Showing posts from 2019

Australia's Worst Film Fire: The Park Street Explosion

It remains of the most spectacular fires ever seen in Sydney’s CBD, but it is largely overshadowed by the Pastoral Finance Association Woolstore fire of December 1921, which gutted a seven story building at Kirribilli and racked up a bill of an estimated £600,000. 
Unlike the Pastoral Building, explosions tore through buildings meters away from the Town Hall and rained down a mixture of burning iron, film and molten tar, but, incredibly, the only fatalities were two cats. The damage bill went into the tens of thousands of pounds, but, more importantly, it remains the biggest loss of silent film ever seen in Australia, if not the entire southern hemisphere. It became known as the Overseas Film Service fire and it happened 98 years ago.
Walter Brown was the brainchild behind the Overseas Film Service. Brown was bornin New Jersey in 1873 and served with the New York police department where, according to his later memories, he was known for his incredible physical presence and strength, …

The World vs Todd McFarlane: Available Now on Amazon

It’d be hard to find anyone interested in comic books and their history who hasn’t heard of Todd McFarlane’s legal woes, but very few outside of McFarlane’s immediate circle know just how many legal fights he was facing as the 1990s closed. 

Virtually all of McFarlane’s court cases came down to three decisions, made by him alone. 

The first was to name a mobster in his Spawn comic after a hockey player, Tony Twist. 

The second was to hire Neil Gaiman to write a single issue of Spawn and the third came when he decided to buy all the remaining assets from Eclipse Comics at their bankruptcy sale. 

The first decision led to the Tony Twist trial, last two choices lead to Neil Gaiman filing suit and, ultimately, winning a portion of the Spawn universe and the hotly sought after, by some, character Miracleman.

The Tony Twist trial was the beginning of a long, long period of uncertainty for Todd McFarlane and very nearly brought down the empire that he’d worked so hard to build. At its worst point…

In His Own Words: Alex Toth on Jon Fury

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the comic book industry who hasn't heard the name Alex Toth. He was, and still remains, one of the pure geniuses that the medium has produced, and, depending on who you speak to, one of the crabbiest creators ever seen.  Personally, my correspondence with Toth, for the Andru & Esposito book, was nothing but pleasant. We talked about Australia, where Toth lived for a period in the early 1970s, and Ross Andru. It probably helped that I didn't ask him for anything, instead I sent him a copy of Bonzeras way of thanking him for replying, which, in an amazing piece of luck, arrived on his birthday. He was pleased with it and told me how emotional he'd gotten seeing the art and faces of the people he'd known and socialised with when he lived here.

As far as I'm concerned, Toth was a cool guy.

While in Sydney, in 1973, Toth kept up his correspondences with many people, including publisher Richard Kyle. Kyle was a friend of T…

The Creation of Superman: Jerry Siegel vs Jim Steranko 1973

It’s a battle that could have been epic, but, instead, due to Jerry Siegel's reluctance to confront anyone, it’ll never be played out properly. All we have are Siegel's original comments and any replies that might come by from Jim Steranko.
In 1970, Jim Steranko published the first volume of his “The Steranko History of Comics”. This oversized magazine formatted book was heavy on text and was designed to be the first in a series that would give the true history of the comic book industry, from the very first superhero, Superman, through to the current day. Sadly, only two volumes were ever published, maddening really as they are a hoot to read and packed with great information and interviews, done by Steranko.
For years’ people have referred and recommended Steranko’s History books, and they quickly became very sought after and desired. But not everyone was happy with them. One person who was annoyed by Steranko’s telling of history was a man who featured heavily in the first…

Bohemian Rhapsody: A Good Idea Gone Horribly Wrong


The story of Queen and Freddie Mercury is an enthralling one. It contains all the vital ingredients that filmmakers and audiences love – perseverance, grandiloquence, triumph over adversity, tragedy and, most importantly, very familiar, and very good, music. In short, there’s a crackingly good tale to be told about the life of Freddie Mercury and Queen.

However Bohemian Rhapsody is not that tale. This is despite the involvement of two of the three surviving members of Queen in the form of guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.

There are two reviews to be written about the film. To the casual filmgoer, whose knowledge of Mercury and Queen extends to seeing old videos of the band, and their rightly lauded Live Aid performance, the film is excellent. The performances of the cast are solid, Rami Malek as Mercury, is worthy of awards. The film is well made and captures the live performances of Queen with a majesty that is worth see…

DuBay v King: Deposition of James Stenstrum, January 06, 2018

There's depositions and then there's depositions! The DuBay v King case is far more interesting for what has been said during the depositions than anything else. The last deposition I posted, that of Stephen King, was a delight for all who read it, albeit long - but I can't help with that. These are what they are, and they take as long as people want to keep talking. The deposition of Jim Warren was one that people seemed to miss, but, take it from me, it's well worth a read. And now we have James Stenstrum.
One thing that people have noted is that, at times, Benjamin DuBay seems a bit out of his element. That's perfectly understandable really, taking a deposition is a long, arduous and tiresome process, and the fact that Ben DuBay is acting for himself, makes it even harder. That he can keep on top of most things said is a miracle in itself, and, win or lose, he will come out of this a far better educated man than he walked in.
Knowledge is power Ben! I salute you!

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