Every April for the past several years, Fantasy Cafe has published a series of guest posts for Women in Science Fiction & Fantasy Month. This year, the article that generated the most discussion was "'I am ... ?': Representation of Mature Women in Fantasy" by Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian, who asked, "So where are the older women in fantasy? Mature women who are the hero of their own story?" The many other guest posts this year offered an interesting range of questions, observations, and reflections--often by well-known names in the field. [more inside]
O Human Star, an ongoing webcomic by Blue Delliquanti, is a near-future science fiction family drama about robots, relationships, identity and finding a place for oneself in the world. [more inside]
EC Comics and MAD Magazine cartoonist/editor died on tuesday at age 88. Al Feldstein's covers and artwork for EC Comics great Sci-Fi/Horror books are legendary. Sadly, his singular, clunky, thick, goofy style was phased out after a few years of classic work at EC in favor of the more modern, detailed artists in the stable as he took on more editorial and writing duties. He went on to turn a post Kurtzman MAD Magazine into a phenomenon as its editor.
String Theory is a character-driven serialized comic book published on the web and written/illustrated by Dirk Grundy (Twitter cat feed). Following the adventures of grumpy, socially inept super scientist Dr. Herville Schtein, it is set in an alternate timeline where "the Cuban missile crisis went terribly wrong," the Cold War never ended, super scientists and super powered individuals run amok, the American Southwest is an irradiated postnuclear desert, "America...is not doing so well," and Chicago... Let's not talk about Chicago. It is about failure and families and how we all kind of mess each other up a little, but only because we care. It's kind of sad. But also kind of funny. Think Venture Brothers with the satire and comedy turned down, and the characterization and plotting turned up. Oh! There is also a very cute talking cat, if that helps sell it for you. [more inside]
Comic artist Chris Weston unilaterally declares it Kurt Russell week and produces a triptych of posters for Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in little China. These are just the roughs.
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples , has swept the Eisners, taking home awards for Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer. Here's why you should be reading it.
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
Comics artist Frazer Irving adapts Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in hauntingly beautiful black and white: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
The Passion of Dave Stevens — The work of the late, great Dave Stevens is known to comic book aficionados in the form of his enduring creation, The Rocketeer, and to art collectors and illustration enthusiasts for his reverently retro yet brilliantly modern renditions of vintage pulp characters, science fiction adventurers and iconic superheroes. But as dedicated Stevens fans know, the artist's true passion and inspiration manifests in his seemingly countless and unfailingly exquisite renderings of the female form, most typically in the classic pinup and "good girl art" style at which he became one of the very best. [nsfw comic art]
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....
British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
In this time of corrupt politics, police brutality, media dereliction, and increasingly vicious culture wars, there's perhaps no graphic novel more relevant today than the brilliant and blackly funny Transmetropolitan. Created by Warren Ellis back in 1997 and inspired by prescient sci fi novel Bug Jack Barron, the series covers the work of gonzo journalist, vulgar misanthrope, and all-around magnificent bastard Spider Jerusalem in a sprawling futuristic vision of New York so chaotically advanced that humans splice genes with alien refugees, matter decompilers are as common as microwaves, and a new religion is invented every hour. As a callous Nixonian thug nicknamed The Beast prepares for his re-election to the presidency, a primary battle heats up between a virulent racist and a charismatic senator whose rictus grin masks some disturbing realities. When Jerusalem delves into the machinations of the race, he breaks into a web of conspiracies that threaten the future of the country -- a problem only he, his "filthy assistants," and the power of intrepid journalism can defeat. More: Read the first issue (or three) - browse images from the new artbook - Tor's read-along blog (another) - Jerusalem's touching report on cryogenic "Revivals" - dozens of original sketches and sample pages - timeline - quotes
Transient Man. "Transient is a black comedy about a homeless man who's visions lead him to believe he is an inter-dimensional savior of humanity, on a mission to save the universe. Is he indeed the 'one', chosen by mystical divine forces to embark on a crusade against ultimate evil, or a hopeless lunatic, aimlessly wandering the streets of San Francisco? Transient is a spoof on the hero's journey that's part Men in Black, part Raising Arizona, flavored with liberal portions of Ghostbusters and John Steinbeck. It is a ballad to the city by the bay, and a heartfelt tale of the sacrifices one man will take for his love for his family, his friends, and all of humankind." [Via]
As Khoi Vinh describes them, "Dan Hipp’s extraordinarily lively illustrations are borne of some mash-up universe in which comics, sci-fi and action-adventure fiction have both been flipped over on their backs, only to reveal their shockingly adorable undersides." via Subtraction [more inside]
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance." So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2] -- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation. Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster. Using a blend of faux documentary footage and visual metaphor, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world. Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for. But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix, a collection of nine superb anime films in a wide variety of styles designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies. Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
reMIND is a webcomic that updates on Mondays.
