Archive for December, 2020


 

Review by C.J. Bunce

Just the image of a deep sea diver in a copper and brass helmet and lead boots conjures legends and lore of 19th century explorers, mysteries yet unsolved and shipwrecks and lost gold treasure.  A four-issue comic book series from IDW Publishing titled Sea of Sorrows introduces readers to a crew of a salvage ship after the first World War.  They are searching for a lost U-boat said to have gone down with enough gold to reward the crew several times over.  It should be a simple errand, until a diver thinks he sees a woman swimming at the bottom of the sea.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Is there a better way you can think of for New Year’s Eve than spend it with Nick and Nora Charles and their spunky dog Asta?  If you haven’t met them yet, read on, or just check out the TCM marathon tomorrow featuring Dashiell Hammett’s iconic trio as played by William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Skippy.  Find the amiable, put-upon, imbibing hilarity and forced sleuthing–and much more–with 1934’s “Pre-Code” movie The Thin Man, followed by After the Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), and Song of the Thin Man (1947), beginning tomorrow morning at 8:15 a.m. Central on TCM tomorrow all day–appropriately on New Year’s Eve.

But where did it all begin?  In Hammett’s 1934 novel The Thin Man.

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Today by way of a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum and IDW Publishing, a new coloring book arrives in comic shops and online stores celebrating the history of flight.  Airplanes:  A Smithsonian Coloring Book, is the second of four announced coloring books that combine historical artifacts, current artists, and staffs of various Smithsonian museums to provide a virtual tour of museums while sharing the knowledge of what made the subjects an important part of science, nature, and technology.  The airplanes coloring book joins the previously released Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book, in the series, and no matter your interests, you’re sure to find something that grabs you as two more volumes arrive in 2021: Birds: A Smithsonian Coloring Book and Spacecraft: A Smithsonian Coloring Book.  Each page of these books is accompanied by informative insights from the museum’s experts about each dinosaur, aircraft, bird, or spacecraft, tying them all together as fun learning tools. The series’ deluxe ivory paper allows for a variety of artistic media like pen, pencil, or even watercolor.

Take a look inside a few of these books below, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

After delivering a dozen Star Trek books, fiction and non-fiction, authors Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are back in the franchise, this time covering the entire first two seasons of CBS All Access’s Star Trek: Discovery in their new book The Art of Star Trek: Discovery.  This is the latest concept art and film production book in a franchise of some of the best printed TV and film retrospectives.  Star Trek: Discovery, which led the newest chapter in the television Star Trek Universe (followed by Short Treks, Picard and Lower Decks), follows the exploits of Vulcan-raised science officer Michael Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery as they boldly go where no one has gone before.  This book covers every corner of the series in an attractive hardcover full of great photographs.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the hour-long second “season” of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian–Making of Season 2, executive producer/director Jon Favreau says he hoped to bring all the kinds of Star Wars fans together for a special moment, and he seems to have done that in this year’s superb second season of The Mandalorian, although it’s difficult to compare Disney Gallery‘s eight-episode first season of behind the scenes glimpses to the single, albeit packed, episode fans got from Disney+ this year, released on Christmas Day.  As far as making all the groups of fans happy, expect that fans of the last episode’s special climactic scene won’t get to see a “making of” feature on that component yet.

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Review by C.J. Bunce 

If you received a gift card to a bookstore for Christmas, here’s one way to use it.  Taking eight of the best-loved episodes of the original Star Trek series, cartoonist Glenn Dakin is back, providing the best of Treksperts the ultimate trivia test.  Part of the Nerd Search series, the hardcover Star Trek: Quibbles with Tribbles will challenge all you think you know about Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, and Chekov.  A “Where’s Waldo?” requiring you know the details and titles of the three seasons of the series, it’s loads of fun for Trekkers and Trekkies everywhere.  Don’t overlook this book because of its colorful comics illustrations.  This book will challenge even those who worked on the series, as well as the biggest fans you know.

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Merry Christmas!

If The Muppet Christmas Carol (reviewed five years ago here at borg), is a favorite for your family as it is for many, you may have a new item for your wish list.  What many consider the most spirited and faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on film is also available in a storybook edition.  Adapted by Brooke Vitale with illustrations by Luke Flowers, The Muppet Christmas Carol: The Illustrated Holiday Classic features an abridged version of the movie in a large, full-color hardcover edition for kids of all ages.

Check out a look inside the book courtesy of Insight Kids:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Two episodes in, and you’ll probably get drawn into at least three of the characters in the story.  Four episodes in, you’re thinking about who is going to to make it to the second season and how quick they can get that filmed and released.  Directed by Shinsuke Sato, Haro Aso’s popular manga series comes alive in Alice in Borderland, the live-action dystopian, Japanese noir-meets-steampunk thrill ride streaming now on Netflix.  Doomsday, Tokyo-style, is surprisingly violent, surprisingly thought-provoking, as a city finds itself mostly vacated (as in The Quiet Earth and 28 Days Later) and the remaining citizens must fight for their lives The Running Man-style or they’ll get zapped and killed The War of the Worlds-style.  Clever casting of characters introduces looks of action heroes from all sorts of Japanese video games, manga, and anime, all living (many briefly) in a world loosely pulled from Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland.  A gamer-themed series on the heels of the popular Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, the result is a very different story allowing the audience to try to solve clues along with the players on the screen–what I was hoping for when I first heard about the book Ready Player One.

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Do you have some sci-fi fans you can never seem to find the right gift for?

Is binge-watching all the Star Trek series not enough to get you through the end of 2020?   Then you might want to try Mr. Spock’s Little Book of Mindfulness, a friendly guide to achieving a more blissful state in the style of books like The Tao of PoohCartoonist Glenn Dakin takes you to the planet Vulcan and back again with some thought-provoking ways to re-direct your thinking.

For those who watch Star Trek and don’t think the philosophical leanings of Mr. Spock can help (and you frequent the local pub), Glenn Dakin has more Star Trek themed artwork coming in Star Trek Cocktails: A Stellar Compendium, featuring an assortment of cocktail recipes with a Star Trek theme and flavor.  Surviving in Starfleet is hard.  Do you notice all the alcohol references in the Star Trek series and movies?  You will after a couple of rounds with Star Trek Cocktails.  

    

Check out a preview of each of these books, perfectly sized for stocking stuffers, courtesy of publisher Hero Collector:

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What inspired you this year to be a hero?

It’s been a heckuva year.  One of the major areas that got slighted because of the pandemic–because of job losses and attention to political and other matters–were donations to animal charities.  So we at borg are endorsing and hoping you’ll support all the worthy groups below that try to help those that can’t help themselves.  Please help give them a chance.

You don’t need superpowers to change the world.

You can change the world one dollar at a time.  And it may even help your own pocketbook if you make charitable contributions by the end of the month for your next tax filing.

So change the world.  Please support the following awesome organizations:

Wayside Waifs

Great Plains SPCA

Alley Cat Allies

Humane Society

ASPCA

Animal Rescue League

Bat Conservation International

American Anti-Vivisection Society

REGAP

Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary

Frankie’s Friends

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

Check out these great charities today and give if you can.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg