Friday, June 27, 2014

Doctor Who season 8 teaser! Show debuts Aug. 23!

Here's the first trailer for "Doctor Who" season 8, which starts Aug. 23.

The feature length premiere episode entitled “Deep Breath” will see Peter Capaldi take on one of TV’s most iconic roles as the Twelfth Doctor, alongside Jenna Coleman as his companion Clara.

ZBS Media announces Saratoga Noir audio/comics series!

I've been a fan of ZBS' mystical/magical/comical audio programs since I first discovered Jack Flanders and the "Fourth Tower of Inverness" back in 1975.

Great stories that still dazzle today. So I always enjoy passing along news of their latest programs. This one looks like fun. Check out the ZBS website for more info. If you haven't tried any of these shows, and are a fan of old radio shows and good stories, you really need to. Any other fans out there? Let me know in the comments!

Above is an example of things to come.  On Monday, June 30th, we’ll post Episode #1 of Saratoga Noir.  There are 20 episodes, we will offer them all, for free, on our website
Along with the comic strip is the audio; a magnificent example of contemporary comic-strip radio drama created just for the internet.  Many of the same actors you’ve heard in Ruby and Jack Flanders are playing different characters, acting their little hearts out, in Saratoga Noir.
Why Noir?  
Because Saratoga Springs has such an amazing history, the oldest racetrack in the country, the old gambling casinos, the old spas and healing spring waters, and the shady characters that lurked about in the shadows.  Even though this is set in present-day Saratoga, there’s plenty going on right now.
The Plot
Danny Boyee, a local private investigator, who is barely paying the rent, is hired to find a pussycat; a Balinese wearing a very expensive diamond collar.  Vicki Millhouse, an ex-showgirl who married into old Saratoga money, hires Danny to find her kidnapped cat.  But something as simple as finding a pussycat, quickly turns into danger and intrigue for unsuspecting Danny Boyee. 
The Episodes
Starting June 30th, Episode #1, the comic strip and the audio, will be on the ZBS website.  It will be up all week.  And then every Monday, and every Friday, a new episode will be released.  The series will play throughout the summer.  We do hope you’ll catch a few.  They really are fun (as you can see above).
CDs & MP3 Downloads
You will be able to buy the series one day.  But for now, it’s free.  

Today's Best Picture Ever: Herbie Hancock!

Pop Culture Roundup: Jack Kirby play! Dick Tracy finds Annie! Simonson returns to Thor! Andy Warhol album covers!

The New York Times has a thumbs-up review for a new off-Broadway show about comics artists Jack Kirby.
In closest focus are Kirby’s knotty dealings at Marvel in the 1960s and ‘70s with Lee, who was then Kirby’s boss. (Nat Cassidy, in a sly impersonation, presents a tireless news media self-promoter.) With Lee, Kirby created a revolution in the field; Kirby visualized numerous characters now ubiquitous in movies, television and licensing. In the play, Lee — nephew of Marvel’s publisher, Martin Goodman (Mr. Reynolds again, embodying icy, ruthless capitalism) — parrots the company line, denying Kirby’s request for royalties, rights to characters, and even the vast majority of his penciled originals. Lee is a celebrity, while the humble Kirby, Marvel’s golden goose, is paid merely by the drawn page. “Why does everyone worship the bosses?” Kirby cries, defeated.

Little Orphan Annie went missing from the comics pages back in 2010. Now Dick Tracy is looking for her.
 The case for the detective, also part of Tribune, began on June 1 and will last through the end of September. The long story line is worthy of the two characters and their historic meeting, said the writer Mike Curtis, who works on the strip with the illustrator Joe Staton. “This kind of thing never happened back in the day,” he said, despite the fact that the characters’ creators, Harold Gray (Annie, in 1924) and Chester Gould (Dick Tracy, in 1931), were friends and enjoyed each other’s work. Dick and Annie will meet very soon, Mr. Curtis said, and he promises more surprises ahead, including a change in art style once Annie arrives.

Cartoonist Walt Simonson is returning to Thor, but not the Marvel Comics version.
In "Ragnarök," the award-winning writer/artist tells his own version of the Norse apocalypse, one where Thor sits out the final battle with the Midgard Serpent, allowing the dark gods to destroy Asgard and take over the nine worlds -- until the God of Thunder returns. 

There's more to Andy Warhol album cover art than bananas and the Velvet Underground. The Vinyl Factor counts down the artist's Top 25 LP covers here.

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles pics!

Beatles news, reviews, perspective and history daily at The Glass Onion!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

They Made This: TARDIS trucker hat!

Video Find: 1966 animated Hobbit cartoon

Via Open Culture:

Today's Best Picture Ever: Brian Jones and Keith Richards!

Review - Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s

What was it like to wake up one morning in 1970 and realize one is no longer a Beatle?

For Paul McCartney, the experience was both depressing and daunting, one that made him want to keep his face down in his pillow, perhaps never to wake up again.

This is the scene that opens Tom Doyle's "Man on the Run," a quick but insightful look at McCartney's post-Beatles wilderness years.

It's a fascinating slice of history, and one that features a McCartney much different from the one we think of today: The beloved, smiley walking-talking historical figure who always turns up to play "Hey Jude" at awards shows and royal celebrations.

McCartney in his 30s was unpredictable: sometimes aggravating, sometimes astounding, sometimes bright and confident, other times surly and at loose ends.

In the early 1970s, McCartney was a man in the midst of an identity crisis who was also suffering a crisis of confidence. He'd been a Beatle since he was 15. How would he function, how would he create, what would he do outside of that familiar unit, no matter how inhospitable it had become?

Doyle doesn't get bogged down in the bewildering details of the money, management and personal issues that broke up the Beatles, and he doesn't point blaming fingers. His focus is on how McCartney got through it all.

The answer is "without a plan." He seemed to be making it all up as he was going along, which is what people tend to do when they've had the rug pulled out from under them.  You get on with things the best you can.

McCartney plunged immediately into his work - recording his first two solo albums in quick succession. He recruited his wife, Linda, to sing harmonies for McCartney and brought in session musicians to help out on Ram. Which got him thinking about starting a band.

Surrounding himself in a band unit -- in his mind at least -- took some of the pressure off. It also would allow him to perform live. Getting out on the road, playing small venues and getting back to his roots was something he'd been pushing for in Beatles, but the rest of the group wanted no part of it. Now he could make it happen.

Wings hit the road showing up unannounced at various British colleges, playing shows in student theaters and eventually recording LPs under their own banner. But by assembling a new band in the wake of the Beatles, and by daring to include his wife as a member, McCartney drew more fire than he avoided.

Everything he did now invited criticism and comparison - with the Beatles and, particularly, with John Lennon, who, still angry about what he saw as McCartney's betrayals in the last days of the Beatles, had taken to openly slagging Paul in the press and in song.

Doyle is extremely objective in writing about these issues - showing both where McCartney's actions invited fair criticism and instances where he was treated unfairly by the media.

The pretense of operating a "band" when Wings was really nothing more than McCartney and sidemen,  along with the tossed-off nature of much of the music he was producing, made Paul look lightweight and shallow in an era when rock critics favored music full of raw personal expression and political significance.

McCartney created much good music during the 70s. But he was also missing the other Beatles to provide contrast and push him when a song's lyrics or structure fell short. And his optimism, pop craft and silly love songs were out of step with what was seen as rock's vanguard of the time.

Yet, by the middle of the decade, McCartney was, surprisingly, unthinkably, on top again. The hit Band on the Run album, followed quickly by the triumphant "Wings Over America" tour, earned him millions and re-established him as a top star - the most successful ex-Beatle. Even though he didn't sustain that peak, he continued having the occasional hit song and remains a top draw when on tour.

It all now seems like a sure thing: Of course McCartney would become a huge solo star after the Beatles. But, as Doyle's book makes clear, it wasn't a certainty in those bleak post-Beatles days.

Bolstered by recent interviews with McCartney himself, along with Denny Laine and assorted others, the book is evenhanded and often tough on a subject who is skilled at sidestepping scrutiny. McCartney's hippie-ish parenting, pot busts, "proto-mullet," and legendary stinginess are all addressed.

It's not a full biography of the man. We don't get much about Paul's Liverpool upbringing or the Beatles, and the story ends shortly after Lennon's murder, but the period it covers is one of the most interesting of McCartney's remarkable career.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Video Find: The Pink Floyd performs "Astronomy Domine" on BBC's "Look of the Week" 1967!

Yoe Books announces "Ditko's Shorts" book!

Not only did he co-create Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, comics artist Steve Ditko produced a whole bunch of one-, two- and three-page comics stories for a variety of different publishers.

Yoe Books collects some of those tales in a new volume out in December and just announced today via Craig Yoe's Twitter feed.

Here's a look:
Ditko's Shorts is a fun and incredibly fascinating compilation of short comics one, two and three pages in length. Only a brilliant master could tell a dramatic, compelling tale in such compact form. You'll thrill as Ditko walks this exciting high-wire act without a net! The many stories contained in this hardcover are fast-paced and sport terrific, compelling artwork as only Steve Ditko can draw it! The genres show the artist's great range. There's horror, fantasy, science fiction, western, and even humorous stories. Taken from rare comic books from a who's who of publishers, all the comics are meticulously restored and printed in a beautiful, large-format book. Insightful introductions by punk-rocker and comics historian Fester Faceplant and Eisner Award-winner Craig Yoe. Don't miss Ditko's Shorts - sure to be a much loved and talked about Ditko treasure!

Today's Best Picture Ever: Steve Martin!

New comics June 25, 2014: Sin City; Tarzan by Hogarth; Human Torch Masterworks; Modesty Blaise!

Highlights this week. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Big Damn Sin City

Tarzan: Burne Hogarth's Lord of the Jungle

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 1

Modesty Blaise - The Young Mistress

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Batman 1966 25-Piece Action Figure Crime Fighting Accessory Pack!

Just turned up on Amazon:
The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder require accessories to fight their war on crime in Gotham City, and Figures Toy Company's Batman 1966 TV Series Crime Fighting Accessory Pack offers the Dynamic Duo 25 accessory pieces for the 8-inch retro figures! Ranging from Batarangs and the Batcave Entrance Bust to Batman's Bomb (as in, "Some days you can't get rid of...") and Batman's Bazooka, these are just like the ones found in the Batcave, only smaller!

New Beatles 12-inch Yellow Subarine figures!

From Factory Entertainment. These are pretty groovy!


New Guardians of the Galaxy covers from Empire mag

Music new releases June 24, 2014: Sam Cooke; Small Faces; Blue Note vinyl reissues!

Click the links to order discounted CDs, vinyl and downloads from Amazon.

Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 by Sam Cooke

There Are But Four Small Faces

Go by Dexter Gordon

Cornbread by Lee Morgan

Back at the Chicken Shack by Jimmy Smith