Friday, October 24, 2008

Pop links: Vintage Wrightson, Adams comics

Golden Age Comic Book Stories presents some rare tales from 1969's Web of Horror #1, including artwork by Syd Shores, Berni Wrightson and others.

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Dial B for Blog looks at "Rock God," a story from Creepy #1 with a script by Harlan Ellison and great Neal Adams art.

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Halloween pop! H.P. Lovecraft paperback covers

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opie and Obama

This is great:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Pop links: Dirk Gently on the radio, Hitchcock's ladies, Macca's head located!

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Douglas Adams' "Dirk Gently’s Holistic Agency – The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul."

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The New York Times reviews Donald Spoto's third book about Alfred Hitchcock, "Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies."

Other, better Hitchcock aficionados — most notably François Truffaut in his book-length conversation with his fellow auteur — have already paid considerable attention to the most flagrant kinkiness in the Hitchcock canon. No single performance in any of his films has been more heavily analyzed than Kim Novak’s in “Vertigo.” Still, Mr. Spoto has enjoyed extraordinary access to Hitchcock’s players over a long period of time, and he has assembled a cavalcade of chatty firsthand impressions.

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Geppi's Entertainment Museum, a Baltimore showcase for pop culture artifacts from comic books, movies and cartoons, etc., is in a spot of financial trouble.

The museum, founded by Stephen A. Geppi, CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. in Timonium and publisher of Baltimore Magazine, accrued approximately $622,500 in unpaid rent to the Maryland Stadium Authority as of Oct. 6. The museum also owed more than $77,000 in late fees and unpaid electricity bills that have accumulated since February 2007, according to accounting documents from the authority.

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We can all rest easy now, Paul McCartney's head has been relocated.

The waxwork head of Paul McCartney has been found at Reading train station by a tramp, who has since been rewarded for handing over the bizarre object.

The head belongs to a waxwork of The Beatles star, which was previously on display at the Louis Tussauds Museum in Great Yarmouth, and the owner Joby Carter left it on a train last week.


"Tramp"? Apparently political correctness hasn't quite caught on with the Brits...

Batman: Brave and the Bold postcards

Via Newsarama: here are series or postcard images from the Cartoon Network's press kit for its upcoming Batman cartoon series:

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And here are some wallpaper images from the show's official site:

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The show debuts Nov. 14. And it looks like it'll be fun. Nice to see a lighter take on the Caped Crusader.

Jack Kirby discussion by Mark Evanier

Here's comic book writer/historian Mark Evanier talking about his biography of the great artist Jack Kirby, co-creator of the Fantastic Four, Hulk and many more.

First "Lost" sesion 5 promo!

Hey, lookie here! "Lost" finally returns in January and here's our first peek at what we'll see:

Halloween pop! Village of the Damned paperback cover

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

See Hulk vs. Thor animated trailer

Marvel has posted a trailer for it's upcoming, direct-to-DVD "Hulk Vs." movie, which features the green goliath squaring off against various folks, such as, in this clip, Thor.

The movie is out in January.

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Pop links: Who has the head of Paul McCartney?, More and more Paul, Doctor Strange movie, plus Carol Burnett and Boris Karloff

Paul McCartney's head has gone on a magical mystery tour, NPR reports.

A wax head of singer Paul McCartney is on the loose. The mop-topped likeness came from a wax museum at a seaside resort in England. A London auctioneer had taken it — in a cardboard box — to be appraised. And then left the box under a train seat somewhere between London and Reading.

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Speaking of Paul, this DVD, out Nov. 25, sounds like it might be half-decent:

Composing the Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1966 / 1970. The DVD is an independent documentary film that reviews the partnership, music and impact of Lennon and McCartney as composers during this hugely creative period.

