Wednesday, January 31, 2007

VSL's most popular emails

Today's Very Short List links to the most popular recent VSL emails: And if you don't subscribe, try it. It's a great daily pop culture email.

Amazing scholarly achievement...

Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site has The Don Martin Dictionary, complete from




[hat tip to Lyle Tucker!]

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NY Review of Books: Chabon on Cormac McCarthy

The New York Review of Books: After the Apocalypse: Review by Michael Chabon.

Evanier: George Carl redux

news from me: "Clear the next seven minutes of your life. This is one of the best clips I've had up here." Click 'n' go see.

Monday, January 29, 2007

American Comic Archive: Roy Crane

Featured Artist: This site has a complete Wash Tubbs comic strip adventure online, and look for the Dick Briefer Frankensteins. Sure hope there's more to come here. These are the fine folks who have put out four issues of BIG FUN comic strips reprints.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chabon's Swashbuckler for NYT Mag GalleyCat:

The New York Times has lined up a new writer for its Sunday magazine fiction, as Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon becomes the fifth author—after Elmore Leonard, Patricia Cornwell, Scott Turow, and Michael Connelly—to create serialized stories for the "Funny Pages" section. His story, Gentlemen of the Road, is an adventure yarn set in the tenth-century kingdom of Arran, which the Times press release helpfully notes was "in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian seas." Or, roughly, modern Azerbaijan. And Chabon will definitely have action on tap, because during the mid-tenth century the region was repeatedly invaded by Rus marauders from the north...

I shot off an email to Chabon asking about some of his inspirations for the story. "Well, the novel carries a dedication to Michael Moorcock; his stories of Elric and other ironic sword-wielding heroes, along with the sublime Fritz Leiber with his Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories, Errol Flynn movies (Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk) and the great Rafael Sabatini novels that inspired them; this truly wonderful, forgotten, out-of-print novel from Sweden called The Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson with which my late aunt once returned home from a sojourn in Scandinavia."* Having always wanted to try his hand at the genre, Chabon came up with the basic idea for the novel a few years back, took extensive notes which he set aside... "And then I completely forgot about it until the Times sent along a query, asking if I'd be interested in doing a serial."

"It was hugely fun to write," Chabon admits. "I kind of dreamed my way through the whole thing. I hope it's fun to read, too, and that my heroes have a tenth of the crackling anti-hero verve of Sabatini's, or Leiber's, or Moorcock's." I know I can't wait to find out—and just as that story ends, The Yiddish Policemen's Union will finally be coming out, after a scheduled one-year delay to allow more time to prepare a full marketing campaign.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Salon Slideshow: Comics that reinvent the superhero genre

Comics that reinvent the superhero genre. - By Dan Kois - Slate Magazine

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Marvel Then and Now - Stan Lee and Joe Quesada

Trailer for Then and Now DVD

UK Sun: Cruise 'is Christ' of Scientology

The Sun Online - Bizarre: Cruise 'is Christ' of Scientology: "Tom Cruise is the new “Christ” of Scientology, according to leaders of the cult-like religion.

The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.

And leader David Miscavige believes that in future, Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.

A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure.

“Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right.”

Cruise joined the Church of Scientology in the ’80s. Leader L Ron Hubbard claimed humans bear traces of an ancient alien civilisation."

79th annual Academy Award nominations

79th annual Academy Award nominations - Yahoo! News: "Complete list of the 79th Annual Academy Award nominations announced Tuesday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Let's Dance

AJC: Heroes update

At the heart of 'HEROES' | "When TV critics here grilled the writers of ABC's dense drama 'Lost' a week ago, the questions centered around story pacing and the lack of payoff that has caused many frustrated viewers to leave the island, so to speak.

Four days later, 'Heroes' creator Tim Kring couldn't help but allude to 'Lost' and its problems as he touted his own sci-fi/fantasy show, which returns on NBC tonight after a seven-week hiatus and the resolution of the 'Save the cheerleader, save the world' plotline.

'We feel like we've made a pact with the audience that something is going to happen every week,' Kring said.

While some people wonder whether he might run out of story ideas too quickly, Kring said that isn't the case.

'Rather than it being like a tank of gas where you use up story, these twists and turns and reveals and cliffhangers actually generate more story,' Kring said. 'So it's an engine that feeds on itself.'"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pop Culture archives and galleries galore

Tick Tock Toys - Archives & Galleries: Check it out, a treasure trove of all sorts of pop culture goodies!

Friday, January 19, 2007

CBR: SHIELD--another reason to love comics

Comics Should Be Good! - 365 Reasons to Love Comics #16: Check out the overview and the great sample Steranko covers!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

FCC Chair says Sat Radio Services can't merge

F.C.C. Chairman Says Rules Bar Satellite Radio Merger - New York Times: "The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin, said yesterday that the two satellite radio companies, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio Holdings, would not win approval of a merger under current regulatory rules.

A ban on a single owner for both satellite services was written into the regulations that authorized the two nationwide licenses, Mr. Martin said after an F.C.C. meeting."

So if you were waiting for that, forget about it.

