Author name: dsmith

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All-Star Superman Premiere Report: Dwayne McDuffie, Andrea Romano, Christine Hendricks and Alan Burnett

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ALL-STAR SUPERMAN
Available Feb 22nd

On February 14th, at the Paley Center in New York City, Warner Bros. and DC Comics premiered their latest original animated feature, “All Star Superman,” directed by Sam Liu with Bruce Timm as executive producer.

Actor James Denton voiced the part of Superman with Christine Hendricks as Lois Lane and Anthony LaPaglia as Lex Luthor.

“All Star Superman” written by Dwayne McDuffie, and adapted from Grant Morrison’s comic book series of the same name, sees the Man of Steel rescue a doomed space craft from crashing into the Sun. Superman finds out that as a result of having absorbed too much of the Sun’s radiation – that he is dying.

Superman spends the next several months putting his affairs in order, while still saving the world from the usual intergalactic terrors, the machinations of Lex Luthor and finally confronting his feelings for Lois Lane.

The 75-minute feature was screened for an audience of 200 and was highlighted by a question and answer discussion with Hendricks, McDuffie, and voice director Andrea Romano.

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ALAN BURNETT

“All Star Superman” producer, Alan Burnett, told Cosmic Book News he thought it was maybe the “best DVD we’ve done in the DC Universe.”

After decades of stories featuring Superman, McDuffie, speaking to Cosmic Book News, said many writers have left their mark on the iconic character. When asked about the challenge of writing the Man of Steel, McDuffie said it takes a level of gravitas to write him.

McDuffie said, during the panel, the challenge was to figure out what to adapt from Morrison’s series.

“I am a huge fan of the book and when I heard that [Warner Bros. was making a movie based on the comic book series], I basically begged them to let me do it,” said McDuffie. “[But] what we did was [we] chose Superman’s conflict with Luthor as the center of it and we tried to keep the themes that supported it.”

McDuffie goes on to state the hardest part was not including a scene where Superman, as he is dying, helps prevent a teenager from committing suicide. 

“[That scene] was the heart of Superman and there was no place in the arc of the story, as we told it, that [it] would make sense. I tried and tried and tried and there was no place to put it.”

Despite that, Burnett praised McDuffie’s take on Superman.

“It’s a great story and Dwayne McDuffie…my hats off to him,” said Burnett to Cosmic Book News.

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ANREA ROMANO, DWAYNE MCDUFFIE, CHRISTINE HENDRICKS

Christine Hendricks said that it was her appreciation for the character that drew her to the series.

“I had not read [the ‘All Star Superman’ series], and I was not familiar with it,” she said. “I just read ‘Superman and Lois Lane’ and said, ‘Where do I go?’.”

Hendricks said that upon reading the “All Star Superman” series, she was able to see Lois Lane in a different light. She praised Lois’s depiction as being more than just the damsel-in-distress but having her own adventures.

“The character was amazing and exciting,” Hendricks added.

Upon seeing the movie with an audience, Andrea Romano told Cosmic Book News she was pleased with the audience reaction, “It was wonderful to hear the response from the crowd.” Romano said that much of the time when creating, she is unsure how it will be received, but was pleased to hear the cheers and the enjoyment from the crowd. 

Burnett agreed, “It was just a great pleasure to see it on screen with an audience.

“All Star Superman” is available from Warner Bros. on DVD February 22nd, 2011.

Cosmic Book News would like to extend a special thanks to Don Smith for the above article. Don is a Freelance Comic Book Writer, Journalist and Author that can be reached at Donsmith74.wordpress.com.

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Interview With Larry Kenney: Part Two: Thundercats Has His Tongue

For the better part of two decades, voice over actor Larry Kenney has been associated with Lion-O, the leader of the Thundercats.

For the better part of two decades, voice over actor Larry Kenney has been associated with Lion-O, the leader of the Thundercats.

In Part One Kenney spoke with us about his career and the fun they had in the recording booth in the first part of the interview.

In Part Two, Kenney continues to talk about the show and the possibilities of a future movie.

CosmicBookNews: Well, considering the Thundercats were part of the 1980s, so was The Cosby Show

LARRY KENNEY: [DOING A BILL COSBY IMPRESSION] Yes, it was very huge on the television and the children thought it was marvelous and the adults didn’t quite understand it.

CosmicBookNews: [LAUGHS] That’s beautiful!

LARRY KENNEY: [DOING A BILL COSBY IMPRESSION] Well, thank you very much!

CosmicBookNews: The gentleman who did the voice of Panthro…

LARRY KENNEY: Earl Hyman.

We had two Earl H’s. We had Earl Hammond who was Mumm-Ra and many other characters and Earl Hyman who is still with us was Panthro and he was Bill Cosby’s father on The Cosby Show.

CosmicBookNews: Did he ever share what it was like working on The Cosby Show?

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah, he often mentioned what a great guy Bill Cosby was and he loved doing his show.

But we really didn’t have that much time to swap stories because when we recorded The Thundercats we worked two days a month, we did two episodes each day, we would record four episodes a month.

People would often ask us, “Why would it take so long?”

Well, what the creators begin to do is write 13 scripts, because 13 that’s the standard minimum. You don’t know four or five weeks in, if it is a hit or if they are going to buy another 13 weeks. So unless you have lots of money in advance you can’t pay writers to write 13 more episodes and pay the animators to animate 13 more episodes.

It took almost two and half years to record 130 episodes because we would do it twice — usually on Thursday or Friday once a month, and we had two episodes each of those days and we would break for lunch.

CosmicBookNews: How did you get involved with the Thundercats?

LARRY KENNEY: There was a process involved in it.

My agent would call and say, for instance, “On Wednesday at 2 p.m. you are to go to 909 Third Avenue and up to the third floor, but stop by our office and pick some scripts the day before.”

My agent would normally say, “We would like for you read for this character this character or this character.”

The creators I would read for would show me pictures or give a brief description of what the show was about and vaguely what they would like for the character to sound like.

And you give them your idea what you think the voice should sound like and sometimes the producers or director would ask, “Can you do the character’s voice a little younger or a little older?”

So I read for the people from Rankin Bass, the people who were in charge of casting the show which included Mr. Rankin himself, and I had to read for him and Lee Donniker, who ended up directing all the shows.

They asked me to read for Lion-O, and I think I read for Tigra.

Someone, later, told me they auditioned 300 actors over a two week period. But about three weeks after I auditioned, my agent called and said, “You got the part of Lion-O on this new show.”

I said, “Great.”

And at the time it was wonderful because it was another job and it is also always nice to get another job.

CosmicBookNews: But it was a job that got you an action figure!

Did you get a chance to collect any of them?

LARRY KENNEY: You know I have one Lion-O figure in my desk drawer here…hang on a sec…[DESK DRAWERS OPEN UP AND CLOSE]

Lion-O, come out of there!

[IN LION-O’S VOICE] Let me out! [LAUGHS].

I have one Lion-O and a Jackalman who I also voiced.

[IN JACKALMAN’S VOICE] We must get the Thundercats, yes?

CosmicBookNews: Oh yes!

He was annoying. [LAUGHS]

LARRY KENNEY: He was a jackal. [LAUGHS]

[IN JACKALMAN’S VOICE Let’s sneak up behind their backs and slit their throats! [JACKALMAN’S LAUGH]

CosmicBookNews: That sound like Golem from 1970s cartoon The Hobbitt.

LARRY KENNEY: Are you suggesting here, Don, that I perhaps ripped off a voice?

CosmicBookNews: [LAUGHS] No! I am suggesting I can pick your inspirations.

LARRY KENNEY: Oh that’s a good one that’s a great response! I’m gonna have to remember that.

Golem isn’t that also the name from the Lord of the Rings?

CosmicBookNews: Yeah.

In fact, Rankin Bass in the 1970s did an animated Hobbit movie, with director John Huston doing the voice of Gandalf.

LARRY KENNEY: No kidding.

CosmicBookNews: Yeah, the character of Golem, if you listen, and stay away from the recent film versions with Andy Serkis as Golem, sounds like Jackalman.

LARRY KENNEY: I didn’t see it. I will have to listen for it.

When you’re talking about animated things, it’s a cartoon and they give you the description he’s evil he’s a mutant and he’s called the Jackalman and because jackals are supposed to be sneaky they’re like coyotes.

I picture them with their backs slinking down and skulking and stalking their prey. The first thing that comes to an actor’s mind is that sound that [IN VOICE] Snidely Whiplash, “I’m going to get you my dear.”

The characters tend to sound the same.

But I will listen for it.

CosmicBookNews: Please take it as a compliment.

LARRY KENNEY: Oh, I will.

I was mostly kidding.

CosmicBookNews: Mostly kidding? [LAUGHS]

To shift gears, you said before the interview that Rankin Bass were trying to do something that was not so violent and more wholesome, but these days, wholesome has such a negative/syrupy connotation.

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah, I know.

CosmicBookNews: But you were telling me they were really trying not as violent as the other cartoons that were popular in the 1980s.

LARRY KENNEY: I don’t think that Rankin Bass ever did anything that wasn’t top notch. You go back to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer which was from my childhood with Burl Ives as the narrator and something else with Fred Astaire, and they always did top notch productions.

CosmicBookNews: Dan Gilvazan, who voiced Bumblebee for The Transformers, said that some people criticized the cartoons for being half hour cartoons for toys. But he said it was the toy companies who provided the money for excellent creators to tell stories

LARRY KENNEY: Interesting. I like that.

I certainly like that and I agree with that thought. I certainly haven’t given much thought to asking, “Were we doing a half hour commercials for toys?”

You would have to ask the producers why they decided to do it to begin with I don’t think that’s why they decided to do it.

You certainly know that at a certain point it became obvious, I don’t know if it was in the 1960s or the 1970s when started, making these action figures that sell.

I think in my memory, not from any knowledge of the business I remember G.I. Joe commercials for the toy. I don’t remember any action figures for the cartoons before when I was kid.

CosmicBookNews: Yeah.

You weren’t buying Zorro action figures with Guy Williams modeled for the toy.

LARRY KENNEY: Exactly, so I don’t think anyone can think and invest all this money to begin with to create episodes of a show that may never get on the air just so they could make a lot of money to make action figures.

But that aspect is there once you got a hit show the, toy companies come to you and buy the rights to make action figures.

What are you going to say, “No?”

CosmicBookNews: Exactly.

LARRY KENNEY: It helps perpetuate and enhance the visibility of your own product. I remember taking my oldest daughter who is in her 30s, and there was like three rows of Thundercat figures at Toys R Us.

Even if you never had seen the show and you’re a kid and you go there and see these rows of toys, you will say, “I want to see that show.”

CosmicBookNews: Right!

Speaking of the show, talk to me about the infamous out takes www.cheezey.org/thundercats/sounds/outtakes

Did you have any idea they would survive so long?

LARRY KENNEY: Not really.

We were adult actors and we had people with great senses of humor and ask any actors, you’re going to show off at any chance you get.

Anyway, you’re working and are serious about doing the show, but when you mess up, you are going to say, “You dumb [f-word]!”

[LAUGHS]

You never think it is never going to be heard and this in 1983 and no internet. At least everyone in the world didn’t have a computer.

We had no idea these things were going to be everywhere.

[LAUGHS]

Every actor who did a project like this knew the engineer or recording engineer and was probably going to tape something like that, that was said on tape.

The engineers probably kept those tapes, and maybe at his Christmas party for his friends he would say, “Listen to what the guys on the Thundercats say when they think no one is going to hear it.”

Now all of a sudden 25 years later, it is on the internet for everyone in the world to hear.

It was a little bit of a shock to us at first, “Oh god. If they hear this there goes the whole nice image people had regarding the Thundercats.”

I thought everybody’s going to say, “What foul mouths they had.”

And the exact opposite has happened. Everyone is saying, “Wow that’s funny.”

We were just actors having a good time.

It is what anybody else at their job would say when the boss’s back is turned and when you’re not talking to your client, you say to your friends or co-workers, “You hear what that dumbass said?”

But I was really worried at first that small kids would hear it and say, “Mommy, you hear what Lion-O said?”

But that’s not something to worry about.

CosmicBookNews: And obviously the actors were not being prima donnas about it.

LARRY KENNEY: As evidenced by the laughter you hear in the room afterwards.

When you watch a movie and they show the out takes at the end of comedies, you know one actor will say something to another and everyone laughs because they know they’re not serious.

When you are doing this sort of work, it may sound strange when you are reading the lines and you have to record it seriously.

[IN LION-O’S VOICE] “Cheetarah. Snarf. We’ve got to save these people!”

I’m an actor you want to convey that feeling and you feel that so, but every once in a while, you need to break the tension, so that’s one of the ways actors do it.

CosmicBookNews: Have you heard anything about any future Thundercats projects?

LARRY KENNEY: Every few years there’s a rumor on the internet the people are going to call me or e-mail about and tell me there’s going to be a new “Thundercats” show or movie.

So far they have never panned out.

But I don’t want to say I know this for a fact but the latest rumors I’ve heard, is that Warner Bros. are involved, which would make sense, since they’re the ones that put out the DVDs and who are putting out the DVDs of the episodes.

I don’t know, it would seem logical to me that if sales of this went well and if they are monitoring sales and if there is a market still out there for Thundercats, they might consider a live action or animated movie.

[NOTE: A CGI-related Thundercats movie was in the works, but as of Aug. 2, Thundercatslair.org, had confirmed it was shelved.]

CosmicBookNews: Would you mind if they reinvented the Thundercats like how Battlestar Galactica was reinvented or would you like to see them pick up where the show left off?

LARRY KENNEY: Uh…that would be a tough one.

I don’t even think that way. I don’t think like a producer. My biggest hope is they keep the sensitivity of the show, the over all feel to the show – the commitment to the Code of Thundera.

Like you said, wholesome has a negative connotation, but keep it wholesome.

You couldn’t just put the same old show back on the air – times have changed and animation has changed.

They would probably use the language that you heard on the out takes [LAUGHS] but if they do make changes the look of the characters, the mission, I do hope they would keep the good feeling of the show.

CosmicBookNews: Like Cheetarah is now some crack addicted prostitute.

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah!

Keep it so people would recognize it as Thundercats.

CosmicBookNews: One last question, was it ever explained why explained why Lion-O grew up and Wilykit and Wilykat had stunted growth?

LARRY KENNEY: [LAUGHS] You know, I never thought about it. I couldn’t even begin to answer you.

I’d have to go back and watch it again.

I think it may have been explained they were kept young, weren’t they in some kind of chamber?

CosmicBookNews: Yeah, they were in sleeping chambers.

LARRY KENNEY: I don’t know.

CosmicBookNews: Oh well.

Do you have any current projects people can look out for you in?

LARRY KENNEY: I was the announcer on “Best Week Ever” on VH-1. I’m the guy that said, “It’s everything you love! Everything you missed! Everything you want to see again!”

[LAUGHS]

I can still be heard as Count Chockula, Sonny the Coo-Coo Bird.

I’m also the guy on the Skittles commercials that says, “Taste the rainbow” or “Feel the rainbow.”

CosmicBookNews: Would you like another cartoon series?

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah, sure.

That’s what I do for a living. I’d love to do another Thundercats type thing and contribute to its success.

CosmicBookNews: And we wish you success.

Thanks for talking with us, Larry.

LARRY KENNEY: Thank you. This was fun.

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Interview With Larry Kenney: Part One: Thundercats Has His Tongue

During the summer of 2009, movies based on two very popular 1980s properties hit the theaters. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra were based on the two Hasbro toy franchises.

During the summer of 2009, movies based on two very popular 1980s properties hit the theaters. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra were based on the two Hasbro toy franchises.

But one 1980s property is still waiting to see its big screen debut and considering the e-mail the star of the cartoon series gets, fans want to see it.

The story, of this franchise, is about a group of feline looking people who rocket to earth from a doomed planet and set up shop on Earth.

The Thundercats were a stable of just about every cartoon fan in the 1980s.

Pick up a stick, broom handle or anything that can be used as a sword, and the kid inside every comic book or science fiction fan will either make the noises of a lightsaber, write a “Z” in the air or do something “by the power of Grayskull.”

Still many children of the 1980s will shout what voiceover actor Larry Kenney made a career saying, “Thundercats, ho!”

For the better part of three decades, the New York City based, Kenney made a name for himself as the host of the local show Bowling for Dollars, a regular with radio star Don Imus and now Kenney’s voice can be heard announcing VH1’s Best Week Ever and Skittles candy, “Taste the rainbow.”

However, Kenney admits fond memories to playing Lion-O, the leader of a surviving band of were-cats from the doomed planet Thundera, stranded on Third-Earth where they defend the local inhabitants from the forces of evil.

Kenney spoke with CosmicBookNews.Com about his career and possibilities of a future Thundercats feature.

PART ONE:

CosmicBookNews: It is common knowledge that your daughter is Kerri Kenney-Silver one of the stars and creators of Reno 911! on Comedy Central. She had a son in 2005, how is it being a grandfather?

LARRY KENNEY: He’s doing great thank you! I just got new pictures of him standing on a surf board with a wet suit and a year and five months old and he already has his own surf board.

They are out in Malibu and the rule is you have to have one [a surf board].

CosmicBookNews: Are you going to get him interested in the Thundercats?

LARRY KENNEY: We’ll see how that works out. I never push it on any of my kids. In fact I remember when my youngest son, Tanner, he’s now an adult, was 8 or 9 years old and he was going through some old video tapes and he found tape labeled Bowling for Dollars.

He comes over to me, “Dad! You hosted a game show on TV?” I said, “Well, yeah.”

And he said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” I said, “It never came up it was 20 years ago.” [LAUGHS].

A lot of people ask me, “When you read to your kids when you were little to do you all the voices?”

It is funny, because when I first started to read to my kids I would say, “And the big bad wolf said, [WITH A GROWL] ‘I’m going to eat you…” And the kids would say, “Dad, just read the story [LAUGH], “Don’t do the voices!”

CosmicBookNews: Yeah!

“Get to the good part!”

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah!

Everyone else in the world says, “Do one of your voices for us!” and these kids just go “Dad, you’re embarrassing me!”

CosmicBookNews: Oh that’s funny!

I imagine your kids had easier time growing up with a celebrity, like you could come walking into a classroom and say, “I am here to pick up my kids” as opposed to some celebrity like Madonna.

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah! Yeah it’s true and I’ve often thought about that celebrity is nice and everything but that’s the part of it (paparazzi and such). Especially these days…um…some people recognize me from my “Imus” days but usually that is an older crowd.

I mean teenagers don’t tend to “Imus in the Morning” [now on 770 WABC in New York City].

The people from my generation that talk to me are people on the train or in the mall.

Some 50 year-old will come up and say, “I enjoy your work” and walk away they won’t tear your clothes off.

But when I was doing Bowling for Dollars when I was in New York, everywhere I went people would say, “Hey Larry! Bowling for Dollars how are ya?”

Being a celebrity was never a drain on me and I wasn’t a movie star, I was just a guy they saw on television every night. But from that, I came to think, “Imagine you were really the idols to people who wanted to tear your clothes off day and night! You would have to live with that!”

I don’t feel sorry for them, they chose that life, but I am glad I don’t have that. I like the “kind-of-being-known” without all the bad stuff that comes with it.

CosmicBookNews: And for readers of CosmicBookNews.Com, they know you from Thundercats.

So let me ask, “Are Thundercats on the move?”

Are the Thundercats lose?”

LARRY KENNEY: They’re always on the move, hence, their charm.

