(1) GENRE ART FETCHES SIX-FIGURE BIDS. Frank Frazetta’s Escape on Venus Painting Original Art (1972) went for $660,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction Aug. 2-4 in Dallas, Texas. It was the top-priced lot in an auction that brought in a total of $6,670,739.
Used as the cover image for the 1974 re-issue of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name, Escape on Venus was created in 1972 and released as a print later in the decade. It’s a lady-and-the-tiger image, and one of them has a peach-shaped behind, you can probably guess which.
“The result for this painting continues a trend of Frazetta paintings that have enjoyed enormous success in our auctions,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “Frank Frazetta was known for painting strong, sensuous women in fantastic environments. Escape on Venus is a prime example of his ability to paint in a way that directs the focus of those viewing his paintings to a specific place. In this painting, the trees and plants around the borders of the painting are done in subtle, muted tones, sending the focus back to the tiger and the woman in the center of the image.”
Other six-figure sales from the auction —
- The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages — $264,000. Ranked second on Overstreet‘s list of the Top 50 Silver Age Comics, this issue is the only one in which the Hulk appears grey…
- The cover of Gene Colan and Bill Everett Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968) proclaims it to be a “Special Once-In-A-Lifetime” issue, and the $240,000 – a figure nearly 2-1/2 times the pre-auction estimate – showed evidence that the statement was more than mere hyperbolic hype designed to sell the issue. The title characters teamed up in this issue after each had paired up with others: Namor the Sub-Mariner with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish, and Iron Man with Captain America in Tales of Suspense.
- John Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man #55 Cover Doctor Octopus Original Art (Marvel, 1967) — $105,000. This stunning cover shows an extreme close-up image of supervillain Doctor Octopus, who is engaged in a battle with Spider-Man, who can be seen in the reflection of Doc Ock’s glasses over a banner trumpeting “DOC OCK WINS!”
(2) TITANCON 2018 ENSMALLED. The planned Titancon 2018 won’t take place, the committee has announced. However, a smaller Belfast event will take its place. Titancon 2019/Eurocon 2019 is still on track.
Titancon 2018 – Announcement 7th August 2018
It is with heavy hearts and our most sincere apologies that we announce that Titancon 2018 cannot take place as planned. As a committee we are deeply saddened and, although our hard work did not come to fruition as hoped, we know it is the right thing to do to cancel our planned convention. We are running a smaller TitanMoot, for everyone who would still like to come – the details of which are below – same dates, same venue, same team.
Speaking of the team… committees face many challenges, both personally and in their volunteer roles. Sadly, multiple bereavements and severe illnesses have hit many of us in successive waves this year. As friends, we supported each other through some very tough times but the convention was impacted. Unfortunately, these personal difficulties, in combination with discovering that our anticipated Game of Thrones guests were unavailable (due to contractual obligations) meant we could not reach our required membership numbers. As such it became increasingly clear that we could not deliver this year’s convention in the form we very much hoped and planned. Then a few days ago, when our remaining Guest of Honour had to withdraw due to unforeseeable circumstances, we knew the jalopy was completely banjaxed….
Refund info, the chair’s email address for feedback, and details about TitanMoot 2018 are at the link.
And specific to next year’s event —
So what next for Titancon 2019 – Eurocon 2019?
We are pleased to tell you that we already have over 260 memberships sold for Eurocon 2019 and have been beavering away in the background. We have our first Guest of Honour announced in the form of our Toastmutant, Pat Cadigan and Peadar Ó Guilín. We expect to open hotel bookings in September of this year, and look forward to announcing further Guest of Honour and Featured Programme Participant news very soon.
(3) SNOTTY BOOK PIRATES. The Guardian’s Alison Flood reports on new frontiers of entitlement: “’Elitist’: angry book pirates hit back after author campaign sinks website”.
Authors have been called elitist by book pirates, after they successfully campaigned to shut down a website that offered free PDFs of thousands of in-copyright books.
OceanofPDF was closed last week after publishers including Penguin Random House and HarperCollins issued hundreds of takedown notices, with several high-profile authors including Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman raising the issue online. Featuring free downloads of thousands of books, OceanofPDF had stated on its site that it sought to make information “free and accessible to everyone around the globe”, and that it wanted to make books available to people in “many developing countries where … they are literally out of reach to many people”.
Before the site was taken down, one of its founders told the Bookseller that it was run by a team of four who worked based on user requests: “Once we get an email from a user requesting a book that he/she cannot afford/find in the library or if he has lost it, we try to find it on their behalf and upload on our site so that someone in future might also get it.”
