Hasslein Blog: January 2015


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hasslein Books Announces New Doctor Who Essay Anthology

The company's second unauthorized Doctor Who book, written by
Brian J. Robb and Paul Simpson, with an introduction by
Nicholas Briggs, is now available for order.

Hasslein Books is pleased to announce the release of WhoBeyond 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Doctor Who, written by Brian J. Robb and Paul Simpson. Who Beyond 50 is now available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and CreateSpace.com, and will soon also be available to consumers at BarnesandNoble.com, and to resellers via Ingram, NACSCORP and CreateSpace Direct Resellers.

BBC's immensely popular Doctor Who series, featuring an extraterrestrial Time Lord exploring the universe aboard a time machine resembling a police call box, is a significant part of British pop culture and a cult favorite worldwide. The series has changed radically over the years, with thirteen actors portraying the Doctor to date, and with more than 50 companions joining him on his adventures. Few television series have remained in production for decades. Fewer have come back from cancellation to spawn multiple spinoffs. And even fewer have thrived following the loss of their lead actor. Amazingly, Doctor Who can proudly boast all three claims.

Brian J Robb and Paul Simpson have assembled 50 thematic, chronological essays covering a wide variety of Who icons over the past five decades. The long-time collaborators posted preliminary versions of some of these essays at Sci-Fi Bulletin, but have delved into far greater detail for this collected edition, examining not only the show itself, but the background of each actor to play the role of the Doctor and each showrunner who helped keep the series alive, as well as the novels, audios, monsters, companions, music, effects, fandom, and much more. But Who Beyond 50 is more than just another TV retrospective—it's a celebration of Who's surprises and successes, and an honest account of its faults and failures.

Brian J. Robb is a New York Times and Sunday Times best-selling author whose works include Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV, A Brief History of Star Trek, A Brief History of Star Wars, Counterfeit Worlds: Philip K. Dick on Film and Screams and Nightmares: The Films of Wes Craven. Paul Simpson has written official guides for Farscape, Smallville, The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, as well as unofficial books about subjects as diverse as James Bond, Nicole Kidman, The O.C., the Oz mythos and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The two authors recently collaborated on Middle-earth Envisioned: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: On Screen, On Stage, and Beyond.

Who Beyond 50, a softcover volume spanning 330 pages, is now available for purchase. Beautifully designed, the book features an introduction by Nicholas Briggs, a British actor, writer, director and composer closely associated with Doctor Who and its various spinoffs, particularly as the voices of the Doctor's nemesis, the Daleks and the Cybermen. Click here for more information.

For review copies or author interviews, please contact info@hassleinbooks.com. We would also welcome being included in year-end gift guides, and are open to contest giveaways. To learn about Hasslein's other titles, visit the company's website (hassleinbooks.com), Twitter feed (twitter.com/hassleinbooks), Facebook page (facebook.com/hassleinbooks) or blog (hassleinbooks.blogspot.com), or e-mail info@hassleinbooks.com.

Hasslein Publishing (hassleinbooks.com), a New York-based publisher of reference guides by geeks, for geeks, is named after Doctor Otto Hasslein, a time-travel expert portrayed by actor Eric Braeden in the film Escape from the Planet of the Apes. In addition to Who Beyond 50, the company's lineup of genre-based reference books includes Timeline of the Planet of the Apes, Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes, The Back to the Future Lexicon, The Back to the Future Chronology, The Red Dwarf Encyclopedia and Lost in Time and Space: An Unofficial Guide to the Uncharted Journeys of Doctor Who, with future volumes to feature James Bond, G.I. Joe, Alien vs. Predator, Battlestar Galactica, Ghostbusters, Universal Monsters, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and more. Doctor Who and all related characters and stories are copyright © BBC, with no infringement intended.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Longbox Legerdemain: "Marvel Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy"

By Matthew Sunrich

“Far be it from me to shout down the Kahlil Gibran of the stars!”

