How do you get nominated for a Writers Guild Award? Write a comic book episode, apparently; one that’s a cut above the rest. (Sorry. Should I have gone with "slice of life drama" instead?)
One of the six nominees for this year’s Writers Guild Awards in the Episodic Drama category is "The Dark Defender" episode of Dexter, which reimagines America’s favorite serial killer as a vigilante called, you guessed it, The Dark Defender, because he seems to only be killing other killers, so he’s just a misunderstood vigilante. Like Rorschach. Or Faust. Or John Wayne Ga– well, you get the idea.
Showtime has been doing little bumper videos in the style of the Dark Defender comic book, here’s a taste:
The 60th Writers Guild Awards will be February 9th, strike or no strike. The finale of this season’s Dexter airs tonight on Showtime, and the series is rerun a couple of times a week.
Sixty-nine years ago tonight, the radio program Mercury Theater on the Air presented Orson Welles’ production of H.G. Wells’ "War of the Worlds", a fictional drama about a Martian invasion in Grovers Mill, New Jersey. The program sparked a panic among listeners who believed the play was an actual news broadcast. Of the six million listeners who heard the show, more than 1.7 million reportedly believed the story was true.
Those who were lucky enough to tune in from the start of the show were alerted to its fictional nature and were spared the fate of the others who went into nationwide panic over alien invasion. Most creative artists in the fantasy field only hope to convey the emotional reality of fictional circumstances. Welles was able to make those circumstances real, if only for an ephemeral hour and if only for a gullible few.
We salute you, Mr. Welles and Mr. Wells, for setting the standards of illusory paranoia, and giving the rest of us something to aspire towards.
Ever think that there are at least parts of your life that would make an interesting comic? Artist Kurt Dinse did and from there he added a little drama and created One Year In Indiana, an intriguing indy comic spotlighted today on THE BIG BROADCAST!
Plus: What is the deal on all those Marvel Zombie variants? How about Princess Bride coming to the game market? The new Tintin trilogy? And today, we fondly remember Mrs. Hart.
Let us entertain you while you read the all-new, all-free Black Ice… PRESS THE BUTTON!
Kevin Smith is set to direct the CW pilot Reaper, a comedic drama about 21-year-old Sam Oliver, a slacker who learns that his parents sold his soul to the devil when he was born and now he must to pay the debt by becoming the Satan’s bounty hunter, retrieving souls escaped from hell. Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters (Law and Order: SVU) wrote the project; it film for two weeks in Vancouver, beginning March 12th.
Bryan Talbot’s legendary British graphic novel of the 70s and 80s, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, has been adapted to a full-cast audio drama by the folks at Big Finish Productions, the same people who bring us original full-cast audio of Dark Shadows, Sapphire and Steel, and Doctor Who. The production spans three CDs and stars everybody’s favorite 10th Doctor, David Tennant, as the title character.
No stranger to audio drama, Tennant has been featured in several Big Finish Doctor Who-related adventures prior to being cast in the current television version.
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright was published in the United States by Dark Horse Comics.
Once again, life has imitated comics. Maybe comics should sue.
This latest instance was reported in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago and has to do with kryptonite, the stuff from Superman’s planet or origin which can lay the Man of Steel low, or even all the way down. As far as I know, kryptonite was introduced in the early 40s by the writers of the Superman radio show. Since I was only a year or two or three old at the time, I’ll forgive them for not getting in touch with me and telling me why, exactly, they introduced it. But a guess might be: to facilitate conflict, which is widely considered to be a necessary ingredient in drama, and especially melodrama.
These guys – I assume they were guys – and their comic book counterparts were facing a fairly unique problem: how to get their hero in trouble and thus create conflict/drama, and do it not only once, but several times each month, or even more often.
Oh, sure, there had been superhuman characters in world literature and myth before Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, but they were in self-contained stories, and not many of those, and the problem was pretty limited. But with Superman… well, here was a fellow who was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – and that was when he was in his infancy. (For the record: Superman is only a year older than me. That is, he appeared only about a year before I did, though I gestated for the customary nine months and Supes took a leisurely four years to progress from the imaginations of Joe and Jerry to the public prints. He was a slow developer, but once he got started…) And he literally become more powerful with every passing year. And he had to have a lot of adventures.
So, okay, how do you get this guy in trouble, often, and thus create suspense and interest? The question has been answered in many ways, many times over the years. Kryptonite was one of the earliest of these answers. According to the mythos, it is a fragment of – I guess mineral – from Krypton, where Supes was born. Something in the gestalt of our planet makes kryptonite dangerous to natives of Krypton. (All of which you almost certainly know, but we do try to be thorough here.)
We thought it was fictional. Some of us, of the professional writing ilk, further thought that it was neither more nor less than an answer to a plot problem and at least one of that ilk thought it was overused and temporarily retired it. But now, a Chris Stanley, of London’s Museum of Natural History, analyzed a substance some of his colleagues discovered and, according to the Times, “found that the new mineral’s chemistry matched the description of kryptonite’s composition in last year’s film Superman Returns.”
It is not known whether or not anyone collapsed near the stuff.
At this point, you can either shrug and get on with your life, or pause, and engage in some pretty wild speculation about the nature of reality.
Be warned: We probably aren’t finished with this topic.
Susannah York, the honored British actress who played Lara in Superman The Movie and Superman II (not to mention such classy movies as They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and The Killing of Sister George), is a featured player in Big Finish’s 96th regular monthly Doctor Who full-cast drama.
Named "Valhalla", the two-hour original full-cast audio drama is another high-energy science-fiction thriller about a planet that is, well, anything but Valhalla. York joins Sylvester McCoy, who of course is playing the seventh Doctor – the last from the original series.
For more information about this and the approximately 150 original Doctor Who audio adventures, check out Big Finish Productions.