Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos – Now available!

brighteyes_apecity_coverThough I knew this book was coming sometime in “2017’s first quarter,” it was only within the last week or so that we got confirmation that publication was imminent. Then, all of a sudden, editor Rich Handley dropped a knowledge bomb on all of us. BOOM! New book in da house!

Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos is the latest collection of pop culture essays from The Sequart Organization. Editor Rich along with co-editor Joe Berenato, who teamed up for this book’s companion volume, Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, have once again assembled a roster of novelists, film historians, comics writers, and other geeky gurus to take a deep dive into the entire Apes phenomenon. Everything from Pierre Boulle’s original novel through the 1968 movie right up to the most recent re-imagining of the Apes premise (which gets a film new installment later this year with the release of War for the Planet of the Apes) and everything in between is given a look-see.

From the back cover:

“A planet where apes evolved from men?”

With those horrified words, Charlton Heston’s Colonel George Taylor summed up exactly what viewers were thinking in 1968 the first time they saw Planet of the Apes in theaters. Loincloth-clad humans reduced to mute savages, living in cages or in the wild? Xenophobic orangutans, militaristic gorillas, and curious chimpanzees with a rigid class structure, Greco-Roman names, religious dogma, and the ability to speak and reason? What goes on here? It’s a madhouse!

Audiences were hooked — and they remain hooked almost five decades later. Planet of the Apes (based on Pierre Boulle’s French novel Monkey Planet) has spawned eight films, with a ninth currently in the works, as well as two television series and several novels. It’s one of the most respected franchises in pop-culture history, thanks to the talents of writers Rod Serling, Michael Wilson, Paul Dehn, John and Joyce Corrington, William Broyles Jr., Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Mark Bomback; directors Franklin J. Schaffner, Ted Post, Don Taylor, J. Lee Thompson, Tim Burton, Rupert Wyatt, and Matt Reeves; makeup artists John Chambers and Rick Baker; and a long list of beloved actors who have breathed life into some of the most memorable science-fiction characters ever to grace the large or small screen.

Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos, edited by the same team behind Sequart’s Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, examines every Apes film, TV show, and novel, from 1968 to the present. This anthology features insightful, analytical essays about the franchise’s long history, from popular film 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 book.

For those wondering, my essay offers up a retrospective and analysis of the 1974 live-action Planet of the Apes television series, a short-lived yet oddly beloved piece of the Apes franchise for which I confess unabashed affection. Those of you who keep up with my writerly antics know that my short story in Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone revisited the characters and situations from the series.

You can read Sequart’s official press release about the new book by clicking on this linky-type thing right here!

The book is currently available in trade paperback and eBook formats from the usual haunts such as, but you could also score points with your local independent bookseller by taking the book’s ISBN, 978-1940589152, and asking them to order you a copy. Tell them I sent you.

Many thanks to Rich and Joe for inviting me yet again to play in their little writer games.

A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe: It’s really a real book! Today!

SW1Because why not have a blog post title takes up the better part of two lines, amirite?

Though I knew this book was coming (hopefully) to capitalize on the Star Wars insanity which has gripped the known universe, what with The Force Awakens just over a month away from release, I didn’t know exactly when it might see publication. Well, BAM! Here it is. The Sequart Organization has announced that this bad boy is a real, honest to goodness book, and anyone and everyone who might want to check out their very own copy or perhaps buy eighteen or twenty of them for their friends and family are in luck, because it’s alive in the wild as of today.

Hey, don’t take my word for it, doubters. Check out Sequart’s official press release:

Sequart Releases A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe

I don’t want to steal too much of Sequart’s thunder, but I will go so far as to offer up the contributors to this latest Tome of Awesomeness. You may recognize at least a few names on this particular perp list:

Joseph F. Berenato, Jean-Francois Boivin, Joe Bongiorno, Nathan Butler, Julian Darius, Ian Dawe, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Rich Handley, Zaki Hasan, Rocko Jerome, Alex Newborn, David Pipgras, Matthew Sunrich, Lou Tambone, Steven H. Wilson.

Oh, and me.

For reasons that continue to surpass understanding, Sequart keeps inviting me back. I figure they’ll learn, sooner or later, but hopefully not before I can make off with some office supplies, or something. My contribution to this collection is titled, “Surrounding and Binding Us Together: Star Wars Across the Generations.” The essay was inspired by the fun I’ve been having with my daughters, the oldest of whom is just about the same age I was when I saw the first Star Wars film in 1977. We’re very much anticipating The Force Awakens, and this dad is particularly jazzed about taking his kids to see a brand new Star Wars movie the way it was meant to be seen.


A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe is now available from the usual haunts like, and your local Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or independent book store can also order you a copy. In fact, go that latter route. Make an indie bookseller’s day, all right?

As always, special thanks to editors Rich Handley and Joe Berenato for inviting me along to play one more time. I’d have warned them about the dangers of continuing to include me in these things, but they’d already signed me for yet another essay by that point.

Suckers. 😀

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.


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: – 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:


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:


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.


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. – 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.


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.

New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, from Sequart!

Those two or three of you who read my monthly “writing wrap-up” posts have seen notes about an essay I was writing “for a collection of essays on a pop culture subject To Be Named Later.” Well, here it is, all Later and stuff, and here I am, naming things. New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics

Edited by Joseph F. Berenato, New Life and New Civilizations will contain essays covering pretty much every facet of Star Trek in comics form, from Gold Key’s initial run which began while the original series was still in production up through the most recent offerings from IDW Publishing, and everything in between.

Even quirky corners of Trek comics will be explored, from the British comic strips to the old Power Records comic/record sets to stories told in the pages of coloring and activity books and even the strips printed on the McDonalds Happy Meal boxes as tie-ins to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. My essay will be taking a look at Marvel’s second run of Star Trek comics in the late 199os, which included two of my favorite series, Early Voyages and Starfleet Academy.

The lineup of authors for the collection is: Jim Beard, Joseph F. Berenato, Julian Darius, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Robert Greenberger, Rich Handley, Mark Martinez, Tom Mason, David McIntee, Martín A. Pérez, Alan J. Porter, Colin Smith, Scott Tipton, Cody Walker, and Yours Truly. As you can see, I’m in some pretty cool ompany.

Oh, and it will feature cover art by Patricio Carbajal. Behold, yo:


Pretty swank, right?

New Life and New Civilizations currently is slated for a summer 2014 release. Click the link or the pic to head to Sequart’s site to read all about it, and I’ll obviously have more info to share as it becomes available.