Category: Sci-Fi Café


 

Review by C.J. Bunce

One of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby’s most famous creations is the subject of a new coffee table book from Abrams ComicArts.  Reprinted at nearly 9 inches by 12 inches, Fantastic Four No. 1 Panel by Panel, a new hardcover edition of The Fantastic Four, Issue #1, is going to be one for big fans of the characters.  Unlike 2005’s book Maximum Fantastic Four, which included one panel per page in a 9″x12″ format with re-colored and enhanced artwork, Fantastic Four No. 1 Panel by Panel features color, blown-up scans of each page in its original context with all its Ben Day halftone dots jumping off the page.  The book is out this week and available here at Amazon.  And it has much more than a close-up look at this seminal issue in the history of comics that is worth checking out.

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Tick tick tick… It’s almost here: the premiere of season one of the live-action version of the anime series Cowboy Bebop And now we have a full-length trailer that leans harder into the sci-fi elements of the series.  It stars John Cho (Star Trek) as a Bruce Lee-inspired bounty hunter named Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) as the show’s larger than life cyborg and former investigator Jet Black, Geoff Stults (Stargirl) as Jet’s former partner Chalmers, and Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Dominion) as bounty hunter Faye Valentine.  And a corgi (his name is Ein).  Imagine what Firefly would look like if directed by Quentin Tarantino, and you have Netflix’s 10-episode live-action series Cowboy Bebop

Check out another great trailer:

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It’s not your father’s Boba Fett (or depending on your age, your Boba Fett), but it certainly looks to be an interesting ride coming your way in December.  The first trailer is here for The Book of Boba Fett, a continuation of another resurrected fandom icon following his exploits in Season 2 of The Mandalorian.  Certainly The Mandalorian was more what you hoped for as a kid for Boba Fett than this next incarnation, but if Wolverine’s best story can be found in his later years in Logan, maybe there’s hope for this bounty hunter.  How many characters can you count that literally spent their time in the shadows, only to literally take over the entire franchise (see The Attack of the Clones)? 

But the most exciting part of the trailer?  The appearance of Jennifer Beals as what looks to be a new Twi’lek character, joining Temuera Morrison as Fett and Ming-Na Wen as his right arm Fennic Shand.

Check them out and a lot more in this first trailer for The Book of Boba Fett:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It may seem a long time coming, but the Star Trek tie-in novels and the new era of Star Trek television series are finally becoming one.  On the heels of Disney discarding decades of Star Wars stories written after the original movie trilogy into a bin called the Expanded Universe, Star Trek’s novel writers have embarked on a shoring-up of the franchise’s decades of novels with a single trilogy of novels.  Titled Star Trek Coda, the novels lean into what Star Wars can’t–it’s sci-fi multiverse.  As discussed last week in my review of Rizwan Virk’s The Simulated Multiverse, lots of science fiction relies on the multiple timeline, parallel universe, alternate history tropes to expand opportunities for storytelling, something Star Trek fans have known since 1966.  In the first novel of the Coda trilogy, Moments Asunder, author Dayton Ward takes the crews of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager there and back again, to places that will be both familiar and new to television audiences, while continuing stories–and characters–that fans of the novels will know well.  But the future for some of your favorite Federation heroes is dicey, so take heed.

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Mandalorian phase 2

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 knows what its fans want, and so they assembled two takes on a action figures for the Disney+ series The Mandalorian–one with modern molds and articulation in vintage packaging, and the other with retro, classic Kenner style molds and articulation, housed in classic, mock-distressed packaging–plus original-style vinyl capes.  Wave I of this line included IG-11, Moff Gideon, Cara Dune, Greef Karga, Kuiil, “Baby Yoda,” and Din Djarin, the man behind the mask.  That complete set is shipping now at Entertainment Earth and Amazon.  The next wave in the Retro line has just been previewed by Entertainment Earth, who is now accepting pre-orders here.  It’s an equally good line of figures, this time from Season 2, including one of the most collected figures of the original Kenner line, as well as rebooted lines in the 1990s and 2000s: Boba Fett.  It also features Bo-Katan Kryze, Ahsoka Tano, a second season Din aka Mandalorian, The Armorer, and an Imperial Death Trooper.  Check out the new sculpts, accessories, and packaging below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Ancient philosophers have discussed the concept for millenia: What is the nature of life?  Are we part of the plan of an architect of all things or do we have a say in our future?  The latest exploration of this subject uses science fiction stories as analogies to these unanswered questions in The Simulated Multiverse, by Rizwan Virk.  Virk skips over the scientific method to dabble in ideas of pseudoscience like Erich von Däniken or an episode of In Search Of…, blending bits of the history of science with the “what ifs” of a Dan Brown novel, James Rollins’ The Last Odyssey, or the Wachowskis’ The Matrix.  It’s an interesting trip full of elements that are integral to understanding much of pop culture fiction.  The book’s impetus is an obscure postulate by science fiction’s own Philip K. Dick, and the conversation interconnects everything from Sliders to Star Trek.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I’m just going to say it.  This may be the greatest pop culture celebration book ever.  It couldn’t be more keyed-in on its source material and fan base.  Ugh.  Gah.  Zhuuh.  You’ll make those sounds and more going through the recipes in Alien: The Official Cookbook, the latest Alien franchise tie-in book and a food prep guide for anyone planning the ultimate Halloween party.  “Gross!”  You can just hear those kids who are fans of gross-out movies as they try to pick what course to make first.  It’s disturbing and a masterpiece at the same time.  Normally I wouldn’t review a cookbook without preparing some of the meals, so I can present a read on the design and content as well as the desirability of the food.  This is an exception, first: to get it out to you before Halloween weekend, and second: because if you’re like me then making these selections for a party will be more for the visual surprise than the eating (I may double back later for a review of the meals, too).

