Saturday, January 31, 2009

GO, CARDINALS!!!



I know what you're thinking.

I'm just jumping on the underdog bandwagon, right? Maybe. But the truth is... I've always liked the Cardinals, as I do most NFC teams. Because I'm an NFC kinda guy. Giants. Bears. Packers. And yes... COWBOYS!!! And because I love my Cowboys (no matter how much they've disappointed me lately...), I cannot--in good conscience--cheer on those Guys From Pittsburgh. Sad, but true.



I have TONS of friends who are Steeler fans, but sorry... no good Dallas fan in his or her right mind is EVER going to want a Pittsburgh team to get yet another championship. And besides, how can you not want KURT WARNER to win another ring? That guy is just an A+, stand-up guy, and for more than any other reason... I want him to SHOCK THE WORLD.

So, GO CARDINALS. You can DO it!!!

And maybe next year my DALLAS COWBOYS will actually decide to show up in December. Or win a damn playoff game. Or just MAKE the frickin' playoffs...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

ALERT!!! ZOMBIES ATTACK TEXAS!!!



Thanks to good friend and fellow Austinite MILAKA for giving me the heads' up on this...

How come nothing this fun happens in LA?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ARE YOU READY TO "PROG OUT?"



WATCH the video above if you like any of the following:

1. Progressive Rock in General
2. King Crimson
3. Nine Inch Nails
4. Music with Nihilistic Themes
5. Atonal Modern Music
6. Heavy Metal Videos with Cliched Nihilistic Imagery
7. The Musical Style of the Viennese-Born Composer Pictured Below



The video / music is by a new band called UKZ. The frontman/leader is EDDIE JOBSON, who all of you progressive rock fans will know as a former member of ROXY MUSIC, UK, and for about 10 seconds... YES. It's 7 1/2 minutes of heavy, modern metal prog. Good writing music if you're working on an action or horror movie. They've just put out an EP entitled, "Radiation." Check it out, fellow Prog Heads! You're gonna dig it.

On the other hand... IGNORE THIS VIDEO if you like any of the following:

1. Monet's Water Lillies
2. Hilary Duff
3. Marshmallows
4. New Age Pianist George Winston
5. American Idol
6.Pastels
7. Any Music Recorded by the Singer Pictured Below



Now if you'll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to go out and commit some form of anarchy...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who are... THE REMNANTS?


The Remnants from John August on Vimeo.

Your guess is as good as mine.

However, I do know that the screenwriter behind this short film / web pilot / work-in-progress really knows how to write awesome dialogue! No wonder he makes the big bucks... (Oh, and BTW, this is the guy who is writing the new DARK SHADOWS movie with Johnny Depp.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy THE REMNANTS as much as I did. It's yet another example of the Internet's endless possibilities for storytelling.

For more info on this, check out John's awesome blog at: http://johnaugust.com/archives/2009/more-remnants

Saturday, January 24, 2009

COMIC BOOK MEDITATION



I should be working.

But instead I'm taking some badly needed time off to curl up at my writing desk and enjoy a little inspiration. By that, I mean catch up on all the comic books piling up next to my Godzilla 2000 action figure, which is next to my GOON action figure, which is next to my "DVDs I'd Really Like to Watch Sometime in the Next Two Years" stack (containing "Mighty Peking Man," "The Parallax View," "High Noon," and "The Who: Live at Kilburn 1977" among others...), all of which is a few feet from the HUGE stack of magazines I'm behind on reading ("Scientific American," "Written By," "The New Yorker," and "Mac/Life" are the top offenders right now...).

My desire to plough through all this comicky goodness was instigated by the recent fervor surrounding AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583, now forever known as the "Spidey/Obama Issue." Apparently it's now officially the biggest-selling comic book of the 21st Century (so far). Already in its sold-out 3rd printing, a 4th printing hits shelves Feb. 4th. As someone who's been reading comics for 30+ years, it's exciting to see the medium interacting in such an exciting fashion with the real world. I suppose it's all part of "Obama-mania" that's sweeping the country... make that the world... but if a Spider-Man comic also introduces one kid to the endless possibilities of our political system--a democracy where anything is truly possible--then maybe AMS #583 can live up to all the hype.

Of course, all this got me to thinking about the comic books that changed and shaped me as a kid. The ones that really opened my eyes. Surprisingly enough, most of them were just ordinary issues of classic books. Nothing as groundbreaking or spectacular as AMS #583.



