Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Monday, September 08, 2008

Aren't Ninjas About Due For A Comeback?

• The cover of Femme Noir #1 made the front page of the Bangor Daily News (Maine) newspaper's "Lifestyle" section today, accompanying an article about the city's upcoming comic con, BangPop.

The article can be read on their website here.

I'm eagerly anticipating Saturday's show. It will be my first convention appearance in several years, and I'm looking forward to meeting some of the other genre creators who live in Maine. Here's hoping that BangPop has a decent turn-out, and becomes an annual event. I'd like to see Maine have its own, quality pop culture con.

• Over the weekend, Brandi and I went camping in Cobbscook Bay State Park. Unfortunately, we had to cut our trip short by a day when the weather turned bad, but we did have a pleasant Friday afternoon, evening and Saturday morning in the woods.

On the way home, I also got a chance to stop by one of my favorite used book stores and pick up a few vintage Men's Adventure paperbacks.

My big "find" was a copy of the mid-Seventies Spider paperback, Death Reign of the Vampire King. What's so cool about this item is that Pocket Books updated the 30's pulp hero to make him an Executioner clone! Check out that cover painting – the handsome, blond secret agent look is a far cry from the black-cloaked and masked original! I've been looking for these editions for years, and was thrilled to finally find one.

I also scored a couple of Black Samurai novels by Marc Olden. I've read good things about this blaxploitation/martial arts paperback series in the past, and am looking forward to checking them out.

• Speaking of martial arts, I've been revisiting a bunch of 80's Cannon Films ninja flicks lately. I've been watching Sho Kosugi in Return of the Ninja, and Michael Dudikoff and the late, great Steve James, in the American Ninja series. I don't know what it is, but I genuinely love these movies. Maybe it's just simple nostalgia, but I really get a kick out of these flicks, with their clumsy choreography and potboiler plots... and not in a cynical, ironic way, either. Maybe it's because they're so crude by today's standards, without the slick fighting moves and CGI effects, but something about them really appeals to me.

• Getting back to the Men's Adventure paperbacks for a minute, I'm also in the midst of re-reading the Omega Sub series from the very early 90's. It's essentially a post-Apocalyptic take on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. It chronicles the adventures of the crew of an American super submarine, The Liberator, which survives World War III because it was on a mission under the Polar Ice Cap when the nukes started flying. Now, they sail around the world trying to aid survivors while battling radioactive mutants and a mysterious sub that appears to be a twin of their own.

I bought them when they came out about 15 years ago, and enjoyed them. I'm re-reading them now because a month or so ago, I received a nice fan letter about my work on the Kolchak Tales: Night Stalker of the Living Dead miniseries. It turned out to be from author David Robbins, who wrote the majority of the Omega Sub series. Remembering how much I liked the books, I recently dug them out and started re-reading them. Fun stuff.

I guess maybe my taste in entertainment did peak when I was fifteen....


NoelCT said...

Though I haven't heard any details on the production, Sho Kosugi might be making a return in a new Ninja film penned by 80s action scribe Steven E. de Souza.

The King Of Cool said...

I love all those ninja movies myself. I recently watched American Ninja again. Those movies rock!

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't even know about these editions of the Spider books. How weird. That omega sub stuff sounds down my alley. I've got to check it out. Have fun at the con.

bish8 said...

I enjoyed the Black Saumari series by Marc Olden. It was a jumping off point for him as he went on to write a half dozen mainstream Japanese ninja themed novels which compare favorably to those of Eric Von Lustbader.