Eggs, chestbursters, and xenomorphs.  Oh, my!  The dishes are all presented in a way Alien designer H.R. Giger would have loved.  Alien is known for its dinner scene, cut short by… intervening events of a horrific nature.  (Insert a screaming Veronica Cartwright as Lambert here).  Thanks to cookbook writer Chris-Rachel Oseland, you, too, can experience something similar.

Alien: The Official Cookbook is available now here at Amazon (you still have time to get it before Halloween!).  Take a look at a preview of some of the recipes below, courtesy of Titan Books.

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the-mandalorian-chapter-14-baby-yoda- Simplicity baby Yoda

It’s been a year since the airing of Season 2 on Disney+ of the first episodes of The Mandalorian.  As they say, “better late than never.”  That applies to a round of craft patterns released this week for the first time by Simplicity, the pattern making company that has been making all sorts of clothes, craft, and utility item patterns for nearly a century.  Although crafters have been making and selling items in places like Etsy and eBay, these are the officially licensed plans to make your own Baby Yoda aka The Child aka Grogu.  Or make your kid into Baby Yoda.  Or carry Baby Yoda–or the Mandalorian logo or helmet image–around town on a snazzy laptop bag and be the envy of your co-workers.  The plush Baby Yoda evokes the plush Chewbacca and R2-D2 toys from the 1970s released for the original Star Wars.  They are definitely cute, and no doubt will be fun to make.  Check out the new product tie-ins for The Mandalorian from Simplicity below.

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Bebop pic

Running for 26 episodes between 1999 and 2001, the future noir anime series Cowboy Bebop arrived as an instant classic for the medium that many have called the greatest anime of all time, a Japanese sci-fi Western three years before Firefly.  Imagine what Firefly would look like if directed by Quentin Tarantino, and you have the new teaser-trailer for Netflix’s 10-episode live-action series Cowboy Bebop, coming in 30 days. 

bEBOP SHIP

It has the style and the throwback vibe of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as a cool soundtrack, and comic book-style scene-change pan slides with the characters participating in the movement.  The series stars John Cho (Star Trek) as a Bruce Lee-inspired bounty hunter named Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) as the show’s larger than life cyborg and former investigator Jet Black, Geoff Stults (Stargirl) as Jet’s former partner Chalmers, and Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Dominion) as bounty hunter Faye Valentine.  And a corgi (his name is Ein).

You don’t want to miss the teaser and opening credits–take a look at both below.

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20th century fox cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

For a century, 20th Century Fox was a production machine, churning out volumes of motion pictures annually, but never achieving the greatness seen by the likes of MGM and Paramount.  Yet its key movie star assets, its box office successes, and award-winning films were few and far between.  In 20th Century-Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio, writer Scott Eyman takes movie fans back to the beginning and introduces readers to sometimes successful, sometimes not successful businessmen who built theaters and the movies to screen in them, keying in on the mergers that brought William Fox, formerly immigrant Wilhelm Fuchs, to build a corporation that Darryl F. Zanuck would take through important decades of the 21st century.  Both film buffs and historians of the era of film’s Golden Age will find a history in Turner Classic Movies/TCM’s latest film production chronicle, connected by memorable films from its first Oscar-winner, 1927’s Sunrise, to its last, 2019’s Ford v. Ferrari, telling a story of the rise and fall of a movie empire.  TCM’s 20th Century-Fox is just out from publisher Running Press and available here at Amazon.

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