Archive for June, 2020


   

We were fans of the first volume of Dynamite Comics’ new look at James Bond’s backstory in Ian Fleming’s James Bond Origin, Volume 1, previewed here at borg.  This week the second volume of the story is scheduled to arrive in comic shops as a 148-page hardcover, and we have a preview for borg readers below.

It’s World War II.  A Norwegian supply ship carrying gold mysteriously sinks.  A Russian crew claims the Nazis are responsible.  And Royal Navy Lieutenant James Bond suspects foul play.

It’s a bit Raiders of the Lost Ark with a heavy Tom Clancy vibe.  And very loyal to Fleming’s character in the novels.

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If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  Except for this year with the beaches closed. But you can always sit back and catch up on the pages of Archie Comics via some new books arriving soon at a comic book store near you.  The high point from Archie this summer is this great homage cover to the Beach Boys’ Endless Summer #1 hit album from 1974 that rode the Billboard charts for 155 weeks, my own personal most-listened to album ever (you owe it to yourself to listen to this great compilation album of the band’s hits–check it out here at Amazon).  The homage cover was created by Jeff Shultz and Rosario “Tito” Peña after artist Keith McConnell′s original album cover (designed just after McConnell’s tour as Marine Corps artist in the Vietnam War and a while before he would return to war as an artist in Desert Storm).

Here is the original double vinyl cover:

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Such a large bounty for such a small package.

Topps has released the first trading card set in its more than 40-year run of Star Wars trading cards exclusively devoted to a single character.  And who would that be?  Everyone’s favorite Yoda mini-me lookalike, The Child, who the world has branded Baby Yoda.  Unlike many of the Star Wars series Topps has created over the years, this will be easy for everyone to get the complete base set, as it sells in a single box.  The Mandalorian: Journey of the Child Trading Cards follows the adventures of The Child as viewers of the Disney+ TV series (and anyone with the Internet) saw, but now you’ll have the best key framed images from season one.  You can pick up the set now for about $11 here at Amazon. 

A man of your skill should make short work of this.

Plus, there are variant cards for collectors outside the base set, for those wanting to go on the hunt.  These are the cards you are looking for:

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The sky is falling!

Before 2020 if you were pondering the form of a coming apocalypse, odds are it would look something more like the trailer for Greenland than wearing a mask and staying at home.  Thanks to Hollywood the next big-budget, CGI spectacle that may or may not make it to movie theater screens taps into the disaster genre yet again.  A stuntman-turned writer-director of movies like Angel Has Fallen, Ric Roman Waugh directs Greenland, which will not only have you asking “why that title for this movie?” but why do we keep returning to the disaster movie altogether.  It stars recent go-to disaster thriller guy Gerard Butler, whose secret service agent character has headlined three movies in the “Fallen” series, plus there are a few other favorite actors of genre TV and film involved.  Check out the first trailer for Greenland below.

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Gentle Giant leads the way again with the next exclusive for the at-home edition of San Diego Comic-Con 2020 (since the actual event cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).  It’s the first ever release of The Muppets’ Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem in action figure form reunited on stage (cardboard) in The Muppets–Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem Deluxe Box Set 2020 SDCC Exclusive.  You get Dr. Teeth on piano, Floyd Pepper on bass, Janice on guitar, Zoot on sax, and Animal on drums in deluxe show-stage packaging, a three-tiered window box with a protective fifth-panel door.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Walter Koenig may be best known as the youngest crewman on the original Star Trek, and he’s recounted his work and life during after the series and movies in his earlier memoirs Chekov’s Enterprise and Warped Factors: A Neurotic’s Guide to the Universe.  But there’s much more to this complex personality, and he shares his personal stories and his experience as an actor of stage and screen in New York and Hollywood in his new and updated autobiography, Beaming Up and Getting Off.  This is a continuation of Koenig’s Warp Factors, which covered his life only up to 1998, but the actor has updated his memoirs at age 83 with nearly 100 new pages looking back at a struggling actor making his way, including a filmography and a proposed but rejected story outline he submitted in 1990 for Star Trek VI.

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In advance of a two-part set of movies starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem targeted to come to theaters beginning this December from director Denis Villeneuve, a new three-book graphic novel series is heading your way this Fall from Abrams Books.  Frank Herbert’s Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book One is now available for pre-order here at Amazon.    

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If there is a better writer of pulp crime fiction in the long history of the genre than Erle Stanley Gardner, I don’t know who it is.  Yes, Mickey Spillane and Donald E. Westlake are in the running, too, but even if you push aside Gardner’s more than 60 novels featuring Perry Mason, you’re going to be challenged to find a better duo of detectives from the 1930s onward than Gardner’s Bertha Cool and Donald Lam.  Gardner wrote 29 novels published in his lifetime featuring the larger than life Bertha of the B. Cool Detective Agency and loyal and well-trod upon employee Lam, the narrator of the tales who lost his license to practice law and uses his smarts to keep money coming in to the agency.  Where the Hard Case Crime imprint is at its best is finding lost gems, and they have one in The Knife Slipped, written by Gardner and intended to be the duo’s second case, the publisher kicked it way back in 1939 because of Bertha’s brash, bombastic, and profane style.  Maybe that attitude just reflected the era of the day, but reading the novel now it’s clear Gardner was ahead of his time. 

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Following on the heels of 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle comes a prequel film, The King’s Man, and the second movie trailer has just arrived from 20th Century Fox (we previewed the first trailer here at borg last July).  Delayed for re-shoots and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the studio now has its sights set on a September premiere in theaters (we’re not holding our breath).  Stepping into an early Kingsman of the type perfected by Colin Firth is the actor who should have played a Bond (but ended up as another M), the BAFTA-winning, twice Academy Award-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes.  The young recruit that looks to mimic that series hero Eggsy played by Taron Egerton in the first two films this time goes to Harris Dickinson (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance).

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“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

It’s the theme to many a science fiction story, back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and revisited nearly 85 years later in H.G. Wells’ novel and cautionary tale, The Island of Dr. Moreau, creating one of science fiction’s most loathsome of villains.  Now 125 years later after Wells’ book, writer Ted Adams, artist Gabriel Rodriguez, and colorist Nelson Daniel have revisited the novel and adapted it into a graphic novel as H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, arriving this week from IDW Publishing in a hardcover edition.

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