While you were sleeping: New Bryan Lee O’Malley project, Star Wars VII, a ’20s metal band,’ NextFab, Mike Nichols

    While you were sleeping: “Scott Pilgrim” creator Bryan Lee O’Malley has a new graphic novel; why “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” is gonna be great; a banjo-pickin’, washboard-scratchin’ band you need to listen to right now; a ‘Fab’ workshop in Philadelphia; and the resurrection of Mike Nichols.

    Every month, the Black Tribbles invite you to check out some interesting news items, intriguing tidbits, divergent points of view and just plain ol’ funtastic geekirific thingies that you may have missed while you were sleeping.

    Going back for ‘seconds’

    Jason Richardson, the Spider-Tribble, wants you all to check out the latest project by “Scott Pilgrim” creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, “Seconds.” A new stand-alone, full-color graphic novel, it details the life of chef and restaurant owner Katie, who suffers through a series of mishaps until a mysterious girl crosses her path offering that rarest of opportunities — a second chance.

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    There’s even a recipe for second chances:

    Write your mistake.
    Ingest one mushroom.
    Go to sleep.
    Wake anew.

    According to Spider, O’Malley has “changed his art style up. If you liked ‘Scott Pilgrim,’ you’re gonna probably really dig this.”

    “Seconds” by Bryan Lee O’Malley is on sale “everywhere you can find a book.”

    Take it from a Jedi

    The new trailer for the forthcoming chapter in the Star Wars saga, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” debuted online and in U.S. theaters on Nov. 28, but you’d have to be sleeping under a Mount Rushmore-size pile of rocks to have missed that.



    What you might have missed, however, is the mind-bending insight that Erik Mack, a.k.a. Master Tribble, has gleaned from these 88-seconds of nerd-vana. Take it away, Erik.

    “A lot of people are down on the trailer, saying, ‘Hey, it’s not telling you anything; we already know all this stuff. What’s going on?’ But it’s a teaser, so it’s not going to tell you much. It’s just going to give you enough to get you talking about it, which is what we’re doing — so it worked.”

    By the way, “Master Tribble” is short for “Jedi-Master Tribble,” so this is insight you can trust. Erik continues:

    “So the first thing you see is a black storm trooper. Bam! Already love it! He’s hot and he’s sweaty, but not because he’s in the desert; I think its because the force is awakening in him. Plus he’s in a desert, so that means this is Tatooine, which means this trilogy starts in Tatooine, which is where the first two trilogies started as well. So that means this is going to be great!”

    Take it to the bank and throw it in the vault, Tribble Nation! “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” directed by J.J. Abrams, debuts in theaters December 15, 2015.

    The KFB are a BFD

    SuperTribble, a.k.a. Randy Green, spends many of his superhero hours as the lead rapper for blue-grass hip-hop band Gangstagrass. Recently on the road, they crossed musical paths with Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band (KFB). This hard-touring wife-husband combo are rated Triple A, to hear Randy tell it: “They are amazing. Absolutely astounding!”



    Their two albums of Southern-fried eclectic madness, 2010’s “Dead Woman Walkin'” and last year’s “The Devil Herself” barely scratch the washboard of the pulse-raising opera of Megan’s voice married to Byrne Klay’s punkdafied string work.

    “Her voice is huge and powerful,” says Randy. “They are phenomenal.”

    Currently working on a third album recorded entirely in analogue, Megan Jean and the KFB are awesome. And so’s their baby Chihuahua, Arriba McIntyre.

    The new workshop of the world

    While you were sleeping, Storm Tribble — the lovely Kennedy Allen — happened across a company doing big things right here in our fair city of sibling affection called NextFab Studios.



    On their website, NextFab declares its mission: “To foster innovation and manufacturing as key elements of our nation’s identity and economy through providing broad-based awareness of, access to, competence with, and commerce enabled by next-generation digital design and fabrication technologies and services.”

    Basically, if you want to learn to work with your hands, use cutting-edge technologies, develop your small business or give life to that nagging concept in the back of your head, NextFab offers a unique and ideal platform where you can step from your dream into reality.

    They fashioned the actual physical awards presented at the Philadelphia Geek Awards. Their University City studios are open to the community, local schools and small organizations. And collectively, under the guidance of creator/master tinkerer Dr. Evan Malone, they are the coolest crew of engineers, designers and artists this side of a Rube Goldberg.

    Long live Mike Nichols

    Lastly, I joined the world on Nov. 19, 2014, in mourning the loss of Mike Nichols, award-winning film director of “The Birdcage,” “Carnal Knowledge,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and countless memorable pictures — including the iconic “The Graduate.” Reading the many tributes written online about his remarkable career, I was surprised by two things.

    As is often the case with Hollywood lore, Mike Nichols was born under a different name, Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky, on Nov. 6, 1931, in Berlin, Germany. I never looked into the reason for his change of name, figuring if Archibald Alexander Leach could change his name to Cary Grant, who was going to argue going with “Mike” over “Igor”?

    What struck me most was that Mike Nichols began his career as half of Nichols & May (with Elaine May, a Philadelphian), the comedy duo of 1958 through 1964 that Dick Cavett called “one of the comic meteors in the sky.” And for over 20 years, I’ve had their Grammy award-winning album “An Evening with Mike Nichols & Elaine May” tucked neatly with my classic Bob Newhart and Redd Foxx records and never put two and two together.

    Nichols’ passing has brought renewed attention to his filmography and his lauded directorial career; rightfully so. But I’m laughing to nine minutes of “Disc Jockey” from a dusty CD and look forward to living with Mike all over again.



    The entire Nichols and May discography is available online and wherever CDs are sold.

    These are just a few things that the Black Tribbles thought you might want to check out for yourself, just in case you missed them … while you were sleeping.

    Each month, Philadelphia’s prolific podcasters, the Black Tribbles (winners of the 2014 Streaming Project of the Year award), visit Speak Easy with special reports on everything sci-fi, comic books, movies, video games, cartoons, and other stuff that every nerd needs to know.

    Hear the Black Tribbles’ new podcast, Tribble Nation, in the App Store, Google Play and Pod-o-matic.

    Tribble Nation is a new monthly podcast focusing on the geek in every color imaginable, from scientist to author, from comic book artist to comic book collector. Each episode features an interview with a special guest and a review of current topics within his or her field of geek interest.

    The Black Tribbles are: Jason Richardson, aka Spider-Tribble; Len Webb, aka BatTribble; Kennedy Allen, aka Storm Tribble; Erik Darden, aka Master Tribble; and Randy Green, aka Super Tribble.

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