OF FRANKENSTEINS and HYDES : The cautionary fiction of Mary Shelley and Robert Louis Stevens!

 

DR.JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE

Chapter 1

Story of the Door

Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was
never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in
discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and
yet somehow lovable.  At friendly meetings, and when the wine was
to his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye;
something indeed which never found its way into his talk, but
which spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner
face, but more often and loudly in the acts of his life.

The Robert Louis Stevenson Novel/Novellette from 1886 DR. JEKYLL AND MR.HYDE along with Mary Shelley’S FRANKENSTEIN: THE MODERN PROMETHEUS (almost 70 years earlier in 1818) were both pivotal cautionary tales  that foresaw in the new Marvels of Science, the new quickly expanding horizons of Electricity and Chemistry, changes of a a seismic and (if not morally guided) dangerous potential.

Dangerous not just in bodily harm, or even death, but dangerous to the very quality of what it means to be human, to the very nature of humanity.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley tantalized with this fantastic concept of man playing at God and creating life, but that life created by a flawed and fickle and neglectful and abusive God becomes a rebuke onto its creator, and possibly a supplanter of all mankind.

Stevenson tantalized with this fantastic concept, that behind our masks of civility, and mores and morality, there is even in the best of us, some darker divide, and he posited the ability of science freeing the one from the other. And long before that idea would become common place, StevenSON was one of the first, to speak of the possible calamity, of cures to our perceived ills, that give birth to much greater ills.

He foresaw in Hyde the rise of the Sociopath society. Of a whole nation of Hydes, glutted on self interest, trampling children in their wake.

and shelley foresaw even more.

Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN turns 200 next year, and I always find her story, the story of frankenstein’s genesis amazing.

MARY WAS on a getaway with her soon to be husband, their child, and their friends, AND conceived what would become frankenstein pretty much on a whim, when they were all prompted by lord byron on a stormy, spooky night to see which of them could write the best ghost story. MARY SHELLEY’S STORY , even amongst that august assembly of creators, was considered the most brilliant.

she was only 18 years old. A PROTO FEMINIST and intellectual and renaissance woman.

and had lived in those 18 years more than most live today in an entire life time. in a world devoid of tv or facebook, people themselves, their ability to create, to learn, to excel… people had to be the marvels in their own lives.

These century old novels have stood the test of time because.. beyond being well written, by extraordinary people, they are prophetic and cautionary screeds against the overreaching hubris of man, specifically scientists. cautionary tales, the lesson of which can be summed up thus… because we can do a thing, does not mean we should do that thing.

A great lesson, that Scientists in an age of cloning and gene tampering and manufactured diseases and machines killing men… seem woefully slow at learning. And this abject inability of those makers of fact to learn the lessons of fiction,will keep Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN and Stevens’ DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE always horribly relevant, and scarily prescient… as new scientific threats to life and limb arise.

 

So with that said, these too works are two of the most adapted in the English language. And I have seen just about all the English language adaptations of note.

In part 2 of this post I will bring you the most recommended adaptations in various formats. From Audio to video to Books!

That should be up Friday Night. Come back for that!

And for right now support this blog and support yourself by buying one of the best book Adaptations of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN ever put to print…the Dark Horse Bernie Wrightson Illustrated, impeccably designed hardcover version.

Get your copy here:

.

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein

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Currently Watching : THE MACHINE (2013) – NetFlix Streaming VOD Movie of the Day!

 

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THE MACHINE – Directed by Caradog James, is a definitely worth a look scifi thriller, however if you have the slightest familiarity with the Science Fiction genre you are clearly aware the film is breaking no new ground.

Indeed much of it, is you marveling at the stupidity of supposedly brilliant scientists (a stupidity that unfortunately is not relegated to fiction), that open seemingly obvious Pandora’s Boxes of moral and spiritual and existential chaos.  Humanity has enough trouble being humane to other humans, much less the storm of confusion and conflict and potential horror and abuse, that will spiral up around the  very concept of potentially conscious beings that are built or grown, rather than born in the traditional sense.

It is a door that Mary Shelley saw two hundred years ago we were not ready to walk through, and humanity for all its technological leaps, has become no more emotionally or morally responsibly since. Indeed it can be argued that as our technological marvels increase, our humanity decreases. That humans increasingly become drones, in a world were we have relegated the marvelous to our creations.

So THE MACHINE touches on all of this, but it’s a well worn topic, and the movie often feels plodding and redundant rather than an innovative new take on the dwindling of the human spirit. So again worth a look, but ultimately pretty forgettable.

Far more satisfying takes on the subject would be Whales’ BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN or Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER or the enigmatic, but brilliant UPSTREAM COLOR. The latter is also available courtesy of Streaming.

Grade: B-.

 

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Star Trek USS Enterprise Original Series Crew James T Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura & Chekov T-Shirt

Yes, I’m kicking this off with one non-book item just cause I thought it was pretty awesome looking. :). Okay, now onto the books!


Night Watch
Publication Date: July 26, 2006
The Night Watch series has caused a sensation never before seen in Russia — its popularity is frenzied and unprecedented, and driven by a truly great, epic story. In 2005 Fox Searchlight announced it had acquired the Russian film adaptation for an American release. Interest in the books here is now set to reach a fever pitch.

Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the “Others,” an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme “Other” will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light. When a young boy with extraordinary powers emerges, fulfilling the first half of the prophecy, will the forces of the Light be able to keep the Dark from corrupting the boy and destroying the world?

An extraordinary translation from the Russian by noted translator Andrew Bromfield, this first English language edition of Night Watch is a chilling, engrossing read certain to reward those waiting in anticipation of its arrival.

I caught a bit of the DVD, but not enough to really get a grasp of this 4 book Russian series. So interested enough to pick up the first book and give it a read.


Voyage: A Novel of 1896

Editorial Reviews
From Library Journal
Hayden’s wonderful 1976 novel is a historical page-turner with a social conscience. The book compares the treatment of the rich and poor as it juxtaposes the journeys of the pampered daughter of a shipping titan and the crew aboard one of her father’s hellish barks. (Classic Returns, LJ 11/15/99)
Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover
“Violent, colorful… you keep turning the pages to find out just what in the name of God is going to happen next.” –Boston Globe

“A book of savage beauty.” –Boston Herald American

“A rousing epic… Big, muscular, profane, cynical, romantic.” –Chicago Daily News

“A rare sort of sheer drive and vitality carries this novel… a raw fury about class distinctions and privileges… strangely refreshing in our blase age.” –New York Times Book Review

“A story of extraordinary richness and power… Sterling Hayden here proves himself a master novelist. His prose is vivid and brawny, his characters come to individual life… At once a magnificent epic of the sea and a dynamic portrait of turn-of-the-century America.” –Publishers Weekly

Painting With Light
Book Description
Publication Date: May 18, 1995
Few cinematographers have had as decisive an impact on the cinematic medium as John Alton. Best known for his highly stylized film noir classics T-Men, He Walked by Night, and The Big Combo, Alton earned a reputation during the 1940s and 1950s as one of Hollywood’s consummate craftsmen through his visual signature of crisp shadows and sculpted beams of light. No less renowned for his virtuoso color cinematography and deft appropriation of widescreen and Technicolor, he earned an Academy Award in 1951 for his work on the musical An American in Paris. First published in 1949, and long out of print since then, Painting With Light remains one of the few truly canonical statements on the art of motion picture photography, an unrivaled historical document on the workings of the postwar, American cinema. In simple, non-technical language, Alton explains the job of the cinematographer and explores how lighting, camera techniques, and choice of locations determine the visual mood of film. Todd McCarthy’s introduction, written especially for this edition, provides an overview of Alton’s biography and career and explores the influence of his work on contemporary cinematography.


Denim: From Cowboys to Catwalks: A Visual History of the World’s Most Legendary Fabric
Book Description
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
The story of denim is a tale rich in paradox. Cherished alike by cowboys and models, the fabric is at once a symbol of the counterculture and the raw material of a major industry. A simple fabric, dating back to 17th-century France, denim today is ubiquitous: Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have pushed it into the forefront of high fashion; and Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani have made it the basis for billion-dollar brands. This homage to the much-loved fabric delves deep into the archives to trace the origins and development of denim. It features rare pictures of icons wearing denim, like Marilyn Monroe and Steve McQueen, plus specially commissioned photos of rare and classic garments from the 1880s to the present day. It is complete with a glossary and a guide to valuable vintage items.

Even though like all of you I own denim clothes, I admit to until prepping for this post, being relatively ignorant of exactly what Denim was. I mean fabric content, is typically not on the foremost of my mind. I’m sure I picked up it was cotton in the many years of buying jeans, but if so only as background noise. With prepping for this post, it became actual consumed and recognized knowledge. So what is Denim? For those of you like me, ignorant of fabric content… Well, it’s a uniquely American popularized byproduct of the slave-trade it’s nothing more than an incredibly tough form of cotton weave. I admit to being intrigued enough, to want to learn more.


Eyes with Winged Thoughts: Poems and Photographs
From Booklist
Gordon Parks is remarkable: a Renaissance man who has mastered photography, filmmaking, and writing. The story of his life is certainly an incredible one, which explains why Parks has written a new memoir titled A Hungry Heart (2005). This collection of poems and photographs, however, will add yet another dimension to Parks’ life story. From the resonant words and lessons of his parents to meditations on current events–terrorism, the tsunami, the war in Iraq–the poems are candid snapshots of Parks’ emotional life. Words harmonize with landscape photographs and images of strangers walking through their lives without a sense of being observed. Transcending voyeurism, Parks’ photographs reveal vulnerabilities of the human experience with grace and compassion. After all, Parks understands vulnerability and willingly displays it in his writing. In his 90s and still driven to experience what the world has to offer, and to express his response to it, Gordon Parks is an inspiration to us all.– Janet St. John

Gordon Park’s was a renaissance man, in the highest definition of that word. Photographer, writer, musician, cowboy, director. And with his passing, the world lost one of the last adventurers, one of the last of a dying breed… called men. All his books, are highly recommended.


Face Forward
Amazon.com Review
“Makeup should be fun, not fascist,” celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin avers in Face Forward, his third book. One of the most adored stylists among fashionistas, entertainment divas, and high-society jet setters, Southern-born Aucoin arrived on the New York fashion scene in the early ’80s, a period he ridicules for its ’50s-era conservatism and McCarthyist us-against-them values. His career since has been motivated by the feel-good ideals of acceptance, diversity, and self-love, and the vain world of beauty has eagerly participated in his vision. While one may puzzle on how it is he finds fulfillment in an industry known for its superficiality and elitism, Aucoin’s words are nonetheless infectious and the touches of his brushes inspired.

Conceived as an exploration of the past, present, and future of beauty, Face Forward is an ingenious showcase of the transformative, creative possibilities of makeup, with portraits of everyone from Julia Roberts to Sharon Stone, Martha Stewart to his mother, Thelma. His crafted visages range from minimal-application makeovers of friends to elaborate re-creations of such Hollywood icons as Audrey Hepburn (Calista Flockhart), James Dean (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Veronica Lake (shockingly, Martha Stewart) and such pop-culture personalities as Cher (socialite Alexandra von Furstenberg) and Siouxsie Sioux (Winona Ryder). The final pages present his ideas for looks to come, such as “Explorer,” Mary J. Blige covered in eggplant body makeup with a rainbow of metallic eye shadows over her eyes and thickly glossed red lips; “Floralia,” a freckled Lucy Liu resembling a sprite from A Midsummer’s Night Dream; and “Venusian de Milo,” Sharon Stone as an orange-haired, one-breast-baring sci-fi femme fatale. Throughout, Aucoin augments an already colorful book with step-by-step instruction, chatty commentary on each look and model, and riffs on such topics as friendship, politics (he repeatedly applauds the Clinton Administration for embracing diversity in the ’90s), and the environment.

“Appreciating (even highlighting) individuality is one of the great things about makeup,” asserts Aucoin, and Face Forward is a dazzling testament to that belief. For those who see the fun of makeup and are eager to experiment with the virtually unlimited possibilities of it, this book is a boon. –Rebecca Wright –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Okay I admit this last one is an odd choice. But I love that cover, plus we all have women in our lives that we can give this book to as a present. 🙂


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Dreams and Wonders: Stories from the Dawn of Modern Fantasy
by Mike Ashley (Paperback)
Dreams and Wonders: Stories from the Dawn of Modern Fantasy
Book Description
Publication Date: August 19, 2010
Original anthology of 23 tales samples some of the best modern fantasy literature from the 19th and early 20th centuries. It features writers who influenced J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and other master fantasists, including Andrew Lang, Kenneth Grahame, George MacDonald, Edith Nesbit, William Morris, and E. T. A. Hoffmann.


Body Painting: Masterpieces by Joanne Gair
by Joanne Gair (Hardcover)
Body Painting: Masterpieces by Joanne Gair
Book Description
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Stunning works of art using the human body as the canvas. If ever there was a defining moment in a career, for renowned body-painting artist Joanne Gair it was painting “that suit” on Demi Moore for the cover of Vanity Fair. From swimsuits for Sports Illustrated or music videos with Madonna, Gair’s career allows us to see the human body transformed, creating unforgettable images. During a career spanning over 20 years, she has worked with Elle McPherson, Heidi Klum, Pamela Anderson, Rachel Hunter, and Molly Sims to name a few. Among the star photographers also included are Michel Comte, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Howard Schatz, and Mark Seliger. Gair’s collaborations have resulted in thousands of extraordinary photographs which have made an impact on pop culture.

Braziliangels
by Joaquim Nabuco (Hardcover)
Braziliangels
Book Description
Publication Date: October 28, 2010
A rare opportunity to appreciate the incomparable beauty of BrazilÆs women in the equally striking environs of this tropical paradise. Photographer Joaquim NabucoÆs collection of nude art photos creates a lush, whimsical, and sensual landscape that revolves around the feminine, exotic, and vibrant character of these women. From beaches, forests, mountains, and rivers to BrazilÆs big cities and historical sites, Nabuco masterfully frames his subjects, while eliciting a rich and radiant response from them before capturing his images. The themes revealed by these art nudes tells a story of BrazilÆs culture and the angels who grace its natural beauty.

Drawn to Sin by Daniel Kiessler
by Daniel Kiessler (Paperback)
Drawn to Sin by Daniel Kiessler


Dark Tower Omnibus
by Stephen King (Hardcover)
Dark Tower Omnibus
Book Description
Publication Date: September 21, 2011
The ultimate Dark Tower collection! An oversized hardcover collecting the first five volumes of Marvel’s Dark Tower series plus Dark Tower Companion, a separate volume of bonus material, both packaged in a deluxe slipcase!

DARK TOWER OMNIBUS

“The Man in Black fled across the desert…and the gunslinger followed.” With those words from a short story published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Stephen King launched one of the most seminal characters in his lifetime of writing into a destiny fraught with danger, death, triumph and loss. In the almost thirty years since that momentous occasion, King introduced millions of readers to the densely textured realm of Mid-World through his magnum opus, the Dark Tower series of novels. King joined with Marvel in 2007 to bring his masterwork of fantasy to a new generation of readers. Adding stunning new textures to the mythos of Roland and Mid-World for four years, the initial arc of King and Marvel’s union is now complete, and the entire run is collected here. Collecting DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1-7, THE LONG ROAD HOME #1-5, TREACHERY #1-6, SORCERER #1, THE FALL OF GILEAD #1-6 and THE BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #1-5. 296 PGS

Dark Tower Omnibus Companion

Chock full of essential short stories, bonus material and apocrypha, this volume is a must-read for Stephen King enthusiasts. Three guidebooks overseen by Dark Tower: A Concordance author Robin Furth unlock the many secrets of Roland Deschain, the Gunslingers, Gilead and the dark forces of Farson – bringing readers greater insight into the people, places and things of Mid-World. And supplemental material from the first thirty issues of Marvel’s Dark Tower series shed even more light on King’s epic – with short stories by Furth, and a tour through artists Jae Lee and Richard Isanove’s sketchbooks, and more! Collecting DARK TOWER: GUNSLINGER’S GUIDEBOOK, END-WORLD ALMANAC and GUIDE TO GILEAD; MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: DARK TOWER; and material from DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1-7, THE LONG ROAD HOME #1-5, TREACHERY #1-6, SORCERER #1, THE FALL OF GILEAD #1-6 and THE BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #1-5. 600 PGS.

FANTASTIC ART OF ARTHUR SUYDAM HC
by T.W. French (Hardcover)
FANTASTIC ART OF ARTHUR SUYDAM HC

Transient Man
by Justin Coro Kaufman (Hardcover)
Transient Man


The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1
by Cullen Bunn (Paperback)
Book Description
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
During the darkest days of the Civil War, wicked cutthroats came into possession of six pistols of otherworldly power. In time the Sixth Gun, the most dangerous of the weapons, vanished. When the gun surfaces in the hands of an innocent girl, dark forces reawaken. Vile men thought long dead set their sights on retrieving the gun and killing the girl. Only Drake Sinclair, a gunfighter with a shadowy past, stands in their way.

The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1


The Century’s Best Horror Fiction Volume 1
by John Pelan (Hardcover)
The Century’s Best Horror Fiction Volume 1
Book Description
Publication Date: December 30, 2010
In celebration of the new millennium, Cemetery Dance Publications has commissioned a spectacular two-volume anthology project under the editorship of noted author and historian of the horror genre, John Pelan.

John will be selecting one story published during each year of the 20th Century (1901-2000) as the most notable story of that year — all 100 stories will then be collected in The Century’s Best Horror Fiction.

The ground rules are simple: Only one selection per author. Only one selection per year.

Two huge volumes, one hundred authors, one hundred classic stories, over 700,000 words of fiction — history in the making!


The Best of Kage Baker
by Kage Baker (Hardcover)
The Best of Kage Baker
Book Description
Publication Date: April 30, 2012
Kage Baker’s death in 2010 silenced one of the most distinctive, consistently engaging voices in contemporary fiction. A late starter, Baker published her first short stories in 1997, at the age of forty-five. From then until the end of her life, she wrote prolifically and well, leaving an astonishing body of work behind.

The Best of Kage Baker is a treasure trove that gathers together twenty stories and novellas, eleven of which have never been collected anywhere. The volume is bookended by a pair of tales from her best known and best loved creation: The Company, with its vivid cast of time traveling immortals. In ‘Noble Mold,’ Mendoza the botanist and Joseph, the ancient ‘facilitator,’ find themselves in 19th century California, where a straightforward acquisition grows unexpectedly complex, requiring, in the end, a carefully engineered ‘miracle.’ In ‘The Carpet Beds of Sutro Park,’ an autistic Company operative named Ezra encounters a lost soul named Kristy Ann, and finds a way to give her back the world that she has lost.


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

Crazy Rambling Short Story of the Day?! The War on the Public

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a mad tirade is a complete coincidence. 🙂

Quick update, we have the WEDNESDAYS WORDS installment scheduled for tomorrow, that’s going to be a rough one, to get out on time. And I want to get up the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interview with Charles Saunders for Thursday, which will push part two of 15 FAVORITE PULP HEROES into the weekend. So yeah just check back this weekend for part II.

