Monday, March 31, 2008

Fear Agent Contest

Dark Horse continues to be all about the free entry contests, as they've got another one going on right now that's all about Fear Agent. What can you win? Fear Agent schwag of course. One grand prize winner will get:
  • Fear Agent line art by Tony Moore/inked by Rick Remender
  • Fear Agent Vol. 1: Re-Ignition TPB signed by Rick Remender
  • Fear Agent Vol. 2: My War TPB signed by Rick
  • Fear Agent Vol. 3: The Last Goodbye TPB signed by Rick
  • Tales of the Fear Agent: Twelve Steps in One (one shot)
And eight runner-ups will get:
  • Fear Agent Vol. 1: Re-Ignition TPB signed by Rick Remender
  • Fear Agent Vol. 2: My War TPB signed by Rick
  • Fear Agent Vol. 3: The Last Goodbye TPB signed by Rick
  • Tales of the Fear Agent: Twelve Steps in One (one shot)
As always, its free entry, so you really don't have anything to lose. Fear Agent Contest

Locust invasion in 2010

Gears of War is one of those games that comes along and just wows people. Yes, it was extremely short, but good lord was it pretty. And yes, its a video game and this is a site about comics, but Gears is sci-fi enough that I feel justified in reporting on the impending movie. That's dated for 2010 apparently. ComingSoon spoke with Wyck Godfrey, one of the producers in charge of the big screen adaptation of the game. Godfrey says they've got a script and are about to attach a director, targeting summer 2010 for a release by New Line Cinemas. This makes perfect sense from a unity standpoint. The sequel to the game is due out later this year, which would be two years since the first game. So if you expect the third and final game (part of the always popular trilogy) to be due out in another two years, that would put its release in 2010. Timing the movie to release with or around the third and final game would be a very smart marketing move. But I guess it also depends on what story the movie will go with. The story has to fit within the framework of the games, as I would assume they would continuity among the four. But the movie could be a prequel to all three games. Guess we'll have to wait and see. All I know is that there better be lots of chainsaws and lots of Cole Train rapping. Gears of War movie dated?

Preview: Trials of Shazam #12 (of 12)

Its not easy when you're named Shazam, because everywhere you go people have a tendency to shout your name with emphasis just because it sounds cool to do so. So it should come as no surprise that when you add "trials" to your life as Shazam, things could get tougher. And in Trials of Shazam #12, the said trial of Shazam ends, and Shazam needs help from the venerable league of justice. Written by Judd Winick with art and cover by Mauro Cascioli, Trials of Shazam #12 will hit stores on April 2 for $2.99. Preview: Trials of Shazam #12

Secret Invasion Webisode

I guess its not really a secret invasion anymore, since Marvel has been anything but secret regarding this latest storyline. As one last thing to get you hyped however, Marvel has on their homepage a Secret Invasion webisode for your viewing pleasure. So head on over, scroll down a bit to the Now Playing video player (under Marvel Videos), and click on on Secret Invasion Animated Websiode. Skrulls can be fierce can't they? Secret Invasion Webisode

Friday, March 28, 2008

Stan Lee = Playful Imp ('Nuff said)

By now we've all heard the news about the always lovable Stan Lee making his presence known at this year's New York Comic Con. But what you didn't know is that you can have him call your friends. NYCC has a page set up that has three Stan Lee related sound bytes. The first you download to your phone, and when someone calls, none other than Stan Lee himself picks up. Ok, maybe he doesn't actually "pick" up your phone, but his voice is there to greet the caller. The second you download and send to a friend, and Stan Lee gently reminds said friend of when the NYCC is (April 18-20). The final download is Stan Lee chatting with NYCC manager Lance Fenstermen about the show and New York City in general. All in all, some pretty cool debauchery that can be yours courtesy of Stan Lee and NYCC 2008. Stan Lee debauchery

2008 Wizard Fan Awards

Its good to give out awards. It gives the recipients (and nominees) a sense of accomplishment in their respective fields, and plus it gets the everyday fan more involved in the field they follow so closely. So its good that Wizard has taken it upon themselves to launch the 2008 Wizard Fan Awards, where you can vote for your favorites in comics. Some of the categories are some expected categories: Favorite Writer, Favorite Artist, Favorite Ongoing Series. But there are also awards for Favorite Comic Moment. Favorite Breakout talent and Favorite Comic Merchandise. Voting requires a simple registration (name and email), and you have until May 1 to cast your vote. So head on over and vote to make sure your favorite wins. 2008 Wizard Fan Awards

Kevin J O'Connor in G.I. Joe

Add one more to the ever growing G.I. Joe cast list. In a recent interview with CHUD, Stephen Sommers favorite Kevin K O'Connor said that yes, he does have a part in the upcoming Joe film. He wouldn't elaborate on the part except to say that its a cameo (akin to Bruce Campbell roles in the Spider-man trilogy) and that he plays a scientist in a flashback. Now, the role of Mindbender is being bandied about, and I really can't think of any other scientists it could be that he could be playing the role of. Can you? Kevin J O'Connor - Real American Hero

Hi-res The Dark Knight photos

IESB has some new photos up from The Dark Knight. What's that you say? We've already seen these. Yes, you're right, these have already been released. But this time, they're in HI-RES (said in announcer voice). Enjoy. Hi-res photos from The Dark Knight

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Iron Man spot

Latino Review has themselves a tasty little TV spot for the new Iron Man film. Its really nothing we haven't seen before at this point, so I wouldn't say you HAVE to see it. That being said, it does still look pretty badass. Iron Man hits theaters May 2. Iron Man TV spot

