Category Archives: newspapers

Futureworld

Futureworld ~ I was just talking about Peter Fonda and this flick on this blog recently so when I saw Futureworld was on Encore Action, so I DVRed it. It’s been at least a serious three decades or so since I’ve last seen it. It’s nowhere near as good as I remembered it, and despite being a feature film, looks barely above television quality, bad for even a Samuel Z. Arkoff production. it does still have its merits though.

Futureworld is the 1976 sequel to the popular 1973 scifi thriller Westworld, and was followed a few years later by the very short-lived CBS TV series “Beyond Westworld,” which was even worse, as demonstrated by it only lasting five episodes.

In Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton, the Delos Corporation has created three ‘amusement parks’ – WestWorld, MedievalWorld, and RomanWorld – populated by lifelike androids where guests can indulge in any fantasy they can imagine in each park genre, including having sex with and/or killing the androids. A malfunction affecting all the robots makes them suddenly attack and kill all the guests, highlighted by the Gunslinger, as played by Yul Brynner, and terror ensues. So ends WestWorld.

In Futureworld, Delos seems to have recovered from this PR nightmare and gone back into business. Fonda and Blythe Danner are newspaper and television reporters invited to see what the new Delos is all about and make sure it’s safe. They elect to visit FutureWorld, one of the new parks that have been added. There is some great dialogue between the two regarding newspapers being dead, nice call from 1976.

Most frightening about the film is how much the parks resemble Disney in design and visuals, but I suppose that’s on purpose. On the down side the acting is abysmal and the sexism is humiliating. That the technicians must be gay or robots if they don’t succumb to Danner’s charms is one of the more pitiful bits. There’s also a painful conspiracy subplot about Delos replacing world leaders with robot doubles.

Yul Brynner as The Gunslinger does appear in footage from the first movie and in Danner’s bizarre dream sequence. Too bad he couldn’t be in more. As a true scifi movie villain, perhaps he could have dragged this flick up a few notches from its bad telemovie level.

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RIP Wizard Magazine

This week Wizard Magazine called it quits. In this, the internet age, it certainly is a case of internet killed the magazine star. In a world where you can get all the latest comics news in just a few seconds, and also seconds after it happens – magazine that specialize in such are as much dinosaurs as the newspapers are. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ringing the death knell for the newspapers yet, but the comics audience is predominantly a computer savy audience. A monthly magazine ain’t gonna do it any more.

That said, Wizard had its time. There was a time when folks fought to get the first copies on the shelves. Everybody wanted to see the new interview, the new preview, the new poll, the latest who’d win, the photos from the latest film or even the letters column with the latest feud. Like I said, it had its time, but sadly those days are gone, lost to the much faster satisfaction of the immediate Twitter/Facebook world. Rest in peace, Wizard, you’ll be missed.

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Wednesday Comics Are Here

I love comics. Anyone who knows me knows that. We all have our hobbies, our obsessions, our passions. But how often does something happen within that interest that you are just compelled to tell everyone about it? And I mean everyone. For me, and for comics, that happened this week.

It’s called Wednesday Comics, and it came out on, duh, Wednesday. You might remember me talking about this before, a few weeks back. Then it was just an item of interest that I had not personally seen yet, only heard about and seen a few previews of. Now that I have it in my hands, I am stunned. This is the coolest thing to happen in comics (and maybe in print) in years.

This is not just the return of Sunday color adventure comics, it’s not even just the return of comics on newsprint. DC Comics has done both of those things, but they filled it with the best work they had to offer. This is amazing.

Kyle Baker’s Hawkman is stunning. Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred have recreated the Silver Age Metamorpho perfectly. The Flash is the peak of sequential storytelling. Great to see a jet age Green Lantern, it’s the era he was created for. Father and son Kuberts do Sgt. Rock, just as husband and wife Palmiotti and Conner give us a delightful take on Supergirl, Krypto and Streaky. Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook pay homage to Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant with Jack Kirby’s Kamandi just as Paul Pope does the same for Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon with his Adam Strange. It’s just beautiful.

And for those of you for whom that last paragraph means nothing, don’t worry. The best thing about Wednesday Comics is that it’s non-continuity. In English, that means it’s mainstream – it’s accessible to any readers new or old. If you’ve been reading these things forever or if you wouldn’t know a Teen Titan from Tony the Tiger, you’ll still enjoy this.

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Wednesday Comics

Print is dead, or so it’s been said. Still, it’s not happy times for newspapers and comic books which may be on their way out what with the dreaded internet and digital comics and such. Some folks give either media less than a decade’s lifespan. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some very innovative and rather incestuous things going on with them.

DC Comics has an ambitious project being readied for July 8th release called Wednesday Comics. The title is a play on the day comics are distributed, and regularly picked up by consumers, and will be weekly in an interesting folded newspaper format. Retro and unique in a way that may make collectors and their mylar bags insane, it also features continuity-free adventures of DC’s greatest characters by some of the best creators in the business. It’s an amazing showcase for what makes DC Comics great creatively.

What could make it better? The Superman feature in Wednesday Comics will be carried in USA Today that same day and then online weekly after that on their website, with heavy promotion in the following twelve weeks. Not only a celebration of what made these two media famous, but also a plunge into the digital age as well. Maybe it will perk up all three in the long run?

Wednesday Comics begins July 8th at a comic shop near you, and also in USA Today and online.

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