Monday, December 25, 2006

The Beatles have taken over

I'm a bit peeved with the Beatles. The official site sent out an email when they posted a video from "Love" online, with embeddable code, which I copied and pasted assuming it would work like YouTube embeds. But it's kind of taken over the page, putting a pulsing box on the top left and playing the music automatically. Sorry about that. Maybe when that post goes to the archive they'll shut up. I can't figure out how to stop it.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas! I will be off the next week so posting, if at all, will certainly be sporadic. Come back next year!

UPDATE: Ah. Deleted the offending post. You can go to and see it for yourself now, but not here.

Something I didn't know about Thunderball

I saw this on Mark Evanier's blog:

On YouTube, the poster opines: "The (far superior) song that John Barry originally recorded for the main title of THUNDERBALL (1965), "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." Sung by Dionne Warwick (Barry wanted Shirley Bassey again but she was replaced by Warwick). Main title by Maurice Binder."

I have to say that while this is a cool song (and it was used as an instrumental in the soundtrack), I've always thought the Tom Jones theme song was one of the best because it's just so wacky.

Evanier explains further:
I'm not sure I have this story 100% right but here goes: When they made the James Bond film Thunderball in 1965, the opening song was originally going to be a tune called "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" that was written by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse, and sung by Dionne Warwick. Its title was a popular nickname for Mr. Bond, especially in the foreign press.

The main titles were filmed and edited to that track and then the producers, Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, got to worrying that it was the wrong song. Reportedly, they felt that a vital part of their films' promotion involved having a hit song out there that endlessly repeated the name of the movie...and of course, "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" didn't reference the title, didn't yell at people to go out and see Thunderball. So Mr. Barry got together with lyricist Don Black and they came up with a song called "Thunderball," which was recorded for them by Tom Jones and it was substituted for the Warwick track. (Also reportedly, Johnny Cash took a crack at writing and recording a song called "Thunderball" but his submission wasn't used, either. It was probably all about 007 riding trains, drinking coffee and being in prison.)

This clip consists of the opening titles of Thunderball with the original track reinstated. I don't think it's a better song but I think it fits better with the visuals. I guess that's only to be expected since they were calibrated to this tune instead of the one recorded by Mr. Jones.

AJC: The Year in Books

The Year in Books: Controversial titles kept pages, heads turning - Teresa K. Weaver at "How do you characterize a literary year that includes a nationally televised smackdown of a disgraced memoirist, the almost-publication of a sort-of 'confessional' from a fallen football superstar, and a book of recommendations from a presidential advisory committee hitting the best-seller charts? Weird.

Before closing the books on 2006, let's consider a few cultural bookmarks."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Evanier on Stan Lee

news from me: "Thursday night, they ran the episode of Identity with Stan Lee as one of the 'strangers' whose identity a contestant had to guess. It wasn't a toughie. By the time they'd gotten around to him, they'd eliminated Break Dancer, Opera Singer and Sushi Chef as options, and somehow, I can't see Stan doing any of those things. Well, maybe the break dancing. The other choices were that he was the Youngest person up there (nope), an Alligator Wrestler (also nope), a Bouncer (ha), a Fitness Model (double ha), a CSI Investigator (slight maybe), a Kidney Donor (possible), a Vegas Showgirl (well, he does have great legs) or the World's Fastest Man (likewise).

And...oh, yeah: Created Spider-Man. I think I'd go with that. None of the other strangers looked anything like Steve Ditko."

Stan's birthday is next Thursday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Football drama puts healing ahead of scoring (AJC)

Football drama puts healing ahead of scoring - Eleanor Ringel in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "WE ARE...MARSHALL: Grade: B

Starring Matthew McConaughey, David Strathairn, Anthony Mackie and Matthew Fox. Directed by McG. Rated PG for emotional thematic material, a crash scene, and mild language. At metro theaters. 2 hours, 5 minutes.

The verdict: A rah-rah movie that works.

Score another one for sappy movies this holiday season. In the wake of last week's 'The Pursuit of Happyness,' we have 'We Are Marshall,' another connect-the-dots inspirational film, largely filmed in Atlanta, that gets the job done.

It's as predictable as the final Big Game, but director McG —- the one-name phenom who made something presentable out of 'Charlie's Angels' —- applies that same audience-friendly expertise here. In short, this is the movie last fall's 'Invincible' —- another drama that cast sports in a larger context —- tried (and failed) to be.

