New Trek influenced by classic episode, Balance of Terror


Balance of Terror is not a bad choice as episodes go… but what could it mean? The classic story introduced the secretive Romulans for the first time. A prolonged battle between two starships, Balance of Terror was a challenge of courage, intelligence and cunning.

The Romulan craft was equipped with a cloaking device that allowed the ship to become invisible, yet they could not fire while it was activated. The story fleshed out the identity of the Romulans through the sterling performance of Mark Lenard who would later portray Spock’s father, Sarek. The commander of the enemy vessel and Captain Kirk are both shown in nail-bitingly tense situations, so perfectly mirrored that Kirk gains his enemy’s respect by the end of the episode.

In addition to holding a vital place in Trek lore, the story was also an allegory for the political climate at the time. Like many key Trek stories of the 1960’s,  it serves as a time capsule of the American psyche as well as prompting some compassion toward those we define as enemies. If showrunner Fuller is looking to delve into that part of the nation’s gestalt consciousness, he has a hard yet worthwhile job on his hands.

But it could just mean that the new series will explore the Romulan War, something the previous program Enterprise did not get the opportunity to do.

I was chatting at length with someone the other night who put his finger on a key attribute missing from modern Trek which is not preaching morality or politics (some episodes of classic Trek are very conservative while others are liberal and while Roddenberry was a humanist, he didn’t bash belief systems). So while I am certainly on board for a politically charged liberal-leaning sci-fi program, I think one that promotes discourse and inner exploration could be even better rather than one that promotes further dissension and antagonism.

Star Trek invades SDCC2016


“I’m back.”

Star Wars may be ruling the screens today, but 2017 will be the year Paramount Strikes Back with the revival of Star Trek on the new streaming service, CBS All Access.

The latest iteration of Trek jump-started by the seizure-inducing JJ Abrams movie is rumored to reaching its conclusion with Beyond, warping into cinemas on July 14th. In its place, the new TV series is something of a mystery.

When SDCC begins on July 21st, expect to see the familiar crest of the Federation all over your news feed as Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies and Hannibal) will reveal some key details on the simply titled Star Trek.

We have seen five weekly TV programs and twelve feature films (with number 13 on the away), so the question is what can we expect from a new Trek?

Will this be set within established continuity? There is a rumor that this series will take place after the fifth movie, the Undiscovered Country. Will it explore the uncharted future past era of The Next Generation? Are we going to see another set of actors playing the popular Kirk, Spock and Bones roles following the Abrams story? Or will it be an anthology series dipping into the many periods of Trek past and future?

We may have to wait until next year to get all the details, but in a few weeks, we will know more when Star Trek takes over SDCC with a barrage of panels and an outdoor screening of Beyond.
NX-01 refit via:

Via i09:
News just broke that Bryan Fuller, the executive producer of the still-untitled 2017 CBS Star Trek series, will have a panel in the biggest room at Comic-Con, Hall H, on July 23 during the afternoon. It’s called Star Trek: Celebrating 50 Years and he’s expected to reveal news about that show, and chat with members of each Trek cast. Announced so far are William Shatner, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan, and Scott Bakula.

That panel alone would be super cool, but it’s just the bridge of the Enterprise.

Paramount previously announced they’re hosting the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond right outside the convention, at the Embarcadero Marina Park. That event is “the first-ever outdoor IMAX premiere” and “will include appearances by the film’s cast and crew, and a live concert performance by the San Diego symphony orchestra.”

But wait, there’s more. Just announced are five more Trek panels happening during the convention. They are as follows.

“Trek Talks: Science, the Smithsonian and ‘Star Trek’” (Friday, July 22, 6:30 p.m., Room 5AB)
“‘Star Trek’: The Rodenberry Vault” (Saturday, July 23, 12:30 p.m., Room 5AB)
“Trek Talks: ‘Star Trek’ and NASA Boldly Go” (Saturday, July 23 6 p.m., Room 5AB)
“‘Star Trek’ the Official Starships Collection: Designing and Filming Starships” (Saturday, July 23, 3 p.m., Room 28 D/E)
“‘Star Trek’: Five Decades of Comics” (Friday, July 22, 1:30p.m., Room 8).

