Above is the grand tormentor of Dr. Nekros … the demon Xaphan. Fourteen years ago this demon slashed Dr. Nekros’ face and literally tried to tear his heart out. Ever since, Dr. Nekros hasn’t been able to rest due to his obsession with getting revenge against the ghoul.
The only question is … when will we see Xaphan again … and what will it mean for Dr. Nekros and Zetta?
This is Jason Willingham, a self-made millionaire and innovator in the field of digital technology. He’s also the second husband of Zetta Southerland, Dr. Nekros’ ex-wife. He and Zetta married eleven years ago when he didn’t have a penny to his name.
Ever the understanding husband, Jason is happy to help his wife try to save Dr. Nekros from impending disaster with the demon Xaphan.
Jason is featured in the latest Dr. Nekros serial entitled Dr. Nekros: Phantasms and Chicanery.
I hope you will take a moment to visit Monica Estabrook’s virtual exhibition entitled “mother•land” by clicking HERE.
Monica Estabrook is an art teacher at Bloomington High School. I’ve known her as a coworker and friend for several years and appreciate her unyielding passion to create art even as she excels at teaching and raising children.
Many weeks ago, Monica invited my Creative Writing students to participate in an art show (“mother•land”) she had scheduled to appear at Heartland Community College. My students were both very excited by the prospect and also genuinely touched that Monica would share the spotlight with them. If you know Monica, however, this generosity would come as no surprise.
The plan was for my students to recite their poems on the opening night of Monica’s exhibition.
As you have probably guessed, the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. However, the artistic spirit cannot be stopped, nor should it. Monica and Danell Dvorak, the HCC Art Gallery Coordinator, quickly developed a “plan b.”
When you visit the link, you’ll be able to view each of Monica’s photographs individually, and you’ll also be able to view a “walk-through” video as well. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find both text and audio versions of my students’ poems. They were tasked with recording themselves reading their poetry and submitting those audio files to Monica. Due to various circumstances, not all were able to participate, but those poems available are magnificent.
The pandemic has caused great tragedies, bitter disappointments, and mild inconveniences. I can only imagine how upsetting it must be to have an exhibition overshadowed and drastically altered due to the outbreak. But, if you know Monica, you won’t be shocked to learn that she took it all in stride, overcame the difficulties, and even found a new, creative way for her art and my students’ poems to shine.
Show this indomitable spirit your appreciation and visit her art show at this link: https://www.heartland.edu/artGallery/motherlandExhibit%20.html
Brad Woodard is a professional illustrator, and in these 15 to 20 minute videos he walks kids through a step-by-step process for drawing all kinds of different animals. We started with the video focusing upon an elephant. However, we see he’s already done videos for a wolf, a llama, a sea otter, a crab, a tiger, an owl–it goes on and on. Furthermore, it appears that he’s uploading these lessons daily.
Though we’ve only done one video so far, what I like best about Woodard is that he’s very friendly, fun to listen to, concise, and deliberate. Even though he’s taking the kids through a drawing line by line, he doesn’t waste a single second. While his tone is light and fun, he clearly knows what he’s saying and where he wants to go with the drawing. I also appreciate that he’s teaching the kids to draw all kinds of different animals in a manner that isn’t tied to any kind of copyrighted material or style.
My kids are 11 and 8, and they had no trouble following along. Like I said, there’s no downtime with these short videos, so the kids are busy keeping up the entire time. My kids love art, but our schedules are also very full with their remote learning and our working remotely. This video series fits our currently lifestyle perfectly.
Thanks to Brad Woodard for providing these lessons, and thanks to Jude Landry for bringing Brave Kids Art Club to my attention!
You can visit Brave Kids Art Club at YouTube by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGpVxd8Y5ge2UYmvt7ketEQ/videos
If you’re looking for a gloriously weird movie that’s a little funny, a little scary, a little tongue-in-cheek, and a little masterful, check out the Netflix original film called Velvet Buzzsaw.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Morf Vandewalt, a prestigious art critic with the world at his feet. He’s in love with Josephina, played by Zawe Ashton. Josephina is trying to climb her way to the top of the art gallery industry as she works for Rene Russo’s Rhodora Haze. Yes, these names are fantastic.
After her neighbor dies, Josephina discovers that the deceased had an apartment full of original art. Morf declares the man a modern day master and urges Josephina to sell it through Haze’s gallery.
Soon, though, strange things begin to happen involving the departed’s art, and that’s when the scares begin.