'We Are Marshall' is based on a true story. On Nov. 14, 1970, a chartered plane carrying most of Marshall University's football team, coaches, staff and boosters crashed in the Appalachian Mountains outside Huntington, W.Va. (the school's hometown), killing everyone on board. The tight-knit community was devastated. Not only had they lost a team they followed with an almost religious devotion, but doctors, lawyers, sons, brothers and spouses were gone, too."

U2 "Window in the Skies"

Best (and Worst) Ads of '06 -

Best (and Worst) Ads of '06 - "People may remember 2006 as the year of anti-advertising, when marketers and their ad agencies went to great lengths to make sure their ads didn't look like typical Madison Avenue handiwork."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

CBR: Vaughan Joins "Lost" Writing Staff

Comic Book Resources : "Brian K. Vaughan announced on his official site today that he's joined the writing staff of “Lost” as Executive Story Edtor.

“As I'm neither an executive nor an editor, this is really just a fancy Hollywood way of saying that I've joined the writing staff,” Vaughan said.

A writer of both critical and commercial acclaim, Vaughan's hiring on the massive hit genre show follows that of other award-winning comics writers Jeph Loeb and Paul Dini. But like them, Vauaghan promises that his new job won't remove him from the comics scene. “I'm absolutely not leaving comics. There are a lot of ‘Y: The Last Man' and ‘Ex Machina' fans at the show, so everyone has been great about leaving me just enough time to work on those books, and even some new ones, including an upcoming four-issue stint on that Runaways guy Joss Whedon's ‘eighth season' of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer' over at Dark Horse.”

Vaughan indicated that some of the scripts for forthcoming “Lost” episodes are in his view among the series' best episodes, but implored fans to not ask him questions like “Who are the others?” and “What is the island”?”

'I will say that I'm insanely honored to join such an amazing group of writers,' Vaughan confessed. 'And I'm very grateful to [executive producers] Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for having so much faith in me.'"

Sheesh, this article needed an editor (can you find the two errors?). And they left out Vaughan's neatest credit: Writer for the excellent "Escapists" miniseries, just ended! Anyway, here's hoping he fixes things on "Lost."

Jack Burnley, RIP

news from Mark Evanier: "It is the sad but frequent duty of this weblog to report the passing of another veteran comic book creator. Jack Burnley died Tuesday at the age of 95. He was only active in comics from 1940 until 1947 but during that time, he drew some of the most memorable covers and co-created the popular super-hero, Starman. His renditions of Superman and Batman were among the first, if not the first, to be done outside the control of those characters' creators and his slick, professional approach did much to shape the image of those classic heroes."

I always thought Burnley had an extra high level of style and skill for Golden Age artists. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Luckovich, Handelsman interviewed

Luckovich, Handelsman interviewed on Newsweek on Air - The Daily Cartoonist: "Pulitzer Prize winners Mike Luckovich and Walt Handelsman were interviewed by NEWSWEEK on Air on their most controversial and favorite cartoons of the year. They also talked about what subjects they see coming into the new year. You can listen to it online."

Random Panels: KIRBYCISE!!

Random Panels: KIRBYCISE!!... Quite a workout! (H/T The Beat)


WeinWords--Len Wein has started a blog. Here's his bio:

Creator of legendary comic book character SWAMP THING (generating four comic book series, two feature films, a TV series, animated series, and a new feature film in development for Joel Silver); the HUMAN TARGET (several comics series, a live-action TV series, and a feature film in development for Warner Bros.); and WOLVERINE and the NEW X-MEN (the most successful comic book series of the ‘80s and ‘90s, two long-running animated series, three hugely successful feature films, with a Wolverine solo feature in development, and much merchandising), and many other characters. In TV, Len developed and Story Edited the award-winning WAR PLANETS: SHADOW RAIDERS. He’s scripted 60+ episodes of such series as HYPERNAUTS, CONAN, HULK, X-MEN, GODZILLA, SPIDER-MAN, ACTION MAN, STREET FIGHTER, BEAST WARS, BEAST MACHINES, EXOSQUAD, POCKET DRAGON ADVENTURES, many others. Len also received Emmy honors for work on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. In comics, Len’s been Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, Disney Comics, and Top Cow Comics, and Senior Editor at DC Comics. He is noted for long runs writing almost every major character in the business.

