Doc Savage News

I reported a while back that my old friend Shane Black (writer of Lethal Weapon among other things) was scripting a Doc Savage movie. As many of the folks who’d care most about this sort of thing likely already know, it was recently confirmed that not only is Shane writing the screenplay (along with Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry), he will be directing the film as well. Anyone who has seen Shane’s directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, will know how exciting this news really is.

With Sam Raimi working on The Shadow, it’s looking very promising for pulp adventure in the near future. Now all we need is a Bruce Timm adaptation of Doc Wilde and the world will truly be on the right track.

In related news, DC Comics just released the first issue of their First Wave series, in which they establish an alternate world, outside the normal DC universe, in which pulp heroes operate, and no one has super-powers. The greatest of the heroes in this world is, of course, Doc Savage.

The First Wave series actually began last year with the one-shot Batman/Doc Savage special I reviewed in November. I was underwhelmed, but still hopeful that the actual series would be good.

Well, I just read First Wave #1, and it’s awesome pulp and awesome comics. Brian Azzarello’s writing and treatment of these classic characters honors their roots while at the same time deepening their emotional lives and rooting them realistically into the world. And artist Rags Morales brings the cast to vivid life with a style that’s both realistic and somewhat cartoony, befitting the pulp nature of the work. My only beef with the book is that Doc Savage’s hair color and complexion are still off, though not as badly as they were in the Batman team-up book.

Great stuff.

Where, Oh Where, Have The Tits Gone?

I don’t have the same overarching esteem for Roger Ebert that many folks do, but I recently had a bit of his review of Black Lightning brought to my attention that I got a kick out of:

I am happy to say it brings back an element sadly missing in recent movies, gratuitous nudity. Sexy women would “happen” to be topless in the 1970s movies for no better reason than that everyone agreed, including themselves, that their breasts were a genuine pleasure to regard — the most beautiful naturally occurring shapes in nature, I believe. Now we see breasts only in serious films, for expressing reasons. There’s been such a comeback for the strategically positioned bed sheet, you’d think we were back in the 1950s.

Preach it, Brother Roger.

SKULLDUGGERY (A Free, Serialized Novel by Tim Byrd)


The name alone conjures dark images of spilling blood, of blackest magiks, of lawlessness and chaos. Throughout the kingdom children hear stories of this evil city and are told they must never go there — and they wish with all their hearts that one day they will. For children are the custodians of wishes, of dreams; they know in their hearts, in their souls, that only in the darkest of pits can the brightest adventures be found…

Years and years ago, when I had a bit more spring in my step and fewer callouses on my heart, I got out of a misguided stint in the U.S. Army and plopped down at a cheap portable typewriter to begin living the life I always intended to live, that of a dashing and prolific novelist.

I was living on savings, shacking up in Kassel, West Germany (there was still an East Germany then) with a wonderful girlfriend named Rike (whom I’d met the very day I’d arrived at my Army post), who was deep in her own university studies while I took the time to write.

It was a happy year. It was the most productive year of my life, too.

First, I wrote a short fantasy adventure novel called The Road to Adventure. It was sort of stock fantasy — knights and elves and hot pagan priestesses — mixed with sheer swashbuckling and quite a bit of eldritch horror. Took me just over a month to write, and I got it in the mail and started the next project.

The Road to Adventure damn near got published too. A senior editor at one of the big science fiction/fantasy publishers took a liking to it and went to bat for it with the editorial board. See, getting a book published isn’t just a matter of getting a “yes,” it’s a matter of getting a series of “yeses,” and if you get a “no” in that series, you’re screwed. According to the editor, I had the majority of folks wanting the book, but got two key noes; I was screwed. But hey, pretty good for the first shot.

Of course, that resolution took a while, during which I wrote my second book. This took a lot longer than a month. Whereas I’d written Road with a detailed outline, I started this one with a setting, a couple of character ideas, and the notion that I was gonna write a “hardboiled fantasy,” mixing standard sword and sorcery tropes with gritty crime fiction. And I had the title:

Skullduggery. A Tale of Thieves. Continue reading

Tim Burton’s Weekend At Bernie’s

In the same wonderful spirit as Wes Anderson’s Spider-Man, here’s a taste of what Tim “Frankenweenie” Burton might do with the noir classic Weekend At Bernie’s.

Johnny Depp features. But then, it’s a Burton piece.

It’s here. I’d have embedded it, but it won’t. So.

By Way of Sorrow (Song of the Week 3/1/2010)

I’m starting a new tradition here under the ol’ outlaw moon. Every week, I’m going to share a song with you. And I’m going to begin with one of my favorites, a song by the lovely Julie Miller called “By Way of Sorrow.”

This is a song that I’ve listened to hundreds of times over the years and it has never lost its power to move me. Aside from the elegant softness of the music and the gentle beauty of Miller’s voice, the song is like a shelter from the cold, a loving touch on a lonely night.

I suffer from depression, and just listening to Miller sing this song adds a bit of hope to my time in the abyss. This winter has been a time of crushing solitude and torpor for me (it’s become apparent that my depression is very cyclical, and the colder months damn near crack my bones spiritually), and I’m only just starting not only to see sunlight again, but to care whether I see it or not.

Julie Miller’s song helps me feel like perhaps there’s still someplace I’m headed besides base survival.

Lyrics after the break:

Continue reading