Tagged: Sci-Fi


Artwork © Jamie Chase
Art: Jamie Chase

New Pulp Author Martin Powell offered a first glimpse at the prehistoric world of Pellucidar as envisioned by artist Jamie Chase, for the upcoming graphic novel based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic sci-fi adventure, At The Earth’s Core.

At The Earth’s Core is written by Martin Powell with art by Jamie Chase and is fully authorized by ERB, Inc. Coming soon from Sequential Pulp Comics and Dark Horse Comics.

You can learn more about Sequential Pulp Comics at http://www.sequentialpulpcomics.com/
You can learn more about Dark Horse Comics at http://www.darkhorse.com/

DENNIS O’NEIL: Ode To John Carter

Let the laments commence; it’s official – John Carter is a flop. Looks like the movie’s makers will take a $200,000,000 bath.

We finally trekked north to the monsterplex and settled ourselves to witness a showing of the flop before anyone was certain of its flophood. We did, and we left the theater and got into Mari’s car and drove south and were home.

We’d seen the film. And felt very little. We’d seen it and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot more to say.


Leaving the theater, I wasn’t irritated, or insulted. If I wanted to write a quibbly review I probably could – look ye hard and ye can find garbage, brethren; yeah, the writing was flattish and somehow the fabricated world seemed to be just a jot too fabricated. But nothing on the screen was godawful. The shots were in focus. The effects were okay. The acting was serviceable, except for that of Lynn Collins, whose performance was pretty interesting. (What would she do with Lady MacBeth?) The rest of it was what it was and –

Maybe that’s my problem. What it was was a heaping of déjà vu. I wonder how I would have enjoyed the flick if I hadn’t seen Star Wars in all its manifestations. I guess I can no longer be entertained by cinematic spectacle movies merely as spectacle, even when it’s in 3D. I’m sated with exploding spacecraft and after the baddies did in a whole planet in the first Star Wars…well, pretty hard act to follow, no?

Like a kid who’s been taken to one magic show to many, I’m jaded. (Another friggin’ rabbit?)

Here’s a scenario wrapped in a question: What if a temporal glitch moved John Carter back in time…oh, say, 65 years – moved it to the screen of a small neighborhood picture show (and there were a lot of them, back then.) The stuff we take for granted – exploding planets and the like–would have been absolutely astonishing because nobody would have ever seen anything remotely like it. What effect would seeing even a reel or two of a modern sci-fi film have on the minds of those who paid their money to see Dick Tracy’s Dilemma? (And isn’t that Joe O’Neil’s kid in the third row?) Would they immediately start a new religion? Would they go collectively bonkers? Or would they all go into a fugue state from which they would emerge only after Dick Tracy had reclaimed the screen and when they got home remember only Dick, believing that nothing had interrupted the detective’s pursuit of The Claw?

But wait! How do we know that this didn’t happen?

Allow me one more speculation: What if the memory of the time traveling flick wasn’t entirely erased, but survived as a nugget deep deep deep in some subconscious, a nugget that influenced the life of its host and drove him into a degraded life of writing science fiction and comic books? Wouldn’t that be strange? But – wouldn’t it explain an awful lot?

Wouldn’t it? Oh good lord in heaven..wouldn’t it?

