I’m gonna write a Planet of the Apes story, y’all!

Well, several people are, to be accurate. Still, I’m gonna be one of ’em!

The contract is signed and on its way to its editors, so I’m now officially cleared to announce that one of my near-future projects will be a short story for a prose anthology in which all of the tales will be set in the “classic” Planet of the Apes continuity. I will be joining a stellar lineup of writers to present a collection of all-new stories set on that world were man once stood supreme, yet is now ruled by the beasts.

planet-of-apes

PLANET OF THE APES.

PLANET. OF. THE. HOLY ARE YOU SHITTING ME. APES.

Anybody who knows me knows I’m an unabashed fan of that crazy planet and its pesky apes. Love, love, love them I do, for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories of watching the original film when it was first broadcast on CBS back in 1973, which along with airings of the second and third movies set up the short-lived television series the following year. I was seven years old back then, and I had Planet of the Apes action figures, playsets, trading cards, coloring books, models, Halloween costumes, and all that stuff. Unlike so many of the films and television series I grew up with which don’t hold up to the passage of time, Apes along with the original Star Trek and The Six Million Dollar Man have never lost their luster, at least for me.

(Aside: Still looking for that SixMil novel license, if anybody’s listening.)

The as-yet unnamed anthology will be edited by fellow word pushers Jim Beard and Rich Handley for Titan Books, which currently holds a license to publish novels tying into the recent Apes reboot films. This will be Titan’s first foray into the classic era, and that Jim and Rich saw fit to include me in the author line-up they’ve assembled is awesome for at least a couple of reasons. First and foremost, this is a “Bucket List” kind of writing gig for me. It’s not a full-blown novel, but hey…we have to start somewhere, amirite? Second–and this is important–if this project had gone forward without me getting to play, you can be sure I’d have taken it a bit personally. I’m talking “Me=Terminator, Everyone Involved=Sarah Connor,” know what I’m sayin’? That’s right, people; I’d would have gleefully invoked a crossover event to exact the proper level of retribution for my satisfaction.

Thankfully, we’re going to be avoiding mass carnage, at least for the moment.

Anyway, there’s not much to tell yet so far as the anthology’s contents, who’s doing what and so on. In fact, I’m even going to play it safe and not yell out who I think are the people in the line-up, just in case there’s been a change that hasn’t yet been communicated. There’s a long way to go before this thing hits shelves, and much work to do between now and then, but it’s going to be fun. Fun, I say.

Planet of the Apes, y’all. Holy crap, am I stoked.

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Cover art for Sequart’s trio of upcoming Star Wars essay books!

I think the title pretty much says it all, right?

The Sequart Organization has been keeping friends Rich Handley and Joe Berenato busy of late. In turn, they have been keeping freelance word pushers like myself out of trouble by giving us things to do. You may recall that Mr. B edited an anthology last year, New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, which took a deep dive at–wait for it–Star Trek comics in all their various forms. For reasons surpassing understanding, Joe invited me to contribute an essay to that collection.

Despite my best efforts to show him how he’d made a tragic mistake, Joe along with co-editor Rich called me back not once but twice for two different essays dealing with different aspects of Planet of the Apes. The first of these, The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, was just published, while a follow-up, Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos, is due out next year and will take a look at the entire Apes franchise.

And now, they’ve done called me back. Again.

This time, Rich and Joe really went off the deep end, commissioning not one and not two but three–three, I tell you–new collections of essays all focusing on Star Wars. Hey! As it happens, there’s a new movie coming out later this year, and more in the pipeline, so now seems like the perfect time to do some analyzing and ruminating about various people and things in that galaxy far, far away.

SW1Rich and Joe have assembled–conservatively speaking–six hundred million different writers (I could be off by a few dozen) to contribute essays to the three books. Deciding quite correctly that a little bit of me goes a long way, they’ve contained my pollution of this monstrous undertaking to an essay for the first volume, A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe.

Whereas this first book will be covering Star Wars on multiple fronts, the second and third volumes will be dialing in on specific aspects of the franchise. A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring Star Wars Comics will do just what you think it’s going to do, while A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe takes a look at novels, games, comics, and all sorts of other tie-in products that serve to expand and enhance the Star Wars mythos.

SW2-3

So far as I know, publication dates for the three books have not yet been finalized.

Rich is also staying busy on a number of fronts with his own publishing company, Hasslein Books. You can read more about all of that as well as these latest Sequart offerings by moseying on over to the Hasslein Blog:

From Planet of the Apes to Star Wars: New Anthologies Bookin’ Your Way

Many thanks to Rich and Joe for continuing to invite me into the Sequart sandbox. I figure one of you will learn your lesson one of these days.

Or, you know…not.

Available NOW! The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes

Awwwwwwwwwwwww, yeah.

After many months of (im)patiently waiting, Sequart‘s latest tome of pop culture essays has dropped on an unsuspecting fan populace. This time, we journey to the future and a world gone mad, where man once stood supreme and now apes rule.

Planet of the Apes was one of the biggest properties of the 1970s. Five feature films, two television series, and merchandise out the wazoo…including comics. After one attempt to reboot the franchise in 2001 (we pause here for stink eye  levied at Tim Burton), we got another, much more successful try in 2011. 2014 brought with it a sequel to the film, which ended up being my favorite movie of the year, and a third film is coming in 2017.

In and around all of that, there have been comics.

Spanning more than forty years and nine different publishers, Planet of the Apes has always been well-represented in comics form. Sequart’s newest collection of essays, The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, takes a deep dive at this corner of the Apes sandbox.

sequart_apes_sacred_scrollsFrom the book’s back cover:

Since the 1970s, the Planet of the Apes franchise has frequently delved into the world of comic books. Some stories have made the Lawgiver proud, while others have brought shame to Ape City. In the comics arena, not all apes are created equal — but for fans, that’s half the fun of reading them.

More than 150 POTA comics have been published during the past four decades, from Gold Key, Marvel Comics, Power Records, Brown Watson Books, Editorial Mo.Pa.Sa., Malibu Graphics, Dark Horse, Mr. Comics, and BOOM! Studios. Writers have explored the settings, concepts and characters from the films (and occasionally the TV series), while introducing an array of new characters and scenarios. Back stories have been revealed, plot holes filled in and histories extrapolated upon. The comics have employed multiple genres and styles, taking readers to distant villages, ruined cities and oceanic civilizations — and have even seen the apes battle alien invaders from War of the Worlds and Alien Nation. It’s been quite the madhouse, to be sure. But by and large, the Apes comics have remained true to novelist Pierre Boulle’s simian spirit.

Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes will examine the entire history of POTA comic books, from Gold Key to BOOM! and everything in between. This anthology will feature insightful, analytical essays about the franchise’s four-color continuation, from popular comic historians, novelists, bloggers and subject-matter experts. If you’re eager to learn more about Apes lore, then you’ll need to get your stinkin’ paws on this volume.

My essay, “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, and Again, and Again, and…,” focuses on the use of time travel across the different Apes comics over the decades. The Sacred Scrolls is edited by Rich Handley and Joseph F. Berenato, so you know all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed in style.

The book is NOW AVAILABLE from Amazon, so give it a look, if you’re of such a mind:

Amazon.com – The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes

Cover art for Sequart Planet of the Apes books!

I’ve mentioned here and there that I’m doing a couple of new essays for the Sequart Organization. Following my initial outing for them, a piece for New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics edited by Joseph F. Berenato, he and co-editor Rich Handley saw fit to invite me back aboard to write for a couple of new essay collections that will examine another favorite SF franchise of mine, Planet of the Apes.

To that end, Rich and Joe have offered up the cover art for both of these new books, as created by artist Patricio Carbajal:

Sequart_Apes_Both_Books

Pretty swank, eh?

For The Sacred Scrolls, I wrote an essay about the use of time travel in various stories across the different publishers who’ve given us Apes comics over the years. Bright Eyes, Ape City takes on the entire franchise, and my essay will take a look at the live action Planet of the Apes television series from 1974. The Sacred Scrolls is set to be published this summer, with Bright Eyes, Ape City coming next year. Be sure to check out the listings for each book over on the Sequart site and see the roster of writers assembled for each book. You’ll likely spot several familiar names in the crowd. 🙂

So, you know…be sure to get your stinking paws on those.

Thanks again to Rich, Joe, and Sequart for bringing me back for more playtime!

Writing about Apes and Star Wars for Sequart!

Not together, you understand. I mean, that’d just be weird.

Those of you who follow this space with any regularity know that the good folks over at the Sequart Organization have seen fit to invite me into their fold here and there, so that I might contribute an essay or two on various pop culture topics of interest. Last year, it was New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, edited by Joseph F. Berenato. Coming later this summer is The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, edited by Joe and Rich Handley.

Having not learned their lesson so far as what happens when you allow me to come over and puke in your punch bowl, Rich and Joe have taken complete leave of their senses and called upon me to contribute to not one but two more collections of Sequart essays.

(Overheard from the audience: “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?”)

Continue reading “Writing about Apes and Star Wars for Sequart!”

Cover art for The Sacred Scrolls!

Last summer, I wrote my first essay for the Sequart Organization, which was published in New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, a collection edited by Joseph F. Berenato.

Having failed to learn their lesson after that first go-round, Sequart and Editor Joe, having now enlisted the expertise of friend Rich Handley, invited me back to play, this time to yammer on a bit about the various comics incarnations of another favorite film/TV series of mine. You know what I’m talking about…the one with those damned, dirty apes. The essays for this new book have been written and delivered and edited and red-penned and whatnot, and the results of all that writing and delivering and editing and red-penning and whatnot are a little something Sequart, Rich, and Joe like to call The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes!

And hey! We now have cover art! Check it out:

Sacred-Scrolls-cover-mockup

Pretty sweet, huh? The cover was created by artist Pat Carbajal, who previously contributed the cover art for New Life and New Civilizations.

