Songwriter Jim Steinman, best known for writing the Bat Out of Hell album for Meat Loaf, a number of hits for other singers, and a couple of musicals, died last week. He was 73 and had been ill for some time, ultimately succumbing to kidney failure. It took me a few days to figure out what to say about him. I think the best approach is to just tell my story of discovering and experiencing his work.
So I was listening to Spotify, and up comes “Precious” by the Pretenders. I had never really paid much attention to the lyrics, so you can imagine my surprise when, finally, after 41 years, I heard Chrissie Hynde’s shout-out to Howard the Duck. This reminded me of a collection of comic-themed songs I had put together in 2005, and here we are.
This morning, The Atomic Junk Shop hit two milestones: post number 1000 and comment number 10,000.
A while back, author Adam-Troy Castro commented on Facebook that he keeps seeing posts on different pop culture sites with titles like “All-Time Greatest Movie [whatevers]” — best villains, sexiest stars, costumes, vehicles, etc. — and almost never do the lists include any movies made before 1980, and often not even from before 1990. It’s like a whole lot of people think nothing existed before they did. So, let’s discover some things from decades before we were born. Welcome to the latest Atomic Roundtable!
One thing I think everyone who loves Star Wars has said at least once is “man, I wish I had an R2-D2!” My good friend and fellow archery coach Russell Rucker said the same thing, and then he went ahead and built one. His R2 unit is completely screen-accurate, and has appeared at a number of Star Wars events over the years. Naturally, like a whole lot of other people, I asked Russell how he built his R2. He gave me permission to share the process here.
Pixar’s Soul was the center of a meme that circulated this summer, prior to the release of the film, which suggested that it was racist for the lead character, an African-American, to be transformed into a blue-green blob in the trailer. The author cited several films as examples of the problematic pattern. Taking a look at the trope, the cited films, and the context and messaging of each, might be in order.
Recently, our own Greg Hatcher sent me a link to a new documentary about Harry Chapin; when I mentioned that I’d seen it, he suggested a review, and when I mentioned that there are also a couple of new books out, he suggested a round-up review. See, Greg is smarter than me and he thinks of things like this. So here we go.