Turner launches comedy video site

Eat The Press | The Huffington Post: "Turner Broadcasting just launched Super Deluxe, a comedy video site featuring rising talents like Chelsea Peretti ('The Show With Ze Frank,' co-creator of 'Black People Love Us' and a HuffPo contributor), Brad Neely (creator of work like music video 'Washington, Washington' and alternate Harry Potter soundtrack 'Wizard People, Dear Readers'), Eugene Mirman, Jon Benjamin, plus established comic pillars like Dave Foley (Kids In The Hall, Newsradio). The Apiary reports that it has almost a milllion videos banked, though that sounds like sort of a lot. It's definitely brimming with content, though, great contributors and is a slick, user-friendly site. No limitation on topics covered (which already puts it at an advantage over the now-defunct Office Pirates). Great news for comedians, and those who love them."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

'Steve Canyon' Comic Coming to Web Site

'Steve Canyon' Comic Coming to Web Site: " is bringing 'Steve Canyon' to the Web to celebrate the 100th birthday of cartoonist Milton Caniff.

Installments of the classic adventure strip will start appearing next Monday, according to 'Lost Sheep' cartoonist Dan Thompson. He co-owns, which features the work of more than 30 cartoonists."

Casper Compilation Coming!

Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Harvey Comics Classics Volume 1: Casper the Friendly Ghost: "Harvey Comics Classics Volume 1: Casper contains over 100 of Casper's very best stories, from the beginning of the Harvey series in 1952 through the classic years of the mid-1960s. The art is reproduced from crisp black-and-white printer's proofs and original artwork from the old Harvey archives, along with sixty four pages of color meticulously restored from the original comic books. The book includes a comprehensive introduction illustrated with historic memorabilia." It'll be nearly 500 pages for $19.95!

Terrestrial radio looks to high-definition future |

Terrestrial radio looks to high-definition future | "Radio is in the midst of a makeover.

The sound you grew up with -- complete with the occasional pop, hiss or fizz that happens when analog signals can't get through clearly -- is on its way out.

Replacing it is a sound said to be capable of making AM sound like FM and FM sound like a CD. And with it, broadcasters promise, will come a lot more variety.

As radio broadcasters continue battling for listeners with satellite, MP3 players, cellphones and the Internet, they're betting on digital technology to ensure their survival. But despite the companies' investment, many consumers are unaware of the new technology."

I got a little desktop HD radio at Radio Shack on Black Friday last November, and I enjoy listening to the very few HD stations in Atlanta. Here's hoping there's lots more to come.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Comics Curmudgeon: Mary Worth in Vietnam

The Comics Curmudgeon has today's strip in this latest adventure which I have found rather bizarre myself: "Wow, so Mary's arrived in Vietnam! And she's managed to check into that country's most cracker-tastic hotel! It looks like our bow-tie wearing desk clerk has only been Asian-ized thanks to a last-minute introduction of 'sallow' by the coloring sweatshop gnomes, who are themselves no doubt based somewhere in Southeast Asia (though probably not Vietnam, as wages there are too high; I'm thinking Myanmar).

The happy Aryan couple in the background of panel two sure are excited to start their Vietnamese adventure; in fact, the redhead looks particularly excited, if you know what I mean. And I think you do."

Check it out!

Marv Wolfman on working with Stan Lee

TODAY'S VIEWS: Check out Marv's comments about working with Stan Lee on the new animated featured The Condor, on Marv's new blog.

Steve Canyon at 60

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Caniff's 'Steve Canyon' debuted 60 years ago: "Caniff is coming!

That was the breathless, front-page announcement made 60 years ago in the old Chicago Sun newspaper, a predecessor of the Sun-Times.

Famed cartoonist Milton Caniff had been stolen away from the Chicago Tribune's syndication company by Sun editor and publisher Marshall Field III -- and that wasn't the type of news to bury in the back of the paper.

It was before television, when comics -- especially adventure strips -- were major circulation draws.

With the promise of more money and the lucrative ownership of his own strip, Caniff jumped ship -- leaving behind the 'Terry and the Pirates' strip that made him famous.

But a new hero was born.

Sixty years ago this weekend, 'Steve Canyon' flew onto the pages of the Sun and 168 other daily newspapers, beginning a run that lasted until Caniff's death in 1988." Stan [Lee] and deliver - Movies - Stan and deliver: "Stan Lee, the legendary creator of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four, has worked in the comic-book business for 67 years.

It used to feel silly, like he was wasting his time. That is why the native New Yorker -- son of Romanian immigrants who struggled during the Great Depression -- changed his birth name. Stanley Martin Lieber became something short, sweet and anonymous when he became a comics writer, when he started doing frivolous things.

'I used to be embarrassed doing what I was doing,' Lee confides to the Toronto Sun. 'Other people were doing really important things and here I was writing these ridiculous stories and wasting time.'

But now, at 84 and still creating comic heroes with the same boyish zeal he had as a youngster at Timely publishing in New York in 1940, Stan Lee is proud."

Golden Globe Winners

List of Golden Globe Award Winners | AP at AccessAtlanta: "Complete list of winners at Monday's 64th annual Golden Globes presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Beverly Hills, Calif."