Are you planning to attend the SDCC? If so, please drop a line!



What’s your favorite Trek?

Watch the Star Trek New Voyages episode: Mind Sifter!


Moon Knight fan video


Created as a horror hero in Werewolf By Night by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Moon Knight may appear as a Batman archetype on the surface, but he is far more complicated under the silly costume and moon-shaped ‘batarangs.’

A soldier of fortune, Marc Spector discovered the temple of the Egyptian god Konshu during a mission to loot the nearby treasure. Betrayed by his employer and left for dead, Spector is resurrected by the worshipers of Konshu and reborn as an avenger of the night, the ‘Fist of Konshu.’

After returning to the US, he creates two identities, a millionaire playboy Steven Grant and the taxicab driver Jack Lockley. These numerous alternate identities coupled with the voice of a vengeful Egyptian God explain away the fact that he is dressed entirely in white fighting in the darkness. Spector wants to be seen, he is a vision of terror to the criminal underworld, spreading the gospel of Konshu.

Violent, insane and self-destructive, Moon Knight dresses head-to-toe in blinding white so that his prey can see him descending from the sky like a furious specter. While he does share some similarities with DC Comics’ Batman, it’s clear to see that Moon Knight is much further off the reservation.

Moon Knight has had many iterations over the years. In 2014, warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey revived the character in a bizarre street-level horror/suspense anthology series. The approach clicked and while I was reticent to accept a version of the vigilante who had tossed aside his costume for a white suit… it kinda fits. A fan-made movie condenses the first five issues of the series and (while it does have a very awkward ‘rap’ moment), it is worth a look.

The latest version of Moon Knight is absolutely amazing. It began with Spector in an insane asylum straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest which I found questionable but has quickly developed into something far more outlandish and unsettling than I could imagine.
I have no doubt that Marvel is eyeing Moon Knight as a contender for their next streaming series alongside Iron Fist and The Punisher. It’s just a matter of time before the Fist of Konshu gets his comeuppance.

Recommended: Moon Knight Vol.1 From the Dead

Hail Hydra


Poster by Eric Tan


This phrase, popularized in the second Captain America film, The Winter Soldier , is making front page news across the country. For the initiated, Hydra is an evil terrorist organization that first appeared back in 1965. While James Bond and MI6 had ‘Spectre,’ Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. had Hydra. These guys were so evil that they creeped out the Nazis.

In recent years, Hydra has been presented in comics and in film/tv as an organization so insidious that it had secretly infiltrated certain aspects of government over a long game tracking back to its inception on WWII. As of this week, that infestation has spread to the star-spangled Avenger Captain America.

The fate of a fictional character is making front page news. That means one of two things, America is a very sad place where pop culture icons are more important than actual news involving real people in actual places… or these cultural icons are important.

Avengers - Captain America_PosterAs a cynic, I’m torn. I want to brush the dust off my shoulders and stand tall with my imaginary degree of comic book lore, stating that these ‘funny books’ actually mean something and have a direct impact on our culture… but I’m also frustrated by two things; one is that it is indeed not as important as real news pieces which could uncover insidious deeds or help those in need and there are far more people today with opinions on Captain America than there were yesterday. And they are not buying the comic book.

comic-book-rack-1975I have a pretty basic rule when it comes to these things; if you want to play along, you pay admission. I’m down to talk about comics with almost anyone, but my pet peeve is the uninformed angry person on the street with maybe a t-shirt and a dvd supporting their interest and a vague memory of the character. This happens all the time and it always annoys me. If you want to get outraged, join in, read the book and have an informed opinion rather than just outrage.

Upset about Blue Beetle’s death? Why didn’t you buy *one* of his comics. Furious over Spider-Man’s new status quot? Why does your collection stop at 1996? Personally pained over Batman’s death? Well… get in line.

