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Category: Blasts from the Past


12 Monkeys Syfy

Terry Gilliam’s 1995 sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys is every bit a genre classic.  Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt–each in one of their best film performances–Willis plays James Cole, a time traveler from the future, Stowe plays Kathryn Railly, a psychologist in the past, and Pitt, in a supporting actor Oscar-nominated performance, as a mental patient who masterminds a terrorist group called the Army of the 12 Monkeys, and is the son of the wealthy Dr. Goines, played by Christopher Plummer.  So how about 12 Monkeys as a television series?

How would you approach it?  Use the same world but send another group of people back to try to “prevent the future” by trying again to pinpoint the source of a virus that will destroy everyone?  Or would you use the same characters?

Aaron Stanford star of 12 Monkeys

In the January 2015 TV series 12 Monkeys, James Cole will return, played this time by Aaron Stanford, who played X-Men mutant Pyro in the Marvel Comics movie series.  And this time Cassandra Railly (not Kathryn), played by Amanda Schull (Suits, Psych, Grimm) sends Cole back in time (is this Kathryn’s daughter?  Coles’ daughter?) to meet with… Cassandra, to try to change the future.  Character actor and guest actor of every other series on TV, Zeljko Ivanek (White Collar, Argo, House, M.D., Live Free or Die Hard, Lost, Bones, Homicide, Donnie Brasco, The X-Files, and Tex) will play a lead role as Leland, who is key to changing the future.  Kirk Acevedo (Grimm, Fringe, Walking Dead, Rise.. and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) plays a friend of Cole.

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Tom Petty radio

If you miss playing tunes in your classic 1970s cruiser, with push buttons and a good ol’ classic tuner or the contemporary deluxe home stereo radio like the one above, then it’s time to dim the lights, crank the volume on your PC and kick back for the next half hour.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are back, and Petty has waved his magic wand and transferred the magic of your car stereo to the Web and uploaded for your listening pleasure five new songs from his newest release Hypnotic Eye.  Yep, five tunes not yet released via a conventional album just for you, for free, courtesy of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.  What could be cooler than that?

And if you haven’t seen one of those contraptions before, click here to access Tom Petty’s radio, then turn on the radio by clicking the right knob.  Tune the radio with the left knob.

Hypnotic Eye album cover

You can listen to the entire tracks at the following frequencies:

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LifeWithArchie_36-0Hughes   LifeWithArchie_36-0Perez

Today Archie Comics finally does the unthinkable.  In its future series Life With Archie, Archie Andrews will die.  But he dies heroically, taking a bullet from a stalker to save the life of fellow Riverdale pal Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the Archie universe.  The freckle-faced kid known for his Happy Days lifestyle as the perpetual teenager–with pal Reggie and on-and-off girlfriend Betty for nearly 75 years in comic books–finally meets his end in Issue #36, the final issue of the series.

His death is accompanied by some of the best homage covers we’ve seen, from the likes of Adam Hughes, Francesco Francavilla, Mike Allred, Ramón Pérez, and Fiona Staples.

LifeWithArchie_36-0FF   LifeWithArchie_36-0FS

After the break check out a preview to Life With Archie Issue #36, and a preview of the ongoing series Archie Comics Digest, where Archie continues on.

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Mal and Inara Leaves on the Wind

In the Firefly universe tie-ins are few and far between.  Where other franchises may have had several novels by now, fans wanting more Firefly must turn to Dark Horse Comics, the publisher of the Firefly “expanded universe.”  With the very unlikely hope of more live-action shows, the new stories may very well be considered “canon” one day.  We previously reviewed here at borg.com each of the graphic novels featuring the crew of the Firefly class vessel Serenity,Those Left Behind (2006), Better Days (2008), and The Shepherd’s Tale (2010) featuring scripts by Joss Whedon himself, as well as writers Brett Mathews and Zack Whedon and artists Will Conrad and Chris Samnee.  All are good stories that should satisfy any fan’s need for more Firefly.

Writer Zack Whedon returned to Serenity this year after four years without a new Firefly tale, with his six-issue mini-series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind.  More so than the earlier comic book series, Whedon has captured the relationships of the characters in his story, which takes place after the events in the movie Serenity.

Zoe Leaves on the Wind

We meet up with the crew in hiding, with Zoe pregnant, Mal and Inara are finally a couple, as are Simon and Kaylee.  Jayne Cobb, still wearing his mom’s hat, is off doing his own thing, and River keeps company with Zoe.