Classics Illustrated - A Christmas Carol

Classics Illustrated - A Christmas Carol... see the scans here!

King's Comic Book (USA Today)

Q&A with Stephen King - "Author Stephen King discussed Marvel's comic book adaptation of his Dark Tower novels in an exchange of emails with USA TODAY's David Colton..."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

AMC captures 'Prisoner' for '08

AMC captures 'Prisoner' for '08: "AMC is getting into the sci-fi business with a remake of the 1960s series 'The Prisoner.'

The cable network is set to co-produce with the U.K.'s Granada and Sky One a new version of the sci-fi thriller, which aired from 1967-68 on CBS. The remake will feature a similar story line to the original series, which starred Patrick McGoohan, who also was creator, producer, writer and director.

'Prisoner' will follow a man who finds himself inexplicably trapped in 'the Village,' with no memory of how he arrived. All of the inhabitants are identified by number instead of name, have no memory of a previous existence or outside civilization and are under constant surveillance. The man, Number Six, sets out to discover the truth behind the Village, why he's there and how he can escape."

Stan Lee on To Tell the Truth

H/T This is Pop Culture! Blog:

Monday, December 18, 2006

Joe Barbera, RIP

Yogi Bear creator Joe Barbera dies at 95 - Yahoo! News: "Joe Barbera, half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that produced such beloved cartoon characters as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, died Monday, a Warner Bros. spokesman said. He was 95."

A New Look for the Archies?

A New Look for the Archies - Silver Bullet Comics: What th'...? I guess this isn't across the line, just in some stories. Of course I haven't read an Archie book since I was in junior high! (Except for that Free Comic Book Day edition, of course!)

Friday, December 15, 2006 : The 40 Best Celebrity Rumors Ever - The 40 Best Celebrity Rumors Ever by Nerve Staff: "The golden age of celebrity rumors may be coming to an end. As Britney Spears spreads her legs to the world and Nicole Richie gets arrested driving north in the southbound lane, truth may at last have outstripped semi-fiction. Today's celebrities have so little left to hide. But fear not, scandal-mongers! The past remains a bottomless well of salacity. In tribute, we present our picks for the forty best celebrity rumors ever. Dive in. But be careful. This stuff doesn't wash off."

The Beatles: Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows

YouTube - Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows: "New promo video for the track 'Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows' from the album 'Love'."

Chabon defends novel acknowledgements

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "The New York Times published a letter to the editor from Michael Chabon on Monday, defending the use of the acknoledgement in novels.

The letter came in response to an article Times books reporter Julie Bosman wrote that was critical of Norman Mailer's very long acknowledgments.

'Here's a crazy reason your article did not mention for including an acknowledgment at the end of your novel: to acknowledge,' Chabon wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 5 and mailed from Peterborough, N.H.

'If there is some kind of old-fashioned virtue in concealing one's debt to and gratitude for the hard work of others, it's difficult for me to see where it lies,' Chabon wrote. 'The comparison to an Oscar speech is easy but bogus; it's much more like an invocation, a quick prayer of thanks offered up to your ancestors before you paddle your canoe over the falls."

Damn right! And I say that despite the fact that I'm listed in his acknowledgements in Kavalier & Clay!

Chabon Escapists comic miniseries ends...unfortunately

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "The final issue of The Escapists hit stands Wednesday.

'Thanks to everyone who loved this miniseries as much as we did,' writer Brian K. Vaughan said on his forum.

Steve Rolston and Jason Shawn Alexander illustrate the final tale of Max and Case. 'When tragedy strikes, will the character that brought them together ultimately tear them apart?' the issue's solication says. 'Find out in this fantastic final issue of the Escapist's first miniseries!'"

Artist draws new `Spirit' from classic

KRT Wire - Artist draws new `Spirit' from classic: "Darwyn Cooke has some mighty big shoes to fill - and he knows it.

Cooke is the writer-artist for 'The Spirit,' a new monthly comic from DC featuring Will Eisner's classic crime fighter.

Eisner, a giant in the comic-book industry, died in early 2005. The Spirit, his most famous creation, starred in a comic-book insert in Sunday newspapers in the 1940s and early `50s, with numerous publishers reprinting his adventures since then.

Before his death, Eisner signed off on the idea of a new Spirit series. DC approached Cooke not long after.

