Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Allen Steele's "Avengers of the Moon"

Allen Steele worked as a freelance journalist before becoming a prolific, award-winning science fiction writer.

Here Steele shares some ideas about adapting his new novel, Avengers of the Moon, for the big screen:
Generations of SF fans have been waiting to see a Captain Future movie. In fact, he's one of the few major pulp heroes of the 30's and 40's who didn't get a feature film, a movie serial, or at least a radio show. But Curt Newton and the Futuremen didn't follow his contemporaries Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon to the screen; his adventures ended in the early 50's, just as the Saturday afternoon serials were being replaced by TV.

Well, not quite. In 1978, the Japanese anime series Captain Future came out. Produced during the post-Star Wars space opera craze, it was a two-season adaptation of Edmond Hamilton's classic pulp novels. It's crude by today's animation standards, and clearly meant for kids, but nonetheless it was a big hit at the time ... everywhere except the U.S, that is. In France it was called Capitaine Flam, in Spain it was Capitan Futuro, in Saudi Arabia it was Space Knights, but in the country where Captain Future was created it was, "Who?" A couple of badly edited and translated VHS tapes eventually appeared in the U.S., but otherwise the series -- a mainstay for kids in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, generating countless graphic novels, toys, games, pajamas, and so forth -- remained obscure in America.

So now I've published the first new Captain Future novel since 1946, and of course I'd love to see Avengers of the Moon made into a movie ... but I think it ought to be done as anime. I'd like to see Japan's Toei Studios do an updated Captain Future series that would adapt my novel as its source of inspiration. The current state of the art of anime is light-years away from where it was decades ago, so a more realistic look is possible.

They also could get the characters closer to Hamilton's original creations. Greg would no longer be dumb, Otho wouldn't look like Popeye's second cousin, the Brain wouldn't talk like a robot, and Joan would be neither blonde nor helpless. And as for Captain Future himself, he would no longer be infallible, but instead would occasionally make mistakes, a character trait that made Curt Newton stand out among pulp heroes of the time.

If all went well, perhaps this time kids (and adults) in the U.S. would get to enjoy what kids (and adults) elsewhere in the world grew up watching. It's really a shame that Captain Future was forgotten in the country where he was created. Perhaps a new anime series would change that.
Learn more about the book and author at Allen Steele's website.

My Book, The Movie: V-S Day.

--Marshal Zeringue