Archive for May, 2008

Drink Up, Me Ratties, Yo Ho!

May 31, 2008

I just finished writing the fifth and final script for Pirat Tales: The Legend O’ The Cat O’ Nine Tails. And, while I feel a solid sense of accomplishment for having completed my first all-out self-contained 5-issue comic book series, I’m just a bit sad as well. In a sense, I’ve sailed with Captain Blacktail and the crew of swashbuckling rats aboard the Vile Vermin for quite awhile — and now our first journey is over.

With any luck, however, it won’t be the last. I’ve already got more tales of these Pirats that I’m chomping on the bit to write. Hopefully, this will be just the first of many voyages of the Captain Blacktail and the Vile Vermin. The official announcement of the first issue of Pirat Tales: The Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails should be coming out shortly. But, I will tell you that the comic book is coming out this fall.

But, for now… I’m going to have a pint of ale or two and share this page of art from issue one…

D&D4E

May 31, 2008

In about a week — Saturday, June 7th, to be exact — the latest edition of the world’s most famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) role playing game will “officially” roll out. The old school pen & paper role playing gamer in me is really looking forward to the release of the new Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.

As I’ve posted before (Must… Make… Willpower Saving Throw), I grew up playing role playing games. This was way before the time of World of Warcraft. That’s right kiddies, we used to have to gather around mom’s kitchen table and roll multi-sided dice, write on character sheets, and if we were lucky, we had miniatures to use as tokens. I played for many years, and I played many different titles — but the grandfather of them all was clearly Dungeons & Dragons.

Now, with the release of an all new edition of D&D on the way, the geek in me is beginning to salivate like Pavlov’s Dog. I’ve been reading up on what the new edition will contain, following threads over at the EN World message boards, and perusing all of the official pre-release sneak peeks.

Am I going to buy the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual when they come out? Yeah. Am I actually going to play the game? That’s a dragon of a different color. The ol’ gang that I used to play with back in the day have gone out and moved all over the world and have families and careers. (Damn them.) I’m not really sure if I can put together a new group of role playing gamers from within the circles of friends that I currently run with. But, I might just see if I can incorporate my long-time love affair with the game into my writing.

Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now In Hardcover

May 30, 2008

Press Release:

(San Diego, May 27, 2008 ) – Writer and BoingBoing.net co-editor Cory Doctorow has won acclaim for his science-fiction writing as well as his Creative Commons presentation of his material. Now, IDW Publishing is proud to present six standalone graphic stories adapted from Doctorow’s short stories into comic books, each featuring cover art by some of the industry’s top talent.

Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now will be in stores June 12. It is written by Dara Naraghi, James L. Kuhoric, Dan Taylor, J.C. Vaughn, James Anthony Kuhoric and Dan Taylor, with art by Dustin Evans, Paul McCaffrey, Esteve Polls, Daniel Warner and more. Cover art contributions are by Paul Pope, Ashley Wood and Ben Templesmith – and other luminaries.

Stories collected include: The Locus Award-winning “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth”; “Anda’s Game”, a story selected for inclusion in the Michael Chabon edited 2005 Best American Short Stories; “Craphound”, a story selected for Year’s Best Science Fiction XVI; “Nimby and the D-Hoppers”, selected for Year’s Best Science Fiction 9; The Hugo-nominated and Locus Award-winning “I Robot”; and “After the Siege.

This special hardcover edition includes a Doctorow-signed and numbered tip-in plate.

IDW approached Cory Doctorow with the idea of adapting his short stories to comics in 2007 to find out if he was interested in having his works adapted. He was, and was also actively involved in deciding what stories IDW would in include in the series.

“Cory chose the stories on the basis of the ones with the best visuals,” explains IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall. “Those that he could really see as comics. It was great fun to see these adapted so superbly by our writers and artists.”

The award-winning author wholeheartedly agrees.

“Every one of these adaptations tickled me down to my toes — they range from fantastically good to eerily get-out-of-my-head-you-mind-reading-weirdo good. What an amazing trip to have gone on with IDW!” Cory Doctorow says.
144 pages, $24.99.

About IDW Publishing

IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. As a leader in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry including: television’s #1 prime time series CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Paramount’s Star Trek; Fox’s Angel; Hasbro’s The Transformers, and the BBC’s Doctor Who. IDW’s original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. In April 2008, IDW released Michael Recycle, the first title from its new children’s book imprint, Worthwhile Books. More information about the company can be found at http://www.idwpublishing.com.

About Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (boingboing.net ), and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, the New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He was formerly Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org ), a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. In that capacity, he worked to balance international treaties, polices and standards on copyright and related rights. In 2006/2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. His novels are published by Tor Books and simultaneously released on the Internet under Creative Commons licenses that encourage their re-use and sharing, a move that increases his sales by enlisting his readers to help promote his work. He co-founded the open source peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, sold to OpenText, Inc in 2003, and presently serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the MetaBrainz Foundation, Technorati, Inc, and Onion Networks, Inc.

Look at that… My adaptation of “Nimby and the D-Hoppers” is so good my name is listed twice. I’m not sure if the Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now available at Amazon.com is one-in-the-same as the editions that include the Doctorow signed and numbered tipped-in plates, but you can order it there.

Tom “Cruises” The Information Superhighway

May 29, 2008

Alright… Honestly, sometimes I feel that this blog — what I do here — is a bit self serving and a little indulgent. But not anymore. And, I’ve got Tom Cruise to thank for that. Tom has gone ahead and set up his own “official” web site — www.tomcruise.com (natch). Sure, the internet may not have always been kind to Tom — chalk full of Scientology ramblings and talk show couch hopping. It’s not a bad looking site. I bet a lot of C-list celebrities that do the convention circuit would love to have a site like Tom’s. It’s got a nifty Tangerine Dream soundtrack that I’m playing in another browser tab while I type this post.

I’ve really got nothing against Tom. I’ve enjoyed plenty of movies over the last 25 years (Days of Thunder not withstanding) — but I haven’t seen something this masturbatory on the internet in a long time.

Even if I don’t update and post on my blog as frequently as I would like, I still bet I do so more than Tom — and that’ll help me feel a little less guilty.

Harvey Korman 1927 – 2008

May 29, 2008

“I just came in here for a drink… and I found a lot more.”Krelman

Comedic actor Harvey Korman will be remembered for many classic and hilarious roles, as well as his contributions to the art of comedy. There were his years on The Carol Burnett Show — in which he won four Emmys and a Golden Globe. His most memorable role may be that of Hedley Lamarr from Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles in 1974. Also, he and fellow Burnett Show alumni made a classic comedy team that will be remembered for the ages.

But, who was Krelman? The character was one of the roles that Korman played in the 1978 made-for-television Star Wars Holiday Special. Many might not remember his contribution to the Star Wars legacy — and there are many that don’t want to remember. (Yes, I’m looking at you George. But, who can you blame? You let it happen.) But, when I was ten years old, I found it odd that not only was Maude (Bea Arthur) tending bar in the Star Wars universe, but the tall guy that always seemed to crack up during sketches I really didn’t get on The Carol Burnett Show was also hanging out at that cantina where Han Solo rightfully shot Greedo first.

It would be a couple of years later with the introduction of Mel Brooks movies on VHS and reruns of The Carol Burnett show that I would come to understand how funny this man was.

Angry Fanboy – 11

May 29, 2008

NOTE: The views of Angry Fanboy do not necessarily support my own personal views. I happened to have really dug Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Though, I do have to agree with him about how Han did in fact shoot Greedo first.

June Flix

May 28, 2008

Well, May is about wrapped up and it’s time to look at what’s ahead movie-wise for the month of June. But, before we do, looking back at May I managed to see three of the four movies that I featured in my May Flix post — not too bad considering my record for the previous months of 2008. Though, as I type this my fourth flick pick, Sex and the City, hasn’t been released just yet. I do still fully intend to see it — I just thought I’d get a jump on the upcoming month in movies.

Kung Fu Panda (June 6) – Enthusiastic, big and a little clumsy, Po is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around…which doesn’t exactly come in handy while working every day in his family’s noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five — Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey — under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu.

I saw the trailer for this plenty of times — in fact it ran before the three movies that I did go see in May. I think I’ve pretty much seen the whole movie. There’s really nothing that stands out in what I’ve seen, read, or heard about Kung Fu Panda to motivate me to go to the cineplex to catch this flick. I’m sure I’ll watch it here and there when it turns up on DirecTV.

You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (June 6) – Zohan, an Israeli commando, fakes his own death in order to pursue his dream: becoming a hairstylist in New York.

