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Posts tagged “Star Trek

Tracy Vs Star Trek!

Costume

Despite being a realitvely simple costume (that is, no armor), my reinterpretation of the original and filmation Ghostbusters Ape as a modern Columbia Ghostbuster quickly became one of my favorite suits and ended up showing up a LOT.

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Discovery – the first quarter

tvindex2Is it just me or is Discovery in full damage control mode now?

I suppose I shouldn’t be criticizing this. I’m actually watching Discovery fix a lot of my problems with the show, but these are a lot of things that shouldn’t have been issues in the first place.

I’m genuinely surprised at how much I like Captain Pike in this series. I never particularly cared for him in TOS and I haven’t exactly been dying for a Pike series, nevertheless Anson Mount seems to pull the role off well. It’s big shoes he has to fill. I really dug Jason Isaacs. Mount’s compassionate yet firm performance is an interesting contrast to Isaacs’ duplicitous, edgy Captian Lorca. I still miss him, but Pike is a good replacement. His command to replace all the holographic communicators on the ship with analog on-screen ones (because they are supposedly more secure) is however, a sloppy fix to my (and other’s) complaints about the use of technology that shouldn’t exist at this point in index3the timeline yet. We’re seeing a lot of this kind of quick patch-and-fix method.

Pike’s not the only classic Trek character being brought in though. In addition to Spock (Who, four episodes in, we still haven’t seen – and that’s probably a good thing. It builds suspense), episode four also brings in Majel Barett’s first officer character from “The Cage”, this time pleasantly played by an unrecognizable Rebecca Romijn (actually, I like her version better than Majel’s. She’s more likable – and cool that she vanishes into the role. I can’t believe I didn’t know that was her!) for a quick pop-in cameo at the beginning of the episode. It’s another example of nostalgia overkill. I swear, the Star Trek Writer’s have been trying to make something of this character for at least the last thirty years. There’s something of an obsession here. I’m not convinced that fandom is really dying for a “Number One” story, but Discovery is still trying to pull in that pre-trek crew and any familiar face they imagescan (Please don’t bring back Harry Mudd btw. Rainn Wilson was wholly unlikable – which completely misses the point of Harry)

Speaking of familiar faces, the Klingons look a hundred percent better in this series. They are transitioning them over to what is more recognizable by growing their hair out and dressing them in more leather, less bone and resin. I see a lot of forehead ridges being sculpted differently to. They’ve explained it as a story point, that the empire shifted once L’Rell took it over at the end of the last season. The Klingons are growing their hair out now. It’s a nice try. A little late – those drastic changes to the Klingons were a major sore point to a lot of Trekkers. Had they gone with this mix, a sort of evolved Klingon makeup, I think people would have accepted it a lot more readily – even been excited about it. You’ll never convince me that this evolution however, was images2the intent from the beginning though.

It’s actually the NEW faces that seems to really work for me. I’ve never been a real fan of Tig Notaro’s comedy, but man does she fit right in here as a recently rescued engineer from the shipwreck on a wayward astroid. I’d actually really like to see her replace Anthony Rapp as chief engineer. It’s not that Rapp has done anything wrong, it’s just that Notaro is that much better. I love watching her and Rapp verbally spar and would really dig seeing that kind of chemistry with a Captian. She absolutely feels like the McCoy of the group, and that’s something we’ve needed in this series. It brings into sharp focus just how sterile the interpersonal relationships have been on index.jpgDiscovery.

One of the things that impressed me about watching Tig and Rapp fight was the subject matter, a discussion of old reliable methods – Dilithium Crystals and Duck Tape, versus new tech – that is, the Spore Drive. This is the kind of social commentary that Star Trek has usually done well. It’s metaphor for Liberal vs. Conservative thinking and it hits both sides of an issue. It’s not the in-your-face SJW rhetoric that has taken over Doctor Who. I know Discovery has occasionally come under criticize for that same “Woke” attitude, but I don’t see it here nearly as much as I do in say, the abysmal last few seasons of Supergirl. I think we’re more sensitive to it in this day and age where it oversaturates too much of indexgenre TV. Discovery actually could be commended for dialing it back to traditional levels.

So the real question for me is whether this season is better than last. It feels very similar, but with a lot of Tig’s duck tape trying to patch over the leaks in the series. It’s not like the real jump in quality we saw between the first season of TNG and the third. Then again, I don’t think Discovery is really as weak a show as TNG was during those first two seasons. However it also doesn’t have the goodwill That TNG derived frm being a return to weekly television after eighteen years (the animated series notwithstanding) off the air. TNG also didn’t have the responsibility of being the flagship for both a new network AND platform hanging around it’s neck like an albatross. Discovery’s mandate to launch CBS All Access has created an uncomfortable relationship between series and studio. The subscriber base for All Access has plateaued, and that puts Discovery in jeopardy. Had it been on a traditional network – even a index4premium cable one, that might not have been the case. Shows like Doctor Who and Game of Thrones thrive on their networks, largely because the infrastructure has been build and the general public have already accepted the platform. Discovery lacks that, and to put the burden on it’s shoulders is somewhat unfair. Star Trek is durable, but history shows us this is a losing bet. Star Trek II (the aborted TV series) failed to launch a paramount network. Voyager was moderately more sucessful, but wasn’t enough to create a sustainable network and UPN is now no more than a memory. I fear we’re watching that same scenario lay out now. CBS’s attitude is somewhere around “Wait and see” though insiders are saying CBS is abandoning Discovery and focusing on their Picard series (Not sure what that means for the black ops spin off that was suosed to feature Michelle Yeoh’s Georgiou). I think that’s a shame, because there’s plenty good here. I’d like to see more…but I’m not convinced we’re going to.


Star Trek : Discovery

tvindex4.jpgSo Discovery came back last week, though it took me until the weekend to actually see it. It hasn’t been that long a wait for me actually. With the exception of the first two episodes, I only finally got around to watching the bulk of the first season this past December.

Let’s get straight to the heart of this, because I see a lot of Trek fans constantly trashing this series out of hand. Discovery is not bad. It’s better than Voyager and Enterprise. It’s closer to Star Trek in spirit than the J.J. Abrams movies (hereon out referred to as the Kelvan timeline) ever came. It’s not as good as TNG, but might tie with DS9 as far as quality and originality goes.

There. We’ve established a pecking order. We’ve also established that I like it, more or less. Indeed, when CBS premiered the show last year with their two episode sneek peak, I actually told friends I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. The effects are up to par. I love the uniforms (I ALWAYS wanted blue uniforms, back as far as 8th grade. Asymmetrical even. I couldn’t have done a better job myself.) and I’m totally in love with that spunky plump redhead on the show (Seriously, Tilly pushes all of my buttons). Sonequa Martin-Green does a fine job here, and actually is a far more interesting character than she ever was on The Walking Dead. Also, I’m pretty much on board with anything Jason Issacs is in. I also love the redesign of the Enterprise (brief glimpses as we get). It’s actually EXACTLY what I wanted to see done to the ship when TOS went through all it’s remastering and redone FX all those years ago. I also have to give them credit for finding flattering angles to shoot the U.S.S. Discovery from – ones that help it look dynamic and cool. No small feat to pretty up what is possibly the ugliest ship in Trek history. They definitely deserve some praise for that.

But there are problems.