'I was really pretty flattered - and pretty scared - that they had thought of me for it,' he says."

This looks good, picked it up yesterday.

AJC's Ringel on the Golden Globe Noms

Our critic tells which Globe nods are golden - Eleanor Ringel in the AJC: "Thursday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominations for the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards (airing Jan. 15 on NBC). For the most part, the members didn't embarrass themselves."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NY Critics reveal their picks

9/11 film, actors Mirren, Whitaker top critics' lists | "'United 93,' a film that unflinchingly depicts the terrorist-hijacked flight that crashed into a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001, was chosen Monday as best picture of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle.

The critics also helped Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren continue to solidify their positions as Oscar front-runners —- each won the top acting prize, Whitaker for his thunderous portrayal of Idi Amin in 'The Last King of Scotland' and Helen Mirren for her withering take on Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Queen.' Both have won the same honor in other recently announced awards lists.

Supporting-actor awards went to Jackie Earle Haley for his haunting turn as a sex offender in 'Little Children' and Jennifer Hudson, who is emerging as an awards favorite for her showstopping performance in 'Dreamgirls.'

Martin Scorsese was the group's choice for best director for his Boston mob epic 'The Departed.' Peter Morgan earned yet another award for his screenplay for 'The Queen.'"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Quick Hits from Hogan's Alley

Hogan's Alley's e-newsletter has some great stuff:

QUICK HITS: If you ever doubted that the Golden Age of automotive advertising occurred in the 1950s, this animated commercial for the 1955 Nash will convince you: . . . We don't know if you caught this brilliantly nihilistic claymation-style take on a certain boy and his stuffed tiger comrade, but you owe it to yourself to see it
at . . .
The blogging phenomenon has given rise to some interesting comics-related sites (any many, many more soporific ones). But the Silent Penultimate Panel Watch
(. has a unique specialty, cataloguing each day's strips that use a "beat" panel in the next-to-last spot. Some strips use them effectively, some as a crutch, but it's a hoot to see what blogger Matt Gill and his SPP sentinels
turn up each day . . . United Feature Syndicate is offering "Cow & Boy" as its annual Christmas strip this year at , and Mark Leiknes is delivering a solid effort worthy of inclusion in a tradition that stretches back to 1937 . . . Like us, you probably never cease to be amused by your favorite "Far Side" cartoons. So, like us, you'll
probably get a big kick out of these meticulous re-creations of some classic Gary Larson panels:
(We wish we had that kind of time on our hands.) . . . Hogan's Alley contributor Mike Rhode has assembled a collection of bookplate artwork by Clifford Berryman, the cartoonist best known for his depictions of
the original teddy bear. You can read his feature, available exclusively through this newsletter, at

"Spider-Man" director resurrects "Shadow"

"Spider-Man" director resurrects "Shadow" - Reuters has the cool news: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Columbia Pictures and 'Spider-Man' director
Sam Raimi know.

After a lengthy negotiation, the studio has acquired the screen rights to 'The Shadow,' the legendary 1930s pulp hero, for a big-screen adaptation to be produced by Raimi and Josh Donen through their Buckaroo Entertainment banner. Raimi is not attached to direct at this time."

Ben Samuels' Classic Golden Age Comic Book Cover Gallery

Ben Samuels' Classic Golden Age Comic Book Cover Gallery: "Welcome to my gallery of classic comic covers. I've been collecting comic books for over 25 years and I wanted to be able to share some of my favorite covers. All of the covers, with a very few exceptions, are from my personal collection." Check it out!

Peanuts Meets Marvel

Peanuts Meets Marvel @ StatueForum - Statue Forum: This has been making the rounds of various lists, but there are some amazing mash-ups here! Check it out...

AJC: Critical guide to watching TV on the web

Rodney Ho of the AJC presents an overview of what's available online in the way of network TV shows.

Confessions of a MOUSE POTATO

Confessions of a MOUSE POTATO - John Kessler at AJC on watching TV shows on his MacBook: "But has its major frustrations. One, the large view isn't that large. Two, the stream stalls frequently in heavy late-night traffic, leaving you in the lurch. One night I watched the same Scrubbing Bubbles commercial four times as I tried to reload the last few minutes of a show to no avail.

