Category: Retro Fix


Wizard of Oz MinaLima cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

It is easily the greatest and most influential American fantasy novel of all time, certainly the best of the 19th century creations, and after reading the original story, you may find it unlikely not to have influenced later British authors’ works like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  It is L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900 and now given the ultimate dose of classical style and color by the renowned designers behind the Harry Potter movies, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the artists known as MinaLima.  Especially considering the extra care taken in the margin artwork and the incorporation of the color in Baum’s story with every page, this may be the best volume in the now eight-volumes of children’s books in the MinaLima library from HarperDesign books.  Take a look at a preview of twenty of those wonderful pages below.  Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, lavishly illustrated with interactive elements by MinaLima, was published this month, and is available now here at Amazon.

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Fraggle Rock BANNER

To celebrate 35 years of the Jim Henson fantasy TV series Fraggle Rock, Insight Editions is taking a look behind the scenes of the show in Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History.  It follows in the footsteps of three previous chronicles of Jim Henson’s creations, and his family’s prequel series, The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History, Labyrinth: the Ultimate Visual History, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance–Inside the Epic Return to Thra.  Take a look at a preview of Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History below.

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Muppets-Haunted-Mansion gonzo

The ninth big-screen film starring Jim Henson′s wacky, warm, and wonderful Muppets is coming direct to your home next month, and bonus–at last we have a Muppets Halloween movie.  Disney+ released the trailer for Muppets Haunted Mansion, and it looks like a combination of the great, pre-Disney classic movies like The Muppet Christmas Carol–complete with ghost Muppets (or are they Muppet ghosts?), and best of all Disney tapped some original performers, including the legendary Dave Goelz (back as Gonzo, Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, and more), and the brilliant Bill Barretta (back as Pepe, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, and more) and David Rudman (Scooter, Janice, Beaker, and more), plus hundreds of creative production staff.  Muppets Haunted Mansion is directed by Kirk R. Thatcher, who was behind the scenes on major genre hits like Gremlins, Poltergeist, Return of the Jedi, Star Trek III, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Robocop 2, and you probably saw him in front of the camera at least once, like when he played the guy on the San Francisco bus blaring his stereo–the one who Spock puts out of commission–in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  And the human leading the show, as the Muppets’ host in a haunted house they must stay in overnight, is the smartly cast funnyman Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie).

Check out the trailer below.

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sw comic mini cover ab sw poster mini book cd

Whether you use it as the perfect stocking stuffer, for an office party gift swap, or you just want some convenient content to carry around in your backpack, publisher Insight Editions has the right book for you.  For Harry Potter fans we reviewed the detailed MinaLima-designed treasure trove The Art of Harry Potter–Mini Book of Graphic Design a few years ago, and for superhero fans we looked at two volumes of the history of Wonder Woman in comic book covers.  These are jam-packed books that literally fit inside your pocket, and the content spans the scope of pop culture and genre.  Love Batman?  Check.  Mickey Mouse?  Check.  Beauty and the Beast and other Disney favorites?  Check.

Today we have previews from four of Insight Editions’ books featuring Star Wars, one with the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie, a two-volume collection of Marvel comic book covers, and another with famous poster artwork that spans the 11 films.  Typically available at $11.99 or less, it’s an inexpensive source for the visual details of the movies, production, and marketing that you’ve never seen before, and a quick gift idea for your favorite Star Wars fan.

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Star Trek A Celebration cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

In many ways the most diehard Star Trek fan is going to be surprised when they flip open the new behind-the-scenes account of the original 1966-1969 series in the full-color, hardcover, coffee table-style book, Star Trek: A CelebrationEven if you’ve read everything about Star Trek you could get your hands on, you haven’t seen it in one volume presented like this.  Star Wars fans have seen this kind of volume in the works of the late JW Rinzler, and although this book is not as dense, it will serve the same purpose for Star Trek aficionados.  The wildly popular The Princess Bride–A Celebration was given similar treatment, as was the landmark Star Trek: Voyager–A Celebration, released only this year, also by publisher Hero Collector.  I can’t understate what a welcome book this is for fans of the original Star Trek series.  As Star Trek fans across the globe celebrate 55 years of the Star Trek franchise, coinciding with the centennial of the birth of its creator, Gene Roddenberry, it’s well past time fans got a book to–yes–celebrate one of the greatest and most influential television series of all time.  Star Trek: A Celebration is available today for the first time here at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.

