Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fantastic Femmes--Nichelle Nichols--Nyota Uhura I

Discovered by jazz great Duke Ellington, Nichelle toured with Duke and Lionel Hampton as their lead singer for several years.
Adding acting to her repitore, she appeared in a number of roles in films and on tv shows including The Lieutenant, produced by Gene Roddenberry, who remembered her when casting his next series...Star Trek!

Her role as Uhura ("Nyota" wasn't added until the 1980s) was ground-breaking in that she wasn't playing a servant or someone's wife / girlfriend / sister, but a fully-qualified officer equal to (or better) than anyone around her!
Due to a large volume of racist hate mail, Nichelle considered quitting during the first season, but Dr. Martin Luther King, jr interceded, convincing her to remain.
Several notables including NASA astronaut Mae Jemison and actress Whoopi Goldberg have directly-attributed their choice of careers to her appearance as Uhura on Star Trek.
On the animated sequel Star Trek [1973-74], besides performing as Uhura, Nichelle provided voices of numerous "guest characters" including Dr. Sarah April, the Enterprise's first Medical Officer and wife of Captain Robert April, the ship's first commander!

Nichelle has kept busy, acting both on-screen and voicing animated characters, releasing several albums of her jazz performances as well as turning to film producing!

During the last season of Star Trek, Nichelle was offered the role of Peggy Fair on Mannix, but turned it down.
In the 1970s and '80s, she was a spokesperson for NASA and aided in recruiting female and minority astronaut candidates.
Nichelle is one of the people Robert Heinlein dedicated the novel Friday to.
She's penned two books: a sci-fi novel; Saturn's Child (co-written with Mary Wander Bonanno), and an autobiography; Beyond Uhura.
Genre appearances include...
Lady Magdaline's (Lady Magdaline aka Maggie)
Heroes (Nana Dawson)
"Where No Fan Has Gone Before" (as her head in a jar)
"Anthology of Interest I" (as herself)
Simpsons "Simple Simpson" (as herself)
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command "Yukari Imprint" (Chief)
G vs E aka Good vs Evil (Henry's Mother)
Spider-Man [1997] (Miriam the Vampire Queen)
Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space (Sagan, High Priestess of Pangea)
Inside Space (Host)
[A Science FACT series on the Sci-Fi Channel, so it qualifies IMHO]
Batman: the Animated Series (Thoth Khepera)
ABC Weekend Specials "Commander Toad in Space" (SS Stella)
Gargoyles (Diane Maza)
Supenaturals (Sgt. Leona Hawkins)
Star Trek [1966-69] / Star Trek [1973-74] /
Star Trek: the Motion Picture /
Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan /
Star Trek III: the Search for Spock /
Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home /
Star Trek V: the Final Frontier /
Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary [VG]
Star Trek: Judgement Rites [VG]
(Lieutenant [later Commander] Nyota Uhura)
Tarzan [1966-68] (Ruana)

Check out... (Nichelle's Official Site)
Nichelle Nichols (FanSite)
Other actresses to play Nyota Uhura include...
Zoe Saldana in Star Trek [2009]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fantastic Femmes--Helena Bonham Carter

Note: this page has been updated with NEW info HERE!
Known to the general public for her award-winning romance / historical drama acting, Helena Bonham Carter has far more genre appearances than drawing-room performances!
(And her ongoing role in the Harry Potter film series is certainly raising her recognition factor among the teen and tween audience!)
Helena also does quite a bit of dramatic radio (Still popular in England), audiobooks, and occasional theatre work.
Genre appearances include...
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix /
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince /
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
(Bellatrix Lestrange)
Terminator: Salvation (Serena Korgen)
Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
(Mrs Lovett also performer of numerous songs)
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (Red Queen)
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (Corpse Bride)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mrs. Bucket)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
(Beatrice Baudelaire)
Wallace & Grommit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit /
Wallace & Grommit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit the Video Game
(Lady Campanula Tottington)
Big Fish (Jennifer Hill / the Witch)
Planet of the Apes [2001] (Ari)
Merlin (Morgan Le Fay)
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Elizabeth Frankenstein)
Miami Vice (Dr. Theresa Lyons)
The Vision (Jo Marriner)
The Mask (Iris)

Check out...
Helena World (FanSite)Other actresses to play Mrs Bucket include...
Diana Sowle in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Other actresses to play Mrs Lovett include...
Joanna Lumley in Tale of Sweeney Todd
Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street [1982]
Jane Helay in Bloodthirsty Butchers
Stella Rho in Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Other actresses to play The Red Queen include...
Janet Waldo in Alice Through the Looking Glass [1987]
Agnes Moorehead in Alice Through the Looking-Glass [1966]
Edna May Oliver in Alice in Wonderland [1933]

Other actresses to play Elizabeth Frankenstein / Elizabeth Lavenza / Elizabeth Levenza include...
Catherine Rabett in Frankensten Unbound
Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein
Valerie Hobson in Bride of Frankenstein
Mae Clarke in Frankenstein [1931]
Mary Fuller in Frankenstein [1910]
Other actresses to play Morgan Le Fay / Morganne LeFay / Morganne Le Fay include...
There's almost four dozen of them, so if you really want to know, go to...
Morgan Le Fay (character) on IMDB

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fantastic Femmes--Sonia Rolland

