Friday, July 25, 2014

Mickey Spillane IS Mike Hammer... in HD!

On October 14th, Scorpion Releasing presents the 1963 film, The Girl Hunters, starring author Mickey Spillane as his own hardboiled P.I. hero, Mike Hammer, on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray version will be a limited edition and will be sold only on the Kino-Lorber website. It will feature a brand new 16x9, 2:35 HD master, as well as an audio commentary with Max Allan Collins, and vintage on-camera interviews with Mickey Spillane and Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger). MSRP for the Blu-ray is a hefty 29.95, while the DVD edition will retail for 19.95.

I am deeply annoyed that this will be an expensive Limited Edition online exclusive, but I'll have to get it anyway. I'm a big fan of the movie, and it'll be nice to finally have a quality video edition

Interesting note: back around '95, when I was working at TeknoComix as editor of the comic book series, Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger, I gave Mickey my personal VHS bootleg of this movie because he didn't have a copy and said he hadn't seen it in a decade or two!

Now, if only somebody could release the 1982 version of I, The Jury on Blu-ray...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Cover(s): Chaykin's BUCK ROGERS

So, Hermes Press has just collected their Buck Rogers miniseries by Howard Chaykin. I didn't read the individual comics, but I pre-ordered it in trade, and expect it to arrive in a week or so. I don't always like Chaykin's comics, but when I do, I tend to like them a lot. In the 80s, I adored American Flagg, and the writer/artist is responsible for creating one of my all-time favorite comics characters - Atlas Comics' The Scorpion. I also dug his 80s Shadow miniseries (and will probably pick up his recent return to the character eventually), among many other titles.

I've read online that this version of Buck Rogers hews more closely to the original Philip Francis Nowlan pulp novellas, Armageddon 2419 A.D. and The Airlords Of Han.... and I think that's a great approach. Hey, I love the 70s TV series as much as anyone (and more than most), but it's about time to get back to the character's roots.

Here are Chaykin's covers for the four issue miniseries.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Expendabelles: MERCENARIES Trailer


Here's the trailer for Mercenaries, The Asylum's distaff take on the uber-manly Expendables franchise. The trailer looks pretty good - promising, even - but as it's an Asylum picture, I'm not letting my expectations get too high. The studio hasn't had a great track record for quality in any genre, really, and has fared especially poorly with action fare (stunts are expensive).

Cool to see Brigette Nielsen as the Big Bad, though it is disappointing to see that Cynthia Rothrock appears to have a non-fighting role. I'm hoping that Zoe Bell and Kristina Loken can raise the bar here. It can't hurt that Zoe can do her own stunts.

We'll see....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner, R.I.P.

Damn. I was just about to shut down the computer and head to bed when I read that James Garner has passed away at age 86. It's a shock: hell, it was only a month ago that I was reading his autobiography. 

Garner has been one of my favorite actors for as long as I can remember. His iconic portrayals of Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford are indelibly imprinted in our pop culture memory, and even if those were his only accomplishments as an actor, he'd be a legend. But he was more than that. A fine, thoughtful actor, a veteran, a charming curmudgeon. 

I miss him already.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Femme Noir Vs Grendel


My Femme Noir collaborator, Joe Staton, will be appearing at the Baltimore Comic-Con, September 5 -7. At the show, they’ll be distributing a charity Yearbook with art by the guests. Those artists with creator-owned characters were asked to draw them interacting with Matt Wagner’s character Grendel. This is Joe’s contribution, with colors by Matt Webb, pitting The Blonde against the Hunter Rose incarnation of Grendel, among the rooftops of Port Nocturne.

I’d love to see this crossover become a reality… but only if Wagner writes it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Cover: The City Outside The World


The City Outside The World is one of Lin Carter's Mars Novels, a four book cycle of  homages (or pastiches, if you prefer) of Leigh Brackett's own stories set on the Red Planet. It's also the only one in the series I don't yet own. Still, I'm featuring it here because I find this cover painting (by an artist I haven't identified as yet) quite handsome and evocative of the Interplanetary Romance genre.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Birthday Comics Bounty

As I am not steadily employed, and comic book trade collections can be so pricey, I can usually only afford to get new comics twice a year - on my birthday and at Christmas (pending familial largesse). Well, my birthday was last week, and the family was very generous this year, so I hit Amazon and started carving away at my Wish List. This is this year's birthday bounty: two Astro City trades, the third (and final) volume of the great Russ Manning's classic Magnus Robot Fighter, The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction, and two Conan volumes (only one pictured above). Still have some catching up to do with those Dark Horse Conan books, though...

