Thursday, January 07, 2010

We likes you, Al Jardine...

We even likes you, Al Jarreau. Hilarious:

I've gotta read this Jack Kirby story


Trailer for upcoming Ian Dury biopic

Andy Serkis, who played Golum in the Lord of the Rings films, stars as the late, great, absolutely brilliant British singer/poet Ian Dury. Check it out:

Pop links: Lindsay Lohan in India, comics legends speak, Micronauts!

This is a real TV series, on the way from the BBC:
 Lindsay Lohan travels across India to meet the people involved in child trafficking in Lindsay Lohan In India (working title). From poverty-stricken parents sending their children away to work, to traffickers trying to make a quick buck, Lindsay questions if there is any solution to this abominable trade.
Weird.

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From Big Glee: Hear speeches from Stan Lee, Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby, Ray Bradbury, Chuck Norris(!) and others at the 1975 San Diego Comic Con.

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Comics writer/historian Mark Evanier has a pretty cool photo album.

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From Jon's Random Acts of Geekery: A collection of Micronauts figures. I was into Micronauts at the tail-end of my toy-buying years and loved the Marvel Comics series based on the line. Don't know if they hold up, but at the time I loved the Bill Mantlo scripts and, especially, Micheal Golden art.

Scott McCloud posts breakdowns for his next book

The pictures are too tiny to really see, but cartoonist Scott McCloud is sharing a sneak peek from his upcoming graphic novel.
Just for fun, here’s a distant screenshot of all 466 pages of my rough draft layouts for my upcoming graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). This is as close as I can bring you right now, but as work goes on in the coming months, I promise to show some actual art.
McCloud's works on the theories and techniques behind comic art come highly recommended by me. I'm not an artist myself, but his books have helped me better appreciate the comics works I like to read.

Dollhouse props/costumes go on auction

With the show canceled, props and costumes are now turning up on eBay. As I've mentioned here before, I just couldn't get into this series. Creator Joss Whedon's mixed (and plain mixed-up) messages on gender, exploitation, etc., were disturbing to me.

Still, I'm a Whedon fan and am interested to see what he comes up with next.

Paperback cover parade: Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sherlock Holmes examined: in print and on screen

The New York Times looks at the many portrayals of Sherlock Holmes in print and on screen.
Holmes’s vagueness and incompleteness on the page are what make him so irresistible as a pop figure, on whom we can project our own interpretation. A lot of what we know, or think we know, about him — the deerstalker hat, the cloaks, the catchphrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” — comes not from the texts at all but from subsequent imaginings of him, the movies especially.

Cool new Doctor Who images shows shift from Tennant to Smith

David Tennant was one of my favorite Doctor Who actors ever--right up there with Jon Pertwee (my fave) and Tom Baker (who probably ties with Tennant, in my estimation). So this Matt Smith fella has some big shoes to fill. The revived series has a great track record for quality, though, so I'm not terribly worried.




New comics Jan. 6, 2010

Complete list of items shipping Jan. 6:

DARK HORSE COMICS

NOV090044 BPRD KING OF FEAR #1 (OF 5) $2.99
OCT090016 CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #17 $2.99
JAN090090 GIGANTIC #5 (OF 5) $3.50
NOV090026 MASS EFFECT REDEMPTION #1 (OF 4) $3.50
NOV090067 STAR WARS CLONE WARS #12 HERO CONFEDERACY PT 3 $2.99

DC COMICS

NOV090203 AUTHORITY #18 $2.99
NOV090131 BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #40 $2.99
NOV090114 BLACKEST NIGHT WONDER WOMAN #2 (OF 3) $2.99
NOV090200 CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK #45 $2.50
NOV090147 DOOM PATROL #6 $3.99
NOV090149 GREAT TEN #3 (OF 10) $2.99
NOV090151 JONAH HEX #51 $2.99
NOV090156 JSA ALL STARS #2 $3.99
NOV090201 LOONEY TUNES #182 $2.50
OCT090267 MAD ABOUT SUPER HEROES TP VOL 02 $12.99
NOV090157 MIGHTY #12 $2.99
NOV090135 RED ROBIN #8 $2.99
NOV090166 RED TORNADO #5 (OF 6) $2.99
OCT090252 SPIRIT TP VOL 05 $19.99
NOV090123 SUICIDE SQUAD #67 (BLACKEST NIGHT) $2.99
NOV090141 SUPERMAN WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #11 (OF 12) $2.99
SEP090238 TERU TERU X SHONEN VOL 06 $9.99
NOV090167 WARLORD #10 $2.99
NOV090122 WEIRD WESTERN TALES #71 (BLACKEST NIGHT) $2.99
OCT090277 WILDSTORM AFTER THE FALL TP $19.99
OCT090314 WORLD I CREATE VOL 01 $9.99

