Pow! A Live-Action Comic Book

Two nights of "Pow!" and "Zap!" head for a Costa Mesa stage.

MichaelTrejoShanaMerlinChris GibsonBuzzMoranandGrahamReynoldsinThe IntergalacticNemesisSarahBorkHamilton
Sarah Bork Hamilton

HIGH ART: There was a day when both radio drama and comic books occupied a certain level of strata in the pop culture world. They were sensational, in some minds, or kid stuff. The razzmatazz was high while the nourishing cultural goodness was low. Children were warned off them by concerned parents, and adults who admitted to loving a whizbang radio play or a candy-colored, picture-filled book were generally excoriated. But now? Oh, we've come so far. Radio dramas have waned -- sorry, radio dramas -- but comic books? They about a majillion-dollar industry. Not only that, but television and movies frequently come calling at their door for ideas and new plotlines. It isn't too shabby a fate for something that had tenuous beginnings in American many a decade ago. Now a troupe of intrepid and funny thespians will take on the world of the old-style, panache-driven comic book in the form of a radio play at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Name? "The Intergalactic Nemesis Book One: Target Earth" land at the Costa Mesa performance venue on May 31 and June 2.

YEP, THE SEGERSTROM: Comics are high art indeed nowadays if they're appearing at the center's Samueli Theater. The story involves Molly Sloan, an award-winning reporter, her Guy Friday Timmy Mendez, and librarian Ben Wilcott. The trio's task? Face down the sludge monsters of planet Zygon. Mega-giant comic book panels will be projected behind the radio players as they breathlessly report on the invasion.

1,000+ HAND-DRAWN IMAGES: Let's pause to say "wow" over the fact that this performance has over a thousand pretty pictures, all drawn by hand. A Foley artist lends sound effects while a person on keyboard lends a little aural drama. Tickets for the live-action graphic novel are $20.

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