Of the comics I got in that Amazon order, I'm most looking forward to reading this one. DC has finally collected the 1988 four-issue miniseries Cinder And Ashe. This crime comic is one of the best things Gerry Conway ever wrote for the medium, and features utterly gorgeous artwork by Jose Garcia-Lopez.

I bought three of the four issues when it first came out, but could never find issue #4 (and I've searched a lot of back issue bins since '88!). 


I can't tell you just how eager I am to find out how the story ends... after 26 years!

And just to put some frosting on that comic book bounty goodness, I was surprised today to find yet another box of comics in the mail -- a package of books by my friend, comics writer Chuck Dixon, who very generously gifted me a bunch of his recent work, including a couple of G.I. Joe: Special Missions trades. Now, I've never really been a fan of the G.I. Joe franchise, but Dixon is a master at military-styled action adventure comics, and it turns out that these are drawn by Paul Gulacy, one of my favorite comics artists, ever... so I'm actually eager to check them out.

And speaking of all-time favorites, Chuck also sent along the first Airboy Archives volume from IDW. Back in the 80s, Airboy was one of my top three comic series (along with Grimjack and Scout), and I'd been wanting to get the new collections for my library, but was daunted by the cover price. 

What can I say? It's good to have friends, and while my so-called comics career has always been spotty, at best, it has made me a lot of good friends. Thanks, Chuck!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Cover: Abandon Galaxy!

Abandon Galaxy! is the second of two "Commander Craig Galactic Adventures" by "Bart Somers," one of the countless pseudonyms used by the prolific Gardner F. Fox

Although published in the late Sixties, the "Commander Craig" books (the first tome is called Beyond The Black Enigma) harken back to 30's-styled space opera pulp, and are outrageously plotted. Great fun. I'm not certain who the cover artist is, but it's been suggested to me that it might be the work of Jack Gaughn.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Star Trek Continues...

There are numerous fan-made Star Trek series online. James Cawley's Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II is probably the best known, and over the years, his team have produced a number of enjoyable Trek adventures . But, in my opinion, the best at capturing the feel of the classic series is Vic Mignogna's Star Trek Continues. The cast includes James Doohan's son Chris Doohan as Scotty and Mythbuster's Grant Imahara as Sulu. The sets, costumes, and overall production values are uncannily accurate, and the visual effects are terrific! Vic Mignogna, an experienced actor with lots of voice work to his credit, personally plays James Kirk, and he does a remarkable job of channeling the great Bill Shatner, and never lapses into parody. It's amazing how well he captures Shatner's swagger.

The first episode, "Pilgrim of Eternity," is a sequel to TOS' "Who Mourns For Adonais," with original actor Michael Forest reprising his role as Greek god Apollo. The second episode, "Lolani," revolves around a fugitive Orion slave girl and her owner - played by Lou Ferrigno (in green body paint, of course)!

The third episode, "The Fairest Of Them All," a direct sequel to the classic "Mirror, Mirror," went live this week (you can find it on the Star Trek Continues YouTube channel), and it's another winner.

If, like me, you find the new Star Trek films by J.J. Abrams and company lacking the spirit and style of Gene Roddenberry's original show, I highly recommend that you check it out.

Along with the three full-length episodes, the Continues crew has shot a couple of short Trek vignettes, too. Here's my favorite - and a nice sample of the show's production values.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Damn Dirty Apes!

Now, this is what a movie poster should look like! I'm very surprised to see this artwork coming out of the Fox publicity department instead of just another big monkey face. I was surprised by Rise Of The Planet Of the Apes a couple years back, and the forthcoming sequel looks really good, too. This dynamic, imaginative poster's just the tasty icing on the cake! If I was still collecting one-sheets, I'd buy one of these for sure.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Wednesday Covers: Cap Kennedy

I don't know much about DAW Books' "Cap Kennedy" series, written by British sci-fi scribe E.C. Tubb under the pseudonym of "Gregory Kern." Nor do I know the name of the artist (I'm now told that it's Jack Gaughan) that painted these covers. What I do know is that the series was published in the 1970s and ran for at least 17 volumes.

I've never read any of these, but being as the tagline "Secret Agent of the Spaceways" appears to combine at least two of my favorite genres, I suspect that I'll hunt down a copy or two one of these days.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Expendabelles

Back when Sylvester Stallone's first Expendables flick came out in 2010, and was a moderate box office hit, there was a lot of idle gossip and speculation that the producers might try their hand at a girl band version - an Expendabelles, if you will - uniting various female action stars in a high-octane adventure of their own. Of course, nothing came of that idea...

