TCM Brings Margaret O'Brien, "Meet Me In St. Louis" to St. Louis

Ben Mankiewicz and Margaret O'Brien for TCM in St. Louis

It's the third year that Turner Classic Movies has held their "Bring TCM to Your Hometown" contest, and for the Gateway to the Midwest, the third time was the charm. After what the network termed an "overwhelming response" from St. Louis residents, TCM prepared to bring the classic MGM film, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS" for a free screening at the historic Tivoli Theatre.

But it wasn't just a free movie the town was getting. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz escorted film star Margaret O'Brien for the event, to make the screening all the more special for fans.


Introducing: Bulletproof


You've seen the banners. You've seen the tweets and the Facebook postings. BULLETPROOF is coming...

But what is BULLETPROOF? And when is it coming?

Time for the Critical Blast staff to sit down and have a little geek out about the Disney/Sony custody battle over Spider-Man, the upcoming CW crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, the continued tomkinging (yes, we've verbed it) of Batman this week -- oh, and lots and lots of discussion about BULLETPROOF, including the hotly anticipated release date!

Click and enjoy. (And if you like this type of content, by all means click that Subscribe button. It costs nothing, and it means the world to us!)


Going Behind the Mountain Monsters with Colt Straub

Colt Straub and Trapper

It's been 18 months since we left the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS) team in a cliffhanger of a search in Lee County, Virginia.

A lot has happened since that time, including a shift from the Destination America network over to the Travel Channel. With the debut of a new season imminent, we lunged at the chance to talk with Colt Straub, the executive producer behind the fan-favorite series, MOUNTAIN MONSTERS, to find out some of the things that make it work, and how things are going to shake out in the new season.

Catch the new season of MOUNTAIN MONSTERS Wednesday, August 21, at 9pm ET/PT.


Jody Houser: Taking the New Doctor Who Through All Time and Space

All of time and space? Something for your bucket list--especially if you get to travel it in the company of the immortal Doctor Who. Over the show's fifty-plus year history, the regenerating Doctor (a plot device used to cover the change of actors as the show progressed) has gone through a number of unusual and dramatic changes. But none have been more dramatic than when we met the Thirteenth Doctor, when former Doctor, Peter Capaldi, ended his tenure on the show giving way to Jodie Whittaker, the first time we have seen the Doctor regenerate as a woman (even though we knew it was possible, when the Doctor's longtime foe, the Master, regenerated as "Missy").


Talking Peter Cannon with Kieron Gillen

When we reviewed the first issue of Dynamite Comis' take on PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT, we were taken aback by what we read. Was this a WATCHMEN derivative? Did Kieron Gillen think people wouldn't catch on? By the end of that issue, it became clear that things were muddier than we thought (if that makes sense), and the second issue had us hooked. This was something different, something that was far more metacomic than it was supehero adventure.

When the fifth and final issue came out, we were certain that the whole thing was a reaction to what WATCHMEN had brought us, and how it had changed the industry.


Anime Matsuri "Stands With Vic"

Anime Matsuri

If you're even slightly aware of anime and have a social media account, you've no doubt seen the hashtags #KickVic, #IStandWithVic, and #VicKicksBack. The hashtag battles refer to the allegations against popular voice actor, Vic Mignogna, whose work is front-and-center in the recent release, DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY, as well as a former regular on the anime series, RWBY


Closing in on 19 Years of Broadsword Comics with Jim Balent and Holly Golightly

Jim Balent Holly Golightly 2019 Interview

Over two decades ago, Jim Balent had a comfortable gig with a big time publisher, bringing his own inimitable style to CATWOMAN for DC Comics.

Then, in 2000, he walked away from that to go independent with his own imprint, Broadsword Comics, and his own creation, TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE. And he did this without the benefit of the existence of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any other crowdfunding assistance.

It was a huge leap of faith, and now, 19 years later with nary an issue missed of the 114-book run, Broadsword Comics is still going strong with Jim and Holly Golightly doing everything from writing, drawing, lettering, coloring -- the whole shebang.

We were privileged to get this livestream interview with The Busiest (and Most Fun) Couple in Comics, to talk about Tarot, comic books, and... STAR WARS? We hope you'll have as much fun watching this as we had doing it!


Exclusive Reveal! The Title of the Next ANGST Novel by David J. Pedersen is...

Angst Audiobook Cover

Fans of David J. Pedersen's ANGST series are in for a couple of treats, not the least of which is the newest installment of the epic "Midlife Crisis in Medieval Times."