I believe I saw this trailer with every May flick as well — and, while I may have found it amusing, I think I’ll be giving this flick a pass at the theaters as well. It looks as if all of the real funny gags may have been featured in the preview. Also, I don’t think I want to break my on-going streak of never having seen an Adam Sandler movie in the theater since 1992’s Shakes the Clown.

The Incredible Hulk (June13) — Scientist Bruce Banner desperately hunts for a cure to the gamma radiation that poisoned his cells and unleashes the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk. Living in the shadows–cut off from a life he knew and the woman he loves, Betty Ross–Banner struggles to avoid the obsessive pursuit of his nemesis, General Thunderbolt Ross, and the military machinery that seeks to capture him and brutally exploit his power.

Five years ago I went to the movies to see Hulk. Now in 2008, it’s The Incredible Hulk. Well, we’ll see… This cinematic incarnation of Bruce Banner/Hulk cannot be any worse than it was five years ago. I admire the fact that producer Gale Anne Hurd is going back and trying to make a decent Hulk movie after the failed attempt of the first. It wasn’t that the Hulk flick of five years ago was horrible — it just wasn’t good, and it completely fell apart at the end (a lot more so than Indy 4). Now that Marvel Studios have reacquired the film rights to the character I believe that a better Hulk movie can be made. We shall see.

Get Smart (June 13) – Maxwell Smart is on a mission to thwart the latest plot for world domination by the evil crime syndicate known as KAOS. When the headquarters of U.S. spy agency Control is attacked and the identities of its agents compromised, the Chief has no choice but to promote his ever-eager analyst Maxwell Smart, who has always dreamt of working in the field alongside stalwart superstar Agent 23. Smart is partnered instead with the only other agent whose identity has not been compromised: the lovely-but-lethal veteran Agent 99.

Would you believe… I was more excited about this movie back in January when I posted about the Smart Casting. Now? Not so much. I still believe that the movie’s casting is inspired, but now I’m beginning to feel that perhaps too much may have been pinned on the casting. There is after all, a story to be told — and nothing that I’ve heard, read, or seen is really exciting me beyond their casting choices. At this point, the jury is still out.

WALL-E (June 27) – What if mankind had to leave Earth, and somebody forgot to turn the last robot off? Wall-E, spends every day doing what he was made for. But soon, he will discover what he was meant for, as he adventures across the galaxy chasing his dream.

Done. I’m sold. I’m there. There hasn’t been a Pixar movie that I haven’t liked/loved — well, except for Cars (which to me seemed like an animated remake of Doc Hollywood but with talking cars.)

Wanted (June 27) – 25-year-old Wes was the most disaffected, cube-dwelling drone the planet had ever known. His boss chewed him out hourly, his girlfriend ignored him routinely and his life plodded on interminably. Everyone was certain this disengaged slacker would amount to nothing. There was little else for Wes to do but wile away the days and die in his slow, clock-punching rut. Until he met a woman named Fox.

I read the comic book series written by Mark Millar back in 2003 in which this film is “loosely” based on. I liked the comic well enough, but I just don’t have the excited anticipation for the flick as I would for other comic book based movies.

It looks as if June has a lot of potential as a pick flick month, but the comic book and/or superhero inspired theme continues well into July with The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Hancock.

Movie Review – Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – (8 stars)

In 1957, Indiana Jones is thrust back in action, venturing into the jungles of South America in a race against Soviet agents to find the mystical Crystal Skull.

Note: This is going to be spoiler free review. As much as I’d like to cite specific scenes from the movie to prove my points and opinions of this movie I’m not going to hear. But, I’ll discuss these specific points with anybody anywhere over a pint or two.

There has been a lot of “mixed” reviews regarding the latest installment of the Indiana Jones adventures. So, I’m going to start this review off with my first and foremost gripe about the movie — the use of sets. Having seen and enjoying the previous three Indiana Jones movies, as well as countless other movies from other decades and other genres from the same and other creators. But, when you look at the previous three movies from the series — Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — one thing stands out with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it is the use of sets. The title character is a globe trotting and world weary adventurer, but yet, right from the get go, this chapter had the distinct look and feel of being mostly shot on soundstages and back lots. But, that’s about it as far as my gripes go. Sure, I could nit-pick a bit more, but that’s easy to do when you’ve been involved in a relationship that has lasted some twenty-seven years.