  1. I’m so sick to death of prequels. Not only is making this a prequel unnecessary, it’s CONFUSING. Exactly what is this a prequel to? Is it taking place in the Kelvan timeline? Because that might make sense. Tech and fashion and stuff in general developed differently there. If however, this is supposed to be in the prime timeline index.jpgwith the original series, it’s creating some continuity holes big enough to drive a Klingon warship through. Not one of the little ones either like a bird of prey, no I’m talking one of those ginormous Neghvar cruisers that dwarfed the Vor’Cha class.The Holographic communicators really bother me since we actually SAW the introduction of this tech in the fifth season DS9 episode “For the Uniform”. Yeah, it’s funny that that’s the one t hat irks me more than the jump drive thing….I suppose I can believe that the Jump tech was classified and never used again. Maybe. If I start thinking about it, the whole thing unravels pretty quick.
    So for fifty years we’ve just forgotten that the Jump tech exists. We’ve also forgotten about the brief use of the Discovery uniforms and the rank designations being on the arrowhead insgina (which is different from any we’ve ever seen before). This stuff is the peril of doing a prequel. What’s frustrating is that this didn’t HAVE to be a prequel. It’s not about forging the frontier or any significant events that were history in TOS. This could have just as easily been set fifty years after the end of Voyager and been the next, NEXT generation. It means you don’t get to use Sarek or Mudd, but those could easily be swapped out with other characters.
  2. We’re going back to the well. The last THIRD of Discovery’s first season was all index3.jpgabout the mirror universe. This has quickly become the go-to stock story for these series. It’s the single thing most people remember and rave about Enterprise. It’s a trope so often used in TV and print that I’m actually shocked that Discovery got to it before the Kelvan timeline films did (To be fair though, they were busy with regurgitating Star Trek 2 – another trip to a different well). This is another one of those things that plays havoc with the timeline by the way. In the TOS story “Mirror Mirror”, both the Enterprise crew and the mirror universe blokes all seem blissfully unaware of the whole thing, despite incursion by both Archer’s Enterprise and the Discovery crew. This does not compute.
    images.jpgMirror Universe aside, the fact that season 2 is bringing in both Captain Pike and Spock as major players signals a certain degree of uncertainty on CBS’s part. It’s a mandate to bring in familiar faces. The problem is even though this Spock actually looks better than Zachery Quento, I’m not actually jonseing for more Spock and I certainly don’t dig the importance they are putting on this long-lost sister thing that Michael Burnham represents.Where did Sybok go anyhow?
  3. TV-MA. Seriously, I understand that Star Trek has always been Adult Sci-Fi, but it’s never been ADULT (Bam-chika-wow-wow) fare. I wasn’t a particular fan of Data’s expletive as the Enterprise-D crashed in Generations but it felt organic and wasn’t excessive.  Honestly though, I don’t really feel the need F-Bombs or Klingon breasts in my Star Trek. It doesn’t make it any more mature subject matter nor does it push the narrative. It’s a classic case of “We’re doing it because we CAN” rather than doing it because they should. I had the EXACT same criticisms of the film Logan, which did precisely the same thing. The only thing this accomplishes is to guarantee that my kids won’t be watching it. That’s kind of a shame isn’t it?
  4. You can’t talk about Discovery without talking about the paywall. Quite frankly, no matter how good the series is, the paywall was always going to turn a lot of people off. We’re still in the middle of figuring out the business model for streaming services. CBS is operating on an old model, releasing one episode a week, while applying the netflix pay model (and ironically, for foreign markets CBS decided to forego the streaming platform and just go on Netflix). That hybrid is turning a lot of souls off,  as evidenced by Discovery consistently being in the to 20 most pirated shows on TV, index2.jpgwith the pilot actually hitting #12 (and that was one of the ones CBS made free to everyone to watch!), rivaling shows like Game of Thrones. Plenty who don’t pirate, just waited for DVD. I didn’t have cable growing up and I still never missed an episode of any Trek series – as evidenced by snowy VHS recordings with the Channel 43 logo in the bottom right corner. One more service on top of cable and netflix and maybe Prime or Hulu….it’s to much. The guy to finally make sense of this ala carte system is going to be a millionaire. But untill then, the various individual streaming platforms is only going to generate a bunch of ill will, especially for millenials, who already despise paying for cable. CBS hoped that Trek would help their streaming brand. While it probably has, I’d say it’s had a greater effect to the opposite – it’s damaged the Star Trek brand too, and hung a particular taint around the neck of Discovery. There’s a good article about this over here – https://www.fudzilla.com/news/44594-star-trek-discovery-shows-that-big-content-still-has-not-got-the-message.

I don’t think Discovery is a bad show. If you haven’t given it a chance, I think you should (and I wish there was an alternative to dropping the cash on the streaming service or the DVD set. Come over to my house. We’ll crack a couple Dews and watch a couple, the same as I used to do with my buddy Johnny Em.)But I think it has some serious baggage. Voyager and Enterprise limped along despite fatigue and softening ratings. But they didn’t have the baggage Discovery does. Now with the announcement that fourth Kelvan timeline film has been shelved, combined with the sort of playing-it-safe move that bringing in Spock is do make me wonder for the future of the series.

 


Clint Howard

AutographsIt’s hard to pick a favorite role for Ron Howard’s brother….I was tempted to try and get him to sign an Ice Cream Man poster, but really, Star Trek is one of my first loves, and the fact that he was on it is just amazing to me.

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Star Trek

definitive

My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

I don’t necessarily want to present Kirk and company here. I think that would be a different post. I’m talking more about the general LOOK of Star Trek, and the TNG era in particular.

The uniform changed to something better accepted in the third season and I really liked the addition of the belt, but felt it didn’t quite go far enough – I always wanted to see those uniforms resemble the red tunics more and always drew them untucked under the belt.

The black uniforms were always too much black for me, especially on Voyager.   I understood them more on DS9, work uniforms that you wore to get dirty. I Like the idea in Generations that both uniforms were in service and imagined you’d see more of the black ones in engineering. Still, adding a stripe around the cuff of the sleeve added just enough more color to me and I always drew them like that. Apparently the producers agree with me as that showed up in the first contact uniforms.

Finally, I always wanted to see a vest underneath. We got those in the TOS films, and the red undershirt is hinted at in TNG. Again, we’d see these kind of vests full on in the TNG films, but I created this stripped down version for the traditional uniforms – a version that worked better with the purple undershirts of DS9.

These are my characters from my Star Trek series, based on the RPG we’d play which eventually spawned comics and videos.

Star Trek Pencils Star Trek Inked Star Trek color

 


Enterprise

remakesstar_trek_enterprise-showEnterprise almost seems like one of the series that should be in the the case against category. It’s well-known that I’m not a fan. But it does have its admirers and rightly so. Enterprise came at a time when Star Trek was on it’s last legs. The horse was almost dead by the time Enterprise arrived and there was no way it was going to breathe life back into it. But it might have stopped the bleeding if it had been handled differently. I was there the beginning, for the Premier. We made a party out of it, and when everything was said and done it was an adequate. What it really was however, was a good two hour television movie. This is something that might have worked fine, but this is where it was hamstrung by the television model of the day, and the formula that the producers of Star Trek refused to deviate from. Everything interesting about Star Trek enterprise was pretty much wrapped up in the first month or two, leaving them with at least 10-16 episodes to pad out the rest of the season. Today it would be done a bit differently perhaps the way agent Carter was, in a eight episode miniseries. But back in 2001 it was demanded that it be a full 26 episode season period and quite frankly even watching that pilot I knew it couldn’t sustain that much time. By the time we had finished the first month or two, all the interesting part of the premises had been hammered out period the crew was getting along we mastered the tech and we had settled into the groove and exploring new world every week. It had evolved into just another Star Trek series that sounded the same as every other Star Trek series because the same writers were involved. It looked like every other Star Trek series because the same production people were involved and it felt like every other Star Trek series because the same producers were still at the helm. Back in 2001 my opinion was still the same as it is today; Enterprise could’ve worked, but it should’ve been done as a series of two hour television movies. Two, maybe three year. It could have keep Star Trek going while not being on every week, makeing it an event. In this way we could still hit key events, important stories and keep the fire burning. Just as importantly, it was time for a change. Doctor Who seems to understand this, that you need to change the producers once in awhile every several years to keep things fresh, to keep things going. Rick Berman had been at the helm of Star Trek for over a decade at this point and his style and sensibilities permeated every version of Star Trek at this juncture . Enterprise desperately needed an infusion of fresh eyes and didn’t get it. If I were doing this again I would have radically change production team and tried to hit some truly important stories that would set up the events we would see in the original series without being a slave to them. Indeed it might have saved us from the lens flare heavy reboot that we would get in 2009.


Star Trek 4 :the voyage home

case againstMV5BMjEzOTk1ODU1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODEwNDI4OA@@._V1_SX214_AL_There been times when Star Trek four has actually been considered the best of the series. I mean superior even to Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Kahn. I never understood that, in my mind is actually one of the least successful of the series.

I think its biggest sin is that it is so dated. This is a quintessential 80s film. It’s not just the setting either, not just the product placement of things like Winchells or Michelob or specific places,  it’s the save the whales conceit. It’s the fish out of water conceit. It’s the brand of comedy is being used here, the RUSSIAN looking for nuclear wessels. It’s all just so very 80s. So very hanging out in San Francisco in 1984. Star Trek should ever be dated like this. Sure you can look at Star Trek Next Generation and tell that the hairstyles began in 1987 and ended in 1994, but the series doesn’t feel like a product of its time (with the possible exception of counselor Troi, then again really she’s just doing a job that Dr McCoy qualified to do but still took on in the original series).

One of the great arguments here for this film is that everybody has something special to do. The only other little bits whether it Sulu in the helicopter or Scotty figuring out how to house the Whales and giving over the formula for transparent aluminum. Little bits – I’m not sure how good that small focus is as an argument.

I kind of get that and it’s something that William Shatner tried very hard to do with Star Trek five. It’s also something he failed to do there, but that’s neither here or there. Still it’s not about them having something to do, rather it’s how goofy and stupid those things they have to do are. Goofy antics? This is not what I watch Star Trek for. I want to see the beautiful starship and the red uniforms and charcters in peril and intrigue and this is none of that. It just fails in so many ways for me.

I think time has helped my argument on this by the way. Wrath of Khan is nowgenerally considered the best of all the Star Trek films and Star Trek 4, while still enjoyed doesn’t enjoy quite the notoriety that used to. Still for me, this is an even weaker entry then Star Trek 5.


ConCoction 2016

ConmanConcoctionFour conventions in four weeks is a little excessive, even for me – however, you have to admit that every show I’ve been to lately has been a different kind: Zipcon was an Anime Convention – very focused on Japanese animation and manga. You might see a Spiderman or Deadpool there, but really it’s all about the cartoons. Great Lakes on the other hand was a comic con. They had a more straightforward focus on mainstream comics, with only a couple of media guests, and all of them comic related. The 80s theme made a great deal of fun as well. Horror Relm is strictly a horror convention, with a heavy media and film focus. To their credit they do in fact have a literary component, but it’s overshadowed by the media guests.

That leaves us with this weekend, my first time out to the Cleveland ConCoction. ConCoction is a sci-fi convention – there’s a few more elements in there, a little bit of anime and comics, but it’s far more about speculative fiction. There is a heavy literary influence here, with very few media guests and more authors doing panels then actors. There’s a lot of Star Wars here predictably, but there is also an enormous amount of Star Trek here as well, hearkening back a little bit to the old days of Star Trek conventions. Seriously, I have not seen this many Star Trek costumes in one place in probably 20 years? That was fun and refreshing to be around again. It made it the perfect place to debut my new Borg outfit (truthfully created with ConCotion at least partially in mind) and I spent Saturday going around attempting to add biological and technological distinctiveness to my own. Sadly, all I managed to assimilate was girl scout cookies.

BorgConcoction has been around for three years now, and they been on my radar the entire time – my main barrier to entry has been the cost – concoction is a little bit more expensive than other shows sheratonits  size and on top of that, their location is the Sheraton hotel at the Cleveland Hopkins airport – this is a problem because it means you are going to pay to park, and if the hotel lot fills up (which it did, long before I made it there) you’re going to pay a LOT to park. Just a Saturday ticket is $40 at the door, although if you register early enough you can get the entire weekend for about $45 or so, and if you can get into the hotel parking lot it’ll only cost a fiver for a place to put your car. But if you get stuck having to park at the airport lot, you’re dropping an extra $12. All that cost up front, with very few media guests has kept me away first few years, but when I won a admission last September during a costume contest, it definitely got me excited about coming and far more willing to brave the extra costs of going.

Yes, ConCoction costs more, but they try harder too. There is programming from early in the morning all the way up until 1468755_1135510343160054_4953599633679730211_nmidnight here, and that’s not even getting into after parties and stuff like that. There is a ConSuite on site as well, where are you can find food and beverage. I’ve seen Motor City Nightmares do a similar hospitality suite, but wit far less of a spread and you had to get a special VIP admission for it. At ConCoction, the Consuite is open to anyone attending the show.  I had all of my meals there, and this is really a great thing… Not having to run away from the hotel to grab food, not having to strategically plan your meals. They kept me hydrated (kind of important in some of my costumes) and fed. They also held several the panels in this cozy dining room.

10564994_1135510339826721_3087686439105258383_nThe panels at ConCoction are very interesting, not just the content but also in the way that they are run. A lot of them are far more of a forum than a strict panel – there is a lot of audience participation and conversation going on. As soon as I arrived, I ran into some friends who were on their way to a panel in the Consuite being hosted by Pete Mako (of Pete Mako in the Boogiemen, remember them from a few weeks ago?). I was still getting my bearings and found myself in the Consuite and noticed that they were there. I asked “I thought you guys were going to a panel!” Pete walked past me smiling and clapped my shoulder then said “This IS the panel!” The group, about have a dozen of them relaxed around a table and began discussing the topic of “Geek Dating”.  It wasn’t the first time I’d see this, in fact later on I would sit down to a panel charmingly  titled “Why You Are Here: Two Old Broads and Why They Ran (and stopped running) cons in Cleveland “. It was a discussion of behind-the-scenes at conventions, and what it was like to host the old Earth Cons back in the 80s.  I like to consider myself a convention Veteran. I’ve been on the scene since I was a kid back in ’87, but these ladies were doing it back in the late 70s and started hosting their own show in’81… In fact Earth Con’s last show was held just before the first Star Trek Convention I ever went to! They discussed the difference between the Literary cons and media cons, something I’ve never even really been aware of – things were leaning a little bit more towards media and Star Trek conventions during my time. They reminisced about gathering diffrent groups together to gaming, sci-fi, comics and the how the cooperation from different groups  help Make Earth Con a reality. The gamers would bring in Steve Jackson. The Comic people would bring in Stan Lee, while Earth Con would get someone like Anne McCaffrey or James Doohan. But then, the unity between the orginizations began to fragment, each wanting to hold their own conventions. It was fascinating to hear about how that cooperation transformed into competition.

I was riveted, so were a couple of the tweeners hanging out – a couple of junior high girls who were fascinated by the idea, and so excited about the convention experience that all they wanted to do was just find more shows to go to, and more time to spend at these events.

