Friday, March 25, 2016

My First Impressions of the New Voltron Series

UPDATE: Wow...I never realized the number of typos and absent linkage that this article previously had! I've gone back and re-edited this piece for the better.


I just returned from Wondercon 2016 and attended the "Voltron: Legendary Defender" panel - a new series coming to Netflix from Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery; two directors and storyboard artists with an impressive resume of recent animation works, though I am most familiar with both through their significant contributions to "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "The Legend of Korra"

Images courtesy of The Nerdist.

Based on the three extensive clips shown during the panel, along with the given information and impressive cast of voice actors, the new series looks extremely promising, with an openly admitted combining of elements from both the original Japanese series "Beast King GoLion" and its American adaptation, brand new concepts, and added with the fun energy, appealing character designs, and high production values that both "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "The Legend of Korra" offered.

This series looks to be something special for us Kaiju / Super Robot fans.

Some of the new character design and casting choices are surprising (Rhys Darby as the new Coran?), but also brilliant in a 'thinking-out-of-the-box' sort of way (Rhys Darby as the new Coran!).

Princess Allura in particular has been re-imagined / rebooted into a dark-skinned (black) elf maiden and simply looks fantastic, like the gorgeous love-child of "The Legend of Zelda" and "Revolutionary Girl Utena".

Not much was said of the villains, other than they'll be as vile and almost as horrifying as their Japanese originals (complete with the returned name of The Garla Empire), and RoBeasts will be more significant threats over the one-and-done opponents of older Voltron series.
Plus, voice actor Neil Kaplan will be portraying the Garla's supreme leader, King Zarkon, which was a nice surprise for me, since Neil was a very kind and friendly person towards yours truly, during my attendance at the very first Power Morphicon back in 2007.

Never been that big of a "Voltron" fan from the past despite my love of gigantic monsters in all shapes and sizes, and watching the series on occasion. But this new version has me hyped, and I can't wait for its streaming premier on June 10th, 2016.

Additional Links:

Cartoon Brew's Preview
Nerdist Interviews with the Producers and Cast Details

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ghost, Robots, and Lions - OH MY!

Nothing major this time around, with these three 'Kaiju-ish' items to share, along with a little bit of feedback from my side.

I Ain't Afraid of No Trailer...?

MovieBob perfectly sums up the REAL problems and echos A LOT of my own thoughts towards the recently released trailer for the upcoming "Ghostbusters" reboot / remake, as well as the fog of controversy that also surrounds the production, and the challenge of remakes in general. On the other hand, I still want to post my own take on this future film, and my general feelings on Sony Pictures and its continuing misadventures.

Why The Ghostbusters Reboot Should (But Won’t) Be Judged On Its Own Merits

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My Take of the Upcoming Iron Giant Art Book

An "Iron Giant" art book 17 years after its release...GOOD! Meaning the book will be far more extensive and informative then the tie-in crap that the studios will poop out for a film's impending release, and deliberately leave out A LOT of pre-production material just to 'save face', in case the films become flops and people realize how much better the abandoned concepts were compared to the final product. Again, being late is a GOOD thing for our robotic superman from space and for us, his many fans!

Brad Bird’s ‘Iron Giant’ Is Getting An Art Book (Preview)

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Surprisingly Good News for Voltron

I was honestly NOT looking forward to the new "Voltron" series on Netflix for TWO VERY good reasons. ONE - American-made "Voltron" sequels and spin-offs have usually been average at best, and TWO - original animated shows from Netflix have almost always sucked. So I had NO hope what-so-ever for this upcoming series...Until THIS fantastic bit of news was announced (SEE the link)!

The New Voltron Cartoon on Netflix Is Being Headed Up by Legend of Korra Alums

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Seriously, this bit of news is for me at least is the equivalent of discover Guillermo del Toro making his own mecha-vs-kaiju film, Sam Raimi working on a 1960's inspired Spider-Man film, and Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi given a chance to finally create their own spin on Godzilla!

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Okay...So I REALLY went overboard in my last article dealing with the unproduced 1979 film "Snails".

But I honestly had to, in order to give this obscure project a sort of online history and 'links of origin', to prove that it was real to begin with, despite coming from outdated and broken sources across the internet. But there's some people who just want to get to the point, which is what this reduced revision is all about.

Concept art for the unproduced 1979 film "Snails"
"Snails" was an unrealized 1979 American production (possibly independent) that would have involved a group of people stranded on an island in the Bahamas, being attacked by thirty-foot tall sea snails, brought to cinematic life through stop motion.

A filmed test reel was supposedly created, with animators Phil Tippen (Tippet?) and Tom St. Amand in character roles, however this footage has yet to materialize.

All that currently remains from the planned production is one lone piece of concept art, featuring a giant sea snails being harpooned by the human protagonists, as a lighthouse shines in the night-covered distance.

ENSHOHMA'S TAKE on "Snails" (version 2):

I often imagine what certain unmade film productions (monster or otherwise) would have ended up like, if they were filmed to begin with of course. But there's so little information currently available on "Snails" that the only thing I can do is admire the gorgeous and atmospheric concept art, and hope more details will come to light in the near future.

As for the thought of snails being horrific killers; I'm use to such gastropod-based characters in Japanese monster movies and fantasy television, many of which actually being quite fun and nifty-looking antagonists. But are far from the intimidating types, with the possible exception of the murderous Kraken Sea Snails from the 1957 American feature "The Monster That Challenged the World".

That was until fellow artist and Kaiju fan Bracey100 shared with me a pair of videos (one about the Cone Snail, and another with this unfortunate fish) showing that sea snails at such enlarged sizes could pose a pretty nasty, if not nightmarish threat.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In Search for the Giant Sea Snails That Never Were

For the longest time, I had hope to present heavily detailed and researched articles based on lesser known giant monsters, or 'Kaiju' as all the hip kids are all calling them these days.

I honestly can't freaking believe that this once relatively obscure Japanese term has now become recognizable slang in modern American popular culture...Thanks for nothing "Pacific Rim"!

However, I've come to the sad realization that I cannot effectively write such articles without sacrificing precious time spent on more rewarding gigs, like paying art commissions and my own planned published comics. And my resources for doing such research in highly limited, or in the case of certain individuals that I care not to name, highly unreliable.

But like some kind of demented Johnny Appleseed harvesting a field full of deadly Triffids, I can at least plant the seed of awareness for such obscurities, and give these lesser known Kaiju some limelight beyond long defunct web-sites from the distant internet past, or lost within pages-of-pages of forums and related discussion threads.

Hopefully such quick and easily written blurbs, with a (BIG?) dash of op-ed journalism, will inspire other writers to take the baton and create superior articles connected to these obscure monsters in questions. Or not.

Concept art done for the unproduced 1979 film "Snails"

Let's start things off with a dip into the always fascinating (if sometimes problematic) world of monster movies that were planned and announced, but never saw life as finished films or television projects. Even if, again, the available information on these obscurities are limited at best.

As with the case of today's subject, "Snails", a proposed 1979 monster movie that was brought to my attention by 'mdcarter' and his now incredibly old website Unmade Giant Monster Movies.

BEWARE before you click on the highlighted link above, for Unmade Giant Monster Movies is an angelfire-based website, where pop-ups and other technical disturbances are common place. The page has some nice tidbits from the world of unproduced monster movies, but sadly I can no longer reach its aforementioned creator mdcarter, and I plan to re-post as much of that site's content to my blog here, throughout the year of 2016.

Here's the text originally posted (re-warning: its angelfire) in connection to "Snails" from said site:

According to The Illustrated Dinosaur Movie Guide: "Test reel for an unrealized feature about people stranded on an island in the Bahamas attacked by thirty foot tall stop-motion sea snails. With animators Phil Tippen (Phil Tippet?) and Tom St. Amand in character roles."

"The Illustrated Dinosaur Movie Guide" was indeed an actual book, written by Stephen Jones, and with an introduction by the late, great stop-motion animator and fantasy film legend Ray Harryhausen. And was published by Titan Books in 1995, though some sources also note of an earlier publication in 1993. And like an age old gypsy curse placed upon The House of Enshohma, "The Illustrated Dinosaur Movie Guide" is long out-of-print.

Sure, there's probably an e-book option, or some kind of computer download that's unfriendly towards older PC novices like myself. So screw it, moving on...

The concept art posted towards the top of this article is also legit, but was presented online by an individual dubbed 'MovieMatt' (or 'mattman') on various monster movie related forums and message boards. Here's one such example (scroll downwards).
ENSHOHMA'S TAKE on "Snails"; I often imagine what certain unmade film productions (monster or otherwise) would have ended up being like, if they were filmed to begin with of course. But there's so little information currently available on "Snails" that the only thing I can do is admire the gorgeous concept art, and hope more details will come to light in the future.

Again, all I can do is play the role of a demented Johnny Appleseed and hope for a monstrous harvest this season.

Original version, without my blue-tinting (WHY did I do that again?)

Direct Blog Posting of the Images, for Posterity Sake: