2017 Winner of the George RR Martin Screenwriting Prize
When all the superheroes have been snatched up by the film studios, a handful of comic characters from the Golden era come to life to recruit a famous graphic artist and his young protégé to save the comic world from a heinous supervillain.
From Story Analyst Kurt St. Angelo of Gallagher Literary Agency:
TRAPPED IN A COMIC BOOK
WRITTEN BY: Michael Chase Walker
TRAPPED IN A COMIC BOOK is an outstanding screenplay with a unique and original high concept, a well conceived and executed story, fantastic and often historical characters with relevant and natural dialogue by the best screenwriter, by a long shot, of any that I’ve professionally read. Simply said, this is one of the best and most polished unproduced screenplays that I’ve ever read, and one with enormous studio attraction and box-office potential.
It is a part-real / part-animated story like Who Killed Roger Rabbit and The Mask about how a young aspiring comic book illustrator and creator, along with a leader in the comic book industry, must enter the world of comic book characters, called Comictopia, to save the young man’s father, his girlfriend and the entire Comican world from its evil Arch Nemesis.
WRITER: Recommend unequivocally
When young prince Solomon becomes King of Israel
his vision to shape Jerusalem into a modern city takes a malignant turn with the visit of the beguiling Queen of Sheba and her sinister court magician.
My how the schadenfreude flies this time of year, and, true to form, Ross Douthat of the NYT piles on with his own eye-rolling holier-than-thou altar boy casuistry (zzzz). I knew both Harvey and Bob professionally and socially. They were talented and ambitious Kashrut observant Jews from Buffalo, New York who would take their family-owned independent movie theater, Miramax, named for their beloved mother and father, and turn it into a prestigious Oscar winning television and motion picture distribution and production behemoth.
The Hollywood they arrived and thrived in during the Eighties had come a long way since the days of Darryl Zanuck’s hidden pied-à-terre behind his palatial office suite at 20th Century Fox. (Although David Letterman supposedly had a similar set-up.) It was widely accepted the entire studio would shut down daily at four o’clock to accommodate the studio boss’s penchant for ordering the latest starlet du jour off the set like a Blue Plate special.The same Darryl Zanuck who trawled the Madonna Inn on weekends with his pal Sydney Chaplin (Charley’s older brother) to see how many brides they could bed before or after their nuptial vows.
While it wasn’t exactly Hollywood Babylon on the level of Errol Flynn class debauchery, or even superstar heartthrob Montgomery Clift, who patronized a gay necrophilic prostitution ring run out of the back of a funeral home, it was still a time of Don Simpson mania, cocaine-fueled casting couches, escort services, and brazen star-fuckery where the mere flash of a DGA card was considered a sure thing on a Saturday night. It was a Hollywood characterized by Joe Barbera of Hanna Barbera, who, when told he would soon lose his entire Ink and Paint Department of young girls to computerized animation quipped, “How will anyone get laid anymore?”
It was a time when Dawn Steele, the bawdy, ballsy and ribald President of Paramount Pictures proudly displayed a lobby card movie poster in her office signed by Jim Abrams and the Zucker Bros. thanking her for “sleeping with them from the very beginning.” Dawn rose through the ranks of Paramount merchandising after finding fame and fortune printing the Bible on novelty rolls of toilet paper. Jeffrey Katzenberg said of her, “She was highly opinionated, extremely self-confident, had a fantastic sense of humor and was someone of enormous style and taste.”
Nora Ephron, the writer, who Dawn gave her first directorial job said, ”Dawn certainly wasn’t the first woman to become powerful in Hollywood, but she was the first woman to understand that part of her responsibility was to make sure that eventually there were lots of other powerful women.”
Hollywood is an industry driven by sex and power, on and off the screen, but to single out Harvey Weinstein as a “pig” and a pariah is as histrionic and specious as Captain Renault’s shock to ‘find gambling going on’ at Rick’s Cafe. The exploitation of women, or anyone, is ugly, despicable and reprehensible. While there is no excuse for it there is a psychological, historical and even cultural context that should not be swept aside by the hysterical historical revisionists as they rush to tar and feather Harvey as some aberrant monster. For chrissakes, did they even watch one fucking episode of Mad Men? If Harvey’s Icarusian downfall hastens the demise of sexual harassment in Hollywood, great! But, please, let’s keep it in perspective.
