Friday, April 12, 2013

Help our pal Booksteve!

Steven Thompson has been a longtime friend of this blog. He's also been faced with more than his fair share of work/health challenges over the past few years.

He does a lot of work editing/writing/blogging and needs a new computer to help him stay productive. And sane.

If you can spare a few bucks to help him out, you can do so here.

Check out his main blog here.

New Star Trek: Into Darkness poster

Very sad news: Jonathan Winters

Sorry to hear that Jonathan Winters, one of the funniest, most brilliant  comics in American history, has passed away at age 87. There won't be anyone like him again.

Here's one of his classic bits:

See a new preview of Comic Book Creator magazine

This looks good: A new mag from TwoMorrows Publishing focusing on comics artists and writers. It's created and edited Jon B. Cooke, editor of the acclaimed Comic Book Artist magazine, which ceased publishing several years back.

Some background info:
 TwoMorrows Publishing is proud to debut our newest magazine, COMIC BOOK CREATOR #1 (84 FULL-COLOR pages, $8.95) devoted to the work and careers of the men and women who draw, write, edit, and publish comics, focusing always on the artists and not the artifacts, the creators and not the characters. Behind an ALEX ROSS cover painting, our frantic FIRST ISSUE features an investigation of the oft despicable treatment JACK KIRBY endured from the very business he helped establish. From being cheated out of royalties in the ’40s and bullied in the ’80s by the publisher he made great, to his estate’s current fight for equitable recognition against an entertainment monolith where his characters have generated billions of dollars, we present Kirby’s cautionary tale in the eternal struggle for creator’s rights. Plus, CBC #1 interviews artist ALEX ROSS and writer KURT BUSIEK, spotlights the last years of writer/artist FRANK ROBBINS, remembers comics historian LES DANIELS, talks to TODD McFARLANE about his new show-all book, showcases a joint talk between NEAL ADAMS and DENNIS O’NEIL on their unforgettable collaborations, as well as throws a whole kit’n’caboodle of other creator-centric items atcha! Join us for the start of a new era as TwoMorrows welcomes back former Comic Book Artist editor Jon B. Cooke, who helms the all-new, all-color COMIC BOOK CREATOR!

And here's a PDF preview of the first issue.

Pop culture roundup: Van Dyke Parks; Kate Bush; TARDIS fridge; Carmine Infantino; Spider-Man

An entertaining interview with the legendary Van Dyke Parks, who has an album of new material out soon.


Singer Kate Bush was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth this week for her services to music. If I understand correctly, a CBE is the third-highest honor, Knighthood being the top, awarded by royalty in Britain. It's two notches up from the MBEs the Beatles were controversially awarded back in the 1960s, when no one could scarcely imagine a Beatle ever being knighted, as Sir Paul McCartney was several years ago.

Anyway, Kate had this to say:

"I feel incredibly thrilled to receive this honour which I share with my family, friends and fellow musicians and everybody who has been such an important part of it all," she said.
"Now I've got something special to put on top of the Christmas tree."

Turn your fridge into the TARDIS with this handy "skin" kit!


The great comics artist/editor Carmine Infantino passed away earlier this week. I was out on vacation and didn't have a chance to put together a fitting tribute. But here's a nice look at Infantino's early career work for Timely comics.


Who created Spider-Man? Stan Lee? Steve Ditko? Jack Kirby? All of the above? 20th Century Danny Boy takes a detailed look in a post that includes some spectacular Ditko art. But I'm teasing it with this image by Kirby:

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles pictures

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Arrested Development posters from Netflix

New episodes of maybe the funniest TV program ever arrive May 26 via streaming on Netflix. Here are some teaser posters.

New pics from Superman: Man of Steel

New character posters for Lone Ranger

Pop stuff: Alex Toth, Emil and the Detectives

What I've been reading, watching, hearing, etc.

Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth This is the second of IDW's massive hardcovers dedicated to the art and biography of Toth, an "artist's artist" in the word of comics. It picks up Toth's story in the early 1960s, when he drifted away from comics and entered the world of TV animation, designing the classic adventure 'toons of the Hanna-Barbera stable: Notably Space Ghost, Johnny Quest, the Herculoids and other fondly remembered by Baby Boomers series.

Toth's dazzling ability to convey character and action with an economy of lines was perfectly suited to this new medium. At the same time, he kept a hand in comics with occasional adventure, war and suspense stories for DC, Marvel, Charlton, the fledgling Warren line and others.

The book includes a wealth of art from these stories, often from Toth's original penciled and inked pages. A highlight is "The Case of the Curious Classic," a masterclass in comics storytelling that Toth wrote and illustrated for, of all things, DC's toy-associated Hot Wheels series in 1970. Over 16 pages -- each with a uniform, eight-panel grid -- Toth tells a rather complex, tightly plotted mystery tale that engages his love of classic automobiles and adventure and never lets the reader slip his grasp.