The ANGST books have followed a pattern, beginning with the second book, of giving readers clues to the magical elements involved in each adventure, with titles like BURIED IN ANGST (Earth), BURNING WITH ANGST (Fire), and DROWNING IN ANGST (Water).

So what is the fateful title of ANGST 5? That's part of our exclusive interview. Watch here...

(Rather just listen? Plug in and take a listen to the CRITICAL PODBLAST podcast!)


Mitch Breitweiser: Red Rooster and the State of the Comics Industry

Red Rooster

There's a new hero on the horizon, a mythic figure of folk legend who fights for justice for the common man--the flyover man. His name is Red Rooster, and his is a mantle that passes from generation to generation.

The Red Rooster is the creation of comic book creator Mitch Breitweiser, who, along with his wife, colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (SKYBOUND), is driving hype for one of the most hotly anticipated crowdfunded comics to come down the pike.

We sat down to talk to Mitch about this project, and what it's like using the crowdfunding vehicle to bring a dream to reality, complete with its triumphs--as well as its surprising adversities.

Click below to listen to the Critical Blast Podblast.


"Slick" Jimmy Love Talks Little Girl Lethal

Sugar Lightspeed

After decades upon decades of the Big Two being the place to go for comics, with distribution ranging from the classic spinner rack at the corner drug store to a direct sales market structure, a new way of getting comics has been gaining traction: Crowdfunding. Whether through Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other means, creators have found ways to take charge of their ideas and bring them to the masses without having to dilute them through the traditional channels.

One of those projects that's been generating a lot of buzz is LITTLE GIRL LETHAL, starring the enigmatic and sexy Sugar Lightspeed. But as intriguing and arousing as the artwork appears, what is LITTLE GIRL LETHAL all about?

We sat down for a chat with Sugar's creator, "Slick" Jimmy Love, to get an in-depth and personal look at the world next door -- a world of sexy assassins where seedy sins aren't necessarily hidden in the shadows; the world of Sugar Lightspeed."


Enter Sandman: James Quinn Talks About His New Supernatural Boxing Film

James Quinn Sandman Interview

We've seen the trailers online for SANDMAN, but we all know that trailers aren't often representative of the whole story. What can you tell us that's a bit more in-depth about the film?

SANDMAN is kind of a passion for us, for our whole team. It's a project that I wrote about a year and a half ago. Some of the premise is based upon my own life, so it made it a little bit easier to bring the story together.


Inside Anime Midwest 2018 (VIDEO TOUR)

At the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, anime fans came together to celebrate their fandom and share their love of a genre.

If you couldn't make it, fret not! Our own CosplayKitti was on the scene, capturing the moments and talking with vendors and attendees. Enjoy!



Paper Canoe, and Tami, Too: NeverEnding Story's Childlike Empress and Her New Adventure

Tami Stronach

Sometimes a person appears on the big screen in an unforgettable moment, then disappears from the public view. Most of them are never heard from again. Maybe the film was a flop. Maybe they decided the life wasn't for them. Maybe they were too identified with the role and couldn't be seen as anyone else afterward.

One of those shining stars is Tami Stronach, who captivated audiences in THE NEVERENDING STORY as The Childlike Empress. Several years would pass before Stronach would again grace the screen, but she's been far from idle in those years.

With a new venture, and some new projects in the works, Tami took a few moments to speak with us about where she came from, and where she's going now.

You were barely 11 when THE NEVERENDING STORY came out, and obviously younger than that during all the filming. What do you remember most vividly from that experience?


Gerald Welch talks Legacy with Critical Blast

Having grown up in Jersey City and spending most of my working life in Newark, New Jersey, I have always had a great love and respect for Warren Murphy’s The Destroyer series. Warren himself was born in Jersey City, and his most iconic character, Remo Williams, started out as a Newark cop. Don’t tell Chiun I called Remo more iconic than him, he would not appreciate that at all….

I had lost track of the series over the years, but I was definitely curious when I heard that Warren Murphy had developed a spin-off called Legacy with Jerry Welch. I immediately fell in love with Legacy. Freya and Stone are terrific characters, and in just a few short books, Murphy and Welch have managed to expand the world of The Destroyer in some brilliant new ways. Jerry has been wonderful about answering any questions I have had about the series over the last few years, and I was glad to be able to sit down with him and do a full form interview.


5 with 806 Author Cynthia Weil

Cynthia Weil

If you're not familiar with the name Cynthia Weil, you're almost certainly familiar with her work, with Grammy-winning songs like "Somewhere Out There" from AN AMERICAN TAIL, or perhaps that classic Righteous Brothers song (or Tom Cruise song, depending on your outlook), "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."