NYT Carpetbagger: Report on the Globes

A Bonbon for Everyone - Carpetbagger - Movies - Oscars - Awards - David Carr - New York Times Blog: "The Bagger likes the way the story turned out, with everybody getting a taste. 'Babel,' which had seven nominations but got blanked most of the night, ended up with the ultimate prize. But Martin Scorsese finally has a major directing award for 'he Departed,' and boy did he seem happy."

Monday, January 15, 2007

'Lost' producers discuss series' end

Print Story: 'Lost' producers discuss series' end --AP on Yahoo! News: "Makers of the tropical island drama 'Lost' say they're talking with ABC executives about setting an end date for the series.

There's no sense the finale is coming anytime soon. But knowing they have a deadline will help writers of the convoluted drama lay out how they want the story to end, producers said Sunday in a meeting with TV critics here.

'Once we figure out when that will be, a lot of the questions will go away,' said Carlton Cuse, an executive producer. 'Lost' is in its third season."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Author delves into Beatles' religious influences and insights |

Author delves into Beatles' religious influences and insights | "Rock music writer Steve Turner grew up in a Christian home in Daventry, England. And like other teenagers who came of age in the 1960s, Turner was a huge Beatles fan.

'At that time, Christians weren't too keen on rock 'n' roll music, so people in the church generally weren't too keen on the Beatles,' Turner says in a phone call from London.

'Yet, after a few years, the Beatles became interested in religious topics, so there was this interplay between religion and rock music that I became interested in.'

Forty years after John Lennon made his infamous and often misunderstood comment that the Beatles were 'more popular than Jesus' %u2014- spawning ban-the-Beatles protests %u2014- Turner explores the Fab Four's spiritual quest in his latest book, 'The Gospel According to the Beatles' (Westminster John Knox Press, $19.95)."

Friday, January 12, 2007

TV Week: Cool new shows for SciFi & USA

TV Week: "Sci Fi Channel and USA Network announced several new projects at the Television Critics Association semi-annual press tour Friday, including a new 'Flash Gordon' series.

As is their TCA custom, Sci Fi announced an extensive slate. The 'Flash Gordon' series, based on the classic comic strip, includes 22 one-hour episodes produced by Robert Halmi and Robert Halmi Jr., who previously produced Sci Fi's 'Legend of Earthsea' series, among many other television longform projects.

Sci Fi also has a new reality series, 'Destination Truth,' which is an hour-long, six-episode series investigating unexplained mysteries.

USA Network greenlighted 11 episodes of 'In Plain Sight,' a new drama starring Mary McCormack ('The West Wing') as a U.S. Federal Marshal working for the Witness Protection Program. David Maples ('Huff') serves as showrunner, with 'Dawson's Creek' producer Paul Stupin executive-producing.

Sci Fi's development slate includes a miniseries called 'Diamond Age,' based on a novel by Neal Stephenson about a futuristic society, executive-produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Productions. "

Tears of the Black Tiger - Movie Review in NYT

Tears of the Black Tiger - review by A.O. Scott in NYT: "There may be crazier movies than "Tears of the Black Tiger," Wisit Sasanatieng's Thai cowboy melodrama of betrayal and forbidden love, but I can't think of one that is quite so mad about its own craziness. What is most startling is not Mr. Sasanatieng's compulsive, fetishistic assembly of bits and pieces of the movie past; this kind of pastiche has, over the past decade and a half, gone from novelty to cliche. The source of the movie's seductive appeal lies less in its vivid fakery-- the mock vintage-Technicolor hues, the musical and visual quotations, the miasma of camp hanging in the air -- than in its disarming sincerity."

There's a video review with clips on the site. Looks cool!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stan Lee voted 26th most influential living American

POW! Entertainment's Founder 'Stan Lee' Voted 26th Most Influential Living American

American Icons, a featured series of The Atlantic Monthly, has recognized POW! Entertainment's Founder Stan Lee to be the 26th most Influential Living American (tied with legendary comedian Bill Cosby). The list also included such notable cultural icons as Bill Gates, who was voted number one, Steve Jobs (fifth), Steven Spielberg (sixth), Oprah Winfrey (tenth), George Lucas (twelfth) and Walter Cronkite at sixteenth. Comic book and motion picture icon Stan Lee ranked more influential than Henry Kissinger, Chuck Berry, Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Tiger Woods, Hugh Hefner and every other living notable American who did not make the list.

Source: The Atlantic Monthly, December 2006, volume 298 Number 5

The Atlantic describes Stan Lee as the founder of Marvel Comics, and the inventor of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and numerous other superheroes. What the article didn't say is that his past stellar achievements may ultimately prove to be the lesser of his accomplishment. Lee, who still maintains his status as Marvel’s Chairman Emeritus, has gone on to form his own new company called POW! Entertainment (OTC:POWN.PK), where he is creating a host of contemporary material at an unprecedented rate. In fact, POW! has over 40 breakthrough "Stan Lee Presents" projects currently in various stages of development. The POW! premiere of hit reality series Who Wants to be a Superhero, along with the SCI FI Channel’s co-production of Lightspeed, have already earned Lee's new POW! Entertainment a firm place in the households of millions of Americans. Additionally, Stan Lee's new POW! Sprint Mobile Channel promises to further solidify Lee's new company's position in the worldwide entertainment marketplace. POW! Entertainment is fast becoming a major player in the entertainment industry and with its line up of new projects could very well catapult Stan Lee's status to even greater heights.

