Friday, December 2, 2011

MasterBeast, Zebracorns and the Mind Chicken

Well, Mathew has finally done it. He's begun posting the work in progress of his MasterBeast concept album. He keeps telling me that his "vision" has something to do with Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, even though I thought that the link between those two wonderful bits of entertainment had been thoroughly debunked ages ago.

When I asked Mathew about the concept behind his concept album, he started rambling on and on about fate and free will, which he said were symbolized by the conflict between two creatures he called the Zebracorn and the Mind Chicken. He wasn't completely clear about it, but as near as I can make out, the Zebracorn represents fate and the Mind Chicken represents free will.

Anyway, check out the MasterBeast page on the website for more on this breaking story.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lord of the Pez

So, I was in the store this morning, buying lollipops to stick in the head of a baby doll, when I came across the Lord of the Rings Limited Edition Collector's Series Pez set! And I thought, "Wow. I need to have that for a number of reasons."

The first thing is that the Pez dispenser figures are different heights. They could have made all of these Pez dispensers the same height, but they didn't. They made the hobbits, the dwarf and Gollum short. That is what I call attention to detail.

The second thing is that Gandalf won't meet your eyes. Each of the other seven Pez characters is looking right at you, bold as brass, but not Gandalf. He's kind of scowling and looking off to his left, as if he's lost in thought or perhaps slightly embarrassed to be a Pez dispenser.

The third thing is that only Biblo and Gollum are smiling. You know what that is? That's symbolic. Bilbo started the whole thing, and Gollum finished it, so really, these are the two guys who are responsible for everyone else becoming Pez dispensers! And apparently, they're really enjoying it. Especially Gollum. If I didn't know anything about the story, I'd think he was a happy character and possibly a comic relief element. Maybe he's just thrilled that a completely CG character got his own Pez dispenser. Maybe that's it.

Fourth, Samwise Gamgee looks like he's going to puke and Frodo Baggins looks kind of like a young John Lennon.

Fifth, Aragorn's mustache.

And sixth, it's Lord of the Rings done in Pez. It makes me want to shoot my own stop-motion, 13 hour version of the trilogy, completely recreated with Pez dispensers. Or, at least maybe a recreation of one of the trailers. A short one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coincidental Narnia

Something's up with Narnia.

It's just come up way too many times in a coincidental way in the last few weeks. First, there's the whole Lev Grossman The Magician King connection. If you haven't read the Magician King, it's the excellent sequel to The Magicians. The series is sort of like Chronicles of Narnia meets Harry Potter meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a little John Dies at the End sensibility. Really enjoyed the new one. Then, of course, there's the Axe Cop tie in. Axe Cop goes to Narnia and battles the White Witch. If you haven't read Axe Cop, you are really missing something good. Axe Cop is written by 5-year-old Malachai Nicolle and illustrated by his 29-year-old brother Ethan Nicolle. And it's awesome. Kind of like a cop with an axe meets a 5-year-old's outlook on life. Anyway, both The Magician King and Axe Cop have got Narnia on my mind.

Well, they got Narnia on my mind in a different way than it already was. See, I've been reading all of the Narnia books to my five-year-old for the last several months, so Narnia was already on my mind. But The Magician King and Axe Cop messed with that. And then, last night, my daughter and I finished The Last Battle.

I don't know when the last time was that you read The Last Battle, but there's a lot of weird and intense metaphoric stuff going on in there that makes you just think, "hmmmmmm". So, I expect something Narnian is going to happen any minute now. I hope Aslan doesn't claw me for writing The Helm. He's not a tame lion, you know.

Anyway, let me know if anything Narnian happens to you over the next few days.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

REQUIRED READING: ENGLISH 406 Literature for Young Adults

Sometimes I google The Helm to see if anyone is posting anything interesting about it.

Yes, that's kind of self-infatuated behavior, but I never said I wasn't self-infatuated. And if I don't google it, I don't think anyone else will. The Helm's not going to just google itself, you know. Anyway, today I got a link to a college syllabus that features The Helm as required reading! Required Reading!! Whoo Hoooo! People are being forced to read The Helm!!! For college!!!

