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Harlan Ellison & Stan Lee Visit The Simpsons: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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EllisonDid you know that The Simpsons is still on? I know, it’s hard to believe. And honestly, it pains me to make that joke about a show that used to be one of the best on television, but whose longevity has come at the price of seriously diminishing returns. But tonight, for the first time since I sampled one of the Halloween specials and ran screaming into the night a couple of seasons back, I will be setting my DVR to record Fox’s ridiculously long-lived animated sitcom. The reason for that comes down to two names: Harlan Ellison and Stan Lee.

Yes, tonight’s Simpsons — entitled “Married to the Blob” — will feature cameos by both legendary speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison and Stan the Man himself. You can see a preview vid from The Hollywood Reporter below, with Ellison and Lee talking about their appearance in the show. For Lee it’s a return voyage, as he previously popped up in the 2002 episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” Lee jokes, “I was here 12 years ago, and I think I impressed them so that after 12 years, they figured they had to have me back.” Both icons are playing themselves, and Ellison looks to be proving a good sport by poking fun at his often litigious reputation.

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Cross the Streams: The Blob, Escape From Planet Earth, And Guillermo Del Toro’s Simpsons Couch Gag

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Happy weekday, streamers. The weather is nice. The seasonal ales have hit the beer shelves. Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity killed it at the box office this past weekend. These are good days indeed. Except there are no real blockbuster flicks on the roster this week. But we’re finding the silver lining down the Blob’s back as we Cross the Streams.

the blobThe Blob (1988) (Crackle)
If there’s anyone out there ridiculous enough to get Kevin Dillon (Entourage) confused with Steve McQueen, who starred in the original 1958 version of this film, then they deserve to get turned into goop by the scariest pink thing in cinema. (Make your own “pink thing in cinema” joke here.) This fairly decent retread ups the ante for special effects and visual ewwness, and though future stars like Jeffrey DeMunn (The Walking Dead) and Shawnee Smith (Saw II) don’t really help make this a classic flick, it’s a cut above your average 1988 sci-fi horror videos. Watch for an early appearance from genre veteran Bill Moseley as “Soldier #2.”

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Homer Simpson’s Car Of The Future Now Exists In The Present

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car built for homerAnybody thinking that the future of transportation will rely on flying cars and fusion drives is surely putting their trust in all the wrong places. The sky is the limit, people! Why would we spend the better part of a century building and updating roads for interstate travel if we’re just going to give them up and take to the air? Because our country likes to spend money on temporary solutions? Well…that’s neither here nor there.

What’s here and there is “The Homer,” an ingenious example of dedicated fandom, designed and put together by the guys at Porcubimmer Motors for this year’s 24 Hours of LeMon, a series of endurance races created specifically for cars that cost less than $500. The vehicle is an homage to “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” a classic episode from the second season of The Simpsons, which involves Homer meeting his half-brother Herbert Powell and subsequently bankrupting his car company by offering up an “everyman” design for a vehicle that made common superhero vehicles look simple in comparison. It also costs about $82,000, far from the price limit set by the LeMon race.

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These Exclusive Comic-Con Collectibles Demand Your Money

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fett and soloToy fans and collectible collectors know that the annual San Diego Comic-Con will unleash a horde of exclusive items, and this year is no exception. Although I guess it depends on what your definition of a “horde” is. We’re not showing you everything, obviously. Just enough to get your dollar bills itching to book a plane ticket to San Diego.

The above photo showcases Boba Fett and Carbonite Han Solo, two of the figurines from Hasbro’s new line of high-end figures called Star Wars: The Black Series. I can’t be certain if Solo is actually encased in actual carbonite or not (he isn’t), but the pair of six-inch non-toys will set you back $44.99. Don’t worry though. We all know Boba is priceless.

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Under The Dome Showrunner Acknowledges The Simpsons Movie

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Mr. Burns Threatens SpringfieldThe TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Under the Dome will premiere this June on CBS. The story of a small town that becomes trapped (as the title suggests) under a mysterious dome should be one of the highlights of the summer TV season. The premise sounds very promising, but it also sounds very, very familiar.

Of course, it’s the same premise as The Simpsons Movie from 2007, where the small town of Springfield becomes trapped under a dome after the town’s pollution levels become unmanageable and the head of the EPA presents President Schwarzenegger with five “unthinkable” options. You might think King got the idea for his best-selling novel from The Simpsons Movie, you’d be wrong. The novel was released in 2009, two years after The Simpsons Movie, but King claims he started working on the book in 1976.

The Simpsons creator even acknowledges the eerie coincidence in a later episode, where Mr. Burns threatens to place the town of Springfield in a transparent dome. Burns said he got the idea from a best-selling novel and continues to hold a copy of King’s book to show the townspeople. This leads nuclear power planet worker Lenny Leonard to say, “It’s been done.”

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Simpsons-Inspired Post-Apocalyptic Webcomic

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For the eighth season of The Simpsons, the writers put together a vignette special titled “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase,” which envisioned members of the gigantic supporting cast in a variety of different series, the most impressive of which was Chief Wiggum, P.I. (which I would probably become a rabid fan of). The Simpsons could do one of those episodes every year and still have characters left over without a show. So maybe it’s time for the independent artists to get in on it.

UK illustrator Jack Teagle created his own dark spin-off in the form of a six-page webcomic titled “Wasteland.” It follows Springfield Elementary bullies Jimbo Jones and Kearney Zzyzwicz as they make their way across a post-apocalyptic springfield, ruined in some way by the nuclear power plant. Think of it as The Walking Dead with mutant fish. You can read the comic below.

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