Gene Lass has been a writer for more than 25 years writing and editing numerous non-fiction books including the Senior Dummies line of books and five books of poetry. His short story, “Fence Sitter” was nominated for Best of the Net 2020.
Great Comic Book Writers
Stan Lee This list of course begins with Stan Lee, who wasn't the first writer in comics, but he was one of the earliest, beginning his career with a small piece in "Captain America Comics" #3 in May, 1941, published before there even was a Marvel Comics. The company was called Timely Comics at the time, and Lee stayed there throughout his career, becoming Editor, Publisher, and Chairman Emeritus before his death in 2017. Lee's greatest legacy was co-creating the "Marvel Age of Comics" in the early 1960s, primarily with artist Jack Kirby, though the character who came to symbolize Marvel, Spider-Man, was co-created with artist Steve Ditko.
The Long History of Character Swiping in Comics
If you're a comics fan, or just the big and small screen adaptations, you've likely seen the preview images for the "Black Panther" sequel, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," or you've seen the film. If you have, you've seen the widely discussed and semi-controversial reveal that Namor the Sub-Mariner, one of Marvel's first characters, is in the film. For some fans, this is a moment to celebrate. Wakanda is on the screen again, and Namor will be in a film for the first time. However, other fans are cringing. Why?
Pidgin, Patois, and Prestige
In a previous article, I talked about why Americans have different accents, and how it can affect your life. Essentially, there are innate biases some regions of America have against other regions that, despite accomplishments and other indicators of ability or intelligence, tend to give a poor impression of that person. This bias is why broadcast journalists will work to neutralize their accent before trying to work outside regional stations. If you pronounce "pin" and "pen" the same way, or otherwise have a heavy drawl, that may be fine if you're working in Tulsa, but if you want to make it to Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York, your accent has to change. This is depicted well in the film "Sweet Home Alabama," in which a young woman from rural Alabama finds success as a fashion designer in New York, but only after abandoning her roots and her accent.
The Top Horror Films You Need to See: The Big Wrap-Up
In the other installments in our series we covered Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Slasher films, Ghosts, Creatures, and Supernatural horror. In this article we'll feature the films that are still horror that may not fit into a specific type, as well as a few we forgot to include.
The Top Supernatural Films You Need to See
"Black Sunday" (1960) (Gene pick) From acclaimed director Mario Bava, this film is about a woman (Barbara Steele) executed for being a witch, who returns centuries later to exact her revenge. The execution scene is by far one of the most brutal in horror, particularly given that it's from 1960, and it goes far to explain why Barbara Steele is in her own right a horror icon. Highly recommended.
The Top Creature Films You Need to See
"Frankenstein" (1931) (Gene pick) The Frankenstein monster is one of the most recognizable characters in all of horror, subject of countless cartoons, films, comic books, and films. This was not the first movie adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel, but it is the most imitated, and most successful, and it made actor Boris Karloff an instant star.
The Top Ghost Films You Need to See
"The Shining" (1980) (Gene pick) The film version of "The Shining" combines two masters at the top of their craft - writer Stephen King and director Stanley Kubrick. Based on King's second novel, King reportedly hated the film, and in 1997 wrote the screenplay for a TV mini-series that was more faithful to his vision. However, the mini-series has been largely forgotten, while the film stands out as a terrifying masterpiece of horror. Known to be fanatic about detail, and adept at working on subliminal levels, Kubrick does more than the viewer realizes to have an increasing sense of wrongness and dread mirroring the feeling the family living in the hotel has that at any time, they could encounter creepy twins in a hallway, or have a vision of elevators full of blood. To see exactly what Kubrick does to achieve this feeling, see the excellent documentary "Room 237."
The Top Slasher Films You Need to See
"Psycho" (1960) (BOTH pick) It all begins here. Based on the novel by Robert Bloch, which was in turn inspired by notorious serial killer Ed Gein, this masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock is the result of Hitchcock being bored and wanting to do something that neither he nor anyone else had ever done. Something that elevated film from suspense to pure terror, and brutal violence. The film does an incredible switch of perspective, as the lead characters change partway through the film, and all of the violence is purposefully, painstakingly realistic.
The Top Zombie Films You Need to See
"White Zombie" (1932) (Gene pick) This film is significant for two huge reasons. One, it's the first time the word "zombie" is used in a film. Two, it's the inspiration for the name of Rob Zombie's original band, White Zombie. There's a good reason it inspired him, it's a surprisingly good film. Set in Haiti, Bela Lugosi plays Legendre, a voodoo master loosely associated with the owner of a local sugar plantation. When the plantation owner falls in love with a beautiful guest engaged to another man, he turns to Legendre to make her do what he wants. Legendre has been the secret of the owner's success before, since most of the plantation workers are in fact zombies.
The Top Werewolf Films You Need to See
"The Wolf Man" (1941) (Gene pick) The film that launched a franchise, and made Lon Chaney, Jr. a star, this is the iconic film most people think of if they think of a werewolf movie. Chaney plays Larry Talbot, a man who survives a werewolf attack, only to find himself turning into a werewolf himself when the moon is full. Talbot is a great everyman who hates that he becomes a monster that could hurt or kill anyone, including those he loves. Bela Lugosi and Maria Ospenskaya have small but key roles as gypsies who tell Talbot about his curse, and legendary actor Claude ("Casablanca") Rains plays Talbot's father, who must cure or stop his son.