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


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Return of Jack Deth!


Back in the late 1980s, producer/director Charles Band shot an anthology film called Pulsepounders for his company, Empire Pictures, but it was never released. Pulsepounders was comprised of a handful of stand alone shorts that were all sequels/tie-ns to other Empire features. One of these, The Evil Clergyman - a nifty H.P. Lovecraft adaptation starring the leads from Re-Animator and From Beyond, Jeffery Combs and Barbara Crampton - finally got a DVD release a year or so ago.

Now it looks like another segment - a sequel to the studio's Trancers, with Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt - is also making its way out of limbo, and I couldn't be happier. I have a soft spot in my heart and head for that series; not so much for the plots, but for Thomerson's characterization of future cop Jack Deth. His film noir-inspired, wry, tough guy portrayal balances precariously on the fine line between parody and pastiche, but the talented (and perfectly-cast) Thomerson walks that line with assurance. It's a great character and performance, and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the role again.

The DVD is only available (I believe) through Band's current company, Full Moon Entertainment. I hope to order myself a copy soon.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Webcomics On A Card

It's tough to promote webcomics (Femme Noir, Perils On Planet X, Gravedigger) sitting behind a table at a convention, but I made up a bunch of postcards for this weekend's Coast City Comicon that I'll be handing out, with all the website info printed on them. Maybe a few folks will go online and check 'em out after the show....

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Coast City Comic Con This Weekend!

I'll be making my only 2013 convention appearance this weekend at the Coast City Comic Con, in South Portland, Maine. It looks to be a surprisingly "big" show for this neck of the woods, with a bunch of notable comics guests - Mike Norton, Ben Templesmith, Erik Burnham and many others - and film/TV celebrities, including most of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast, and a reunion of actors from the 1984 cult film Savage Streets!

I’ll have a table in the artists alley and will have copies of my comics, graphic novels and prose anthologies on hand for purchase. In fact, going through my "inventory," it looks like I'll have the following material for sale at the show:

A handful of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries trade paperbacks - and a LOT of copies of the individual issues.

A handful of Kolchak Tales: Monsters Among Us trade paperback, containing my "Night Stalker of the Living Dead" miniseries.

A small number of my other Kolchak comics.

Some random issues of Leonard Nimoy's Primortals, which I scripted in the 90s.

A bunch of issues of my Shadow House horror comic.

Multiple copies of the Werewolves: Dead Moon Rising prose anthology.

Multiple copies of the Captain Midnight Chronicles prose anthology.

And several copies of the out-of-print First Edition of the Spider Chronicles prose anthology.

I’ll also have some free Gravedigger and Perils On Planet X postcards there, too. So, come on by... and buy! I don't want to carry all that stuff home!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Shadow House Halloween Special

Click To Enlarge
What coulda/shoulda been: Back in the late 1990s, my pal James Chambers and I briefly had our own comics company called Shadow House Press. We published five issues of our horror anthology title Shadow House ('natch!) before we ran out of money and had to call it quits.

This gorgeous wrap-around cover by Kirk Van Wormer and Kevin Nowlan was intended to grace our (ultimately unpublished) Shadow House Halloween Special and features our horror hostess character, Autumn, offering some tricky treats to Jim's creation, the Lil' Ghoul Gang....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Cover: NIGHTMARE

The Halloween "Horror-Mood" continues with another glorious Nightmare cover from Skywald Publications. This one is from issue #10, and the artist is the great Ken Kelly.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Part Of A Monstrous Breakfast...

As previously mentioned on this blog, General Mills has celebrated the Halloween season this year by making available all five of their classic "monster" cereals... for the first time! While Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry were pretty consistently popular, later additions to the line - specifically, Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy - weren't around for very long, and were never available at the same time (until now).

Anyway, as the photo above testifies, I stopped by my local Target store on Friday night to buy some new shoes and a pair of warm slippers for the winter, and while there, I picked up one box of each variety (well, actually, I got two boxes of Count Chocula). While the cereals are available through numerous retailers, only Target has them in reproductions of their original "retro" packaging.

For the record, I did eat the Count Chocula this weekend (while watching 70s cartoons on DVD, 'natch). As for the others, well, they probably will not be fully consumed... but then, I really just wanted the boxes, anyway.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Wednesday Cover: NIGHTMARE

Here's another stunning cover from Skywald's Nightmare magazine (Issue #13), this time painted by Vicente Segrelles (according to the Grand Comics Database, anyway).