Michelle Harrison, who won the Waterstones children’s book prize for her debut novel The Thirteen Treasures, drew attention to OceanofPDF after receiving a Google alert about a free download of her book Unrest. She then downloaded it “in a matter of seconds”.
This is the kind of email you get for speaking out against book piracy. ‘Elitist’? No, I just want to be paid for my work, the same as everyone else. I value my readers, I just wish all readers valued the people who create the books for them. pic.twitter.com/qoBIywVpJ5
— Michelle Harrison (@MHarrison13) August 6, 2018
…Fantasy author Pippa DaCosta has been working to have dozens of her books taken down from a Russian website that has 43 million users. “I understand piracy is tempting and some readers are voracious, devouring many books a day. It can get expensive, but that’s no excuse to steal the ebooks,” she said. “I’m sure fans wouldn’t walk into my house and steal the food off my table, but that’s what pirating feels like.”
(4) DON’T SPLIT THE BABY! There’s plenty of material piling up, leading to a suspicion Disney may want to ring the cash register twice: “Rumor: Disney Considering Splitting Episode IX Into Two Movies”.
…What’s more, there are also lots of newcomers on board, too, like Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant, who could be bringing a fan favorite villain from the Expanded Universe to life. And let’s not forget leads like Rey, Finn and Poe, all of whom are expected to undergo some major developments. Not least Finn, who will be sporting a new hairstyle.
All in all, then, it looks like Episode IX will be packed to the rafters. So, it’s not really a surprise that rumors point to it being the longest entry in the Star Wars franchise to date. A specific runtime isn’t being tossed around as yet, but – according to MovieWeb – it’s apparently sizable enough for Lucasfilm to be considering splitting the installment in two.
(5) CLYDE S. KILBY GRANT. The Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College has announced the 2018 recipients of the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant.
In 1982, the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant was established by Wheaton College’s class of 1939 in honor of their former professor and faculty class sponsor. This endowed award is presented annually by the Board of the Marion E. Wade Center to a scholar engaged in a publishable project related to one of the seven Wade authors. The intention of the award is both to recognize scholarly contributions and also to assist the work of those who use the resources of the Wade Center.
- Holly Ordway: A forthcoming book tentatively titled Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (Kent State University Press)
- Charles Huttar: A forthcoming book tentatively titled New Bodies in Narnia and Elsewhere: C.S. Lewis and the Mythography of Metamorphosis
- Gina Dalfonzo: A forthcoming book tentatively titled Meeting of the Minds: the Spiritual and Literary Friendship of Dorothy Sayers and C.S. Lewis (Banker Book House)
(6) DIX OBIT. The id monster got him in Forbidden Planet — “Robert Dix, ‘Forbidden Planet’ Actor, Son of Richard Dix” died August 6.
Robert Dix, the son of a big-screen icon who made his own mark in Hollywood with appearances in dozens of films, including Forbidden Planet, Forty Guns and a succession of B-grade horror movies, has died. He was 83.
…Dix was the youngest son (by 10 minutes) of Richard Dix, who made the transition from the silent era to talkies, received a best actor nomination in the best picture Oscar winner Cimarron (1931) and starred in the series of Whistler film noirs at Columbia Pictures in the 1940s.
His son, a contract player at MGM, played Crewman Grey, who gets zapped by the id monster, in the groundbreaking sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956)
(7) WYMAN OBIT. Flayrah reports that early furry fandom artist Vicky Wyman died August 3.
According to a post by Defenbaugh on FurAffinity, she’d recently found out that she had a very bad case of intestinal cancer. After an attempted surgery failed to improve her prospects, she made the choice to let go. She was in her 60s….
…Vicky Wyman is best known in furry fandom for her 1988 comic book series, Xanadu. In the second half of the 1980s, furry fandom was coming together. The first furry convention hadn’t happened yet, but there were room parties at several science-fiction conventions. The fandom was largely art-based at this point, and keen to generate its own content, so there were a lot of self-published photocopied zines, APAs, and small art folios circulating around.
More details about her fanart are at the link.
(8) KIDDER DEATH RULED SUICIDE. A coroner says actress Margot Kidder died from “a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose”. Best known for playing Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Kidder was found by a friend in her Montana home on May 13.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
- Born August 8 — Keith Carradine, 69. Genre roles include Special Report: Journey to Mars, Star Trek: Enterprise , Kung Fu, voice work on the animated Spider-Man series, Dollhouse and The Big Bang Theory.