From the first bars of Eleanor Rigby to the closing Abbey Road song-cycle, this film shows how they barely put a step wrong in making the most joyous music the world had ever witnessed. Drawing on rare footage, classic performances and penetrating revelations from friends of the pair, Beatles academics and musicologists, we here discover the true story of how those classic songs were written.

With contributions from; friends Barry Miles, Klaus Voorman and Maureen Cleaves; musicians Alan Moore and Chris Ingham; journalists Robert Christgau [Village Voice] and Anthony De Curtis [Rolling Stone]; authors Johnny Rogan, Pete Doggett, Steve Turner, and Nigel Williamson and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini.


Evidently, the disk is a companion to previous DVD that concentrates on Lennon and McCartney's earlier music.

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Still speaking of Paul: Here's a preview of his new "Fireman" album.

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A Doctor Strange movie is evidently in the works.

it looks like the moustachioed Master of the Mystic Arts might be getting his own movie after all. At least, that’s if Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has his way.

“Dr. Strange? This is one of the best characters we have. [He represents] this amazing cosmic universe to Marvel that we haven’t played with in films yet and I think could be amazing to play with,” Feige told MTV. “I love the idea of tapping into the magical realm of the Marvel Universe, which is fairly significant and hasn’t yet seen life on screen.”


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Video: Carol Burnett meets in Boris Karloff on "The Entertainers" TV show from 1964.

Early Zappa albums coming out "expanded"

My favorite Frank Zappa albums have always beenhis earliest. They're musically adventurous and funny, but not overtly gross or deliberately silly like a lot of the stuff that came later. Of the later material, I really like his instrumental works. The silly/scatological "rock" tunes? Not so much.

So it's cool to hear of these new reissues focusing on my favorite, early period of his work. First up is a package focusing on the Lumpy Gravy and We're Only in it for the Money albums, to be titled Lumpy Money. Here's the skinny:

The "Lumpy Money" package will feature two separate mixes of each album, done by Frank himself. It will include feature the first official release of the instrumental, Igor Stravinsky-influenced orchestral "ballet" version of "Lumpy Gravy" that Zappa recorded in 1967 for Capitol Records but decided to revamp, adding rock musicians and eventually releasing it on MGM/Verve four months after "We're Only in it For the Money" in 1968. Gail Zappa says a "sister" project will be released shortly after "Lumpy Money" that will contain more music from those sessions.

Other releases in the series will be treated "more as individual albums," drawing material from the Sequin Mines vault underneath the Zappa family home. A new version of "Cruising with Ruben and the Jets," Frank Zappa's third 1968 release, is also being prepared, while the Zappa Family Trust is working on other projects such as a vintage live album from the Roxy in Los Angeles and a set of Zappa's renditions of the compositions French composer Edgar Varese.

Halloween pop! Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde paperback cover

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New comics Oct. 22, 2008: More Showcase Presents World's Finest

Here are my recommendations of new items in comic book shops today:

SHOWCASE PRESENTS WORLDS FINEST Vol. 2

SPIRIT FEMME FATALES (I won't get this, being a collector of the hardcover Spirit Archives books, but it's good stuff.)

ELEKTRA BY FRANK MILLER OMNIBUS (This is from back when Frank Miller didn't drive me nuts).

TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS Vol. 1 (Great stuff once this title hits its stride a half dozen or so issues in. Lovely Gene Colan art.)

THOR TRUTH OF HISTORY #1 (The first issue of an Adam Davis-written/illustrated mini.)

Upcoming Marvel Comics releases: Marvel index, Human Torch Masterworks,

A couple of interesting items from Marvel's January 2009 solicitations:

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OFFICIAL INDEX TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1
Written by VARIOUS
Follow the history of the Marvel Universe as it unfolds month by month with the All-New Official Index to the Marvel Universe. Each issue provides synopses for dozens of individual comics, including back-up strips, introducing you to the characters, teams, places and equipment that appeared within, providing vital information about first appearances, where they last showed up and where they appeared next! Join us as we chronicle the Marvel Universe, starting with Spider-Man (from Amazing Fantasy #15 on), Iron Man (from Tales of Suspense #39 on) and the X-Men (from 1963's X-Men #1 on).
64 PGS./Rated A ...$3.99

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MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE HUMAN TORCH VOL. 2 HC
Written by STAN LEE & LARRY IVIE
Penciled by DICK AYERS, BOB POWELL, CARL BURGOS & JACK KIRBY
Cover by JACK KIRBY
Hot dog! It's a treat, the swingin' '60s solo adventures of the Human Torch come to cacophonous conclusion in this much-demanded Masterworks milestone! Written by the one-and-only sultan of the Silver Age, Stan Lee, and illustrated by the Bullen's professor of penciling, Darlin' Dick Ayers, these tales of the Torch (and his odd-couple partner, the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing) are bona fide and certified cover-to-cover fun! Join in as the Torch tests his mettle against the Wizard, the riotous Rabble Rouser and Plantman. Then, place your bets in the battle of fire and ice between Johnny Storm and the X-Men's Iceman, illustrated by Jack Kirby! After that we waste no time because it's team-up time. The Thing joins the show and wastes no time getting down to clobberin' time vs. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Paste-Pot Pete, the Beetle (not those Beatles, they come later), the Mad Thinker and the Puppet Master. And before we close it all down comes...the Watcher! Guest-staring the Amazing Spider-Man, the X-Men, four guys named John, Paul, George and Ringo, and if that doesn't sell you on it, then I've got five words that will: "Thing in a Beatle wig." That's it! We stuck a fork in ya. So reserve that copy today, True Believer! Collecting STRANGE TALES #118-134
256 PGS./All Ages ...$54.99

Pop links: Worthless Beatles iPod, RKO horror film remakes, new Spirit trailer

Plans are afoot to remake four classic RKO horror films from the 1940s, Variety reports.

The remake properties are the Jacques Tourneur-directed “I Walked With a Zombie” (1943); the Robert Wise-directed Bela Lugosi-Boris Karloff starrer “The Body Snatcher” (1945); the Mark Robson-directed Karloff starrer “Bedlam” (1946); and the John Farrow-directed Lucille Ball-John Carradine starrer “Five Came Back” (1939).

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Here's a new trailer for "The Spirit."

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This is stupid: Bloomingales is selling a Beatles iPod. But don't get all excited that this means the Fabs' songs are available on iTunes. They aren't. Yet. No--with this deal you get an iPod etched with the band's logo on one side and the cover shot from Abbey Road on another. An empty iPod. But it comes in a box filled with all the Beatles albums on CD. So you can load up the songs yourself. But the CDs are the same ones that have been around for 20 years and the same ones you most likely already own if you would go out buy yourself a Beatles iPod.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Especially when, as Mojo mag revealed in its October issue, all the Beatles albums will be out in remastered form on sometime next year. The sound is supposedly zillions times better than the current batch of CDs. And, odds are, it's these remasters that eventually be available via iTunes, as well.

But, if you have nearly $800 (yes, seriously) to spend on a bunch of outdated CDs and an empty iPod, here's yer link.

New releases: DVDs and CDs Oct. 21, 2008 - Blu Ray Bond, Complete Man from UNCLE,

Here's what looks good to me CD and DVD-wise this week:

DVDs:

The Incredible Hulk (Three-Disc Special Edition)


Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Vol. 6

James Bond Blu-ray Collection Six-Pack (Dr. No / Die Another Day / Live and Let Die / For Your Eyes Only / From Russia with Love / Thunderball) (Amazon.com Exclusive) [Blu-ray]

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series

The Incredible Hulk - The Complete Fifth Season

Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4 (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse / Invisible Stripes / Kid Galahad / Larceny, Inc. / The Little Giant / Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film)

