Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Zeus ✳️ ♀️ and 🔺 ♃
Day 0: The Fool
Before: What new phase awaits you? Two of Cups “So this is love, mmm, so this is love...” By the banks of the river, we find two horses in a tender moment. Their souls have found their calling. For them, it is each other; for us, it could be a new love, new friends, reconciliation, and healing. Within us, even our disparate parts unify and coalesce. Like recognizes like and it brings out the best in us all. After: What supports you along the way? Knight of Wands It’s funny to see how closely the Fool and the Knight’s torsos mirror one another. Of course, one of them is walking off a cliff and the other is commanding a horse. But they are, indeed, the same pose. And they send a similar message. Immature, boastful, impulsive, both cards are full of energy and potential. Those traits are key in attaining the harmony of the Two of Cups. Yet while The Fool is a blessed idiot, the Knight of Wands is full of laser-like focus. This Knight knows what he wants and how he’s going to get it. His passionate enthusiasm spurs him on. Beware your temper, insecurity, and indecisiveness. Both of our answering cards feature horses, which the Dark Wood Tarot author, Sasha Graham, says express the situation’s energy (p. 165). How can you be surprised that The Fool brings a surfeit of excitement to these situations?
🎧: Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
hey its yesterday’s juniori
Welcome back, all my Ghosts and Ghouls out there! It's the Host with the Most, Andy Larson, and as some of you might have guessed, I'm a big fan of schlocky low budget B-movies!
I guess it stems from my life long love of MST3k and the fact that some of my favorite episodes of that show are the ones where once in a while I can actually tune out the humorous commentary and just watch the bad movie. There's something awfully special about this type of cinema. It often times forces you to look past the cheesy rubber monster costumes or hackneyed dialogue and learn to embrace our own inner failures as people.
Yes, that sounds rather harsh, but not everyone ends up on the top of the heap. Winning the Oscars and busting up those box office records. Most of us, just like most movies, just go to work in hopes of breaking even for the day. But that doesn't mean that we still don't do the work. In fact, some of us work really hard, but are penned in my budgets or limited resources in what we are capable of accomplishing with our dreams, and thus to some outside critics that never dare to create, they are left turning their noses down like they are in some ways better than the art they review.
B Movies know what they are and they accept what they are. They are in someways the "losers" of the movie world, but that doesn't mean they are in some way unworthy. Well...I mean some of them are, but most have some merits to them if nothing else than some quality fun entertainment for an hour or two.
But it's not just the B-movies I have such a zest for as you might have seen from my various Insomniac Cult Movie Theater posts. I'm also a fan of comics that take that principle and apply it to their craft. Few examples of this are better than the Grindhouse series released by Dark Horse Comics written by Eisner award nominee, Alex De Campi.
Now I've reviewed issues of the series before with Bee Vixens from Mars, but I thought it might be fun to revisit this comic book movie theater and get another dose. That is the great thing about this series. Everything is told in little 2 issue mini stories, so they are great for some quick reads and reviews without lasting continuity getting in the way.
So for today's entry I thought I'd go with issues 5 & 6 of the original 2014 "Doors Open at Midnight" series of books for a little tale of medieval murder entitled Bride of Blood! It didn't hurt that the first issue has a marvelous cover done by one of my favorites in Francesco Francavilla, so let's see if the rest of the book is just as good.
10 Cent Synopsis:
It should have been the happiest day of Branwyn's life. Her wedding day. Although she had some slight misgivings about her upcoming nuptials to Lord Callyreath, she at least knows in her heart that the marriage will bring peace to their kingdom. Or so she thought...?
Turns out Lory Callyreath is secretly in league with a bunch of murderous barbarians known as the Reavers, and he has sold out Branwyn's family to them. After being raped and brutalized at the hands of these savages, Branwyn swears revenge on Lord Callyreath, and goes about enacting it on both he and his men in some extremely gory ways.
I've said on the podcast before that it's somewhat of a lost art in comics to write stories that only last an issue or two. Nowadays the standard is typically at least 6 so that you can fill a trade, and as a result, the story often times spreads its legs a bit and sometimes to the detriment of the overall tale.
The first story I reviewed here from the Grindhouse series with Bee Vixens, I thought did an extremely good job of getting in and out of the narrative in only two issues, with solid pacing and at least some interesting character development with the protagonist, Garcia. Heck, by the story's end, she's going to get fitted for cyborg parts and go tooling around in the desert as a super commando, so it definitely builds enough of a world that you might want to stop back in some time.
