Hard sci-fi differentiates itself from the other kind by trying to follow the rules of physics and take place in a universe that might actually occur. Which doesn't mean the story is necessarily dry or dull, but it tries to be plausible. Moon (2009) certainly doesn't explain all of the scientific advancements that would make the story possible, but it keeps up at least the pretense of realism. How it achieved this and more is described in the lovely new book, Making Moon by Simon Ward. Taking a linear approach, Ward follows director Duncan Jones from his early ambitions to
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The behind-the-scenes story of the conception and filming of one of the 21st century's best sci-fi movies.
While the characters and stories remained entertaining, the author's hand was an even heavier presence during these stories.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 26 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from December 24, 1970 through to September 24, 1972. The book has an introductory essay by consulting editor Max Allan Collins, "The Old Values Are No Longer Relevant," which provides commentary on the strips included, and concludes with contributing editor Jeff Kersten's "Bushed and Ugly-Requiem," about Gould's political subtext and the business of Dick Tracy. The book opens with Pouch, cohort of the recently deceased Diamonds, still on the loose. He gets his
Even though Volume 3 opens during the conclusion of a story, it makes a perfect introduction to the strip and Milton Caniff.
Since January 2012, the Library of American Comics, by way of IDW Publishing, has been releasing collections of Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon newspaper comic strips. Volume 3 was released in January 2013 and presents the strips from January 1, 1951 to December 31, 1952, covering the 5th and 6th year of the strip's 41-year run. While the Korean War raged on in the real world, Air Force Major Steve Canyon was sent around the globe conducting official and unofficial missions. Library of American Comics associate editor Bruce Canwell wrote the essay "Promotions of Every Stripe," which provides annotations to the
Smith's essays make a compelling case for all of them, which will leave readers eager to seek out their films.
Cult Filmmakers finds author Ian Haydn Smith shining the spotlight on 50 movie mavericks. The illustration on the cover by Kristelle Rodeia, who provides all the drawings of directors that accompany Smith's essays, is a dancing Quentin Tarantino dressed as Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, revealing that Mr. Smith's definition of “cult” might not be what everyone expects. In his Introduction, he explains that “rather than offering an authoritative guide through a rich history of cult filmmaking, this book aims to be another voice in the conversation about cult cinema.” The book focuses on 39 men and 11 women, over
Book Review: For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library, Volume Three (1986-1989) by Lynn Johnston
A comic strip about life from someone who has obviously lived it.
From 1979 to 2008, Lynn Johnston showcased the joy and strife of family life in her award-winning newspaper strip, For Better or For Worse. At its peak, the comic was featured in more than 2,000 newspapers in 23 countries, and was translated into eight languages for a readership of more than 220 million fans. Johnston retired from the strip in 2008, but today, For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library can be enjoyed by old and new fans alike in a series of elegant hardcovers thanks to the Library of American Comics. Having already reviewed Volume One (1979-82) and
A collection of rarely seen gems that are not to be missed!
Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Alex Toth's Bravo For Adventure as well as Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, a gigantic tome that served as the third chapter of the Library of American Comics’ overview of the life and career of comic legend Alex Toth, which accompanied 2011’s Genius, Isolated and 2013’s Genius, Illustrated. Together, those three massive (seriously, they’re 9.5” x 13”) volumes provided an astonishing and impossibly in-depth look at one of history’s most accomplished and influential cartoonists. And now, IDW and LOAC once again combine forces like some sort of
A fine collection of post-war Superman dailies where the Man of Steel finds a series of problems more domestic in nature.
Superman remains one of the most beloved and collected superhero characters of all time. Some of the rarest Superman collectibles are the newspaper strips that ran from 1939 to 1966. Many of these were thrown away as “yesterday’s news,” with few saved for posterity. The fantastic partnership between DC Comics, IDW Publishing and the Library of American Comics has been aiming to correct that, lovingly reprinting these strips in hardcover form. The latest, Superman: The Golden Age Dailies 1947-1949, is a lavish collection of 15 post-war episodes of the Man of Steel. The strips, written by Alvin Schwartz and drawn
A fantastic and informative book for those who enjoy and are interested in the process of making movies.
Abbie Bernstein takes readers behind the scenes with pre-production concept artwork and on-set photography from director/co-writer Michael Dougherty's Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which takes its name (minus the exclamation point) from the re-edited American version of Godzilla (1954). This isn't the first time the life-long fan tackled the character as he made “a Godzilla short...when [he] was ten or eleven with [his] old family Beta camcorder.” Hinted at during the post-credit sequence of Kong: Skull Island, this third installment in Legendary's MonsterVerse sees quite a few creatures unleashed upon the world, which Dougherty says was the only suggestion Legendary
Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita by Tipton, Tipton, Shasteen, Hernandez, Nieto
Terra Incognita was well written by the Tiptons and had the feeling of a television season.
In the Star Trek franchise, there is a parallel universe dubbed the "Mirror Universe" where the evil Terran Empire, which rules through terror, stands in place of the United Federation of Planets. Its first appearance was in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," when a transporter malfunction during an ion storm causes the landing party of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to switch places with their counterparts. It was a very compelling episode and the Mirror Universe has been revisited in different TV series and assorted non-canonical Trek media. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita collects issues
The plotting is smart and fun, and it shows the writers have a good understanding of the characters and both universes
In the Star Trek franchise, there is a parallel universe dubbed the "Mirror Universe" where the evil Terran Empire, which rules through terror, stands in place of the United Federation of Planets. Its first appearance was in the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror," when a transporter malfunction during an ion storm causes the landing party of Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to switch places with their counterparts. It was a very compelling episode and the Mirror Universe has been revisited in different TV series and assorted non-canonical Trek media. IDW's Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken "serve[d]
Zabrecky details his journeys into art, failed employment, music, addiction, and ultimately, recovery.
A good magician is always a joy to witness, but when a magician can curate a full experience of amazing magic, mood, and tone for their audience, you never forget it. This is the effect that Rob Zabrecky has had on me every time I have had the privilege to witness one of his performances. And if you have ever gotten the chance to see Zabrecky perform magic, then you know that you have seen something special. It is fair to assume that magicians with that level of skill and artistry have been practicing their craft since they were a
Book Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection Vol. 5, 1985-1986 by Stan Lee, Floro Dery, and Dan Barry
Stan Lee completely eschews supervillains for a two-year comic strip run of real-world issues.
In its early years, the daily Spider-Man comic strip had typically followed a comfortable pattern of Spider-Man facing off against one classic supervillain after another, similar to his monthly comic book adventures. By the mid-‘80s, Stan Lee switched up his writing formula to inject a heavy dose of realism into the strip, with not one super-powered baddie appearing in the strip. His stories also played out over months rather than weeks, with only four primary story arcs appearing in the two years presented in this collection. Even more amazing, the most sensitive story subject of all got the longest runtime
This two-year collection provides plenty of thrilling mid-20th century adventures.
The Library of American Comics continues publishing the adventures of Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon with Volume 9, which presents the newspaper comic strips from December 31, 1962 to January 2, 1964, covering the 16th and 17th year of the strip's 41-year run. Air Force Colonel Steve Canyon continues to travel the globe conducting official and unofficial missions, and Caniff continues to deliver outstanding artwork. Library of American Comics associate editor Bruce Canwell wrote the essay "When Truth Strengthens Fiction," which provides annotations to the strips. The book opens in media res with a kerfuffle at Maumee University as actor Clipper
While Dick Tracy and his team work four cases, the art by Gould and his assistants is top notch.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 25 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from April 3, 1969 through to December 23, 1970. The book has an introductory essay by consulting editor Max Allan Collins, "Fate Is Strange," which provides commentary on the strips included, and concludes with contributing editor Jeff Kersten's "Bushed and Ugly," about Gould's political subtext and the business of Dick Tracy. As the book opens, readers meet cartoonist Vera Alldid, whose name is a groan-inducing pun based on his father's broken English. The
An enjoyable read and an insightful one for those who want to learn about how to write screenplays.
