Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “science

Bernie Wrightson R.I.P

It was just over a month ago that Liz Wrightson announced that her husband, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson was retiring. Liz confirmed on Sunday that after a long battle with cancer, Bernie has passed away. Here is the full transcript from Liz. My condolences to the Wrightson family, Rest in Peace Bernie.

A Message from Liz Wrightson.

After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away.

Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name.

His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC. He also co-created Destiny, later to become famous in the work of Neil Gaiman. By 1974 he had left DC to work at Warren Publishing who were publishing black-and-white horror-comics magazines. There he produced a series of original work as well as adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1975, Wrightson joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith to form “The Studio,” a shared loft in Manhattan where the group would pursue creative products outside the constraints of comic book commercialism. Though he continued to produce sequential art, Wrightson at this time began producing artwork for numerous posters, prints, calendars, and coloring books.

Wrightson spent seven years drawing approximately 50 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany an edition of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which the artist considers among his most personal work. Wrightson drew the poster for the Stephen King-penned horror film Creepshow, as well as illustrating the comic book adaptation of the film. This led to several other collaborations with King, including illustrations for the novella “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the restored edition of King’s apocalyptic horror epic, “The Stand,” and art for the hardcover editions of “From a Buick 8” and “Dark Tower V.” Wrightson has contributed album covers for a number of bands, including Meat Loaf. The “Captain Sternn” segment of the animated film Heavy Metal is based on the character created by Wrightson for his award-winning short comic series of the same name.

Characters he worked on included Spiderman, Batman and The Punisher, and he provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags, among many others. Recent works include Frankenstein Alive Alive, Dead She Said , the Ghoul and Doc Macabre (IDW Publishing) all co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles, and several print/poster/sketchbooks series produced by Nakatomi.

As a conceptual artist, Bernie worked on many movies, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist.

Bernie lived in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz and two corgis – Mortimer and Maximillian. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, one stepson, Thomas Adamson, and countless friends and fans. A celebration of his life is planned for later this year.


Re-Animator Trading Cards

reanimatorOfficially Licensed RE-ANIMATOR Trading Cards!

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These awesome ‘disposable income’ cards are available to pre-order from Fright Rags HERE

 


Bernie Wrightson Retires

wrightson_frankenstainI just saw this update from the Bernie Wrightson facebook page and am truly saddened to share the news posted by Bernie’s wife Liz. Bernie is one of my all time favourite artists, I am lucky enough to own 2 signed prints of his, of Frankenstein (pictured above) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A true gentleman and towering talent of the comic book industry.

Dear Fans and Friends,

I apologize for our silence for the past few months. Last November Bernie began falling again, and having obvious problems with perception. He had to undergo yet another brain surgery to relieve bleeding, and then spend several weeks undergoing in-patient rehabilitation. Unfortunately, it appears that he has lasting damage: he has extremely limited function on his left side, and is unable to walk or reliably use his left hand, among other limitations.

We have had to come to the sad conclusion that he is now effectively retired: he will produce no new art, and he is unable to attend conventions. Should this situation change I will happily announce it here.

He can still sign his name (in fact he was signing Kickstarter prints in the hospital!), and is otherwise pretty healthy and has good cognition. We expect to continue releasing signed prints, and offering occasional pieces of art for sale from the collection that remains. We both thank all of you for your continuing support and good wishes!

All our best,
Liz and Bernie Wrightson  


Godzilla – Official Full Trailer


H. G. Wells

Herbert George “H. G.” Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne, Wells has been referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction”. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau. 

Herbert George Wells was born at Atlas House, 46 High Street, Bromley, Kent, on 21 September 1866. He was the fourth and last child of Joseph Wells (a former domestic gardener, and at the time a shopkeeper and professional cricketer) and his wife Sarah Neal.

A defining incident of young Wells’s life was an accident in 1874 that left him bedridden with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the local library, brought to him by his father. He soon became devoted to the other worlds and lives to which books gave him access; they also stimulated his desire to write.

Wells’s earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views.

Wells’s first non-fiction bestseller was Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought (1901). When originally serialised in a magazine it was subtitled, “An Experiment in Prophecy”, and is considered his most explicitly futuristic work. It offered the immediate political message of the privileged sections of society continuing to bar capable men from other classes from advancement until war would force a need to employ those most able, rather than the traditional upper classes, as leaders. Anticipating what the world would be like in the year 2000, the book is interesting both for its hits (trains and cars resulting in the dispersion of population from cities to suburbs; moral restrictions declining as men and women seek greater sexual freedom; the defeat of German militarism, and the existence of a European Union) and its misses (he did not expect successful aircraft before 1950, and averred that “my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocate its crew and founder at sea”).

His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of “Journalist.” Most of his later novels were not science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps: The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English Society as a whole. Wells also wrote abundantly about the “New Woman” and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).

In 1933 Wells predicted in The Shape of Things to Come that the world war he feared would begin January 1940, a prediction which ultimately came true just four months early, when the Second World War broke out in September 1939.

On 28 October 1940 Wells was interviewed by Orson Welles, who two years previously had performed an infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, on KTSA radio in San Antonio, Texas. In the interview, Wells admitted his surprise at the widespread panic that resulted from the broadcast, but acknowledged his debt to Welles for increasing sales of one of his “more obscure” titles.

Wells died of unspecified causes on 13 August 1946 at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, Regent’s Park, London, aged 79. Some reports also say he died of a heart attack at the flat of a friend in London. In 1941, Wells had stated that his epitaph should be: “I told you so. You damned fools.” He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946, his ashes scattered at sea. A commemorative blue plaque in his honour was installed at his home in Regent’s Park.

I feel totally unqualified to write at any length about the work of Wells, for more information, check out these various sites: for Wells’ BBC broadcasts HERE, bibliography and downloadable pdf HERE, and downloadable audio books HERE.


Prometheus ***½

In 2089, a team of scientists led by Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover cave drawings that appear to form a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth. Shaw believes that the beings indicated on the paintings have visited Earth and are inviting us to their planet. Cut to 2093, on board the spaceship Prometheus (named after the Greek god who gave fire to mortal man), the scientists and small crew are heading towards the distant star system. As the crew awake from hyper sleep we are introduced to Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the chief executive of the Weyland Corp., the mega-corporation funding the mission, Janek (Idris Elba), the ship’s captain, and other token crew members. Vickers is the corporate face of Weyland Corp., she’s remote, cold and dismissive, mainly of the Shaw and Holloways theory.

The other crew member is David (Michael Fassbender), an android with a penchant for Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia, a quick, dry wit and more unnervingly, a hidden agenda.

Shaw and Holloway disagree on precisely where we came from and how, they believe these visitors hold the key. At stake is the origin of human creation itself.

When they arrive at moon LV-233 they find a huge alien labyrinthine construction in which they hope to find answers… however, they must fight to save the future of the human race.

Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define with those early landmark films. With Prometheus, he creates another beautifully rendered near future. The cinematography, sets, props and costumes are all superb and set a new bench mark, as do the exemplary special effects which blend beautifully .

Its Scott’s best movie since American Gangster (2007), however it doesn’t quite manage to reach the heights achieved by his breakthrough original. Having said that, Prometheus came pre-loaded with so much hype and expectation, partially tempered by Ridley denying this was a direct prequel to Alien, that it would be almost impossible for the film to deliver on all fronts. There are a few incredible set-pieces unlike anything you’ve ever seen before that have to be seen to be believed. No spoilers here.

The cast are good, Noomi Rapace is a strong, believable lead, Theron is suitably cold, however Michael Fassbender steals the movie, his android is not as cold as HAL (2001), or Ash (Alien) or as likeable as Bishop (Aliens), he reminded me more of David from Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence, I can’t recall him blinking. After the film ended I wondered how his character would/could fare in Scotts proposed Blade Runner sequel.

The script was reworked from a direct Alien prequel into a standalone effort that remains firmly within the same universe. This is the film’s smartest idea, as it immediately removes the usual prequel shortcomings of your audience knowing exactly how it’s going to end. However, while striving for its own identity, it still references to both Alien and James Camerons sequel Aliens. The screenplay, credited to both Jon Spaihts (who apparently wrote the first, more prequel-like draft) and Damon Lindelof (who revised the story and mythology), is an uneven affair. The general plot structure is solid, but some characters are underdeveloped and given some poor dialogue. Not all bad, however, as Scott is so adept at creating incredible imagery that it is easy to ‘go along for the ride’ and enjoy the film as a visual spectacle.

Big ideas are thrown around, the creation of human life, God, Darwinism and more; there are more questions posed than answered, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although I’d expect answers from the inevitable sequel, to the not-direct-prequel.

I can see it annoying some viewers, I really enjoyed it and overall I loved it as a spectacle; it’s not as smart as it set out to be, but it’s still better than most of the other sci-fi we’ve seen lately, and the 3rd best Alien movie of the franchise.

Quality: 3 Stars

Any Good: 4 Stars


Prometheus – Press Kit and Final Trailer

Ridley Scott, director of “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Check out the Prometheus Electronic Press Kit and new International Launch trailer.