Mal & Company are heroes to some, fugitives to others.  When a group wanting Mal to lead them solicits the help of Jayne with a bribe of gold, what can he do but help them?  From the opposite faction a bounty hunter is recruited, and we’re reintroduced to the vilest of original series villains, Jubal Early.  Nathan Fillion’s dialect and inflections for Mal are immediately realized by the reader due to Zack Whedon’s writing, as is the odd sentence construction of Jubal Early.  These characters form just the right bookends to convince you you’re back in a world with Firefly still playing weekly episodes.

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Masters Spike Into the Light TPB cover

The vampire William the Bloody or “Spike” as he became known on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of those characters in television history that could have fizzled depending on the casting of the role.  Spike could have been one of those characters killed off after a few episodes, but James Marsters’ unique voice for the character and his own take on the dark and brooding opposite David Boreanaz’s own dark and brooding character Angel was a standout that allowed him to survive all seven seasons of the series, and reprise the role on Angel.  Plus, Spike’s Brit-punk style was always just plain cool.

Dark Horse Comics signed Marsters to pen his own take on Spike and the result is Spike: Into the Light, a graphic novel to be released July 16, 2014.  With nicely rendered images of Marsters as Spike by artist Derlis Santacruz, inks by Andy Owens and colors by Dan Jackson, Spike fans will find Spike: Into the Light as a lost episode that never otherwise could have been–since no single episode told a solo story with no other cast members.  Marsters and Santacruz paint a trip through familiar lanscape during the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Marsters gives us a voice and story only he could provide, considering he spent more time than anyone literally in the boots of the character.  The problem?  Vampire Spike has a soul, and he’s trying to make good on it by being a good guy, despite the pull toward killing to get blood or to break into an old store where he once buried loot from a past heist.  Spike also wants a girlfriend, but can he keep from turning vampire long enough to get to know her?

Here’s a preview of Spike: Into the Light courtesy of Dark Horse Comics:

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Jaws movie poster

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE–On the Fourth of July weekend, you have to include a summer blockbuster in your planning, and there’s not much better you could ask for than a Fourth of July screening of Jaws, which features a small coastal town in the days leading up to the holiday back in 1975.  Thirty-nine years later and the entire film still stands strong, dated only by some clothing of the locals, which–let’s face it–could still be the fashion in beach communities up and down both coasts.  This weekend the Alamo Drafthouse offered up the opportunity to see Jaws on the big screen again or for the first time.  Unlike screenings of some other classic films at other theaters, this screening had what looked like an original reel of Jaws with flickers and pops.  In an age of widely available, digitally-re-mastered cuts of classic movies like Jaws, it was surprisingly fun to see the film just as audiences would have seen it in 1975.

I first saw Jaws at the S.E. 14th Street Drive-in theater in its initial summer run.  I was about the age of Scheider’s youngest son in the movie.  Knowing I would fall asleep in the back seat likely before the film started, my folks hadn’t figured I would actually manage to see the entire introduction.  Luckily the film was darkly lit and I didn’t know what I was watching.  I took away no memory of the film beyond dark images of a girl swimming.  My sister didn’t fare as well, and what made the film the blockbuster it was sunk in with her–that great white shark keeping us all out of the water–a summer when beaches across the country must have had lower attendances–and it certainly kept her away for a while.  Not having seen Jaws straight through in several years, but instead viewing it probably hundreds of times in bits and pieces over those intervening years, I couldn’t have been happier that it was as good as I remembered and even more engaging on the big screen.

Jaws crew

Take star Roy Scheider, for instance.  Today you might cast Eddie McClintock or Colin Ferguson for his role as everyman on his first gig as new chief of police in a new town.  Scheider has many funny lines to break the tension, beyond the many quotable lines.  His wife played by Lorraine Gary carries on as the supporter of her husband perfectly.  Richard Dreyfuss is, of course, Richard Dreyfuss, always holding back a laugh even in the most desperate of circumstances.  Jaws is without a doubt Dreyfuss’s best role–a great feat considering his many big roles over the decades (American Graffiti, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl, Always, The American President, R.E.D.).

But what is no surprise is the powerhouse performance by character actor Robert Shaw as Quint.  I think this was the first time I ever intended to order a drink or snack from the dine-in seating theater but was so transfixed, mostly due to Shaw, that I walked out having never ordered anything.  It’s not just the Indianapolis speech he is known so well for.  There’s also his introduction at the city council meeting.  His mouthiness when his boat is being loaded to go after the shark.  His taking the time to teach the chief how to tie knots on the boat.  Shaw, who died young resulting from problems with alcoholism, created the quintessential (pun intended) old salty sea captain in Jaws.  His performance is full of nuance.  Sure, he is part Captain Ahab, but he is so much more.