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

October Horror Moviethon: THE LOST BOYS

1987's The Lost Boys isn't really one of my favorites - I hadn't seen it since it originally aired on HBO and didn't care for it then - but revisiting it on Blu-ray was fun.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

October Horror Moviethon: THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS

Tonight's Movie: Roman Polanski's 1967 horror spoof, The Fearless Vampire Killers, a visually arresting yet only intermittently amusing satire of Hammer-styled gothics. I'd only seen random parts of the movie on cable before tonight, but thanks to the Warner Archive streaming channel, I was able to finally check it off my list. Fun poster by the great Frank Frazetta. (Well, the bottom part is Frazetta, anyway.)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Wednesday Cover: NIGHTMARE!

Issue #18 of Skywald's Nightmare, the predecessor and companion mag to their Psycho comics magazine. The Grand Comics Database credits Jose Antonio Domingo as the artist.

October Horror Moviethon: HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER (1958)

Tonight's movie - an early attempt at "meta" horror from AIP.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

October Horror Moviethon: THE MUMMY (1959)

Tonight's movie - Hammer's color remake of the Universal "Kharis" films, with Cushing & Lee. Brandi reviewed it on her blog.

October 1st Musings

October, at last. Random thoughts:

• Foot pain back, and it appears to be my old friend, gout. Laid up again. Yay.

• Numbers on yesterday's Gravedigger comic update were unusually low. Disappointing - and, given my state of mind today, discouraging. Need to find new (free) ways to drum up traffic. Facebook & Twitter and this blog aren't doing the job.

• Was hoping to get back to regular/semi-regular posting at DVD Late Show and Space: 1970 this month - depends on whether I can get the comics work on my plate and design gig that's supposed to show up soon out of the way.

It doesn't help that new Maine state tax laws going into effect today have shut down the only income I earned from those blogs, via the Amazon affiliate program. It wasn't much, but it was an additional incentive to keep putting in the work those sites require.

• News is just too depressing today. Will try to avoid it.

• Been watching a lot more current TV than usual lately. For the record, I thought the last four episodes of Breaking Bad were terrific, I liked the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and think a lot of people were way too critical of it, and thought the pilot of Sleepy Hollow was goofy fun. Plan to follow S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hollow for a few weeks, at least.

• As far as October movies, I'm really looking forward to Machete Kills! despite the presence of Mel Gibson. Interested in Gravity, as well, despite presence of Sandra Bullock.

• I could really use a bowl of Count Chocula... hope I can make it to Target soon to stock up.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Northwest Of Earth

I'm currently reading the Paizo Press/Planet Stories edition of Northwest Of Earth, a collection of gothic space opera stories originally published in Weird Tales back in the 30s. They're written by C.L. (Catherine) Moore, a well-regarded pulpster best known for her sword & sorcery heroine Jirel of Joiry.

The Paizo Press/Planet Stories hardcover I own has a nice enough cover painting, but I prefer the vintage duotone illustration above, which graced a 50's edition of the material. I don't know who the artist is, but I really dig the Old School space opera vibe of the illustration.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wild Adventures On Weird Worlds!

Okay, I can't resist sharing this here:
 

This is a preliminary sketch by artist Peter Grau, who comic fans may remember from his stint at Valiant Comics back in the 90s on titles like Solar, Man of the Atom and Secret Weapons, for a new graphic novel project we're just beginning to collaborate on.

I've been a fan of Peter's for years, and when I was an editor at Tekno*Comix in the mid-90s, I hired him to draw several issues of Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger. I've always thought that he was a terrific, underrated visual storyteller and illustrator in the classic "adventure comics" style, but I don't think that the material he was assigned at Valiant (or by me at Tekno) really played to his strengths. He basically retired from comics in the early '00s, and has been doing commercial illustration in recent years. To my great surprise, he's chosen to return to the medium for this project. I hope that this graphic novel will be a proper showcase for his talents.

I don't want to go into too many specifics about the book, but it is a retro-styled space adventure with square-jawed heroes, pretty space girls, rocketships, rayguns, aliens, monsters, robots, cavegirls (and cavemen), dinosaurs and lots of two-fisted action.

