Friday, February 27, 2009

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Did you really think I was going to write about something other than Watchmen this week? I mean, how could I? Wherever you go, it’s Watchmen this and Watchmen that. Watchmen toys, Watchmen T-shirts…I’m waiting for them to make a Watchmen breakfast cereal. Watchmen, Watchmen, Watchmen. Not that I can blame the hype. I always think it’s kind of funny whenever I see the trailer for the movie, and they have that bold type “Based on the most celebrated, bestselling graphic novel of all time.” Because, you know, a lot of comic book movies are going to have something to that effect thrown into their trailer. But comic book fans in the know realize that it would be entirely within the rights of the movie producers to flash another set of bold type up on the screen right after that, that said something like: “No, REALLY, the BESTSELLING graphic novel of ALL TIME. Seriously.” I have to admit that I’ve been nervous that this movie is going to suck for some time now. Even the trailers didn’t totally convince me that the directors of the film were going to get it right. The costumes looked great, the soundtrack seemed to fit the right mood…but I’ve always had trouble envisioning the whole thing as a movie. Oh, by the way, if you don’t intend to read Watchmen (or haven't read it) before you go see the film, you should probably stop reading now. Spoilers and all that jazz. It’s just that I think the whole reason the story is so wildly successful is that on this one level, it’s a superhero story, but on this other level, it’s sort of a satire about superheroes and comic books. I like to think of Watchmen as kind of like the “Quentin Tarantino movie” of comic books. On the one hand, it’s sort of the over-the-top science fiction you paid for, but on the other, it’s painfully, painfully, PAINFULLY real. The violence. The characters and their relationships. The shades of gray. And, that’s kind of the point of Watchmen, I think. To sort of…let you down, as the reader (or viewer). We like to picture these larger than life superheroes as perfect. It’s this myth that we’ve come up with in our society and have passed down in comic book form, generation to generation. This idea that there could be these people, these heroes, and they are going to have this infallible moral compass that helps them uphold truth, liberty, and justice, always, no matter what. We love it because maybe we’d all like to believe that we could be that superhero. Like, we’re the good guy, and all of our struggles, everything we go through, it’s all for the greater good. Somewhere, deep down, we know that we’re carrying that around. And we are definitely, absolutely, the good guy. The hero. “Moral.” I can’t remember the exact moment I was reading Watchmen and it kind of “clicked” for me. Maybe it was when I was looking at panels of the Comedian burning Viet Cong soldiers to death , or when a flashback revealed a gathering of superheroes and among the many “crimes” they had committed was assembling to combat fear while the word “homosexuality” was written on the board behind them. See, who’s really to say what’s right or wrong? Who “watches the watchmen” right? These superheroes, the values we idolize in them- do they really represent everything that’s noble and moral about the human spirit? Or do they just represent what we value and think of as moral right NOW, in OUR culture? We like to think they have a universal appeal- but do they really? Is being “moral” really that simple? And they hit you with this- at least, in the comic, hopefully in the movie as well- a lot. You don’t LIKE to see the superheroes in Watchmen as so painfully…human. Flawed. Imperfect. They’re just people. I mean, what is it that makes you cringe so bad when you read about Nite Owl and Silk Specter getting it on, only to have the guy unable to perform unless she’s wearing her costume? Well, look at it this way- would you want to read a comic book about Batman having trouble getting it up, unless his girlfriend puts on tight clothing? If I’m making you feel dirty, please don’t yell at me- it’s the comic. I swear, I’ve read it several times, and every time I walk away with the same feeling- like I want to stand in the shower for several hours. You don’t like to think of your heroes as just like everybody else. Well, at least, you don’t like to think of them as just like the parts of you that make you uncomfortable with yourself. We like to read about heroes having all the best part of ourselves- not the flawed, vulnerable, human parts. It’s uncomfortable. Stifling. Of course, there’s a lot more going on in that sexual interlude than just tight clothing. You can look at it on lots of different levels- we associate sex with danger, we want to escape from the mundaneness of our lives and pretend that we’re somebody else, relationships are based more on fantasy than the reality of being with someone…whatever. The film’s most memorable character, Rorschach, comes to mind here. I mean, after all, the guy’s motif is based on a psychological projective test- that’s an ink blot on his mask. Now, Alan Moore takes a pretty dark view of the field of Clinical Psychology, I grant you- but ultimately, you could boil it down to the systematic study of those variables that create your personality and behaviors, right? (Please, don’t be offended with this interpretation of the field of Psychology. I am a graduate student in Psychology and I don’t prescribe to this view. Just talking about the lens of the comic here.) But really, you could make an argument that what makes you you is kind of arbitrary. The people you encounter in your life. The experiences you have, your environment. So again- isn’t morality all kind of relative? Based on who you are, whats happened, specifically, in your life? That’s always what I see in that scene where the Comedian almost forces himself on the Silk Spectre’s mother, only to get the crap knocked out of him by some such hero- can’t remember- maybe Captain Metropolis or whoever. In the middle of the fight, he looks up at the guy and says something like “Oh, I get it, this is what gets YOU off, huh?” I always kind of read that as “Oh, you think you’re so moral, huh? Are you sure you just don’t like being RIGHTEOUS? Being RIGHT? Being violent, beating up the bad guy? You sure you aren’t just as turned on, and psyched, about that as I was about forcing myself on this woman? You SURE you’re so different than me?” It’s dark. Depressing, really. But what I’m getting at here, is this why the story has been as popular as it has been for as long as it has been – it’s taking what you really love about superheroes, and asking you to question it. To consider what’s really behind the choices you like to make and think of as “moral." Are you sure you’re really “the good guy?” Is anybody? I’ve heard bits and pieces about the movie that leave me feeling fairly confident that it’s going to be able to recreate this effect. The three words I hear most often are “intense,” “violent,” and “sexual.” That sounds about right to me. But for the uninformed, be warned- this isn’t (or at least, it shouldn’t) be some kind of feel-good-action adventure. It’s going to hurt. Bad. You’ll be squirming in your seats kind of bad. At least, that’s how I’m predicting it. We’ll see how it plays out.

Enter the Wonder Woman sweepstakes

We're still really, really, really far off from any sort of Justice League film. You can chalk that up to any number of factors, but after wiping your hands clean of the chalk dust we're still no closer to a film. Even individual member films are nowhere near being completed (unless you're named Batman or Superman). But DC is taking a small step in the right direction with the March 3rd release of Wonder Woman on DVD and Blu-ray. So what better time than now to cue up a contest where you could win the movie? The Wonder Woman Sweepstakes (otherwise known as "Get Drawn In") is currently going on over at DC. Entry is simple: just fill out your information and hit submit. What can you win? One grand prize winner will get their likeness drawn into a future issue of the Wonder Woman comic and get a signed and framed piece of the original artwork, in addition to 50 copies of the comics to give to all your friends. One first prize winner will win quite the "wonderful" home theater package featuring a 40" LCD TV, a PS3 and a copy of Wonder Woman on Blu-ray. 10 second prize winners will win the movie on their choice of DVD or Blu-ray. Entry is a breeze, so you really have no reason not to enter. Sure there's a limited supply of prizes, but all you're giving up is the minute or so it would take to enter in your information. So head on over and enter, and if you're not one of the lucky 13 or so winners you can pick the film on March 3, 2009. If it makes you feel any better you'll also get your choice of DVD or Blu-ray, so its kind of like you're a winner as well. Wonder Woman Sweepstakes

