Category: News

Kickstarter: Retropolis Rocket Ship

Kickstarter: Retropolis Rocket Ship

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_ImageBradley W. Schenck, developer of the now-ubiquitous Pulp-o-miser, has launched another Kickstarter project – this time offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse at his 3D-based artwork.

Retropolis Rocket Ship preview

Focused around a new piece, apparently entitled Retropolis Rocket Ship (at least for now), this fundraising effort will offer fans of his work the chance to own limited edition, numbered prints of a work whose creation is to be documented in video. Schenck is also offering a range of Retropolis merchandise, and the opportunity for backers to create their own Pulp-o-miser titles.

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Mariangela Melato Dies

Mariangela Melato Dies

General KalaThere’s been sad news this week, with the news that Italian actress Mariangela Melato – best known to us for her portrayal of General Kala in Dino De Laurentiis’ Flash Gordon – has died as a result of pancreatic cancer aged 71. As The Guardian‘s own obituary puts it:

She won international cult status for three films directed by Lina Wertmüller in which she co-starred with Giancarlo Giannini: The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love and Anarchy (1973) and Swept Away (1974), in all of which the controversial Wertmüller mixed sex and politics.

Having known so little about her work, I am in no way qualified to write my own obituary – but I’m sure that I’m not alone in being saddened by the loss of an actress who left us such a thoroughly iconic performance. After all, who out there doesn’t know the line:
“What do you mean, Flash Gordon approaching?”

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Rocketeer Reboot?

Rocketeer Reboot?

Theatrical release poster for “The Rocketeer” in 1991

Sci-fi and geek culture website IO9 has caught an early whiff of what could be this decade’s answer to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, with a rumour that Disney may reboot The Rocketeer.

I confess that I know very little about The Rocketeer beyond what I’ve seen in trailers and in fanart hereabouts, and when it’s compared to the Conran brothers’ adventure tale of rayguns, robots and a rocket bound for a new Earth, it’s arguably more subtle in its raypunk tone. As we saw in Captain America, however, this can still result in a thoroughly entertaining piece of work – and as IO9’s Meredith Woerner says, it’s likely that this Marvel piece is being taken as a proof.

From what I can tell, The Rocketeer is a thoroughly art deco-influenced story of a Howard Hughes-made jetpack and the pilot who accidentally finds it before mobsters deliver it to a Nazi secret agent. The jetpack is seen as key to the war effort, but as you can guess, it makes a hero instead in the form of pilot, Cliff Secord.

You can view the trailer for 1991’s The Rocketeer (starring Billy Campbell) below:

As for what this could mean: a Disney reboot in this day and age could spawn a whole heap of art deco-themed excitement, and while there’s nary a raygun to be seen so far, jetpacks and evil empires are rich pickings indeed for a nice slice of raypunk hype. I shall be keeping a keen ear out for developments over the next couple of years.

Kickstarter: The Lair of the Clockwork Book

Kickstarter: The Lair of the Clockwork Book

Imagine a future in which everyone’s lifetime events, passions and slip-ups are recorded in a great book, by a machine which is capable of recalling these at will to anyone who asks. All it asks in return is a story of your own.

This is the premise of Bradley W. Schenck’s most recent project – a series of illustrations which is due to conclude in April. In non-raypunk space, we can wave aside fear of the Facebooks and Twitters, and look instead to another type of lasting contribution, as The Lair of the Clockwork Book has been put up on Kickstarter.

For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a US-based crowdfunding website for creative projects. If you decide to back a project financially, you can make a contribution and usually receive some sort of reward in return, on top of knowing that you helped make that project happen. Mr. Schenck’s goal is to see The Lair of the Clockwork Book printed on archival paper, in hardback with a lush dust jacket. This would be a step up for his Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, as these are usually printed in paperback. One could only imagine that if things work out for The Clockwork Book, the future will look bright for the rest of Schenck’s Thrilling Tales series.

For a plot preview, details of the pledge rewards and an introduction by the artist himself, here’s the video from Mr. Schenck’s Kickstarter page:

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“The Future That Never Was” Design Challenge

“The Future That Never Was” Design Challenge

It looks as though DeviantART is joining in the raypunk spirit, with its latest DeviantWEAR competition given a retrofuture theme.

This regularly-held competition invites artists and designers in their community to come up with new apparel designs, with cash prizes and printed examples of their wok to distribute amongst friends and family. The winning piece is judged by the community, narrowing down from hundreds of entries.

Aspiring entrants are invited to download the t-shirt template, upload their designs and then promote it heavily until the closing date of January the 25th, since votes are based on people clicking an “I would wear this” button. From here, the top 75 entries are judged by senior DeviantART staff in order to determine the two winning designs.

The rules and process are available to view here; as is a random selection of those pieces which have been submitted to the competition category. Of course, as so often happens with DeviantART, there are a few pieces in there which bear no relevance at all to a t-shirt design…