I wrote a while back, lamenting over not writing much for or about Star Trek these days and it appeared that my involvement in the franchise was going to become a fading memory.
Perhaps I wrote too quickly.
Back in August, I was contacted by an editor at Voyageur Press on the recommendation of fellow Trek writer, and Voyageur employee, Scott Pearson. Grace LaBatt kindly asked if I was perhaps interested in tackling an Unauthorized History of Star Trek, tracing not only the TV series but the movies, the spinoffs, the merchandise and most importantly, the fan following that kept the dream alive.
This is something different for Monday Mix-Up– I think this is the first time a government agency has made it onto our list:
China recently unveiled the logo for its version of NASA, the Chinese National Space Administration, and it looks… let’s say it looks a little familiar. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I feel like it looks a lot like what would happen if you mixed the logos for, say, a united federation of planets and a fleet that traveled through the stars.
Back in June, Brent Spiner took part in a webcast where he discussed his recent webseries Fresh Hell. During the course of the interview, he mentioned that he’d love to join his former Star Trek: The Next Generation cast mate Wil Wheaton, and guest star on The Big Bang Theory. Well, it looks like he got his wish; both Brent and Wil will be appearing in an upcoming episode of the CBS comedy.
IDW Unleashes Prose Program for Breakout Comic Series: ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS 35 Writers Explore, Expand and Remix ZvR World
San Diego, CA (September 6, 2011)—IDW’s gleefully subversive ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS comic book series from creators Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood will soon be eating readers’ brains from the inside via a series of short stories, novellas and more. As announced at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con in July, the company plans for an ambitious slate of original prose stories set at different points in this epic adventure of a zombie apocalypse. In ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS, the clanking robots are built to fight the shambling braineaters, in a desperate attempt to save Earth’s dwindling population.
“It’s gratifying to see that ZvR has taken on an unlife of its own,” asserts Ryall, series co-creator and Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief for IDW. “Expanding from comics into prose is a logical progression, though as the heretofore sole writer of the series I must admit that letting other writers into our subversive little world was at first troubling. But now I’m fine with it. Really. Mostly. Especially since editor Jeff Conner has corralled such a talented array of writers to tackle some really bizarre and creative prose stories. As long as no one expects me to let them write ZvR comics, too…”
A lurching cohort of writers—including such notable talents as John Shirley, Nancy A. Collins, Rio Youers, Brea Grant, Steve Rasnic Tem, Amber Benson, James A. Moore, Rachel Swirsky, Norman Prentiss, and John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow, led by Ryall himself—has been assembled to pen original stories of life during wartime in the ZVR world. “It’s our biggest project so far,” states Conner, the IDW contributing editor helming the ZVR prose program. “In a way it’s a follow-up to our Classics Mutilated release, at least in terms of its anything goes spirit. The results so far have been—um, riveting.” The rest of the ZVR writer roster includes: Dale Bailey, Amelia Beamer, Jesse Bullington, Simon Clark, Lincoln Crisler, Stephen Dedman, Rain Graves, Rhodi Hawk, Robert Hood, Stephen Graham Jones, Nicholas Kaufmann, Steven Lockley, Nick Mamatas, Jonathan McGoran, Joe McKinney, Gary McMahon, Mark Morris, Bobby Nash, Yvonne Navarro, Hank Schwaeble, Ekaterina Sedia, Sean Taylor, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Kaaron Warren, and Don Webb.
A film version of ZVR is currently in development through Sony Pictures, with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes as producer.
Visit IDWPublishing.com to learn more about the company and its top-selling books.
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; HBO’s True Blood; the BBC’s Doctor Who; Toho’s Godzilla and comics and trade collections based on novels by worldwide bestselling author, James Patterson. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints; Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio. IDW’s original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. More information about the company can be found at IDWPublishing.com. ###
Wow. I’m sure gonna piss a lot of my friends off. Please don’t take this personally. It has nothing to do with your skill, your judgment, or your personal predilections. It’s just my opinion, one that is somewhat contradicted (only somewhat) by sales figures. Here it comes, folks.
When it comes to comics, licensed property tie-ins suck.
Okay, this isn’t an across-the-board opinion. There are exceptions. Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson’s adaptation of Alien comes to mind. That was, let’s see, back in 1979. Remember Sturgeon’s Law? Ninety percent of everything Ted Sturgeon wrote is crap? Or something like that. My rule of thumb regarding entire genres is this: if you’re doing about five points worse than Ted Sturgeon’s Law, you suck.
There are solid reasons behind this blather. First, any group of talented creators – say, roughly, enough to fill Yankee Stadium – would not create what you see in a tie-in comic book if left on their own. Characters, concepts, designs, interrelationships, plots – they all would likely be… original.
Second, the characters, concepts, designs, interrelationships, and plots created for movies or teevee or toys were created for that particular medium. Transferring them to another medium requires sacrificing a degree of nuance that makes the source material unique. The timing of an actor’s performance that is used to establish character does not come across in comics; the artist is likely to get that bit across visually, but in the process he or she is changing the character.
Third, you can’t change the direction of anything. In a medium that for 25 years has been nothing other than constant change, the concepts of the licensed comic book are set in stone. The reader quickly realizes that any original character that might be introduced is likely to be killed off, and killed off in realistic terms – as opposed to the “death is completely meaningless” approach used in comics. Worse still, if the character works the licensor is likely to take it and use it in their own movies, shows, merchandising and whathaveyou – and the comics creators who thunk it all up ain’t gonna see a penny.
Finally, creators work with editors, some of whom are great (hiya, folks!), some less than great, and others couldn’t sort out a pack of Necco wafers if the candy was numbered. Editors work with editorial directors and editors-in-chief and publishers and if they’re any good they fight with the marketing department or at least try to wake them up. But when it comes to licensed properties, you’ve got the owners licensed products people to deal with. Not only do they not know comics, they usually do not know the properties they administrator. Case in point:
The idiot who passed judgment on DC’s Star Trek titles was so bad, if writer Peter David and editor Bob Greenberger flew out to Los Angeles and murdered the son of a bitch, I would have gone to great lengths to establish a solid alibi for them. Probably one involving a Mets game… but I digress. Here’s another.
Writer Joey Cavalieri plotted a Bugs Bunny mini-series that was, in my opinion as editor, as brilliant as it was hilarious. Stunningly brilliant. We sent it to the West Coast for the Warner Bros. studio approval. They hated it so much their Grand Imperial Klingon in charge of toothbrush licenses flew out to New York to cut me a new asshole. Unfortunately for editorial coordinator Terri Cunningham, this nuclear holocaust happened in her office.
The Mistress of All Things Looney started pointing out the good stuff we couldn’t do. Daffy Duck couldn’t issue spittle. Porky Pig couldn’t stutter. Tweety Bird couldn’t be a host on BTV, the all-bird watching network. Foghorn Leghorn couldn’t own a fast-food franchise. Bugs couldn’t be so manipulative. Hello? Anybody home? This is Looney Tunes we’re talking here!
I politely pointed out these were either long established character bits that started in the theaters in 1940 and continued on television to that very day. I said the Tweety and Foghorn bits were satire.
“Looney Tunes are not about satire!,” she screamed.
I saw poor Terri Cunningham in my peripheral vision. She looked like she was desperately trying to gnaw her way out of her own office. I said “Answer me this one question. Have you ever actually seen any of the Looney Tunes cartoons? Ever?” I turned on my heel and walked back to my office.
Here’s the worst part. My story is not in the least bit atypical. Not at all. It’s not even the worst I can tell you.
So when it comes to comic books, there’s a creative challenge to doing licensed properties and I’d take on some of those challengers as long as the licensor knows the property, but personally, I’d rather read something original.
In efforts to continue to bring Pulp fans the most comprehensive coverage of Pulp news of all types, ALL PULP has expanded its staff to include top notch reporters, reviewers, and commentators! With the Spectacled Seven at the helm, ALL PULP has made a name for itself in being a major source of Pulp news and discussion for nearly a year. With both the increase of awareness among fans and the public of ALL PULP along with the continuing increase of interest in all things Pulp, it was determined more hands were needed to man the juggernaut that is ALL PULP! Current ALL PULP staff, leading off with the new Staffers and ending with the Spectacled Seven are as follows-
JOSHUA PANTALLERESCO comes on board as ALL PULP’S Assistant Editor. Joshua has published “I Am…” a poetry book and is working on a new collection. He also penned an essay, “The Modern Day Perceval” In the collection “Secrets of the Dragon Riders”. Joshua has served as one of the editors for Northern Flight, an arts and literary magazine. and has published a non fiction piece “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and the fiction piece “Imaginary” as well. Veritas, Joshua’s first comic, is completed and now available. He is currently working on two novels and now will be assisting with editorial duties at ALL PULP as well as working in the trenches as a full time staffer, providing reviews, columns, and interviews several times a week!
