Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome to ER's Summer of ACTION!

It's official! Summer 2011 is finally here and with it comes The Exploitation Retrospect Summer of ACTION!

"Why action?", you may be asking yourself. (I know my wife was.)

The simple answer is that I like focus. I like tasks. I like themes. I like direction. Every morning I make a "To Do" list. It gives me a sense of purpose for my day and a feeling of accomplishment when I look back and see that I was able to scratch out things like "Safeway?" and "Thank You Notes". It only gets a little sad when I write down things after I've done them just so I can scratch them out.

Okay, that's a lot sad. But you get the idea.

So as the winter turned to spring and I found myself emerging from my annual work cocoon, I looked around and started thinking about what kind of project I could embrace for the long, hot summer months ahead.

Friends like the staff at RIGOR MORTIS had their zombies while WP Tandy was knee deep in Hon-troversy and all things Baltimore. David Zuzelo could be found juggling everything from life in the Pyuniverse and B-Side Barbarians to Casual (Un)Dress Fridays and Joe D'Amato's excursions into porn. Even Bruce Holecheck – who I've been trying to pry a review of AMERICAN PUNKS from for about five years – has been a veritable blogging machine of late, detailing the VHS offerings from labels like Mogul and IVC.

And while I usually devote the month of October to all things horror (under our 31 Days of Fright banner), I wanted something less challenging and more check-your-brain-at-the-door for days when I'm sitting on the beach, the hot sun pounding on my melon as I pass the hours till I can crack a cold brew and slake the mighty thirst that's been building.

Frankly, it didn't take long for the Summer of ACTION! to take shape. In early spring I found myself browsing the tables at a local used book sale. After becoming indignant at the insane prices being charged for the graphic novels and ephemera the sale staff now deemed "collectible" I wandered to the mass market paperbacks relegated to the rows of tables pushed against the back wall. Where last year's table featured what must have been someone's mighty mystery collection, this year saw pockets of men's adventure peeking out between the ubiquitous volumes of King, Ellroy and Clancy.

Without even trying I found my bag overflowing with characters both familiar (The Executioner, The Destroyer) and unknown (Chameleon, Swag) as well as one-shots featuring everything from vigilantes to a 3-year-old girl wired to explode if the right team doesn't win Game 7 of The World Series. (I suppose that's one way to make baseball interesting!)

Not long after that I took an April trip to North Carolina for an awesome weekend of ass-kickery, bounty hunters, samurai and fire walks at ActionFest and it became apparent that the junk culture gods were trying to tell me something – action was my future.

Which is how we got here. From now till Friday, September 23rd ER will be celebrating all things ACTION! – from television shows and comics to books and movies. From exploding huts and Eurospys to loner cops, costumed heroes and the men (and women) they pushed... too far.

We're always happy to hear from readers and fellow bloggers... we welcome your feedback and comments. And if you've got an idea for a guest post don't hesitate to e-mail me!

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