CosmicBookNews: [IN A MOCK PENSIVE TONE] Larry…

…do you feel the magic?

Do you hear the roar?

LARRY KENNEY: If I thought you were being serious I would hang up the phone right now. [Laughs]

I always hear the roar I wake up hearing it. I’m afraid of a Mumm-Ra. [IN MUMM-RA’S VOICE] “Ancient spirits of evil…”

CosmicBookNews: Who did the voice of Mumm-Ra originally?

LARRY KENNEY: It was Earl Hammond, who was the best by the way, I had the great pleasure on the Thundercats DVDs which came out from Warner Bros. DVD…[ANNOUNCER VOICE]…available in stores now!

CosmicBookNews: [LAUGHS].

LARRY KENNEY: Anyway, during the DVD extras they recorded I had the pleasure of re-creating the voice of Earl’s character Mumm-Ra and Jaga for an inner active game you play on the DVD as a special feature.

When I was asked to play the role, I really thought long and hard about it because I really didn’t know if I could maintain the standard Earl had set, but once I convinced myself I could do it, and I could carry it, it came out pretty well and I was proud of how it turned out.

CosmicBookNews: You must have had a different mindset when you did the voice of Lion-O for The Family Guy in 2005.

LARRY KENNEY: It was.

But during the recording I was alone. They would put me in a studio all by myself and the producers, on the show, were in Los Angeles over the telephone line and I didn’t meet anybody.

CosmicBookNews: Were you nervous about doing the show?

It seemed like the show, while tongue and cheek, was paying respect to the Thundercats.

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah!

CosmicBookNews: I mean using the Sword of Omens to see a girl in the restroom or locker room, what 13 year-old wouldn’t want of one those?

LARRY KENNEY: What man in his 60s wouldn’t want one of those? [LAUGHS]

Seriously, I had to think long and hard about doing the voice of Lion-O for Family Guy.

When my agent called, he said, “They would like you to do some thing on the Family Guy project.”

They sent me the script and I said, “Wait a minute! I can’t do that!”

So I started talking to other actors and people who worked on the Thundercats and I started talking to my own kids and they said, “Dad, you are not going to denigrate the legend or the Thundercats.”

They also said, “And 7 year-old kids don’t watch Family Guy and it is a hip show and everyone knows it is just fun.”

And they talked me into going ahead and doing it. For a while I wasn’t going to do it and I said, “You can’t have Lion-O looking at Cheetarah with the Sword of Omens in the bathroom and he says to Snarf, ‘Let’s get wasted’.” [LAUGHS].

CosmicBookNews: Right. [LAUGHS]

LARRY KENNEY: Though, I decided if it isn’t cool, and I won’t do the show.

CosmicBookNews: I was just happy to see them making a joke about a subject I was familiar with.

People must still tell you how much the Thundercats means to them.

LARRY KENNEY: Oh, I gotta tell ya, it’s still so heart warming.

It is incredible, because when we recorded the voices all those years ago, I never thought it would be the hit that it is.

And we knew after it aired it was a hit show, but we figured the kids would grow up and forget us, but I get e-mails from all walks of life who tell me what the show has meant to them. And it is really fulfilling.

CosmicBookNews: That is cool people still remember you.

LARRY KENNEY: To be honest, I have got some e-mails from grown ups said that as kids their childhoods were not great and I can tell they were saying. You can read between the lines and know abuse was part of it.

But today when I get the letters, they are from doctors, lawyers, and carpenters and it will say, “Mr. Kenney, I was abused, neglected or whatever and what saved me was going in my room and watching the Thundercats.”

They are writing you 25 years late to say thank you. You have no idea, what that feels like.

And I am very protective of the show which is why I was concerned about doing Family Guy.

When I saw the show, the over all effect of the Family Guy episode wasn’t “The Thundercats is stupid” or “Lion-O is a dumbass!”

It was with a wink to our old show.

I also noticed the creators behind the Family Guy didn’t try to do the original animation style of the Thundercats show. I think I might have been recalcitrant if they had tried to draw him just like our show or used original footage of Lion-O. I think that might have been too much.

CosmicBookNews: Were you afraid you would be “going back to the well” as so many actors who are associated with other roles do?

LARRY KENNEY: When my agent first called me I was familiar with the show but I was not a regular viewer and I had seen it a few times and I thought it was very funny and very well done.

When my agent first called I thought, “Why would they want me?”

And from my family on and everyone I mentioned it too said, “Oh that is the show everyone is dying to be on. Actors are calling them and saying, ‘Use my character’.”

It was kind of like The Simpsons became that show. Everyone from Paul McCartney down wanted to be on The Simpsons so I felt honored.

How could you say no?

CosmicBookNews: And on Seth Green’s Comedy Central show, Robot Chicken, they did a parody of the Thundercats, it should be noticed that you did not do the voice for. However, how does this make you feel to see creators doing parodies of Lion-O? However, how does this make you feel to see people do parodies of Lion-o?

LARRY KENNEY: I think it’s great. I guess it is more of an indication of how established Thundercats and the character is, in the cultural since.

I guess it is gratifying showing how established you are, when it has reached to a second and third generation.

CosmicBookNews: Speaking of reaching generations, I heard you refer to Lynn Lipton, the voice of Cheetarah, as the original “Thundercats Ho.”

LARRY KENNEY: [LAUGHS] When we, the voice actors and myself, were recording interviews for DVD extras, I said that jokingly and I think she was in the room when I said that. I mean, that’s the style of a joking around we did when we were together.

CosmicBookNews: It shows you had a great relationship.

LARRY KENNEY: Yeah, Lynne’s great! She’s so funny!

Read Part Two of CosmicBookNews.com’s interview with Larry Kenney!

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A Radical Interview with M. Zachary Sherman “Shrapnel”

It’s not too radical to think that within the next few hundred years, humanity probably will colonize the planets closest to Earth.

However, this not-so radical idea is appearing in Radical Comics’ comic book Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising with a radical twist. It seems that government, called the Earth Alliance wants the human residents of Venus to submit to their authority.

And the Venusians have instead turned to the former space marine, Samantha Vijaya, to help lead the revolt.

Shrapnel writer M. Zachary Sherman, a pretty radical guy in his own right, talked with Cosmic Book News about Samantha, the military, and working for another radical science fiction franchise “Star Wars.”

Not bad for Sherman a comic book writer/ Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) special effects wiz!

CosmicBookNews: You have an amazing visual effects resume.

You did effects for movies like Rocky , Eragon and “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, as well as The Nativity Story and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe .

Why branch out into comic books?

M. Zachary Sherman: Ever since I could walk, I had always wanted to be a part of the movie industry, the entertainment business and also I have always been a writer.

When I was in college, I was a creative writing major and journalism minor.

My father was a navy captain and on his very last duty station in Los Angeles, before he retired, he worked as a technical advisor for movies. So he advised when they made movies like The Hunt for Red October and Flight of the Intruder.

And while in L.A. and I got bitten by the movie bug and I pursued this, I got a lot of support from my parents to follow my dream. They said, “You can do whatever you want as long as you bust your ass to do it.”

And I agree with that sentiment and I give that piece of advice to everyone who asks me, “How do you make it in the world of comics?”

CosmicBookNews: On your IMDB.COM entry, it says you worked for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace .

Did you have anything to do with Jar Jar Binks?

M. Zachary Sherman: [LAUGHS] I only did the compositing, painting and rotoscoping for the movie.

I was a 2-D guy. Basically I had to figure out how they made the lightsabers move in the first trilogy without using a computer.

CosmicBookNews: How do you go from digital effects to comics?

M. Zachary Sherman: At WonderCon in 2002, I had the chance to meet DC Editor Bob Schreck and I leaned over and introduced myself and said, “I’m Zach Sherman and I am a big fan of the Batman universe and I think Nightwing and Chuck Dixon are great.”

And I said to him, “I am interested in writing comics.” And I am sure every editor wants to hear that [LAUGHS].

When you average 100 editors in the industry and everybody who attends the San Diego ComicCon has an idea for a comic…[LAUGHS].

So Bob rolled his eyes, but I told him I worked at ILM and that made him kind of look at me differently. He saw that I was not just anyone, but I had some professional experience and I had a career.

So he said to me, “Why don’t you write something on spec, and send it to me.” So I did.

About a month a half later, I got my script in the mail with red pen marks because he had edited my script. I almost melted.

There was a note that said, “Better than most I get. Keep it up.”

And so I did.

CosmicBookNews: And here you are writing Shrapnel for Radical Comics.

Can you talk to us about Samantha Vijaya, the star of Shrapnel?

M. Zachary Sherman: Well, first, the members of the enlisted corps, such as the privates through the sergeants, are Helots. The officers are all genetically engineered genotypes and they run the military and the fleets.

Samantha comes from a modest background – a middle class background. Her parents could not have her genetically altered at birth and Samantha did not have the luxuries that the genotypes had. She came from a poor medical class and she never finished and got the accolades and the genotypes received.

Because of this, Samantha is a Helot, but she is one of the few people to ever become a Marine Corps officer. She is infamous in some circles and in others she is super famous. The rank and file marines look at her and think, “Wow!”

And the fact Samantha has risen in the ranks means that she is one of most skilled tacticians ever devised.

CosmicBookNews: Right.

M. Zachary Sherman: However, besides Samantha, the story is all about humanity, and that is something I try to capture in Shrapnel. That feeling that we’re all brothers and we need to find a common ground.

CosmicBookNews: It seemed there were a lot of echoes in Shrapnel to the real world and current events. Did you do that on purpose?

M. Zachary Sherman: When I worked on this project with Mark Long and Nick Sagan [the creators of Shrapnel ], we decided that this was not about making a political statement but good science fiction.

However, what good science fiction does is mirror the times. The best was Star Trek in the 1960s. The show talked about drugs, the Vietnam War and all kinds of things that were going on in the 1960s.

The only reason why the censors allowed them to get away with what they did was because they did in under the guise of science fiction.

As for Shrapnel , our story is about a governing body invading another country and it is hard not to make a comparison between the two, but it was never consciously something I was going for.

CosmicBookNews: You were in the United States Marines, and a lot of that comes out in Shrapnel .

M. Zachary Sherman: The original concept for this story belonged to Mark Long, the CEO of Zombie Studios and he and I had met a comic book convention, so we had gone way back.

CosmicBookNews: So how hard it is to write dialogue and keep things technical?

M. Zachary Sherman: I tried to and it is hard it is to mirror the way people talk, especially with military dialogue and technical expertise.

However, one interviewer called me the “Tom Clancy of Comics” and I took that as a major compliment.

I try very hard to keep technical jargon as correct as possible and I want those who are “in the know” in the military not to look at something I have written and have them say, “This is crap.”

CosmicBookNews: Did you have a technical advisor for any of your projects?

M. Zachary Sherman: Yeah for my comic SOCOM: Seal Team Seven for Image Comics, I had my father and a Master Chief who was embedded with the SEAL team in Beirut, and a couple of people who can’t be named go through it.

And it came in handy because during a San Diego Comic Book convention in 2008, this big brick house of a guy came to me and he said, “I bought this book and I saw there was an American launcher on this type of deck.”

“Did you read it all the way through yet?” I asked. He said he had not.

So I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill and I said, “The launcher will pay out in the long run. You come back here tomorrow and this bill will be waiting for you if it does not play out in the story it will be waiting.”

The next day he came in and slammed it down and said, “Sign this bitch!” It turned out he was a member of the real SEAL Team Seven.

CosmicBookNews: That is awesome!

M. Zachary Sherman: [LAUGHS] Yeah, it was!

CosmicBookNews: Hey, thanks so much for your time.

M. Zachary Sherman: Thank you.

Check out the latest projects M. Zachary Sherman is up to, visit him at www.mzacharysherman.com.

Look for “Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising” issues 1-4 out now with issue 5 out next month.

[page_title]

Who Watches The Mothman: Interview With Niall Matter

Folklorists and monster seekers have been hunting a creature called the Mothman that has been seen haunting the countryside of West Virginia.

In the recent comic book film, Watchmen, Canadian born Niall Matter ( Eureka and Stargate Atlantis ) filled the wings of a super hero, also named Mothman. This Mothman, who appeared in the Watchmen comic, was created by comic book greats Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. He served as part of a Justice Society of America type super hero group, called the Minutemen. However, the Mothman is confined to a mental asylum, where he is forced to deal with his alcoholism and paranoia.

Matter, whose career is beginning to break out, spoke with CosmicBookNews about the Watchmen movie, television and the Mothman legend in West Virginia.

CosmicBookNews: To start with, and just for the sheer heck of it, had you ever heard of the legendary Mothman in West Virginia? Some people say it is a Native American god, others say it might be an alien.

Niall Matter: When I got the roll in the Watchmen movie, I did a Google search for “Mothman” and I read up about [the West Virginian legend].

CosmicBookNews: Any thoughts on it?

Niall Matter: Yeah, I said, “That is crazy!”

CosmicBookNews: Speaking of crazy, it seems like the fans have really taken to Watchmen. Have you been surprised by how big it has been?

