Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sad day

There have been a lot of tears shed here today. This morning my wife and I had to have our cat, Audrey, put to sleep.

The cancer never went away, even after we had a tumor removed from her chest last winter. New tumors appeared, and recently had gotten infected. For the last week or two, Audrey had taken to curling up in a nest under my desk and sleeping the days away. Poor pretty kitty.

Audrey was 15 years old, and a tiny thing. She was found in a ditch by some little girls who brought her to my future wife's door. Brandi planned to take her to a shelter, but never got around to it. About eight years ago, Audrey came into my life, too, when her Mom and I got together.

She was a remarkably affectionate creature, vocal and loving. I'm really going to miss waking up to find her lying on my shoulder, purring, and watching movies with her curled asleep in my lap.

Brandi & I are both taking it hard. It's going to be a bad night.

And, speaking of bad nights, I had my sleep study last Sunday night, and yes, as expected, I suffer from "severe" sleep apnea. Unfortunately, it took so long for me to fall asleep at the lab that I'll have to go back as soon as they can fit me into their schedule and try me out on the CPAP machine. So, while I now have a good idea why I feel so crappy all the time, it will be a while before I can actually start being treated for it.

This has been a rough year all around...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'll bet ya $23.80!

So... what manly pastime have I been indulging in lately? Would you believe – watching Nancy Drew?

No, not the new movie with Eric Roberts' little girl, though I'll probably check it out on DVD one of these days, but the original Warner Brothers Nancy Drew B-movies from the Thirties, with bouncy Bonita Granville as the irrepressible girl sleuth (pictured above with Frankie Thomas as sidekick/boyfriend Ted Nickerson)– and the late 1970's Glen Larson (Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider)-produced Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, with Pamela Sue Martin (and, at the end, cute-but-bland Janet Louise Johnson).

Universal sent me the second season of Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries on DVD, and I just recently finished watching all the episodes. When the series premiered in '77, the show alternated episodes featuring the Hardy brothers and the intrepid Miss Drew. But ratings on the Drew episodes were consistently lower than on the Hardy episodes (I'm guessing that young boys watched the Hardy Boys episodes while skipping the Drews, while little girls watched them both, thanks to teen idol Shaun Cassidy as Joe Hardy), so in Season Two, Nancy was teamed up with Frank & Joe for several two-part episodes, while her solo outings were reduced to just a small handful of episodes. Unhappy with the new situation, pretty Pamela Sue Martin – who, as Nancy, was a little wooden, but always seemed smart, mature and competent – left the show and was replaced by the cute but unmemorable Johnson.

I know I watched the show as a kid, but I think I enjoyed it more this time around. Being a Glen Larson-Universal production, the economically-produced series is loaded with familiar TV guest stars of the era, plenty of opportunities for Cassidy to sing his trademark bubblegum pop, and – in one memorable 2 part episode – cameos by the stars of most of ABC's '78 prime time line-up in a story that's basically just a huge plug for the studio's then-new back lot tour!

But even better are the Bonita Granville Drews. All four entries in the short series – Nancy Drew: Detective, Nancy Drew: Reporter, Nancy Drew: Trouble Shooter and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase – have just come out on a 2-disc set from Warner Brothers. Each film is about an hour long, briskly-paced, atmospheric and funny. Granville is an enthusiastic, cunning Nancy, who can twist her attorney father and boyfriend Ted ("Ned" in the books) around her little finger. Just 15 when she made the films, she's a little fireball – less cerebral than the later, more mature, TV incarnation, but still possessing the intelligence and courage of the literary character.

But, while I liked the films themselves, I guess I've been spoiled by Fox's excellent restoration efforts on their Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto mystery sets. Compared to those, the Warners Nancy Drew set is really disappointing. The films do not appear to have been restored or cleaned up at all and are plagued with omnipresent print damage, missing frames, dirt and debris. The audio is noisy and scratchy. The only extras are the original theatrical trailers.

Nonetheless, I recommend them. They're a lot of fun, and great examples of the B-mystery genre.

The Thirties' teen lingo is interesting, too (i.e. the title of this post).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wolfman's got nards!

