Pixel Scroll 2/6/22 I Thank Whatever Gods There Be, For My Unpixelable Scroll

(1) WFC ADDS GOH. World Fantasy Con 2022 has announced Iris Compiet is their Artist Guest of Honor.

Iris Compiet

Iris is an award-winning traditional artist and illustrator who makes her home in the Netherlands. Her client list includes Netflix, Magic the Gathering, and Harper Collins, among others. She’s the illustrator of the Dark Crystal Bestiary, the Labyrinth Bestiary, and Faeries of the Faultlines, which offers her fans a glimpse into the world she created by the same name. To learn more about Iris, see her page on the WFC 2022 website, and follow the links to her website and social media.

(2) ATTENTION WESTERSMOFS. [Item by Kevin Standlee.] The Westercon Bylaws & Business page, including the minutes of the 2021 Westercon Business Meeting, current version of the Westercon Bylaws (including Standing Rules and Draft Agenda for 2022), and links to the video of the 2021 Westercon Business Meeting, are updated here: Bylaws & Business – Westercon. I thank Linda Deneroff and Lisa Hayes for their work creating the documents and recording the video.

(3) ORIGIN STORY. In “The Surprising History of the Comic Book”, The Nation’s J. Hoberman reviews Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism by Paul S. Hirsch.

Blame the comic book. Cheap and transportable, a trove of infantile fantasy and psychosexual Pop Art, often spiced with egregious stereotypes and nativist aggression, this humble medium was for a time the United States’ most ubiquitous cultural ambassador. Such is the thesis of Paul S. Hirsch’s Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism, an engaging account of the ways in which comics variously served or confounded official interests.

Vividly illustrated and enjoyably hyperbolic, Pulp Empire tells its tale as a kind of horror comic. Recounting the emergence of comic books during the Depression, Hirsch details how the medium was drafted during World War II to play its own modest part in defeating the Axis, then cues the scary music…

(4) MARVEL LOADS UP FOR FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Marvel Comics will celebrate Free Comic Book Day on May 7 this year with three free one-shots. The third comic to be announced is Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1.

Packed with three stories, Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men will offer fans new and old an exciting entry point into some of Marvel’s biggest upcoming stories and characters!

Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1 will also mark the exciting debut of a new hero that Marvel has big plans for this year! Meet BLOODLINE in an introduction story by writer Danny Lore and artist Karen Darboe! 

(5) EARTHSHAKING CELEBRATION. Sideshow is a sales site, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be interested in all the promotions they have planned for “Sideshow’s Frank Frazetta Day 2022” on February 9.

Frank Frazetta was a legendary fantasy and science fiction artist who created some of the most iconic images in the 20th century. And on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 — Frank Frazetta’s birthday! — Sideshow is going to celebrate his life and legacy with an exciting event day. Read on for the schedule, list of giveaways, and livestream details.

Frank Frazetta Day honors Frank Frazetta’s many contributions to speculative fiction. There will be contests, games, and Sideshow Rewards. Plus, tune in for a special LIVE tour through the Frazetta Art Museum in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, led by Lori and Frank Frazetta Jr.

(6) PASSPORT TO FANTASY. “Tintin’s world adventure: comic strip hero joins the Smurfs on new Belgian passport” – the Guardian has the story.

Trees, eagles, bears, turrets and towers: passport designs used to follow certain conventions. Not any more. From Monday, all new Belgian passports will feature Tintin, the Smurfs and other heroes of Belgian comic-strip art.

With a 34-page standard passport, Belgian travellers will be accompanied by Lucky Luke, Blake and Mortimer, and Bob and Bobette. Many images are from the original strips, such as the 1954 Tintin serial, Explorers on the Moon, where the intrepid boy reporter took his first steps on the lunar surface 15 years before Neil Armstrong. Others were specially designed for the passport, such as a Smurf contemplating a globe, with its knapsack and maps spread on the ground.

… “There is a little bit of Belgian humour here,” Wouter Poels, a foreign ministry spokesman said. “It’s always nice if you can link what is functionable to something that is enjoyable. But a passport is and remains an administrative document,” he said referring to 48 new security features, such as barcodes, laser-engraved photographs and the polycarbonate ID page.