It's not intended as a spoof or pastiche, but the best, most sincere, Gardner Fox-styled, Old School space opera I can manage. Regular readers of this blog may be able to make some educated guesses as to the particulars of the project, but I'm going to try and not get too far ahead of myself this time. To often, out of enthusiasm, I've discussed comics projects here on the blog that ended up fizzling out before completion... but I feel really good about this one.

The plots are finished, and I'm starting the scripts this week; I don't know exactly how long this book will take to complete (though we're shooting for about this time next year), or even where it will end up, but - obviously - I'm very excited about it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Covers: Man-Wolf

Art by George Perez & Bob McLeod
Marvel's Man-Wolf was a weird character. Originally John Jameson, astronaut son of Spider-Man foil J. Jonah Jameson, he was briefly known as the super-powered "Jupiter Man," before discovering a strange, supernatural ruby on the moon, which caused him to transform into a pseudo werewolf. Later, he journeyed to an alien dimension, where he became a sword-wielding barbarian hero fighting wizards and other fantastic menaces.

Art by George Perez & Terry Austin
Anyway, I enjoyed some of those sword & sorcery-styled exploits when the character took over a couple issues of Marvel Premiere in 1978. Here are the covers to those issues, penciled by the great George Perez!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Coast City Comic Con Is Coming

My only 2013 convention appearance will be at the Coast City Comic Con, in South Portland, Maine, the weekend of November 9th and 10th. It looks to be a surprisingly "big" show for this neck of the woods, with a bunch of notable comics guests - Mike Norton, Larry Hama, Ed McGuinness, Ben Templesmith, Erik Burnham and many others - and film/TV celebrities, including most of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast, and a reunion of actors from the 1984 cult film Savage Streets!

I’ll have a table in the artists alley and will have copies of my comics, graphic novels and prose anthologies on hand for purchase. I’ll try to have some Gravedigger and Perils On Planet X stuff there, too. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Return Of The Ninja


I enjoyed 2009's Ninja, starring British martial arts star Scott Adkins. It wasn't a great film, nor even particularly original, but I thought it was a better-than-average direct-to-DVD action flick, and an entertaining throwback to the 80's heyday of Cannon's classic ninja movies. Well, director Isaac Florentine and Adkins have reunited to chronicle another adventure of Occidental ninja, Casey Bowman, with the oddly-titled sequel, Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear.

From the trailer, it looks like it could be fun. I'm particularly pleased to see little Kane Kosugi all grown up and playing the evil ninja in this entry. As a child, Kane frequently appeared alongside his father, the legendary "ninja star," Sho Kosugi, on films like Revenge Of the Ninja, 9 Deaths Of The Ninja, Black Eagle and Pray For Death. His presence just adds to the nostalgia factor for me. Looking forward to this.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Man O' Mars Redux

A couple weeks ago, I chose as my "Wednesday Cover" the 1953 Fiction House sci-fi one-shot, Man O' Mars. Well, that comic, featuring the heroic John Hunter of the Marsmen, has been reprinted a couple of times, including this edition from a shady outfit known as I.W. Publishing in 1958. The Grand Comics Database tentatively credits the art to Sid Check.

Whoever actually drew it, it's a terrific pulp space opera tableau, with all the elements - flying saucers, bubble helmets, rayguns, etc. - that make the genre such a personal favorite.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

This Week's Atomic Pulp Webcomics

 Here's what's going on with this week's Atomic Pulp line of free webcomics:

As noted in the previous post below, Monday debuts the the long-awaited (9 years!) Gravedigger: The Predators, by Yours Truly & Rick Burchett! For the better part of the last decade people have been telling me how much they wanted to read more Gravedigger stories, so I'm expecting a lot of hits on the site on Monday. Don't disappoint me!

http://www.gravediggercomic.com/

On Wednesday there's the fourth installment of Femme Noir, "Blonde Justice," with art by Joe Staton, inks by Horacio Ottolini and colors by Melissa Kaercher.

http://www.femme-noir.com/

And, of course, the interplanetary swashbuckler Perils On Planet X continues this Friday, with page six of Chapter 2, "Flight Into Terror." Art by Gene Gonzales with colors by Ian Sokoliwski.

http://www.perilsonplanetx.com/

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gravedigger: "The Predators" Starts Monday

It's been almost a decade in the making, but the wait is nearly over... the new Gravedigger adventure, "The Predators," by Yours Truly and artist Rick Burchett, begins on Monday, September 2nd, at http://www.gravediggercomic.com.