But to give you pulp fans something in the interim, I bring you… The War on the Public! A mad, slightly quixotic rant (for those of you who’ve never seen me rant before… run away. The water is deep here, and in the words of Alan Moore, “the idea of a God… a real idea.” :)) :

CONDE NAST vs BLACK MASK – This is an oldie but an interesting read nevertheless about the first significant volleys in the war to eradicate public domain.

Here are some additional public domain links:

“Supreme Court Lands Final Blow Against the Public Domain! In Golan v. Holder (Jan. 18, 2012), the Court upheld the power of Congress to withdraw works from the U.S. public domain”

and

“What do we do now if Congress adopts a term of, say, life + 1000 years, or seeks to award a new copyright in Huckleberry Finn to Disney or to the Mark Twain estate?”

Public domain, public domain, public domain. Why is it disappearing? And Why should you care?

Well the first question is simple, it’s disappearing because people with money can make it disappear. It’s disappearing because of greed.

‘But’, you say, ‘there have always been rich people. and there have always been greedy people, so why is it disappearing now?’

Well it is disappearing now, because business has made such inroads into having the ear of our senate and house, and our courts, that the people who previously were elected to represent the citizens, are instead representing corporations.

The second question, “Why should you care?” I can’t answer that for you, I can only tell you why I care.

Now as a creative person and a writer, and as a friend of writers, I believe in copyright. I think it’s a great thing. But I also believe in Public Domain, and I think that is an equally great thing.

And I think before big business stepped in with their “more, more, more” mindset we had a perfectly workable compromise.

When I was coming up, public domain was very simple, after 50 years, a concept went into public domain

It became the property of the people. Of we, the people.

The writer doesn’t stop being the creator, he is still the creator, his or her name is still on the work. It’s just that after fifty years, his creation can be used by others.

The idea being that if an idea or concept has survived for 50 years that a/ it’s enough time for the creator to profit, sans competition, from the creation and 2/if people are still talking about a character or an idea 50 years later it has become part of the cultural conversation. It has become like an urban legend or a myth or a tale of Grendel and Beowulf, something that transcends the teller. Something that is part and parcel of a larger conversation and the basis for new creations.

(And notice I said people, Public domain is about insuring people, creators get compensated in their lifetime, it is not about ensuring the perpetual unending market share for an undying corporation. Why are companies, that don’t even have the welfare of this country at heart, given the right to lobby our representatives like citizens?

Companies that I can assure you don’t pay the percentage of tax that I do. I’d love to see Disney and Exxon and Shell paying 20% of their income a year in taxes. This nation would not have a deficit.

Corporations shouldn’t in a civilized world, have more rights than citizens. They don’t care about creators, they don’t care about this nation or any nation, they care about themselves. Which is fine if they are not drafting the laws for an entire nation, but they are, so their lack of concern for what is best for anyone besides them… becomes a problem.

A corporation without a sense of cultural and social responsibility… is a mob, to be watched, to be feared, and ultimately to be put down.)

That’s how culture and art works. New things building upon the old. And old ideas being re-imagined into the new. But the coming of the 21st century saw greedy companies rather than earn customers through the new, instead adopt a policy of profit through protection rackets, through intimidation.

So you get corporations lobbying for aggressive changes in the laws of copyright and trademark and patents. And suddenly public domain is an enemy for corporations to avoid and destroy at all cost, instead of what it should be, a necessary part of making old ideas the birth ground for the new.

Art doesn’t get made in a vacuum, it’s part of a continuing conversation. And we are made better for that open resource, for Universal Studios being able to do their version of Frankenstein or Dracula, and for Hammer Studios to be able to do their version, and for any writer or indie filmmaker to be able to do their version.

Without having to clear the usage of Mary Shelly’s concepts with Disney, or Bram Stoker’s concepts with Time Warner, anyone can do a Frankenstein children’s book, or produce a Dracula song or stuffed animal. And that’s wonderful, and cute, and beautiful, and healthy. So it’s about creativity, but it’s also about healthy commerce, and true free enterprise. Companies that want to generate wealth in a country, rather than just taking wealth out. And by Wealth I mean more than money, I mean the ability of people to be able to produce and own products of cultural recognition and interest, without having to pay tribute and protection money… to monopolies.

It’s especially galling to hear from these pompous companies, when the characters they are looking to lock down are, in many cases, popular inspite of them.

Who has kept the Shadow and Doc Sampson and even Spider characters viable? It wasn’t the bloody companies. The pulps and old time radio shows exist not because of the companies, that couldn’t erase the tapes and dispose of the pulps fast enough, it was the bloody collectors. These insane, lovely human beings, who threw together out of their own pocket, these things called conventions, at a time when a company’s initial response was, “Why are they talking about that lame, dead crap, come see my latest Disco Ball action figure! Look at the nerds still talking about the Shadow and Doc Sambo, or whatever his name is! Hey Nerds, the 1930s called they want their hero back! Ha! Ha! Ha!!”

