Friday, December 14, 2012

BBC Radio 4 adapts Modesty Blaise

BBC 4 Radio is doing an audio adaptation of the Modesty Blaise spy character:

Modesty Blaise is glamorous, intelligent, rich and very, very cool. She's been called the female James Bond but she's much more interesting than that.

Modesty started life in 1963 as a strip cartoon in the London Evening Standard. The first of the novels followed three years later.

Daphne Alexander plays Modesty in Radio 4's adaptation of A Taste for Death.

DC Nation program block returns to Cartoon Network Jan. 5

Details from press release:

Warner Bros. Animation’s DC Nation programming block comes soaring back, bringing action from the pages of DC Comics to the television screens of comic book fans of all ages.  Green Lantern: The Animated Series goes retro-futuristic when it starts the block with the episode “Steam Lantern.” After being blasted by the Anti-Monitor, Hal finds himself in a steampunk world. Young Justice: Invasion answers lingering questions from the past season with “Before the Dawn,” when Blue Beetle, Miss Martian and the team go on a covert mission to rescue some of their own, uncovering shocking secrets and devastating truths. In between episodes, fans will enjoy all-new DC animated shorts starring some of their favorite DC Comics characters.

McCartney-Nirvana song to appear on upcoming soundtrack

"Cut Me Some Slack," the appropriately named track featured in this week's New York flood benefit by Paul McCartney and the former members of Nirvana will appear on the soundtrack to an upcoming documentary directed by drummer Dave Grohl.

According to NME:

The film marks Grohl's directorial debut and tells the story of the legendary California recording studio where classics such as Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' and Nirvana's 'Nevermind' were recorded. It will be shown at the US film festival which runs from January 17-27, 2013.

The soundtrack also features appearances from Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age associate Alain Johannes.

Another trailer for 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special


Pop culture roundup: Jack Kirby; Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman; Superman; Steve Ditko; Space 1999 vs. Star Trek; Charlton romance!

There's some great stuff on display on this new Tumblr site: The Baxter Building, dedicated mainly to comics of the 1960s and 70s. I love this image from Jack Kirby's never-published adaptation of "The Prisoner."


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Actress Cathy Lee Crosby discusses playing Wonder Woman in the 1974 TV pilot film, which is now out on DVD.
"I would have thought they would have gone with a brunette," says the blonde Crosby, "but then I realized that the original movie was actually jointly owned by Warner Bros. and ABC. From what I understand, Warner Bros. wanted to do it more James Bond and ABC wanted to do it more comic book. So I guess it went halfway down the middle, because in a lot of ways this Wonder Woman was more like a female James Bond.

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Via Booksteve, a Superman sportswear ad:


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Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko answers fan mail:


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No (via Space: 1970):

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Sequential Crush looks back at Charlton's interfaith romance comics.


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Via Comics Reporter: Check out these nifty illustrations by Moomins creator Tove Jansson for a 1962 edition of "The Hobbit" published in Sweden.



This Christmas, give the gift of smoking, with Lucy and Desi!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hear Petra Haden's a capella version of the Superman theme!

A few years back, vocalist Petra Haden put out a great a capella version of the entire Who Sell Out album, featuring all the vocals and instrumental parts replicated by her own, multi-tracked voice.


New movie poster for The Wolverine


PBS to broadcast Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour documentary and film

This Friday, check yer locals, PBS stations will air the recent BBC documentary about the making of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour," followed by a broadcast of the film.

 

Video: Paul McCartney performs with remnants of Nirvana

From last night's flood benefit in NYC. Remnants of Nirvana -- that'd be a good band name!


More upcoming DC Comics collected editions: Captain Comet Archives; Kirby's Days of the Mob, more!

DC has announced more collected editions for 2013. These items caught my eye:

JACK KIRBY'S O.M.A.C. - ONE MAN ARMY CORPS TP
Writer: Jack Kirby
Artists: Jack Kirby, D. Bruce Berry and Mike Royer
Collects: OMAC #1-8
176 pg

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER VOL. 2 TP
Writers: David Michelinie, Gerry Conway, Bob Haney and Robert Kanigher
Artists: Gerry Talaoc, Dick Ayers, Joe Kubert and Romeo Tanghal
Collects: STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES #189-204 and UNKNOWN SOLDIER #205-219
592 pg

SUPERMAN: THE PHANTOM ZONE TP
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artists: Gene Colan and Tony Dezuniga
Collects: PHANTOM ZONE #1-4 and DC COMICS PRESENTS 97
160 pg

BATMAN ILLUSTRATED BY NEAL ADAMS VOL. 3 TP
Writers: Dennis O'Neil, Neal Adams, Len Wein and Frank Robbins
Artists: Neal Adams, Dick Giordano
Collects: BATMAN #232, 234-241, 243-246, 251 and 255, BATMAN ANNUAL #14, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #99, DETECTIVE COMICS #412-422, 439 and 600 and more
280 pg

THE CAPTAIN COMET ARCHIVES VOL. 1
Writers: John Broome, Gerry Conway, David Kraft and Bob Rozakis
Artists: Carmine Infantino, Bernard Sachs, Murphy Anderson, Sy Barry, Joe Giella, Gil Kane, Pablo Marcos, Bob Smith, Vince Colletta, Ernie Chan, Rich Buckler and Bob Layton
Collects: STRANGE ADVENTURES #9-44, 46 and 49, and SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #2-6
416 pg

IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB HC
Writer: Jack Kirby
Artists: Vince Colletta and Mike Royer
Collects: IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB #1 and stories from AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS #1 and 10
80 pg

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: JONAH HEX VOL. 2 TP
Writers: Michael Fleischer and David Michelinie
Artists: George Moliterni, Bill Draut, Luis Dominguez, Rich Buckler, Frank Springer, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Romeo Tanghal, Ernie Chan, Noly Panaligan, Vicente Alcazar, Danny Bulanadi, Rich Buckler, Dick Giordano, Val Mayerik,
Collects: WEIRD WESTERN TALES #34-38 and JONAH HEX #1-22
544 pg

Pop stuff: Sufjan Stevens live concert review; Polyphonic Spree's holiday album

Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice. This traveling extravaganza featuring the very talented Sufjan Stevens (not sure why he's calling himself "Surfjohn" on this tour) came through town the other night, blowing minds, provoking laughter and otherwise making spirits bright.

Stevens started recording Christmas songs several years back as a way to help himself appreciate the holiday more, and he's released several holiday albums and EPs of traditional and original holiday tunes.

The show starts at over-the-top and takes off from there: Musicians dress in costume -- Superman, snowman, angel, etc.; there's a huge game show wheel used for choosing sing-along Christmas songs; inflatable Santa Claus and unicorn (yes, unicorn) toys are hurled into the audience; there's a bubble machine, confetti and tinsel all over the place.

It's a simultaneous send-up and celebration of Christmas -- all the things that make the holiday,  or at least the way we celebrate it -- overwhelming, stressful, crazy and wonderful. It was an exorcism of holiday angst.

Stevens is a brilliant musician and arranger -- maybe even his generation's Brian Wilson. His original  holiday music is filled with great melodies and harmonies (his band is also great) and sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking lyrics.

It was a fun show, with wonderful music performances by the band and plenty of opportunities for audience participation. Members of the crowd were selected to spin the  "Wheel of Christmas" and we all sang-along to seasonal favorites -- they'd even handed out a book of lyrics.

I came away more relaxed and amused about the holiday, but appreciating its significance and meaning. I'm better-prepared to really enjoy Christmas this year with friends and family, which I think was Stevens' aim. No matter how annoying, how crazy and how overwhelming this season can be, we're all in it together. It's ridiculous and fun, and we're all going to be ok.

The tour is still on. Catch it if you can. Here's video from a recent performance, to give you a taste:



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Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Vol. One by the Polyphonic Spree. In a similar mode to Sufjan Stevens musically, this album is full of classic and original holiday tunes performed by Tom DeLaughter and his alt pop choir.

The thing that's great about the Spree is all those voices. DeLaughter, formerly of Tripping Daisy, takes the lead vocals backed a huge array of backing vocalists. It sounds great on the Spree's exuberant, sunshine pop-influenced original songs, and is a natural fit for Christmas music -- really bringing out the spirit and joy of the holidays.

The only tune that didn't click for me was the super slow take on "Silver Bells," which drains the life out of the song. Thankfully, the group does an up-tempo "reprise" of the song, which sounds fantastic.

Other traditional songs covered include John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" (as timely as ever, sadly), "Silent Night," "Little Drummer Boy," "Winter Wonderland" and a trippy, psychedelic take on "Do You Hear What I Hear," which sounds awesome.

I don't know if it'll become a seasonal favorite, but this is certainly a nice addition to my holiday music collection.


Vintage Christmas ad: Sammy Davis Jr. for Alka-Seltzer


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fantagraphics preview Joe Kubert: Weird Horrors and Daring Adventures Archives

This one looks nice, an upcoming collection of the great Joe Kubert's early horror tales. Check out a preview here.

Details:
Joe Kubert sealed his reputation as one of the greatest American comicbook cartoonists of all time with the four-color adventures of Sgt. Rock of Easy Company, Enemy Ace, and Tarzan, all done for DC Comics during the 1960s and 1970s (themselves already the subject of archival editions)... but he had been working in comics since the 1940s. In fact, young Kubert produced an exciting, significant body of work as a freelance artist for a variety of comic book publishers in the postwar era, in a glorious variety of non-super hero genres: horror, crime, science fiction, western, romance, humor, and more.

For the first time, 33 of the best of these stories have been collected in one full-color volume, with a special emphasis on horror and crime. The Kubert work in this book is that of a burgeoning talent attacking the work with tremendous panache, and in the process, developing a style that became one of the most distinctive in the medium.

Since these stories were written and drawn in the pre-Comics Code era, they are more thrilling, violent and sexy (by contemporary standards) than much of his later, Code-constrained work. And just the titles of the comic books from which these stories are taken are wonderfully evocative of a bygone era of four-color fun: Cowpuncher, Abbott and Costello Comics, Three Stooges, Eerie, Planet Comics, Meet Miss Pepper, Strange Terrors, Green Hornet Comics, Whack, Jesse James, Out of This World, Crime Does Not Pay, Weird Thrillers, Police Lineup, and Hollywood Confessions.

As with Fantagraphics’ acclaimed Steve Ditko and Bill Everett Archives series, Weird Horrors and Daring Adventures boasts state-of-the-art restoration and retouching, and an extensive set of historical notes and an essay by the book’s editor Bill Schelly, author of the Art of Joe Kubert art book and Man of Rock Kubert biography.



Superman Golden Age Omnibus on tap from DC in May-June 2013

DC has announced a few upcoming comics collections, including these items that caught my eye:

SUPERMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 
Writers: Jerry Siegel,
Artists: Joe Shuster, Jack Burnley, Paul Cassidy, Dennis Neville, Paul Lauretta and Wayne Boring
Collects: Stories from ACTION COMICS #1-31, NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR #1, NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1940, and SUPERMAN #1-7
784 pg

Showcase Presents: DC Comics Presents - Superman Team-Ups Vol. 2
Writers: Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, Martin Pasko, Paul Levitz, Martin Pasko, Bob Rozakis, E. Nelson Bridwell, Paul Kupperberg, Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn
Artists: Rich Buckler, Dave Hunt, Jim Starlin, Dick Giordano, Romeo Tanghal, Curt Swan, Vince Colletta, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kurt Schaffenberger, Don Heck, Joe Staton, Bob Smith, Irv Novick, Frank McLaughlin, Alex Saviuk, Pablo Marcos and Mike DeCarlo
Collects: DC COMICS PRESENTS #27-50 and DC COMICS PRESENTS ANNUAL #1
520 pg


Solo: The Deluxe Edition
Writers: Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, Diana Schutz, Jeph Loeb, Brian Azzarello, Richard Corben, John Arcudi, Paul Pope, Jack Kirby, Howard Chaykin, Joe Kelly, Andrew Helfer, Chuck Dixon, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, Lee Allred, Neil Gaiman, Steven T. Seagle, Scott Hampton, John Hitchcock, Damion Scott, Rob Markham, Jennifer Carcano, Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier, Brendan McCarthy, Tom O'Connor, Jono Howard and Robbie Morrison
Artists: Tim Sale, Richard Corben, Paul Pope, Howard Chaykin, Darwyn Cooke, Jordi Bernet, Michael Allred, Teddy Kristiansen, Scott Hampton, Damion Scott, Sergio Aragones and Brendan McCarthy
Collects: SOLO #1-12
568 pg

The Justice League of America Chronicles Vol. 1
Writer: Gardner Fox
Artist: Mike Sekowsky, Bernard Sachs, Joe Giella and Murphy Anderson
Collects: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #28-30 and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1-3
$14.99 US, 168 pg

Korak Son of Tarzan with Russ Manning art coming from Dark Horse

Out in March:


Korak, Son of Tarzan Archives Volume 1

Gaylord DuBois (W), Russ Manning (A), and Mo Gollub (Cover)
On sale May 1
FC, 192 pages
HC, 7" x 10"
The son of the jungle lord gets his own title, in spinoff from longtime Tarzan writer Gaylord DuBois and fan-favorite artist Russ Manning! In the first of two volumes collecting Manning’s complete run on the series, Tarzan and Jane’s son Boy takes the name Korak—in the language of the apes, “The Killer”—and, alongside his chimpanzee sidekick Pahkut, begins to carve out his own legend among the creatures of Africa. Collecting Korak, Son of Tarzan #1–#6, from Gold Key!
• Foreword by Steve Rude.

Marvel Comics March 2013 solicitations

Collected editions of note coming from Marvel in March.
 
 
Essential Iron Man - Volume 5
Written by MIKE FRIEDRICH, BILL MANTLO, LEN WEIN, ROGER SLIFER & STEVE GERBER
Penciled by P. CRAIG RUSSELL, GEORGE TUSKA, ARVELL JONES, KEITH POLLARD, CHIC STONE, HERB TRIMPE & SAL BUSCEMA
Cover by GIL KANE
The Golden Avenger’s solo exploits continue! Iron Man battles Dr. Spectrum, but what is the secret behind the villain’s Power Prism? Then, as Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts’ rocky relationship hits a turning point, the Mandarin returns — and takes on the Yellow Claw! What is the Golden Globe, why are so many villains battling for it, and what does it have to do with the mysterious Black Lama? Plus: When the Red Ghost’s Super-Apes kidnap Tony, Happy must fill in as Iron Man — but when Happy collapses, the extreme measures taken to cure him transform him into the monstrous Freak once again! And this time, Happy may not survive! Also featuring the threats of Whiplash, Crimson Dynamo, M.O.D.O.K., Mad Thinker and Blizzard! And Iron Man attends Comic-Con! Collecting IRON MAN (1968) #62-75, #77-87, and ANNUAL #3.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AVENGERS VOL. 13
Written by STEVE ENGLEHART with ROY THOMAS, GERRY CONWAY & JIM STARLIN
Penciled by BOB BROWN & JOHN BUSCEMA with RICH BUCKLER, SAL BUSCEMA & JIM STARLIN
Cover by GIL KANE
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes begin to unravel the origin of Mantis in their latest Masterworks extravaganza! An all-hands-on-deck battle with the Zodiac takes the Avengers to the stars and into the jungles of Vietnam before Mantis’ surprise connection to the criminal gang is revealed. Then, the team lends its might to Captain Marvel’s fight against Thanos and his Cosmic Cube! Next, Roy Thomas returns for a GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS adventure including the Golden Age heroes Miss America and the Whizzer, and a revelation about Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch’s origins. And that’s not all! There’s the wedding of Quicksilver and Crystal; the return of Ultron; and the increasingly tense love triangle emerging between the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and Mantis — classics one and all! Collecting AVENGERS (1963) #120-128, GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS (1974) #1, CAPTAIN MARVEL (1968) #33 and FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #150.


Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Human Torch - Volume 1

Written by VARIOUS
Penciled by CARL BURGOS, BILL EVERETT, SID GREENE & VARIOUS
Cover by ALEX SCHOMBURG & RICHARD ISANOVE
The Marvel Masterworks proudly present the debut of the Human Torch, that fiery chart-topper of the Golden Age, in his own comic series! Leaping from the pages of MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS, the Torch was hotter than hotcakes in 1940. And now you can experience his series from the very beginning, which just so happens to be issue #2! Starting off with the first appearance of Torch’s kid sidekick, Toro the Flaming Kid, Carl Burgos and company present page after page of action and adventure in incomparable 64-page, jam-packed issues. See the Torch and Toro fight side by-side with Bill Everett’s Sub-Mariner as he once again terrorizes New York City! Also featuring the adventures of Microman, Mantor the Magician, the Fiery Mask and the Patriot! Collecting HUMAN TORCH (1940) #2-5A.

New trailer for Doctor Who Christmas special


Ravi Shankar on CD

Some releases of note featuring the late Indian master musician:

 
Ravi Shankar Collection


The Master


Living Room Sessions - Part 1


Collaborations (Limited Edition) (3CD/1DVD)


Ravi Shankar Symphony


Chants Of India


Concert for Bangladesh


Raga: A Film Journey to the Soul of India