The passport scenes are inspired by travel and unsurprisingly avoid controversies, such as Tintin in the Congo, which is no longer sold in children’s sections of bookstores in the UK over its racist stereotypes. Nor does Lucky Luke smoke a cigarette. The cowboy, created in 1947 by Maurice de Bevere, also known as Morris, quit in 1988….

(7) RICHARD DEAN STARR (1968-2022). Writer Richard Dean Starr, who wrote many media tie-ins, died of Covid on February 4.

He was named Special Projects Coordinator for Moonstone Books in 2007. Starr edited Tales of Zorro, the first anthology of original Zorro short fiction ever authorized by Zorro Productions, Inc. The second volume, More Tales of Zorro, was released in the summer of 2011. In 2016, Starr co-authored a comic book team-up featuring Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. with New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1974 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Forty-eight years ago this day, Zardoz premiered. It was written, produced, and directed by John Boorman of Excalibur fame who was nominated for a Hugo for that work at Chicon IV. It was produced by his company, John Boorman Productions Ltd. He had decided to make the film after his abortive attempt at dramatizing The Lord of the Rings. He wrote Zardoz with William (Bill) Stair, a long time collaborator. 

It starred Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman and John Alderton. It was shot entirely in County Wicklow where Excalibur was produced, so most of the supporting cast and crew was Irish. Indeed many of the extras were played by members of Irish Travelling community. It was made on a shoestring budget of one point six million and made one point eight million at the Box Office, so it didn’t even break even after marketing costs were figured in. 

So how was the reception for it? Well it was nominated for a Hugo at Aussiecon though Young Frankenstein won that year. Flesh Gordon, yes Flesh Gordon, finished second ahead of it in the balloting. 

Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times I think summed it up nicely when he said it was “a genuinely quirky movie, a trip into a future that seems ruled by a perpetually stoned set decorator”. Though William Thomas of Empire Magazine was less kind: “You have to hand it to John Boorman. When he’s brilliant, he’s brilliant (Point BlankDeliverance) but when he’s terrible, he’s really terrible.” It currently holds a fifty-three percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.

It is not streaming for free anywhere but it’s available for purchase just about everywhere from AppleTV to YouTube for the same price of three dollars and ninety-nine cents. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 6, 1922 Patrick Macnee. He was best known as the secret agent John Steed in The Avengers, a role he reprised in the New Avengers. Avoid the putrid Avengers film which he is not in at to peril of your soul. And your sense of decency. He made his genre debut as Young Jacob Marley in Scrooge. He then starred as Derek Longbow in Incense for the Damned. Next up is an uncredited role voicing Imperious Leader on the original Battlestar Galactica.  He played Captain John Good R.N. in King Solomon’s Treasure based rather loosely on the H. Rider Haggard source material.  What else? Let’s see… he shows up in The Howling as Dr. George Waggner. Next up for him is another toff named Sir Wilfred in Waxwork and its sequel. Yes, he wears a suit rather nicely. At least being Professor Plocostomos in Lobster Man from Mars is an open farce.  I hope it isLet me note that he had a voice only role in the absolutely awful remake of The Avengers as Invisible Jones, a Ministry Agent. I do hope they paid him rather well. His last film work was genre, too, The Low Budget Time Machine, in which he started as Dr. Bernard. (Died 2015.)
  • Born February 6, 1925 Patricia S. Warrick, 97. Academic who did a lot of Seventies anthologies with Martin Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander with such titles as Social Problems Through Science FictionAmerican Government Through Science Fiction and Run to Starlight, Sports Through Science Fiction. She did write two books of a more serious nature by herself, The Cybernetic Imagination in Science Fiction and Mind in Motion: The Fiction of Philip K. Dick.
  • Born February 6, 1932 Rip Torn. First genre work that comes to mind is of course RoboCop 3 and his Men in Black films. His first dip into our world comes as Dr. Nathan Bryce in The Man Who Fell to Earth. And he shows up in The Beastmaster as Maax. Actually if you count Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he’s been a member of our community since his twenties. He also shows up on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well. (Died 2019.)
  • Born February 6, 1947 Eric Flint, 75. I really like his Assiti Shards series, and the Heirs of Alexandria as well. Worth noting is that he is a co-founder and editor of the Baen Free Library.

(10) SUPERDOWNTIME. Defused showcases “40 Hysterical Comics Showing What Superheroes Do When They Are Not Out Saving The World” by artist Lucas Nascimento.

