Archive for the ‘Cons’ Category

The Geeky Seventies

June 9, 2015

The Geeky Seventies

CNN is following up their successful series on the 1960s with one on the 1970s:

http://www.cnn.com/shows/the-seventies

Tom Hanks is an Executive Producer.

The existence of this series is kind of funny to me. I did a comedy bit years ago on our community access TV show (Freedom from Fear) called “In Search of the Seventies”. I treated it as a mystery as to whether or not the Seventies even (culturally) existed. I asked if they were really just “…the end of the Sixties and the start of the Eighties”.

I think that’s because I was too close to it. I was really engaging in pop culture in the Seventies…well, often culture that wasn’t so popular, but you know what I mean. 😉 I didn’t have the distance from it and maturity to recognize what was special about it.

Certainly, I thought the 1960s had a unique culture…with the Beatles in part driving the bus.

As to the 1980s, well, New Wave music seemed to stand out to me.

The 1970s? At that time, I wasn’t seeing what made it special.

Now I do. 🙂

This post is going to give you an overview of geek-friendly culture in the 1970s.

It was definitely a transformative decade…even if the Transformers didn’t arrive until the 1980s. 😉

Geek culture moved mainstream in very big ways. Predominantly, there was Star Wars, which made space opera a blockbuster, but we could also look at The Exorcist for horror, and Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) for vampires.

We saw the arrival of Stephen King as a novelist, and the publication of Dungeons and Dragons.

Home video technology meant that people could easily watch movies after they were out of theatres…decades after, in some cases. Prior to that, some of us had three-minute long Super 8 movies, and the real hobbyists might have 16mm reels, but the Betamax and others meant our cinematic history (including the geeky part) was much more accessible.

Star Trek: the Original Series was canceled in 1969…but the fandom continued. That led to the first Star Trek convention in the 1970s. Science fiction conventions went back to 1939, but this was different.

Batman in the 1960s might have made superheroes a hit on TV, but Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were part of the 1970s scene.

The Weird World interested a lot more people…the In Search Of TV series was only one part of that, but was many viewers’ first exposure to some of these topics.

Let’s look at some of the highlights in different areas:

Movies

How times have changed!

When you look at the top ten US grossing movies released in the 1960s, arguably only two are geek-friendly (GF) and not specifically intended for the family/children’s market:

  1. The Sound of Music
  2. 101 Dalmations
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Doctor Zhivago
  5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  6. Mary Poppins
  7. My Fair Lady
  8. Thunderball (GF)
  9. Cleopatra
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (GF)

By the end of the 1970s, that picture had entirely changed, and would look more like our box office today:

  1. Star Wars (GF)
  2. Jaws (GF)
  3. The Sting
  4. Animal House
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (eventually) GF
  6. The Godfather
  7. Superman (GF)
  8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (GF)
  9. Smokey and the Bandit
  10. Blazing Saddles

The Exorcist (1973) brought straight up horror to blockbuster status and mainstream acceptance (along with a lot of protests).

In 1975, Steven Spielberg changed the summer. Up to that point, it had largely been a season of cheapo exploitation movies. People actually went outside (including drive-ins), not to the movies. Jaws reshaped all that, giving us the summer blockbuster season. There have been heated debates about whether or not Jaws is a fantasy (are we supposed to believe the shark is just a shark, or something more?), but it was clearly a monster movie.

Then in 1977, Star Wars changed it all.

While those movies were all big hits, there were a lot of other significant geek movies. Undeniably, we have to count the Rocky Horror Picture Show as establishing midnight movies and a special kind of cult film. It flopped when it came out, but then got a new life in a new way. He’s the hero…that’s right, the hero. 😉

Here are some other stand-outs:

  • Alien (1979)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • King Kong (1976)
  • Eraserhead (1977)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Logan’s Run (1979)
  • The Wicker Man (1973)
  • Live and Let Die (1973) (the first Roger Moore James Bond)
  • Soylent Green (1973)
  • Enter the Dragon (193)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Zardoz (1974)
  • The Wiz (1978)
  • Westworld (1973)
  • Four of the original Planet of the Apes movies
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
  • Tommy (1975)
  • The Lord of the Rings (1978) (Ralph Bakshi)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971)
  • Phantasm (1979)
  • The Sentinel (1977)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • Death Race 2000 (1975)
  • Rollerball (1975)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  • The Omega Man (1971)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1972)
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
  • Freaky Friday (1976)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  • The Car (1977)
  • The Muppet Movie (1979)
  • The  Stepford Wives (1975)
  • Dark Star (1974)
  • Eraserhead (1977)

TV

Sure, the 1960s had been huge for high concept TV (with 1964 particularly important), but the 1970s built on that with many geek-friendly hits. Batman on TV had burned out by 1970, but opened the field for other superheroes (DC, Marvel, and bionic). Star Wars and James Bond were both big in movie theatres, and we saw their effect on the small screen as well. Home video arrived, which began to give us more options (although cable wouldn’t be a factor until the 1980s). Saturday morning got trippy with the Kroffts (although H.R. Pufnstuf debuted in 1969), and saw the return of Star Trek with the original cast…in animated form.

Some geek-friendly series:

  • Wonder Woman
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Saturday Night Live (Coneheads! Land Shark!)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Fantasy Island
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Land of the Lost
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Kung Fu
  • Space: 1999
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • The Bionic Woman
  • The Muppet Show
  • The Tomorrow People
  • Isis
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Blakes 7
  • The Amazing Spier-Man
  • Nanny and the Professor
  • Shazam!
  • Tales of the Unexpected
  • SCTV
  • Paddington Bear
  • The New Avengers
  • Schoolhouse Rock!
  • Super Friends
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Man from Atlantis
  • Return to the Planet of the Apes
  • Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
  • Sapphire & Steel
  • Star Blazers
  • The Prisoner
  • Quark
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • The Invisible Man (David McCallum)
  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
  • Doctor Who in the United States
  • Monty Python in the United States

Books/literature

I’ve gone into depth on the general topic of literature of the 1970s in another blog of mine:

I Love My Kindle: Books in the 1970s

In terms of geek-friendly, it was a huge decade! Just as movies saw the mainstreaming of geek-friendly genres, bookstores saw bestsellers from a new author named Stephen King, and a vampire hit (Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice).

While geek-specific bookstores (and comic book stores) were crucial, you could walk into a the newly national Barnes & Noble chain and get a variety of science fiction/fantasy/supernatural horror. You wanted military SF? You had Joe Haldeman. Light fantasy? Enter Xanth by Piers Anthony. Social science fiction? The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner. Ringworld…Riverworld…we weren’t only reaching out to new planets, we were visiting new worlds and universes.

Here are some of the stand-out titles and authors:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
  • Gateway by Frederick Pohl
  • Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
  • Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
  • The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
  • Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky
  • Autumn Angels by Arthur Byron Cover
  • The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure) by Edward Packard

Gaming

1974 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons…and we had Advanced D&D by the end of the decade. This was really the decade that saw the RPG (Role-Playing Game) world established, and would include Runequest and Traveller.

Fandom

Star Trek:  The Original Series ended in 1969, but the people who had come together to fight for a third season kept at it. That included the first Star Trek convention (well, the first widely available to the public one in 1972), the return of the original cast for the animated series, and eventually, 1979, to the big screen.

Comics

Again, there was a transition happening, with some significant experimentation.

