Friday, March 9, 2012

John Carter (Princess of Mars), Stan Lee, Edward Gorey, the Lurch/JFK tie, T. Rex, and other art

Obviously, I will have to see John Carter (in IMAX 3D at the Broadway/68th theatre or bust).  It’s based on the century-old sci-fi works by Edgar Rice Burroughs that gave us not only otherworldly arena combat but also offhand faux-alien jargon like “nerf” that would echo in later sci-fi works (they should have a nerf-herder character in the movie just to mess with George Lucas).

To celebrate the release, here are five geek/fantasy notes from acquaintances:

•Austin Petersen, fellow Fox veteran, notes these encouraging words from

[I]n a documentary on the DVD for the first film, Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee flat out says that he created a capitalist, commie-fighting, industrialist, weapon-manufacturing superhero as a way to deliberately antagonize hippie-leaning comic book fans. Anti-military sentiment was high back in the 60s, and Lee wanted to challenge himself by creating a character he could force them to like.

•It was Julia Strohmeyer who suggested the excursion I made Wednesday to see the new Edward Gorey exhibit at Columbia – and I only hope I don’t sound like an ingrate when I say that ironically, I’m getting a little tired of all affected forms of traditionalism, from the neo-Victorian to the steampunk. 

I realized recently that within seconds of seeing a blog making prominent use of phrases such as “Zounds, madame!” I know it will also contain nineteenth-century illustrations with ironic captions and that the odds are good it will deploy Latin, Catholicism, or links to conservative friends of mine such as Tim Carney or James Poulos, possibly all of these things (not that I’m entirely objecting).  This may be too narrow and predictable to sustain, like America’s interest in manga. 

And any costume party involving corsets must get expensive.  (I’m too tired to even make a diagram showing how all these things are related.)

•Dimitri Cavalli e-mails with this important information about an actor associated with the comparably goth cartoonist Charles Addams:

Before gaining fame as Lurch on The Addams Family, and then as the narrator of the opening credits of The Incredible Hulk, Ted Cassidy worked as announcer for WFAA Radio in Dallas.  Here he is helping the station’s coverage of the Kennedy assassination.  (About one minute in.)

•Anastasia Uglova notes the amusingly simple and sad-sack adventures of T. Rex Trying

•And pehaps best of all, Dan Greenberg notes this panorama of art history re-envisioned through a sci-fi lens.  Now that’s art. 

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