Until now. The Asylum, the low budget movie studio notorious for their cash-in "mockbusters" has stepped up and made the idea a reality with Mercenaries. Due out in August, when Expendables 3 hits the screens, Mercenaries features a pretty decent cast of fighting femmes: Brigitte Nielsen (Stallone's ex, and star of Red Sonja), Vivica Fox (Kill Bill), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), stuntwoman Zoe Bell (Death Proof, Angel of Death), and the legendary Cynthia Rothrock (China O'Brien, Yes Madam, etc.)

The plot, according to The Asylum's website: A diplomatic official is captured and imprisoned while touring a war zone, so a team of elite female commandos is assembled to infiltrate a women's prison for a daring rescue. It's directed by Christopher Olen Ray.

I'll admit, I'm looking forward to this one. It probably won't be good, but it will be fun seeing these dangerous dames all in the same flick.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DVD Late Show Lives... Again!

The last time I mentioned my DVD Late Show website (where I review genre films and television on DVD and Blu-ray) on this blog was last August. At the time, I had just posted a few new reviews after a three month 'hiatus," and promised more. But that didn't happen.

In fact, I didn't post any new reviews for nearly ten months.

 I don't really know why I stopped posting last summer, but part of it was probably just blogger burn-out, combined with my state's new tax laws, which killed the site's only income (through Amazon referrals). I'm back at it now, though, because I really started to miss writing about movies. Hopefully, someone will read my reviews and find them useful and/or entertaining.

I've started with a look at the new Blu-ray of Godzilla Vs The Smog Monster, the 1981 martial arts drive-in favorite, Force: Five, and the James Garner television series, Bret Maverick (new from Warner Archive). I am planning to have one or two more reviews up this week (Evilspeak from Shout Factory and Warners' Jonny Quest: The Complete Eighties Adventures), and hope to continue with regular posting.

Now if I could just get back to regular blogging here and at my Space: 1970 site...

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Wednesday Cover(s): Zarkon, Lord Of The Unknown


I've been on a bit of a Lin Carter binge of late, catching up with some of the author's fantasy series that had previously eluded me. I'm currently reading his five-volume "Green Star" sword & planet cycle (and will probably write something about those books over on my Perils On Planet X blog), but I also recently purchased the initial three books in his Prince Zarkon, Lord Of The Unknown, series.... which I intend to read next.

The Zarkon books are Carter's take on the Lester Dent "Doc Savage" school of adventure pulp fiction, and I look forward to reading them once I finish with the "Green Star" novels. I specifically sought out the original printings because I thought artist Don Maitz's cover paintings on those paperbacks were especially cool. See if you agree....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hey Kids! Comics!

I know I haven't been posting to this blog much in the last few months, but Spring is here and all the distractions that plagued me over the Winter From Hell™ are receding in the rear-view mirror, so it's time to get back to the "shameless self-promotion and pop culture commentary" this site promised.

Let's begin with  the "self-promotion," and a long-overdue look at the Atomic Pulp line of webcomics. If you're reading this, then your almost certainly aware that I write, and publish online, three weekly, serialized webcomics (did I mention that they're free?): Gravedigger, Perils On Planet X, and Femme Noir.

Gravedigger is more than halfway through its action-packed second continuity, "The Predators." Over the last couple months we've had some scheduling issues due to various circumstances on both my part and multiple-award-winning artist/co-creator Rick Burchett's, but it looks like we're back on track now, with new installments every Monday. Once "The Predators" wraps, we plan to move right into the third - and biggest - Gravedigger caper, tentatively titled, "The Abductors." Like "The Predators," this one is brand-new, and has never been available in any format before.

Every Wednesday sees an episode of Femme Noir, drawn by my pal, Joe Staton, who is currently shaking up the funny pages as the artist on the Dick Tracy newspaper strip. At the moment, we are re-presenting previously-published stories while we gear up to produce a new graphic novel.

The most popular of the Atomic Pulp webcomics (in terms of monthly traffic) is Perils On Planet X, which updates on Fridays. This swashbuckling interplanetary adventure, which is illustrated by the immensely talented Gene Gonzales, and colored by Ian Sokoliwski, has updated like clockwork for more than a year now, with no missed weeks. We're about a third of the way into Chapter Three of the first storyline, "Hawke Of Terra," and looking toward the future. We're working on plans for a collected volume (and maybe some crowdfunding to pull it off) of this first "Book," as well as discussing future stories.

We appreciate all comments and feedback from our readers. We also appreciate every link and referral, because the more readers we have, the easier it is justify keeping them going. So thanks, to everyone who's helped spread the word... and if you haven't read them yet: why not?