Category: Between the pages


I’m really thinking I’m going to have to see this movie!

I love the comic book touches (“What are you doing? Getting a life.”)  and the fact that Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) is directing it fills me with glee. Chris Evans lack of any acting ability however? Not so much.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opens August 13th.

PS. Nice Can-con touch with the CBC shirt. Could this movie make it cool to watch the CBC?

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The New York Public Library is facing a budget cut of over $37 million – the worst in its long and storied history. This means the closure of 10 library branches, the loss of adult job search support as well as other programs, children’s programming, and a reduction of service from 6 days a week to 4.

So, when faced with a budget crisis, who do you think they’re gonna call? You got it, The Ghostbusters.

Thanks to the guys at Improv Everywhere for promoting this amazing cause.

The New York Public Library approached us about a month ago and asked if we would want to stage an Improv Everywhere mission on their property. The library is facing serious budget cuts, and they thought having us do something awesome there might serve to remind people of how great the NYPL is. We couldn’t say no to the opportunity to do something in their gorgeous, 100 year-old Rose Main Reading Room.

Improv Everywhere, you are more than welcome to come to Toronto. This city could use a shot in the arm!

I was on the board of the Kapuskasing Public Library before we relocated down south, so I know how vital they are to their communities. Libraries are not only repositories for knowledge and entertainment, but invaluable resources for people from all walks of life.

Please support your local public library.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there would be four alternative covers for the new True Blood comic series that debuts July 21st.

I’ve finally managed to lay my paws on them. Here they are:

True Blood - Version A

Cover A

True BLood - Version B

Cover B

True Blood - Version C

Cover C

True Blood - Version D

Cover D

So, what do you think? Which is your favorite?

Iron Man 2 - Tony Stark

Iron Man 2 - Chick Flick?

Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote an excellent article about the studio’s surprise that Iron Man 2 is playing so well to female audiences. According to Indie Wire, the report upon which Schwartzbaum’s article is based:

“What you’ll see on Sunday is people taking their moms to see Iron Man,” says Paramount distribution executive vp Don Harris. “You can’t make a statistic like that up.” In tracking, the female figures for Iron Man 2 were so high, adds Harris, “you would expect such numbers from a film like Sex and the City 2.”

Why? Why is it, that in this day and age that it’s surprising for women to enjoy science fiction/comic books/action movies?

There has always been a strong fan base among women for the nerdy and the geeky. How many little girls grew up playing Princess Leia or Wonder Woman or Jamie Summers? Take a look at Science Fiction literature; some of the greatest authors of the genre are women. Mary Shelley, Andre Norton, Ursula K. LeGuin, Sheri Tepper have all created iconic tales of speculative fiction. As a mater of fact, the concept of the secret identity was originated by a woman, Baroness Emma Orczy, author of the Scarlet Pimpernel published in 1903.

Ursula K. LeGuin - Left Hand of DarknessIf women write the stuff, it would follow that women would read it, right?

The simple fact of the matter is that comic books and Spec-Fic is rife with themes that interest women and draw them in. It may not be the same things that interest men, but they are there just the same. For example, the Xmen comic deals with lots of masculine themes, but there are also the relationships that interest  women readers – Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, Jean and Scott, Storm and T’Challa all have a strong appeal to female readers. We may not care so much about the bang bang shoot’em ups, but the outcomes and the consequences are far more rewarding for a woman reader than for a man.

This obviously translates to the big screen and television. Buffy, Ripley, Trinity and most recently Avatar’s Neytiri have all drawn in female audiences. These are our role models. We don’t see many iconic female characters outside of Science Fiction/Fantasy movies that as girls we look up to. So of course we’re going to go see films in these genres to find more of the same. And we’re going to bring our daughters with us, growing the audience.

It just makes sense.

A few years ago, Hollywood was hot for female action movies. They were going to revolutionize the genre. What did we get? Catwoman and Elektra, two of the worst superhero movies ever made. The suits didn’t understand it at the time. There was a huge demand for women in more heroic roles, why did these films fail? Why didn’t they get the audience that they expected?