Niall Matter: I was not surprised, I knew how big the comic was.

CosmicBookNews: Were you familiar with the comic book?

Niall Matter: I wasn’t. Obviously I have heard people talk about the comic book for a long time, but I had never actually really read it before I was on this project.

However, when I had heard the Watchmen movie was being made, I looked into it and I ended up landing a little roll in it.

CosmicBookNews: Were you given any extra background information by creator Dave Gibbons who had been on set?

Niall Matter: Not really.

[Director] Zack [Snyder] taught me a little bit about the Mothman and he told me who the character really was. [Zack] gave me kind of an outline as to who the Mothman was and the issues he faced, like his drinking and such.

CosmicBookNews: Were you able to, if you pardon the expression, wing it when you needed too?

Niall Matter: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Zack told me, “Do what feels right to you.”

CosmicBookNews: It seems like you had a lot of fun with it. Did you play the Mothman, say the way a super hero was played back in the 1940s. You know a sort of “old time” way. Like the heroes say, “Gather around, kids. Listen to your parents and drink your milk.”

Niall Matter: Yeah!

Absolutely it was really fun to delve in too something different from what we are used to watching [in current super hero movies]. I was able to turn this into an old school, corny, semi-cheesy style of acting. [Laughs]

You have to look at this at the time Mothman and his fellow Minutemen actually were in. I mean I loved delving into the over the top body language that was used back then.

CosmicBookNews: Even the costume seemed “old school” – as you said. You didn’t have the body armor, say Nite Owl had, or even the armor Christian Bale had for The Dark Knight.

Niall Matter: The costume was just a cotton suit over the top of my body with the wings strapped over. I did not have anything else, say body armor, like Batman or Nite Owl had. I had to wear the cotton suit to stay true to the “times” and “era” that Mothman was in.

That was the style the super heroes were wearing back then.

CosmicBookNews: Because you are from Alberta, Canada, I have to ask this for the fun of it, who would win in a fight – Bret “The Hitman” Hart or Niall “The Mothman” Matter?

Niall Matter: [LAUGHS] Oh yeah! The Harts are formerly from Alberta. However, I would say, probably Bret “The Hitman” Hart would win, because those Hart boys are pretty big.

Actually, I grew up on a farm in Alberta and the Hart Brothers used to have a painting company and the Hart Brothers painted our huge barn. I’m a lot closer to the Hart brothers than you realize.

CosmicBookNews: [LAUGHS] So there was a chance to see the Hitman fight the Mothman?

Niall Matter: [LAUGHS] It could’ve have happened.

CosmicBookNews: We at CosmicBookNews are breaking it first – a fight between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Niall “The Mothman” Matter – it could’ve happened !.

Niall Matter: Yeah! It could’ve.

CosmicBookNews: With that said, I know Bret Hart is a legend in Canada. But you are no slouch yourself with fans. All you have to do is take a look at the IMDB.Com message board under your entry.

Had you heard from any of them about you being in Watchmen?

Niall Matter: Yeah, many of the fans – who were fans of mine from the television shows I had been on [ Eureka and Stargate Atlantis ] had written me and said it was fun to see me on the big screen.

CosmicBookNews: Was there a difference from doing a television show to doing movie for you?

Niall Matter: The biggest difference was the amount of time I found myself on set and the type of set. When you are doing television, you are on the set more of the time – well at least compared to Watchmen.

However, when I got to the Watchmen set, you were blown away by the size of it because you basically were walking the streets of 1940. As I said, I was just blown away by the massive set and the scale of it.

CosmicBookNews: I was reading that your parents have a water transport company, were they able to bring of the water to the Watchmen set?

Niall Matter: [LAUGHS] No they are based in Alberta and that is the province next over from where the set was in British Columbia. They would have had to truck and over through the Rocky Mountains.

CosmicBookNews: Well, our web site can give them a plug anyway.

Matter Water Service – located in Leduc, Alberta – the best water in Canada!

Niall Matter: Thanks!

CosmicBookNews: Well jumping back to Watchmen and genre television, do you want to continue in the science fiction field or would you like to branch out?

Niall Matter: I think my career is getting ready for a transition from roles in science fiction to roles in comedies. Which is strange, because I feel the most comfortable doing drama even though I have not done as much in it.

I definitely want to get into to more drama and features in the future.

CosmicBookNews: Any type of roll in particular?

Niall Matter: Yeah. I would really love to tackle a darker roll. Think Edward Norton in American History X.

I want to do something that is both physically challenging where I have to hit the gym and transform in to that person physically as well as mentally.

CosmicBookNews: Well, either way, you’ll have fans watching.

Thanks so much for your time.

Niall Matter: Thank you.

For more information about Niall Matter, visit his web site www.niallmatter.net.

And a special note of thanks to Trina Allen for arranging the interview with Mr. Matter.

[page_title]

Interview with Mary Jo Pehl

 

On her blog she calls herself a writer, an actor, a raconteur and a bon vivant.

However, to many of her fans she will be remembered as Pearl Forrester, the villain in the final years of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K).

Though it has been 10 years since the show was first canceled, many of the same players have returned in Cinematic Titanic (CT).

MST3K told the story of an orange jump-suited worker trapped on a satellite forced to watch terrible movies. With three robots to help keep his sanity, Joel Hogdson spent five years lampooning terrible movies and in 1993, Hodgson passed the lead to Mike Nelson.

And in the final two years of the show, Pehl played the blond haired Pearl who spent her time flying a rocket-propelled Volkswagen Bus across space and time chasing down Nelson.

The show first ran in 1988 locally in Minnesota’s KTMA but was picked up nationally on Comedy Central in 1991. And in 1997, the Sci-Fi Channel aired the show until it was canceled in 1999.

In 1992, Pehl joined as a writer, and in 1996 she was cast in the role of Pearl, the mother of the Mad Scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester who was played by writer/actor Trace Beaulieu. In 1997, Beulieu left the show and Pehl was given the roll of lead villain.

Pehl was kind enough to talk with Cosmic Book News about her time on the show and about her newest venture with MST3K alumni on CT which has been running since 2008.

COSMIC BOOK NEWS: On Mystery Science Theater 3000 you worked with crew members like Joel Hodgson [who played the role of human Joel Robinson], Trace Beaulieu [besides Dr. Forrester, he played the robot Crow], and Frank Coniff [who played Dr. Forrester’s sidekick TV’s Frank] on now you working with them on the Cinematic Titanic project.

I know you probably told this story thousands of times, but how did you come to work for Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 1992?

MJP: As I’ve described in many interviews, I had done a lot of standup comedy and other sorts of shows with Joel Hogdson, Mike Nelson, Josh Elvis Weinstein, Bridget Jones, Trace Bealieu and Frank Coniff, so I knew them all from that scene.

I’d only heard of MST3K, however, I don’t think I owned a television set at the time, so it was pretty apocryphal to me!

But I’d heard they were looking for an additional writer, so I called Mike Nelson at home one evening (I can still remember my dot matrix printing just starting to print very loudly in my small apartment just as I started to talk to Mike. I was so nervous.)

He ended up asking me to come in for a trial run of two weeks. Nobody said anything one way or the other as the two weeks drew to a close. I was really disappointed, assuming they weren’t interested in keeping me on, so I went around thanking everyone for the opportunity.

Kevin Murphy, Trace, Joel and Mike all seemed kind of shocked, there was a closed door meeting and they gave me another two weeks.

Then I just stayed.

They were gonna have to bring in the National Guard to get me out of there!

CosmicBookNews: Joel’s last episode was on MST3K was the movie where you guys parodied the Joe Don Baker movie “Mitchell.” I read in the MST3K book that in real life Baker was unhappy with you guys.

Do you know if he still is?

MJP: I don’t know. We haven’t heard and he hasn’t kept us up-to-date on his grudge.

CosmicBookNews: Because of that movie, I walk around the house saying “Mitchell” every so often.

MJP: I know! Doing that is exciting!

CosmicBookNews: When you guys did MST3K: the Movie, why not “Highlander Two: The Quickening”?

I mean I saw many fans on the internet begging MST3K to trash it.

[WRITER’S NOTE: Myself included.]

MJP: [LAUGHS]

CosmicBookNews: How did you guys choose “This Island Earth?”

MJP: I am sorry I have such a terrible memory and I know there were some other movies in contention. But I think we winnowed it down – it was difficult for the MST3K show to get rights to a lot of movies but it was even harder to get the rights for one to do a movie and I think that narrowed down our choices.

And we need to consider suitability for the big screen and a lot of other factors to make a movie suitable for MST3K.

We also felt it should be a color movie too and if memory serves and we were able to cut that movie without screwing it up too much. And that’s what it came down to.

CosmicBookNews: Do you still have your Interociter like they had in “This Island Earth” someplace?

MJP: [LAUGHS] No, I move around a lot and I travel light.

CosmicBookNews: Of course you did many of the background voices, and one of your earlier on screen appearances was that of the “Brain that Wouldn’t Die.” But do you remember when were you then asked to play the role of Pearl Forrester? And how did it feel to play the lead villain when the series moved to Sci-Fi Channel?

And where you nervous about going out in front of the camera?

MJP: I can’t recall exactly, but she’d been on the show here and there, and I know we threw around a lot of ideas. We felt we still had to continue the motivation behind Mike and the ‘bots having to watch the movie, and it just came down to that. I was extremely nervous.

I’d done a lot of stage work, acting stuff here and there, but this was new. And it was big shoes to fill… Oh! And there you bring it up in the next question!

CosmicBookNews: When Trace Beaulieu left the show, did you feel you had some tough shoes to fill in?

MJP: Oh, indeed. Trace wears size 12 Jimmy Choos, and not only are they tough to fill, they are notoriously uncomfortable.

CosmicBookNews: You once wrote that writing for the MST3K was one of the best experiences you ever had. Even in that last episode on the Sci-Fi Channel, one could see the emotion on Pearl’s face was not just sadness over Pearl Forrester’s time with Mike and the robots were coming to an end. It seemed much deeper.

How much of Mary Jo bled out of Pearl in that last episode of MST3K?

MJP: I have a hard time recollecting because it is going on 10 years but I do know I am not such an accomplished actor that I would have been able to separate the two [of Pearl and Mary Jo], so I am not surprised that perhaps I did come through.

You know I spent seven years and though it was the greatest job anyone could hope for. We watched television on big screen TVs. I got to watch wonderful awful old movies together with some of the funniest, smartest, coolest people I know and we got free popl and health insurance and it was a great place to be!

I think I thought it was time to move on and I think we were all getting kind of burned out, but I only will speak myself.

You can get burned out even in the best of jobs.

CosmicBookNews: Right.

MJP: So yeah it did show and that doesn’t surprise me. I think we had one day after the wrap where we reviewed the movie and did ads and deletes but it was a huge chapter in my life coming to a close.

CosmicBookNews: Did people recognize you? I mean, are you glad that you are able to go the grocery store without being mobbed?

MJP: Of course! Trust me, that has never been an issue. If anyone recognized me as my Pearl Forrester character, I would be upset.

However, people do recognize my voice a lot, and sometimes my name.

CosmicBookNews: I imagine there is a Mid-Western American mentality to be respectful if you are a celebrity.

MJP: Yeah. It is kind of hard for me to describe living in Minneapolis, there is a certain isolation and we very much work independently of New York City and Hollywood.

So it is really kind of neat when you work on an obscure television show, so for the first couple of years I was really flabbergasted that people have even heard of it.

It is really weird when someone you have never met before says, “I loved you in this episode and can you explain to me why this happened in this episode?”

And it is not bad weird, but you are kind of unprepared for it.

In my head I was just doing my job – a great job and I was just going to work every day.

And I guess in my little pea-brain I forgot it got beamed out into the airwaves. Seriously, I would just report to work and do my thing at the best job in the world and it took me a while to go, “Oh right! Through technology other people are seeing this!” [LAUGHS].

CosmicBookNews: Well it seems your “celebrity status” got you into George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). What was “Jedi Central” like?

MJP: We’d been invited by ILM to do a private show which was more or less the launching of Cinematic Titanic.

I can’t even begin to describe it!

At every turn I was sure I might have an aneurysm because we’d be shown yet another really cool thing.

It was also kind of hilarious because our friends there [at ILM], Tom, Alex, Jennifer and Bonnie, for starters, were all just as geeky about us as we were about them!

It was tremendous!

CosmicBookNews: Jumping back to the movies you riffed on like “Mitchell,” do you find yourself asking, “Did they really make this movie?”

MJP: Yeah! We have said that about many movies.

CosmicBookNews: Speaking of bad movies, Patton Oswalt [on his album “Lollipops and Werewolves”] has this great bit about a movie called “Death Bed” – essentially it is a bed that eats people.

Oswalt talks about he has written many screenplays and he wonders if they are any good.

But then when a movie maker makes a movie like “Death Bed,” Oswalt said he is frightened that the movie makers actually wondered, “Is this any good? Should I keep making this movie?”

Do you think any of these movie makers really thought they were making the next “Star Wars” or were they doing just to give actors and movie makers something to do?

MJP: I think Patton is much more generous of spirit than I am. I don’t think many of these writers were especially tortured, thinking, “Oh my god! Who will see this vision through?”

I think they just wanted to get a movie made.

Who can blame them?

However, a lot of people have sense of humor about it such as director Rick Sloane, writer and director of “Hobgoblins.”

CosmicBookNews: Is there a personal favorite MST3K episode you did?

MJP: I liked the ones with Coleman Francis and I liked “Parts: The Clonus Horror”.

I am a child of the 1970s, so the movie resonated with me.

Also, “Space Mutiny” cracks me up, what with it’s eighties-ness.

CosmicBookNews: Can you guys actually watch television or a movie at home without making wisecracks?

MJP: It is pretty hard not too and even if you are watching a really good film, every so often you want to insert something, just to break the tension.

But it is hard and I think the world has gotten a lot more savvy not just about cinema but media in general and it is hard to take a lot of things that sound serious seriously.

CosmicBookNews: Since MST3K ended are there any movies or television shows you wanted to take a shot at?

MJP: Oh yeah!

People always ask me that question and I need to keep track of the movies I watch because I can never call it to mind when I need to mind.

For starters, “House.”

And I also want to start on books because lately I’ve read some huge blockbusters that I just think, “Wha…??!?!”

CosmicBookNews: As an aside, are there shows you do enjoy?

MJP: We don’t have cable and we only watch television with DVD movies, so I really don’t watch much television. But when I do, I love to watch “The Simpsons” and I loved “Arrested Development”. I cried myself to sleep when it went off the air.

I’m loving “Flight of the Conchords,” and loved “Extras.” I’m watching “Knowing You, Knowing Me.”

And – I’m not proud of this, I’m just telling it like it is – I have to willfully turn off “Rock Of Love,” and it’s so difficult, like trying to put down a box of chocolates that you’ve already plowed through three-quarters of and are already sick.

CosmicBookNews: [LAUGHS] Wow!

Now, I have heard sometimes it could be difficult for MST3K to get a particular movie. Does Cinematic Titanic have an easier time getting movies?

MJP: Frank and Joel are pretty much in charge of acquiring movies, but we are going after films that seem to be more accessible, that we know we might have a fighting chance with on our budget.

CosmicBookNews: So there are people who purposely make bad movies to air on show?

MJP: Yes.

CosmicBookNews: It seems like there is something disingenuous about making a bad movie just to give it a second life on MST3K or CT or even RiffTrax, the Michael Nelson movie-riff endeavor you contributed to.

MJP: It is difficult to quantify but I think it has to do with intent. If the film maker sets out with the intent of making a bad movie, and then hopefully give it some sort of life if not on DVD or drive-ins, but with a mocking show, like RiffTrax or CT or MST3K, it just doesn’t work. The self-awareness and the pandering makes it almost impossible.

On the other hand, your Ed Woods, your Al Adamsons, your William Castles, were flying by the seat of their pants, however misguided, and that somehow makes the playing field what it is.

CosmicBookNews: That reminds me of the people on “American Idol” who come in to audition outlandishly and purposely sing off key.

MJP: Yeah, it’s a set up.

CosmicBookNews: How great is to be back with MST3K crew members like Hodgson, Trace, and Coniff] on CT after so many years apart?

MJP: Oh it’s great fun! It’s just really wonderful to be back in one’s element. I never actually riffed on the movies in MST3K, except for one segment. But it was my role as a writer to mock the movies, so it’s in my blood.

And to be able to do it live and do it with people who you think are tremendously funny and smart and raise the bar for you is terrific.

What’s not to like?

CosmicBookNews: Did you ever think you would be working with these again or were you hoping for some sort of MST3K reunion?

MJP: I don’t know if I was ever looking for a reunion and I think I am friends with most everybody from MST3K so that satisfied a lot of that for me.

CosmicBookNews: So it is not like a classmates from high school or college you will see once ever 10 years or so at some reunion of sorts.

MJP: Right. It was never like I was not gonna see them again. I never really thought about it.

Of course, I would be up for it if it ever happened. And then Joel and Frank and I had lunch when I was in Los Angeles a few summers ago, and voila!

CosmicBookNews: So working with these guys is like old times?

MJP: Yes, to a certain extent, having worked with everyone in the past on the show. Josh and I worked a lot together doing standup.

And yet, it’s all new because I’m riffing for one thing, and I’m a partner in the endeavor. And it continues to be a work in progress. We’re still figuring out how to do things and how to make the mechanics work.

CosmicBookNews: Before CT, you contributed to two anthologies, contributed to NPR, did a lot of shows and you have kept busy.

MJP: I have been freelancing for the most part and I have traveled.

That was my big dream after MST3K ended was to travel and I traveled on and off for about a year.

Then I moved to New York, which in itself is a job and that was quite an adventure. I moved back to Minneapolis, and moved to Austin, Texas.

Also, I contributed to several books but I only authored one. It’s no longer available, and believe me, it’s for the best. I’ll have a new book out later this year, and there will be an electronic version of a bunch of new stories available for iPhones at the Apple store in a few weeks.

CosmicBookNews: How do you “turn the switch” from book writer to television writer?

MJP: Well, the writing I do for Cinematic Titanic isn’t really conventional television writing, so I don’t feel like there’s much a switch to be flipped.

MST3K and Cinematic Titanic are pretty specific in terms of writing to a movie (host segments and interstitials not withstanding).

My stories and essays are much more rounded out, expanded, because I have the luxury of telling a story and not trying to fit in a quip between dialogue or make fun of an endless car chase.

CosmicBookNews: So it sounds like you kept busy.

MJP: Yeah, I have been doing a lot of acting, writing, and voice over work.

CosmicBookNews: I hear voice over work is extremely lucrative these days.

MJP: Well apparently I am not getting enough of it.

CosmicBookNews: [Laughs].

MJP: Put the word out! Anything to avoid a cube job.

CosmicBookNews: So what is next for you? Any new books or TV shows?

MJP: Yes, I’m working on a couple of new books; I’ll be editing and contributing to an anthology that I’m starting work on; I’ve always got a million projects in the hopper…now…if only one of them would come to fruition…

CosmicBookNews: Thank you, Mary Jo!

MJP: Thanks!

For more information about Mystery Science Theater 3000 visit www.mst3kinfo.com and for information about Cinematic Titanic visit www.cinematictitanic.com.

And visit Mary Jo Pehl’s web site at www.maryjopehl.com.

WRITER’S NOTE:

And also a big thank you to Mary Jo Pehl who answered many more “follow up questions.” But she was kind and gracious to do so!

Thank you!