And, speaking of werewolves... The Monster Squad comes to DVD!

Werewolf Book Details

I told you not long ago that I had a short prose story, "The Beast of Bava Pass," featured in an upcoming anthology from Moonstone Books. Well, here's the cover and the official PR info from the publisher.
Moonstone proudly steps up during the full moon to launch this first book in a line of monster/horror prose fiction anthologies, with this one featuring our favorite ferocious and furry fiends, werewolves!

The blood will run red in the dead of night as both horror-fiction and comic book writers alike unite to bring you an unlucky 13 chilling tales of howling horror, just in time for Halloween.

With stories by Elaine Bergstrom, Tom DeFalco, Dave Dorman, Clay Griffith, William R. Halliar, C.J. Henderson, David Michelinie, Christopher Mills, Mike Reynolds, Beau Smith, Paul D. Storrie, Dave Ulanski, and Fred Van Lente!

Interior illustrations by Ken Wolak- and a fang-tastic cover by fan-favorite Dave Dorman, this chilling collection of short stories is sure to keep you cringing under the covers all night long!

Werewolves: Dead Moon Rising can be pre-ordered now from Amazon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hey, Kids! Comics!

After Seventeen years toiling away in the comics industry, struggling to make my mark as a writer, it's beginning to look like 2008 might be my biggest year yet in the biz.

Yeah, I know we're not even halfway through 2007 yet, but making indy comics takes a long time. As it stands, though, I have a bunch of projects moving along that should be out next year.

Of course, there are more than a few projects I've been involved with that I thought would be out long ago that never made it to the stands. And some of the projects I have on tap for '08 were originally intended to be finished years ago. But I'm reasonably confident that most of the projects I'm listing here will be out and in comic shops before the end of '08. They're all well-along, production-wise, and have strongly committed, established publishers – publishers that I have confidence will actually still be around when the books are ready to go next year.

Here's what we're looking forward to in '08:

Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries. Finally! The great folks at Ape Entertainment have picked up this long-gestating creator-owned 4-issue project, drawn by Joe Staton, based on our webcomic. Horacio Ottolini and Mark Stegbauer are slapping on the inks, while Melissa Kaercher colors.

Kolchak: Night Stalker of the Living Dead. A three-issue miniseries from Moonstone Books, based on the classic TV series. In this Tim Hamilton-drawn horror epic, I take the intrepid reporter/monster hunter and drop him down into the middle of a Dawn of the Dead/28 Days Later-styled zombie plague. Hey, everybody loves zombies, right? Covers by Dave Aikens.

Captain Midnight. Right now, this is a serialized back-up feature entitled "Assault on Midnight Mesa," made up of three 6-page installments, that I hope Moonstone will eventually collect as a one-shot. The artist is Rich Clark.

Perils on Planet X. I've just come to a verbal agreement (with contracts on the way) with a reputable publisher to bring to the market the long-in-the-works sci-fi swashbuckler illustrated by the talented Gene Gonzales. Three issues, color. Look for more details on this, soon.

And, finally, there's Gravedigger: Dangerous Prey, a new, hardboiled crime comics one-shot, pencilled by Rick Burchett and inked by Fred Harper. Of the projects on this list, it's the most tentative, but I'm hopeful that it will be out before the end of next year.

I also have a number of prose stories lined up for publication by Moonstone Books in '08, featuring characters like The Avenger, Captain Midnight and, possibly, The Spider again.

I'm the busiest I've been in years, and I'm having a blast working on these projects. Hopefully, they'll proceed without serious snags and make it to your local comics shop as planned. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


The all new – and hopefully improved – Atomic Pulp website (i.e. my official homepage) is now live and totally redesigned. Check it out. Comments welcome. (Now I have to get the new Femme Noir site whipped into shape...)

I've also posted two new reviews to my Guns In the Gutters blog this weekend – Criminal: Coward and Dominique: White Knuckle Drive.

On a completely unrelated note, Pan's Labyrinth is an awesome film. Watched it Saturday night and was very impressed. Just a wonderful exercise in cinematic fantasy, truly magical and exceptionally well-crafted, with a great story and excellent performances by a talented cast.

Highly recommended.