Snapshots 65 M.P.H. Speed Limit

Here are 7 developments of interest to fans:

(1) Australian actors Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett will be reprising their LOTR roles in Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I wonder if the performers will have aged noticeably by the time they go before the camera?

The Hobbit, of course, precedes The Lord of the Rings so it would help if these practically immortal elves appeared as unchanged as possible. I’d hate for Jackson’s new movies to suffer the problems of Gods and Generals, the prequel to Gettysburg, where Jeff Daniels, cast again as a supposedly even younger version of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain unfortunately looked every bit of 10 years older (which he was) despite heavy makeup.

The first of the two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is coming in December 2012, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is due out in December 2013.

(2) Steven Spielberg told an interviewer from Aint It Cool News about the time he screened E.T. at the White House. When it was over President Reagan joked to the audience, “There are a number of people in this room who know that everything on that screen is absolutely true.”

(3) Coming real (Bar)soon now, a new line of Marvel comic books about  John Carter, Warlord of Mars:

John Carter, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ other famous pulp creation, is having his stories told anew thanks to an agreement between Marvel Entertainment and the author’s estate that will return the Earth-born adventurer’s Martian adventures to comic books.

(4) Someone planning to kick off his new music blog by interviewing Paul Kantner of Jefferson Starship, whose “Blows Against the Empire” was a Hugo nominee in 1971, asked Tony Lewis, that year’s Worldcon chair and Hugo administrator, for his insight into the relationship between fandom and rock at the time. Tony provided this insight: “I was never really into rock myself, preferring baroque and bagpipe music.”

(5) I enjoyed the facetious, fannish tone of Time.com’s news flash when CERN scientists recently created and trapped antimatter for over 16 minutes: 

Okay, so antimatter’s nothing like lightning, really, but bottling it in a kind of containment field? Doesn’t sound like the safest gig. More like something you’d catch Geordi La Forge trying during some wild hair zero-sum Star Trek plotline involving aliens, the Holodeck, rerouting power from life support, and a self-destruct sequence.

Thankfully nothing self-destructed when CERN researchers first created, then forced antihydrogen atoms to hang around for an unprecedented 16 minutes, 40 seconds.

(6) Got to applaud Bud Webster’s efforts to get writers to make provisions for their literary estates:

Do you want your intellectual property rights to be so profoundly screwed up that your heirs sell it off just to be rid of the bother, or so unutterably confused that it will take years to straighten out?  Okay, then, start thinking about what to do now, while you can still make phone calls, send e-mails and sign papers.

(7) Two major announcements at opposite ends of the earth made this a big week in comics scholarship.

Scotland’s University of Dundee launched the UK’s first degree program in Comic Studies. Dr. Chris Murray, who will deliver the course, has done research in comics and graphic novels, edits the journal Studies in Comics, and organizes an annual comics conference in Dundee. Nor is it lost on Murray that a person ought to be able to do something with the degree besides hang it on a wall:

“Employability is an important consideration for any postgraduate programme, and it lies at the heart of what we aim to do with this course. There will be practical advice on publishing and developing a career as a comics scholar, writer or artist, and we hope to arrange work placements for students.”

And Japan’s Kyoto Seika University will launch that country’s first Ph.D. program in manga studies next year:

The university says it has received overseas requests for an advanced center for manga research, and that the industry is in transition amid globalization and the growth of digital media. The university plans to enroll four doctoral students starting next year.

[Thanks goes out to David Klaus, John King Tarpinian and Andrew Porter for these links.]