Comics have a way of redefining themselves in order to keep up with the changing tide of time itself. Heroes who first came into existence when the clutch was the standard in automotive instrumentation still exist during a time when fax machines are considered out-of-date technology. Villains who are known for using the latest chemical compositions and radiological yields suddenly find themselves being outshined by a teen who can hack into the DoD’s mainframe. But the one thing that has never changed with comics, even though the companies themselves have, is that they love to bring about events and changes that attempt to attract readers.
Many tributes have been pouring out over Facebook and other social media. I understand why. First, 2016 has taken a lot from us. Not that every year doesn’t do its fair share of reaping, but this year’s “in memoriam” looms larger than most, I suspect because those of us who are Gen X (the original fanboys and fangirls, thank you) are seeing our childhood literally pass away. We are used to seeing the elderly pass, those whose achievements we have collectively filed in “the past.” But this year seemed to take those still very much present who also shaped our lives. George Michael, Prince, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey - whether or not you cared for their music, they were the soundtrack of childhood and early youth. Nancy Reagan, first lady for most of the eighties, passed away, as did Gene Wilder - the only Willy Wonka for a certain age set - Florence Henderson (C’mon - Mrs. Brady?), and even Kenny Baker - R2-D2 himself. Alan Rickman hit many of us hard - raise a glass to Professor Snape, one of the bravest fictional characters I have ever read. And now, to lose Carrie Fisher right at year’s end seems wrong, somehow - just cruel.
As the world waits to see if Daniel Craig will reprise his role as James Bond for a fifth time, one thing is certain: His legacy will be that of a darker, more emotionally volatile Bond, which we were introduced to in Craig’s debut outing, Casino Royale (2006, Martin Campbell); however, amongst all the hype for Craig’s more "realistic" and "gritty" portrayal, it is often forgotten that we have, in fact, seen Bond portrayed this way before. At the end of the 1980s, Timothy Dalton was swearing and fist-fighting as part of a vengeful, wayward, and sometimes anti-heroic interpretation of the secret agent in his second Bond film, Licence to Kill (1989, John Glen). The tone and content of the film were darker to such an extent that it was the first Bond film to be rated "15" by the British Board of Film Classification, and it is still the only installment in the series to have this rating. Licence to Kill takes us on an emotionally charged manhunt, as Bond disobeys his boss, M, and seeks revenge on those responsible for the dismemberment of his friend, Felix Leiter. Looking at the Vesper Lynn storyline in Craig’s films, one can draw some similarities, but unlike its more modern counterpart, Licence to Kill produced less than impressive box office takings and isn’t particularly well regarded amongst the other films of the series. In the Eon Productions documentary, Everything or Nothing (2012, Stevan Riley), Executive Bond producer Barbara Broccoli suggests that the audience at the time just wasn’t ready for the gritty Bond of Licence To Kill, but now that it seems that they most definitely are, it is worth revisiting this thriller and appreciating its darker elements, which contributed to a more complex Bond character and storyline a long time before Craig arrived on the scene.
Silver Plane Films and Kingfisher Media rounds out casting of the noir thriller, D.O.A. Blood River, with Christa B. Allen (“Revenge,” “13 Going on 30”) as Jessie, Scottie Thompson (“Skyline,” “NCIS”) as Bonnie, Christopher Rob Bowen (“Marauders,” “Heist”) as Deputy Billy Renee, Tyson Sullivan (“Banshee,” “Quarry”) as Officer Walker, Stephen C. Sepher (“Heist,” “4 Minutes”) as Vince Valenti, and Lillo Brancato (“A Bronx Tale,” “Crimson Tide”) as Frank Zanca.
Earlier this year, award-winning sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin released two new short story collections, THE FOUND AND THE LOST (Simon and Schuster/Saga Press) and THE UNREAL AND THE REAL (Simon and Schuster/Saga Press). Le Guin and Simon and Schuster/Saga Press have been very generous to the Fanbase Press staff, as we are now able to share a preview of the short story, "Dragonfly," from THE FOUND AND THE LOST!
Seven years ago I was in a men’s bathroom on the University of Mary Washington campus, changing into women’s clothes. It was National Coming Out Day, and I had decided to celebrate the event by coming out to PRISM, the campus’s local LGBTQ group, and doing so dressed as the woman I knew I was. While it seems silly to me now, back then I was so afraid to be seen in public dressed in the clothes I wanted to wear and too afraid to even use the ladies’ room to change outfits. In spite of my fear, I had the courage to march out of that bathroom and tell a room full of people my story.