Category: Behind the Scenes


Star Trek Costumes Block and Erdmann final cover 2015

Readying for next year’s 50th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek, Insight Editions has revealed the cover and a new overview of a book about Star Trek costumes that we first discussed here at borg.com back in December.  Veteran Star Trek writers Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann have completed a 256 page hardcover work titled Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier. 

This will be the first book to focus exclusively on Star Trek costumes, covering the Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, the ten movies with the Original Series crew and Next Generation crew, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, Enterprise, Star Trek 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness.  It is also the first book to include a chronicle of photos and behind the scenes information on the Enterprise TV series and the most recent Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness. 

This new book will add an eagerly awaited, missing piece to complete the science fiction and fantasy bookshelves of movie fans, adding to prior great movie costume books for genre properties including Dressing a Galaxy, focusing on the Star Wars prequel costumes (the finest photographic work on costumes to-date) reviewed here, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles–Cloaks and Daggers, reviewed here, and Brandon Alinger’s 2014 release Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, reviewed here.

Here’s the new overview of Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier from the publisher:

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Magic trick Now You See Me

It must be hard to portray the art of being a magician on the big screen.  The latest effort is The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, and Clash of the Titans’ director Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me previewed earlier at borg.com here.  It has much to offer by way of entertainment, the best reward being the cast, which manages to nail that very Las Vegas magic act schtick of “showmanship” that you only see in a good magic act.  But can you give a theatrical audience a convincing magic show–actually trick us and surprise us in the same way someone like David Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear right in front of you, or how Teller distracts as Penn causes the very thing you’re staring at to disappear right before you?

Apparently you can’t do that in the movies–or at least no one has dazzled us in that way yet.  But you can at least give us a good show letting us see different styles in which magicians practice their art.

Magic Act Now You See Me

Two recent contenders for the top of the “movies about magicians and magic” list are not at risk of leaving the top because of Now You See Me.  The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Marsan, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and The Prestige, starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, and Scarlett Johansson released opposite each other in 2006, take on the same themes.  But if you’re deciding between the two we think The Illusionist, from director Neil Burger (Limitless, Divergent) is the better film, over the very typically over-the-top effort by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, Inception) in The Prestige.  It’s the payoff of Now You See Me that doesn’t quite cut it, despite some fun theatrics along the way.

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Rowlf and Scooter

It’s been 34 years since The Muppet Show wrapped its now classic five season run back in 1976-1981, with its last episode guest starring Singing in the Rain actor Gene Kelly.  It seemed like everyone who was anyone was a guest on the show, from Vincent Price to Don Knotts, from George Burns, John Cleese and Steve Martin to Elton John, Julie Andrews, Debbie Harry, James Coburn, Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, Lynda Carter, Christopher Reeve, and even the cast of Star Wars.  The show won four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Grammy.

ABC just announced the full Muppets ensemble will return to Primetime Tuesday nights this Fall.  This time the show won’t be a variety show as the original with guest stars, but will follow a bit of the format from The Office TV series, a “contemporary, documentary style” and probably copy any other show they can spoof for a laugh.  It will have humans interspersed with the cast, as seen in the first trailer released in the past few hours by ABC.  The preview couldn’t be much better.

Fozzie and girlfriend

And the never aging Muppets look just like they did when we first met them: Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rowlf, The Electric Mayhem, Scooter, Sweetums, Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, Statler and Waldorf.  Without the requirements of a two-hour movie as we saw with the recent fun movies The Muppets and The Muppets Most Wanted, the series is going to delve into the private, personal lives of the Muppets.  We can’t wait!

Check out the preview:

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Green Arrow close up Sook Ryan

We’ve been pretty lucky to both know and regularly cross paths with some great artists who have worked on the many years of Green Arrow stories in the DC Comics monthly series, and others who haven’t worked on the character but created original sketches for us at conventions.  From time to time we have posted original artwork of Oliver Queen and his partner Dinah Lance aka Black Canary here at borg.com.  These include works by Freddie Williams II, Mike Grell, Neal Adams, Phil Hester and Ande Parks, Howard Chaykin, Michael Golden, Mike Norton, Cliff Chiang, J.K. WoodwardJock, and Phil Noto, among others.

We don’t know Ryan Sook personally, but he is one of our favorite cover artists.  He created our favorite cover of 2012, the cover to Mystery in Space #1, shown here.  The awesome sci-fi steampunk girl on the cover just demands her own comic book series.  We ran down some of his best cover work here last summer.

When we had the chance to commission a pencil and ink piece from him for our Green Arrow and Black Canary gallery, we couldn’t pass it up.  The result is simply awesome.