You can read more about The Sacred Scrolls over at the 13th Dimension website, including a full contributor run-down and the subjects they’ll be tackling. For instance, I took on the subject of time travel as portrayed in the various incarnations of Apes comics, with a piece titled “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, and Again, and Again, and….”

Go on, take a gander:

13th Dimension: FIRST LOOK! The Sacred Scrolls

My understanding is that The Sacred Scrolls is currently targeting a late-spring/early summer publication. Stay tuned for further details, so you can run and get your stinkin’ paws on it.

 

More Trek/Apes comic cover goodness.

As we cruise on toward the end of the year, we find ourselves drawing ever closer to the launch of The Primate Directive, the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover event coming at us courtesy of comics publishers IDW and BOOM! Studios. You may recall that I was a tad enthusiastic about this little bit of whimsical sweetness back when the original announcement was made during San Diego Comic-con. Yep, I was jazzed, particularly when they debuted what was to be the first issue’s cover art.

Oh. Yeah.

Yesterday, StarTrek.com offered us a glimpse at some of the art that will grace different covers for the second issue, and once again I’m all giddy and whatnot, though this time it’s for completely different reasons:

appes2(Click to enlarge.)

If you know me or have followed me for any length of time, then you know I have a huge soft spot for the old Gold Key Star Trek comics from the 1960s and 70s. Yes,  stories were hokey and  art was always a bit off, but those comics still possess a charm that later comics and other tie-in merchandise has only rarely been able to duplicate. Also? The covers feature some of my all-time favorite Star Trek comic art. That’s right, I said it.

Star-Trek-Gold-Key-1

Whenever I see that retro Star Trek logo from the Gold Key books, I can’t help but grin like a goofy kid. And this isn’t the first time IDW has rolled out that bad boy. Nope…you can find it adorning the two issues that comprise Star Trek’s participation in IDW’s mega crossover event series Infestation from back in 2011. I wrote about those back then.

Read all about the new covers over at StarTrek.com: IDW’s Trek/Planet of the Apes #2 Crossover Out in January

I can already see this Trek/Apes thing is going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see what other surprises IDW and BOOM! have up their sleeves.

Yes, I’m a geek. Have we met?

Where No Ape Has Gone Before?

So, this little comics bombshell was dropped today:

StarTrek.com: Star Trek/Planet Of the Apes Crossover Coming Soon from IDW & BOOM!

ST-APES-coverA2

According to the article, “IDW will publish the alternate universe crossover, a multi-issue series that will pair the original U.S.S. Enterprise crew with Taylor, Nova and the cast from the original Planet of the Apes film.”

I think I need a cigarette, and I don’t even smoke. Holy shit, but do I love that cover art.

There was no date in the article, but I figure the series likely will start later this year. I have no idea what mechanism they’ll use to bring the two “universes” together (alternate realities, Q, whatever) but it should prove interesting.

Crossovers are fragile things, and sometimes what sounds good in theory ends up falling short on execution. However, IDW’s had some good outings in this subgenre. I totally dug their Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover, for example, which even though it sounded odd when first announced, ended up being entertaining as hell, all the more so because you could tell the creative team was having a ball with every page. I’m hoping for the same sort of energy here.

Bring it on, you maniacs!

So, I’m gonna write another essay.

Sequart, having failed to learn their lesson after hiring me to pen an essay for inclusion in their forthcoming collection New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, has taken complete leave of their senses and asked me to contribute another essay for an all-new book. Instead of the Final Frontier, this new tome’s focus will be something a bit closer to home. Damn you, Sequart. Damn you to Hell.

Sequart.org – The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes

Edited by Rich Handley and Joseph F. Berenato, The Sacred Scrolls will take a deep dive into the various iterations of Planet of the Apes comics; everything from the Gold Key adaptation of Beneath the Planet of the Apes right up through the most current storylines from BOOM! Studios. The whole thing is being anchored by a forward from Doug Moench, who fans of Apes comics of old will recognize as one of the writers who contributed so many memorable stories to Marvel’s old black and white Planet of the Apes comic magazines from the 1970s.

apes-comics

The book will contain essays by Samuel Agro, Joseph F. Berenato, Stephen R. Bissette, Joe Bongiorno, Joseph Dilworth Jr., Dan Greenfield, Ed Gross, Rich Handley, Zaki Hasan, Terry Hoknes, Doug Moench, John Roche, Lou Tambone, and the bonehead owner/operator of this here blog right here. Patricio Carbajal will be providing cover art, as he did for New Life and New Civilizations.

As for me? My essay will take a look at the various instances of time travel and how it introduces different “fish out of water” situations across the centuries comprising the circular “Planet of the Apes timeline,” and also how different takes on the premise have introduced inconsistencies and other nitpicky things we fanboys and girls love to discuss.

Yep. It’s about to get all nerdy up in here.

So far as I know, there’s no publication date set for the collection, but based on when essays are due to Rich and Joe, I suspect The Sacred Scrolls will be out either in the spring or summer of 2015, around a year or so after New Worlds and New Civilizations goes live. More info (including cover art!) will be posted as it becomes available.

Thanks to Rich and Joe, as well as the crew at Sequart, for inviting me back to play.