ADAM L. GARCIA, one of the up and coming faces in the New Pulp Movement, is an award winning writer, most notably for his work on revitalizing the classic pulp character THE GREEN LAMA via Airship 27. Adam isn’t a one character writer, though. He’s working on various other projects, including original Pulp characters as well as mutliple projects that go beyond Pulp. Adam will be providing news stories as well as his own unique take on Pulp via reviews and editorial columns.
BRENT LAMBERT, is an aspiring author working on his first novel and is excited to be able to expand not only his experience, but his knowledge as well by joining ALL PULP and delivering the best in news, reviews, interviews, and commentary on the world that is Pulp!
FRANK SCHILDINER, Pulp Author and Creator, joins ALL PULP’s ranks, ready to bring all his best to news coverage in the Pulp World. Frank has had work published with Airship 27 Productions and is one of the many creators involved in the Infinity Comics Group. Frank is also working on a novel and a whole universe all his own, for Pro Se Press, where he also acts as the editor of Pro Se’s ‘MASKED GUN MYSTERY’ line of short stories
JOSHUA REYNOLDS is perhaps one of the most prolific writers of the New Pulp Movement. A partner in Pulpwork Press, Joshua has also written for Airship 27, Pro Se Press, Moonstone, as well as other New Pulp Publishers. Currently, Joshua is writing for Black Library as well and has a WARHAMMER novel coming out in the near future, not to mention a ton of other really cool projects that are so secret even Josh isn’t allowed to know about them. With all of that, Joshua will be bringing his views and thoughts to ALL PULP every week!
Suzanne Fuller, an aspiring writer, hails from Scotland and provides reviews that are entertaining, comprehensive, insightful, and do what a good review should-Helps the reader make a decision about the book and keeps the reader coming back looking for Suzanne’s next review at ALL PULP!
CHUCK MILLER, New Pulp Author and Creator, is the mastermind behind one of the internet’s best New Pulp characters and accompanying universes, The Black Centipede! With Pro Se Press publishing the first and future volumes of the Centipede’s adventures, Chuck is readying to work on other projects as continuing to expand the Centipede’s wild and wacky world, turning out the occasional column or interview for ALL PULP in the process.
AND FINALLY, THE SPECTACLED SEVEN
Tommy Hancock,Editor in Chief of ALL PULP, first and foremost, is a Pulp fan. What form it comes in really doesn’t matter. Book, Movie, Radio, Comic…Orange, not really a deal for him. This has been a lifetime condition for Tommy and went to the next level very early in life as he became a writer and, soon following that development, an actor. He has performed on stage since high school, formed and disbanded (mostly) a community theater all his own, and is now Drama Ministry Director at his church. He also has a background in audio drama. He was a newspaper reporter at 14 and has lived a variety of experiences in his time. Currently, he is Editor in Chief of Pro Se Press and the founder and coordinator of the PULP ARK Creator’s Conference/Convention. He is also a published writer, his first novella published by Airship 27 Productions. He is currently working on projects for Airship 27, Moonstone, Decoder Ring Theater, and his own Pro Se Press.
Barry Reese has spent the last decade writing for publishers as diverse as Marvel Comics, West End Games, Wild Cat Books and Moonstone Books. Known primarily for his pulp adventure works like The Rook Chronicles, The Adventures of Lazarus Gray and Savage Tales of Ki-Gor, Barry has also delved into slasher horror (Rabbit Heart) and even the fantasy pirate genre (Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island). His favorite classic pulp heroes are The Avenger, Doc Savage, John Carter, Conan and Seekay.
From his secret lair in the wilds of Bethlehem, Georgia, Bobby Nash writes. He is an author of novels and short stories like Evil Ways, Fantastix, Lance Star: Sky Ranger, Domino Lady, Sentinels: Alternate Visions, Full Throttle Space Tales: Space Sirens, A Fistful Of Legends, and the upcoming Green Hornet Chronicles and Secret Agent X among others. He also writes comic books and graphic novels like Life In The Faster Lane, Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell, Demonslayer, Fantastix, Yin Yang, I Am Googol: The Great Invasion, and Lance Star: Sky Ranger, among others. For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at www.bobbynash.com, http://bobby-nash-news.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/bobbyenash, www.lance-star.com, and www.twitter.com/bobbynash, among other places across the web.
Much like removing a bandaid I suppose the best way to get through this is to rip it off as quickly as possible, accept the pain and move on: My name is Derrick Ferguson and I’m from Brooklyn, New York where I’ve lived most of my life. Married for 28 years to the wonderful Patricia Cabbagestalk-Ferguson who lets me get away with far more than is good for me. My interests include old radio shows, classic pulps from the 30’s/40’s, comic books, fan fiction, Star Trek, pop culture, science fiction, animation, television and movies…oh yeah…movies. I’m currently the co-host of the podcast BETTER IN THE DARK where my partner Thomas Deja and I rant and rave about movies on a bi-weekly basis. To date I’ve written five books: “Dillon And The Voice of Odin”, my love letter to classic pulp action/adventure with a modern flavor and the sequel, “Dillon And The Legend of The Golden Bell” ; “Derrick Ferguson’s Movie Review Notebook” and its sequel “The Return of Derrick Ferguson’s Movie Review Notebook.” Both of ’em packed full of movie reviews that I think are pretty damn good otherwise I wouldn’t be asking folks to pay hard earned cash for ’em, now would I? ; “Diamondback Vol I: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time”, a spaghetti western disgused as a modern day gangster/urban crime thriller. Anything else you’d like to know about me, check out my Live Journal: http://dferguson.livejournal.com/. The Pulpwork Press website: http://www.freewebs.com/pulpworkpress/. or Better In The Dark: http://sites.google.com/site/betterinthedarkcentralsite/. Or hit me up on Facebook. I ain’t hard to find!
Ron Fortier had been writing professionally for thirty-five years. He is best known for his work on the Green Hornet comic series for Now Comics and writing Alex Ross’ first comic project, Terminator:Burning Earth for the same company. Four years ago Ron co-founded Airship 27 Productions with artist Rob Davis. The company produces brand new novels and anthologies featuring classic pulp heroes from the 1930s, to include Ron’s revival of Captain Hazzard. Their books are published by Cornerstone Book Publishers of New Orleans. Ron also maintains a weekly blog at his website (www.Airship27.com) and writes a review column, Pulp Fictions Reviews found at – (http://www.pulpfictionreviews.blogspot.com/) He is a frequent contributor to Moonstone Books pulp fiction anthologies and is currently writing and self-publishing a new comic series, Mr. Jigsaw, Man of a Thousand Parts from Rob Davis’ Redbud Studios plus working on three new weekly webstrip comics. Redbud recently published Ron’s pulp comic graphic novel, The Boston Bombers. Email Ron at Airship27@ comcast.net.
Writer, editor, publisher, and historian Van Allen Plexico stands at the forefront of the pulp revival movement and the new wave of prose superhero fiction, with popular works including his “Sentinels” novels, “Sherlock Holmes,” “Lucian,” and “Gideon Cain” (with Kurt Busiek). His big-selling “Assembled!” books garnered praise from the original Marvel creators themselves. He has been published by Airship 27, Swarm Press, White Rocket, Rittenhouse, Adamant Entertainment, RevolutionSF.com, and Pro Se Press, and is the publisher of White Rocket Books. He and his family live near St Louis. Visit him at http://www.plexico.net/ and/or at http://www.whiterocketbooks.com/ .
Sarge Portera: As someone recently pointed out to me, I’m a 3rd generation pulp enthusiast whose dad & grandfather created an obscure pulp hero, Doc Diamond, that they self-published! Being nurtured on comicbooks, movies, science fiction & actioneers since childhood it would only be natural for me to help establish & maintain the following FB Groups with me darlin’ daughter’s able assist: Bronze Pastiches, Purple Prose Pulp Parade, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Fan Club, Silhouette Pastiches & Worlds of Doc Diamond!
For those paying attention, Green Lantern’s failure to remain in the domestic box office top five has to be of concern to Warner Bros. The film took in an estimated $6,270,000, down a steep 65% from the second weekend which was already down a steep 66.1% from the opening weekend. This means that the core geek audience expected to revel in the galactic adventure multiple times decided once was enough and word of mouth was not positive enough to make up the difference.
Beyond that, the studio gambled on the 3-D effects being a lure but by the time the movie opened June 17, the warning signs were already crystal clear that 3-D was once more a passing fad and not a silver bullet to re-energize theater going habits.
After 17 days in release, the movie has taken in approximately $101,962, about a third of what was spent on production and marketing. The international box office has been anemic as well, with just $33.3 million taken in so after three weeks, the film has not cracked the $200 million barrier that would have at least allowed Warner and DC Entertainment to save face.
And while Warner has commissioned work on a second script, there is no guarantee that they will invest in an expensive sequel. The mantra among the fans is that it took Paramount two films before they got Star Trek right but DC had a lot riding on this as their first entry into the shared universe superhero market and attempting to compete directly with Marvel. A core difference between the rivals is that Marvel’s production arm is independent of studio interference while DC’s Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, still has to dance to Warners’ tune. There’s no direct evidence that Warner execs meddled in the film, but if they didn’t then the film’s disappointing commercial results has to be placed at Johns’ feet.
Should they choose not to go forward with a sequel, Green Lantern will continue to headline multiple titles from DC plus continue his animated adventures on the Cartoon Network. It will, though, limit his merchandising appeal which will affect the conglomerate’s bottom line.
How this may impact the films already in development, notably The Flash, Johns’ other baby, remains to be seen. In some ways, not having it before the cameras means there’s plenty of time to take the lessons learned and apply them. On the other hand, Marvel has already staked two key dates in 2013 (for Iron Man 3 and Thor 2) so if the DC Universe expects to compete on the silver screen, there has to be energy expended to get things rolling.
With the announcement of Lance Star: Sky Ranger joining the iPulp Fiction Library, ALL PULP wanted to introduce readers to some of the Honorary Sky Rangers involved with making these stories happen. Next up is Lance star: Sky Ranger Art Director and Designer, Rob Davis.
AP: Tell us a little about yourself and where readers can find out more about you, your work, and Airship 27 Productions?
RD: I’ve been a freelance artist since 1986 working on such diverse projects as a Saturday morning cartoon adaptation for Marvel to Star Trek books for DC and Malibu Comics. Presently I’m the art director/designer for Airship 27, which encompasses the actual design and look of each of Airship 27’s books to cover and interior illustrations. I’m also a comics publisher using the Redbud Studio Comics imprint to sell “print on demand” comics through IndyPlanet.com. Yeah, I’m busy!
AP: How did you become involved with the Lance Star: Sky Ranger series?
RD: Through my design work for Airship 27. We have been the publisher of the prose versions of the tales of Lance Star through anthologies and eventually novels featuring the pulp-era air ace.
AP: Who is Lance Star? What makes pulp characters like Lance and the Sky Rangers appeal to you as a creator, a reader, and a publisher?
RD: Lance is another star in the pantheon of pulp heroes in that he has a definite sense of right and wrong and will fight to the end to defend the right. In the pulp age aviators like Lance were like today’s astronauts in that they were envied for their daring flight into the atmosphere. It’s interesting to me to see what the interest was of pulp era readers in these cousins of Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart.
AP: Digital content has changed the publishing landscape. As a creator, what excites you about digital content? As a reader?
RD: As a reader it’s exciting to think about being able to carry my whole library of books with me in my new iPad. As a creator and publisher it excites me that we now have a new, thrilling and inexpensive outlet to get our productions out to the reader. The first few weeks after Airship 27 opened up our Airship27Hangar.com site we had phenomenal response! It’s exciting to put up another new book and see sales within just hours or minutes of the upload.
AP: As you are both a designer and artist, tell us a bit about your process for both the print and digital versions of the Airship 27 stories.
RD: Fortunately, there’s not much difference in the two. Since I have so many irons in the fire I don’t have a lot of time to devote to producing our digital versions. Mostly what I do is add the front and back covers to the interior PDF file that we send to our printing sources, reduce the file size (since digital screens need less resolution than traditional print) and then mark each page with a watermark to keep our books safe from pirating. The whole process takes less than an hour for each book. Add in the design time to create the online catalogue entry and within just a couple of hours we have a version of our latest masterpiece of New Pulp ready for viewing and enjoyment!
AP: Any upcoming projects you would like to plug?
RD: We have a number of different books in the Airship 27 pipeline. Right now my next illustrating gig for Airship 27 is calling to me: Robin Hood: Arrow of Justice written by Ian Watson, a very talented writer from the UK. This is the second of a three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend and it is rollicking good fun! Ian is very gifted and his version of Robin Hood is a joy to read and illustrate!
AP: Thanks, Rob.
RD: Thanks for having me!
Release schedule for Lance Star: Sky Ranger tales on iPulp:
06/17: Lance Star: Sky Ranger – Vol.1 #1: Attack of the Bird Man by Frank Dirsherl (now available)
07/07: Lance Star: Sky Ranger – Vol.1 #2: Where the Sea Meets the Sky by Bobby Nash
07/27: Lance Star: Sky Ranger – Vol.1 #3: Talons of the Red Condors by Bill Spangler