For nine years people have been telling me how much they wanted to read more Gravedigger, so I'm expecting a lot of hits on the site on Monday. Don't disappoint me....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monster Cereals Return From The Grave

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, my favorite breakfast cereal was General Mills' Count Chocula. I can't even guess how many boxes of that sugary, chocolate-flavored cereal I consumed between 1975 (when the product was introduced) and, say, the mid-80s, when I finally stopped eating cereal regularly.

Count Chocula was one of five monster-themed cereals manufactured by the company. The most popular one, after Count Chocula, was the strawberry-flavored Franken Berry, followed by the blueberry-flavored Boo Berry. I never cared for those berry-flavored cereals, but I seem to remember my sister sometimes ate Franken Berry. Two more fruit-flavored cereals were introduced later - Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute (immortalized in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction), but I don't recall those being sold in my area, and in any case, they didn't last long. Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry were manufactured for decades, but in recent years, those three products have only had limited distribution, and only during the month of October.

This year, General Mills is offering all five flavors during October. The packages will apparently feature truly hideous new artwork, but the Target chain will exclusively sell the products in "retro" packaing featuring the original 70s art. I'm actually thinking about visiting Target (a store I generally avoid) and picking up one of each....

 

Anyway, I recently stumbled across this half-hour video compilation of vintage monster cereal television commercials. Man, these really bring back memories! I had just about every single toy/premium shown in the video! I don't know who voiced these characters, but the Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre impressions (for Franken and Boo, respectively) in the early spots are terrific!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Man O' Mars!

This week's space hero comic is Fiction House's Man O' Mars, which had just one issue, published in 1953. The Grand Comics Database credits this ray-blasting cover to artist Maurice Whitman.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Max

Max has been with us for about eight months now, and as you can see, has made himself well and truly at home. Once again, we lucked out, pet-wise - Max is a great pal and companion; just a terrifically good-natured mutt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Monark Starstalker

Monark Starstalker was, despite a nigh-impossible to say aloud name, a cool Howard Chaykin sci-fi creation for Marvel Comics. The interstellar bounty hunter appeared in Issue #32 of the company's "try-out" title, Marvel Premiere in 1976, but failed to earn his own series. In fact, he wasn't seen again until 2009, guest starring in Nova, and then, a few years later, a Wolverine(!) miniseries.

I have not seen any of those later appearances, but from what I've read online, they really don't sound much like the character Chaykin create in '76.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekly Webcomics Update 08/12/13

This week's Atomic Pulp comics news/update:

Monday is the FINAL episode of Gravedigger: The Scavengers by Yours Truly & Rick Burchett! But... have no fear, because the next, all new, Digger McCrae caper, The Predators, begins in just a couple of weeks!

http://www.gravediggercomic.com/

Wednesday is the launch of the new Femme Noir website, beginning with a serialization of the "origin" story (stories?) "Blonde Justice," with art by Joe Staton, inks by Horacio Ottolini and colors by Melissa Kaercher. Even if you own this issue or have simply read it before, I hope you'll drop by and check out the new digs!

http://www.femme-noir.com/

And, of course, Perils On Planet X continues this Friday, with the third installment of Chapter 2, "Flight Into Terror," with art by Gene Gonzales and colors by Ian Sokoliwski.
http://www.perilsonplanetx.com/

Friday, August 09, 2013

DVD Late Show in August

Well, I didn't plan it that way, but I didn't update my DVD Late Show website in either June nor July. Heck, before this week I hadn't posted a new review since early May. Sure, I had reasons why DVD reviewing had to be pushed to the back-burner - May and June were devoted to finishing up some overdue comics scripts, and July was mostly just too damned hot to write - but I hate that the site was neglected for so long (again). I may not have a lot of readers, but I owe them better than that.

Anyway, this week, I've gotten back to it, and have posted reviews of Warner's new Charlie Chan Collection, Anchor Bay's Solomon Kane Blu-ray, and the Bomba The Jungle Boy collection from Warner Archive (all of which I've mentioned here at one time or another).

Later today, I hope to have a review of Synapse Films' terrific Hands Of The Ripper Blu-ray/DVD combo... and maybe one more.