Velvet Buzzsaw is a whole lot of things, but it’s also never just one thing. Well, it is one thing — entertaining. I have to be honest, this movie kept me engaged from start to finish. It’s so strange that it’s flat-out unpredictable. Is it good? I thought so, but I wouldn’t dare to argue with someone who told me they didn’t like it. You certainly have to be in the right mood for Velvet Buzzsaw. It’s definitely one of the more unique films that I’ve seen of late.
I will say this though, Jake Gyllenhaal absolutely disappeared in his role as Morf Vadewalt. His performance alone made this film worth watching. With incessant fidgeting, a biting sense of humor, an impeccably odd sense of fashion, and a mesmerizing speech cadence, Morf leaped off the screen. Though there’s no hero in this movie, Morf is as close as we get (which is not very close).
I also loved seeing Rene Russo again. Her character, Rhodora Haze, once belonged to a punk rock band called–you guessed it–Velvet Buzzsaw. Russo got to really strut her stuff playing an entirely unlikable, manipulative, evil businesswoman who gets a thrill in taking no prisoners.
By the way, there are also very fun performances in this movie from John Malkovich, Toni Collette, Daveed Diggs, and Natalia Dryer (from Stranger Things).
In the end, Velvet Buzzsaw seems to exist in a world that has existed for quite some time. The characters all have history with one another, and other than some fleeting references, the movie is not overly concerned with catching you up. Nor is the film terribly worried about explaining what the hell is going on. Once the art starts killing people, it doesn’t follow any particular rules or adhere to any specific logic. If you buy the dead artist’s work, sell his work, look at his work, or even find yourself near his work … your life is in grave danger. Heck, sometime’s it’s not even his art that gets in on the act. (Did anyone else love Hoboman? He’s the real star of this movie.)
If you’re looking for some inimitable performances, a wondrously quirky plot, and a bizarrely good time, I totally recommend Velvet Buzzsaw. It’s got to be the best of what it is … I’m just still not sure what it is.
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s Dr. Nekros e-book series HERE)
That’s the word I would use to describe Batman: The Dark Knight–Master Race.
I mean this both literally and thematically.
Master Race is the first Batman book I’ve read in quite a while that kept me turning the pages. When I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it back up.
Some say that The Dark Knight Returns helped to usher in the Dark Age of comics. It played a role in taking Batman back to his dark roots, establishing a general psychosis to the character, and promoting the idea that Batman and Superman would be anything but super friends. It’s impact can be felt even to this day.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again was just a hot mess. I haven’t read it in a long time, but I remember feeling that it had nothing in common with its predecessor and seemed intent on being as crazy as possible even at the sacrifice of plot, character, good taste, and logic.
Master Race takes the best aspects of both books, blends them together, and churns out an incredibly satisfying read. Carrie Kelley, the young girl who took on Robin’s mantle back in The Dark Knight Returns, is front and center in this book. The Dark Knight Strikes Again brought Superman’s daughter Lara into the fold, as well as Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkboy and Hawkgirl, Atom–all of whom reappear in Master Race. This time, though, they are treated with depth and care. In fact, some would say they are all actually redeemed.
There’s that word again.
Master Race redeems every single character in its pages. They each go through a personal journey, and they each come out better for it. I don’t want to get into the particulars due to revealing too much plot, but this book made me look at these characters as heroes again. Redemption strikes me as a theme of the book.
Which is probably the most ironic thing ever.
Master Race also, in my eyes, redeems Frank Miller. Frank Miller is a gifted writer and artist–he proved that on books like The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, Batman: Year One, and the first Wolverine miniseries. Unfortunately, his work on The Dark Knight Strikes Again made me question both his talent and character. That book seemed like a total cash grab. It almost acted like it wanted to make a point to the reader–that the comic fan will buy anything if there’s enough hype surrounding it. It definitely turned me off from Miller for a while.
So why did I return for Master Race? Brian Azzarello. I’ll read anything that man writes. I knew that if he played a hand in Master Race, it would be worth my time to check it out. I’m so glad I did. I have no idea as to the politics of Azzarello teaming up with Miller, but if DC made it happen to ease fan apprehension, it worked like a charm on me.
It’s so ironic that two men who are known for grim and gritty, hard-boiled writing provided one of the most inspiring Batman stories that I’ve ever read. As much as The Dark Knight Returns created a Dark Age, I could see Master Race igniting a Heroic Age. It truly counteracted all of the negativity surrounding our society at the moment.
Maybe you’ll agree with me, maybe you won’t, but I definitely recommend you read Batman: The Dark Knight–Master Race and see for yourself.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)