Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pop culture roundup: Sherlock; Kareem; Dylan; Pono; Batman

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written a mystery novel featuring Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, a 19-time N.B.A. All-Star, began reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories more than 40 years ago, during his rookie season. “I was fascinated by Holmes’s ability to see clues where other people saw nothing,” he said in a statement released by his publisher.
“Mycroft Holmes” was written with the screenwriter and producer Anna Waterhouse.

Read an interview with Bob Dylan's English teacher.
B.J. remembers one of the rare visits Bob made to Hibbing several years ago. “I remember distinctly. He told me, You’ve taught me everything I know.’ I dispute that. I’ve taught him half of what he knows.” 

Neil Young is hyping his high-resolution  Pono music player as offering the best fidelity possible, but is "high-res" music just a bunch of b.s.?
The CD-quality standard—which Young and HRA proponents say isn't sufficient—wasn't adopted randomly. It's not a number plucked out of thin air. It's based on sampling theory and the actual limits of human hearing. To the human ear, audio sampled above 44.1 kHz/16-bit is inaudibly different.

Good to see others who are fans of Doug Moench's 1980s run on Batman. Frank Miller wrecked the character.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

First look at characters for new "Thunderbirds are Go!" animated series

I like the puppets more, but here's a look at the characters in "Thunderbirds are Go!" -- a new CGI-animated series based on Gerry Anderson's original "marionation" series of the 1960s.

The 26-episode show, Thunderbirds Are Go!, is due to air this spring using a blend of computer-generated animation technology and traditional live action models.

Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike provides the voice of Lady Penelope, driven around in a pink Rolls-Royce, number plate FAB1, by chauffeur Parker.
Fonejacker’s Kayvan Novak takes on Brains and Game of Thrones actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster voices John Tracy.

In a nod to the original 1960s series created by Gerry Anderson, who died in 2012, David Graham, the original voice of Parker, is reprising his role.

Pop artifacts: Vintage DC Comics foldies

Comics solicitations for March 2015: Avengers; Fantastic Four; Skull the Slayer; Star Wars; Frankenstein; Weirdworld; Conan; Dick Tracy; T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents; Modesty Blaise

Collected edition highlights for March. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon;

Avengers: Ultron Unbound
Earth's Mightiest Heroes face Ultron, their deadliest foe, once again! More powerful than ever before, the mechanical menace has declared himself...the ultimate Ultron! And he's upgraded his elimination target from merely mankind -- to all life on Earth. But Ultron doesn't intend to inherit the world alone. Which of the West Coast Avengers women will he take as the basis for his metallic mate, known as War Toy? As the Whackos regroup after a blistering assault, Ultron finds that the path of true love doesn't run smooth -- even for ruthless robots. Brace yourself for a lovers' tiff for the ages! An, in a Vision adventure that proves that even an android can dream, discover which all-too-familiar foe can take control of the Vision, Jocasta and even Ultron! Collecting AVENGERS WEST COAST #89-91 and ANNUAL #8, and VISION (1994) #1-4. 224 PGS.

Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four Volume 17
The Fantastic Four continue their explorations into the impossible -- when they confront none other than the Impossible Man! From a tale that rampages through the Marvel Bullpen and features the return of the Frightful Four, Impy will both torment and team up with our heroes in an attempt to make them a Fantastic Five! Then, Reed Richards is replaced by his evil Counter-Earth counterpart. It's a saga so epic in scope that it pulls in Thundra, Tigra, the Mad Thinker and Annihilus -- as Reed battles for his life in the heart of the Negative Zone! With little time to rest, our heroes must then battle through the Eliminator, Salem's Seven, Klaw and the Molecule Man in a series of struggles so shocking that they may tear apart the FF forever! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #176-191. 272 PGS.

Skull the Slayer
It's Lost meets The Land That Time Forgot when an airplane and all its passengers are transported to a strange world inhabited by dinosaurs, primitives and aliens! But for one man, this journey into prehistory is a chance to seize his destiny -- and become the hero he always wanted to be! In our world, Vietnam veteran Jim Scully is a wanted man, accused of his own brother's murder. But in this wild new land, he becomes -- Skull the Slayer! With fellow passengers to protect, dinosaurs to hunt and alien mysteries to uncover, Skull finds himself on a voyage through the ages -- courtesy of the mysterious Time Tower! Prepare for an epic tale of life and death, culminating in a titanic team-up with the Fantastic Four's Thing and Mr. Fantastic! Collecting SKULL THE SLAYER #1-8 and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #35-36. 192 PGS.

Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
Written by ROY THOMAS Penciled by HOWARD CHAYKIN Cover by ADI GRANOV 
The original comic adaptation of the greatest space-fantasy film of all is remastered for the modern age with all-new coloring by Chris Sotomayor! Weeks before George Lucas' first STAR WARS film hit theatres, Marvel gave fans their first look at Luke Skywalker, boldly asking: "Will he save the galaxy, or destroy it?" You may know the answer, but that doesn't spoil the fun of seeing STAR WARS: EPISODE IV -- A NEW HOPE like never before...including scenes that never made the silver screen! When Princess Leia is taken prisoner, Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 ride to the rescue and take on Darth Vader in his awesome Death Star. It's six against a galaxy -- one that's far, far away and a long time ago! May the Force be with you, in the mighty Marvel manner! Collecting STAR WARS (1977) #1-6. 128 PGS.

Welcome to Weirdworld, a land of legend and lore! Meet Tyndall, a lost elf on a dangerous quest -- to the heart of evil and beyond! One that will unite him with the beautiful Velanna, and forge an alliance for the ages. Together with grumpy dwarf Mud-Butt, these warriors of the shadow realm will brave the City of Seven Dark Delights, face the fallen god Darklens and meet the Dragonmaster of Klarn. But will they ever find their way home? From the mind of Doug Moench, and brought to life with incredible artwork by such talents as Mike Ploog and John Buscema, comes a far-out fantasy masterpiece in the mighty Marvel manner! Collecting material from MARVEL PREMIERE #38, MARVEL SUPER ACTION (1976) #1, MARVEL FANFARE (1982) #24-26, MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL #11-13, and EPIC ILLUSTRATED #9 and #11-13. 312 PGS.

Frankenstein: The Mad Science of Dick Briefer
Dick Briefer (W/A/Cover) 
Frankenstein: The Mad Science of Dick Briefer reanimates a most unusual Frankenstein monster, one "who, like Ferdinand the Bull, would rather pluck flowers than pluck off people's heads." Briefer's Frankenstein mixes screwball comedy with canny observation of postwar America into a creation that would shock the original monster senseless! It's alive! Collects Frankenstein #1-#6

Savage Sword of Conan Volume 19
Roy Thomas (W), John Buscema (P), Ernie Chan (I), Tony DeZuniga (I), and Joe Jusko (Cover) 
While Conan fights to survive in a hostile kingdom, far away a similar dire circumstance is faced by an adventurer whose fate will determine Conan's very existence. But this land is not of the Hyborian Age--it is 1920s Mexico, and the adventurer is writer Robert E. Howard! Collects stories from Marvel's The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian #192-#201.

Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Volume 18
Chester Gould (w & a & c) 
The 1950s just about come to a close as Chester Gould introduces one character after another whose crimes start off as relatively petty but who end up trapped in larger and more deadly conspiracies. New characters include the gamecock queen Miss Egghead, Cuban secret serviceman Wunbrow, the tragic Headache, and bizarre Popsie and her mother. Throw in a wacko named Pantsy, a cross-country chase after a million dollars of hidden heist loot, Tracy left for dead on a deserted island, a couple more million in slot machine coins, and a throwback to the 1940s in the Mole-lookalike named Rhodent, and it's clear that Chester Gould is definitely not resting on his laurels. Includes all strips from December 15, 1957 through July 11, 1959. HC * B&W * $39.99 * 276 pages

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Volume 5
Steve Skeates, Manny Stallman, Ralph Reese, Wally Wood, Gil Kane (w) * Wally Wood, Dan Adkins, Mike Sekowsky, Frank Giacoia, John Giunta, Joe Giella, Manny Stallman, Chic Stone, Steve Ditko, Ogden Whitney, George Tuska, Paul Reinman, Gil Kane (a) * Ryan Brown (c) 
The original classic adventures of Dynamo, NoMan, Menthor, and more from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents issue #12-14 and Dynamo #4.

Modesty Blaise - The Killing Distance
(W) Peter O'Donnell (A/CA) Enric Badia Romero 
The return of the "ass-kicking femme fatale," in three rare stories that are full of classic action and adventure and dripping with '60's chic. In the first story we see the return of fan-favourite character Guido "The Jinx" Biganzoli. The Killing Distance is pure Cold War thriller material, while the legendary Wu Smith appears in The Aristo. Collects three rare stories in one volume for the very first time: Guido the Jinx, The Killing Distance, and The Aristo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Filming starts on Doctor Who season 9

Details from the BBC:

