Happy June! (how the hell did that happen?)
Frankenstein fans rejoice: IDW Publishing is giving new life to the legendary pairing of Shelley’s ultimate do-it-yourself kit and artist Bernie Wrightson in the new comic Frankenstein Alive, Alive! According to Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog, the book is penned by 30 Days of Night scribe Steve Niles. That duo should make this a dream project for Frankie fans. Check out Niles’s interview with Wrightson.
Also, have a look at this super cool compilation by filmmaker Larry Fessesnden highlighting the monster as interpreted by everyone from the mighty Karloff to Robert De Niro to Peter Boyle (sedagive!) in 27 flix:
MIB III/Avengers Box Office
Although MIBIII squeezed past The Avengers to take last weekend’s top box office slot, Iron Man, Cap, and friends are still pulling in money like they were printing it, and the film rapidly approaching edging out The Dark Night as the third all-time biggest moneymaker. It wouldn’t shock anyone if it ends up eventually landing at number two.
Bond Skyfall/G.I. Joe Retaliation Trailers
The trailer for Skyfall, the next James Bond flik, has hit YouTube. As teasers go, it’s a snore.
Alas, after one better-than-expected film, the fledgling G.I Joe franchise already looks shot to hell with this pec-fest sequel starring The Rock and Bruce Willis (I’ll bet that was a happy set).
Send that back to boot camp.
L. Ron Is Golden
June is Audiobook Month, and since I’ve became an audio fundamentalist, let me tell you about one of my favorite series. For the last umpteen years, I’ve been covering L. Ron Hubbard’s old pulp fiction reprints in my Classic Returns column. Those listings are not critical reviews, they’re simply mentions that the book is back in print after an extended absence. This means I don’t actually read them all prior to writing the column. That being said, I’d never actually given any of Hubbard’s books a shot. I guess the whole Dianetics thing and images of Tom Cruise jumping up and down like a nutball on Oprah’s couch kinda turned me off, even though Dianetics and LRH’s fiction are completely unrelated.
Now that I’m covering audiobooks, I’m getting Hubbard’s work on disc. Late last year, I finally took the plunge and popped Hubbard’s The Phantom Patrol into my Discman, and, boy, do I feel like a prize chimp for ignoring him all these years. Ten minutes in I was hooked!
Since then, I’ve gone through eight more Hubbard titles and just popped number nine‚ Trouble on His Wings‚ into my player. Each of his Stories from the Golden Age series features a full cast and neato sound effects. And I don’t mean just thunder and creaky footsteps on stairs, etc., but tons of sounds that really bring the stories to life. Publisher Galaxy Press puts a huge effort and lots of expense into producing these audios and it shows. Check out this cool video:
One of the personal allures of these programs is their brevity. Nothing is longer than 2¬Ω hours, making them perfect commuter fodder. And the stories are fun‚ you’ve got the triple whammy of action, romance, and adventure. These tales were written from the 1930s‚ 1950s and are like old-time radio shows and movies you see on Turner. The heroes are handsome, tough, and true; the women are babes even when they’re baddies; and the villains are sniveling weasels. I can picture anyone from Clark Gable to Robert Mitchum to Harrison Ford to George Clooney as the lead in any Hubbard story, so these can be as much fun for the ladies as the gents.
If you’re a fan of pulp writing, old-time radio, movie serials, etc., but have shied away from Hubbard for the same stupid reason that I did, learn from my error and give him a shot on audio. You won’t be sorry. L. Ron rocks, baby!
Book Covers of the Year
Last week, I mentioned that Pulling a Train, a collection of Harlan Ellison’s old street gang stories, was forthcoming from the small indie house, Kicks Books. I reached out to Kicks for some more intel, and they graciously sent me a sample of their books (thanks, Miriam), which included yet another Harlan gangbanger volume titled Getting in the Wind (ISBN. $.) I was immediately struck by the cover illustration, which was nearly identical to Pulling‘s.
Even an idiot like me could see that each cover was part of the same illustration. Through some scanning and a little photoshop of horrors action, I’ve merged the two. If the original punk cowering away from Little Miss Badass with the switchblade wasn’t enough of a hoot, on the matching cover, she’s threatening another not-so-tough guy with a straight razor! Now that’s my kind of woman! Both guys look so terrified that she must have a kisser on her like Charles Bronson. These get my vote as the best covers of the year.
Twilight in Chain Mail
That pain-inducing quote comes from NY Newsday‘s review of Snow White and the Huntsman, which opened today to meh reviews. The one positive notice for it that I read gave the film extra points for its costumes. Not a big selling point for the men folk. Although, not surprisingly, everyone loved Charlize Theron’s evil queen (and her wardrobe), they were less kind to Kristen Stewart‚ it’s going to take more than a sword to stop her from becoming Bella Swan for eternity. The equally beautiful and talented Theron also opens next week in Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated Prometheus, which may or may not be a prequel to Alien (we’ll find out), making her quite the busy girl this summer.
Also hitting screens this weekend is Piranha 3DD, which has the distinctive tagline of Twice the Terror‚ Double the D’s‚ woohoo! The plot, if you want to call it that, follows a school of extremely hungry prehistoric piranhas invading a waterpark. Expect lots of blood, guts, and, well, DD’s. The first installation in this campy saga shockingly sported a real cast including Ving Rhames, Elizabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, and Jerry O’Connell, who stole the film as the sleazy Girls Gone Wild-esque director, plus a wonderful opening cameo by Richard Dreyfuss parodying his JAWS character, Matt Hooper. The film was funny as all hell, although it probably covered the concept as much as necessary. For 3DD, only Christopher Lloyd returns in his role as the ichthyologist, with plenty of ham being provided by David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey.
It was 45 years ago today‚Ä¶
Big Geeky Friday anniversary wishes to The Beatles’s epic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released‚ OMFG!‚ 45 years ago today. Man do I feel old right now.
GF Live at APAC/BEA!
I’m attending the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC) on Monday and BookExpo America (BEA) on Tues-Weds, and, hopefully, will have some cool stuff to report on along with some pix for next Friday’s GF. I’ll be posting any big news during the week, so keep an eye open. I’ll also be tweeting live from both events under the absolutely stupid handle Audio_Droid.
In the meantime, have a great weekend. Get your geek on!