The Pigs of Liberalism https://nyti.ms/2yPv7nV
On Hef’s Passing: The End of an Era and Icon
Hef came of age during WW ll when many young men went off to war with the hope of saving the world, bolstered by their haunting reminiscences and longings of small town first loves, movie star pinup girls and the heady promise of French stockings, Belgian farm girls, foreign brothels, star crossed love affairs and one night stands. They returned with a hard earned, hard edged testosterone-driven ethos of ‘Save the World and Get Laid’ as their unspoken reward.
The America they returned to had changed as well, and that seismic cultural shift was reflected in the popular books and movies of Ian Fleming and his glamorous, galavanting, globe-trotting super spy James Bond, Jack Kennedy in the White House, and to no lesser extent, the early 1953 appearance of Playboy Magazine at the local corner drug store magazine rack.
The war had come home, but the battlefield shifted from the European theater to Publisher’s row, Television City, Madison Ave. Hollywood, Big Corporation and ultimately mass social and cultural revolution. We still experience vestiges of that dying ethos in the antics of aging Baby Boomer political leaders, the comeuppance of ‘has been’ comedians, scandalized celebrities, and corporate dinosaurs like Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, (and, apparently, most of Fox News), but it is fast going the way of the Woolly Mammoth, WW ll, Playboy Magazine, and now, Hef himself. It’s been a helluva ride!
Hefner’s first wife CHEATED on him – a betrayal which spawned Playboy lifestyle https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4565862/hugh-hefners-first-wife-cheated-playboy/
TO BELIEVE, OR NOT BELIEVE: THAT IS THE QUESTION:
This appears to be an amalgam of old science, and seems to trip over itself in its specific definiens of both religion and belief. While, it is true that believers maintain that humans are hardwired for both, we also know that these are the filters through which the religious-minded believer perceives everything. In other words, they believe, and therefore assume everyone else does in some form or another. (Identify-Protective Reasoning, Dan Kahan, Yale Cognition Project, Sherman and Cohen)
It is also true that while some self-declared “atheists” pronounce themselves to be non-believers they are especially prone to other types of superstitious, magical and paralogical thinking. They don’t believe in a god, per se, but believe in a myriad of substitutes without question. Ostensibly, they are still programmed, they just substitute it with another false epistemology.
New science, or neuroscience according to Dennett and McKay, Thomson, Peter Boghossian, etc. very precisely respond with the latest evidence that humans are not predisposed to either belief or religion, rather they are in fact hardwired for “misbelief”, and that is the crux of the matter and a very intriguing distinction.
As Dennett and McKay write in their excellent essay, The Evolution of Misbelief:
“Other approaches notwithstanding, the currently dominant evolutionary perspective on religion (morality) remains a by-product perspective. On this view, supernatural misbeliefs are side-effects of a suite of cognitive mechanisms adapted for other purposes. Such mechanisms render us hyperactive agency detectors, promiscuous teleologists, and intuitive dualists; collectively and incidentally, they predispose us to develop religious beliefs– or at least they facilitate the acquisition of such beliefs.”
Disbelieve it or not, ancient history suggests that atheism is as natural to humans as religion
This may seem presumptuous of me, but I felt inspired to compose this for those who face the daunting task of raising a child of reason in a very difficult and confused age.
Or, as Joseph Campbell wrote in Primitive Mythology: “For surely it is folly to preach to children who will be riding rockets to the moon a morality and cosmology based on concepts of the Good Society and of man’s place in nature that were coined before the harnessing of the horse! And the world now is far too small, and men’s stake in sanity too great, for any of these old games of Chosen Folk ( whether of Jehovah, Allah, Wotan, Manu or the Devil) by which tribesmen were sustained against their enemies in the days when the serpent could talk.” (Toward a Natural History of the Gods)
Dearest Child, there will come a day when it will be our responsibility to discuss with you in detail the nature of human mythology, religion and our infinite capacity to create stories, and sometimes, perhaps, many times, we are genetically, socially and familially compelled to believe them. It is the way humans have bonded and survived for hundreds of thousands of years.
