Friday, June 17, 2005

Pop Artifact! Batman 1966 movie poster

Vintage DC Comics house ad

New Ware book and other goodies coming from Pantheon

The publisher is shaping up as the premier publisher of alt comics artists. From ICv2:

Pantheon will release The ACME Novelty Library on September 20th, a new hardcover by superstar cartoonist Chris Ware. The 9" x 15" 108 page book, which will sport an oversized belly band, is a tabloid-sized collection of single page cartoons, along with a luminescent map of the heavens, assorted cut-out activities, a history of the ACME Novelty Company, rare photos, and more.

Craig Thompson has also signed to do a graphic novel for Pantheon. Habibi will be about his travels in Morocco; no publishing date is scheduled.

Pantheon will release Charles Burns' Black Hole on October 18th. The 352-page comic-sized hardcover will collect the ten issues of the comics published by Fantagraphics over the last ten years.

...the two-volume Persepolis series will get some new packaging for the holidays. A softcover edition of Persepolis 2 will be released. And on October 25th, a boxed set of both softcover volumes will street at the bargain price of $23.90.

"Sin City" DVD art revealed

Here are the different covers for the bare bones (just the movie, no extras) release of the movie, due out Aug. 16. A double, expanded, version comes out later on.

More "Doctor Who" updates

From the BBC:

Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, confirmed last night that a third series of Doctor Who - plus a second Christmas special - has been commissioned.

Tranter also confirmed that Billie Piper, who plays the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler, would feature in every episode of series two including the Christmas special.

Filming of the Christmas special and second series with Casanova star David Tennant - who plays the tenth Doctor - is due to begin next month.

The current series concludes on BBC ONE on Saturday (18 June) at 7.00pm.

Interview with new "Doctor Who" scribe

From the BBC:

The final episode of the current series of Doctor Who is on BBC ONE on Saturday (18 June) at 7.00pm.

Here, Russell T Davies - award-winning writer and executive producer of Doctor Who - gives an exclusive insight into the Christmas 2005 episode and reveals why 'pigeon-holing' in his early career as a writer in children's television made the transition into adult television difficult.

Q: Were you surprised by the reaction to the new series?

RTD: The honest to God truth is I was shocked. The weird thing is, it's everything we hoped for. In January we were all sitting there hoping millions of people would watch; hoping that people would love it.

It's such a rare thing for everything to fit into place especially when all the signs were there. Friends of mine would say to me this is such a risk, because it's niche and there's no science fiction in primetime plus it's an old show, its days have gone etc etc.

There were so many things mitigating against it. If we were in Los Angeles there would be 15 shows like it running at once. No-one's made anything like this in this country and we've pulled it off.

Science fiction can be very bland, homogenized and steeped in American culture, and to make this British has been fantastic.

I think as a kid watching the series you can feel a sense of ownership and that's made a massive difference.

Russell on his versatility as a writer

RTD: One of the things that makes me laugh is when I read something which says 'gay writer of Second Coming, Casanova and Queer as Folk has made family viewing an event'.

It just shows that anyone can write anything. All that pigeon-holing that goes on is nonsense. No writer should ever sit there and think – I'll only write gay things.

I used to work in children's television and it was harder to move from children's telly and break into adult television. I was a young writer and no-one knew my name. People would just sit there and say, but you’ve only done children's.

I knew I could write anything. I knew I could do adult drama, but everyone pigeon-holes everyone.

What I love about Doctor Who is that it has come full circle, it's for adults and children; it's doing everything I like doing.

Q: What's your view on the seeming lack of family drama on television?

RTD: Cinema leads the way with films like Toy Story – the script is full of intelligence, it's clever, witty and so much fun, and at the heart of it is a great plot.

I have sat with a group of 15 people watching Finding Nemo on a Sunday morning – one member of the group was five and another 55, and when you see things like that happening you know that the myth that family drama doesn't exist anymore is simply not true.

We were told, Julie (Gardner) and I, to be careful aiming for a family audience because it doesn't exist anymore.

I absolutely didn't believe it, that's why we built Doctor Who to be an event every single week.

