Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pop Artifacts! Captain Marvel memorabilia week

Christmas comics!

"X-Men 3" cast pics

A few were released earlier this week, but here's a look at even more characters featured in the film:






Ice Man

Jean Grey


Kitty Pryde







"Doctor Who" series 2 news

The BBC has released a press release with details on the upcoming season, airing (sometime, the release curiously doesn't reveal when) in the UK:

The wait is over! David Tennant, the tenth Time Lord to grace the
TARDIS, and his feisty young companion, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), return in
the eagerly anticipated new series of Doctor Who.

Together, the Doctor and Rose travel through time and space, battling a
host of new and returning aliens and monsters, including the dreaded
Cybermen, an evil race of Cat Women, the sinister Krillitanes and maybe
even a Dalek!

The new series, which promises to be even scarier than the last, sees
the welcome return of two of the Doctor's favourite and most iconic
companions, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and his faithful robot dog,

Rose's mum, Jackie (Camille Coduri), and her hapless boyfriend, Mickey
(Noel Clarke), also return.

Viewers join the Doctor and Rose as they embark upon an adventure that
takes them further into the future than ever before, to a glittering
paradise where the grass smells of apples – but where old and new terrors

Then it's off to the Highlands for a Royal appointment with Queen
Victoria (Pauline Collins).

See the Best Doctor Who Sites on the Web.

Quick hits

Via BoingBoing, cool graphics from a 1949 candy salesman's catalog.

Scott McCloud has a new book coming out called "Making Comics." It'll complete the trilogy he started with "Understanding Comics" (a vital read to anyone interested in the form) and "Reinventing Comics." McCloud, a cartoonist, teaches and makes his points graphically, with comics, in an amazing fashion. If you haven't checked out the books yet, you should.

"Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelhof discusses his being a comics geek.

A fun find in the "Adventures of Superman" DVD set.

Dial B for Blog displays some more vintage DC Comics house ads.

Fred Hembeck roasts the Fantastic Four.

March 1 is the release date for DVD sets collecting the first seasons of the animated "Justice League" and "Batman Beyond," TV Showns on DVD reports. More animated DC Comics shows on DVD.

Great moments in Comic Book History

All-American Comics #35: When a Bat Signal just won't do...

New comics for Dec. 7, 2005

Available now at yer local comics shop or via This is Pop!-supporting links:

Adventures Of Red Sonja Vol 1 She Devil With Sword

Alter Ego #55

Batgirl Kicking Assassins TP

Charles Burns Library Vol 1 El Borbah

Crisis On Infinite Earths Absolute Edition HC

Demo Collection TP

Essential Spider-Woman Vol 1 TP

Golden Age Hawkman Archives Vol 1 HC

Green Lantern Vs Sinestro Statue

Mythology Art Of Alex Ross Ltd Ed HC

Showcase Presents Justice League Of America Vol 1 TP

Spider-Man Breakout TP

What If Classic Vol 2 TP

See a Complete List of Upcoming Comics.

Dark Horse Comics solicitations for March 2006

On sale April 12, SC, 275pg, 4 1/8" x 6 7/8", $6.99

In an inhospitable galaxy, the planet Rosamond 6 is a rare find. With a
moon, an atmosphere, and a thriving biosystem the world has all the
keys necessary for human habitation. But while Rosamond 6 may look like an
oasis among the stars, it harbors a fatal secret . . .
That secret is that the world is infested with the murderous
xenomorphic aliens that have wiped out every life form in their path. Eager to
prove her theory that the aliens can be reasoned with, anthropologist
Jocasta Malvaux has set up an observation post on Rosamond 6. But when the
monsters become aware of Malvaux and her expedition, something
unexpected happens: the aliens don’t attack.
When Jocasta’s son Rory races to the planet to save her, she won’t
leave. What is the secret behind the aliens’ seeming lack of concern for
the humans? Are the monsters evolving? Or is it simply a matter of time
before every person on the planet is in a fight for their lives?
Bestselling writer Diane Carey takes you to the edge of your darkest
nightmare and into the mind of a monster. The war is about to begin.

On sale April 12, SC, 240pg, b&w, 5" x 7", $13.95

The Band of the Hawk—what’s left of them—are on the run, Guts and Casca
having rescued the Hawks’ leader, Griffith, from the horrors of the
King of Midland’s dungeons. Starved, tortured mercilessly, and imprisoned
in an iron mask, Griffith hangs on to life and sanity by a thread . . .
and he’ll be no help against the King’s latest charges sent to bring
him back to pay for his dalliance with the King’s daughter. Now the
depleted Hawks will have to face the Knights of the Black Dog, led by the
merciless, bestial Wyald . . . one bad dog who’s even worse when he
unleashes the beast within!

On sale March 8, b&w, 32pg, $2.99

A look into Burando’s dark past gives a hint at how Kagimura’s deranged
medical examiner wound up becoming so heartless and twisted. Having
survived Kagimura’s first few experiments, Manji braces himself for the
next test on his body and on the mystical bloodworms that grant him
near-immortality. The kessen-chu keep their secrets well! It’s going to take
a lot of bloodshed and pain before Kagimura has his answers! For Manji,
the kessen-chu are both a blessing and a curse, now. Will he only find
comfort in death? And where’s that old witch Yaobikuni when you need

On sale March 22, FC, 32pg, $2.99

Beginning a stunning two-parter drawn by legendary storyteller Tim
Truman (Grimjack, Hawkworld, Jonah Hex)!
The Prince and his mysterious Wazir, featured in Conan #0 and the
series’ framing sequences, share center stage with Conan in a two-tiered
story. Having added new lands to his father’s empire, the Prince must deal
with diplomacy, border wars, and a local champion. The Wazir offers
guidance with a legend of when Conan was a hill-chief of the Afghulis,
high in the Himeliam mountains. Conan is building the seeds of a
kingdom—can he betray a brave man to gain power? And if he can, should the
Prince do the same?

On sale March 15, FC, 48pg, $4.99

Legendary writer Len Wein, creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, teams
up with Conan ongoing writer Kurt Busiek, and the grandmaster of horror
art Kelley Jones to tell the horrifying origin of Thoth-amon—Conan’s
greatest adversary!
In the dank alleys of a decaying city, one beggar boy conjures visions
of a future where, instead of spitting on him in the streets, the rich
and privileged cower in fear of his terrible power. For young Thoth,
hunger and pain is a way of life, twisting his heart into believing that
no wickedness is too costly if it can afford a means of escape—not even
the betrayal of one’s sole confidant in the wretched, unfeeling world.
With art by the inimitable Jones, co-written by Busiek, responsible for
the most successful relaunch of a fantasy character in comics history,
and Wein, mastermind behind many of comics’ most beloved modern heroes,
this series finally reveals the secrets behind the dread sorcerer

On sale April 26 SC, 160pg, b&w w/gray tones, 6" x 9", $14.95

Life as Concrete knows it is about to change forever.
Former speechwriter Ron Lithgow returns as the title character in Paul
Chadwick’s critically acclaimed and award-winning miniseries. Trapped
in an alien’s rock-hard body, Lithgow is an accidental celebrity whose
high profile is being courted by a front-page CEO. Though Concrete
believes overpopulation to be an important issue, does he want to become the
spokesperson for a controversial population control program? While
Concrete mulls this generous proposition over with his biologist, Maureen,
his longtime aide Larry Munro mulls over an entirely different sort of
proposal. Life and violent death take center stage in this compelling
new collection from an industry-renowned creative master, and the
subject of overpopulation is given the trademark thoughtful exploration that
Chadwick fans have come to expect. Collecting the six-issue miniseries.

On sale April 12, SC, 275pg, 5" x 7", $8.95

Since being formed as a shadow peacekeeping organization, Section 9 has
faced almost countless adversaries both in the real world and in
cyberspace, but none like "The Awakened," a group of terrorists who seem to
have the ability to take over the minds and bodies of almost anyone and
use them to commit crimes against the state, leaving their pawns
unaware of who was controlling them. When Major Motoko Kusanagi is able to
capture one of the boys used as a pawn she hacks into his cyberbrain to
find out who the ringleader is, but what she discovers will take her and
the operatives of Section 9 on a journey deep into the heart of
cyberspace, and the answers she finds will shake Section 9 to its core.

Based on the anime created by Yoshitoshi Abe and the animation produced
by Madhouse
On sale April 26, SC, 160pg, FC, 5" x 7", $14.95

In a long-forgotten walled town, humans coexist with the Haibane,
angelic beings of unknown origin. Rakka becomes the newest Haibane after she
awakens from a strange dream and finds herself hatching from a massive
cocoon. With no memories of her previous life, Rakka struggles to
adjust to her new surroundings, however burning questions remain in the back
of her mind. What are the Haibane and what is their purpose? What lies
beyond the town walls? Thus Rakka begins her wistful journey of
self-discovery and wonderment.

EXPLORERS’ CLUB ON AUGUST 16, 1993 #2 (of 2)

On sale March 1, FC, 32pg, $2.99

Hellboy’s strange adventure across the bone-strewn plains of Africa
pits him against the singing dead, demonic insects, and the sort of woman
only Richard Corben can draw. The final issue in this unique
collaboration between Hellboy’s creator and comics legend Richard Corben features
a cover and twenty-one pages drawn by Corben, plus a three-page
epilogue from Mignola, in an epic bit of African folklore reimagined by

On sale April 12, SC, 128pg, FC, 7" x 10", $17.95

Mike Mignola returns with his first new Hellboy collection since 2002’s
Conqueror Worm. After leaving the Bureau for Paranormal Research and
Defense, Hellboy’s travels take him briefly to Africa, then for a
two-year stint at the bottom of the ocean. An ancient witch doctor, a giant
fish woman, and the keeper of the secret history of the universe force
Hellboy to either accept his role in the coming apocalypse, or have that
role stolen from him. Weird undersea creatures and talking lions
populate this turning-point adventure, which reveals secrets buried since
Hellboy’s very creation. This volume collects Harvey-and-Eisner-award
winner Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series The Third Wish and The Island with
over a dozen unused pages, and a new epilogue.

On sale April 12, SC, 200pg, b&w, 6" x 9", $9.95

For eight-year-old Lulu Moppet, nothing is impossible—even if the
results of her efforts are impossibly imperfect. Need to quell the fury of a
rambunctious two-year-old? Lulu’s got a hilarious fairy tale brewing in
her brain that’ll do just the trick. Father needs his best suit taken
to the tailor? Lulu can handle it—so long as Pop doesn’t mind if she
makes a few unplanned—and wholly unpredictable!—stops along the way. Have
a wayward ghost in your house who needs a new home? Lulu’s your girl!

On sale April 19, SC, 232pg, b&w, 5" x 7", $12.95

Welcome to one of the most disturbing minds in Japanese manga! Hideshi
Hino has long been considered a master of the horror manga genre since
his coming out in the late seventies. And the four stories in Lullabies
from Hell will show you how demented the man can be.
The self-titled first chapter introduces you to the author himself, a
horror quasi-biography of sorts. The second story tells of Hino’s having
willed his pregnant wife into birthing a horrible, planet-devastating
reptile baby that eats puppies and children! And you can imagine how the
stories progress from there.
Take a look inside the mind of a madman! Published in the popular,
unretouched and unflopped manga format, Lullabies from Hell might make
sleeping a bit of a challenge!


SAVIUK (A) and NORM BREYFOGLE (A), Cover art by Tim Sale
On sale April 12, SC, 160pg, FC, 8 3/8" x 5 7/16", $14.95

This volume of Michael Chabon Presents the Amazing Adventures of the
Escapist collects issues five and six of the popular, Eisner and Harvey
Award winning quarterly series, and features the late Will Eisner’s
final return to the Spirit, in a crossover tale with the Escapist!
Also in this volume is the comics writing debut of award-winning author
and Guggenheim fellow Chris Offutt, illustrated by Thomas Yeates. Dan
Best and Eddie Campbell contribute a fully painted story from the 1939
World’s Fair in Empire City, and 2004 Russ Manning Award winner Eric
Wight brings a polemic story from writer Jason Hall to life. Among the
other notable contributors are Howard Chaykin, Paul Grist, Shawn
Martinbrough, David Hahn, Roy Thomas, Matt Wagner, and indie stalwarts Jeffrey
Brown and Jason!

On sale April 12, SC, 176pg, b&w, 5" x 7", $10.95

Ever since a cosmic phone call brought Belldandy, Urd, and Skuld—a trio
of literal young goddesses—to live in college student Keiichi’s
residence, his personal life has been turned upside down, sideways, and
sometimes even into strange dimensions!
No sooner has Urd’s mother left, than Keiichi and Megumi’s father shows
up! But whatever you do, don’t call him that. It’s just "Keima-san."
Try to show him respect by saying "Father," and he’ll smack you upside
the head. You see, he simply wants to be treated as an individual. Also,
if you’re a woman, don’t approach any closer than one meter to
Keima-san—because he’ll run away. Only his wife is ever permitted that close.
Well then, what in the world must Mrs. Morisato be like? Don’t call
"Mother" that either—because you’re about to meet her too!

On sale March 15, FC, 32pg, $2.99

Space Pinchy and her sidekick Audrey are back for more (mis)adventures,
cruising across the galaxy in search of universal secrets . . . or at
least a bunch of "P"parts. And who even knows what good the elusive
parts will do? Well, either way we all know that Pinchy will get into some
kind of pinch, and the fun part is finding out what her special cells
will do to adapt to life-threatening situations. Will they make her
flat, make her tall, or make her dead? Who knows? They could make her into
just about anything, except un-sexy!
From the wacked-out manga mind of Japan’s Tony Takezaki comes Space
Pinchy, a story about a female space adventurer who won’t accept failure,
and will probably never find a decent alien boyfriend.

