Friday, January 23, 2009

Pop links: Original Kurtzman art, Secret Policeman's Balls, Krigstein crime comic, chief Dalek dies,

Check out some original art from Harvey Kurtzman's post-Mad mag Humbug. The pieces on display are up for auction. But it that's too rich for your blood, note that Fantagraphics Books has a two-book collection of Humbug's best pieces coming out in March.

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British comedy and rock'n'roll: Two of my twin obsessions in one package. If you're like me, you remember hearing the Secret Policeman's Ball and Secret Policeman's Other Ball albums of the 1980s. The LPs were live recordings from benefit performances put on for Amnesty International and featured performances by all sort of people, such as most of Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, Fry and Laurie, Pete Townshend, Peter Gabriel, Donovan, Lou Reed, Kate Bush, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and others. I have a vague memory of seeing at least some of these performances on video, too.

But, now, I can look forward to seeing the whole works, as Shout Factory is releasing a collection of the performances on DVD. The 3-disk set is out next week and you can see clips from it at Amazon.



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Fortress of Fortitude presents a classic Bernie Krigstein-illustrated crime comic, "Blind Man's Bluff."

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John Scott Martin, the chief Dalek operator on over 100 episodes of "Doctor Who" has died.

He said: "There was no special technique to make them move. You just trampled around and they glided about - a bit like a supermarket trolley.

"They didn't require much strength - but at the beginning they were wooden and they became a bit heavy at the end of the day.

"You were done for if you had to go into the countryside in a field or woods because they were difficult to move in uneven terrain.

"I would frequently topple over and I would be left screaming, 'Get me out of this thing!' The only thing you could do was put down hardboard sheets so you could glide over the top.

"The Daleks were a great success. They were the first real robotic bad guys and the first screen monsters where you didn't realise there was a person inside."


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R.I.P. Fathead: David "Fathead" Newman, the sax/flutist famous for his solos on many a Ray Charles track, has died. Beyond R&B, he was a great jazz player and I saw him perform in that context twice. An awesome, soulful musician. He'll be missed.

Here he takes a solo with Ray, back in 1963.

Official details on upcoming Doctor Who specials

Turns out former "Bionic Woman" won't be the new long-term companion on "Doctor Who," as was reported earlier in the week (although, who know, things may change), but she will be appearing in an upcoming DW special.

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From the BBC:

The BBC has confirmed that Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans will guest star in the forthcoming BBC One Doctor Who Easter special which began filming this week in Wales.

Michelle, best known for her roles as Zoe Slater in EastEnders, and Jaime Sommers in the recent remake of Bionic Woman, will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza in the special episode entitled Planet Of the Dead. Christina joins the Doctor on a bus trip which takes an unexpected detour into danger.

Michelle comments: "I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team. It is such a fantastic show and I can’t wait to get started!"

One of Britain’s best loved and biggest comedy stars, Lee Evans, will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor's under extraordinary circumstances.

Planet Of The Dead is the first of four Doctor Who specials which will air in 2009.

Michelle joins David Tennant, as he continues his role as The Doctor, and Noma Dumezweni who returns as Captain Erisa Magambo – last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in Turn Left.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pop links: Oscar nominations, Wire deal alert, Sam Cooke video, Lost recap

See the full list of 2009 Academy Award nominees. The Oscar broadcast is set for Feb. 22 on ABC.

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Deal alert: Today only get "The Wire" complete series DVD set for $81.99 at Amazon, regularly $249.99.



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Happy birthday Sam Cooke:



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Lost fans: get your full recap of last night's ep, and more, here!

Upcoming pop culture DVDs: Fleischer Superman, Disney live-action, Get Smart, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Return of UNCLE, more

Here's cover art and details for some upcoming DVDs of possible interest to pop culture fans. Click the title links to pre-order discounted DVDs from Amazon:

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 4, Vol. 1
Three DVDs, out March 31

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Get Smart: Season 2
Four DVDs, out March 10

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The Return of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
One DVD, out March 3

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Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition
Two DVDs, out March 10

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Escape to Witch Mountain
One DVD, out March 10

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Return from Witch Mountain
One DVD, out March 10

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
One DVD, out March 10

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Max Fleischer's Superman: 1941-1942
Two DVDs, out April 7
This is a Warner Home Video release of these gray-area-copyright 'toons, so I imagine the quality will be quite good. Along with the classic cartoons (the best depiction of the Man of Steel on any type of screen, in my opinion), there'll be a couple of behind-the-scenes/making-of featurettes.

Here's the track list:
1. Superman (Mad Scientist) - Sept 26 1941
2. The Mechanical Monsters - Nov 28 1941
3. Billion Dollar Limited - January 9, 1942
4. Arctic Giant - February 27, 1942
5. The Bulleteers - March 27, 1942
6. The Magnetic Telescope - April 24, 1942
7. Electric Earthquake - May 15, 1942
8. Volcano - July 10, 1942
9. Terror on the Midway - August 28, 1942
10. The Japoteurs - Sept 18, 1942
11. Showdown - Oct 16, 1942
12. The Eleventh Hour - Nov 20, 1942
13. Destruction , Inc. - Dec 25, 1943
14. The Mummy Strikes - Feb 19, 1943
15. Jungle Drums - March 25, 1943
16. Underground World - June 18, 1943
17. Secret Agent - July 30, 1943

Bonus Features:
The Man, The Myth, Superman Featurette
First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series Featurette

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New X-Men Origins: Wolverine cast photo

Here 'tis:

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Pop links: Lost in Space actor dies, Arrested Development movie "hypothetical," casting underway for Whedon horror flick, Macca and Cat Stevens

The New York Times has an obituary for Bob May, the actor who portrayed the robot on "Lost in Space."

A veteran actor and stuntman who had appeared in movies and television shows and on the vaudeville stage, Mr. May was chosen by Irwin Allen, creator of “Lost in Space,” to play the Robinson family’s loyal metal sidekick in the series, a space-age retelling of “The Swiss Family Robinson,” which made its debut in 1965.

“He always said he got the job because he fit in the robot suit,” said the actress June Lockhart, who played the marooned family’s matriarch, Maureen Robinson.


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So is the much-talked-about "Arrested Development" movie just so much vapor? Actor Michael Cera, who played George Michael Bluth on the funniest TV show ever, says so.

Speaking to MTV, he said: "There's no script or anything, so the movie, I think, is more hypothetical than people think."

"People have asked me about it more than I've heard about it [in an official capacity] but I'd be very interested to see what the story is with it."


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Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) have joined the cast of "The Cabin in the Woods," a Joss Whedon-scripted horror flick.

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Paul McCartney will guest on a new album by the former Cat Stevens, Yusef Islam, Billboard reports.

The as-yet-untitled set is due in late spring from Universal.

"This one was really a result of me writing a lot of songs and being kind of inspired again," Yusuf tells Billboard. "After I recorded ['Cup'] people just wanted to hear me do a lot of simple stuff, just with the guitar."

The single "Boots & Sand" features Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton -- with a video shot by Jesse Dylan, son of Bob -- while Michelle Branch and Gunnar Nelson assist on the track "To Be What You Must."

Lost season 5 debuts tonight!

At 9 p.m. ET, to be exact. But tune in an hour early for a last-season recap program called "Lost: Destiny Calls." And if you need more reminding of just what the heck is going on, visit our spin-off Lost Season 5 blog.

That's also the place to go tomorrow for a overview/observations post about whatever the heck happens on the show tonight!

In fact, it's the place to go most days if you're a "Lost" fan, as we've been posting lots of pics and details about the new season there and will continue doing so until the season winds up!

Remember:
Lost Season 5
Debut Tonight!
JANUARY 21
(9:00-11:00 p.m., ET)
on ABC.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New comics Jan. 21, 2009: Buffy Omnibus, Byrne FF Vol. 0, Spidey/Obama reprint, Strange Deaths of Batman

Here's what looks good/interesting to me this week. Click title links to order discounted books from Amazon.

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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER OMNIBUS TP VOL 06 Dark Horse continues collecting the original Buffy comics series.

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BATMAN THE STRANGE DEATHS OF BATMAN As a tie-in to his most recent "death," I suppose, a collection of previous "Batman kicks the bucket" tales.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583 OBAMA 2ND PTG For those of us who missed the Spidey/Obama cover last week.

FANTASTIC FOUR VISIONARIES JOHN BYRNE TP VOL 0 collecting some issues that slipped through the cracks in Marvel's reprints of Byrne's great FF run.

Marvel Comics April 2009 solicitations

Marvel has announced its releases for April 2009. Here's what look interesting to me.

SUB-MARINER COMICS #1 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

Written by ROY THOMAS
Pencils and Cover by MITCH BREITWEISER
Variant Cover by MARCOS MARTIN
Sketch Variant Cover by MITCH BREITWEISER
The second of a series of celebratory specials commemorating Marvel’s 70th Anniversary and its rich history and characters! It’s the year 1940, and thanks to policewoman Betty Dean, the young Namor the Sub-Mariner has momentarily halted his jihad against the surface world. But now, an envoy from the Axis powers attempts to sway the undersea prince to the Nazi cause! Can the less worldly Sub-Mariner be tempted? Plus, a second never-before-seen Namor story by Mark Schultz and Al Williamson, and a reprint of Namor’s first appearance from 1939!
48 PGS./One-Shot/All-New & Reprints/Rated A …$3.99

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CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Penciled by MARCOS MARTIN
Cover and Variant Cover by MARCOS MARTIN
Sketch Variant Cover by MARCOS MARTIN
Leading off a series of celebratory specials commemorating Marvel’s 70th Anniversary, James (STARMAN, SUPERMAN) Robinson and Marcos (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) Martin bring you an untold story of the living legend. In the days before he becomes Captain America, a scrawny kid from Brooklyn named Steve Rogers shows the world that you don’t need a super-soldier serum to be a hero. Plus a classic Captain America tale from the Golden Age by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
48 PGS./One-Shot/All-New & Reprints/Rated A…$3.99

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MARVEL 70TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Written by JOHN RHETT THOMAS
50/50 Covers by ALAN DAVIS
Seventy years of Marvel history calls for a SPOTLIGHT super-spectacular! We're pulling out all the stops with this giant-size extravaganza befitting the milestone of seven decades of comic-book classics. This triple-sized issue revisits Marvel's most memorable moments - and plenty you may have missed - along with as many of its greatest creators as we can cram into 100-plus pages of coverage! We'll also include several classic reprints that will look better than ever, along with the inside scoop on how Marvel restores its comics in Masterworks and Omnibus volumes! This is a commemorative issue you'll not only want for your own reading library, but one you'll want to share with anyone who is ready to stand up and say, "Make Mine Marvel!"
104 PGS./ Rated T+…$9.99
FOC - 2/26, On-Sale - 4/29, Order using code: JAN092442

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PRIDE & PREJUDICE #1 (of 5)
Written by NANCY BUTLER
Penciled by HUGO PETRUS
Cover by SONNY LIEW
IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...
Tailored from the adored Jane Austen classic, Marvel Comics is proud to present PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! Two-time Rita Award-Winner Nancy Butler and fan-favorite Hugo Petras faithfully adapt the whimsical tale of Lizzy Bennet and her loveable-if-eccentric family, as they navigate through tricky British social circles. Will Lizzy’s father manage to marry off her five daughters, despite his wife’s incessant nagging? And will Lizzy’s beautiful sister Jane marry the handsome, wealthy Mr. Bingley, or will his brooding friend Mr. Darcy stand between their happiness? "This project has been like a dream come true for me as a writer and as a former graphic designer—not only am I adapting a book I love, I am doing it in the one forum, comics, where words and pictures carry equal weight." Nancy Butler, two-time RITA winner and multiple RT Reviewer's Choice winner in Regency
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

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OFFICIAL INDEX TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #4
Written by AL SJOERDSMA, CHRIS BUCHNER, RONALD
BYRD, MICHAEL HOSKIN, ERIC MOREELS, BOB SODARO, JEPH YORK & STUART VANDAL
Continuing the chronicle of the Marvel Universe, starting with Spider-Man (from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #170 on), Iron Man (from IRON MAN #70 on) and the X-Men (from UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #7 on). 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!
64 PGS./Rated A ...$3.99

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MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE YOUNG ALLIES VOL. 1 HC
Written by STAN LEE, OTTO BINDER & VARIOUS
Penciled by AL GABRIELE, JACK KIRBY, CHARLES NICHOLASWOTJKOSWKI, JACK ALDERMAN & VARIOUS
Cover by JACK KIRBY The Young Allies, comics’ very first boy-adventure team, leap into four-color action once more with their debut MARVEL MASTERWORKS volume! Super-hero sidekicks unite when Captain America’s pal, Bucky and his Sentinels of Liberty team up with the Human Torch’s protégé, Toro, and take on the Axis! And they won’t waste a second getting down to business. Right from issue #1 they take the fight straight to Berlin and, rest assured, the Red Skull, and even Hitler himself, won’t be walking out of this one without a bloody nose. Next up, the Black Talon returns from the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS to terrorize the Young Allies, or maybe that should be the other way around? There are 5th Columnists, Nazis, Imperial generals, spies, and action galore in each of these Timely classics.
The Golden Age of Comics packed in cover-to-cover adventure, but there are few that can compare to the massive, 60-pages plus, issue-length adventures of the Young Allies! Collecting YOUNG ALLIES #1-4
288 PGS/All Ages ...$59.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-2876-2

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MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AVENGERS VOL. 1 TPB
Written by STAN LEE
Penciled by JACK KIRBY & DON HECK
Cover by JACK KIRBY & DEAN WHITE
Pick up the adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes from day one with the MARVEL MASTERWORKS! Comicdom’s greatest assemblage of super heroes burst onto the scene in 1963 as Marvel Comics revolutionized the comic-adventure art form. Gathering together to face the evil Loki, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp and the Mighty Thor formed the improbable core of the ever-changing super-team. But it was three issues later when, from the ice of the northern Atlantic, Captain America returned from the frozen depths that the Avengers truly took form. Illustrated by Jack Kirby and Don Heck, and written by Stan “The Man” Lee, you’ll find the first appearances of Kang the Conqueror,
Wonder Man, the Space Phantom and Baron Zemo, the debut of the Masters of Evil and the Hulk’s departure from the team and "subsequent team-up
with the Sub-Mariner to take down his former comrades. They’re Marvel Masterworks one and all! Collecting THE AVENGERS #1-10
248 PGS/All Ages ...$24.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3706-1

DVD and music new releases for Jan. 20, 2009

Here's what looks interesting this week. Click title links to order discounted items from Amazon. Proceeds help support this site!

DVDs:

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Repo! The Genetic Opera

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Emergency!: Season Five

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The Rockford Files: Season Six

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My Three Sons - Season One, Vol. 2

Music

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The Crying Light by Antony and the Johnsons

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The Mountain by Steve Earle and The Del McCoury Band

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The Crawling Distance by Robert Pollard

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Drop by Soft Machine

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Whipped Cream & Other Delights (Picture Disc) by Herb Alpert (vinyl)

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The Impulse! Albums, Vol. 3 by John Coltrane

See more recent new releases

Bionic Woman Ryan the next Doctor Who companion?

Word is that British actress Michelle Ryan--who, very briefly, starred as the new "Bionic Woman" on U.S. television--is the new companion on "Doctor Who."

Michelle, 24, will star with previously little-known actor Matt Smith, 26, who was announced as the 11th and youngest Time Lord earlier this month.

A source on the show said: "Michelle's been in secret talks with BBC bosses.


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DC Comics April 2009 solicitations: Warlord returns, Showcase Presents Super Friends, Golden Age Starman Archives, more

DC Comics has released its offerings for next April. Here's what looks interesting to me (click the title links to pre-order discounted items from Amazon):

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THE WARLORD #1
Written by Mike Grell
Art by Joe Prado & Walden Wong
Cover by Mike Grell
At the Roof of the World in Tibet, a team of paleontologists and adventurers has made the find of the century: perfectly preserved dinosaur specimens that appear to have died mere days before! Their expedition takes a deadly turn when they uncover an impossible portal to another world – an unbelievable country at the hollow center of the Earth, the mythical land of Skartaris! But they’re not the first surface-worlders to find themselves stranded in Skartaris, and their arrival in his peaceful home triggers an unforgettable new adventure for the hero who has taken the land as his own: Travis Morgan, the Warlord! This new ongoing series marks the return of creator Mike Grell to the fantasy saga that made him famous! Reunite with Tara, Shakira, Tinder and the rest of the cast in a story that continues the adventures of the Warlord but opens up a new era where any reader can jump aboard.
Along with Grell’s scripts – and lushly painted covers – comes the art of rising star Joe Prado (ACTION COMICS, SINESTRO CORPS SECRET FILES)! DC’s finest fantasy franchise is reborn!
On sale April 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

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BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM #5
Written by Mike Kunkel
Art and cover by Mike Kunkel
Strange things are happening, and Captain Marvel is pretty sure it has something to do with a certain crazy doctor! With the help of two sentient cockroaches, Dr. Sivana has recently escaped from Fawcett City Penitentiary and set out to take over the world. Using the one skill he has – being a mad scientist – Sivana creates a robotic mayhem on the city of Fawcett. But he needs more power, and it would appear that his archenemies Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel might be just what the doctor ordered.
On sale April 29 • 32 pg, FC, $2.50

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SHOWCASE PRESENTS: MARTIAN MANHUNTER VOL. 2 TP
Written by Jack Miller and others
Art and cover by Joe Certa
The 1960s adventures of J’onn J’onzz are collected in this new volume featuring stories from DETECTIVE COMICS #305-326 and HOUSE OF MYSTERY #143-173!
Advance-solicited; on sale May 13 • 592 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

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SHOWCASE PRESENTS: SUPER FRIENDS VOL. 1 TP
Written by E. Nelson Bridwell and Dennis O’Neil
Art by Ric Estrada, Vince Colletta, Ramona Fradon, Bob Smith and Kurt Schaffenberger
Cover by Alex Toth
The superstars of the 1970s animated adventures star in this new, bargain-priced volume collecting SUPER FRIENDS #1-24!
Advance-solicited; on sale May 27 • 448 pg, B&W, $9.99 US

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GOLDEN AGE STARMAN ARCHIVES VOL. 2 HC
Written by Gardner Fox, Alfred Bester, Don Cameron, Joe Samachson and others
Art by Jack Burnley, Mort Meskin, George Roussos, Emil Gershwin, Sam Citron and others
Cover by Jack Burnley
From the Golden Age of Comics comes this second hardcover collecting tales of the original Starman from the pages of ADVENTURE COMCIS #77-102.
Advance-solicited; on sale June 24 • 272 pg, FC, $49.99 US

Inauguration Day music



Goodbye and good riddance Bush/Cheney.