While other species have “closed” nervous systems and pass on their vital information through their genes, natural instincts, and behavior, homo sapiens have uniquely adapted “open” nervous systems where we pass on survival information by perceiving patterns in the stars, fire, tea leaves, animal intestines, acts of nature, and random events, and weave marvelous tales around them through our rituals, stories, costumes, dances, superstitions, and song.
The great ethnologist Leo Frobenius described this process as “paideuma”. Philosophers call it teleology, and neuroscientists know it as H.A.A.D or Hyper Active Agency Detection. We experience this everyday through another cognitive mechanism known as Pareidolia, or the innate ability to see faces in the moon, a tree, the sky, a mountain, or even a burnt tortilla. Many people today will see a holy visage in a cheese sandwich and believe it to be a miracle or manifestation of a god, saint, or beloved ancestor. They call them “signs”.
Most of our modern religions attest to this as the groundwork for all of them was laid tens of thousands of years ago in the human brain and developed over time by priests, kings, scribes, tribal shamans and sacred texts. Today, we call them religions.
Another name assigned to that process of creative adaptation, revisionism, syncretism, interpolation and fabrication is called theology. The purpose of theology is to constantly improve upon and update the various canons, dogmas, and logical holes in a doctrine, and apply its own “spin” on any countermanding argument that questions or threatens the belief. Dr. Peter Boghossian calls this “false epistemology”.
The four building blocks to ensure the success or spread of any spiritual or contrived belief system are:
1.) Create, exploit or ritualize an individual or group experience of awe, otherwise known as the Mysterium Tremendum.
2.) Invent a cosmology that explains how the universe was created and humans came into being.
3.) Mythologize or lionize a legendary figure, be they a king, magus, hero, savior, military leader or world teacher and endow them with magical abilities who, in turn, passes down or imparts:
4.) A social system of codes, mores and parables that initiate an individual into a particular belief system, while often demonizing those who reject it.
Throughout the history of humankind there have been tens of thousands of gods, goddesses, messiahs, saviors and holy ones and all of them have passed on into the realm of myth, mnemohistory and tradition.
We name the days of the week after a few of these extinct gods and goddesses of yore: Monday for Mani, the moon god, Tuesday, after Tir, or Mars, the god of war, Wednesday takes its name from Wotan, or Odin, Thursday from the Norse god Thor, Friday, from the Germanic Celtic Roman goddess of love (Venus), Frīġedæġ, or Frigg. Saturday, from the ancient god Saturn, and, alas, Sunday from the Sun god also known as Sol.
In modern times we meet many intelligent, and some not so intelligent people, who embrace the doctrines of a religion, as well as some fundamentalists and fanatics who cannot imagine or conceive of any truth outside of their ingrained belief system. We call them theists or religionists, or according to their own brand of belief, be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and a thousand other denominations and nomenclatures.
We also meet a growing number of equally intelligent men and women who have studied the evolution of misbelief, mythology, neuroscience, anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary psychology, quantum theory, physics, empirical evidence, comparative religion and science who understand the natural origins of belief, and see no evidence or need for these old Bronze and Iron age gods and their doctrines. We know them today as agnostics, atheists, secular humanists and skeptics.
They still experience awe and mystery, gratitude, morality and compassion but they do not assign it to any particular god or religion, but only to the natural evolution of the human species, and its necessity to communicate, socialize and advance through knowledge and education. Many of these people still celebrate the traditions of the world religions like Chanukah, Christmas, Easter, Ramadan, or Diwali, etc. but they do so knowing they are ancient traditions, customs and rituals, and not exclusive objective truths for all humankind.
In the end, dear child, it is good and proper to question everything, be it Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or even Jesus, Moses and Mohammed.
As Thomas Jefferson, one of the great founders of our country once wrote: “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.” (letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787)