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H.R. Giger Turns 74, Presumably Inside A Bio-Mechanical Hellscape: Today In Science Fiction

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XenoToday the man who helped birth one of the most terrifying creatures in film history celebrates another birthday. H.R. Giger was a key player in Ridley Scott’s original Alien film, creating the design for the various stages of the xenomorph itself, the torus-shaped derelict ship that housed the deadly alien cargo, and the iconic “space jockey,” eventually explored in greater detail and redubbed an “Engineer” in Scott’s 2012 followup, Prometheus. Had it not been for Giger’s involvement, I have no doubt Scott and company would have come up with a suitably creepy creature, but I can’t help but wonder if the Alien franchise would have had as much staying power over the decades if not for the sleek, pseudo-sexual nightmares that clawed up out of Giger’s howling subconscious and burst forth in the film. As Alien producer Gordon Carroll put it, “The first second that Ridley saw Giger’s work, he knew that the biggest single design problem, maybe the biggest problem in the film, had been solved.”

GFR raises a glass full of unidentifiable, unquestionably biological liquid and toasts Giger’s continued health. May he have many more years to birth horrors, and when death does come for him, here’s hoping he reincarnates as a chestbuster that the rips out of the Grim Reaper’s stomach and skitters off to make the world a more unsettling place.

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Today in Television

Nova (PBS, 9/8c) — “Roman Catacomb Mystery”

An investigation of a mass grave found in the catacombs beneath the streets of Rome sheds insight into ancient Romans’ daily lives and health. Included: who the buried people may have been; why so many were interred in one place; and what killed them.

The Tomorrow People (The CW, 9/8c) — “Things Fall Apart”

Stephen (Robbie Amell) is upset with Jedikiah (Mark Pellegrino) for going back on his word, leaving Stephen to face The Founder (guest star Simon Merrells, “The Wolfman”). In order to protect Astrid (Madeleine Mantock), Stephen has to make a dangerous deal to bring in a powerful break-out. John (Luke Mitchell) and Cara (Peyton List) clash, forcing Cara to issue a harsh and unexpected punishment. Meanwhile, Stephen learns a surprising secret about his mom.

Today in Comics

Apocalypse Al #1 (Image Comics)
J. Michael Straczynski alert!

Alison Carter is a private detective. Her beat: the end of the world, or more accurately, preventing same. With an attitude of ‘shoot first and the hell with the questions,’ she leads a life that would drive other investigators mad, filled with monsters, demons, trolls, mad prophets, zombie detectives, technomages, machine-gun toting imps and dead boyfriends. In the first action-packed installment of this new universe, Al is given her biggest assignment ever, one that will take her into the heart of Ultimate Darkness itself. The first of a four-issue miniseries, this issue contains 30 pages of story, unbroken by advertisements.

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Judge Dredd Classics #8 (IDW Publishing)

Dredd and his crack team of judges have infiltrated the borders of Mega-City One’s Sov enemies! Will Dredd finally get ahold of the rogue war criminal ‘Mad Dog’ Kazan? You don’t want to miss the conclusion of this classic Judge Dredd story!

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Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two #2 (IDW Publishing)

In the hills of what was once California, Dredd has gone undercover as a Cursed Earth biker! His mission: to infiltrate the Children of a Lesser Grud, a bloodthirsty motorcycle cult of outlaw artists! But the rules-and the laws-are very different in Mega-City Two, where image is everything…

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Lazarus #6 (Image Comics)

“LIFT,” Part Two

While Johanna continues to try and rehabilitate her image and prove her loyalty to the Family, Forever investigates rumors of the Freemen Resistance in Los Angeles. In Montana, the Barrets make a fateful decision, and begin the long journey to Denver.

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Mass Effect: Foundation, Vol. 1 (Dark Horse)

Introducing Rasa, a mysterious agent working behind the scenes for the Illusive Man and his human-survivalist paramilitary group, Cerberus! First, learn how she began her life as a covert operative-then, follow her investigations and witness formative events in the lives of signature characters Urdnot Wrex, Ashley Williams, and Kaidan Alenko! Collects issues #1-#4 of the Foundation series.

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RoboCop: Hominem Ex Machina #1 (Boom! Studios)

WHY WE LOVE IT: With the release of RoboCop, a re-­imagining of the all-­time classic, fans of the new and old will be immersed in the action, oppression and humanity that is RoboCop. We cannot wait to be first in line for this new motion picture event!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Four anthology-­style one-­shots exploring the world of the new film, brought to you by some of the freshest voices in the industry -­-­ Joe Harris (GREAT PACIFIC), Frank Barbiere (FIVE GHOSTS), Ed Brisson (SHELTERED), and Michael Moreci (HOAX HUNTERS).

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: After a series of successful campaigns that cripple a portion of Detroit’s criminal activities, RoboCop’s system inexplicably goes down. While RoboCop’s consciousness remains, his control is gone.

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RoboCop: Last Stand #7 (Boom! Studios)

The RoboCop of old Detroit is gone. In his place stands the last hope for this dying city. With an army of Otomo unleashed, he may not survive the night. While the battle of Detroit rages, Faxx must come face-to-face with Marie’s legacy.

Sidekick #5 (Image Comics)
J. Michael Straczynski alert, part 2!

For weeks, super-villain Julia Moonglow has been feeding off the body and energy of Barry ‘Flyboy’ Chase while keeping him from remembering this.

Now she’s ready to let him remember, and reveals why she’s been stalking him and the fate of her late twin sister.

But that’s just the warm-up for the big reveal, as Barry learns for the first time that the Red Cowl may be alive, a discovery that shatters him down to his very core.

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The Star Wars #5 (Dark Horse)

Remember the scene in Star Wars where the Sith Knight traps General Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Annikin Starkiller, and the alien Han Solo — and they have to fight their way free and steal an Imperial starship? No? That’s because this is The Star Wars — based on George Lucas’s original rough-draft screenplay! Experience a Star Wars that never was!

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Star Wars: Legacy Vol. 3, Claws of the Dragon (Dark Horse)

Last heir to the legacy of the Skywalkers, Cade Skywalker is ready to turn his back on the galaxy for good. But as the rumored death of Sith Emperor Darth Krayt sets into motion a struggle for power . . . it becomes clear to Cade that he is the true last hope for the galaxy. Collects Star Wars: Legacy Volumes 9-11, and Legacy #37-#40 from Legacy collection Volume 8.

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Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #3 (Dark Horse)
J. Michael Straczynski alert, part 3!

John Connor and his army of human resistance fighters have finally brought the battle to the machines, but a desperate chase is unfolding in the past that could render their valiant efforts futile!

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Trillium #6 (Vertigo)

Trapped in the distant future, William tries to convince his captors of the truth and search for the missing Nika. Unexpected allies and enemies emerge as our star-crossed lovers fight to set the universe right as Vertigo’s hit science fiction series nears its shocking climax!

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