Marvel makes nice with Samuel L. Jackson

When the credits rolled in Iron Man and those of us that stuck around to see the surprise clip at the ending we cheered. Samuel L. Jackson was Nick Fury, and he approached Tony Stark about creating a better version of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fans were stoked to think that we would be seeing this version of Nick Fury in all of Marvel's new films, but recent events threw that notion into question. That is until more recent events occurred. Variety reports that Mr. Jackson has signed a multi-picture deal with Marvel. And by multi-picture I mean nine pictures. And he's Nick Fury in all of them. Now the most immediate ramifications of this is we'll most likely see him in Iron Man 2. But beyond that, we can expect to see him in Thor, Captain America, Avengers and any other Marvel film that the producers feel could use some screaming awesomeness in. I'm glad that Marvel finally ponied up the cash for Jackson. It isn't necessarily confirmed that Marvel refused to pay Jackson in the first place, but it seems to be a growing trend with the comics goliath and their big name actors in films. They really don't have an excuse not to pay either, because these films are bringing in so much loot. But at least now we know Samuel L. will be back as Nick Fury for the immediate future. Samuel L. Jackson back as Nick Fury

Wondercon 2009

Yes, this is short notice. Yes, its tough to get to San Francisco for cheap these days (unless you live there). But that doesn't mean you should be deprived of WonderCon. The 2009 incarnation starts today and will run until March 1 (which is Sunday) at the Moscone Center South in San Fran. Tickets (on-site) are $40 for the weekend, $15 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday (which admittedly means there is no savings in the weekend pass). Why should you care? Here's a list of some of the top talent that will be at the show. Sergio Aragones, Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. Just to name a few. Some of the publishers that will be there include DC Comics, Image Comics, IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics. And probably the biggest draw is the chance to see the Watchmen movie tonight before everyone else. Three-day and Friday only members will be able to enter in a drawing to win a free pass to a special Friday, February 27, 11:55 PM IMAX screening of Watchmen. The drawing will be held today, and only those that purchase Friday or 3-day passes will be eligible (guess there are some savings with the three day pass afterall). WonderCon 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gotham City Dossiers: Icon Comics

Icon Comics is one of those publishers that operate under a much larger umbrella. In this case, the umbrella is Marvel. The imprint was launched for the purpose of publishing creator-owned titles in 2004 and has to this day continued to be a successful offshoot of the bigger Marvel brand. The first comic published by Icon Comics (and the reason for its inception) was Powers by Michael Avon Oeming and Brian Michael Bendis. You're probably pretty familiar with Powers, but if not let me fill you in. The story follows two detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, who work in a department investigating cases involving "powers," which is antoher way to describe people with superpowers.police officers in a Homicide department devoted to cases that involve "powers" (people with superpowers). Walker used to be a superhero so he has inside info he regularly taps into, and Pilgrim secretly has superpowers that caused her to kill her boyfriend in self-defense. Criminal features the gritty writing talents of Ed Brubaker and art by Sean Phillips and looks at two characters, Tommy Patterson and his partner Ivan. When Tommy was arrested for killing Teeg Lawless, Ivan took care of Tommy's son Leo and made sure that the pickpocket trade that Tommy taught to Leo was used intelligently to keep him out of jail and alive. Teeg's kids were arrested at the same time, and while Ricky was sent to juvenile detention Tracy joing the Army and became a badass soldier. Kick-Ass is written by Mark Millar (with illustrations by John Romita, Jr.) and follows Dave Lizewski, an average high school kid with a single father and an avid interest in comic books. He takes this interest and goes past the towel and safety pin costume to a full-out superhero costume that he wears under his clothes. After a few nights of practicing walking on roofs he hits the town to fight crime but gets his ass kicked, sending him to the hospital. But that beating is not enough to stop him, and after intense physical rehab he gets back out to fight crime, only this time his exploits are caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube (yes, YouTube has infiltrated comics) unofficially naming him "Kick-Ass." If you notice a theme here with the books you're not crazy: they tend towards the criminal noir type. But that's perfectly fine with me. When you've got writers like Bendis, Brubaker and Millar writing this stuff you know that the stories are going to be tight and well constructed. And the crime aspect of the stories keep them somewhat fresh. Icon Comics

Savage Dragon #145 Wondercon Variant

It may have crept up on you, but Wondercon is this weekend. Which means lots of comic exclusives, including Savage Dragon #145. Now, Erik Larsen's love of President Obama is readily apparent, and giving him a variant reason to express this love creates a really unique, vintage cover. The cover features President Obama punching Osame Bin Laden with the American flag in tow. Meanwhile, Savage Dragon is in teh background freeing Lady Liberty from a Weapon of Mass Destruction. And Larsen feels that it is the greatest cover of all time. "I had no idea what I was getting into, but the moment I finished the cover I told myself: 'Erik, you just created the greatest comic book cover of all time' and it turns out I was totally right," Erik Larsen said. "Lets face it, President Barack Obama punching out Osama Bin Laden with a huge American flag in one hand while Savage Dragon frees Lady Liberty from a Weapon of Mass Destruction is as good as it's ever going to get." The Savage Dragon #145 WonderCon exclusive will only be available at the Image Comics booth at WonderCon, February 27th, 28th and March 1st. If you can't get it there, be prepared to pay out the wazoo to pick it up on eBay shortly thereafter.
ERIK LARSEN CREATES THE GREATEST COMIC BOOK COVER OF ALL TIME FOR WONDERCON'S EXCLUSIVE SAVAGE DRAGON #145!
Wondercon exclusive SAVAGE DRAGON #145 variant may be the best cover ever illustrated! 24 February 2009 (Berkeley, CA) - Fans attending this year's WonderCon are in for a treat as the convention will exclusively feature the greatest comic book cover of all time, SAVAGE DRAGON #145! "I had no idea what I was getting into, but the moment I finished the cover I told myself: 'Erik, you just created the greatest comic book cover of all time' and it turns out I was totally right," Erik Larsen said. "Lets face it, President Barack Obama punching out Osama Bin Laden with a huge American flag in one hand while Savage Dragon frees Lady Liberty from a Weapon of Mass Destruction is as good as it's ever going to get." Despite Larsen's humble nature, the WonderCon variant will no doubt be the greatest comic book cover ever printed, due in no short order to our nation's 44th President kicking the ass of his greatest nemesis. The cover's status is augmented by the fact a very limited run of 1000 will be made available and never reprinted. Fans wishing to purchase a copy can only do so by attending San Francisco's WonderCon. The SAVAGE DRAGON #145 WonderCon Exclusive will only be available at the Image Comics booth at WonderCon, February 27th, 28th and March 1st. Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. Visit www.imagecomics.com.

Indelible Comics brings you Heist

The folks at Indelible Comics are not content with resting on their laurels. Hot on the heels of the adventures in Hannibal Goes to Rome, the latest from Brendan McGinley and co is Heist, a book that boasts a cynical, thrill-addicted supervillain that is betrayed by his client while stealing a wish-granting relic. Geist is hired for the most challenging crime ever: The Halo. No, there are no Covenant involved in this Halo, but their is a headquarters called Pax Americana that features the world's best superheroes. Needless to say, thing don't go according to plan and Geist if forced to adapt.
Crime pays in HEIST by Bankshot Comics
Some villains are so good the heroes have no idea they exist. HEIST is the collaborative product of writer Brendan McGinley (Hannibal Goes to Rome, Dose and Invisible, Inc.) with Joshua Elder (Mail-Order Ninja, The Batman Strikes), artist Andres Ponce (Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles, Firebirds) and omni-talented colorist Rocio Zucchi (Warcraft) Bankshot Comics’ relentlessly amoral web series follows a super-powered thief known only as Geist to the few who know him at all. His only confidant is Jin, a magic ring with the power to make him a living ghost: invisible. Intangible. Unstoppable. And bored out of his mind. Fortunately, he’s hired for the most challenging crime ever: steal an artifact known as The Halo from the headquarters of Pax Americana, the world’s premiere team of superheroes. What follows is a caper gone wrong that becomes an epic, riches-to-rags story of a horrible person’s rise to power and fall to grace. Crime pays, but there is more beyond. HEIST Crime Pays LOGLINE: A cynical, thrill-addicted supervillain is betrayed by his client while stealing a wish-granting relic. CHARACTERS GEIST – Real name unknown. Handsome, vicious, charming, jerk. Imagine if James Bond had never been picked up by an agency that tempered his excesses. JIN – Geist’s ring and sole confidant. A bit of a dry wit, it chips away at him and acts as his better judgment. Its personality may be purely an expression of Geist’s own conscience rather than an inherent spirit in the ring. Regardless, it passes the Turing test. KAHIN AL’MAGHREBI – An ancient sorcerer concerned only with power and prestige, he is the end-result of a lifestyle like Geist’s, though he has more patience and cunning. Very much one to carry a grudge against our anti-hero over who betrayed whom first. LORD HISH – King of N.U.L.L., the crime syndicate that engulfs the world, he schemes world conquest from his remote palace. He taps Geist as a useful and worthy heir. BADOURA – Hish’s daughter and the only person he or Geist trusts, if only because they know exactly how far they can’t trust her. In fact, she has the ability to gain anyone’s confidence, and makes herself useful to al’Maghrebi upon his ascent to power. PAX AMERICANA – The world’s premier superteam is a collection of scariest powerhouses on the planet under the command of the single-impulse Patriot. A slightly more judicious Brother Jon coordinates team strategies, but is still prone to overkill.

Interview - Ralph Tedesco (Zenescope)

It's almost impossible to walk into a comic book store and not notice a rather sultry looking Alice (of Alice in Wonderland fame) staring at you with a sexy look in her eyes. You immediately race to grab the issue thinking it'll be an animated Playboy, but as you read you realize "hey, this is pretty decent writing." I wonder who wrote this you may ask yourself next. That man would be Ralph Tedesco, a founder/VP/writer over at Zenescope Publishers. Omnicomic spoke with him at NY Comic Con about Grimm Fairy Tales and Sinbad, as well as two new books on the horizon in Salem's Daughter and Stingers.

Omnicomic: We wanted to talk to you about some of the new stuff from Zenescope, but to start with how did you get into comics?

Ralph Tedesco: Honestly, I wasn't a big comic book fan at first. Joe, my business partner, was more of the comic guy. I was living in LA as an actor where Joe and I were screenwriting partners and we noticed that living in LA wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. So I was home visiting and we had an idea. He was saying that comics were getting big again so we should just get something published out there. Then it could be made into a film, and I thought it was a cool concept. Let's publish a book.

It was kind of we didn't know what we were getting into at the time...if we knew what we were getting into we may have never done it. We had the idea for Grimm Fairy Tales. You take the fairy tales and make it for adults (Disney did it for kids). We were huge fans of fairy tales so we decided to make it so they could stand alone with a great character. Now we're at 36 issues and it’s gotten a bit more complicated storywise.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

Who Watches the Watchmen Influences?-The Hidden S of course... In 1985 DC managed to acquire the rights to several characters from Charlton Comics, a comics company that had some success over the years, but was never really able to compete with either DC or Marvel on a commercial or critical level. History has been very kind to Charlton as it has been an influence on more cutting edge comic companies like Dark Horse, Image and Dynamite Entertainment with its emphasis on creator driven work. Steve Ditko did some of his best work there and a-listers like john byrne got their careers started with this company. As a result of this purchase, Alan Moore proposed a story that utilized several of the Charlton characters as a way to revamp the characters and explore some of his Post-modern notions about supeheroes and their role in society (this idea, almost a cliche now, was a new approach at the time). The story began much as the Watchmen does with a character called the Shield found dead in a harbor. DC editor Dick Giordano (an ex-Charlton editor who had helped create some of the characters in question) was intrigued by the idea but in the end DC was reluctant to kill off or wreck the reputation of these characters which they had just acquired for considerable monies as a result of considerable effort. Moore was apparently convinced to retain the idea but to create new characters. Moore was initially uncertain of the appeal of this kind of approach, but in time "...realized that if I wrote the substitute characters well enough, so that they seemed familiar in certain ways, certain aspects of them brought back a kind of generic superhero resonance or familiarity to the reader, then it might work." For a guy who doesn't like interpretations of his characters, Moore is not one to back down from interpreting the work of others. The result was a universe of new but somehow familiar superheroes which comprised the core of the watchmen group. This is how it breaks down... Mr. A-Influence on Rorschach Mr. A was one of Steve Ditko's gonzo 60s creations. The character's secret identity was Rex Graine, a newspaper reporter known for his uncompromising approach to morality. The character wore metal gloves and a weird steel mask that resembled a grim human face (shades of V for Vendetta). Oddly enough, the character had no origin story and it was unclear what the point of his secret identity was since he provoked equal ire as a reporter and as the vigilante Mr. A. The Mr. A series was a comic manifesto relating closely to Ditko's famous fixation on the Objectivist philosophies of Ayn Rand. The series' narratives more often than not resembled a philosophical debate between the criminals and Mr. A. The series even had surreal elements with some of the stories consisting of little more than Mr. A passing judgment on a criminal before the guilty party plunges into an abstract abyss. Weird stuff to be sure; however, Moore managed to incorporate the moral inflexibility and disturbing physical look of Mr. A into Rorschach, making this character the most profound and memorable of the Watchmen group. (Another Ditko/Charlton creation The Question has since become a recognizable face in the DC Universe. Again, a reporter with an inflexible code of ethics and a weird mask paired with a suit, The Question is closer to a traditional superhero than Mr. A). Peter Cannon; Thunderbolt-Influence on Ozymandius This superhero from the Charlton stable was a direct influence on Ozymandius/Adrian Veidt. Cannon was an orphaned son of American hospital workers who was raised as an orphan in a Himalayan monastery. It was there that he managed to attain a superhuman degree of physical prowess and intellectual skill. Ozymandius who traveled the east and studied ancient texts and the martial arts before becoming wealthy and famous as "the Smartest man on the planet" is a direct homage to Cannon (at least in his backstory). Captain Atom's influence on Dr. Manhattan Another Ditko creation (along with writer Joe Gill), Captain Atom was a military official named Allen Adam who was inadvertently caught in a military experiment and "atomized." The result of this was the acquisition of superhuman powers. Among them super stregnth, endurance and the ability to project blasts of pure energy. Dr. Manhattan has very similar (but greater) powers as Captain Atom and his origin is similarly rooted in an unfortunate science experiment gone awry. Like The Question, Captain Atom has become a fairly recognizable part of the DC Universe at present. The Peacemaker-Influence on The Comedian The Peacemaker’s secret identity is Christopher Smith, a pacifist diplomat who was so dedicated to peace that he (wait for it) was willing to use his force as a superhero to increase the necessity for peace. His arsenal consists of an array of sophisticated but non-lethal weaponry. Ultimately, the character learns that his unique approach developed as a result of having a death camp commandant/Nazi father. This burden is to the Peacemaker a literal one as he believes that his father’s spirit haunts him. In time, Smith believed that the spirits of the individuals he killed gather in his helmet to offer commentary on his actions. Predictably, the character became an agent for the US government and became a pariah due to his extreme and violent behavior. The Comedian had a similar backstory, being a mercenary for hire whose twisted approach to war and violence were similar to The Peacemaker’s philosophy of peace through violence. There seems to be a little of Nick Fury and even Sgt. Rock influence here, but mostly because of Dave Gibbon’s visuals). The Blue Beetle-Influence on Nite Owl II In Watchmen, there are two Nite Owl’s. The first Nite Owl, Hollis Mason became a mentor and inspiration of sorts to the second Nite Owl, Dan Dreiberg. In the Charlton mythology the Golden Age Blue Beetle, Dan Garret helped mentor and inspire a protege Ted Kord who became the Silver Age Blue Beetle. Kord was an inventor hero and “his” incarnation of the Blue Beetle relied heavily on gadgets and was a superior athlete. There is a little bit of Batman in the character as well as Nite-Owl is a nocturnal hero with a great imaginative mind who maintains a striking means of transportation (in a sense, the Owl Ship is his Batmobile ). Again, Gibbons’ work here reminds one of Batman. Phantom Lady-Influence on Silk Spectre II A somewhat obscure female superhero who despite low name recognition has managed to stay relevant as a comic character for almost 70 years; the character was initially created for Quality Comics’ Police Comics #1 in 1941. This issue also featured the first appearances of Plastic Man and the Human Bomb. Phantom Lady was in actuality Sandra Knight, a Washington socialite and daughter of a US Senator. Her father was threatened by assassins and she cleverly thwarted this attempt and in the process became attracted to the idea of becoming a crime fighter. She had a super weapon of sorts after acquiring a “black light ray projector” from a family scientist friend. This weapon apparently helped blind her enemies or allow her a degree of invisibility. The resemblance of Silk Spectre to Phantom Lady is probably the biggest stretch here; Moore has apparently admitted that Silk Spectre more or less fits the need for a female superhero and as a result the homage is a bit less direct than some of the others. The yellow leotard the two heroines use as a costume is an obvious link between the two characters but that is mostly it. Indeed, there is a case to be made that the character is closer to a martial arts heroine like Black Canary than to Phantom Lady… Of these characters, Phantom Lady, Blue Beetle, The Question, Captain Atom and a version of the Peacemaker are all basically active within the DC Universe at present. The Question and Blue Beetle have in particular developed a kind of cult following by comic creators and fans. Phantom Lady is presently in The Freedom Fighters (with a much sexier costume). It is odd to think of the loop that this kind of influence takes as today's comic creators no doubt were influenced by the Watchmen way back in the mid-80's and now they are working on comics that influenced Moore's work way back when...

Buck Rogers to sell for 25 cents

Yep, you read it right. According to Wizard Universe, the return of the fabled Buck Rogers comic will cost only $0.25. Not $2.50 or more, but $0.25. Buck Rogers #0 will hits stores in May for $0.25. "We're planning Buck's launch to be one of our biggest of 2009, one that will propel him into the comics future. We could think of no more appropriate way to welcome fans to this totally fresh take on one of comicdom's first heroes than to offer his first new comics adventure in years at this incredible introductory price." "Dynamite's reinvention of Buck Rogers will follow the path Dynamite has blazed with its previous successful titles, and to ensure the comics audience can read the launch, we're releasing the comic at a .25¢ cover price. Dynamite is proud to be instrumental in re-inventing and continuing the legacies of historical characters and their worlds with creators who can execute great stories. We're equally proud of the consistent critical and fan responses to our efforts, and are confident that Scott Beatty and Carlos Rafael will deliver. We're confident that Buck Rogers will extend Dynamite's own tradition of creating and bringing together generations of fans in the most thrilling way possible, which is why we are launching it at an Introductory Priced. This will allow retailers to stock it, and fans to try it, and see the quality, inexpensively." stated Dynamite President Nick Barrucci. Now I'm one of those youngins that never really knew about Buck Rogers back in its heyday. Of course, I attribute that mostly to having not being born, but I can respect the book. This "reboot" will feature covers by John Cassaday and Alex Ross, so that's definitely winning information right there. And since its going to be so cheap you really have no reason not to pick it up. Dynamite Entertainment has some good books, and this will definitely be one to add to your collection and get you hooked on the reinvention of the sci-fi genre. Buck Rogers selling for 25 cents

Spider-Man hits Broadway

The mainstream crossover of comics continues! Not content with being one of the most successful film trilogies of all time, Marvel has decided to take the Spider-Man show on stage with "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark." The show will draw upon 40 years of Marvel Comics and follows the story of Peter Parker who goes through some "changes" when bitten by a spider. The show will feature the regular assortment of villains for Spidey to face, and attendees are in store for a final surprise confrontation. The show features Julie Taymor directing with Glen Berger assisting in the writing. And U2 is creating music for the show. The principal creative and design team for "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark" includes Daniel Ezralow, Choreographer ("Across the Universe," "The Green Bird"); George Tsypin, Sets ("The Magic Flute," "The Little Mermaid"); Eiko Ishioka, Costumes (Academy Award® for "Bram Stoker's Dracula," Tony Award® nomination for "M. Butterfly," the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics); Donald Holder, Lighting (Tony® Awards for "The Lion King," "South Pacific"); Jonathan Deans, Sound ("Fosse," The Beatles "LOVE" by Cirque du Soleil, "Young Frankenstein," "Ragtime"); and Teese Gohl, Musical Supervisor ("Across the Universe," "Frida"). Additional members of the "Spider-Man" creative team will be announced at a later date. Tickets are available at Spider-Man on Broadway if you're excited to see if Spidey can hit a high note. The cast has yet to be announced, but don't be surprised if Hugh Jackman makes a cameo of some sort. Spider-Man hits Broadway

Interview - Pat Croce (No Quarter)

Pat Croce is a man that has seen his fair share of the world. This fair share includes sports as a physical therapist for the Philadelphia Flyers and President of the Philadelphia 76ers and people as an all around motivational guy. But what got him into comics was his lust for pirates, as evidenced by his museum and book of the same name, Pirate Soul. Now he's at Zenescope where he works on No Quarter, and it was at NY Comic Con that Tedd and I interviewed this man about the world.

Omnicomic: How did you get into comics?

Pat Croce: It started with Adam Slutsky, my cowriter. We were talking about doing a pirate book, and I have the Pirate's Soul book and he found me through my website and Pirate Soul, my museum in Key West. He said he knew I was the expert on pirates and he wanted to write a pirate book. He's written bartending books and he wanted to switch. So I contacted my agent and talked to Adam and somehow we started to get on the same wavelength about No Quarter. I also have my Blackbeard movie with Dreamworks and Spielberg attached to it (now Paramount has it). My writer is David Franzoni (who won the Oscar for Gladiator). This is not Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Arrivals: February 25, 2009

This week's pick is an old favorite of sorts. Youngblood #8 pits the Televillain's against an entity in what could be his last stand, while the Youngblood team faces their greatest foe. The book is written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Derec Donovan. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that yes, President Obama is on the cover. And yes, it is pretty insane how much he is showing up in comics. Awesome, but insane. Enjoy! New Arrivals: February 25, 2009

Defense With the BoomPick

Hey there folks. It is me again, Brandon here, broadcasting to you from my secret compound and taking a break from fighting the undead to give you my pick of the week. It was a tough week, but there are some good comics coming out tomorrow. The one that stood out to me most features a hero from my youth and everybody’s favorite blue hedgehog. Yes my pick of the week is Sonic Universe #1, a series which takes our hero and puts him in an ever expanding universe with all the favorite characters joining him from his vast number of games. It is a battle royale going on between Shadow and Metal Sonic that spins them into another universe and keeps the fighting going. This new journey for Sonic is a huge departure from the games and other formats that he has been in to bring you great illustrations and awesome jokes. This comic is brought to you by the awesome people over at Archie Comics. There ya have it folks my pick of the week. Enjoy and keep on reading those comics you true believers.

Interview - Ken Haeser (The Living Corpse)


I got the chance to speak with Ken Haeser at NY Comic Con about his book The Living Corpse and the interview was full of zombie love and fear. Read on to get the scoop on the book and the upcoming film.

Review: Heroes - Cold Wars

The ragtag crew of Parkman, Peter and Mohinder have abducted Noah. But to what end? Well to interrogate him. Parkman seeks to find a memory that will explain the recent turn of events while drugging him severely. Peter and Mohinder are flip flopping on the methods Parkman is using to get to the truth. During the interrogation, we're treated to a Sprint commercial. Actually, a series of black and white flashbacks. The first depicts a meeting between Noah and Mrs. Petrelli five weeks earlier. Noah is essentially forced into retirement (he even got a watch!) but has qualms about the whole thing. What's with this sudden remorse coming from Mrs. Petrelli? And why is Noah so gung ho again about the company when he's always wanted to be the father to Claire that he never was? I guess we're supposed to believe these complete reversals in character? The second shows Noah as the loving husband, at home enjoying retirement by doing a crossword puzzle (four weeks earlier). Until he is interrupted by one Nathan Petrelli at the door. One Nathan Petrelli that wants to pull on Noah's urge to continue the collection of mutants. You see, Nathan has this perverse notion that mutants still need to be wrangled and Primatech failed where his plan will work. Why is Noah questioning this motive? Just one week earlier he was hesitant to take the watch. But now he's ok with eliminating the abilities? He's the voice of reason? Within one week Noah has completely switched sides. And he has a veritable bonanza of weapons and information about the mutants. Peter promptly flies to a storage locker that Parkman solicited from Noah's mind and checks it out. What's inside? Everything that Noah had at his house. But someone is watching. Someone in Building 16, which we now know that is the name of the new Superhero Registration Act headquarters where Nathan's number one is getting sassy with his questions. Cue dispatch by Nathan to capture Peter as opposed to kill him. This is going to end well. The assault squad come face to face witha grenade as Peter merrily flies off through the tunnel. Now we're at three weeks ago. Nathan presents Noah to Building 26, and Noah brings up a few ground rules. Noah's notion of "one of us, one of them" is not quite as well received as he would've liked, which causes him to doubt his recent decision to enlist. Noah is intelligent to realize that he needs help with this because it wasn't what he signed on for. So he approaches Mohinder about an alliance to stop the program before it gets out of hand. The wheels are coming off among the trio. Parkman thinks Mohinder is going through a superiority complex because he doubts Parkman's motives. But its not that he doubting his motives, rather, he doesn't want Parkman to learn that Noah approached him. The lies are tearing the family apart! Noah uses his wiliness to try to escape until Peter returns. One week ago. Noah visits Danko at his new apartment in Washington, DC to try and clear the air. Danko is confident that he is better at Noah's job than he is. And that's all Parkman needs to know to send Peter on another mission, this time to confront Danko himself. The confrontation is being viewed by Nathan at Building 16 (doesn't Peter realize that if the storage locker is monitored then Danko's apartment will be as well?). Iny any case, Danko tries to turn the tables on Peter and make him out to be the bad guy for breaking in and aiming the gun at him. Danko is basically Senator Kelly from X-Men. But he's not an idiot, as he questions how Nathan got there so fast (raises the eyebrows). The inadvertent gunshot that Peter got off hit Danko's arm and apparently didn't phase him at all. Back at the hotel, the squad is making an assault seeking Parkman and Mohinder. Which, in true government fashion, is a methodical plan. Actually, they just bang down every door until they find the one they're looking for. Meanwhile, Parkman makes one more visit inside Noah's past. Noah is at Building 26 where Noah is tending the gunshot in Daphne's shoulder. Yes kids, she's alive. This freezes Parkman who is caught, until Peter flies down to grab him. The two of them fly back to Isaac's apartment. Does this place just not get rented anymore? And is it always ready for an artist to paint something? Parkman ends up painting another world destruction scene, only this time the scene is Washington DC. Mohinder's plan to stall them didn't work to well as he took out about two guys and was then taken out. Mohinder is approached by Nathan now with the intention of getting all the powers out of the mutants so everyone is normal. How does he approach him? By threatening their extinction. This episode was definitely a filler episode. We got some of the backstory as to why Noah got involved and why Nathan is plotting this all to begin with. The final meeting between Noah and Danko serves to establish Noah's commitment to the cause. Possibly. The mystery meeting between Noah and Mrs. Petrelli at the end pretty much establishes that Noah is now a spy. But for who? After this week we're really not much clearer on what is going on than we were last week. I understand stretching the plot out to last a whole season, but I fear that we may be hitting that midseason rut that the show has been hitting the past three seasons. Next week we have Danko breaking off the leash to look forward to. I liked how the season started with the rapid pace, but now the story is slowing things down greatly. We'll see how it all plays out, but it could start getting ploddingly slow again before you know it. Overall score: 87 out of 100

Monday, February 23, 2009

Defense With the BoomStick

Hey folks out there in radioland its me again. Yes you know who Brandon. You beloved pal and fellow survivor here just taking time out of my busy day to hit you guys with some knowledge and that knowledge is the tip of the week. But first I have a bit of good news. I heard if you are in the New York city area, there are certain areas of the Bronx and Queens that have walled themselves in and are living quite comfortably. So if you are in that region head their way and try to make a living there. And that the little town in Texas that had built their own little slice of heaven? Well I haven’t heard any transmissions out of there lately so sorry to say folks I think they're gone. Now onto the tip of the week, which is how to operate in an urban setting. Now if you are on the run or just had to leave your safe zone then rule one is to always avoid urban areas. Since they were so highly populated in life then most likely during the outbreak most people didn’t make it out of the city and therefore are still there waiting. But if you have to travel through then follow these tips to enhance your chances of making it. First, if you know the area you are traveling through all the much better because it gives you a better chance of surviving it. If it is new to you try and find a map or some sort of guide to get through the city as fast as possible. Never travel through an urban area in any sort of vehicle except for a bike or two wheel vehicle. You need to keep speed, mobility and versatility and if you drive a big car you lose that and can get stuck easily. If the city had subway tunnels or ways to move underground stay away from these as you will be in pitch black darkness where sound is amplified and at times there would be no where for you to run if surrounded. If on your trek through the urban area you see a pile of zombies or a lot of recent kills all piled around somewhere, there might be a survivors' nest in that area. Be careful though, as they may be friendly or savage, so approach with care. Never, never, never travel into the urban area after dark that is the most dangerous time to do so always go during the day. There it is for today. Your shot at survival just went up a notch if you heard this radio broadcast, and I am signing off as I've got work to do. This is Brandon your fellow survivor and zombie killer. Keep up the fight and remember we will win in the end no matter what.

Nite Owl and Silk Spectre Watchmen clip

What't the countdown at now? 2 weeks till Watchmen? Two weeks to long if you ask me. So enjoy this clip of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre breaking into the prison to break out Rorschach.

Interview: Jeremy Haun and Ron Rick Loverd of Berserker


At NY Comic Con Tedd and I had the privilege of interviewing Jeremy Haun and Ron Rick Loverd of Top Cow about their book Berserker. The book features the creative input of Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes fame, and is rapidly becoming a book that is becoming all the rage.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Heath Ledger wins Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger has officially won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work in The Dark Knight. Congratulations to the Ledger family (who really did a phenomenal job in accepting on his behalf), and condolences once again. Its nice to see that his commitment to his role as The Joker has been well rewarded.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So at the con, a lot of people were wearing Green Lantern shirts. This isn’t surprising, given that Green Lantern and “the Corps” have gotten increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Still, even though Hal Jordan and company have a die hard cult following, the idea of who Green Lantern is, or rather, the Green Lanterns are, remains kind of elusive in the public's eye as implicated by our good friend’s (a not-so-into-comics con visitor who will remain nameless) reaction “what is the deal with the shirts?”. Maybe part of the confusion has to do with the wide variety of characters who have started as the Green Lantern in the DC Universe since its inception. I count no less than five different people who have called themselves Green Lantern- and actually, I’m pretty sure they’re all currently alive, have a ring that produces fields of energy that conform to whatever they think of, and call themselves Green Lantern (well, I think Kyle Raynor calls himself Ion or something, these days. But we’ll get to that.) Before I go any further here, it probably bears mentioning that the term “Green Lantern” isn’t really a superhero name, as much as it’s a professional title, like “Detective,” “Doctor,” or even “Knight.” So DC doesn’t have five guys going around calling themselves Green Lantern, but referring to themselves as A Green Lantern, or Green Lantern-John Stewart, Green Lantern-Guy Gardner, or even THE Green Lantern of Space sector blabbedy blah, etc. In this case, the term is probably roughly equivalent to “Space-Marshall-peacekeeper.” In other words, there’s a lot of them- an entire corps, organized like a military force, but spread thin over an entire galaxy. In fact, probably the coolest thing about reading Green Lantern Corps, the comic, is to take a good look at the tons of interesting alien cultures the writers dream up and how each Green Lantern “thinks.” That is, home team representative Hal Jordan dreams up distinctly “human” things with his ring- missiles, jackhammers, whatever. Other Green Lanterns sometimes create items or come up with ideas that are strikingly alien and bizarre (at least, by our standards) or use their rings in interesting ways that a human wouldn’t necessarily think of. My favorite, is of course, Mogo. Mogo is a small planet that is a Green Lantern. That is, not that all the people living ON Mogo ARE Green Lanterns. The planet, itself, is sentient and is a Green Lantern. Wild. Anyway, at the center of the Green Lantern Corps are the Guardians- the little blue skinned dudes who wear read robes. An ancient race from a planet called Maltus, the Guardians have played an extremely pivotal role in many elements of the DC Universe history. The race is ridiculously long-lived, essentially immortal- so many of the Guardians currently alive today are Guardians that were around in the DCU hundreds of thousands of years ago. That is to say, some of the Guardians who lead the corps are the same ones who founded the corps. The Guardians mastered many scientific practices and eventually set about creating the rough equivalent of an intergalactic peacekeeping force- the Green Lanterns. They built a central “Battery,” chose members of different species that they felt exemplified cultural sensitivity and strength of will, and gave each one a ring, powered by the battery. For the longest time, the rings had the weirdest (lamest) weakness. It “didn’t work against the color yellow.” This was one of those superhero weaknesses that never seemed particularly clear and well thought out. Essentially, the ring’s fields were nullified and inoperable against any object that was yellow. So if a Green Lantern was flying along and you threw a yellow paint can on him or her, they were likely to plummet to the pavement. Years later, they retconned the whole thing. It wasn’t just that the rings didn’t work against that specific color- the whole problem had to do with this fear-inducing cosmic entity known as Parralax. Parralax was entombed in the main ring power battery by the guardians a long time ago- it was, of course, bright yellow. The end result was that somewhere, in the deep subconscious of every Green Lantern wearing a ring, was the influence of this malevolent entity, psychologically convincing them that the rings didn’t work on the color yellow- as if sending the subliminal message “The big horrible yellow monster is out there, somewhere, and one day it’ll get free and you can’t stop it.” Eventually, some of the corps actually got over their fears and can use the ring on anything. Of course, the revelation of Parralax’s existence has spurred a host of long time Green Lantern enemies to action. Led by former Green Lantern turned galactic criminal Sinestro, the Yellow Lanterns stand for the inverse of everything the GLC stands for. The Green rings derive their power from their user’s willpower- the “Sinestro Corps” use rings that actually grow more powerful the more fear it’s users are evoking in those around them. The Sinestro Corps membership is like a laundry list of some of the most truly horrible monstrosities in the entire DCU, and includes members like- Hank Henshaw, A.K.A. Cyborg-Superman (the guy who obliterated Coast City, Hal Jordan’s old neighborhood), the now mostly deranged Superboy-Prime from Infinite Crisis, Fatality (a survivor of a planet that GL-John Stewart accidently destroyed, obsessed with revenge), Mongul (Superman bad guy, and creator of Warworld), Ranx (a sentient city that is prophesied to kill Mogo), Starro (YEAH, the big weird starfish thing), and Yellow Lantern- who is really just a bizzarro clone of Hal Jordan from Bizzarro World. Very telling moment- Batman, and later Jonathan Crane, A.K.A. Scarecrow, were both given an opportunity to join the Sinestro Corps. Interestingly enough, while the source of every Green Lantern’s power is mostly scientific in nature, the Guardians and the Corps are kind of steeped in mysticism. That is, the Guardians are subject to visions, prophetic dreams, and precognitive trances, in which elements of the future are often revealed to them- albeit in symbolic form. In fact, the current planet that the Corps uses as it’s headquarters, Oa, contains a Bible-like tome of Guardian knowledge. Here’s a nice example- Hal Jordan’s entry into the Corps, and most of the major events of his life, are all written down in the book. I’m pretty sure all of it was written down in the book hundreds of thousands of years before he was even born, however. The big Green Lantern story that is up and coming at DC this next year is called The Blackest Night. This is actually a suave reference to a campy little chant the Green Lanterns traditionally espouse just before they take a bad guy down: "In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night, No Evil will Escape my Sight, Behold my Power, Green Lantern’s Light!" Goofy, I know, but I’m a sucker for reinvention. Anyway, Blackest Night is going to introduce a slew of different colored lanterns- which I could (and probably will) write an entire column about. As far as I know, Yellow and Red Lanterns are the only two to have made an appearance. But prophecy’s in the book of Oa and press releases from DC implicate the imminent arrival of Black, or Death, Lanterns. You can be sure that whatever form these guys arrive in, it won’t be pleasant. Anyway, the Green Lantern mythology is pretty extensive these days. I’d love to see a film- or actually? How about a good video game? Like maybe a real time strategy game, featuring the Sinestro War. Just a thought. But if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, here’s a brief primer on the human-Green Lanterns in the DCU- Alan Scott- Okay, this one’s the most confusing. Forget almost everything I just told you- Alan Scott was the original GL from the Golden Age of the DCU. He came across his own ring and power battery (a green lantern) accidently- it fell from the sky. He isn’t an official member of the Corps, but later, it was revealed that Scott’s ring was some long lost artifact that the Guardians had lost a long time ago. Interesting, Scott hails from Gotham City and operated out of there when he was in his prime. Hal Jordan- The most well known of the franchise, Jordan was a test pilot for Ferris aircraft (the heiress to the corporation, Carol Ferris, has been Jordan’s on-again off-again love interest). Jordan’s ring came from a Green Lantern who crashed landed on earth after being fatally wounded. At one point, Jordan was possessed by Parallex and caused immeasurable destruction to the Corps- eventually, he redeemed himself in a fatal moment in which he plunged himself into Earth’s sun in order to rid it of an alien entity called the Sun-Eater (Final Night). After that, Jordan served a tour of duty as the host for the Spectre. Recently, he’s been resurrected and is not the star of the monthly book again. Guy Gardner- Guy was one of Jordan’s “backups,” selected by the Guardians to step in if anything every happened to him. Guy is strikingly un-superheroic. He’s arrogant, sexist, not-too-bright, and constantly picking fights that he can’t take on. Once in a while, however, Guy has a moment where you see that really, deep down, he’s just a big softie. For great portrayals featuring Guy, I highly suggest Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League. Funny stuff. John Stewart- Another backup, but a well known one. Stewart is a former Marine and highly disciplined. He’s got something of a martyr complex, however, as he is somewhat responsible for the destruction of the entire world (Cosmic Odyssey). Kyle Raynor- The most recently created, fans of Mr. Morrison’s now famous run on Justice League will remember Raynor. My favorite bit about Kyle is that he’s a graphic artist- so he has a penchant for creating some really unique, intricate stuff for his ring. Raynor always appears a little overwhelmed with the whole intergalactic-warrior-business, but has become a pretty seasoned Green Lantern by now. At one point, Kyle was fused with an alien entity known as Ion, who you could think of as sort of the Green Lantern disembodied equivalent of the Sinestro Corps parallax. Now a days, he’s just a straight up lantern.

Tales of the Black Freighter DVD

Tales of the Black Freighter is a unique comic-within-a-comic that tells the tale of a castaway's mental and physical deterioration and damnation as he tries to intercept a ghost freighter headed for his hometown. The film will get released on DVD May 6, and will include the requisite extras. Why should you care? Because this is the tale that was featured in Watchmen involving pirates and savage survival. The film will most likely serve as a supplemental marketing for the main film's release. Regardless, it may be worth a look. It features the voice of Gerard Butler and is executive produced by Zack Snyder.

Watchmen clip featuring Rorshach's escape

Watchmen is almost here! The film will be in theaters and IMAX March 6. So let's have a look at a scene featuring Rorscach escaping a precarious situation with matches and an aerosol can. Watchmen clip featuring Rorschach's escape

I Kill Giants hitting TPB

Giants sometimes need to be dealt with. Sometimes that involves killing them. Or at least trying to convince those around you that you kill giants. I Kill Giants tells the story of Barbara Thorson, a girl who faces trying to convince her family that she's actually a giant slayer. Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura are happy that their book is getting more recognition. "I'm really flattered Image would make that kind of claim, so much so Ken and I are humbled beyond words and hope people like it as much as Image thinks they will," Kelly said. "Ken certainly did a phenomenal job with the art and I like to think it's pretty good as a whole. Then again, there's a lot of people on Earth. Maybe only half the population should buy the collection and recommend it to friends if they think it'll appeal to them. That's still a lot of people. At least three billion." The 184-page black and white trade paperback will be in stores May 13th for $15.99. Full press release below. PRESS RELEASE - EVERYONE ON EARTH MUST OWN I KILL GIANTS THIS MAY! Image Comics releases the trade paperback everyone who breathes oxygen needs to buy this May: Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura's I KILL GIANTS! 19 February 2009 (Berkeley, CA) - This May, Image Comics releases Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura's complete I KILL GIANTS trade paperback while declaring everyone on the planet Earth should buy it since it's so damn good. "I'm really flattered Image would make that kind of claim, so much so Ken and I are humbled beyond words and hope people like it as much as Image thinks they will," Kelly said. "Ken certainly did a phenomenal job with the art and I like to think it's pretty good as a whole. Then again, there's a lot of people on Earth. Maybe only half the population should buy the collection and recommend it to friends if they think it'll appeal to them. That's still a lot of people. At least three billion." I KILL GIANTS tells the heart-wrenching story of Barbara Thorson, a girl whose own family can't tell if she's insane or actually the giant slayer she claims to be. During its seven issue run, fans were won over by Joe Kelly's impeccable storytelling and JM Ken Niimura's charming visuals, creating what the publisher believes will be one of the shining stars in its strong line of perennial collections for several centuries to come. Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson said, "While Image prides itself on its entire line of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, we feel I KILL GIANTS is a title all six billion people on Earth will enjoy, whether they're already comics fans or not. I'm personally buying six copies to hand out to various friends and family members – and I get them for free!" I KILL GIANTS (MAR092427), a 184-page black and white tradepaperback for $15.99, will be in stores May 13th, 2009. Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. Visit www.imagecomics.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gotham City Dossiers: Monarch Comics

Monarch Comics is a publisher I came across at NY Comic Con. Their self-proclaimed goal is to "publish comic books that live up to what should be their definition: fun. Action, Adventure, Heroes, Villains, Monsters, Mystery, Aliens, and Cliffhangers." They have a great respect for the comics of yore, and it definitely shows through in their books. Their flagship title is Witch Hunter, a book that focuses on the Witch Hunter. The Witch Hunter was around during the Salem Witch Trials and is mystically resurrected 300 years later only to deal with the same problems as before. See, the organization responsible for the corruption and scandal behind the trials are still around in some form in the present, giving Witch Hunter plenty to do to keep busy even 300 years later. War of the Independents is a book from Monarch Comics with Red Anvil Comics that is exactly what the name implies: a war of the independents. The book features a wide assortment of characters from a number of comic book publishers all coming together for various misadventures and general madcap madness. Dawn and Shi can be counted among those in the book, so there is some star wattage within the pages. There are some other good reads over there, most of them feature Witch Hunter in the story. Which isn't a bad thing. Check out Monarch Comics if you get the chance. Monarch Comics

JLA Identity Crisis Series 1 Batman figure

I'm a big fan of Batman. No hiding that. That being said, its good to have a few statues or posters of said superhero to evidence respect of the character. DC Direct has been known to put out some quality works, and the latest Batman they have in store is no different. Released under the JLA Identity Crisis series, the 6.25' Batman figure features multiple points of articulation. He is of course part of a series (hence the series 1) that also includes Green Arrow, Superman and The Flash. I'm the other characters from the book will no doubt be added in a subsequent series, but for now those are who you can look forward to. They should be available from DC Direct October 14, 2009. No word on price, but expect at least $100. JLA Identity Crisis Series 1 Batman

The Goon 10th Annivesary Contest

The Goon is turning 10! Hard to believe I know, but they just grow up so damn fast. In honor of that tenth anniversary, Dark Horse is offering a contest to interested parties to win some great Dark Horse schwag. Entry is as simple as entering in your name and address. What are the prizes? Grand Prize Winner (1): - The Goon Vol. #1 - 5 TPB's - The Goon: Chinatown HC - Classic Comic Book Character #10: The Goon - The Goon PVC Set - The Goon shot glass - The Goon Zippo - The Goon #32: Anniversary Issue Second Place Winner (1): - The Goon Vol. #1 - 5 TPB's - The Goon: Chinatown HC - The Goon PVC Set - The Goon shot glass - The Goon #32: Anniversary Issue Third Place Winner (1): - The Goon Vol. #1 - 5 TPB's - The Goon: Chinatown HC - The Goon #32: Anniversary Issue Runners-up (25): - The Goon #32: Anniversary Issue So click over and put your name in that Internet hat. You could be the one lucky winner. You have until March 20 to get your entry in, so make sure you have the date marked on your calendar. The Goon 10th Anniversary Contest

Mickey Rourke not doing Iron Man 2

Back in January, news broke that Mickey Rourke would be playing the Crimson Dynamo in Iron Man 2. Big news. Huge news. But in what is rapidly becoming a negative trend for Marvel and its actors, that may no longer be the case. Rourke spoke with the NY Magazine about his expected Oscar win for The Wrestler and also mentioned his potential role in Iron Man 2. It wasn't good news. In short, Rourke bluntly stated "right now, we're not doing Iron Man 2." Now early ideas would lead one to believe that he won't be doing the film because Marvel doesn't want to pay him. And this could very well be the case. When Rourke's involvement was rumored it was back before he became this year's Oscar darling. So I'm sure they thought they could get him on the cheap. But now that his star has risen, you'd have to expect that he wants more money but Marvel won't pay it. Rourke talks Iron Man 2

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

Who watches the Watchmen books? The Hidden S of Course... The drumbeats for the release of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen are at a zenith now as evidenced by an ever increasing flood of promotional merchandise and materials concerning this long awaited film. Among the items are a number of books which officially tie into the release of the film. Books such as Watching the Watchmen (Titan), which came out early in the fall of 2008, helped begin the process of educating and/or refreshing the public with regard to the Watchmen comic history and mythology. More recently, a series of books have been released in quick succession which chronicle the creation of the film. Two of these books, Watchmen: The Art of the Film and Watchmen: The Official Film Companion (both Titan Books releases) have just been released and are authored by Peter Aperlo. These works are visually striking with enough insider information to make the film’s creation seem a fascinating thing even to a very casual comic fan. A third release called Watchman Portraits is something else entirely and may be destined to be one of the more memorable photo books of this year. Watchmen Portraits (Titan) is a stunning work of art that transcends the comic genre (and even transcends its film connections for that matter). Photographer Clay Enos has managed to incorporate a fine art photographer’s eye to transform the idea of a comic character into something both grand and poignant; operatic and silly; weird and uplifting. Enos’ portraits evoke the work of 20th century masters such as Avedon and Walker Evans. In some ways, the portraits seem like New Yorker photos that might accompany a fictional article in this venerable magazine. Mainly, the photos are revealing psychologically as you can see the Comedian's mental pathology, Ozymandius' elitism, the original Nite Owl's wariness, etc. The realistic photos also are thematically true to the Moore/Gibbons materials which depict a basically real world milieu where superheros are fallen, even pathetic figures. These photos reflect some of these ideas by bringing these characters into recognizably human form. Enos has photographed much of the promotional material on the Watchmen site that you have probably seen over the last few months. With this set of photos, Enos could move from being a very good professional photographer into a very well-known sought after stylist. It is exciting to think what Enos could do on the upcoming Iron Man sequel, the third Christian Bale Batman film, etc. www.clayenos.com The Hidden S

Marvel Celebrates President's Day

So yeah, President's Day was yesterday, and while it isn't one of those well-known holidays (think Memorial Day or Fourth of July) it does still pay tribute to the idea of Presidents past. And with a comic book fan in the White House, Marvel deemed it necessary to give back in a sense to the tradition of the holiday. How are they giving back you ask? By giving readers the chance to check out the historic Spidey Meets the President for free online. With an added bonus of a new four-page prologue! You can also check out the Gettysburg Distress, which is a six-page digital comic featuring Spider-Man and Captain America present at Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. That is also free my friends. And the gifts don't stop there. If you've hesitated on pulling the trigger on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, you can now sign up for a one year term with 10% off. Just select an annual subsription and enter the promo code "Lincoln" to realize your 10% savings. The offer is good until 12/31/09 so you have the whole year to think about a subscription. Marvel Celebrates Presidents Day

Witchblade hits issue 125

It takes longevity to reach 100 issues regardless of what series you are. Today's ADD culture kind of forces publishers to try something out for a few issues, and once the reader has moved on pull the plug and move with them. So its refreshing to see commitment to a series like Top Cow and Witchblade. And that commitment has them rapidly approaching Witchblade #125, the start of the expected epic War of the Witchblade saga. The Witchblade's most recent incarnation is split between two bearers, Sara Pezzini and Danielle Baptiste. These two have worked together to wield the blade, however that's all about to change. Ron Marz is gearing the Witchblade universe up for a massive confrontation where only one of the two (Pezzini and Baptiste) will be the sole bearer of the wicked gauntlet. The aim is to tie up some loose ends storywise and sort of reboot the series so that new readers can jump on and old readers get something new. The book hits stores March 2009. Full press release below.
WITCHBLADE REACHES A MILESTONE ISSUE
LOS ANGELES, Calif., February 16th, 2009 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that the company's flagship title, Witchblade, will reach issue #125 in March 2009, and the publisher will celebrate this landmark event with an oversized issue including a bonus story. Witchblade #125 brings the series' critically acclaimed team of writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic together to begin the six-part story arc "War of the Witchblades" which the publishers note is the biggest and most ambitious plot they've attempted with their flagship character. Following the events of 2007's First Born, the Witchblade was split into two halves and the responsibilities split between long time bearer Sara Pezzini and newcomer Danielle Baptiste. Up to this point, Sara and Dani have worked together and developed a sisterly relationship, but that will all change beginning in issue #125. Witchblade #125, which will wrap up long standing plot conflicts Ron Marz has been adding to Witchblade since he first took over writing duties for the series in 2004 with issue #80, will begin a new era for the comic that the publisher aims to refresh the series for long-standing readers as well as make an attractive jump-on point for new readers unfamiliar with Witchblade. Sejic and Marz have committed themselves to working on Witchblade as the core creative team through issue #150. Sejic has been the regular artist for Witchblade since issue #116. Artist Chris Bachalo (Uncanny X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man) joins Marz and Sejic for Witchblade #125 to contribute a two-part cover variant featuring protagonists Pezzini and Baptiste. A third cover by Sejic will also be offered. Witchblade, which has been translated to TV as TNT's #1 original film of 2000 and its subsequently successful TV series, has been Top Cow's longest-running series. "Writer Ron Marz continues to plow up so much new ground on Witchblade that I'm beginning to suspect that rather than using a keyboard to pound out his scripts, he might actually be utilizing a 40-ton earthmover instead," attests comic book talent Terry Austin (Uncanny X-Men). Jim Cheung, artist of Young Avengers and New Avengers comments, "With compelling stories by one of my favorite writers, and astonishing artwork that makes me want to tuck myself into a corner and cry, I can't think why Witchblade shouldn't be on everyone's reading list." Witchblade #125 will also feature a bonus story written by Rob Levin (Darkness: Butcher) and Marco Castiello (Secret Invasion: Frontline).

X-Men Origins: Wolverine TV spots

The hype machine for X-Men Origins: Wolverine is ramping up. 20th Century Fox has released all three of the three sixty second spots for the film, and here they are below courtesy of Trailer Addict. Enjoy the three minutes of footage, and know that there's plenty more where that came from May 1. Outcast (First Spot) Brothers (Second Spot) Legends (Third Spot)