Sure, Jack Kirby’s a revered artist, and he created some of the best known comic characters around. Captain America and the Avengers and the Inhumans and the X-men, Galactus and the Silver Surfer and Red Skull and Darkseid, Kirby had a major hand in the stories and look of the heroes and villains currently raking in millions upon millions for film franchises on both sides of the ‘verse divide. He’s a giant of a figure, as BBP continues celebrating a summer of Kirby at 100. But did you know Jack Kirby was a spy?
They leave a lasting effect in the mind, don’t they?
Why, just last week, this very column highlighted the highly anticipated release of the new Aliens: Dead Orbit series, published by Dark Horse Comics. That one starred, arguably, the greatest and most horrific alien to ever chest-burst its way on to the silver scree. The comic book release happily coincided with #AlienDay and you can catch that particular column here, if you missed it the first time around.
But there’s another cinematic alien every bit as popular as the double-mawed creature of our nightmares.
And today, Dark Horse Comics is once again behind the furthering of that creature’s pop culture legend.
Today sees the release of the universe’s biggest and baddest big-game hunter with Predator: Hunters #1!
Here on planet earth, it’s a different story! Screams of fright, horror and joy abound when we’re talking about the Alien film franchise. You know, the one made famous by directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron: Alien in 1979 and Aliens in 1986. They were the first R-rated films that an under-age me needed to see. Well, those two and Canadian classic, Porky’s.
Those two highlight films have spun-off a flurry of pop culture gold that includes five other Alien-centered films of varying quality (two of which enthusiastically co-star the sci-fi classic Predator creature) with a new and eagerly-anticipated film in the horror franchise only a month away from release.
There’s even a day of the year dedicated to the Alien franchise, an unofficial holiday for fans around this planet: #AlienDay is today, April 26! Tweet out those chest-busters!
With pop culture supremacy, of course, come loads of comic books. Appropriately, then, today sees the release of the first issue of a new mini-series…Aliens: Dead Orbit #1, the perfect accompaniment to a day dedicated to everyone’s favourite xenomorph!
My father had collected and read collected those books during the mid-to-late 1970’s. in the early 1980’s, I found them on the shelf, dusted them off, and stared at the covers for what seemed like forever! The Beasts of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, Tarzan Triumphant and Tarzan and the Leopard Men, as well as the others, are remembered very, very fondly.
Those covers by artist extraordinaire, Neal Adams, leapt off the page with thrills, menace and dramatic excitement! They introduced me to pulp adventure and fueled my imagination, leading me towards a burgeoning love of the fantasy and science fiction genres.
They also cemented a common pop culture bond between father and son.
Through Tarzan, other Burroughs classics came to my attention, chiefly, the strange and fascinating worlds of Barsoom and Pellucidar and all the characters that inhabited those continents.
Today sees a childhood imagination rekindled with the intermingling of disparate characters in the pop culture world of comic books.
Of course, that series would need to have the greatest pulp title ever devised…and it does with: The Greatest Adventure #1!
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David Bowie starred in quite a few movies during his career, including Labyrinth, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and Absolute Beginners. Perhaps none is more metatextual, however, than Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth.
In the middle of things.
Boy, the old Latin language can sure sound an interesting turn of phrase, here in the twentieth century, can’t it? It’s the past and the future, gloriously shaking hands whilst shedding some light of understanding on each other. Its comingling makes one feel smart, when uttered in a proper, and apt, context, of course.
And today, uttering “in medias res” is proper and apt.
It’s used to describe the eleventh chapter of one of the most entirely riveting (and fun!) comic book series being published these days.
If you’ve been with Paper Girls for the last year, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new to the title, don’t let missing out on the previous ten chapters deter you for picking up the latest installment – I’ve got you covered at the end of this column.
Handshakes aside, in medias res, today sees the release of Paper Girls #11!
TIFF’s been doing a retrospective on the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. A prodigious wunderkind of the seventies German New Wave, he died of a drug overdose at 37, leaving behind over 40 features and television mini-series made in a brief 15-year career. (Cocaine is a powerful drug in the right nose.) In that burgeoning output, Fassbinder made only one science fiction film. World on a Wire appeared in 1973, a made-for-TV two-parter that virtually disappeared soon after its release. Steeped in a 1970s futurist aesthetic, the film is both wildly dated and amazingly anticipatory, a speculative plunge into the world of virtual reality fully 36 years ahead of The Matrix. Turns out Neo wasn’t the only one popping pills to see what’s really going on.
From Seven to Eternity to Black Science to Saga to Monstress, to Red Thorn to name only a few! There’s a litany of amazing reads available to us each and every week, and we here at Biff Bam Pop! love every single one of them!
And since there’s so much love to go around, why not add another to your fervent reading pile?
This week sees the release of Ether #1 from the critically acclaimed (and one of The Wednesday Run’s favorites) writer and artist, Matt Kindt!
Arrival …um …arrived in US theaters over the weekend. Based on Ted Chiang’s Nebula and Sturgeon award winning novella, The Story of Your Life, the movie opened to mostly good reviews and a modest third place domestic box office take. How did the movie hold up to its source material? Let’s chat after the break (and yes, lots of spoilers!)