Friday, January 27, 2017

VULCAN! (1978) Cover Art By Bob Larkin

I remember receiving a copy of Kathleen Sky's original Star Trek novel, Vulcan!, in my Christmas stocking in 1978. I spent the rest of that holiday afternoon at my grandmother's house ignoring my relatives, reading it.

I haven't revisited it in decades (though I still have my original copy), so I can only barely recall the plot. I've since learned that it was based on a spec script the author had submitted to the Trek offices during the Original Series' third year. Supposedly, Roddenberry liked it, but as the show was canceled without a fourth season, the script was never produced. A decade later, she adapted it into a novel for Bantam Books.

I may not remember the story very well, but I never forgot the striking cover art. Here's a scan of the original cover painting by the masterful Bob Larkin, found online.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Behind-The-Scenes Pix #53: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

While Lieutenant Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) catches up on the day's news between takes, the talented (and extraordinarily patient) chimpanzee who portrayed the robot daggit, Muffy, gets some fresh air. I'll never understand how the producers ever found a  chimp who could stand working in that suit, especially since that head had so many little motors in it. Good thing he (or she) wasn't claustrophobic!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bionic Pin-Ups by Jeff Cummins

I'm not sure where these pin-ups of Six Million Dollar Man Steve Austin and Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers by artist Jeff Cummins originally appeared - I'm not familiar with that Sci-Fi logo - but I'm sure one of you will let me know. In any case, I think they're pretty cool.

UPDATE: Sure enough, over on Facebook, Star Kid Glen Mullaly identified the source as the UK magazine Sci-Fi Monthly. I'd never heard of it. Thanks, Glen!

Monday, December 19, 2016

German SPACE: 1999 Comics

These terrific Space: 1999 ("Mondbasis Alpha 1") comics covers from Germany were sent to me over two years ago (!) by reader Kessler Tobias, but got lost in my e-mail. In any case, better late than never! Kessler didn't include any publication info, or identification of the artists, but damn, look at these! 50's pulp-styled robots! Giant ants! Enjoy!


Friday, November 4, 2016

THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1977)

On this day in 1977, CBS aired Kenneth Johnson's first Incredible Hulk television movie, which led to a five year, 82 episode weekly series. My thirteen year-old mind was blown... and I've never been quite right since.

Friday, October 21, 2016

BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980) NBC Television Intro


Here's the NBC television intro for their early-80s presentation (the video says 1983, but I'm pretty sure it actually aired in '82) of Roger Corman's space war epic, Battle Beyond The Stars. This was the first time I saw the film, and I remember that I had some friends over that evening and we had a great time watching it. I always thought it amusing that NBC blurred out St. Exmin's (Sybil Danning) cleavage, especially since the network was well known for its T&A-centric programming.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rare PLANET OF DINOSAURS (1977) Poster

 A variety of Star Wars spacecraft meet prehistoric beasties in this rare poster for 1977's Planet Of Dinosaurs. This image was recently posted on a Facebook stop-motion animation fan group, and identified by Dinosaurs effects artist Jim Aupperle as being of Lebanese origin.

Regardless of its origins, it's delightful example of International hucksterism, 70's sci-fi pop art... and shameless copyright infringement! Enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2016

BUCK ROGERS on CD

A couple years ago, Intrada released two multi-disc CD collections of incidental music from both seasons of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. The two volumes represent pretty much all of the original musical cues composed by Stu Phillips, Johnny Harris, Les Baxter, Bruce Broughton and several others for the 1979-80 NBC space opera series.

They've gotten a bit hard to find, and are expensive when you do, but they come highly recommended, as they transport you back to Buck's 25th century and provide hours of nostalgic listening.