I sat back, trying to decide if thier giggling, gasping hyperactivity was annoying or inspiring.

The thing is, I was that age once. I remember… I remember what this felt like, I remember what it was like to break into the world of fandom, and I can’t help but smile – seeing it happen all over again, it really does makes me happy.

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There are several comedy shows going on at ConCoction, and I was dead 1924260_1134584266585995_8867013992410242920_nset on making sure I hit “doctor whose line is it anyway? ”

It really set the tone for a lot of the comedy show cases that we saw over this weekend There were two different improv troupes going on, and that made up a great deal of the sketch comedy happening, but also, later in the evening there was a group of stand-ups who came out to perform. This was really fun to see, with the subject matter tailored to fit the convention – sci-fi and fantasy genre jokes. Monster Bash is the only10402849_10100447131970896_75788821195389550_n other show that immediately comes to mind that I know that has stand up as part of its routine. It’s a great late night filler and I had a lot of fun with it.

One of the highlights of Saturday for me was “Looking for Love in Alderaan Places”. It’s still improv, but with an outline. They know where they are going, and what the story is, but still keep in off the cuff. It has the feel and style of a classical farce – if it were written by George Lucas.

12814777_10208473897623319_2422085043494285847_nI managed to hit the “State of the Star Trek panel “with Larry Nemecek. Larry is an American Star Trek author, actor, editor, archivist, consultant, interviewer and producer.  He has portrayed Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek Continues web series episodes “Pilgrim of Eternity” and “Lolani.”  and has been around the franchise for a good long time – the buzz of course, is not so much Star Trek beyond, but the new Star Trek series that CBS all access is producing There is a certain degree of trepidation and pessimism that comes along with any of it, and he reminded us of that same kind of feeling 12814683_10208473900423389_8572060921254002335_nback in the days of Star Trek : The Next Generation. You know what, I remember those days and I remember that negativity, but I don’t remember if that was me or not.  I’d like to think that it wasn’t, I’m pretty sure I was excited just because there is new Star Trek been produced in my lifetime and that was unthinkable.

One of my favorite slides he showed was this bullseye from the writers room, basically all the possible responses you could expect from a pitch – and everyone was always aiming for the center.

There is something surreal about the fact 942299_10208473899943377_6591667192631257574_nthat I attended this panel dressed as a Borg. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the room who found that funny, several pictures of the back of my head appeared online later on in the evening…

Litarary panels are fun, and really come from a different place than I’m used to. You get a diffrent kind of discussion, usually with far better referances and sources to back up opinions and ideas. “Growing up sci-fi” emphasised a lot of the isolation that you kind of felt as a sci-fi fan in the pre-Internet days. I’d kind of forgotten, and perhaps it wasn’t really true in my time, how sci-fi used to have a sort of “renegade “or “rebellious “reputation to it. I’m Pre-Internet 1557519_1134584003252688_4520742300568146200_nas well, and I empathize with the writer who mentioned she didn’t know what it would’ve been like, how she would’ve handled it if she hadn’t had access to the online community when she was growing up as a sci-fi fan. It’s a fascinating perspective. I was blessed to have found friends in both school and Church who shared my passions and gave me an outlet for them. Equally fascinating was the writer who described reading the Star Trek novels long before they were ever able to see an episode of the TV series. This is fundamentally my story on how I experienced Captain Video and I totally get what you’re saying. I love seeing that idea overlayed on another series.

12799270_1134584123252676_3852451897015572495_nThe comic book collecting panel, hosted by Ed Gosney, was little bit more familiar territory, though still very much more a discussion then a lecture. people talked about characters and earth that they loved. One of the Writers from the previous panel was there discussing how there are a number of comics in his collection where it was the art, the imagery itself rather than the story that captivated him. To the point where he eventually scanned those images into his computer, so he’d have the art without having to carry around the baggage of the books themselves. We talked about great finds, and the one that got away… One of the attendees told a story about a day out garaged saleing. He was with his mother but only had about three dollars to his name at the moment. In the back of this person’s garage he saw boxes, and boxes of comics. Longboxes full of rare stuff, seminal stories, important comics. The owner told him he could have the whole lot for $50. His mother of course, wasn’t loaning him the money no way no-how, so he grabbed a handfull of choice issues and ran out to the flea market.  On the way there he called one of his buddies to let him know about the stash that was at this grudge sale – “if I don’t get out there, you need to “. He managed to raise the necessary $50 on those special issus he had snagged, and arrived back at the garage sale just in time to see his buddy loading that collection into his truck. Still from then on, every con that friend put on, he had his admission comped and a $15 credit at his booth.

12821477_10208888702279257_8522430331028457468_n“A borg is walking away with a signed copy of my book ‘Prometheus Stumbles’. There’s something you don’t see every day….”

1918241_1134584379919317_8384069525695507069_n10401215_1692907380925919_1112321460170093922_nI’m going on and on about the programming. I know. While I usually say that programming is the lifeblood of a con, it’s really true here. The vendors area is divided into three sections, an artist room, an authors alley and a proper dealers room. All three are about the size of my living room. Maybe a touch bigger. This is not Wizard World where you walk into a room the size of an airplane hanger packed full of vendors and scalper selling the latest things that Hot Topic has sold out of. The dealers here 12814043_1692907334259257_7187117035295895702_nare artists and craftsmen, gamers and cosplayers.

You’ll find jewelry and puppets and dice and leather here. I saw custom fan neckties and mopey robots and strange flowers (I bought the girls wooden roses). It’s interesting stuff, more like the sort of thing you’d see at a Renaissance fair, not so much like what you may be used to seeing at a comic con.  You can pretty much get through the dealers room in ten to fifteen minuets, so honestly, that better not be what you’re coming for.

1914248_1134584469919308_6566962078602034097_nThere are a few more tables upstairs along the mezzanine. It’s a stunning view and a really cool space. It’s also out of the way and easy to neglect. The cosplayers are up there, and I made sure to get into a quick scuffle with Knightmage’s Darth Maul as we overlooked the balcony.

1934177_1134584076586014_2004702050444750437_nIn addition to the cosplayers, there were a couple other concoction groups set up there as well as the Federation booth and the band.

Oh yes. The band.

10488369_1134580496586372_3858482629432149360_nFive Year Mission is the collaboration of five Star Trek fans who endeavor to write and record a song for each of the episodes of the 12832488_1134583703252718_5751622523088986578_noriginal Star Trek series from the 1960s. One of my friends is certain the bass player is going to drop dead after each show and have to be replaced because of the red shirt. It’s a remarkably good band with clever songs and good hooks. The band switches up instruments after almost every song which makes for an interesting dynamic – we get to hear just about every sing at one point and the songs honestly do get stuck in your head.

Five Year Mission did two sets on Saturday, one full electric set as well as a smaller acoustic set – “storytellers” style, where they laid 12809655_10100264656957521_6018051804594040867_nout the idea behind each song they played.

They weren’t the only musical act though. As I mentioned earlier, Pete Mako was here as well to do his set (which they scheduled during the costume contest! Come on! What’s up with that???). I caught his act at ZipCon and was really excited that he was going to be playing ConCoction. Pete was around all weekend helping out with bits here and there.

943827_10205463303814341_1761433482646886302_nCosplay is interesting at ConCotion. You don’t have the throngs of cosplayers swarming all around the joint like you do at an Anime convention, but a you have way more than the few dribs and drabs that filter into a Horror con.  It’s a fascinating mix as well. There are 10533812_1134580626586359_444356057891803547_na few superheros around, I saw a ninja Deadpool to die for. But there’s also fantasy, anime characters, steampunk folks, monsters and film characters.

