Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy 40th Anniversary Star Trek!

Star Trek debuted on this date 40 years ago. Needless to say that it is an important date to me as Star Trek has brought me endless entertainment, joy and creative energy. To me it is the greatest television show of all time. So I share my celebration with you.

Star Trek Lives! Long Live Star Trek!

Live long and prosper
Captain John M. Neal

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Donations for Lea Hernandez

A call to arms for my fellow Texan and fabulous talent Lea Hernandez. Below I have reprinted the plea that Gail Simone made on the Dixonverse. ( Give what you can folks.

Early this morning, the Texas home of award-winning writer/artist Lea Hernandez, my friend and co-creator of the graphic novel Killer Princesses, caught fire and burned. Half her house is now gone, and the rest is smoke-damaged. In addition, she lost at least six of her family’s beloved pets, two dogs and four cats. If you knew Lea, you’d know how devastating that is.

She’s lost a great deal of her family’s possessions, including irreplaceable art. She doesn’t yet know the full accounting of what’s been lost at this time.

Most know Lea as the brilliant creator of such works as Rumble Girls and Cathedral Child. She drew the Marvel Mangaverse PUNISHER book, and has drawn for TRANSMETROPOLITAN, among many other accomplishments. She is also the co-founder and original editor for GIRL-A-MATIC, one of the most important venues for female-friendly comics created to date.

She’s also my friend, and it’s entirely possible I wouldn’t have a career in comics if she hadn’t asked me to write Killer Princesses for her to draw.

And finally, Lea is one of the last great firebrand hellraisers in comics.

Lea has two (wonderful, amazing) special needs children and right now they need a place to stay and some clothes to wear. More than that, they need
some help, and fast, in the form of donations to her paypal account. Lea’s a proud person so I’m going to ask FOR her. This is important, and a great chance to do a wonderful thing for a creator who has consistently enriched this industry we all love so much. Please, take a moment and send WHATEVER YOU CAN to Lea’s paypal account and help make this time a little bit less painful for someone who would do the same for you if the positions were reversed.

If you’re a retailer, I ask that you set up a donations jar. If you’re a creator, I ask you to think of how devastating this would be to your career and donate what you can. If you’re a reader, I’m asking you to take a moment and hit the paypal link. You’ll be doing something heroic and you’ll feel great about it, I promise.

Read what Lea had to post on a neighbor’s computer while wearing her pajamas at:

Donate (PLEASE) to her paypal account at:

Finally, if I understand the story correctly (as told to me by Lea’s good friend and current Girl-a-matic editor), it was Lea’s daughter hearing the smoke alarm that allowed the family to get out in time, so for God’s sake, do everyone you love a favor and CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS.

Thank you so much for helping. Really, any amount you can send will make a difference. That’s all I can say.

And also, if you have a blog or a myspace account, please spread this around as best you can. Every little bit will help and every eye that sees this might be someone who donates.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Gail Simone

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Rumors and news abounds on the Star Trek front. Trek celebrates it's 40th anniversary in a little over a week on Sept. 8th and it appears as if it couldn't be more alive. Along with G4's innovative manner of featuring the original series (not to mention their very funny commercials), TV Land's planned special celebration on the 8th and special Star Trek conventions in Las Vegas and other locations, there is a slew of new merchandise, news about the movie and television syndication.

Yes you heard me. Television syndication. But more on that later. First the movie news.

The scuttlebutt now is that Shatner and Nimoy may be attached to the project. No word as to how much involvement but most agree, including Nimoy himself, that the two may do a framing sequence introducing the story of the younger
Kirk and Spock. Nimoy is quoted as saying:

"The head of production at Paramount called my agency to tell them about this project and they are aware of Bill [Shatner]'s and my contribution to the franchise," Nimoy explains, "and they'd like us to know they might want some involvement. It was all very, very general."
"They might possibly want Bill and I to set up the story as a flashback. But that's just conjecture on my part."

This is of course fantastic news as the movie would no doubt benefit from their participation. In addition in a recent interview Nimoy had this to say when asked who he would cast as Spock:

"I haven't gone there yet, I think it's premature," said Nimoy. "Although I do, by contract, have the right to approve the casting."

"My next title should be I Am Not Necessarily Spock," quipped Nimoy commenting on his signature character possibly being played by another actor.

One would assume that Shatner likely has the same arrangement and indeed a recent quote by Abrams concerning the casting of Matt Damon
as Kirk would seem to indicate that this is true. He apparently stated he had Shatner's blessing.

Now to that syndication story. Star Trek is finally coming home to syndication where it was resurrected in the 70's and thrived like no other show this side of I Love Lucy for many years. After the poor handling from Sci Fi channel and being locked away from many homes on cable, Star Trek is set to return to local programming.

But that is only part of the story. This new syndication package promises a new and improved Star Trek. All 79 episodes are being digitally re-mastered with computer-generated effects and even the theme music redone for stereo.

Here's the text of CBS Paramount Domestic Television's
official press release on the Star Trek CG upgrade:
"Hollywood, Calif. -- STAR TREK is getting a 21st century makeover. CBS
Paramount Domestic Television is releasing digitally remastered
episodes of the iconic 1960s sci-fi series, with all new special effects and music,
to celebrate the groundbreaking series' 40th anniversary, it was announced
today by John Nogawski, president of CBS Paramount Domestic Television.

The new episodes also mark the first time in 16 years that the original
STAR TREK series can be seen in broadcast syndication. The episodes will
begin airing on the more than 200 stations that own the rights to the weekend
broadcast syndication window starting Sept. 16 (check local listings
for station and dates). All 79 episodes of the original STAR TREK series
will eventually be remastered, with the first batch of episodes chosen from
a list of STAR TREK fans' favorite shows.

"STAR TREK redefined science-fiction and constantly pushed the envelope
with concepts that were ahead of their time," Nogawski said. "By giving the
series a digital upgrade using the best technology available today, it
will continue to be a leader in cutting-edge television programming as we
introduce the series to a new generation of viewers."

The most noticeable change will be redoing many of the special effects,
created with 1960s technology, with 21st century computer-generated
imagery(CGI). That includes:

. Space ship exteriors -- The space ship Enterprise, as well as other
Starships, will be replaced with state of the art CGI-created ships.
The new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact measurements of the
original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

. Show opening -- The Enterprise and planets seen in the main title
sequence will be redone, giving them depth and dimension for the first time.

. Galaxy shots -- All the graphics of the galaxy, so frequently seen
through the window on the Enterprise's bridge, will be redone.

. Exteriors -- The battle scenes, planets and ships from other cultures
(notably the Romulan Bird of Prey and Klingon Battle Cruisers) will be

. Background scenes -- Some of the iconic, yet flat, matte paintings
used as backdrops for the strange, new worlds explored by the Enterprise crew
will get a CGI face-lift, adding atmosphere and lighting.

The refurbished episodes also feature higher quality sound for the
famous opening theme. The original score by Emmy Award-winning composer
Alexander Courage has been re-recorded in state-of-the-art digital stereo audio
with an orchestra and a female singer belting out the famous vocals. A
digitally remastered version of William Shatner's classic original recording of
the 38-word "Space, the final frontier." monologue continues to open each

The remastered episodes have been converted from the original film into
a High-Definition format, which gives viewers a clearer, crisper, more
vibrant picture than before, even when viewed in standard definition. Once
stations upgrade and start broadcasting HD signals, the episodes will be all
ready for viewers to enjoy in HD."

Star Trek Lives! Ahead Warp Factor 10.