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A little bit about STARPORTs Graphic Novel Goodness

March 16, 2019 at 9:01 am
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Raya Golden here, minion, art director and social media guru at Fevre River Packet Company and more recently the illustrator behind the new graphic novel adaptation STARPORT. In earlier posts George described how the original pilot script back in the nineties came to be, but I thought I’d share a little bit about my side of the story and the its most recent rebirth in graphic novel form.

I was given two drafts of the script in 2015 and got right to work on developing them into graphic novel format with the help of the most talented Anne Groell over at Random House.   It wasn’t as difficult as adapting literary works because the source material was already set deeply in the world of sequential imagery and had solid entertaining dialogue throughout.

I walked through the two versions of the script by thumb nailing each page while reading both scripts to create a large set of cohesive visual outlines of each working scene. Then I wrote the script following those thumbnails finally leaving the whole pile to Anne who cleaned it up and polished it to perfection.

I originally wanted to break the story down into two scripts for smaller more traditional trade paper back editions.  But the story is designed as a five act television show and each point played so well into the next it felt silly to try and cut it off in the middle of act three.  So I sucked it up and spent the last two and half years creating each panel and page based on those original thumbnails, staying as true to the original story as possible without cutting corners to save time.

My personal addition to the text was favoring the older draft of the two and steering away from a hard boiled dramatic feeling to a more comedic one.  I thought highlighting STARPORT as a bright retro sci-fi extravaganza would accentuate the story with a modern twist, thinking along the lines of Thor: Ragnarok or Rick and Morty.

I strove to artistically reflect the verity and richness of his script by bringing my best work to the page, on every page, for nearly 300 pages of retro nineties graphic novel goodness which I dearly hope you’ll enjoy.

Set ten years into an alternate reality where Aliens have discovered Earth and inducted us into the Harmony of Worlds. Vast fleets of faster-than-light starships, linking nine thousand inhabited planets, moons, and colonies.

It’s kind of like the Men in Black, but no more hypnotizing the public or hiding. Now they’re just playing cops and robbers with aliens for your entertainment in a brand new alternate universe brought to you by the creative genius of my good friend GRRM.

It’s Brooklyn 99 meets Babylon 5…

It’s the cast of NYPD Blue on acid, playing Laser Tag with Alf…

It’s STARPORT and it’s available NOW!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

Meow Wolf Targets Phoenix

March 13, 2019 at 6:32 pm
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Meow Wolf’s conquest of the world continues with their latest announcement: a brand new permanent exhibition, paired with a music venue and a hotel (the first Meow Wolf hotel) in the Roosevelt Row district of Phoenix, Arizona.

Read all about it on Meow Wolf’s own website:

https://meowwolf.com/2019/02/22/meow-wolf-hotel-coming-to-phoenix

Meanwhile, the original Meow Wolf in Santa Fe continues, stronger than ever, with several new rooms added last month.   A Meow Wolf dark ride will be opening in Denver next month, and later this year the second Meow Wolf will open its doors in Area 15 of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Meow Wolf Denver is scheduled for 2020, and Washington D.C. for 2021… and every one of these will be new, original, not simply a duplication of the House of Eternal Return.

Kittens and wolves, on a roll!

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

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Kill Me Now

March 12, 2019 at 8:21 pm
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The Giants have traded Odell Beckham Junior to the Cleveland Browns.

They get a first (the 17th overall) and a third in this year’s draft, and a safety, Jabril Peppers.

The Giants are GOING FOR IT ALL, clearly.

Yes, they are.   During the season they traded their best run-stopper, Snacks Harrison.   Come to offseason, they let Landon Collins, an All Pro safety and the heart of their defense, walk for nothing.   Then they traded their best pass rusher, Olivier Vernon.

And now they have traded OBJ.  Their best wideout, and one of the very best in the NFL.  I’ve been watching and rooting for the G-Men since “the Greatest Game Ever Played” in 1958.  Beckham was not only the best receiver on today’s Giants, but he was the best receiver this storied NFL franchise has EVER had in their long  history, and probably the best receiver they will ever have.   They are certainly not going to replace him with the 17th overall pick in the forthcoming draft.

Some of the talking heads on ESPN are suggesting the Giants might package the 6th and 17th first round picks to move up a few slots and take a QB to replace Eli Manning.   If they do, I feel sorry for that quarterback.   He’ll be playing for an awful team.

I don’t follow college football.   Is there some amazing talent coming out next year for the 2020 draft?  A new John Elway, a new Lawrence Taylor?

Because, like I said, it sure looks like the Giants are going for it all… they are going for the first overall pick in 2020.

No way that any team can replace its best wideout, its best pass rusher, its best safety, and its best run stuffer in one year, two years, three years.

I thought the last two seasons were rough for Giants fans.   Next year is going to make them look like the good old days.

Someone pinch me.  I am having a Big Blue nightmare.

 

 

Current Mood: sick sick

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The Starport Is Open

March 12, 2019 at 6:29 am
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Hey, hey, hey.   It’s March 12… publication day!

STARPORT is now available for order from your favorite online bookseller, and it should be on the racks at your local comics shop or brick ‘n mortar bookstore.   Buddy Lohb, the Topman, Staako Nihi, and children of the endless night  await you in Starport Chicago.

(For those who missed my earlier blog post, I am of course talking about the new graphic novel from Bantam (in the US) and HarperCollins Voyager (in the UK), adapted and illustrated by Raya Golden from my teleplay).

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Yay for Captain Marvel

March 11, 2019 at 10:25 am
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The newest Marvel movie, CAPTAIN MARVEL, is a lot of fun.

As an old (very very old) Marvel fanboy, I am a little saddened that they dropped the original Captain Marvel (not counting Fawcett’s Big Red Cheese), the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, from the continuity.   THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL was one of Marvel’s classics, way back when.   Maybe that’s just me, though.   I am kind of a purist when it comes to adaptations.

Considered just on its own terms, the movie is hugely entertaining.   I look forward to seeing how the Marvel teams uses the captain in the forthcoming Avengers movie.  Once she comes fully into her powers, she is far and away the most powerful character in the MCU.   She could eat Iron Man for lunch and have Thor for dessert, with a side of Dr. Strange.   Thanos is in trouble now.

Be sure to stay to the very very end of the credits.   The film has TWO Easter Eggs at the end, not just one.   In the theatre where I saw the movie, most of the audience left after the first of those, and missed the second.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Season Eight Approaches

March 7, 2019 at 9:16 pm
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The eighth and final season of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES will be upon us in April.

HBO has just released a new trailer.

Enjoy.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Offseason

March 7, 2019 at 5:07 pm
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It is offseason for the NFL.  The combine is done, and free agency is about to open.

The Jets should be well positioned to be big players in free agency.   They have more than $100 million in salary cap space, more than any other team except the Indianapolis Colts.   They also have the third pick in April’s draft, which should allow them to add a monster edge rusher to the defense.   That is, assuming they pick the right one.   The last time they tried, they got Vernon Gholston.  Let’s hope they pick better this time.   They could also trade down to pick up more picks, but unless someone makes them an offer too good to refuse, I would rather they didn’t.

The Giants pick sixth, and all the mocks have them drafting Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, a quarterback to succeed Eli Manning.  Unless someone vaults ahead of them to snatch Haskins before he falls to Big Blue, which could happen.   But I am not in favor of the G-Men giving up a king’s ransom just to move up a few slots.   They have too many other needs.

And more needs every day, it seems.  They just let Landon Collins, their all-pro strong safety, leave as a free agent rather than using the franchise tag to keep him.   It’s inexplicable to me.   Jerry Reese, the former Giants GM, drafted a lot of busts during his tenure, the big reason he was let go… but Collins was one of the ones he got right.  He’s been a great player for the Giants, a key part of their defense.   Seems to me that you build around your best players, you don’t just let them walk, but maybe the Giants know something I don’t.   If they did not have the bucks to make Collins a long term deal, at least they could have franchised him and traded him.   Gotten something back, at least.   By letting him walk they get nothing… except the dubious pleasure of watching him excel for some other team next season.

This comes on the heels of two puzzling trades the Giants made during the season.   They traded Eli Apple, one of their starting cornerbacks, to the Saints for fourth and seventh round picks, and they traded Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison to the Lions for a fifth rounder.   Snacks was a huge presence in the middle of their D-line, one of the best run stoppers in the league.  Once he was gone, teams just started running up the gut on the Giants, gashing them again and again for solid gains.   It was painful to watch.   As for Apple, he was a first round draft choice, but he never lived up to that.   At best he was a good/ adequate cornerback; drafted that high, he should have been a great one.  So, okay, he was a disappointment.   But even so, he was better than the players who replaced him.   And now you have to wonder, can the Giants possibly find a cornerback in the 4th round as good as Apple?  Can they turn that fifth rounder into a defensive tackle as good as Snacks?  If not, they are going to get worse, not better.   And how are they going to replace Collins?

There are rumors out there that claim the Giants are shopping Odell Beckham Junior as well.   If that actually happens, it will prove that the G-Men are intent on getting rid of ALL their good players.   Maybe they really like some college kid coming out in 2020 and figure drafting sixth is not good enough.   Elsewise I really don’t understand what the hell they are doing.

I guess we’ll all know more in a few months, when free agency and the draft are done.

((Comments permitted, but ONLY on football.  Thanks.))

Current Mood: confused confused

STARPORT Is Coming

March 4, 2019 at 6:37 pm
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A million years ago when the world was young and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I spent the best part of a decade working in Hollywood.   In television, mostly, though I did a few feature scripts as well, for films that never got made.   My television career began on the CBS revival of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, along about 1985-1986.   After that I wrote a couple of MAX HEADROOM scripts, but they never got made either.  The show was cancelled when one of them was still in pre-production.   Then I spent three years on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.   Not the recent one, of course, the first one, the good one, with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton and Roy Dotrice and Jo Anderson and Jay Acovone.

By the time B&B wrapped up I had climbed the television ladder from freelancer to staff writer to story editor to executive story editor to co-producer to producer to co-supervising producer to supervising producer, and was in line to be showrunner.   But B&B got the axe too before that could happen.   But I’d now accumulated enough credentials and credit to take the next step, and I moved into development, pitching ideas for shows of my own and writing pilots.

In Hollywood they call it “development hell,” and for good reasons.   You work just as hard, you make even more money, you pour your sweat and blood and tears into your creations… but most of what you create never gets aired.   I stuck it out for five years, pitched more series concepts than I can count, and wrote a half-dozen pilots, everything from a medical show about the CDC (BLACK CLUSTER) to an alternate world adventure called DOORWAYS, the only one of my pilots that was actually filmed.   We did that one for ABC and they loved it, enough to order six back-up scripts in anticipation of a series order.   The scripts were written, but the series order never came, and DOORWAYS died unborn, like the rest of my pilots.

Not long after that I left television.   I had an overall deal at Columbia, I was making good money, but I’d had enough of development hell.   There were things about working in television I liked a lot, but spending a year or more developing a world and creating characters and writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting a pilot for four guys in a room (sometimes three guys and a gal) that the world never got to see… that was not for me.   I wanted an audience.  Needed an audience.   Writing scripts for TZ and B&B, that was one thing.   Hard, challenging, stressful, demanding work, but at the end of the road the cameras rolled and a few weeks later millions of people were watching what I’d written.  The audience might like it or hate it, but at least they got to watch it.   Writing for the screen, be it the small screen or the big one, that’s fun.  Writing for a desk drawer, not so much.    So I put Hollywood behind me and returned to an unfinished novel I’d begun in 1991 and shelved for a few years because of film and tv deadlines, a book called A GAME OF THRONES, and… well, you all know how that turned out.

Which brings me back to STARPORT.

STARPORT was one of those pilots I wrote during my years in development hell.   In some ways it was my favorite.   When pitching a television series, there is a certain shorthand where you describe your new show by comparing it to existing shows (preferably successful ones).   Gene Roddenberry sold STAR TREK as “Wagon Train to the stars.”  HBO bought GAME OF THRONES as “the Sopranos in Middle Earth.”   I knew how to play that game too, so I pitched STARPORT as “HILL STREET BLUES with aliens.”   The idea was that, in the very near future (that would have been the late 90s, since I wrote the script around 1993-94), a great interstellar civilization called the Harmony of Worlds decides that humanity has finally advanced sufficiently to be admitted to the ranks of civilized races, and reveals themselves to us.   After first contact, they build three great starports for purposes of trade and diplomacy: one in Singapore, one in Copenhagen, and one in Chicago… out in the lake, where Mayor Daley always wanted to build an airport.   But the focus of the show was smaller than that: our viewpoint characters would be the cops and detectives of the police division closest to the Starport, who suddenly had to deal with all sorts of strange aliens coming and going, and with the sorts of problems they had never previously imagined.

It was a fun show to write.  Fox wanted a 90-minute pilot, which was all the rage back then.   My first draft came out closer to two hours, so of course I had to go back in and cut a lot of stuff, but that was pretty much par for the course for me.   My first drafts were always too long and too expensive.   The development process was pretty much the old Hollywood cliche: they loved it, they loved it, they loved it, they decided to pass.   We shipped it around to other networks, but there were only four back then, so finding a second buyer was a long shot.   No dice.   STARPORT went in the drawer.   Years later, I included one version of the script in QUARTET, a small press collection from NESFA Press to mark my being GOH at a Boskone.   But aside from that, the story remained untold.

Until now.

Enter RAYA GOLDEN.   My friend, my minion, the art director for my Fevre River Packet Company, and a very talented comic artist in her own right.   A few years ago she adapted “Meathouse Man,” one of my darker and more twisted short stories, as a comic.  It earned a Hugo nomination in the Best Graphic Novel category (did not win, alas).   But she was only warming up with that.   Afterward I gave her a much bigger challenge: STARPORT, both drafts.   And she’s been hard at work at it for the past two years, adapting the teleplay to comics format, fixing all my dated 90s references (the jokes about VHS tapes did not work so well any more), and penciling and inking it.

 

It’s huge fun.   And now, at long last, it’s almost here.

Random House and Harper Collins will be releasing the graphic novel of STARPORT next week, on MARCH 12. 

You can order a copy by Clicking HERE

(I am amused to note that “Hill Street Blues with aliens” is now too dated, and has been replaced by “Law & Order meets Men in Black.”   The more things change, the more they stay the same).

Eventually, we will also have signed copies available for sale from the bookshop at my Jean Cocteau Cinema.

I hope you all enjoy it.   For my part, I am thrilled that one of my orphan children has finally escaped the desk drawer to wander out into the wide world.   If the book does well enough, I can see the possibility of further issues of STARPORT down the road.

And who knows?  Maybe someone will even want to turn it into a television series.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Hugo Recommendations – Editing (Redux)

February 21, 2019 at 9:42 pm
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For Best Editor, Short Form:

GARDNER DOZOIS

Of course.

 

We lost Gardner last May.   A lot of love and laughter went out of the world when he died, and a tremendous amount of talent as well.   He was a gifted writer who did not write nearly enough… and an amazing editor, the single most important and influential editor in our field since John W. Campbell Jr.   It was my privilege  to co-edit half a dozen anthologies with him.   That was a joy and a pleasure, and I will always regret that we can’t do any more.

Gardner loved science fiction with all his heart and soul, and the field loved him as well.   He won more Hugos for editing than any other editor, past or present.   But that does not mean we cannot give him one more.   THE BOOK OF MAGIC, his last original anthology, was published in 2018, along with the final volume of his annual BEST.   Great works, both.

I’ll be putting Gardner’s name on my ballot for Best Editor, Short Form.   I hope you will as well.

 

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

Hugo Eligibility – Best Series

February 21, 2019 at 9:41 pm
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I have seen here and there that some people are suggesting A SONG OF ICE & FIRE (by that name, or as GAME OF THRONES) as a possible nominee for the new(ish) Best Series category of the Hugo Awards.   It fits worldcon’s very broad definition of a series, I agree… but as I said below in my post about FIRE & BLOOD, I don’t consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE a series, and even it was, FIRE & BLOOD is not really part of it.   More a Related Work, the category where it fits best.

WILD CARDS, however, IS a series by anyone’s definition, and is definitely eligible for nomination.

And for what it is worth, WILD CARDS had a hell of a year in 2018.

We published not one, not two, but three new original mosaic novels in the series:  LOW CHICAGO came out in June and TEXAS HOLD ‘EM in November, both in the US, while KNAVES OVER QUEENS was a June release in the UK.   I don’t know any other contending series that put out three new books last year.  And while I am admittedly far from objective, those three books rank among the strongest volumes in the history of the series.   I am very proud of them, and the fans seemed to love them too.

That’s not all, however.   We re-released one of the old books too: ONE-EYED JACKS, volume eight from the original series, was released in August, after decades of being out of print.   But it was not a straight reprint.   We also added two brand new stories to the original text, a Magpie story by Kevin Andrew Murphy and a tale of Lady Black from Carrie Vaughn.

In addition, we had three brand-new stand-alone Wild Cards stories published over on Tor.com:

— “EverNight,” by Victor Milan, published in February,
—  “The Flight of Morpho Girl,” by Caroline Spector and Bradley Denton, published in April,
—  “Fitting In,” by Max Gladstone, published in November.

That’s a huge amount of original Wild Cards content.   If you haven’t tried any of it, you should.   There’s some great stuff there.   I am a lucky editor, and I’ve assembled an amazing team of writers in Wild Cards.

And 2018 was our thirty-first year.   We now have twenty-seven volumes in print, with three more in the pipeline… and probably a lot more to come, especially if the TV shows take off on Hulu.   No other series comes close.

I hope the Hugo nominators will agree.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful