Category: Retro Fix


Batman superman 19 banner ax

Cartoonist/writer Gene Luen Yang is taking readers to the Old West this summer in the pages of DC Comics’ Batman/Superman series.  DC’s multiverse will collide as the Batman from one reality meets the Superman from another.  They will team-up with their Earth-0 counterparts to try to thwart the efforts of the villain of the series, Auteur.io.  Classic 1930s an 1940s movies tie-in to the villain’s schemes, and the series promises Golden Age-inspired superheroes taking on robots, supporting characters like you haven’t seen them before, and more. 

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Alien Alex White

Review by C.J. Bunce

Three years ago here at borg I said no book or film has portrayed the people behind the Weyland-Yutani Corporation as more vile and despicable as author Alex White has envisioned them in the novel Alien: The Cold Forge, a sequel to the second film in the franchise, James Cameron’s Aliens.  In that story the Company is proceeding to fulfill one of its initial ideas: to weaponize the Xenomorphs for military use.  Alien: The Cold Forge was Aliens as if written by Michael Crichton, a blend of Congo and Jurassic Park with aspects of the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy tie-ins and Project X.  As vile, greedy corporate types go, White upped the ante.  White’s sequel, Alien: Into Charybdis, is different, but a must-read for fans of the first chapter in what could have been a trilogy of novels, as this book is nearly twice the length of the first at 560 pages.  A mix of Office Space (without the comedy) meets Rogue One and Dungeons & Dragons, this is a dark adventure in a giant research facility of international IT and network guys duking it out over what goes where and why that just might make readers feel like someone is flipping a die before the characters enter the next room.  Continue reading

Jaxxon fig A  Jaxxon fig B

The Star Wars vintage Kenner action figures changed toys and franchising forever.  Sales of this line were so successful that it’s no surprise the fan nostalgia for these 3.75-inch figures in new packages is still as great as ever, 44 years after their first appearance in a pre-order campaign for Christmas 1977.  Disney’s line of six-inch “Black Series” has quickly caught up to the original line of characters, with new sculpts and more articulation, including even more characters from the Expanded Universe.  At last fans of the original Star Wars comics published by Marvel Comics in the 1970s and 1980s get to see one of the most beloved of all the characters we haven’t yet seen on the big or small screen (but we’re still hoping for that soon): Jaxxon, the six-foot tall Lepi mercenary smuggler from Star Wars Issue #8, Eight for Aduba-3, the Seven Samurai adaptation where we first met the angry talking rabbit and his ship, the Rabbit’s Foot.  

Jaxxon

Jaxxon stayed around for the next three issues and returned for the first appearance of the borg Valance.  Our first real hope of seeing Jaxxon in Star Wars canon was in a variant cover for the rebooted Marvel Comics Star Wars series in 2015, then he re-appeared in the retro Star Wars Issue #108 in 2019, and again for Vader Down.  And this weekend for the first time you can pre-order Jaxxon’s first action figure here from Entertainment Earth.

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Since Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House was first published in 1992, kids have clamored for the series’ 62 books, and tie-in TV shows, films, and other spin-offs.  R.L. Stine’s stories have spooked a decade of kids in the 1990s and a generation since.  Visually all those books had one thing in common:  the stylized brand-defining cover artwork of Tim Jacobus.  Dark imagery, bright colors, shocking monsters, and drippy gore previewed what kids were going to find inside the pages–if they dared.  Now Dynamite Entertainment has created a large format, hardcover book to showcase Jacobus’s art, including sketches and concepts leading up to his famous covers.  Written by Sarah Rodriguez and designed by Mark McNabb, The Art of Goosebumps is now available for pre-order here at Amazon.  Check out our first look inside the book for borg readers, courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Get ready for your next immersion into adventure and fun, and it’s in 3D.  I love classic storytelling methods that surprise the reader, from the Victorian to modern technology, whether it’s stereoscopic images, View-Master reels, lenticular images, pop-up books, or state-of-the-art digital animation.  One of my very first books as a young boy was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, with 3D diorama artwork and a lenticular cover.   I’ve reviewed several 3D movies here at borg, too, from The Creature from the Black Lagoon to Jaws 3D, and Predator and Rogue One French artist Matthias Picard’s roving young adventurer Jim Curious returns after his debut in 2014’s Jim Curious–A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea in his next book, Jim Curious and the Jungle Journey It’s a complete 3D adventure using anaglyph 3D, that classic blue-red 3D style and includes two pairs of 3D glasses–just like the kind from 3D movies in the 1920s to the 1980s.  The eye-popping images will take your breath away.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you can’t imagine the greatest noir crime story you ever read was about a firm of private investigators researching a claim of insurance fraud, you’d better get ready.  The fifth–and what appears to be final–retro re-issue of a classic work of crime fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner (who was, at his death, the best-selling American writer of all time) is now available from Hard Case Crime.  One of the novels Gardner penned under his pseudonym A.A. Fair, the author mastermind known for dozens of Perry Mason novels (60 in total) and Cool & Lam novels (30 total) penned Shills Can’t Cash Chips sixty years ago, and it’s as exciting, current, funny, and full of intrigue as any modern bestseller.  Gardner’s Bertha Cool and Donald Lam are back at it again.  Although Hard Case Crime notes this is the last of their series of Gardner books (with this review I’ve reviewed all but one, including Turn on the Heat, The Count of 9, and the first ever publication of Gardner’s “lost,” Cool & Lam novel, The Knife Slipped)–which is a sad thing–that just means it’s time to begin tracking down the rest.   