Strangely, Nick Spencer,  current writer of both Captain America: Sam Wilson and the newly released Captain America: Steve Rogers series (as well as the hit series Morning Glories), is all a-flutter with the attention and assures readers that there is more to come.

Via the Daily Beast:

When you decide to do something like this, you understand obviously that people aren’t gonna throw you a party for it. You understand that this is the kind of story designed to upset people and shock people and worry people. That’s the response you’re supposed to have to something like this, when you’re seeing a bad thing. So, yeah, this is certainly the kind of response I expected, but in terms of the magnitude of it and just how many people are chiming in, that part’s unreal. That surpassed any expectation that I had.

I think it just comes down to [the fact that] this character, particularly since the movies, has really exploded in popularity. Obviously he represents a lot to a lot of people. They’re emotionally invested, which is good. The worst thing that could have happened today is people shrugging, or even being reasonable. That would’ve said that we didn’t stick the landing on it. So this is what we wanted, we just have even more of it than we imagined.

we’ve been holding onto this for about 16 months now, so it’s been well over a year that we’ve been keeping this under wraps. And that was a hugely gratifying thing, especially in the last couple of months as we started work on the issue. There’s an artist drawing it [Jesús Saiz] and a letterer [Joe Caramagna], and you start to worry because obviously the book is getting passed through a lot of hands and there’s something tangible out there that can get leaked. So yeah, I mean all the credit in the world goes to Tom and everyone at Marvel, they really went above and beyond to keep a lid on this. They took a lot of special measures that we’ve never had before—and it worked! We managed to keep this until it started leaking out last night, which was inevitable because that’s when the book started arriving at various places. But yeah, it was a big success. I was really surprised. I thought for sure it would be ruined.

One of the first things most people will probably think is, “But hasn’t he spent the last 75 years fighting Hydra?” How do you reconcile the twist with the character’s history?

48807535.cached.jpgI can’t say a lot on that front, but what I can say is that that is not a huge point of concern in the story. That question will be answered, at least for the most part, in the next issue. That wasn’t something that we wanted to drag out. We wanted to make that stuff as clear as we could upfront. So now that we’ve gotten the big surprise, we’re going to go back and explain some things to you so that you, as a reader, have a much clearer vantage point. But your vantage point may differ greatly from the characters in the Marvel universe.

There’s a lot of uproar online about how this storyline insults the legacies of Captain America’s Jewish creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

Look, everybody who’s working on this story loves Captain America. I know that it may not seem like it today. But this book is edited by Tom Brevoort, who has been protecting this character’s legacy for a very long time now. He’s not gonna let me do anything that he thinks is going to endanger that character’s legacy and how the character is perceived. It’s always difficult when you’re at this point in a story, because you don’t just wanna tell people, “Everything’s gonna work out great!” Because that certainly may not be the case here. But what I think I can say with confidence is that with this story, our intention and our hope is that in its own unique way, it reinforces what everybody already knows about Captain America, which is his power as a symbol and what that means. We are approaching it from a different angle, but I think it illuminates the character in a way that we’ve never seen before.

It’s always tough. The eternal divide is the reader wants the character to succeed, to be happy, to win. Our job is often to put the characters through things and that can often be mistaken for a lack of respect or care for the character. It’s just the reality of what draws people into these stories, whether you realize it or not, and this is going to be a major test for a lot of characters in the Marvel universe.
(read more here)


So there you have it from the guy who is actually writing the book that has earned him death threats and the ire of millions of lapsed comic book fans across the globe, suddenly invested in a character they had forgotten about until yesterday.

Oh, and on that other thing bouncing around the Twittersphere? Nick Spencer had some diplomatic words for the Captain America’s boyfriend movement.

Have you been watching the #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend campaign unfold?

Yeah. I think the only thing I can say there is it speaks to people’s passion for the character. Which probably isn’t much of an answer, but people strongly identify with these characters, they’re strongly invested in these characters’ lives, and I think that this is a reflection of that energy.

More as it comes… but keep buying the books.

Not sure where your local comic shop is? Try!

Not into the physical books? Get thee to comixology or for digital comics offerings.


For the complete list of this week’s comics, click here.

Not sure where your local comic shop is? Try!

(note: all information including ad copy is from the publisher)
If you can’t make it to the shop, just click on any of the links below to be taken to an online retailer. I don’t get any referrals for these sales, I’m just doing my bit to spread the word on some neat products.

StarWars_EmpireStrikesBack.jpgStar Wars The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume 1 The Empire Strikes Back HC, $24.95
Adventure Time Enchiridion Edition Volume 5 HC, $49.99
Baker Street Peculiars #3 (Of 4)(Cover A Andy Hirsch), $3.99
Massive Library Edition Volume 1 HC, $39.99
Batman_52.jpgBatman #52 (Guillem March Regular Cover), $3.99
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Volume 3 TP, $17.99
Complete Peanuts Volume 5 1959-1960 TP, $22.99
DitkoSteve Ditko Archives Volume 6 Outer Limits HC, $39.99
Wallace Wood Presents Shattuck HC (not verified by Diamond), $24.99
Atomic Robo And The Ring Of Fire TP, $19.99
Popeye Classics #46 (Cover A Bud Sagendorf), $4.99
Avengers_9.jpgAll-New All-Different Avengers #9 (Alex Ross Regular Cover), $3.99
Black Panther #2 (Brian Stelfreeze Regular Cover), $3.99
Darth Vader #20 (Mark Brooks Regular Cover), $4.99
Doctor Strange #6 (Chris Bachalo 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $4.99
Marvel Mighty Colors Board Book HC, $7.99
Marvel Mighty Numbers Board Book HC, $7.99
Spider-Man Storybook Collection HC, $16.99
Ant-Man Little Golden Book HC, $4.99
Courageous Captain America Little Golden Book HC, $4.99
Guardians Of The Galaxy Little Golden Book HC, $4.99
Incredible Hulk Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Iron Man Eye Of The Dragon Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Mighty Avengers Lights Out Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Mighty Avengers Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Mighty Thor Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Spider Man High Voltage Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Spider Man Trapped By The Green Goblin Little Golden Book HC (Reissue), $4.99
Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor Year Two #5 (Cover A Simon Myers), $3.99
James Bond 007 Classics Trading Card Box, AR
James Bond 007 Classics Trading Card Collectors Album, AR

Star Trek Axanar

Prelude_to_Axanar_poster.jpgWhile we await the release of the third and final new Star Trek film for some time and the upcoming streaming TV series, it may be a good time to give a closer look at the fan-funded project Star Trek Axanar.

Christian Gossett and Alec Peters utilized the resources of special effects experts and several actors and actresses familiar to fans of Star Trek and cult sci-fi in general (including Battlestar Galactica’s Richard Hatch). They raised $101,000 (well over the $10,000 goal) via Kickstarter and released Prelude to Axanar for a limited release.

Set during the Four-Year War, Axanar serves as a bridge between Enterprise and the Original Series. A glimpse is even given of NCC-1701 craft in dry dock!

Star Trek Axanar strives to accomplish something few of the Star Trek projects from Paramount has, to fit into canon. Not only does it feature actors reprising their roles, but it also sets up plot threads connecting to classic Trek stories such as Patterns of Force and Whom Gods Destroy – one of my personal faves.

This is the best thing to happen for Trek fans in decades and the screening of the 21 minute prelude earned acclaim from professional critics. Then this happened:

On December 29, 2015, CBS and Paramount Pictures filed for an injunction and damages in the US District Court for the Central District of California, stating Axanar works infringe their rights by making use of the Klingon language and “innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes.”

On March 28, 2016, Axanar Productions filed a motion to dismiss or strike Paramount and CBS’s claims, saying the elements mentioned in the court filing are not protected by copyright and it is seeking premature relief from a work, the Axanar film, that does not exist.