There's something big and different so everyone can come together to watch it, not just kids, and not just adults – genuine family viewing really.

It sort of follows Hollywood's example, you might be cynical about Hollywood, but they tend to be ahead of the game.

Q: Is it true that the Daleks are coming back in the final episode?

RTD: Yes. It's true. Having given them a conscience in one episode, the Daleks are back as these great, murderous monsters they were created to be. It's like Doctor Who as it always was. And it’s exciting.

Q: What else can you reveal about the content of the final episode?

RTD: There are Dalek armies, a war, space ship and gun fire. For all the hardware and macho side of it, the final episode is the most emotional we have told yet.

The story we have been telling over the 12 weeks all comes to a head and it shows how much the Doctor means to Rose, Rose means to the Doctor and Captain Jack means to them both.

There's an army of 500,000 Daleks with six ordinary human beings left in the world to fight them off.

It tells my favourite story, which is about the heroism and bravery of ordinary people up against an almighty threat.

There's reference to almost every single previous episode, but anyone can watch it and still enjoy it even if they haven’t been following the whole series.

Q: Is there anything at all you can reveal about the Christmas episode?

RTD: Well it's an hour-long episode which is something we've never done before.

It will be a great, Christmas adventure that's really big in scale. It will be Christmassy, there's nothing I like more than a Christmas Special set at Christmas!

There's a big story in it for Rose as well as a massive threat to the Earth going on beneath the surface so Christmas as usual!

Q: Have you been inundated with celebrities wanting to be involved in the second series?

RTD: Yes, there have been a lot names coming through to our casting director. We're currently drawing up a list. But I couldn't possibly name names.

Q: How nervous or excited are you about the second series?

RTD: Very excited because David (Tennant) is like a whole new lease of life. I think one of dangers of success sometimes is that one can get too complacent.

Putting David at the helm means we're all reinvigorated because we have got to be just as good, if not better just for him.

So it's actually very exciting, but at the same time scary. It's back to square one for us so that's always a good place to be I think.

You have to put pressure on yourself really, because you have over seven million viewers who love this show, so you mustn't let them down now. We have got to deliver even more surprises for them, and I'm absolutely confident we can do it!

Q: Can you share anything about the content of the new series?

RTD: We have the Cybermen!

We're also going to alien planets which we didn't do in the first series because I wanted to be confident of the design and now I feel sure. We also have the best design and SFX team in the world.

The series will remain connected to the Earth because I think that's important.

There will be a couple of old faces, and lots of new faces.

Trips into history with us going back to the 1700s at one point... that's all I can say at this stage I am afraid.

Modern Arf!

News about this Fantagraphics book release somehow slipped by me. Sounds like fun:

Modern Arf

Modern Arf is the first in a series of volumes in which the award-winning artist and editor, Craig Yoe, explores the unholy marriage of Modern Art and the Funnies in a bombastic and entertaining way.

The first blast features material created just for this book as well as classic material by Rube Goldberg, Jack Kirby, Hy Mayer, Winsor McCay, and Patrick McDonnell at the zenith of their wacky, surreal, and innovative best.

Patrick McDonnell rarely draws outside popular daily strip Mutts, but for the first volume of Arf he has contributed an exclusive four page strip of of surreal comics. They're fun, they're cool, they're wordless, and they're sublime.

Jack Kirby's story, "The Fourth Dimension is a Many Splattered Thing," reprinted from the original art, is Kirby at his most surreal, surely informed by cubism and certainly the inspiration for Steve Ditko's later work on the exotic 1960s comic, Dr. Strange. It is published here for the first time since its original publication in the mid 1950s.

Hy Mayer, a forgotten cartoon surrealist, is represented with an astonishing series of mind-blowing "worm's eye views." It's M.C. Escher meets Charles Schulz! Antonio Rubino is an early 20th century Italian cartooning master, whose breathtaking work was infused by cubism, futurism and art deco. Modern Arf will present a rich sampling of his work, including bookplates, paintings, and comics.

Did you know Salvador DalĂ­ drew comics? You'll be able to see them in this first volume of Modern Arf accompanying an essay exploring his influence on comics, his animated cartoon, and examples of comic artists such as Steranko and Crepax who paid homage to the Spanish surrealist. Modern Arf is stunningly designed in an oversized format to give justice to the incredible art collected between its covers. The Arf series will delight both comic and fine art lovers. Both will be sure to exclaim, "I don't know much about Arf, but this is what I like!" 120 pages black-and-white illustrations throughout and 48 pages in full color, 9" x 12".

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pop Artifact! Batman TV series soundtrack album

More bat music.

Vintage house ad DC Comics house ad

RKO horror classics boxed up

Coming in a DVD set Oct. 4: The Val LawtonHorror Collection.

The five disk set includes the director's RKO films:
1. The Cat People/Curse of the Cat People.
2. I Walked With a Zombie/Body Snatcher.
3. Isle of the Dead/Bedlam.
4. The Leopard Man/The Ghost Ship.
5. The Seventh Victim.

Separate disks will be available of The Cat People/Curse of the Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie/Body Snatcher and Isle of the Dead/Bedlam.

According to the Digital Bits:

Extras will include audio commentary with Greg Mank and Simone Simon on Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, commentary with Kim Newman and Steve Jones on I Walked With a Zombie, commentary with Steve Haberman and Robert Wise on The Body Snatcher, commentary with Tom Weaver on Bedlam and commentary with Steve Haberman on The Seventh Victim, along with the Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy documentary (on the life and films of the famous RKO Radio Pictures producer - the documentary is exclusive to the box set) and theatrical trailers.

"X-Men 3" teaser poster revealed

They haven't even started making the thing yet, but here's the first "X-Men 3"-related image.

Hey, kid! This ain't a library!!

ICv2 reports on the phenomenon of the "hidden manga reader." No, it's not a new super villain, but free-loading "browsers" who plop down and read entire books in the store:

The availability of comfortable reading space and easy access to big manga selections have long attracted readers to big box bookstores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. The theory of these retailers is that consumers that come to sample will also buy, but there's definitely a subset of visitors to such stores that read the complete manga volume in the store and don't purchase it. Now there's at least some evidence that the problem has been recognized and is being addressed; Shojo Beat contributing editor Eric Searlemen told attendees at a BEA panel that a Borders store he frequented, on Union Square in San Francisco, had begun packaging all its manga titles in plastic, regardless of content.

The real Princess Leia

Actually, the kid's name is spelled Leah--but she's an actual princess. In Norway.

Reuters reports:

Norwegian Princess Leah's name was inspired by a character in a "Star Wars" movie, the mother of the infant princess was quoted as saying on Thursday.

"I must admit that I have always been a big 'Star Wars' fan, and Princess Leia has always been the most beautiful in the whole world," Princess Martha Louise said in an interview with the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

Princess Leah, born on April 8 this year and fifth in line to the Norwegian throne, was due to be baptised on Thursday.

More new "Doctor Who" planned

From the BBC:

Dr Who fans will be delighted to hear
that the Time Lord will be returning for a third series.
Just days before the current run of the sci-fi show is due to end, its
makers have revealed that there are at least two more series to come.
On Saturday, Christopher Eccleston will make his final appearance as
the Doctor with David Tennant set to take over.
In addition to two more series, there will also be Christmas specials
for 2005 and 2006, the show's makers said.

That means Dr Who fans have a total of 28 more episodes to look forward
to when the current series ends.
Billie Piper will continue playing Rose until at least the end of
series two.

More Doctor Who.

Batman #11 cover up for bid

Oh to be rich: Heritage Auctions is selling the great Jerry Robinson's cover to Batman #11, starting bid $100,000. The pic depicts the Caped Crusader socking Robinson's creation, The Joker.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pop Artifact! Batman Vs. the Fearsom Foursome paperback

Vintage DC Comics house ad

Secrets revealed at "Lost" confab

Ok, no big secrets, but spoilers nonetheless. Don't read the full Los Angeles Times account if you wanna stay entirely in the dark.

"Serenity" star rumored for "Wonder Woman"

Angel and Buffy News reports on rumors that actress Morena Baccarin, who appeared in "Wonder Woman" director Joss Whedon's "Firefly" TV series and the upcoming big screen spin-off of that show "Serenity," may be interested in portraying the amazon.

Happy birthday Neal Adams!

Cassette culture

At the NPR site, read the introduction to Sonic Youth guitarist/singer Thurston Moore's new book "Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture":

...I made what I thought was the most killer hardcore tape ever. I wrote 'H' on one side, and 'C' on the other. That night, while we were in bed, and after Kim had fallen asleep, I put the cassette on our stereo cassette player, dragged one of the little speakers over to the bed, and listened to the tape at ultra-low thrash volume. I was in a state of humming bliss. This music had every cell and fiber in my body on heavy sizzle mode. It was sweet.

"Firefly" returns to the air this summer

Reruns of Joss Whedon's sci-fi series will air on the Sci Fi Channel starting in July in anticipation of Whedon's big screen "Serenity" film, which is based on the show. "Firefly" is available on DVD too.

Listening to the golden age of comics

The Golden Age of Comic Books, maintained by William Jourdain (who also created the wonderful Golden Age of Batman site), now features podcasts in its blog section.

The second offering features a history of Golden Age Batman artist (and creator of the Joker) Jerry Robinson and an interview with former Marvel Comics scribe/editor Roy Thomas.

"Civilian" has 10 questions about comic books

Jennifer Brummett, staff writer for the Advocate Messenger in Danville, Ky., wrote a column listing stuff that befuddles her about comic books.

Here's her top 10 with my attempts to answer:

1. Why do the bios give the height and weight of the heroes and heroines, as well as, in most cases, hair and eye color? For Halloween costume production? Filmmaking purposes?

Um, cuz fans like to think of these characters as real. Ridiculous amounts of detail goes toward that purpose, as does an insane obsession with "continuity." Comic books, particularly those focusing on superheroes, are set in self-contained fictional worlds, which fans insist must function according to their own internal logic. If a writer contradicts something that happened in a comic way back in 1972, no doubt some fan will get uptight and post some nasty comment about it on his blog. Unless whatever happened back then was negated by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, of course.

2. Why are most of the "cats," whether at DC or Marvel, women?

Because who wants to see a guy in a skin-tight catsuit? Come on!

3. Why hasn't there been a major motion picture done on Dr. Strange? I mean, yeah, there was the 1978 television flick called "Dr. Strange." How many people saw that?

A Doctor Strange

4. Why does the Wonder Woman movie I've been hearing about for the last 10 years or so keep getting stalled? Now, Joss Whedon is attached to direct such a flick. We'll see how long that lasts. Where's the love for the ladies in the limelight? ("Elektra," mind you, was a spin-off of "Daredevil.")

Because it's taken 20 years for the nostaligia factor to kick in. The Lynda Carter TV series, which was ridiculous and silly back in the 70s is now campy and cool. Comic book films don't get made by or at the behest of comic book fans, they get made by folks in Hollywood after the marketing department says its ok to go ahead. The Wonder Woman film isn't being made so much because she's a comic book character (although that helps a lot in the post "Spider-Man" movie climate), but because she was a TV character. Many more people are familiar with her in that context. We're getting a "Dukes of Hazzard" movie, a "Bewitched" movie, etc. So it was only matter of time before they got to her.

5. Why would a creator name a comic book character Umbra? Or Element Lad? Holly Go-Nightly? Abomination? Kang? Soldier X? Thunderbolt Ross? How do they come up with these, ummm, unusual names?

Drugs? Desperation? Dreaded Deadline Doom?

6. Horror movies have crossed the Pacific, as has anime. Could manga be next?

Manga is already kicking the American comics industry's ass in in sales. Go to Barnes and Noble and look at how many manga books are stocked compared to superhero reprints. Kids are loving the manga.

7. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund? Huh?

Comic books have a long history of being singled out as targets for prudes, censors and other types of Republicans. Check out the history of the 1950s juvenille delinquency hearings, the comics code, etc. The CBLD is an effort to give creators and comic book shops some legal protection should they come under attack.

