Monday, August 31, 2009

Defense with the BoomStick


No time to waste today as have things happening that need my attention. Hey out there this is Brandon and the tip this week is going to be short, sweet and to the point today. Onto the news. I haven’t heard too much news going on this past week except for the usual small chatter. My source in the government that is leading the huge push up in the northeast has not gotten back to me recently and I have no word on what is going on up there either. That mysterious fellow named Tedd has popped up though and is in Utah now helping people clear out safe areas.

Now the news is done and onto the tip of the week. Today I am going to talk about………. Clearing a house………. Now what you need to do is start by………. Then next you have to set up……. Hello can you hear me??? Hey fix that feedback I think the transmiss……… out and in we need to fix that tran………. Sorry folks I think today my equipment is n………… working correctly. Will have to get off the air unti………… fixed and workin…….. until next week this……….. signing off…..

Preview - Pilot Season: Murderer #1

Top Cow's Pilot Season is one of those fan-favorite things where you (the fan) vote for certain comics to be successful. One of the newest Pilot Season entrants is called Murderer #1. And it's not really for the faint of heart. Written by Robert Kirkman and featuring art by Nelson Blake II (Marc Silvestri does the cover), Murderer #1 is about the curse of Jason Sparks. He can read thoughts of those around him (a la Sookie Stackhouse). His reaction to those voices isn't one of assistance like Sookie. No, he answers the voices by silencing them through murder. Hence the name. The first issue is set to hit stores on November 18 for $2.99.

Rage reborn

Way back in April I brought you news of Rage, a property seeking to find some artists. At the time the site was relatively low-key, mainly just asking for some art and being done with it. Eric Peyron has jazzed it up a little, and the once seemingly pedestrian website is now replete with all sorts of awesomeness. Peyron started the Rage project back in November 2008 in an attempt to find a penciller for his scripts. After reviewing countless submissions, he finally settled on Thony Sillas. The focus of Rage is on, well, Rage, a creation by the Gods to destroy demons in the Dark Times. He accomplishes his mission, but promptly gets bored and proceeds to wreak havoc everywhere around him. Eventually, his actions cause him to be chained inside a mountain as punishment. With a script and penciller in tow, Rage should start seeing more light as an actual, full-fledged comic. Peyron mentions that the Rage project is in Phase 2 (Phase 1 was mainly creating the website and getting word out about Rage in general), and one can expect Phase 3 in the near future. Stay tuned, and keep checking back for more information as to when the first issue is set to drop. Rage Website

Disney agrees to buy Marvel

Wow. Did not see that one coming. Disney has agreed to buy Marvel for $4 billion. "We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," said Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger, in a statement. Of course, Marvel is on board as well. "Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world." I can't even begin to imagine what this alliance means for either company, but it's kind of a big deal. Stay tuned as I'm sure there will be tons more information coming out from this in the near future. Apparently, the purchase will be similar to Disney's of Pixar, where Pixar still runs the show (but Disney signs the checks). Full press release after the jump. Disney to Acquire Marvel Entertainment Worldwide leader in family entertainment agrees to acquire Marvel and its portfolio of over 5,000 characters BURBANK, Calif. & NEW YORK, Aug 31, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Acquisition highlights Disney's strategic focus on quality branded content, technological innovation and international expansion to build long-term shareholder value --An investor conference call will take place at approximately 10:15 a.m. EDT / 7:15 a.m. PDT August 31, 2009. Details for the call are listed in the release. Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company /quotes/comstock/13*!dis/quotes/nls/dis (DIS 26.34, -0.50, -1.86%) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!mvl/quotes/nls/mvl (MVL 48.77, +10.12, +26.18%) in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today. Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration. Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion. "This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories," said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney." "We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Iger said. "Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's Chief Executive Officer. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world." Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney's global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel's properties. The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch.

Animated Spawn due in 2010

Spawn has been getting more and more attention lately. The character is rapidly approaching issue #200, a milestone that has even brought Todd McFarlane back to the series. Last week, McFarlane mentioned that he was writing the new movie. That's not enough of a parallel to 1997 however, as he also wants to get an animated feature with Spawn back on television. According to McFarlane's Twitter, the animated film is slated to hit televisions soon. As in next year sometime. ANIMATION: For those that've asked, the SPAWN ANIMATED show will be back in Hollywood's face in 2010. Legal issues delayed it past few years Fun. The first animated Spawn was an HBO series, and not a movie. It originally aired in 1997 and was one of those animated series that was intended for mature audiences and actually worked. It was around for 18 episodes and won an Emmy for Outstanding Animation Program. Keith David was the voice of Spawn, and indications are that he would reprise his role. Does this mean Michael Jai White will be reprising his role in the big screen version? Probably not, but you have to make the parallel. Regardless, the big question becomes will the movie air on HBO (like the original series), or on some other channel? And what exactly were the "legal issues" that delayed it? Did HBO still own some copyrights to animated Spawn? Is this between McFarlane and Image Comics? I'm sure that more details will come forth as this whole thing progresses, but in the meantime Spawn fans should rejoice in knowing that the character is coming back in a big way.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review - Batman: Arkham Asylum


Instead of coming up with some nostalgic intro about Batman games, I'll just come right out and say it: Rocksteady Studios gets it. No. They really get it.

At this point, the story should be pretty well-known: routine dropoff of the Joker at the Asylum goes awry when he breaks free and releases the inmates. Not just the token, brawl-fodder inmates, but the big guns as well (Bane, Croc, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Riddler).

Your goal as Batman is to stop the Joker's insidious plan and regain control of the island. I'm about halfway through the game (felt that I should fully caveat this review by saying that I've yet to complete it), but what I've seen has been awesome. Having said that, you're probably asking why is it so awesome.

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I have to take an eight hour exam tomorrow. Wow. But I’m thinking maybe you can help me stay in the right mindset with some trivia. Here’s a host of tough questions pertaining to the Marvel Universe. See how you do: The Thing’s solo book from the 1980’s and Fantastic Four- For a time, Ben Grimm left the F.F. Where was he and why did he stay there? Ben stayed on ‘Battle World’, a planet created by the Beyonder for a host of Marvel villains and heroes to fight on. The Beyonder’s power infused the world with wish-fulfilling properties. Ben found that he could turn into human form as long as he stayed on the planet. What was the name of the wrestling federation Ben Grimm was a member of? What was the requirement to get in? The Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation required that all participants have the strength to lift at least one ton. Sharon Ventura (A.K.A. the second Ms. Marvel) was expelled from a Military Academy as a kid. Why? Sharon was expelled for not turning her roommate in for cheating. When the Thing finally returned, he helped the F.F. fight off Diablo. Following the fight, Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman took a leave of Absence, leaving Ben to form his own F.F. Who was on his lineup? The Thing, The Human Torch, Crystal and Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura) Who is Fasaud? How did he get his powers? Sheikh Farouk Al-Fasaud was an oil tycoon who relied on anonymity to help him influence international oil trade. When a reporter discovered his existence and brought him to the public’s attention (undermining much of Fasaud’s business power) Fasaud tried to kill the man. Hitting a camera instead of the reporter, Fasaud was electrocuted and apparently killed. Instead, he was transformed into a living electronic image, able to take over and manipulate electronic devices. How did Sharon become the She-Thing? Ben’s F.F. had to travel into space to fight Fasaud. Upon re-entry, the rocket they were traveling in was exposed to the same cosmic radiation that hit the original F.F., making Sharon the only human being who can ever truly understand Ben’s experience. What is the Throb Android? What does it guard? Who built it? Stands for Trans-Human Robot, designed to guard Vibranium stores in Wakanda. The robot was a gift from Victor Von Doom to T’Challa, the Black Panther. Who is Kristoff Vernard? Kristoff is a young boy from Latveria whose monarch took an unfortunate interest in. Kristoff was exposed to extensive brainwashing techniques, leading him to believe that he literally WAS Victor Von Doom. Upon one of Doom’s many various ‘deaths’, Kristoff was ‘activated’ to continue the Doctor's work in his place. Kristoff even dressed in battle armor that gave him the appearance of Doom (his legs were propped up so that he would stand as tall as a grown man and everything). Later, Doom returned to depose the boy, who was so traumatically indoctrinated into believing that he was Doom that he refused to step off the Latverian throne. Who is the Red Ghost? Who piloted his shuttle? What was the difference between his rocket and Reed Richards’? Ivan Kragoff was a soviet astronaut, engineer and scientist. He trained a small group of monkey’s to help him fly a rocket of his own creation. The rocket was designed to take in cosmic radiation, however- not screen it out. Hoping to become as powerful as the F.F., Ivan and his simian crew were exposed to life-threatening radiation far beyond the crew of Richards’ flight. The monkeys each gained human like consciousness and linguistic abilities, as well as super-powers. Ivan gained the ability to alter his density (hence the ‘Ghost’ bit) and a hefty dose of insanity. X-Factor- Who originally founded X-Factor? For what purpose? X-Factor was founded by the original team of X-Men- Cyclops, Jean Grey, Arcangel (just Angel at the time), Beast, and Iceman. Worried that the current team of X-Men were beginning to stray too far from Charles Xavier’s goals, the team set about finding new mutants and training them in how to use their powers. To the press, however, X-Factor was portrayed as ‘mutant-hunters’. The team used this cover to get leads from mutant-fearing (or hating) people on the location of potential new mutants. Who funded the founding team? What didn’t they know about this ‘supporter’? Originally, Warren Worthington’s ‘friend’ Cameron Hodge. What Warren and the rest of X-Factor didn’t realize was that Hodge harbored bitter jealously towards Warren and outright hatred towards mutants in general. Hodge did unspeakable things to many of the mutants that X-Factor ‘saved’, right under their noses. What is ‘The Right’? Hodge’s pseudo-religious-military anti-mutant group, mostly filled with discontented youth who need to displace their anger onto something. They had the creepiest looking battle armor, complete with big, weird smiley faces painted on the front. Look it up. Very Full Metal Jacket-ish. Later, X-Factor was reformed as a Government sponsored team. Who was on this line-up? Who was their federal liason? The new X-Factor (and possibly my favorite incarnation of the team) included Havok, Polaris, Quicksilver, Wolfsbane, Madrox and Strong Guy. Long time White House and S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant on superhuman affairs Val Cooper was their liaison. How did ‘one of’ Jamie ‘die’? One of Madrox’s clones contracted the legacy virus. Why did this new team need a new liason? What happened to their old one? Valerie Cooper turned out to be involved in a project to build mutant-hunting Sentinels. Feeling betrayed, the team abandoned her. The mutant Forge stepped in as a benefactor, giving the team a new direction. Two old X-men enemies have been placed on the X-Factor line-up for ‘rehabilitation’. Who are these two? Mystique and Sabretooth have both served their country under X-Factor supervision. New X-Men (Grant Morrison)- Who is Cassandra Nova? What do the Shi’ar call her and what does this word mean? Cassandra is Charles Xavier’s unborn twin. Cassandra died in stillbirth, telepathically attacked by her brother while still in the womb (and ultimately leading to their mothers’ death). The Shi’ar call Cassandra a ‘mummudrai’. According to Shi’ar philosophers, every being faces their ‘dark twin’ before they are born. Charles' powers, however, drew this particular mummudrai into a physical form that copied his DNA. Cassandra found a way to live on and has made life very difficult for the X-Men recently. Who was Xorn? (no really, WHO WAS this guy? There’s a couple of different answers to this question) …I don’t know where to begin. According to Grant Morrison, Xorn was Magneto in disguise. Other writers tend to disagree. Exiles- Who does this team work for? What’s their purpose? The Exiles were summoned from various timelines to serve a being called the TimeBroker, who claims that he needs their help to ‘correct’ timelines that have been influenced by outside tampering. Recently, Blink was given another (worrying) name for the Exiles seeming benefactor. What is it? The TimeBreaker, throwing the missions the Exiles have been undertaking into question. Who is Nocturne’s mother and father? In Nocturne’s reality, she is the daughter of Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) and the Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch). John Proudstar of Earth-616 died. How? The original Thunderbird was among Charles Xavier’s second line-up of X-Men. Attempting to stop Count Nefaria from escaping, John was on top of an airplane that exploded in midair. Is Calvin Rankin (A.K.A. Mimic) a mutant? NO. While Rankin can use every power that the original X-Men has (making his appearance bewildering), Calvin was involved in a lab accident as a young child. His father was experimenting in genetics. He can copy mutants powers, but isn’t one himself. Who is Magnus’ mother and father? In Magnus’ reality, he is the son of Magneto and Rogue. Earth-1815 featured a very different Charles Xavier than the one we knew. What was different? This Charles Xavier advocated for mutant dominance and sought to remove humankind from the planet. Who is the Weapon X team? What is their purpose? Who’s on their line-up? Another of the TimeBroker’s teams, Weapon X is composed of iterations of characters from realities in which they were…hardened. The team is sent into more violent missions than the Exiles. The team has changed a lot, although the original team was-Sabretooth from the Age of Apocalypse, a version of Cable’s past mercenary partner Kane, a version of the mutant criminal Mesmero, a version of Wolverine, a version of the mercenary Maverick/Agent Zero and a version of Deadpool. What comic is Hyperion from? Hyperion, a Weapon X member later in the series, is from the alternate reality that features the ‘Squadron Supreme’ as the primary heroes of earth. He’s from the comic of the same name. Who is Proteus? Who is his mother? Proteus is an incredibly powerful mutant. Moira McTaggert, long time genetic researcher and love-interest of Charles Xavier, is his mother. What is the ‘New Universe’? The New Universe is an alternate reality that features a line of comic book concepts that are independent from the main Marvel universe. It was introduced in the 80’s but slowly filtered out. Which is lame, because New Universe is really cool. It was relaunched recently, under the name ‘New Universal’. How did Spider-Man 2099 get his powers? Miguel O’Hara’s employer addicts Miguel to a drug in order to assure his silence regarding the company’s less-than-human gene splicing and pharmaceutical practices. Seeking to purify his body, Miguel tried to alter his enzymes and DNA to metabolize the drug. A jealous co-worker sabotaged his attempt, giving him spider-like powers. Who is the Maestro? The Maestro is a terrifying incarnation of the Hulk. In the Maestro’s reality, a nuclear war eradicated much of the planet. With few super-powered beings left ot oppose him, the Maestro has become the human race’s “protector” in name but brutal dictator in spirit. The Maestro first appeared in an Incredible Hulk storyline called Future Imperfect.

Preview - FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency #1

With all the zombie outbreaks in the world, how do we stop them? Well, for starters, you check out Omnicomic's resident zombie expert every Monday afternoon. Now that we got the shameless plug out of the way, another way to beat zombies is with vampires. That doesn't mean that the vampires are on our side though to fight them, prompting the necessity for the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. Written by David Hine, Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency #1 (Radical Comics) takes place in a world where a disease has transformed people into zombies. The massive change prompts the revival of the Federal agency with the same namesake as the comic, the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. The agency has protected humans from the zombies for centuries, however a new strain has made it's way into civilization. It's up to Agent Landra Pecos is called upon to eradicate the threat. The book is actually based on a website called FVZA. Roy Allan Martinex provides chilling pencils overlaid with superb painting by Kinsun Loh and Jerry Choo. Lettering is done by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt. The book isn't due until October, so hopefully the interiors after the jump will hold you over until then.

Jonathan Hickman at Collector's Paradise

Chalk up another talent to mark your calendar for at Collector's Paradise. Saturday, August 29, at Collector's Paradise in Canoga Park, Jonathan Hickman will be on hand to sign some of his very works. This is his first official signing in Southern California, and Hickman feels that his visit is long over due. "Coming down to Southern California for a signing has been a long time coming," Hickman said. "There's an amazing amount of great stores in Southern California and I'm very excited about my first signing. Edward and the crew at Collector's Paradise have already gone a long way to make me feel welcome." Jonathan Hickman will be signing at Collector's Paradise Saturday, August 29th from 3:00 - 6:00 PM, preceded by the Comics on Comics taping 1:00 - 3:00 PM. Full press release after the jump. PRESS RELEASE - JONATHAN HICKMAN MAKES SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SIGNING DEBUT WITH CANOGA PARK'S COLLECTOR'S PARADISE! NIGHTLY NEWS & PAX ROMANA creator to sign in Southern California for the very first time! 25 August 2009 (Berkeley, CA) - NIGHTLY NEWS and PAX ROMANA's Jonathan Hickman will be making his Southern California signing debut this Saturday, August 29th at Canoga Park, CA's Collector's Paradise! "Coming down to Southern California for a signing has been a long time coming," Hickman said. "There's an amazing amount of great stores in Southern California and I'm very excited about my first signing. Edward and the crew at Collector's Paradise have already gone a long way to make me feel welcome." Collector's Paradise has been a mainstay of the Southern California retail community for over fifteen years and featured signings with some of comics biggest names. Like all their signings, Collector's Paradise adds a twist to the event, with famed comic book podcast ComicsOnComics.com recording their first-ever live show at Collector's Paradise, featuring Hickman and several well known comedians.! From there, Hickman will begin a signing session for his legion of Collector's Paradise fans. Collector's Paradise owner Ed Greenberg added, "We've been home to a great roster of signings over the years, especially in recent months, but Jonathan is a creator we've been hoping to have since NIGHTLY NEWS was initially released. All of his Image work is constantly in our top ten sellers, so we're highly looking forward to the event." Jonathan Hickman will be signing at Collector's Paradise Saturday, August 29th from 3:00 - 6:00 PM, preceded by the Comics on Comics taping 1:00 - 3:00 PM. More information is available at http://comicsandcards.net. 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. Collector's Paradise has been a mainstay in the Southern California Comic Book scene since 1994. In recent years, the store has focused on offering their customers an exceptional experience that goes beyond collecting comic books, from monthly creator appearances, to the proprietary online subscription manager software, to the recently-opened Art Gallery. The store's future plans include many new and very different ways to experience the comic book culture. Last year, Collector's Paradise was picked by fans as the Best Comic Book Store in Los Angeles County, according to an online poll done by Fox LA.