The class is called Literature for Young Adults: Postmodern Adolescence and it's worth 3 credit hours. The Helm is on the same list as books by Neil Gaimen (Death, the High Cost of Living) and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), which is pretty cool. At least, it's pretty cool for me. I don't know how Neil and Suzanne feel about it.

Okay, so there's also a book by Stephenie Meyer (Breaking Dawn) on the list. I haven't actually read any of the Twilight books, but I have seen the movies and I like two of them.

Stephenie Meyer, I know you read this blog religiously and I'm sorry if I've surprised you by revealing on such a public forum, read by millions, that I didn't like one of your Twilight movies and that I haven't read your books. I have simply been too busy googling The Helm and The Creature from Lake Michigan and my various other wildly successful intellectual properties to get to them. I will strive to do better in the future.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Suggested Chewbaccas
























Well, the Chewbacca suggestions keep rolling in and Mathew keeps whipping them up. Betty Chew Crocka was suggested by Nick C., Lady Chewgaga was suggested by Sara K., Lucy LuiBacca was suggested by Jim B. and Abaccaham Lincoln was suggested by Susan.




Keep the suggestions coming and Mathew will keep the mashups flowing! Thanks!





















Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chewbacca Shocka


Well, Mathew was kind of surprised to find the Chewbacca page getting so many hits! He's not normally used to anyone paying any attention to his artistic endeavors, unless it's his mother, yelling at him because he's playing his Gibson Corvus too loud. The Helm even thought it was a mistake, but the visitors keep coming.

Anyway, Mathew wanted me to post a blog entry to invite anyone who is interested to submit their own ideas for Chewbacca mashups which he will use his clumsy Photoshop skills to try to realize to the degree he thinks they're funny. He'll even list your name if it was your idea. Just post a comment to this blog entry with your suggestion.

He also wanted me to remind everyone that he is still busily working on his rock-opera/concept album Master Beastie .

Anyway.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Stuff and Chewbacca Too!

That's right. I just put up some new stuff on The Helm website. Two new pages actually. One is bios and pictures of the folks who worked on The Helm. I probably should have put that page up several years ago, but for some reason, it didn't occur to me until about a week ago. Anyway, it's up now and you can look at it at http://www.thehelmcomic.com/bios.html to find information about all of your favorite Helm related people, like artists Bart Sears, Randy Elliott and Dan Jackson, or fabulous editor Dave Land.

The other new page is the Chewbacca page. Mathew has a great and abiding love of Chewbacca and wanted to put up a page that featured his Chewbacca based artworks. You can check that out at http://www.thehelmcomic.com/chewbacca.html This page will feature a new Chewbacca-based mash up artwork every week.

And is there other stuff to talk about? Nope. Nothing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Helm Banned in China! Well... probably

Apparently, the Chinese government just issued new entertainment guidelines meant to discourage "fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking."

Now, while this announcement has left a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering what the Chinese are doing, it seems perfectly clear to me that this is a well disguised attempt to specifically block The Helm from reaching China and transforming their civilization with its amazing power. I'm pretty sure that they heard that The Helm was getting published in France and became very concerned that their country was next.

Apart from the time travel bit, they've pretty much covered all of The Helm's bases! Those Chinese are thorough!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Misplaced Priorities and Bart Sears

I just posted a new movie review on the Flaming Sword page of the Helm site and realized that it's been months since I've seen a movie on the big screen and even longer since I've reviewed one on the Helm site! Holy Crap! I have my priorities all wrong! I guess I should make a current year's resolution to see more movies, write more movie reviews and generally consume more pop culture while I am still young enough to enjoy it.

In other news, Bart Sears was kind enough to give me the original cover art work for the Helm #1 as a gift! Not only is the guy an amazing artist, but apparently a pretty nice guy too. He's doing some really cool things over at his new gig Ominous Studios. Check out his site at http://www.ominousstudios.com/index.html

Okay, I suppose that's it for today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bulls Eye

Well, I haven't blogged any Helm stuff since January, so it seemed like time to post something. Conveniently, I just happened to notice this morning that The Helm is for sale at Target. Well, at target.com anyway.

