Saturday, May 31, 2008



I love Bizarro, particularly this clever panel about the Salvation Army’s Special Forces! For more Bizarro, check out Dan Piraro’s
website and blog.



Blog buddy Chris Mills has posted the first few pages from Issue #3 of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries at:

Check it out!

Friday, May 30, 2008



Fast cars and improbable chases have been key ingredients in the James Bond films since the series began in 1962. From modest beginnings in Dr No, when 007 outran his pursuers in a rented Sunbeam Alpine, the Bond car has grown in speed, sophistication and sex appeal. With each new model, James Bond has been able to impress us with his impeccable driving and unflappable demeanour and, more importantly, to transport us to a place where our fantasies and envy collide like so many henchmen in a car chase.

Here’s a list from Britain’s Times On-Line of the ten most impressive Bond cars in the 21 films to date.
Top Ten Cars



Wow! It looks great! The official Young Bond website has received a spectacular makeover. The all-new site sports a clean contemporary look with links to Young Bond games, downloads, character profiles, and more.

The new also includes headlines from The Young Bond Dossier right on the main page (via our RSS feed) and a dedicated news section. This more user friendly site integration is good news for all Young Bond fans as Puffin is planning a full schedule of scoops and exclusives to rollout throughout 2008. That means (via YBD) will always be the first place to find breaking Young Bond news.

Click here to visit the all-new!



Cover art for Roger Moore’s upcoming autobiography My Word Is My Bond has been revealed on

The book will be ghostwritten by Gareth Owen, Sir Roger’s personal assistant. He said: ‘Turning 80 is a milestone, a time to reflect. It’ll be a frank and fun book, but he’s not interested in digging the dirt.’

The book will be published by Michael O’Mara Books in the UK (2 October) and HarperCollins in the US (4 November). For more information check out this article on



Announced a few months ago, the cover art for Craig Cabell’s upcoming book Ian Fleming’s Secret War has been found by
Double O Section at A listing can also be seen on


Thursday, May 29, 2008



An 800-word Harry Potter prequel is one of 13 card-sized works to be sold at a charity auction in London.

Waterstone's Booksellers Ltd. says the cream-colored A5 papers -- each slightly bigger than a postcard -- were distributed to 13 authors and illustrators, including the boy wizard's creator J.K. Rowling, Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing and playwright Tom Stoppard.

Rowling used both sides of her card to handwrite a prequel to her seven-book Harry Potter saga, while Lessing penned a story about the power of reading. Stoppard wrote a short mystery.

The cards will go on sale at the "What's Your Story?" auction June 10. The proceeds are to go to English PEN, the writers' association, and the British charity Dyslexia Action. Copies of the cards will be collated into a book to be made available at the bookstore and online in August.



New Scientis Tech has a great article on how the Bond gagets would possibly work in real life.

“Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was born 100 years ago today. But while his hero's Cold War concerns may have dated, some of Bond's gadgets have not. Some movies and stories used existing technologies such as jetpacks (Dr No), autogyros (You Only Live Twice) and GPS-capable phones (Casino Royale). But many of Bond's toys were way ahead of their time – and only now are we beginning to catch up.”

Check it out at:


BOND GAGET SLIDE SHOW! has a great article and slide show featuring many of the Bond gagets and their history.

“And in England, Adolf Hitler's minions faced Charles Frazier-Smith, a shop floor savant who crafted weapons of mass distraction such as the itching powder French saboteurs dumped into the clothes of German submarine crews.

Frazier-Smith hid compasses inside of golf balls and saws inside of shoelaces. He disguised cameras as cigarette lighters. He even built a special case, filled with dry ice, so the body of a man who died of pneumonia could be dumped into the Mediterranean with fake plans for an invasion of Sardinia.

For a nation of eccentrics and inveterate fiddlers, it was truly their finest hour. So it makes sense that Frazier-Smith would be immortalized as Q, the gadget master, in the novels of Ian Fleming, a former covert operations commander who used the U.K.'s Second World War campaign of spying, sabotage and commando raids as the template for James Bond's fictional Cold War-era adventures.”

To read the rest of this article click:
Forbes has a slideshow

A tip of the fedora to


MAD MEN RETURNS TO AMC IN JULY! reports AMC has set a July premiere date for the second season of the Golden Globe-winning Mad Men.

The cable network has announced that the next run of Mad Men will start on Sunday, July 27 at 10 p.m. ET.

AMC's first original drama series, Mad Men became one of TV's most talked about shows in its initial run. The story of Madison Avenue ad men (and women) at the start of the '60s won the Golden Globe for best drama series and also earned an award for leading man Jon Hamm. In addition, Man Men was a Peabody winner and made numerous critical Top 10 lists.

Specifics about the show's second season, which began production at the end of April, are fuzzy, but viewers who missed the show's first 13 episodes will have ample opportunities to catch up.

AMC has scheduled a Mad Men Marathon for July 20 and episodes will be available in both standard and high-definition On Demand. In addition, Lionsgate will release the first season on DVD on July 1.



Saturday, June 1,2008, will marke the 40th anniversay of the U.S. premier of the cult TV show, The Prisoner. Staring Patrick McGoohan, it aired on CBS as a summer replacement for the Jackie Gleason Show.

McGoohan's brainchild soon had a surprised America talking about what it all meant. The star was returning from his hit show Secret Agent, but the new show was nothing like the previous one.

A mysterious Village was the centerpiece for the 17 episodes; a place where McGoohan's character Number Six was held while attempts were made each week to extract secret information from him. Was this the forerunner of places today like Guantanamo Bay?

Nowadays, McGoohan (80) lives quietly in Pacific Palisades, California, with wife Joan, to whom he has been married for nearly 60 years. They have three daughters and several grandchildren - a far cry from the days of the rebellious character the actor portrayed on screen, always fighting to escape. However, McGoohan still stands by the message of freedom he put out in 1968 and the show returned to US screens for a repeat run the following year.

The actor's biography has recently been published, covering McGoohan's early stage work, through to his many movies and other TV appearances.

Written by Roger Langley, the lavishly illustrated book runs to 340 pages, with a foreword by McGoohan's close friend, Peter "Columbo" Falk. The book is entitled"Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?", published by Tomahawk Press, and is available from all bookstores and online sellers, or direct from the pubishers at



“Tonight, a star is born!”

With those words, Grammy-award winning composer and producer David Foster officially welcomed Charice to the musical world. And with those words, Charice made it to the consciousness of the audience inside the jampacked concert hall, who trooped to Vegas to watch a tribute to the musical genius that is Foster.

The event was the star-studded David Foster & Friends concert held Friday, May 23 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center. It was an almost fourhour musical extravaganza that featured tour de force performances from Foster’s friends such as Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Katharine McPhee, Peter Cetera, Brian McKnight, Babyface, and Boz Scaggs.Charice, a day after the once in a lifetime show, was still on a natural high the following day when we had a chance to chat. She was the penultimate performer to take the stage and Foster introduced her as someone whose talent “you’ve never seen before”. She sang a medley of I Have Nothing and I Will Always Love You, from the movie TheBodyguard.

After her stellar performance, the audience rose to its feet and awarded her with a standing ovation. Trying to contain her tears, Charice exchanged high-fives with Foster.

Only three other performers received a standing ovation when they performed, and rightly so.

Foster received his the moment he entered the stage, Bocelli got his in each and every song he did and Groban got his standing ovation after his four-song set.

After her medley, Charice performed And I Am Telling You, the song that catapulted her into world-wide YouTube fame. With such poise, grace and precision, the young singer belted her way out of the Dreamgirls song and earned yet another standing ovation from the audience. Charice approached Foster and they hugged.

This was when the audience got up on their feet and cheered for the young singer. “That was just incredible. I can’t think of anybody who can top that,” Foster said, “Charice, don’t forget that name.”

Concert viewers are one in claiming that Charice more than delivered the goods that night.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, “If Groban is one of Foster’s most renowned discoveries, this night truly belonged to a newer one, doe-eyed 16-year-old Filipino belter Charice, whose voice is like a jetliner taking off from her sternum.”

In between the medley and her second song, Charice responded to Foster’s question about her and where she came from.

“I’m from the Philippines and I started singing when I was 4,” she said, and the Filipinos applauded wildly. “May mga Pilipino ba diyan?” she asked, and was met by louder screams.


Tennis legend Andre Agassi introduced Foster and said that it was a great honor for him to introduce one of the greatest musical talents of our time. “He started with a vision, then it became a calling, and now it is a movement,” Agassi said as he described Foster’s other passion aside from music.

The musician has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for his own foundation which assists families with children in need of organ transplants and other causes such as the fight against cancer and AIDS.

One by one, a cavalcade of stars happened and performed a song or two with the man of the hour.

Kenny G, Michael Johns, Brian McKnight, Katharine McPhee, jazz artist Renee Olstead, Cheryl Lynn, country singer Blake Shelton, Boz Scaggs, Eric Benet, Peter Cetera and Andrea Bocelli, who was the finale of the first part of the show.

The second half opened with pianist William Joseph, followed by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Michael Buble, then Charice and Josh Groban, who served as the evening’s finale, and as Foster said, “the only one person tonight who can follow Charice”. Groban performed five songs, including his signature hit You Raise Me Up and a duet of Bridge Over Troubled Water with McKnight.

“He is going to be around for a very, very long time,” Foster said of Groban. The illustrious Bocelli, who flew from Tuscany just for the show, had a larger than life stage persona and the audience just lapped at every song he sang. I had goosebumps listening to the man. To describe him as amazing would be an understatement.

He performed The Prayer with American Idol alum McPhee, who was just resplendent and captivating every time she appeared onstage. McPhee’s natural charm and her melodious voice are a potent combination. Michael Buble was the wild one in the bunch. He goofed around both in his performances and during the spiels. It was a welcome sight, especially for those who always see him in very formal clothes during very formal gatherings. He had spot numbers and sang Save the Last Dance for Me and his own duet, with country crooner Shelton as they sang their hit Home.

“I truly had no idea of the magnitude of his talent,” Foster said of Buble before he introduced the singer.

The $2 million one-night only musical event was filmed for broadcast this December on all PBS stations nationwide while the CD/DVD of the show will be released by Warner Bros. this fall.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008



It is the year of the imprisoned women drama series.

Director Robert Rodriguez is shopping around "Women in Chains!" a violent drama set at a woman's prison starring his fiancee, Rose McGowan.

The spec script, penned by Josh Miller and Mark Fortin, has been sent to a number of networks, including NBC and FX.

McGowan is set play one of five chained women at the center of the show, which Rodriguez is expected to direct. The two first worked together on last year's "Planet Terror," Rodriguez's homage to 1970s exploitation flicks.

The new show also is rumored to be fashioned with a 1970s exploitation sensibility, with such staples like mud wrestling. Details about the plot were first leaked to earlier this week.

Women behind bars has become a running theme of late. "Chains!" comes on the heels of HBO's deal to do an American version of the British female prison drama "Bad Girls" with Alan Ball, Nancy Oliver and Raelle Tucker.

A tip of the fedora to who is always on top of this kind of story!



There are many blog tributes to Ian Fleming and James Bond being posted today. Steve Holland, uber-comic art maven extrodinaire, has one of the best at displaying some marvelous original British Bond paperback covers.

You gotta check it out at:



A tip of the fedora to:



This 1927 Palm Springs house was actor Cary Grant's personal hideaway for more than 20 years, starting in the 1950s. It's on the market for $4,995,000.

The 6,000-square-foot Spanish farmhouse once owned by Cary Grant has six bedrooms and 5 1/2 bathrooms. It has a real Old Hollywood feel with a built-in dressing room and a studio.

Actor Cary Grant, shown here with his co-star in "An Affair to Remember," Deborah Kerr, was one of Hollywood's greatest stars from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Grant called this home Las Palomas, Spanish for "The Doves." Many original features remain, including the double-thick whitewashed walls, hand-painted Spanish Talavera tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms, kiva fireplaces and handmade terra-cotta roof tiles.

The home once owned by Cary Grant features a 40-foot-long great room, a saline pool and mountain views.

The compound once owned by Cary Grant is on a tree-lined street and sits on 1.5 acres in this desert community's Movie Colony neighborhood – an area so dubbed because of the many celebrities who once lived here.

Wallace Neff designed the guest wing, which has three bedrooms, each with a different stucco fireplace and private bathroom.



I’ve enjoyed both of Parker’s previous westerns, Gunman’s Rhapsody and Appaloosa, and am looking forward to the film adaptation of Appaloosa later this year starring Ed Harris as Virgil Cole and Viggo Mortensen as Everrett Hitch. Resolution, the sequel to Appalossa, will hit book stores on June 3rd. I’ expecting it to be the usual rollicking, kick-ass, witty good time.


by Robert B. Parker

The New York Times-bestselling author’s richly imagined work of historical fiction: a powerful tale of the Old West from the acknowledged master of crime fiction.

“I had an eight-gauge shotgun that I’d taken with me when I left Wells Fargo. It didn’t take too long for things to develop. I sat in the tall lookout chair in the back of the saloon with the shotgun in my lap for two peaceful nights. On my third night it was different. I could almost smell the trouble beginning to cook . . . .”

