Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Howard Chaykin In The 25th Century

Hermes Press is publishing a new Buck Rogers In The 25th Century comic series by comics legend Howard Chaykin, the first issue in comics shops now! All I'll say is it's Buck Rogers back to his roots, and it's great fun. Chaykin brings a depth to the character within the context often ignored. And I had no idea it was going to be there! The shop owner was quick to see me gleefully grab a copy off the shelf, "I knew I should have pulled that for you, it's like the original comic-strips, Chaykin takes it back to the roots..."

To be fair, you can go to most online comics sites, and have a 50/50 chance to read much the same, many believe Buck Rogers started in the funnies, one place put it in a way not technically wrong, "Over eighty years after the creation of the newspaper strip that become a household word..."

I'm always amazed at the lack of research done by some comics journalist, particularly given the universal annoyance by comic collectors and comics journalists, when mainstream journalists don't bother to get facts straight. Anything from claiming Tony Stark was modeled after Steve Jobs, or that Stan Lee invented the comic book. It drives us all crazy.

Buck Rogers was born in the pulps! Created by Philip Francis Nowlan. To be clear, he started out as Anthony Rogers and got his nickname, Buck in the funny pages.

There have been many versions of Buck Rogers. Comics strips, radio, movie serials, comic books, books, a video games, Role-Playing Games, TV shows. There were two tv shows, one in the 50's and the one from 1979 to '81, with Gil Gerard, that network execs thought was so good, they released the pilot theatrically. There was was even a recent comic from Dynamite that made everyone look like Tron.

TSR even produced some novels of no real significance, as well as a very cool, very complex, very fun, intergalactic war board game.

There was one RPG that harkened back to Buck's roots, a Buck Rogers role-playing game called High-Adventure Cliffhangers (pictured below), the game didn't go very far, there was only a box set, and one expansion module, called "War Against the Han." 

There is a very nice, set of the comic strip reprints being published by Hermes Press as well, "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Newspaper Dailies" I believe is up to volume eight. So you've already spent over three hundred dollars if you've been getting them. Just wait, I'm sure whole sets of these things will start to show up at used bookstores soon as the guys old enough to appreciate this stuff will need to start to unload this stuff. Maybe sadly, they'll need shelf space as the kids move back in,  or maybe they are getting married again and the future wife thinks the collection is taking up too much space, or more sadly divorced and they need the money, or most sadly dead.

If you want to explore Buck's real roots, you need to go a little deeper.

The seminal character first appeared in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories, in a story titled, "Armageddon 2419 A.D." by Philip Francis Nowlan. A second story, "The Airlords of Han," appeared in the March 1929 issue. The two stories have often been reprinted, combined as one novel, under the original title, "Armageddon 2419 A.D." There seemed to be a few editions readily available used online.

Or you can get FREE audiobook versions from Librivox.org here are links to the individual books...

Armageddon 2419 A.D.

The Airlords of Han 

If you really want to hunt around, in the eighties, right around the time Gil Gerard was cashing in his last few NBC paychecks, there was a series of authorized sequels to Nowlan's stories, published by Ace (pictured above). Luckily having nothing to do with the TV series, despite the white uniform on the cover illustrations. They were written by a variety of authors who worked from an outline written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, which is also in some way connected to their novel, Lucifer's Hammer.

Mordred by John Eric Holmes (Ace, January 1981)
Warrior's Blood by Richard S. McEnroe (Ace, January 1981)
Warrior's World by Richard S. McEnroe (Ace, October 1981)
Rogers' Rangers by John Silbersack (Ace, August 1983)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How Chris Gore taught me to be wary of critics

I really liked the new Lone Ranger movie. Despite the critics saying it was the worst film ever made. They said the same thing about John Carter a year ago. I enjoyed both movies as much as I did Joss Whedon's Avengers, they were all great fun.

Disney just launched a new Avengers show more closely based on the hit movie, after just canceling the last one they launched after one season.

I really enjoyed the first series, there were some original stories but it was largely based on the Avenger's comic history. It had a rotating roster and introduced characters like Vision, Black Panther and Wonderman in ways very loyal to the comics. Seriously, they introduced and ran with Hank Pym's many twists and turns from Ant Man to Yellow Jacket. As well as any long time Avengers fan could hope anyway, fitting all that history while going from before the team's origin to even a Skrull Secret Invasion, all in just one season. It was actually kind of impressive, even if the animation itself was pretty average. So much so, I was hoping for a second season, even when I heard the show was being replaced with another Avengers show, I hoped it would pick up where season one left off.

The new series feels more stable, I guess would be the word. With a set roster and characterizations directly from the Joss Whedon film. With the Falcon added in in anticipation of his appearance in the upcoming Captain America film, (Will they cancel this cartoon to start a new more accurate Falcon interpretation next year?).

But this isn't the first Marvel cartoon to have changed mid-stride before.

Back in the nineties there was a Marvel animation hour with half hour shows starring The Fantastic Four and Iron Man. Both had HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE first seasons, the FF show's art and stories were unwatchable and juvenile, and Iron Man wasn't much better. Obviously designed to sell toys.

Whoever produced the shows made drastic improvements in both the art and storytelling for the second seasons. The FF show was the most improved, many episodes with stories and art taken directly from old Kirby & Lee comics.  Even a multi-part INHUMANS SAGA! The shows opening was changed, and even the costumes changed, going from bright light blue to the dark blue in the comics at the time.

That second season of this show is great fun to watch, probably some of the best Marvel cartoons ever made. I would say season two was one of the best FF shows ever. But sadly most people will never see them. Unfortunately it's been released on DVD along with season one, OR hidden behind season one rather. All the packaging reflects the first season's horrible character designs. Every review I saw of the thing was awful, and obviously of the first season, with no mention not even the slightest of hints of the style change in the second season. I can't blame the critics, unless you know to skip the first season and go directly to disc three and four, why would you watch all four discs of dreck thinking it's all like that. I tried to point out to one reviewer, Chris Gore.


The guy claims to be a self-proclaimed "geek" on TV and he obviously had no idea the two seasons were different in any way, and when asked about it, he refused to acknowledge there was any quality changes. He said only a geek like me would even notice the difference, to which I pointed out....

1. Who do you think your review was for, who would be buying an FF DVD based on a review on Attack of the Show, if not for an 18-35 year old "geek" like me, looking for stuff "hidden" like this, right?

2. the writing and animation changes so significantly in season two, so much so if you can make the claim "only a geek like me would even notice the difference," it proves to me you didn't even watch any season two episodes. Which is when he admitted an assistant or an intern or something did the watching.

I could just as easily never saw any more episodes from the show and assumed the whole thing sucked and agreed with his review based on what i had seen, I would never have known the difference and it would not have changed my life any. But I thought reviewers were supposed to help you find the cool stuff and avoid the bad, this guy was more worried about being a brand name content provider for G4 tv, than making credible reviews. (Not that it really helped to keep G4 on the air).

I hadn't thought about that until recently,  thinking about reviews of John Carter or this summer's The Lone Ranger. According to reviewers, both were the worst films ever made. In a world that gave us Battle ship, Ghost Rider 2, Green Lantern and Cloud Atlas, that should mean something. But why should the reviewers bother to see something before hating it, why should they be any different than an internet troll.

For what it's worth, see The Lone Ranger on the big screen if you still can, rent John Carter and buy a copy of Fantastic Four The Complete 1994-95 Animated Television Series, JUST DON'T WATCH DISC 1 & 2, only watch disc 3 & 4. Trust me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Indy Hunter Interview: Pat Broderick

Comics veteran Pat Broderick takes time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about his latest project: Nibiru and the Legend of The Annunaki!

Sometime in the 70's a young artist decided that there was better opportunity outside his basement and tried out for a contest in New York. Instantly proven to be a talent worth developing, legendary veteran creator Pat Broderick has archived his work for Marvel and D.C. comics, and taken on a new adventure. Place your butts on your chill mat and listen to the soarin' sounds in your consciousness while I ask Mr. Broderick a few questions about his newest project and how he got started. It's okay. I am here to help you dear reader.

Hi Pat, thanks for talking with us.
It's a pleasure, Hunter.

For those just meeting you, what’s some of your past work they might be familiar with?
My history in comics dates back to the early seventies, Indy.
My first work fell under DC COMICS for their Dollar Size Family books, creating contents pages and short stories to fill the gaps so to speak. I got that job winning the DC comics junior Bullpen contest they sponsored the summer or 74’ at the New York Comic Con.

After about a year there I joined Continuity and Associates, which is the studio founded by Neal Adams and the late Dick Giordano. I stayed at Continuity for about two years learning the craft. Then I began with The Planet of Vampires for Atlas comics.

After a short time there, I began working for Marvel comics with Captain Marvel, The Micronauts, and the Weird World series. Then, over at DC comics again with the Legion of Super Heroes, The Fury of Firestorm ,Green Lantern, SwampThing and a few other titles.

Finally, back again to Marvel for a year’s run on Alpha Flight, and three plus years on Doom 2099.

What was life like after comics?
I had spent the following few years back in advertising, working for a company out of Dallas, TX called Tracy Locke, where I managed an in-house creative department. I also got my feet wet in animation doing design work for the Jimmy Neutron Movie and TV series. In 1999, my family and I moved back to the Tampa Bay area, which is where we're from, and I began teaching at IADT in their animation department, and I’m still there today.

What can you tell us about Nibiru?
Two years ago, I decided to get back into the comics field, but this time for myself. As a side note, I've always been a history buff and had come across the early works of Zachariah Sitchen and his research on the Sumerian history. From there, it seemed that a world had opened up. I found the interpretation of the "Enmu Elish," The Sumerian 7 tablets of creation and their tales of their Gods, who lived amongst them.

Remember also that, during the late 70's and the 80's, there began a theory of there existing a 10th planet in our solar system. Also, this was when it was first postulated that we might actually have a binary star system. All of this came together into one theory for me.

The early Sumerians spoke of their Gods coming from a world which had been captured by our solar system called Nibiru. During its first passage into our own system, it collided with a planet which they called Tiamet. It was this collision which created the "Hammered Bracelet," our asteroid belt, and dislodged what was left of Tiamet, sending it and one of its moons into a new orbit where we find our world now. Tiamet is Earth, which settled into its' present orbit.

The Sumerian tablets also speak of a race of beings on Nibiru called the Anunnaki and how they came to discover our Earth and established an outpost here to mine for an element which they needed to repair their atmosphere. Gold was that element. 450,000 years ago, they landed in the area which we now call Iraq and established their outpost. The expedition was run by two brothers from their royal house, Enil and Enki, along with, first, about 600 Nibiruians. There, the youngest of the two brothers built his home, called the E-den, and, from there, they spread across the globe. Signs of that civilization exist today as they used a unique building method: pyramids.

They worked here alone for almost 200,000 years until there was a revolt in their ranks due to the harsh conditions they found themselves in. So, in order to quell the revolt, the oldest brother, Enki, who was a scientist and in charge of the mining, took from the indigenous species here and altered their DNA by adding some of their own, and created ADAMU, the first human.

So, according to these tablets, which are 8,000 years older than the Old Testament, we have the first mention of Eden and the creation of man and the story of the Anunnaki and their history here both before the great Flood and afterwards, up until they left our planet some 300,000 or so years ago. Their story is there for all to read. What I have done is try to bring it to life again in the comic book form of communication. Kind of like bringing the written word, as the Sumerian cuneiform is the first written language, full circle to our world of today from stone reliefs depicting this history, to the sequential page.

Your current project Nibiru and the Legend of The Annunaki is a monthly subscription digital series. What went into the decision to go digital? Will it go to print eventually?
What better medium than the digital medium first, then as a trade collection later.

If you can, describe to us a day in production for Nibiru? I’m always interested to hear other creators/publishers methods as I continue to refine my own. Hoping to pick up some tips along the way.
A day of production works like this: I have 16 pages a month to produce. First, there are the notes, or outline. Remember, this story takes place long before the great flood, so it’s wide open for me. These beings have to have a look which can be the basis for multiple civilizations: Egyptian, Asian, and South American. So, there must be elements of all of these combined into the visuals. Then there’s the production of the black and white art. The files are passed off to Robb Epps, my partner and colorist on the series. After Robb has finished the coloring, I then layout the lettering. Back to Robb for editing, and, finally back to me for the final approval. Then, through the miracle of the internet, from my web site at www.theartofpatbroderick.com, it is "shipped" to my subscribers. I might mention also that we are in the process of placing it with Comixology, and, already, I have a French publisher interested in distributing it in the European market through his banner.

It’s a LOT of work but very satisfying.

Lastly Pat, what do you want people to take away from Nibiru and The Legend of Annunaki?
What I want people to see is that there is a long history behind us all. And that what we think we know is not actually what was, or will be, again. Because they, the Anunnaki are coming back. What we've experienced, global change, is actually a result of their planets influence on our world. Their planets' existence explains why Uranus is tilted on its axis, why there is the inner asteroid belt, why we have an inbred need for gold, why there are religious wars today, how we came to be, and what will become of us.

Thanks again Pat for speaking with us.

You can check out Pat Broderick's latest project at http://theartofpatbroderick.com/

And feel free to continue the discussion over at the League boards!