Born in Rwanda, of a Tutsi mother and French father, the young Sonia and her parents narrowly-escaped to Burundi, shortly before civil war broke out, then emigrated to France.
In high school, Sonia took classes in media, hoping to work behind the scenes in film or tv.
However, when she entered a local beauty contest, which led to her becoming Miss France, opportunities opened up to her in front of the cameras, rather than behind them.
The biggest of them was starring in the title role on a tv show based on a graphic novel series...Lea Parker. There are clips on YouTube, but the show has yet to air in the U.S.
(We had some background on the series here.)
Since then, she's parlayed her fame on behalf of charities, including one she herself founded, to aid Rwandan refugees.
Genre appearances include...
Lea Parker (Lea Parker)

Check out...
Sonia's Official WebSite
Her Charity's WebSite
Sonia Rolland IS Lea Parker (FanSite)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ghost Rider by Frank Frazetta

He began life in the late 1940s as The Calico Kid, a masked hero whose secret identity was a lawman who felt justice was constrained by legal limitations. (There were a lot of those heroes in comics and pulps of the 40s including our own DareDevil and Blue Beetle!)
But, with masked heroes in every genre doing a slow fade-out, and both westerns and horror on the rise, the character was re-imagined in 1949 as comics' first horror / western character!
The Ghost Rider himself was not a supernatural being.
He wore a phosphorescent suit and cape, making him glow in the dark, appearing as a spectral presence to the (mostly) superstitious cowboys and Indians he faced.
And, since the inside of the cape was black, he'd reverse it, and appear in the dark to people as just a floating head, usually scaring a confession or needed information out of them.
Note: some covers, like the one here, show the inside of the cape to be white! Chalk it up to artistic license (and face it, it looks damned good).
BTW, that cover was by the legendary Frank Frazetta! He did several of them, three of which are included in our collection!
In the series' early days the villains were standard owlhoots or, like the Rider, people pretending to be supernatural beings.
That changed around 1952, when he started facing real mystic menaces including Indian spirits, vampires, and even the Frankenstein Monster (though not the one from Prize Comics.)
Unfortunately, it was about this point in time that Dr. Wertham began his crusade against comics in general and horror comics in particular...
By 1954, the Ghost Rider had lost his series. The next year he disappeared entirely.
But, over 50 years later, Atomic Kommie Comics™ brought him back, digitally-restored and remastered on a host of kool kollectibles to go with our other masked Western heroes including The Lone Rider, The Red Mask, The Black Phantom, and The Masked Ranger.

If you're a fan of Westerns, horror, masked heroes, or all three genres, take a long, lingering look at The Ghost Rider!
You'll not see his like again!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Steve Savage--battling Korean Communists since the '50s!

One of the benefits of running Atomic Kommie Comics™ is being able to do customized presents for birthdays, holidays, and joyous events like bridal and baby showers (and, at cost, yet)...
I was preparing items for one such baby shower whose invite had...unusual...suggestions for nursery decor gifts; aircraft, specifically fighter aircraft!
(The baby will be a boy, and his dad is in the Air National Guard!)

"No problem", we thought!
After all, Atomic Kommie Comics™ has a whole section on War: Past, Present, & Future™!
So, we planned several customized items, including a bib, newborn onesie, wall clock, and 12-month wall calendar, all with the required fighter theme!
However, a quick glance revealed a minor problem; while we had over a dozen covers with military aircraft, we had only nine with fighters! The others were bombers!
We needed twelve for the calendar!
A quick look thru the extensive Atomic Kommie Comics™ archives showed a whole set of classic comics we hadn't yet touched...Captain Steve Savage and his Jet Fighters!
We selected the three best covers and loaded them up to the calendar template to give us an even dozen images!
Problem solved!
It's gonna be an interesting baby shower, eh? ;-)

And, after doing the calendar, we decided to add all three Captain Steve Savage covers to our Korean Police Action kool kollectibles collection for the perusal (and purchase) of all you veterans, relatives of vets, and / or war comics fans!

Get Steve Savage in your sights, before he gets his sights on you!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fantastic Femmes--Maria Conchita Alonzo

Born in Cuba, raised in Venezuela, Maria Conchita Alonso won several beauty pageants including Miss Teenager of the World and Miss Venezuela.
She became a popular actress in Latin America, performing in ten telenovelas.
In 1982, she emigrated to the US, where she's done movies, tv, and several albums in both English and Spanish!
Turned down the role of Lupe Lamora in the Eon James Bond 007 film License to Kill! (Role went to Talisa Soto)
Speaks four languages fluently--English, Spanish, French, and Italian.
Became a naturalized American citizen in 2005!
Genre appearances include...
Dark Moon Rising (Sam)
Tranced (Libra)
Red Canvas (Maria Sanchez)
Stan Lee's Condor (Maria Valdez)
CSI: Miami "Blood Moon"
Birth of Babylon aka Return to Babylon aka Silent Madness (Lupe Velez)
The Dead One (Sister Rosa)
KingPin (Ariela)
Robbery Homicide Division "A Life of it's Own"
Code Conspiracy (Rachel)
Touched by an Angel "Hearts"
Outer Limits [1998] "Vaccine"
BlackHeart (Annette)
FX the Series (Elena Serrano) McBain (Christina)
Predator 2 (Leona Cantrell)
Vampire's Kiss (Alva Restrepo)
Running Man (Amber Mendez)
Extreme Prejudice (Sarita Cisneros)
Blood Ties (Caterina Ammirati)
Fear City (Silver)
Knight Rider "Forget Me Knot"
Fantasy Island "Beautiful Skeptic / Lost Platoon"

Check out...
Her Official WebSite