8. Who makes the time for something like this - Oh. My.! I'm gonna add a link to to that on my Web site.

9. Do superheroes and superheroines sweat? Hey, there's a whole lotta skin-tight hero-wear going on in the comic books. Is it comfortable?

It's all about unstable molecules, baby.

10. I keep reading about a film featuring Batman versus Superman - like, for years and years I've been reading this. Why is this interesting? I mean, Batman doesn't have any super powers, per se - just cool equipment, an extensive knowledge of the martial arts, and know-how about detective processes. Superman, coming from another planet, does have superpowers - flying, super-strength, enormous speed. Wouldn't he whip Batman's butt?

Brains trump brawn every time. Brains and kryptonite.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pop Artifact! Batman 1966 movie poster

Vintage DC Comics house ad

New CD releases of note

June 14

The 101'ers (Joe Strummer's pre-Clash band) Elgin Avenue Breakdown (Revisited)
Ry Cooder Chavez Ravine
Miles Davis 'Round About Midnight: Legacy Edition
Ian Dury New Boots & Panties
Brian Eno Another Day on Earth
The Everly Brothers Too Good to Be True: 18 Unreleased 1950s Sessions
Connie Francis Gold
Stevie Wonder A Time 2 Love
OST Batman Begins
OST Bewitched
DVD Paul McCartney in Red Square

June 21

Jonathan Edwards Have a Good Time for Me
Juan Garcia Esquivel Sights and Sounds of
Chris Hillman The Other Side
Julie London Yummy, Yummy, Yummy
The Ventures Alive Five-O: The Anthology
VA Heaven Must Have Sent You: The Holland/Dozier/Holland Anthology
OST Herbie Fully Loaded
OST Six Feet Under: Everything Ends

Making of a new Bat logo

Designer John Spencer tells how he created the new "Batman Begins" bat symbol:

Mr Spencer, who prefers not to reveal how much he was paid for the work, said: "I spent about two weeks looking at the original logo.

"At first I thought it couldn't be bettered, but the more I looked at it the more I thought it looked like a half eaten apple core. There wasn't a straight line in it."

He added: "It was a pretty hectic time." He spent a lot of time going back and forth to Sheperton Studios to check what he was doing was acceptable.

"We finally agreed on a design that has a lot of straight lines. It's much more angular and aggressive than the original, which I think reflects the film."

Pink Feud

You've probably heard the Pink Floyd is reuniting for one of those "Live 8" concerts, and it's surprising news to anyone who's followed the history of the group.

These guys--particularly bassinst Roger Waters and guitarist Dave Gilmour--really, really have a hard time getting along.

The Independent has a detailed look at one of rock's greatest feuds:

As the new millennium got under way, Gilmour, self-confessedly inarticulate, explained why he still didn't talk to Waters. "Roger's a prick," he said.

Undercutting Waters' old gripes about meaningless stadium rock concerts done for the money, Gilmour appeared in 2001 at the South Bank Meltdown Festival. Three years later, Nick Mason, the only other surviving original Floyd member, published his own version of Floyd history, Inside Out.

Mason, a self-confessed mediator, wrote in his book of the band's early approach to relationships: "We had a style - if there's a problem, ignore it." No change there, then. Typically, neither Gilmour nor Waters originally wanted the book published. Perhaps he should have called it I Used To Be In Pink Floyd, But Now I'm Alright.

This week's new DVD releases

June 14

The Joan Crawford Collection (Humoresque; Mildred Pierce; Possessed; Women; The Damned Don't Cry)

The Bette Davis Collection (Dark Victory; The Letter; Mr. Skeffington; Now, Voyager; The Star)

Casino Special Edition

Northern Exposure Complete Third Season

Another "Batman Begins" review

From USA Today:

...Batman 5 (* * ½ out of four) reverses the order of Mike Tyson's weekend bout: The early going - say, an hour - is spent in a fatigued daze. A few powerful jabs eventually punch things up.
...The movie finally improves (and starts showing a sense of humor) back home in Gotham. Bruce returns to don the duds and start going mobile in his famous wheels. It's all to fight a nefarious municipal scheme that, among other things, gives Gary Oldman, who is one of many welcome and familiar character actors, a rare chance to play a good guy.