- Born August 8 — Jon Turteltaub, 55. Producer of the Jericho series and Countdown, a companion web series looking at the effects of nuclear war. Producer also of Beyond Jericho, an online series which saw only the pilot broadcast. Producer also of the Harper’s Island series and RocketMan, an sf comedy.
- Born August 8 — Lee Unkrich, 51. Editor or Director of the Toy Story franchise, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Coco and A Bug’s Life; Writer for Coco and the third and fourth instalment of the Toy Story franchise; Producer of The Good Dinosaur and Monsters University.
- Born August 8 — Meagan Good, 37. Regular in the Minority Report series, also appeared in Saw 4 (whose lead actor was in this list yesterday). That’s it.
- Born August 8 — Peyton List, 32. Genre regular in such series as Colony, Gotham, Frequency, The Flash, The Tomorrow People and FlashForward. Also appeared in Ghost Whisperer and Smallville.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- Dave Kellett has a new profile of Jebediah Ricky Roscoe Tolkien at Sheldon.
(11) ZIP. Being and nothingness: the BBC relates philosophy to “How India Gave Us the Zero”
In Gwalior, a congested city in the centre of the India, an 8th-Century fort rises with medieval swagger on a plateau in the town’s heart. Gwalior Fort is one of India’s largest forts; but look among the soaring cupola-topped towers, intricate carvings and colourful frescoes and you’ll find a small, 9th-Century temple carved into its solid rock face.
Chaturbhuj Temple is much like many other ancient temples in India – except that this is ground zero for zero. It’s famous for being the oldest example of zero as a written digit: carved into the temple wall is a 9th-Century inscription that includes the clearly visible number ‘270’.
The invention of the zero was a hugely significant mathematical development, one that is fundamental to calculus, which made physics, engineering and much of modern technology possible. But what was it about Indian culture that gave rise to this creation that’s so important to modern India – and the modern world?
(12) MYSTERY SCHEDULE. Mike Resnick told Facebook readers they shouldn’t expect to meet him at Worldcon:
Someone sent me some material from Worldcon, listing times for my panels and autographing. This is kind of curious, as I am not a member, not even a supporting member, and have had no correspondence with any member of the committee, programming or otherwise. If you were planning attending to meet me, or to bring books for me to autrograph, be warned.
In the comments one thing led to another, and Michael Swanwick said:
This reminds me of the time somebody on the West Coast was pretending to be Gardner Dozois and getting people to buy him drinks. “How is this possible?” Gardner said, when he learned of it. “I can’t get people to buy me drinks and I AM Gardner Dozois.”
(13) JEAN-LUC KNOWS BEST. Ryan Britt, in “7 Best Picard ‘Star Trek’ Quotes to Inspire Parents Everywhere” on Fatherly, has some inspiring quotes from Jean-Luc Picard that will help people be better parents.
When you’re trying to motivate your child (or yourself) to get out there and do something.
“Seize the time… Live now! Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.”
This one comes from the famous episode “The Inner Light,” written by Morgan Gendel, in which Picard lives an entire lifetime as a husband and father on another planet. He delivers this line to his adult daughter, urging her to value her time on the planet, despite how hard the world is around her.
(14) SHOOTING STAR GAZING. In an article on Space.com (“Perseid Meteor Shower 2018: When, Where & How to See It This Week”), NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke notes that this year’s Perseid may be particularly good:
“This year the moon will be near new moon, it will be a crescent, which means it will set before the Perseid show gets underway after midnight,” Cooke told Space.com. “The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year, and that’ll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it.” The Perseids are rich in fireballs, so the show should be even better.
The article also points out that:
During the Perseids’ peak this week, spectators should see about 60-70 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. The meteor shower’s peak will be visible both the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, Cooke said, but he’s inclined this year to lean toward the night of Aug. 12-13 for the better show. (Both, however, should be spectacular.)
Viewing is best in the northern hemisphere, but the Perseids can be seen to mid southern latitudes.
(15) HEARD THAT NAME BEFORE? A record swimmer Michael Phelps set at age 10 in the 100-meter butterfly has been smashed by a full second by a 10-year-old young man; but is it a fair comparison? A BBC News video, “10-year-old beats Phelps’ childhood swimming record”, introduces you to Clark Kent.
[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, StephenfromOttawa, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Dann, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]