Bride of Blood on the other hand struggles a bit with this notion. Although, yes this story of feminine vengeance over a severely abusive husband set in a world all to similar to Game of Thrones is a complete tale. Make no mistake about the fact that it finishes what it starts, so I'm not going to fault it for not doing its job in that regard. However, I will say that compared to Bee Vixens this story seemed so much more hollow.
Sure there's a lot of visceral pain and emotion in it's pages, as the betrayal of is told in very graphic detail as her ultimate revenge. But it felt a lot more like this story contained visuals for the sake of visuals with no deeper context or motivation. I'm not exactly going to call it revenge fantasy porn, but it definitely spends more time on bombarding the reader with these gruesome depictions of rape, murder, and abuse than investing any time into a back story.
Would I be lying if I said the cool calculated approach Branwyn takes to delivering justice on her previous assassins regaled in the righteous full armor of near divine retribution isn't immensely satisfying and overly bad ass? No, I thought it was awesome with a capital "A".
But isn't that what pure revenge fantasy does to us as humans?
We have all felt like this at one point scorned and defeated, desiring lustfully for the holy heat that is striking down those that have wronged us with near biblical wrath. So this story in some way just pushes all those right buttons. It gives you a clear aggressor who truly does something unbelievably cruel and heinous in attempting to kill his soon to be wife and her family as a way of maintaining territorial peace. And it gives you an equally angelic heroine who bravely stands up against those that would wrong her so unremorsfully that there's no question who we are going to root for. I mean, it's just how we humans are hard wired.
But I will say, wouldn't it have been better to actually have some build up?
I mean some training sequences a la Kill Bill or Rocky or something?
Instead Branwyn just shows up one day all kicking ass and taking names which makes for a great sequence but not necessarily a great story.
I just think this is one time Alex De Campi didn't really make as much use of the limited pages she had and hit us with a lot more style than substance...
Believe it or not, there is actually a low budget grind house style B-movie out there with a title extremely similar to the one given this particular story. I came across it by accident a couple weeks ago while doing research for this article, and as such it made me start thinking whether writer Alex De Campi actually based some of the titles of her stories for the Grindhouse series on these real life films. If I ever get a chance to interview her, remind me to ask her that very question.
Anyways, the film in question is called Brides of Blood as in the plural, and couldn't be more different than the story I reviewed for this particular article. It's actually a part of what's known as "The Blood Island" series, a group of movies made by Eddie Romero featuring then teen star, John Ashley, which were filmed primarily in the Philippines.
Although for some reason it's not available in the US at least on Amazon Prime, I was able to track down some bits and pieces of this rather odd mix of gratuitous nudity and rubber monster suits. It's a weird story about a fella who gets exposed to nuclear radiation that transforms him to goofy looking blobby green pineapple beast.
He then threatens the local natives into sacrificing naked women to him, until this American bloke rouses them to fight against the creature. The movie ends with the beast being set on fire and the American fella getting to have tons of nasty jungle sex with a local native during their communities group orgy.
The movie actually was a pretty decent financial success especially with the Drive In movie crowds for whom the film offers cheap thrills and skin for the masses of horn ball teens that used to frequent those places. As a result, it set up a series of unrelated sequels also co produced and starring John Ashley entitled Terror Is a Man, The Mad Doctor of Blood Island, and Beast of Blood.
Honestly, the whole movie is akin to one of those pulp novels featuring luridly attractive blonde women being "ravaged" by overly savage male counterpart with the express purpose of titillation through the strange mix of fear and passion. Of course, most pulp novels don't have nasty atomic powered puss monsters as their aggressors, but the principle is the same.
I can say though back to my original thought of Alex De Campi taking the titles of some of the stories for the Grindhouse series from real life B movies, it did make me do some digging. Turns out that like Bee Vixens from Mars, there was a similar B Movie called Invasion of the Bee Girls, which has as it's main plot groups of mutant bee women out to conquer the human race through highly sexualized methods.
Hmmm...they've got that one on Amazon Prime...might be a future Insomnaic Cult Movie Theater post...
In the end, there is a good deal to like about this comic. The art by Manfredi is pitch perfect for the medieval setting in both quaint charm and vicious brutality. I mean to pivot from the loving beauty of the wedding scenes to the insane gore fest which is the dogs devouring their human prey, pretty much sums up that period of human history with it's overly dramatized pageantry covering up a sinister dark primitive underbelly.
This coupled with Alex De Campi's solid understanding of the very nature of the Grindhouse B Movie as a sweaty blood dredged freakshow even in the face of telling a more traditional high fantasy piece.
