From those poly-bagged Marvel Comics and DC Comics two-for-one deals found on the local department store magazine rack, I deftly moved to the direct-market comic book store and all they had to offer.
It was there that I came across periodicals that featured sample chapters, biographies, focus articles and interviews with some of the writers and artists that I was just discovering – and growing to love. More than just monthly Batman comics, I was reading and adoring issues of The Comics Reader (1961-1984), Epic Illustrated (1980-1986) and The Comics Journal (1977-and still going, albeit online), full of tales of writers and artists and their influences, their work, and their craft.
Those sorts of industry and artistry periodicals have gone the way of most print zines, unfortunately – which is to say that they can now be found, somewhat fragmented, on online websites and blogs.
That twenty-first century paradigm is well and fine – but I do miss the hardcopy in-my-hand, comic book industry magazine, bought at the local comic book shop.
IDW Publishing looks to remedy that situation (along with distinctly twenty-first century tech) with the publication of the first hardcover volume of Full Bleed: The Comics & Culture Quarterly Volume 1
Castle Rock, the upcoming Hulu series based on the semi-fictional world from Stephen King’s fiction, has a new teaser trailer.
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Last year’s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic 1986 massive horror novel IT proved to be a huge draw for horror fans. The film grossed $700 million worldwide, the biggest horror movie of all time. And the great thing is, IT is absolutely outstanding as both a film with frights and a coming of age tale.
For all the strife our world went through, there were some solid pop culture releases that managed to make the year a little better place. As my colleagues here have been running down their favorite things, so too shall I. Let me know what you enjoyed, and if any of my faves made your list as well. Read the rest of this entry
Stephen King talks about what went wrong with The Dark Tower, news on an IT Director’s Cut, and more, as we look at some of the biggest stories from the week in horror.
Stephen King on what happened with The Dark Tower
I’m a Dark Tower junkie, I have the Tower tattooed on my arm. What that means with regard to the adaptation from the summer is that I’m fairly forgiving of its many faults. Following its troubled birth, I knew that it wasn’t going to be the epic we all hoped for, so instead, I accepted it for what it was – a quick and dirty trip to the world of Roland Deschain and The Man in Black. Of course, Stephen King himself has his own opinions on why the film ultimately failed at the box office. He told Entertainment Weekly:
I liked everybody involved with that movie and I liked some of the casting choices for it. I liked Modi Wiczyk, the producer, the director, everybody. So you know I’m always careful what I say about it.
But I will say this, okay? The real problem, as far as I’m concerned is, they went in to this movie, and I think this was a studio edict pretty much: this is going to be a PG-13 movie. It’s going to be a tentpole movie. We want to make sure that we get people in there from the ages of, let’s say, 12 right on up to whatever the target age is. Let’s say 12 to 35. That’s what we want. So it has to be PG-13, and when they did that I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before.
There was a decision made, too, to start it pretty much in the middle, and when they actually made the movie I had doubts about it from the beginning, and expressed them, and didn’t really get too far. Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know? It doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back. And I thought to myself, Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this, and they were. So there was some of that problem, too. Read the rest of this entry
31 Days of Horror: Enter the Stephen King Universe with Creepshow and The Dark Tower: The Art of the Film
2017 will go down as a massive year for the king of horror, Stephen King. A bestselling novel (Sleeping Beauties), multiples television shows (The Mist, Mr. Mercedes), film adaptations on both Netflix (1922, Gerald’s Game) and the big screen (It, The Dark Tower) – the list goes on and on. Here to add to it are two books tied in to the Stephen King Universe – one a blast from the past, the other a look at what should have been the beginning of a bright future.
Originally published back in 1982 at the same time as its cinematic release, the classic Stephen King graphic novel Creepshow has been reprinted for the first time in decades by Simon & Schuster. The timing couldn’t have been more appropriate, as the artwork for Creepshow comes from the pencil of the great and now sadly gone Bernie Wrightson. The co-creator of Swamp Thing, and a regular illustrator of King’ work, including his contributions to King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, Wrightson died this year after a long and continuous battle with ill health. His influence on generations of artists has never been in doubt, and it’s wonderful to have his and King’s tribute to the EC comics of their youth readily available for a new generation of horror fans eager to dig in. The graphic novel features the five stories that made up the original film, which was directed by another master who left us this year, George A. Romero.
Thursday night, in front of 1,100 excited and devoted fans gathered in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Stephen King and his son Owen King read from their new collaboration, Sleeping Beauties.
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada, the novel, about a sleeping epidemic that affects women around the world, is the first time the two have worked together, thought they did do a book tour back in 2013, when Stephen was promoting Doctor Sleep and Owen his first novel, Double Feature. I was in the middle of a battle with pneumonia that had actually sent me to the hospital, but that didn’t hold me back from making the event when it hit Toronto. That night, I had the chance to talk to the elder King, probably my greatest inspiration as a writer. He signed my Marvel Comics Dark Tower Omnibus, and I showed him the outline of the Michael Whelan-inspired art that would soon become my second tattoo.
This night at Koerner Hall had no autograph session, but it was still exciting to be in the room with both Kings. Owen was noticeably more comfortable in front of a crowd than he was back in 2013. He started the evening reading from Sleeping Beauties, a book that’s humour becomes surprisingly evident when voiced by its authors. As expected, while Owen received a great ovation, the audience was clearly there for his legendary father, who was clad in a shirt that he gleefully informed us carried a caption that read “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Today, Thursday, September 21st, 2017 marks Stephen King’s 70th birthday. I think it’s fair to say that for many of us at Biff Bam Pop!, we wouldn’t be writing words regularly if not for the inspiration of King and his incredible work. To celebrate the monumental occasion, the writers of Biff Bam Pop! have banded together to share our favourite books from Stephen King’s catalogue, and say thank you to the man for all the nightmares.
Name: Andy Burns
Favourite Stephen King Book: The Stand
Why: The Stand is epic storytelling, full of wonderful characters and stunning set pieces. It was the first apocalyptic novel I can remember reading, and I was thoroughly gripped by the end of the world scenario King crafted. Though The Dark Tower as a whole is my favourite work by King, as a standalone novel, The Stand is the author at his finest. The Complete and Uncut version also contains my favourite King moment from any of his books – Stu Redman’s recollection of meeting the long dead Jim Morrison at a gas station. Happy birthday, Stephen King!
Name: Glenn Walker
Favourite Stephen King Book: The Stand
Why: It was his first magnum opus, his first truly epic novel, with a huge cast of characters – characters that on multiple readings became more and more real. Everyone in the book lived and breathed in my head as I read, and I followed them all from their lives in the old world to the reconstruction of the post-Captain Trips world. It was a tale of ultimate good and evil, introducing concepts like the Walkin’ Dude that would resonate with later works, and a story of survival and seduction, and at times unspeakable horror, touching on everything available to the writer at that moment. It’s not perfect. It was also the first of King’s disappointing cop-out endings, in my opinion, the rest of the book was so good I didn’t care. I love this book so much, it’s one of my top five favorite books ever, and I have revisited it dozens of times since first reading it in paperback fresh off the shelf. Like a good vinyl album (yeah, I’m that old), you play it so much, you have to replace it because it’s so worn down – I have been through three copies of The Stand, I love it that much. Read the rest of this entry
It’s so nice to be wrong sometimes. This weekend was absolutely massive at the box office, as one new release over-performed in the biggest of ways. Here’s what went down:
Stephen King’s It broke box office records this weekend, as it debut in first place with an estimated $123 million. Along with critical raves, It had the best first day showing ever for an R-rated film ($51 million), and the best ever Thursday night preview for an R-rated film ($13.5 million). It is the second-biggest R-rated opening ever, only trailing behind Deadpool’s $132.4 million record, set in 2016. It is the biggest horror story of the year, and bodes more than well for the 2019 release of It: Chapter Two of the saga.
Without It, we wouldn’t have Stranger Things, but without Stranger Things we wouldn’t have It – at least not quite the version of the film that hits theatres today. The Duffer Brothers, creators of Stranger Things, have cited both the Stephen King novel and the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of it as major influences on their hit Netflix show – “probably the biggest,” noted Ross Duffer in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Years ago, before It helmer Andy Muschietti took over from Cary Fukunaga in 2015, the Duffers approached Warner Brothers about mounting the remake but were turned down because they weren’t considered established enough to take on King’s epic tale of children banding together to take on the evil, sewer-dwelling, child-eating clown-entity Pennywise. So the siblings created Stranger Things instead, which also features a close-knit group of small town misfit kids (one of them played by Stranger Things‘ Finn Wolfhard) facing an incredible supernatural evil.