There’s more puppets walking around than you’d expect.

It’s this fantastic variety that makes cosplay at ConCoction really something to see. There’s some innovation in a lot of these outfits I couldn;t have begun to imagine and I was always delighted to discover what new character was right around each corner.

They run the costume contest a little diffrently here. You sign up in the 10:00 hour, and are assigned a slot for pre-judging (mine was 1:45-2:00). You then sit down with the judges and talk out you costume. What it is, what it’s made of, how you did it, anything you really want to say. 1930802_10205399581619124_4712447231621981179_nThe masquerade is around 6. This is the stage show, MCed by Moxie Magnus, the chief cosmetologist on the USS Enterprise under Captain under James T Kirk, and the comedy (drag) queen of outer space. I had fun bantering with Moxie pointing out that my designation was 7 of 5 – none of the other Borg want to hang out with me and then sent me to ConCoction alone to assimilate the show.

1921957_10205463301334279_2095796481302015485_n“And you WILL be assimilated! Resistance is useless!”
“Oh, I’m not resisting…”
“You COULD resist a little you know….”

10628478_1134581023252986_6515379055405091959_nThe winner of the contest was this beautifully made Kaylee from Firefly, and I love this. It shows just how well they understand it. This wasn’t the flashiest costume, it’s not the trendiest. But it’s the most impressive because of the massive amount of work here. This dress is handmade, she did it all and it’s perfect. I’ve seen commissioned ones before and this is dead-on, a masterpiece of stitching. A great, well-earned win.

It’s pretty well known that I’m not a Star Wars fanatic (casual fan at best) so Dak wasn’t a big deal for me, but I was really interested in 1384339_1134584226585999_679050314139320533_nmeeting Santiago Cirilo.

Santiago has been on hit TV Shows and Films on TNT, Lifetime, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, USA Network, Fox, and of course on AMC as Julio in Season 4 of The Walking Dead.He’s the first person from the Walking Dead in fact, that I’ve met or gotten an autograph on that poster of mine in person from.

Santiago is a native of Lorain, which is a neighboring suburb to my own Elyria. We discussed the Lorain Palace and growing up in the area. The thing on his resume that I was honestly the most fascinated by was how he had done episodes of America’s Most 5839_10208889933430035_4749321152107822448_nWanted. You never think about where they get the actors for the reenactments on those shows and I was surprised at how straightforward it is, casting calls the agent and an audition. For some reason I always imagined those shows casting differently. I only caught the tail end of his panel, but Santiago was around for after parties as well, in his Superman leather jacket and shirts. You can see he’s a fan at heart and fits well into this show.

After 11, the barfleet party happens. Drinks and dancing and socializing. The dance floor there is a smaller more intimate setting that the No Strings Attached Ball that happens around 8 in one of the main programming rooms, but still pumping the music with lights in the air and drinks in hand.

Honestly, there’s far more going on at ConCoction than I can cover. There’s always a couple things happening at the same time and I didn’t even begin to hit them all. I barely spent any time in the game room. There were always things going especially for kids in one room. There were music acts that I just couldn’t catch. I’m already registered for next year and if you can stash away a few extra pennies it’s definitely worth checking out.

12832498_1692907150925942_5891530740232776683_n 3876_10209264701440235_7721819962508361716_n 67173_1134580979919657_1576757387193335372_n 8895_1692907084259282_7364651658721743599_n 7661_1134580609919694_1856525857277036433_n 7651_1692907250925932_3534236049531017341_n 166716_616591591825300_3140906705107430348_n 229083_10205463301054272_1439981007354397044_n 270541_1134581263252962_5882518500014542312_n 734686_10156646630635230_1908383016849284426_n 734686_10205398629035310_956147103460464694_n 942523_1134584106586011_4415281523370277209_n 995377_10205400919812578_5736820199097767680_n 970286_1134581313252957_1938776753410451675_n 944016_1134581143252974_1287136211994289209_n 1010630_1134580943252994_6015943325330968179_n 1468545_1134583859919369_295013437095775035_n 1240322_10156646625450230_4856211106532756702_n 1012568_1134584489919306_3091730484015509024_n 1531772_10209264627958398_3806615328376941454_n 1554467_1134580706586351_7983823283552532878_n 1613982_1015928638466408_1328625127299195296_n 1913574_10207126847422548_5787930334463952864_n 1913565_1015928658466406_1687883815926523499_n 1909971_10100264657047341_263169488265826038_n 1618494_1134581453252943_1087467669312478769_n 1918850_1134580913252997_1408509556762406579_n 1929830_10207957370145978_4947814526498342307_n 1924109_1134583979919357_6848077746958057745_n 1930705_1134580539919701_7600392517031586159_n 1935357_10156590234805104_8308673680026414729_n 1935281_1134580863253002_1974691788528934944_n 1934177_1134580766586345_6754299494617380818_n 1933876_1692907434259247_3527896581138433892_n 1931476_1015754095150529_8311723692991716955_n 1934720_1692907277592596_9187408070202065224_n 1934787_1134580516586370_7706361446712841852_n 10250213_1134581429919612_4042542615826820801_n 10300702_1692907140925943_715197025239846334_n 10308156_1134580786586343_4494974665289938840_n 10320517_10205392674766457_1671409821629566024_n 10352383_1692907344259256_7286071136902905996_n 10349202_1134583956586026_8437719215537908775_n 10336628_1134584436585978_1291895710659037427_n 10329046_1134584399919315_5335401306667059093_n 10356174_1134583936586028_4759403104728742914_n 10368217_1134584293252659_3982470165726541423_n 10382651_10209264681999749_2638544023715349946_n 10383017_1134583809919374_4279086665673639081_n 10406951_1692907244259266_3041731643925496321_n 10421134_1134581049919650_4493939810161821067_n 10421148_1134580573253031_8103045226172042592_n 10489809_1015754068483865_2149545392656196435_n 10527442_1134584343252654_1216510825818725826_n 10530857_1134584153252673_7517040251600222498_n 11072527_1583724688510856_8811616004279953789_n 10628478_1134584419919313_578730631019148819_n 12096503_1134584516585970_4483441214459153510_n 12108886_1134580889919666_8595229025980317457_n 12523860_1134581096586312_579291638007045503_n 12524332_1134580803253008_7459720170310684038_n 12799263_1692407587642565_8354260547154576913_n 12795307_10205393235180467_4779931902697730779_n 12524351_1134583776586044_4930546135848049009_n 12805661_1134584246585997_4619626329470036356_n 12806090_10208983560655761_5440021635244250380_n 12809514_1134581186586303_2999527380470295738_n 12813936_1134584026586019_6154138792948262_n 12813921_10153896042035926_2884135290885713800_n 12813894_1134581356586286_3603339779848382983_n 12814044_1134581409919614_6498420897002398073_n 12814043_1692907334259257_7187117035295895702_n 12814099_1134584179919337_955959677923706673_n 12814278_1692907317592592_6622647589884740109_n 12814760_1134581116586310_5374028786215596841_n 12814648_1134581486586273_6615009093120695565_n 12814608_1134580663253022_8508832467180434510_n 12814459_1134584319919323_8854015885275694915_n 12821373_1134581209919634_3302105166853464318_n 12821463_1134583719919383_6301045385890619768_n 12821559_1134580749919680_1729145120273850237_n 12821523_1134581289919626_4529038004357925123_n 12821510_1692907424259248_6273440926870559751_n 12821482_1134581376586284_4868160543572028770_n 12832477_1015754138483858_8531291534691424808_n 12832424_1134581336586288_9183310912759106243_n10395842_1134907919886963_9074981090325371393_n

 

 

 

 

 


Brent Spiner

Autographs

I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever gotten anyone from Star Trek the Next Generation through the mail before. I’ve gotten original series cast that way…they are getting harder to find on the convention circuit, but the TNG cast used to always be accessible.

I was really pleased to get this one though the mail, I especially wanted a Night Court pic here because one of my favorite things was discovering Data on my favorite sitcom. Thanks so much Brent!

data1 data2


Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda : Turkish Star Trek

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vlcsnap-222413This used to be rare, but thanks to the Internet, I noticed it made it up to YouTube a while back.

It’s interesting, you can tell someone making this really loves Star trek and was trying to create something good. They’ve even changed Spock into command gold!

I’ve seen worse bridge sets, though this still looks like cardboard and Christmas lights in someone’s basement. They’ve stolen some ship shots from the original series so we aren’t hampered with home made effects.

It seems like there’s an attempt to do the man Trap on the planet from “City on the Edge of Forever”, but that’s my best guess as to what’s going on with the plot. This is a curiosity. Nothing more.


Nichelle Nicholas

Autographs

It’s been a long time coming really. Uhura is the last of my Star Trek collection. At least, the last of the main cast (I don’t think I will ever get a DeForest Kelly autograph, and really, I wouldn’t want it secondhand).

Nichelle is one I kept putting off, I’m not sure why, but a combination of getting Grace Lee Whitney last year and seeing Nichelle using a wheelchair to get to conventions last year kind of lit a fire under me.

It’s a cast photo because I don’t have one of those, and it kind of makes up for my Walter Koning picture being of his B5 character and My Shatner being in his gold uniform. It’s also my way of getting De up on the wall.

nn


In Defense of Star Trek Five

defense

st5There’s no doubt that this is one of the weakest films in the franchise. In fact, there’s really not a lot of defense for it, but then again, the movie isn’t exactly the one who needs defending. What this really is, it’s a defense of William Shatner.

I’m not a fan actually, but I think he gets unfairly savaged when it comes to Star Trek five. It ended any feature directorial career he might have had and at the end of the day, there’s so much of what went wrong in this film that just wasn’t his fault.

Let’s start with the one real thing that WAS his fault, because it affects a lot of the rest of the film, but didn’t necessarily have to. Shatner’s greatest sin was begin an inexperienced director. Sure he’d done some TV work, but that’s just not the same thing. Having directed a couple of features myself as well as episodes of my own series, I can tell you that logistically those two tasks are very different. the vision has to be different. There’s a ton more “moving pieces” you have to coordinate. But most of all…you have a very different relationship with the studio. And that’s where everything began to go wrong.

st51Shatner invoked the favored nation clause in his contract (basically an agreement that anything they give Nimoy, they have to give Shatner as well.) generally used in salary negotiations, but more than one source has mentioned that this was Shatner’s way of leveraging his directorial debut on to Paramount. The studio wasn’t thrilled about this, but did still have dollar signs in their eyes after  Star Trek 4, possibly the most successful of all the Trek films (ironically, my least favorite). They backed Shatner into a corner and got a fourteen to sixteen month scheduled. They’d tried to do this with Nimoy, who had flatly refused, stating he needed at least two years to do things properly, and more likely three (I actually remember him mentioning this in an interview after Star Trek 3). Shatner’s inexperience allowed him to be bullied into an impossibly tight schedule. Still, that wasn’t necessarily the end of the world as long as you have a good crew working with you – particularly in per-production.

Well, that presents a little problem we like to call “The Writer’s Strike”. Hitting ST5 atst59 the worst possible time, we ended up with a less than polished script. In fact, we have a flawed premise from the word go. It’s one thing for the Enterprise to search for and encounter a small-gee god. It’s another for them to try and find  God, Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah. The problem is, anyone with the clout to be able to explain this to Shatner and company was out in front of the Paramount building holding a picket sign.

You don’t just need good people in pre-production though, you also need good people in production. Star Trek in particular NEEDS good special effects. This was 1989 – the year we learned the true meaning of  the word “Blockbuster”. Sure we’d had them before, but this is one of the first summers where we had constant back to back blockbusters packing out the box office. Indiana Jones and The Final st57Crusade, Batman, Ghostbusters 2 and that’s just for starters. What this translated into was a shortage of effects houses, and you could just forget booking  Lucasfilm for another year at least (There’s that rushed production schedule again!).

ST5 went with a smaller house that was known for it’s smoky, wispy effects. It’s a decision that kind of makes sense as they were thinking about what to do with the Great Barrier section of the film. The problem was that this effects house had NEVER worked with models like this before. They had to learn the process from st58the ground up and the end results were….less than spectacular. The green screen is obvious, the tone and lighting is frequently wrong and the ship movements are jerky, unnatural. It brings the whole film down, and strips away a great deal of the suspension of disbelief.

Then there’s the villain chase at the end where Kirk is pursued by a giant floating head.

Well, that wasn’t actually the intention.You can find this in both the novel and comic adaptation. The original idea was to have the rocks burst from the ground and assemble themselves int man-like forms that breathed fire and chase Captain Kirk through the desert and up the cliff. Almost sounds similar to what we saw in Galaxy Quest. Of course today, thisgq would be all done in CGI, just like it was in Galaxy Quest, but in 1989, it would either have to be suits or puppets. IMDB reports the budget for ST5 at 27,800,000, higher than four. So I don’t understand what happened when they bargained Shatner down. He wanted an army. The studio said too much. We don’t have the budget. Shatner was willing to play ball. Five. He said. They agreed. Month’s later, word came down that five was being reduced to three. On the day of shooting, only one rockman costume appeared on set….and it looked awful. It looked like a rubber suit, not even up to the standard of the monsters that we saw on the TV show in 1966. The floating head was a post production fix…and one Shatner should st54actually get some credit for. It was a good bit of quick thinking that ended up being surprisingly effective.

Post production was rushed due to the firm start date in summer 1989 and there was no time for test screenings or tweakings. The film was going out as it was, for better or worse. So much of the story of Star Trek 5 is a tragedy of studio interference. A more seasoned director might have been able to turn out a superior film under these conditions. A more experienced director might have been able to stand up to the execs and fight for what was best for the film, perhaps snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Shatner just didn’t have that kind of juice and even worse, he didn’t have the kindst56 of support a first time director really needs to thrive.

A lot of times I’ll use this space to recommend you go revisit a movie and try to see it through different eyes.  This time around I have a different suggestion. Head to the library or the used bookstore or even Amazon and get yourself a copy of the novelization. Back in the days before DVD, there was no such thing as “Special features”. You know how we got to see deleted scenes? We read the novel. You want to see how truly scary Kahn is ? How brutal and violent? Check out the novelization for Star Trek 2 – you’ll see Kahn murdering the space station crew in scenes that were only hinted at in the film. The same is true of this film. The novelization helps show how good a film this really could have been if it had a bit more time, a bit more polish and better visuals. Shatner’s flair and touches are still there, but a lot of the gaps are filled. It’s not a short book. It’s as long as any of the Star Trek novels, actually longer than most.  Pick up the book and see if that changes your opinion about Star Trek 5.

 

 


In Defense of Star Trek : Insurrection

defenseToday we’re talking about what is actually my untitledfavorite of the Next Generation movies. I’ve never understood the hat this movie gets. I have heard more than ne person tell me this is a worse movie than Star Trek Five.

This is frequently used as positive proof that Jonathan Frakes can’t direct. Funny, considering he also directed what is arguably considered the best film of the series too; First Contact. I do see his flair in it. The zooming shots, a lot of camera movement. Many of the set-ups are simple, but certainly not bad.