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sts future cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

By my count there are six books so far in the Star Trek Shipyards library from publisher Hero Collector: Star Trek Shipyards: Starfleet Ships 2063-2293, Star Trek Shipyards: Starfleet Ships 2294 – The Future, Star Trek Shipyards: Federation Members, Star Trek Shipyards: Klingon Fleet, and most recently in 2021, Star Trek Shipyards: The Borg and Delta Quadrant (reviewed here), and Star Trek Shipyards: The Delta Quadrant Volume 2 (reviewed here).  With two more volumes due out in the coming months available for pre-order now (Alpha Quadrant and Major Species Volume 1 and Alpha Quadrant and Major Species Volume 2), the publisher is taking a step back with the late summer release Star Trek Shipyards: Starfleet Ships 2294 – The Future, an updated and expanded edition of the second volume in the library, adding significant content to the original edition.  The most popular of the Star Trek Shipyards library, this volume presents many of fans’ favorite ships of the line in high-quality illustrations.  A lot has happened in the franchise in the past few years, and readers will find much of it making its way into this book, with vessels from all three seasons of Star Trek: Discovery to Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard. 

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las-finest-season-2-trailer

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

You don’t need to be familiar with the Bad Boys franchise to love L.A.′s Finest, the two-season 2019-2020 series that missed most of its audience by streaming first exclusively on Spectrum’s cable platform.  Sure, it’s technically a spinoff of the raunchy buddy cop flicks starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.  Yes, Gabrielle Union reprises her role as Syd Burnett (sister of Lawrence’s character), a former DEA agent turned L.A. detective.  But this sharply-written action comedy cop show, with a leading duo that parallels both the drama and the antics of Smith and Lawrence, has much more going for it than its big brother movie series.  Starring Union (Bad Boys II, The Lion Guard) and Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, Fantastic Four) as ex-U.S. Navy intelligence expert, now detective Nancy McKenna, wisecracking partners in the Bad Boys mold, the series moves from its Miami roots to Los Angeles, and digs into local culture, politics, and above all, crime.  That’s really all you need to know about the show, whose 26 episodes at last made it to Netflix this summer.

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Vampiverse-01-01011-A-Hughes  Vampiverse-01-01021-B-Segovia

Only two years ago the #1 top selling issue of Vampirella arrived at comic book stores to celebrate the character’s 50th anniversary (with sales surpassing 130,000 copies).  This week the seventh Dynamite-era Vampirella-centric comic book series begins as multiple incarnations of Vampirella arise in the all-new Vampiverse Publisher Dynamite again has pulled out all the stops for the character, scheduling several cover variants by a variety of creators.  

Check out a preview below of the first issue and several covers from the first three issues of Vampiverse.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For both film buffs and a new generation of a movie fans, a definitive guide to the most influential film directors–spanning a century of Hollywood creativity–will soon be a fixture in libraries everywhere.   Turner Classic Movies/TCM and film writer Sloan De Forest, author of TCM’s Dynamic Dames (reviewed here) and TCM’s Must-See Sci-fi (reviewed here), chronicle 58 directors, their works, and influence on the filmmaking in TCM’s The Essential Directors: The Art and Impact of Cinema’s Most Influential Filmmakers.  From Charlie Chaplin to Steven Spielberg, these are the directors that film aficionados will be unlikely to quibble with.  Some made their marks as household names, others are legendary auteurs, while others provided a singular film or image that has made them synonymous with Hollywood royalty.  From epic dramas, to laugh-out-loud comedies, readers will find TCM’s Essential Directors as the go-to source for the heavy-hitters behind the biggest movies in history.

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A Heart Divided

Review by C.J. Bunce

How often do you read a series that makes it to four volumes and each entry gets progressively better?  That’s exactly what awaits you in Gigi Chang, Anna Holmwood, and Shelly Bryant’s landmark English translation of Jin Yong′s Legends of the Condor Heroes novels.  This series, originally a serialized novel written and first published by Yong aka Louis Cha between 1957 and 1959, is in fact the worldwide best selling novel of all time, with a billion copies in print.  A 38 volume manhua comic was issued in 1998, and countless film and TV adaptations followed, including my favorite in 2017 (reviewed here).  In the spirit of Homer, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Akira Kurosawa, and George Lucas, the series is among the world’s greatest fantasy novels and you should think of the fourth and final installment, A Heart Divided, as the Return of the King of the series.  Only it’s better than Tolkien’s finale–incredible subplots, powerful historical fantasy, dozens of major, important key characters, who, because of the stunning translation and Jin’s literary characterizations, will be easy for Western audiences to keep track of.  It doesn’t fall into the trap of many major fantasy series: losing the steam built up in the earlier installments.

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