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Back to the Future trilogy screening with Midnites for Maniacs trip report!

Delorean at Castro

The DeLorean parked outside the Castro Theater

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Minites for Maniacs showing of the Back to the Future trilogy. All three films screened together for what I am told is the first time in the US since the original runs. How can you pass up seeing all three films in the classic Castro Theater for only $12? Obviously, you can’t!

The films have long gone on to classic status, creating what is one of the tightest trilogies while inspiring a whole generation of film fans. I grew up watching the original, taped off of cable, and remember how exciting it was when the sequels were announced and were going to film back to back and then release back to back. That was revolutionary for the time.

Watching all three films in a row helps emphasize how much the films play off each other. It’s not only a connection made from turning a single film into a trilogy (as the original was originally stand alone), but the repeating of scenes and tropes both within and between the various films. The Marty waking up scenes talking to his mom, the manure scenes, the Tannens telling the McFlys not to be in various places.

Not only does Back to the Future steal from itself, but it also steals from a whole history of Hollywood cinema. From the obvious A Fistful of Dollars to Marty McFly Jr. quoting Midnight Cowboy to the classic Western actors appearing in the saloon in BTTF 3.

Even the discarded original ending involving an atomic bomb and the time machine (which was at that time a refrigerator) ended up being recycled into the beginning of the fourth Indiana Jones film, minus the whole time travel angle (unless you count him getting really old as being time travel!)

The films looked amazing, high quality digital prints screened with classic trailers on good old 35mm film. Joining the screening was not just a DeLorean parked outside, but actor Jeffrey Weissman, who played George McFly after Crispen Glover has his disagreements with the producers about the sequels. Weissman told about how he was hired, originally as a photo double, unaware of what the real job was. He was a cool guy and knew how to talk to an audience. There is going to be a whole slate of things planned for the 30th Anniversary, including a themed cruise!

At this point we are 29 years on from the original, just one year shy of the future of 2015. While we may not have flying cars, Mr. Fusion, 19 Jaws films, or hover boards, we do have the enduring knowledge that the future is what we make of it, and if we put our minds to it, anything’s possible.

Thanks to Midnites for Maniacs/Jesse Hawthorne Ficks for setting up the screening!

Jeffrey Weissman Jesse Hawthorne Ficks

An incredibly blurry photo of Jeffrey Weissman and Jesse Hawthrone Ficks

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

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March of Godzilla 2014

Godzilla dance

Put on your dancing pants because it’s time for March of Godzilla 2014! The first March of Godzilla in a while actually sort of started in March, though like usually we’ll be running far over and they’ll be plenty of Godzilla fun, from movies to television to other! The current plan is to run right into the brand new 2014 Godzilla getting released in theaters, and incorporating that right in. So stay tuned to TarsTarkas.NET for all the exciting March of Godzilla 2014 updates!

March of Godzilla 2014
Getty lets you embed images now, so here are all the Godzilla ones!
Zone Fighter Episode 07 – Zoonfamirii Kikiippatsu! aka Zone Family’s Critical Moment!
Zone Fighter Episode 08 – Taose! Kyoufu-no Inbeedaa aka 倒せ! 恐怖のインベーダー aka Smash the Terrifying Invader! aka Defeat the Invader of Fear!
Zone Fighter Episode 14 – Takerikuruuzo! Garoga Shounen Kougekitai aka 猛り狂うぞ! ガロガ少年攻撃隊 aka Insane With Anger! The Garoga Boy’s Squad aka Rampage! The Garoga Boys Attack Force
Zone Fighter Episode 16 – Kyoufu-no Shuugeki! Garoga Robotto aka 恐怖の襲撃! ガロガロボット aka Counterstrike of Terror! Garoga-Robot! aka Terrifying Attack! The Garoga Robot
Zone Fighter Episode 17 – GO! Faitaa Kinkyuuhasshin aka GO! ファイター緊急発進 aka Go! Fighter Emergency Take off! aka Go! Fighter, Scramble
Zone Fighter Episode 18 – Shirei “Nihon Rettou Bakuhase-yo” aka 指令『日本列島爆破せよ』 aka Directive: Destroy the Japanese Laboratory! aka Command: “Destroy the Japanese Islands”
Zone Fighter Episode 19 – Meirei “K Suisei-de Chikyuu-wo Kowase” aka 命令『Kスイ星で地球をこわせ』 aka Order: Crush the Earth With Comet K! aka Order: “Destroy the Earth with Comet K”
Zone Fighter Episode 20 – Gekitou! Faitaa-no Uta-ga Kikoeru aka 激闘! ファイターの歌が聞える aka Desperate Struggle! Can You Hear Fighter’s Song? aka Fierce Fight! Can You Hear Fighter’s Song?
Zone Fighter Episode 21 – Muteki! Gojira Ooabare aka 無敵! ゴジラ大暴れ aka Invincible! Godzilla’s Violent Charge! aka Invincible! Godzilla Rages

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 31, 2014 at 8:57 pm

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The Thing #31 (January 1986) and the Godzilla Marvel Legacy

The Thing 31 Godzilla

Godzilla, man, you got a drooling problem! It needs to be said…

The Thing #31 – Devil Dinosaur: The movie! (January 1986)
Writer – Mike Carlin
Penciler – Ron Wilson
Editor – Mark Gruenwald
The Thing 31 Godzilla

Godzilla just wants to be friend with his old metal pal!

Godzilla made one last official appearance in Marvel comics canon before disappearing into the ether. There have been several Godzilla-like creatures that will be discussed below, but as far as I can tell, they’ve never been officially counted as Godzilla. So let us tackle The Thing #31. The Thing is among the first comic books I ever bought. I bought two of those “comic book 3-packs”, one containing 3 issues of The Transformers and one with 3 issues of The Thing. While The Transformers became the series I would get every month and subscribed, The Thing became a series I would get in the quarter bins at comic shops, but it was still a good read (hence my buying them.) I was never that into the Fantastic Four, because Spiderman ruled all, but I often had extra money for cheap comics that would be good. Several images here are take from the Marvel Chronology’s entry of The Thing #31.

Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) goes to visit his friend, stuntwoman Sharon Ventura, who is working on a movie about Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur. Ben likes Sharon because she reminds him of a lost love, Tarianna. Sharon Ventura would eventually become Ms. Marvel, be a hero for a bit, be a villain for a bit, and then get replaced by a Skrull. Welcome to Marvel continuity!

Ben arrives and starts attacking Devil Dinosaur, because he doesn’t realize it’s a robot! But he’s not the only one to make the mistake, as out of the sea arises the reason we’re writing this entry: Godzilla!

Yes, he’s actually called Godzilla! Looks like someone forgot or thought that The Thing would be too under the radar for Toho’s lawyers.. .Godzilla has escaped from captured jerkoff Dr. Demonicus, thanks to Godzilla’s cunning plan of distracting the evil Dr. with Iron Man’s suit so he could get captured, at which point Godzilla probably just wandered out of the undersea headquarters. Or maybe SHIELD got off their lazy duffs and raided the compound and Godzilla got set loose that way.

The Thing 31 Godzilla

How dare that coward Godzilla not mindlessly destroy the robot and instead leave when he realized his mistake!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm

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Iron Man #196 (July 1985)

Iron Man 196 Godzilla

Cool how Dr. Demonicus didn’t even bother to look for Godzilla! (Jerk!)

Iron Man #196 – (No title) (July 1985)
Writer – Denny O’Neil
Penciler – Rich Buckler
Editor – Mark Gruenwald
Iron Man 196 Godzilla

All these potential cool monsters we will never see…

We skipped Iron Man #195 because Big G was a no-show. I’m sure exciting things happened. Or not. Jim Rhodes was talking with an Indian spirit guide or some nonsense last issue to cure his migranes. That continues as we start this exciting entry. He left his Iron Man armor behind in the mystical dimension you go to when you get Indian spirit guides to cure your migraines, and now he can’t go back to get it, because you can only go to that dimension once.

Hey, I don’t write this stuff! I just write about this stuff.

Yada yada, the armor somehow has formed up and is seeking something out. Expect something weird to happen.

Godzilla returns to Dr. Demonicus’s base with a mouthful of Stark’s old Iron Man armor that Stark ditched in issue 194. Dr. Demonicus pauses his work on making more mutant monsters to bring about Pax Demonicus in order to play around with the armor for revenge. Someone needs to learn to complete his projects before he begins new ones!

Because the wayward Rhodes Iron Man armor has returned to this plane of existence and is causing trouble, Stark grabs a bunch of parts of spare costumes from the Wes Coast Avengers’ closet and suits up to go investigate. Dr. Demonicus tracks him down and attacks wearing the old Iron Mas costume, but the alternate plane Iron Man suit joins with Stark and soon Demonicus is defeated and will be spending some time in the slammer.

And that’s the end of March of Godzilla 2013, once again I’d like to thank…

Oh, no!
Yo! It’s The Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing! Did I ever tell you about the time Godzilla was in my comic?
Well, Mr. Grimm, we don’t have that comic, so we can’t..
Check your inbox, kid! I gotta go clobber some pizza while smoking a cigar or something! Yancy Street!
Okay, it looks like March of Godzilla 2013 will continue again for the second time! You can’t kill us, we’re like that stuff growing between the tiles in your shower!
Iron Man 196 Godzilla

Godzilla: Mastermind!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 28, 2013 at 11:58 pm

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Iron Man #194 (May 1985)

Iron Man 194 Godzilla

Godzilla’s just enjoying the ride!

Iron Man #194 – Otherwhere! (May 1985)
Writer – Denny O’Neil
Penciler – Luke McDonnell
Editor – Mark Gruenwald
Iron Man 194 Godzilla


Godzilla returns for a couple of panels and then goes on vacation again. Unfortunately, Iron Man #194 has a bunch of stuff about Iron Man in it for some reason. Don’t they know the reason this website is reading the comics 28 years later? Get with the program, Marvel!

Stark has been carrying Godzilla over the ocean for an entire minute when his rockets run out of power and he starts to sink to the bottom of the ocean. Whoops! He eventually gets enough of the armor off to get to the surface and breath again, but has no idea where he is as he’s in the middle of no where and a storm is coming. Hawkeye and Mockingbird go looking for him after an hour.

James Rhodes visits Hank Pym, who is currently hip 1970s Owen Wilson Hank Pym. Hank Pym is doing work on other dimensions when suddenly some goober with a gun comes in, demanding Pym make him a few inches shorter so he can evade the cops. Rhodes kicks and punches the guy until he falls into a dimensional portal. Hank Pym is also pulled in as well. Rhodes suits up as Iron Man and goes in after them.

Some even more boring sideplots happen with characters unimportant in the giant monster scheme of things. One thing is important in the grand scheme of comic history, as the original Scourge makes his first appearance here in what was at the time something innovative (a mysterious assassin offs a bunch of b-level supervillains randomly in various comics) but has become used a lot and now is not novel. I’ve lost count on what number Scourge we’re up to.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird used the Quinjet to search for Stark, but are unable to find him. They go back to the vessel that was downed in the ocean last issue, and are shocked to find Stark has swum there. Even more shocking, Tigra has disappeared from this story line and I have no idea where she went! Probably off to flirt with another giant monster.

While Rhodes rescues Pym and the weirdo guy with a gun, but the guy with the gun decides the trippy alternate dimension beats jail and jumps back into it!

Until next time. Actually, until the time after next, because Godzilla skips an issue before reappearing in Iron Man #196!

Iron Man 194 Godzilla

The East German Judge gives him a 4.3!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

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Iron Man #193 (April 1985)

Iron Man 193 Godzilla Marvel

Run! Godzilla is mad at our awful hairstyles!

Iron Man #193 – The Choice and the Challenge! (April 1985)
Writer – Denny O’Neil
Penciler – Luke McDonnell
Editor – Mark Gruenwald
Iron Man 193 Godzilla Marvel

These are some of the best panels in comics history. I am completely serious.

Hey, it’s true, March of Godzilla 2013 continues past the cancellation of the Marvel Godzilla series (due to increased Godzilla licensing costs from Toho, not because of low sales!) and Godzilla shows up in issues of Iron Man 6 years later, strangely mutated and not referred to as Godzilla by any character on screen. But we all know who he is. Dr. Demonicus returns as well, he actually was running around the Shogun Warriors comic series and had a whole new batch of monsters from there. None of them (nor his original monsters) are around here, and the only monster fighting is between Godzilla and several West Coast Avengers. But read on for this strange continuing chapter in the life of Godzilla…

West Coast Avenger Tigra (that would be the chick who is a tiger that wears a black bikini all the time because of course she does) is flying a Quinjet when a mysterious green giant monster mutant swats her craft, damaging it and she’s forced to make an emergency landing. That mutant is strangely familiar…

Iron Man is recovering from his alcoholism and blames his Iron Man suit for part of it (the whole feeling invincible thing that made him push boundaries even more) so he doesn’t want his suit back from Rhodes. Rhodes also has his own problems, and wants a break from the Avengers. So Stark dons his old silver suit and delivers this message to Hawkeye and Mockingbird, though he does it in a dumb way that wastes three pages.

Dr. Demonicus is back! And he also has a bunch of goons, though they’ve changed their costumes and look more like purple rejects from Hydra than his old goofy tokusatsu goons. We learned he’s captured and mutated Godzilla, just because he can! What a dick! Also he can’t refer to Godzilla by name, because of copyright stuff. There is even a reference to Shogun Warriors #14, where Dr. Demonicus was last seen.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird go to try to save Tigra (after Stark refuses to help because of all his doubts. Stark finally decides he’ll go help and flies to where Tigra’s distress call came from. Tigra wanders around the island meeting natives who are stereotypical straw hut dwellers that don’t speak English nor have any technology/radios.

Iron Man 193 Godzilla Marvel

Jurassic Park 2 stole everything from this issue!

Hawkeye and Mockingbird get attacked by missiles, the shock waves damage their Quinjet and it lands in the water. They’re soon rescued by Tony Stark. Meanwhile, Dr. Demonicus sics Godzilla on the village and Tigra, who starts doing gymnastics against the big green dinosaur.

She’s no match, and Godzilla grabs her. But Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Stark arrive and join the battle. Godzilla gets an exploding arrow to the mouth – which just gives him bad breath. Stark decides the best way to help is to pick up Godzilla using his suit and fly far far away. So far he doesn’t even finish flying there by the end of the comic. Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Tigra catch Dr. Demonicus’s two goons, but the bad doctor himself escapes to his undersea fortress.

What will happen? Will Godzilla get healed? Is Godzilla now evil, or just mind controlled? My theory is he isn’t evil, his swatting of the Quinjet (that damaged it just enough to force it to land) was his way of getting help. We’ll see something in Iron Man #196 that makes Godzilla look like a conspiratorial mastermind. You never want to see your favorite monster being controlled by evil, so let’s all root for Dr. Demonicus to get his! We got some more Iron Man appearances to go, as March of Godzilla 2013 continues beyond the obvious endpoint!

Iron Man 193 Godzilla Marvel

This not only happens, but it works!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm

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