Buffy the Vampire SlayerProbably because the writing was crap. All there was to these movies were women in skimpy clothes prancing around. There was no human interactions, no relationships that women could be invest in. The stories were practically non-existent, the acting was wooden and the premise was ridiculous. As a result Hollywood has pretty much turned it’s back on the prospect. The Wonder Woman movie has been sitting in pre-production hell for 3 years because the studios can’t wrap their head around the fact that what women want are great characters, strong stories and compelling relationships. Having a female centric film is icing on the cake.

It was my mother who sat down and watched Wonder Woman and Doctor Who with me. She’s the one who introduced Sprout to Star Trek – another show with some amazingly strong women characters. Women have always been interested in Science Fiction and related works. The reason why Iron Man 2 works with women is because the main character is charming, his struggles are compelling and relationships are believable. Yes, we do enjoy the special effects and the explosions just as much as the guys, being a FX-geek I can say that. But they aren’t what brings us in. If the studios can keep making movies of Iron Man’s caliber, women audiences are going to keep coming and the numbers are going to grow.

Maybe this is the start of Hollywood actually getting it and start handing off these fantastic properties with strong women characters to great writers and directors. It’s in their best interest, but we fangirls have to demand it.

Via: Entertainment Weekly, Indie Wire.

Wonder WomanOkay, I agree with almost everything in this article on 10 Comic-Book-Heroines We Want in Movies. Beyoncé as Wonder Woman? That gets a big no for me. An no mention of Joss Whedon? I know I gush on him a lot, but he is the master at writing and directing strong female roles. Pop him in as either the director for any Domino or Jenny Sparks movie and I’m there faster than Zatana can say Arbadacarba!

Another area to find strong women heroines would be online. There’s a lot of untapped potential there. Personally I would love to see a Girl Genius movie. Agatha Heterodyne would make a perfect super hero. She’s strong, resourceful, smart and beautiful. But the question is, who would play her? Maybe Scarlett Johansson should look at developing the role for herself instead of trying to get a Black Widow movie made. Interestingly, Black Widow didn’t make the EW list.

I’m hoping that this is more than a pipe dream. Remember what happened the last time Hollywood was hot to trot for female action stars? We got Catwoman and Elektra.

*SHUDDER*

Frank Frazetta - 1928 - 2010

RIP: 1928 - 2010

Noted fantasy artist Frank Frazetta passed away today in Florida. He was 82 and still painting.

Frazetta will probably be best remembered for his artwork for the Conan the Barbarian novels, although he also created iconic covers for both Tarzan and the John Carter of Mars series. He never read any of Rice Burroughs novels, saying instead:

“I didn’t read any of it… I drew him my way. It was really rugged. And it caught on. I didn’t care about what people thought. People who bought the books never complained about it. They probably didn’t read them.”

Frazetta worked in multiple fields, creating art for comic books (Shining Knight), daily comic strips (Lil’ Abner, Flash Gordon), movie posters (What’s New Pussycat, The Gauntlet), album covers and even an animated movie, Fire and Ice, released in 1983.

Conan the Conqueror - Frank FrazettaWorking commercially mainly in oils, Frazetta also painted in watercolour, pen and ink or simply sketched with pencils. His cover art for Edgar Rice Burrough’s “Escape on Venus” sold at auction for $251,000 in 2008. His work reached the $1 million mark in 2009 when his painting “Conan the Conqueror” sold to a private collector in 2009.

In later life, Frazetta was plagued by health challenges, a thyroid problem and a series of strokes diminished his manual dexterity, making it difficult to paint. Undaunted, Frazetta switched to his left hand, and continued painting until his death.

I’ve never read any of the Conan books, or Tarzan for that matter, but when I think of those characters, the image in my mind’s eye is invariably one painted by Frank Frazetta. You couldn’t spend the amount of time that I did in the Fantasy section of the local book store and not be influenced by his work. I was always fascinated by his use of light and shadow. It lent a heaviness to his work that suited what I knew of those characters, they were dangerous, unpredictable and raw and his images captured that perfectly.