Two more things to note: No fan of cult director Christopher Nolan is going to regard this respectable effort as anything but a comedown from 2001's Memento. And since the previous Batman movies, we've had the potent Spider-Man duo, which impressively gave us "lively" and "brooding" at the same time.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pop Artifact! Batman movie serial poster

Vintage DC Comics house ad

And now this special message...

Early Dr. Seuss works coming

Checker Book Publishing Group is pleased to announce the launch of a new series… Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss)! These collections will reprint the good doctor’s illustrations from early in his career, before his children’s books became world famous.

Geisel’s short stories, essays, and cartoons appeared in national publications such as Judge, Liberty, and PM, and he also created a myriad of advertising illustrations for various companies. Geisel also illustrated a wide variety of other print publications, calendars, and joke books such as “The Pocket Book of Boners”. Geisel’s illustrations turned this book into a national bestseller, and one of his advertising campaigns even proved to be so popular with the public that in 1929, a book collecting some of his advertisement designs was published.

Checker has collected dozens upon dozens of Geisel’s illustrations and has undertaken to restore these iconic cartoons of this world-famous artist. Under the nom-de-plume “Dr. Seuss”, Geisel has sold over 500 million books worldwide and continues to inspire generations of fans both young and old.

first volume of “Theodor Seuss Geisel: Early Works” is slated for August 2005 publication. Volume 2 is scheduled for November 2005, with Volume 3 following in Spring 2006. All of the books in the series will have a high-quality hardcover format, dust jacket and black and white illustrations.

Asterix smacks Mickey Mouse

That super-strength potion must work: An Asterix theme park is raking in the dough while Euro Disney struggles, says this report.

Whereas Euro Disney has struggled financially since its launch in the early 1990s despite attracting some 13-million visitors a year from all over the globe, the smaller Asterix park, opened in 1989, has turned in a profit since 1999 and that with a mainly French clientele.

..."We have the advantage of not being too in debt, and also of dealing with completely different volumes," the director of Asterix park, Alain Trouve, told AFP. With its two million visitors a year, 85 percent of which are French, the park registered almost €67-million in turnover in 2004 and again turned in a profit.

Euro Disney on the other hand has already had to restructure its finances twice as it struggles to service a €2.4-billion debt.

Trouve links the Asterix park's success to the Asterix comic book characters who are anchored in French popular culture and a rigorous management of the park which only opens for 160 days a year.

"The idea was to bring the characters on the page alive as well as their spirit. To find the humour, convivality and the strength of the characters and to put that all in a park," he said.

More on Parc Asterix.

Asterix books.

Batman and his "comic book roots"

The prevalent angle newspapers are using when reporting on "Batman Begins" is that the film "returns the hero to his comic book roots."

But what are those roots? Batman has been many things in comic books over the years: A grim-faced crimefighter (1930s), smiling adventurer (1940s), spacefarer and time traveler (1950s, 60s), back-to-basics crimefighter-man-of-the-people (1970s) and--currently--a humorless psychotic ninja.

Reports indicate the film lifts a lot of its inspiration from Frank Miller's "Batman Year One" with a dollop of Denny O'Neill and Neal Adams' bronze age run (it features Ras Al Ghul, after all).

I guess that's all fine. But the gist of these articles is that the comics offer the "real" Batman, whereas, current comics actually seem to be more confused than Hollywood about what to do with the poor guy.

For 20 years, the comics have been pretty much retreads of and variations on Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns," itself originally a one-off "imaginary tale" that took a "what if" look at one of the Caped Crusader's possible futures. The take has gotten pretty old. Any shred of humanity or humor the character held is pretty much gone.

A recent bright spot, though, is the "Dark Detective" mini-series DC is currently running. Featuring script and art from the classic Steven Englehart-Marshall Rogers team of the late 1970s, it's the best-of-all-worlds take on the character. This Batman is tough, dark, but feeling. He cracks the occasional joke and smile. He has a love life.