The Mothership Connection Live 1976 ~ Parliament Funkadelic

CDs

No Pussyfooting Brian Eno and Robert Fripp

Acoustic Vagabonds by Gary Louris

Halloween pop! The Terror paperback cover

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Monday, October 20, 2008

DC to collect Kirby's "The Losers," plus new Aquaman, Superman "Showcase Presents" volumes, and more

Here are my picks from DC Comics' solicitations for January 2009:

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THE LOSERS BY JACK KIRBY HC

Written by Jack Kirby
Art by Jack Kirby, D. Bruce Berry & Mike Royer
Cover by Jack Kirby & Mike Royer
For the first time, Jack Kirby’s tales of World War II are collected! In 1974, while Jack Kirby was hard at work on such mind-bending epics as MISTER MIRACLE and KAMANDI, he also created a series of stories that drew on his own experiences in World War II. Starring DC war heroes Johnny Cloud, Captain Storm, Gunner and Sarge, this volume features stories in which The Losers stop a German attack using a tactic found in a comic book, German and American athletes who faced each other at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin meet again on the field of combat, and much more! Don’t miss this amazing collection of tales from OUR FIGHTING FORCES #151-162, and featuring a foreword by best-selling author Neil Gaiman (THE SANDMAN).
Advance-solicited; on sale March 11.

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SHOWCASE PRESENTS: AQUAMAN VOL. 3 TP

Written by Bob Haney and Leo Dorfman
Art by Nick Cardy, Sal Trapani and Pete Costanza
Cover by Nick Cardy
In this new SHOWCASE PRESENTS volume, Aquaman defends his undersea home from villains including Ocean Master, Black Manta and the Scavenger. Collects AQUAMAN #24-39, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #73 and a story from SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #115.
Advance-solicited; on sale February 11.

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SHOWCASE PRESENTS: SUPERMAN FAMILY VOL. 3 TP

Written by Otto Binder, Robert Bernstein and others
Art by Curt Swan, Stan Kaye, Ray Burnley, Kurt Schaffenberger, Wayne Boring, Dick Sprang, John Forte, Creig Flessel and Al Plastino
Cover by Curt Swan & Stan Kaye
It’s a revolving door of strange identities in this new volume collecting SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #35- 44 and SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE #8-16.
Advance-solicited; on sale February 25.

SUPERMAN CHRONICLES VOL. 6 TP
Written by Jerry Siegel
Art by Leo Nowak, Paul Cassidy, Wayne Boring and Ed DobrotkaCover by Fred Ray
The reprinting of Superman’s adventures in chronological order continues with this volume collecting SUPERMAN #10-11 and stories from ACTION COMICS #37-40 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #2-3. Don’t miss Superman’s Golden Age battles with the Unknown X, Lex Luthor and more!
Advance-solicited; on sale February 18.

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THE SPIRIT SPECIAL #1
Written by Will Eisner
Art and cover by Will Eisner
With Frank Miller’s highly anticipated movie adaptation of The Spirit coming in December, DC Comics presents THE SPIRIT SPECIAL, the perfect introduction to Will Eisner’s greatest creation! This low-priced special includes four classic stories: 1947’s “Sign of the Octopus,” 1949’s “Black Alley,” and “Sand Saref” and “Bring in Sand Saref,” both from 1950.
On sale January 7.

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TOR: A PREHISTORIC ODYSSEY HC

Written by Joe Kubert
Art and cover by Joe Kubert
Legendary writer/artist Joe Kubert returns to the gritty, primal world of Tor in this hardcover featuring the new six-issue miniseries adventure! Don’t miss Tor’s struggle for survival and his quest deep into a mysterious mountain where he will encounter strange tribes, primitive animals, destructive monsters and death at every turn.
Advance-solicited; on sale March 18.

