Advertisements

Category: Con Culture


You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.

In the beginning there was Georges Méliès’s 1902 space fantasy/science fiction film Le Voyage dans la Lune.  It would take another 65 years before we’d get a look at what a realistic outer space could look like in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but before that we’d get glimpses from film visionaries in the likes of Forbidden Planet, TV series like Lost in Space and Star Trek, and a final, old school vision of the future in the 1976 film Logan’s Run.  Each of these has its place in the history of science fiction, but none can compare to the epic storytelling, characters, and special effects–the surprise rollercoaster ride–we walked into on May 25, 1977, as the opening crawl passed over our heads to reveal an enormous spaceship and our first breaths in a world with this phenomenon called Star Wars. 

What would we be looking back on if not for the imagination and personal interests of George Lucas, the writer?  What if Lucas hadn’t grown up a fan of Flash Gordon, classic sci-fi movies, classic fantasy lore, and Akira Kurosawa films?  What would we be talking about in 2017 to escape the challenges of the real world if not the first images of an eighth follow-on film to Star Wars?  From Star Wars sprouted changes across cinema.  Cutting edge sound improvements thanks to THX.  Cutting edge visuals thanks to Industrial Light and Magic.  Mass marketed tie-ins of every sort throughout the creative arts as a new, multi-billion dollar, international industry.

Ten times.  My brother, my sister, my mom and dad, and me, first at the old Southridge III Theater.  We saw it ten times in the theater, and a few of those screenings we just sat through over and again all day on a Saturday, and then we saw it on the giant, wide screen downtown at the River Hills theater.  I missed the premiere and opening days, but my schoolmates at the end of my first year of school couldn’t stop talking about it.  My innate stubbornness and hesitation to join the crowd was already fixed: “But Star Wars is such a boring title!”  And then I saw it.  And everything changed.  Hardly a year would go by that I, or my parents, weren’t contributing to what would be Lucas’s $4 billion dollar empire, buying tie-ins we’d never even heard of before May 1977.  But what a fun ride he provided in return!

Continue reading

Advertisements

One thing missing from the latest round of Star Wars toys is the miniature catalogs that were included in playsets and vehicles back in the 1970s and 1980s.  These were not only features of Star Wars toys.  Other lines, such as LEGO brick sets, included similar booklets.  As a kid you either learned about the next round of Kenner toys from commercials tucked between Saturday morning cartoons or the big deal for all kids each year–the Sears and JC Penney Christmas catalogs.

Along with the inserts and catalogs, kids would learn about new toys from other sources, like advertisements in comic books, magazines, and even local newspapers.  It’s these advertisements that Star Wars fan and chronicler Philip Reed has collected for his next book about toys.  Now fully funded is his latest Kickstarter campaign, A Galaxy of Action Figure Savings–a companion to last year’s Collect These Figures and Accessories–a 96-page hardcover book loaded with more newspaper ads, toy photos, commercial screenshots, and images of related marketing materials.

We’ve read Reed’s eighth of now nine books on the history of toys, last year’s Collect These Figures and Accessories, an unofficial overview interspersed with trivia and close-up photos of marketing materials and the actual trilogy tie-in toys spanning 1977 to 1986.  It’s easy to spend hours gawking at these artifacts of the past again, comparing prices, and studying those items that may or may not have made it to store shelves.  But fair warning, comparing the costs of action figures to today’s prices is a bit depressing.

Continue reading

Excelsior!  Legendary comic book writer, editor, actor, producer and publisher Stan Lee will be making a special appearance at Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines tonight and Saturday, May 20.  The most iconic and well-known of all comic book legends and the spark that lit up the current heyday of comic books and comic book movies, Mr. Lee has done it all–the man behind Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and hundreds of other characters, he is a member of both the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.  This weekend he will greet fans, pose for photos, sign autographs, and conduct an interactive Q&A at the Iowa Events Center as Wizard World Comic Con celebrates its third year in Des Moines.

Mr. Lee will be joining fan-favorite genre actor John Cusack, another late addition to the headliners appearing at this year’s event.  Cusack’s impact on a generation of moviegoers can’t be overstated.  Most first saw him as a kid in Sixteen Candles and Stand By Me.  He became a household name in teen flicks like The Sure Thing, Better Off Dead…, and One Crazy Summer, but it was Say Anything… that made him a star as the lovable Lloyd Dobler, the boyfriend with the boom box.  His adult drama work resulted in many cult classics, like Eight Men Out, The Grifters, Grosse Pointe Blank, and Pushing Tin.  Films like Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, Clint Eastwood’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich, and Robert Altman’s The Player proved he was the real deal, and later films High Fidelity and Hot Tub Time Machine proved he’s willing to return to his roots as the everyman good guy that audiences love.

John Cusack and Charlie Sheen in the baseball film classic Eight Men Out.

This weekend Cusack joins a big pantheon of celebrities including Eight Men Out co-star Charlie Sheen, plus Dean Cain (Lois & Clark, Supergirl), James Marsters and Emma Caulfield (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th), Holly Marie Combs and Brian Krause (Charmed), Barry Bostwick (Spin City), Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), and more.

The convention will be held at the Iowa Events Center at 730 Third Street in Des Moines, beginning May 19, 2017, opening at 4 p.m. and continuing until 9 p.m., Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A full list of Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines programming is available here (subjects, guests, times and rooms subject to change).  For more on the event, visit the convention website here.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Hollywood captures hundreds of movies each year in its talk of the Summer Blockbuster, with as many films arriving at screens before summer actually begins as after.  With Guardians of the Galaxy 2 the 2017 “summer” blockbusters are already on their way.  This week 20th Century Fox revealed the first glimpse of Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, not only the star of the new reboot of The Mummy, but said to be the lynchpin behind all the new Universal Monster movies.  The new previews reveal a lot about this new monster flick.

The final movie trailers are now out for Alien: Covenant, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.  No doubt we’ll be seeing more trailers soon for other big movies hitting the theater this year like Transformers: The Last Knight, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Spider-man: Homecoming. 

Which movies are on your much-watch list?  For now, check out these latest trailers, as Hollywood wraps the final marketing push for this year’s first summer blockbusters: Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

More than 100 comic book artists came together over the past year to create what is one of the best joint art projects featuring superheroes that has come out of the industry.  And it’s all about the biggest superheroine of all.  Some of the best-known names in the world of comics volunteered an original work of art featuring Wonder Woman, penciled, inked, painted, or otherwise colored on a 75th Anniversary DC Comics Wonder Woman blank comic book cover.  It’s all for a good cause that gives back to, and in effect pays forward comic book creators that came before them.

It’s called the Wonder Woman 100 Project.  All proceeds of the auction of the original artwork will go to the Hero Initiative, an organization that helps out the comic book industry by contributing funds to individuals and their families in the event of medical and financial crises.  Most of the comic creators the fund helps were piecemeal workers in their careers over the past decades or those without any kind of retirement program.

    

And for those who can’t afford the original artwork, the Hero Initiative is creating a hardcover and softcover edition compiling all the covers that will be for sale in June 2017, with proceeds of those books also going to the Hero Initiative.

You’ll see some of the very best Wonder Woman images you’ll ever find.  Many are from well-known artists, but some of the finest works are showcased by more recent artists entering the industry.

Continue reading

Pop culture fans will find there is something for everyone at this year’s Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines.  At its first appearance in Des Moines in 2015, Wizard World featured Central Iowa native son, Superman actor Brandon Routh.  This year the convention is bringing another Superman to town, Lois and Clark star Dean Cain.  Cain will join actors Charlie Sheen, James Marsters, Marina Sirtis, and a host of other celebrities for autographs, photos, and panels to be held May 19 through May 21, 2017, at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines–the city’s third Wizard World convention.

Known most recently for his work on Two and a Half Men, Anger Management, and Spin City, Charlie Sheen has appeared in many modern film classics–everything from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to Major League, Eight Men Out, Wall Street, and Platoon.  James Marsters is best known for his role as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Marina Sirtis starred as Counselor Deanna Troi, one of the most beloved characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Other celebrity guests include TV and film star Barry Bostwick, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, Charmed actress Holly Marie Combs, and Napoleon Dynamite actor Jon Heder.