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Star Wars Artists Edition cover

Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and long before we had any guess about what might happen in the prequel trilogy, George Lucas, for good or bad, retooled all three episodes of the Star Wars trilogy into the Star Wars Special Edition theatrical release.  Between January and March 1997 the world got to “see the movies again for the first time” and was reminded where the word blockbuster actually came from.  Now Marvel Comics is following suit with its own look back to original Star Wars source material.

Marvel Comics is releasing two new versions of Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin’s original six-issue adaptation of the original Star Wars.  This is the classic adaptation that saw its first chapter, Issue #1, released before the movie hit theaters.

The first volume is being released today: Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.  The OGN is for “oversized graphic novel” but the value in this book is the restoration, George Lucas style, of Howard Chaykin’s original artwork via a replacement of Marie Severin’s original 1970s colors with Chris Sotomayor’s update of the six-issue movie adaptation into a more modern color scheme.  Adi Granov supplies the new cover art for this edition.  Marvel said it will soon release similar editions of its adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Check out a preview of the new look at a classic movie adaptation below.

Star Wars OGN cover

IDW Publishing and Marvel Comics announced this week a second treatment of the same Star Wars comic book adaptation.  The Star Wars Artist’s Edition will be consistent with past IDW “artist’s edition” offerings, showcasing the original comic book pencil and ink art behind the series in high quality color reprints of the original, giant-sized page format that the artists sketched the artwork.

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Episode VII Snowtroopers 2015

You probably heard it all day yesterday: May the Fourth be with you.

But this year’s annual Star Wars observance meant a whole lot more in light of the next Star Wars installment coming our way in December.  We saw some new images of several new characters, some with actors we’d heard of, others as strange as those from the original Mos Eisley cantina.  All thanks to Vanity Fair magazine.

The biggest news was that the slick new chrome-armored stormtrooper from the second Star Wars VII trailer (seen here) is played by Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie–yes, women can serve the Empire–and she’s apparently hunting down a certain AWOL trooper played by Attack the Block’s John Boyega.  We’re predicting that even with a very 1930s action serial/”something George Lucas would come up with” name, this new villain, called “Captain Phasma,” could be getting primed by toymakers to be one of the highest-selling action figures of 2016.

Vanity Fair Star Wars Episode 1 Vanity Fair Episode III Star Wars Vanity Fair Star Wars

If this seems a bit familiar it may be because Vanity Fair has previously featured fans’ first looks at the last entries in the Star Wars saga, also with Annie Leibovitz photo shoots.  For those new to Annie Leibovitz, she’s one of the best known photographers of the past 40 years, with many famous shots of rock stars.

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Something different

Gracie cosplay champ

When I first started borg.com in June 2011, I wrote it in my basement on Saturdays, trying to prepare concept articles as much in advance as possible.  At the time I planned on writing weekly, but the first day then became seven days which became a month and it kept on going until I wrote something at least every day for the next 1,421 days.  In the background was the TV set, playing things that wouldn’t distract me like major league baseball, Lawrence Welk reruns and Antiques Roadshow, and even lame cable shows like reruns of My Fair Brady (yikes).  And beside me every day was Gracie.

Gracie had her own couch, and sometimes preferred lying beside me on the floor near my chair.  Sometimes I would give up on writing and move over and fall asleep next to her on her couch.  Gracie had the bubbliest, vibrant soul and fun-loving spirit of anyone I ever met, human or otherwise.  She coined the term “pie-eating grin”  after I left a cherry pie on the counter on Thanksgiving that she very delicately and completely hollowed out with her tongue.

Pigeon the Magnificent

I don’t watch dog movies or read dog stories because they all end bad.  The dogs always die.  Dogs don’t live as long as humans and the only thing that can be said, to quote a great philosopher, is: It sucks.  But Gracie’s life was awesome and she inspired others.  About a year and a half after I started borg.com she got pneumonia, and fought her way back.  Then she got diagnosed with lymphoma.  What I feared was a death sentence ended up as a “life” sentence.  Unlike with humans, chemotherapy with dogs does not typically produce the side effects humans encounter.  Gracie made it through two rounds of chemo in more than two years and made it halfway through a third round.  And she passed away Friday a little more than a day shy of her fourteenth birthday.  That’s age 98 if you believe in that “dog years” stuff.

If anyone ever says “oh, I would never put my dog through that” either knock them upside the head for me or send them my way.

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Jaguar Bautista James Bond SPECTRE

If you like cool cars (and who doesn’t?) and you like ogling the latest and greatest high-end, high-performance cars, then you need look no further than the latest James Bond movie.  Bond will be back this November in SPECTRE where he takes on the latest villain, Mr. Hinx, played by Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista.  The production recently closed down the streets of Rome for the next Bond high-octane car chase, this time pitting Bautista against Daniel Craig’s Bond in two unreleased cars.