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Crush it like Quint

JAWS–It’s the reigning king of summer blockbusters–the movie that even prompted the term blockbuster throughout most of the U.S.A. in 1975 because of its crazy long theater lines.  It’s still a favorite of those lucky enough to see it in the theater that summer (drive-in, in my case), and absolutely re-watchable like no other film.  And that awesome cardboard shark standee display that stalked the halls of mall theaters everywhere.  The one that made you hide behind your mom.  Yeah, that one.  Steven Spielberg directing the toughest shoot of his career, special effects that had to be ditched, a stunning score by John Williams, Richard Dreyfuss at his dramatic funniest, Robert Shaw at his coolest.

The original blockbuster

Robert Shaw.  The actor from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Force 10 from Navarone, and From Russia With Love.  Then his most unforgettable role as the salty sailor Quint.  And that speech about the Indianapolis.  Moviemaking at it’s finest.  And Quint’s cool attitude as he crushes that beer can.  And Dreyfuss’s response.  Don’t remember the scene?  Check it out here:

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Jell-O pudding pops ad Bill Cosby

It’s summer.  It’s hot.  Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was hardly anything better than Jell-O pudding pops in the summer.  The first time I had one was at a vendor cart at Adventureland Park.  They only sold banana flavor and they were awesome and, because it was at an amusement park, fairly pricey.  I remember going back each year looking for these.  They sold them there for only a few years near the bumper car rides then they went away.  After their release as a specialty product you could buy them in grocery stores for years.

Then, like lots of awesome things from our youth, like Wacky Wafers, like Seven-Up bars, like the original chocolate and peanut butter Oompas, and like the original Marathon bars, they went away.  You’d think there would be a market for these treats of frozen goodness–their flavor was unique as frozen pops go.

You remember the Bill Cosby ads, right?  Like this one:

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Noto Sleepy Hollow

One independent comic book publisher drew our attention this week more than the others.  BOOM! Comics has two new comic issues out tomorrow for sequel stories to classic films–Big Trouble in Little China and RoboCop–and it made an announcement about a new series coming our way based on the television show Sleepy Hollow.  We’ve got previews of Big Trouble and RoboCop after the break and first images from Sleepy Hollow.

John Carpenter and BOOM! Comics’ Big Trouble in Little China monthly is so much fun you’ve got to be adding it to your pull list at your local comic book store.  Following the adventures of Jack Burton after the events of the original 1980s film, it’s a sequel that might as well be titled “The Sequel” with the same spirit, humor, and visuals as the original.  Big Trouble is co-written by the great John Carpenter with Eric Powell and art by Brian Churilla of (the awesome) The Secret History of D.B. Cooper fame.

BigTroubleLittleChina_02_coverA    Robocop_001_coverA

The other sequel-that-might-as-well-just-be-called-a-sequel is BOOM!’s new RoboCop series.  Written by Joshua Williamson with art by Carlos Magno, the new series is far different from other recent RoboCop monthlies including Frank Miller’s version, and will be a welcome relief for fans of the classic movie who couldn’t or wouldn’t check out the reboot.  That means look for plenty of the ugliest view of Detroit you’ve ever seen, lots of violence, crime, and over-the-top bullets flying.  Too bad all the big baddies were killed in the original movie as they’d feel right at home here.

Robocop_001_coverB    BigTroubleLittleChina_02_coverB

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Star Wars Storyboards The Original Trilogy book cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

A new collection of artwork upon which the original Star Wars trilogy was built will have fans who have seen the films hundreds of times delving back in again, this time to match memory to history.  Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy is the second archive of selected storyboards edited by J.W. Rinzler revealing the works of a variety of artists hand selected by George Lucas and his visual design team to share ideas about what the movies would become.  The first was Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy, released last year.

Rinzler, known for several books on Lucasfilm, including his work on The Making of the Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Frames, reviewed previously at borg.com, also partnered with artist Mike Mayhew and colorist Rain Beredo this year to write The Star Wars–an eight-issue mini-series based on Lucas’s original draft screenplay of Star Wars.  Now that fans can examine the original film Episode IV: A New Hope, The Star Wars, and Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy, they can have a complete view of what is, what was, and what might have been, for the Force, the characters, the Rebellion, and the Empire.

SW Storyboards excerpt 2

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