I'm going to try and keep making regular updates for a while - I have a lot of discs on my desk to review. Stuff like the Adventures of Superboy - Season Three, Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, The Beasts Are On The Streets, The Name Of The Game Is...Kill!, Captain Caveman - The Complete Series, Hangar 18, Fortress and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan on Blu-ray... plus a whole lot more. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Femme Noir Returns

Okay - not too long ago, I promised that I would soon have an announcement regarding Femme Noir, the comic that I co-created with artist Joe Staton. Here it is (although it's really two announcements, I guess):

On August 14th, we're re-launching www.femme-noir.com, where Joe and I will be re-presenting classic Femme Noir comics and archiving all the pin-ups, fan art and character sketches that have been created over the last 10+ years since we debuted our fishnet-clad heroine online. We will also be using the site to keep fans informed on the progress of a new Femme Noir graphic novel, which we're shooting to get out next year.

All four issues of the 2009 "Dark City Diaries" miniseries, as well as previously-published short stories & online strips, will be serialized - for FREE - online, a page a week. If you already have these comics in your collection, the online versions will be supplemented with new bonus material (samples of Joe's pencils, my original script pages, commentary, etc.). The site will also function as a “Production Log” for the new graphic novel – and any other future Femme Noir projects/products.

It is our hope that new readers will enjoy the stories as serialized, but, of course, the print versions will also be available for purchase from publisher Ape Entertainment (as long as supplies last!) for the impatient. We also hope that folks who already have these stories will enjoy the bonuses and project updates. Along with the reruns, we'll be occasionally previewing work-in-progress art from the forthcoming graphic novel, "Cold, Dead Fingers," and have other surprises in the works, as well.

Now... about that "Cold, Dead Fingers: The Graphic Novel." This will be a completely re-written and re-drawn, extended version of the very first Femme Noir online comics continuity, which appeared way back in 2000-2001. The basic plot remains the same, but it will be considerably expanded-upon, with additional characters, subplots, and action beats.

Femme Noir co-creator Joe Staton will, as always, pencil the book, and my frequent collaborator, Gravedigger artist Rick Burchett, has volunteered to ink it. Rick got his professional start inking Joe on E-Man at First Comics in the 1980s, and they make a formidable artistic team. Colors will be provided by the talented Matt Webb, who previously colored a couple issues of "The Dark City Diaries" miniseries. We're starting production on "Cold, Dead Fingers" this month, and hope to have it completed and released sometime in 2014.

Anyway - I know some folks will be disappointed that this announcement is mostly about re-presenting the existing Femme Noir stories online, but it is our hope that we'll be able to provide enough new content to keep our old fans interested and involved, while using the serialized web versions to attract new readers. So that's the news: classic Femme Noir serialized online for free, lots of bonus material (new and old), and a new graphic novel gearing up.

We hope you’ll check out femme-noir.com in a couple of weeks and make it a regular part of your online reading habit.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Space Western!

Two great tastes that taste great together - Charlton Comics' 1952 Space Western! This book ran six issues and featured Spurs Jackson and His Space Vigilantes, who battled alien invaders, Commies and Nazis (in space)! And that's all I know - except that these covers were drawn by Stan Campbell - because I've never read an issue! Looks like fun, though!

I'm going to have to check out the public domain comics archive, Comic Book Plus, and see if I can read some of these Spurs Jackson adventures...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stand by for Adventure... PERILS ON PLANET X!

Back in February, I launched the Perils On Planet X webcomic, with new, free, full-color comics pages posted every Friday. The first chapter of that swashbuckling space saga ("Captives Of the Corsair Queen") concluded after 24 weeks (with nary a missed update!), on July 12th. (The whole first chapter is still available, by the way, if you want to catch up... and it's free, as always!)

Chapter Two, "Flight Into Terror," will begin on August 2nd. The creative team remains the same: Yours Truly, writer; Gene Gonzales, artist; and Ian Sokoliwski, colorist.

In "Flight Into Terror," time-tossed Earth astronaut Donovan Hawke and the beautiful Xylosian princess, Odyri, make a daring escape from the aerial city of the savage Strato-Pirates, only to find themselves lost in a vast, untamed, alien jungle. "Flight" will run for 28 weeks, and is packed with action and excitement, including raygun battles, aerial dogfights, giant monsters, jetpacks, lost cities... and savage, sanguinary simians.