On sale March 1, FC, 32pg, $2.99

Boba Fett rockets onto the scene with blasters blazing in this
stand-alone story featuring the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter taking on a
dangerous contract that proves deadly for all involved!
Summoned to settle the score between two warring factions, Fett quickly
shows his employers the importance of always choosing the right tool
for the job, and the folly of underestimating just how much damage and
chaos a single Mandalorian can inflict. Once unleashed, Fett's drive to
finish the job is unshakable, and both groups quickly realize they’re
dealing with a bigger and much deadlier mutual problem—one that must be
stopped before it obliterates everything!
Don’t miss this essential piece of the Boba Fett mythos written by
Thomas Andrews (Star Wars Empire) and illustrated with the eye-popping art
of Francisco Ruiz Velasco (Lone Wolf 2100).

and various
On sale April 12, SC, 96pg, FC, 5 1/4" X 7 1/2", $6.95
Strap in for another tour through the highly charged Clone Wars
As the fires of the Clone Wars burn across the galaxy, heroes on both
sides of the conflict emerge, and no matter what the outcome, the galaxy
will be forever changed. Presenting four more pulse-racing tales of
knock-down, drag-out action and adventure, all told in the same
stripped-down stylization as Cartoon Network’s micro-series.

On sale March 29, FC, 32pg, $2.99

Zayne Carrick never expected to go far in the Jedi Order. A Padawan of
modest skill, the most he ever hoped for was to attain the rank of Jedi
knight and to serve the galaxy in his own humble way. Mysterious is the
will of the Force, however, and extraordinary circumstances have made
Zayne a fugitive, isolated and on the run from the very Order he once
swore to uphold. Now, Zayne and his unlikely ally—a criminal entrepreneur
called the "the Gryph"—have been forced into the planet Taris’
dangerous Under-city, where the only thing more deadly than the Jedi pursuing
them are the desperate cutthroats waiting to greet them!

On sale March 22, FC, 32pg, $2.99

Lock up your daughters and hide the Jawas, faithful readers, because
Tag and Bink are BACK! Yea, though one might be hard-pressed to develop a
sequel to the popular Tag & Bink Are Dead, fan-favorite writer Kevin
Rubio and Star Wars stalwart Lucas Marangon have risen to the occasion!
And what an occasion it is. Fans jonesing for more side-splitting Star
Wars shenanigans will thrill to the new misadventures of this hapless
pair, members of the Rebel Alliance,who have somehow stumbled past the
worst Imperial perils with their limbs intact. In The Return of Tag &
Bink—Special Edition, the duo set out to rescue a certain smuggler
trapped in carbonite—with the help of Lando Calrissian! One thing leads to
another, and they manage to subdue the deadliest bounty hunter in the
galaxy on their way to infiltrating the Hutt palace. Star Wars fans know
what comes next, and there will be guest appearances of favorite
characters on the way to the Sarlacc pit, the Death Star, and Endor! This
issue will conquer the world!

On sale March 29, b&w, 24pg, $2.99

Internationally acclaimed storyteller Stan Sakai presents another
adventure from feudal Japan! The foxy thief Kitsune visits the Geishu clan
in this issue, and the rabbit ronin is caught between his friendship
with the charming thief and his loyalty to the Geishu clan . . and how
will Tomoe react when she meets Usagi’s beautiful and flirtatious friend?
It’s a meeting of two fan-favorite characters, with the long-eared
samurai caught in the middle! As if that weren’t enough, when Kitsune’s
young protégée Kiyoko steals a priceless temple scroll, the man who wants
it would rather kill the pair than pay for it. Can they get out of this
mess before permanent damage is caused to the clan? Find out, this
month in Usagi Yojimbo!

Upcoming TwoMorrows Publishing releases

ALTER EGO #56 is a Sensational Symposium of SUPER MEN! There’s a
superlative cover by NEAL ADAMS—as Superman hoists his creators JERRY
SIEGEL & JOE SHUSTER, who are interviewed in this issue! There’s also
an interview with Golden/Silver Age DC production & color guru JACK
ADLER—plus super-artist NEAL ADAMS & TV iconoclast (& comics fan)
HOWARD STERN on Adler & his amazing career! More surprise features on the Man
of Steel—including art by CURT SWAN, WAYNE BORING, AL PLASTINO, et al.!

The 100 page (plus cover), saddle-stitched 8 1/2" x 11" magazine with a
full color cover and black-and-white interiors retails for $6.95 in the
U.S. and ships 8 February 2006.

JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #45 features a trip in the KIRBY TIME MACHINE for Jack’s views of the past and future! There’s a never-published interview with KING KIRBY! A
heartfelt new interview with Jack’s son NEAL KIRBY! MARK EVANIER’s regular
column, plus our other regular columnists! Two Kirby pencil art galleries—THE
PAST and THE FUTURE (both at whopping TABLOID SIZE)! Two rare, complete
1950s Kirby stories! An interview with Kirby Award winner and family
friend MARK MILLER! Kirby’s first script, from the 1930s! Looks at
Jack’s 3-D work, the Eternals, Devil Dinosaur, Justice Inc., war and
gangster stories, and the 2005 Kirby Tribute Panel (with Evanier,
nephew Robert Katz, Scott Shaw!, and Steve Sherman)! All behind a new
Kirby/Royer montage cover, plus the unpublished Kirby cover to CAPTAIN
3-D #2, inked by BILL BLACK and converted into actual 3-D by RAY ZONE!
Edited by John Morrow. Edited by JOHN MORROW.

The 80 page (plus cover), saddle-stitched 10" x 14" tabloid-sized
magazine with a full color cover and black-and-white interiors retails
for $9.95 in the U.S. and ships 22 February 2006.

The newest volume of the Modern Masters series looks at the life and work of one of today’s top comic-book artists, Arthur Adams! Arthur
burst onto the comic book scene with the widely acclaimed Longshot
mini-series in 1985 and has remained a star in the field ever since.
His unique style has earned him both the Russ Manning Award and the Eisner
Award, as well as a legion of fans. From super-heroes such as the
X-Men, Fantastic Four, and The Authority, to pop culture icons including
Godzilla, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and even Gumby, Adams’
range of work only adds to his appeal. But it is his energetic
cartooning combined with his painstaking attention to fine detail that
truly amazes his fans and peers alike. Modern Masters Volume 6: Arthur
Adams features an extensive, career-spanning interview lavishly
illustrated with rare and unpublished art, as well as a large
sketchbook section. One look and you’ll agree—Arthur Adams is truly a Modern

The 128 page (plus cover), squarebound, 8 1/2" x 11" Trade Paperback
with a full color cover and black-and-white interiors retails for
$14.95 in the U.S. and ships 15 February 2006.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pop Artifact! Captain Marvel memorabilia week

Christmas comics!

Vintage Ken Nordine "Word Jazz" albums set for reissue

You may not know Nordine, but you've likely heard him. He was the voice of Taster's Choice coffee and a zillion other ads. But, on his own time, he's a fascinating spoken word artist, putting down surreal word scenarios over a backdrop of music and sound effects. He had a long-running show on NPR and has recorded with Jerry Garcia and others.

Now Universal's limited-edition Hip-O label is collecting his complete 1950s recordings for the Dot label. You can order it here.


The Word Jazz Dot Masters contains all 49 tracks from the original albums, plus the bonus track from the Blue Thumb compilation, plus five previously unreleased tracks newly discovered in the vaults, on two compact discs. In all, 27 tracks make their CD debut.

Not only was Nordine involved with the project at every step, he also invited some of his celebrated friends to contribute; both Laurie Anderson and Tom Waits have authored notes for the release, as has Nordine’s long-time engineer, engineer, Jim Cunningham. Needless to say, Ken has also written some notes, and has provided some rare photos for the set.

For those of you unfamiliar with Word Jazz, you should give the samples a listen. You’ll dig ’em. As Frank Zappa once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture," and that goes double about Nordine's intermingling of jazz and poetry. Maybe the closest audio-free approximation one could make is that, in these recordings, Ken Nordine has metaphorically given you the keys to his cerebellum and invited you out for a test spin. Or he's the coolest camp counselor ever, and he's telling stories around the campfire of our darkest night.

Painstakingly remastered in 2005 from the original master tapes, You’re Getting Better also contains all of the notes from the highly collectable and extremely rare original vinyl releases.

"X-Men 3" pictures and trailer

Here's a look at the first cast photos and trailer for the upcoming film. (Yeah, that's Kelsey (Frasier) Grammer as the Beast).

See the Best X-Men Sites on the Web.

Roundup: Lennon tribute radio programs

As mentioned last week, the BBC is observing the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death with a number of special radio programs. A few have turned up online via the Beeb's audio-on-demand service. Click to hear:

* "Bigger Than Jesus," a look at the controversy surrounding Lennon's 1966 remark that the Beatles were then more popular than Christ.

* "The Wenner Tapes," a documentary using tapes of Rolling Stone Editor Jann Wenner's landmark 1970 interview with Lennon.

* "The White Album Covers Show," featuring numerous current acts covering songs from the Beatles' album.

* "The Lennon Legend," featuring various arts folk discussing Lennon's influence.

See the Best Beatles Sites on the Web.

Quick hits

Smoking Gun, naturally, has mugshots of "Lost" stars Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros who were picked up for DWI the other day. Makes you glad not to be famous...

The first Ricky Gervais podcast is available for download.

Oh man, I loved space sticks.

Spread the Good Words posts another cool collection of Christmas tunes.

New CD releases for Dec. 6, 2005

New releases of note:

The Cowsills We Can Fly

Bob Marley & the Wailers
Man to Man

New Order Singles

Phil Seymour Phil Seymour

Sonic Youth SYR 6: Koncertas Stan Brakhage Prisiminimui

White Stripes Walking with a Ghost EP

VA Doo-Wop: Vocal Group Greats

VA Our New Orleans

OST Inside Deep Throat

New DVD releases for Dec. 6, 2005

24 - Season Four

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume Four

The Dukes of Hazzard (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Fifth Season

Fantastic Four (Widescreen Edition)

Green Acres Season 3

He Man & She Ra:Christmas Special

Law & Order - The Fourth Year

M*A*S*H - Season Nine

MacGyver - The Complete Fourth Season

The Rockford Files - Season One

Roseanne - The Complete Second Season

Superman - The Animated Series, Volume Two

Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s

Walt Disney Treasures - Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Spin & Marty - The Mickey Mouse Club

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald, Volume Two (1942-1946)

Jack Kirby feature bumped from "Fantastic Four" DVD

The new DVD of the "Fantastic Four" movie doesn't include a feature of FF co-creator Jack Kirby as expected, our friends at the Jack Kirby Collector tell us.

Instead, the Kirby feature will be included in a special edition DVD of the movie out next spring. Shop accordingly.

See the Best Fantastic Four Sites on the Web.

More Jack Kirby.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pop Artifact! Captain Marvel memorabilia week

Christmas comics!

Quick hits

Santa blogging.

More Christmas music sharity. And more and more. (It truly is the season of giving).

Some more: The Beatles' 1960s fanclub-only Christmas records.

An early peek at "X-Men 3" characters The Beast, Angel and Storm.

NPR says Happy Birthday to Dave Brubeck.

Download a cool Beatles "beatleg" podcast.

Go on safari with a cool 1970s kids album, complete with jungle sound effects.

Yet more sharity, Les Baxter's Moog Rock!

The BBC marks the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death this week with several different radio programs. They're starting to turn up on the Beeb's audio-on-demand site. Check out the first here. More info here.

Rubber Soul at 40

The Beatles' Rubber Soul turned 40 this week. And so did I.

The album has always seemed special to me, perhaps because we share roughly the same release date. The album came out on Dec. 3, 1965, in Britain and on Dec. 6 in the U.S.

I was born on Dec. 4.

Push comes to shove, it's my favorite Beatles record, although Revolver sometimes takes that slot and the "White Album" has its days.

But the Rubber Soul I fell in love with as a kid is a lot different from the Rubber Soul I love today.

Being a second-generation Beatles fan, a kid who starting buying their records in the mid 70s after a cool older cousin exposed me to their music, meant that I was getting the U.S. versions of the LPs.

Those of you too young to remember or too old to have bothered trading in your Beatles LPs for CDs probably don't know what I'm talking about.

But before the introduction of the Beatles CDs in the late 1980s, the U.S. and U.K. versions of many of their pre-"Sgt. Pepper" albums differ.

You see, back in the 1960s, The Beatles' U.S. record label, Capitol, figured it could get more mileage out of the Beatles craze by issuing more albums than there actually were.

By all manner of slicing and dicing, they made this so. While the British albums mostly contained 14 songs, the Capitol LPs generally contained 12. In England, the Beatles never put tunes released as singles or b-sides on their albums. Capitol did it all the time.

As a result, U.S. fans ended up buying all sorts of albums that never hit the racks in Britain, including Beatles '65, The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, Beatles VI and Yesterday and Today.

Sometimes Capitol even tinkered with the sound of the recordings, drenching songs such as "She's a Woman" in echo and retaining a false start on "I'm Looking Through You" that was edited off the British version.

It wasn't until Sgt. Pepper that the American and British LPs featured the same song lineups. And once CDs were introduced, the British track lineups became universal worldwide.

For nostaligic purposes, the first four American albums were released in a CD box set a year or so ago. But, to date, the only Rubber Soul officially available on CD is the British version. Which, honestly, is superior to Capitol's hatchet job.

But it means that, when I say I love Rubber Soul, I actually love two very different albums. The one I grew up listening to and the one I slip into my CD player today.

Here's a comparison of track listings:

"Rubber Soul" American version:

"Rubber Soul" British version:

Weird, huh? And it demonstrates how little thought Capitol put into slapping their versions together. I mean, "I've Just Seen a Face" is a great song, but a bizarre choice for an album opener. It's all acoustic and folky while "Drive My Car" is electric and rocking--a proper opening track.

Still, once I switched to CDs, it took me years to get used to "Drive My Car" being the first track on Rubber Soul.

But, even in its flawed American incarnation, Rubber Soul was a great, influential album. Head Beach Boy Brian Wilson often cites it as an inspiration for his masterpiece, Pet Sounds. And he's no doubt referring to the American version. The Beach Boys were on Capitol, too, so he likely received a comp, U.S. version of the record.

Which, I guess, means that the U.S. Rubber Soul is by no means a bad album and nothing to be embarassed about loving. It's just that the U.K. one is a bit more perfect.

I think I love this album so much because it captures the Beatles in the midst of growing up. The magical experimentalism and eclecticism that marks so much of the group's later work is just starting to surface. Earlier albums stuck mostly to the guitars, bass and drums sound but here more instruments and styles are added to the mix.

Tambourine and/or maracas are on nearly every track. Acoustic guitars are everywhere. "Norwegian Wood" introduces the sound of George Harrison's sitar. "In My Life" features producer George Martin's baroque-style piano solo. "Girl" sounds like something you'd hear in a Greek restaurant. "Michelle" has Paul McCartney singing in French!

There are advances on the lyrical front, too. No longer is every tune a love song. On "Think for Yourself" and "The Word," the band shows no qualms about offering its fans advice: "Think for yourself 'cause I won't be there with you," "Say the word and you'll be free, say the word and be like me."

Sure, they're not overtly political songs. But they're about as preachy as the Beatles were comfortable being. At the same time they were tempted to use their influence to lead, they were wary of setting themselves up as the same sort of authority figures they detested and distrusted.

At any rate, this clearly wasn't the work of guys following a formula to stay on top of the charts. That would've been easy enough to do, but not for the Beatles. This was a band that changed, grew and experimented. Which is why Rubber Soul--in its various forms--still gets listened to today.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Pop Artifact!

Christmas Comics!

Fresh Aeon Flux pics

This week's most-alarming comic book cover

What in God's name...

New comics previews

Mile High Comics has first looks at: All Star Batman and Robin Special Edition #1; Batman and the Monster Men #2; Hard Time Season Two #1; Jonah Hex #2; Superman Secret Files 2005; Swamp Thing #22; Team Zero #1; Y The Last Man #40; Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3; Marvel Team-Up #15; Marvel Zombies #1; New Excalibur #2; New Warriors #6; Sentinel #2; Spider-Girl #93; What If: Captain America #1; X-Men Colossus Bloodline #4 and X-Men Unlimited #12.

Quick hits

"Goldfinger," silly!

"The Simpsons" gets literary with voice guest appearances by authors Jonathan Franzen, Michael Chabon, Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal next season.

Kids DO love comics, says the Great Curve. And it's true. My boy loves Gemstone's Donald Duck comics, "Teen Titans Go!" and "The Batman Strikes!" Not to mention assorted DC Archives/Showcase and Marvel Essentials/Masterworks volumes. Give a kid a comic today.

New on iTunes: That's Why We're Marching: World War II and the American Folk Song Movement - Various Artists; Musics of Hawaii: Anthology of Hawaiian Music - Special Festival Edition - Various Artists; Pete Seeger - Singalong Sanders Theater, 1980 - Pete Seeger.

Mike Sterling recalls the fun, bizarre Andy Helfer/Kyle Baker "Shadow" series DC published in the 1980s. I loved that book...

Heritage Comics is offering up more than 300 original pieces of Mad Magazine-related art in an upcoming auction.

Chances are good the regenerated "Doctor Who" series will air on U.S. TV sometime soon, but after it turns up on DVD. The first season DVD set is due out in the states Feb. 14.

Comics creators post their Christmas wishes on the Sequential Tart. I'll take a Jack Kirby original, please.

Comics Continuum has details on the "X-Men 3" trailer, which debuts on the Web on Monday.

Newsarama has some George Perez preview art from JSA #82, out in February from DC.

Jack Black modeled his "King Kong" performance after Orson Welles.

Great Moments in Comic Book History

Wonder Woman Vol. 1, #162: The Amazon Princess notes women of "man's world" wear entirely too much clothing. How do they swing?

New DVD releases for December 2005

New DVD releases for Dec. 6, 2005

24 - Season Four

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume Four

The Dukes of Hazzard (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Fifth Season

Fantastic Four (Widescreen Edition)

Green Acres Season 3

He Man & She Ra:Christmas Special

Law & Order - The Fourth Year

M*A*S*H - Season Nine

MacGyver - The Complete Fourth Season

The Rockford Files - Season One

Roseanne - The Complete Second Season

Superman - The Animated Series, Volume Two

Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s

Walt Disney Treasures - Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Spin & Marty - The Mickey Mouse Club

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald, Volume Two (1942-1946)

New DVD releases for Dec. 13, 2005

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Unrated Edition)

Airplane - The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition

Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Fifth Season

Farscape - Season 3, Collection 1 (Starburst Edition)

Frank Miller's Sin City (Recut & Extended Edition)

Gilmore Girls - The Complete Fifth Season

King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries

Miami Vice - Season Two

Rock 'n Roll High School - Special Edition

Scooby Doo in Where's My Mummy

The Simpsons - The Complete Seventh Season

New DVD released for Dec. 20, 2005

Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0

Brothers Grimm

ER - The Complete Fourth Season

Party of Five - The Complete Second Season

Serenity - Widescreen Edition

New DVD releases for Dec. 27, 2005

Dark Water (Unrated Widescreen Edition)

The Shield - The Complete Fourth Season

TV Golden Age Theater:Vol 1

TV Golden Age Theater:Vol 2

Twilight Zone:Season 5

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pop Artifact! Captain America cap gun

Christmas comics!