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TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS VOL. 1 TP

Written by Mike W. Barr, Len Wein, Paul Kupperberg, Robin Snyder, Kurt Busiek and Todd KleinCover by Brian Bolland
Art by Joe Staton, Dave Gibbons, Carmine Infantino, and others
A key piece of Green Lantern Corps history is collected for the first time in this new trade paperback presenting the 3-issue TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS miniseries from 1981! Also included are backup Corps stories from GREEN LANTERN #148, 151-154, 161, 162 and 164-167.
Advance-solicited; on sale February 25.

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DIANA PRINCE: WONDER WOMAN VOL. 4 TP

Written by Dennis O’Neil, Samuel L. Delany, Bob Haney and Robert KanigherCover by Dick Giordano
Art by Don Heck, Dick Giordano and Jim Aparo
Diana teams up with detectives Johnny Double and Batman in in this final volume of Wonder Woman’s plainclothes adventures from the early 1970s. Collecting WONDER WOMAN #199-204 and THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #105
Advance-solicited; on sale February 18.

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BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1
Written by Matt Wayne
Art by Andy Suriano & Dan Davis
Cover by James Tucker
Jumping out of your TV and into your comics comes the highly anticipated new cartoon BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD! Each month, The Dark Knight Detective faces challenges that only he can solve — with a little help from his DC Universe pals! Thrill as Batman visits new places and old friends. Chill as he chases down the most powerful villains in the DCU, armed with only his Bat-gadgets and his wits!
In this awesome first issue, show writer Matt Wayne (Justice League, Ben 10: Alien Force) joins forces with Andy Suriano and Dan Davis to bring you "The Panic of the Composite Creature," a tale of terror and adventure! All this action plus Batman's secret files await you each and every month. So hang on to your seats, and get ready for the read of your life!
On sale January 28.

Best Sunshine Pop Sites on the Web

Sunshine Pop: Do You Believe in Magic
Tracing the history of the happy, harmonic sounds of 1960s West Coast pop by the likes of the Association, Millenium, Sagittarius, Curt Boettcher and more. There's a nice, short overview of the Sunshine scene here too.

Millennium & Sagittarius: The Untold Story of the Pioneers of Sunshine Pop
A nice overview of these to great lost groups. Pop fans, particularly those of "Pet Sounds" era Beach Boys will love the glorious melodies and harmonies. More here.

The Yellow Balloon
Tracing the history of the one-album studio band co-led by "My Three Sons" star Don Grady and L.A. super producer Gary Zekley.

The Free Design
A discographical and biographical overiew of the New York 60s soft pop band.

Spectropop's Curt Boettcher Page
Biographical and discographical information on the legendary producer who pioneered 60s harmony pop with the Association, Millennium, Ballroom and Sagittarius.

Sandy Salisbury's Music
The home page of the Saggitarius, Millennium/Ballroom and solo singer. Info about his various recordings and what he's up to now (writing juvenille fiction, mostly, and winnings lots of awards for it).

The Surf and Hot Rod Sounds of Gary Usher
Information about the L.A. producer and Brian Wilson collaborator who pioneered surf'n'drag and the Sunshine sound. Includes a nice discography and info on CDs featuring his work.

Spectropop: Spector, Brill, Gold Star and Girl Groups
A great site dedicated to the glories of U.S. 60s pop, including all mentioned in the subtitle, plus Sunshine Pop, Garage, surf'n'drag and more. Includes a mailing list.

A Sunshine Pop Discography

The Association
And Then Along Comes Mary
Birthday
Just the Right Sound

Curt Boettcher
Misty Mirage
There's an Innocent Face

The Free Design
The Very Best Of Free Design
Cosmic Peecaboo
Heaven / Earth (Ltd Ed)
Kites Are Fun
One By One
Sing For Very Important People (Ltd Ed)
Stars / Time / Bubbles / Love
You Could Have Been Born Again (Ltd Ed)

Harper's Bizarre
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Anything Goes
Feelin' Groovy
Secret Life of...

