The selected illustrations are from a story Todd wrote called “The Warbots: The History of Armored War from 1975 to 17,500 A.D” published in Galaxy Science Fiction (October, 1968). The first “mecha“—a robot or machine of humanoid appearance controlled by a smaller humanoid from a cockpit—is generally considered to be Mazinger Z, from the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Go Nagai. Perhaps that designation needs to be reevaluated. Todd’s designs are reminiscent of a number of mecha from the 1970s and 1980s, including the Zentraedi Battlepod in Robotech.
Todd updated his illustrations (below) for 1986’s Body Armor: 2000, edited by Joe Haldeman.
(Images via archive.org and iamanangelchaser)
Another beauty from another immensely gifted illustrator, Jim Fitzpatrick. You can see details of this issue of Fantasy Crossroads here.
(Image via Cap’n’s Comics)
Here’s an interesting article I found at Futuro Finale 2088 AD. Almi Pictures shut down American operations in 1986, only two years after Frank Moreno assumed the presidency. 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983) and Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981) were as good as it got.
I thought it was hilarious that Roger Corman changed the name of Ingmar Bergman’s Whispers and Cries to Cries and Whispers (1972). If that’s not a dig, I don’t know what is. As for Moreno, he makes quite a few salient points. Exploitation films and art films faced essentially the same problems up front—raising capital and getting distribution. The difference is in how the films made money after release. The art film needs critical acclaim and word of mouth, while “sixty to seventy percent of an exploiter’s initial [business] lies in the title and the campaign,” Moreno says elsewhere. That’s why, back in the day, genre film posters and VHS boxes evolved into such a striking art form.
Moreno is also right about Gremlins and the MPAA. The PG-13 rating was instituted in June of 1984, as a direct result of complaints about violence in Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, both of which received PG ratings. (Children were weeping in the theaters! It was amazing.)
Richard McKenna reviews 2019: After the Fall of New York tomorrow.
Published January 21, 2016
Magazines/Zines , Starlog
Long story short: The project met with Arthur C. Clarke’s approval, but producer Phil DeGeure could not get Universal to put up the huge budget needed to start production. DeGeure was a fan of Adams, who did not disappoint with his conceptual designs.
The article is from Starlog #42 (January, 1981).
Hat tip Martin Kennedy.
Published January 14, 2016
Magazines/Zines , Starlog
Amicus Production’s Milton Subotsky gave us some of the most beloved B films of the 1960s and 1970s, including two of my all-time favorites: The Land That Time Forgot (1974) and The People That Time Forgot (1977). Too bad we were denied his sword and sorcery extravaganza that would have featured stop-motion animated “air boats,” “lizard-hawks,” “giant flying spiders,” and a “Dragon-God,” not to mention David “Darth Vader” Prowse in the role of the barbarian hero. Subotsky wanted to do a Conan movie very early on, possible as early as the late 1960s, but he couldn’t get the rights. He settled for Lin Carter’s copycat, Thongor.
The article, from Starlog #15 (August, 1978), has Thongor: In the Valley of the Demons slated for a July 1979 release, but it was not to be. Both Clash of the Titans and Conan the Barbarian were in development, and Subotsky couldn’t get the money he needed to compete with the talent involved (namely, Ray Harryhausen).
The first live action sword and sorcery movie was, instead, 1980’s Hawk the Slayer.
Read the article at Pop Apostle, where I got the images. The visual effects for Land of the Lost were supervised by Gene Warren, who won an academy award for his special effects on George Pal’s The Time Machine (1960). Land of the Lost story editor David Gerrold, a Hugo and Nebula award-winner who wrote Star Trek‘s “The Trouble with Tribbles,” was not happy with the network’s meddling with the scripts, and resigned after the first season.
While Gerrold speaks highly of many who were involved with Land of the Lost, his disappointment with the show was multileveled. From his own point of view, the uncontrolled rewriting which took place after “approved” scripts had left his desk was intolerable. NBC’s Program Practices had a shot at them (his favorite story there involves a rifle which was changed to a cannon with the reasoning that children are less likely to imitate action performed with the latter). Also, the show’s directors were granted total rewrite power, as is often the case in film and television production.
In addition, the pressures of low budget production took a toll. The live action production schedule of two dates per episode allowed for little more than a reading of the lines. The end product, in Gerrold’s words, was “uncomfortable to watch– embarrassing– and we deserved the bad reviews we got everywhere…
Unfortunately, the dinosaurs began to die out with the science fiction in Land of the Lost. This is unfortunate because, in the beginning, the animation sequences often outclassed the live action (sound familiar?). Considering the time required for animation, and for tricky composite work, the very idea of doing both on a weekly series is ambitious to say the least. Nevertheless, that is what the Kroffts had in mind, and they engaged Gene Warren and Wah Chang, well known veterans of dimensional animation in feature films and commercials, for the job…
More Land of the Lost here.
Even though Space Academy didn’t air until September 1977, the idea was conceived in 1969 by Filmation’s Allen Ducovny, and development deals had been in the works with CBS since 1974. Originally, the idea was pitched to Gene Roddenberry as the basis for Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974). According to Filmation chair Norm Prescott, Roddenberry rejected the idea, despite being offered a large sum of money. Filmation did end up producing the animated Star Trek—“the first attempt to do an adult show in animation,” Prescott gushed in 1973—with Roddenberry maintaining creative control.
When Space Academy premiered, everyone assumed it was chasing the success of Star Wars. It wasn’t, and Lou Scheimer was quick to quell the notion. The cadets in space acting as the “Peace Corps of the future,” as Scheimer described the show, was a descendant of Star Trek and Robert Heinlein’s novel Space Cadet (1948), as well as TV’s Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, on which Allen Ducovny had worked as a producer in the 1950s.
At the time, Space Academy had the biggest budget in Saturday morning history.
John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies (1975) popularized what several witnesses described as a man-sized, winged creature with glowing red eyes sighted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during 1966 and 1967. As far as I know, this is the only Mothman illustration Frazetta did, so I’m not sure what the “Exclusive Frazetta Inside!” refers to.
A 12-foot tall Mothman statue was unveiled in Point Pleasant in 2002, and appears to be based on Frazetta’s dramatic rendering more than actual eyewitness accounts.
High Times, as you might have guessed, is “the definitive resource for all things marijuana.”
I’m not sure the Hot Dog editors understood the punk ethos (bright blue eyeshadow and silver glitter?) all that well, nor does Genevieve look anything like Cyndi Lauper, but the innocent failure sure makes a fun article.
(Images via AnnainCA/Flickr)
Thrills & Chills was a kids horror magazine published by Scholastic books from 1994 through 1996. I can’t say much about the quality because I’ve only seen the covers and a handful of interior pages, but the series is historical now, if for no other reason than that Earl Norem was a regular illustrator. If you’re new to Norem, start here.
The pieces above are all originals and have sold on eBay over the last few years.