Now that that is out of the way… I liked Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — a lot. The movie was no Raiders of the Lost Ark — but it also wasn’t the major let down that a lot of “fans” are screaming about. There are three other things that this movie was not — Episode I, Episode II, and Episode III.

There is nothing more ridiculous nor unbelievable about this Indy installment than any of the previous three. I’ll give you that it might not be in the same tone as the previous three movies — but really, none of the previous three movies were exactly the same in tone. This movie may set out a bit further than the rest, but it has been 19 years since the last Indiana Jones movie. A lot has changed in nineteen years — and a lot has changed in Indiana Jones life since we last saw him in The Last Crusade. Maybe I saw the movie in “Indy-colored glasses”, but so what. I really can’t think of any better lenses and frames to view such a movie.

Some of the criticism that I’ve read and/or heard has been that Indy IV didn’t contain specific elements that “fans” wanted to to see. That’s kind of a cheap shot. So what if this or that character wasn’t there nor represented “enough.” That’s what I’ve got the previous three Indy movies for, right? it was interesting to see Indiana Jones in a post-WWII world, McCarthyism era. And, speaking of an older Indiana Jones… Harrison Ford pulled it off just fine. The actor wasn’t sleepwalking through this role like he has recently appeared to do in others. I also bought Shia LaBeouf in this flick as well. I like this kid. (I’m plenty old enough to call him “kid,” trust me.) I’ve heard scoffs about some certain actions that LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams pulls off in this movie. Well, if it were the character of Indiana Jones doing the same things there’d be no second guessing or criticisms. And these two play off each other great. And, after twenty-seven years it was nice to see Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) return. Could she have played a bigger part? Maybe. But, the movie really wasn’t about her and Indy. The movie was about Indiana Jones and Mutt Williams.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is good and fun entertainment with a very dear old friend.

Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: David Koepp; Story by: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson
Produced by: Frank Marshal, Denis L. Stewart, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images.

Official SiteIMDB SiteWikipedia Site

Indiana Jones And The Mediocre Reception

May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull swings (courtesy of a well-worn leather bullwhip) into movie theaters and cineplexes today. Now, this isn’t my “official” review of the movie. It doesn’t look like I’m going to venture into any dark movie theaters to join in on the adventures of archaeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones today. I’ve been there and done that for they opening day hype for two of his three previous premieres. I might see it tomorrow. If not then, than Monday — no need to battle the weekend crowds. It’s not that I’m not excited to see the return of Indiana Jones. That character is by far one of my favorite all-time heroes. Raiders of the Lost Ark is probably my second favorite movie of all-time (just behind the other Spielberg opus, Jaws).

What should by all accounts be a triumphant return seems to be being met with mediocre reception — and that’s a shame. Early reviews have been mixed, but leaning toward the negative. While a lot of reviews are saying that “Hey, if you like Indiana Jones movies you’ll probably like this one,” they also seem to be listing elements of the movie that one shouldn’t like. I don’t need any reviewer to tell me what I shouldn’t like. And, I especially don’t need any of the filmmakers to tell me not to get my hopes up. I’m looking at you, Lucas.

I really feel that people are setting themselves up not to like this movie. Have we all really been that damaged by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

I feel that there’s no need for me to go in with my guard up. My plan is to go along for the ride — a ride that I expect to be fun, regardless of what I have or have not heard.

I don’t want to ramble on too much more about the movie here — I want to save my opinions and thoughts for when I do post my review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So… I’ll sign off now.

Nagging Pain Continues

May 21, 2008

The pinched nerve is still aggravating me. I’m working on powering through with it today in order to get some much needed script pages written. Typing doesn’t help. What originated in my left shoulder/neck region has spread down to about my left elbow and a couple fingers on my left hand are feeling a little numb/tingly.

Wait?! Left arm pain and/or numbness… Isn’t that a heart attack symptom?

So, powering through with some typing — and also doing some much needed housework here at the ranch. So the pain in my back pretty much occupies both shoulders now and stretches down about halfway — different than my usual lower back sprains that I seem to get every couple of years.

So, that’s about it. Without much back pain relief in sight I figured I’d cut lose with a little bitching therapy. My back doesn’t feel any better — but mentally I feel a tad bit gratified. Thanks for putting up with me.