Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

Complete and utter pandemonium is perhaps the best way to describe the fourth and final issue of Dark Horse’s buddy cop/Lovecraftian/carnivalesque series, Vinegar Teeth. The series’ revelation is that Vinegar Teeth (real name Zathral) was sent to Earth by his father, Cullzathro, to contaminate the water with alien eggs/embryos that, when ingested, brainwash the populace to sow the seeds of anger, allowing cosmic horrors to invade. Issue four sees Brick City aflame in chaos, as cultists and monsters run amok while Cullzathro’s hand gleefully plucks up buildings full of people to consume.  With their partnership fully solidified, it is up to Vinegar Teeth and Artie to thwart the invading forces through all means necessary: shootin’, singin’, and drinkin'.  

When sergeant Taine McKenna and his men of the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) accompany a team of scientists into the Te Urewera Forest to validate a gold discovery, separatists, drug runners, corporate schemers, and natural obstacles become the least of their worries as they become hunted by a taniwha - a malevolent spirit in the form of a gigantic tuatara reptile. With their modern weaponry ineffective, McKenna and cohorts must find a way to survive and outwit the beast as it picks them off, one by one….

With legendary sword and scabbard in hand, Avalon departs the Guardian’s lake to continue her quest along with her new cohorts, Lancer, Trystan, and a reluctant Gawyn. Elsewhere, the Red Clan prepares for their duel with the White Monks, with the scheming Black Sun Templars behind the scenes. Despite Merlin’s many protests that the challenge is a trap, Lord Huss of the White Monks elects to engage the Red Clan, relying on the will of the gods and the long-established sacred laws to ensure his victory. En route to the White Monks, Avalon and company happen upon the immolated and crucified remains of the slavers. (See issue one.) Distraught by the scene, Avalon makes haste and finds the White Monk’s citadel surrounded. With the aid of Gawyn’s invisibility granting stealth pins, Avalon is able to make it to the citadel just in time to see the treachery of the Red Clan and the Black Sun Templars unfold.

It was 50 years ago today that audiences were transported back in time a million years to a watering hole on the African desert, where two rival hominids clashed with deadly results in the shadow of a black monolith. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey has become one of the most revered films in the history of cinema and has influenced many of our contemporary science fiction directors today. Fanbase Press honors the 50th anniversary and celebrates the fandoms surrounding this film.  

If Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) was the film to resurrect the sword and sandal genre back into mainstream limelight, then Zach Snyder’s 2006 adaptation of Frank Miller’s 1998 graphic novel, 300, was the genre’s follow-up boost of literal and figurative testosterone. With cheers of “This is Sparta!” entering the pop culture lexicon, interest in the original comic was rejuvenated while a mini-media empire was born; a video game, 300: March to Glory, was released on the PlayStation Portable, NECA released figurines of some of the film’s characters, and a sequel film, 300: Rise of an Empire, was released in 2014.

Of all the deities and figures of Greco-Roman mythology, perhaps none is as renowned or revered as that of Hercules (Heracles). His legends and deeds have endured centuries of adaption and appropriation, inspiring art, film, comics, and other stories. Steve Reeves’ portrayal of Hercules in the 1958 peplum film of the same name set the template of a cinematic Hercules which would be echoed over the years by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and Dwayne Johnson, with a small-screen incarnation portrayed by Kevin Sorbo. Hercules has appeared in various comic book iterations at DC, Dell, Marvel, and Gold Key and in a set of graphic novels by Steve Moore, The Thracian Wars and The Knives of Kush. Each of these iterations of Hercules take liberties with his mythology (which itself is fluid and composed of conflicting accounts and tales), but interprets and builds upon it, as well.

After a narrative sidetrack during issue two, issue three of Vinegar Teeth sees officers Buckle and Vinegar Teeth back into proper action. The issue begins with Vinegar Teeth accidentally eating two cultists while trying to apprehend them and seeks out Buckle afterwards for consultation. They both proceed to get drunk (or drunk-er in Buckle’s case), with Vinegar Teeth having dreams of a spiraling Azathoth-ish chaos at the center of the universe. Afterwards, as quickly as he had left the police force, Buckle rejoins (more or less making his abdication from the police force superfluous). He and Vinegar Teeth take to the beat, arresting Cullzathro cultists as the city plummets into a stage of anarchy. Buckle and Vinegar Teeth are soon requested personally by the mayor for protection duty. All of the foreshadowing in prior issues comes to fruition, as Buckle realizes that there is something very, very wrong with Brick City’s water….

“A mountain walked or stumbled. God! What wonder that across the earth a great architect went mad… The Thing of the idols, the green, sticky spawn of the stars, had awaked to claim his own. The stars were right again… After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight.”

Colin’s Godson is a Scottish power pop band from Glasgow who take their music to a transmedia level. Aside from releasing their particular brand of power pop/Britpop/punk-pop via digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl means, they also flirt with the comic book medium. The physical releases of their music, such as Colin’s Godson in Space and The Timely Demise of Colin’s Godson, all have comic books, starring the band in outlandish adventures, as part of their packaging. The Colin’s Godson Annual collects these comic adventures into one 84-page omnibus. As with the physical releases of their albums and EPs, the Colin’s Godson Annual was produced in an extremely limited quantity (20 copies in this instance). The collection includes the comics Colin’s Godson in Space, Colin’s Godson in Time, Colin’s Godson Comic No 2, Colin’s Godson at the Speed of Sound, The Timely Demise of Colin’s Godson, and Colin’s Godson in Silicon Heaven with parody adverts and games peppered throughout.

The comedic, Lovecraftian, buddy-cop series, Vinegar Teeth, continues into its second issue as Buckle and Vinegar Teeth continue about their police business in Brick City. The momentum at the end of issue one, with a super-powered cultist fleeing via the roof tops, is placed on hold in this issue with the focus shifting to more character development and lifestyle depictions. Buckle is shown to have a soft spot for a song called “Share that Nice Daydream.”  He initially relaxes to an LP of it in the bath until Vinegar Teeth accidentally blows up his apartment playing a tuba, and then moves to a bar to see a live performance of it. While on duty, Buckle and Vinegar Teeth are called to a bank robbery in progress being committed by a chapter of the Woodland Scouts (a Boy Scout parody). The scouts are able to get away by blowing up the bank with kerosene and firecrackers, but not before Vinegar Teeth saves Buckle.

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