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Archive for July, 2013


Sharknado poster

“Sharks–I never saw that coming.”

Sharknado–the Syfy Channel’s latest entry in its ongoing run of monster mash-up disaster movies–just won’t let up.  If you’re on Twitter, you already know how Sharknado was THE hot topic the day of its premiere July 11, 2013, with real-time tweets from celebrities and every other TV watcher throughout the first airing.  Sharknado’s premiere earned 1.4 million viewers.  It’s first encore netted 1.9 million viewers on July 19.  This weekend, yet another re-broadcast resulted in the Syfy Channel breaking previous records for a re-broadcast with 2.1 million viewers.  And the sequel is already in production, with an expected release date next summer.

And this Friday night, Sharknado hits the big screen.  Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water, or, to walk about freely without fear of airborne sharks.  And tornados.

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These Are the Voyages TOS Season One

Review by C.J. Bunce

Literally hundreds of books and journal articles have been written on the three seasons of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek.  What more can be said about the making of this series?  After all, there is a well-maintained website chronicling seemingly all you would want to know about “the original series” called Memory Alpha.  Plus, nearly every major player involved with the creation of Star Trek has written a book on it, from Herb Solow and Robert Justman’s Inside Star Trek to William Shatner’s Star Trek Memories, Gross and Altman’s Captains’ Logs, to Stephen Whitfield’s The Making of Star Trek, Allan Asherman’s The Star Trek Compendium to the more recent entry Block and Erdmann’s Star Trek: The Original Series 365 But what writer/researcher Marc Cushman’s new These Are the Voyages – TOS: Season One does is pull information from all these sources plus resources like Starlog, Daily Variety, and TV Guide articles as well as delve into an archive of production work papers from the UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections never before tapped for such an exhaustive work on the series.  These Are the Voyages is a treatise on Trek, a comprehensive history of a crowning achievement in science fiction, but also a history of television itself in the 1960s.

These are the Voyages photo

These are the Voyages delves into each episode in a level of detail that has not been reached before.  For each episode the author gives a brief picture of where the U.S. stood via pop songs on the radio and national events.  Cushman then introduces a plot summary and nicely extracts the critical theme of each episode—separating Star Trek from frivolous weekly episodes of competing series with each episode’s focus on some weighty issue for mankind.  Pulling margin notes, memos, and script drafts together with interviews, both old and new, Cushman recreates the making of each episode from a production standpoint and–even more illuminating—he recreates the development of each story into the final script.  Who was responsible for the romance between Edith Keener and Captain Kirk in City on the Edge of Forever?  (Not Harlan Ellison).  When did Gene Roddenberry’s rewrites contribute to or take away from the story writers’ original vision?  What would NBC let the production get away with (like William Ware Theiss’s many actress costumes) and what did they censor (such as how brutally red-shirts could be offed)?   Why did Romulans wear helmets in Balance of Terror?  How much of those famous introductory words to each episode were actually penned by Gene Roddenberry, and how many takes did William Shatner need to get it right?

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Liberator 2 cover

If independent comic book publishing should be about anything, it is the ability to tell stories that aren’t being told anyplace else.  Of course there is no real reason why the big publishers stay away from tough topics, but the fact is they do.  Black Mask Studio’s new series is something different.  If you haven’t yet added Matt Miner’s Liberator to your pull list, with issue #2 arriving at comic book stores this Wednesday you still have time to catch up with this four-part series.

Since Liberator–at least this first limited series–has only four issues to get its story out, it probably should be no surprise that its main vigilante character finds himself partnering with another vigilante saving animals to fulfill his mission in Issue #2.

As with Issue #1, reviewed here at borg.com previously, writer Matt Miner kicks convention aside and opts to tell a story that needs to be told, of secrets kept covered up by mainstream manufacturers, but realities nonetheless.  Miner’s decisive story puts his characters in the their own worst nightmare by the end of the mid-point of his tale.

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Independents Day 2013

The first ever Independents Day was a big success Saturday at Elite Comics in Overland Park, Kansas.  Hundreds of comic books fans turned out, and you could find Seth PeckTerry Beatty, Darryl Woods, Nathen Reinke, Bryan Fyffe, Stephen Smith, and several other writers and artists on-hand for the day-long event.

It was a Day of the Daleks, with both the awesome cyborg Red Dalek, a costume and movable robot attempting to exterminate visitors:

Red Dalek

and this static Dalek, shown here taking on Indy-pendents Day’s Indiana Jones:

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concrete_large

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

A friend asked me a question the other day that dovetailed nicely with my latest TPB, Concrete Volume 1: “Depths” by Paul Chadwick.  He asked me a simple, yet personal and revealing question, “What is your ideal job?”

Before I get to this question, as I wanted to move on quite quickly in my writing about it, I need to explain how the question connects with “Depths.”  In this opening trade paperback, Chadwick slowly reveals the origin of his hero, Concrete.  Aliens capture speechwriter Ronald Lithgow and transplant all of his memories into a large, agile, powerful, hardened stone body that does not need the air, water and food that his human body needed.  In this body, he can’t be the speechwriter that he trained to be, but the world opens up to him in a different way.  Suddenly he can be the adventurer of the serials, novels and non-fiction he read as a child, stories where heroes save the day everywhere from the far corners of the Earth to far away planets and galaxies.  He decides to change the course of his life and become his version of those adventurers, digging below ground to save miners, trying to swim the Atlantic Ocean, serving as a bodyguard for a rock star and studying giant rays in the Pacific.