Murderbullets, 102 pages of power armour, guns, mega-scale rapidly mutating biological horror, cancer sticks, tanks and general comics mahem by James Stokoe.
Before the internet, nerds communicated through Amateur Press Associations (APAs). Members wrote and photocopied their individual 'zines on a subject, then mailed them to a central mailer, who collated and mailed the completed sets to all the members. The earliest APAs were founded by printers and amateur journalists. The National Amateur Press Association is the oldest, founded in 1876. Later APAs were often the province of science fiction and comic book fans. They are still around [pdf]. A lot more inside... [more inside]
Marvel Comics' Planet of the Apes magazine (1974-1977) , now forgotten by all but a few comics readers and genre film buffs, was canceled abruptly, leaving in mid-stream a story intended to go on for years. Now writer Doug Moench has allowed the original manuscripts of his unused scripts to be published for the first time, providing (some) closure to longtime readers and a fascinating look at how comics scripting happened way back when. [more inside]
Whitechapel, the Warren Ellis forum, remodels Superman #1, 2000AD Prog 1, Amazing Adult Fantasy #15, Young Romance #1, Zap Comix #1, Wonder Woman #1 and New Worlds #223. More remodel fun. Note that the good stuff tends to be towards the middle of a thread, where the artists have had time to get going and before things tail off.
The recently announced 2010 Hugo awards nominations include a semi-regular mefite appearance, a fanzine nomination for a podcast (previously) and, under Best Graphic Story, a nomination for Captain Britain And MI13 by occasional Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell - a title which, um, Marvel have already canceled. Oops. Still, you can read the first two issues of the nominated story online for free.
Dan Abnett, writer for 2000ad, DC Comics and some of the more well regarded Warhammer 40k novels, has been guest blogging this week at the Borders Sci-Fi blog Babel Clash. Topics have include working with other peoples characters and writing within the Warhammer 40k universe. Fellow Black Library writer Graham McNeill is now taking up the reigns.
Chris Foss concept art for Dune, with bonus Nostromo. The images were produced for Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1974 attempt at filming the story, with other artists involved including Moebius and HR Giger. Though the project failed Jodorowsky collaborated further with Moebius to lay the groundwork for his own Dune-like comicbook universe (and a trailer for an animated version of it was even created). More visions of Arrakis can be seen on this page of Dune cover artwork through the ages, with bonus midi Toto.
When the future was 2000AD by Garth Ennis. Thrill-power invested illustrative examples courtesy of Simon Gurr.
NAWLZ: A science fiction flash-based graphic novel 'experiment in interactive storytelling' that's pretty cool. Now up to 13 'issues'. [more inside]
Tony Scott has confirmed that a prequel to Alien is in the works, with commercial director Carl Rinsch at the helm. Of course, his brother Ridley was no stranger to advertising. Meanwhile Dark Horse is celebrating 30 years of the franchise by releasing a new series of Aliens comics.
The Sea of Perdition - Children of the Kingdom - Black Tulips - Three short films by South African-born film director Richard Stanley. Stanley's career took off with Hardware (an unacknowledged adaptation the 2000ad story Shok!) and the apocalyptic African western/Horror movie Dust Devil, then hit the rocks with the doomed 1996 version of the Island of Doctor Moreau, from which he was fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer. Stanley hasn't directed a feature film since... though he now has two films in preproduction, Vacation and Bones of the Earth. The original script for Moreau can be read on his unofficial site, as well as the script for a sequel to Hardware. Richard Stanley's MySpace Blog is also very strange.
Thirty years ago 'probably the single most influential graphic novel to have come out of Britain to date' was published, The Adventures Of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot. Interview - Part 1, Part 2.
Web of Horror #1 (December 1969): Re-presenting the short-lived and impossibly obscure horror comics magazine that featured early work from such luminaries as Ralph Reese, Jeff Jones and Bernie Wrightson. Link via Journalista (may be NSFW). [more inside]
Too bad the guy was only thirty eight - just two years older, he'd have been worth three times the points...
Did you grow up anticipating sports where death would be likely, if not certain? Almost certainly played by convicts, possibly with robot limbs? And which would be even more likely to have chainsaws and flamethrowers not usually found in the sports of today? Those We Left Behind’s look at Future-sports of the past, in videogames, movies and comics is for you!
Today's date? Why, it's...July 11, 2052, and man has been cowering in terror, self-sealed in his own living-tombs since that day of horror in...1952. Remember? 100 years ago, the sky above America turned black...with the dread flight of millions of ferocious, gigantic ants! [more inside]
Dan Dare, pilot of the future, scourge of the Venusian Mekon menace, and modernist architectural inspiration?
30 years of thrillpower! British weekly comic 2000ad celebrates it's 30th aniversary. Previously discussed here, current Tharg Matt Smith interviewed, special birthday Prog. Splundig vur thrigg!