About Me

Rob Pincombe is a prolific television writer, recovering comedian and sometime comic artist/storyboard artist who just wasn't satisfied with a single blog. He writes about sci-fi and fandom at rebelalert.com, Canadian comics at comicanuck.com, and shares thoughts and insights on writing at starkravingadventure.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

LOST IN THE TRANSPORTER - How do you focus those scattered ideas and fight through the fear of writing?

Divert more power to the pattern buffer, Mr. Scott.

Welcome to the rebellion.

This year has been a filled with much creative turmoil. I haven’t been satisfied with the status quo and have been trying to make things happen by exploring new directions and long-ignored dreams and ideas.

The result? Predictably it's been chaos. I’ve spent of the year feeling scattered as I lurched from project to project.

Sometimes I feel like I’m caught in that moment when Scotty (or Geordi, or O’Brien, or B’Elanna, or Lt. Arex, or Trip depending on your series preference) slides up the fader to activate the transporter pad and all the atoms and molecules that make up Leonard McCoy (or Crusher, Pulaski, Bashir, the EMH Mark 1 or Phlox) are spread across the universe, suspended on the edge of infinity as they wait to be reassembled on the newly discovered planet below.

Inside that nanosecond, all those molecules are hurling around, touching, flowing through and smashing into every point in the galaxy, weaving themselves, however temporarily, into the very fabric of time and space.

While McCoy is standing on board the Enterprise (NSS-1701A through E or whatever), he’s also back in sick bay, walking the streets of the Romulan Empire with beyond the neutral zone and a part of every spray-painted rock and plastic plant on that planetary soundstage below.
In touch with all but unable to touch or change anything at all.

Every creator knows that initial, overwhelming moment of inspiration when an idea starts to form in your head. In that ecstatic, birthing stage of creation the choices are infinite and anything is possible.

Anything at all.

But when an idea is suspended in the infinite, its atoms co-mingled with all creation, it’s completely indefinable. I mean, how can you define everything? When something is still everything, it’s really nothing at all is it?

That quantum thought cookie defines the very essence of the creator’s challenge.

Still in limbo...

Every creator also knows we have to reach into that churning, shining chimera of creation and pull it in some direction. Any direction. We shuck away everything the idea isn’t in our search for what the idea will be.

That act of choosing is what defines it. Once we do that it’s no longer linked to the infinite.
Rather, it becomes infinitely itself. Unique. Ours.

That’s hard enough for one, single idea. But for many of us it’s not so much the one idea that haunts us, it’s the dozens of ideas per a day that swirl through our brains and harass us to reach into the maelstrom and give them form.

Somehow it always helps when I write those ideas down. Somehow by confining them to paper they feel “captured” and I can move on, secure in the knowledge that they will be waiting for me when I finally get to them.
But I will I ever get to them? For most of them the answer is no.

This year has seen my online garden of blogs slow from a sporadic but steady climb in output to a hiccupping crawl. Truthfully, I am always amazed by bloggers who write full time yet somehow manage to maintain their blogging so spectacularly. I get so busy that sitting for another hour of wordsmithing can seem more like a punishment than a reward.

So where do I go from here?

Beam me where, Scotty?

I feel free to explore to the world of ideas here at Rebel Alert. Other outlets feel too specific for that kind of writing.
My science fiction isn’t about genre, robots and ray guns. At its heart, science fiction is about ideas. It’s about extrapolating the human experience of today in a way free to explore the true cost of a given way of life -- the cost of our decisions taken to the extreme.

I feel grounded in other genres. But ah, when I have the universe at my creativity’s beck and call, that’s when I surprise even myself!
Like a blind transport, I often have only the faintest inkling of where it will all end up. That's my kind of ride!

The universe is calling...

And so, I shall continue to push through the chaos of all those idea molecules crying out to be pulled from the infinite into the definite though the din sometimes grows loud as thunder.
I keep trying to move forward on all those projects despite frustrations, dead ends, dangling threads and varying results. It's so hard to forgive myself. It's hard to silence my inner critic. It's hard to keep track of so many moving atoms. But deep down I know that as long as those atoms stay safe in the transporter pattern buffer, Mr. Scott can always bring me home.

I am moving. But is it just spasmodic thrashing or definite steps toward something new?

Past experience has taught me this dazed and confused transporter feeling goes hand in hand with working my way through to a new level of creative output.
I had thought that maybe Rebel Alert would not be a part of that new paradigm.

Yet today the transporter beamed me down here.

Perhaps there are still new worlds to explore after all.


Dammit Jim! The transporter is not a toy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fan Expo - A Musical Interlude, part 1

Welcome to the Rebellion.

The evil Sith have used their dark powers to bring this rebel down with Vertigo so my blogging has been stopped dead in it's dizzy tracks.

But with Fan Expo Sci-fi/Horror/comic Book/Gaming and Anime Convention is coming to Toronto this weekend I must offer something.

So here are few sci-fi themed, music videos for your enjoyment

First up, James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though if you're reading this blog you already know that.) is doing a concert this weekend. His music is pretty fun, poppy rock. Worth a listen at his MySpace page.

And since James is in town, the occasion begs for a classic video from Marster's twin-in-rock-and-roll, the one and only, post-apocalyptic Billy Idol, Dancing With Myself. the video won't embed but you can check it out here.

Leave it to Billy Idol to do pretty much exactly what my twenty-year old self would have done if the bombs dropped when I was in my twenties.

Our next video comes courtesy of sci-fi and comic scribe, Joe O'Brien of the soon-to-be-relaunched Hardcore Nerdity. Rachel Bloom's hilarious Fuck Me Ray Bradbury. It's smart and oozing with geek girl hotness.

Fantastic, huh? How shall we top that? Perhaps some more retro goodies formt he Eurythmics and Queen!

Tron: Legacy is coming to big screens this fall so the film will be a big presence at Fan Expo as well. So how about a trip into the original Tron world with the Strokes?

The Strokes - 12:51
Uploaded by Flouzoom. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Felica Day (Buffy, The Guild) will be siging as well. She recently shot Red, a movie for SyFy in Toronto and now has another chance to clock the best coffee places in town. The Guild had an internet hit on thier hands with the music video "Do You Want To Date My Avatar?" but thier latest full-on Bollywood parody is a special kind of magic.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&amp;brand=v5%5E544x306&amp;from=sp&amp;vid=8cb424dc-cbdb-40be-90c5-8fb450462d2f" target="_new" title="Season 4 - Music Video - ">Video: Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"</a>

We'll finish off today's selection with a video from Toronto's own sci-fi siren, Lights. Enjoy... White.

There's more to come. Stay tuned!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tor.com - A Site full of Fantastical Delights

Welcome to the rebellion.

Sci-Fi aficionados come in all shapes and sizes but even with the large variety of resources provided by the web, we all tend to gravitate to specific sites to get our updates. Some of us tend to look for movie and TV info, others come from a comic book background, more literary types may go to online story sites.

As far as literary sci-fi goes, I find myself more and more impressed with the community at publisher Tor.com. There’s lots here to make this site both sticky and worth bookmarking for regular visits.

We have a cover artist gallery showcasing examples of the visual art of Tor books and other related pieces by the creators. There are blogs and forums about all kinds of geektastic related news, coming books and re-reading/re-watching of classic and not so classic sci-fi.

And of course, short fiction. There’s even podcasts giving avid listeners fantasy tales in audio form.

I first discovered the site last year when Tor went all Victorian for Steampunk month, including redesigning “Stubby” the Tor.com rocket logo into a steampunk airship dubbed the H.M.S. Stubbington.

It was a delight to follow Tor blogger Irene’s Saturday Morning Cartoons posts, pointing me to awesome sci-fi themed toons from around the world.

I still return to posts like Steampunk Saturday, which showcased the lavish, steampunk, shadow toon, “The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello” (Whose home website is very cool Gothic Gazette) and Blur Studio’s “A Gentleman’s Duel”.

Irene is the Art Director for Tor, Forge, Starscape and Tor.com and has excellent taste in toons. Check out her personal website.

For those who like their narrative more graphic, Tor also has short stories by cartoonists including Canada’s indie horror maven, Ray Fawkes and his creepy little gem, Black Strings.

And while we’re in a Canadian cartoonist mood, take a peek at Agnes Garbowska’s delightful animated preview for her comic project, Imagination Station.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lady Robotika is a Go Go - Jane Wiedlin has been abducted by aliens

Welcome to the rebellion.

Former proto-punk queen turned occasional film star, sci-fi geek, dominatrix pin-up, MTV Surreal Life participant and eternal pop rocker has been kidnapped by aliens. We'll find out what happens soon when the first issue of "Jane Wieldin's Lady Robotika" comes out from Image Comics. We here at rebel base are big fans of Jane so we can promise you this...

Those rebel alien scum won't know what hit them.

Jane was one of my eighties pop crushes and is a huge sci-fi fan. Growing up in Ontario meant your number one source for music journalism and new bands was City TV and Muchmusic's The New Music. Jane has posted an interview with The New Music's Laurie Brown on her Facebook fan page discovering her second solo album Fur.

There's also a short but terrific career-spanning interview up at songfacts.com that discusses songs from the Jane Wieldin catalogue. It's worth a read. I mean, how many songwriters have written the Sparks and Keith Urban, right?

She has some sci-fi cred too thanks to playing Joan of Arc in Bill & Ted's Excellent adventure and the small role of Federation Communications Officer Trillya in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Her new band FroSTed capitalizes the ST in their name due to her being such a big Star Trek fan. She has also done voice work for animation including Duck Dodgers, Scooby Doo and Batman: Gotham Knights.

Jane also has the best cameo ever put on film in the movie Clue towards the end as the singing telegram girl.

So memorable. So awesome. And only five seconds. A perfect celluloid moment.

To really get how much of an adorable sci-fi geek Jane is, just take this tour of her sci-fi loft created to give her and her dogs a Blade Runner/Millenium Falcon loft to relax in. Seriously, she has the actual wallpaper from Barbarella's bedroom in her kitchen dining area. Excuse me while I wipe saliva off my keyboard.

Jane's "dragon holding marble grapes light sconce" and "faux Battlestar Galactica" bedroom wallpaper is not so much to my taste. The bathroom at about eleven minutes in is pretty wild. It has an alien snow cave or cloudscape ceiling, an alien city tile mosaic and a Klingon-style sink Jane describes as "a kind of combination between a pyramid and an octopus from a different planet".

But nothing tops her transporter shower.


This shower has a radio, disco lighting, a shower that shoots water from the tops, sides or a hand held shower head. It also has a bathtub, a jacuzzi whirlpool, a steam room and a foot massage unit.

Truer words were never spoken when Jane says, "This thing is the bomb. This little unit is just a party in itself. If you like to entertain I'm sure you'll entertain alot in here. If you're naughty... like I am."

I honestly don't know why she ever leaves that shower.

We here at Rebel Alert support Jane's first foray into the four-color world of galactic adventure. And she has serious back-up on this project. The series is co-written and drawn by Bongo comics co-founder Bill Morrison (The Simpsons, Roswell: Little Green Man) with the help of co-artist Tone Rodriguez (The Simpsons, Snake, Violent Messiahs).

In this interview at Billboard.com, Wiedlin confirms her love of all things sci-fi.

"A lot of comic conventions go way beyond comic books and include other parts of pop culture, like celebrities and science fiction and movies and books," says Wiedlin. "So I go to them either as a celebrity, or as a fan, because I'm a big sci-fi geek."
The Billboard article also points out that "Other comics-loving musicians have turned to writing series, including Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and Coheed and Cambria's Claudio Sanchez, but those stories don't feature the artists as characters."

Here's a short interview with Jane at last year's (2009) Comic Con.

In the Lady Robotika tale, Jane begins to rally the oppressed aliens of another world with a live concert. The music portrayed in the comic is real. Jane has already begun writing music based on the series. They hope to collect and package the first six issues with the finished CD and perhaps even put up a Lady Robotika musical! Big dreams come in gorgeous, pixie-sized packages.

For a preview of some of the robotika music, check out the new Robotika myspace page. Gonna Make You Fall is just vintage Jane!

According to their recent interview at Comic Book Resources, Wiedlin and Morrison wants fans to pre-order fast.

I have one parting word of advice, and this is from a world class procrastinator: Image prints only as many copies as are ordered through Diamond, so please don't count on showing up at your local comic book emporium on July 14 and finding a copy of the first issue. Get there and order one or several copies today! The final cut off for orders is this Thursday, June 24, so there's still time - you can thank me later!
Time is running out. You can pre-order your copy at Thing From Another World.

Ulp! The deadline to pre-order is today according to the official www.ladyrobotika.com website!

So scramble those X and Y Wings rebels. A small band of pre-orderers just might penetate the defenses of the Diamond Distributing Empire's otherwise impenetrable minimum order shield!

Jane recently suffered a 20 foot fall that screwed up both of her knees, forcing the Go-Go's to cancel this Fall's tour. So I hope this project is a success to help keep her positive. You can send her well wishes and purchase a hilarious "Jane Wiedlin went and fell off a cliff and all I got was this lousy cancelled tour tee-shirt!" at her website, janewiedlin.com.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Ad-Astra Animation Guest of Honour

Welcome to the rebellion.

This weekend I will be appearing as the Animation Guest of Honour at Ad-Astra.

Not only is it my first time as a Guest, but it's also my first official sci-fi convention... ever!! (Not counting Fan Expo, which I have attended for the comics side). I hope you are all gentle with me and my non-sci-fi wife!

In addition to guesting on several panels and helping to judge Canada's Next Top Zombie (Awesome!!), my panel on Animation will be on Sunday Morning (Opposite Robert Sawyer's writing workshop. Sigh. But who wants to hear what the tremendously successful, engaging, friendly and prolific hack has to say?)

Since I'm not sure what to expect, I thought Id let you know what you can expect!


Got a question about animation? Wondering why your child is obsessed with Bakugan or where Max and Ruby’s parents are? Want an inside scoop on the making of your favourite - and not so favourite - cartoons? Using his own extensive career as a living example, Animation Guest of Honor Robert Pincombe dishes on the joys and pitfalls of his chosen profession: the trials of breaking in, the challenge of writing for different age groups and different kinds of animation, and the often hilarious cultural disconnects you run into when adapting anime.

The Ad-Astra site is here.

And my bio is here.

And my not quite current imdb page is here.

See you there! :)


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Olympics - A Fanboy Geek's Eye View!

Welcome to the rebellion.

The Winter World Oly*p*cs have taken our little Canadian corner of the universe by storm. I’ve been trying to post about the dang opening ceremonies but Darth Vader’s Imperial Oly*p*c Commitee has such a lockdown on their brand even Google limits your searches for images.

A lot of brave, digitally animated rebels gave their lives for this inside look at the opening ceremonies – the most incredible salute to sci-fi, comicbooks and musical theatre by way of Broadway, the West End and Vegas in the universe!!!!!!

First up all the combatants in the Emperor’s galactic wide competition entered the arena to be scanned and tagged for monitoring. Any alien in these capable of defeating all comers will need to be closely watched for seditious behavior after the Games are done, after all.

With so many planets and space sectors represented just entering the arena took over 35 parsecs! Many families in the audience brought portable, cryogenic units to place fussy kids in suspended animation until the good stuff got going.

So for those who slept through it here are this rebel’s recollections of the event.

The fantasy and musical fan in this rebel’s heart was cheering as the ceremony began with a salute to The Lord of the Rings (the movie and the complicated stage machinery from the musical) the raising of the Argonath at the border of Gondor – ginormous pillars carved in the likeness of long dead kings Isildur and A├írion touched all those present I’m sure.

I was especially touched to see the event receive the blessing of the Na’vi people from James Cameron's life-changing, seminal, most extraordinary, Oscar-worthy, poetic, lyrical, rollicking, dynamic and generally awesome unless you start asking plot questions Avatar!

Once the alien athletes were assembled, Droid singers Nelly 4-TODD-O and BR-1-ADMZ helped put those who failed to bring cryogenic chambers to sleep with their rendition of the binary droid Oly*p*c song. Remembering how generic and lame this song is helps me appreciate the actual CTV Olympic song, I Believe, much more. Because they have shown me that it truly could have been worse! Sarah McLchlan's NBC Olympic theme is a better song, though both are awfully laid back considering they represent competitions that take advantage of the speed snow and ice provide.

Then things got dramatic. I know the games are being held on Hoth and it is an ice planet but we sure spent a lot of time watching the formation of the planet’s ice fields. Or was that a lament to the sterile, dying planet of Krypton undergoing its death throes before Superman's Dad launched him out into space as a baby to save his tiny super-baby life? Ah well, life and death are always entangled, right?

Either way we were then subjected to wandering tauntaun herders looking bewildered and awestruck as the Coca Cola bear rose up out of the floor to say hello.

Let’s see, then we had a quick, underwater celebration of the Little Mermaid and Free Willy by way of Orca and Renny Harlin’s awesome Deep Blue Sea starring Saffron Burrows, L.L. Cool J, Thomas Jane and Samuel L. Jackson.

We returned to the Lord of Rings briefly for the March of the Ents on Isengard, wherein Tolkien’s ancient tree guardians from Tolkien’s The Two Towers and Return of the King attack the last stronghold of the evil wizard, Saruman. A bunch of dancing Hobbits join the battle, leaping and twirling among the roots of the trees while Sarah “still pretty hot” McLachlan sang about miracles and stuff. This is definitely what the stage LOTR was missing!

I was moved to tears by the aerial ballet to that Joni Mitchell song from the sad part of “Love Actually” featuring a young Clark Kent learning to fly on the Canadian Prairies while Pa Kent’s voice quoted W. O. Mitchell. It was a beautiful, poignant pause in the bombastic proceedings.

At this point Sandmen swept through the audience to examine the palm flower life clocks on everyone’s official Oly*p*c mittens to ensure no one over thirty would witness the rest of the ceremony.

Anyone found with a flashing maple leaf in the palm of their mittens were obviously approaching thirty years old and were therefore overdue for ’Last Day’. The oldsters were herded down to the stadium floor for the Carrousel ceremony, which included punk rock, faerie fiddlers and their tap-dancing thralls!

What a thrill as the aging detritus of our youthful, futuristic society spun in the air on their red skies in hopes of ‘renewal’. But since no one came back down we can assume they’ve all been zapped.

Perhaps I just missed someone renewing because my attention was drawn to the arena floor once again for a salute to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s delightfully daffy and box-office poison musical, Starlight Express (His follow-up to Cats about roller derby trains) and the groundbreaking Disney sci-fi film, Tron. It makes sense, since a long awaited sequel to Tron is coming out soon and Disney has deep pockets for products placement.

Up next, Mr. Showbiz himself, Wayne Newton, arrived barefoot to sing Dark Lord Leonard Cohen's much-covered song 'Hallelujah'…

Oh sorry... That’s apparently K.D. Lang channeling the former planet Krypton’s leading scientist, Jor-El. Lang’s continuation of the Oly*p*c’s salute to the Man of Steel was truly a showstopper, with the entire crowd waving their light-up Dr. Who Sonic Screwdrivers behind her.

Speaking of the Kryptonians, they sure were cleaning up at these Games, what with the bevy of superpowers they gain under our yellow sun. Gold after gold was awarded to Superman’s brethren until a few days into the Games when the entire team seemed to fade from competition. I suspect it’s because the Luthorcorp-made gold medals are 100% gold kryptonite, which robs native Kryptonians of their super-powers permanently. But I guess those are the breaks in the world of intergalactic sports.

The reverence for Superman was quickly explained when I realized this year’s Oly*p*cs were not taking place in Vancouver, Bitish Columbia, Canada, planet Earth, but in fact were on Vancu-Var, an icy moon orbiting the remains of Superman’s long dead planet home planet, Krypton.

What was my first clue? Probably the eight, super-heroic, Kryptonian Elders carrying the Oly*p*c flag into the stadium, including Betty Fox (Terry’s mother), Bobby Orr (the golden age Wayne Gretzky), Anne Murray (aka Snowbird), Jacques Villeneuve, Barbara Ann Scott, Senator Romeo Dallaire, space traveler Julie Payette and Donald Sutherland (father of super-spy Jack Bauer).

The Council of Kryptonian Elders then gave speeches from Superman's crystaline, arctic Fortress of Solitude and declared this year's Oly*p*c Games open.

The Oly*p*c Torch itself was then passed from Rick Hansen to a Justice League of sports heroes including Catriona LeMay Doan, Nancy Greene and Steve Nash who were supposed to light the torch together. Although Catriona was left out in the cold when her pillar failed to rise. If I only had a nickel… I kind of wish the stiff looking Wayne Gretsky (Canada's former Superman till Lex Luthor, er, Bruce McNall sold him out) had called her over to help light his pillar, since he'd be getting a second chance at it. But he didn't so now I think he's a bit of a dick. After that uncomfortable pause, the torch was then carried to official cauldron and lit by dick Gretzky.

And that was that! So whether you look at this eternal Oly*p*c flame and see the Fortress of Solitude...

...Or the eternal, never-blinking eye of Sauron above the molten fires of Morder...

...I salute all our courageous competitors in the spirit of geek enthusiasm. May this flame burn in our hearts and memory for eternity!

That's about it. If you weren't tuning in you only missed the most awesome pop culture extravaganza ever in the history of anything!


My vote for new Canadian superhero goes to Penticton Slam Poet
Shane Koyczan for his heartfelt "We Are More" first written and
performed for Ottawa's Canada Day ceremonies in 2007.