After the bloody confrontation in Appaloosa, Everett Hitch heads in the afternoon sun and ends up in Resolution, an Old West town so new the dust has yet to settle. It’s the kind of town that doesn’t have much in the way of commerce, except for a handful of saloons and some houses of ill repute. Hitch takes the job as lookout at Amos Wolfson’s Blackfoot Saloon and quickly establishes his position as protector of the ladies who work the backrooms—as well as a man unafraid to stand up to the enforcer sent down from the O’Malley copper mine.

Though Hitch makes short work of hired gun Koy Wickman, tensions continue to mount, so that even the self-assured Hitch is relieved by the arrival in town of his friend Virgil Cole. When greedy mine owner Eamon O’Malley threatens the loose coalition of local ranchers and starts buying up Resolution’s fee businesses, Hitch and Cole find themselves in the middle of a makeshift war between O’Malley’s men and the ranchers. In a place where law and order don’t exist, Hitch and Cole must make their own, guided by their sense of duty, honor, and friendship.

Read an excerpt from Resolution

Visit to learn more about RESOLUTION and see a list of Robert B. Parker’s tour dates.



Our blog buddy Tanner over at has score a Centenary Exclusive: Interview With Moneypenny Diaries Author Samantha Weinberg. Tanner does an insightful job with this extensive post on the Monneypenny series and it delightful author. For my money Sebastian Faulks is going to have to hit his new James Bond novel, Devil May Care, out of the park to compete with the achievement of Westbrook’s take on the Bond canon.

Check out Tanner’s post at:



Bookseller Lynn Munroe has a cool article on his website on
make-believe paperbacks including four by the untouchable Robert McGinnis. As you can see from the above cover photo, McGinnes' work is still having an impact on current paperback covers.

“The under-rated 2005 Shane Black film KISS KISS BANG BANG is loosely based on a Mike Shayne mystery called BODIES ARE WHERE YOU FIND THEM by Brett Halliday, and one of the many in-jokes in the movie is a series of references to sixties private eye “Jonny Gossamer”, star of TV, movies and old Mike Shayne-style paperbacks. In one scene at a party, a few of the old paperbacks are pulled off a bookshelf, and to the delight of vintage PB fans everywhere, the covers look exactly like Dell Mike Shayne paperbacks by Robert McGinnis. They look exactly like McGinnis because they ARE McGinnis. The filmmakers were wise enough to enlist the original cover artist to do the vintage-style mock cover art for the film. Luckily for us, McGinnis is still working and even does covers now and then for the Hard Case Crime series.

“McGinnis did four fake paperback covers for KISS KISS BANG BANG. Art Scott, the author of THE PAPERBACK COVERS OF ROBERT MCGINNIS, told me that the art director on the film was purposefully attempting to create the look and color palettes of vintage paperbacks for scenes in the film.
The secret behind the success of the McGinnis pastiches is a lifetime of awareness, among book collectors and mystery readers at least, of the 88 great Brett Halliday covers McGinnis did for Dell. For fans of make-believe paperbacks, these four are the coolest. (You can find a great Mike Shayne website at and a fine checklist of all of McGinnis’s covers in the book by Art Scott mentioned above.)”

Here are the four Jonny Gossamer paperback covers created by Robert McGinnis for the movie.

Compare the look and feel of those mock-ups to the real thing:



The actual centenary day is upon us and celebrations abound! Devil May Care will be released into bookstores today with much ballyhoo – let’s hope it lives up to the hype.

Deborah Lipp, who moderates the wonderful Ultimate James Bond Fan Blog, presents the below Bond trivia in relation to today's date.

Ian Fleming was born on May 28, 1908 and would have been 100 years old today. Fleming was many things, both negative and positive. Like most humans, he had flaws, and we could make much of them if we wanted to. But let’s not. Let’s note that we Bond fans would need a different hobby without Ian Fleming, that he created an enduring and remarkable hero, one who is now a part of our culture and our consciousness.

Today is also the release date (no coincidence, just good marketing) of Devil May Care, by Sebastian Faulks, the first Bond novel in a good long while. This doesn’t continue the post-Bond novel series by Kinglsey Amis, John Gardner, and Raymond Benson; rather, it is a period piece, picking up where Fleming left off in 1966.

Ian Fleming gave his greatest villain his own birthday. Ernst Stavro Blofeld was born on May 28, 1908. In The Bond Code, Philip Gardiner makes much of the relationship between Fleming and his villains; how he used them as alter egos to exorcise his own dark side. And certainly if Blofeld is your dark side, you’ve got some serious exorcism to do!

Gladys Knight, singer of the highly mediocre Bond song Licence to Kill as well as many wonderful pop hits, was born on this day in 1944.

Julie T. Wallace, who played a very funny oil pipeline technician/operative in The Living Daylights, turns 47 today.

To help you celebrate here are a couple of lists on the best and worst Bond villains…

Best Bond Villains:

Top 10 Badass James Bond Villains

Worst Bond Villains:

I don't agree with some of these listings, but that's the fun part!



Femme Noir is one of the most innovative, exciting, and enjoyable comic titles available – plus it’s written by our blog buddy Chris Mills. If you love hardboilded mystery then you gotta make the effort to grab a copy for yourself and another for a friend.

Chris gives us the following update:

My optimistic and far-seeing publishers, Ape Entertainment, are still firmly behind the book, and not only will they be publishing the entire 4-issue miniseries as promised, but they've asked for an immediate, 48-page, one-shot follow-up. Joe Staton and I have already come up with a story idea, and we'll be starting on the new book – which I'm referring to as the Femme Noir Annual – just as soon as we've got the last issue of the miniseries off to the printer. The title will be Femme Noir: Supernatural Crime, and will guest star the skull-visaged vigilante known as Brother Grim. The idea is that our heroine and Grim will work the same macabre mystery separately from different angles, and then collide at the climax.

Should be fun, if I can pull it off.

By the way, I would still appreciate it if people kept plugging Femme Noir around the web and to their comics retailers. The third issue (which is probably the strongest issue in this miniseries) will be in the June edition of the Diamond PREVIEWS catalog, which comes out this week, and we can use all the help we can get. I'd be thrilled if we could buck the odds and actually increase the numbers for the later issues in the mini.

Here's the order info: Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries #3 of 4, from Ape Entertainment. The Diamond Item codes are: JUN083647 for Cover "A" by Joe Staton and Alfredo Lopez and JUN083648 for Cover "B" by Phil Hester (Green Arrow, Nightwing, The Irredeemable Ant-Man).

Thanks for your continued interest & support, guys!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008



The composer of one of my favorite TV themes, I Spy, has passed on.

Earle H. Hagen, who co-wrote the jazz classic "Harlem Nocturne" and composed memorable themes for "The Andy Griffith Show," "I Spy," "The Mod Squad" and other TV shows, died Monday. He was 88.

Hagen, who is heard whistling the folksy tune for "The Andy Griffith Show," died at his home in Rancho Mirage, his wife, Laura, said Tuesday. He had been in ill health for several months.

During his long musical career, Hagen performed with the top bands of the swing era, composed for movies and television, and wrote one of the first textbooks on movie composing.



Dame Shirley Bassey is in hospital recovering from an emergency operation on her stomach, her spokesman has said.

The 71-year-old was admitted to hospital in Monaco, where she lives, with abdominal pains in the middle of the night last week.

She was "making a good recovery and doctors are happy with her progress", spokesman Paul Carey said.
Dame Shirley has enjoyed chart success since the late 1950s and sang the theme tunes to three James Bond films.
As well as those songs, for Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker, she is known for hits such as Big Spender and History Repeating.

Mr Carey said that the Welsh-born singer, who was made a Dame in 1999, had "an emergency operation to relieve stomach complications, after complaining of abdominal pain".

She is expected to recover in time for her performance at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert in Hyde Park in London next month.
Among her most recent gigs was one at last year's Glastonbury festival, where she arrived in a helicopter and wore diamond-encrusted wellington boots.



BBC News Magazine has an interesting article taking a look into a growing trend of authors emulating others to continue franchises. Although the topic stems from Sebastian Faulks’ latest James Bond work, it also goes into a lot of detail about the Tom Clancy brand.

“In grasping the Bond baton, Faulks is also following in the footsteps of another well trodden bookish tradition - the literary franchise. Recent examples include the Godfather Returns and the Godfather's Revenge, in which Mark Winegardner took on the story originally set down by Mario Puzo.

“It took more than 50 years for Margaret Mitchell's classic Gone With the Wind to be followed up. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley appeared in 1991. While Sally Beauman's 2001 novel Rebecca's Tale picked up where Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca left off.

“How do writers go about taking on the mantle of loved and respected authors while keeping fans of the original happy - and reading?

“In the case of multi-million selling US novelist Tom Clancy - the author rather than the character has become the brand.”

To read the article click:
License to Emulate