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’ve been watching Michael Apted’s ground-breaking Up Series from its first installments, you know each new chapter in the real-life time travel journey makes the viewer feel like he or she has also reached some kind of achievement with the arrival of the new episode.  But the series of documentaries is not for the faint-hearted, filled with gut-wrenching views into participants’ lives, participants who feel like family after watching them over 56 years since their first appearance.  So compelling and personal is Apted’s look at this select group of fourteen English boys and girls turned men and women, revisiting them every seven years of their lives since 1964, the documentary series is practically an interactive experience.  With Apted passing away since the UK premiere last year, and the U.S. arrival of the latest installment–the eagerly awaited 63 Up arriving on BritBox via Amazon Prime this weekend–the question is whether this ninth installment is the last.  Key members of the crew since 28 Up have expressed an interest in continuing the series in 2027, but until then expect this to be a bittersweet end for the series, which Roger Ebert called the noblest project in cinema history and among the ten best films ever made.

At last Apted addresses the thesis of the show to each participant, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man,” and asks whether they agree after decades participating in this unique social experiment.  Apted was a researcher when working on director Paul Almond’s Seven Up! in 1964.  Seven years later the well-known director of Gorillas in the Mist, The World is Not Enough, Coal Miner’s Daughter and Gorky Park, was just out of university, and at 22 he revisited the original Seven Up! project.  He would go on to direct the subsequent eight episodes over 56 years.  The idea was to get a glimpse of England in the future year 2000 when these kids, the future leaders of England, were only seven years old.  It is difficult to surpass the jolts and surprises of 42 Up, but 63 Up holds its own, although sadly viewers will say goodbye to one participant who has died, another is seriously ill, and another decided not to participate.

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Back in 2016 we looked at a curiosity of television history with the animation of the lost Doctor Who episode, The Power of the Daleks.  In the 1960s it was not unheard of that television stations did not retain footage of television series.  Film reels were thrown out instead of storing shows for archival purposes as we do today.  The greatest volume from one series is probably from the BBC in the UK with Doctor Who, where nearly 100 episodes were lost.  But thanks to fans recording the audio of the shows at home, plus film stills and the odd “found footage,” the stories themselves remain.  In the case of The Power of the Daleks, the BBC decided to animate the tale and distribute it for a new generation of Doctor Who fans.  Although the UK got to preview it last summer, the six episodes of the next animated lost Doctor Who story, Fury from the Deep, will be premiering to American viewers Monday, March 15, on AMC+ and Sunday, March 21, on BBC America.  It’s notable as the last of the lost BBC Doctor Who stories, and the original episode was the first time audiences ever got to see the Doctor’s trusty sonic screwdriver, which would become as iconic to the franchise as the Doctor and the TARDIS.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Only a year ago I called director Craig Brewer’s 2019 biopic Dolemite is My Name–the theatrical return of Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes from Netflix–the big Oscar miss of the year.  It begged the question:  When was the last time Murphy and Snipes were this good, and why did they ever leave the top spot on marquees of movie houses everywhere?  Brewer is back again with Murphy and Snipes, this time in a sequel to director John Landis’s quirky 1988 comedy Coming to America, a two-time Oscar nominee for costumes and one of Rick Baker’s makeup nominations for turning Murphy and co-star Arsenio Hall into a host of characters, a box office success that gained favor over the years thanks to video rental stores, and today it’s a nostalgic trip back to the 1980s.  The sequel Coming 2 America is a big surprise: a big budget marvel not from Netflix but Amazon Studios, a thoughtful, funny, surprisingly deep sequel we didn’t know we wanted, and a result that is even better than the originalMore than “just another sequel,” it’s a fairy tale like The Princess Diaries, a bit A Knight’s Tale, a bit Crazy Rich Asians, and a worthy sequel in concept and art design to Black Panther.  It’s also a celebration of the career and characters of Eddie Murphy, and it expands to be a celebration of black culture and comedic films via dozens of great Easter eggs.  In short, it’s one of the best direct-to-television movies since studios started moving from movie houses to home screens.

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Since Tom Clancy’s death in 2013 we’ve seen his Jack “Ryanverse” come to the screen twice, first on the big screen in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) with Chris Pine as Ryan, and later on the small screen in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018) on Amazon Prime with The Office’s John Krasinski stepping into the role of Ryan previously handled by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October (1990), Harrison Ford in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears (2002).  In Clear and Present Danger, the second major Ryanverse character arrived in Willem Dafoe’s John Clark, later reprised by Liev Schreiber in The Sum of All Fears.  As was first done with Ryan in The Sum of All Fears, and later with Pine and Krasinski, the franchise is taking another step back in into the Clancy timeline for the next movie–a prequel, a direct-to-Amazon Prime feature adapting Clancy’s 1993 novel Without Remorse.  That book and its new movie adaptation Without Remorse focuses on the origin of the John Clark character (initially introduced as John Kelly, as explained in the novel/movie), this time played by Creed and Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan.  Check out the trailer for the movie below.

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