Quick hits

Comedian Ricky Gervais ("The Office," "Extras") will produce a series of 30-minute podcasts for the U.K. Guardian.

Some Christmas sharity in the form of a Three Suns album from Pinocchio's Easy Listening Corner today.

Meanwhile, Rato Records shares an EP of tunes from the "Hatari" soundtrack.

Actress Christina Cindrich has joined the "Spider-Man 3" cast.

Yahoo! Movies has a "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" teaser.

The DC Showcase Presents "Superman Family" volume mentioned yesterday will include Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane stories from Jimmy Olsen #1-22 and Showcase #9, says here. Future volumes will chronological reprintings forcusing on the two Superman supporting cast members. Great news!

"Lost" clues: season 2, episode 9 "What Kate Did"

Official ABC recap:

What Kate Did
Air Date: 11/30/2005
As dawn ushers in another day on the island we see Jin and Sun sharing an intimate moment that is long overdue. For them the sunrise represents a new beginning -- a second chance at love. And we get the feeling that they're not going to let this one slip through their fingers.

We find Kate high up in a tree picking fruit from the tall branches. As she slides back down the trunk, she slips, almost falling and spilling several mangoes to the jungle floor. As she crouches to collect them, she hears something behind her and turns to see a magnificent black horse standing in the morning mist. But that's not possible…is it?

In FLASHBACK we see a younger version of Kate as she waits on the stairs of her modest house. When a pickup truck swerves down the dirt road and stops in front we get our first look at her mother's choice for a father -- "Wayne." He's happy to let Kate help him to bed, as long as it affords him another chance to lay his drunken hands on her. So when Kate tells him goodnight, she really means it. We see her go outside and ride off on her motorcycle as the house behind her explodes into a giant fireball.

In the Hatch, Sawyer is still delirious with fever as a result of his blood infection. As Jack checks his wounds Sawyer calls out for Kate. When Jack leans in a little closer he hears Sawyer say something that makes him a little dizzy himself. "I love her." And before he has time to process what that means, there is Kate herself anxious to take over his care once more.

Jack attends the funeral services for Shannon and it's very difficult for everyone involved to keep a dry eye as Sayid says a final goodbye to the woman he loved. Meanwhile, back in the hatch, Kate has a very scary episode with Sawyer that shakes her to her core, so when Locke and Jack finally return to the hatch they find Sawyer unattended and the clock on the computer dangerously close to zero.

Back in FLASHBACK, we get to see the beginning of Kate's "relationship" with the Marshal when he arrests her at the bus station after trying to flee the area. While transporting her back to Iowa, in the thick of a brutal rainstorm, they swerve off the road and crash into a telephone pole, allowing Kate her first chance at escape. After pushing the unconscious Marshal out into the rain, Kate looks to see what it was that forced them off the road. And standing there, in the middle of the road, just as placid as can be, is a very familiar-looking black horse.

On the island, as Kate struggles with her feelings for Jack and Sawyer as well as with her sanity, Eko provides Locke with the missing piece of a puzzle that may ask more questions than it answers. Jack reaches out to Ana Lucia at a time when she needs a friend more than ever, and Michael discovers something new about the computer that just might hold the key to getting back his son.

Clues and speculation

* The black horse is yet another case of mysterious animal events/appearances on the show. We had the polar bear of course, the bird in Walt's flashback, Vincent the dog having something to do with the ghostly appearances of Walt...

* "Lost" island is plum-full of murderers: Sawyer, Kate, Ana-Lucia have all very deliberately killed people. Is this a reason they're on the island, or just part of the overall apparent theme of redemption?

* Are dead people able to manifest on the island, or are the crash survivors hallucinating things? Jack sees his dad several times, Kate's father seems to be manifesting himself through Sawyer.

* Lot's of father issues on this show: Jack, Locke, Kate, Sun... all of em have bad dads.

* Eko and Locke are peas in a pod, both being "men of faith." They believe fate plays a role on what happens on the island.

* It'll be interesting to see the "director's cut" of the training film those two spiced together. Why was the film cut? Seems like somebody was trying to hide or disguise something about the Hatch and/or button.

* Why are there "blast doors" in the Hatch? To keep something in, or out?

* How/why is Walt communicating with the computer? Or is he?

* Is that Sayid on the TV screen in the background of this scene?

* The preview for the next episode features Eko reciting Psalm 23. Of course, 23 is one of the mysterious numbers featuring often on the show.

Other stuff

* There's a new (to me) entry in ABC's official "Lost" diary.

* If you go to ABC's Hanso Foundation site and click on the pic of Hanso some interesting stuff happens.

* See screen captures from the episode.

* See screen captures from the preview for the next episode.

* See the preview for the next episode.

See the Best Lost Sites on the Web.