Today's post, though, is primarily to showcase the gorgeous cover art by Paul Shipper. They're great illustrations.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

STAR TREK (1966)


I’m one year older than Star Trek. Of course, as memories of my early years are lost to the fog of infancy and toddlerhood, I don’t recall really becoming aware of its existence until I was about nine years old, when, in 1974, the Star Trek animated series became a staple of my Saturday morning cartoon viewing. Around the same time, I received a Mego Captain Kirk action figure for Christmas. Other random Trek toys – and a few James Blish paperback novelizations – followed, and for Christmas of 1976, my favorite cousin gifted me with a copy of Bjo Trimble’s seminal Star Trek Concordance.

You’ll have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the original series as yet, and that’s because, in the early Seventies, Trek rarely appeared on any of the four television channels our rooftop aerial was capable of snagging out of the ether. So my love for Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al, was first nurtured via the cartoon and Blish paperbacks. When I got the Concordance, with its encyclopedic coverage of the classic series, I was able to familiarize myself with the episodes I had not yet seen, whetting my appetite to the point of nigh-insatiability.

Of course, eventually, I saw the entire series (although a few of those episodes eluded me until my sojourn to art school in Jersey in the early 80s, where I finally received a TV channel that aired the show nightly), and, already well-indoctrinated in the mythos, found my passion for the 23rd century and the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise continuing to grow and thrive. Then came The Motion Picture, The Wrath and The Search. There was a Voyage Home, a somewhat disappointing detour into The Final Frontier, and an emotional denouement on the shores of an Undiscovered Country.

Other treks followed, with next generations, lost voyagers and denizens on the edge of deep space, but it was always the (sadly truncated) original Five-Year-Mission that inspired and informed the person I became.

I learned the value of reason and logic from an alien with pointed ears and a Satanic visage. I learned the nobility of humanity and compassion toward all life, regardless of shape, color or form, from an anachronistic Southern medic. And, most importantly, I learned about the worth of boldness, courage, and tempered wisdom from a charming leader with a confident swagger sporting a gold tunic. Kirk was a fighter, a diplomat, a philosopher - and a libidinous wolf – but in my eyes, he was the best of us as a species. He wasn’t perfect – and to his credit, usually admitted his flaws and acknowledged his mistakes – but he was also a man of intelligence and action, who sought out brave new worlds and always had his eye on the future.

I have aspired to all of these things, and usually fallen woefully short. But Star Trek continues to fire my imagination, fuel my creative efforts, inform my social conscience and drive my personal ambitions. To me, it’s not just a television show, and apparently, many, many others feel the same way. If that wasn’t the case, then we wouldn’t be celebrating the anniversary of its debut fifty years ago today. The brand wouldn’t be gracing new movies and TV shows (regardless of their relative merits) on our screens, large and small(er). And Star Trek wouldn’t still be sparking imaginations and inspiring so many people, of all ages and backgrounds.

May Gene Roddenberry’s vision of humanity’s future live long and prosper... and the U.S.S. Enterprise and her valiant crew go boldly on forever.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Happy 40th Anniversary, STARLOG!

Ahh... this stunning cover painting of Star Trek's Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock by Jack Thurston graced the first issue of Starlog magazine, back in August, 1976. Which means that this month marks 40(!) years since the debut of the 70's greatest science fiction media periodical, a magazine that was literally my bible for two decades.

(Actually, as former Starlog honcho David McDonnell points out in the comments below, the first issue actually went on sale in June of that Bicentennial year. I stand corrected. Still... better late than never!)

Starlog not only kept me informed of new and upcoming genre films and television, but opened my mind to the classic (and not-so-classic) productions of the past. It was in the pages of Starlog that I first discovered the films of George Pal, the television series of Irwin Allen, and the original Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon movie serials. It fed my insatiable hunger for behind-the-scenes information on special effects and gave me countless cool photographs of miniature spaceships and alien monster to obsess over.

Yeah, Starlog was an important part of my formative years... in many ways, the biggest part.

In retrospect, maybe I should have called this site Starblog...?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Captain's bLog: 0718.16

Return Of The Blogger:  Wow. I haven't posted a "Captain's bLog" entry since November, 2014. Of course, I haven't posted to the blog much at all for the last couple of years, though I've never completely abandoned it. Working on this blog has always been a labor of love for me, but after six years of fairly regular posting, it eventually became a bit harder to justify the time I spent on the blog.