Filming has begun in Cardiff for series 9 of Doctor Who and includes a star-studded guest cast. The new series will be back on BBC One in Autumn 2015.
The episodes currently being filmed are written by Toby Whithouse (The Game, Being Human), produced by Derek Ritchie and directed by Daniel O’Hara (Silent Witness 2015, The Game, Being Human).
Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, said, “An amazing guest cast for a brilliantly creepy two-parter by Toby Whithouse. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are back in Cardiff, back in the box, and back in action - for one of our scariest adventures yet!”
On set filming for the new series, Peter Capaldi added, “The adventures begin again for myself and Jenna and I’m delighted to be back filming my second series of Doctor Who.”
Paul Kaye who played Thoros of Myr in the third series of Game of Thrones joins the Doctor Who cast for the two-part episode. A comedian and actor, Paul is also well-known for being the voice of Vincent the fox on the puppet-based BBC comedy Mongrels.
Commenting on his role, Paul Kaye, said, “As a kid of the 1970s, the two shows you always watched were Top of the Pops and Doctor Who, they were unmissable. I actually wrote a song called ‘Looking for Davros’ in my first punk band and I sang it like a demented Dalek. I got to present TOTP back in the mid ‘90’s and landing this role in Doctor Who completes the dream double.
“Peter is a perfect Doctor and I’m loving every minute of the experience, even the five hours in make-up. What a treat, best 50th birthday present ever!”
Also starring in the episodes will be Morven Christie who recently played the role of Amanda in the crime drama Grantchester and featured in Death in Paradise (2014) and Twenty Twelve.
Arsher Ali who played the part of Malik Suri in the critically acclaimed The Missing (BBC One) takes up a role in the guest cast alongside Colin McFarlane who appeared in EastEnders as part of the Who Killed Lucy Beale? storyline.
Recognised for her theatre and TV performances, actress Sophie Stone appears in the show for the first time. Sophie was the lead actress in the play Woman of Flowers and has appeared in Midsummer Murders and Casualty.
Also joining Peter Capaldi (the Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) and confirmed for roles in the double episode are Zaqi Ismail, Steven Robertson and Neil Fingleton.
Further guest cast for series 9 will be released over the coming months. Doctor Who is a BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC One.

Archie's Pal Jughead Archives coming in April

Dark Horse is following up its Archives series of Archie Comics with a Jughead volume, set for April release. It's available for pre-order from Amazon now.

You know Jughead as Archie's loyal sidekick, but wait until you see the trouble he can get up to on his own! Cheer as Jug matches wits with Archie's rival Reggie, gasp as he tests nutty experiments with his Uncle Herman, and marvel as he eats dozens upon dozens of burgers and shakes! With twice the mischief, twice the pranks, and twenty times the food, Jughead Archives takes you to the weirder side of Riverdale, in this uproarious volume illustrated by beloved Archie artists Samm Schwartz and George Frese! Collecting Archie's Pal Jughead #1-#8!

Vintage Steve Ditko Spider-Man pin-up

New comics Jan. 14, 2015: Buffy; Doctor Solar; Batman; Hulk; Star Wars

Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Buffy: Season Nine Library Edition Volume 1
The world has lost its connection to magic, and a new breed of vampires has been born-zompires! Still, there's more trouble for Buffy the Vampire Slayer: a magic siphon is loose, student loans have to be paid, Willow goes walkabout, and Buffy finds herself pregnant while coming to terms with her relationship with Spike. Collects Buffy Season 9 Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom Archives Volume 4
Doctor Solar faces a clever new nemesis named King Cybernoid, terrors from other dimensions, and electric aliens from Mars! This collection restores and reprints issues #23-#31 of the original Doctor Solar comic-book series and also includes Solar's guest appearance in The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor #14!
•   Featuring a foreword by Batton Lash (Supernatural Law)!
•   Classic adventures by Ernie Col√≥n, Dick Wood, and others!

Batman: Black and White Vol. 4
The legendary, Eisner Award-winning series BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE returns in a brand-new volume featuring tales of the Dark Knight by some of comics' greatest writers and artists!

Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Volume 1 (New Printing)
Collecting HULK #1-6.

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 1
As the phenomenon dawned in 1977, Marvel Comics published the very first STAR WARS comic-book series. Now, the House of Ideas is re-presenting those original adventures in its wampa-sized Omnibus format! It's the return of the Jedi to Marvel in an opening volume that begins with A NEW HOPE and ends with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. In between, the rebels face a wealth of new perils - from space pirate Crimson Jack to the bounty hunter Beilert Valance, as well as a surprisingly svelte Jabba the Hut (one "t"). Luke goes back to Tatooine, Leia battles alone, Han and Chewie play the deadly Big Game, and Darth Vader hunts for answers! With all your old favorites and plenty of new faces - hello, Jaxxon! - there's no doubt, the Force is strong with this one! Collecting STAR WARS (1977) #1-44 and ANNUAL #1.