I hope you'll join us next Friday, and even more, I hope you'll enjoy the adventure enough to share the comic with your friends (and your enemies - I'm not picky!).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Return of Charlie Chan

It's been about three years since the last DVD release, but four more late-period Charlie Chan mysteries from Monogram Studios are coming to DVD in a couple of weeks (August 6th), courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment's latest Charlie Chan Collection

I've never seen any of these four particular crime capers - Shadows Over Chinatown, Docks Of New Orleans, Shanghai Chest and The Golden Eye - which were produced on a shoestring by the legendary Poverty Row studio, but as an unrepentant B-mystery & Chan fan, I'm looking forward to adding them to my collection. (Even if three of them star the somnambulant Roland Winters, by far the least-interesting of the actors who portrayed the Honolulu detective.)

They're arriving right in the nick of time, too, as I've just finished watching the last of the Falcon mysteries, starring Tom Conway, and produced by RKO, and I'll be needing some fresh material for my nightly Late Movies.

Pre-order from Amazon: Charlie Chan: Collection

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Boy Of Steel

The fine folks at Warner Archive have recently released the third season of the 1989-1992 syndicated (The Adventures of) Superboy television series on manufactured-on-demand DVD. I've written about the series here on the blog before, so you already know that I'm a fan of the show. I dig it's Silver Age-styled stories (the writers understood Kal El's character a lot better than his current corporate and creative custodians, that's for sure) -- honestly, I'd rather watch this show over Smallville any day.

The third season was - as I recall - the best, with college students Clark Kent (Gerard Christopher) and Lana Lang (Stacy Haiduk) going to work as interns for a government agency known as the Bureau For Extranormal Matters. The tone (and cinematography) of the series got a lot darker (probably influenced, like the prime-time Flash series of the same vintage, by the success of Tim Burton's Batman the year before), and the stories were a lot more interesting, including a few where Superboy travels to alternate Earths and discovers different paths he could have taken - in one, he's killed Lex Luthor (Sherman Howard) and in another, he rules the Earth as the tyrannical "Sovereign." He also encounters an adult version of himself, played by Ron Ely (TV's Tarzan and the big screen's Doc Savage)!

The picture quality on the DVDs is pretty good, but suffer from the late-80s production methods of shooting on film, but transferring the footage to video for editing and post-production special effects. This results in an unavoidably soft image overall. Still, it's great to see these shows again, since, due to a bunch of legal wranglings in the 90s, these shows never aired in U.S. after their original run.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dennis Farina R.I.P.

I am saddened today to hear of the passing of actor Dennis Farina. Farina died Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, according to his publicist. He was 69.

Like just about everyone else, I first witnessed his talent and screen presence when he played hardboiled police Lieutenant Mike Torello on Michael Mann's seminal period police drama, Crime Story series back in 1986. A true-life ex-Chicago cop, Farina brought hard-earned verisimilitude to his mob-busting, tough guy role.

Farina went on to play a wide variety of tough cops and criminals - sometimes comically (as in Get Shorty) - in dozens of television shows and films, including Code Of Silence, Manhunter, Snatch, and Midnight Run. He was well known for his recurring role on Law and Order, but I most fondly remember him as the titular character in Mark Frost's short-lived 1998 private eye series, Buddy Faro.

I'm definitely going to miss the guy. Rest in peace, sir.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Cover: STAR TREK

I recently came across a bunch of scans of George Wilson artwork for Gold Key comics. Wilson was a highly prolific illustrator who was Gold Key's go-to guy for cover art. He produced hundreds of cover paintings - for comics, paperbacks and magazines - in his long career, and every single one of them was exceptional.

The scans, which I've been posting occasionally on my Facebook page, included original art for titles like Tarzan, Space Family Robinson, Magnus, Dark Shadows, Turok, Time Tunnel, Twilight Zone, Boris Karloff, and Doctor Solar. Among them was this painting for Issue #15 of the company's Star Trek comic book.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Strange Adventures On Other Planets

I love this Fox Features in-house ad trumpeting the then-forthcoming Rex Dexter Of Mars solo title - 64 pages in full color! I've got a soft spot in my comics-lovin' heart for old Rex because, compared to cosmic heroes like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and John Carter, Dick Briefer's interplanetary adventurer was basically a big screw-up!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pulp, Atomic-Style

It's no secret that as a writer I've had a few rough years, and haven't been nearly as prolific/productive as I'd like. There are a lot of reasons for that - many (if not most) of them of my own making. As per my New Year's resolution, 2013 has been all about the Atomic Pulp brand - i.e. finishing up the creator-owned comics projects that had been languishing (Gravedigger & Perils On Planet X), reviving older properties (Femme Noir), and getting started on some new projects that have percolating in my brain for a long, long time (Skorpion, "The Issue #200 Project," Star Busters, Young Felons In Love).

