Archive for October, 2011

A Cold Knight’s Death

The five-month winter of 2011-2012 is in full force, and the betting pool is open to see how fast it will kill me, as I am unlikely to survive another one that, at this rate, will be worse than the last–bearing in mind that the “respite” we all “enjoyed” in between these icy ordeals was “highlighted” by an Irene-imposed six-day loss of power and water just two months ago. Winter Holocaust Numero Uno dumped the better part of a foot of snow on top of the leaves that we hadn’t even had a chance to rake or, in the main, had yet to fall, with the extra weight bringing down countless limbs and trees, resulting once again in suspended train service and a blackout that is expected to last for up to a week, to the consternation of our poor frozen furballs, Mina and Lucy. Madame BOF and I then endured a three-hour-apiece tag-team shoveling marathon; a three-hour odyssey trying to find an eatery that was accessible via often-blocked roads, had power, and didn’t have a line out the door; a two-hour odyssey trying to find a gas station that met the same criteria, with most of them sold out due to others buying gas for their generators; and a final trek through country that looks like a bombed-out war zone to get to my Mom’s house (which, again alone among four family homes in the area, has power) for showers before getting up in the icebox and going to work today.

Some say the world will end in fire, but I know mine will end in ice.

Halloween 2012: All Trick, No Treat.

Bradley out…in the cold.

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It’s snowing like hell two days before Halloween.

My death warrant is signed.

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Parodies Found

Having boasted of rewriting so many songs by the Beatles and others, I thought it was time to put my money where my oversized mouth was and post some more lyrics; a certain sameness of theme, as it were, is due to the fact that they were written to commemorate, and indeed performed at, our raucous Movie Night outings–or perhaps I should say “innings”–first in Woodside, and now in Ozone Park. This is of necessity a selective sampling, since some songs were unsuited to a family blog and/or too top-heavy with in-jokes shared with my friends Tom, Joe, Gilbert, Chris, and Drax. I hope the allusions to nicknames individual (The Host with the Most [and infinite variations], Word-Man, Jogura, Gill-Man) and collective (Musketeers, Movie Knights), family members, pets, employers past (Penguin USA, GoodTimes) and present (MBI, Dover), and obsessions (The Great Richard Matheson [TGRM], kaiju eiga, Lucio Fulci) will not diminish your enjoyment.

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My Favorite Year

I was so busy working on You Only Live Twice on Sunday that I forgot to check out my Snapshot for 1975 on Marvel University, and for me not to swoon narcissistically over my own work is pretty serious, especially when it’s so beautifully illustrated.  A gentleman named Jack Seabrook–and you know he’s a good guy, because he’s chosen to represent himself onscreen with a photo of Tony Randall as Felix Unger–is a contributor to and enthusiastic commentator on the many fine Enfantino/Scoleri blogs.  He begins by saying, “WOW!  Now I know what my favorite Marvel year was.  I turned 12 in 1975 [as did this writer] and I guess that was the prime age for loving these comics.”

Jack segues into a rant about Frank Robbins (whose disastrously cartoony pencils blighted the pre-resurgent-Kirby Captain America and, worse, the first few years of Roy Thomas’s cherished Invaders), which is then echoed by none other than Peter Enfantino himself.  Other than to express my appreciation and agreement, and without meaning to turn this into some sort of self-referential circle-jerk, I have a reason for bringing this up.  These Snapshots represent my favorite era of Marvel Comics, but in reading them over before submitting them to M.U., I started to wonder if I could pinpoint an actual favorite year.

Certainly in terms of creators represented (e.g., Englehart, Mantlo, Wolfman, Buscema, Conway, Wein, Thomas, Andru, Claremont, Gerber, Buckler, Brown, Byrne, Cockrum, Starlin…God, what a crew) and new books introduced, I might have to agree with Jack.  Peter and John lead off with the cover of what was, in retrospect, surely the most important release of the year, Giant-Size X-Men #1, which introduced the new team whose popularity eventually dominated the whole Marvel Universe.  But 1975 also saw the advent of such BOF faves as The InvadersThe Champions, Super-Villain Team-Up, the Claremont/Byrne Iron Fist, and Starlin’s revived Warlock solo title, and the frissons I was getting from seeing some of these books illustrated certainly supported the ’75 thesis.

It should be noted, however, that many of these books were just getting off the ground by year’s end, meaning that 1976 was when they were first in full swing, and sadly, many outlived it barely or not at all (like don’t-blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ’76 newcomer Black Goliath).  Also, I’m fairly certain that ’76–at least in terms of the calendar year, if not necessarily cover dates–marked the seismic shift between my buying comics at convenience stores on a catch-as-catch-can basis and getting them religiously via subscription.  Add to that the fact that I associate 1977 with such disappointing debuts as Godzilla and The Human Fly, and I think I have to give ’76 the edge, but you can read all about that this coming Sunday at M.U.

In closing, I would also like to thank Cinema Retro for linking to my Live and Let Die post, and all of the Retro readers who were kind enough to visit this site.  I hope my series of Bond posts will whet your appetite for my Retro article about his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, on page and screen, which–God willing–will run next year during the 50th anniversary of 007 on the big screen.  In the meantime, y’all come back, now, hear?

A grateful Bradley out.

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On September 22, 2011, Whitney premiered on NBC.

On October 20, 2011, Whitney aired a repeat after less than a month (as, admittedly, did lead-in shows Parks and Recreation and The Office).