But honestly, the moment you are done reading this story, it's like ashes in the wind. Gone. Forgotten.
I mean, if you noticed by some of the parts of this article, I'm still talking about the Bee Vixens story from Grindhouse, so what made that 2 issue story different than this one? What made that one something that sticks to me like the alien honey that transformed so many a bored lonely house wife into a mandible faced killer? I think it all boils down to pacing and characterization.
Bride of Blood did actually have a decent amount of characters from cruel Lord Callyreath to Branwyn's brother Corrin to their mom, but they were all paper thin and that's never good.
Then there's the main character. Bee Vixens again had Garcia who was the primary focus and who was so over the top in her portrayal that she was instantly memorable.
Branwyn was equally bad ass in some of the scenes in Brides, but she was muted. Ordinary. She didn't showboat and she didn't really standout even in the scenes in which she was supposed to. So this coupled with a bunch of other characters with very little backstory and even less motivation, and it all equals a pretty good chance everyone is going to get lost in the shuffle.
Then there's the pacing which against spent more time with displaying incredibly great set pieces of ultra violence, but not really the best set up for those pay offs. It's probably a story that could have used a couple more issues to flesh out why the Reavers were a problem in the first place, and how Branwyn got so competent as a warrior in between the wedding and the revenge scenes. If that happened, maybe the pages of dogs chewing off human ears wouldn't have seemed so gratuitous.
As such, it's just a comic book version of one of those films you watch once and never think of again...
Andy's Read Pile Grade: C-
Horses fighting is a classical theme that was revived during the Renaissance. In art fighting horses can function as a representation of unbridled passion and natural instinct. This seems to be an irresistible theme for many artists, who to this day are drawn to the subject matter.
The fact that organized horse fighting (a blood sport between two stallions) occurs for betting or entertainment purposes also testifies to the strange interest people have in this. Even the artist Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863) got in on the action and assisted in a stallion-fight when he was in Morocco. This experience left a considerable impression on him and served as material for his art.
Studio Shot 10/27
#ink #inked #drawing #drawings #painting #paintings #horses #equestrian #art #artist #artists #artwork #artstudio #fineart #contemporaryart #animals #portrait #studio
“star trotter”, 2020 by Norman Engel
ooc. goooood morning. my meds haven’t kicked in yet bUT, work is looking like it might be slow today so good day to so some of my drafts and just play around here.
© Paolo Dala
Our Own Stories
C. S. Lewis on what God would tell you if you ask Him why other people lives seem to be so much better than yours:
Child, I am telling you your own story... I tell now no-one any story but his own.
And I’m almost 100% sure that C. S. Lewis was thinking of the time when Jesus predicted Peter’s death in John 21:18-22 when he wrote this conversation between the Great Lion Aslan (who symbolizes Jesus in the Chronicles of Narnia) and Shasta... When Jesus told Peter:
when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish... (John 21:18)
Peter immediately understood that Jesus was talking about his future death, he immediately asked him:
what about this man [John]? (John 21:21)
And Jesus replied:
If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? (John 21:22)
C. S. Lewis is such a literary genius!
she just really wanted the grass under that blanket
So no horse girl but for a troublesome reason. Family emergency. She got a call before I even got here today and had to bolt. Thankfully, I always get here early and camp out in the parking lot until I have to come in, so when they called me, I was already here.
So....yay quiet morning but I do hope her loved one is okay. I think it's one of her parents...
These two don't have half a brain cell between them.
(Teal was actually really good today. We had a lesson and took a bunch of short breaks during it where he would play soccer and fetch with my instructor. When we did work during the lesson he was very perfect, kept his frame and never once did he spook at anything, even when my instructor kicked the ball in front of him. When I had finished my lesson and gone up to the stables to untack, the chestnut decided to break out and come with... and then got distracted by the grass on the way up.)
super cranky this morning lol
The Chariot. Art by Amelia Rozear, from The Curious Travels Tarot Deck.
Me, remembering Michael is from Illinois while i happen to be on a business trip
Y’all don’t actually know what a retcon is do you
So for some reason while trying to get Ylgr back, I got a random Forsyth out of the blue. Not that I’m complaining since I have a weakness for greenheads in general..
Call me stupid if you like, but who the fuck decided that cattle were gonna be used for food and horses were gonna be used to carry things? Like, if you take away the years of selective breeding, they're the same animal. Especially as babies.
THIS IS THE SAME ANIMAL!!! Who decided which one was going to be used as what???? I am almost 100% sure that if for whatever reason these animals roles were switched, the world would be almost exactly the same.