As stated in my review of First Man, “director Damien Chazelle along with his cast and crew do an amazing job presenting a portion of Armstrong's life that led to him becoming the first person to walk on the Moon.” Based on James R. Hansen's biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, the screenplay was written by Josh Singer, an Oscar winner for Spotlight. Titan Books presents an annotated version of the script from three weeks prior to picture lock, so there's a note that “there may be some discrepancies with the finished film.” In his Introduction, Singer
These are some of the best stories of the entire run.
As stated in my previous reviews of this book series, John Byrne and IDW Publishing are presenting the lost missions of the Original Series Enterprise crew in the form of photonovels. That format uses photographs instead of drawings like the Star Trek Fotonovels of the late '70s. Byrne manipulates images of characters and backgrounds from the TV show combined with new material such as dialogue in word balloons, narration, and photos of actors playing new characters and bodies of old ones. Volume 8 collects issues #21-22 and New Visions Special: The Cage. "The Enemy of My Enemy" finds Captain James
Extremely entertaining and occasionally quite troubling, these stories are the groundwork for the Superman myth.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Maybe that’s a bit much, but it’s not a wholly inaccurate description of Superman: The Silver Age Sundays, Volume 1 (1959-1963), which depicts a version of Superman from a bygone era that is both classic and clumsy. This isn’t the Superman of the modern film era, blistering with smoldering looks and Kryptonian abs, but more of a square-jawed and barrel-chested father-figure type. And just like your actual human parents, the Superman we find in this elegant hardcover collection can both inspire love and trust and turn absolutely cringeworthy
For those that have been hooked deeply by the Classic Hollywood era, it's an intriguing read.
Leonard Maltin has made a career for himself out of his love of movies, starting as an unpaid freelance writer for fan zines at the age of 13, His latest book, Hooked on Hollywood, has the subtitle “Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom,” which sounds like it might be a memoir, and after reading Maltin's Introduction, that is certainly a book I would want to read by him. Instead, this is a archival collection of articles and interviews, some of which originally appeared in the magazine Film Fan Monthly and Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy newsletter. Maltin takes readers on
In which Shawn ranks things that happened through 2018 and counts all the things in his life
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of "Best of" lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the Return of the Jedi of my "Best of" trilogy. BEST OF THE REST 2018 BY THE NUMBERS 4,722,870 steps taken this year (2,290 miles) 365 Days walking over 5 miles in 2018 3 Days not walking over 5
The stories are enjoyable adventures with an arc that sees the Rebellion setting up on the ice planet Hoth where they are located when The Empire Strikes Back opens.
IDW/The Library of American Comics' presentation of the Star Wars newspaper comics concludes with Volume 3, which presents nine stories written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by Al Williamson and others that ran from July 26, 1982 until March 11, 1984. Return of the Jedi had been released in May 1983, but none of the movie's events had any impact because these stories are set between Star Wars and The Empire Stikes Back. The book opens with “A Matter of Character,” an essay by Rich Handley about those who joined the ranks of the Expanded Universe, rebranded “Star Wars Legends”
A trip through time, celebrating not only the work of a brilliant creator, but the history of cinema promotion.
Words like “genius” or “literally” are tossed around a lot these days, to the point that they’ve lost most of their meaning and impact. Fans and critics are quick to label anyone with talent a genius and judging by comments on social media, the words “literally” and “figuratively” share the same definition. So while I’m a bit hesitant to use those words to describe a legend like Ray Harryhausen, I literally have no other options. And while I’m at it, I’ll throw in the term “one of a kind” as well, because he literally was - most of his work
A comprehensive, lavishly illustrated overview of the reviled, but ever popular, slasher-movie genre.
Before the late '90s-early 2000s revival of horror as a mainstream money maker (thanks largely to Scream and the new slasher boom which followed), there were four big modern boogeymen of horror: Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, and, to a lesser extent, Leatherface. Sure, other monsters came and went, and had whole series playing out on direct to video, but those four guys all got theatrical releases. They had mainstream patina: hell, two of them got TV shows. It's one of the oddities of the horror genre that it's the villains, not the heroes, who make the series. Halloween is not
It's fun to see further adventures of the Original crew, particularly because Byrne understands the characters.