The Millennium
Magic Time- The Millennium-Ballroom Sessions
Again
Hourglass
Second Millennium

Sagittarius
Present Tense
Blue Marble

Sandy Salisbury
Sandy
Falling to Pieces

Wendy and Bonnie
Genesis

The Yellow Balloon
The Yellow Balloon

Best Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds Sites on the Web

The Thunderbirds
A fan resource to the adventures of those space-faring marionettes. Includes an episode guide and info about Thunderbirds DVDs and other merchandise, along with links to info about other Gerry Anderson productions, such as "Space 1999."

Thunderbirds Are Go!
Another informative fan site.

Best X-Men Sites on the Web

UncannyXmen.Net
A huge fan site dedicated to everything X-men related: comics, movies, cartoons, games, etc.

DRG4’s X-men: the Animated Series Page
A thorough fan site dedicated to the mutants’ animated adventures.

X-men Hype!
A great site for news about X-men movies. Visit here to check out the latest rumors and news on toy tie-ins and much more.

Best Teen Titans Sites on the Web

The New Teen Titans
The versions of the Teen Titans characters now popular in comics and on TV were originally conceived by comics writer Marv Wolfman. On this page from his personal site, Wolfman talks about the development of the popular 1980s comic book series and presents a picture gallery of Teen Titans toys from the 1970s up to today.

Cartoon Network: Teen Titans
The official site for the popular animated series. Features schedules of upcoming broadcasts, games, character bios and episode guides.

Big Cartoon Database: Teen Titans Episode Guide
Detailed episode descriptions for shows in the animated series. Entries include info on the original airdate, voice cast and production info and synopsis.

World's Finest: Teen Titans
From Toon Zone: more episode guides, bios, plus a guide to the show's comic book spinoff "Teen Titans Go!"

Disappointing reviews of DC's Spirit Archives Vol. 25

Undoubtedly I'll eventually buy this book to complete my collection of Spirit Archives, but it's disappointing to hear these early reports about DC's latest volume:

Heads up to anyone considering buying this volume - DON'T!!! DC has put 4 daily strips per page, making the material so small that the book is virtually worthless. I'm surprised that DC didn't put 12 strips to a page and make it an 80 page volume for 60 bucks! You would think with the price jump of $10 and the money they saved on color printing that maybe DC could have included a magnifying glass with every purchase.

Ideally, DC would go back to press and do the job right, offering to exchange older copies with those who purchased them.

Halloween pop! Psycho paperback cover

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Hear Doctor Who radio shows on the Beeb

BBC 7 has begun airing some new Doctor Who radio dramas featuring the seventh doc, voiced by Paul McGann. You can listen to two eps of of the story "Dead London" here. The next story, "Max Warp," should be available in the same spot eventually.

Details on Batman: Brave and the Bold 'toon

The Cartoon Network has released some episode details on its new Batman animated series, which debuts next month:

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (TV-Y-7)
Premieres Friday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. (ET, PT)
Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation present the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise, premiering Friday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The Caped Crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universe, delivering nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief. Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others will get a chance to uphold justice alongside Batman. Though still based in Gotham City, Batman will frequently find himself outside city limits, facing situations that are both unfamiliar and exhilarating. With formidable foes around every corner, Batman will still rely on his stealth, resourcefulness and limitless supply of cool gadgets to bring justice home.

Friday, Nov. 14: "Rise of the Blue Beetle!" - Batman and Blue Beetle team up to save an alien race from Kanjar Ro.

Friday, Nov. 21: "Terror on Dinosaur Island!" - Batman and Plastic Man thwart Gorilla Grodd's plot to devolve humans into primates.

Friday, Nov. 28 :"Evil Under the Sea!" - Batman aids Aquaman as Ocean Master and Black Manta team up to assassinate him.

Pop links

See a 1964 pilot for a live-action "Archie" TV show.

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The City of Liverpool has named a train after one of its native sons, the late, great BBC disk jockey John Peel.