With half the year already gone, I haven't made quite as much progress as I'd hoped, but with the Gravedigger and Perils On Planet X comics running weekly online, I've at least made real headway on those particular projects and have raised my profile a tiny bit. I'm currently working on a new Femme Noir graphic novel, which I'll be sending to artist Joe Staton around the end of the month (I hope!) and have started plotting a new Gravedigger caper that both Rick Burchett and I are quite psyched about.

I also am working on plans to re-present the already-existing Femme Noir comic book material, and should have some news on that front shortly.

If I can keep my shit together, I should be able to get to work on new stuff by mid-Autumn (the above-mentioned "Issue #200 Project," Star Busters and Young Felons In Love), and maybe, in 2014, I can start looking for freelance comics work again (assuming anyone would be interested in hiring me).

In many ways, I'm my own worst enemy, allowing myself to get discouraged too easily, and letting that discouragement paralyze me for ridiculously long periods of time. I'm working hard to get past that, though. I just turned 48 years old this week, and there are so many stories I still want to tell....

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gravedigger's Gold Key

I had so much fun mocking up that Gold Key Comics-styled Femme Noir cover yesterday, that last night I dusted off the terrific, painted Gravedigger: The Scavengers variant cover by my friend Fred Harper, and knocked out this retro/faux Gravedigger piece. There's something kinda subversive about seeing the squeaky-clean Gold Key trade dress & logo on this hardboiled title...

Don't forget, Gravedigger is available to read free online every week (new pages on Mondays) at www.gravediggercomic.com!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Noir In The Key Of Gold

My pal Steve Bryant was sharing some faux-retro, Golden Age Athena Voltaire covers on his Facebook page today. It made me want to play around in Photoshop, too, so I whipped up this variant of the second issue of the Femme Noir miniseries from a few years back, in the style of old Gold Key Comics.The art is by Joe Staton and Alfredo Lopez Jr.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Adventures On Other Worlds

My birthday was earlier this week, and I was fortunate to receive a little cash as gifts from various family members. As I usually do around my birthday & Christmas time, I decided to pick up a few graphic novels. This year, my focus was almost entirely on the interplanetary adventure genre.

I ordered two John Carter Of Mars comics collections from Dark Horse Comics. The first of these, Weird Worlds, collects all of the Carter stories published by DC Comics in the early 1970s, while the other volume presents nearly the entire run of Marvel Comics' series from the latter half of that decade. The Marvel John Carter, Warlord Of Mars book was one of my favorite comic book series of all time (along with their Star Wars series of the same vintage), and I've long wanted a square-bound collection of those Barsoomian chronicles for my bookshelf.

The other two trade paperbacks I sprung for were from Dynamite Comics, a company that I've had mixed feelings about in the past. Exploiting the public domain status of Burroughs' early novels, they've been publishing their own Carter comics for the past few years. I've never read any of their Mars books, but I took a chance on Warriors Of Mars because I was intrigued by the premise. In this book they've dusted off Edwin Arnold's Gullivar Jones (protagonist of Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, a Martian adventure novel published more than a decade before Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess Of Mars), and introduced him to John Carter's milieu. Scholars have long noted the similarites between Arnold's novel and Burroughs' subsequent Martian tales, so I'm intrigued by the idea of seeing the two works/characters combined.

I also picked up the collection of their Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist miniseries, because I've read that the Alex Ross-plotted tale incorporates a lot of story elements from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie and the 1979 Filmation animated television feature. I happen to like both of those versions, and I know that Ross is a huge Flash fan, so I'm curious to see how that series turned out.

With luck, most of these books will be here by the weekend! 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Get Ready...This is For Real!