This film gets lambasted for it’s humor – as if humor was never a part of Star Trek. Why do I never hear that criticism leveled at “The Trouble With Tribbles”? It’s really more than just humor in this film, it’s familiarity. We should be comfortable enough with the characters that it’s a reunion. If you’re expecting 2001 from a Star Trek movie then I don’t know what you’re thinking. They tried that with the first film. It didn’t work. To be fair, by this time Trek movies had devolved into simple sci-fi action flicks…and  that includes Generations. and yeah, most of them have EXACTLY the same ending. This is still one of the better versions of it though…

sonaThe ships in this film are gorgeous – and it’s one of the first times we really some serious new design work  in TNG in ages. A pity that the interiors look like any other Okuda hell, but those ships hulls are beautiful and a nice departure from First Contact.

Speaking of First Contact- I like the movie, but it really doesn’t have a story.  No,  think about it. The characters drift from one engagement to the next – it’s a video game. A fun ride but no real plot. This movie has a narrative, growth in 2the characters (which we sadly abandon at the end because everything has to return to the status qoe) and some good plot twists. It has great actors like F. Murry Abraham and Anthony Zerke.

If the gags bug you, ignore them. Try watching this for the romp that it is and visit with these characters we really grew to care about. There’s not to many movies in the TNG film period and it’s a shame to have to throw this one out.


Star Trek into Darkness

Movie banner

StarTrekIntoDarknessIMAXposterPTParamountFinally took a break from Violent Blue to get out to the Lorain Palace to  see the new Star Trek movie. My reaction was simple. It was good. It wasn’t Star Trek, but it was good.

I think that’s the only way I can look at these movies and be okay. The whole time travel conceit helps, but I’m just far too aware that these are not the characters I know. That’s Chris Pine playing Kirk. It’s not Kirk himself on screen.  I never had those kind of feelings with the original cast…not even with Nimoy’s cameos in the new movies….when Nimoy shows up – that’s Spock. I believe it. When Zachery Quinto is on screen, it’s Zachery Quinto in pointy ears.

It’s not just the cast though, J.J. Abrahams seems to be missing some of the soul of Star Trek, and certainly the familiarity. When the Klingon ships show up – I had no idea what I was looking at. If they hadn’t told me those were Klingon ships, I never would have figured it out. That wasn’t the case when  the bird of prey showed up in Star Trek 3. It LOOKED Klingon. There was a design language that told us what we needed to know immediately. Those new ships….they’re just a bunch of polygons flexing up and down. It’s a shame, I like Abram’s direction, and his style, but I wish he’d been P9gCjj5given the reins ten years ago and done this stuff in continuity, rather than in a tangent universe. I think that would have been a beautiful and bold change. This….this is just…not Star Trek.

I’m not going to try and make snarky remarks about this being a remake of Wrath of Kahn, because it isn’t.  It’s a completely different kind of Kahn story and a good one at that. It’s also a great thing they set Kahn up to be able to come back, and really using him is logical. Over the years he’s been set up (correctly or incorrectly) as Kirk’s arch-enemy. It makes sense for him to show up here. The touches like the Spock shouting “Kahn” as Kirk lies dying in a radiation chamber are obvious star-trek-into-darknesshomages (and I think, a little unnecessary) but this is not even remotely the same story. I do believe it can stand alone and really is a great story.

I did like all the alternate uniforms we saw. The diving suits were really cool and I even marginally like the gray suits for headquarters, though the hats I think took the military look to far – anyone who complained about Harve Bennetts red uniforms looking to militaristic ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Still the I liked the variety. I’ve always thought that was a nice part of the films- we had the base red uniform, and different coats for away missions, and different uniforms for engineering and medical.

star-trek-into-darkness-scene-600x337They take the alternate uniforms a little far this time though don’t they?

Seriously. It’s the same complaint I had with IM3. We don’t actually see  Tony in the suit enough. It’s still a problem here. We waited all last movie to see Kirk in the gold shirt, and we got it for five seconds at the end. This movie, we’re still spending the majority of the film with him in different uniforms.

Perhaps they were able to get away with this better when Shatner and Nimoy and Kelly were in the roles (although I’m not even sure about that. On of the things that irritates me about 3&4 is the lack of screen time for my favorite of all Starfleet uniforms) but with these characters, we haven’t had enough time to emotionally invest in these actors as the characters. We haven’t had movies_star-trek-into-darknessenough exposure to this ensemble and it only heightens the feeling that these are just actors playing the characters… not the characters themselves.

And that’s what it keeps coming down to. This isn’t Star Trek to me. I don’t recognize it, and that’s a shame. I think people like me would have been more ready to embrace it if we’d had more, not having to wait for three years. The only continuity we’ve had is a comic book series from IDW and perhaps a few kids novels.  A sister series on TV would have helped. A set of monthly novels and more magazines would have helped. Most of all, an eighteen month turn around schedule would have helped.

But there’s none of this, and whatever bloom there might have been, is off the rose.

These are fun sci-fi- action flicks (something that Trek  films devolved into during the TNG movies- and they really should be blamed for that), but they aren’t Star Trek, and that’s fine. But don’t expect my devotion. Don’t expect my respect.

imagesCA87STER

When does Doctor Who start up again?


Galactus vs Star Trek

DC Clix

Comics are Go! decided to do something different this time around. Mike was wanting to play the Star 203564_616966514983887_695373556_nTrek Tactics game, and he decided to pair it with Galactus.

Now, I’m a fan of Star Trek – or  at least of good star trek (I feel it really got watered down towards the end of the century) built I haven’t been buying this game. I really hadn’t seen to many people playing it and honestly, I don’t need more Trek toys. I have a pretty full set of the Micro Machines ships and what few ship the Tactics set makes that Micro Machines didn’t are WAY expensive. Far more expensive than standard Heroclix. Too much for toys that I didn’t expect to play with and don’t have room to display.

Still, when this opportunity came up, it was too good to resist. Galactus in general is a really good idea for this kind of game and it really got my imagination going. So much so that I created this prolog for the game. (They would definitely carry this comic at Taylors shop in Violent Blue)

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Mike ended up playing a Romulin team. Jim and I played Federation teams – I was borrowing pieces from Mike’s collection and tried not to duplicate anything that Jim was playing (except the cloaked Defiant. that was just too cool).

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526152_605633052786658_1704959097_nI did find a use for my old Micro machines toys. I used the little figures as counters. It ended up looking a little creepy though….like they were just people who had been sucked out of the ship, dead bodies floating is space.

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Jim brought along his custom Borg cube as well. I’d seen this while it was still a work in progress, but cool to see it complete with the custom dial mounted and in place.

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It’s didn’t get played, but it brings up the question – what would The Borg vs. Galactus look like? I speculated that he’d just slam his hand down on the cube and rip off a chunk with his fingers. Kind of like this.

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A really fun scenario. I’m hoping to see more tactics played up at the shop. Definitely something I’d be up for if it turned into a monthly thing.


I think I may be about to get angry.

A couple days ago I was finishing up some Violent Blue and decided to catch up on the prequel comics for the upcoming Star Trek movie. After seeing this panel, I begin to think the new Star Trek movie is about to make me very, very upset.

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In this scene, they have discovered that April has been arming primitive species, violating the Prime Directive and generally setting up a whole big mess….and I really don’t like that.

