Christopher Mills

Jul 202014
 
Damn. I was just about to shut down the computer and head to bed when I read that James Garner has passed away at age 86. It's a shock: hell, it was only a month ago that I was reading his autobiography. 

Garner has been one of my favorite actors for as long as I can remember. His iconic portrayals of Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford are indelibly imprinted in our pop culture memory, and even if those were his only accomplishments as an actor, he'd be a legend. But he was more than that. A fine, thoughtful actor, a veteran, a charming curmudgeon. 

I miss him already.
Jul 182014
 

My Femme Noir collaborator, Joe Staton, will be appearing at the Baltimore Comic-Con, September 5 -7. At the show, they’ll be distributing a charity Yearbook with art by the guests. Those artists with creator-owned characters were asked to draw them interacting with Matt Wagner’s character Grendel. This is Joe’s contribution, with colors by Matt Webb, pitting The Blonde against the Hunter Rose incarnation of Grendel, among the rooftops of Port Nocturne.

I’d love to see this crossover become a reality… but only if Wagner writes it.
Jul 162014
 

The City Outside The World is one of Lin Carter's Mars Novels, a four book cycle of  homages (or pastiches, if you prefer) of Leigh Brackett's own stories set on the Red Planet. It's also the only one in the series I don't yet own. Still, I'm featuring it here because I find this cover painting (by an artist I haven't identified as yet) quite handsome and evocative of the Interplanetary Romance genre.

A Birthday Comics Bounty

 Comics  Comments Off
Jul 142014
 
As I am not steadily employed, and comic book trade collections can be so pricey, I can usually only afford to get new comics twice a year - on my birthday and at Christmas (pending familial largesse). Well, my birthday was last week, and the family was very generous this year, so I hit Amazon and started carving away at my Wish List. This is this year's birthday bounty: two Astro City trades, the third (and final) volume of the great Russ Manning's classic Magnus Robot Fighter, The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction, and two Conan volumes (only one pictured above). Still have some catching up to do with those Dark Horse Conan books, though...

Of the comics I got in that Amazon order, I'm most looking forward to reading this one. DC has finally collected the 1988 four-issue miniseries Cinder And Ashe. This crime comic is one of the best things Gerry Conway ever wrote for the medium, and features utterly gorgeous artwork by Jose Garcia-Lopez.

I bought three of the four issues when it first came out, but could never find issue #4 (and I've searched a lot of back issue bins since '88!). 


I can't tell you just how eager I am to find out how the story ends... after 26 years!

And just to put some frosting on that comic book bounty goodness, I was surprised today to find yet another box of comics in the mail -- a package of books by my friend, comics writer Chuck Dixon, who very generously gifted me a bunch of his recent work, including a couple of G.I. Joe: Special Missions trades. Now, I've never really been a fan of the G.I. Joe franchise, but Dixon is a master at military-styled action adventure comics, and it turns out that these are drawn by Paul Gulacy, one of my favorite comics artists, ever... so I'm actually eager to check them out.

And speaking of all-time favorites, Chuck also sent along the first Airboy Archives volume from IDW. Back in the 80s, Airboy was one of my top three comic series (along with Grimjack and Scout), and I'd been wanting to get the new collections for my library, but was daunted by the cover price. 

What can I say? It's good to have friends, and while my so-called comics career has always been spotty, at best, it has made me a lot of good friends. Thanks, Chuck!
Jun 252014
 
Abandon Galaxy! is the second of two "Commander Craig Galactic Adventures" by "Bart Somers," one of the countless pseudonyms used by the prolific Gardner F. Fox

Although published in the late Sixties, the "Commander Craig" books (the first tome is called Beyond The Black Enigma) harken back to 30's-styled space opera pulp, and are outrageously plotted. Great fun. I'm not certain who the cover artist is, but it's been suggested to me that it might be the work of Jack Gaughn.

Jun 192014
 
There are numerous fan-made Star Trek series online. James Cawley's Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II is probably the best known, and over the years, his team have produced a number of enjoyable Trek adventures . But, in my opinion, the best at capturing the feel of the classic series is Vic Mignogna's Star Trek Continues. The cast includes James Doohan's son Chris Doohan as Scotty and Mythbuster's Grant Imahara as Sulu. The sets, costumes, and overall production values are uncannily accurate, and the visual effects are terrific! Vic Mignogna, an experienced actor with lots of voice work to his credit, personally plays James Kirk, and he does a remarkable job of channeling the great Bill Shatner, and never lapses into parody. It's amazing how well he captures Shatner's swagger.

The first episode, "Pilgrim of Eternity," is a sequel to TOS' "Who Mourns For Adonais," with original actor Michael Forest reprising his role as Greek god Apollo. The second episode, "Lolani," revolves around a fugitive Orion slave girl and her owner - played by Lou Ferrigno (in green body paint, of course)!

The third episode, "The Fairest Of Them All," a direct sequel to the classic "Mirror, Mirror," went live this week (you can find it on the Star Trek Continues YouTube channel), and it's another winner.

If, like me, you find the new Star Trek films by J.J. Abrams and company lacking the spirit and style of Gene Roddenberry's original show, I highly recommend that you check it out.

Along with the three full-length episodes, the Continues crew has shot a couple of short Trek vignettes, too. Here's my favorite - and a nice sample of the show's production values.

Damn Dirty Apes!

 Pop Culture  Comments Off
Jun 052014
 
Now, this is what a movie poster should look like! I'm very surprised to see this artwork coming out of the Fox publicity department instead of just another big monkey face. I was surprised by Rise Of The Planet Of the Apes a couple years back, and the forthcoming sequel looks really good, too. This dynamic, imaginative poster's just the tasty icing on the cake! If I was still collecting one-sheets, I'd buy one of these for sure.
Jun 042014
 
I don't know much about DAW Books' "Cap Kennedy" series, written by British sci-fi scribe E.C. Tubb under the pseudonym of "Gregory Kern." Nor do I know the name of the artist (I'm now told that it's Jack Gaughan) that painted these covers. What I do know is that the series was published in the 1970s and ran for at least 17 volumes.

I've never read any of these, but being as the tagline "Secret Agent of the Spaceways" appears to combine at least two of my favorite genres, I suspect that I'll hunt down a copy or two one of these days.
Jun 022014
 
Back when Sylvester Stallone's first Expendables flick came out in 2010, and was a moderate box office hit, there was a lot of idle gossip and speculation that the producers might try their hand at a girl band version - an Expendabelles, if you will - uniting various female action stars in a high-octane adventure of their own. Of course, nothing came of that idea...

Until now. The Asylum, the low budget movie studio notorious for their cash-in "mockbusters" has stepped up and made the idea a reality with Mercenaries. Due out in August, when Expendables 3 hits the screens, Mercenaries features a pretty decent cast of fighting femmes: Brigitte Nielsen (Stallone's ex, and star of Red Sonja), Vivica Fox (Kill Bill), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), stuntwoman Zoe Bell (Death Proof, Angel of Death), and the legendary Cynthia Rothrock (China O'Brien, Yes Madam, etc.)

The plot, according to The Asylum's website: A diplomatic official is captured and imprisoned while touring a war zone, so a team of elite female commandos is assembled to infiltrate a women's prison for a daring rescue. It's directed by Christopher Olen Ray.

I'll admit, I'm looking forward to this one. It probably won't be good, but it will be fun seeing these dangerous dames all in the same flick.
May 292014
 
The last time I mentioned my DVD Late Show website (where I review genre films and television on DVD and Blu-ray) on this blog was last August. At the time, I had just posted a few new reviews after a three month 'hiatus," and promised more. But that didn't happen.

In fact, I didn't post any new reviews for nearly ten months.

 I don't really know why I stopped posting last summer, but part of it was probably just blogger burn-out, combined with my state's new tax laws, which killed the site's only income (through Amazon referrals). I'm back at it now, though, because I really started to miss writing about movies. Hopefully, someone will read my reviews and find them useful and/or entertaining.

I've started with a look at the new Blu-ray of Godzilla Vs The Smog Monster, the 1981 martial arts drive-in favorite, Force: Five, and the James Garner television series, Bret Maverick (new from Warner Archive). I am planning to have one or two more reviews up this week (Evilspeak from Shout Factory and Warners' Jonny Quest: The Complete Eighties Adventures), and hope to continue with regular posting.

Now if I could just get back to regular blogging here and at my Space: 1970 site...