Hasslein Blog: September 2013


Hasslein Blog

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Adam West Is Batman

By Rocko Jerome

Here's a timeline of how I felt about Adam West's Batman through the years:

Age 8: Batman, cool!

Age 12: Batman's better when he's dark and Joker kills people all the time.

Age 15: Adam West's Batman hurts the general impression of comics. More people should know Batman is a creature of the night. And Joker kills people.

Age 18: Comics, what? I don't read comic books. Who told you that?

Age 25: The Adam West Batman is great. If only it wasn't supposed to be Batman, because Batman should always be a creature of the night.

Age 34: Adam West is a genius. Life is hard enough without Batman bumming me out.

Read more »

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Back to the Future Timeline... Order Yours Now!

by Rich Handley

Check it out, folks:

Yep, it's the proof copy of Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology, written by Greg Mitchell and yours truly, and available exclusively at BTTF.com from now until the end of October (learn more). Starting November 1, this second BTTF volume (following last year's A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon) will also be made available at Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

My apologies for the demented look on my face... I can't seem to ever smile properly on camera, even when there's something worth smiling about.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Back to the Comics—Nick Fury: Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

By Rocko Jerome

S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division) is the Marvel Comics equivalent of U.N.C.L.E. (as in, The Man From…) or any number of heroic fictional organizations designed to defend the people from a villainous foe, usually also in a group with a clever name. In this case, HYDRA. Which is comparable to SMERSH, Quantum, Cobra (the '80s G.I. Joe was originally pitched as a version of S.H.I.E.L.D.), you get the gist. Spy-Fi was all the rage in the early sixties, so Stan and company figured it would make for great comics. Especially if said organization existed in the same world as Spider-man, Thor, The Hulk, The X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, the whole gang.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Sneak Peek—Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology

As we announced this morning, Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology, by Greg Mitchell and Rich Handley, is now available for pre-ordering at BTTF.com, the official Back to the Future Web site. To help you prepare for temporal displacement, we are proud to present these sample illustrations by the amazingly talented Pat Carbajal. Fantastic, right? Well, there are 38 others between the covers that are just as brilliant, so don't wait—pre-order your copy today!

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Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology—Now Available for Pre-Order

Great Scott! At long last, Hasslein Books is once again going back... to the future.

Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology, by Greg Mitchell and Rich Handley, is now available for pre-order, exclusively at BTTF.com. Scheduled for a release in early October, this 230-page heavy timeline is the perfect companion to A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon. So make like a tree, buttheads... and order your copy today!

The space-time continuum can be tricky to navigate! But fear not, time-travelers, for your troubles are over. The next time you hop into your DeLorean, bring along Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology to guide you through every galaxy-shattering paradox.

Back in Time explores the complex timelines of Back to the Future, as presented in the films, cartoons, novels, comics, video games, card game and even McDonalds Happy Meal boxes. Bring some spare plutonium or a few empty cans for the Mr. Fusion, and prepare to blast to the past, as The Back to the Future Chronology brings you:

• A detailed history of the Back to the Future mythos, from the dinosaur age to a staggering three quadrillion years into Earth's future

• A stunning painted cover and more than 40 breathtaking interior sketches from artist Pat Carbajal, produced exclusively for this volume

• An insightful foreword by Dan Madsen, founder and publisher of the original Back to the Future Fan Club

• A nostalgic essay examining Hill Valley's prominent families and significant events, from the town's Old West frontier beginnings to a future world of barbarians, dragons and sorcerers

• A comprehensive map offering a comparative view of the businesses and shops of Hill Valley's Courthouse Square, in numerous eras across divergent timelines

• Detailed family trees listing all known members of the McFly, Brown, Tannen, Baines, Parker, Strickland and Clayton bloodlines

• A mini-timeline presenting all known jumps through space-time in a coherent, chronological context, broken down by mode of temporal travel

• An examination of the main characters' brushes with fame, as Doc and Marty reshaped history and encountered historical figures, their own idols—and even a few characters from other franchises

Designed for both casual fans and those who know the names of Jennifer Parker's three grandfathers, The Back to the Future Chronology is your guide to Hill Valley history.

Pre-order your copy now at BTTF.com! And click here to view some sample artwork by the immensely talented Pat Carbajal.

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Cool It, Geeks

By Rocko Jerome

Alec Guinness in Bridge on the River Kwai, a role he 
probably would’ve preferred that you remember him for.

Alec Guiness liked to tell a story that has become legendary or infamous, depending upon your take. This kid came up to him somewhere and told him that he had seen Star Wars over a hundred times, and asked for his autograph. Sir Alec's response:

"Well, do you think you could promise never to see Star Wars again?"

The boy burst into tears and his mother took him away after scolding the erstwhile Obi Wan that he had done an awful thing. In later reflections, Guinness said "Maybe she was right, but I just hope the lad, now in his thirties, is not living in a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities."

Read more »

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Back to the Comics

By Rocko Jerome

This David Aja page from 2012′s Hawkeye #2 provides a good example of
art that, to it's credit, could never quite be adapted into any other medium.

I'll be the first to admit it. It's been great.

It's great to not avoid conversations about Captain America with people that don't have a y chromosome. It's great that my mom wanted to see The Avengers on Mother's Day, and that the theater was packed, and that after it was over I could point at the screen and say "That's what I've been so nuts about all my life." It's great that kids probably aren't facing derision at school now for being into Iron Man. It's great that summer blockbuster movies are now a lot less trite and stupid than they used to be. It's great that characters from comics are now the center of the entertainment universe and it's great that Stan Lee lived to see it. It's great that the filmmakers started to take comics seriously.

Read more »

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Back to the Future Chronology: COMING VERY SOON

A shoe, a toilet and a floating rug? What does it all mean?? The answer is right around the corner...

Did you know...

...that Back to the Future fiction spans millions of years into the past and a whopping 3 quadrillion years into the future? Learn more in Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology, by Greg Mitchell and Rich Handley. Ordering info coming sooner than you think!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Missed America

by Rich Handley

Here's my take on the outrage people are expressing about an Indian-American woman winning the Miss America crown:

Putting aside the face-palming bigotry of calling a person a Muslim due solely to her skin color... putting aside that she is, in fact, not a Muslim… putting aside that India is not an Arab country, so calling her an Arab indicates an appallingly poor education and a complete lack of geographical knowledge... putting aside that even if she WERE a Muslim and even if India WERE an Arab nation, it still wouldn't matter in the slightest since there's nothing wrong with being a Muslim or an Arab... putting aside that calling her a terrorist is ludicrous since she's doing nothing that would incite terror unless one finds elegance, poise and hairspray terrifying… putting aside that all complaints about her being a foreigner are idiotic since she is, in fact, American... putting aside the irony that so many of those complaining about her not being American display no grasp of basic English language skills whatsoever, whereas she seems rather eloquent by comparison... putting aside that pretty much EVERYONE in the United States, with very, very few exceptions, is a descendant of foreigners... and putting aside that this is 2013, not the 1930s, and we should be well beyond this level of idiocy by now... it's a freakin' beauty contest.

That's all it is: a beauty contest. It's not something that matters enough for anyone to attain this level of melodramatic outrage. It's a measure of dazzling gorgeousness. She's dazzlingly gorgeous. And it's about American women. She's a woman. And she's an American. In short, it's about hot American women, and she's in that classification. Hence, she qualifies for the title of Miss America.

For the record, I don't watch the Miss America pageant and never have, because that kind of superficial fluff (with no offense at all intended to anyone who enjoys it—vive la différence) just isn't my cup of tea. But if I were one to watch the pageant, I'd like to think I'd be able to comport myself in a non-bigoted manner while objectifying women based solely on how their breasts look in a bikini and a low-cut gown.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Marty McFly, Cereal Killer

Aaron Harvey Waud has discovered an aspect of the Back to the Future films that I suspect many of us have long overlooked: Marty McFly has an almost psychotic aversion to being called... to eat cereal.