Take JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #106. This was my first DC comic. I remember wanting it because it had both Batman AND Superman on the cover. How cool was that? This lead to me reading a ton more DC comics and a lot of childhood geeky love. For awhile there, I read nothing but DC Comics.



Then my grandfather bought me my first issue of "Amazing Spider-Man." The issue was #110. The storyline was a relatively forgettable one: "The Birth of the Gibbon." The Gibbon was a super-villain patsy (for Kraven the Hunter) who never appeared again in a comic. It didn't matter. I loved the issue so much, Spider-Man replaced Batman and Superman (for the next few years) as my favorite superhero. But at this point, comic books were just that: cool stories with cool illustrations. Mild distractions from the crappy real world of childhood.

Then AMS #121 and #122 came crashing into my life and nothing was ever the same.



I guess, like many kids my age, the deaths of Gwen Stacey and The Green Goblin were my first real exposures to death. Sure, they were just comic book characters. But nobody ever died in comic books. Not really. Well, the Green Goblin DID murder Gwen Stacey... and in AMS #122 (still my favorite comic book of all time), a wounded, angry Peter Parker sets out to avenge the death of the woman he loves by finally KILLING the Green Goblin once and for all. It was the kind of pain that seemed distant, but which I could suddenly understand. I could now begin to--in an immature way, mind you--start understanding what real loss might be like. And in a twist I never saw coming, Peter can't commit murder (no matter how much he wants to). But GG ends up buying the farm anyway, thanks to his own greed and madness. The lines written to describe the death of the original Green Goblin are still unforgettable, and just as powerful as they were over thirty years ago:

"So do the proud men die: Crucified, not on a cross of gold -- but on a stake of humble tin."




The impact this single story had on me cannot be overestimated, as it was from this point on that I began to take comic books seriously. I began reading as many Marvel, DC, or Gold Key (yes, I loved Dark Shadows even back then... as witnessed by my complete run of the GOLD KEY DARK SHADOWS COMIC BOOKS in my parents basement. They're still in great condition!) as my dollar-a-week allowance would allow.



As the Eighties arrived, I became more and more distracted by girls and rock music. I began to drift away from comic books, just reading the occasional Chris Claremont X-MEN book by then...



Finally by 1985/1986, I had pretty much given up on the medium. Nothing seems to catch my attention anymore. All the old heroes seemed stale. And again, there were girls, girls, girls...

Enter ALAN MOORE and FRANK MILLER.

I remember the conversation very distinctly. I was talking to a fellow musician about how much comics sucked nowadays and he just looked at me and grinned. The next day, he handed me two things: the first was Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" #3. The second was "Swamp Thing" #56, the then-current issue in the Alan Moore run.

HOLY SHIT.

Just as AMS #122 had done so over a decade earlier, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and SWAMP THING just blew me off the planet!!!



Suddenly, my love of comic books was rekindled. But this time with an adult sensibility. Comic books were growing up, and so was I. Maybe there was room in life for comics and girls...

Well, you can pretty much guess the rest of the story. Alan Moore (still my favorite comic book writer to this day) and Frank Miller quickly gave way to Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN, Todd McFarlane's run on SPIDEY and SPAWN, then the discovery of independent books, etc. And I haven't stopped reading them since. My first trip to the San Diego Comic Con back in the mid-1990s only cemented the frenzy. And trust me, a day doesn't go by at my day job on EUREKA where some comic book reference doesn't come in handy. What's that? Sheriff Carter wants to sacrifice himself by taking the dangerous phasing solution from Captain Eureka, in order to save Zoe and Zane? Yup, that's just like Cyclops risking everything to save Jean Grey from the curse of the Phoenix (although Sheriff Carter had better luck...). Hmmm. I guess reading comic books does pay off in the long run.

Pardon me while I get back to my reading.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RETURN OF "THE WICKED"



AT LAST...

I can now reveal the details of the DARK SHADOWS project I've been working on, "The Wicked and the Dead." But a little history first...



Ten years ago, BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS began releasing a series of DOCTOR WHO Audio CDs, each containing an all-new stories performed by the original actors who made the roles of The Doctors (numbers 5 - 8) famous: Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann. While the early stories were a bit hit-and-miss, the series soon hit its stride.



By 2001/2002, Big Finish were putting out new Doctor Who Audio Adventures each month... and the stories had blossomed in inventiveness and execution. Some of them, by now, were flat-out GENIUS. We're talking new, exciting tales that took the show in a new direction, but always felt authentic to the spirit of the original Who series. If you love Doctor Who as much as I do and haven't heard any of them yet, go check them out. Along with the Doctor, your favorite villains (Daleks, Cybermen) and companions (Sarah Jane Smith, Romana) are there, too... again, voiced by the original actors.



