Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

As a special feature of The Fanbase Weekly podcast, the Fanbase Feature focuses on and celebrates a specific element of geek culture.

In this Fanbase Feature (and installment in Fanbase Press' #BatmanDay 2016 celebration), Fanbase Press Editorials Manager Michele Brittany spoke with Robert Weiner about the conception and longevity of the Caped Crusader as a leading popular culture icon in comics, film, video games, television, and many other media outlets. Weiner, the Humanities Librarian at Texas Tech University, is the author and editor of several books exploring the cultural impact of many of our favorite fandoms.

‘Star Trek’ Turns 50

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

It was 50 years ago today in a voice-over in the opening credits of Star Trek that Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise introduced audiences to the captain’s mission. The series had a rocky start: creator Gene Roddenberry's original pilot, “The Cage” (filmed in 1964), was turned down, but surprisingly, a second pilot was requested, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” It was produced in 1965 and featured an all-new cast, except Leonard Nimoy, who was the only returning cast member from the original pilot. Interestingly, it was “The Man Trap” that premiered on September 8, 1966, with the famous voice-over narrative that has become one of the most recognizable popular culture phrases.

Alternate history or speculative fiction stories deviate from a particular pivotal point in history to explore a “what if” scenario. What hopefully results is an intriguing and riveting examination of the effects of that diverging point. For writer J.H. Sanderson, the summer of 1978 was his point of departure. While President Jimmy Carter sought peace in the real world, in Sanderson's allohistory, a moment of aggression sparked off World War III between the US and then superpower, the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). In Dangerous Gambles and Renegade graphic novel series published by Compact, Sanderson explores the struggles of a conventional modern war on US soil: food and various everyday sundries require ration coupons, curfews are instituted, and regular blackouts give rise to networks of marketeering, all under an overarching threat of invasion and nuclear annihilation.

In a world riddled with death, despair and giant man-eating monsters, one man does his best to not let the apocalypse get him down!

Three-year-old, London-based, independent publisher Dead Canary Comics is at it again! With a catalogue of comics that touches on bounty hunters, ancient demons, superheroes, frogs, and Shakespeare, Last Driver explores a post-apocalyptic wasteland created by the minds of writer C.S. Baker (The Fitzroy, Reddin) and revered illustrator Shaky Kane (The Bulletproof Coffin, Judge Dredd Megazine). The dynamic duo are joined by letterer Paul Clark-Forse and colorist Boo Cook. Artist Juan José Ryp rounds out the creative team by capturing everything about Last Driver into a fantastic cover.

Super Nintendo. The Sega Genesis. The PS1. Neo Geo. These are just a few of the consoles of yesteryear that evoke a sense of nostalgia. The advent of console emulators, Hyperkin's Retron series and the Sega Genesis Classic Console, or handheld versions that include Supaboy and Neo Geo X, as well as the upcoming November release of the NES Classic Edition loaded with 30 iconic games, has steered vintage collecting of original game cartridges and discs beyond the die-hard collector to the general video game fan. With renewed interest in revisiting the games under the Tengen and SNK monikers for example, video game fandom has given rise to conventions showcasing vintage and retro consoles, games, and other paraphernalia to delight collectors and fans.

The following is an interview with writer Emma Beeby (The Alienist; Doctor Who), the first woman to write stories for Judges' Dredd and Anderson on multiple comic book arcs. Beeby's story, “Anderson: Psi Division: The Candidate,” in 2000 AD Prog 1994 pairs her with artist Nick Dyer, colorist Richard Elson, and letterer Ellie De Ville.

The little, round eye faded to black, and the familiar chirps and beeps went silent as the Star Wars franchise mourned the passing of one of their family members; Kenny Baker, who donned the R2-D2 robotic shell for the first six episodic films, passed away on Saturday, August 13, 2016. Warwick Davis, who acted alongside Baker in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi and Labyrinth, tweeted, “Sad to say goodbye to a small man with a huge heart and personality. He paved the way for short actors for a generation.”

With the slogan “Keeping Your Childhood Rad,” Yestercon the Sequel was back for a second time on Sunday, July 31, in Carson, California. The Carson Civic Center served as the locale for the one-day annual event which included exhibitors, creators, media guests, as well as a handful of video game arcades.

NerdHQ founder Zachary Levi (Chuck, Tangled) took to the stage as soon as the audience of approximately 200 people took their seats Sunday afternoon, July 24, at 4 o'clock. The small venue evoked an informal and more intimate feel, quite opposite to the 6,000-plus seating at Comic-Con's Exhibition Hall panels. In addition, Levi's organization raises funds from panel ticket admissions for Operation Smile, a non-profit group that raises money to pay for cleft lip and palate surgery for children around the world.

For five days each July, San Diego, CA, becomes a mecca for fans of all things related to popular culture, be it comics, films, novels, toys, art, video games, and every medium in between. Just a short walk down the street at The New Children's Museum, NerdHQ was in full swing Sunday afternoon, July 24th. Established by actor Zachary Levi in July 2011, the NerdHQ panels raise funds for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization that raises money to pay for cleft lip and palate surgery for children around the world.

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