🙂 (I just made myself chuckle)

Unfortunately much to businesses’ amazement, this old stuff, due to the passion of fans, actually had staying power. And if anyone has been to a movie theater in the last couple decades, monetary value.

However, as I’ve said before, it was the people, the collectors, the very obsessive types who corporations seek to criminalize today as filesharers, infringers, etc.,, that have saved and preserved much of the culture we now are able to still enjoy, that without them would have been lost.

I love the Old time Shadow radio shows, along with many other radio shows. Those shows, those great pieces of not just entertainment, but of art and culture and history largely exist, not because of Conde-Nast, or insert corporation here… those shows exist because rabid collectors, copied them off the air, made copies, and shared them down the years.

Same with the pulps. Same with silent movies, and sound movies, and film noir.

In the absence of companies finding a monetary value for something they destroy it. They erase over the tape of Doctor Who, they throw out the audio tapes of the Shadow, they burn original artwork of cartoonists.

Why? Because the number crunchers at companies, are not the creative people, they weren’t then and they aren’t now. They make decisions based solely on dollars and cents, and that tunnel vision is always flawed when dealing with work that is also about the imagination of man.

An ‘only Dollars and cents’ mentality will let what is quirky, and manic, and fun, and childish, and challenging in this world die. So these gentle angels of our nature survive because of people who love them. People like the owner of BLACK MASK. Rather than suing that man, Conde-Nast should have got down on their knees and thanked him.

Because he and his kind, collectors preserve these things, when Conde-Nast could not see financial gain to them. But in the wake of renewed interest from Hollywood at the end of the 20th century, and the gangbusters showing of comic and pulp related properties, suddenly everybody wants to sweep in and be the owner of old things made new.

Here’s the thing about public domain. It doesn’t stop you from making money if you have a good idea and a good product. So you don’t need to take Doc Savage or Shadow or Spider out of public domain, to do a book, or a movie, or a audio drama or a cartoon.

No one is stopping you. Build it and they will come. I don’t need to buy Spider Books or Shadow Books, however I do so all the time, when I see a great packaged product. However, if you’re a morally bankrupt company, that has no intention of putting out an attractive product, I can see how competition may not be for you. And you try to sue yourself into business rather than earning business.

And that is where we are at with these companies. They are so petty and greedy for every single penny, it is sickening.

Those…. bloodsuckers!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! 🙂 )

Disney’s one of the biggest companies in the world, they can throw around 200 million dollar movies, like you and I throw around nickles, and yet they are afraid to death if a grade school kid creates and passes out her mickey mouse comic.

You can not have it both ways. You can not want something to be culturally iconic and generational, yet remain proprietary and exclusionary. No. We are creatures raised to spread stories over an open flame and for that story to travel from person to person, being changed by each person, owned by each person, passed on by each person, and becoming changed and new and different with each telling.

If you look at all the martial arts, they are pretty much the same art, changed over time, and over region. And we as a culture are better and stronger and richer for that migration, that cross pollination, that cross ownership… we are better for having silat, kung-fu, aikido, hapkido, capoeira, savate, kenpo, krav maga, systema… etc., we are better for free association, no fences, open source, public domain.

We have always been better for it. But now in the last few decades, fences are being put up by a few gatekeepers, on everything. And that cannot stand.

It is an unsupportable policy/mindset, utter control of the culture, art, and interactions of a mass of people by a few outside those people. There is a name for that, and it has always been the same name.

Because if you think that it is a nightmare and an outrage just getting rights to a song to use in your film or project or play, imagine wanting to do your short film of Poe’s TELL TALE HEART, and being told you have to get that approved through Disney, and if they approve you, fees start at $500000.

You wouldn’t have a filmmaker like Roger Corman, if the copyright and trademark environment of today was in existence yesterday. And then you lose all his Poe films, you lose all his collaborations with Vincent Price, you lose his part in the ascension of creators like Nicholson and Howard and Coppola. And who knows what we all lose for loss of those mad, creative cranked out Gothic films.

All that because one man was allowed to follow his muse without crippling interference or exorbitant costs imposed by ‘rights’ holders. How many possible Cormans are we killing, in multiple fields, today? Killing them because we are allowing dinosaurs to sit on our shared cultural conversation and art like a dragon sitting on eggs.

Doc Savage is public domain. Superman is Public domain as much as Robin Hood. Batman is public domain. The Shadow is public domain. Fifty years is a good run for exclusive rights to profits. None of this nonsense about renewal of copyrights, or trademark used to get around expired copyright.

[And speaking of trade-mark. MARVEL and DC have ‘jointly’ trade-marked the term ‘Super-Hero”. What is that about? So tomorrow do you trade mark the term ‘hero’ or ‘myth’ or god’? Do you trademark the term God? Who is at the trademark office just handing out the rights to every word in the dictionary to the highest bidder?

