Steven W. Alloway

Steven W. Alloway (292)

Wart is a collection of short web comics inspired (somewhat) by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. That alone wouldn’t really distinguish it in any important sense. It seems everything is inspired by Lovecraft these days. Cthulhu, his most famous creation, has gone from ancient, unspeakable evil to a meme and a punchline. In so many cases, this “inspiration” that horror creators claim to get from Lovecraft turns out to be little more than an attempt to cash in on a familiar name. But, Wart is different. Wart gets the things right that so many others continue to get wrong.

Indestructible, from Darby Pop Publishing, explores the notion of superheroes as celebrities. It’s an idea that plenty of other comics (and other media) have touched on before, but perhaps none quite so in-depth as this one. In the world of superheroes, those who use their powers for fame and fortune, instead of altruistically helping the helpless, are generally portrayed as self-absorbed and egotistical, or perhaps as having “lost their way” after a prior career of successful civil service. But, Indestructible shows us a world where altruism and self-promotion aren’t mutually exclusive, and the people making money from their abilities can still be the good guys.

Meet the Patels is a funny and insightful film about the search for true love, but it’s not a romantic comedy. Rather, it’s a film about family and cultural traditions. It’s also a documentary, which makes the characters and situations that much more engaging, knowing that it’s a real story, about real people, not just a warped Hollywood depiction of clichés and stereotypes.

Man from Reno is a complex crime thriller, full of twists, surprises, mistaken identities, and more. At times, it’s a little too complex, making it difficult to keep track of exactly what’s going on from one twist to the next, but, nonetheless, it’s an intense and engaging film that most mystery/thriller fans will enjoy.

Bullet Gal is a character from Andrez Bergen’s superhero novel, Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? Though never really seen in action in the book, she also makes an appearance in the second issue of Bergen’s anthology comic, Tales to Admonish, wherein she gets an adventure all her own called “All Fur Coat, No Knickers,” with art by Matt Kyme. Now, finally, she appears in her own title, albeit a short one. This is clearly a character that Mr. Bergen enjoys, and, reading Bullet Gal #1, it’s easy to see why.  

The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam is a surreal, colorful, and somewhat fantastical short film. The official description hails it as a “desert Steampunk fantasy,” but I wouldn’t really call it Steampunk. Still, it’s very visually striking and mesmerizing to watch all the way through.  

Odd Brodsky is a film for anyone who has ever wistfully dreamed of Hollywood greatness. At its screening at Dances With Films on Saturday night, writer/director Cindy Baer admitted that the movie comes at least somewhat from her own experiences—but that this wasn’t entirely intentional. They’re the experiences of a person trying to pursue a career in Hollywood against greater odds, and, for anyone who has done so, those experiences tend to be universal.

What is God? Does he exist as an actual entity or merely as a concept in religious doctrine? And, if God does exist, then why do bad things happen to good people? These are just a few of the questions raised by Frank vs. God, which premiered at Dances With Films on Friday night.

The fourth and final (for now, at least) chapter in this tale of surveillance, paranoia, and ultimate power ends in an epic showdown for control of the city—which leaves much of the city in ruins by the end of it. Ben, our intrepid hero who can control all of San Francisco’s systems with his mind, faces an army of drones sent to bring him down. As the minds behind the entire surveillance experiment go after not only him, but also his friends, people he cares about, and innocent bystanders, Ben is all that stands between them and a total police state.

The adventures continue for the brilliant WWII hero/superhero, displaced in time. Volume 1 saw Captain Midnight on the run in a world he didn’t understand. The new volume, Brave Old World, has him trying to acclimate himself to that world and get a feel for what’s going on around him.

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