Ray Harryhausen passed away last week. This has been noted by people more qualified than I to discuss the master of stop-motion magic—Rick Baker, Adam Savage, Todd Masters, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and more. The superhuman talent and perseverance evident in a Harryhausen effects sequence can easily be seen in countless visual effects artists since he first brought his creations to frame-by-frame life on the big screen. That makes sense. So how can I really say anything of worth when I say that I was also profoundly influenced by the artistry of Ray Harryhausen? With modesty, and a story about Clash of the Titans. Continue reading…
“It’s easier to tell the same stories everyone else does. There’s no particular shame in it. It’s just that it’s lazy, which is just about the worst possible thing a spec fic writer can be. Oh, and it’s not true.” Kameron Hurley writes about lazy writing, cannibal llamas, female soldiers, and women here. (Thanks, James!)
“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. [...]
“In essence what Fleming was proposing was a team of authorised thieves and looters – mavericks who would operate ahead of the forward troops and who were instructed to do whatever necessary to capture enemy intelligence, equipment or personnel.” James Bond creator, Ian Fleming also created a special unit a commando unit for British Naval [...]
“It was the dawn of World War II when [Jack] Parsons, who’d also co-founded the missile manufacturing firm Aerojet around the same time as [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory]’s inception, took to the Ordo Templi Orientis….But soon enough the young explosives guru was running with another OTO buck, a young writer named L. Ron. Hubbard. ” [...]
Comics creator, educator and founder of The Kubert School, Joe Kubert has died. The Beat has an obituary. NPR’s Monkey See has an appreciation with links to many others, including a gallery of Kubert’s comics covers. The New York Times has a slide show including pictures of his workspace and his original art. Here he [...]
Princess Iron Fan is the first Chinese animated feature and it stars Monkey, Sun Wu-Kong. The Wan Bros. made it in 1941 in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. LoveHKFilm has more and you can watch it here.
Actress Isuzu Yamada has died. Yamada worked with a range of directors including, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu and Kinji Fukasaku. The New York Times has an obituary. The Gutter remembers her with a scene of her performances as Lady Washizu in Throne of Blood.
Just in time for Eiji Tsuburaya’s birthday, here’s a brief video documentary on his career in special effects for films ranging from Godzilla and War of the Gargantuas to Throne of Blood and Chushingura.
John Huston’s rarely seen and controversial documentary about what was called “shell shock,” “psychoneurosis,” and “neuropsychosis” among returning World War II veterans, Let There Be Light, is now available for free online viewing. Read more about the film and its history at Keyframe and view it at the National Film Preservation Foundation. (Thanks, @FOURDK)
Director and screenwriter Kaneto Shindo has died. He lived past 100 and made masterpieces including Onibaba, Kuroneko, Children of Hiroshima, Lucky Dragon No. 5 and The Naked Island. He also wrote the screenplays for Seijun Suzuki’s Fighting Elegy, Yasuzo Masumura Irezumi, Kinji Fukasaku’s Under the Flag of the Rising Sun, Seijiro Koyama’s Hachi / Hachiko [...]
“In the very first Dan Dare adventure, which began to be serialised weekly in the Christian boy’s comic Eagle in 1950, we were introduced to the ‘ … Inter Planet Space Fleet some years in the future.’ It’s an odd organisation, in that it’s clearly meant to be Earth’s ‘Space Fleet,’ but it’s clearly really [...]
Fascinating article on thriller writer Dennis Wheatley’s role as a planner of deceptions for WWII British Intelligence and his influence on Ian Fleming and James Bond. (via @driveinmob)
This Japanese Life provides some historical context for Kinji Fukasaku’s film, Battle Royale–including an incident from Fukasaku‘s own life as a student drafted into a munitions factory, writer Yukio Mishima and the Hagakure: “Since the film deliberately omits much of the novel’s WW2-inspired alternative reality, I look at Kitano and see a modern-era Japanese glorification of [...]
History Detectives has 13 pages of, “Possessed, ” a story from a comic, Negro Romance. Watch the segment to learn more about the history African-Americans in comics, how the comic represents changes in American society after World War II and the creators of Negro Romance. (There is also a link to the full 55 minute [...]
Lego Captain America does some damage.
David DeMoss writes about George Lucas’ film Tuskegee Airmen film, Red Tails, and “unlike every other reformed Lucasfilm fan in existence, [his] dread came with its own personal baggage.” His grandfather was one of the Airmen.
It’s the beginning of January, cold and dark where I am. The critics are all putting out their best of year lists, and maybe you’re looking for something to read. So here’s my entry into annual lists: 10 comics I liked in 2011 that I haven’t written about. Well 9 comics I haven’t written about [...]
George Takei is interviewed on NPR’s Here and Now. Takei discusses his experiences growing up in an internment camp during World War II.
Comics writer and artist Joe Simon has died. Simon created Captain America with Jack Kirby and, according to Michael Cavna at Comic Riffs blog, “Virtuoso though he was, his most iconic image from 80 years in the industry will remain the introduction of Captain America socking Hitler in the jaw in 1941.” Comic Riffs has [...]
A thorough and well-illustrated look at Soviet science fiction, from the 1920s through the 1980s. (via SF Signal)keep looking »