Booyah! This is the best Pacific Rim trailer yet! Apparently, it's not testing well with mainstream audiences, who see it as a "Transformers rip-off." I feel very sad for anyone whose pulse doesn't race in anticipation of witnessing giant robots battling giant monsters on the big screen. Poor devils.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Rex Dexter of Mars!

 Dick Briefer's Rex Dexter of Mars was a delightfully bizarre interplanetary adventure strip that ran in Mystery Men Comics from Fox Publications in the early 40s. In the Fall of 1940, the space-hopping Rex received his own comic - which lasted exactly one issue, the cover of which is posted above.

Someday, stargods willing, I will write a Rex Dexter graphic novel; he's one of two Golden Age space heroes (the other, of course, being Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk) that really fascinate me. As the character is now in the public domain, all I need to do is find the time... and an artist to collaborate with! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Richard Matheson R.I.P.

Sadly, after an anxious day of rumors on Facebook and Twitter, it has been confirmed that the extraordinarily talented fantasist Richard Matheson has departed this plane at age 87 after a long illness.

Matheson has always been one of my greatest literary influences and inspirations, a man whose imagination knew no limits, who could see the fantastic in the mundane world around us, and paint vivid, indelible, unforgettable images with words. He was a master, and his influence on popular culture - from the Twilight Zone to The Incredible Shrinking Man to Roger Corman's colorful Poe films to Somewhere In Time (the movie theme was played at our wedding) to I Am Legend and beyond - is immeasurable. In fact, I was just watching the 1971 film adaptation of Legend, The Omega Man, last night.

When I was writing my Kolchak The Night Stalker comic book miniseries a few years ago, it was Matheson's teleplays for the original TV movies that I used as my guide to the character.


Rest in peace, sir.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stallone & Statham Reunite For HOMEFRONT

Here's another upcoming action flick I'm looking forward to. Sylvester Stallone writes and produces this vehicle for his fellow Expendable, Jason Statham: Homefront. According to the IMDb, this Gary Fleder-directed thriller co-stars James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder and Clancy Brown.

The plot is described thusly: "A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord."

Not a lot to go on there, admittedly, but the cast looks good. Director Fleder is an unknown quantity to me (looks like he's mostly done episodic television), but, as we all know, I'm pretty much always up for a Statham flick. Homefront is due in November.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Webcomic Updates: GRAVEDIGGER & PERILS ON PLANET X

A Sneak Peek at GRAVEDIGGER: "The Predators." Art by Rick Burchett
Just wanted to remind folks about my two free weekly webcomics: Gravedigger and Perils On Planet X. Both comics premiered in February, and neither one has missed a week yet.

Gravedigger, which updates every Monday, is a hardboiled noir comic in the tradition of 60s Gold Medal paperbacks and 70s crime films, drawn by the incredibly talented and underrated Rick Burchett. We're actually closing in on the end of the first adventure, "The Scavengers," which will wrap up in August. On September 2nd - barring disaster - we'll be beginning our second caper, "The Predators," which is brand new and never been seen before in print or online.

If that story proves popular, I've got a third caper in mind, tentatively titled "The Marauders," which both Rick and I are eager to do.

A Sneak Peek at PERILS ON PLANET X: "Flight Into Terror!" Art by Gene Gonzales
Perils On Planet X, which sees a new page every Friday, is a swashbuckling interplanetary adventure in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars or Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon. It's drawn by the amazing Gene Gonzales and colored by Ian Sokoliwski. As with Gravedigger, we're closing in fast on the end of the first chapter, "Captives Of The Corsair Queen," which will conclude in July. The second chapter, "Flight Into Terror," is currently scheduled to debut on August 1st. Chapter Two will run for 28 weeks, with Chapter Three, "Blood Horde Of The Forbidden City," to follow.

Both comics have pretty decent followings, but I'd really like to see both titles garner more regular readers. We had a nice bump a few weeks ago, when comic writer/author Greg Rucka gave them a very kind plug, but I still think they could be doing a lot better. 

Unfortunately, I don't seem to have the knack for effective self-promotion; beyond posting weekly notices on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, I've had comparatively little success getting much attention for the comics. I'm going to keep trying, though! You can help, too - if you dig Gravedigger or Perils On Planet X, we'd definitely appreciate you mentioning them on your own blogs, on appropriate message boards, on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyway, the clock on the wall says 4:30 AM... it's a lot later than I thought, and I really need to get some sleep....