SIS reporter Brad Ford searched "Stan Lee" on Internet Movie Data Base ( to see what they listed for future releases of Stan Lee credited films. The reporter was awed by the slate of new up and coming motion picture productions that credited Stan Lee as either writer or producer. Stan Lee’s creative genius is withstanding the test of time as a never ending stream of Stan Lee credited films seem to keep growing in numbers, hit after hit, year after year. Some Stan Lee credited future releases listed are: Nick Fury (2008), Thor (2009), Magneto (2009), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man (2008), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Spider-Man 3 (2007), The Invincible Iron Man (2007), The Hands of Shang-Chi (2007), The Punisher 2 (2007), The Harpy (2007), Ghost Rider (2007).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Official Ringo Starr Site: Stan Lee DVD

The Official Ringo Starr Site: "'Ringo' (the Stan Lee animated feature) to be released later this year on DVD

At 84 years of age Stan Lee is proving that the creative spirit never dies.

Iconic comic book creator, Stan Lee, is working with Starz Home Entertainment on 'Stan Lee Presents,' a franchise of animated features produced by Lee's POW! Entertainment and the Starz-owned Film Roman animation studio. The third installment in the 'Stan Lee Presents' presents series is Ringo, a musical comedy that tells the life story of ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, voicing himself, as if he were a superhero.

'We're very excited,' states Lee. 'The DVDs should appeal to the same audience as those who enjoy Marvel comics.' The first DVD in the series, 'Mosaic', will come to DVD Jan. 9 followed by 'The Condor', due March 20."

TCR: Steve Krantz, RIP

The Comics Reporter: "Steve Krantz, an early adapter of comics material to television and film, the writer-producer of several television movies adapting his wife Judith's books and later a mental health counselor, died last Thursday. The cause was given as complications from pneumonia.

Krantz got his start in the early days of television, most notably at The Tonight Show. He helped develop two of the most successful comics-turned-TV Shows, Dennis the Menace and Hazel, while head of creative development at Columbia. He acquired the rights to some of Marvel's characters after reading and getting excited by the comic books and their potential for crossover success. He produced first The Marvel Superheroes, a cheaply made but fondly-remembered limited-animation take on Marvel, drawing directly on work from the height of the company's powerful mid-'60s creative flush period, and then a follow-up show featuring Spider-Man that ran from 1967 to 1970 and was later profitably syndicated. Krantz was also involved in trying to get a live-action Spider-Man film made in the mid-1970s, and in 1976 was shopping a treatment to studios featuring a giant robot and Nazis. He had earlier envisioned a musical."

For sale: Tiny 'nation' off the English coast |

For sale: Tiny 'nation' off the English coast | "It has its own flag, stamps, anthem, coins and passport- a tiny 'nation' that's up for sale. But buyers beware: It's only a wartime fort perched on two concrete towers in the North Sea.

The artificial island that looks like an oil rig was created by Britain during World War II to guard shipping convoys. Britain abandoned the island after the war, and retired army Maj. Paddy Roy Bates took over, declaring it the principality of Sealand in 1967. He's now known as Prince Roy.

The Bates family made and enforced the laws of Sealand, a 5,920-square-foot platform eight miles off the east coast of England. Their claim of sovereignty was upheld by courts.

Inmonaranja, a Spanish real estate company, has put a $975 million price tag on Sealand."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What they're saying about "Wally's World"

See comment below for more info.

What People are saying about

Vanguard. 2006. 224p. ISBN 1-887591-80-X. pap. $24.95. BIOG

…a real piece of work...brief and thorough biography...
speaks to the esteem in which Wood was held.
- Entertainment Weekly

WALLY'S WORLD (Vanguard), is a serious and sensitive look
at an important artist. Recommended.
- Library Journal, January, 2007

WALLY'S WORLD is fantastic. What a story.
- Steven Heller, New York Times Book Review art director

…intriguing biography chronicles Wood's life and finest art. Wood was terrific. So is this book.
- Starlog #353 February, 2007

WALLY'S WORLD is a fascinating book. I am stunned by the quality of Wood's fine art.
- National Public Radio, Faith Middleton

Wood was among the most famous and influential comic book artists in history. But his complex life has not been covered so thoroughly before WALLY'S WORLD, nor have people outside the comics world been so interested.
- The Hartford Courant, December 13, 2006

...this is a lovingly crafted view of Wally Wood, one of the most captivating
figures in the annals of comic book history. Recommended.
- Comic Shop News, 2006 Christmas Gift Guide

WALLY'S WORLD is an indispensable tome for any serious fan.
- Chip Kidd (USA Today called Kidd "a rock star" of graphic design)