I also have to admit to wondering how the heck those little metal bikini’s stayed on those busty women.

Frank Frazetta influenced so many modern day fantasy artists including Boris Vallejo and Yusuke Nakano, the lead artist for Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda video game series . The field may not be as thriving as it is today if it weren’t for him.

He will be missed.

Vampirella - Frank FrazettaWhat's New Pussycat - Frank FrazettaThe Brain - Frank FrazettaJohn  Carter of MarsTarzan - Frank FrazettaGollum - Frank Frazetta

Via: Associated Press

I *MUST* have these:

AWESOMESAUCE!

Via: Stargazing

The cover for the first issue of the new True Blood comic published by IDW has come out.

True Blood - Volume 1, Issue 1 CoverNice, but I’m not a fan of how Bill is drawn. He looks more like a caricature than a comic book character, but he’s draw by David Messina who has worked on some of my favorite Angel comics, so I’m not going to complain too loudly.

As mentioned, the books are drawn by David Messina (Angel: Old Friends, Doyle: Spotlight), written by Alan Ball, David Tischman (Bite Club) & Mariah Huehner, so it should be fun and fit in well with the series.

The first book has everyone reliving their deepest, darkest shames for the amusement of a vengeful spirit:

In this tantalizing series spinning out of the hit show, blood and sex mix on a hot rainy night at Merlotte’s, when Sookie and her friends are trapped by a vengeful spirit who feeds on shame. People die and dirty secrets are revealed as Sookie, Bill, Eric, Sam, Tara, Jason, and Lafayette and are all coerced to dig deep and tell painful memories from their past—those things we all have locked within us that we never tell another living soul!

Sounds interesting, although I have to wonder what secret shames could Sam, Tara, Jason and Lafayette have kept from Sookie all this time?

Guess we’ll find out on July 21st.

BTW, This is only the first of four alternate covers for the comic. According to HBO online, there are going to be four covers in total. If you order four copies of the first issue, you are guaranteed to get one of each. Every issue also features a pull-out poster drawn by David Messina.

Via: The Vault and HBO Online

Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. ClarkeMy poor DH has been waiting for the screen adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama for years. He even bought the video game. You should have seen him back in 2003 when it was announced that Morgan Freeman had optioned the movie for his production company Revelation Studios.  He was positively giddy. Over the moon would be how I described him.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that excited for a movie, ever!

The release date was slated for 2009.

Unfortunately, the movie never got off the ground. Director David Fincher confirmed it’s demise back in 2008,

“It looks like it’s not going to happen. There’s no script and as you know, Morgan Freeman’s not in the best of health right now. We’ve been trying to do it but it’s probably not going to happen.”

That didn’t stop an enterprising film student Philip Mahoney from The Vancouver Film School and visual artist Aaron Ross from making their own trailer. Check it out:

Talk about flawless. It is beautiful. I love that you get the vastness of the ship without ever really seeing the whole thing.

Hopefully this will generate a little bit of buzz and maybe something will happen with the project. I would love to see Fincher direct Rendezvous with Rama. I think he has the right vision for the project.

At any rate, cross your fingers and I’ll try to pry DH off the ceiling.

Via: SciFi Wire

IKAROS Solar Sail - JAXAThe idea of space exploration is nothing new. To people of my generation (gods! I sound like my grandmother!) it’s always been a given that someday people would be flying through space in huge metal cans discovering new planets and hopefully new civilizations.  To boldly go…..

For most geeks, space exploration is a staple part of our intellectual diet.

When we think about space travel,we think jet propulsion, fuel cells, dilithium crystals, antimatter engines, etc… All of these are essentially chemical reactions that creates thrust and pushes the space craft where the crew wanted it to go.

But did you know that there’s an alternative to sitting on top of a volatile mix of reactants that could blow you to kingdom-come should something go wrong?

It’s called the solar sail. A thin sheet of essentially plastic which harnesses solar wind to push it through space.

Okay, I can see you scowling from here. Solar Wind? The sun doesn’t produce wind!

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