Harlan Ellison - Title

Rest In Peace: Harlan Ellison (1934 – 2018)

Friends, as most of you are already aware of, we lost Harlan Ellison on Thursday. An iconic writer in many genres to say the least. Horror, fantasy, mystery, and science-fiction to name a few. To say nothing of Harlan Ellison’s work in comics, television, movies, and even video games. Harlan’s legacy is vast, with over 1,700 short stories alone. Don’t take our word for it though, friends. Look at what others in the industries he worked in have said on his passing.
Harlan Ellison - Stephen King

It wasn’t just Stephen King who had something to share but Leonard Maltin as well.
Harlan Ellison - Leonard Maltin

Another Author that I am passionate about, happened to be a dear friend to Ellison. That is Neil Gaiman. Follow this link Neil Gaiman to see what he shared about the legend’s passing. Be warned there is some salty language.

Opinionated. Angry. Honest. Passionate. These are of course just a few of the words that described Ellison. While I never had the pleasure of meeting the writer. I did enjoy listening to what he had to say. Certainly I may not have always agreed with his viewpoint but it was always interesting nonetheless.

Case in point. Check out his thoughts on 1993’s The Death of Superman.

The first time I was introduced to the works of Harlan Ellison, it was probably the same as many of you. The infamous 1967 episode of Star Trek entitled The City on the Edge of Forever. I say infamous because Ellison was so very upset that his script was rewritten by Gene Roddenberry. It didn’t help that Roddenberry took credit for elements that Ellison wrote. In fact, back in 2009 Ellison sued CBS television as well as the Writers Guild of America. The former for 25% of net on merchandising and publishing earned from the episode. The latter was due to the Author feeling they hadn’t protected his interests over the years. In a press release published by Variety on March 16th, 2009:
“It ain’t about the ‘principle,’ friend, it’s about the money! Pay me! I’m doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!”

I began to notice Ellison’s name thanks to yet another TV series. This time it was the 1985 Twilight Zone revival. Furthermore it was the very first episode of the series, entitled Shatterday. The teleplay was written by Alan Brennert but based on Ellison’s 1975 short story. It was also directed by the late and great Wes Craven. It concerns a man who accidentally calls home from a bar…only to hear himself answer.

Shatterday also happens to star none other than Bruce Willis

Friends, these are just some highlights that come to mind on Ellison’s work. While it is sad that he has passed away, we can take some small comfort in what he has left behind. An enormous body of entertainment in myriad forms. As a lasting legacy that is no small feat. As always in these cases, we will dim the lights in the Vault auditorium.

I will leave you with the esteemed Mick Garris interviewing Harlan Ellison.

For this episode of the Fantasy Film Festival, the two discuss A Boy and His Dog.

[Via] Mick Garris Interviews

Read Along With Rainbow Brite!

Rainbow Brite opened up her world not only through cartoons, but also through reading along with Rainbow Brite Read Along books and records/cassettes!

Read Along With Licensed Characters!

Growing up, I loved reading. Even before I read, I would flip through books. My Teddy Ruxpin books were a valuable way to learn sight words.

So was the newspaper, since I knew what the Macy’s logo looked like at two years old, but I digress.

The instructions at the beginning of the tapes gave the prompts to turn the page, which was indicated by a cute chime or noise. So while I couldn’t always read the words, I always knew where Teddy Ruxpin was in his story. I also had a Cricket doll book-and-tape set Around the World with Cricket. This read along book-and-tape set even had an animated counterpart that I covered as part of my blog’s 1000th post.

Upload via Allison Venezio / Allison’s Written Words

Listening to me sing 1-2-3 in Chinese is hilarious, trust me!

That’s the face of someone who had the song subconsciously buried in their head since 1987 and recently rediscovered it.

Records and tapes featuring licensed characters were great merchandising tie-ins during our 80s childhood. Whether the licensed character spoke via an oversized animatronic doll with built-in tape deck, or your everyday cassette tape deck or record player, licensed characters gave us plenty to listen to. And once we could read, we really put those books to use!

Which brings me to actally reading…

The Joy of Reading…And Listening!

My brother, the reluctant reader, had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle book-and-tape sets once he was reading. I remember him listening to the tapes on his tape deck…without headphones. I never minded that, as I was into the Turtles too! Before we read, we had Teddy Ruxpin books and tapes, as well as a record player that played film strips that had accompanying records and books.

That product, by the way, was the Show-and-Tell, which was manufactured in the 1980s by Child Guidance (formerly by General Electric in the 1960s).

Upload via Genius

The Show-and-Tell, I should add, is another article for another time!

As for myself, I never had any read along sets for myself, aside from the one Cricket book and tape set. But if I knew Rainbrow Brite read along sets existed, I would have wanted all the sets!

Read Along…With Rainbow Brite Read Along!

(Image source: My Comic Shop.com)

Western Publishing (Little Golden Books) published Rainbow Brite read along books and audio in 1984. From what I’ve gathered via research, Rainbow Brite had eight audio adventures:

  • Rainbow Brite and the Big Color Mix Up
  • Happy Birthday Buddy Blue
  • …and the Brook Meadow Deer
  • …Saves Spring
  • …and the Color Kids
  • Happy Birthday Twink
  • Rainbow Brite Saves the Day
  • Rainbow Brite and the Blue Lake

About Rainbow Brite saving the day…doesn’t she do that all the time? Was the creativity well dried out when the story needed a title?

Rainbow Brite also had something else equally interesting…See and Read VIDEOS!

Rainbow Brite Read Along…Meet SEE AND READ!

