Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
Star Wars: A New DawnStar Wars: Kenobi Star Wars: Knight Errant
Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith
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Order the Star Trek Prey trilogy here!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lego! Lego my comic books!

A few updates on the site:

• The notes for Knights of the Old Republic #37 are online, including a stranger look behind the curtain than usual, this time involving my son's Lego set. See for yourself how the creative process really works. (Well, there is such a thing as Lego Star Wars....)

• There are pages for Knights of the Old Republic #40 and for the next trade paperback, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 6: Vindication, which includes issues #29-35. You'll note that it is indeed Volume 6, and that next month's Vector trade really is Volume 5.

You can get Vindication from your local retailer — or you can preorder it now from Amazon through this link.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A pod of podcasts

Still working on getting time to do some notes for KOTOR #37, but in the meantime, that interview on Fictional Frontiers on Philadelphia's 1360 AM is finally airing at 11 AM this Sunday, Jan. 25, delayed from an earlier time; it's really more about Knights of the Old Republic. Early next week it will be online at the Fictional Frontiers site.

And I was also a guest recently for a wide-ranging ComicBookPage podcast with John Mayo and Bob Bretall. It's a "Super Fan Spotlight," getting into my personal collecting interests and comics and fiction writing — but as John and I both track the same numbers in the comics industry, there's also a good deal of minutia as well as speculation about the short-term and long term future of comic books and graphic novels. And, yes, much embarrassing stuff about the obsessive-compulsive nature of my own comics-collecting habits — but, really, who didn't suspect that already?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

KOTOR #37: Tall, green, and scaly!

Inaugurating a new thread on this Inauguration Day: Everyone's favorite Trandoshan (he's not much of a pilot, but you should try his Belgian waffles) Slyssk gets a turn in the spotlight in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #37, which makes its debut on shelves this week.

I'm not certain whether it's Wednesday or Thursday, given the holiday schedule this week — but I would assume some portion of the world gets it tomorrow.

I'll have thoughts on the issue to follow, but leave yours here. I should also have some news on some podcasts coming up in a few days.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vector Interview double-feature on CBR

I had actually forgotten to look for this, we did it so long ago...

...but Comic Book Resources has a two-part Vector exit interview with Randy Stradley, John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, and myself. Part II is here. They were waiting to get it online until after everyone had had a chance to read Legacy #31. (Which I finally did... look for a certain KOTOR cameo!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Knights of the Old Republic #37 on MTV!, actually — where its Splash Page feature spotlights next week's Knights of the Old Republic #37 — with an eight-page preview! There's also an article by editor extraordinaire Dave Marshall about the series.

I've been informed the issue is confirmed on the schedule for this Wednesday, so the rest of the story shouldn't be long in coming...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Remembering Ricardo Montalban

Some spookily ill-starred timing below in mentioning Star Trek characters frozen in time — with the loss today of Ricardo Montalban.

ABC, CBS, and NBC each had segments on Montalban in tonight's evening news broadcast; both ABC and CBS mentioned Fantasy Island and the Chrysler commercials — only NBC also included a Star Trek clip (which sort of makes sense, as Island was ABC and Trek was NBC). NBC also mentioned his earlier musicals. I remember fondly Battleground, his WWII film with Van Johnson (mentioned here earlier).

Island was very much of its time, but I always liked the little touches of mystery Montalban brought to the role — a very subtly implied mysticism, as opposed to the more overt portrayal of the same character by Malcolm MacDowell (another Trek movie villain!) in the short-lived revival. He was always fun to watch — and will be missed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Frozen in time...

Thanks to those who sent birthday wishes my way today, but they're really not necessary. Since I learned that one of the best Star Trek episodes, "A Piece of the Action," originally aired the evening of my birth, I have determined to freeze my age in time, never getting older than William Shatner was then.

(OK, maybe Vic Tayback. The technology is still being worked out...)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sword & Sarcasm stuff...

We've been meaning to get the store open for a while at Sword & Sarcasm, and I don't know if you can call one item a store, but it's pretty nifty. The "Nibbled to Death by Ducks" mug commemorates the half-minotaur Herbert's chaotic flight from the voracious birds of Jelron the Beige.

The side caption, with logo, reads, "It Pays to Stay a Step Ahead of Life's Little Problems."

One of my favorite pieces of Chuck Fiala's frenetic art from the strip — complete with the Carl Barks-tribute duck windmill-feet (only not on the ducks)! Definitely more to come in this department, but this is the first...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Banks! Banks! Banks!

Jeff Vaughn noticed on YouTube the presence of a portion of The Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center, a one-man stage-show celebration of creative procrastination. The full version of Steven Banks' show goes on 40-odd minutes (the other portions are online), and is something you'll either love or hate depending on your similar time-wasting tendencies:

I saw the Home Entertainment Center when it was first on Showtime and have reshown it until the electrons are falling off the tape. I actually used to be able to gauge the health of my long-term relationships with that show — once I had been dating a woman for a safe period of time, I'd show her the Home Entertainment Center. Either she'd hate it (meaning things were not to be) or tolerate it (meaning she might tolerate my own bursts of irrationality). There were surely other, better tests known to science, but never mind.

There was a 30-minute pilot for a Showtime series that followed; I have that, again on old VHS, but there was no series. Then there were episodes of a PBS series which included an actor and actress playing all the supporting roles, male and female; I have a couple of those. Not quite the same as the stage show. I don't think it's on DVD anywhere — it desperately needs to be.

Banks is now head writer on Spongebob Squarepants, and along a different vein has done the character act "Billy the Mime," who appeared in "The Aristocrats," miming the movie's title joke. Again, I can't find the DVD anywhere, but he does have a storybook out in King of the Creeps.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Obama makes M.U. debut

The Marvel Universe is treated as our universe, for purposes of who major public figures are: George W. Bush had a significant role in several of my issues of Iron Man (including #74, below). As Marvel is announcing with a bit of a press wave, his soon-to-be successor Barack Obama makes his in-universe debut in Amazing Spider-Man later this month.

This has been the case with Marvel for a long time — going beyond using real New York rather than fictional Metropolis. Ronald Reagan was transformed into a reptilian creature in Captain America. And who can forget Jimmy Carter in a 1980 X-Men, nervously talking to "Dr. Coahbeau" about the Phoenix Force?

I'm trying to remember whether Gerald Ford was in any contemporaneous Marvel comics. Although since his veep Nelson Rockefeller was possessed by the Serpent Crown in Avengers, perhaps that would have been an honor better avoided!

We did depict a number of real-life senators in that Iron Man run, but not Obama — in 2003-2004, he was still running for the office. Hillary was in there somewhere, though...

I discussed the use of public figures — and the politics involved — in several of the production notes for that run; see the individual issues. In general, I angled to make the position of public figures essentially neutral, but open to interpretation; you could alternately see Bush's appointment of Tony Stark as brilliant or reckless, depending on your point of view. The more detailed discussions of the politics involved came from fictitious chief of staff and press secretary.

Edit: I've since turned up Ford in Howard the Duck and Fantastic Four.

L.A. Times on Crimson Dynamo

The L.A. Times has a piece on Mickey Rourke potentially appearing in Iron Man 2, potentially as Crimson Dynamo. One would suspect not in the Anton Vanko incarnation (and certainly not the teen-age Gennady Gavrilov incarnation). I don't recall a variation that was a basic arms dealer, so this, if true, would be another incarnation.

(The same piece has a section on George Lucas and a "Force trainer" shown at the Consumer Electronics Show. Wonders never cease...)
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