Sunday, December 15, 2013

Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Say, now I KNOW it's Christmas once again! Because I hear the pitter-patter of little elf feet...

What? Not Buddy the Christmas Elf, nor even the Gremlins of Kingston Falls, but Orlando 'Legolas' Bloom and Tauriel 'Kate From Lost' the Red-Headed Step-Child. Who doesn't want some light-footed elves prancercising their way across white-water Donkey Kong barrels? The Elf Driver's Waltz Pleases Nerds Completely!

I have to admit, there are times when 'The Hobbit Part 2' feels a little like Second Breakfast- a little too much of a good thing. But then it'll lurch back from its drunken wanderings and find the path through Mirkwood again. I'm consoling myself with the belief that they've left plenty of material for the third film, which I'm also as eager as anything to see in 2014.

This does what you paid for (and thanks again to my buddy Ron for the ticket!) with cunning action sequences, bombastic music, stunning natural vistas, strange and wonderful creatures, and more. It's a great way to kill an afternoon. See it with friends as excited as mine and you'll really be in for a swell time!

Stephen Fry as the Master of the Lake-Town of Esgaroth is a particular treat, because Stephen Fry doing ANYTHING- (including reading the entire indicies of 'The Silmarillion') would be a particular treat.

All the returning characters do great work- Bilbo, Gandalf, Radaghast, Old Dwarf, Fat Dwarf, Proud Dwarf, Hot Elf, Haughty Elf, and The Elf who Makes Pies and Raises the Dead. Plus you've got that lizard in a human suit Benny Batch delivering the creepy goods as the BIG BAD!

And lastly, I'll try my best, but I think I'm always gonna pronounce the titular dragon's name as "smog"... not "s-miaow-g".

Friday, December 6, 2013

Comic Review: Ranma 1/2

I just finished Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi and it was awesome. 36 black-and-white manga volumes of absurdity. Many thanks for the many months of book loans to Lorisia, daughter of Bookmonkey!
Although serialized for sixteen years between 1987 and 1996, the text itself takes place in less than a year (albeit a very busy, very timeless year) in a fantasy version of Tokyo. Sixteen-year-old martial artist Ranma Saotome has a life not unlike the famous Archie Andrews. If Archie Andrews was cursed with a body that swaps genders when doused with water. And if Archie had upwards of eight lady suitors running the cultural gamut from pancake vendors to Chinese amazons (and several clueless men) instead of simply Betty and Veronica vying for his attentions. And if Archie was a jerk.

Ranma comes by his prideful ways honestly: his father Genma is also a jerk. Genma Saotome, having set his son on the path of the mystic martial arts by various ill-considered methods often bordering on child abuse, is a self-serving, cowardly lout who mooches his way across the world, and barters his boy's betrothal at various times to various people, usually for the promise of a hot meal. Also Genma turns into a panda.

Genma's sensei, as you might imagine, was also a jerk. Wizened but not wise, Happosai's mastery of his craft serves primarily in the stealing of women's underpants. The tiny, goblin-like master is best kept under a rock, as his students attempted to do ten years ago.

Happosai's second student, the kindly widower Soun Tendo, hopes to pass on his training dojo to Genma's son... and one of three lovely daughters: homemaker Kasumi, mercenary Nabiki, or tomboy Akane. But Akane is no more eager to wed Ranma than the reverse. Complicating matters (like THAT was simple) is a slavering host of dashing idiots with crushes on Akane, many of whom turn into adorable animals when they get wet. Will the course of true love run smooth? Will Genma's estranged wife learn that her son Ranma has grown up *gasp*... less than manly? How many times must a girl kick a guy over the horizon?

I've never read anything like this. I'd venture a guess that there IS nothing like this, especially outside that Friendly Island in the Sea, Japan. The art is just amazing, with rich, detailed backgrounds peopled delightfully. The distinct characters have such fiendishly simple, wild, and hilarious facial expressions! Equal parts comedy, magic, action, romance, and fan service make for an all-time manga classic. There's no deeper meaning here- apart from life itself: complicated, unfair, stupid, sweet life. It's funny when it's not happening to you. I'm no expert, of course. I just know what I like.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A-Z Survey of The Best Ever Books

Earlier this week I was reading the blog "Wisdom of Bookmonkey" - which is an amazing read, sharing a lot of my own tastes (shameless plug), so I thought I would both send a thanks to that blog – a reading-themed A-Z survey – and fill some void in my own (by stealing it wholesale right down to the papyrus-coloured background I can't be bothered to figure out how to get rid of)- so here goes:

Author I've Read The Most Books From: I've never counted and I'll have to do it by the numbers later, but it's almost certainly Peter David. I spent many years tracking down his comics and novels in the sf and fantasy genres.

