Dark Horse Comics.
Dark Horse Comics.
I never actually went to Action Park — the infamously dangerous 80’s-era amusement park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. But the name alone conjures childhood memories because it was a perennial source of rumors and urban legends for kids at the time. (And we all lived a few hours away in Eastern Long Island.) I remember the commercials too.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard the name mentioned since that time. (The park closed in 1996, in part because of the same recession that was giving my generation so much anxiety in our first post-college job searches.)
So I was surprised when a friend in Britain, of all places, sent me the first video below. Not only does Action Park’s infamy live on, it extends across the Atlantic.
Anyway, it turns out that the park was one dangerous place. There was even a 2020 documentary about it on HBO Max.
I discovered something incredibly cool this afternoon — it turns out that the good people over at Dark Horse Comics quoted me in their 2019 promotion of Matt Wagner’s superb Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey. The eight-issue limited series marked the return of the iconic Grendel Prime, who I last followed as a zealous young fan in the pages Grendel Tales (1993-1997), Batman/Grendel II (1996) and Grendel: Past Prime (2000).
Dark Horse quoted a review I wrote of Wagner’s Grendel: Omnibus Volume 1 (2012), which was a compilation of the writer-artist’s brilliant early work on the title.
I’m thrilled. Wagner’s a genius — and while Grendel’s dark, violent content is not for everyone, it’s always been a seminal title for the medium of comics. I remember greedily snapping up back issues when I was a college student in 1992 — I never thought the day would arrive when a review of mine would be referenced to attract new fans.
“Independence Day” was THE move that everyone was talking about in the summer of 1996. It was the year’s highest-grossing film and it dominated the box office for three weeks straight. It was an event. It was a lot like “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (1991) or “Jurassic Park” (1993) before it — it was a sci-fi spectacle with special effects that were so groundbreaking at the time that it was a topic for conversation at parties. Did you see it? Did you see it? (The internet wasn’t quite a thing yet in 1996 for the average person; not a single person I knew chatted about movies online.)
I think it’s held up really well after 23 years, and this movie still has a dedicated fanbase. Even it special effects are still decent by modern standards. Sure, it feels a little corny. But the climactic aerial dogfight at the end still looks great and it really works for me.
What do you think?