  • Jack Kirby jumped from Marvel to DC, and introduced Darkseid
  • The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide first appeared
  • Green Lantern and Green Arrow take a philosophical walk-about across America
  • Mister Miracle debuts
  • An arc in Spider-Man features drug use, and defies the Comics Code Authority
  • Ra’s Al Ghul first appears
  • The Kree-Skrull War storyline
  • The Sandman
  • War Machine makes his first appearance
  • Wonder Woman gives up her powers

The Weird World

  • The TV series In Search of… (hosted by Leonard Nimoy) was instrumental in reinteresting people in the Roswell Incident
  • 1973 was dubbed “The Year of the Humanoids” by UFO researcher David Webb…one of the most famous was the Pascagoula incident
  • Uri Geller was famous, even appearing on the Tonight Show in 1973 to “bend spoons”
  • Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain by Lynn Schroeder and Sheila Ostrander was published in 1970
  • The Mysterious Monsters was a Sunn Classics documentary, featuring Peter Graves
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek was released in 1972
  • The Unidentified, published in 1975, by Loren Coleman & Jerome Clark, is Coleman’s first “name on the cover” book
  • John A. Keel’s inimitable The Mothman Prophecies was published in 1975
  • Momo, the Missouri Monster, was just one of many hairy bipeds
  • Newsstands had magazines galore, including Ancient Astronauts
  • The “flipper photo” of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1972 by Dr. Robert Rines’ team
  • In 1975, Travis Walton is missing for several days, and a report emerges of an abduction by aliens

Records

Listening to LPs was definitely a 1970s thing, and there were some definitely geeky concept albums.

  • 1972: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 1973: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
  • 1978: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
  • 1978: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Science/Tech

  • Home computers became a thing in 1977, with the Apple II, the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor), and the TRS-80 (Tandy Radio Shack)
  • Skylab launched in 1973…and docked with the Russian Soyuz in 1975
  • The Atari 2600 was released in 1977
  • The first Pong arcade game was put to use in 1972. Arcade games would really take off with Space Invaders in 1978

There’s a bit of the geeky 1970s for you! We certainly didn’t cover everything, but you can see the big shift from geek culture being kids and niche to becoming the mainstream pop culture force that it is today. Want to add something? Feel free to comment on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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All five Star Trek captains on stage at one con…for the first time

April 17, 2012

All five Star Trek captains on stage at one con…for the first time

Destination Star Trek London:

http://www.startreklondon.com/

is going to have all five starring Star Trek captains from the TV series together on the same stage:

  • William Shatner (James T. Kirk) from the original series and the animated series
  • Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) from Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) from Star Trek: Voyager
  • Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) from Star Trek: Enterprise

I believe this is the first time this has happened…and honestly, it may get more difficult to achieve over time.

The convention is 19 October to 21 October this year, but I wouldn’t wait to book tickets (general tickets go on sale 30 April). Looking for an ultimate geek gift? I’d think about this…it should feel futuristic and nostalgic at the same time. 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

What’s happening at Comic-Con 2011?

July 20, 2011

What’s happening at Comic-Con 2011?

This Wednesday is the preview night for San Diego Comic-Con, and then it runs through the weekend.

The nature of Comic-Con has been changing. The news that comes out of it is usually related to movies and TV…it’s becoming (yuck!) relevant. 😉

Geeks revel in embracing the outcast. You know, things in which the mainstream couldn’t be less interested…robot toys, animals doing kung fu, theme park rides, superheroes based on Norse mythology, mutant teenagers…hey, wait a minute! Outside of R-rated comedies (which are doing very well, without costly special effects), those are the mainstream hits this summer!

Demon dogs! They’ve caught us! 🙂

Quick, go watch The Guild on YouTube, and have a Mighty Boosh marathon. That should help.

Even given all that, major studios don’t really get geeks…they can’t tell how the way the Comic-Con conference halls respond affects their eventual box office. Here’s a secret: we can be completely enthusiastic about something we don’t like and won’t go see.

So, who (and what) is going to be onstage at Comic-Con?

First, here’s the programming grid:

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/forms/cci11prog_grid.pdf

Wednesday’s preview evening belongs to Warner Brothers, in terms of the content providers. They’ll be talking about upcoming series, including Alcatraz, Person of Interest…and the anime version of Supernatural.

Thursday is where it really takes off. Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane…in the same room! Kinnect Star Wars! Planet of the Apes in comics!

