With all this talk of comic books being turned into movies (I’m looking at you Scott Pilgrim and Green Lantern and countless others), how about one that’s being turned into…a play? And no I’m not talking about the expensive Spider-Man musical.
I’m talking about Cheapjack Shakespeare, a comedy about a summer Shakespeare company that’s falling apart as they’re “beset by infidelity, egos, ambition and a particularly ill-timed lightning strike.” Shaun McLaughlin, a reknowned comic book writer (Aquaman) and TV producer (Batman Beyond, Static Shock and various incarnations of Justice League), created the online graphic novel that debuted earlier this year. “It’s like Glee with booze and Shakespeare,” McLaughlin says.
Cheapjack Shakespeare: The Non-Musical has finalized its casting, begun rehearsals and set its premiere date for September 9th at the Alt Theatre in Buffalo, NY. Additional performances will be on September 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25.
My buddy Shaun McLaughlin was a producer at Warner Bros. and responsible for some of their best Bruce Timm-related toons like Batman Beyond, Static, and various incarnations of Justice League. It adds up to over 400 episodes of prime animated entertainment, so he knows how to make something with mass market appeal.
He’s moved on to freelancing, pushing several projects through the development wormhole, including both an animated feature (with Omens Studios) and a live-action one. But when you’re in development, you get a lot of down time while you wait for people to make decisions, give notes, and update their social networks.
You could watch a lot of TV or surf the web or blog about your cat, but Shaun’s put his thumb-twiddling time to good use and come up with a nifty little project with his biz partner Gabriel Benson: Cheapjack Shakespeare.
I know there are people out there who’d kill to have the image of Jesus appear to them on a potato chip. And there are those who get a thrill out of bumping into a celebrity - even a D-List one - at the local Costco. There’s also a group of people who’d love to live in a house that was once owned by a famous person.
As in: “I love this person so much that I want to live in his house after he’s dead.” It’s an odd fetish to have and thank goodness it’s not mine.
But if you love Charlie Brown, Peanuts and Snoopy and the Fantagraphics reprints can’t satisfy your love, there’s something that might. The Santa Rosa house on Montecito Avenue that creator Charles Schulz lived in back in the 1970s is up for sale. The two-story, 14-room house, originally built in 1949, has two master bedrooms (make of that what you will), five full baths and a powder room. There’s also a swimming pool, a cabana, a 1000 square-foot guest house (with two bedrooms and a full kitchen), and a chapel on the gated property.
Read More | San Francisco Chronicle
You might already know Lester Dent. He’s the creator of Doc Savage (which he wrote under the pseudonym of Kenneth Robeson). Doc was a very successful pulp hero (and later star of a line of equally successful paperback reprints of his pulp adventures). Sadly, the magical success of Doc in the pulps has never transitioned well to neither comics nor the movies.
What you may not know is that Dent also wrote a hard-boiled crime novel called Honey In His Mouth. It doesn’t star Doc Savage.
One of my favorite publishers, Hard Case Crime, publishes hard-boiled crime paperbacks. Some of them are new, but some are reissues of old classics that are worth rediscovering again. Their backlist of stuff is incredible and includes works by Lawrence Block, Richard S. Prather, David Drake, Max Allan Collins, Roger Zelazny and Donald E. Westlake. All their books feature great cover paintings that recall the classic hardboiled style of paperbacks from a couple of generations past.
Read More | Hard Case Crime
The Secret of Monkey Island is now on the App Store! The classic point-and-click adventure game was originally released in 1990 on the Atari ST, Macintosh and PC systems. The Special Edition version released on the iPhone/iPod touch is also available on PC and Xbox 360.
The Special Edition features updated graphics, music, and voice recordings. You can switch between the new and old versions simply by swiping your fingers across the screen.
The game seems to be an excellent update although there have been mixed reactions to the controls. You move the cursor around by sliding your finger on the screen and using it like a track-pad. The game does not allow you to simply tap on a part of the screen to interact with it but hopefully LucasArts will adjust that in a future update.
All in all, Monkey Island coming to the iPhone is only a sign of more good things to come. From LucasArts, hopefully other classics will be revitalized soon - like Sam and Max and Day of the Tentacle.
This big App Store release clearly shows how much of a player the iPhone is becoming in the gaming world - even if not all hardcore gamers want to admit it.
Read More | Monkey Island: Special Edition
Good news for fans of classic movies and TV. Warner Brothers will release some of them on DVD for the first time. The online service is known as the Warner Archive Collection and will create each one on demand when ordered for $19.95 apiece. The site includes titles such as “Al Capone,” “I Was a Communist for the FBI” and “Edison the Man.” Right now there are about 150 films, but more will be offered in the future including more recent films.
Read More | WB Archive Shop
Sony is offereing its Reader users half a million public domain books. The Google optimized books are added to the 100,000 already available for the e-book. Included are such titles as “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” “The Awakening” and “The Letters of Jane Austen.” Google has been encoding books in the open electronic format ePub to make such titles more available to Sony and other e-book distributors.
Read More | NY Times
Now that Netflix has cut back on Indy cinema, this might be a good time to check out iArthouse. They have over 800 international and arthouse films and plan thousands by the end of the year. They offer ad-supported free streaming video, subscription, and download-to-burn options. Download their free StreamBurner software and start shopping from film companies such as Vanguard Cinema and Arts Alliance America. We really dig that they offer online free screenings of such classics as “M,” Hitchcock’s “39 Steps,” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”
Read More | iArthouse
After reading that Fictionwise is releasing 3 free Stephen King ebook novels for free with rebate if you pay with credit card or Paypal, we went more in depth and found that they are also offering others at no cost. Selections include the classic “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne, “Ghost Rider: Stories” by Jonathan Lowe, and a sample of the Oxford Paperback Thesaurus ( 348 pages.) Join their club and there are more hot deals. Most books come in eReader, Mobipocket, and Microsoft Reader.
Read More | Fictionwise
If you are old enough to remember the Commodore 64, you are old enough to remember how good those games were compared to Pong. While they are simplified compared to most of those released today, they continue to have their own following, evidenced by the fact that you can still play them online. Virtual Console is adding these games to allow Wii owners to play them as well. International Karate and Uridium will be the first two titles offered and VC will add to their line from time to time. While they will first become available on the European Wii Shop Channel, we suspect it will not be long before they move globally.
Read More | Nintendo News