Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Superman/Batman #30!

In other news, the long in process Superman/Batman #30 should be hitting the newsstands today. It's Ethan Van Sciver's last issue as artist, but he goes out with an artistic bang! Keep your eyes peeled for Plastic Man and other guest stars! Matthew Clark takes over the art chores as of issue #31, and it's looking fantastic, so the thrills will keep coming! (For some reason, I always use exclaimation marks when writing about comics! Because it feels GOOD!!)

Superman/Batman. DC Comics. Good stuff! Check it out!

Battlestar Friday!

Another fine new episode of Battlestar Galactica this week (Friday, 9:00 PM, Sci-Fi Channel, BE THERE!) It's "Unfinished Business", written by Michael Taylor, and it's one of my personal favorites of the season so far. If you were wondering what caused the rift between Starbuck and Apollo, you will wonder no more. I suspect more than a few fans will have a tear in their eye by the end of this one. We've got your bloodied Adama, your flashbacks to New Caprica, Tyrol, Hot-Dog, and one hell of a fourth act. Check it out!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Battlestar Moves To Sunday In January...

As I relax with family on this fine Thanksgiving, thought I'd take a moment to bring the latest Battlestar update, which is: the show will be moving to Sunday nights at 10PM starting in January 2007. I had about as much to do with the time change as I did with DVD pricing and making Starbuck a girl, but it's an interesting move and one that will hopefully expose Battlestar to audiences that are otherwise engaged on Friday evenings. First, though, we gotta get the word out, so: JANUARY. BATTLESTAR. 10PM SUNDAYS. Be there or be square...

Friday, November 17, 2006

The State Of Discourse Today...

So it appears Mr. O.J. Simpson has written a pseudo tell-all called "IF I DID IT", a fictional confession in which he theorizes how he would have killed his ex-wife and a passerby waiter, IF he had wanted to kill his ex-wife and a waiter. Which, of course, he did. Our good friends at Fox are giving Simpson some prime time to discuss his "theories" and apparently $3.5 mil has changed hands in exchange for these *ahem* fictional musings.

At first this struck me as being an especially heinous example of someone profiting from their crime, but if you think about, thus it has ever been. How many bandits and murderers from the Old West wound up being feted and celebrated for their exploits in Wild West rodeo shows? Last time I toured Alcatraz, several surviving inmates met us on the way out, hawking books about their lives in stir. People seem endlessly fascinated with crime and criminals, me included.

But this one's different. I can't help remembering the graphic crime photos from the Simpson murder scene, and the horror and pain those two people must have felt as this madman, furious over a romantic rejection, slashed them both to death with a knife. There's just no way to romanticize or forgive this butchery. So I won't be watching the specials or reading the book or paying attention to the endless news coverage, and hopefully O.J. will just drift back into obscurity. And maybe we can close this particular "Wild West" show once and for all...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Forget JAMES BOND. Watch BATTLESTAR 11-17!

I've been in Canada this week, sending the big season finale of Battlestar season three off into production, but nothing will prevent me from asking/demanding/INSISTING that you watch this week's new episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. In "Hero", we meet a new character, learn what was what with Adama before the Cylon attack on the colonies, and discover that for every action, there is often a re-action...

That's HERO, not HEROES (you're already watching that show!). Check it out!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mystery Solved... Frank Miller's FIRST Movie...

As long as I'm taking a walk down memory lane, prompted by the New York Times article on Dark Horse's twentieth anniversary, let's peel back the mists of time for another fun fact about "the early days."

As mentioned in my last post, Frank Miller was an early member of Apa-Five, contributing dozens of pages of comics and other material. One of those comic strips was a parody of Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko's doctrinaire (and mostly self-published) "hero" MISTER A. Mister A seemed to erupt from Ditko's well known fascination with Ayn Rand's work, and was seen as an especially eccentric work from the formerly mainstream artist.

As a hero, Mister A went to great pains to explain that there is no moral equivilant of "gray" in this world, only stark black and white. Our moral choices define us forever, and in Mister A's world the penalty for going over to the "black" side was usually quite Draconian. Like, lengthy prison terms or death.