As stated in my previous reviews of this book series, John Byrne and IDW Publishing are presenting the lost missions of the Original Series Enterprise crew in the form of photonovels. That format uses photographs instead of drawings like the Star Trek Fotonovels of the late '70s. Byrne manipulates images of characters and backgrounds from the TV show combined with new material such as dialogue in word balloons, narration, and photos of actors playing new characters and bodies of old ones. Volume 7 collects issues #18-20. During a routine resupply in the Polymax system in "What Pain It Is to
Throughout Volume 24, Gould continues to deliver adventures filled with thrills, laughs, and action.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 24 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from July 3, 1967 through to April 2, 1969. The book has an introductory essay by consulting editor Max Allan Collins, "Is All This Moon Stuff Worth It?" about the state of the strip at the time. It concludes with contributing editor Jeff Kersten's "Hard as Hell - Act Two" about Gould and provides interesting annotations. The book opens with Dick Tracy and Diet Smith hot on the trail of the bearded duo
A fascinating look at the series that is sure to be held in high esteem by fans.
Starting with the Original Series, the Star Trek franchise has had a long involvement in the publishing world, including James Blish's adaptations of episodes, original novels published by Bantam Books and Pocket Books, and reference books such as Bjo Trimble's Star Trek Concordance and Joseph Schnaubelt Franz's Star Fleet Technical Manual. Star Trek: Lost Scenes by David Tilotta & Curt McAloney from Titan Books is a fascinating look at the series that is sure to be held in high esteem by fans. The authors explain in their Introduction that the book “is a photographic compendium of the discarded bonus material,”
The characters and community continue to evolve along with the skill in which the story is told.
In 1978, after publishing a handful of humorous parenting books, Lynn Johnston was asked by Universal Press Syndicate if she’d be interested in working on a daily comic strip. She signed a contract and the rest, as they so often say, is history. Thirty years later, Johnston retired from For Better or For Worse, leaving behind a rich tradition of exquisitely hilarious storytelling through sequential art. As the title of the strip suggests, For Better or For Worse dealt with a great deal of family joy as well as strife over the course of those three decades, all of it
The final chapter in this inventive science fiction strip faced a lot of changes.
Star Hawks was a science fiction/fantasy daily newspaper comic strip that ran from 1977 to 1981. It tried to ride the coattails of movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, capturing their popularity and moving it to the daily papers. It was creatively drawn by Gil Kane and contained many a swashbuckling, alien-fighting, action-packed story. However, it always struggled to find an audience and once Star Wars and Star Trek moved into the daily papers themselves, it never stood a chance. Popular strips at this time were carried in hundreds of newspapers while Star Hawks could count the number of
It's wonderful to experience the strips as readers did over 50 years ago and see the artistry on display.
As mentioned in reviews of the previous volumes in the series, Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales was a Sunday strip that featured 129 stories, running from July 13, 1952 until February 15, 1987. The Library of American Comics is republishing them and the 14 stories in Volume Three, which are collected in a book for the first time, include adaptations of films, both live-action and animated. Written by Frank A. Reilly and drawn by Jesse March, except where noted, they are: Darby O'Gill and the Little People (May 3, 1959-August 30, 1959) Third Man on the Mountain (September 6,
A compelling alien tale that fits the established mold while keeping you guessing to the very end.
How much you come away from a story loving or loathing a character is a testament to how well they are written or portrayed. In just about any Alien story that involves Weyland-Yutani corporate sleaze, the disdain felt for those people is usually stronger than we feel toward the aliens themselves. The horrific violence and dehumanization by the banana-headed, sci-fi monsters manages to consistently pale in comparison to what human beings do to one another in the interest of personal greed or glory. Such is the case in Alex White's Alien: The Cold Forge, a story set shortly after the
The latest volume of Superman dailies tackles the end of World War II and beyond.
Superman’s adventures have been written about for 80 years now — a remarkable number for any character. He has been the subject of comic books, radio dramas, television shows, animated series, movies, and newspaper strips. The newspaper strips, which ran from 1939 to 1966 and saw the character witnessing an astonishing amount of social change in the United States, have become some of the rarest Superman collectibles. In an attempt to rectify this, DC Comics has partnered with the Library of American Comics and IDW to reprint these classic tales in lovingly assembled volumes, the latest of which is Superman: