Tagged: Star Wars

John Ostrander: Now… now… now

John Ostrander: Now… now… now

There are some things they don’t tell you how to do. Sometimes it’s things no one can tell you; you just have to experience it for yourself. Sometimes it’s just stuff people don’t like to talk about. Stuff like death and grief.

I’m going to tell you what I know. Obviously, I can’t talk about what it is to die; I haven’t walked that road yet and I hope not to for a while. I can tell you, however, what it’s like to deal with death and with grief — at least, what it was like for me. As they say on the car commercials, your mileage may vary.

There are all kinds of death that you experience in your lifetime. Some are not physical — the death of friendship, the death of a dream or hope, the death of an ideal. These are no less real; the grief we feel for any of them may be no less than experiencing a physical death. However, they are different.

Perhaps the first real sense of my own mortality happened when I was about eight; it was one Saturday in late spring and I was outside on my bike. Our house was actually across the street from our church and I watched a funeral procession come up the street to the church’s front door. As I watched, I was hit with the thought that one day I would be in a casket and a boy on a bike would be watching me pass. With that vision came the realization that the world wouldn’t end with my death and that, consequently, it hadn’t begun with my birth. The axis of my own private earth shifted. I pedaled away but I have never pedaled far away enough.

This all comes to my mind because it is the tenth anniversary of the death of my wife, Kimberly Ann Yale. She died of breast cancer in March of 1997 — too soon, as many have noted. Here’s some of the hard facts I learned from that experience.

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Reboots abound!

Reboots abound!

Robert GreenbergerWith J.J. Abrams now confirmed as not only producing and scripting but also directing 2008’s Star Trek XI, the buzz has begun on the latest reboot of a beloved franchise. As one might imagine, fans of the series have been divided over whether or not this has been necessary, a debate we’ve all heard before.

The entire notion of a reboot is an interesting one because, looking back, reboots were largely throwing ideas against the wall to see what might stick. While there were fans of The Flash, there was certainly no groundswell of support demanding DC Comics bring Jay Garrick back. Instead, management created Showcase as a title to try new things and after three issues of straight-forward adventure, they thought it was time for something different. As legend has it, someone thought the time might be right for a new super-hero and all heads turned to the last editor with any success as characters without S-shields and bats: Julius Schwartz.

Instinctively, Schwartz knew Jay Garrick and his mercury-helmet felt too dated. Things in the 1950s were fresh and new, sleek and shiny. He kept the name and the powers and recreated from the ground up, perhaps pop culture’s first reboot.

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John Ostrander: Scattershot – Past / Present

Perhaps it’s a sign of aging when you’re more attuned to what came before than what’s going on now, especially in entertainment. Oh, I’m up on what’s going on with movies and TV (less so in music) and I certainly have my faves in those areas. Recently, however, I’ve been re-discovering some music I’d had before, some TV I had seen when I was a boy, and have found that some of my favorite movies were created before I was born. This column is a grab-bag (hence "scattershot" — it’ll be our code for columns that have a variety of topics) of some of those. Given the age of the material, these are probably less reviews than post-mortems.

• We Five came out of San Francisco about 1965 when I was still in high school. If you know this folk-rock group at all, it will be for their one big hit, "You Were On My Mind". I not only loved their big single, I bought their two albums, the first named for the hit single and the second was "Make Someone Happy". They broke up after the second album and later reformed with new members. I’ve discovered that the reformed We Five still plays venues today.

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Mighty manga mania!

Mighty manga mania!

VIZ and Del Ray Manga are both pulling out all the stops for next weekend’s New York Comic Con.  Del Ray (Booths 458-459) will have numerous author autographing sessions, giveaways and special guests, who will also participate in panels such as Breaking into SF/Fantasy Publishing (Friday at 7), Future Shocks (Saturday at 11), Star Wars: Beyond 30 (Saturday at 4) and of course The Making of a Del Rey Manga (Sunday at noon). 

VIZ, which is joining Del Rey and others in the Manga: What’s Hot panel during Friday’s trade-only hours, will be making available cell phone downloads of  promotional trailers for their popular Death Note anime series on a one-time-only basis for cell phone downloads exclusively during the show at their booth (619).   The first trailer will be available Saturday and the second on Sunday. This marks the first time this well-known Japanese anime property is being made legally available to U.S. audiences for download. 

And of course the first annual American Anime Awards will be held at the con on Saturday night.  Hope there’s cosplay involved!

John Ostrander: Why do I do this?

John Ostrander: Why do I do this?

Back in a previous life I was a very struggling actor in Chicago. One summer I was working with a small troupe that, among other things, did children’s plays outdoors and in various venues. This particular show we were doing was called Wiley and the Hairy Man, based upon a children’s book. I played the Hairy Man – a swamp-man/boogeyman  – and, while I kept getting chased offstage by the Wiley in the title, my character kept sneaking back in. It was not a part of particular subtlety but it did require some finesse. I was the monster in a children’s play which meant I couldn’t be too scary; just enough to produce the tinglies and a lot of laughs.

To be honest, I loved the role. In every venue, after Wiley would chase me away I would look for different places to come back at the required time through the audience. Even my fellow cast members were never quite sure where I would be coming from which kept it fresh for all of us. Sometimes I would pick up a child from where they were sitting in one part of the audience and deposit them somewhere else in the audience. My make-up was absurd, my costume had tatty fur glued on a work shirt, and it was a "Brian Blessed" roaring over the top performance – all in all, it may have been my finest role.

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From Star Wars websites to comics

From Star Wars websites to comics

According to ComingSoon.net, Paul Ens (former director of StarWars.com and Lucas Online) and Scott Chitwood (co-founder of TheForce.net and SuperHeroHype.com contributor), announced today the launch of Red 5 Comics, a new comics publishing company set to introduce its first titles this fall. They aim to "produce cinematic-style stories that appeal to the same avid movie and comic fans who already frequent their websites.

The Red 5 line-up will be a combination of creator-owned and internally developed titles Individual comic issues will be sold in both traditional print form at comic shops and in downloadable electronic formats online." The press release is up at their site, and they’ve also put out a call for artists and other creative positions. May the Force be… nah, too easy.

Mike Gold: The Editor Babbles

Welcome to ComicMix — well, phase one of ComicMix.

This is the part where I’m supposed to explain who and what we are. In order to do so, I’m going to have to do something I rarely do and generally avoid: I’m going to speak seriously.

I’d like to say "welcome to the 21st Century," but I’m seven years late and not quite that pretentious. So I’ll get down to the details. Phase one of ComicMix is a community based around news, information, opinion and blogging, covering the entire range of the comic art medium and those elements in the broader media that we all tend to enjoy. We add this because, contrary to old-time fan thinking, we do not live in a vacuum.

We post the news continuously, we post our columns daily, we post our information and background stuff incessantly, we post our all-new podcasts thrice-weekly (starting Tuesday, February 13th; as they used to say in Pogo, "Friday the 13th falls on a Tuesday this month"), and we run our blogs continuously and irrepressibly.

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