Friday, January 19, 2018

SO LONG, BRADFORD DILLMAN...


You graced so many of my favorite science fiction, horror, action-adventure and speculative motion pictures, including such impressive and varied titles as "Brother John"; "Bug"; "Chosen Survivors"; "Compulsion"; "Deliver Us from Evil"; "The Disappearance of Flight 412"; "The Enforcer"; "Escape from the Planet of the Apes"; "Fear No Evil"; "The Lincoln Conspiracy"; "The Mephisto Waltz"; "Moon of the Wolf"; "Lords of the Deep"; "Piranha '78"; "The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler"; "Sudden Impact"; and "The Swarm"; not to mention your slew of television appearances, which include "Wild Wild West"; "Mission: Impossible"; "Name of the Game"; and "Man from U.N.C.L.E."


In my opinion, you never received the acknowledgement you deserved, but you sure proved yourself one of the most competent and likable actors that Hollywood has ever produced.

God bless you, Mr. Dillman. I'm certain your competent presence will bless whatever ethereal stage you find yourself upon. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

AIRSHIP 27 PODCAST (JAN '18): READY FOR TAKEOFF!!!


Another Airship 27 Productions podcast is set for takeoff and your listening pleasure. To say the least, it's another thrilling dandy of a New Pulp ride. 


Captain Ron Fortier and Chief Engineer Rob Davis give scoops on such iconic heroes as Captain Action; Secret Agent X; Bass Reeves; and Sherlock Holmes. And buckle your seat belts, for on the Brother Bones front, there's a soon-to-be-released role-playing game; an illustrated script of the proposed film; and a spankin' new Fortier novel!!! 

As if things couldn't get more exciting, the guys also share info on the upcoming, Moonstone revised edition of Fortier and Davis' "Faces of Fear": that great team-up featuring those dark crusaders, the Black Bat and the Purple Scar (see June '17). The new edition (slated for release through Diamond Distributors) will include a Fortier Easter-egg supplement, in addition to other swell additives!!! Wow!!!

So, climb aboard and give a hardy listen. The latest podcast transmission can be tapped at ... http://zone4podcast.com/airship27-035/.

CW's Black Lightning Strikes!!!


CW has kicked off its live-action adaptation of DC’s “Black Lightning”, a Metropolis-spawned superhero who can project electrical currents from his body to thwart villainy; and yeah, man, the show sure does strike the ideal mark, at least for its initial episode, “Resurrection”. In other words, so far, so good…


Normally, I essay predictions on superhero shows in advance of their premieres, but in this instance, I thought it best to reflect on the product after viewing its introduction. I realize that a good opening doesn’t guarantee a smooth flow for an entire season, but considering the way CW’s other, superhero shows have recently faltered, my optimism for “Black Lightning” wasn’t all that luminous. Taking a little taste before judging it seemed only proper. 


Much of “Resurrection’”s appeal  comes from the actor who plays Jefferson Pierce, the gent otherwise known as Black Lightning. Cress Williams conveys sophistication, style and determination in the role. He's also quite affable and therefore, identifiable. In this instance, however, Cress' interpretation is based on the character as he'd appear in later years, long after he’s retired his superhero guise. 

He’s now a hard-working principal with high principles, and therefore, pretty much like any other productive, law-abiding citizen. Alas, Pierce’s daughter, Jennifer (China Anne McClain), has crossed paths with a gang, and to complicate this, for initial reasons unknown, certain members of the police force seem intent in stopping Pierce in his travels whenever the opportunity arises. Why? Is it due to some vile profiling tactic? Perhaps, but whatever the cause, it's enough to trigger grave concern, making one wonder if these events aren't connected to some higher-order criminality; and if so, will Black Lightning return to remedy them?


The execution of the initial episode is more in tune with “Arrow” than CW’s other productions, but I also sensed a tonal correlation with such grim Marvel/Netflix shows like “The Punisher”, "Luke Cage" and “Daredevil”, though without the layered violence. 

A competent supporting case reinforces this somber tonality and includes Christine Adams; Nafessa Williams; Damon Gupton; and character-actor great, James Remar. 


I’m curious whether “Black Lightning” will build enough momentum to become a CW staple. This might not be an easy task for its creators, considering the slip in CW’s superheroic quality, where a significant blurring of good-vs-bad has occurred: “Supergirl” being the main culprit, of course. On the other hand, “Black Lightning” might be just the right, moral jolt in the arm that the network needs to impact its other DC shows. 

I’d also love to see Pierce team with the other crusaders through a series of crossovers—though only if those crossovers adapt the right, earnest vibe. All we need is to have Black Lightning join the gang in an hour-long song-and-dance routine, and then...well, need I say more?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Collection Recommendation/An Alternate Reality: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern


The prospect of any "Planet of the Apes" crossover gets me excited, and yet I must confess, teaming the time-tested simians with DC's iconic "Green Lantern" never struck me as the most ideal. Personally, I'd have opted for an all-out "Apes"/"Flash" team-up, if only due to the Gorilla Grodd connection, but then who's to say that the great ape can't figure into other factions of DC mythology and beyond? Hint, hint.


Much to my delight and contrary to the odds, DC/Boom!'s "Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern" has turned out to be a fantastic "what if" tale, focusing on what might occur if Cornelius found a Lantern ring and the dimensional-shaking consequences that would stem from such. The sprawling, speculative events are detailed in a six-issue series, now available in one, nifty paperback volume. 


Written/conceived by Robbie Thompson and Justin Jordan, with artwork by Barnaby "Omega Men" Bagenda (abetted by Alex Guimaraes; Ed Dukeshire; Ethan Van Sciver; and Paul Rivoche), "Apes/Green Lantern", is tiered with recognizable elements from the original, five-movie series (with focus placed on the '68 original; "Beneath"; and "Battle"), but of course, the parameters are expanded to incorporate the Lantern Corps. What plays out is thrilling, poignant and appropriately strange: a formula that fits both franchises. 

Hal Jordan is the main Lantern featured, with Kilowog, Arisia Rrab and Guy Gardner accompany his journey, which should make DC fans, in particular, feel right at home. 


After a series of tense events, Jordan lands on Ape Earth, where he becomes a substitute George Taylor, while the persistent Sinestro interrogates Dr. Zaius and Cornelius commences an unexpected, dictatorial rise. It's all thanks to the all-powerful Universal Ring which the priggish yet blundering Guardians of the Universe dispatched to a convenient, sandy cranny called the Forbidden Zone.

Experiencing Cornelius' change per the ring's mad influence is both awe-inspiring and unsettling, but it never strays to the point of becoming blasphemous or silly. Then again, the chimp's encounter with "Beneath'"s human mutants is one for the books, with Roddy McDowall's celebrated persona showing the misguided humans the error of the bomb-worshiping ways, only then to turn them into his devoted, ring-bearing disciples. Wild and weird, indeed, and man, is it ever engaging!


Without giving too much more away, the story leads to a vigorous confrontation. What we encounter prior to such includes many related, movie scenarios, featuring such significant supporting players as Ursus, Zira and Nova (with the aforementioned Grodd making a logical, guest appearance). These cameos are matched by a cavalcade of Lantern-character intervention (including Red Lantern infiltration), which reinvents one helluva, rousing "Battle".

To heighten the momentum, Bagenda's artwork is thoroughly pleasing, even if some stylish liberties are taken: Case in point, Nova isn't precisely Linda Harrison, but all the same, still a mighty fine sight for sore eyes.


As a back-of-the-book bonus, the team-up gives us some fun parallel-universe extras, including poster artwork based on the original, five Apes theatrical films, enhanced by lively, Lantern trimmings, plus Mego Apes dolls, garbed in Lantern gear. These imaginative supplements look and feel like genuine artifacts culled from an alternate '60-'70s culture. Who knows? Maybe they are!


On the whole, "Apes/Lantern" is unlike any comic-book crossover to date: radical in some respects, but so cleverly conceived that it feels like a splicing we've always known. That's a huge achievement, and DC/Boom! ought to be damn proud for pulling it off

This one clicks way too well not to trail-blaze onward, and things would only get more interesting if Barry Allen and his alternate-reality antics were employed. Come on, now: For the sake of continuation, wouldn't that only go to reason? Then again, the ending seems to imply...well, you'll just have to read the adventure to see. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

HISTORY IS MADE: FILMFAX HITS #150!!!


