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Moody Cinema Nostalgia Emerges in the Comic...
nateybakes
 March 29 2024 at 12:40 am
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The older I get, the more I want a moody atmosphere when I sit down and watch a movie after work at night. That often leads me to mysteries, thrillers, and the types of horror movies where the protagonist goes off into unfamiliar territory, isolated from civilization. One particular cinematic mood that was captured most prominently in the early 1990s was the steamy thriller. Some might call them “erotic thrillers” but I don’t want to mix Skinemax with the likes of Basic Instinct and Single White Female. I went on a steamy 90s thriller binge back in June last year and got my fill. But as I started getting back into comics earlier this year, something caught my eye in the local comic book shop. Sumerian Comics launched Basic Instinct in November 2023 and currently has 3 issues out. The femme fatale in the 1992 film, Catherine Tramell (famously performed by Sharon Stone), continues her story in the comic series in parallel to an anonymous artist who draws inspiration from famous murders. The comic is dark, mysterious, and hard-boiled. It builds sexual tension like a steamy thriller should. The steamy 90s vibes seem to come out when Catherine Tramell is on the scene, but it doesn’t really capture the feeling of the film otherwise. And the opening sex scene in issue 2 probably won’t appeal to many fans of the original film (no spoilers). I’m hungry for that 90s steamy thriller vibe when I buy these comics, so I’m hoping they stay true to that going forward. But Sumerian Comics is doing more than 90s cinema nostalgia and they caught my eye with a new 80s cinema nostalgia release: The Fog. John Carpenter’s 1980 horror feature The Fog now has a followup story 40 years after the events of film. There’s only one issue out so far and I’m pretty sure John Carpenter has a cameo role in it, judging by the artwork. The Fog has the quintessential mood building you want out of a coastal village horror story — a much different feeling from the 90s steamy thriller variety. It starts calm, like a sleepy coastal town usually is. But there’s something ominous lurking. A perfect setup for a fish-out-of-water horror story. I want to applaud Sumerian Comics for bringing these moody cinema franchises back to life in print. The question is, when does the Sliver comic book come out?
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Conan the Barbarian comics are romance novels...
nateybakes
 March 19 2024 at 11:01 pm
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That’s right, I said it. I’m really not sure what the average Conan the Barbarian comic book reader looks like, but I’m one of them. 38 year old white guy who lives in suburban Texas with his wife and son. While my son is getting into Venom, I started picking up issues of Conan and some other adult oriented titles (e.g. the new Basic Instinct series from Sumerian comics). The first time I read Conan comics was years back when Dark Horse was publishing the IP. I got back into it recently as going to the comic book shop has become a common family activity I do on the weekend. Titan Comics re-launched Conan the Barbarian in 2023 and has been getting some buzz in the industry. So much so that the new Savage Sword of Conan series they launched in late February of this year has been sold out in comic shops across central Texas. One thing you’ll find in the new Savage Sword of Conan series and most any Conan comics from the past 20 years: sexually charged character dynamics. Conan stories are romance stories, but for men. The priorities are all about the basic instincts of men. Conan is an antihero who lives how he want to live and does what he wants to do. He’s after riches and glory. If someone gets in his way, they’re toast. He’s a man of duty in the traditional masculine sense too. He doesn’t chase women, but women are drawn to him. Sometimes he goes with them, sometimes he doesn’t. It’s always up to him and what’s on his current agenda. Conan hooks up with a lot of women during his travels and the relationships usually don’t last long. The women are always hot. Some certified babes. Conan wouldn’t accept less. He’s got some old flames who cross his path in various series such as Bêlit, the “fearsome yet beautiful pirate queen of the Hyborian Age.” But that’s kind of an on-again-off-again sort of thing. Then there’s the will-they-won’t-they dynamic between Conan and Red Sonja, the chain mail bikini clad warrior (and certified babe). But under the veil of that hot & sexy sword and sorcery action, Conan the Barbarian has greater subtext. Conan hates magic. He hates con-men. He hates overcomplicated & byzantine systems and the rulers who take advantage of them for their own benefit. Conan is a force for anti-corruption. Conan is all about that “what you see is what you get” lifestyle. You try to deceive him with trickery? Sorry, but your head is getting chopped off and he’s taking your gold too. Perhaps popularity for Conan rises and falls with the fluctuating disillusionment of the systems we live in. I’m sure a lot of people would like to see Conan the Barbarian deal with corrupt members of Congress, for example. Robert E. Howard created Conan and these anti-corruption narratives way back in the 1930’s during the height of the Great Depression. Time is a circle and Conan the Barbarian needs to fulfill his role from time to time. And he’s gonna get some hot tail in between time.

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