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases



ALL PULP REVIEWS- Reviews by Ron Fortier
(Agatha Awakens)
By Phil & Kaja Foglio
A 319 pg graphic novel.
Tor Books
One of the things I bemoan as a professional reviewer is the lack of graphic novels I’m sent to look at.  Note I did say, “look at.”  The fun of such material is that, when well done, it becomes both a literary and visual feast; a narrative told with both words and art.
The problem is that, even in our supposed enlightened times, most major publishers still do not appreciate or acknowledge graphic novels as legitimate and thus are not receptive to publishing them.  Those pioneer publishers who do are few and far apart.  Happily Tor Books is one of the leading pioneers in this acknowledgement and they deserve credit for not only publishing books such as the Foglios’ “Girl Genius” but also promoting them so heavily.
Since its inception as a webstrip many years ago, this manga inspired sci-fi steampunk comic about airships, monsters, half-humanoid beings and a magical talent called “the Spark,” has won three Hugo Awards and been nominated for both the Eisner & Eagle Awards; the best for American and British strips respectively.  It is a grand, over-the-top tale that showcases a world where machines are looked upon with fear by the average citizen and those scientist who can master them considered heroes of mythic proportions.
Agatha Clay, an orphan college student in Transylvania, is being raised by her aunt and uncle and has no knowledge that she possesses the Spark.  Her only clue being that she often awakens from deep sleeps in her uncle’s workshop surrounded by tools and bizarre, unfinished, “cranks.”  These are robot-like inventions that come in all sizes and shapes with a variety of functions.  Eventually, her secret ability begins to assert itself and she comes under the scrutiny of Baron Wulfenbach, one of the most powerful political scientist in all the world.  He ultimately brings her aboard his city-size airship and there she meets an assortment of characters, both human and half-human, along with a talking cat with attitude and the Baron’s handsome young son, Gilgamesh. 
The boy is keen enough to realize Agatha has the Spark and suspects her talents are greater than most others known to his father.  At the same time, the great ship is coming other attack by an alien entity from another dimension and in the end, there is a climatic battle wherein Agatha, using her gifts consciously for the first time, helps Gilgamesh save the day.  But not before she uncovers other mysteries of her past and her parents.  In the end she is forced to steal an airship and along with her pal, the feisty talking cat, makes good her escape, thus ending the first part of her saga.
At 319 pages, “Agatha Awakens” is a whopping chunk of madcap, graphic fun and action galore.  Although the first hundred pages display a roughness to the depiction of the characters, it is easy to reconcile this was the first year’s worth of pages and the artists were gradually beginning to know their characters.  By the second hundred pages, the art settles into an easy, cartoony style that is part manga, without being overly exaggerated, and typical Saturday morning fare.  I particularly liked the use of coloring, which has been redone for this collection.  It shifts from the duotone and sepia when detailing earthbound city scenes and then explodes with a vibrant rainbow palette upon arriving at the giant airships that cruise majestically through the sky.
Agatha and her supporting cast of characters are fresh, original and fun.  This beautifully produced hardcover is like nothing else I’ve read in graphic form and it truly impressed me a great deal.  If you are a fan of American manga, sci-fi or steampunk, you are going to love “Girl Genius – Agatha Awakens.”  Take my advice; get two copies, one for yourself and another for your pre-teen kids or grand kids. They’ll eat it up.



Thunder on Mars
Edited by Van Allen Plexico
White Rocket Books
225 pages

Why on earth would a writer/editor like Van Plexico want to take a 1980 Saturday morning cartoon television show and meld it with a classic Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy series? The answer to that perplexing question is found in this book, which by the way, is the result of that odd pairing. In the introduction, Plexico tells of his love for an old Jack Kirby created TV series called “Thundarr the Barbarian” and how, for whatever twists of the muses, it seemed to plague his thoughts over the years. Enough so that he decided to one day do something with the concept, adding a new and fresh spin to the plot. It would be another few years for that final element of this eclectic brew would reveal itself to him when one day he started thinking of Burroughs legendary Martian series.

Just like that the pieces were suddenly all there and when he mentally assembled them in his ever wondrous imagination, there he beheld the story of an American General who, upon his death in the Middle East, awoke to find his soul had been replaced in a brand new body; a body locked in the lab of a mad sorcerer on the planet Mars. Yet more revelations arise when this character, General John Blackthorn discovers his spirit has not only traveled through space but also time as this is a Terra-Formed Mars of the far-flung future.

Within minutes of his bizarre awakening in his younger, stronger body, Blackthorn manages to escape the sorcerer with several other soul-transplanted fellows. In their flight, he eventually meets the beautiful, dark haired sorceress Aria and the fur skinned humanoid creature Oglok of the Mock Men. It is this trio, once met, that join forces to travel the amazing, fantastic landscape that is a post-apocalyptic Mars. Their further adventures are chronicled by a half dozen of the finest writers in new pulp today.

Mark Bousquet, Joe Crowe, Bobby Nash, James Palmer, Sean Taylor and I.A. Watson spin exciting, fast moving adventures that pit Blackthorn and his allies against lizard men, battling robots and an ocean wide haunted valley from which no one has ever returned to name a few. Each story is a well crafted pearl in a thematic necklace of classical pulp sci-fi and brings Plexico’s dream to vibrant life before our eyes.

It is abundantly clear that Plexico has tapped the mother-lode of adventure fiction with John Blackthorn and I can guarantee you we haven’t seen the last of him, or Aria and Oglok. One can only wait in breathless anticipation to see where on the giant Red Planet their travels take them next.

The Point Radio: James Frain From TRON to TRUE BLOOD

From TRON LEGACY to TRUE BLOOD, James Frain has carved out his place in the sci-fi genre and now has even more on his plate including a new car chase thriller, TRANSIT and the LONE RANGER reboot. We talk with James about his new film and why he won’t be involved with a remake of BLADE RUNNER. Plus more Comics In Court – Spidey settles while Tarzan looks for Dynamite.

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.

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Fantastic Flop – How I’d Reboot Marvel’s First Family

So I found myself with a bit of time to kill while my wife and mother-in-law went out and about for lunch. My week-old son and I decided it was time to enjoy a bit of cable TV goodness. A quick surf left with me few options. Food Network was showing yet-another cupcake show… USA was playing that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where his wife is a shrew and his mother annoys him, and TBS was on Tyler Perry’s Black People Watch Everything I Put Out, Not That It’s Good. And FX? Callooh-Callay! They had on the Fantastic Four movie from a few years back. Given that I was still sporting half a nerd-boner for the Super Bowl Avengers spot, and the recent web-release of The Amazing Spider-Man trailer, FF seemed like the perfect way to wet my whistle for a bit of comic goodness.

Granted, I’ve seen the movie a few times. Saw it opening weekend, and didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it either, but somehow, it was one of those guilty “Hey, if it’s on, it’s really not that bad is it?” pleasures. A few hours later, my favorite ladies returned to a house with both their boys rife with a case of the cranky pants. I’m pretty sure my son Bennett had pooped himself. I didn’t have a mess in my trousers, but I had a tear in my eye. Seems I crossed that threshold where the movie stopped being “worth” the free cable viewing, and slid right into “Good lord, people paid money for this crap?” zone.

I could spend the remainder of this column dissecting how putrid the FF movie ended up being. But it’s old-hat, right? So, why not make this a turn for the positive. I’d like to outline four things Marvel can do to reboot the familial franchise into something… dare I say… more fantastic.

1. Explore the emotional origins as well as the basic plot points. We all know the bullet points by now, don’t we? On an outer space adventure… they got hit by cosmic rays. And that moment changed forever… in the most fantastic ways. No need to fear, their here… just call the four! Sorry, it was a damn catchy theme song. Suffice to say, the rocket ride with Kirby dots isn’t ALL that the origin of the FF is. You have romance between Sue and Reed. You have Ben, the stalwart pilot. Johnny, the joker, and comic relief. While these points were hit on in the last iteration, we miss the history. Use flashbacks (ala Batman Begins) to enhance our emotional ties to the characters. It’s not a race to the whiz-bang-special effects, when you have solid characterization. And each of the Four present a solid opportunity for fun beats.

2. Ditch the “We’re learning to use our powers until it matters at the end” montage. Face it. What killed Green Lantern (OK, one of the things that killed it…) was the age-old power development plot line. A solid 45 minutes of the last FF movie spent time building the revolvers it would later shoot at the movie’s climax. It’s just not needed. When you cross over into the sci-fi, plausibility takes a backseat to adventure. If we took time to dissect the fact that Luke Skywalker was able to get a shot into a teeny hole on a battle station that decimated nearly all of his backup (who were all far more experienced fighter pilots)… we’d go mad. Once you accept that “Comic Rays” can turn one man into a walking pilot light, and another into silly putty, you don’t need to spend an hour back-peddling to make us “believe” they’ll know what to do when it’s clobbering time.

3. The big villain? Mole Man. Follow me down the rabbit hole if you will. Batman Begins took a venerable B-Lister in Ra’s Al Ghul as its first antagonist. It was a smart choice. As Nolan said in countless interviews, the villain suits the arc the hero takes across the movie. In Spider-Man 2 (easily the best of Raimi’s Marvel contributions), we got a brilliant update on a pretty mort-worthy villain. And because Peter was learning to have balance in his life during the course of the movie, Doc Oc was a perfect foil. The Fantastic Four have a pretty decent rogues gallery. It’s easy to want to jump immediately to Doom or Galactus. But the first in a franchise needn’t aim so high. In both cases, those villains would outshine the stars of the film. First and foremost, it’s the FF that people should be ooohing and aaahing over. With Mole Man you have an obvious foe who will test the Four and their ability to become this odd family unit of world-savers. The villain fits the arc, as it were. Plus, it gives us a chance to recreate that iconic first issue cover on the big screen. And you know that’d be the bee’s knees.