They haven’t begun invoking it yet, their ‘super-hero’ trademark, largely because I think they are waiting for some of the smaller comic companies to fold up shop, and don’t want a challenge to come up when their hand isn’t strong enough. But Like Microsoft, make no mistake, they will give it away for free today, to set themselves up to own the market share and charge you through the teeth tomorrow.

All you small comic-book companies need to come together and publish one big omnibus anthology called ‘Best Super-hero Tales’ or something, and get that trademark challenged and thrown out today. Now while the challenging is good. and all the old creators they are waiting to die before they can bring evidence, are still around. Because if you don’t, mark my words, ten years from now anyone who wants to use the term ‘Super-hero’, in the title to anything, will have to pay for the pleasure.]

I’m not saying companies can’t continue to sell and market their items past the 50 year mark, but what I am saying is that everyone else can produce their take on that idea as well.

(Quick aside here… A word on this copyright extended to 70 years after a writer’s death nonsense. Who the heck does that benefit, if not the money grubbing corporations? Did someone just say ‘the family’?

This isn’t about your family, fool! 🙂

Your family can make money, sell books, shoot movies, whether or not your book is in the public domain. We all know, the rights to a writer’s work ends up snatched up by the publisher. And with only about half a dozen conglomerates owning all the book publishing divisions as it is, that’s a troubling proposed consolidation of intellectual property.

See, what we’re talking about is every work after 1923 [that is the date today, tomorrow they might push it back to works in copyright being only stuff before 1823], all the accumulated wisdom, and hopes, and dreams, and pathos, and joy, and horror, and striving, and yes fighting against oppression of millions upon millions of writers, being owned, with this continued push toward extermination of public domain, the wealth of the world… owned by half a dozen oligarchies. What greater betrayal could there be? To any writer, to every writer. To have the work of the most imaginative, and moral people (which is what on a whole, I find writers to be), owned by people bereft of either imagination or morality.

And to that plan, of mad, sick twisted companies, their dream of a world devoid of public ownership, I say the only thing I can say, the only thing a life-time of loving books has taught me to say to such over-arching presumption and tyranny. I say… no. )

Public domain can work for all

Disney will still have Mickey Mouse, but if Tarantino or Seth Green or anyone wants to do a Mickey Mouse movie, they can. I’m not saying DC/Time Warner can’t still make Batman or Hulk comics or movies, but I’m saying past 50 years from date of creation, so can everyone else. How about a Batman movie by Werner Herzog or a Superman tv series by the Hughes Brothers?

Both those ideas just made me chuckle.

I can’t say you won’t get your share of train wrecks with such freedom, but you’ll also get get your share of wonders. You’ll get Baz Luhrmann’s Shadow next door to Branagh’s Doc Savage. And we are made richer when we can build on the culture we grew up in, rather than this new corporate policy of paying tribute to entrenched monopolies, Disney’s Culture or Time Warner’s culture.

This is very much a land grab, but not land rights this time, not water rights, not airwave rights (which they recently removed from Americans), this is about dreams… being fenced off.

We are on a perilous path. When I think of how much we have lost in the 6 years since Conde Nast sued BLACK MASK out of existence, it gives me pause. Because it is very much a culture where only the few will own anything, that we are pushing toward.

Not software, not hardware, not books, not houses, not music, not comics, not land, not our airwaves, perhaps not even our food or our air, do we get to own. Where everything we interact with is rented to us, is timed, our reactions to it… judged, to insure they are in acceptable non-infringing levels.

That is the end of culture my friends.

Fiction you say?

Yes… Fiction, I say.

Want to learn more?

Want to fight? You? Want to fight? After all I told ya Boy, ya want to fight the dragons of the world?! Swing at windmills like your uncle HT?!!

Aye, you bring a tear to an old man’s eyes. Aye, if I had five more like ya, I could ride into hell and put out all the fires! 🙂

Well get ya some education first boyo, read the following takes on public domain:

It’s a start.

OPEN RIGHTS– Ah, I love these passionate, mad Brits.

CR Fight ArticleYet another Brit! Where the hell are the Americans working to repeal copyright extension! Hold on, I’m still looking.

EFFAh, here’s the beloved Yanks! Over there! Over there! And the Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming! Over there! WHAT??? Don’t you guys watch James Cagney musicals?!!

Stanford Overview of copyright

CR article

Public Domain info

OKFN

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

I’m doing something a bit different for this WEDNESDAYS WORDS, selecting an image or a text that moves me, and then pointing you to where you can get the book for your own enjoyment.

We begin with an image.

Painted in 1907 by Carlos Schwabe, one of the pioneers of what today we describe as fantastic fiction, this image is entitled SPLEEN AND IDEAL. He actually painted/etched this image twice, the one you see here, and one that is subtly different, with the nudity obscured a bit, the angel’s loins, are covered, and the siren/succubus’ face is hidden, but oddly still very disturbing.

But the one shown here is the more disturbing of the two. The look in the siren’s eyes, the look of the angels face, caught trying to break away; caught quite literally, between the devil and the deep blue sea.