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy film is one of the oddest success stories in cinematic history. Following a string of blockbusters featuring A-list characters such as Captain America and Iron Man, fairly well known even outside of comic-book fandom, Guardians was a peculiar choice. Even among comic fans, Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon were, prior to the film’s release, obscure. Both made their first appearances in Marvel Preview, one of Marvel’s black-and-white magazines of the Bronze Age, and neither made a huge splash. Mostly forgotten by the mid-1980s, Peter Quill and Rocket were resurrected in 2008, along with the even-more-obscure sentient plant Groot, as members of a new incarnation of the Guardians team. (It’s worth mentioning that the current version of Star-Lord has little in common with the original character and that Rocket Raccoon was essentially a joke based on the similarly-titled Beatles song.)

When I heard they were making Guardians into a film, I had serious doubts, but, thankfully, I was proven wrong. It’s one of the MCU’s strongest offerings, as well as arguably the best space fantasy to hit the silver screen since the The Empire Strikes Back.

Read more »

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beyond the Marquee: The Back to the Future Almanac

On the latest episode of Beyond the Marquee the Web Series, host Jon Donahue sat down with author and archivist Rob Klein to discuss his new book with his wife Jennifer Smith, titled Back to the Future Almanac: Official Memorabilia Guide 1985-2015. Hasslein Books' A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, by Rich Handley, makes a surprise cameo at the 2:44 mark. Thanks to Beyond the Marquee, and to Rob and Jennifer for this great honor!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Radical Extremism on the Planet of the Apes

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Long-Forgotten Larami Star Trek Strip Surfaces

By Rich Handley

If you're like me (and I think it's safe to say that you wouldn't be reading this blog if you weren't), you revel in the hunt of finding new items for your collection that you could never find or didn't even know existed. For me, that usually involves comic books or strips based on Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica or Planet of the Apes, which are my main collecting passions (particularly Trek, as you can see here).

In recent years, I helped IDW's Library of American Comics imprint put out a pair of books collecting the long hard-to-find L.A. Times Star Trek newspaper strips of the early 1980s, and wrote introductory materials for each volume. I then wrote an essay about this project for a Sequart book covering the history of Star Trek comics, and there's more to come that hasn't yet been announced.

I'd foolishly let myself think I had every licensed Star Trek comic book or strip ever produced. So you can imagine my surprise last night when my friend Mark Martinez, the proprietor of the Star Trek Comics Checklist website, alerted me to an eBay auction that featured a number of vintage Star Trek collectibles... including a comic strip of which neither he nor I had any knowledge.

The hunt was on once more!

Some judicious research conducted by me, Mark and fellow collector Eric Cone turned up the identity of the strip in question: the Star Trek Space Viewer, an inexpensive rack toy produced by a company called Larami back in 1979. Larami's Trek line, which included a wide variety of items (some of which are pictured below), generally sold on store racks for 39 to 99 cents apiece.

As the PlaidStallions site explains, "these low-cost toys were produced mainly by companies that never did any sort of TV advertising and their items seemed to be more commonly found at drug and grocery stores. (A recent episode of Family Guy has Peter ranting against 'Those terrible pharmacy toys.') Licensing everything from obscure cartoon characters to major players such as Batman or the Planet of the Apes, rack toys are the forgotten collectible."

Amazingly, this comic strip remained off my radar until Mark discovered the eBay auction (being sold by sports memorabilia dealer kysophie). I've since been in touch with the seller, and he's a helpful, friendly person who sent me a scan of the complete story (at left). Therefore, I thought I'd spread the word about his eBay page and let Trek comics fans know that this comic strip existed (even if it is as pointless as the McDonald's Happy Meal Video Communicator strips).

If any of you have any additional information about a similar one based on Battlestar Galactica (which also surfaced during our research.... arrrrgh!), please let us know at info@hassleinbooks.com. Thanks!

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