People who don’t read comics and only watch superhero movies don’t know what these heroes do when they are not saving the world from imminent destruction. I mean, don’t get me wrong it wouldn’t be a very interesting movie if we saw batman trying to keep up his persona and going g through his daily life. However, these heroes are not like us. How many of us can say that we made a whole persona out of our fear or that we are from an alien planet?

So it stands to reason that their daily problems wouldn’t be as usual as normal people. And that is the idea behind these comics which the artist by the name Lucas Nascimento has brought us. Not only does he manage to capture the unique personalities of each hero but he also draws them in his own style which is spectacular. So buckle up and get ready to go on a wild ride. Just scroll below to take a look for yourself….

(11) A RINGING ENDORSEMENT. Rich Horton’s had time to refine his thoughts about a novel he read a year ago: “Review: Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke”.

Piranesi bears almost no resemblance to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It is far shorter, It is set in what seems roughly the present day, not an alternate Regency. It is almost claustrophobic in setting (though strangely not despite being mostly set in a single building) and for much of the novel the main character is completely alone. For all that, it is as good as its predecessor…

(12) VERDANT READING. Paul Weimer analyzes the second book in The Green Man series: “Microreview [book]: The Green Man’s Foe by Juliet McKenna” at Nerds of a Feather.

Being mortal, but also the son of an otherworldly being isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Ask Daniel Mackmain. After dealing with a threat to a wood and coming in contact with a very powerful supernatural entity, the titular Green Man, it is no wonder that his success in dealing with a rather nasty problem (that had some unfortunate consequences for him with the press and with the police) has resulted in the Green Man calling him on again.  At a new construction job site in the lovely Cotswolds, a mysterious figure seems to be influencing the local kids…and trying to get into the job site Daniel has been hired for. But what is he after? And why?

This is the second story of Daniel Mackmain, The Green Man’s Foe….

(13) GAMING IN STYLE. In the Washington Post, Shannon Liao looks at how “companies such as XBox and Nintendo are now releasing products such as nail polish and eye shadow for gamers.” “Tetris eyeshadow and Xbox nail polish: What’s behind the latest beauty and gaming trend”.

… While many of the most famous and recurring gaming partnerships, including fast food and energy drink brands, are aimed at men ages 18 to 30, the billion-dollar gaming and beauty industries have increasingly teamed up in recent years. Colorpop, a California-based cosmetics brand, worked with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing franchise last January to release eyeshadow palettes and glittery gold gel reminiscent of the island’s in-game currency, Bells. Xbox previously worked with Mac Cosmetics last October to create three Halloween looks, recreating characters from “Sea of Thieves,” “Psychonauts” and “Halo.”

“We’re in this moment of really overcoming that idea of the gamer being just that one demographic, that preconceived notion of the gamer being in the basement, and usually a man, 18 to 30-something,” said Marcos Waltenberg, global partnerships director at Xbox. “It’s much more than that now. … We’re now tasked with talking to a lot more people than we used to as a company, a few years ago.”…

(14) SPEAKING OF METEORS. What’s most important: What we are or what we feel we are? Chosen began running on Netflix on January 27, 2022.

(15) COINCIDENCE DAY. Just by coincidence, Lise Andreasen is taking a poll.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Chris Barkley.] The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra honors mater composer john Williams on this 90th Birthday, which is this coming Tuesday. The video of the Pops’ performance of “Music of John Williams” is available through Monday, February 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Happy Birthday, John Williams! Pops Principal Guest Conductor Damon Gupton and the Pops treat us to a slice of John Williams’ most beloved scores—just in time for his 90th birthday. Experience selections from Superman, Star Wars, E.T., Jaws, Witches of Eastwick and more by one of the greatest composers of our lifetime.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, Kevin Standlee, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Danny Sichel.]

31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/6/22 I Thank Whatever Gods There Be, For My Unpixelable Scroll

  1. So how was the reception for it? Well it was nominated for a Hugo at Aussiecon though Young Frankenstein won that year. Flesh Gordon, yes Flesh Gordon, finished second ahead of it in the balloting.

    They ade the right choice. Flesh Gordon was much better than Zardoz. (Actually, nearly anything is better than Zardoz.)

  2. Rowan Atkinson’s series “Blackadder” is genre, it’s alternate history, beginning with the first series where Prince Edmund the Blackadder is the son of King Richard IV. In “Blackadder’s Chrismas Carol” the future Blackadder is shown in a far future spaceship. And lets face it, all those Baldrick’s with their “cunning plans” just had to be clones….

  3. Rowan Atkinson was also in Bernard and the Genie which starred Alan Cumming. Lenny Henry was the Josephus the Genie.

  4. John Lorentz says They ade the right choice. Flesh Gordon was much better than Zardoz. (Actually, nearly anything is better than Zardoz.)

    I’ve seen Zardoz, but I’ve not seen Flesh Gordon. It’s saying something if you’re saying a porn parody of Flash Gordon is better than Zardoz!

    I admit I did do an image and video search on Flesh Gordon and it truly was a sleazy affair and I really want to know how Bjo got involved in it.

  5. I saw Zardoz a few years ago and have mixed feelings about it. I don’t think it’s a good movie, but I wonder what it would have been like if the script had gotten a round or two of attention by an editor who wasn’t one of the original screenwriters. I’m not a movie expert, but I think there was real potential there.

  6. And “Blackadder: Back and Forth” has time travel changing history and then improving it (from Blackadder’s point of view)

  7. Nancy Sauer says I saw Zardoz a few years ago and have mixed feelings about it. I don’t think it’s a good movie, but I wonder what it would have been like if the script had gotten a round or two of attention by an editor who wasn’t one of the original screenwriters. I’m not a movie expert, but I think there was real potential there.

    That wasn’t likely to happen given that it was really a vanity project by Boorman. I don’t think that he intended it to be anything more than what it was which was a fanfic.

  8. 9) Eric Frank Russell is one of my favorite authors for a number of reasons which do not matter here. “And Then There Were None” is also a really great story, and worth a read if you have not seen it. I am also fond of “Jay Score”, see my review at https://wordpress.com/post/adeeplookbydavehook.wordpress.com/113. For his short fiction, the 1978 “The Best of Erick Frank Russell” is my favorite collection. The 2000 NESFA collection “Major Ingredients” is good and still in print, although IMHO some of the material is not quite as good at that length. At novel length, I really like “Wasp”, although a deep look at it will reveal some things that would not fly today. Some of his novels are just plain dreck.

  9. Alive!

    The last two days have not been good healthwise–although, in truth, no medical personnel were involved at all, so, really, not much to worry about, either. I just spent the time being both miserable, and cranky.

    Did finish listening to Light Years From Home, by Mike Chen. Very good. recommended.

  10. Sean Mead: Good point.

    Upon review, I’m gratified to announce that some of today’s birthdays are people born February 6.

  11. 9) In addition to voicing the Imperious Leader, Macnee played Count Iblis in the two part episode “War of the Gods”. It is a plot point that Iblis has the same voice as the I. L.

  12. I’ll admit to having a sneaking fondness for Zardoz – it is, sincerely, trying to be a mind-expanding piece of visionary SF, and I applaud its ambition. Its heart is in the right place. It’s just a shame its brain isn’t.

  13. Steve Wright says I’ll admit to having a sneaking fondness for Zardoz – it is, sincerely, trying to be a mind-expanding piece of visionary SF, and I applaud its ambition. Its heart is in the right place. It’s just a shame its brain isn’t.

    I’ll admit that Zardoz puzzles me as I have no idea what Boorman intended it to be. His Hugo nominated Excalibur which he directed, produced, and co-wrote makes perfect sense in a gory manner, but this I have no idea what he was going after.

    And I really, really despise the outfit that Connery was given to wear. That’s why we went with that movie poster over the usual one.

  14. Cat Eldridge says

    And I really, really despise the outfit that Connery was given to wear. That’s why we went with that movie poster over the usual one.

    But it’s one of the all-time great Halloween costumes for hairy, middle-aged men!

    I actually like Zardoz. Years ago I bought the DVD for $3.99 from the big bin of cheap DVDs at Best Buy.

    (I should update that Gravatar. The wizard beard, which I wore for many years, is gone now. I’ve made my face N95 compliant! Harry Turtledove shaved off his beard and I decided that I could do the same.)

  15. @Dennis Howard: I’m just going to think the icon is safely wearing a mask under the beard.

  16. Zardoz was brilliant. It was a rant against the shallowness & decadence of affluent pseudo-sophisticates. It revealed their secret boredom, and death-wishes. That’s what is really behind so many people’s negative reactions to it: it forces them to look at not a movie screen, but a mirror.

  17. @Tom Becker: Hah! Yes maybe I should have preserved the beard and taped it to the outside of a mask.

  18. (8) Supposedly Connery hated Zardoz so much that if it was so much as mentioned in an interview he would, without a word, just walk out.

    (11) I heard Susannah Clarke speak at the City Club of San Francisco, oh, 16 years ago? She stated outright that JS&MN was the first in a planned trilogy. I understand that she’s had significant health problems that prevented this. I’m just glad she’s still writing.

    (14) Based on the trailer embedded, Chosen looks terrible. Won’t be watching that. Still, worst of all time? That seems a stretch.

  19. Miles Carter says Supposedly Connery hated Zardoz so much that if it was so much as mentioned in an interview he would, without a word, just walk out.

    I’ve heard that before but never been able to find a first-hand source to confirm that. What I can confirm is that Connery made two hundred thousand dollars for acting in this film, ten percent of the total budget.

  20. NIN-inspired scrollage:

    (Head Like a Hole, recently covered by Miley Cyrus)
    Head like a scroll, pixeled like your soul

    (Sin)
    Stale pixels, scrolled sex, and lies, lies, lies

    (Only)
    I just pixeled you up to scroll myself

    (Hurt, which is not a Johnny Cash cover)
    You can scroll it all, my pixels of dirt

    (and … Closer)
    My whole existence is flawed, you pixel me scroller to God

  21. Soft Pixel, Warm Pixel, little ball of fen,
    Happy Pixel, sleepy Pixel, file, file file.

  22. @Miles Carter: I believe Clarke has finished another novel in the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell continuity — not sure if it’s part of the original trilogy or a new track … I thought it was to come out fairly soon but I haven’t heard a date yet.

  23. That’s what is really behind so many people’s negative reactions to it: it forces them to look at not a movie screen, but a mirror.

    Umm… no.

  24. Flesh Gordon was…interesting. While I was a bit too young to be privy to all the details, I know that the producers came to some local conventions to do presentations and try to engage with the SF community, while filming was still on-going, which definitely won them some good will. This is probably why Bjo got involved, and is definitely why barely-teen-aged me was allowed to see the R-rated release. Which, yes, there was an R-rated release. So, yeah, not entirely shocking that they managed to grab a spot on the ballot.

    Having seen both the R version of Flesh Gordon and Zardoz, I think the Hugo voters did the right thing by ranking FG higher. But I actually like both movies. Not a lot–neither one deserved any awards–but both had a certain disturbing charm.

  25. K says, and I hope they were being facetious,: Zardoz was brilliant. It was a rant against the shallowness & decadence of affluent pseudo-sophisticates. It revealed their secret boredom, and death-wishes. That’s what is really behind so many people’s negative reactions to it: it forces them to look at not a movie screen, but a mirror.

    Ummm, no. It was a really bad film made even worse when compared against Boorman’s Excalibur film that come out later which would also be nominated for a Hugo. (And filmed here as well.) I don’t think it was worse than Flesh Gordon only because it didn’t have the explicit sex of the latter. Not to mention some of the worst SF dialogue ever written.

  26. (9) Meanwhile, I will be the heretic to defend the 1998 The Avengers movie. The core problem with it is that they made a Steed/Tara King story but put Emma Peel into it because that’s the name everyone knows, and then misunderstood her character entirely anyway. But the whole look and style of it – and, heck, Mother! – is all late-period Avengers (which isn’t the era that people know best), and I tend to think it captures it perfectly.
    Sure, I’m not suggesting that it is any good, and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anybody who hasn’t seen it should do so. Whereas I might suggest that about Zardoz, even though that too is a terrible film, because that at least has some intent behind it, where The Avengers was just a (failed) attempt to cash-in on a moderately well-known IP with some A-list names.
    But I like it. So there.

  27. David Brain, they could have made a great Avengers film if they had just avoided using the Steed and Peel personas. Given that that original series went through multiple agents including even several male agents in the firm of David Keel and John Steed, they could’ve made a whole new story. But recasting those two characters was a fatal flaw in my opinion.

    I like all of the partners that the Steed character had on the series, each brought something delightful to the story and that partnership.

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