Best Sequel Ever: E.T. The Book of The Green Planet by William Kotzwinkle, because I couldn't put it down and read it all night instead of sleeping. That's nine years old for you. Probably my gateway book to Science Fiction.

Currently Reading: Doctor Who: The New Adventures: Human Nature by Paul Cornell

Drink of Choice While Reading: Raspberry Ginger Ale. For the stains! Actually, I don't usually drink while I read.

E-Reader or Physical Book: I still read more often from physical books, but my iPad and Kobo E-Reader have weight advantages for my weak and kittenish wrists, plus I get to imagine I'm Geordi La Forge having a replicated lunch break in the 24th Century.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School: Ace McShane- but there's no way I would have survived the experience. (Also assumes the restraining order hadn't been invented.)

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold, because the Vorkosigan Saga is cool, yo.

Hidden Gem Book: Adventure Time comics by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, which is probably very popular already and not hidden at all. So, Empowered by Adam Warren. Neither of these graphic novels is even SLIGHTLY suitable for children.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: Finishing the bildungsroman (coming-of-age story) Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander because when I was eleven that's what I thought epic was. Also, Wikipedia is teaching me German!

Just Finished: Ranma 1/2 Vol. 30 by Rumiko Takahashi. 

Kind of Books I Won't Read: Technically none, but to be fair I am a giant whiny baby with no interest whatsoever in virtually anything outside "Geek Genres", and even there I don't have a great track record with horror, romance, tragedy, or tedium- essentially all fiction books set in real life, about real life.

Longest Book I've Read: The Bible. Although Steven King and George R.R. Martin have a certain heft to them. Their books are long, too.

Major Book Hangover Because: Two months later I still don't feel like going back to the rape and incest of A Song of Ice and Fire- but what can you do? Nobody else has read Dirty Pair by Haruka Takahciho and if they had what kind of conversation would that be anyway? "Do you like lasers?" "Hell, yeah, I like lasers!" "Awesome!"

Number of Bookcases I own: Two. One for the hundreds of books I own but haven't read. Because TV.

One Book I have Read Multiple Times: I love coming back to the DC superheroes graphic novel Kingdom Come by Mark Waid. It gives me the feels.

Preferred Place to Read: The La-Z-Boy.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels From a Book You've Read: JLA's Divided We Fall by Mark Waid page 163: The human half of Patrick O'Brien tells the Martian Manhunter "I Want My Soul Back". 

Reading Regret: I wish for a technology to download books directly into my brain so I could read as fast as that adorable Johnny Five from the Short Circuit movies. Where's my fiction mist, Steven Moffat?

Series You Started and Need To Finish (All the books are out in the series): Connie Willis' Time Travel series- unless there's more coming? So, realistically, the Doctor Who New Adventures series.

Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books: Have Spacesuit Will Travel by Robert Heinlein, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Redshirts by John Scalzi.

Unapologetic Fanboy For: Media Tie-In novels. Yes, I have almost no classical knowledge and I'm bound to regret it every day of my life until I die happy surrounded by bargain bin Farscape and Thundercats pocket books. And, if I'm still very lucky, my wife and friends.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: The next volume of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Worst Bookish Habit: Using my precious reading time to watch TV... because it's infinitely easier.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and pick the 27th Book: DC Showcase Presents Booster Gold

Your Latest Book Purchase: Green Lantern: Revenge of the Black Hand by Geoff Johns

ZZZ-Snatcher Book- Book That Kept You Up WAY Too Late:
 A Semester in The Life of A Garbage Bag by Gordon Korman. Mercifully, I don't read all night anymore. I'm old.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nifty, Nifty Look Who's Fifty

All right, all right, I know. I've arrived late as usual, just like a certain time-traveling nutter everyone's rather keen on. Did anyone on the Interwebs mention that the UK's most delightfully eccentric SF TV show turned 50 yesterday? I thought not!

Well, it did. In the interest of avoiding any of space archeologist River Song's beloved "Spoilers!" All I'm going to say about the Steven Moffat-penned 50th Anniversary special "The Day of The Doctor" itself is- it was brilliant! Loved it! Exciting! Hilarious! Go watch it, won't you? It's broken a Guinness Record for broadcast, apparently.

But the experience itself was also a wonderment. My wife's friend Cailín was utterly prepared for the event with the 11th Doctor's taste sensation (fish fingers and custard, delightful, by the by), jammy dodgers in a TARDIS cookie jar, and (our many thanks) Doctor Who-themed mug cosy/wrist warmers she knitted herself. As the 4th Doctor once said of Madame Nostradamus (who fashioned his iconic tripping scarf, don't you know) "She's a witty little knitter".

Cailín and her friend Randy were charming on a very fine afternoon indoors. And many thanks to the patience and for the presence of my impossibly lovely wife Trish. For all the re-runs and Doctor Who docs and even that little Google game. Thank you sweetie, for sharing time and space with me.

Happy 50th Birthday, Doctor Who.

Travel Anywhere- especially Home.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Hugos: Redshirts

Over the past two years, I split my blogging self in two like those darn urSkeks in The Dark Crystal

One half contributed (barely) to THIS blog, falling impossibly behind in Hugo Award reviews and disturbing insights on Robot Porn (or whatever it is I do here) while the other half devoted every single day to a certain Paramount Pictures sci-fi property which this summer celebrated its 47th anniversary and highly profitable 12th motion picture.

That selfsame SF property is very much at the heart of the 2012 novel which won the 2013 Hugo: Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas by John Scalzi. As just about everyone already knows, "Redshirt" is a jesting term for the poor devils in Starfleet security who so often find themselves stuck halfway down the business end of an acidic space amoeba.

In the 25th century, Andy Dahl learns a little too much about the life expectancy for those of low rank aboard the space cruiser Intrepid. Dahl and his new friends live in terror of the day their number will be called up for an exciting away mission alongside the handsome, impossibly lucky bridge officers. But it is when they resolve to do more than cower- when they actually seek the source of their tribulation- that the real adventure begins.

Redshirts was my favourite book of 2012. Hands down. 5 stars out of 5. I read it twice as fast as my usual speed, and resolved to find more stories by this author post-hence. His Old Man's War series is really fantastic, as my good chum Bookmonkey will attest. And realized the author'd been one of the minds behind the blink and you already missed it Stargate Universe I was enjoying. But I imagine Mr. Scalzi found the Hugo more rewarding than any of my thumbs up.

As a distant relative of John Wilkes Booth, John Scalzi is therefore distantly related to fictional FBI Agent Seeley Booth from Bones! You would certainly benefit immeasurably by contemplating his insightful blog Whatever or becoming one of his 52,700 stalkers on Twitter!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Half-Assed Musings: Gender Roles in The Dark Crystal

You probably don't care that 'The Dark Crystal' lately re-ranked as my 26th favourite movie, or that something different strikes me about it with each viewing. NONETHELESS!

A case can be made that the Skeksis and the Mystics symbolize the state and the church, respectively. All male, few in number, with either bad intentions dulled by selfishness or good wishes blunted by non-interference. When they have an impact, is it usually for the WORST!

The Mystics ARE peaceful, gentle, kind, well-meaning, sure. But it must be noted that 999 trine and 1 trine of virtual inactivity is not terribly helpful. Whatever magic they weave has not stopped the Gelfling Genocide, just for an example.

Looking up from their navel-gazing long enough to raise Jen, the last male Gelfling, the Mystics imparted to the boy three useful things: writing, music, and a sense of peaceful contemplation. Jen is otherwise totally ill-equipped to function outside of his valley! He has no understanding of his mission beyond what is laid directly in his path, an unfortunate side effect of a culture that respects self-worth more than any actual achievement. The most you can say in praise of Jen is the most you can say in praise of his guardians: they're not actively making things worse...

The Podlings who have suffered the most under Skesis misrule (unless you count all the roast nebrie) have managed to instill greater pragmatism, natural skill, bravery and gumption in the only surviving FEMALE Gelfling, Kira. Which is a good thing, because it is all too easy to imagine Jen without Kira: falling down over his own feet and never getting up again, let alone saving the world.

It is Kira who provides insight, transportation, trip planning, and saves herself from the essence-draining dungeon. It's a good thing the only phrase of Podling Jen knows is 'Thank You'.