Englehart draws much of his inspiration from the late 40s Batman, when the character was lightening up from his grim beginnings but not ready to blast off into space quite yet. O'Neill and Adams took much the same approach when they handled the character in the early 70s.

I don't know for sure which Batman "Batman Begins" features, but if he's anything close to this one, that's great. He's a Batman I'd like to see a lot more of.

Summer means Slurpees

The beverage (I guess you'd call it a beverage...) is celebrating its 40th anniversary says this press release:

7-Eleven, Inc. has launched a month-long celebration of Slurpee's 40th birthday on July 11, 2005. To celebrate this iconic brand, 7-Eleven is introducing retro Slurpee cups and flavors in participating 7-Eleven® stores nationwide, airing original Slurpee radio spots from the 1960s, and offering prizes and promotions as part of the Slurpee Summer Prize Fest, including free music downloads and the chance to win one of four MINI Cooper convertibles.
Today, Slurpee is one of America's most recognized brands, but when Slurpee was introduced in 1965 it was a groundbreaking concept that took America by storm. Still served at a chilling 28 degrees, Slurpee enjoys worldwide popularity and is available in 14 countries and U.S. territories.

"A lot has changed since 1965, but not Slurpee. It's the ultimate retro drink, still cool even after 40 years," said Kevin Cooper, 7-Eleven category manager for Slurpee and fountain. "That's why we decided to have some fun this summer with some of the crazy '60s Slurpee flavors like Blue Blunder Berry and Gully Washer."

"Slurpee is truly an iconic American brand," said Wendy Liebmann, founder and president, WSL Strategic Retail. "Slurpee was one of the defining icons of American pop culture in the 1960s. Forty years later, it still resonates with a broad base of consumers who see it as their big chilly drink of choice."

Starting today, 7-Eleven customers can slurp Blue Blunder Berry in June and Gully Washer during July, two retro flavors developed by The Coca- Cola Company. Four color-changing Slurpee mugs feature graphics representing the decades of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Tinted bright blue, yellow, orange or green, the 38-ounce refillable mugs dramatically change colors when a cold Slurpee hits the mug, designed to fit any car cup holder. Retailing for $2.49, the price includes the mug, one Slurpee fill-up and free Wonka candy.

All Slurpee customers will be winners during the Slurpee Summer Prize Fest. Throughout June and July, 7-Eleven is giving away one free music download on all standard Slurpee cups. Last but not least, 7-Eleven is giving away four grand prize MINI Cooper convertibles, one for each decade of the Slurpee's 40 years of popularity and each painted a bright Slurpee color. Customers can register to win at participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide or online at .

"We decided to celebrate Slurpee's birthday by giving our customers a gift -- Slurpees, music and convertibles seemed like a natural fit," said Cooper. "Slurpee lovers can collect both music and cups during the celebration, and if they're really lucky, they might win a car!"

That's all very nice. But what we really want are Slurpee superhero cups!

The fine art of DVD tie-ins

It's summer blockbuster season and, since all summer blockbusters these days seem to be based on past movies and TV shows, that means it's also a big season for DVD releases.

The Hollywood Reporter provides a rundown of things we can expect:

"Batman Begins" yields the release of Volume 3 of "Batman -- The Animated Series" and the TV movie "Return to the Batcave," a look back at the Adam West-Burt Ward series. Notably, though, Universal (which owns the rights) has yet again blown an opportunity to release the 1960s Batman series on home video. They didn't do it on tape back when the Tim Burton flick came out, and they couldn't get it together for this new movie either.

As a tie-in to the upcoming Steven Spielberg adaptation, a couple of DVD documentaries focus on the hysteria provoked by the "War of the Worlds."

The original, Japanese version of "Dark Water" is coming out June 21, dovetailing with the release of the Jennifer Connelly version.

And the complete 1990s "Fantastic Four" cartoon is coming out July 5, to tie-in with the release of the quartet's new live-action feature, which opens the same day.