Friday, January 11, 2013

Worthy Kickstarter project: Fund a documentary film about Mad Magazine

Why the heck hasn't somebody done this already?!!

Via Mark Evanier: Here's a pitch for full-length documentary about Mad Magazine and how it ruined changed America!

The filmmakers have already complete interviews with numerous famed Madmen, including Sergio Aragones, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Al Jaffe and more familiar names from your juvenile delinquent years. They know want to interview Mad fans.

Here's a preview:

Vintage Sunday Superman comic strips from the St. Louis Dispatch

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Five former Doctor Who actors uniting for 50th anniversary audio drama

Now if we could get an on-screen multi-Doctor show, too!

“Doctor Who: The Light at the End” will be released in November and will star Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. That’s Doctors 4 through 8 for those who came to the adventure series only after his revival in 2005 with Doctor No. 9 (Christopher Eccleston).
But the Doctors aren’t the only classic characters making a return. Their companions are also joining them: Louise Jameson as Leela, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Nicola Bryant as Peri, Sophie Aldred as Ace and India Fisher as Charley Pollard.

New Pop Culture Safari Twitter feed

If you're a Twitter-type, you can now follow posts here there. Only have nine followers to date. Please help me seem less pathetic.

Pop stuff: What I'm reading, hearing, watching, etc.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
I'm 200 or so pages into this most recent and wonderful novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay." This new one is on par with that one: A brilliant, scathing-yet-loving portrait of Chabon's homebase of Berkeley, Calif., in all its self-conscious grooviness and goofiness.

The story centers around the two 30-something owners of a tiny used record shop facing demise in the face of a new urban-hip megastore, their spouses -- both midwives, and other folks in the title neighborhood. Chabon speaks in voices male, female, black, white, straight gay, Jewish and African Amercan, capturing the area's celebrated diversity, teasing out the failings and absurdities of all the characters, but also their endearing humanity. It's not easy to lampoon folks without turning them into cartoons, but Chabon pulls it off. This is a fantastic portrayal/satire of modern American life and likely one of the best and most important novels of 2012/13.

Chabon's turns of phrase and use of language is as jaw-dropping as ever. This may be his best book to date. He's an amazing writer. In terms of style and structure, there are parallels here to Robert Altman films and TV series such as "The Wire" and "Treme"  -- lots of great characters intersecting in sometimes surprising ways. But TV and films can't use language and go this deep. I love the characters and all of Chabon's bountiful pop culture references: 70s funk, jazz, prog, Bronze-Age Marvel Comics, kung fu and blaxploitation flicks... it's all here.

I may do a follow-up post sharing my feelings once I'm finished with the book, but I doubt I'll be disappointed by the remaining half.


Me-TV. Anyone else out there enjoying this "oldies" TV station available over-the-air and via cable in several markets across the U.S.? It's what TV Land was/should be, featuring a ridiculously great lineup of classic sitcoms and other programming. Notably, it's finally a place to see the 1960s Batman TV series on a regular basis. Other old favorites include "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Mary Tyler Moore," "My Three Sons," "The Brady Bunch," "Wild, Wild West" ...  it all seems to be here. Reminds me of the days when all this stuff was on after school and on weekends. Then it all went away. Now it's back. My kids love these old shows, too. Surprising how well they hold up. Comfort TV at its best.


Uncut Magazine Presents The Kinks
I came across this delightful surprise on the newstand a couple weeks back: It's a Mojo-sized mag dedicated exclusively to Ray Davies and band, filled with vintage article from Melody Maker and the New Musical Express, lots of great vintage photos and detailed reviews of the Kinks' complete LP output. It's one to keep and put on the bookshelf next the two-few books about this great band. Check your local book and record stores for copies, as the ones available via the online link I provided are too spendy.

Vintage movie poster: Charlie McCarthy, Detective

Vintage Charlie Chan movie posters and pictures

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Sad news: Comics Buyer's Guide calls it quits

After an amazing 1,699-issue run over a 42-year history, the Comics Buyer's Guide will cease publication. Sad news about a publication that did so much to build and inform comics fandom.

Here's the press release:
January 9, 2013 – Krause Publications, a division of F+W Media, Inc., announced today the closure of Comics Buyer’s Guide effective with the March 2013 issue. The Company cited general poor market conditions and forces working against the title’s sustainability including the downturn in print advertising and the proliferation of free content available online for this highly specialized industry.

“We continuously evaluate our portfolio and analyze our content strategy to determine how well we are meeting consumer and Company goals,” said David Blansfield, President. ”We take into consideration the marketplace we serve and the opportunities available for each of our magazine titles. After much analysis and deliberation, we have determined to cease publication of Comics Buyer’s Guide.”

Current subscribers to the magazine will receive a two-for-one conversion to CBG sister publication Antique Trader: a biweekly that has served the antiques and collectibles community since 1957. (For every issue of CBG remaining in a subscription, subscribers will receive two issues of Antique Trader.) The site and its Facebook page will exist as an archived resource administered by Antique Trader.

BBC Radio this week: Stream drama, comedy and music documentaries

Click the links to hear the following programs.

Doctor Who The Doctor and his companion visit a prison planet themed on the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Goon Show Min is counting rain drops, but why is everyone so wet? Is royalty to blame? From 1958.

Ray Bradbury: A Sound of Thunder A safari into the prehistoric past sparks unexpected results. Ray Bradbury's famous yarn.

Olympic Records: The Music and Musicians of the 2013 Games Elbow, Chemical Brothers, Coldplay, Public Enemy, Underworld, Muse, The Who and Two Door Cinema Club were just some of the bands who scored and soundtracked the 2012 Olympic Games. Nemone looks at the music which featured in the opening and closing ceremonies and how the alternative music community played their part in the greatest show on earth.

Original art: Milt Caniff Terry and the Pirates Sunday strip

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sir Alec Guiness thought Star Wars was "fairytale rubbish"

He also thought Harrison Ford's first name was "Tennyson."

Business Insider shares a few funny anecdotes from the great actor's letter as published in his 2003 official biography:
"I have been offered a movie (20th Cent. Fox) which I may accept, if they come up with proper money. London and N. Africa, starting in mid-March. Science fiction – which gives me pause – but is to be directed by Paul [sic] Lucas who did "American Graffiti, which makes me feel I should. Big part. Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps."

 .... new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper – and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable ... I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet – and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can't be right) Ford. Ellison (? – No!) – well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety – and treat me as if I was 106. – Oh, Harrison Ford – ever heard of him?"

New comics Jan. 9, 2013: Superman by Gil Kane; Showcase Presents Weird War Tales; Ka-Zar Masterworks; Zorro by Alex Toth, more!

Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Conan Volume 13: Queen of the Black Coast HC

Absolute Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn

Adventures of Superman: Gil Kane

The Batman Chronicles Vol. 11

Showcase Presents: Weird War Tales Vol. 1

Essential X-Men - Volume 11

Marvel Masterworks: Ka-Zar - Volume 1

Alex Toth's Zorro: The Complete Dell Comics Adventures