I was surprised to see The Helm at Target because... well... it's Target. That would be like finding the Helm available at Walmart. Thinking about that caused me to search the Walmart website to see if The Helm actually was available there. Nope. But the Walmart website was so kind as to refer me to the website for Barnes and Noble. On the Barnes and Noble site, The Helm is cheaper by $2.18! Now that's some savings!

That got me wondering how the B&N price stacked up against the price at Amazon. They were the same--which isn't all that interesting except that they are both cheaper than the listing at Things from Another World. Cheaper by $2.93! That is surprising because TFAW is the retail outlet for Dark Horse comics, publisher of The Helm--where I guess I would have expected to get the best price anywhere.

What does all of this mean? Nothing really except that I have work to do and that the internet is the most dangerous invention ever created as far as writers are concerned.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Haircare! And, the Helm is Back! In Print, That Is!

So, I was just on Amazon and I happened to notice (not that I check...Okay, fine, I check) that the Helm was back in stock. And here I thought that the second print run wasn't due back from the printers until mid February!

Anyway, that seemed like a potential excuse to blog something, so here I am blogging. That's how it works.

I also mentioned HAIRCARE in the headline because people search for the term "Haircare" more than any other single term and I thought that all of those dangerously hair obsessed people out there could use a little break from the grinding weight of worrying about their hair. I know that I have long felt the victim of my thick and luxurious head of hair, so, as a kind of public service, I misleadingly mentioned Haircare, figuring that some people will stumble across this electrifying blog entry about the Helm being back in print, will pick up a copy, will take to heart the message that it's what's on the inside that matters and will finally find some modicum of relief from their crushing fear that their lives are worthless unless their hair looks like a satin sheet rippling in slow-motion every time they do a casual head toss. Which is not at all like the kind of head toss you might find in the Helm. In the Helm, a head toss might mean an actual head getting tossed about by a monster or something. And even if your hair looks ridiculously good all the time, it won't help you much if your head has been torn off and is being thrown around by a monster.

That's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And...the $999 Party's Over!

Well, the $999 used copy of the Helm graphic novel has been delisted from Amazon. I suppose this suggests that I was correct in my speculation that it was merely an error. It did seem like quite a markup and it was considerably higher priced than copies in similar condition. Oh well...

Unless... Unless what really happened was that the person who owned that $999 copy of the Helm--let's call her Jane Buck--suddenly realized that, in the grand scheme of things, money can't buy happiness and that, no matter how much money she might get for it, there would be a hole in her life and maybe even her soul if she let the one graphic novel that truly moved her slip through her fingers in the pursuit of material gain.

Yes! That's probably what happened.

Unless... Unless what really happened was that Jane woke up in the wee small hours because of a faint scraping sound coming from the richly appointed library of her mansion. Frightened, she rang the silent call button beside her bed to summon her hulking manservant Nixon. But, despite her insistent pressing, no one came to her room. Shivering in the chill air, she struggled into her white, silk dressing gown and took up a candelabra from the dresser. Silent as a ghost, lit only by the flickering flames of the candles, Jane descended the grand staircase toward the library. The mansion was as still as the grave except for the continuing sound of scraping. Scraping like the fingers of a skeletal hand, fumbling to claw its way from the cold hard ground.

As Jane neared the library she felt a sharp and sudden stab of fear. No, not fear for her safety--Jane was an expert in the ancient art of Chung Mu Quan--but fear that some intruder might be attempting to steal her most prized possession, her Very Good Condition copy of the Helm graphic novel by me, Jim Hardison.

Jane's breath caught in her throat at my mere mention of the Helm. She loved that graphic novel like no other graphic novel she'd read in 2010. She had only recently listed it on Amazon.com in a fit of pique when she'd learned that there was not yet a follow-up graphic novel in which she could read of the continuing adventures of her beloved Mathew Blurdy. Of course, she never truly intended to sell it--hence the ungodly high price--but what if someone had spotted the listing and then broken into her home to secure such a valuable copy? That was completely plausible.

Jane stepped to the door of the library, intending to fling it wide and catch the intruder in the act. But she hesitated, her hand on the cut crystal knob. No light streamed from beneath the door, and the character of the scratching struck her as oddly repellent in a kind of creepy, H.P. Lovecraft sort of way. What if it wasn't a crazed Amazon.com purchaser on the other side of that door, but some kind of Elder Being from dimensions outside of our own? Or worse, just a smell from out of time? A smell inexplicably capable of making a scratching sound and of stealing a comic that was voted one of the top ten great graphic novels for teens of 2010?

That thought settled Jane's hash. No smell from another dimension was going to steal her precious Helm, and there was no way she was going to continue the travesty of listing it for sale when she knew that she could not bear to be parted from it and that a second printing wouldn't be available for at least a month, possibly a month and a half! NO! She threw open the door and burst into the library like a plastic shopping bag full of water might burst into a library if it was tossed into the open door and just happened to burst as it crossed the threshold. Only, she didn't soak the tasteful oriental rug the way that water would have because she didn't literally burst, just figuratively.

She was confronted by a sight that made her blood run cold. Not literally. Blood pretty much only varies by a few tenths of a degree on its own--mostly staying around 98.6. There before her, lounging in his indecently revealing boxer briefs, was her faithful Nixon, reading her copy of the Helm and scratching his stubbly cleft chin with his own personal Discover card--not Jane's American Express Black card or even her Capital One Puce card-- but his own, $1000 limit Discover card.

"What?" Jane cried in semi-confusion. "Nixon...what are you doing? Why are you thumbing through my copy of the Helm?"

"I..." Nixon stammered. He had never been much of a talker. "I... Well, that is to say, Miss Jane... That is to say, I was..."

"You were trying to ascertain whether the copy of the Helm currently in my possession was in Very Good Condition so that you could determine whether it made sense to buy me the copy you found listed on Amazon for $999 and give it to me as a gift so as to convey your smoldering but hitherto unarticulated longing for me, based on the assumption that any copy of the Helm selling for that much money must be of superior quality and not knowing that it was the selfsame copy that you now hold in your powerful hand?" Jane asked huskily. She let the neck of her silk dressing gown, previously clutched tightly closed, fall just enough open to reveal the hint of the top of her perfect but heaving breasts.

"Yes'm," Nixon confessed, his alabaster cheeks flushing pink with embarrassment and passion.

"That's my copy listed," Jane whispered, and with that, she crushed the hulking bodyguard to her chest and covered his lips in firm but tender kisses that smelled of lavender and tasted of elderberry syrup.

Which is why the $999 copy of the Helm is no longer listed.

That's probably what happened.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sky High Helm!

Well, not that I'm vain or anything, but I was checking my Amazon.com author listing this morning and I happened to notice that there was a used copy of the Helm for sale for $999.00. Mind you, it was in "very good condition". I've been watching the prices of the used versions on Amazon for about a week now, not that I'm vain or anything, and have seen them steadily rise from a high of about $40 to more than $90.

Now, I know that the graphic novel version of the Helm is out of print at the moment, and of course, out of print books are more rare and therefor more costly than books that are readily available, but this new $999 price still seems a little steep. I got to wondering if perhaps the price was a mistake. There are several copies for sale in the $70- $90 range (as well as the $7.99- $9.99 range) so it's conceivable that someone just misplaced a decimal point when entering the price.

I have optimistically decided to take this ungodly high asking price at face value, not that I'm vain or anything, and assume that somewhere out there in the world there is a vendor who truly feels that a copy of the Helm in "very good condition" is worth about a thousand dollars.

Anyway, mistake or no, it seemed like a potential subject for a blog entry, and it makes me wonder how much an autographed copy might go for...