Weil is also a novelist of YA books, and her latest, 806, follows three biological siblings on a search for their father, known to them only as "Donor 806."


In the hit Broadway show—Beautiful, The Carole King Musical—many of your songs are included and you and your husband/cowriter, Barry Mann, are part of the show with actors portraying your young selves…how has that impacted your career?


And God Created Superheroes: Brian Bradley and The Anointed 7

The Anointed 7

One of the greatest things about an event like Wizard World is that no matter how many times you've been to a convention, there's always going to be someone new doing something new.

Such was the case when I bumped into Brian Bradley, president of Kingdom Comics and publisher of THE ANOINTED 7, a superhero team that's a combination of JUSTICE LEAGUE meets LEFT BEHIND. It's supernatural evil opposed by supernal good, as no less an entity than God Himself intervenes through human emissaries granted superhuman powers, like Samson but in four-color action.

To get the full scoop on The Anointed 7, we spoke with Brian to find out exactly who these people were, and what kind of world it is they inhabit.

Who are the Anointed 7?

The Anointed 7 are a group of seven individuals who have been anointed by God, with the purpose of standing against Lord Christopher and his violently aggressive new world order. They are a super-powered fighting force.


Mort Walker: Fifty Years of Beetle Bailey

Mort Walker

EDIT: January 29, 2018

It is with great sadness that we report on the passing of comic strip legend Mort Walker, who passed away on January 27, 2018 at the age of 94.

To remember his achievements, we are republishing this interview with Mort, as we talked about his most famous character, Beetle Bailey, on the 50th anniversary of the strip.

* * *

In 1938, while comic books were just entering the Golden Age, Mort Walker staked his claim on the newspaper comic strip pages. He was 14 years old. The most notable of Mort's creations is undoubtedly Beetle Bailey, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year.

I was privileged to speak with Mort about Beetle's comic and real-life misadventures, as well as a few other interesting tidbits you may not know about.


Jocko Marcellino: Rock and Roll (and Ugly Christmas Sweaters) are Here to Stay

Jocko Marcellino

I grew up watching SHA NA NA as a television variety show. And I was into it. Somewhere there exist blackmail photos of me with my (brown) leather jacket, my hair slicked back with Alberto VO5, and my oversized sunglasses. I was the most bad-ass 12-year-old you'd ever seen! So I was more than happy when the offer came to interview band frontman Jocko Marcellino. But it turned out there were things about SHA NA NA I did not know.

My first introduction to SHA NA NA was the television show, and I never looked back farther than that. But you guys actually played at Woodstock! What kind of tentpole was that in the band's history?

That was an extraordinary opportunity that was given to us by Jimi Hendrix. When we were starting out, we had stayed in school that summer. Then we decided to try and make it with the act. We had done eight professional gigs, and our eight professional gig was Woodstock.


Nadia Fezzani and the Rise of the (Real Life) Super Hero

Real Life Super Heroes

Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! The superheroes that have populated the four-color tales of the comic book pages have made the transition into reality. They go by names like Thanatos or Mr. Xtreme or Phoenix Jones. They have costumes and missions that drive them. And you may even have one operating in your city!

Author Nadia Fezzani has spent time with several of these crimefighters across the United States and Canada, and has chronicled her experiences in REAL LIFE SUPER HEROES from Dundurn. As anyone who frequents CriticalBlast knows, we have an affinity for the super hero as well as for those who appear publicly in costumes. So we were eager to speak with Ms. Fezzani and dig up a few more answers about the addition of these characters to real life society.

Is the Real Life Super Hero (RLSH) movement a fad, an extension of cosplay, or something larger--a step for societal evolution?


The Message Driven Music of Kaylee Keller

Kaylee Keller

In 2003, I was reviewing a music reality series called NASHVILLE STAR. It was sort of the country music version of AMERICAN IDOL, before Carrie Underwood made AI go country itself. The winner of that first season was Buddy Jewell, but I was particularly drawn to the singer who didn't win the big prize, coming in third instead--a young lady named Miranda Lambert.

That particular quality I saw then is similar to what I see now in the music of Kaylee Keller, a twenty-year-old country music ingenue with a quickly growing discography and fanbase.

With her most recent music video, "Nowhere America," Keller garnered the attention of the folks at FOX, who put her on their airwaves and introduced her to a wider audience, who might be a bit surprised to find a millenial who's not quite into millenial things.


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