From MonkeyBrainComics.com and Gregg Taylor comes:
Posted by Jesse Willis
Tales of the Red Panda: The Crime Cabal
By Gregg Taylor; Read by Gregg Taylor
Release Date: October 17, 2012
Playing time: 5 hours 53 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Themes: pulp / heroes / depression era / gangs / zombies / bombs / hypnotism / secret identities / roof tops / grapnel guns
Depression-era Toronto is the setting for Gregg Taylor’s pulp hero The Red Panda and his sidekick The Flying Squirrel. The novel opens with the last of the big gangs in the city being brought to Justice; Police Chief O’Mally railing against the masked vigilantes at loose in his city. While the Press love the hero: defender of the weak, the poor and the downtrodden of society.
Out from the ashes of the many gangs that our hero’s have crushed rises a new gang, The Crime Cabal. This new gang knows that for them to flourish, they must deal with The Red Panda once and for all. But there is more behind the Cabal than a simple gang. When the hulking enforcers of the gang turn out to be zombies it’s clear that this is no ordinary gang.
The Tales of the Red Panda: The Crime Cabal is the first novel set within the same setting as the podcast audio dramas, also written and produced by Gregg Taylor under the Decoder Ring Theatre banner. There is continuity between the podcast and the novel, but the novel does stand on it’s own, even providing an origin story for one of the long running supporting characters. The setting and characters are all introduced with enough background and flare to be fully formed within the novel alone.
Gregg Taylor does a commendable job with the narration and the characters. Of note are the character voices especially as I’ve listened to the audio dramas for some years. Taylor captures the essence of the voices of the characters as they have been portrayed by other actors. For several years in some cases. So, even if you have listened to the podcasts you won’t be disappointed by the the portrayal of familiar characters, and if you haven’t then they come out fully formed characterizations.
My only niggle is that in the first few chapters the narration feels just a little rushed in places, but this passes.
Posted by Paul [W] Campbell
The SFFaudio Podcast #189 – Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, and Tim Prasil talk about the six episode anthology series Marvellous Boxes, recorded and podcast by Decoder Ring Theatre. But first we play an episode, Facing Cydonia.
Talked about on today’s show:
The Magic Of The Movies, The Crasher, horror, stage play (post Meridian Radio Players), Thinking In Trinary, Decoder Ring Theatre, Gregg Taylor, the Cobol Club, OTR, radio commercials, flash fiction, CBC, The Age Of Persuasion, “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!”, Plotting For Perfection (the short story), stage play, the Vera Van Slyke stories, occult detectives, Fitz-James O’Brien, audio dramatizations of the Vera Van Slyke stories, Black Jack Justice, The Red Panda Adventures, why be locked into the 1/2 hour audio drama format?, A Demon Once Removed, a one set one act play, Nicole (the peripheral character with a personality), Chekhov’s Gun, an alternate history, “Gregg Taylor need not be played by Gregg Taylor”, Orson Welles, history, Frozen Words Thawed, Remembering The Martians, an all black cast of MacBeth, The War Of The Worlds, H.G. Wells, The Tempest (as an alien contact story), William Shakespeare, a controversy over the character names in Facing Cydonia, Jenny will sing us a song, the boxes, “are there more boxes in you?”, ghosts, the button, the wax cylinder recorder, the Piltdown Man hoax, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an authentic hoax, Conan Doyle is the most gullible, the Cottingley Fairies, FairyTale: A True Story, Harry Houdini, Terry Jones, Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book, the EULA on wax cylinders, Thomas Edison, the most science-fictiony story, Plotting For Perfection, a femme fatale story without the femme fatale, “talk about your retro-causality”, “a box with a hole in it”, Andrea Lyons?, Scene Of The Crime, Remembering The Martians, racism, difference, tolerance, Doctor Who – The Power Of Three, fish people, are the Martians really dead?, binary fission, fruitful names, Jacob, Jason, Easter eggs, Finbar, The Silver Tongued Devil, The Sonic Society, Roger Gregg, it’s a pseudo-documentary, a joke/haiku, “conclusions should be drawn with a pencil not a pen”, Aliens Are Like Mirages, “it’s an indictment I’m just not sure what it’s an indictment of”, “if we had this power would we use it?”, the curiousness of the chaplaincy, prequels are for readers not writers, the miracle, the yup, human history in a nutshell, To Serve Man, narrative structure, why is X-Minus One a good name?, Marvellous Boxes as a name doesn’t have a super-punch, steampunky, “steamy contraptions”, Murdoch Mysteries (CBC TV), “a little less steam and a little more electricity”, Netflix in Canada sucks, Weeds, Walk Off The Earth.
Posted by Jesse Willis
I do not hide my love for the Red Panda.
But, SPOILER ALERT, I’m actually in love with the Flying Squirrel.
Both of my loves show up in the three Red Panda novels that are now available on Audible.com.
Written by a certified genius, Gregg Taylor, and read by a certifiable genius, Gregg Taylor, these are the long-form superhero adventures that we’ve been waiting for. They are:
Posted by Jesse Willis
This Chicago area convention begins August 3, 2012.
Here’s the convention’s description:
Most kids create an imaginary world where they have friends nobody else can see and which allows them to be firefighters or astronauts or whatever strikes their fancy. We were all kids like that and, as we grew, we found the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, media, music, art and other interests that allowed us to escape from the
Within the fannish community, we’ve found folks who have similar interests. This society of accepting, like-minded people allows us to create and educate. Whether it’s science, writing, art, music or even new ideas of what family and religion mean, fandom is a pretty creative bunch. MuseCon is a place to explore that creativity and learn from each other. You don’t have to be an expert–all you need is a willingness to try.
Come and play with us!
Here’s the two page spread in the MuseCon program book about our hero:
And here’s the complete |PDF|.
Posted by Jesse Willis
If you haven’t already started listening to The Red Panda Adventures you’re doing yourself a grave disservice. Go back to the beginning and start with Season 1 (that’s HERE).
The Red Panda Adventures – Season 7
By Gregg Taylor; Performed by a full cast
12 MP3 Files via podcast – Approx. 6 Hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Decoder Ring Theatre
Podcast: August 2011 – July 2012
Themes: / Fantasy / Superheroes / Mystery / Crime / Nazis / War / WWII / Adventure / Toronto / Androids / Espionage / Zombies / Magic / Aliens / Poetry / Astral Projection / Hypnosis / France / Germany / Berlin / Dinosaurs / Identity / Forgery / Romance /
The Red Panda Adventures is a comic book superhero series with a world, now in it’s seventh season, that is only comparable in scale to the entire Marvel or DC universes. But unlike either DC and Marvel, the Red Panda universe has all been written by one man, Greg Taylor. Because of that it has a consistency like the best seasons of Babylon 5.
The first episode of Season 7 follows right on the heels of last season’s final episode. In the season opener, From the Ashes, Kit Baxter gets a visit from the highest power in the land. And what with the Red Panda being presumed dead there’s only one thing to do – find a replacement for Canada’s greatest superhero. The government suggests that an unkillable machine, bent on vengeance, become the new Red Panda. And Kit, is fairly forced to accept the government’s choice. Now I won’t summarize any more of the plot. But, I will say this – Season 7 is a very different season than the previous six seasons.
What isn’t different is Taylor’s scripting. It’s still great, in fact its almost unbelievably great. Taylor has one of those highly distinctive writing styles, one that’s instantly recognizable – he’s like an Aaron Sorkin, a David Mamet, or an Ian Mackintosh. And with Taylor’s style comes a whole lot of substance too. He does incredible things with each half-hour script. Each standalone tale features a carefully measured combination of snappy repartee, genuine mystery, thrilling suspense, and clever action. And he does it all within a expanded universe so consistent so as to have become a kind of complete alternate history. His seven year series, and running, has created an image so vivid as to be completely realized. Taylor’s 1930s-1940s Toronto is far realer to me than any Gotham or Metropolis offered up in comics or movies. In fact to find anything comparable you’d have to go to the Springfield of The Simpsons!
Indeed, for the last seven years I’ve followed The Red Panda Adventures rather avidly and with each season I’ve become more engrossed in the show. The release of a new episode has become so inextricably linked to my listening habits so as to become like a good a visit from an old friend. It’s truly wonderful.
In my re-listening to the first eleven episodes of this Season 7 I picked up dozens and dozens of minor details in dialogue and plot that I’d missed the first time around. Take one point, early in the season, as an example – a character quotes the tagline of the CBS Radio series Suspense as a part of her dialogue.
How wonderful to find that!
And of course there are all the usual line echoes that we know from all past seasons (if you’re curious there’s a whole thread of Taylorisms over on AudioDramaTalk).
As for Season 7 as a whole, it has a sense of deep loss, very much in keeping with the times in which the story is set and the fallout from Season 6. Earlier I mentioned that Season 7 was unlike previous seasons, that’s because it features two overarching, and eventually intersecting, plots. The first, set in Toronto, deals with Kit Baxter, her new sidekick, her new job as associate editor of the Chronicle, and her developing pregnancy. The other plotline, set in Europe introduces us to a new character, a Lieutenant Flynn, a man in a deep denial, and his attempts to fight the Nazis behind their lines. It’s a radical change, and unforeseen change of pace, but not an unpleasant one.
The smaller scale stories from this season, like The Milk Run, work terrifically well too. As even the characters themselves will admit a plot about the forgery of rationing books doesn’t sound very dramatic next to the events unfolding in war torn France. But it’s a job that has to be done, and should be done, and done well it is. And that’s because the relatively harmless domestic crime of forgery is an important part of the story of WWII Toronto. The The Milk Run script tackles it in a way that makes it seem as if such a story could not not be told. In fact, this whole home-front end of the season’s story holds up very well next to the very dramatic later episodes.
One other such, The Case Of The Missing Muse, works very similairly. It’s a story in which we meet a super-villain, with a super-vocabulary, in a mystery that could have been set in any of the previous episodes. But what with the war time setting it of Season 7, and a new Red Panda running the show, it has a resolution that has its own unique wartime fit.
That replacement Red Panda, who in fact is a character from a previous season is still voiced by the wonderful Christopher Mott. The new Panda has a very different personality and temperament than our good friend August Fenwick. His goals as Red Panda are different, his methods are different, and it’s basically everything you like about when a hero regular superhero, from the comics gets, a replacement. It’s a new origins story – a fresh start – with all the promise that brings.
Some have argued that The Red Panda Adventures is really Kit Baxter’s story – and that certainly could be argued especially within the first arc of Season 7. Indeed, Kit Baxter, aka Flying Squirrel, does not get short shrift there. Besides her regular superhero duties, Kit’s also required to train the new Panda, fill in for the shattered Home Team (from last season) and somehow deal with the fact that her butler now knows she’s the Flying Squirrel! But that’s not all over at The Chronicle, the fictional Toronto newspaper that Kit works for, she, and we, get to visit with one of the best editor voices I’ve ever heard. Editor Pearly is your typical fatherly J. Jonah Jameson type caricature of an editor, but with a voice so crazily stressed out, a voice with lines so quickly delivered, you’ll barely understand a word he’s saying. It’s both fun and funny.
Then, just short of the midway point, a kind of focal transition takes place in between episodes 78 and 79, The Darkness Beyond and Flying Blind. The second arc begins slowly but soon ramps up. The aforementioned “Lieutenant Flynn”, and a team of commandos lead by one Captain Parker must escape from a Nazi stalag prison. Once achieved they spend much of the rest of the season either on the run or doing Special Operations Executive style missions in Nazi occupied France or in Berlin itself! And long time fans of the series will recognize the return of a certain Australian accented commando in one episode.
This new military aspect of the show is actually rather remarkable, being like a kind of Canadian version of WWII Captain America. It features a large male cast, allied soldiers, that act like something like a hybrid of the comics like Sgt. Rock, Sgt. Fury And His Howling Commandos, and The Unknown Soldier. Indeed, in the final episode of Season 7, The Black Heart, the show even gives a nice tip of the hat towards the later Nick Fury (the one who’s an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D.). That final season episode, incidentally, is set to be podcast later this month and features several other reveals, and dare I say reunions, which fans will be sure to love – I know I sure did. Suffice it to say, the Season 7 season-ender is definitely not a cliffhanger.
Here’s the podcast feed:
Happy Canada Day everybody, go celebrate with some RED PANDA!
Posted by Jesse Willis