Anyway, Miller did a parody of Ditko's strip which so impressed me that I got his permission to use the story as the basis of my first 16mm student film, MISTER A-1. Shot in glorious black and white (hey, just like SIN CITY!) and starring fellow students, my college buddies and I scraped up enough dough for the raw stock and processing, utilized our school's antiquated equipment (a fifty pound old film news camera that had been donated by one of the local TV stations back in the 60's!) and wound up with 10 minute-ish, sync-sound epic. There were a host of your usual production problems (as I recall, the sound lost sync and we had to jury rig a system for getting it back on the mark), but as a first effort, what the hell, you know? Unfortunately, my cohorts and I were too poor to afford multiple prints, and when our best copy was mangled after an aborted showing at a comic book convention, MISTER A-1 returned to the shelf.

However, that was just a prelude to my next student film, this one shot in glorious color, JOHN BOY MEETS THE TEXAS CHAINSAW KILLER. (No. I'm not kidding.) More on THAT in another post...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New York Times, Dark Horse, Apa-Five?!

The Nov. 12 Sunday edition of the New York Times features a lengthy article (in the business section) on Dark Horse Comics and publisher Mike Richardson. It's a nice and well-deserved piece that actually name-checks, well, me, as well as "My Name Is Bruce", amatuer press alliances and "Apa-Five" in passing. The latter has to be a rather esoteric reference for most folks. So here's a little more explanation...

APAs are loose coalitions of like-minded folks who self-publish their own little magazines every few weeks, which are then collated into one larger package by a "Central Mailer", and distributed on a regular basis (usually monthly) to all the members of the group. Membership is limited, anywhere from 30 to 50 to 100 depending on the group, though there are apas with all sorts of different requirements, and some have been around since the 1920's.

The magazines themselves are as idiosyncratic and eccentric as their creators. Some people write articles on items of interest, some create short stories or comics, and for many it's essentially a round-robin of commenting and discussing each other's opinions. I still belong to one apa, CAPA-ALPHA, a comics related group that's been around since the early 60's, through which I still publish my own little mag, usually devoted to whatever happens to be my crazy passion of the day. In this era of the internet and blogging, actually laying out and "publishing" a small magazine is starting to feel as old-style as in writing a snail-mail letter, but I still enjoy the entire process, right down to collating and stapling the pages.

Apa-Five, which is still going strong sans my participation, was started in 1971 (!) by yours truly, when I was still in Junior High. Early members of that group included Frank Miller (yes, the SIN CITY/300 Frank Miller), Paul CONCRETE Chadwick, Marvel inker Randy Emberlin, and artist-now-Dark Horse editor Chris Warner. We were all kids, literally kids, publishing stories and commentary that we printed using mimeographs (boy, I don't miss those messy things!) and purple-ink "ditto machines." A few years later, folks like Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley joined, along with many others. I think what many of us had in common was a desire to turn our love of comics and film into something more than just a hobby, and for some the dream eventually came true. And now my little apa is being mentioned in a business profile in the New York Times... that's more than just a little weird.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Battlestar 11-10-06

This week's episode is A MEASURE OF SALVATION, continuing Baltar's, umm, "adventures" on the Cylon baseship, while the crew of Galactica and President Laura Roslin face a fateful decision re: a potent new weapon. Intrigue, moral conundrums and Baltar under extreme pressure. Check it out!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

San Diego Comicon: Because It's Never Too Early...

The annual San Diego Comicon has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years, with 2006's event the biggest, busiest yet. I've been to every show (sometimes for just a day, but nonetheless!) since 1983, and I always have a great time. It's a crazy amalgam of comics, movies, TV, manga, and just about any other pop culture artifact that exists, and a great place to spend a ton of dough on ridiculous collectibles. I have become quite an expert in that regard.

At any rate, in an effort to lower attendence this year, the San Diego people have asked me to be one of their "special guests" at the 2007 show, July 26 through 29th. I'm not quite sure what this means, except I don't have to sweat out finding a hotel room and I suppose I'll give a panel or two during the show.

The "sweating out a hotel room" part wasn't a joke... I know any number of folks who booked their 2007 rooms before the 2006 show was over. There is plenty of public transportation around S.D. if you happen to land a room that's not within walking distance of the convention center, but if you wait too long, you may be staying within flying distance (i.e., L.A.). So if you wanna make the show, and especially if you're on a budget, you need to start planning ASAP.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Since someone asked about it in the comments, here's the scoop on the EVIL DEAD comic book adaptation. With the blessing of the Raimi/Tapert/Campbell crew, I'm writing an enhanced, 88 page (4 issue) adaptation of the first movie. Since I don't think anyone's all that interested in a beat-for-beat adaptation (if you want to see the movie, you can buy/rent it), the point here is to expand on the original film and give a little more background on Ashleigh, Scotty and the ladies, and explore the world between the narrative cracks in the movie itself. All this is told from the POV of Ash as he looks back on his experience, giving the, umm, "adventure" his own unique spin.