Is this the way your world works now, NBC?  Seriously?  What do you do, film three episodes and then stop?  And if you didn’t have new episodes to show after less than a month, then why not put on something else, like a movie or an FSE (that’s Foolish–or, for adult readers, another word starting with the same letter–Sporting Event) or America’s Fattest Amateur Singers?


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It may seem odd for me to write an obituary–however brief–for an actress on the basis of a single role, but I feel compelled to do so in the case of Patricia Breslin, who left us October 12 at the age of 80 and, in my book (literally), is known for playing William Shatner’s wife in Richard Matheson’s classic Twilight Zone episode “Nick of Time.”  So pleased with her performance was Richard that he not only wished she could have done so in the other Shatner/Matheson TZ episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” but also strove to recapture their dynamic with the couple in his Thriller script (revised by director/star John Newland), “The Return of Andew Bentley.”  Almost all of Breslin’s other credits were also in episodic television, ironically including an episode of Thriller, as well as a non-Matheson TZ and several episodes of the Hitchcock series, but she did do two features with William Castle, Homicidal (1961) and I Saw What You Did (1965).

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Not Brand ICCH

And it’s official:  here is the announcement of the Enfantino/Scolari Kolchak blog, It Couldn’t Happen Here…, hereinafter ICHH, coming in the New Year to an Internet near you (this one, in fact).  For you young whippersnappers, Stan Lee used to refer to the competition over at D.C. as “Brand Echh,” and even had a humor comic entitled Not Brand Echh, hence this post’s inside-baseball title.  I am, needless to say, proud that they’ve asked me to be a part of this venture, as they did with both We Are Controlling Transmission and Marvel University.

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In February, IDW Publishing will unleash the four-part monthly comic book Road Rage, with Chief Creative Officer and all-around swell guy Chris Ryall adapting Richard Matheson’s original 1971 Playboy story “Duel” and another notable work it inspired, “Full Throttle.”  Marking the first collaboration between my former colleague Stephen King and his son Joe Hill, the latter was written for Chris Conlon‘s award-winning tribute anthology He Is Legend; the stories, first paired in the audiobook Road Rage, will be illustrated by, respectively, Nelson Daniel and Rafa Garres.  For those of you late to class, IDW’s distinguished Matheson history includes not only the graphic novels of I Am Legend and Hell House but also the magazine Doomed, which has featured adaptations of “Blood Son,” “Crickets,” “The Children of Noah” and “Legion of Plotters” (not to mention an excerpt from our very own Richard Matheson Companion).

As touched on in my most recent interview with Richard, he and his son and namesake, Richard Christian Matheson, have teamed with ex-William Morris agent Alan Gasmer to form Matheson Entertainment for the purpose of shopping the screen rights to 150 of his multi-media works.  The catch, if you will, is that they are insisting on a greater degree of creative control than Richard has hitherto had over adaptations of his work, presumably to avoid a repeat of The Box (which, now that I think about it, I still need to assess here…someday).  It’s a little unclear to me whether they’re willing to sell some of the rights piecemeal or will only partner with a specific corporate entity; I think it’s the latter, but will of course keep you posted on that and adaptations of Earthbound and “Deus ex Machina” allegedly in the pipeline.

Here’s a nice piece from Variety with further details.

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Housekeeping Addendum

In a long-overdue but, I hope, no less welcome development, all of the titles on the B100 page are now linked to the “Bradley’s Hundred” posts containing their respective reviews.  Of course, looking over the list once again just reopens all of the old wounds I suffered when I painfully whittled it down to 100 from a “short list” of about twice that, making many painful and–to some–inexplicable cuts (“What, no Frankenheimer?!”).  But that’s just the nature of the beast, and it’s not out of the question that someday I’ll revisit the list and make some changes; for now, the reviews are easily accessible, so whether you’re reading them for the first time or revisiting an old favorite, click and enjoy!

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Marvel University Alert 10/16/11

Well, the good folks at Marvel University have done it again:  they’ve dressed up my first “Snapshot,” for 1974, with a number of historic covers, including several for issues that would command a hefty price today, e.g., Incredible Hulk #181, the first full issue featuring Wolverine, and Amazing Spider-Man #129, the debut of the Punisher.  (Not surprisingly, I obtained both of those stories through affordable reprints in later years, since my acquisitions were still hit-or-miss in ’74.)  They also depicted Avengers #125, the Captain Marvel crossover that culminated what may be my single favorite comic-book saga, and–just as important for any writer–they restored the “R.” to my byline, even correcting the previous post retroactively.

Now, that’s what I call service–thanks, guys!

I hope I’m not breaking any confidences by revealing this (although I don’t recall being asked to keep it under my hat), but Peter and John have also recruited me to contribute to their next TV blog after they wrap up with the Caped Crusader on To the Batpoles!  They’re going to tackle The Night Stalker, and want someone slightly knowledgeable to tackle the two Richard Matheson TV-movies before they cover Kolchak’s all-too-brief twenty-episode weekly career.  Just hope I can make them seem fresh after all I’ve written about them, not only for Tor.com but also, of course, in Richard Matheson on Screen, yet if anybody can inspire me, it’s those two guys, who make one feel uniquely appreciated.

Meanwhile, back at the Bond ranch, I’ve recently finished reading Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice, featuring the final showdown between 007 and nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld.  Thus, there is actually light at the end of the tunnel with my Cinema Retro article, although true to my anal-retentive m.o., I’m going to see the series through with the posthumously published The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy, just in case there’s some nuance that will shed extra light on my piece.  So in a couple more weeks you will see those here before I put the finishing touches on my article, which I hope Retro sees fit to publish in 2012, marking James Bond’s fiftieth anniversary on the big screen.

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