Fans of 50s era EC comics and Mad Magazine know Wood’s work and lasting legacy…he was equally intense in his personal life and took the Ernest Hemmingway and Hunter S. Thompson tortured artist route on Halloween, 1981. Read all about how he wrestled demons that rivaled Edgar Allan Poe in WALLY's WORLD by Starger and Spurlock (Vanguard). Highly recommended.
- Femme Fatales, November 2006

WALLY's WORLD is about a man who took his dream as far as possible and helped others along the way. Great Job and thank you Starger and Spurlock for bringing this legend of man's life to this announcer's attention. WALLY's WORLD--buy it, read it and learn from it.
- Jonathan "JD" DuVall, Reality & Beyond, WILI, Willimantic, CT, Nov. 11, 2006

WALLY'S WORLD by Steve Starger and J. David Spurlock. Introduction by Peter Max.
Highly Recommended. A wonderful, inside look at one of the brightest lights in comics. I've been a Wood fan since my teenage years, and I loved reading this. A real page-turner with so much I never knew...and I met and did business with Wood. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone.
- Bud Plant, Bud Plant Comic Art

Starger and Spurlock take us behind the scenes to explain psychologically, the causes of the neuroses that would shadow Wood. Lavishly illustrated with work from EC to Mad to Marvel to DC…a lot to recommend…the most thorough examination of Wally Wood's life and work.

Not just great stories, but fantastic art work… WALLY'S WORLD is a wonderful book.
- The Wayne Norman Show, WILI 14 AM Radio, Willimantic CT

Wally Wood inspired a generation including Robert Crumb, Robert Williams and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman. But Wood's accolades did not hinder him from suffering a tragic death at the end of a .44 magnum. WALLY's WORLD by Steve Starger and J. David Spurlock is the first full-length biography on this legendary artist and includes insights from other creators and an introduction by pop-art icon, Peter Max.
- Scoop, October 06, 2006

WALLY'S WORLD is a fascinating journey. Starger and Spurlock lovingly cast light on the whole of Wally Wood's career with reverence and brutal honesty.
-, October, 2006

Read Steve Starger and J. David Spurlock's new book WALLY'S WORLD (ISBN 1-887591-80-X) about the life and hard times of Wally Wood
- Dave Sim, January, 2007

Best of 2006: Vanguard published two major books, one focusing on Basil Gogos, and the other, a biography, on the career and sad life of the great Wallace Wood, WALLY's WORLD…a welcome addition to my bookcase.
- Innocent Bystander, Gary Sassaman, January, 2007 excellent book--unlocks the private world of one of the greatest--and most troubled--geniuses ever to storm through the four color forest.
- Will Murray, author, historian

I want one!

AP on Yahoo News:

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday made the company's long-awaited jump into the mobile phone business and renamed the company to just "Apple Inc.," reflecting its increasing focus on consumer electronics.

The iPhone, which starts at $499, is controlled by touch, plays music, surfs the Internet and runs the
Macintosh computer operating system. Jobs said it will "reinvent" the telecommunications sector and "leapfrog" past the current generation of hard-to-use smart phones.

"Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," he said during his keynote address at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo. "It's very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. ... Apple's been very fortunate in that it's introduced a few of these."

He said the name change is meant to reflect the fact that Apple has matured from a computer manufacturer to a full-fledged consumer electronics company.

Spurlock on Wally Wood, take 2

A week ago I posted a note about "Wally's World," the excellent and gorgeous overview of the life of work of master comics illustrator Wally Wood, published and co-written by J. David Spurlock (Vanguard).

I remarked about the online brouhaha about the many typos in the book. Well, David just called to explain what happened, and I owe him an apology because it sounded like I thought he was lax on the editorial side of the project.

What happened was, the book was shipped to the printer on a disc, which happened to include an earlier file (clearly dated). Proofs were pulled from the correct final file and sent to David & crew for approval. However, when it came time to actually print the book, the printer used the OTHER file-- the older, uncorrected file. When David realized what had happened, he could have had the printer trash the run... but doing so would have voided all the Diamond pre-orders and ultimately cost him thousands of dollars. So I don't blame him at all.

Despite the typos, the book has deservedly garnered outstanding reviews from a variety of sources. David said he has talked to Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, and a number of other media outlets about the book. It's fantastically produced, gorgeously designed, and has more fascinating information about the life of Wally Wood than I ever thought would be possible to find out. It's a stunning work, and now that I know what happened with this first printing, here's hoping it sells out quickly so a revised version can be printed.

You should check it out yourself. Here's Vanguard's website (link goes to all their Wally Wood projects) where you can order it:

Cameron sets live-action, CG epic for 2009

Cameron sets live-action, CG epic for 2009 - Hollywood Reporter: "James Cameron is set to direct 'Avatar,' his first dramatic feature since the Oscar-winning blockbuster 'Titanic' in 1997.

Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman said Monday that Cameron will start virtual photography on the sci-fi epic in April, with live-action photography commencing in August, for a summer 2009 release. It will be filmed in a new digital 3-D format for release in 3-D.

The director already has spent years in R&D on the multiple processes needed to create a $190 million hybrid of live action and animation, which he vowed will never pass the $200 million mark. 'I've been the busiest unemployed director in Hollywood,' he said. 'We're going to blow you to the back wall of the theater in a way you haven't seen for a long time. My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt when we first saw '2001: A Space Odyssey,' or the next generation's 'Star Wars.' It took me 10 years to find something hard enough to be interesting.'"

Cartoonist who created Scooby-Doo dies

Cartoonist who created Scooby-Doo dies - AP on Yahoo: "In a career that spanned more than six decades, Iwao Takamoto assisted in the designs of some of the biggest animated features and television shows, including 'Cinderella,' 'Peter Pan,' 'Lady and the Tramp' and 'The Flintstones.'

But it was Takamoto's creation of Scooby-Doo, the cowardly dog with an adventurous heart, that captivated audiences and endured for generations.

Takamoto died Monday of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu said. He was 81."

I never knew much about Mr. Takamoto, but I remember seeing his name in the credits of cartoon shows every Saturday morning. RIP.

Behind the Scenes at the Soupy Show

Probably THE most famous TV blooper and practical joke--and this one has it from Soupy's point of view. Caution: Bouncing boobs.

Monday, January 08, 2007

How Stan and Soupy Changed My Life

Originally published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; later revised
as a chapter in OUT OF THE QUIET:

Decades after my first encounters with them, a couple of my childhood heroes continue to lift my spirit and entertain my soul. These two people contributed, at least in some small way, to forming my belief system and maybe even my personality.

Who are they? Soupy Sales and Stan Lee.

Don’t laugh! I’m serious. Stan Lee, as you may know, is the co-creator of such beloved comic-book characters as Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil (all of whom are featured in upcoming major motion pictures). As a kid, I was enamored by Lee’s comic books and their senses-shattering tales of derring-do and do-gooding.

Like most preadolescents, I especially identified with born loser Peter Parker, the teen bitten by a radioactive spider who donned blue-and-red spider-webbed tights to prosecute justice and protect humankind from all sorts of evildoers. Why? Because his late uncle taught him that “with great power comes great responsibility.” In other words, we’ve all been given gifts, and we should use them for the good of others.

At the same time, Soupy Sales was one of my childhood idols because I found him insanely hilarious. Plus, he was from my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia—a local hero who made good. I attended the same high school and college (Marshall University) Soupy did. When his New York-based daily kids’ program aired regularly in Huntington, I would make a beeline home from school to catch it and laugh myself silly watching White Fang and Black Tooth, the wacky door-to-door salesmen, and so many other characters interact with Soupy, who always seemed to let us in on the gag with a warm wink.

Just the other day, my two heroes seemed to be in collusion to make me think. I have been fortunate to “meet” and correspond with Stan Lee via email, and he has been most gracious and encouraging with me—as he always has been with everyone, it seems. After I sent him a copy of my latest book, a devotional journal for youth tracing the life of Christ, Stan emailed back a hearty thank you note. And he added: “In your card you wrote, ‘Our faiths may differ, but--’ I beg to disagree. I think our faiths are similar—it’s merely our religions that may differ. I have faith in the inherent goodness of man and I’m sure you feel the same…. I have the greatest respect for any discipline that preaches kindness and charity and love for one’s fellow man. Most important of all, to me—‘Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you’ is the greatest phrase ever written. If everyone followed that creed, this world would be a paradise.”

The next day, I happened to be reading Soupy Sales’s new autobiography, Soupy Sez! My Life and Zany Times, and stumbled upon this passage: “Throughout my career, I’ve tried to be as generous and kind as I possibly could to everyone. In fact--I know this sounds corny--but it’s the truth; my motto is, was, and always will be, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”

Reading that well-known Golden Rule twice in two days from my two childhood heroes had an impact on me. Both of them have been “good guys” in every sense of the word over the years, and now I understood why. I knew the quotation well—it’s from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. The NRSV puts it: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). It’s Jesus’ summary of the Hebrew Scriptures. Of course, the concept is reflected in just about every religion on earth. But few people have exemplified the Golden Rule as Jesus himself did.

The Golden Rule is not about our expectations regarding how others are to treat us. Or about waiting to see how we’re treated before we do anything. It has nothing to do with “an eye for an eye” or “what goes around comes around.” Rather, the Golden Rule starts with each of us taking proactive steps to treat others as we’d like to be treated. It’s taking the responsibility to do good for others, regardless of what they do for you, if anything.

What if we actually did that? What if we looked for opportunities to treat others with kindness and self-sacrifice? What if we went out of our way to do something positive and helpful for someone in need? Watch the enchanting Academy Award-nominated film “Amelie” and you might come up with some ideas. As an added bonus, it’s fun.

Our culture is so self-focused that such behavior may seem unhealthy, codependent, or wishy-washy. In some cases it might be. But I think it takes an unusual amount of courage and strength of character to undertake.