Friday, September 13, 2013

Young Han Solo: Lucasfilm... er, I Mean, Disney... Take Note

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Who Is Hasslein Books Publishing in 2014? Why, Yes, We Are!

by Rich Handley

What's on the horizon for Hasslein Books, you ask? A better question might be WHO's on the horizon for Hasslein Books. Next year, to celebrate Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary, Hasslein will publish two books about that universe, which we're very excited about.

Few television series have remained in production for decades. Fewer have come back from cancellation. And fewer still have continued to thrive following the loss of their lead actor. So it's pretty amazing that Doctor Who can proudly boast all three claims. The British science fiction program, produced by the BBC, depicts the adventures of a centuries-old extraterrestrial Time Lord known as the Doctor, who explores the universe with an ever-changing lineup of companions in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a time-travelling spaceship resembling a blue police call box.

Doctor Who aired an astounding 26 seasons during its first incarnation, from 1963 to 1989, with seven actors in the title role, each vastly differing from his predecessor as much in appearance as in personality. (Writer Scott Edwards has been revisiting the show's early years in his ongoing Doctor Who Retro Review series for this site.) And yet the show not only thrived, but actually increased in acclaim and popularity as time went on. As if that weren't atypical enough, the show has come back from the grave twice, first in a 1996 TV movie, and then as a much-renowned revival series that has run from 2005 to date, taking both the older series and the TV movie into account as its back-story.

Read more »

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

G.I. Joe: Happy Anniversary!

By James McFadden

Thirty years ago today, the first episode of the original G.I. Joe cartoon miniseries aired in syndication across the United States. It was the culmination of a multimedia marketing campaign Hasbro had launched to bring back their once-successful G.I. Joe brand. Hasbro and Griffin-Bacal Advertising used the successful Star Wars toy line as an example, and went to Marvel Comics to create characters and a storyline to go along with the new toys. Their original G.I. Joe line had consisted of mostly generic, nameless soldiers.

Comic book writer Larry Hama breathed life into Hasbro's toy designs with a complex group of characters, informed by his knowledge of the U.S. Army. Griffin-Bacal then produced a series of animated commercials used to advertise the comic book. FCC regulations forbade fully animated commercials aimed at selling children's toys, but there were no such rules about selling comic books. Starting in 1982, the commercials introduced the concept and characters in thirty seconds, and gave a very brief summary of a specific issue of the comic. Brief snippets of the comic commercials were later inserted into the toy commercials. The ads proved very successful over the following year, and soon Marvel Productions worked with Griffin-Bacal's Sunbow Productions to create a five-part G.I. Joe miniseries, airing in half-hour episodes over the week of September 12th, 1983.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Two Dons on the Planet of the Apes

Here's a hilarious Planet of the Apes spoof starring Don Adams and Don Rickles, which aired on A Couple of Dons on Sept. 8, 1973.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Doctor Who Retro Review: Serial 022—The Massacre

By T. Scott Edwards

Firstly, I must apologise for the shortage in updates recently—due to an accident I had involving a very small cut on my finger, I ended up blood poisoning and as a result, have ended up with my arm in a sling and out of use for more than a week. Added to this the fact that I've returned to work, my time has been limited, to say the least—the pressures of secondary school teaching do not allow a great deal of 'down time' with which to write nonsensical blogs which may or may not be read by the general public! I'm back now though, although only able to type with my left hand, and so there may be a number of errors throughout—if there are, I apologise in advance!

The Massacre is a challenging serial to write about for a number of reasons. Whilst it sees John Lucarotti return to writing for the series, it strays from his usual raison d'etre and focuses on a period of history less well-known; the period in question is the 1570s in France, during the tensions between the Catholics and Protestants. This turbulent religious atmosphere is charged from the outset, and the arrival of the Doctor and Steven doesn't make anything any clearer—whilst historicals in the past have assured us, through known historical figures, exactly where our loyalties lie, The Massacre instead throws us into a quandary, as the two sides face off with Steven trapped in the middle. Interestingly, there are mixed accounts of the writing of this serial—it is suggested that Donald Tosh, as script editor, rewrote much of what was delivered by Lucarotti due to it straying too far from the original outline provided. What is evident, however, is that Lucarotti's voice is still dominant over the final drafts—the dialogue is rich and sumptuous, and characterisation is multilayered and intriguing. 