Secret Invasion Prologue

Beyond having access to thousands of Marvel comics, it looks like there's one more reason to be a subscriber to Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited program. You get first access to Secret Invasion. Subscribers this morning were greeted with an extra special super happy treat in that they were granted access to a seven page prologue. Written by Brian Micheal Bendis and illustrated by Leinil Yu, the prologue leads directly into the first issue of the Secret Invasion madness that is about the be sprung upon us. So if you're a Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscriber, check out the prologue, and get yourself geared up for the Secret Invasion. Secret Invasion prologue

Preview: Aletheia #1

So what do you do if you find the murder of your boyfriend was tied to the Greek gods? You get really pissed off, and you seek vengeance of course. Aletheia #1 is all about Thea, a mortal fighting the Pantheon of Greek gods who apparently run society as we know it. "ALETHEIA is the culmination my mutual obsessions with the classic Greek mythology and modern pulp yarns such as SIN CITY," ALETHEIA creator Bob LeFevre said. "The characters have actually been in my head for a very long time, so committing them to paper - through Image Comics/Shadowline, no less - is much more satisfying than I can properly articulate. ALETHEIA goes far beyond just Thea's story as well, and I'm hoping to tell stories set in that universe for years to come." Aletheia #1 is written by Bob LeFevre with art by James Offredi, and hits stores May 28. Preview: Aletheia #1

Hugh Jackman is Nowhere Man

Man, once you get a taste of that comic book action, you just can't go back I guess. Hugh Jackman, known for playing the feral Canuck Wolverine in all three X-Men films as well as the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine has decided not to limit himself to just one comic book character. According to Variety, Jackman has teamed up with writer Marc Guggenheim (and Virgin Comics) to create the original comic book series Nowhere Man, which will become a big-screen production. The protagonist is said to be akin to Robert Neville of I Am Legend fame, but since they're saying its more like "Will Smith's character" I have a feeling it'll be a Hollywood-ish version. "I've had so much fun in the graphic novel world with the 'X-Men' franchise that I wanted to get even more involved. I'm excited to work with Virgin and Marc and create a compelling character and story that hopefully will also make it to the bigscreen." Jackman going nowhere

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter #1 online for free

If you're like me, you're kind of hesitant to jump right into Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter series. No offense at all to Ms. Jameson, as she's one of the most attractive women ever and pretty much anything she touches turns to gold. But a comic? I'm not really sure if her entrepreneurial talents will spread to the world of comics. Virgin Comics is taking my concern (and most likely many others) seriously and offering a solution. Joining the "let's put issues online" bandwagon, Virgin Comics has Shadow Hunter #1 online for free. That's right. You can check out the issue, handily broken down into chapters, and make your own judgment about whether or not you want to follow the exploits of Jezzerie as she struggles with a lifetime of visions that have turned her life into pure chaos. So click on through and check out the first issue, as I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. Shadow Hunter #1 online

Preview: Batman #677

Grant Morrison continues his work killing Batman in Batman 677, where Bruce Wayne lives it up with Jezebel Jet, but Batman continues a downward spiral. This is the third part of the Batman R.I.P. storyline, and is poised to completely change Batman's world forever. Written by Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea provide art while the legendary Alex Ross provides the cover. Batman #677 hits stores May 28 for $2.99. Preview: Batman #677

Common fighting for Justice League

And part of that fight involves you, the fan. In a recent interview with MTV Movies Blog, Common said that the movie may not get made at all at this point, as the ill-fated film suffered yet another setback in the form of not being granted the expected subsidies for filming in Australia. So Common says the fans need to get with it and start clamoring for this film. “I would love to say it will go through,” Common, who was cast as John Stewart, the Green Lantern, told MTV News of where he stood with “JLA.” “I pray and hope that it will. Keep speaking it for real and it’s gonna happen.” So its off again? Is it in limbo? I think I can speak for all fans that yes, we want the movie. But no, we don't want a clusterf**k when its done. And I don't think we want that CGI-live-action Beowulf style either, because that just didn't do it for me. Warner Brothers and DC better get their acts together, because if Avengers comes out first, its going to be even more difficult to get a decent Justice League pic out there. Common pining for Justice League

Stan Lee receives award created just for him

Stan Lee is, in one word or less, a god. He was on the forefront of comics way back in the day, and has been nothing short of vital in bringing the popularity of comics to where it is today. So the fact that he's getting an award created for him and given to him, well, that's pretty damn awesome. Medium at Large is reporting that Stan Lee will receive the inaugural New York Comics Legend Award on April 17 at the Virgin Megastore in New York. The awards ceremony will be a somewhat limited engagement, with only 350 people attending. 150 of those will be fans, but the other 200 or so will be some of the cream of the crop in the comic book industry. Wait, why does April 17 sound familiar? Oh, that's right, its the day before the New York Comic Con starts. And yes, that does mean Stan Lee will be there. There's also going to be a chance where you can meet the icon himself at the Comic Con, so stay tuned for more details. Stan Lee at NYCC

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Arrivals: March 26, 2008

There are tons of great comics coming out this week (Countdown #5, First Born TP #1, Ms. Marvel #25), but as the title of the pick for this week says, why not? So the pick this week is Army of Darkness Xena Why Not #1, the first of four issues that brings the two heroes together. Enjoy! New Arrivals: March 26, 2008

Preview: Batman/Grendel TPB

I'm a sucker for some team-ups. I'm even more of a sucker when said team-up includes Batman. So Dark Horse has compiled a great crossover in Batman and Grendel in a handy trade paperback. Batman uncovers a new threat to Gotham City when Hunter Rose (the original Grendel) shows up in town. So of course, lots of fighting ensues, and all is well. Until later years, when Batman has to face Grendel-Prime, a twisted cyborg version of Grendel. Matt Wagner pulls all duties in this one, in writing and drawing the compilation trade paperback. It hits stores April 2, and will retail for $19.99. I know I'll be picking up my copy when it comes out. Preview: Batman/Grendel TPB

Dead Space movie picks up where Dead Space comic leaves off

Image Comics is (as all good Omnicomic readers know) producing a Dead Space prequel comic in anticipation of the EA release of the same name (clever huh). So of course it would make sense to keep that prequel story going by releasing a movie right? Variety reports that Starz Media has reached an agreement with Electronic Arts to produce an animated movie that's a sequel to the prequel comic book, while still being a prequel to the game itself. Good times. Personally, Dead Space is a game that's really starting to get my interest, and with comic and movie prequel tie-ins, it has the potential to be a pretty great one-two-three combo of media to assault your senses. They still better add pause to the game though. Dead Space movie prequel

G. I. Joe details

We've seen Sienna at the funeral, and shots of Channing Tatum as Duke. And of course, Ray Park as Snake Eyes. But now, details on the actual story for 2009's G.I. Joe are finally coming to light, and they seem interesting. Access Hollywood reports that the movie will stay true to the original source material, and even explain a thing or two. According to Tatum, the movie will be a "comic book to the tenth degree." Its obviously going to be an origins story that explains some things like where Destro got his dome piece and why Snake Eyes never speaks. As more details trickle out, you can be sure you can find out about them here. Some G. I. Joe news

Monday, March 24, 2008

Preview: Number of the Beast #1 (1 of 8)

Wow. Fresh off of WildStorm: Armageddon and Revelations, Scott Beatty (along with Chris Sprouse and Karl Story) are about to wreck shop on the WildStorm Universe. The Paladine have to face the end of days so to speak in the WildStorm Universe, replete with signs, omens and ill wishes for good measure. The Authority are missing. Majestic is on a lunch break. The Wildcats must be on vacation. Dogs and cats are living together. And craziness will most definitely ensue. Number of the Beast #1 hits stores April 9 for $2.99. Preview: Number of the Beast #1 (of 8)

Preview: Ms. Marvel #25

Secret Invasion is creeping ever so close, so its time to start seeing all the Marvel characters sporting that slight shade of green. The latest is Ms. Marvel herself in Ms. Marvel #25, written by Brian Reed with art by Adriana Melo (series artist newcomer). Is Ms. Marvel a Skrull? Is she fighting the Skrulls? Ms. Marvel #25 hits stores March 26, so you have to wait till then to find out. Preview: Ms. Marvel #25

Snake Eyes!

That right there is the first shot of Ray Park as Snake Eyes in the upcoming G.I. Joe. Badass.

No Reeves in Consantine 2?

Keanu Reeves is out doing promotional work for his upcoming film Street Kings. Makes sense to do some publicity for a big film you've got coming out. But while talking to IESB, Reeves mentioned somewhat dire news for fans of the actually solid Constantine film: there most likely won't be a sequel. Director Francis Lawrence hinted that a sequel would depend on a script (and why wouldn't it), but Reeves mentioned that he probably wouldn't be so inclined to be in the sequel. So I guess we'll have to wait and see. Consantine 2 a no-go?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lack of posting

No new post today or tomorrow, as the Easter weekend is upon us, and I'm sick. Good times. I'll be back Monday, bringing you more comic news than you can stand.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Tedd Riccio is a comic book aficionado chock full of useful comic history knowledge. So why not tap into that knowledge for the betterment of you, the reader? Appearing weekly is a column by newly appointed Assistant Editor Tedd (just Tedd will be fine). This column is called “Hank McCoy (Before the Fur),” so be sure to keep your eyes open for his unique insights into comics.

I stick up for Superman in front of people. It’s true. I mean, okay, the guy isn’t Batman. He’ll never be Batman. And Batman is the MAN. There is no denying that.

But I’m a big fan of the current incarnation of Superman nonetheless. That would be the post-birthright Superman. I mean, the 80’s Superman had a little more depth than his previous incarnations- but even with all of his struggles and romantic complications, he was just too…perfect. I mean, ridiculously perfect. It was hard to imagine Superman struggling with…anything, other than Kryptonite. He made other superhero powers look like a joke, had a never-ending sense of willpower, and no temptation to ever do anything other than the “right” thing. I can’t think of one comic I read between 1980-1992 or 1993 that starred Superman and had me worried. I mean, why WOULD I worry about him? If there was a fight, he’d win because he was so powerful. If there was a feat of endurance and willpower, he’d stick it out. If there was an ethical dilemma, Superman would solve it in a satisfying way.

Such a character was…well…boring. It seemed that any conflict that entailed Superman was a foregone conclusion.

And then, he died. And that started a kind of “new tact” for exploring the character. I mean, in a fight in which it was clear that if he stayed, death was imminent, Superman still stayed and fought.

Basically, the new outlook on Superman could be summed up like this:

  1. Superman is a really great person.
  2. The world can chew up really great people and spit them out.

It isn’t easy to live the life Superman is living. It isn’t that he’s just so perfect that he never hesitates to do the right thing, or that he’s so untouchable that self-sacrifice doesn’t bother him. It’s that it does hurt sometimes to be that squeaky-clean goodie-two shoes. But he does it anyway- and not because he’s an idiot and doesn’t realize that he doesn’t need to be such a goodie two-shoes. But as Bruce Wayne himself puts it, in Hush: Deep down, Clark is essentially a good person. And deep down, I’m not.

I mean, think about Superman’s nemesis- again, a character I had little to no interest in for years. I mean, was Lex as cool as the Joker? Or Sinestro? Or Darkseid? He seemed like a joke in comparison. But Lex is wealthy and influential. And his greatest trick is that it’s almost never apparent, to anyone, that he’s a criminal psychopath. Lex does every thing wrong and reaps all of the rewards life has to offer. In fact, Lex does an admirable job of defaming Superman in front of his audience, often insinuating that he’s an alien threat.

I mean think about it for a minute- who would you rather be? Clark Kent or Lex Luthor? I mean, okay, you might say- Kent, I could totally kick ass. But would you rather spend your life running around, taking care of other people? Or have a cool million in the bank, be an A-list celebrity and bachelor, and do whatever you damn feel like to whoever you damn well please?

That is to say, no offense to anyone who would say Kent. God bless the altruists and all that. But my point is just this- Lex lies, cheats, and steals, and gets almost everything he wants. Superman is always trying to show the world that being a good person can change things, that it’s worth being Mr. Goodie Two-shoes. But the thing is- it isn’t a perfect world. And bad people like Lex get good things all the time. He shows Superman that the world ISN’T the perfect, golden, shiny happy place that he’s trying so hard to build. He takes the easy way out every day and gets rewarded while the “Supermen” in the world fight in the street to protect the “rights” of citizens- “rights” that the Lex’s of the world take advantage of.

So the question Kent really faces when he faces Lex is- is it worth it? Is it worth it to be such a “good” person? To protect a world that can sustain someone as bad, as me?

For the truly jaded anti-Superman fanatics out there, I’d recommend reading any of the most recent copies of Batman/Superman…or is it called World’s Finest? For some reason the title isn’t clear to this comic. But it’s the one with the Superman symbol superimposed on the Batman symbol. Or…the other way around.

Whatever.

I’m not saying you’ll necessary start liking Superman by the end of that read (because so many of you are on a mission not to like him, you know who you are, you have your reasons), but you’ll probably have a newfound respect for the capacity to tell dynamic stories with him. I really love the juxtaposition/parallels in this comic between its two heroes. The ongoing narrations really help you “feel” out who each one is and what they stand for.

Now I know, inevitably, when you start telling stories about Superman and Batman, most people want to see them fight. This has already happened, on another of occasions. And on a not so surprising number of occasions, I have to say- Batman has mopped the floor with Superman (A la Dark Knight Returns, Dark Knight Strikes Again, and Hush- although this list is far from complete). But the thing is, they really make a kick-ass team. And seeing them take stock of each other’s strengths (instead of criticizing each other’s weaknesses) is really compelling. Superman- “I look at Batman and all the tragedy in his life and how, somehow, he presses on. And if he can do the job, I’ve got nothing to complain about.”

Batman- “I think of Superman and, while he might be seen as na├»ve, it is as though he is an unstoppable force of good. And I’ll be damned if I will let him go down before I do.”

That is not to say they don’t come into conflict in the series. Batman’s the “cup is half empty” cautious but prepared approach doesn’t always match up with Superman’s “cup is half full” quest-for-truth-and-justice thing. But the balance between them is great. And there are a couple of things about them that will surprise you. I mean, Jeph Loeb’s run on this comic contains a scene that has easily entered into my top ten favorite moments in comic history- as Superman holds Lex by the throat and Lex coaxes Superman on to kill him, telling him that he’ll finally be defamed in the public eye for doing so, giving Lex exactly what he’s always wanted, Bruce Wayne suddenly tells Clark Kent that he will help him make it look like an accident if he wants to go through with killing Luthor.

Lex yells “You’re bluffing”.

To which Wayne replies: “No. I’m not.”

The dialogue is interspersed between narration in which Wayne states that while the Joker can be truly insane, Lex has willingly and consciously chosen to endanger the lives of millions of people time and again and does not deserve to live. This is Batman. I mean, in some ways ultimate-vengeance guy, but in other ways ultimate-war-on-crime guy. And he’s sitting here saying that in THIS instance, THIS ONE CASE, the ends justify the means and that Lex Luthor doesn’t deserve to live. And he’d be willing to grease the wheels and let it slide, if that’s what Clark wants to do.

I invite you to take that in for a few minutes.

Mindblowing, right?

This series is also host to a number of really cool cameos. Captain Atom, Power Girl, Katana, John Stewart, Starfire, Wonder Woman, Metallo, and even Gorilla Grodd are just a few. And the series’ second arc, the reintroduction of Supergirl, is excellent. I mean, the previous incarnations of Supergirl either a. didn’t make the impact on Clark Kent that they should have or b. were totally bizarre. In this case, the magnitude of the discovery of another Kryptonian is really explored in depth. I mean, I liked the most recent Supergirl as well…Matrix, I believe she was called. But the thing is, she was actually a synthetic form of life that a Kryptonian built…from a parallel Krypton…but she had merged with this other girl who was dying, so she was like two different people.

Oh, but then she turned out to be an Angel. Like with fiery wings and everything. And she was a Jedi who could use the “The Force.”

Okay, that last bit isn’t right. But I’m pretty sure everything else was canon. I can’t even remember though. Needless to say, a bizarre “cousin” for Superman. This series was a chance to reintroduce Kara Zor-El the right way.

One final note- the art in these books is excellent never fails to please. Really, stunning work. I hope this series is still on the racks down the road.

Oh…and Batzarro. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Dark Horse plans Universal expansion

The big news coming out the Dark Horse Comics camp is that they've got themselves a moving pictures deal. And that deal is with Universal Pictures. The three year production and distribution agreement ensures that Dark Horse properties have a movie studio representing them, so I suppose this means we can see tons of new material from Dark Horse potentially hitting the big screen. Mike Richardson, founder and CEO of Dark Horse Comics, was pretty stoked about the deal. "We've worked with many studios and have had several great experiences, but we are particularly happy to be joining forces with Universal Pictures in this deal. We feel a real connection with their vision and the energy and creativity they bring to developing our properties. We are also excited by the option that we'll have to independently produce our own material and distribute it through Universal; their flexibility in this collaboration is what we were looking for, and we're glad we found it." Dark Horse signs deal with Universal Pictures

Secret Invasion tie-ins

With great storylines come great responsibility. Great responsibility as in getting all the tie-in issues, which can sometimes be a massive pain. Thankfully, Wizard Universe has a rather tidy summary of the tie-ins for Secret Invasion, fresh from the Secret Invasion panel at this past weekend's Wizard World LA. There will be four tie-ins (I guess they're actually lead-ins) for this year's Marvel epic. Secret Invasion: Who do you Trust will be a one-shot setting up stories of some of the characters before the actual story. Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers will be a miniseries recombining the Runaways and Young Avengers, written by Yost and illustrated by Takeshi Miyazaki. Secret Invasion: Frontline will be written by Brian Reed as a "man on the street" series and will highlight Ben Urich. Finally, Secret Invasion: Inhumans will follow Black Bolt's people, after he revealed he was a Skrull (written by Joe Pokaski). The article Wizard Universe has up is extremely lengthy and in-depth, and is worth checking out if you want a bit more detail on each tie-in. Or you can wait till they actually come out, and read them yourself. Its up to you. Secret Invasion lead-ins

Christian Bale wants a trilogy

In what has to be considered good news by any standards, Christian Bale wants to sign on for a third Batman film (thus completing the trilogy). In an interview with EW, Bale mentioned that he'd love doing a third film (and apparently The Dark Knight sets up the third), but a lot of it would depend on if Nolan was around to direct. "Batman begins — that was the beginning there, with all due respect to the others. We are re-creating this. You know, obviously the decision is out of my hands. I would, knowing the Dark Knight story, I would like very much to complete a trilogy. And I think that knowing the story of The Dark Knight, it leaves you anticipating something that really can get very, very interesting for a third. Now, the question would be: Is Chris going to be doing it? Because to me I find it tricky to imagine working on it without it being a collaboration with Chris." The interview also features thoughts on Heath Ledger as well. "Yeah, I'm absolutely fine talking about him. You know, I don't like kind of trivializing the tragedy in conjunction with an interview to do with the movie, which is clearly far less important. But Heath was a joy. He really was like that, because he was a very unique man. I enjoyed watching him work, working with him — you know, we had a lot of the old gang from the first one together, and then there were new members, Heath obviously included. What was so great to see with Heath is just how seriously he took it. And we don't mean in any way to sound sort of pretentious with that, but just in the fact that if we don't take it seriously, then how can any audience ever take it seriously? And he did one hell of a job. You know, you were out there [at the Warner Bros. presentation earlier in the day] — you saw those clips?" Good interview to read, as it talks about some of the roles Bale has taken as well as his ability to pretty seamlessly transition from one role to the next. Bale on Batman

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Arrivals: March 19, 2008

The pick for this week is Dark Ivory #1 from Image comics. Its all about Eve, who parties a little hard one night and wakes up the next morning a vampire (and hasn't that happened to all of us at some point)? Enjoy! New Arrivals: March 19, 2008

Loeb and Sale reunite for Cap

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are two of my favorites in the business. Tim Sale is probably my favorite artist, and it responsible for the incredible The Long Halloween Batman graphic novel, and Jeph Loeb has recently catapulted to fame with Heroes (while Sale also provided the future paintings of Isaac for the show). So they seem to have good chemistry working together, so why wouldn't Marvel put them together to work on Captain America? Later this year Loeb and Sale will reunite to work on Captain America: White, which takes place in 1941 and features Cap and Bucky fighting Nazis, with Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos. "You'll have to read the story," says Loeb. "Suffice to say it doesn't have to do with Cap being a white man! But just as YELLOW meant the costume and the cowardice, BLUE was the costume and the feeling of loss and GRAY was his skin tone and in-between a world of black and white there is always gray, WHITE will have a double meaning as well." There's no firm release just yet other than late 2008, but at least we know its this year. Loeb and Sale working together on Captain America is going to be really f'ing cool, so at least you know its got that going for it. Loeb and Sale reunite for Cap

Preview: Faker

In what will most likely be the next novel-turned-coed-horror flick, Vertigo brings to you a six-issue miniseries collection called Faker. Faker was written by Mike Carey with art by Jock, and tells the story of six kids that go out and party one night (which could be psychologically thrilling in itself), but that's not where it gets crazy. Its get crazy when the next morning there are only five kids. Faker hits stores April 16 for $16.99. Preview: Faker

Spider-man on stage

Coming Soon has two interviews for the price of one, with Jim Sturgess and Laurence Fishburn. What could the two of these possibly have to say about comics? Not much, but what they do say is rather tantalizing. Sturgess has been linked to playing Spider-man on stage, with Evan Rachel Wood playing the oft-in-danger Mary Jane Watson under Julie Taymor's direction. "I love Julie, she's like a mentor to me, and Evan's just a great friend, and the three of us are just so bound by the experience we had doing 'Across the Universe.' It was a lot of fun. I was just playing music with Bono and Edge from U2, singing songs about Spider-Man. The project is definitely happening. Julie will definitely make this piece of theater. Whether I'll be in it or not, I have no idea at this point." And what does Fishburne have to say? "I've heard that they are going to make a Silver Surfer movie and I hope and pray to my lucky stars that they ask me to come back and do the voice again, I'd love to." Good times. Sturgess and Fishburne talk comics

Monday, March 17, 2008

Free Comic Book Day

So I know we're a little ways off, but before you know it Free Comic Book Day will be creeping up. So giving you advance notice and letting you know that this year it falls on May 3. The concept is simple. Go to a comic book store, get some free comics, buy some other ones you haven't caught up on. Genius I tell you, genius. Free Comic Book Day 2008

Optimus Prime Zippo

I've never been a smoker, so I've never really had a need for carrying around a lighter (I got over my pyro phase when I was very young). So yeah, I missed out on all the cool lighters my smoking friends would have (although they'll miss out on those extra years they knocked off their lives by smoking, but I digress). Now there's a pretty wicked Optimus Prime Zippo lighter, and a little part of me wishes I had a reason to have it. Optimus Prime's Diary (who knew) has pictures on the upcoming Zippor lighter, fashioned with Optimus Prime's image. Its a shiny silver and is limited to only 300 units, and you better be ready to spend the asking price of about 10,500 yen (a rather modest $104 USD roughly). Burning flames are engraved on the front with a "TF" engraved on the side, and when its opened you can see the Autobot logo in all its glory. Optimus Prime Zippo

Who do you trust? (again)

The news coming out of Wizard World LA from this past weekend is that Marvel is serious about this whole Secret Invasion storyline. And why wouldn't they be? Its only the biggest thing to happen since Civil War, and you know crazy stuff's going to happen. So to further the hype for the mega-story, Marvel announced at said Wizard World that coming in June will be a Secret Invasion one-shot. Secret Invasion: Who do you Trust? features five stories that really tie up some loose ends and give you some backstory going into the Secret Invasion epic. Each of the five stories focuses on different characters and will have different writers, so you get a healthy dose of variety. What writers? Zeb Wells writes about Marvel Boy, Mike Carey writes about Agend Brand, Chris Gage and Mike Perkins write of Wonder Man and Beast traveling to the Savage Land, Brian Reed and Lee Weeks work on Captain Marvel and Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk write about the Agents of Atlas returning. Whew. Apparently these stories are key, so don't think because they don't deal with Wolverine or Spider-man you can afford to miss them. And its a one-shot, so you're commitment to it stops really after just one issue. So what do you have to lose? Secret Invasion: Who do you Trust?

I Am Legend alternate ending

By now, you've probably spied the alternate ending to I Am Legend floating around the Internets, but just in case, its embedded below. Like just about everyone else I've talked to that has seen this ending, I love it. It is such a better ending to the movie than the cheap Hollywood no fear grenade ending we got in theaters. If you've read the book, you know why Robert Neville is the Legend, because he killed all the vampires, so he was a legend to them (like how Richard Matheson inverted the mythos there, making Dr. Neville the legend as opposed to the vampires?). This ending still didn't completely get to that, but the shot with Will Smith looking over at the wall to see all the pictures of the vampires he tried to "save" was extremely poignant and powerful.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Preview: Wildstorm: Revelations #6

Nemesis leads a trio of heroes in their quest to find the secret of the pending destruction, but that quest is about to be interrupted by a pair of Wildcats named Zealot and Grifter. Wildstorm: Revelations #6 concludes the six issue spinoff from Wildstorm: Armageddon, and as always there's going to be craziness. Wildstorm: Revelations #6 is written by Scott Beatty and Christos Gage, art by Wes Craig and the cover is by Ivan Reis and Richard Friend. It hits stores March 26 for $2.99. Preview: Wildstorm: Revelations #6

Preview: Spawn: The Undead Collection

In my opinion, Spawn has lost some of its appeal. There was a time in the 90s when Spawn was all the rage, and then since then it hasn't gotten nearly the amount of attention that a comic like that should get. I don't think that Spawn has gotten lame or anything, I just think we're in a different age of comics where something like Spawn isn't quite as revolutionary. So I'm trying to remedy that a bit, by putting the spotlight on Spawn: The Undead Collection. Spawn: The Undead Collection concentrates on HellSpawn (Al Simmons) and takes a unique "Japanese horror" look at the mythos of Spawn. Paul Jenkins provides the story, with Todd McFarlane and Dwayne Turner providing the chilling visuals. Spawn: The Undead Collection hits stores April 2008. Preview:Spawn: The Undead Collection

Larry Stroman returns to X-Factor

Fans of X-Factor might remember Larry Stroman. He did art way back in 1991 for X-Factor v1 #71 as part of the reimagining of the group with Peter David. Marvel realized they had a good thing in that duo, and now, 17 years later, have reunited the two. Starting July with X-Factor #33, Stroman will return to his art duties for the book. David is still writing, so hopefully some of that original magic will be recaptured by the duo. "All of Larry's characters look awesome, but I think fans will agree there's something really special about his Guido Carosella," [Aubrey] Sitterson remarks. "It's clear that Larry is having fun drawing these issues, and I hope it's clear that readers are going to have a blast reading them." Larry Stroman returns to X-Factor

Joshua Jackson trying on tights?

In a recent interview with MTV Movies Blog, Joshua Jackson has some very interesting tidbits about some recent (and future) superhero roles. Apparently, he tried out for Batman.

“I went and did the screen test,” “Shutter” star Joshua Jackson revealed to MTV News. “I was one the last four or five guys [up for the role of Batman.]”

Ok. I don't know if the public would have been ready for Pacey dealing with his childhood (nor do I think the new Batman trilogy would be anywhere near as good without Christian Bale in the lead). But what about other superhero roles?

“You know, honestly, out of the big super heroes the guy that I would most naturally be a fit to play is Spider-Man, but that one is pretty well locked up,” he said of the role made famous by Tobey Maguire. “And, frankly, I’m too old to play that character because the parable of Spiderman is the teenager going through puberty.”

Please, please, PLEASE let Tobey Maguire re-sign for Spider-man 4.

Jackson donning red and blue tights?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Speed Racer trailer

Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton's version) with F-Zero? The upcoming Speed Racer flick, which continues to be an acid trip. Enjoy the new trailer.

Preview: Young X-Men #1

Messiah Complex has come and gone, leaving no X-Men and youngin' mutants Rockslide, Blindfold and Dust alone with no leader. Cue Cyclops, who returns to lead the team (and two other mutants) against a newly revitalized Brotherhood. Young X-Men #1 is written by Marc Guggenheim, with pencils by Yanick Paquette and inks by Serge Lapointe. It hits stores April 2 for $2.99. Preview:Young X-Men #1

Top Cow Pilot Season Winners

Top Cow Pilot Season on MySpace was created with the goal of allowing fans to vote on two new comics that would receive the Top Cow seal of approval and get a next issue. The fans have voted, the votes have been tallied, and the winners have been announced. And the winners are... Velocity and Cyblade, both of which will have a second issue on its way. Cylade is written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Rick Mays that tells the story of an elite super-spy assassin in the vein of La Femme Nikita and Alias. Velocity is written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Kevin Maguire and is about Cyberforce's speedster Velocity has to fight evil while trying to find love (aren't we all going through that?). So keep an eye on your local comic haunt for issues 2 of both of these series. Top Cow Pilot Season MySpace Winners

The Incredible Hulk trailer

MTV has the trailer for the upcoming The Incredible Hulk film, and it appears that the reboot is going to play it more from the Banner side of things, rather than the Hulk itself. What does look promising though is an insane street fight between Hulk and Abomination.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Tedd Riccio is a comic book aficionado chock full of useful comic history knowledge. So why not tap into that knowledge for the betterment of you, the reader? Appearing weekly is a column by newly appointed Assistant Editor Tedd (just Tedd will be fine). This column is called “Hank McCoy (Before the Fur),” so be sure to keep your eyes open for his unique insights into comics.

This week's column is a continuation from last week, and as such should be read after the first post (obviously).

Last week I elaborated on the kind of “old-school-Hollywood-action-movie” flavor that your average DC comic embodies.

However, DC comics is no stranger to the crazy-sci-fi-fantasy-epic-multi-faceted-cross-over story that is frequently the hallmark of the Marvel comics industry. In fact, many DC lines have begun to adopt this time-held money-draining enticing recipe for telling stories of late. Batman: Hush comes to mind (beautifully drawn, spans so much Batman cannon that’ll you’ll actually learn stuff you didn’t know by the end of it) as well as the events of the Sinestro War (if you haven’t been reading Green Lantern Corps books, you are missing out).

Still, DC has always had a way of containing the stories they are telling- while the events of Avengers, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man comics frequently overlapped, a Justice League story is often just that: a Justice League story. There’s a little bit of bleed from the book and the individual books of its characters (if Superman gets his powers changed in his own comic, than the writers will briefly explain why he suddenly looks like he belongs in a bad 80’s electro-pop band), but mostly the story is contained to the book your reading.

Now obviously, this rule doesn’t apply across the board. Plenty of Marvel stories run in a contained fashion, and plenty of DC stories stretch into vast DC mythology. But for the most part DC has appeared, in my humble opinion, to value conciseness and continuity over neurotic-obsessive-fan-service-crossovers.

The end result is that when DC finally does get around to telling a big story, you tend to take notice of it.

And when DC finally goes big with a story, well….they go BIG.

If you ask most Marvel fans to name a big story, you could get a wide array of responses. The Infinity Gauntlet, Inferno, The Age of Apocalypse, Onslaught, House of M, Planet Hulk, Civil War, Maximum Carnage, Fall of the Mutants…the list goes on and on.

But when you ask DC fans, inevitably the most likely responses will be: Crisis on Infinite Earths and its recent follow up, Infinite Crisis (fans of The Death and Return of Superman, Superman: Our Worlds at War, and The Final Night, I give you your due here as well). Ironically, the original mega-DC-crossover, the first crisis, was really designed for cleaning up continuity.

And that was, at once, the beauty and the absurdity of the whole thing. DC decided to wipe the slate clean and modernize some of the characters’ backgrounds. They also decided to get rid of fifty or so assorted heroes and villains that no one really cared about. On top of it all, they had a host of characters that existed in alternate continuities that they decided they just wanted all in one place together (ever notice that there are no comics with Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle, and the Question in them before 1985 or so? They were part of some other label that DC picked up).

Interesting note- highly acclaimed graphic novel Watchmen was originally supposed to use these characters- just substitute Question for Rorschach, Beetle for Owl, etc. But the character rights were tied up in some weird litigation. But I digress). So rather than try to write a billion plot threads to get everything where they wanted it to be, DC decided to tell this bizarre, in-continuity story in which the essence of time and reality was altered in front of each characters eyes. So the characters actually live through the experience of the revision of their universe, in this trippy, cosmic way.

It was basically a total cop-out.

But it totally worked. And everybody loved it.

Mostly because it was some freaky $&*#.

The whole thing had some really bizarre, biblical, end-of-the-world kind of overtones that to this day give me some chills. And that wasn’t really the typically wholesome-American-upper-middle-class DC style of the 80’s. Every time I read that bit where the Robin and Huntress of the older DC comics continuity, and that one Teen Titan- her name was Kole or something?- eat it, it disturbs me, deeply. I believe Kole’s last line is an attempt to reassure Robin that they’ll find a way out of their situation, saying something like: “No, don’t talk like that, we’ll…AAARRRGGHHH”.

But this is all comic book history that’s well known. So I’m just treading water here. What I’m really getting at is this- DC still uses the magic cop-out theory to readjust their continuity (not that Marvel doesn’t). But lately, continuity has taken on this kind of new life of it’s own in DC comics. The events of the original crisis, the original continuities that each character in the current one came from, the older incarnations of DC characters and stories- it’s all become part of this very cool, very rich, very weird DC mythology to tell stories from. And that’s where Infinite Crisis kind of comes in. DC took their whole play-with-continuity thing to this whole new level. Imagine an abstract play where the characters met earlier versions of themselves created by the same author. Add super powers. Add bizarre tampering with the nature of reality and time. Wash, rinse, repeat.

You know how in the 1970’s, Spider-man’s characterization was a lot more…well, you know, what you would expect from the 1970’s? But now a-days he’s like a completely modern character? And somehow he’s only like, I don’t know, late twenties? Even though he was like 22 back in 1975? Chances are, people who remember Spider-man fighting Green Goblin in the late 70’s are not going to know that much about the Spider-man who clashed with Venom in the late 80’s. I mean, in theory it’s all one big story. In truth, the character always represents the period they are being written in.

But here’s the thing- the Superman that fought big cartooney robots and talked like a bad public service announcement still exists in the DC universe. And all of the stories that were told starring HIM (That would be Kal-L, not the current Superman, Kal-El) really HAPPENED in his own continuity. In other words, such a character really comes from a world where Superman was a little bit older, was as likely to fight public littering as he was organized crime, and said things to Lois Lane that you and I would consider sexist and demeaning but somehow appears to flatter her. And the people who live in that world say things like “Gosh gee willikers” and so on. That Superman, that world, exists (or, it did, until the original crisis. Not going to try to explain that here).

The other thing is all the stuff that was ever written about that Superman’s origin? The nature of his powers? It’s all true for him. For example, the original Superman was like…ungodly powerful. I mean, today, Superman is a pretty ridiculously powerful character. But he got revamped to you know, tone it down a little. Because Kal-L as he was originally written was insanely powerful. Were talking lift mountains powerful. And there was this vast array of different colored Kryptonine in Kal-L’s universe. Different colors had different effects. The rare Gold Kryptonite, for example, could take a Kryptonian’s power away for good.

So consider this- if Kal-El is tangling with a young version of Kal-L, he may very well find himself over-powered by “his” younger, yet different, self. But if Kal-L pulled out a piece of Gold Kryptonie to take Kal-El’s powers away, it wouldn’t work, because the Kryptonite in Kal-El’s universe has different properties. So Kal-El is not affected by Kryptonite that affects Kal-L and vice versa.

Confusing, right? By the way, the example was taken from Action Comics # 591, circa 1987.

But the next crisis was rife with cool examples like this that really made the most sense IF you had been reading comics for a long, long, llloooonnnggg time. Watching Diana of Themyscara (spelled right?) have a conversation with Diana Prince (original Wonder Woman) as she rested on her invisible jet (yes she really had that thing) was pretty fascinating. Read up on Power Girl, Psycho-Pirate, Dick Grayson, Superboy-Prime, and Alexander Luthor sometime and see what’s been going on lately. You won’t regret it.

I end this exposition on the following note- DC has one more “big gun” in their bag for this coming year. They are calling it Final Crisis and if 52 and Countdown are any indication, it’s going to be big. With Grant Morrison at the helm, it’s safe to say that the book will be in good hands but will have a fresh, new feel. While I ranted about Morrison a few posts back, I have to say, this kind of bizarre, abstract stuff seems right up his league (no pun intended) and I am totally stoked to check it out. A brief interview with a few spoilers can be found here.

In the meantime, I would advise you brush up on comic history. Because the cast of this new crisis is likely to bring some characters back into the fold that were weird and hokey even back in the day. Check out Jack Kirby’s Forever People, which Morrison notes will make an appearance. It’ll be a show.

FreakAngels

Weekly webcomics are becoming all the rage these days, and its even better when said comics are free of charge to the reader. Avatar Press is one of the many publishers that are jumping on this trend with the creation of FreakAngels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield. FreakAngels is about twelve children born at the same time in England existing after the world ended when they were 17. Its a free weekly webcomic that shows up every Friday at noon, and I don't believe its too far along in the series, so there's still some time to catch up. FreakAngels #1

Top Cow at Wizard World LA

In case you're completely disconnected from the world and don't know this, Wizard World is coming to Los Angeles this weekend (March 14-16). And of course, Top Cow will be there. But what will Top Cow be showing, and who from Top Cow will be there? I'm glad you asked, as Top Cow has just released their lineup. You'll be able to pick up Fantastic Four #554 with the Marc Silvestri Top Cow variant cover or Witchblade #116 Wizard World variant cover. On Friday, you can meet members of the Top Cow Studio Crew (Eric and Rick Basaldua and Sheldon Mitchell), Madame Mirage contributors Kenneth Rocafort and Paul Dini, members of The Darkness team and members of the Pilot Season crew. Saturday and Sunday boasts more of the same from Top Cow, so you'll definitely have the chance to meet the creators of your dreams (from Top Cow at least). Of course there will also be the requisite Top Cow schwag available for purchase and pick-up, so if you're at the convention this weekend, be sure to stop by the Top Cow booth (#201) for all your Top Cow needs. Top Cow at Wizard World LA 2008

300 sequel in the works?

If you're like me, you're probably one of those people that doesn't like when Hollywood takes a perfectly good original concept and screws with it by making a sequel. Sequels are almost automatic when it comes to successful movies, as studios feel they can capture the "lightning in a bottle" of the original at least one more time (and in same cases, two more times), when all they're doing is tarnishing the original. I have a strong feeling that is going to be the case for a sequel to 300. SOS Hollywood reports that during an interview for The Spiderwick Chronicles, producer Mark Canton made mention (in that sly, completely unobvious Hollywood way) that there is another 300 in the making. Is a new 300 a reality? Should we expect to meet you again on a press junket for that? (Another gigantic smile) Wouldn’t it be nice to do that again with Zack (Snyder). So you’re going for it, right? I just said “wouldn’t it be nice?”. But I’d love to. (and he winked). Budgets are really a problem to approve these days. (Another smile and left the room). I don't possibly see what a sequel could be about, and I don't really know if it would be all that successful. If they plan on selling the movie based on the intense violence and action of the first one, that may get some people in the seats. But I just don't think it will be any good (at least not as good as the first one), unless Frank Miller pulls something serious out of his hat. 300 in works already?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Arrivals: March 12, 2008

The pick this week comes to us from Devils Due Publishing. Pogrom #1 is about a torturer reborn as Pogrom, a specter that wants to reclaim his senses. He battles sin itself by consuming the suffering of massacre victims, hoping to achieve his goal. Pogrom has been described as Da Vinci Code meets Hellraiser. Enjoy! New Arrivals: March 12, 2008