IMAGE COMICS

NOV090344 DEAD AT 17 SOURCE BOOK $2.99
NOV090383 GOD COMPLEX #2 $2.99
NOV090317 HAUNT #4 $2.99
OCT090424 INVINCIBLE PRESENTS ATOM EVE & REX SPLODE #3 (OF 3) $2.99

MARVEL COMICS

NOV090456 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS JACKPOT #1 (OF 3) $3.99
NOV090509 CABLE #22 $2.99
NOV090565 DAREDEVIL TP BORN AGAIN $19.99
NOV090512 DEADPOOL TEAM-UP #897 $2.99
OCT090602 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN PREM HC VOL 03 MOST WANTED BK 02 $19.99
NOV090538 LIST HC $29.99
NOV090492 MARVEL BOY URANIAN #1 (OF 3) $3.99
NOV090563 MARVEL DIVAS TP $14.99
NOV090504 NATION X X-FACTOR $3.99
NOV090508 NEW MUTANTS #9 XN $2.99
NOV090419 SIEGE #1 (OF 4) $3.99
OCT098172 SIEGE #1 (OF 4) QUESADA SKETCH VAR (PP #897) $3.99
OCT098175 SIEGE CABAL 2ND PTG LARK VAR $3.99
NOV090571 SIEGE COIPEL POSTER $15.99
NOV090418 SIEGE EMBEDDED #1 (OF 4) $3.99
NOV090557 SIEGE PRELUDE TP $24.99
NOV090499 SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE #9 $6.99
NOV090442 SPIDER-MAN NOIR EYES WITHOUT A FACE #2 (OF 4) $3.99
NOV090443 SPIDER-MAN NOIR EYES WITHOUT A FACE #2 (OF 4) CALERO VAR $3.99
OCT090599 TIMELY ANNUALS 70TH ANNIV COLLECTION HC $39.99
NOV090447 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #6 $3.99
JUN090616 X-MEN MUTANT MASSACRE HC $39.99
NOV090444 X-MEN NOIR MARK OF CAIN #2 (OF 4) $3.99
NOV090445 X-MEN NOIR MARK OF CAIN #2 (OF 4) CALERO VAR $3.99
JUL090606 X-MEN VS AVENGERS PREM HC $19.99
JUL090607 X-MEN VS AVENGERS PREM HC DM VAR ED 35 $19.99
JUL090604 X-MEN VS FANTASTIC FOUR PREM HC $19.99
JUL090605 X-MEN VS FANTASTIC FOUR PREM HC DM VAR ED 36 $19.99

WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT

NOV090572 WIZARD MAGAZINE #221 IRON MAN 2 CVR $5.99
NOV090573 WIZARD MAGAZINE #221 MADUREIRA DARKSIDERS CVR $5.99

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COMICS

SEP090678 28 DAYS LATER #5 $3.99
NOV090831 ANGEL HOLE IN THE WORLD #2 $3.99
OCT090699 ARCHIE & FRIENDS TP VOL 02 BETTY'S DIARY $9.95
OCT090700 ARCHIE DIGEST #260 $2.69
NOV090736 ATHENA #4 $3.50
OCT090843 BUCK ROGERS #7 $3.50
NOV090671 DINGO #2 $3.99
OCT090795 DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #349 $2.99
OCT091065 DRONE #2 (OF 4) $3.50
NOV090856 GRIMJACK MANX CAT #6 $3.99
SEP090959 HERCULES KNIVES OF KUSH #5 (OF 5) A CVR WRAPAROUND $2.99
SEP090960 HERCULES KNIVES OF KUSH #5 (OF 5) B CVR $2.99
SEP090704 INCREDIBLES #4 $2.99
NOV090848 JENNIFER LOVE HEWITTS MUSIC BOX #2 $3.99
NOV090857 JOHN SABLE FREELANCE ASHES OF EDEN #4 $3.99
NOV090681 KILL AUDIO #4 (OF 6) $3.99
NOV090862 LITTLE ADVENTURES IN OZ BOOK 01 $9.99
OCT090798 MICKEY MOUSE & FRIENDS #299 $2.99
OCT090804 MUPPET SHOW #1 $2.99
SEP090712 MUPPET SHOW TREASURE OF PEG LEG WILSON TP $9.99
OCT091020 PHANTOM DOUBLE SHOT #1 (OF 6) KGB NOIR $2.99
OCT090681 POSEFILE PKT MANGA TP VOL 01 $12.95
OCT090846 QUEEN SONJA #3 $2.99
SEP090942 RESURRECTION VOL 2 #6 $3.99
AUG090998 ROTTEN #6 $3.99
OCT090767 SIMPSONS SUPER SPECTACULAR #10 $2.99
NOV090840 STAR TREK SPOCK REFLECTIONS TP $17.99
NOV090858 STARSTRUCK #5 $3.99
NOV090740 TALISMAN ROAD OF TRIALS #3 $3.99
NOV090825 TRANSFORMERS TALES O/T FALLEN #6 $3.99
OCT090709 VERONICA #198 $2.50
OCT091066 WE KILL MONSTERS #6 (OF 6) $3.50