You have to understand, April is my favorite captain. Not Kirk, not Picard, April. Moreover, he’s been my favorite captain for twenty years. When I was a child I used to fold pieces of paper in half and draw comic books featuring Robert April (yeah, if you think I’m kidding about that, just scroll down). I proposed to my wife the same way April proposed to his. In my opinion, Diane Carey’s Final Frontier is the finest Star Trek novel ever.

I keep reminding myself that this isn’t MY Robert. Who knows what’s changed about the tangent universe April. Still, this just doesn’t seem like him. he doesn’t act like this. It’s one thing to take Garth of Izar, a character with No backstory, and tell us he was once a great Starfleet captain, and now he’s gone bad.  It’s another thing to take a character that already exists and use him in such a foul way. I had the same reaction to the uses of D.A. Scanallon as a villain in the Green Hornet.

I always assumed April just stayed in the diplomatic corps in this universe. Perhaps he was so disturbed by the death of his friend George Kirk that he resigned Starfleet entirely. I was okay not knowing.

I’ve been surprisingly on board with the tangent universe since the first movie came out. I can accept a lot of changes because of the way it was handled, but I don’t like this and I hope Into Darkness doesn’t takes us somewhere that really defiles one of my heroes.

 

And by the way – that whole thing about making Robert April comics as a kid? Here’s the proof:

 


Catching up on autographs

AutographsYou know, I never posted any of the autos I got at the Akron Comic Con last year, and that’s something I’ve really been meaning to do. So here we are. I want to start with the ones from Gerry Conway because they are just my absolute favorites. The fact that I not only have these comics, but have signed copies of them just makes me want to squee everytime I see them.

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Mike W Barr was a delight. I loved his run on Star Trek and especially love his Batman and the Outsiders, so it’s a great pleasure to have them both signed. Id didn’t just go with number ones though, I went with an issue of Trek that was special to me as well….the first one I ever got.

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Tony Isabella created something special in Black Lightning, and I don’t know if we ever really appreciate it enough. I especially loved the 90’s version. They made a figure of it, but other than that, it got almost no attention at all. I never even knew about the series until long after it was over.

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Breyfogal. enough said.

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I’m a fan of Joe Staton’s Green Lantern and have to wonder why he isn’t a bigger personality in the field…It’s not that Dick Tracy is a bad gig, but it seems like he should be doing more.

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Kyle Rayner is another underappreciated character. Polarlizing I guess. I hated him at first too, just because he took the place of Hal Jordan. Once my friend Ben got me actually reading the book though, I really grew to love him and realized my ire was more a reaction to how poorly Jordan was treated in Emrald Twilight. I got Daryl Banks, the costume designer, to sign a couple of great covers both with a lot of characters crammed into them!banks1

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A couple more to throw in here, Cameron Diaz was nice enough to sign a Green Hornet picture for me. Tara Strong signed a collage for me and a pony picture for my girls. Maddie sleeps with it….I kid you not.

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Finally there is…this. How do I properly describe this and the joy it brings me?

About a year or so ago my friend Johnny Em bought an animation cell off ebay. The seller shipped it in this envelope to protect it. As soon as he saw it he thought of me. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so excited over a dirty old envelope. Well you see that Filmation logo on the corner? As in the people who made He-Man? This carried proofs or cells at one time while they were making the series – you can see the notes “young hordak, Sorceress, and (I think) Marlana scrawled up in the corner by the logo. It’;s signed by every person who when through the production phases – each signing off on thier work.Definitely one of the coolest pieces of He-Man Memorabilia I’ve ever gotten!

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Last week’s pulls

You know what? Green Lantern just pisses me right off. I did catch up on the series, and it started off alright. It actually has had some great moments and I was kind of excited for the return of Black Hand, but then we fall right back into this mulit-colored lantern corps dreck. I don’t care about any color lantern but green and that’s really what I’m waiting for.  On the plus side though, Hal is slowly beginning to feel more and more familiar to me again. I guess after seven or eight years, he ought to be.

I’m glad I’m still with the Shadow. Issue five has a lot more of what I really like about the character, though I’d still prefer to see him back in New York. A lot of action and atmosphere in this one. I think however, the most exciting part of this issue was the advertisement for “Masks” – Dynamites crossover event using all these Golden age pulp heroes like the Green Hornet, the Shadow and the Spider. I’m going to be all over this series. The Shadow / Doc Savage crossover from DC in the 90’s was a bit disappointing, and I’ve never gotten my hands on the Shadow / Ghost one from Dark Horse. It seems like a tough sell, crossing over the Shadow….well actually, it’s an easy SELL, but rather a tough thing to execute correctly. Still, with an Alex Ross fully painted first issue… you just can’t go wrong here.

My first impressions of the New Star Trek : The Next Generation series is overwhelmingly positive. I love that it’s the Borg, and I love that it’s TNG movie period – in fact it’s post-movie period. Riker is captain of the Titan and Data is still dead. I’ve always believed that this is the best period to focus on because there’s so little material for it. I always believed the same of the original series. It was one of the reasons I enjoyed DC’s comic series and one of the reasons I think the current IDW series focusing on the tangent universe is an extremely good idea.

The only problem I see with the Star Trek : Hive series is the feeling I’ve seen it all before. The first issue is half “Scorpion” from Voyager and “The Worst of Both Worlds” from the DC TNG run. I’m hoping I get more out of the rest of the series. Still, it’s nice to be back in the TNG movie period and I’m definitely following this run.

Finally, I dipped my toe once again into DC’s zero issues. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Seriously. Why? I picked up Phantom Stranger, and get this : It’s an origin story.

Ugh.

See, the thing about the Phantom stranger, especially in the modern age is his mystery. We’re not sure where he came from or why he is what he is. That is a huge component of the characters mythos and appeal. Not only do we get a clear-cut, well defined origin for him, we also get one for the Spectre. DC! Pay attention! Not every question requires an answer! To Quote Neil Gaimen from one of his Sandman stories “I keep TELLING you: It’s the MYSTERY that endures, NOT the explanation.  A good mystery can last for EVER. The mysterious corpse has a magic all its own. Nobody really CARES who-done-it. They’ll peck you to pieces if you tell them” And that DC, is why I keep kevetching. That’s what you’ve messed up, and if you keep messing this kind of elementary stuff up, the fans and I will absolutely peck you to pieces. Someone, please wake up and revert us out of this new 52 nightmare.

I’m going to go read some Violent Blue.


I’m a little upset with Whoopie

As the weekend began,I finished up this months Violent Blue and came home to find a big yellow envelope waiting for me. I immediately recognized the return address….something I don’t always do.

Back in November. I sent Whoopie Goldberg two pictures. One from Star Trek, and one from Burglar – my favorite of her films.
It took ten months for her to reply, and when she did, what I received was this:

A head shot. It’s autographed, and I’m reasonably certain it’s real. The signature matches (though slightly varied also good. That means it’s not an auto-pen), and I’ve seen this picture before, but with the autograph in different places on the pic and written in different colors. I tested the lower left edge of the underline to see if the ink was separate from the paper. You can see a little that I rubbed off.

But really? Almost a year and I don’t get my pictures back? That’s kind of weak. I suspect my letter and pictures got lost somewhere and they only now rediscovered my SASE during a recent work session.

It’s a little off-putting, but on the other hand, I really don’t have much to complain about. I DID get an autograph from it. That’s better than just getting a pre-print, or nothing at all (which I was suspecting. At this point I had given up on hearing from her). Remember my autograph tutorial – she doesn’t really owe me anything. Signed on my pics or not, sending that auto is still a favor she did me, and I’m grateful.
But I’m more grateful to Malcolm McDowell for sending me a headshot AND signing my items too. Mr. McDowell, you’re a better dude than Whoopie. That’s all I’m saying.