There is a story frozen here, questions and answers frozen, somewhere between the thrashing of wings, and the beating of tail. A she-god of the sea, and a she-god of the air. An attack? A ravishing? Something between the two?

It is a provocative and sensual pic for 2012, I can only imagine how much more disturbing and shocking it must have seemed in 1907.

There is no English language book on this inexplicably overlooked pioneer of the weird and the wondrous, but there is a large, and lushly illustrated French art-book called CARLOS SCHWABE: SYMBOLISTE ET VISIONNAIRE. While the text is in French, the numerous lushly reproduced drawings and paintings… require no translation. The book is quite large, at 12.2″ by 10.3″, and surprisingly heavy, 260 pages on an extremely thick paper stock. and printed in Paris in 1994.

And lest you think Carlos Schwabe could only illustrate the macabre, some of his most striking images in the book are subtle, nuanced, even lovely and loving portraits. Such as this beautiful portrait he did in 1908 (with crayons if my French is any good. Wow! That is amazing! Look at the level of gradations and detail!) of his daughter, and named after her… it is titled, LOTTE:

So for a chance to see this image and many more reproduced in detail in a huge, lavish tome… get your copy here:

Carlos Schwabe, Symboliste et Visionnaire (French Edition)

Another image. This one does not do justice to the actual printed image, but it’s the best picture of it I could find. It’s wonderfully Gothic, and sensual, and horrific all at the same time. In other words… vintage Wrightson.


Bernie Wrightson is one of the true artistic greats of the modern era. The meticulous detail and line work of his output, specifically of the 70s and 80s, is just awe-inspiring. One of the best showcases of his work is his illustrated FRANKENSTEIN published through Dark Horse.

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein:Get your copy while you can afford it 🙂

I’ve praised that book repeatedly, if you don’t own a copy by now there is just no hope for you. But for those of you who there is hope for, in addition to FRANKENSTEIN you can see some additional stellar work by Wrighton in KNOWING DARKNESS. A retrospective of all the work done for Stephen King’s Books and Portfolios.

In addition to work by Wrightson it includes work by over two dozen other artists. Much of it rare and unavailable, and commanding high prices on the secondary market. This book allows you to have ALL of the sought after artwork created for Stephen King’s lauded body of work, in one huge, heavy, takes two people to lift it book! 🙂 Okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. At 15.6 x 11.6 x 2.4 inches and weighing 13 pounds, it’s one of the biggest and heaviest books I own.

“we are treated to some sumptuous art. Knowing Darkness is worth its price and weight alone for the illustrations which originally accompanied the limited edition of Christine (breathtaking work by Stephen Gervais). The oversized reproductions of Bob Giusti’s It and Misery covers and Rob Wood’s Dolores Claiborne and Four Past Midnight covers get a whole new life when viewed out of the context of book covers. And that is to say nothing of the art original to this volume, the best of which is a brand-new Don Maitz interpretation of Duma Key, which features a ghost ship on an easel overlooking an Atlantic sunset. You don’t notice at first – your eye is so drawn to the ship in the foreground – that the gulls in the distance are flying upside-down.

Of course, this would all amount to little more than a collection of pretty pictures without the binding strength of George Beahm’s essays. Beahm, a Stephen King expert who perfected the companion-book genre with The Stephen King companion before going on to write The Stephen King Story and many other must-haves – is at his most compelling here. He manages to convey his fascination and excitement for the subject in every essay, and pass that onto the reader. The exclusive interviews, especially the one with Bernie Wrightson, are illuminating.

Books about King are legion, and there are many terrific volumes out there which rise above the chaff. There are only a handful, though, that are absolute musts for King fans. Knowing Darkness is beyond a doubt one of the absolute musts, not just for King fans, but for anyone interested in art and illustration. With such a wealth of material to cover – from mass-produced cover art, to limited-edition illustration, to interpretive pieces – it’s an achievement that a project like Knowing Darkness was even attempted. That it is executed so beautifully, then, is phenomenal.”– Charnel House

Get your copy while you can still pick it up for under retail (these were going for $300).
Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King

And one last image closes out a nice compact, 3 book WEDNESDAY WORDS.

Now a word to the wise… the following image has nipples. Shock! Aghast!! Horror!!

If nipples offend you… then go away.

But the thought of crossing out the nipples just seemed completely idiotic, and like defacing art. Every baby knows what a nipple is. Everybody has nipples, even I have nipples. 🙂 (And they’re real and they’re fabulous :). Sorry have to sneak that Seinfeld quote in, every once in a while).

So yeah, I’m showing the cover sans any moronic editing. I don’t think the world will end.

This is a slight soft-cover art-book. In no way is it the hernia inducing behemoth of my other two recommended books.

But it doesn’t have to be, all it has to be is… great art. And it is that. Pencils and some inks, it’s incredibly impressive work by artist Erik Drudwyn.

Get your copy here:

Art Of Erik Drudwyn (Art Fantastix)


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

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