MAGAZINES

NOV091009 HI FRUCTOSE MAGAZINE QUARTERLY #14 $6.95

Paperback cover parade: Love is a Deadly Weapon


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Review: Avatar

 James Cameron's "Avatar" is an amazing film...to look at.

There's no denying this is a pioneering work in terms of filmmaking and computer-generated animation. Cameron's blend of live-action and animated imagery is gorgeous. Watching the film--a mix of heavy hardware sci-fi and Edgar Rice Burroughs-style interplanetary jungle fantasy--is a bit like slipping inside a Frank Frazetta painting. And that's pretty cool.

The downside is the story.  As incredible as this realm is to experience, not much unique or surprising happens there. Cameron may have spent years coming up with the technology for this film's visuals, but he didn't spend nearly enough time on the script.

The rail-thin plot involves human space travelers mining the resources of a beautiful and primitive planet inhabited by nature-worshipping cat people. The catfolks want the earth people to go home, but the humans think maybe they can talk or trick the natives into letting them have their way with the place.

To this end, one of the humans--Jake--is assigned to help spy on the natives by essentially becoming one of them. Using experimental clone technology, he becomes the avatar in the movie's title. But whilst spying, Jake also quickly falls in love with a cute catwoman.
 

From there on, you know everything's going to go downhill. At least until it goes uphill again.

Jake's employers, naturally, aren't happy about him switching sides. And his new community isn't sure it can trust him. But he does the heroic thing--defending the indigenous culture against the mineral-hungry humans--all of which takes an exceedingly long time.

The movie is 162 minutes long and would've been better at 90 or so. As my 12-year-old son said afterward, "I thought it was almost over when they blew up the big tree, but that was only about halfway through." That latter half is spent watching events unfold, albeit beautifully, pretty much as you'd expect them to.

So, yes, "Avatar" is a deeply flawed enterprise. But if you're curious about the spectacle, go anyway.

Visually, it truly is a remarkable event and should be experienced in 3-D on a big screen. I can't imagine it will be nearly as impressive when viewed at home, although I definitely want to see the making-of featurettes once it appears on DVD.

Vintage comic book ad: King-size Disney balloons


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Pop links: Hammer Horror; Kaluta; Hembeck!

Jon's Random Acts of Geekery presents a whole lotta images---posters, stills, lobby cards--from Hammer Films' "Brides of Dracula.


More Hammer Horror images.

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Golden Age Comic Book Stories presents a batch of Tolkien calendar images by Micheal W. Kaluta.




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Happy seventh anniversary Hembeck.com (And Happy New Year, Fred!)




Raquel Welch publicity photos

Friday, January 01, 2010

Pop links: Future predictions; Superman; Bad Plus; Disney seals deal on Marvel

From Booksteve: Predictions for the future...from 1950!

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From Geek Orthodox: Happy New Year from Superman!




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Hear jazz power trio The Bad Plus live at the Village Vanguard.

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Disney officially makes theirs Marvel.
Shareholders of Marvel Entertainment, the publisher of Spider-Man and the Hulk comics, on Thursday approved the company’s acquisition by the Walt Disney Company, as expected.

Batman TV show stills

A couple of cool ones from eBay.



And we're back!

Apologies for the hiatus, just adjusting to a new job and daily routines and very happy with the changes. I'll try to post semi-regularly--the usual goodies: Pop culture artifacts, news, reviews, observations, etc.