Concrete by Paul Chadwick 1 - Depths

As for my friend’s question, I didn’t have the immediate answer that Concrete had.  (Well immediate to the reader, as I kept turning page after page to find out what happened next, and though his time passed slowly going through government tests of his abilities, for me, it was just moments.)  I had to stop and think and because of the kind of person I am (varied and detailed) I did not stop at one, but journeyed into my brain to get four different possibilities, each of which would be a good way to spend the work day.  That got me to think even further and wonder if concern about the ideal job is even the right question.

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Mars and Logan

San Diego Comic-Con goers got to see a sneak peek at the first view of the unprecedented, Kickstarter-generated, 91,000+ fan-supported Veronica Mars movie last weekend.  Even more cast members than you would imagine are back for this reunion movie, including of course Kristen Bell as Veronica, but also Jason Dohring as Logan, Tina Majorino as Mac, Percy Daggs III as Wallace, Ryan Hansen as Dick, Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars, Krysten Ritter as Gia, Chris Lowell as Piz, Sam Huntington as Luke D’Amato, Francis Capra as Weevil, Ken Marino as Vinnie Van Lowe, Brandon Hillock as Deputy Sacks, and Duane Daniels as Principal Clemmons.

Check out the sneak peek of Veronica Mars, the Movie:

And until this gets pulled down from YouTube, you can watch the full SDCC 2013 Veronica Mars panel here:

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Independents Day 2013

So ya gotta ask yourself this question:  This Saturday, does your local comic book store have an Independents Day?  Well?  Does it?

This Saturday, July 27, 2013, Elite Comics, the Kansas City metro’s best comic book store, is hosting the first annual Independents Day.  Already comic book stores across the country are planning to follow suit next year.  Why?  Because it’s about focusing on local creators.  It’s about taking a look away from the big name creators and seeing what else exciting is out there from up and coming writers and artists.

Meet Creators

Oh, yeah, it’s also about Elite Comics expanding into the space of two other businesses to unload a warehouse sale of new and old comics, toys, busts, wall art, and everything in between.  And in another room JP will be leading up some board and card games.  And look for about 30 artists to be on hand with their art, much for sale.

And one more thing.

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Vikings prequel comic book SDCC 2013 exclusive

The History Channel pulled out all the stops at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend for its Vikings series.  If you didn’t catch the first season of Vikings, which we previewed earlier this year here at borg.com, you missed out on a series that rivaled Game of Thrones.  Vikings publicity was all over Comic-Con and we even landed great swag–this exclusive SDCC 2013 comic book prequel for the series, just begging to be made into a monthly series.  Vikings writer and creator Michael Hirst (who also wrote the comic story) was on-hand along with book artists Dennis Calero and Anthony Spay for signings.

You could also land a set of four exclusive lenticular trading cards at the Vikings events:

Vikings SDCC cards  Vikings SDCC trading cards Continue reading

Line early

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

I’m not sure anyone likes to wait in lines.  When you wait in line at a restaurant it just means more time to get hungry and cranky.  When you wait in line to check-in at your hotel, it means more time holding your backpack or moving your luggage along beside you before you can deposit it on the floor of your room.  When you wait in line at the DMV, the post office or any government agency, you can really start to hate all government and think Ron Paul is amazing.  When you have only two minutes to make your movie and the line in front of you is full of teens not sure of what movie they want to watch, you might consider less strict rules on 48th trimester abortions.  I’m not going to say that waiting in line at Comic-Con is awesome, but I tend to get a lot less impatient in the realm of the Convention Center of San Diego during one weekend in July.

There are a couple of reasons why.  First, as a multiple attendee of Comic-Con, it has slowly dawned on me that there are thousands of people with the same interests as me that all crave the same scoops, information and presence of the creators.  Second, once I realized there are at least one hundred thousand people crowded onto sidewalks in a 30-block area, I thought that moving quickly in any direction is a lost cause.  Third, most everyone at Comic-Con is pretty damn cool, well “cool” in a wonderful nerdy way.

However, Hall H is a completely different breed of line.  It is Godzilla to the DMV’s Western Skink.  It is King Kong to your hotel’s Pygmy Marmoset.  It is the monster truck Bigfoot to your grocery store’s matchbox car.  Still, it’s Comic-Con, so even though it is the worst of the lines, it’s still pretty ok.

Line earlier

6,130 people can fit in Hall H.  (The next biggest space, Ballroom 20, can host 4,250 and the adventures in that line can be very similar.)  To give you an idea of what it is like to wait in line for a panel in Hall H, I’m going to construct a timeline from my memories and texts to describe and to possibly prepare you for years to come at Comic-Con.  Most times are approximate, though the first is spot on because it burned in my memory as the thought, “What the hell am I doing?” seared it in my mind.  Some events are fictional and others are exaggerated to improve your reading pleasure on the subject of lines.  I won’t tell you which ones.

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Tudyk and Fillion Nerd HQ 2013

Well that’s it!  San Diego Comic-Con International wound down today.  Our roving reporter, borg.com writer Jason McClain saw some great Hall H panels.  And Nerd HQ finished up four days of great in-person panels, continuing its series today at San Diego’s Petco Park.  Below are the four final panels of the weekend.

(Note that you may want to skip ahead a few minutes on each video to get to the beginning of the panel).

First was Tom Hiddleston, best known as Loki in Thor and The Avengers:

Next were two panels featuring Firefly stars Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk.  here is the first panel:

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