There are a number of reasons for this; most prominently, I've been spending more of my time on my comic book writing. Time and energy spent writing posts about Battlestar Galactica, Planet Of The Apes, Ark II and The Incredible Hulk was time I wasn't spending on writing comic book scripts, publisher pitches or short stories.

Additionally, a couple years back, my state lawmakers made it so that I could no longer earn money through Amazon referrals, and while I never made significant cubits that way, the payments that I did receive at least helped amortize the time spent on 70s sci-fi nostalgia. Every once in a while, generous readers made donations to the site, and I always tried to pay back their kindness with extra content, but such contributions were few and far between.

I also had some discouraging feedback that undercut my enthusiasm for retro blogging, such as a fairly vicious comment thread on Reddit where my passion for this subject matter was savaged and I was accused of being a sexist monster for the "Space Babes" feature. Perhaps I shouldn't have, but I took it personally.

Still, as I mentioned before, I never completely abandoned this blog, posting occasionally when the mood struck or I found something cool I really wanted to share, or had a relevant news item to post.

Ultimately, I'm still here... and I'm pondering ways to increase the frequency of updates here on the blog and ways to refresh and "reboot" the site. I'm considering opening the blog up to occasional "guest posts" from other Star Kids (if you're interested, drop me a line at atomicpulp@gmail.com), and will probably start posting capsule reviews of the few Space: 1970-era television shows that still are not commercially available in the U.S., like Project U.F.O. and The Fantastic Journey. Look for more "Fave Fives" and "Hall of Fame" posts, as well.

Justifying my time on the blog (and, thus, away from my other writing) is still a concern, but I received a very generous donation from a Space: 1970 fan this weekend, so I'll be making a sincere effort to publish more frequent blog updates throughout August and September.

Sometime soon, look for a review of a rarely-seen 1981 fantasy telefilm and a new "Fave fives" post.

Thanks to all of you who haven't given up on Space: 1970. Your patience and support is appreciated.

Shameless plug: Perils On Planet X in print!  Over the past few years, I've occasionally mentioned my comic, Perils On Planet X. Originally serialized online, the entire, three-issue pulp space opera miniseries was officially published earlier this year under my own Atomic Pulp imprint, and is now available in print via mail order from IndyPlanet.

Each issue is 32 full-color pages, printed on high-quality, heavy paper stock. All three issues are also available as digital downloads, for those who prefer to read comics electronically.

If you're a fan of stuff like John Carter of Mars, Flash Gordon or Blackstar, you might enjoy Perils.  It's got monsters, rayguns, jetpacks, swordplay, sexy lady sky pirates, and a beautiful space princess. I'd appreciate it if you checked it out.

Space: 1970 Wants You: I've always been open to - and grateful for - submissions from my readers. Now I want to outright encourage you folks to send me any cool Space: 1970-era stuff you might think would be interesting to your fellow Star Kids. Rare photos and production art, behind-the-scenes stills, nominations for "Space Babes" or Reader Polls, pretty much anything, really. Hell, even if you'd like to write a Guest Post, just e-mail me. I'll do my best to credit any contributions I use, of course.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS (1978) Press Stills

This weekend, we've got a handful of press photos from the 1978 John Dark-Kevin Connor adventure fantasy, Warlords Of Atlantis, starring stalwart Doug McClure and lovely Lea Brodie.

While it's not my favorite of the Dark/Connor/McClure epics, I do enjoy revisiting it once a year or so. It's not based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel this time, but the filmmakers follow the same basic formula, and have added some highly imaginative touches of their own. The creature effects are low-tech fun, and, the rapid pace and slightly tongue-in-cheek tone makes for another entertaining Saturday matinee adventure.

It's too bad that it's still not readily available on home video in the U.S.