First is Bautista in this sleek, jaw-dropping Jaguar C-X75.  Then Craig, of course, has his Aston Martin, this time the new DB10. And they apparently made plenty for filming action scenes in the new entry in the Bond franchise.

Aston Martin from SPECTRE

A new featurette just released by MGM shows some behind the scenes images and interviews with cast and crew.  Check it out, after the break:

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He-Man print in limited edition of The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Review by C.J. Bunce

Next month Dark Horse Comics releases a must-read for fans of He-Man, She-Ra “Princess of Power,” and the Masters of the Universe world of toys, animated series, magazines, chapter books, posters, comic strips, and comic books.  The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover includes more than 300 pages full-color art, a portfolio featuring an exclusive print by Gerald Parel, a foil-embossed cover, and a die-cut two-piece Castle Greyskull slipcase.  A standard edition of the book will also be available.  Many well-known creators worked with these characters since its inception in the early 1980s, including Ralph McQuarrie, Drew Struzan, Dick Giordano, J. Michael Straczynski, George Tuska, Klaus Janson, Boris Vallejo, Tony Moore, Darwyn Cooke, Geoff Johns, and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Designers from every stage of the creation of He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, and the large cast of sword and sorcery heroes and villains, offer insight into character development, decision-making, and the impact on 1980s kids.  The best feature is the inclusion of hundred of pieces of full-color art, concept artwork, page layouts, sketches, storyboards, packaging art, prototypes, never before seen and unused imagery, advertising art, original comic art, and final comic book pages, covers, and animation cels.  It features restored art from master illustrator Earl Norem, as well as interviews with Dolph Lundgren, who played He-Man in the 1987 movie, director Gary Goddard, well-known TV producer/comic book writer Paul Dini, and voice actress Erika Scheimer, among many others.  Captions for photos were written by comic book creators Tim Seeley and Steve Seeley.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover slipcase edition

Particularly of interest to toy collectors are the original notes from the development stage of the toy line at Mattel.  Mattel, which had passed on the ground-breaking Star Wars action figure line, developed He-Man as a direct competitor to that toy line.  Mattel drove the look of the characters–this was first and foremost a toy line, inspired in part by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta.  But it grew beyond that.  Artists and writers and other creators remark with pride about the focus on the stories that went beyond the toy line.

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Absolute Green Arrow cover art

Review by C.J. Bunce

Oliver Queen was dead, to begin with.

The average superhero fan today probably wouldn’t know Oliver Queen today but for three events: (1) the modernization of the character by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams in the 1970s, (2) his update to urban longbow hunter by writer/artist Mike Grell in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and (3) the literal resurrection of Oliver Queen in the early 2000s by the partnership of writer Kevin Smith, penciller Phil Hester and inker Ande Parks.  No TV series would have arrived without the survival of the character thanks to these stories–reprinted and available in a deluxe hardcover for the O’Neil/Adams stories here, and in paperback reprinted only recently for Mike Grell’s stories here, here, and here.  In light of Green Arrow/Arrow’s popularity today being greater than ever before in his 73 year history, it’s only fitting that DC Comics is releasing the third great chapter in the character’s history with Absolute Green Arrow this month.

Absolute Green Arrow, available here from Amazon.com, reprints Issues #1-15 of Green Arrow, Volume 3, in a matte black with gloss hardcover with slipcase  in a sharp, over-sized, 9.6 inch X 15 inch format.  It includes all of Matt Wagner’s stylish painted covers, previously released introduction by Smith and afterword by Hester, and original artwork in an appendix by Hester.  If you ever wonder how much work the inker must conquer, just take a look at Hester’s pencil work and you’ll have a great appreciation for Parks’ inks.

Green Arrow Hester Smith Parks original Batman art

Hester and Parks did shading and shadows like nobody else. Original art seen in full color as published in Absolute Green Arrow.

The first ten chapters form the “Quiver” story arc, and the last five the “Sounds of Violence” arc.  This is the entire run of Kevin Smith’s stories for Green Arrow.  Phil Hester took over writing and artistic duties for the next several issues with even better stories than found in these early chapters.  But these Smith stories present a Green Arrow in a way a bit like Frank Miller played with Batman’s mythology in The Dark Knight Returns.  Smith’s Green Arrow is not as innovative as the seminal Miller work, but it’s plenty fun, and each new chapter feels like Smith saw this opportunity to play with DC Universe characters like a kid in a toy store.  You’ll encounter the Justice League, memorable encounters with Aquaman and Hawkman, and even a quirky adventure featuring Stanley and his Monster.  Former sidekicks Roy Harper and Connor Hawke are here, too, but most importantly Oliver Queen rebuilds his relationship with long-time love interest Dinah Lance aka Black Canary.  Difficult to come back from after being presumed dead.

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