Also, Thank You is more than Aughra gets, even though it is her study, foresight, and talisman-preservation skills that saved a fair chunk of the day. These ladies are the sort of thing TV TROPES refers to as 'Positive Discrimination'.

It is time and past time for Kiras and Aughras to set the standard as leaders. As our patriarchy crumbles or fades, either moving on to higher pursuits in another dimension or screeching and clutching their symbols of office on their filthy deathbeds, the time of the Great Conjunction has come. Change is here, and if you don't have wings like a girl you better know a pair or grow a pair.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Perfect Panel Project #4

One of those things I should have gotten around to telling you about LONG ago is
JL8 by Yale Stewart. My friend and co-worker Tessa actually introduced me to this webcomic two Augusts ago! Sorry. I've been a bit monomaniacal lately.

JL8 (rumoured to have been renamed from Little League not because of objections from DC Comics but because of objections from the baseball people) follows the amazing everyday adventures of grade-school superheroes and the social awkwardness they endure and friendships they grow together.

There are 142 strips to date. Each is to be treasured, if you ask me. The author is one talented chap! Mr. Stewart has several years of contributions posted to the website deviantART. He also owns a comic called 'Gifted' which you now know as much about as I do, because I only just heard of it right now while doing my usual spotty research.

In the final panel of the 108th JL8 strip, Diana gets fed up with the antics of the pre-tween Dark Knight. Her ire, while understandable, is of course, rather unfair. Lil' Bruce is acting up in a desperate attempt to spare the feelings of almost everyone at the Amazon's party. Bruce's BFF Clark has a crush on Diana, while Diana's BFF Kara secretly loves Clark! The Bat Boy hurriedly advises the Boy of Steel to forgo the gift of a flattering 'Wonder Girl' story Clark wrote for Diana on the advice of comics guru Neil Gaiman. Complicating matters is the BatLad's own burgeoning affection for Kara...

Got all that? Well, read it, I say! Skillfully illustrated, touchingly written, with multidimensional playgrounds of heart and humour. I recently laughed my butt off at a cameo appearance from naughty Booster Gold and Blue Beetle making a run for it when caught firing spitballs. It's nonsense, but it's totally in character, too. Not to be missed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Move Review: Robocop Trilogy on Blu-Ray

Just in time, too! Nothing like an up-to-the minute movie review, and this is nothing like an up-to-the minute movie review. I probably owe you, my beloved followers, an apology for abandoning this blog for so long...

Then again, being Robocop means never having to say you're sorry!

This weekend when my sweet wife was away overnight I dug into my newest Blu-Ray acquisitions and re-watched the 1987 Paul Verhoeven-directed, Ed Neumeier-penned original film of corporate greed, urban decay, and a horrifying war machine that can't negotiate stairs.

Robocop is still my 22nd favourite movie, and hero in crisis Peter Weller is really great at this biz called show! A trio of baddies from Miguel Ferrer, Ronny Cox, and Kurtwood Smith are, by turns, smarmy, corporate cutthroat, and literally cutthroat. Upright cop Alex Murphy is shot into chunks by gangsters in what is either 1992 or 2044 Detroit. Soulless corporate giant Omni Consumer Products resurrects Murphy as a gunmetal cyborg with a heart. A Nissan heart! When a man is reduced to a few pounds of internal organs and most of a face to suck baby food through, what is left to make him a man? Find out with plenty of bullets, car chases, and fiery explosions!
The next day I re-watched Robocop 2, written by Frank 'Sin City' Miller and directed by Irvin 'Empire Strikes Back' Kershner. Which isn't quite as good but which DOES have John 'Daniel Clamp' Glover hawking a car security system that murders thieves but doesn't drain your battery! Both sequels rely a little too heavily on child actors, which especially in R-rated Robocop 2 is a head-scratcher. But I must grudgingly admit that Robo's SFX battles with the drug-addled messianic/maniac cyborg Cain are technically superior to the first film's ED 209 FX.  But when it comes to ED, you never forget your first murderously malfunctioning enforcement drone.

Finally I re-watched Robocop 3, which has Steven 'Macho Business Donkey Wrestler' Root and CCH 'Amanda Waller' Pounder (I think she pronounces it "ccch"?) as freedom fighters, a little girl hacker moppet, and Josh 'Bradley Whitford' Lyman pre-West Wing. In which that pesky partner Anne 'Nancy Allen from Carrie' Lewis dies a contractually-obligated death in a Frank Miller-obligated church. Also it has ninja androids and a jet pack. (For some- a deal breaker. For me- the whole point.)

Since the returns do diminish sharply, I'd prefer to think of this purchase as $15 for the first movie, $7 for the second, and... Robocop 3... "Well, I'll buy THAT for a Dollar!" Although 3's director Fred Dekker DID bring me Night of The Creeps and some Star Trek Enterprise, so he's o.k. in my book.

I'll probably look up the cheesy TV series and cheesier cartoon, all in preparation for a 2014 re-boot that will almost certainly fail to please and will very probably be the re-make equivalent of a two-hour kicking of my ball sack. (That new black suit really stinks.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

Nerds, film buffs, and, well, everybody... we lost a giant today. A monster. A dinosaur. A grinning skeleton. Actually, tiny armies of ALL those things and so much more. Tentacled beasts and flying saucers. The hands that brought a thousand dreams to life are stilled.

Ray Harryhausen has gone. This will be a deeply sad time for my friend Darrel. I don't think I've ever met anyone who loved Ray Harryhausen and his body of work more than Darrel. And who could blame him?

If you've ever seen Stop Motion Animation in any movie, you probably have Mr. Harryhausen to thank. Because even if he didn't painstakingly, tediously, obsessively create every single frame of the movement of that beast or beauty, then as sure as the Valley of Gwangi he was the guy who inspired the guy that did.

George Lucas has said there wouldn't be a Star Wars without Ray. My fantasy life would be so much the poorer without his pioneering talent and towering imagination.

I'm pretty sure Clash of the Titans was the first of his movies I ever saw, although it could have been One Million Years B.C. instead. Check them out, won't you? You won't be sorry.

But if I have a favourite, it's First Men in The Moon. Those icky, sticky, appalling, enthralling moon monsters (the Selenites) and their chittering maggoty mooncalf. Just... yikes! Good old fashioned nightmare fuel.

May technology never supplant the artistry of one man and his marvelous mind and hands. Thanks for sharing your strange dreams with all of us. It's not enough, but thank you, Mr. Harryhausen.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Calgary Entertainment Expo 2013

I raved about the Calgary Convention in 2012, and of course I went back this year, too.

I'd give a hail... and hearty handshake to the volunteers and organizers and security who ran a tighter, less crowded ship this year. Yes, it sold out. Yes, it had lines upon lines to stand in in order to get to more lines. But it was still amazeballs, you guys.

My thanks to Anthony Jones for suggesting the trip and doing the driving. My thanks to the 404s Improv Troop for having me back again.

My hat's off to Kirby Krackle and Weird Al Yankovic and his band. Such a great concert! I'm really looking forward to their next albums. I love the video clip where Al is the bandleader on the Titanic singing such hits as "I wonder what it feels like to die" and praising the Captain for his bravery... in leaving dock without enough lifeboats.

I met and briefly spoke to Adam Warren, writer-artist of such comics as Dirty Pair, Gen13, and Empowered! So cool! Gave me a sketch of his superheroine, EMP. Thanks to Anthony, I acquired a signature from STAN 'THE MAN' LEE on my copy of The Savage She-Hulk #1 from 1980! Believe it, Marvelites!

I even got a signature from and even a photo with Sylvester McCoy, Classic Doctor Who's Seventh Doctor and fellow August 20th birthday boy. What Whovian gets to hug a Time Lord? THIS GUY! Radical! And I managed to look only HALF-crazed!

I helped out (catching the leader of the Autobots tripping down the stairs) at the costume contest, saw boy Harley Quinn propose to the girl Joker, and got a high three from a Ninja Turtle! I met an adorable Sailor Moon, the daughter of a formidable singer and an fantastic improviser. And I got a high five from a young guy who enjoyed my performance with the redoubtable 404s in 'Stump The Nerds'.

The financial cost was pretty frakkin' high, but it was pretty frakkin' worth it. Long Live Nerd-kind!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Movie Review: The Brother From Another Planet

**** (4 stars out of 5)
The other afternoon I made some effort (always necessary in these days of easy entertainment accessibility) to clear out my PVR. It's been nearly 20 years since I first saw 'The Brother From Another Planet'. And, you know... I'm so very, very glad I revisited it!

Halfway between 1982's E.T. and 1986's ALF there came 1984's otherworldly visitor with a strange perspective and a noble heart. He didn't land on Harlem... Harlem landed on him. No... no, I was right the first time. Yup, crash-landed from space, pretty sure about that. Those three toes are a dead give-away.

Mute and cast adrift, terrified but stoic, the Brother struggles to rise up from nothin'. He even lost his whole FOOT getting here! (It grew back.) He's got a surprising array of mental and physical powers revealed to the viewer as needed. And he uses each one for the betterment of his adopted community. This Ree-Toh would give a Kryptonian a run for his money. Or make him check his wallet. Oh, I kid! Seriously, though, The Brother needs money.

Joe Morton's astonishing silent performance in the lead role held me spellbound. I've enjoyed him as the repentant Dr. Miles Dyson in Terminator 2, and as the brilliant yet warm-hearted rocket scientist Dr. Henry Deacon in Eureka. Not to take anything away from those fine characters, but he's just amazing here. If you can bring yourself to stop chattering and just really LOOK at the guy... his whole soul is there in his eyes and face.

Making a new life isn't easy for a space-brother, especially with pursuers literally baying for your blood to drag you back to your invisible but all-too-real chains. These menacing men in black are given the right amount of deeply unnatural gusto by Alphas' David Strathairn and writer/director John Sayles. Now I really need to locate and watch (or is it revisit? I honestly can't remember) another of Mr. Sayles' sci-fi productions: Battle Beyond the Stars.

If you need your SF superhero story fix, or you're just trying to find an overlooked gem, brother, this is the film for you!

Friday, March 29, 2013

R.I.P. Michael O'Hare

SF fandom lost a great in September of last year. What little eulogy I have to offer now must seem disrespectful, but I never intended that. Although I knew he was gone, I haven't really been sure what to say. As an awkward, gawky teen often seeking a father figure (and perhaps now as an awkward man as well) I really look up to the larger-than-life heroes of science fiction, and Michael O'Hare was no exception. I had the chance to appreciate his performance again recently.

I'm loving my repeat viewing of 'Babylon 5' little by little with my good friend Ron. We're presently in season 4. Mr. O'Hare originated the role of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair. Sinclair is a sombre but fair-minded man working to overcome his prejudice against his one-time alien foes, the Minbari, and finding new ways to increase the peace in the galaxy at large.

Michael O'Hare, at a mere 60, was the fourth main B5 character of relative youth to pass on since it aired. He was preceded by Richard Briggs, Jeff Conaway, and Andreas Katsulas. All fine actors, all to be missed.

Apart from a bit part in 'The Trial of the Incredible Hulk', I have never seen him perform in anything else. He was active on stage as well, but remained out of the small screen limelight for the last 12 years of his life.

While it's fair to say that I took to his successor as B5 station commander (Bruce Boxleitner as John Sheridan) with greater affection, Michael O'Hare made a strong impression on me. He's got a lot of good moments in his single season, and his surprising and exciting return to the role in season three is an absolute series highlight.

My great sympathy to his friends and family.

Friday, February 8, 2013

R.I.P. Ian Abercrombie

It's unfortunate that I have only spared the time for this blog sporadically recently, but much sadder that I join you only to mark the passing of a performer I didn't even know by name until yesterday.

English actor Ian Abercrombie was a small but integral part of my genre movie and television history. I don't know if I saw him first on 'The Questor Tapes', 'Battlestar Galactica', or 'Voyagers!', but I enjoyed him in those programs as a boy, and many dozens of other adventures since. 

Seemingly typecast as 'Stuffy and Veddy British' his comic performances enhanced 'Young Frankenstein', 'The Ice Pirates', 'ALF', 'Army of Darkness', 'Wild Wild West' and 'Rango'. To name-drop only a few. If you needed a pompous vizier or nefarious wizard in your genre comedy, you needed to look no further.

Though I couldn't have said who was under the make-up, his role as the smug alien bigot Correlilmurzon on 'Babylon 5' was a season comedy highlight. His farcical sexual escapade with Commander Susan Ivanova was most memorable!

Worst of all for me (and isn't that what matters?) I've lost both his ongoing cartoon voice roles at once. He was well-chosen as the noble Ganthet in 'Green Lantern: The Animated Series' and the scheming Chancellor Palpatine in 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'.

My honest sympathies for his friends and family, as well as those in the audience... who'll miss him as he journeys the realms beyond.