4. Casting. Most every comic book film lands an amazing cast… even if they don’t get utilized properly. I didn’t hate anyone in the last FF iteration per say, but let’s be honest – Ioan Gruffudd looked OK but lacked the cockiness-by-way-of-supreme-intelligence. Jessica Alba was there for eye-candy only. Chris Evans stole the show, Michael Chiklis looked the part, but had no Yancy Street swagger. Ole’ Blue Eyes needs have a definitive balance between boisterous banter and tragic pathos. Some of this could easily be the scripting, but let’s say I was a casting agent? I’d cast accordingly: Jon Hamm as Mr. Fantastic. Uma Thurman as Sue Storm. Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as Johnny Storm. And Brendan Fraser as Ben Grimm. Hamm can pull off “the smartest man in the room, with ease. Thurman is equally weighted when on screen (and can pull off shorter hair, and heroic). Paul can sling insults, and certainly could look the part… And Fraser, who I know most would say is a stretch, is built big, can pull off a New York accent, and has more potential than most nerds give him credit for. And as my Mole Man? Paul Giamatti. He’s damn good in everything.

So there you have it. I know a new FF movie is already in the works… here’s hoping someone over at Marvel is trolling my articles, and a few of my hopes and dreams gets swept into the pre-production fracas. What do you think? Voice your opinion below, true believers!

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

For Merlin and Arthur, Destiny Calls in Tomorrow’s Merlin

It is “The Wicked Day,” indeed, for Merlin, Arthur – and all of Camelot.

It begins with a festive birthday celebration for Prince Arthur … but ends as the destinies of Arthur and the warlock Merlin come clear.  This one enormously fateful day is the backdrop for an all-new episode MERLIN, titled “The Wicked Day,” which premieres Friday, January 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on Syfy.

Written by Howard Overman, creator of the popular British sci-fi series Misfits, and directed by Alice Troughton, “The Wicked Day” is a pivotal episode in the saga of Camelot – and begins with the arrival of a sinister-looking visitor named The Gleeman. (more…)

DC Comics April 2012 Solicitations


And here we are again, with all the new product coming from DC.

We have a tip of the hat to the original Justice League of America #8, the first endings from the New 52, and… oh heck, let’s just dive in, shall we?

As usual, spoilers lurk below.


Transformers 3 Comes to DVD on January 31

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. (December 27, 2011) – From director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg, in association with Hasbro, Paramount Pictures’ global smash hit Transformers: Dark of the Moon returns to Earth January 31, 2012 in a four-disc Ultimate Edition Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD combo pack with UltraViolet™ and a Digital Copy.  A must-own film for every home media collection, Transformers: Dark of the Moon features “jaw-droppingly amazing 3D” (Harry Knowles, AintItCool.com) and fan-favorite characters OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE and Sam Witwicky amidst bigger and more spectacular action in an adventure that surpassed its predecessors to earn over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office and become the #4 biggest movie of all time at the global box office.

Bursting with nearly four hours of sensational behind-the-scenes footage, cast and crew interviews and more, the Transformers: Dark of the Moon Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD combo pack delivers blockbuster entertainment.

“This Blu-ray 3D of Dark of the Moon will blow you away.  If you’ve been waiting for the right time to get a 3D television, this is it,” said director Michael Bay.  “For fans who’ve been waiting patiently to bring Dark of the Moon home, this Ultimate Edition release delivers the goods.”

And, for a limited time, all three eye-popping films in the Transformers franchise will be available in a 7-Disc Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Trilogy featuring each film in high definition, Transformers: Dark of the Moon in high definition 3D, more than 10 hours of special features and a plaque of movie images signed by Bay. (more…)


This year, Jay Piscopo and his company Nemo Publishing have released yet another COMMANDER XMAS SPECIAL featuring great takes on Piscopo’s character by various writers and artists!  Also in this issue, a new comic and character is introduced by well known Comics Veteran Brian Augustyn!   Read on about Brian’s great new pulp character, MR. GABRIEL!

ALL PULP: First, thanks for joining All Pulp today, Brian.  Share a little about yourself, both professionally and personally.

BRIAN AUGUSTYN: Thanks for having me. Let’s see, I was born in Chicago, where I grew up and caught the comics bug in the 1960s.   Never lost the bug, either. Discovered mystery and science-fiction paperbacks too–and grew up a full media fanatic.  I did a bit of the fanzine scene, and so on, did my own crude comics, and experimented with story and story telling.

In the 80s I was part of the independent comics boom (following the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), working friends Paul Fricke and Scott Baederstadt on a book called Trollords. Had a lot of fun there and that led me to DC in 1987, where I worked as

an editor for almost ten years. Edited Flash, Wonder Woman, The Justice League franchise and a lot more. Started writing for them too, eventually producing “Gotham By Gaslight, the first of what DC began calling “Elseworlds,” alternative takes on the major heroes–finding, hopefully, fresh perspectives and fun comics.

I went freelance in 96 and have written, Flash, JLA Year One (both with Mark Waid), and Crimson, and Out There, both with Humberto Ramos for Wildstorm/Cliffhanger.

I’ve written several hundred comics, some YA novels, story books, game scenarios and mortgage checks since then.

I’m married, have two almost grown daughters and live in Arizona at the moment.

AP:  You’re involved in the Commander Xmas online book that Nemo Publishing and

Jay Piscopo are known for around this time every year.   You’re introducing an original character.  Tell us about Mr. Gabriel.  Who is he, what’s his mission/purpose, etc.?

BA: Mr. Gabriel might be a supernatural/celestial being, though he seems to be human in every way. Let’s just say that he gets things done and saves people in mysterious ways. His mission is to help those in need or distress. In my mind, he shows up when most needed–though how he knows is part of his mystery. He’s known in New York, so people in trouble do seek him out, including the NYPD. Gabriel does not carry a gun, and probably won’t engage in fisticuffs very often, but is capable, diligent, and pretty unstoppable when he starts work. He’s a tall, solid, handsome guy in a Mitchum-esque

way, and favors white suits, fedoras and trench coats.

AP:   And the story he appears in in the Xmas special, what can you share about that?
BA: It’s Christmas Eve 1935, a young couple is visiting NYC and are mysteriously attacked. The husband is shot, the wife goes missing and an enormous blizzard shuts the city down. The clock is ticking because the woman is pregnant, due to deliver at any moment, and the plummeting temps and blinding snow put her and the baby in terrific danger. But, Mr. Gabriel is on the case and has a soft spot for baby’s born on Christmas.

AP:   What appeals to you about the pulp type characters?  Mr. Gabriel is obviously in that camp, but what about that sort of story appeals to you as both a writer and a fan?

BA:  In general, I have been a fan of pulp style fiction since discovering the paperback reprints of Doc Savage in the 60s. I love genre fiction, from detective stories, space opera sci-fi, even westerns. I like high action stories with large, colorful characters. Obviously, that’s what I’ve done for 30 years in comics, and now I’m happily stretching my prose muscles. Some of the most popular modern genre fiction from Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code novels, to Lee Child’s Reacher series, Preston & Child’s Pendergast novels, and so on and on, prove that fan interest in this kind of material is high.

AP:   Christmas stories are interesting creatures, every genre has one.  What about a Pulp Christmas story you think  makes it stand out from other Christmas stories?
BA: Good question. I think Christmas stories are sentimental by necessity and pulp-style writing allows free reign to writing emotion that more “serious” fiction might avoid. I want the reader to be thrilled, wowed and maybe choke up a little even.


AP:   Why would a modern audience want to read Mr. Gabriel?  What appeal does a

character set in the past have for readers today?

BA: Nostalgia for a simpler time? Fondness for potboiler thrillers? A search for heroes? A good way to escape into a fun place for a while?

Probably all of the above and much more. I promise that reader a thoughtful, caring and resilient hero solving problems with wit, determination and maybe some magic.


AP:   What are the future plans for Mr. Gabriel?  Any other Pulpy projects you’re working on?

BA:  I have plotted a Mr. Gabriel novel, which I plan to start writing soon. The amazing Jay Piscopo has been very encouraging and supportive in pointing me in this direction. It’s like I’m rediscovering my craft all over again.

I want to start writing a lot more prose (genre) fiction, so I’m also planning some stories with other heroes and settings as well. Not sure where I’ll place any of that, but I am excited to write them all the same.


AP:  Brian, thanks so much for your time!  Merry Christmas!

BA:  Thank you Tommy. Hope you enjoy the special. Merry Christmas!