Are you jumping up and down in enthusiasm? No? Um…okay, more mainstream stars, then…

Thursday’s celebrities: Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice, The Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-Tep); Wes Craven (writer/director: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream); Adrianne Curry (America’s Next Top Model, The Surreal Life); Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible); Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth); Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly, Covert Affairs); Richard Hatch (the original Battlestar Gallactica); author Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson); George R.R. Martin (author, Game of Thrones); Rick Baker (make-up artist…when I met him years ago, he was “Rick Baker, Monster Maker”); James Roday and Dulé Hill (here for Psych); author Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden); Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy, here for Ringer); Nestor Campbell (Lost, here for Ringer); Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, Blades of Glory…here for the animated Napoleon Dynamite); Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Boston Public); Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent, Game of Thrones…here for the latter); author Kim Harrison (The Hollows); Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld, The Tick); Aisha Tyler (24, Ghost Whisperer) here (along with H. Jon Benjamin and Judy Greer) for Archer…Archer? Can I stop now? That’s enough reason to go…if you could still get tickets; Matt Smith (Doctor Who); Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory); Joe Manganiello and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood); Jorge Garcia (Lost and the upcoming Alcatraz); Robert Rodriguez (director, Spy Kids, Sin City); Mark Hamil (Star Wars, but here in conjunction with Batman: Arkham City…he’s been voicing the Joker for some time); Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under); William H. Macy (Fargo, Shameless); Morena Baccarin (Firefly, V); Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, here for Wilfred); Penn & Teller

Friday celebrities: John Barrowman (Torchwood, Desperate Housewives), Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Lauren Ambrose, and Bill Pullman (who I think is giving a great performance in what I’ve seen of Torchwood: Miracle Day so far) are here for Torchwood; Sid & Marty Krofft (H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville); William Shatner; Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Spenser: For Hire); author Timothy Zahn; Skyler Samuels (The Gates, The Nine Lives of Chloe King); John Cusack (Say Anything, here for Raven, where he plays Edgar Allan Poe); director James McTeague (V for Vendetta, here for Raven); director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s 11); producer Chuck Lorre, Jim Parsons, Kelly Cuoco, John Galecki, Mayim Bialik (and more…here for The Big Bang Theory); Jeff Bridges (True Grit, Tron); Bradley Cooper (Limitless, the A-Team); director Guillermo del Toro; Kate Beckinsale (Brokedown Palace, Underworld); Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, here for Children’s Hospital); Megan Mullally (Will and Grace); Lake Bell (Surface, Boston Public); David Boreanaz (Bones, Angel); Emily Deschanel (Bones); Colin Farrell (Horrible Bosses, Alexander…here for the Fright Night remake); Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Hearts in Atlantis); screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (Murder She Wrote, Babylon 5); Colin Ferguson (Eureka); Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me); Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show…and one of our Box Office MVPs last year); Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarian…here for Falling Skies); Seth Green (Austin Powers, Robot Chicken); Nicholas Cage; Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation); Jessica Biel; Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle…here for Total Recall); Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Amazing Spider-Man…maybe I should call him The Andrew Garfield 😉 ); Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland…here for Spider-Man); Saul Rubinek (Frasier, here for Warehouse 13); Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody…here for Phineas & Ferb); Anna Paquin (The Piano, X-Men…here ((along with a bunch of other people…Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, creator Alan Ball, Rutina Wesley, and more…for True Blood); Lucy Lawless (Xena…but here for Spartacus: Vengeance); Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker from the original Dark Shadows (could there be surprise guests from next year’s version…Johnny, Tim?); David Straitharn (Good Night, and Good Luck…here for Alphas); Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar from the 1960s Batman series; producer/writer Gale Ann Hurd (Terminator, Aliens); Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre 3000) do RIFFTrax live; LL Cool J (here for NCIS: LA); Sonny Chiba, Mark Hamill, and Noah Hathaway (The Neverending Story) are here for Sushi Girl; Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, but here for the animated Batman: Year One); Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, but also here for Batman: Year One)

Saturday celebrities: Stan Lee; Deepak Chopra (with his son, Gotham…they’ve written a book on superheroes); producer/screenwriter/director David S. Goyer; Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and others from Chuck; Stephen Lang (Avatar, but here for Terra Nova); Amanda Tapping (Stargate, but here for Sanctuary); author Sherrilyn Kenyon; director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, here for TWIXT); Katey Sagal (Married with Children, Sons of Anarchy…here for Futurama); voice artists Tara Strong, Townsend Coleman, and the remarkable Rob Paulsen; Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, here for Immortals; Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong (another of our MVPs)…here for Community; Frank Miller; Summer Glau and Peter Dinklage (here for Knights of Badassdom); John Barrowman, Thomas Dekker, Tyler Posey and others on a panel; Joss Whedon; Damon Lindelof; Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and more from The Vampire Diaries; Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor)…both here for Snow White and The Huntsman; Anna Torv, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole, and John Noble from Fringe; Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart, and Martin Short (here for the animated musical, Dorothy of Oz); Annie Ilonzeh, Rachael Taylor, and Minka Kelly from the new Charlie’s Angels; Jorge Garcia (Lost, but here for Alcatraz); Maggie Q, Shane West…here for Nikita; Thomas Jane; Jim Cavaziel, Michael Emerson (Lost), Taraji P. Henson and more for Person of Interest; Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and more for Mythbusters; Vivica Fox; Jeff Fahey; Robert Picardo

Sunday’s celebrities: author Amanda Hocking (USA Today bestselling author…with independently-published Kindle books); Ryan Murphy and Brian Falchuk (Glee); Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (Supernatural); Laraine Newman; Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr. Horrible…here for Castle); author Greg Bear; author Vernor Vinge; Matt Smith and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who); Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Repo! The Genetic Opera, here for Merlin); Danny DeVito (here for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia); Ron Perlman (here, with a repeat appearance by Katey Sagal, for Sons of Anarchy)

Wow! That was a lot more work than I expected. 🙂 Celebrities, please don’t feel sad if I didn’t include you…that doesn’t mean you are any less loved. 😉 That’s especially true for comics celebrities, of which there are some great, legendary ones…I was trying to go more for the mainstream here.

As for my readers…now are you thinking about going next year? 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Uncle Forry and Me

August 8, 2010

Uncle Forry and Me

Forrest J Ackerman* was an important figure in science fiction fandom…and for all the readers of Famous Monsters of Filmland.  For a lot of kids, that was a window into the world of fantasy and science fiction.  He still has a huge legacy: from silly puns in article titles to adoration of little known special effects artists to cosplay (wearing costumes to conventions, such as you see at San Diego Comic-Con every year). 

He also had an amazing collection of movie props…I’m still sad that it was broken up after his death.  He had allowed people into his home (“The Ackermansion”) to see it.  It would have been so much better if someone who had made money in the fantasy/science fiction entertainment business had been able to step in and save it.

He was also a nice guy.  🙂

In 1974, I was at Discon II, the World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C..  It was the last day, and I had it all worked out.  I arranged for a ride to the airport (I already had a ticket), so I spent the rest of my money in the “Hucksters’ Room”. 

Then my ride left without me.

I needed to get to the airport, and everything would be fine.  This was before ATM cards, of course.  I figured I needed a cab.

I saw Forry.  I only knew him from the magazine, but I approached him.  I had quite a few rolls of unexposed Super 8mm movie film.  Yes, film…this was before home video, too.  🙂

I asked him if he wanted to buy a few rolls, just on hope.  I explained the situation, and he offered my ten dollars for a cab (yes, ten dollars…this was 35 years ago, after all).  I told him I’d pay him back, caught the cab, and got my plane home.

I was a total stranger, and he had really saved me…just out of the goodness of his heart.

Years later, I saw Forry at another convention.  I went up to him and returned the ten dollars.  He smiled and said, “Oh, you were that fellow.”

I have to say…I was always so impressed that he had remembered the incident.  He had undoubtedly met tens of thousands of people over the years: maybe more.  He’d seen me for five minutes, maybe.  Admittedly, not that many people had probably offered to sell him unexposed Super 8mm film to get cab fare, but still…I was honored to be remembered by the world’s #1 science fiction fan.

