Category: Backstage Pass


Review by C.J. Bunce

TV historian and Star Trek expert Marc Cushman is back to continue his second trilogy of books about the development, production, and struggles behind the first two decades of Star Trek.  In These Are the Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970s, Volume 2 (1975-77), at last we get to delve into the biggest Star Trek project never delivered: The 1970s Star Trek: Phase II series that would be parted out and become Star Trek: The Motion Picture and later Star Trek: The Next Generation.  And that’s not all–ideas and early scripts for Phase II continue to be tapped in the 21st century Star Trek series and films.  Even better, Cushman digs into the ever-developing Star Trek novels, conventions, and more, which became the practice grounds for the wider, broad world of pop culture fandom as a whole.  How did Star Trek finally movie forward from the original series to become what it is today?  How did the fans play a major role in making that happen?   Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Forty years of Alien It’s worth celebrating.  Ridley Scott blended science fiction and horror in a way never seen before, and it’s in large part due to the uniquely dark imagination of H.R. Giger, who we’ve discussed for years here at borg.  Plus he gave us one of sci-fi’s greatest heroines (in Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley) and cats (in the ginger crewmember Jonesy).  We’ve taken a look at multi-artist tribute concept books before at borg, including the massive The Thing Artbook, Star Trek: 50 Artists/50 Years, and The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute books.  Anytime we showcase a major benchmark in comic book titles, like Detective Comics 1000th issue, Wonder Woman’s 750th issue, and The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #800, or charity projects like the Wonder Woman 100 showcase, we’re seeing the same thing: a variety of artists interpreting an icon of popular culture.  In Alien: 40 Years/40 Artists, we’re seeing another artist challenge, and the result is among the best of the bunch.  The new tribute arrives at bookstores tomorrow, so you have one more day to pre-order it at a discount here at Amazon.

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Titan Books has released the first images of the next Star Trek book, and fans of the franchise will want to check it out.  It’s The Art of Star Trek: Discovery, Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann’s latest look inside the extensive Star Trek universe.  Star Trek: Discovery, the newest chapter in the Star Trek Universe, 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.  You can now pre-order the book here at Amazon, and we have a preview of The Art of Star Trek: Discovery for borg readers below.

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Nathan Fillion–with a moustache?  One of the more interesting panels from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and one certainly not to miss for Browncoats everywhere is a panel devoted exclusively to the star of Firefly, Castle, and The Rookie.  It’s definitely one of those atypical panels (even for 2020) like we saw Fillion host back in the days of Nerd HQ, this time with added wacky editing and Fillion stepping in to provide commentary along the way.  That’s right, Fillion has enough pop culture street cred to get a panel to himself.  But he also knows how to share the stage.

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Was it really only two years ago that we were meeting the cast and crew of The Orville at their first appearance at San Diego Comic-Con?  Take a look back here at borg if you missed it (director/executive producer Jon Cassar and producer/editor Tom Costantino gave us some cool swag and let us take photos with props from the series and we chatted with the cast wearing our custom-made The Orville uniforms).  This year you won’t want to miss a few features for The Orville at SDCC 2020/Comic-Con@Home, including the reveal of new The Orville Starship Collection of miniature ships from Eaglemoss and some great behind-the-scenes images.

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In-person cancellations have not kept every event this summer from canceling entirely.  One of those is typically one of the summer’s biggest events, San Diego Comic-Con.  Events for SDCC 2020 are proceeding ahead beginning Wednesday, but this time providing an opportunity for fans of all things pop culture a chance to sit through the kinds of panels you might see were you to attend in person in any regular year–without standing overnight in lines.  You can even grab a lanyard off the rack, print your own badge (for you and your pets), cosplay with your family, and load the panels up on as big of a screen as you have.  It’s 350 panels over five days, beginning Wednesday, July 22, and wrapping up Sunday, July 26.  Check out all our suggestions for building your own fun convention week experience below.

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National convention organizer Wizard World will be hosting key cast members from across the 56+ years run of the BBC’s Doctor Who today as part of its Wizard World Virtual Experiences tour taking place through the summer.  From the 7th Doctor and his Companion, to a memorable sort-of Doctor, to the head of Torchwood, to members of the Paternoster Gang, and notables William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill and more–fans can see them all free on a live-streamed panel and/or check out individual opportunities for photographs and autographs for a fee.  It all happens today, June 17, 2020, online at noon Central Time.

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Many a comic book reader was sucked into superhero comics, or any comics, by the compelling stories of one writer: Dennis “Denny” O’Neil, who passed away Thursday, June 11, fifty years after the publication of his most celebrated work.  O’Neil created some of the most admired tales of our favorite superheroes.  His stories ushered in an entirely new, modern era of comic books that historians refer to as the Bronze Age of comics (following on the heels of the Golden Age that introduced the first superhero books with Superman in 1938, followed by the Silver Age in 1956, which gave us new sci-fi and space fantasy stories by the likes of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee).  The Bronze Age began with the “Hard-Traveling Heroes” story arc (illustrated by Neal Adams) that forever re-defined Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow, and Dinah Lance’s Black Canary.  But it would be looked back on as much more than that.

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It was only a few months ago I reviewed Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks here at borg, a film chronicling the challenges and rise of Chinese action movies, including a segment on the legendary martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee.  At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one of the Grand Jury Prize nominees was a documentary exclusively devoted to Lee, a film called Be Water, titled from the personal philosophy he shared with the world, “be formless, shapeless, like water… be water, my friend.”  A documentary that has received much advance praise and film festival kudos, director Bao Nguyen’s film will premiere to general audiences this Sunday as part of EPSN’s 30 for 30 series.

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