This serial is predominantly a vehicle for Steven to cement his place in the series—whilst he has been on board the TARDIS for several stories, he has always played second fiddle to the other companions, or to the Doctor himself. Here, though, the Doctor leaves the story early into the first episode, to visit the scientist Charles Preslin, and Steven is left to his own devices, allowed to entertain himself. Hartnell's absences were becoming more and more common place as the series progressed, partly due to his declining health, and partly, one suspects, due to the tensions between him and series producer John Wiles. Added to this Hartnell being on holiday during the filming of episode 2, and the result is that Purves becomes the lead actor, carrying the weight of the script magnificently. 

Read more »

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Doctor Who Retro Review: Serial 021—The Daleks' Master Plan (Part 3)

By T. Scott Edwards

(Read part one of this article here and part two here.

And so the 12-part epic finally draws to a close with only one of the last 5 episodes existing. Whilst Dennis Spooner took over the reins from Nation, that he still gets a mention—"An idea by Terry Nation"—speaks volumes of the quality of this script in comparison to his earlier, and indeed his uncredited later, work on Doctor Who.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Join Hasslein Books in Going Back... to the Future!



Friday, September 6, 2013

Hasslein Writers to Be Featured in Upcoming Star Trek Book From Sequart

by Rich Handley

I've been given permission to announce that I'm among the authors involved in writing an anthology examining the history of Star Trek comic books, which is slated for publication by Sequart sometime next year.

I can't yet get into specifics about the project, but my fellow essayists are a long list of accomplished authors with solid histories of writing for the Trek franchise. (Really, I'm floored at being published alongside some of the people lined up. It's truly humbling.) And a few of them are also writing upcoming projects for Hasslein Books, which is doubly exciting.

This book is going to be damn fun, and I'm as excited about reading my co-authors' work as I am about my own involvement, as there are several big names attached. And if that weren't already reason enough to be excited, Hasslein's own Pat Carbajal will be illustrating the cover (I'm happy to say that was my doing).

Even if I weren't one of the authors, I'd still be pre-ordering a copy of this book for my collection. For fans of Star Trek comics (my first love when it comes to collecting—I have every issue from 1967 to date), this anthology will be pure gold. Stay tuned for more info.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Star Wars Collectionary

Attention Star Wars fans: Have you visited the Star Wars Collectionary? This new site is currently looking for club leaders, moderators and collectors. The main goal of the Collectionary is "to allow fans of any subject to be able find amazing items for sale anywhere on the Internet," from action figures to vehicles, creatures, playsets, accessories and more. The site gives users the ability to save items to their profile and create their own virtual collections, and even if you don't own the items and simply want to create a wish list of great collectibles, you can do that as well. Be sure to check it out! And while you're at it, visit The Star Wars Bin on Yardsellr's Facebook page.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Doctor Who Retro Review: Serial 021—The Daleks' Master Plan (Part 2)

By T. Scott Edwards

(Read part one of this article here.)

Oh, my giddy aunt... The Daleks' Master Plan reaches a point where everything goes very, very wrong – and typically, it's the last episode of the serial written by Terry Nation. The key reason I'm analysing this as a stand-alone episode is that it doesn't really fit in with the framework of the rest of the serial. Predominantly a Christmas episode, there is no real function to it – it is simply a series of bizarre sketches, climaxing in one of the most bizarre scenes in the show's history.

Where to start...? Rather than just listening to the audio with some telesnaps, which is an even more confusing experience, I elected to watch an animated recon, available on YouTube here. Whilst the animation isn't perfect by any means, it fits with the existing telesnaps and helps to make some sense of the more confusing sections, such as 'the chase'.

Titled The Feast of Steven, a clever play on words hinting at the theme of the episode (it was originally transmitted on Christmas Day 1965), the story picks up where we left off last week – a planet with horrifically high levels of poison in the atmosphere. Of course, the planet is Earth, and the poisonous atmosphere is high smog levels of an inner-city somewhere up North.

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