The See and Read videos were released in 1986 by KidStuff/KidVids in 1985.

These stories were actual video adventures, but in storybook format. Four stories were made.

  • The Risky Rescue
  • The Sprite Emergency
  • Gloom Over Rainbow Land
  • Twink’s Surprise

As an avid reader, and like I said, one who learned sight words from the Teddy Ruxpin books, I can imagine these videos provided valuable ability to teach sight words. As someone who benefits from visuals and seeing information, I would have loved these videos!

Perhaps a future article/let’s watch for this new discovery?

I do only have on Action Max video left…

Anyway, how about the real reason you came here?

YouTube Videos!

Rainbow Brite Read Along: The Complete Collection!

Compiled (and uploaded) by a trusted Rainbow Brite source, RainbowBriteCo, this is a great YouTube Channel for all things RainbowBrite…including these books AND See and Read!


Upload via RainbowBriteCo

I think we’ll be revisiting Rainbow Land soon, don’t you think?


Apollo - Book Cover - Self Made Hero

Self Made Hero Releases Apollo Graphic Novel

When it comes to history there are a few time periods I wish I could visit. To see historical moments or if we daydreaming, to be part of them. Well, I certainly refer to the brighter moments in history. Case in point the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. A moment when the country, the World held it’s breath. As Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin left the Earth behind to travel to the moon. Furthermore Apollo 11 allowed Armstrong and Aldrin to stride across its surface. Sadly I cannot visit such a moment in time myself. So instead I can enjoy the new graphic novel Apollo.

Beginning tomorrow you can pick up Apollo for yourself. Written by Matt Fitch and Chris Baker. Illustrated by Mike Collins of Transformers, Slaine, and Spider-Man to name a few. The graphic novel gives us an emotional look at the three astronauts that made history nearly 49 years ago.
Apollo - Lift Off - Self Made Hero

While I certainly didn’t think the book was going to be filled with a dry retelling of the events. I have to say I wasn’t quite ready for how moving it was. Obviously the point of Apollo is to give us some insight of what it was like for the astronauts. Pressure, the fear, the pride of being part of the first moon landing. At the same time giving us a glimpse at their varied backgrounds. Those moments that helped make them capable of changing the World.
Apollo - Abort

Apollo also shares how Family members, President Nixon, as well as soldiers in Vietnam felt about the event. Although having said that the main gist of the story resides with Collins, Aldrin, and Armstrong. These were brave men but still men, doubts and fears were just as important as their professionalism and drive to do the impossible.
Apollo - Armstrong - Aldrin - Collins

I will admit that I might be an easy mark for this type of graphic novel. With my love for space exploration and NASA. I was one of those watching when the Falcon Heavy was launched. Not in person sadly, but online with Earl Green – both of us cheering through our messengers.

[Via] The Telegraph

So if you too are a fan of space exploration and it’s important history. Pick up Apollo when it is released on Tuesday. For more information make sure to visit Self Made Hero. Or to pre-order your copy you can visit ABRAMS official site.

I would add that the graphic novel is intended for mature audiences. The language used throughout might be better suited for older teens and adults.

Now you know about the new Apollo graphic novel. Why not watch the historic moon walk by Neil Armstrong?

[Via] Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Dungeons & Dragons Art Book - Art & Arcana

Did Someone Say Dungeons & Dragons Art Book?

Yes, someone did, friends. In this case that was James Whitbrook of io9. Who in an exclusive shared the news a Dungeons & Dragons art book is indeed coming out. In fact Penguin Random House will release the Dungeons & Dragons art book in October. As you can imagine, with the post on art of David Trampier, we at the Retroist sat up and took notice.

Dungeons & Dragons: Art & Arcana is going to be a must have for any fan of the legendary RPG. Within its pages you will find the the likes of early concept art used in various modules of the day.

Dungeons Dragons Art Book - The Keep on the Borderlands

Images courtesy of io9.

As well as a look at the original rules booklets released in 1974. From Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson of course!
Dungeons & Dragons Art Book - Original Rules - Penguin Random House - io9

In addition to the artwork that has graced all those glorious manuals over the years. I certainly hope that means that Jeff Easley is given a chapter for his exceptional art. In particular, my favorite has always been 1985’s Unearthed Arcana.
Dungeons & Dragons Art Book - Jeff Easley

Judging by some of those pages shared on io9 it appears there will be race artwork. Showing how they have evolved over the years. For example, the dreaded and infamous Mind Flayer. For myself I prefer the 1977 as well as the 2000 versions of the Illithid.
Dungeons & Dragons Art Book - Mind Flayers

This upcoming Dungeons & Dragons art book will also show the more kid friendly merchandise. Naturally some of it must show the merch based on the hit 1983 to 1985 animated series. Although in the sample pages we can see clearly see items based on the LJN toy line!
Dungeons & Dragons Art Book - LJN books

It also appears that there is some incredible collectibles in the Special Edition Boxed Book & Ephemera Set. While artwork that you can have framed and show off is nice. The fact they are including a reprint of the Tomb of Horrors manual is great. Oh! Did I forget to mention that this manual is the unpublished Gygax version from the Origins Game Fair in 1975?
Dungeons & Dragons Art Book - Tomb of Horrors

The Dungeons & Dragons art book is written by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer.

By the way that is indeed Sam Witwer of Being Human, The Mist and numerous Star Wars projects fame!

[Via] Filmnutlive

Still in the mood for more information on Dungeons & Dragons? How about listening to the Retroist podcast then?

Retroist Dungeons & Dragons Podcast