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Monthly Archives: July 2010
Two Returns of The Rocketeer – one real, one imagined

Filed under Hodgepodge

The Rocketeer (Alex Ross)In its Comic-Con 2010 coverage Comic Book Resources relates even more Rocketeer news from IDW Publishing.

IDW has recently released both a recolored anthology of the Rocketeer stories and the line art “Artist’s Edition” of Dave Stevens’ original inks.

I had my doubts about the former – which, it turns out, has been well received – but I think that the latter sounds like a great insight into the original work.

This latest news is that IDW will be publishing a limited series of new, short Rocketeer stories by a wide range of Pretty Big Names:

Dunbier said “The Rocketeer” will be a standard-sized comic with three stories per issue plus pin-ups. “We’re going to start out with a four issue miniseries and then see where we go from there. There’s some pretty decent people who are lending their talents to it so far.” Those “decent people” include Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, John Cassaday, Darwyn Cooke, Michael Golden, Gene Ha, Michael Kaluta, Garry Leach, Bruce Timm, Bill Willingham, and more. “Mike Allred is writing and drawing his, Kurt Busiek is writing a story for Michael Kaluta, John Cassaday and Darwyn Cooke are both writing and drawing their stories,” Dunbier said. “There will be some pin-ups by Geoff Darrow, Art Adams, Jeff Campbell, Mike Mignola, a bunch of different guys.”

(Scott Dunbier, Editor, via Comic Book Resources)

I have so much affection for Stevens’ work that any announcement like this makes me squirm a little. But I also know that the names in that list probably have at least as much affection for The Rocketeer as I do – particularly Kaluta, who had a hand in some of the original stories. So I feel a bit optimistic about the announcement.

I’ll be interested to see if they continue the direction Stevens took – in which our hero Cliff Secord runs into pulp heroes without knowing who they are (Doc Savage, The Shadow).

But the main ingredient that made The Rocketeer iconic, and prevented us from ever seeing more of the stories, was Dave Stevens himself. His high standards for the work made it excellent, on the one hand, and impossible, on the other. By making it more possible, will we lose the excellence? Time will tell.

A “substantial portion” of profits from the series will be donated to Hairy Cell Leukemia research. That’s the form of Leukemia that Stevens fought for several years and which eventually led to his early death in 2008.

This is one of those Comic-Con days that’s full of news releases that often have nothing to do with comics, but have emanated anyhow from the singularity that is San Diego. Among the news is a little bit about Jon Favreau’s filmed take on the “Cowboys and Aliens” books with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. What I really like about this one is that Favreau is again relying heavily on practical effects with just a bit of digitality to enhance them. I say “again” because before he shot to everyone’s notice with Iron Man he directed Zathura – a film I think ought to have done much better – and Zathura made brilliant use of practical effects and miniatures. I’ve sort of expected his blockbusters might have changed things and I’m really glad to see him do another film with that same old school approach.

And that led me to think about Hollywood’s endless remakes, and the fact that although I have a soft spot for Disney’s Rocketeer movie…. it wasn’t actually that good a movie and it certainly wasn’t the movie that the Rocketeer deserved. So as of today, I’ve decided that what I would really like to see would be a Jon Favreau Rocketeer film – heavy on practical effects with just a digital gloss. Like everything imaginary, it would be awesome.

I meant it about Zathura. Go watch it.

 
 
Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual at Kickstarter – Last Call!

Filed under Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

The Kickstarter promotion for Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual is down to its final hours! The good news is that we’ve reached the funding goal – so the pledges will be redeemed, the Fabulous Prizes will ship out to the project’s backers, and people, by which I mean me, will be dancing in the streets.

Help launch the Thrilling Tales!The rest of the news isn’t bad. It’s all good. Really!

But as I explained in the project description I set a funding goal that I believed we could reach.

The actual expense of producing the next chapter of The Toaster With Two Brains and the non-interactive Clockwork Book stories will be quite a bit more than that. I’ll be making up the difference myself, of course, but as far as the Kickstarter project goes… well, the more the merrier.

So if you’ve been thinking about pledging to support the project in return for books, prints, exclusive t-shirts and so on, well, this is your last chance to pile on.

The pledge drive finishes at midnight, U.S. Pacific Time.

[tags]thrilling tales of the downright unusual, retropolis, interactive fiction, multiple choice, art, design, illustration, retro future, retrofuturistic, raygun gothic, science fiction, space fantasy[/tags]

 
 
65 Vintage Magazine Covers at Golden Age Comic Book Stories: Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Filed under Found on the Web

Virgil Finlay Pulp Cover

Mister Doortree’s time traveling scanner does it again with a collection of sixty-five covers from Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine, featuring art by Virgil Finlay, Frank R. Paul, Lawrence Sterne Stevens, Raphael DeSoto and Norman Saunders.

Famous Fantastic Mysteries ran from 1939 to 1953. I have a particular soft spot for this magazine because it was the original home of so many stories by H. Rider Haggard, Talbot Mundy, A. Merritt and others which I read in reprints when I was a tadpole. It’s now struck me that the logo from the later issues looks like a parent to the title plate for Fantastic Stories, in which I read new fiction in those same tadpole days.

You just can’t go wrong with titles like Radio Planet and the Ant Men.

 
 
Cthulhu Sez, “Buy These Celtic Art T-Shirts for $8 Each!”

Filed under Works in Progress

Cthulhu Wants You To Wear This ShirtOver at my Saga Shirts site, I’ve got some leftover inventory that I’d like to clear out: they’re high quality, silk screened Celtic knotwork designs on black American Apparel shirts in men’s and women’s styles.

Because they’re the remnants of their print runs, they’re not available in all sizes.

I’ve had them marked down for awhile. But now you can pick them up for the low, low price of $8 each if you use the coupon code CTHULHU during checkout.

That’s right. This promotional offer comes straight from the Great Old Ones. Because these shirts are the Great Old Shirts.

So hop on over to the R’lyeh showroom and snap up the Celtic Skull and Crossbones, Celtic Art Cats, Celtic Biohazard Symbol, or Pentacle & Ankh t-shirts… while they last!

 
 
MIT Uses Invisible Rays to Transform Your Hand Into a Mouse

Filed under Found on the Web

Okay, that headline might be a little misleading, even though it’s more or less accurate. Because at MIT’s Media Lab, Pranav Mistry has developed a system that uses a small laser and an infrared camera to track your hand movements as though your hand was a computer mouse, and your first two fingers were that mouse’s left and right buttons.

According to Gajitz the hardware cost about $20. Because that’s an end user’s price you can figure that a manufacturer would be able to install the system for even less – enough less, for example, to include the system on the left and right sides of a laptop so that both right handed and left handed users could mouse away, right out of the box.

And because the software interprets the movement of the user’s fingers any number of gestures could be supported. Your desktop could become a multitouch surface that you could use without leaving fingerprints all over your display (I’m looking at you, iPad).

Cartoon mice are a free bonus!

Once upon a time when Virtual Reality was a phrase you actually heard, I used to daydream about a 3D modeler that I could set up like a wood shop. Grab a box primitive, run it through the imaginary band saw, clean it up on the imaginary planer, drill it with the imaginary drill press, carve it with the imaginary chisel… this isn’t that, but it’s tantalizingly like it in the abstract.

 
 
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