So thank the Javascripted heavens for's Innertube. When this baby cranked into action, I could see the future of convergence. The viewer expanded to full screen, the computer desktop faded to black and the video rolled across the screen —- a triumphant letterbox. There were some herks and jerks as a reminder of the digital tether. But it felt like the movies. Get the popcorn."

Variety: L.A. film critics love 'Letters' - Award Central 2007 �-�L.A. critics love 'Letters': "'Letters From Iwo Jima,' Clint Eastwood's account of the fierce World War II battle from the Japanese point of view, was chosen best picture of 2006 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. after spirited voting that saw awards spread among an unusual number and variety of contenders.

'Letters' prevailed despite that fact it was also eligible in the foreign-language film category (the film is in Japanese) and competed against Eastwood's own 'Flags of Our Fathers,' which opened in October and examined the experiences of several American participants in the Iwo Jima fighting and subsequent fund-raising drive. Distrib Warner Bros. decided only at the last minute to move 'Letters' up from an early 2007 release to its current Dec. 20 bow (pic debuted Saturday in Japan)."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

AJC's best graphic novels of the year

BOOKS: Graphic outpouring | AccessAtlanta: "Comics continued to gain mainstream recognition in 2006, becoming one of the fastest-growing genres in the book world and showcasing a dazzling range of artistic style and content.

The comics boom isn't just big business; more and more, success means a certain literary respectability. One milestone moment worth noting: Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel 'American Born Chinese' was a finalist for this year's National Book Award for young people's literature."

Friday, December 08, 2006

More on Stan Lee's DFC Books

STAN LEE ON HIS DYNAMIC FORCES BOOK DEAL - NEWSARAMA: "Announced last week, Stan Lee will soon be putting with the creation of a line of six books produced with Dynamic Forces. The first of the two will be guidebooks, Stan Lee’s Guide to Writing Comics and ,b>Stan Lee’s Guide to Drawing Comics, while the remaining four have yet to be named, although retrospective looks back at Lee’s work are most likely.

“I owe it all to [Dynamic Forces President] Nick Barrucci – it was his idea,” Lee said when asked what brought the deal about. “I said to him, ‘Nick, the last thing I have time to is write a series of books,’ and he said, ‘But the world needs them, Stan.’

“Well,” Lee added with a chuckle, “He had me there.”"

NYT: Apocalypto review

Apocalypto - Mel Gibson - Movies - Review - New York Times: "Violence has become the central axiom in Mr. Gibson’s practice as a filmmaker, his major theme and also his chief aesthetic interest. The brutality in “Apocalypto” is so relentless and extreme that it sometimes moves beyond horror into a kind of grotesque comedy, but to dismiss it as excessive or gratuitous would be to underestimate Mr. Gibson’s seriousness. And say what you will about him — about his problem with booze or his problem with Jews — he is a serious filmmaker.

Which is not to say that “Apocalypto” is a great film, or even that it can be taken quite as seriously as it wants to be. Mr. Gibson’s technical command has never been surer; for most of its 2-hour 18-minute running time, “Apocalypto,” written by Mr. Gibson and Farhad Safinia, is a model of narrative economy, moving nimbly forward and telling its tale with clarity and force. It is, above all, a muscular and kinetic action movie, a drama of rescue and revenge with very little organic relation to its historical setting. Yes, the dialogue is in various Mayan dialects, which will sound at least as strange to American ears as the Latin and Aramaic of “The Passion of the Christ,” but the film’s real language is Hollywood’s, and Mr. Gibson’s, native tongue."

I'm not sure if I'll see this or not. I passed on The Passion because from what I understood it was over the top with the gore. This sounds much the same, different scenario. I was a big fan of Braveheart (since I share the last name of the hero), but now I see that's where all the bloodlust started for ol' Mel. Bless him.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

How FRASIER came to be

By Ken Levine, a TV writer, turns his blog over to colleague Peter Casey to tell the story of the creation of one of my favorite sitcoms, Frasier (H/T Evanier): "Hello, everybody from beautiful Los Angeles, California. Peter Casey here, co-creator of FRASIER. I want to thank Ken Levine for offering me this space on his blog and I especially want to thank those of you who showed such interest in the creation of FRASIER."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Original ‘Spiderman’ Cover Art Tops $100,000; Sets Auction Record

Original ‘Spiderman’ Cover Art Tops $100,000; Sets Auction Record: "Original artwork from the cover of Spiderman #43, drawn by John Romita for the December 1966 issue and depicting Spidey locked in mortal combat with his arch enemy 'The Rhino,' sold for $101,700 at a multi-estate sale held October 20–21 by Philip Weiss Auctions."