All this is being illustrated by the amazing John Bolton, who is painting every page. This is where the project really comes alive, because John's work is absolutely amazing, chilling and disturbing. The demons are absolutely horrifying... no kidding.

Deadline-wise, John's currently painting issue #3 and I'll be writing #4 as soon as I wrap up my current Battlestar duties. But this is definitely a "no wine before it's time" project... it's taking awhile, but I think the end product will definitely blow a few minds. Look for it sometime in 2007...

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Name Is Bruce UPDATE

I've just seen Bruce Campbell's director's assembly of MY NAME IS BRUCE, and while this is obviously biased, I'll just say it -- there are some gut-bustingly funny scenes in this baby. If you're a fan of Bruce's, umm, more "manic" style in the EVIL DEAD movies, you're gonna be in hog heaven. There is one crazy take of Bruce simply trying to get a door unlocked that had me falling out of my chair... it's great to finally see the madness come together!

Post production continues and we're still looking at a theatrical release for 2007, so keep watching your multiplex!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Books of and about COMICS

Russ Cochran, the man responsible for the beautiful black and white EC box-sets that came out in the 1990's, is back at the trough once more, initating a comprehensive hardcover EC "Archive" series, this time in full color. Slightly larger than the original comics, but not as big as the B/W reprints, the first book in the series reprints the first six issues of WEIRD SCIENCE. These are not the best of EC's Sci-Fi stories, but you can see publisher Bill Gaines and editor Al Feldstein trying to find their sea legs, and Harvey Kurtzman's stuff is great. That said, as reprints go, I frankly prefer the (much cheaper) color newsprint editions that came out in the late '90's/early 2000's. Cochran has gone to great lengths to give the color in the swanky Archive edition some softness and texture, but to get the real feel of the way the stories as they came out originally, the "comic book" versions are still the best.

Also just out is a comprehensive biography on comic artist Wally Wood, "Wally's World." (Availing in softcover and a limited hardcover edition with an extra art portfolio). Wood was a mainstay at EC and then MAD magazine, and one of the classiest comic book artists ever. Unfortunately, he was also a very troubled man, epitomized by his suicide in 1981. The bio goes into an extreme, sometimes TOO extreme detail (did we really need to know about Wood's wife's visit to the dentist?), but it also explores his time with EC, Marvel, his glory days at Tower (THUNDER AGENTS) and then the slow, bitter decline. Since I'm fascinated with comics history, and was always a huge fan of Wood's work, hey, I like the book, but it may not be for the casual fan.

Both books are available from Amazon or comic shops...

This Week On Battlestar...

This Friday's show is "Torn." As the dust continues to settle from the New Caprica debacle, a new storyline unfolds... what's going on with Baltar now that he's on the baseship? What do those crazy Cylons do when they're not plotting the destruction of all mankind?

Also, where is Starbuck's head in the wake of her four month "relationship" with the Cylon Leoben? All this, and one of the more powerful moments between Admiral Adama and his friend Col. Tigh...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On Battlestar and Rumors...

There seem to be any number of rumors circulating about the fate of BATTLESTAR, including suggestions that the episode order has been shortened, we're about to move to NBC, Starbuck really IS a boy (no way), etc. Since I, well, work there, let's just make everything perfectly clear. The season three order was for twenty episodes. As it turned out, we had almost enough material after shooting our third show (AKA the one with the spectacular FX of Galactica on fire, swooping into atmosphere) that we decided to shoot a few more scenes and turn that into two eps, but for viewers, the result is the same. In terms of the order being cut, well, we're currently shooting episode #16 and I'm writing the season finale, so no. We're shooting them all. And I believe the "moving to NBC" thing has been thoroughly debunked, but one more time -- it's not gonna happen. And frankly, I LIKE being on the Sci-Fi. They have been extremely supportive of the show, and creatively, that's what you want and need...