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Friday, 28 December 2007

Berg to remake Dune

MTV reports that The Kingdom director Peter Berg is set to direct a new big-screen version of Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel Dune.

Berg said that the film would have been his next project, but the US writers' strike is preventing the film from moving forward through development.

According to Berg, the David Lynch version "left the door wide open for a remake."

A gob smacking science fiction epic, Frank Herbert's Hugo and nebula award-winning Dune, first published in 1965, is set on the desert planet Arrakis. The story of the boy Paul Atreides, Dune sees him become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib and avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family, and bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

Official Dune novels web site

Lost Girls reach the UK

Warning: Potential readers are warned of the "adult nature" of this book before following any links below.

Lost Girls, Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's controversial take on the adult lives of Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Wendy (from Peter Pan) and Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz) will finally be released in the United Kingdom and European Union on 1 January.

Publishers Top Shelf say that potential readers should get their copies fast, "as the limited supply will most likely disappear within a few weeks".

Publication on this side of the pond was delayed after officials for Great Ormond Street Hospital – which was given the copyright to Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie in 1929 – asserted that Moore would need their permission to publish the book in the UK (and by implication, elsewhere in the EU). Moore indicated that he would not be seeking their licence, claiming that he hadn't expected his work to be "banned" and that the hospital only holds the rights to performances of the original work, not to the individual characters. In October 2006, Newsarama reported that after "amicable discussions", Top Shelf had signed an agreement with the Hospital that, while not conceding copyright infringement, they would not publish Lost Girls in the UK until after the copyright lapsed at the end of 2007.

(Great Ormond Street Hospital's copyright on Peter Pan originally ended in 1987, but was reestablished through 2007 due to the EU directive. In the US, the Hospital claims copyright on Peter Pan through 2023, based on the copyright of the play of the book, published in 1928. Additionally, the UK government gave the Hospital a perpetual copyright, allowing it to receive a royalty for any publication or performance of the work (or works based on the play), although the ruling does not allow Hospital to refuse permission or exercise creative control. The US copyright has been contested for years, by Disney and others. For more on the copyright of Peter Pan, see this Wikipedia article).

"For more than a century, Alice, Wendy and Dorothy have been our guides through the "Wonderland", "Neverland" and "Land of Oz" of our childhoods," reads the promotional copy on amazon.co.uk for Lost Girls. "Now like us, these three lost girls have grown up and are ready to guide us again, this time through the realms of our sexual awakening and fulfillment. Through their familiar fairytales they share with us their most intimate revelations of desire in its many forms, revelations that shine out radiantly through the dark clouds of war gathering around a luxury Austrian hotel... This is erotic fiction at its finest."

Reaction to the book has been mixed: Village Voice reviewed the book as "a beautiful dirty book 16 years in the making" while Neil Gaiman describes the story as "a bitter-sweet, beautiful, problematic, exhaustive, occasionally exhausting work". Variety's Bags and Boards praises the work but warns that "Bearing no shortage of material to potentially shock or offend the conservative or faint-hearted, Lost Girls is undoubtedly a dicey (and pricey) proposition – even for Moore’s mainstream fan base."

• Lost Girls Cover and Preview Pages Here:
http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog.php?type=12&title=219

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Fontsy That...

The lettering style of Lancashire's finest comic book artist and graphic novelist Bryan Talbot is finally at your beck and call thanks to the good graces of those awfully nice chaps at Comicraft, the US fonts company run by former Marvel UK writer-editor Richard Starkings.

Created for Bryan's critically-acclaimed and top selling book Alice in Sunderland, Comicraft advises the Bryan Talbot font "will take you on a journey into delirium, through the looking glass of British underground comix into the complex world of experimental narrative techniques and bestow upon you semi-legendary cult status and prestigious awards from no less than the New York Times.*"

The new font is the latest in a long line of fonts specially created in the style of individual letterers or for special projects, joining the likes of the Dave Gibbons and Starkings own distinctive Hedge Backwards fonts in the Comicraft's ever-expanding catalogue.

* Comicraft also advises results may differ if you are not actually Bryan Talbot.

Who ratings triumph

With the BBC dominating the ratings on Christmas Day, Doctor Who managed its best ratings since 1979 with the festive episode Voyage of the Damned, no doubt helped by the guest appearance of actress-singer Kylie Minogue, playing waitress Astrid on-board a doomed spaceship.

The Poseidon Adventure-inspired episode (Doctor Who has a long history of successful homage), scored 13.8 million viewers and a 55% share of the TV audience and averaged 12.2 million viewers across its 70 minutes to rank as the second most-watched programme of Christmas Day, with the BBC's EastEnders winning the top spot with 14 million viewers.

The figures are Dotor Who's highest since the screening of City of Death in 1979. The previous best for the new Doctor Who series was 10.8 million for its first episode, Rose, back in 2005.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The New 12 Days of Christmas...

Beano artist and writer Kev F. Sutherland penned the following sketch from the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, recorded live at the Canal Cafe Theatre, London. Warning: some swearing...

Monday, 24 December 2007

(W)HO! (W)HO! (W)HO! It's Christmas!

The Down The Tubes crack reporting team debate potential plotlines for the Doctor Who Christmas special.

Last year I sat on (not behind) a sofa on Christmas Day and watched the Doctor Who special with my five year old nephew. Despite any generalisms about today's children spending too much time sitting in front of televisions he is not one for a lot of TV watching, but he dutifully sat quietly through it with only the odd question of "What's that?" or "Who's she?" It was his first experience of the good Doctor.

One year later he now has more Doctor Who toys than I ever did, is a subscriber to Doctor Who Adventures and, most depressingly for me, owns more new Who on DVD than I do.

So this Christmas Day at 6:50pm we will be on the same sofa watching the new Christmas episode - although I suspect with Kylie on board we won't be the only ones watching. Let's hope that the rest of them keep quiet so we can watch it in peace.

Merry Christmas.

Merrie Chrissmusz

Charley's War back page pin-up from Battle dated 27 December 1986.

Today, as in 1916, British soldiers are fighting in foreign lands. We wish them a Merry Christmas and a safe return to their families in 2008.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Red Dwarf returns to the (smaller) screen

A new Red Dwarf Christmas special will be screened this Christmas -- on your mobile.

Fans of sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf can already relive the series by watching exclusively created ‘mobisodes’ of the show on their mobile phone thanks to a service from international mobile entertainment company Pitch that launched back in October.

Now the show, rated "Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Show of all time" by the Radio Times back in October, is returning for a new animated Christmas special - but only for users of the Red Dwarf mobile service.

The subscription service, which costs £3 a week, enables subscribers to receive a brand new Red Dwarf animated ‘mobisode’ and access a new social network allowing them to utilise all the functionality of social networking whilst on the move. Fans can chat, upload and rate their pictures and videos.

Subscribers can also choose six enhanced mobile features for their phone each week as part of the Red Dwarf service, including specially created ringtones, wallpapers, screensavers and videos.

Animated episodes made up from classic moments in the show have been released on a weekly basis since October.

“Pitch Entertainment has created amazing, ground breaking technology that gives our fans the chance to access and enjoy Red Dwarf whilst on the move," explained Charles Armitage at Red Dwarf. The weekly animated ‘mobisodes’, the social networking functionality and the exclusive content will enhance the Red Dwarf experience for everyone.”

Back in November, Pitch executive director Martin Bowley described the company's Red Dwarf licensing deal as the most important of his career.

Based in London's Covent Garden, Pitch Entertainment Group (www.pitch.mobi) employs 60 staff and is predicting that its new “mobisodes” venture will help lift turnover from £12m to £20m in 2008, while profits are forecast to grow from £500,000 to £1m.

Red Dwarf has a massive following which is all over the world,” he told the Daily Telegraph. "We could see how that could be leveraged if we could find a way to make mobile phone episodes, or “mobisodes.”

The revenue share based licensing deal has seen Pitch make 24 “mobisodes” of the animated series just 25 seconds long, coming up with the miniscripts itself and organising the production.

As well as the UK, Pitch is available to mobile users in 13 territories such as Malaysia and Singapore, as well as across Europe, with plans to launch a new territory every month over the next year. The Red Dwarf site also offers fans the chance to interact via a dedicated social network as well as download the animations.

“Established fans can access new episodes, interact with each other and share their passions for Red Dwarf," feels Bowley, who also argues the new service will enable a new generation of fans will also be able to discover Red Dwarf for the first time. "This is the future of entertainment.” he declared.

• Subscribers in the UK can receive the brand new Red Dwarf ‘mobisode’ each week by visiting www.red-dwarf.mobi or text RD1 to 87000.

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