In addition to aisles of dealers of comics, toys, apparel, and collectibles, fans can meet nationally known writers, artists, and other creators, including Iowa’s own Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Irredeemable Ant-Man, The Flash) and Ant Lucia (DC Bombshells).

Some highlights of the more than 50 panels scheduled include:

  • Interactive Q&A sessions with Charlie Sheen (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.), James Marsters (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.), Dean Cain (Saturday, 5 p.m.), Barry Bostwick (Saturday, 2 p.m.), Marina Sirtis (Saturday, noon), Jon Heder (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.), Holly Marie Combs (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.), Micky Dolenz (Sunday, 1 p.m.) and The Expanse star Cas Anvar (Sunday, 2 p.m.).

Continue reading

Just when you thought you’d stop collecting Star Wars action figures…

Entertainment Earth announced today pre-orders are now being taken for not only Wave 1 of the 40th anniversary retro-packaging Star Wars line of 6-inch scale action figures, but Wave 2 orders will be taken starting today.

Check out the Entertainment Earth website now at these links: Wave 1 or Wave 2, featuring original-style oversized packaging from the original rounds of figures available back in 1978.

And May the Fourth… be with you!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

We just want to take a break today to shout out a Happy 16th Birthday to our amazing support crew of rov(er)ing reporters, our four-legged support team of Jade and Jasmine.

You’ve probably seen them pop up from time to time–Jasmine cosplaying as Supergirl or Jade at RenFest as a Viking–or everything in between.  But if you haven’t, know they have been nearby tail-wagging away as we feverishly scan the entertainment sphere coming up with your next daily entertainment fix.

We couldn’t be prouder of our furry crew with 224 dog years between them.

As always, thanks for your support, and thanks for reading!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

   

Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards will see their 29th year, to be announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con in July.  This year’s nominations have been selected, resulting in a banner year for Fantagraphics and Image Comics with 22 and 21 nominations, respectively.

We at borg.com never align with the Academy Awards, but always are happy to agree on Eisner accolades.  Artist Jill Thompson is nominated in three categories this year.  Her Wonder Woman: The True Amazon was our pick for 2016’s Best Graphic Novel, and is a nominee for the “Best Graphic Album-New” Eisner Award.  Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In was our borg.com pick for Best Single Issue last year, and Thompson, Evan Dorkin, and Sarah Dyer are up for the Eisner for Best Single Issue.  Thompson is also nominated for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist.

   

Kudos go to our friend, writer Jason Aaron, for his nomination along with artist Russell Dauterman in the Best Continuing Series category for The Mighty Thor (Marvel).  Other notable nominees are Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk for their Mockingbird series (Marvel) plus Cain’s nomination in the Best Writer category for that series.  The highest number of nominations went to Sonny Liew and his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), netting nods for Best Graphic Album–New, Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia, Best Writer/Artist, Best Coloring, Best Lettering, and Best Publication Design.  Archie Comics received nominations for Erica Henderson and Ryan North for Best Publication for Teens and Best Humor Publication for Jughead.

Continue reading

   

If you love comics and especially if you haven’t read a comic book in years then this Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day is all about you.  See what you have been missing out on at comic book stores across the United States as shops hand out free issues of new comic books from your favorite franchises and publishers Marvel, DC Comics, IDW, Archie Comics, Dark Horse, BOOM!, Titan Comics, and more.

Star Trek fans won’t want to miss out on the first ever view of the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew in the mirror universe story Mirror Broken! with incredible artwork by the incomparable J.K. Woodward.  Doctor Who fans will find an all-new story assembling the last four Doctors and companion Bill’s first appearance in comics.

Dozens of new FCBD stories will be available.  Check out the great covers above and below, plus previews of Avatar, Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Attack on Titan.

   

If you’re in the Kansas City area check out Elite Comics, and if not, use this comic book store locator to find your nearest participating shop.  Below, check out more comic books you will find Saturday (get there early if you don’t want to miss anything!), plus some videos about the event.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: