Tagged: musical

REVIEW: Kamala Sankaram’s “Miranda”

What do you get when you take a dystopian who-done-it, three suspects, a composer-soprano-instrumentalist-victim, set it to music that is part Baroque opera, tango, Hindustani classical, and hip-hop, add multimedia elements (including a projected big, singing head and funky fake commercials for deadly fashion accessories and wacked-out news broadcasts), dress it all up in steampunk sensibilities reminiscent of Watchmen, include a bailiff ringmaster of a TV show (The Whole Truth) that would make Tim Curry’s Frank-N-Furter proud, add Rocky Horror-like audience participation, a libretto written by the composer with director Rob Reese, and swirl in six avant-garde new music veteran musicians-singers-actors a la the most recently retooled Sweeney Todd?

This is the hybrid lovely beast that is Kamala Sankaram’s Miranda, which opened in preview (tickets $20, 9 p.m.) on Thurs. Jan. 12th, opened on Friday the 13th, and makes its final performance on the 21st as part of HERE’s 3-year composer-development HARP (HERE Artists Residency) Program. Grandly ironic sensibilities. And it lived up to all its promises despite a few technical nits.

Jerry Miller as the Bailiff plays it larger than life—he sells it, with power, and controls the audience with aplomb: a bravura performance. Sankaram is a soprano worthy of Puccini, in demeanor and vocal timber and skill, plus able to carry her ethnic classical tropes with equal grace, yet still be convincing in the more contemporary milieu of the infectiously heavy hip-hop grooves of the show’s theme she writes for her mini-orchestra (guitar, cello, violin, tenor sax/clarinet, bari sax/bass clarinet, accordion—it needs a viola to round out the dark tones and support the violin and guitar—but I am a violist). Sankaram’s writing is lush, inventive, and dramatic, seamlessly slipping between the genres, and the staging, choreography, and projected imagery do it justice in the appropriately dark and industrial HERE main theatre (holds 100, capacity crowd). Her portrayal of the poor-little-rich girl is at once ditzy (when she speaks) and noble (when she sings), highlighting the dichotomies of her character and her struggles, once she discovers a wrong that shatters her protective bubble, to Do The Right Thing. She and Miller are the stand-outs of this production, along with the behind-the-scenes artists. The other voices: Muchmore’s reedy tenor, Fand’s mezzo, Fleming’s baritone, and those of the supporting cast sung by the multi-winds, were serviceable and had moments.


‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’ producers countersue Julie Taymor

‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’ producers countersue Julie Taymor

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark promotional poster.

Image via Wikipedia

This is never going to end, is it?

Producers of Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” have fired back in their legal fight with one-time director Julie Taymor, claiming the woman who they once called a visionary later failed to fulfill her legal obligations, wrote a “disjointed” and “hallucinogenic” musical, and refused to collaborate on changes when the $75 million show was in trouble. In a countersuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Taymor and her company, LOH Inc., the producers argued that the show “is a success despite Taymor, not because of her.” The lawsuit, which quotes from several private emails from members of the creative team, further exposes the deep rift that has opened between former collaborators who seemed to have reconciled — at least through forced smiles — on the red carpet this summer when the musical finally officially opened.

Remember, these people are arguing about more money than Steve Ditko has ever received for co-creating Spider-Man. So when they talk about what they’ve “created”, feel free to laugh at them.

via ‘Spider-Man’ producers punch back at Julie Taymor – Yahoo! News.

Classic Music, Pulp AudioBooks, and Pulp Book Store Specials and More from Radio Archives!

December 30, 2011
NEW Radio Set: The Railroad Hour, Volume 3

“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Railroad Hour!” This opening line, delivered by announcer Marvin Miller, along with whistles, hissing steam escaping from smoke stacks, and other train sounds heralded the beginning of each episode of one of the most beloved, often sought after music programs of the golden age of radio! Gordon MacRae, noted baritone, acted as conductor as he led listeners through recreations of musicals, operettas, and even the careers of some of the greatest American composers and lyricists each week. You can take the same ride now on The Railroad Hour, Volume 3.

Sponsored by the Association of American Railroads, The Railroad Hour presented vest-pocket versions of some of the most popular and beloved musicals and operettas of all time – everything from the romantic melodies of Victor Herbert and Sigmund Romberg to the modern musical comedies of Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart. In these lush and tuneful half-hours, star and leading man Gordon MacRae was joined by a host of leading ladies. In his role as host and leading man, MacRae generally narrated the programs, giving listeners the basic structure of the plot as the show went along.
The job of adapting massive musicals and full-scale operettas into a 45 minute format, the original length ‘The Radio Hour’ ran when it debuted initially on ABC, fell to Jean Holloway and the writing team of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. Holloway, who herself was also a singer and musician, had earlier written for such programs as “The Kate Smith Hour” and “Mr. President”, while Lawrence and Lee had honed their writing skills as two of the first staff members of the Armed Forces Radio Service during World War II. All three had considerable knowledge of both music and theater; Lawrence and Lee, in fact, would in later years write the Broadway classic “Auntie Mame” and its musical counterpart “Mame”, as well as such well-known plays as “Inherit the Wind” and “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail”.
The Railroad Hour, Volume 3 is a special collection of this classic program. First appearing on ABC, The Railroad Hour was a 45-minute program. This collection is six episodes from that run, shows that provide not only outstanding entertainment for today’s listeners but that also stand as a tribute to the talent and production techniques that went into their creation so many years ago. Enjoy Classic Music and Classic Radio at its best by getting The Railroad Hour, Volume 3 today for only $17.98 on Audio CDs or $11.98 as a Digital Download!
by Tommy Hancock

“If you like high adventure, come with me. If you like the stealth of intrigue, come with me. If you like blood and thunder, come with me…”
Simply reading those words inspires someone to step up, ready to tackle whatever action and trouble might come their way. When you hear Captain Bart Friday say them at the opening of each episode of Adventures by Morse, you’ll be ready to run off and join the circus, the Foreign Legion, the Merchant Marines, and all before lunch!
Best known for his classic pulpy I Love a Mystery and the serial drama One Man’s Family, Carlton E. Morse stands out as one of the best writers from the era of old time radio. A series from Morse that is, in my opinion, as good as his best known works, is the one with his name in it. Adventures by Morse is similar in format to I Love A Mystery. Both shows have strong male leads and center on men who encounter guns, fists, mysteries, and more danger than a Sam Peckinpah film on speed can muster before they finally win the day. Although I Love A Mystery is better known and for valid reasons, it’s a show that is sometimes action centered, other times focused on the ‘Mystery’ in the title, and at times has some inconsistencies due to this. Adventures by Morse, on the other hand, is unabashedly squarely set in the pulpy Adventure genre and captures the atmosphere and the pacing that modern listeners will recognize as being one of the reasons they love the Indiana Jones movies.
The series is straight forward, just like a roundhouse in a South Seas Island bar fight. Captain Bart Friday and his cohort Skip Turner get mixed up in strange escapades involving exotic locales, strange villains, and mystical magical encounters with damsels, goons, and life and death moments aplenty! This collection includes two serials, “The City of the Dead” and “The Cobra King Strikes Back.” Both of these stories are dead on adventure tales, stories that sweat blood and danger and move at a clip that keeps the listener tangled up in all the twists and turns. Comparing the two, I prefer City of the Dead only slightly due to the fact it builds tension a bit better than The Cobra King Strikes Back. Having said that, the performances in The Cobra King are a bit more spot on, but not by much. All in all, both of these cliffhanger laden serials in Adventures by Morse, Volume 1 deliver in every way a good adventure tale should! Available on Audio CDs for $29.98 and for digital downloads for $19.98 from Radio Archives.
The audiobook of Will Murray’s monumental Doc Savage adventure The Jade Ogre is a feature-length excursion into one of the Bronze Man’s most exotic adventures.
“The Jade Ogre makes a wonderful listening experience,” Producer/Director Roger Rittner says. “Will has packed a cast of colorful characters, plus mystery, intrigue, action, adventure, and a bit of mysticism into an heroic tale. It’s an epic adventure to be savored.”
Based on an outline by Lester Dent, the massive The Jade Ogre carries the listener from the fog-shrouded streets of 1935 Chinatown San Francisco, to the crumbling ruins of an ancient temple in Cambodia.
Accompanied by his aides Monk Mayfair and Ham Brooks, his cousin Pat Savage, and a cast of unique characters, Doc races to unlock the secret of the Jade Ogre, a fantastic Oriental villain who unleashes death in the form of disembodied flying arms, capable of disintegrating its victims in a flash of fire. But the lethal flying arms are merely the cover for a more deadly menace – the mysterious Jade Fever, which strikes down its victims with a deadly virus that turns its victims green as jade.
Narrator Michael McConnohie essays every role in the story with unerring vocal impressions that give life to Murray’s distinctive characters.
In addition to the 36-chapter story, the 12-CD set includes two bonus audio features: a continuation of Will Murray’s discussion of the creation of Doc Savage, and his memory of creating The Jade Ogre from Lester Dent’s notes, plus how Pat Savage has contributed to the Doc Savage canon.
The Jade Ogre is available now from RadioArchives.com at $37.98 for the deluxe 12-CD set, or $25.98 for instant digital download.
For over-the-top thrills, you can’t beat Prince of the Red Looters, the first audiobook from RadioArchives.com featuring the pulp hero, The Spider.
“With extensive sound effects and complete period music score, Prince of the Red Looters is an almost ‘cinematic’ experience for listeners,’ says Producer/Director Roger Rittner. “Customers are telling us it’s like a movie playing in your mind.”
Narrating Norvel Page’s propulsive prose, stage and screen stars Nick Santa Maria and Robin Riker give life to the sword fights, escapes, insurmountable odds, nail-biting suspense, and unexpected twists in Prince of the Red Looters.
Prince of the Red Looters is available in a 6-CD deluxe set at just $19.98, or as an instant digital download at just $14.98.

A nameless mystery man with a wartime past in the Intelligence service. Declared dead by the Department of Justice. Now backed by a shadowy group of powerful philanthropists, to infiltrate the Underworld and crush crime in all of its hideous manifestations.
Secret Agent “X” was one of the most unusual pulp adventurers ever, and also one of the most action-filled continuing characters in its day. Now The Torture Trust, the latest entry in RadioArchives.com’s Will Murray’s Pulp Classics audiobook series, provides thrills and chills to pulp and audiobook fans alike.
The Torture Trust introduces the mysterious nemesis of the most nefarious criminals the pulp writers could dream up. In it, Secret Agent “X” pits all his secretive skill and devious daring against a criminal triad that wields face-destroying acid as an instrument of blackmail.
Read by noted voiceover actor Dave Mallow, The Torture Trust takes listeners into the dark and sinister world of this fantastic mystery man.
Scoop, the online blog about pulps, comics, and all things collectable, says, “The Torture Trust is a danger-a-minute audio introduction to this fondly remembered pulp avenger of the 1930s. The Torture Trust will provide thrills and chills to pulp and audiobook fans alike. “
The deluxe five-CD set of The Torture Trust is just $14.98. The instant download version is just $9.98.

Python IsleRadioArchives.com’s first Doc Savage audiobook, continues to delight listeners. In Booklist, the 100-year-old journal of the American Library Association, Kaite Mediatore Stover says that Python Isle, the first Doc Savage audiobook from Radio Archives.com, “takes listeners on a breathless, roller-coaster adventure ride. Michael McConnohie’s masterful pacing keeps the tension and suspense tighter than a python’s grip, and a superb blend of sound effects and music enhance the mood, lending the production a cinematic feel.”
The full-cast NPR series The Adventures of Doc Savage presents special adaptations of “Fear Cay” and “The Thousand-Headed Man” by Roger Rittner and Will Murray. Featuring a full cast of voice actors, extensive sound effects, and period music score, The Adventures of Doc Savage is non-stop action in 13 exciting installments.

A super-criminal emerges in White Eyes, the second Doc Savage audiobook from RadioArchives.com. From his skyscraper headquarters high above the streets of New York City to the sugarcane fields of Cuba, Doc Savage races to crush gangland’s latest uncrowned king. White Eyes features dramatic narration by Richard Epcar, cover art by Joe DeVito, plus fantastic extras.

The first Black Bat audiobook, Brand of the Black Bat, is a stirring story of crime and corruption, and of a courageous avenger – district attorney Anthony Quinn – determined to track down the vicious gangster who robbed him of his brilliant career, all the while thwarting Captain MacGrath of the N.Y.P.D., who suspects Quinn and the Black Bat are one and the same. Michael McConnohie reads this fantastic tale.
RadioArchives.com resurrects the wild and wonderful Doctor Death, one of the rare unabashedly supernatural pulp series. Equal parts Doctor Frankenstein and Albert Einstein, with a dash of Fu Manchu, Doctor Death’s supreme goal in life was to crush civilization. His first fatal foray into reversing mankind’s fortunes, 12 Must Die, is now available in an audiobook read by television and animé star Joey D’Auria.
By Larry Josephson, Bob & Ray’s long time producer
Bob & Ray are classic American humorists who started in 1946 at WHDH, Boston. Bob was a disc jockey, Ray a newscaster. They riffed during the handoffs, something like local news anchors do today, only funnier. The station liked them so much they were given a daily afternoon show, “Matinee with Bob & Ray.” When Red Sox or Braves games were delayed by rain Bob & Ray filled in with their special brand of humor. Some of these shows are included in our RadioArt® Bob & Ray albums.
In 1951 NBC brought them to New York to work on Monitor and to do a nightly 15-minute television show that followed the Camel News Caravan. Cloris Leachman or Audrey Meadows played Linda Lovely. On radio Ray did all the female characters like Mary McGoon and Mary Backstayge in falsetto. For the television show, they shot Ray from the neck down wearing a house dress.
During their 40-year career, Bob & Ray appeared on just about every radio and television network, and on major local New York stations WOR, WINS, and WHN. I invited them to perform at a conference I organized for public radio producers and managers held in Glen Cove, NY in the spring of 1981. They were a big hit with the 20- and 30-something audience. I called Bob & Ray the next day to ask them to do a series for NPR, The Bob & Ray Public Radio Show. They had been off the air for several years, but were busy doing commercials for a wide range of clients, including Piels Beer. They played Bert and Harry Piel in a legendary series of animated spots. Great advertising, lousy beer! Many of their commercials, including the Piels spots, are on our albums. (BR004, BR006, BR009. BR015, BR017, BR018)
The NPR shows are captured on the Best of Bob & Ray, Volumes 1-4, BR001-BR004). In 1984 I produced two sold-out concerts in Carnegie Hall. The Carnegie Hall shows turned out to be Bob & Ray’s farewell performances (Ray died in 1990). They are captured on our album, “Bob & Ray: A Night of Two Stars, recorded live in Carnegie Hall.” (BR 026).
Bob & Ray’s targets–commercials, infomercials, game shows, soap operas, fatuous radio shrinks, bloviating politicians, rigged contests, and public service announcements from corporations who “really care” about the environment—are still with us in the cable age, only more so.
Bob & Ray is for smart people: they’re satirists, not comedians. They don’t tell jokes like Bob Hope or do stupid physical comedy like The Three Stooges. Many of their routines run more than 4 minutes. The joke slowly builds until it explodes in your mind.
Bob & Ray were admired and imitated by every comedian and humorist of their time, including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman, George Carlin, Garrison Keillor, Kurt Vonnegut and Andy Rooney. Many of them “borrowed” Bob & Ray material and characters. Keillor’s “writer,” Nattily Dressed, is very close to Bob & Ray’s Nattily Attired. Lifting material has long been a part of comedy tradition. Bob & Ray were inspired by two old time radio shows, “Vic and Sade,” and by Raymond Knight’s “Cuckoo Hour.”
Their signature routine, “The Slow Talkers of America,” belongs in the comedy pantheon alongside Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” and Jack Benny’s “Your Money or Your Life.”
Some of my favorite things about Bob & Ray include their sheer intelligence and talent; their acute ear for language, cant and cliché; their sense of timing; the hundreds of characters they created, all performed either by Bob or Ray, including the immortal Wally Ballou (–ly Ballou); the lovable Marys (McGoon and Backstayge) and affable dolts like Webley Webster. Their work is deeply moral. They used humor to express their anger at the corruption and stupidity of much of American culture. And to make people laugh.
I’ve devoted 30 years of my life to collecting and restoring Bob & Ray recordings for old and new fans. Bob & Ray’s humor is ageless. You needn’t have heard “Mary Noble, Backstage Wife” to enjoy “Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife,” absurd on its face. Knowing the original adds to your enjoyment of the parody, but it works either way. The one exception might be “Awful Godfrey, “a thinly disguised Arthur Godfrey, who was, by reputation, a vain and viscous man (he famously fired singer Julius LaRosa on the air for “lack of humility”). Bob & Ray’s parody of Godfrey skewers him expertly. Bob’s impression of Godfrey is uncanny.
We offer more than 100 hours of Bob & Ray and Jean Shepherd on CD, including “The Very Best of Bob & Ray,” 5 hours on 4 CDs, selected from all of our CDs (BR024). It’s the perfect starter album, and makes a great gift. The booklet includes a long, insightful essay on Bob & Ray by the Canadian critic, Kerrie Mills. Worth the price alone.
I’ve remained Bob & Ray’s producer for all these years simply because they make me laugh. When asked how their partnership lasted 40 years, they replied, “We made each other laugh.” (They also didn’t spend much time together after work.) I hope the current generation of Bob & Ray fans will buy these CDs and pass them down to their children and grandchildren, keeping Bob & Ray alive forever. I’m pleased that Bob & Ray have now joined the Radio Archives collection.
Hang By Your Thumbs, and don’t forget to Write If You Get Work.
-Larry Josephson, proud to have been Bob & Ray’s producer for 30 years and counting.

Doc Savage and his beautiful cousin Patricia battle threats to national security in pulp classics by Evelyn Coulson and Lester Dent writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, while testing an experimental plane for the Army, Renny disappears after his airship is engulfed by The Yellow Cloud. Then, what has transformed Monk, Ham and Johnny into cowardly Men of Fear? The incredible secret could end the war, unless Nazi agents seize it first. This special collectors edition showcases the original color pulp covers by Emery Clarke, Paul Orban’s classic interior illustrations and historical commentary by Will Murray, author of eight Doc Savage novels. Available now for $14.95!

The Pulp Era’s strangest mystery man returns in two more epic adventures by Paul Ernst writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, can Justice, Inc. prevent secrets of an ancient civilization buried for centuries in The River of Ice from destroying the modern world? Then, scientists in Paris, Berlin and Montreal exhale fire as they die, setting The Avenger on the trail of The Flame Breathers and a deadly secret that threatens to plunge the world into a fiery infernal! BONUS: a thrilling adventure of Police Commissioner James Gordon, a.k.a. The Whisperer! This classic pulp reprint showcases H. W. Scott’s classic pulp covers, all the original interior illustrations by Paul Orban, and historical commentary by Will Murray. This fantastic reprint is only $14.95 in the Pulp Book Store!

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! The Master of Darkness, agent Clyde Burke and Secret Service agent Vic Marquette investigate deadly plots in two thrilling pulp novels by Walter Gibson as “Maxwell Grant.” First, The Shadow’s investigation of The Embassy Murders unearths a sinister plot that threatens world peace. Then, the kidnapping of Clyde Burke leads The Shadow and his agents on a winding murder trail through New Jersey’s Hills of Death. BONUS: a two-fisted adventure of Police Commissioner James Gordon, a.k.a. The Whisperer! This instant collectors’ item features both classic cover paintings by George Rozen, the original interior pulp illustrations by Tom Lovell and Edd Cartier and historical commentary by popular culture historians Anthony Tollin and Will Murray. And it can be yours for $14.95!
Three fantastic Pulp Replicas featuring classic Pulp Heroes and Tales and designed to give readers and collectors the experience of holding an actual pulp!

Already the best place to find Classic and New Pulp tales and Pulp related products from the best companies in the business, The Pulp Book Store goes itself one better! The Treasure Chest, the place to find great deals, now exclusively features products for the Pulp Book Store! Just click on the Treasure Chest on the Pulp Book Store Page and you’ll find fantastic monthly discounts on an ever changing variety of items from our various stores! Check the Treasure Chest now to see what great discounts await everyone from the avid Pulp Fan to the casual reader! The Treasure Chest is Open now in the Pulp Book Store!
Review of “Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer” from Doc Savage, Volume 15

By Dr. Art Sippo

In December, 1932 Lester Dent was assigned the job of writing the first story for the planned Doc Savage Magazine. To assist him, the magazine’s editor, John Nanovic, wrote a brief story showcasing the Doc Savage character and his five associates. It was entitled Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer. Doc and his five men travel to Central America and find a lost tribe of Indians who possess a massive treasure in God. Doc’s father had arranged for this to be his son’s legacy. But corrupt government officials in the Central American country want to hijack the treasure for themselves. They already killed the elder Savage and now they are trying to kill Doc.
The portrait of Doc and his aides in this story is not quite what we have come to know through the Classic pulp series. Dent recast the characters and rewrote the story to give us the initial Doc Savage saga “The Man of Bronze.” Along the way he crafted a cast of unforgettable characters upon whom he had left his own literary stamp.
But the story “Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer” is the first Doc Savage story ever written and is of significant importance in the origin and development of the series. As a bonus, this story contains the complete text of the letter Clark Savage Sr. had written to his son which was only quoted in part in “The Man of Bronze.” Every true Doc Savage fan needs to read this story. We are indebted to Anthony Tollin and Will Murray for including it in their reprint series.
Get your copy of this piece of Doc Savage History, ‘Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer’ along with another classic Doc Savage Pulp tale today in Doc Savage Volume 15 for only $12.95 from Radio Archives!

Comments From Our Customers!
Dominick Cancilla:
I’m loving all the audiobooks!
Kenneth D. Schwartz:
Just listened to Music of the 1930s, Vol. I and every show in this collection is a gem, even if hearing Harry Richman singing about “darkies” and “pickaninnies” made me cringe. I understand that those were the times. But thanks for another marvelous collection.
Tom C. Miller:
I wanted to thank you for all of your support in offering old-time radio shows. I especially like it when you describe where your transcription discs came from and how they were preserved. Moreover I am continually surprised how much of the stuff was actually saved over the years. Thanks for bringing it alive again.
Barney McCasland:
Jade Ogre took me longer to read, due to its length, but it was great! As always, Michael McConnohie was the perfect narrator. I enjoyed The Torture Trust, but not nearly as much as the other series. I thought Dave Mallow did an excellent job of narrating it. Really excited and anxious for audio pulps 2012. Keep up the great work!
If you’d like to share a comment with us or if you have a question or a suggestion send an email to Service@RadioArchives.com. We’d love to hear from you!

The products you’ve read about in this newsletter are just a small fraction of what you’ll find waiting for you at RadioArchives.com. Whether it’s the sparkling audio fidelity of our classic radio collections, the excitement of our new line of audiobooks, or the timeless novels of the pulp heroes, you’ll find hundreds of intriguing items at RadioArchives.com.
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 (Glendale, CA) – FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK: CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF THE LYRICS, WORDS, AND HISTORY BEHIND THE WEBCOMIC FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, a book that features the complete words for all of the lyrics featured within the storyline along with the history of the webcomic’s evolution, is now available in multiple ebook formats along with a print edition in time for the holiday season. For a decade, the webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY continues to feature the adventures of super powered teen Debra Clay, known as Flying Glory, and her backing band the Hounds of Glory. She’s mentored by her grandmother Elsie Stokes, who served as Flying Glory during World War II. The webcomic launched in the summer of 2001 with a four page short, soon followed by a twenty nine page first issue. Artwork is drawn by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden, who co-writes the adventures with Shannon Muir. Currently, each issue is twenty-four pages in length and generally posted as one page weekly in black and white. As of June 2011, the tenth anniversary of the webcomic, the website features roughly 350 comic story pages. In addition, “Flying Glory and the Hounds of Glory” appeared in print for the first time this year as part of a charity cookbook by TGT Media (http://webcomiccookbook.org/order/) entitled “Webcomics: What’s Cooking?” that raises funds to feed the hungry, and for which the complete lyrics for “What’s Cooking Tonight?” used in that piece are part of FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK.

Now for the first time, every “song” from within the comic as well as special features such as the print appearance appears complete and with one text-only volume, accompanied with introductions to each section explaining the creative development behind the storylines from each period. In addition, readers get a rare opportunity to read material written by Shannon Muir before the inception of the concept as well as material from the not yet produced FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY Christmas story. The book includes a special introduction by artist, co-writer and FLYING GLORY creator Kevin Paul Shaw Broden.

Broden and Muir also have shared writing credits on several episodes of the Japanese animated series MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL; he contributed illustrations to her textbooks GARDNER’S GUIDE TO WRITING AND PRODUCING ANIMATION and GARDNER’S GUIDE TO PITCHING AND SELLING ANIMATION. Muir’s worked in production on several animated television series for such major studios as Sony, Nickelodeon, and SD Entertainment. Muir’s other indie self-published novels include the paranormal focused HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE originally completed as part of National Novel Writing Month 2011, along with her other women’s fiction/romance novels TOUCH THE STARS and THE HEART’S DUTY, and her short story/poetry anthologies SEARCH FOR A WOMAN and THE END OF INNOCENCE’S ROAD.

“I’ve always loved music, and even spent some time as radio DJ in college,” explains Muir. “But I’ve never been able to play a musical instrument. Getting to use my poetry experience as a writer to create the ‘songs’ that bring extra effect and poignancy to the stories we do in the FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY webcomic, is absolutely amazing. I always look forward to the visuals Kevin comes up with to go with my words, which are always written first based on the plot script, with an exception or two. Occasionally Kevin’s handed me a page, and I’ve said to him that I know song words that go there. I’ll tell him what they are and he’s agreed every time. It’s been an incredible ten years and I’m glad to share more insights of that journey with everyone. I hope there will be many more.”

FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY’s 36 page celebratory issue 14, “Reverberations,” began on June 26, 2011 and will be running weekly (breaking for holidays) until approximately June 2012 at http://www.flying-glory.com. FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK is currently available on Amazon for Kindle, the iBookstore, Smashwords for all other platforms including NOOK as of press time, and in print through Lulu and also for sale on Amazon. The ebook version retails for $3.99 and the print version for $9.99, with purchases helping to subsidize webhosting costs.


Spandexless Talks: Bernie Mireault & To Get Her

Photo by Kathryn Delaney, taken from Bernie Mirault’s blog

by Matthew Horowitz

Lean in close. No, closer.

To Get Her is a comic for people who like comics rife with detail and nuance. Set in Montreal,  To Get Her chronicles the oft-fought battles of a ten year relationship, and the emotional casualties inflicted on both sides. In this corner, Gordon Kirby, highly sympathetic cartoonist that quits a paying job washing dishes to return to his art. In this corner, we have Janet Ditko (yeah, Kirby and Ditko, I enjoyed that too) the long suffering breadwinner of the couple who longs for a more rewarding existence. 


Conan The Barbarian (1982) Movie Review

Universal Pictures
Directed by John Milius
Produced by Buzz Feitshans and Raffaella De Laurentiis
Written by John Milius and Oliver Stone
Based on the character/stories created and written by Robert E. Howard
I knew that director John Milius and his screenplay co-writer Oliver Stone got the character of Conan five minutes into the movie.  During the opening credits we see Conan’s father (William Smith) forging a mighty sword.  He then takes the young Conan (Jorge Sanz) to the top of a mountain.  He explains how The Riddle of Steel was stolen from Crom, the god of Cimmeria and that Conan must learn The Riddle of Steel for himself because as his dad succinctly sums up: “For no one in the world can you trust.  Not men, not women, not beasts.  But this-“ and he holds up the gleaming sword.  “-this you can trust.”
It’s not long after this that Conan’s parents, along with all the other adults in his village are slaughtered by the servants of Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) a powerful sorcerer who is also the leader of a cult that worships the snake god Set.  Conan, along with other children are taken as slaves and chained to The Wheel of Pain, a gigantic mill which they push night and day, through weather fair and foul.  It’s torturous work but it has its benefits.  The young Conan grows up into Arnold Schwarzenegger as pushing that damn thing has built up muscles of Herculean proportions.  He’s bought by The Hyborian Age’s version of a fight promoter and wins fame as a gladiator.  He’s freed by his master and after meeting up with the master thief and archer Subotai (Gerry Lopez) takes up a career as a thief himself.
It’s during their attempt to infiltrate The Tower of The Serpent and steal The Eye of The Serpent that Conan meets swordswoman and thief Valeria (Sandahl Bergman) who will become the great love of his life.  It’s their successful and daring theft that brings them to the attention of King Osric (Max von Sydow) who hires the trio to rescue his daughter from The Cult of Set.  While Valeria and Subotai see this as a chance for a really big payday, Conan has his sights on taking the head of Thulsa Doom.
Now, you can say whatever you want about CONAN THE BARBARIAN but it won’t faze me because if nothing else, John Milius and Oliver Stone respected Robert E. Howard’s enough that they obviously not only read his stories but incorporated elements of some of those stories into the movie including what is probably the most famous scene in any Conan story; his crucifixion and his killing of a vulture pecking at his flesh with nothing but his bare teeth. 
This movie, along with “The Terminator” launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career and it’s easy to see why.  Schwarzenegger at that time looked like he was designed by Frank Frazetta and he inhabits the role as well as Sean Connery did with James Bond or Michael Keaton did with Batman.  For those who claim that Schwarzenegger can’t act, I point out a terrific scene where Conan, Valeria and Subotai plan their assault on Doom’s stronghold.  While Bergman and Lopez have all the dialog, Schwarzenegger says far more than they do in the way he’s sharpening his sword.  And even though Schwarzenegger gets a lot of mocking for his dialog and accent in this movie, I like it.  I mean, the guy does sound like a barbarian from pre-history.   In fact, I like it that 90% of the characters have accents in this movie as they do sound as if they come from another age rather than modern day Californians playing dress up.
The supporting cast is outstanding.  James Earl Jones infuses Thulsa Doom with enormous presence and a true sense of not being entirely human.  His henchmen, played by Sven-Ole Thorson and Ben Davison are suitably impressive.   Bergman and Lopez back up Schwarzenegger well and create their own characters in some really wonderful intimate moments such as the one where Subotai tells the wizard Akiro (Mako) that since Conan, as a Cimmerian will not cry to show grief, Subotai must do it for him.  Mako contributes comedy relief without being buffoonish or degrading his own character.  But that’s to be expected because Mako is epic in everything he does.
And speaking of epic, the musical score by Basil Poledouris has become respected as one of the finest musical scores ever and rightly so.  A large part of the enjoyment of watching CONAN THE BARBARIAN comes from the sheer power of the score.  Poledouris also has done the scores for “Quigley Down Under” and “Lonesome Dove” that are easily as epic as the one for this movie.
So should you see CONAN THE BARBARIAN? No doubt you already have.  It’s one of those movies that everybody and their mother has seen, it seems.  Even chicks who normally shun this type of movie like it was the Ebola virus have seen CONAN THE BARBARIAN.  It’s violent, it’s raw, it’s sexy, and it’s fun.   There’s an excellent reason why CONAN THE BARBARIAN is rightly regarded as a classic.  It truly is inspired by the spirit of Robert E. Howard in a way that the recent remake never even comes close to.  If you’ve seen it, what the hell…watch it again.  And if you haven’t, I envy you discovering it for the first time.  Enjoy.
129 minutes
Rated R

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Art Of The Deal – Part 1

I’m not bragging when I say I’ve got a ridiculous résumé, and by ridiculous I mean bad ass and by bad ass I mean impressive and by impressive I mean… you know.

Really. I am not bragging. Consider one of my favorite sayings from the great philosopher Yogi Berra, who said “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”

Trust me on this. I won’t bore you with the details but I’m one the best dealmakers in the comics business if I do say so myself.

And… I do say so.

Yeah, yeah. I can hear the haters out there. Who is this guy? Except for Milestone and ComicMix I’ve never heard of him.

That’s fair.

But I’m sure a great many of you love movies and have never heard of Michael Ovitz either. I’ll just leave it at that.

When I say “deal” I’m not just talking about getting a comic book done. I’m talking about expanding the medium to as many media platforms as my mind can conceive. Except for the movies (which I’m working on) I’ve done major deals in TV, mainstream publishing, education, the music industry, toys, the Christian market, radio and I’m working on a (get this) musical.

I’ve done very few comic books as a creator. In fact, I’m only done two mini series, a few covers had some work in a few anthologies and at Milestone. Yet I was named one of the most powerful people in comics for two straight years by Hero Illustrated in 1993 and 1994 and back then I had nowhere the résumé I have to day.

Of course after naming me to that list for the second time, Hero Illustrated went out of business. Coincidence?

Probably not, but who am I to say?

You may ask yourself, as I have, “Self, how the heck did he get on that list?”

It’s the art of the deal my friend, the art of the deal.

I’ve put deals major together such as creating a comic book universe as a high interest low level reading program which is now and has been taught in schools as a curriculum and I did that in 1996. It’s called The Action Files; it started at Simon & Shuster then went to Person Learning.

That’s a pretty big accomplishment, but not my biggest. 15 years later it still holds up as a badass deal.

I’ll use that deal as a step by step ‘”how I did it.” I’ll go from idea to how The Action Files came to be distributed in the school system by not one but two powerhouse publishers.

My step by step will be interspersed with asides which will (hopefully) help provide a better and true understanding of the what-and-why mechanics of the deal.

The Action File Deal

It all started with a great idea: comics in the school system.

I’m not the first guy to think of that not by any means. In fact both Marvel and DC have had comics in the schools for one reason or another for decades. Those “educational” comics covered subjects such as drug abuse prevention among various other public service content.

What made my idea different was this: I wanted to create a comic book universe that would be a complete reading program with study and teacher guides that allow for a specific curriculum to be taught.

Many young people go wrong when trying to do something new or groundbreaking they think that a great idea is all you need.

Err, no.

My idea was neither ‘new nor groundbreaking, but my program was both. With that said here are the steps taken that turned my idea into a deal and that deal into a reading program.

Step 1: Does your idea have merit?

In other words, is it a good idea to anyone else but you?

I knew my idea had merit because it just made sense. I knew this on a personal level because the summer I discovered comics I went from a forth grade student with a third grade reading level to a fifth grade student with a ninth grade reading level. I knew this because I had to attend summer school that year to be able to be promoted into the fifth grade. I tested third grade in July and ninth grade in late August.

Why had it not been done before with a major publisher?  That was the question I had to think about. That led me to my next question and step:

Step 2: What are the barriers to entry and why has this not been done before?

After thinking and researching this question for a few weeks (another reason people fail: they think a good idea is somehow magically going to go away or be stolen if they don’t move the second they think of it. So they don’t do their due diligence) I decided the reason why there was no comic book reading programs taught as a curriculum is because of the educational climax and prejudices that were associated (at the time) against comic books.

In other words no one wanted to see The Hulk in a textbook.

When I ran this little tidbit by my then girlfriend she responded“That’s silly! Kids love comics!” True, kids love comics and very few kids would frown on reading them in school.

BUT, you are not selling to the kids; you are selling to educators and parents. Get it?

That’s another reason why some fail at this sort of thing. The idea is everything to them.  They focus only on the audience that the idea would be great for. Very seldom is the end user the gatekeeper.

How many times have you seen a TV show and it just sucked? When’s the last time you felt gipped because you spent nine bucks on a movie that was just bad?

Have any comics that you wished you could not only get your money back but also find the creative team and beat them with your copy?

I’m sure the vast majority of the readers of this column have experienced some if not all of the above. Here’s the thing: that TV show, movie and comic book all started out as a good idea to somebody. I’ve had much better ideas and so have you than certain things I’ve seen in the movies or on television. Yet somehow the shitty stuff is on TV and my idea is not. That’s because all the people involved figured out and dealt with the barriers to entry. What happened when the movie or TV show was being filmed is not the problem you should be worried about while you are looking to sell your idea.

That’s another reason people fail. They ask for outrageous things the moment someone shows an interest. I have a dear friend who killed a huge animated deal at DreamWorks because he insisted on directing. He never directed anything in his life so guess what happened to his idea?

It went from a DreamWorks movie to just being another idea.

Here’s another thing most people will not tell you: ideas are a dime a dozen, ideas are cheap and there is very little new under the sun.

By no means is anything I wrote or anything I’ve managed to do a magic bullet for a deal closing. I’ve killed a deal or 50 in my career with bad moves and most likely will again. This series of articles hopefully will shed some light on the inner workings of real deals and how they got done.

Think “ABC” when it comes to deal making:




What good is any idea if it just stays an idea?

Next week, I’ll finish up the Action File deal and begin to tell you how I set up a comic book universe and animated film deal for the church market.

Until then if you are interested in deal making, Goggle Michael Ovitz. I’m good but he’s the best that ever was and compared to him I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut.

A cute and sexy squirrel, but still just a squirrel.


Julie Taymor Suing ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’ Producers

Julie Taymor Suing ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’ Producers

Julie Taymor at the 2009 premiere of the Metro...

Meanwhile, Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko still doesn’t see a single dime from the show. Or the movies. Or the comics. Or any of a thousand different licenses of the character he co-created. So if we’re going to start talking about copyright infringement, let’s go back a bit, hmmm?

NEW YORK (AP) — Director Julie Taymor sued the producers of “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” Tuesday, saying they violated her creative rights and haven’t compensated her for the work she put into Broadway’s most expensive musical.

Charles Spada, an attorney who filed the suit on behalf of the Tony Award-winning director, said Tuesday in a statement that “the producers’ actions have left her no choice but to resort to legal recourse to protect her rights.”

Rick Miramontez, the show’s spokesman, was not immediately aware of the copyright infringement lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Taymor was not available to comment.

The lawsuit seeks half of all profits, gains and advantages derived from the sale, license, transfer or lease of any rights in the original Spiderman book along with a permanent ban of the use of Taymor’s name or likeness in connection with a promotional film without her written consent. It also seeks a jury trial to determine her share of profits from the unauthorized use of her book, which the lawsuit said was believed to be in excess of $1 million.

via Julie Taymor sues ‘Spider-Man’ producers – Yahoo! News.

The Point Radio: HAROLD & KUMAR Do Christmas Wrong

Here’s an interesting holiday recipe – take a popular stoner comedy franchise, toss in some claymation and even a musical number. It’s A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3-D CHRISTMAS, destined to burn up DVD shelves after it escapes theaters. We talk to John Cho & Kal Penn about how they’ve changed even if their movie counterparts haven’t. Plus more with Ed GHelms on how THE OFFICE still owes so much to Steve Carrel, and DC breaks even bigger comic sales records in October.

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Review: Glee the Complete Second Season

[[[Glee]]] is an amazing phenomenon, arriving seemingly out of nowhere and immediately capturing the interest of tweens, teens, and adults. Fox had a juggernaut on its hands and rode the wave with tremendous success during its first season.

The second season, though, proved less thrilling, largely due to co-creator/co-producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk demonstrating an inability to plan character arcs far enough in advance for things to feel organic. The sophomore slump hit this show and like many other fads, appeared ready to burn out quickly. The third season has proven stronger at the start although the ratings have yet to match last year. Similarly, their live tour didn’t fare as well and the 3-d concert movie fizzled in August. (more…)