Pop culture roundup: Paul McCartney; Ray Davies, Carl Barks!

Sweet: Paul McCartney tweeted "happy birthday" to an eight-year-old girl whose older sister said the kid is a big Macca/Beatles fan.


The Daily Telegraph profiles Kinks' songwriter Ray Davies, with news that Ray may perform "Waterloo Sunset" -- one of the best songs EVER -- during the Olympics in London.
“Waterloo Sunset was written when I woke up one morning,” he says. “It was completed quite quickly. My subconscious is smarter than I am. If I think about things too much they fall apart, so I go with instinct.” Written on a white piano in a suburban house in Fortis Green, north London, in 1967, the song uses everyday scenes – crowds swarming, lovers crossing a bridge – to inspire universal feelings of isolation and longing.

“I don’t write in a vacuum,” he says. “I watch people struggling, getting on with their lives.” He likes to pace the streets of London unnoticed and observing. That may be why he’s wearing trainers, although they’re silver and not exactly discreet.


From USA Today, a detailed look at how Disney comics fans discovered the identity of the "good duck artist" Carl Barks and helped elevate him to his status today as one of the greatest graphic storytellers of all time.
“Ninety-nine readers out of 100 think Walt Disney writes and draws all those movies and comic books between stints with his hammer and saw building Disneyland,” wrote Barks in a 1960 letter.

Stan Lee documentary now streaming on Netflix

"With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story" is now available for streaming via Netflix.The film aired during some film festivals last year, I recall. I'll need to give it a look.

Here are details from the Netflix site:
Arguably the most recognized name in comics, Stan Lee has co-created over 500 legendary pop culture characters, including Spider-Man and the X-Men. Explore the life of Stan Lee from his Depression-era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics!

Today's oddest thing ever: Short film teams Jack Kirby and Ed Wood

Not sure how you'd even come up with this idea, yet alone recruit an amateur cast to do a film based on it: "The King and the Worst" is a 22-minute film that imagines a World War II team-up between comic book artist Jack Kirby and B-movie director Ed Wood.

Watch as the co-creator of Captain America, the Hulk, Fantastic Four and more teams with the cross-dressing director of  "Plan 9 from Outer Space" do battle with mystical forces. Oh yeah, it's in Italian with English subtitles. And the Phantom Stranger shows up.

Vintage photo: Actress Fanny Brice reads a Captain Marvel comic

Doctor Who on Entertainment Weekly cover

Wow, something about Doctor Who appearing on the cover of a major U.S. magazine makes me giddy.

In the dark days, when the show was dead with no apparent hope of revival (regeneration?), who could have imagined it would one day return and, not just that, become incredibly popular, not just in the U.K., but here in the United States?

I first discovered "Doctor Who" via the series of U.S. paperback books that started appearing in the 1980s. I didn't see an episode of the show until one or two years after I'd read several of those books (which are great, by the way). A few PBS stations around the country aired old "Doctor Who" episodes, but none in my area. It took a family trip to England for me to catch a glimpse of Tom Baker in action.

How different things are today. Anyway, here's a link to Entertainment Weekly's teaser to this upcoming cover article.

More 1970s DC Comics house ads

iTunes assembles new Beatles compilation: Tomorrow Never Knows

In a move that hearkens back to such 1970s Beatles compilations as Rock'n'Roll and Love Songs, iTunes is bundling together a batch of harder-edged, lower-profile Fabs tunes into a $7.99 package called Tomorrow Never Knows.

Some purists might not like this sort to thing, but I think it's sort of fun, particularly the red-label,   Capitol-style "cover art" that's been created to go along with the package. It's a way to maybe get Beatles music into new ears, which I support. It's not really an album, but a playlist of existing songs packaged in a different way. Nothing to get worked up about.

Here's the track list:
  1. Revolution 
  2. Paperback Writer
  3. And Your Bird Can Sing
  4. Helter Skelter
  5. Savoy Truffle
  6. I'm Down
  7. I've Got A Feeling
  8. Back In the USSR
  9. You Can't Do That
  10. It's All Too Much
  11. She Said She Said
  12. Hey Bulldog
  13. Tomorrow Never Knows
  14. The End (anthology 3 version) 

1970s DC Comics house ads

These bring back fond memories of my early comics-reading days.

New comics July 25, 2012: Wonder Woman Adventures; Green Arrow; Daredevil by Mark Waid; Fantastic Four Masterworks!

Highlights. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.



Green Arrow Vol. 1: Into the Woods

Daredevil, Vol. 1

Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four - Volume 8