Just some of my personal favorites include (in no particular order):

1. "Jubilee" (which later formed the basis for the new Doctor Who Series One episode, "Dalek")
2. "The Chimes at Midnight"
3. "The Kingmaker" (absolutely hilarious!)
4. "...ish" (bloody brilliant!)
5. "Davros"
6. "Neverland"
7. "Doctor Who and the Pirates" (It's a MUSICAL!)
8. "The One Doctor"
9. "Spare Parts" (One of my ALL-TIME favorite Cybermen tales!!!)
10. "Scaredy Cat" (Spooooooooky!)

Now as much as I like Doctor Who, there's only one show (okay, maybe three shows if you include TWIN PEAKS and THE X-FILES...) that I worship even more. And that's DARK SHADOWS. If only Big Finish were to start making high-quality Audio adventures of that show... I'd really be excited.



Well, my wish came true in 2007 with release of "The House of Despair," the first of a new series of Dark Shadows Audio CDs from, you guessed it, Big Finish Productions. With the release of this month's latest CD, "The Path of Fate," there have been about 8 NEW DS stories released so far. Like the Doctor Who series, these new DS adventures feature the ORIGINAL CAST and expand the DS universe. All your favorite characters are back, including Quentin, Angelique, Maggie Evans, Willie Loomis, and oh... A Certain Vampire!!!

Okay. Now for the news, which I'm sure you've already guessed: This February/March will see the release of THE WICKED AND THE DEAD, written by Yours Truly. Without revealing too much, my story is a two-character dramatic reading starring Jerry Lacy as Reverend Gregory Trask and John Karlen as Carl Collins. The story takes place during the 1897 flashback and chronicles the final hours of everyone's favorite histrionic, hypocritical clergyman. Warning: The first 4 stories ("The House of Despair," "The Book of Temptation," "The Christmas Presence," and "The Rage Beneath") are ONE CONTINUOUS storyline, so you might wanna start with "The House of Despair." Or if you want to jump in head first, "The Wicked and the Dead" and the other 4 dramatic readings ("The Path of Fate," The Skinwalkers," "The Ghost Watcher," and "Clothes of Sand") are all STAND-ALONE stories.

"The Wicked and the Dead" is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER. Go to the web address below for more info. I've been told that the CD should be available in February or March, 2009.

http://www.bigfinish.com/Dark-Shadows

You can also go to this web address below and get more info, as well as some behind-the-scenes info on the making of the CD:

http://www.collinwood.net/news/

Yes, writing it was a blast! And there may be more DS on the horizon! But more on that next time...

Monday, January 5, 2009

THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR... REVEALED



Here we go again.

Is Matt Smith too young? Probably. Will I miss David Tennant? Definitely. Am I worried that the show's quality will suffer? No, because the new head writer--Steven Moffat--wrote the brilliant "Blink" and "Girl in the Fireplace, not to mention creating both "Coupling" and "Jekyll." Hell, if anything... the stories should get even better.



A lot of expectations are going to rest on Mr. Smith's shoulders. I, for one, will wish him good luck and hope for the best.

It's funny, you know. As Doctor Who fans, we go through this all the time. Every time a Doctor regenerates, their tenure is suddenly held up as the Holy Grail and doom is forecast throughout TV land for the incoming arrival. Well, I didn't like Tom Baker until his second episode, "Ark In Space." I didn't really fall in love with Peter Davidson until his SECOND season opener, "Arc of Infinity." Same goes for Sylvester McCoy, who took the longest to grow on me. But now I love them all.

So when I express doubts about the New Guy, let's face it. This, too, shall pass. The show is on a roll now -- it's not going to become lousy overnight. There are too many talented people behind Mr. Smith, all of whom want to SURPASS the Russell Davies Era, not just equal it.

The only awkward part is watching these last four Tennant/Doctor specials. It's weird watching someone, when you know they're leaving the role. Hmmm. Maybe they should have saved the Matt Smith announcement for the end of 2009/early 2010. Or maybe Tennant should have stayed on for another year. Did you all know that when he took the role, Tennant was quoted as saying that he wanted to be the "longest lasting Doctor," and that he wanted to break Tom Baker's record of SEVEN seasons. Well, fame and fortune must have happened along the way, because now he'll end up with four-and-a-half very memorable years.

Goodbye, David. Hello, Matt. Now let's get this show on the road.