Laughing Squid is more than just a web host, it is also on the front lines of culture and art. Their tentacles touch many parts of the Internet, including Tumblr. Here is a sampling of some recent cool content from http://links.laughingsquid.com:

Octopus Sculpture Made Out of Typewriter Parts

Squid Costume

We all sleep in a yellow submarine. (Photo by lane becker)

Tentacle Pot Pie

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea 3D Book Cover by Jim Tierney

Laughing Squid 15th Anniversary Poster by Josh Ellingson

For his senior thesis in the Illustration department at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Jim Tierney re-designed the dust jackets of four classic Jules Verne novels, including a particularly squid-tastic cover for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If these books were for sale I would totally buy them. With money!

Jules Verne cover designs by Jim Tierney from Jim Tierney on Vimeo.

Via Faceout Books

Visit www.jimtierneyart.com to find out more about the designer and his process, and for detailed views of these beautiful creations.

Sorry for the slap-dash nature of this post. I’ll fix up the formatting and add more description to each book when I have a little more time.

Anyway, because Wednesday is normally devoted to comics, let’s start our book list with a few graphic novels.

Comics/Graphic Novels

Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (2008, Flesk Publications)

adapted and Illustrated by Gary Gianni

In addition to the fully illustrated adaptation of Verne’s sci-fi classic, this beautiful folio-sized hardcover includes H.G. Wells’ short story “The Sea Raiders” (which features an encounter with a Giant Squid) and an introduction by Ray Bradbury.

List Price: $24.95 — Buy on Amazon.com


Cthulhu Tales (2008-2009, BOOM! Studios)

written and illustrated by various authors/artists

List Price: $15.99 per volume

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3


Fiction

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (2009, Quirk Books)

by Jane Austin and Ben H. Winters

List Price: $12.99 — Buy on Amazon.com

(Covered previously on ISK)


Mall of Cthulhu (2009, Night Shade Books)

by Seamus Cooper

List Price: $13.95 — Buy on Amazon.com


Non-Fiction


Cephalopods: A World Guide (2000, Conch Books)

by Mark Norman

This is the oldest book in this list, and the only one that doesn’t appear to be currently in print. However, this is pretty much the definitive source book for cephalopod identification, and a must have for any serious cephalopod enthusiast.

List Price: $69.95 — Buy on DiveSeekers.com


The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (2007, University of Chicago Press)

by Claire Nouvian

List Price $60.00 — Buy on Amazon.com


For Kids

The Octonauts & The Only Lonely Monster (2006, Immedium)

by Meomi

List Price: $15.95 — Buy on Amazon.com

Other titles in the series:

The Octonauts & The Sea of Shade

The Octonauts & The Frown Fish

The Octonauts & The Great Ghost Reef


20,000Leagues Under the Sea: A Pop-Up Book (2008, Sterling)

by Sam Ita

List Price: $26.95 — Buy on Amazon.com

Hot on the heels of Movie Week, I find out that Disney is working on a prequel to their classic 1954 adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (covered previously here and here). Due to be released in 2011, and titled Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, McG (Terminator: Salvation, Charlie’s Angels) is attached to direct. And I am afraid.

Supposedly, the prequel will tell the story of how Captain Nemo goes from being an Indian prince to the brooding science pirate we all know and love. Or, in McG’s words “Where you look at the original picture [Nemo] just enters and he’s already pissed off and underwater and what we want to do is show how he got there.” McG has also stated that he wants Will Smith to play Captain Nemo.

Wait…Seriously?!

Don’t get me wrong, I like Will Smith just fine, but why go through all the trouble of adhering to the character’s original backstory (in The Mysterious Island, Jules Verne reveals that Nemo was Prince Dakkar, son of the Raja of Bundelkhand) but not cast an Indian actor? I’m having troubling visions of a mutant mashup of the abysmal League of Extraordinary Gentleman movie and Wild Wild West.

The Hollywood Reporter reported (duh!) yesterday that the script for Captain Nemo is undergoing a major rewrite, but only time will tell if this is a good thing or not. (For the record, I’m getting all this second-hand from Meredith Woerner over at io9, THE blog for science fiction news.) I guess the odds are pretty good that there will be some kind of cephalopodian element to this movie, and, if so, I fear the odds are even better that it will end up in the Indie Squid Kid Movie Hall of Shame.

So, to cheer myself up, I’ll end with some production images from Disney’s original 20,000 Leagues movie. All of these and more can be found at Pat Regan’s wonderful www.volcaniasubmarine.com.

James Mason as Captain Nemo

James Mason as Captain Nemo

Production sketch of the squid fight.

Nemo vs the giant squid!

Still from the discarded sunset squid fight sequence.

Still from the discarded "sunset" squid fight sequence.

I didn’t originally anticipate needing to spend two posts discussing Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but it turns out I have more to say! In fact, without the two things covered here, Indie Squid Kid probably wouldn’t exist!

Walt Disney Presents the Story of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Disneyland Records, 1963)

I wouldn’t say that this record is single-handedly responsible for my life-long squid obsession, but it definitely made quite an impression on my young mind. Here we see the giant squid, hate radiating from its enormous (and oddly human) red eye, as it is about to try to crush the oncoming Nautilus in it’s mighty tentacles. The fact that things didn’t happen quite this way in the movie is completely besides the point—this cover is AWESOME.

The record is an abridged version of the movie, and it uses a different (and uncredited) voice cast. Ned Land is the narrator (instead of Arronax), and his signature sea shanty, “Whale of a Tale,” has at least one different verse than the original film. Wikipedia tells me that this record was produced in 1963 to coincide with the first theatrical re-release of the movie. Herein lies a bit of a mystery. My copy of the record is also dated 1963, but I know I got it sometime in the early 80s. Were these LPs kept in print with the original copyright date, or did my parents pick it up second-hand? (It’s in pretty good shape for a 46 year old record.)

Story records like this were the DVDs of their day. I probably only saw 20,000 Leagues a few times on TV over the years (I doubt I ever saw it in the movie theater, and my family didn’t own a VCR until the late 80s), but I knew the story backwards and forwards because of this record.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage

I also wanted to mention the long gone (and sorely missed) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride from Disney World Magic Kingdom. The ride was open from 1971 to 1994 as part of Fantasyland. It was a near-exact copy of Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage ride, except the passenger vehicles were modeled to look like the Nautilus. The ride narration was rerecorded with a Captain Nemo sound-alike, and the script was tweaked to reference events from the film. Both rides culminate with a simulated giant squid attack.

I grew up in California, and visited Disneyland a few times in the late 70s and early 80s. It should be no surprise that the Submarine Voyage was my favorite ride (the Jungle Cruise was a close second). Sadly, I never got a chance to ride the Magic Kingdom’s 20,000 Leagues ride.

Incidentally, the original Submarine Voyage ride (which was open from 1959-1998), was reborn in 2007 as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. There is no longer a squid attack sequence, and that is a damn shame.

Welcome to Movie Week! Every day this week, I will profile various cephalopods that have appeared in film—both famous and obscure.

I can’t think of a better place to start than with the greatest movie cephalopod of all time—the giant squid from Disney’s landmark 1954 adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The squid appears during a climactic sequence about three-quarters of the way through the movie (1:35:42–about 95 minutes in). The Nautilus has just been ambushed by an American warship, and the damaged submarine has sunk to a depth of 5,000 feet, which, according to Captain Nemo (played by James Mason), is “deeper now than Man has ever been before.” Naturally, this seems to royally piss off a passing Architeuthis. Nemo tries to repel the squid using the Nautilus’s electrified hull (a technique which he had just successfully used to defend the sub from a tribe of vicious cannibals), but to no avail. Bringing his vessel to the surface, Nemo leads his crew into armed combat with the squid that now has the Nautilus firmly in its embrace, warning them that the giant squid is “the most tenacious of all sea beasts.” Nemo soon finds himself in the grip of a massive tentacle, his doom assured. Fortunately, Ned Land (played by Kirk Douglas) breaks out of the brig just in time to save Nemo with an expertly thrown harpoon—hitting the squid directly between the eyes (which Nemo mentioned earlier was the beast’s “only vital spot”).

The special effects in this sequence hold up surprisingly well after 55 years. The model used in the underwater scenes is quite realistic (the strange edits in the above video notwithstanding), even if some of the details are off. It even releases a cloud of ink when Nemo tries to electrocute it, which is a nice touch. Sure, the battle with the squid on the surface ratchets up the cheese factor a bit, with big, rubbery arms flailing all over the place, but in this blogger’s humble opinion, the Disney Architeuthis is more convincing overall than some recent attempts I could mention.

Disney’s version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remains the definitive interpretation of the Jules Verne classic. While steampunk traces its modern literary genesis back to the late 1980s/early 1990s, I think it could be easily argued that the popular sub-genre owes much of it’s visual aesthetic to the riveted opulence of Harper Goff’s Nautilus.

Let’s face it, this IS what the Nautilus looks like. Period.

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