Don’t worry…I’m not going to get all Cranius-crazy on you again, but yeah…the return of Cranius. Wouldn’t that be something if that were the case?
Anyway, in some site news…I almost decided to fix the commenting settings to require names and email addresses from folks who want to leave a comment, but decided I didn’t want to inconvenience everyone. Besides, it’s not as if someone couldn’t stick a fake email address in there or anything. However, I can ban IP addresses…I don’t want to, and hopefully I won’t have to.
Enough about that…let’s get to some more entertaining stuff:
So reader Bryan was playing around with that “Then…KOREA” panel from yesterday, and sent me this:
Very nice. …But then it got me to thinking that, sooner or later, someone’s gonna attempt a M*A*S*H “reboot” and what a bad idea that would be. I’m depending on you young folks to keep that from happening should someone attempt it after I’m gone.
Speaking of Swamp Thing, over here in this John Byrne Forum message thread someone posted a commissioned sketch Byrne did of Swampy ‘n’ Abby. Also in that thread, Byrne relates a couple of stories about not being allowed to use Swamp Thing in comics he was working on.
As Dave pointed out to me on the Twitter regarding the one incident that occurred during Byrne’s initial Action run in the ’80s, Byrne blames the Vertigo editors despite that imprint’s existence being several years away, so the Vertigo/DC editorial split wouldn’t have been the excuse to keep Byrne from using Swamp Thing in a Superman team-up. Interesting that, as it’s told, the Big Name Creator DC essentially put in charge of the entire Superman franchise at the time couldn’t use whatever character he wanted from the DC Universe, but the New Guy Writing the Weird Horror Book could use a Superman character (Lex Luthor) over the Big Name Creator’s protests. …Perhaps the first stirrings of the coming DC/Vertigo split, or just favored treatment of one creator over another as Byrne says…who knows. But it’s certainly an interesting story about that period of Swamp Thing’s history I hadn’t heard before.
(If you want to read about that specific usage of Luthor in the Swamp Thing comics which Byrne objected to, I discussed it briefly a few years back.)
In other Swamp Thing news, there’s an interview with Swamp-writer Scott Snyder where he hypes Swamp Thing’s arrival (finally!) in the new Swamp Thing series. Also noted is the return of “a really classic villain” from Swamp Thing’s past, not named by Snyder, but really, aside from Arcane, how many other “classic villains” does Swamp Thing have? Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man? General Sunderland? M’nagalah? God help us, Sabre? …Seriously, if this ends up being the return of Nathan Ellery, well, you know what’s gonna happen then?
So just on a whim (and still riding that ape high after rewatching the excellent Rise of the Planet of the Apes), I decided to rent from the Netflix the first disc of the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated series from the mid-1970s:
Now, because I’m old, I was around to watch this when it originally aired…and I haven’t seen it since. According to this Wikipedia page it had been rerun a number of times since, even relatively recently. But I never saw it again after my initial viewings, and for decades all I retained of what I watched was a brief scene of a giant bird swooping down and grabbing something. …Yeah, I know, but I’m pretty sure Beneath the Planet of the Apes would’ve been improved by a giant bird.
I popped the disc in and watched the first episode…the theme music is evocative of the original movie, and the opening sequence is interesting:
…be sure to stay for the dramatic reading of the name of the series at the very end.
I’ve only seen the first episode so far, and while it seems like things pick up a bit in the later episodes, judging by the plot descriptions on the Wiki page, the initial installment is very casually paced. I think we spend about, oh, ten minutes watching our human cast wander through the desert:
And there’s a lot of “panning over still images” as animation, and reused shots, and other cost-cutting devices common to this sort of thing. However, it’s sort of nice to watch a cartoon that is, as I said, casually paced: holding a shot for more than a second, and not constantly screaming at you. It also seems like it’s relatively intelligently written, giant birds aside, and I look forward to delving a little deeper into this series.
I can’t say I’m exactly reliving childhood memories with this, since, aside from the one barely-remembered scene, I don’t recall any of it. And before you ask…I’m planning on checking out the DVDs for the live-action TV series, too.
I’m also throwing one of these thingies here, since it’s been a while and I can stand to have a little more Amazon action:
It’s shameless, I know.
To offset my selfish grab for pennies, let me recommend a couple of Planet of the Apes-related books by Rich Handley of Roots of the Swamp Thing fame: Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology and Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia, and you can learn about both of ‘em (and download free excerpts) right here.
So as a young Mikester in the late ’70s, I found this particular Star Wars trading card to be of interest:
…as it gave us one of the few really good glimpses as to what the Jawas looked like under their hoods:
The official (or semi-official, or “canon,” or whatever) explanation is that the Jawas are “rodent-like,” and that what we’re supposedly seeing there isn’t a Jawa’s actual face, but just more protective covering with gemstone eyepieces. But I think it’s this specific image that has me associating Jawas with more insectoid characteristics than rodential. I mean, look at it…it’s like a giant ant under there. That’s completely creepier than a rodent.
By contrast, this Battlestar Galactica sticker featuring the Cylons’ Imperious Leader could’ve used a little more mystery:
The Cockeyed Space Tyrant is puckering up…for you.