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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Cover: Spacehawk

Another offbeat Golden Age space hero - just as insanely bizarre as Dick Briefer's  Rex Dexter of Mars - was Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk, who appeared regularly in Target Comics from Novelty Press back in the early 1940s. He only appeared on one cover, but his adventures were outright brainbatshit crazy.

Wolverton's art style was delightfully grotesque, and his aliens were just indescribable. His hero was astonishingly brutal - and mysterious (he didn't show his face until the third story!).

Back in the 90s, Dark Horse reprinted all (or most, I'm not certain) of Wolverton's Spacehak stories in a B&W miniseries. I don't know if it sold well or not, but I loved it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Very Literate Young Lady

In case you missed this when it went viral about a month ago, here's my favorite "geek girl" music video. By all reports, Ray was actually quite flattered... and who could blame him? Oh yeah, definitely NSFW.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Waiting For The Trades

As I said in a previous post, since I was unable to order the DVDs I wanted from Warners Archive, I decided to instead spend that rare bit of disposable income on some comic book trade paperbacks instead.

Over the last few years, I have not been able financially to maintain the sort of weekly comic book habit that I used to have. Instead, I manage to get a handful of trade paperbacks and graphic novels each year, usually at Christmas (assuming my mother-in-law blesses me with an Amazon gift certificate), and maybe one or two others every six months or so.

I did recently manage to get John Ostrander and Tim Truman's most recent Grimjack volume, The Manx Cat, and loved it - and at the BangPop! show I made one half-price purchase: Marvel's Essential Killraven. (Did they ever collect the Alan Davis Killraven miniseries in trade? I enjoyed that series  and would like to have a collected volume on my shelves.)

So, anyway, Sunday night I ordered five books from InStock Trades. I haven't read any of these stories in individual comic format, so I purchased the trades "blind," so to speak. I'm hoping that none really disappoint me.

First is the DC Showcase Presents: Bat Lash, reprinting the original Western series from the late 60s. Then, the fourth volume of DC's "Ed McBain"-inspired Gotham Central, The Quick & The Dead. Then, because I wanted a straightforward superhero adventure that was new to me, I ordered Superman & The Legion of Superheroes collection by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank (hopefully it stands on its own). Mike Grell recently returned to The Warlord, so I ordered the trade collection of his first several issues. Finally, the Trekkie in me was intrigued by IDW's Star Trek: Mirror Images, which is supposed to be a prequel to the original series' "Mirror, Mirror," detailing how the alternate universe Kirk came to command the Imperial Enterprise.

So - one classic Western, a crime book, a superhero adventure, a sword & sorcery epic, and a Star Trek tie-in. Looks like I have all the bases covered.

Hopefully they'll be here soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Doesn't Warners Archive want my money?

I earned some extra money at the BangPop show last weekend selling some of my books, so I decided to finally order the Genesis II, Planet Earth, Strange New World and Captain Sindbad MOD (Manufactured On Demand) discs from Warners Archive. Unfortunately, I discovered that the WB online store won't accept debit cards or Paypal, and since I won't use a credit card anymore in protest of the banks' extortionate practices (and don't even have one at the moment), it appears that I won't be getting any of the Warner Archives stuff for the foreseeable future.

Which really fuckin' sucks, because they're about to release the complete Thundarr The Barbarian series through the Archive, as well as some 60's sci-fi flicks that I've been wanting to get my hands on for some time, including The Green Slime, Wild, Wild Planet and War of the Planets.

Considering all the other stuff they have that I want - like the Tarzan films, The Bermuda Depths, the Man From Atlantis pilot film, etc. - I'm really pissed that they won't accept my debit card. I looked up some of those WB Archive discs on Amazon, but they were way more expensive.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The BangPop show on Sunday went okay. I sold a fair number of Femme Noir and Kolchak: Monsters Among Us trade paperbacks throughout the day, and made a few bucks. The show was pretty dead by lunchtime, though, and that's a shame.

I really think that BangPop has a lot of potential, but the organizers need to put more planning, preparation and promotion into it. This year there wasn't even an active BangPop website until less than a month before the show. As for the event itself, there were only a couple of dealers and a handful of guests. They were very cool guests, but folks who showed up could see everything in about twenty minutes, and you know you've got trouble when even the Star Wars cosplayers bail early.

It's frustrating because I would really like to see Maine have one good annual pop culture convention and I know that there are a lot of people in New England who would attend BangPop if they knew about it and there was enough programming and other attractions to justify the drive. I understand that putting on a show is expensive, but if you start working on it well in advance, you can find economical and clever ways to attract more paying exhibitors and finagle more appealing guests. A month - or even two months - just isn't enough time to pull a show together.

Anyway, I personally made enough money to cover my meager expenses and on the way home from the shop, I stopped and bought Brandi a slightly-pricey Blu-Ray movie she'd had her eye on for a while. And tonight, I ordered a handful of comics trade paperbacks from In-Stock Trades. I haven't been able to buy anything new for a while, and was becoming a bit desperate for some new comics to read. The only thing I bought at the show was Marvel's Essential Killraven at half-price, and three old Man From Atlantis comic books for a buck.