At a time when (reportedly) Paramount is urging its staff to refrain from making their feature films ‘too Star Trekky’ (witness the high-octane trailer for Star Trek Beyond), it is truly painful that a project like this is being shelved.

Will we see Star Trek Axanar? Given that the film’s creators worked so hard to get this project off the ground and the product to date is so good that it has Paramount suing… it’s a possibility.

Bookmark this page for more.

Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick

268ee323f1e8756717ed55d4c5681414.jpgVia CultBox: American writer Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) wrote 44 novels and 121 short stories, with the movies Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck and The Adjustment Bureau all based on his works.

Bryan Cranston commented: “This is an electric dream come true. We are so thrilled to be able to explore and expand upon the evergreen themes found in the incredible work of this literary master.”

Executive producer Ronald D. Moore said: “As a long-time fan of Philip K. Dick’s work, it’s a tremendous honour and thrill to be part of this series. His short stories are a treasure-trove of material for artists to draw from and I think this will be a very exciting project.”

Dick’s daughter Isa Dick Hackett added: “I’m thrilled to be working with this exceptional team to bring my father’s short stories to life. Often the source for big, high concept feature films, these short stories represent some of the most dazzling conceptual work of his career, and the fact that they will be adapted by such a diverse set of creative voices is truly an honour.”

Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick will premiere on Channel 4 in the UK.

No word yet on a domestic release, though Netflix could be a possibility.

A look back… Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)

david_hasselhoff_nick_fury.jpgAs fans across the nation (it already premiered overseas) await the release of the latest superhero epic, Captain America: Civil War, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look back to a simpler time when comic books were not looked upon as fodder for mega blockbusters. To a time when they were quickly forgotten TV movies of the week. To a time when the Hoff was Nick Fury.

At the time, Hasselhoff was in a position to reinvent himself, to a degree (keep in mind, this was Baywatch era Hoff) and acting as a tough-as-nails action hero sorta suits him. Even with the extremely limited resources, the TV movie is pretty good. It’s faithful to the source material (something fans complain about even in the face of the super successful feature films) down to the characters and vehicle designs. Aside from some cringe-worthy performances, the cast is pretty good too. And, it may be the headaches caused by eyestrain, but David Hasselhoff makes a picture perfect Nick Fury.


Nick Fury by Lee Weeks

So while we sit in the comfy recliner or stadium seats tonight (or maybe later this weekend), enjoying a scintillating display of computer graphics, brilliant cinematography and high octane acting, remember that this torch was carried by so many during a time when no one… *NO ONE* cared for the silly books. And yet, some tried to do them justice. Yes… even the Hoff (and Rex Smith, too… I guess).

First look at Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens

Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth Be With You.

StarWars_Lego_ForceAwakensTo celebrate, here is an 8 minute clip of the upcoming Lego Star Wars game that will adapt Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Lead through by one of the game developers, this is fun look at what is to come.

C3PO_21_panel_aPersonally, I’m excited about the PlayStation exclusive content The Phantom Limb, which could be related to the C-3PO one-shot by former Starman team James Robinson and Tony Harris.

Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens has June 28th release date and can be pre-ordered from Amazon. StarWars_Lego_ForceAwakens_PS4
I plan to attend a special event at the Baxter Barcade in wonderful Chapel Hill this evening. How will you be celebrating this May 4th?

Toys of the past: Action Man

hqdefaultWhile we had G.I. Joe Action Team in the US, across the pond Action Man by Palitoy reigned supreme. Plaid Stallions brings us this omnibus of advertising from yesteryear. Showcasing the realistic musculature, moving eyes, fuzzy beards and more, Action Man was the height of the toy doll craze (possibly topped by Captain Action, but that;’s a whole other thing).

How could this be any cooler? Tom Baker voice over at the 2:30 mark!

(Nostalgic and into odd films? You may be interested in a related article on the film Marwencol, in which a man works through his trauma with old G.I. Joe’s and develops a stunning fantasy world)