Archive for October 2014

Hip Hop Superhero   Leave a comment


I admire Darryl McDaniels.


Oh, come on.  Surely you’ve heard of the iconic pioneering rap group Run-DMC.  Well,  Darryl McDaniels is DMC.  Born in Harlem in 1964 and adopted at three months of age, he was raised in Hollis, Queens, where he’s still based.  As a kid, he was passionately addicted to comics.  Now, as a fully-fledged middle-ager, he’s make his real dream come true: his very own graphic novel.

To do this, he created the independent publishing house, Darryl Makes Comics, along with Editor-in-Chief Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and music executive Riggs Morales.  Interestingly, they’re not trying to create anything new, just present the beauty of the world already here.  They believe “that every walk of life has heroes and stories worth telling,” to quote their press release.

Along with his partner and collaborator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, they’re launching DMC #1 (the first cover you see above) at New York Comic-Con this month, but the rest of you will have to wait until October 29 to get your hands on a copy.

In the first DMC graphic novel, the reader visits 1985 New York City, a gritty, graffiti-covered town filled with b-boys breakdancing everywhere, and drugs and crime rule the day (I can personally attest to this; it was the year I moved to NYC and my parents were kind of worried.  I found it all very interesting, on the other hand).  It’s in this time and place that our superhero DMC, wearing a tracksuit and Adidas sneakers, defends the weak and powerless…and fights against rival superheros and villains, too.  Darryl McDaniels, our hero, is an English teacher by day, and a superhero by night, taking care of business along with a reporter and a band of graffiti artists.

Here’s a direct quote from their press release – I’m cutting and pasting it because I want to get all of this information correct:

“The story was created by DMC and Damion Scott (Batman, Robin, Solo) with Ronald Wimberly (Vertigo/DC, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Prince of Cats) serving as creative consultant to develop the script. Each chapter is visualized by different teams of artists, including Chase Conley (Black Dynamite)Jeff Stokely (Six-Gun Gorilla, The Reason for Dragons),Felipe Smith(Peepo Choo, Ghost Rider), Mike & Mark Davis the Mad Twiinz(Black Dynamite, The Boondocks)Shawn Crystal(Arkham Manor), and colorist Chris Sotomayor, not to mention cover art from industry legends Sal Buscema and Bob Wick and graffiti pioneer MARE 139 (Style Wars).”

Yo…check it out…!



Star Trek Continues   Leave a comment



Star Trek Continues! Check it out!  

I’ve known about this for a long time, and should have written about it long ago, but as most things go, I forget, run out of time or life gets in the way, as it often does.  But my husband Andrew reminded me of this and sent me a link, and that’s what got me poking around this topic once more.

“Star Trek” and I go back a long way.  My brother and mom used to watch it when I was a mere speck of a kid, and then by the time I got to college I pretty much knew all the episodes by heart.  My friend Linda did me one better.  She memorized all of the credits.  That in itself’s pretty impressive, considering that’s an awful lot of information to plaster within one’s head.

Anyway, back to the topic.

“Star Trek Continues” is a perfect example of allowing passion to guide you to success.  I don’t know what’s more fascinating: the fact that the original Star Trek is continuing or the cast and crew that pulls out all of the stops to pull it off.   It’s a fan-created web series with serious street cred.  Make no mistake: it’s about a professional as anything that comes out of Hollywood.  Each episode is faithful to the spirit of the original 1960s series in every way: storytelling, sets, costumes, music and more.  After watching an episode, you’ll be convinced that the old set found new life.  And in a way, it did.

How about the cast?

Let’s start with Vic Mignogna – that’s James T. Kirk, to you and me.  Yes, he’s not only the star, but the director, writer and one of the producers.  He’s a also a voice actor and musician, too.

The rest of the gang’s all there, too.  Tod Haberkorn is Spock, Larry Nemecek/Chuck Huber is Dr. “Bones” McCoy, Chris Doohan is Scotty (and what better person to play the part – his Dad is actually James Doohan, the original!), Kim Singer as Uhura, Wyatt Lenhart as Pavel Checkov, and Grant Imahara as Sulu (who’s also known to blow up things on the show “Mythbusters”).

For added sparkle, various “Star Trek” cast members put in appearances in “STC.”  Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis haven’t yet played their original roles, but they do show up as computer voices.

Anyway, why let me tell you all about this when you boldly go and see the episodes for yourself?  Here’s their official website.  For more behind-the-scenes information, the website The Scene has this.  Here’s the Facebook Page, too.

Live long and prosper, and long live “Star Trek!”




The Moon at Its Best   Leave a comment



For those of you who weren’t awake, aware or available, there was a full eclipse of the moon last night.  Now, I’m also one of those who, for various reasons, wasn’t able to cast my eyes skyward and catch the moon at its best.  Sometimes the moon just doesn’t seem to take into consideration that many of us are located on the wrong side of the globe (or clock) to be able to glimpse at the glowing red orb up in the nighttime sky.

Thank goodness for Slooh.

If ever anyone wanted to be an astronomer and didn’t have the time, patience or ability to go to school for astrophysics, yet wanted to partake of the universe in an engaging and useful way, then Slooh is for you.  It’s a membership organization and it isn’t cheap, but anyone will have access to high-powered telescopes in the Canary Island and Chile, plus get in on a myriad of missions.  The universe is literally at your desktop.

As a participant, one also joins a community of like-minded individuals who cast their eyes skyward share what they observe.  Also, one gets in on all kinds of neat stuff that NASA offers, too.  In fact, Slooh engages NASA and a community of citizen astronomers to help with its near Earth asteroid project.  So if you see something, you can say something!

I’ve included the below link for those how want to experience the eclipse and/or get a taste of what Slooh can do for you.  Enjoy!

The Amazing Human-ish Head   Leave a comment

Here’s one of the creepiest videos I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s a work in progress by Australian artist Chris Jones.  It’s a fascinating study on how to reproduce a human without being human at all.  Visit the link to his website and you’ll be fascinated at all of the work that’s involved in creating such a realistic life form.

To me, it’s a game changer…and might even change some of those video games we all think are so real…

My Fav Nuclear Holocaust   Leave a comment


Though nuclear holocausts are always in vogue with sci-fi, especially in dystopian stories, how does one choose a favorite?  Sure, sure, there’s all sorts of post-bomb, pre-bomb and oh, boy, you’d better get running because here it is, DUCK…AND…COVER!

On a French class trip to, well, France back in the 1970, I sat on a bus, blithely admiring the glorious countryside outside the window  (we also traveled to The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium, too – in nine days).  My French wasn’t great, but I knew enough to figure out that the story coming across the radio on the bus intercom said something about the nuclear reactor melting down at Three Mile Island.  Hmm, I thought to myself, isn’t that less than 100 miles from my home?  Oh yes, folks, it was.

Back home in science class, we students discovered how cheap and plentiful nuclear energy provides everybody with all that juice needed to keep lights on and TVs glowing.  New Jersey, my state of birth, had two plants and nearby Pennsylvania had one, too – Three Mile Island.  Figuring that I was probably safe in France, although maybe perhaps my parents might share a few concerns about their relative proximity to said nuclear power plant, I worried a little.   A newspaper photo I still remember showed a woman cradling a baby, protectively wrapped in a towel, unaware that a stone building or basement provided far better protection.  Turned out, everyone was fine.  For now.

Ironically, a film that opened shortly before all this occurred, The China Syndrome had a similar plot but nowhere near as nasty as what was going down at said nuclear plant.

I must confess the best film I had seen on the subject is the 1984 British film, Threads.  Shot on a ridiculously cheap budget of less than half a million (dollars and pounds), it created a totally believable, plausible “what-if” story that had me convinced the events depicted in the film were about to occur.  This feature, without dancing around the subject with deep love stories and soupy personal dramas, told the story of two families and others who find themselves literally caught between a nuclear warhead exchange between the United States and Russia.  It might as well as have been a documentary, given the rather factual presentation of the story.  The one scene that has stuck with me to this day: as a woman looks up and sees the contrails of the bombs, we see water coming out of her pant leg, as she pisses herself in terror.  That scene was a perfect example of not needing any words to describe the emotion.

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) had its own film, pre-Threads, called The Day After.  All sorts of controversy surrounded it.  ABC could barely find any sponsors willing to advertise.  The writers of the film faced guff because their original script was deemed too scary and were forced to slash it from a six-hour, two-night drama a 2 1/2 hour Sunday night film.  It’s basically the same story in different packaging, with the Soviets and Americans at it once again, although a slightly different scenario.  I’d love to see the original, six-hour version planned, because although The Day After was compelling, it couldn’t measure up to Threads.  

I was in university at the time and we all gathered around my cheap B&W TV to watch it, beers and cigarettes in hand (we were students, after all).  I was suitably disturbed as I got caught up in its very fine cast searching for ways to live without dying.  I remember liking it, and probably still would if I have an opportunity to watch it again, but given the far worse stories and video games that have come out since, it’d barely raise an eyebrow if shown today.

My modern-day fright is these nuclear power plants continue to churn out all of the electricity necessary these days to supply us with all those objects we own that need to be plugged in.  Unfortunately, like many energy sourced plucked out of the earth, there’s waste products to contend with.  Once those fuel rods are spent, there’s all that plutonium 239 hanging about.  Sure, it gets buried someplace, deep within the ground, but it’s still there, for pretty much ever.

And yet, we largely ignore the ultimate energy source: the sun.  Maybe once it blows up, it’ll command our attention.

Need a reason to smile and cheer yourself up?  Here’s a list of popular nuclear holocaust fiction, drama and such from the good folks at Wikipedia.  Enjoy!

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