Of course, none of us has super powers. But if we put into practice even the most basic elements of faith, particularly with a sense of humor and good will, we can experience a bit of paradise on this cold, hard earth. It’s within your power. And remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

(c) 2004 PMW

Evanier: Happy Soupy Sales Day!

news from me: "Very few topics bring hits and e-mail to this site like a mention of Soupy Sales. Until I classed up and stopped posting them (i.e., when I ran out), photos of Julie Newmar in skimpy clothing was the big draw. But now it's Soupy. Every time I mention him, I hear from folks who were kids in Detroit (1953-1958), Los Angeles (1959-1962) or New York (1964-1967) and have never lost their affection for him and his shows.

As I tried to convey in this article, Soupy's show just exuded fun. It was fun to watch and I used to wish I was one of the people on the crew. You heard them laughing off-camera, especially when Soupy was in trouble and attempting to ad-lib his way out of some bit that wasn't working. As we mentioned when we recently linked to a Soupy clip, he was not only a very clever, likeable man but a very brave one, as well. His show was half improvised (some days, well more than half) and he did it without a huge cast or budget. Much of the time, it was just him out there, thinking of entertaining things to say and do. I never missed his show and was heartbroken when he left the Los Angeles airwaves.

Today is Soupy's 81st birthday. I don't think he's on the web but maybe White Fang or Black Tooth have Internet access and will let him know that a lot of us are wishing him and every day."

I've spoken much about Soupy Sales on this blog, as he's one of my lifelong heroes. I'll post a piece from one of my books about him and Stan Lee later.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Premiere: The Secrets of Spider-Man 3

Premiere Magazine - The Secrets of Spider-Man 3: "In an exclusive excerpt from Premiere's January/February cover story, untangles some of the mysteries surrounding the webslinger's third adventure."

H/T to Make Mine Marvel!

Lost lakes of Titan are found at last

Lost lakes of Titan are found at last - Yahoo! News: "Lakes of methane have been spotted on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, boosting the theory that this strange, distant world bears beguiling similarities to Earth, according to a new study.

Titan has long intrigued space scientists, as it is the only moon in the Solar System to have a dense atmosphere -- and its atmosphere, like Earth's, mainly comprises nitrogen."

Lost lakes of Titan are found at last - Yahoo! News

Lost lakes of Titan are found at last/a>: "Lakes of methane have been spotted on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, boosting the theory that this strange, distant world bears beguiling similarities to Earth, according to a new study.

Titan has long intrigued space scientists, as it is the only moon in the Solar System to have a dense atmosphere -- and its atmosphere, like Earth's, mainly comprises nitrogen."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Screen Actors Guild noms announced

Nominees for the 13th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | AccessAtlanta: "DiCaprio. O'Toole. Streep. Whitaker. Mirren. Murphy. Hudson.

Those are some of the nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, announced Thursday, but the whole list of movie nominees could well match the lineup for this year's Academy Award contenders."

Megan Mullally's new talk show canceled -

Megan Mullally's new talk show canceled - "Karen Walker would have a few choice words about this: Megan Mullally's syndicated talk-variety show is finished after less than five months.

The low-rated The Megan Mullally Show has been canceled and production has been halted, NBC Universal Television Distribution said Wednesday. Original and repeat episodes of the show, which debuted last September, will air through January."

I often watched a bit of this while getting ready in the morning. She really brought back the old-time talk show like Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin. Sorry it didn't work out.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Vanity Fair on Archie

American Idol: Entertainment & Culture: "At 65, Archie Andrews has somehow remained relevant, even hip, in an increasingly crass culture. But he still can't choose between Betty and Veronica. How did this World War II–era goofball manage to stay current? The little girls understand."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Daily Cartoonist explains what's up with Judge Parker art

The Daily Cartoonist: "The behind the scenes events surrounding the Judge Parker creators could be worthy of their own story-line. After receiving a steady flow of complaints and inquiries in the comment section of this blog regarding the abruptly changing artwork of Judge Parker, I started to poke around to see what warranted such a strong reaction. I found rumors on other web sites that the artist, Eduardo Baretto had temporarily left the feature and that temporary fill-ins were being used. What Woody Wilson, the strip’s writer, tells me is a roller-coaster year for the strip’s production.

Last March, Harold LeDoux the feature’s artist, told Woody that he was going to retire and that they needed to find a replacement. Woody, who had worked with Eduardo on another project, suggested he take over the drawing. Harold and Woody worked with Eduardo to get the artwork looking close to Herold’s style to provide a smooth transition. Eduardo’s work was taken to King Features, who had Eduardo do another weeks worth of material to demonstrate his ability (kind of like an audition). By late April, Eduardo officially took over on the artwork, but has Woody explains, Eduardo was struggling to keep consistent with Herold’s style.

By June, a decision was made to give Eduardo some freedom artistically to “make it his own.” Soon thereafter Woody and Eduardo finally found a groove and things were going smoothly until early November when Eduardo vanished. No one could get a hold of him. When Eduardo resurfaced, he told Woody that he had been in the hospital with pneumonia. After Thanksgiving, Eduardo disappeared again but this time deadlines were passing. For about a week Woody tried in vain to communicate with Eduardo, but emails were bouncing and no one spoke English when he tried to call Eduardo’s home (Eduardo lives in Uruguay). Woody says that they had about a five day window to get stuff out the door, so he went to Graham Nolan the artist for Rex Morgan MD (which Woody also writes) and asked if he could take over on the artwork until they could find Eduardo. Graham could only commit to a week (DailyInk subscribers can see Graham’s work on the week of December 4th).

Meanwhile, Woody got a hold of the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay and explained the need for them to track down Eduardo. They found him in the hospital after a near-death car accident. As Woody explained it - they (King Features) were only a day away from replacing Eduardo entirely had the Embassy not found him when they did. Using Graham for a week bought King Features time to find another temporary artist. Woody wouldn’t disclose the name of the current artist you’re seeing right now. When the new artists started submitting his work it, Woody became very concerned that the artwork was radically different than previous artists - the style was different and ages of characters were all wrong, etc. He’s been receiving about 15-20 emails a day of readers complaining or inquiring about the strip - over 200 total so far.

The good news is that Eduardo has recovered and is back to the drawing board. His work should hit the papers in the third week of January.

UPDATE: I received an e-mail from King Features regarding the matter. The fill in artist is John Heebink who did a total of 4 weeks (daily and Sunday). His last daily runs the 14th of January. John is a talented artist who has worked in the comic book field whose work includes Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D! and humorous magazine covers. To those who have complained about the artwork being different the Herold’s I can only offer a Rumsfeldian response: You go to print with the artist that you’ve got."

I have thoroughly enjoyed Eduardo's work on the strip, and unfortunately Mr. Heebink is not doing nearly as well. Here's hoping Eduardo gets back in fine shape soon!

FF/Silver Surfer Trailer Online

Crave Online: Funny Videos, Sexy Videos, Music Videos, Movie Trailers, and More!

'Indiana Jones' to begin filming in 2007 -

'Indiana Jones' to begin filming in 2007 - "George Lucas said Friday that filming of the long-awaited Indiana Jones movie will begin next year. Harrison Ford, who appeared in the three earlier flicks, the last one coming in 1989, is set to star again. Lucas said he and Steven Spielberg recently finalized the script for the film.

'It's going to be fantastic. It's going to be the best one yet,' the 62-year-old filmmaker said during a break from preparing for his duties as grand marshal of Monday's Rose Parade."

AWK&C: Will Escapist return to comic books?

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "Can the Escapist escape the end?

That's the question following the final issue of The Escapists, published earlier this month. Dark Horse still has the rights to publish a new book, and while nothing has been announced, editor Diana Schutz says plans are afoot.

'Our commitment remains firm to the character,' she said via e-mail.

Just last week, Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson talked to Schutz about creating a new Escapist-related series, 'though I can't give you any details at this point and probably not for some time,' she said.

'Don't forget that Mike went out of his way to get the rights to publish comics based on Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-winning novel; he is still totally passionate about Michael's novel and about our comics,' Schutz said. 'As am I. It's the market whose support we need!'

At the stands, Escapist series have stuggled. The final issue of Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, which hit stands in November 2005, sold only 4,594 copies, according to ICv2 data. Schutz said they 'learned the hard way that a nine-dollar eighty-page anthology was perhaps not the right direction to take.'

Retooled and repriced at $2.99, The Escapists faired better; issue #5 sold 12,190 copies, ICv2 says. Still, that issue ranked only 172 out of 300 comics in November.

At the very least, fans should expect to finally see the so-called 'missing' Escapist stories, according to Schutz. When Dark Horse abruptly pulled the plug on the anthology in January, issue #9 was all but done and scheduled to hit shelves that week. Howard Chaykin and artist Jed Dougherty had finished a story about a battle between several decades' incarnations of Luna Moth, and Stuart Moore and Phil Winslade completed a 1970's tale featuring the Escapist and Hunter S. Thompson. Neither have seen print."

Pulse: Spurlock on Wally's World

Jennifer Contino at's Pulse interviews J. David Spurlock about his latest book, Wally's World, on the life and work of comics artist extraordinaire, Wally Wood. I'm just now reading this handsome book-- well, actually proof reading it. Apparently David got so much grief from all the typos, he sent me a copy to proof and return to him. We'll see if he makes the corrections for future printings. I've proofed several books for David but somehow missed this one during the production. David produces exquisitely designed books on some of the best artists ever, but sadly the editorial content often gets short shrift. Here's hoping that changes.

UFO Spotted at O'Hare?

In the sky! A bird? A plane? A ... UFO? | Chicago Tribune: "It sounds like a tired joke--but a group of airline employees insist they are in earnest, and they are upset that neither their bosses nor the government will take them seriously.

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon.

Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?

Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers--when the Tribune started asking questions recently. But the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal.

No controllers saw the object, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

The FAA is not conducting a further investigation, Cory said. The theory is the sighting was caused by a 'weather phenomenon,' she said.

The UFO report has sparked some chuckles among controllers in O'Hare tower.

'To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable,' said O'Hare controller and union official Craig Burzych.