Check out the cool images of expensive original art!

Utne Reader on Superhero battles: Not your father's Captain America

Book Reviews: "Superheroes battle over civil liberties and the meaning of patriotism."

ABC protects 'Lost' - ABC protects 'Lost': "ABC is moving 'Lost' out of the way of the 'American Idol' juggernaut.

Alphabet on Tuesday unveiled a January sked that has the spooky Wednesday drama moving back an hour to 10 p.m. when it returns Feb. 7. Shift -- the third timeslot for the show in as many years -- ensures the skein won't have to battle the Fox behemoth."

Does water STILL flow on Mars?

Does water STILL flow on Mars? | the Daily Mail: "Dramatic new photographs of Mars have revealed the possible existence of water on its surface.

The images - released for the first time on Wednesday by the US space agency NASA - were taken earlier this year in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the Red Planet.

Experts have long believed water was to be found on Mars, which is subject to extreme weather conditions. This latest discovery may provide vital proof there was life on Mars and that it is possible for man to land on its arid and rocky surface.

NASA researchers have documented the formation of new craters on the plant's surface and found bright, light-coloured deposits in gullies that were not present in previous photos.

They concluded the deposits - possibly mud, salt or frost - were left there when water recently cascaded through the channels."

AJC: First look: "We Are Marshall"

FIRST LOOK - "A lot of the West Virginia football movie 'We Are Marshall,' opening nationwide Dec. 22, was filmed throughout metro Atlanta earlier this year. But most moviegoers —- even those who live here —- probably won't recognize the locations.

Scenes shot in Georgia —- including several games (at various metro Atlanta stadiums), the aftermath of a devastating plane crash (re- created at Fulton County Airport-Brown Field) and interior diner scenes (at a former Ford dealership downtown) —- are meant to represent Huntington, W.Va. (population: roughly 51,000), where Marshall University is located.


'Marshall,' which stars Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox and David Strathairn, chronicles not only the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 members of the university's football team, coaching staff and supporters, but the efforts of many in Huntington to rebuild the school's football program and field a team for the 1971 season."

Huntington is my hometown, Marshall is my alma mater. Really looking forward to this one.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Evanier: Bob & Ray

news from me: Mark has links to some goodies at the TV Land site: "While you're over at the TV Land site, check out some of the clips from other shows they have up. But especially check out the one you can reach by clicking this link. It should take you to three and a half minutes of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding on The Flip Wilson Show. Nobody funnier."

An Evening with Stan Lee and Kevin Smith - A Report

NEWSARAMA: "The past met the present, with about 1000 close personal friends in tow, on the campus of UCLA on Saturday night, December 2nd. Stan Lee and Joe Quesada entertained a raucous crowd at “Marvel Then and a Now,” a fundraising event put on by The Hero Initiative ( Stan and Joe shared their stories and observations of over 60 years of Marvel history, aided and abetted by Kevin Smith, who hosted the event.

Stan Lee showed up sporting a full beard, the likes of which he hasn’t been seen with since he starred in Smith’s film, Mallrats. Smith, in a nod to that shared past, showed up wearing his old “Silent Bob” long green coat."

'FoxTrot' to Become a Sunday-Only Comic This Month

'FoxTrot' to Become a Sunday-Only Comic This Month: "Bill Amend will turn 'FoxTrot' into a Sunday-only comic starting Dec. 31 in order to devote more time to other creative pursuits, Universal Press Syndicate announced today.

Universal introduced Amend's daily/Sunday strip in 1988, and it passed the 1,000-newspaper mark in 1999. (Fewer than 20 comics have a four-figure client list.) 'FoxTrot' stars the Fox family, including brainy 10-year-old Jason.

'After spending close to half of my life writing and drawing 'FoxTrot' cartoons, I think it's time I got out of the house and tried some new things,' Amend said in a statement. 'I love cartooning and I absolutely want to continue doing the strip, just not at the current all-consuming pace.

'I’ve been blessed over the years with a terrific syndicate, patient newspaper clients, and more support from readers than I probably deserve, and I want to assure them all that while I'll be now a less-frequent participant on the comics pages, I'll continue to treat my visits as the special privilege they are.”

Fox Trot is one of my favorite strips. This is sad. Wonder what he'll be up to next? Wisdom from the Batcave Cary Friendman's Wisdom from the Batcave (out this week): "Rabbi Cary A. Friedman is a writer, works with the F.B.I. as a profiler, and is a comic book fan who has taken his love of the Batman and turned that into a book for the masses, Wisdom From The Batcave. He tells us what it was like examining one of his favorite characters in this fashion.

THE PULSE: As a man of God, is it tough for you to 'believe' in the ideals of superheroes?

CARY A. FRIEDMAN: Not at all. The two are not antagonistic in any way. In fact, they are totally compatible. My religious beliefs teach that it is our job, in partnership with the Almighty, to perfect – physically, socially, and spiritually – the world in which we live. We are not helpless, passive spectators to the great cosmic drama of life. We are – or are supposed to be – active participants, partners with G-d in the process of bringing holiness into the world. That worldview fits perfectly with the ideals of superheroes.

One more point: I appreciate your calling me a “man of God,” but I am no more a man of God than any other human being who decides to commit himself or herself to the hard work of perfecting the world. Every person, through the exercise of their free will, is called upon to be a man or woman of God."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Evanier: DC's James Bond

news from me: "I got to discussing this with some folks at the Mid-Ohio Con and they all suggested I post this story here. It's the story of how, during the James Bond craze of the sixties, DC Comics had an option to publish a 007 comic book and didn't know it.

The first Bond film, Doctor No, debuted in England in October of 1962. To coincide with that release, the British publisher of the Classics Illustrated comic book series issued an adaptation that was drawn by Norman J. Nodel. It was not, by the way, a terribly precise adaptation, at least of the movie, which Nodel does not appear to have seen when he drew the book. It has been suggested that the publisher had the right to adapt the screenplay but not necessarily the film based on it. The likeness of the lead character makes it seem like Nodel was told to draw a Bond that looked a lot like Sean Connery...but not exactly."

Check out the whole story and pix!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

NBC News: Ernest Hemingway's Cuban home

The Daily Nightly - Reporter Mark Potter had a fascinating story about the "politically-complicated efforts to restore the Cuban home of famed American writer Ernest Hemingway. Reporting this story gave us rare access to the fascinating place known as Finca Vigia, or Lookout Farm, which sits on a hill overlooking Havana. Hemingway lived and worked there for 21 years, from 1939 to 1960, and it's where he finished 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' and fully wrote 'The Old Man and the Sea,' for which he won both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize for Literature.

All of us in the NBC team were struck by how the house seems frozen in time, and feels as if Papa, himself, could stroll through the door at any moment. The walls are filled with his hunting trophies from around the world, including the head of an African Cape Buffalo. On the bathroom walls are the handwritten notes he would write every day recording his weight. The last entry was from July 24, 1960. He weighed 190 pounds then."

I toured Hemingway's home on Key West a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed that.

Stylish Fan-Flick: The Green Hornet

Friday, December 01, 2006

Voices of Marvel Comics 1965--Now in Video!

'Apocalypto' Is bloody violent

'Apocalypto' Is More 'Mad Max' Than Mayan (Roger Friedman at "With the subtlety of several thousand flying mallets and arrows, here comes Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto,' a two-hour plus torture-fest so violent that women and children will be headed to the doors faster than you can say 'duck' when the film opens on Dec. 8.

Indeed, 'Apocalypto' is the most violent movie Disney has ever released, with so much blood spurting out of orifices that even Martin Scorsese would blush.

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to see heads and hearts removed without anesthesia, then this is the movie for you. 'Grey's Anatomy' it is not."

Stan Lee Signed to Book Deal

ComicList: DFE: Stan Lee Signed to Historical Deal!: "Dynamic Forces today announced a line of Historical Retrospective Books pairing the premiere comics and collectibles company with the legendary Stan Lee. Stan Lee, the co-creator of many great silver age characters – the corner stone - of the Marvel Universe, and the foundation of the multi-billion dollar entertainment giant Marvel has since become, is responsible for

The first two titles scheduled for release in the series will be editions of Stan Lee' s Guide to Writing Comics and Stan Lee's Guide to Drawing Comics. The books will be presented in full-color with the first book scheduled to be released in early 2007, the second in mid to late 2007 and more in the series will follow."