Do you have a Forry Ackerman story?   I’d love to hear it!

* Forry spelled his name without a period after his middle initial…and there hasn’t been a period put on his contributions to fandom…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle

Round up of Comic-Con 2010 movie news

July 27, 2010

Round up of Comic-Con 2010 news

The Avengers

May 4th, 2012, will see the big screen version of Marvel’s http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848228/ The Avengers.  This is not Steed and Peel, but one of the big superhero teams.  We knew about the movie before SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con), but we did get confirmation of a few important players.

We already knew we were getting Robert Downey, Jr., as Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Chris Evans as Captain America.   By the time it comes out, this group will have appeared in other movies in these characters (although Jackson hasn’t had his own movie).

One of the areas of hot speculation was who would play Bruce Banner (the Incredible Hulk).  We’ve had two recent movies with two different Banners (Eric Bana and Edward Norton).  Well, that was announced at SDCC: it’s Mark Ruffalo.  That’s an interesting choice: he’s really known as an actor, and more of an art house guy, although he’s been in some big movies lately (including Shutter Island).

Also announced was Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as Hawkeye. 

Expected, but confirmed, was Joss Whedon directing.  I’m not convinced this a Match.com compatability pairing, but Whedon is good.  For one thing, he’s known for strong female characters (Buffy, Echo), and the most likely female Avenger is Black Widow.  While Scarlett Johansson has the part, but will she be a front and center character?

With all these big characters on the screen, it’s going to be a bit like one of those old “All-Star Wrestling” battle royales.  It’s going to be a tremendous challenge to give all these stars and characters sufficient screen time…and still make the story important.  Not saying it can’t be done, but it will be like juggling chainsaws.

The Haunted Mansion

Disney got a huge franchise out of its Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  They’ve already tried The Haunted Mansion, back in 2003…with less impressive results (about 75 mill dogro…domestic gross).  So, I was surprised to hear they were going to try again…with Guillermo Del Toro writing.  Original announcements also had him directing, but that seems unconfirmed.  Del Toro loves the ride, and that’s a plus…it would be great if he could work the Paul Frees (one of my favorite voice artists) narration in there somewhere.  However, he does say the movie will be scary, so that might be hard to do.

Sucker Punch

There seemed to be a lot of buzz around the trailer for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, due March 25, 2011.  Snyder directed 300 and Watchmen, so you expect something visually interesting.  I don’t know if you would have figured on maybe the best dragon you’ve ever seen.  The story seems to be more than you might expect as well.  If you want to check out a trailer, there is one here:

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/suckerpunch/

Those were a few of the movie stories that caught my eye…how about you?

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Can’t be at Comic-Con but want the news?

July 22, 2010

Can’t be at Comic-Con but want the news?

Comic-Con (aka San Diego Comic-Con or SDCC) officially starts today, although there was programming last night.

It was sold out before it started.

You’ll see some coverage in the mainstream news and entertainment programs, but I thought I’d clue you in to a couple of places to get a geekier viewpoint.

First, there’s one of my favorite Twitter feeds:

Cinematical

They always have great, often insider, movie news.  They have a few people tweeting from the con.  You might not think you can get a lot of news in 140 characters, but they do pictures as well, and they’ll link to more thorough coverage at the Cinematical site. 

For those who prefer old media 😉 , G4TV is covering the con as well, sending their correspondents, and putting it live on TV for you.

You can see that on G4 (check your local cable listings for channel), and I think it will start at 3:00 PM on Saturday (although other shows on that channel will probably cover it as well).

The official Comic-Con site has Twitter, a YouTube channel and more:

http://www.comic-con.org/

I posted some highlights of scheduling for each day in my The Week Ahead post for this week.

I also just want to take a moment to suggest you don’t ignore your local cons.  They may not have the big breaking news that will come out of SDCC, but they are often put on by small groups…and that can be fun, too.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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