Monday, August 31, 2009
Mad Scientist Magazine #8 "Destroy All Monsters"
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Toybox Treasures: Ultraman Mebius & Friends/Foes
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Now Playing: Gamera vs. Guiron (MST3K edition)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Now Playing: Ultra-Nostalgia
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Just Arrived: Icons of Sci-Fi: The Toho Collection and Space Amoeba
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Definitive Word on Ultra Q
Greetings! My son and I love Ultraman! This summer we had the privilege of meeting Mr. Kenji Sahara at G-Fest 16 in Chicago. Could you tell me if Ultra Q will ever be released on DVD in the United States? If it is, I promise to buy
it! Thank you.
Well, I figured that was it--I had sent my little missive out, and that would be the end of it. So imagine my surprise when I checked my e-mail and saw:
From: TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS
Thank you for your inquiry.
Unfortunately, we do not have any plans of releasing Ultra Q in the United States.
International Business Affairs
TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS CO., LTD.
So there you have it: the definitive word on an American release of Ultra Q--the word is "no." Nuts.
But I must admit it was pretty cool to see TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS in my Inbox!
Monday, August 24, 2009
G-FAN Magazine #69 "Half Human; All Good"
One of the first thing that grabs the reader's attention is the monster concept art for Godzilla: Final Wars. With the advantage of hindsight, one can see that the concepts and the finished products were remarkably close.
Tom Tvrdik begins a four-part series describing the process of creating the first American Greetings/Carlton Godzilla ornament.
Armand Vaquer's account of the G-Tour of Japan was awe-inspiring. Any one day of G-Tour would have held the thrill of a lifetime for G-fans. Could there be a G-Tour 2?
"A Monster for All Seasons" by David Annandale does as good a job as I've seen of analyzing the symbolic value of Godzilla, which successfully explains the negative reaction to Zilla/GINO.
The centerpiece of the issue is Peter H. Brothers' "Abominable Snowman/Half Human" article. It is an exhaustive, definitive treatment of a truly hidden classic, and is accompanied by production stills as well as stills from the film itself.
Brett Homenick interviews Loren Coleman, with respect to his stated appreciation of "Half Human." In fact, Mr. Coleman credits "Half Human" with sparking his interest in cryptozoology, which he has since introduced into popular culture with more gusto than any other author or researcher. This is a special article for me, because I have been a Loren Coleman fan ever since picking up a copy of Mysterious America in the late 1980s and learning that we are both from Decatur, Illinois.
"Battles of G-Fantis" is dynamic and imaginative, Steve Agin ushers us through his hall of toy treats, and David McRobie's "The Globe Meter" is a whirlwind trip around the world of kaiju-related viewing.
And there is even more intriguing reading to be found in issue 69, such as a spotlight on Chibi Goji Toys, a heavily illustrated wrap-up of G-Fest XI, a Gorgo article by the always-cogent Allen A. Debus, artistic work by Joylon Yates and a rebuttal to Roger Ebert's dismissive review of Gojira (Godzilla 1954) by M.G. Keller.
G-FAN 69 is J.D. Lees and friends "firing on all cylinders" to deliver intellegent, horizon-expanding coverage of the Godzilla phenomenon in all its permutations. There is no filler whatsoever in this great 82-pager, and it would serve as an excellent introduction to G-FAN for the uninitiated.
Want more Loren Coleman info? Visit http://cryptomundo.com for breaking news and analysis of our weird world and the hidden creatures that inhabit it!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Toybox Treasure: Godzilla Raids Again
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Toybox Treasure: It's Jiras!
Did you know that Ultraman duked it out with Godzilla on Japanese T.V. in 1966? It's true! Well, kinda...
What actually happened for the tenth episode of Ultraman is that Tsuburaya Productions took the Godzilla suit from Godzilla vs. the Thing/Mothra vs. Godzilla and attached it to the Godzilla head from Monster Zero/Invasion of Astro Monster, put a big dino frill around his neck and called him Jiras! Jiras gets a few licks in, but ultimately suffers a (bloody (!)) defeat at the hands of Ultraman.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Now Playing: Godzilla vs. Biollante
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Toybox Treasures: Big Bandai Bash
Now Playing: Ultraman Tiga's "The Ultra Star"
Monday, August 17, 2009
Kaiju Book Review: "Classic Movie Monsters"
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Toybox Treasures: Mecha King Ghidorah Puzzle
Friday, August 14, 2009
G-FAN Magazine # 41 "Millenial Magnum Opus"
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Now Playing: Godzilla vs. Gigan
Monday, August 10, 2009
G-Fest Day Four: The Best for Last
It also led right into our next activity--August Ragone's interview of Mr. Sahara with the focus on Ultra Q. It was for panels like this that I had come to G-Fest, and Mr. Sahara and Mr. Ragone provided an engrossing hour of information and recollection. The clips of the original Ultra Q were exciting and Mr. Sahara was eager to speak about his experiences in this groundbreaking series. Mr. Sahara even hinted that an Ultra Q anniversary release might be a possibility. (Could you imagine an Ultra Q series box set?) It was heartwarming to hear how Ultra Q made Mr. Sahara an instantly beloved figure among children in Japan. The panel concluded with a well-deserved standing ovation for a true living legend.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Toybox Treasures: Bandai Baltans
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Kaiju (Books) Sighted in Cleveland!
Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the Cleveland Public Library boasts a staggering collection of every type of media. We decided to search for monster movie-related material, with an eye for Godzilla and friends. We were not disappointed. Once we found the appropriate section (...not used to Library of Congress catalogue...more of a Dewey system guy...) our choices were many, especially in terms of all monster/horror/scifi cinema. But here's what we found specifically: The CPL carries three copies of David Kalat's "A Critical Filmography...", two copies each of Steve Ryfle's "Japan's Biggest Mon-star" and William Tsutsui's "Godzilla on My Mind", and single copies of William Schoell's "Creature Features" (a big disappointment--in the dedication he calls Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster both "awful" and "atrocious"(!)), a quirky self-published tome called "Giant Monster Movies" by Robert Marrero, and, the "find" of the day, Donald Glut's "Classic Movie Monsters," with excellent chapters on King Kong and Godzilla. The CPL is a great destination for kaiju readers! What's at your library?
G-Fest Day Three: Kaiju Costume Photos
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
G-Fest Day Three: Kaiju on Parade
The most raucous cheers were reserved for Sanda and Gaila from War of the Gargantuas. We all wanted to see them rumble, and they happily obliged. One can only imagine how much time and effort went into the preparation of these costumes--the Costume Session ballroom display helps the layman gain a better appreciation of the craftsmanship involved (and also serves as a museum of absolutely incredible entries from past parades).
One more significant decision was made--to stay home from the Pickwick, for reasons having to do with a severely sleep-deprived six-year-old. Thanks to Channel 19 (ah, Channel 19) this was a fairly easy conclusion to reach. I had great intentions of staying up to watch Gamera 3: Revenge of Iyrs (which I have yet to see), but a day of monster chasing caught up with me. I cannot confirm this, but I believe I fell asleep with a big, toothy, Gamera grin on my face.
G-Fan Magazine # 36 "Monsters & MST3K"
Monday, August 3, 2009
G-Fest Day Three: Decisions, Decisions
As we waited in the relatively short line, costumed Godzilla and Kamacurus strolled by, and Gojigirl Linda Conrad passed out inflatable paper beach balls to the shoppers--a nice gesture! In no time, we were back inside the hallowed halls of the Dealer's Room.
It soon became evident that we had chosen wisely. The pace was slow; there was plenty of elbow room; we were able to take our time at each booth and wonder at the rare collectibles before our eyes. All the dealers were pleasant and there were plenty of affordable treasures to be had. Another momentous decision was made--I purchased a set of raffle tickets at the Kaiju Modeler table (more about that later).
After a cafe lunch (with Gamera vs. Barugon playing on the TV over my shoulder--how cool is that (?)) Andy and I headed to Ballroom 3 for a panel on "Japanese Superheroes." The presenters had done their homework and it showed in an information-packed, fast-paced hour--especially appreciated were the slides that depicted each Ultra series. Lenell Bridges' enthusiasm for the subject matter didn't hurt, either. The insider info on series like Starman, Inframan, Kamen Rider and Zone Fighter were fascinating. I would have gladly stayed put for another hour or two.
By now the model display had opened, so we headed downstairs to observe the handiwork. I knew the model "thread" was its own arm of G-Fest and kaiju fandom--a creative subculture, if you will--but I was unprepared for the level of artistry we encountered. The photos you see here are no substitute for the real deal. Most breathtaking was a diorama of the complete kaiju cast of Destroy All Monsters. It was enough to make one consider a new hobby. Hmmm.
After some more spirited fun in Minya's Place (again, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of Ron Lipecky--your drawings and crafts are collectibles in their own right) I ducked into the back of the "Underrated Kaiju Classics" panel. This was a Dream Team of commentators, each of whom were informed and immersed in the subject at hand. However, I was a bit surprised when one presenter came on pretty strong, excoriating those present who had never seen a non-Godzilla kaiju film. I understood his point, which was basically "broaden your horizons, people" but a less abrasive, more persuasive approach may have been all that was necessary. Then again, he knows his audience better than I do. The bottom line is that his point was irrefutable: see as many tokasatsu films as possible! I'm on board with that!
G-Fan Magazine # 77: "Ultra Cool"
Issue 77 starts strong with an incredibly detailed (almost play-by-play) account of the making of Godzilla-Tokyo S.O.S.
Brett Homenick clocks in with four interviews of dubbing/voiceover actors and the results are of great interest to anyone who has ever wondered about that infamous process.
The centerpiece of the issue is the Ultraman 40th anniversary section, with a comprehensive and intelligent consideration of "new school" Ultra series by Robert Hood. Supplementing his article is a treasure trove of photos that help put a name with an Ultra-face.
The recap of G-Fest 13 was enjoyable (moreso now that we've been to one) and the G-Fantis comic is one of my son's favorites. I would be remiss if I did not mention Steve Agin's pulse-pounding collectibles column, illustrated in glorious full color, and another one of Armand Vacquer's insightful "kaiju geography" pieces.
G-Fan #77 is not just a great issue, but for my son and me it has become a valuable reference tool in our ongoing quest for Ultra-fun.