all that. I think this may be my pick of the week.
Jim: A great cast, this looks like one of the best DeNiros in a while, some good, solid entertainment.
Chris:  It’s been a while since I have enjoyed any movie DeNiro has been in.  This could be a reversal of that recent trend.

The Book of Love (Electric Entertainment) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language and drug material
Tag Line: How far would you go for a lost love?
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Maise Williams, Jessica Biel
Plot: Henry is an introverted architect. After the death of his wife in a car accident, he sets out to help Millie, a homeless teen, to build a raft to sail across the Atlantic.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Chris:  One of those movies that pulls at your heart-strings and hopefully leaves you inspired.  Won’t be going to the theater for this one, but it is on my future watch list.
Jessica: This looks heart wrenching, even though, like Bye Bye it’s been done before, I do enjoy Sudekis and Arya is a solid actress. Might check it out at home.
Jim: See my comments in the first two reviews.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for The Comedian (Jim and Jessica) and One for Live By Night (Chris)

Haven't enjoyed a DeNiro film since this gem...could be times are changing?
Haven’t enjoyed a DeNiro film since this gem…could be times are changing?


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The All-New All-Different Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/11/2017

Greetings comic book boys and girls and welcome back for another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that don’t crank much, ’cause real cranksta ass readers know we got it. We are back, and damn it feels good to be a cranksta! How’s everyone doing? I hope you were able to find good stuff to read while I was away. If not, fear not, for I have returned to share with you which books I’m checking out at the stands every week. For those of you wondering where I’ve been for the last two months, I recently purchased a house and have been in full-on project mode. Between scraping layers of wallpaper, smashing bathtubs and hanging sheet rock, there just wasn’t a lot of time for comics. Now that the renovations are nearing completion, and I can finally get back to my favorite distraction. Just in time, because I desperately need a distraction. So without further adieu…

Here’s what I’m reading this week.



The Top of the Pile: All Star Batman #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock

What it is: ‘Cold to the Core’! Batman travels to Alaska to confront Mr. Freeze as he attempts to extract the world’s oldest ice core and bring humanity to a new Ice Age!

Why we love it: Growing up with the Batman Animated Series, Mr. Freeze was my favorite minor Batman villain. In a lot of ways he was like Batman, just a man in an elaborate suit avenging the death of someone loved. And he also carried a badass icebeam cannon. So I’m stoked to see him back in action and by the looks of the handsom ice armor Batman is sporting on the cover, Freeze will be in his element. The second All Star Batman arc is being brought to us by the creative dream team of Snyder and Jock, who have already carved out a memorable Batman run together during their Black Mirror arc (Tec issues 871-880).



The Mainstream One: Spider-man #12 (Isanove Variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: THIS IS IT! THE MOMENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! THE KISS HEARD ROUND THE WORLD! The two most talked about heroes give us something new to talk about in this Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen crossover. How did Miles and Gwen get here?!

Why we like it: I love Miles and Gwen, but feel like Marvel just pulled this PR stunt with Lady Thor and Black Cap. You’d figure an interracial kiss wouldn’t move the needle in the 21st century, but this book’s stirring up some early of buzz. The 1:25 Isanove variant sizzles and that all black cover will make it hard to find in high grade. Grab it if you see it.



The Indie One: Motor Crush #2

Publisher: Image
Words: Brendan Fletcher
Art: Babs Tarr

What it is: Domino confronts her father about the ‘machine narcotic’ Crush, and is forced to put her life on the line to save an old flame from danger.

Why we like it: Motor Crush is punk rock on motorcycles, fast, aggressive and non-stop action. Issue #1 was a great read. The art was kinetic and the layouts were exploding with detail. It definitely brought back memories of playing Road Rash in my friend’s basement after school. Speed and violence, always a crowd pleaser.



The #1 One: Red Sonja #1 (Camuncoli variant)

Publisher: Dynamite
Words: Amy Chu
Art: Carlos Gomez

What it is: A new chapter for the Queen of the Hyrkanian Age. Our favorite warrior has faced the toughest of demons, foes and strange magic, but nothing has prepared this 6 ft. tall barbarian for the modern world. Emerging from a subway construction site in New York City, confronted by cops and guns, Sonja fights for her survival in a new and hostile world. Is she here by accident or by design?

Why we like it: Amy Chu caught my attention with her Poison Ivy mini-series, Cycle of Life and Death, and I’m interested to see how she handles another of my favorite female characters. Here she’s giving Red Sonja the woman-out-of-time treatment, and swords and sorcery will collide with the modern world. J.Scott Cambell fans will be all over cover B, but I’m digging the Camuncoli variant.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars Poe Dameron #10 (Immonen variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Stuart Immonen

What it is: Poe and Threepio’s covert mission comes to an end! Can they escape with their informant intact? Or will Terex’s past come back to haunt them?

Why we like it: I just watched Rogue One and it feels like I’m seeing this classic image with new eyes. A beautiful tribute to her worshipfulness. Force be with you, Princess. Close runner-up was Ben Oliver’s Bat-Woman cover for Detective Comics #948


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (January 6, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

And now to kick off 2017!

Underworld: Blood Wars (Screen Gems) – Action/Horror
Rated R for strong bloody violence, and some sexuality
Tag Line: Protect the bloodline.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James
Plot: Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Jessica: I think they need to stop with these movies. The first one was great, but they kind of lost me after. I think I was bored with the endless gun battles. They’re vampires and werewolves, they should have freakin MYSTICAL powers, why do they need so many guns!!!!!????
Jim: I was so bored by this trailer I could barely remember it 10 seconds after I watched it.
Chris: I liked the original, but the sequels have left me cold.  And I can’t help but think of Milla Jovovich from Resident Evil when I see Kate Beckinsale do her butt kicking in leather bit.  Wait for the small screen!

A Monster Calls (Focus Features) – Drama/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some scary images
Tag Line: Stories are wild creatures.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall
Plot: A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom’s terminal illness.
Running Time: 108 minutes
Chris: It’s about time that Liam Neeson does the taking.  This flick seems to be a nice escape from the post-Christmas winter blues.
Jessica: This really looks fantastic. I was intrigued, I admit it. Totally something I’d watch.
Jim: This looks like a winner for sure, captivating and magical.

I, Daniel Blake (Sundance Selects) – Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires
Plot: A middle aged carpenter who requires state welfare after injuring himself, is joined by a single mother in a similar scenario.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Jim: Wow, does this look gripping! I’d rush out and see it now if I didn’t think I’d spend 2 hours sitting there and getting pissed off.
Chris: I feel the righteous anger awakening.
Jessica: As great as Daniel Blake looks, I’m not really sure that I’d get much pleasure out of it. On a pure enjoyment level, I’d go with A Monster Calls. Happy New Year!

Tickets Purchased:  3 for A Monster Calls!

A Unanimous Trailer Snark Decision!
A Unanimous Trailer Snark Decision!