Anyway, even though it was a fairly slow show, I'm still suffering a bit of post-con fatigue, and have had some back pain all day. This is usually about the time of night that I start working, but I don't think I can handle sitting in this chair too long. Maybe I'll go read some of that Killraven omnibus, and go to bed early.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Up Early

Actually, 5:30 AM is when I'm usually thinking about going to bed, but as I'm scheduled to appear at BangPop today, I actually went to bed around midnight. Four and a half hours later, I'm awake, and it looks like I'm going to remain that way.

In two hours I have to head to Bangor for BangPop. Maybe I'll get dressed, drive to the ATM, grab breakfast at McD's and be back home by the time the wife arises....

Sounds like a plan.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Character Art by Barreto

Cool, huh? This is Olu, one of Sinbad's crew in The Coils of the Serpent, the Sinbad graphic novel I'm developing with Eduardo Barreto. Eduardo's working on the first chapter now, and I'm hoping to see some finished pages shortly. Then, I'll be putting together a pitch package for publishers again.

This is fun.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back to Bora-Gora

Last night we finally picked up the DVD set for Tales of the Gold Monkey that came out a few months ago. Overall, it's a pretty fair package; the transfers are decent if a bit soft and weathered, and since it was transferred from the PAL discs that came out in the UK a couple years ago, the episodes run about 4% too fast, making everyone sound a little bit like chipmunks. But it's nothing that interferes much with the sheer enjoyment of having the show I loved as a kid on my shelves.

Set in and around a fictional group of Pacific islands in 1938, Tales chronicled the adventures of ex-Flying Tiger-turned soldier of fortune, Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins), his alcoholic mechanic Corky (the late Jeff Mckay), pretty American agent Sarah (Caitlin O'Heaney) as they sought treasure and fought Nazis and Imperial Japanese in the years leading up to WWII, while hanging out at the Monkey Bar, an island saloon run by expatriate Frenchman Bon Chance Louie (the late, great Roddy McDowell).

The show was rife with anachronisms - for one thing, the Flying Tigers weren't even formed 'til about three years later - and the tone could, on occasion, slide dangerously close to camp, but it was a pretty fair attempt at a period adventure show - especially for the early 80s - and actually improved steadily as it went along.

Still - considering that ABC wanted an action epic like Raiders of the Lost Ark (on a TV budget!) and creator Donald Bellasario wanted a Howard Hawks-ian period character study like Only Angels Have Wings or To Have And Have Not, I think the show usually struck a fair balance of both. Too bad the conflict between creator and network ultimately led to the show's premature cancellation. The cast was very solid, the writing was generally good, and it had a style.

I'll post a full review of the DVD set over on DVD Late Show this week, but if you've never seen the series - or haven't seen it since '82 - you might want to give it a rental from Netflix. It's a fun, pulpish series with some very cool characters.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wednsday Cover: STAR WARS

I've been on a bit of a Star Wars kick - or, more specifically, a "Han Solo & Chewbacca" kick - of late, re-reading Brian Daley's three "Adventures of Han Solo" novels from the late 1970s and the A.C. Crispin Solo Trilogy from the late 90s. I liked the 70s books better, but the more recent novels did a good job of fleshing out the character's backstory and setting him up for his intro in the original movie.

Han Solo's always been my favorite character in the SW universe, and I really enjoyed Archie Goodwin's characterization of the space smuggler back in the old Marvel Comics series, especially since all he had to go on was one movie appearance. All those "Expanded Universe" books and stuff weren't yet even a glint in Lucas' eye.

One memorable story arc occurred on a giant space station/casino called "The Wheel," especially when Solo and his hirsute first mate were tricked into battling to the death in an anti-gravity arena filled with opponents, and a holographic "outer space" environment, complete with stars and exploding planets.

This issue, #22, is from that multi-part epic, and was drawn by the legendary Carmine Infantino and inked by Bob Wiacek. A lot of people hated Infantino's Star Wars art - it was so stylized and the characters only vaguely resembled the film actors - but I loved it, and thought that Wiacek's lush brushwork was particularly complimentary to Infantino's pencils.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Atomic Pulp Updates

Hey folks - just a reminder: any news items about upcoming Christopher Mills comics or other projects are posted at my constantly updated Atomic Pulp homepage.

I've been really busy the last few months with professional and personal work, so I haven't been posting much here, but anything important that comes up - like appearances, books being solicited or released, or new projects being announced - will be posted in a timely manner on my homepage, so check in there often.

Thanks - and I hope to get back to my usual pop culture ramblings here soon!

And don't forget that I publish DVD & Blu-Ray reviews regularly at my DVD Late Show website, and have been very active at my 70's sci-fi nostalgia blog, Space: 1970.