I’ll fully concede, “papercraft” was not even a thing that was anywhere on my radar, but if you’d asked me about it I would probably have assumed you meant origami or maybe some nice collage work. These papercraft creations by DeviantArtist TankBall are on a whole other level, one significantly above the little paper dude with the erection Gaff made in Blade Runner. Honestly, part of me doesn’t even want to know how these things were made; I’d rather treat it like a magic trick, just sit back and be impressed. It doesn’t hurt that TankBall has replicated two characters from my favorite game series of all time, and indeed one of my favorite science fictional things of all time, Mass Effect.
As the father of a pair of young lads, I think a lot about their education. There’s so much to teach a child, after all, it’s almost overwhelming to think about where to start. Should I introduce Star Trek or Star Wars first? (Too late: they’re already hooked on Clone Wars.) Are they old enough to be properly traumatized by Labyrinth or Return to Oz? Is it too soon to assign Have Space Suit Will Travel as homework? (I should probably wait until they can read.) Now a pair of artists have made my job just a little bit easier when it comes to raising up my little geeklings, courtesy of a pair of rather awesome variations on that old chestnut, the alphabet.
First up is the “Ultimate Pop Culture ABC’s,” created by Los Angeles artist/illustrator Jeff Victor. It’s your basic riff on the whole “A is for apple” concept, but with some much more fun examples. I really love Victor’s style, particularly his top-heavy rendition of Khan below, which actually manages to look less like his pectorals are about to explode in cartoon form than Ricardo Montalban did in live action. Also, kudos also for going with a less-obvious choice than “Transformer” or “Thundercat” when it came time to pick the T entry.
The more we learn about our universe, the more marvelous and overwhelming it is. The cosmos is of such unfathomable size, full of such bewildering variety, it seems that no matter how much we learn about it, there will always be more to explore. And while manned spaceflight isn’t in 2014 where I hoped it would be when I was younger, I’m still awed by the images and information sent back by Curiosity on Mars, by the Cassini mission to Saturn, and by Voyager 1, out beyond the fringe of our solar system. Still, the universe as we know it now remains full of wonders, I can’t help but be a little nostalgic for the early days when we didn’t know nearly as much, and when pulp science fiction imagined a solar system replete with life on every world and moon trekking around our sun. If you want a beautiful vision of that dreamed-of solar system, you need look no further than these images by pulp artist Frank R. Paul.
With new Star Wars content in the works across damn near every medium after last year’s Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, fans are about to get a whole new crop of characters and adventures to put their own creative spin on. That’s one of the great things about any passionate fandom: rather than simply consuming, many are inspired to create new things based on their favorite films, shows, and so on. Which brings me to one of my new favorite things, these pulp-style faux covers focusing on two leading ladies from that galaxy far, far away.
The art was created by TonyFleecs, and you can check out more on his deviantART page. (Where, in addition to the faux pulp covers, you can find a surprising amount of My Little Pony art.) It’s always the little details that can make or break something like this, and Tony doesn’t disappoint. Aside from serving up appropriately pinup versions of Leia and her mom Padme, he did a great job coming up with pulp-style story blurbs for the covers. Leia’s “She Was Young, Beautiful — And A Royal Pain” could very well have been written by Han Solo himself. But the blurb for the Padme-centric Love Me to Death is my favorite: “Their Secret Was A Kiss. That Turned Into A Scar.” Congratulations, that line is one of the few good things to come out of the prequel trilogy. (And the THX 1138 reference is nice too.)
Full disclosure (and maybe some bragging rights): I know the guy who came up with the 3Doodler. I even saw the 3Doodler in its prototype state in the fall of 2012. I first met Pete Dilworth, half of the brains behind Wobbleworks, at an electronic music show back in 2010. And it wasn’t Pete that drew my attention — it was his robot dinosaur, Butch. Butch is a triceratops about the size of a small dog, except it won’t take a crap on your floor. Pete and Butch were kind enough to attend an event I hosted last fall to promote my blog, Could This Happen (see photos of Pete and Butch here), where they both garnered legions of fans. In preparation for that event I visited Pete’s workspace just a few blocks from my house at a fantastic place called Artisan’s Asylum, where folks from the Boston area can build, 3-D print, hack, and program just about anything, and there I got my first glimpse of the 3Doodler, the world’s first 3-D printing pen. Since then, the 3Doodler has taken the world by storm. In a successful Kickstarter campaign, it eclipsed its $30,000 goal with pledges totaling over $2 million. Pete and his partner Max also got to show off the 3Doodler at the recent CES conference where they announced that the 3Doodler has gone into production and will be ready to ship in March.