Tagged: Me-TV

Mike Gold: Four Comics Things That Piss Me Off

Bitch Planet

Number One: Bitch Planet

Bitch Planet ran only five issues. I know it’s coming back in a new mini-series story arc thingy, but nobody – not even Valentina De Landro and Kelly Sue DeConnick – have any business producing such a compelling series and not publish it every damn month for the rest of their lives. And I’m counting string theory afterlife dimensions.

I mean, look folks, characters like Batman, the X-Men and My Little Pony are being published weekly under a variety of titles. Marvel’s pumping out so much Deadpool that even Emily S. Whitten has a hard time following them all. So is it so much to ask that we get Bitch Planet at least once each month? These are two incredibly talented cartoonists. I’m sure they have lives and loved ones and such, but I don’t care. October will come and go without an issue of Bitch Planet, and that is wrong.

Number Two: Roots of Evil?

SvengoolieLast week, the courageous and gifted Svengoolie ran the movie Monster On The Campus on his Saturday night Me-TV show (a great channel, usually on one of those digital side channels the broadcast stations use to fill out their bit of the broadband spectrum). It’s about a not-mad scientist – although at times he’s rather testy – named Doctor Donald Blake who imports a honking big fish that’s been frozen for over one million years. Blake gets pricked by one of the fish’s humongous teeth. It turns out the fish was preserved with Gamma rays for some reason that kind of made sense when they said it. Donald Blake temporarily gets transformed into a gigantic hairy monster who is violently cantankerous.

Seeing as how this is a website named “ComicMix,” three facts probably leap out at you. First, the dude’s name is Doctor Donald Blake. Second, the major plot point is that he transforms into something mighty. And, finally… Gamma rays, huh?

This movie was made in 1958. The Incredible Hulk got his dose of Gamma rays in 1962. Doctor Donald Blake first transformed into The Mighty Thor that same year. My question: is this an incredibly amazing series of coincidences (Ian Fleming would have called it “enemy action”), or did Stan Lee happen to see it and those elements impregnated his imagination? Or did he simply borrow the material, never thinking (logically) anybody would ever see that movie again? Probably not; Stan always had a lousy memory.

Sven did mention both Donald Blake and Bruce Banner during his always-brilliantly-silly studio segments.

Number Three: Color Everywhere

Boris The BearNow that small print runs of color comics are economically feasible (well, feasibler) we seem to have a drought of black and white comics. That’s annoying. The so-called independent comics movement started out in black and white – Elfquest, Cerebus; even Dark Horse’s first title was in black and white. By and large, the Warren magazines (Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and particularly Blazing Combat) featured some of the best artwork by many of the best cartoonists ever, all in glorious black and white. Whereas they weren’t quite up to Warren’s level, the Marvel Comics magazines were pretty damn good and I think Conan in particular looked great in that medium.

Number Four: What’s Black and White and Dead All Over?

And let’s take this one step further. Many of the few surviving newspapers, perhaps most, have been coloring their daily comic strips for several years now. This is also true of the newspaper strip websites GoComics.com and ComicsKingdom.com. Here’s a news flash: guys, you’re not helping. By and large – there are notable exceptions – the coloring is dreadful. Comics are not coloring books where everything is cool if you just stay in the lines. Color is a storytelling device. That’s why the great color artists deserve the big bucks.

Note I did not say “the great color artists are getting the big bucks.”

That’s four. There will always be more. Get off my lawn!Bloom County


Classic Doctor Who Debuts Monday On Retro TV

Starting Monday, August 4, digital television provider Retro TV will be presenting the surviving “classic” episodes of Doctor Who weekdays at 8PM.  the series will start as it should with William Hartnell as The Doctor in An Unearthly Child, and will continue in order, right through to the Sylvester McCoy series.

When broadcast television switched over to digital, stations received a bonus two digital sub-channels thanks to the extra ability to compress data.  Most stations had no plan of their own to utilize these stations, which allowed for the rise of third party programming providers like Retro, Me-TV and many more.  Offering mostly reruns of classic television, these channels have greatly expanded the number of classic shows available.  While most classic TV station were only available through cable subscriptions, these new channels are available over the air, allowing everyone to enjoy them.

Retro TV scored a double-hit this summer for science-fiction fans.  In addition to the adventures of the renegade Time Lord, they brought the travails of a man in space forced to watch cheesy movies with his robot friends back to the air when they premiered Mystery Science Theater 3000 earlier in the Summer.


Retro TV brought MST3K back to the air earlier this summer.

“Bringing MST3K and Doctor Who to Retro TV has been a passion project,” explains Matt Golden, Vice President of Production,  “not only for myself, but others in the organization that love the shows and are thrilled to be able to share them with our audience. It’s for fans, by fans.”

Although the original broadcasts of Doctor were without commercials, Retro is doing everything possible to keep from editing the episodes.  “A few of the episodes will be slightly edited for time. That said, it’s the minority.” Matt Golden clarifies.  “For instance, of the first batch of episodes processed, there are only 20 out of those 121 episodes that are longer than we can support and thus need to be trimmed.”

“For the few that are over our prescribed durations, we’re making extremely judicious cuts, with careful consideration toward content and flow. Moreover, we’re not making any cuts that aren’t absolutely necessary, and the ones we have to make range from 30-60 seconds. We won’t be utilizing time compression, as episode-length speedup is more distracting and detrimental than subtle edits of a few lengthy establishing shots.”

This is not out of the ordinary.  Back in its original foray into American television, the Tom Baker episodes were cut for commercial content, not mention adding explanatory narration by Howard DaSilva.  Even BBC America edits episodes of the current series after their initial broadcast to accommodate ads.

retroWhoRetro TV plans to bring the show to the fans by way of attending major Sci-Fi conventions as well. “We had a great time a couple of weeks ago at Con Kasterborous in Huntsville, AL, where we spoke with Sylvester McCoy, Andrew Cartmel, and several groups of fans, clips of which will be making their way onto TV and social media in the coming weeks as we roll out Doctor Who. We plan to continue doing so, and are in the midst of finalizing the details for another couple of cons this year”

In the area of genre programming, Retro had fallen behind ME-TV, which carries the original Star Trek, Lost in Space and many more.  But with these two additions, Retro makes it clear they’re back in the game, with more to come. “I have a great love of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and feel that those genres have been somewhat underserved in our particular arena.” says Golden. “It’s all about the response, though, so if fans want to see more, they can help us out by making some noise: following us on Facebook and Twitter (and now on tumblr), calling stations in their markets to demand Retro TV, etc.”

Check the  Retro TV website for local affiliates in your area, and with your local cable company to see if they carry the channel.