Aug 192014

by Michael Brown, staff writer

roddenberry newThe man who took us all to a place where no man has gone before would have celebrated a birthday today. Gene Roddenberry was born August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas, but grew up in Los Angeles, and actually shares his birthday with two other Star Trek alumni, Jonathan Frakes and Diana Muldaur. The son of a police officer, Roddenberry was an American hero, having flown 89 combat missions in the United States Army Air Force during World War II, decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. He also worked as a commercial pilot after returning home in 1945. Roddenberry followed in his father’s footsteps and wore a badge himself for a time, as a means to provide for his family, but began to write scripts for television.

Before giving fans a glimpse at the final frontier, Roddenberry wrote scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun-Will Travel, and other series of the time, and eventually created and produced his own series, The Lieutenant, which was set inside the United States Marine Corps, and starred Nichelle Nichols in the first episode. It would only last one season.

In 1964, Roddenberry developed his “wagon train to the stars,” Star Trek, and sold it to NBC and Desilu Studios, after being rejected by CBS. Star Trek received modest approval from NBC, despite constant production issues and Roddenberry’s fight with producers to keep his vision the way he wanted it. Star Trek premiered on September 8, 1966 and ran for three seasons until viewers lost interest. Star Trek would live on in syndication, however, and his vision would eventually become a media juggernaut, with nine films, four spinoff series, an animated series, countless novels, and video games.

In the late 1980s, as the revival series Star Trek: The Next Generation was in full swing, Roddenberry was afflicted by the early stages of cerebral vascular disease, said to be a result of his longtime abuse of recreational and prescription drugs. Following a stroke in 1989, which would only cause further health problems, Roddenberry passed away on October 24, 1991. A portion of Roddenberry’s cremated remains were launched into space in 1997 by Celestis, a company that performs “space burials,” as a tribute for his contributions, but in 2002 the spacecraft that orbited fell back to Earth. Another launch is planned for 2015, this time for deep space, and carrying the remains of wife and Star Trek co-star Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.

After Roddenberry’s death, Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict, which were based on unused stories that he had written, were released into syndication.  Andromeda, starring Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame in the lead role as Captain Dylan Hunt, was the more successful of the two.

Gene Roddenberry’s vision lives on long after his death, with much of the technology he predicted for Star Trek in use today, or being developed. And we can all certainly get behind his dream of a future where we are at peace, with no wants or needs, free to focus on what lies ahead, forging a better life for all.

Gene Roddenberry would have been 93 today.

We at Krypton Radio celebrate Mr. Roddenberry’s life and mourn his passing, yet content with the knowledge that the man who brought us the stars is now in peace among them.


Aug 192014

Jonathan_Frakes_cropped1by Michael Brown, staff writer

Jonathan Frakes, better known as Commander William T. Riker of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, turns 62 today! Frakes was born August 19, 1952 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Before signing on as First Officer of a Federation flagship, Frakes’ acting career was long and varied. He was Marvel Comics’ official Captain America, appearing at conventions throughout the 1970s before moving onto television acting, where he played Charles Lindbergh in an episode of the 1983 time-travel adventure Voyagers!  He would also appear on such classics as The Waltons, Eight is Enough, The Dukes of Hazzard, Matlock, and Hill Street Blues.

Frakes is also well known for his work in voice acting, most notably starring as the villainous David Xanatos in the animated cult Disney-produced series, Gargoyles; an episode of Futurama, where he voiced his head in a jar; and cutaways on two episodes of Family Guy where he reprised his role as Riker, along with co-stars Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Denise Crosby, and Wil Wheaton. He also voiced Finn’s adult self in two episodes of Adventure Time.

Frakes also has the distinct honor of being one of only two Star Trek regulars to appear on four different Trek series, the other being Gene Roddenberry’s wife Majel Barrett, who appeared in all five. Frakes also reprised his role, along with other Trek series actors, for the video game Star Trek: Captain’s Chair.

These days, the busiest man in Trekdom has taken to commanding behind the camera as a director. In addition to directing the Trek films First Contact and Insurrection, you can find Mr. Frakes’ name on the credits of such series as Burn Notice, Castle, NCIS: Los AngelesLeverageFalling Skies, and more recently, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

And when our birthday boy isn’t acting and directing? He and wife Genie Francis live in Maine, where Frakes teaches classes on film direction.

Krypton Radio would like to wish Jonathan Frakes a very happy birthday, and many more to follow!


Jun 202014


Welcome to Four-Color Bullet for the week of June 18, 2014.

Over at Marvel this week, the Owl sets up shop as San Francisco’s new crime boss, and the one guy who could help Daredevil take him down has switched sides, in Daredevil #4;  In the Original Sin tie-in, Nova #18, Sam sets out to help solve the murder of the Watcher, but is the Nova Corps’ youngest member getting in over his head?  And in this Original Sin tie-in, the Avengers are sent fifty years in the future, where they come face-to-face with the consequences of their actions, in Avengers #31.

On DC Comics’ side of the fence, Firestorm is in trouble, and the horrifying future is revealed to Plastique, in Futures’ End #7;  Harley gets more than her pride wounded when she starts a bar fight after a roller derby match, and she and Poison Ivy team up to find out who hired those assassins, in Harley Quinn #7; A great escape! Gumm’s death trap defeated! The Dynamic Duo, Green Hornet, and Kato parting ways?! In this week’s Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #3.

The long-awaited, unedited, and complete adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s Star Trek episode,  The City on the Edge of Forever hits comic shop shelves today, from IDW.

From Valiant, the best Harbinger story ever continues, as the series makes its way to its bound-to-be-explosive 25th issue, in Harbinger #24.
And from Dark Horse this week, Dracula has double-crossed the team and he’s taken the Vampyr book … and Xander! Now, Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang have to get them both back before the Lord of Vampires figures out how to use the book for his own ends, in Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #4.
Written by Jason Aaron Art by Mike Deodato Jr. MARVEL

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.

Marvel’s murder mystery is halfway over and the questions just keep on coming. Last issue, Bucky went rogue and did the unthinkable, Moon Knight and Gamora are stranded in space, and now, the trail leads to one impossible suspect. This series just keeps getting better, turning into one of my must-reads every month. Jason Aaron’s writing is solid, and even though I’ve complained about Mike Deodato Jr.’s shadowy art, it works really well with this particular issue. And half of the reason I’m reading this is because of the pairings of investigative teams. I love that although Dr. Strange is Marvel’s expert on magic, he still needs the Punisher around for his ballistics expertise. And I’m not much for buying every tie-in to the series, but the ones I’ve read are actually really good. Still more questions than answers at this point, but I’m enjoying this event more than anything else Marvel’s done in the last year and a half. Just a really well done, thoughtfully crafted story. Here’s hoping the center holds.

Written by Harlan Ellison, David Tipton, and Scott Tipton Art by Juan Ortiz and J.K. Woodward IDW PUBLISHING

Written by Harlan Ellison, David Tipton, and Scott Tipton
Art by Juan Ortiz and J.K. Woodward

Harlan Ellison’s classic Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever is regarded as the best episode of the series by anyone who even remotely claims to be a Star Trek fan. But the version we’ve seen on television differs widely from Ellison’s original screenplay, and very few fans have ever had the chance to see the screenplay in its entirety, the way Ellison intended. Writers Scott and David Tipton, who are no strangers to IDW’s Star Trekverse, have adapted Ellison’s complete and unedited screenplay to comic book form.  Series artist J.K. Woodward does some amazing painted artwork, providing a much larger sense of wonder, especially to the mysterious entities guarding the time portal.

Ellison’s screenplay was edited for television to an episode length because it was just too long. The first issue of the comic adaptation, however,  goes much slower, and barely scratches the surface of what’s to come. But that is far from a complaint. I see it as a good thing, only because the actual episode moved too quickly, and we couldn’t really appreciate Kirk and Spock’s plight, or the moral dilemmas. Slowing it down, though, should provide lots of room for story and character development.
One final thing. Ellison cleans up something that always seemed … I don’t know … silly to me. In the original episode, McCoy injects himself with a drug that has him acting like a bumbling crackhead, practically falling all over himself through the time portal into 1930. In this version, he’s replaced by a lieutenant on the Enterprise who deserts the crew when he’s exposed as a drug dealer. So it’s easy to see why that particular scene didn’t make it into the episode, since Star Trek was Gene Roddenberry’s grand and unsullied vision of the future. No drug dealers allowed.
I think this one’s going to be good, and just different enough to keep die-hard fans of the original episode interested. There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a good story the way it’s supposed to be told.
And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Feel free to comment or email me at your leisure.  But before I go, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that one of my favorite books will be ending in September. IDW’s Ghostbusters will be ending with issue 20 as it concludes the Ghostbusters ’30th anniversary Mass Hysteria story. Readers of  Four-Color Bullet know that Ghostbusters  was consistently one of my favorites, and I am heartbroken to see it go. I, and the rest of the gang here at Krypton Radio, wish writer Erik Burnham, penciler Dan Schoening, and the rest of the Ghostbusters team at IDW the best as they move on to other projects.
Even with Ghostbusters ending, it’s still a good time to be a comics fan. See ya next week!
Jun 072014
Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy

Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy

by Nur Hussein, staff writer

Karl Urban was born 42 years ago today in Wellington, New Zealand, and we would like to wish him a very happy birthday.

Urban’s early acting career was very much based in New Zealand, where his post-college acting credits include theatre and TV commercials in his home country. The world at large (and sci-fi fandom) started to see Urban when he played recurring characters in the wildly popular Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. He played the role of both Cupid and Julius Caesar in both those series. Since then, Urban has slowly become a staple of sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV.

In 2002, Urban had his first Hollywood role, as a supporting actor in the Steve Beck film Ghost Ship. Later in 2002, we saw him in the first high-profile movie he had been in; he played Éomer in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Éomer was the brother of Éowyn and nephew of the king Théoden of Rohan. Although his character had his role somewhat diminished in Peter Jackson’s adaptation, Urban did play the character memorably. We see him charging into battle both at Helms Deep and in the following film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King where Urban’s Éomer was a formidable, borderline suicidal warrior.

After The Lord of the Rings, we found Urban popping up in more and more genre films. He was Vaako in the Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Riddick (2013) and the Black Hat in 2011′s Priest. He was cast as the protagonist of 2005′s video game adaptation film, Doom (which flopped at the box office). The game’s iconic protagonist was nameless, but in the film he is called Staff Sergeant John “Reaper” Grimm.

Most recently, we saw Urban play the younger version of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot series: Star Trek in 2009, and Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. While the films have garnered good to mixed reviews, one thing a lot of people agree on is that Urban’s McCoy is an almost dead-on interpretation of the character people remember, formerly played by DeForest Kelley in the original Star Trek.

In 2012, Urban played Judge Dredd in a new rebooted movie, Dredd. The movie, as well as Urban’s performance was lauded by fans and critics alike. Despite this, it didn’t perform very well at the box office, but did better in video releases. It is worth checking the movie out just for Urban’s take on Judge Dredd, it’s one of genre’s underrated movies.

On the television front, Urban’s recent role in genre is as a human detective John Kennex in the robot-filled sci-fi cop drama, Almost Human. Sadly, Fox cancelled this series after only one season.

As a well-loved actor in genre, we hope to see Urban in more roles to come. Have a wonderful birthday!