It's been a while since I've promoted a mag in "bizarrechats", mostly because lots you have bypassed such posts. (The stats don't lie.) At the same time, I can't help but acknowledge a historic landmark for one of my favorites, Filmfax.


Filmfax has hit a historic #150!!! Whoopee!!! This is important since so many similar mags have come and gone over the years: most casualties of the Internet, high prices (for the sake of their skimpy content) and a general lack of support from the damn, high-and-mighty Generation Y. It's amazing that Filmfax has endured despite it all, but then while other publishers have ultimately shunned us old guys in their ill-fated attempts to make a buck, Filmfax has continued to embrace its core audience no matter what the pop-cultural circumstance. Wise move!!!

Issue #150 is another great one (of course), featuring articles on Clint "Cheyenne" Walker; Gerry "Thunderbirds" Anderson; Peter "The Manster" Dyneley; Phyllis "Lois Lane" Coates; Lila "She Shoulda Said No" Leeds; Kelli "Night of the Comet" Maroni; the great Lon Chaney Sr. (in "London After Midnight"); plus that ageless, yellow-garbed detective, Dick Tracy. There's also valuable tidbits and scoops on the "San Francisco's Summer of Love"; '50s sci-fi cosplay and the third-part history of the cinematic "Death Ray". Super cool!!!


Filmfax #150 should be hitting the newsstands and book shops soon, so keep your eyes peeled for this extra-special, anniversary issue. BTW: Contrary to what the cover image exclaims, what you see is (give or take some caption details) the final version, and boy, does it ever strike a perfect, nostalgic chord!!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

AMAZON PRIME PRESENTS...PHILIP K. DICK'S ELECTRIC DREAMS


Produced by Sony Pictures for Britain's Channel 4, with hopes that AMC might jump on board, "Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams" begins its Amazon Prime premiere on Jan 12.


The ten-episode anthology was produced by Bryan Cranston (of the eponymous author's inspired "Total Recall '12"); Ronald D. Moore; and Michael Dinner, triggered by (though not exclusive to) various themes presented in Dicks' fantastic fiction.


For the most part, the stories essay cognitive and civil-liberty issues that may occur in the future, which means they're disguised examples of what may occur today. A strong cast helps bring these allegories to life, featuring Cranston; Steve Buscemi; Geraldine Chaplin; Terence Howard; Greg Kinnear; Ana Paquin; Jack Reynor; Timothy Spall; and Benedict Wong. The fables are written by such speculative bards as Matthew "Life on Mars" Graham; Ronald "Battlestar Galactica" Dowl; Travis "Pacific Rim" Beacham; and Jack "Star Wars IX" Thorne. 


The content, along with its questioning tone, will be familiar to viewers, having already entered the annals of  "Star Trek"; "Science Fiction Theatre"; "Twilight Zone"; "Outer Limits"; "Black Mirror"; among others. The series also stands as a roundabout companion to the films based on Dick's work, with the original "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall" in the forefront. (Also, that Channel 4's debut of the series coincided with "Blade Runner 2049'"s theatrical release can't be coincidental. Heck, the android sequel also hits disc just a few days after the Amazon series loads. How's that for some apt, thematic overlap!)


If the British buzz is accurate, "Electric Dreams" ought to be a treat for U.S. viewers. If the latter embraces the show's content, it could spawn annual incarnations, much like Amazon's additional Dick tribute, "Man in the High Castle". Let's keep our fingers crossed (carbon based and synthetic) that "Electric Dreams" does, in fact, possesses that imposing potential. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

AIRSHIP 27 TO PUBLISH PERSONA SEQUEL!!!


Just putting a wee teaser out there, folks, to let you know that Ron Fortier of Airship 27 Productions has accepted "The Persona, Vol 2" for publication. Yippee!!!

To say the least, I'm happy as a lark that Michael Mansford and his ethereal disguise will return for a whole new, hallucinatory jaunt.

I'll keep you posted on developments and unveil the novel's nifty subtitle soon!!!