Saturday, July 9, 2011

Design of the Week--John Carter of Mars

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days, then replaced with another!
This week...100 years ago*, a visionary writer penned a series of tales that would be the template for one of the most popular genres of fiction today...the space opera!
The first pulp adventure series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (predating Tarzan by several months). the six-part serial "Under the Moons of Mars" detailed how soldier-of-fortune John Carter, mortally-wounded by Indians while prospecting for gold in 1870s Arizona, somehow projects his consciousness to Mars, where it is reincarnated in a body identical to his Earthbound form.

In Mars' lesser gravity, Carter's normal-human strength is, literally, superhuman!
He can lift over a ton, and can leap over a quarter of a mile!
And, yes, he can breathe, because the Barsoomians (as Martians call themselves) operate atmosphere-generating facilities bringing the oxygen content of the air to near-Earth levels.
He rescues and falls in love with the beautiful princess of the city/state Helium, Dejah Thoris, and joins with her in battling tyrannical enemies in a world filled with hidden cities, exotic creatures, and advanced technology (sometimes disguised as "magic").
It's the prototypical "high adventure" series, and it's concepts and tropes can be found in most later sf/fantasy from Flash Gordon to Captain Future to Star Wars.
Later, the six parts were combined with additional material into a novel, A Princess of Mars, that launched a multi-book series known as "The Barsoom Tales" or "Warlord of Mars".

Probably because of heavy special-effects requirements, there were no film or tv adaptations of John Carter stories until 2009, when a direct-to-video version of A Princess of Mars was released.
(Legendary animator Bob Clampett attempted to produce an animated version in 1936, going so far as to produce an illustrated bible and test footage. But no studio wanted to bankroll the project, believing "realistic" animation wouldn't sell. Several years later, the Fleischer Studio produced the classic Superman cartoons, proving them totally-wrong.)
Now, production is under way on a cgi-enhanced feature film (like Avatar, Sin City, and Sky Captain) called John Carter of Mars based on that first novel, A Princess of Mars, with noted author Michael Chabon doing the screenplay.

Available on kool kollectibles including iPhone and iPad cases, t-shirts, mugs, etc.
Plus, we'd suggest any of our collectibles combined with one of the books or dvds below as a gift set would make a great lead-in/intro to a pop-culture/high adventure fan to prep them for the new movie due early next year!

*Though The All-Story magazine the first chapter of "Under the Moons of Mars" appeared in is cover-dated February, 1912, the magazine was actually on sale in November-December 1911
Cover-dating fiction magazines (including pulps and comic books) 3-4 months ahead of the actual release date was standard practice until the 1990s.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fantastic Femmes--Women of TorchWood

Past and Present Heroines, a couple of Villainesses, and one who was both, from the BBC series...
Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper-Williams)
Cush Jumbo (Lois Habiba)
Dichen Lachman (Lyn Peterfield)
Lena Kaur (Dr Alicia Patel)
Indira Varma (Suzie Costello)
Arlene Tur (Dr Vera Juarez)
Freema Agyeman (Dr Martha Jones-Smith)
Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato)
Caroline Chikezie (Lisa Hallett/CyberWoman)
Liz May Brice (Johnson)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

TorchWood Returns...

The survivors of TorchWood gain new allies as they face a new...threat?
On Miracle Day, a day unlike any one dies!
The next one dies!
The day after one dies!
Death has been defeated!
But, is that good...or bad?
The two remaining members of the weird phenemomena-investigating TorchWood Institute must find out, especially since one of them, Captain Jack Harkness, who previously was immortal, learns he's literally the only person on Earth who can die!
Catch the excitement starting this Friday on Starz!
Even if you've never seen the show on BBC America or the dvd/blu-ray releases, the first episode of Miracle Day gives you enough background "on the fly" to follow with no problem, so don't be afraid to dive in! (Hey, it never stopped you from enjoying Star Wars or Star Trek, did it?)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

YouTube Wednesday: CAPTAIN AMERICA!

The Living Legend of World War II is coming to movie screens on July 22nd...

But Cap's been popping up on movie screens since 1944!

Yeah, there's no Red Skull, or Bucky, or shield, or even wings on his cowl!
But DAMN, that's exciting!
Cap's next appearance was on TV, as part of the Marvel SuperHeroes Show...

...which used the actual Jack Kirby artwork (as well as Stan Lee's scripts) for the most-accurate adaptations EVER from comics to film/TV!
In the late 1970s, with successful live-action series featuring both the Hulk and Spider-Man running on CBS, Marvel tried pilots of other characters including Dr Strange and Captain America...

In fact, they tried Cap twice...

..but despite the presence of legendary baddie actor Christopher Lee, the show never went to series.
Cap continued to guest-star on other animated shows, but his next solo appearance was in 1990.
Don't remember it?
It's ok, no one else does, either!

See you at the movies...
 Check out the
Movie Serial Captain America Shirt
or these kool dvds and video cassettes from Amazon...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reading Room: SPACE WESTERN Strong Bow in "Return of the Aztecs"

One of the "Space Vigilantes" takes center stage...
Click on art to enlarge Strong Bow meets up with Aztecs from the stars in this tale from Space Western Comics #42 that could've inspired Chariots of the Gods!
Like Doc Savage's or The Shadow's aides, Spurs' associates can certainly handle themselves against aliens, or Commies, or any other threat when the boss is out of town!
Penciled and inked by versatile artist John Belfi, who did a little of everything for almost every comic publisher in the 40s-50s before moving over to newspaper syndicate work both on strips and editorial illustration.

There's more Space Western Comics action to come as we lead-up to the opening of the summer flick Cowboys & Aliens.
We're offering a line of Space Western collectibles, perfect for summer wear at the beach, or the movie theatre when you go see Cowboys & Aliens. (C'mon, you know you're going!)
and have a look below at some Cowboys and Aliens movie tie-ins from Amazon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July with the Living Legend of World War II!

Art by John Romita from the 1976 Marvel Bicentennial Calendar!
A classic image featuring Captain America before the Declaration of Independence!
(Courtesy Rip Jagger's Dojo)
Art by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia from Captain America's Bicentennial Battles
 Captain America and Uncle Sam!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Flag-Draped Super-Heroes!

On the day before July 4th, here's some Patriotic Heroes...
Captain V
The Conqueror
Captain Courageous
American Crusader
American Eagle
U.S. Jones
The Flag
and, of course...
 Uncle Sam, himself!
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