Friday, March 28, 2008

The World's Greatest Music Collection - eBay (item

Organized and cataloged, the collection is meticulously maintained and housed in a climate-controlled warehouse. Every recording in this amazing collection has been personally acquired by the collection’s owner over the past fifty years and represents a lifetime of work and his desire to see the music preserved for future generations. Deteriorating health and related financial concerns are forcing the owner to sell the collection at far less than its true value. The estimated value of the collection, on a per-item basis, is in excess of $50 million.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Writer Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90

Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, an aide said. He was 90.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30 a.m. after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva said.

Co-author with Stanley Kubrick of Kubrick's film '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Clarke was regarded as far more than a science fiction writer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

X-Factor Week: Larry Stroman Returns - News

Speak of the devil. GEO and I were just talking about him regarding the recent blowup from the Bonehead from Boneyard. Only tangentially related topics.

Come July, a familiar face returns to X-FACTOR as artist Larry Stroman reunites with Peter David with issue #33!

The two first collaborated in 1991 on X-FACTOR v1 #71, an issue which re-imagined the team for the 90's and beyond and kicked off a brief but fondly-remembered run by the duo. Stroman recently made his return to Marvel with WHAT IF? X-MEN: RISE AND FALL OF THE SHI'AR, and X-FACTOR marks his first regular gig at the House of Ideas in over 15 years.

Dave Stevens Passes Away

From Mark Evanier's webpage:

Illustrator Dave Stevens, best known for his 'good girl' art and The Rocketeer, died yesterday following a long, wrenching battle with Leukemia. Dave was born July 29, 1955 in Lynwood, California. He was raised in Portland, Oregon, then his family relocated to San Diego, where he attended San Diego City College and became involved in the early days of the San Diego Comic Book Convention, now known as the Comic-Con International. His skills as an artist were instantly evident to all, and he was encouraged by darn near every professional artist who attended the early cons, but especially by Jack Kirby and Russ Manning. In 1975, when Manning began editing a line of Tarzan comic books to be published in Europe, Dave got his first professional assignment, working on those comics and also assisting Russ with the Tarzan newspaper strip. Soon after, he worked on a few projects for Marvel (including the Star Wars comic book) and a number of underground comics. Later, he also worked with Russ on the Star Wars newspaper strip.

In 1977, Dave went to work for Hanna-Barbera where he drew storyboards and layouts, many of them for the Super Friends and Godzilla cartoon shows and bonded with veteran artist Doug Wildey, who produced the latter. Wildey and Stevens became close friends and in 1982, when Dave created his popular character, The Rocketeer, he modelled the character's sidekick, Peevy, on photos of Doug. Dave himself was Cliff Secord, who donned the mask of The Rocketeer, and other friends appeared in other guises.

The Rocketeer made Dave's reputation and also spawned a resurgence of interest in fifties' figure model Bettie Page, whose likeness Dave used for the strip's heroine. But the strip was not profitable for Dave, who was among the least prolific talents to ever attempt comic books. It wasn't so much that he was slow, as his friends joked, but that he was almost obsessively meticulous, doing days of study and sketching to create one panel, and doing many of them over and over. Even then, he was usually dissatisfied with what he produced and fiercely critical of the reproduction. Friends occasionally pitched in to help with the coloring but some begged off because they knew it was humanly impossible for anyone, including Dave himself, to produce coloring that he'd like. Eventually, he sold most of the rights to Disney for a Rocketeer movie that was produced in 1991. Dave served as a co-producer of the film and did a brief cameo, but the endeavor was not as lucrative for him as he'd hoped, and it pretty much ended Dave's interest in continuing the character.

Most of what Dave did after that fell into the general category of "glamour art," including portfolios and private commissions. Many of these were illustrations of Bettie Page who, though once thought deceased, turned out to be alive and living not all that far from Dave. They met and Dave became her friend and, though he was not wealthy, benefactor. Deciding that too many others had callously exploited her likeness, Dave voluntarily aided Ms. Page financially and even took to helping her in neighborly ways. One time, he told me — and without the slightest hint of resentment — 'It's amazing. After years of fantasizing about this woman, I'm now driving her to cash her Social Security checks.'

Dave Stevens was an incredibly talented artist who didn't have the fastest production schedule but he put out some incredible work. Plus he brought us back Bettie Page. :) Those two things alone are an accomplishment.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

RIP: The Original Dungeon Master

Thank you, Gary, for nearly thirty years of fun and enjoyment. I wouldn't be doing any of this today without you.

I remember the first time that I received an email from Gary Gygax. It wasn't even directly to me, but instead to an industry mailing list that I am a member of. It felt like receiving a letter from a president.

All that I can say is that Gary had been sick for a while and that he is in a much, much better place now than he had been. To paraphrase my business partner, Aren, "I hope that he is received by the gods of his people in the manner that he deserves." It is both ironic and probably deeply appropriate that Gary passed away on GM's Day.

Gary Gygax is gone. You've probably never heard of the guy, but he changed how we play, every one of us, and he brought dwarves and goblins into the mainstream of pop culture. He was co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, author of classics such as The Monster Manual and Dungeon Masters Guide, and a legitimate 20th-level Nerd God.

He died this morning, at the age of 69, in his Lake Geneva, Wisconsin home, and nobody should turn on their XBOX or PS3 today without thinking of him, and thanking him.

Without Gary Gygax, we wouldn't have role playing games, period. Not just D&D, which has been played by more than 20 million people, but the bloated universe of questing elves and ravenous minotaurs that so many of us dwell in, everything from Zelda to World of Warcraft.

In 1974, Gygax and partner Dave Arneson took the fantasy realm best described by J.R.R. Tolkien, and unleashed it in a form that has proved immortal: a game. A game first played with graph paper, dice and most of all, friends and imagination.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What Gritty No Nonsense Comic Book Character are You?

via Jonny

I am wondering if I should be shocked.

What Gritty No Nonsense Comic Book Character are You?

You are Spider Jerusalem.Spider is THE journalist of the future. He smokes, he does drugs, and he kicks ass. The drugs are going to eventually kill him but not before he gets his way. And his way is the demise of the failed American dream. Although full of hate, he cares about his city. All he wants to bring the world is truth. Spider Jerusalem, conscience of the City. Frightening thought, but he's the only one we've got.
Take this quiz!

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