A couple of Toth's classic war stories -- "Burma Sky" and "White Devil...Yellow Devil" -- also are included in full, original art, along with his tutorial on how TV animation is produced from the 1970s "Super Friends" tabloid edition DC published in 1976.

The story of Toth's life woven throughout is nearly as triumphant as art. The artist was famously temperamental and troubled, which accounts for his inability to stay under the thumb of any one employer for long. But we see him mellowed and happy after a second marriage to a woman he adored. After Guyla Toth's death in 1985 there are dark times again and Toth becomes reclusive and, apart from occasional covers and pin-ups, inactive in comics art. But, again, there's light again as his grown children draw him, helping him enjoy another happy period at the end of his life.

A third book in this unprecedentedly detailed look at an American comics artist's life is still to come and will collect images from and provide more detail about Toth's years in animation.

Emil And The Detectives We bought and streamed this 1964 film for family movie night last weekend. It may be the only live-action Disney film I missed seeing as a kid, not sure how. But I do recall very much enjoying the book it's based on.

It's an unusual Disney production -- shot entirely on-location in Berlin (the Emil book was first published in Germany) and has a very European feel and look to it. The performances by kids and adults in the cast are all entertaining and excellent and the story doesn't feel dated at all -- just a simple adventure/mystery tale about a group of young boys who blunder into a bank robbery scheme.

It's a notch above many family and children's films we've screened -- new or old -- and well worth a look. The transfer looks great, too.

One note: You can't rent and stream the film via Amazon, but you can buy it for $9.99. It's also available on DVD. Not on Netflix, unfortunately.

Vintage photos: Hitchcock promotes "Frenzy" with floating dummy in Thames river

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Henry Cavill as Superman featured on new Entertainment Weekly cover

Video unveiling of upcoming Paul McCarney Wings Over America re-release


BBC Radio this week: T-Bone Burnett; Doctor Who; Goon Show; Bowie and Berlin; Northern Soul

Click the links to hear the following programs:

O'Brother: The T-Bone Burnett Story Bob Harris presents a portrait of one of America's most revered record producers and someone who is both an advocate of classic recording techniques and a contemporary curator of traditional American music.

Doctor Who: Architects of History A time traveller arrives at a Moon base to save the Earth, but it's not who you think.

The Goon Show: The Dreaded Piano Clubber Henry Crun must face the music as a mad assailant threatens the Nation.

Bowie and Beyond: A Fan's Guide to Berlin Here writer and broadcaster Danny Robins looks at what has made the German capital into a rock n roll mecca, exploring the cultural and social forces that have shaped the city's rich musical history from Weimar times, via the Bowie years, to the techno revolution of the 90s and the still vibrant present day music scene.

Too Darn Soulful As 6 Music Celebrates: Dance Culture, we re-visit Pete Waterman's 2011 look at Northern Soul. He examines what makes the genre so all-consuming for the devoted fan and introduces the uninitiated to its intoxicating mix of music and dance.

I owned this: Vintage toys I once played with

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

See an excerpt of Fantagraphics' upcoming Mickey Mouse Sunday comics collection

I'm loving all this Disney stuff from Fantagraphics. This upcoming collection of Floyd Gottfredson's Sunday strips looks like yet another item on my Amazon shopping list:

We’re jumping from black and white to classic color — as Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse series makes its 1932-35 Sunday strip debut! Bright hues highlight our hero as he enjoys four years' worth of wild weekend epics... taking him from Uncle Mortimer’s Wild West ranch to the icy peak of frigid Mount Fishflake! And in this volume, Mickey is joined by a famous co-star: Donald Duck!
Floyd Gottfredson, artist of the Sunday Mickey Mouse from 1932-38, created the most famous Mickey tales ever told in print. These Sunday specials — many never before reprinted — also feature the work of later Donald Duck master Al Taliaferro. Collectively, they form a collection that fans have been seeking for a lifetime! Highlights include "Mickey’s Nephews," introducing Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse, and "Dr. Oofgay’s Secret Serum," which turns Horace Horsecollar into a brainwashed wild mustang! Classic gag stories round out the book, offering manic Mouse mischief at a fever pitch.
Restored from Disney’s art sources and enhanced with a meticulous recreation of the strips' original color, Call of the Wild also brings you more than 30 pages of chromatic supplementary features! You’ll enjoy rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a prismatic pack of Disney scholars, including an appreciation of Gottfredson by celebrated alternative cartoonist Kevin Huizenga.
Check out a 21-page excerpt here.

Pictures from Doctor Who "Cold War"

Some images from "Cold War," the April 13 episode of "Doctor Who."