Star Wars coming to iTunes

Don't assume that George Lucas has suddenly found a heart and has decided to release Star Wars on iTunes. If he did, it would cost $1,000,000 for the trailer, and then when you get the movie it will be radically altered from what you remember. The good thing about iTunes though is that it also bears comics, so a Star Wars comic on iTunes is much more likely. And now a reality thanks to Dark Horse. Pairing up with THQ Wireless, Dark Horse will be bringing a series of Star Wars comics to iTunes, and Dark Horse President Mike Richardson is happy with the program. “Lucasfilm has been a proud and longstanding partner of ours, and I’m equally excited to be working with the wonderful people at THQ Wireless on this program. The stories of The Clone Wars, Legacy, and Empire embody some of the best comics in the Star Wars universe that Dark Horse has ever released. I think it’s wonderful that these key tales will be available to fans everywhere in a new and accessible way.” The three books available will be Star Wars: Empire Vol. 1, Star Wars: Legacy Vol. 1 and Star Wars: The Clone Wars Vol. 1. Empire is set just before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and follows a group of Imperial Officers not happy with Emperor Palpatine and want to overthrow the empire. Boba Fett of course stands in the way, along with Darth Vader. The issue is written by Scott Allie and drawn by Brian Horton. Legacy is more than a century after Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and is all about a fifth-generation Skywalker, Cade. Cade is a rogue JEdi and bounty hunter who lives life on his own terms. This one is written by John Ostrander and drawn by Jan Duursema. Finally, The Clone Wars is all about the struggle that Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Padawan Ahsoka Tano face to maintain order in the galaxy. The issue is written by Henry Gilroy, and drawn by the Fillbach Brothers. No word on an official release date, so stay tuned. Full press release below. STAR WARS™ COMICS ARRIVE ON iTUNES! LUCASFLIM, THQ WIRELESS AND DARK HORSE COMICS PARTNER TO BRING STAR WARS™ TO THE iPHONE MILWAUKIE, OR – AUGUST 27, 2009 -- In a partnership that will echo through the cosmos, Lucasfilm, THQ Wireless, and Dark Horse Comics will release Star Wars™ comics to the iPhone mobile platform for the first time ever! The selection of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Vol. 1 – Shipyards of Doom, Star Wars: Empire Vol. 1 – Betrayal and Star Wars: Legacy Vol. 1 – Broken represents three of the most important time periods in the history of the Star Wars galaxy. The three collections will span the time between the Clone Wars era, the Classic era and the distant future. Star Wars: Empire Vol. 1 – Betrayal is set just weeks before the events of the original film, Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and follows a faction of disgruntled Imperial Officers attempting to overthrow Emperor Palpatine. But the plot is complicated by the emergence of the bounty hunter Boba Fett and by the loyalty of Darth Vader to his dark master. Betrayal will be released in four chapters, written by Scott Allie and drawn by Brian Horton. Star Wars: Legacy Vol. 1 – Broken takes place more than a century after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and focuses on a fifth-generation Skywalker named Cade, a rogue Jedi and bounty hunter who travels the galaxy living by his own code. Broken will be released in two parts, written by John Ostrander and drawn by Jan Duursema. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Vol. 1 – Shipyard of Doom is based on the wildly popular animated series from Lucasfilm Animation and highlights events from the epic time period when Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Padawan Ahsoka Tano struggled to maintain order and peace in a war-torn galaxy. Shipyards of Doom will be release in its entirety, written by Henry Gilroy, and drawn by the Fillbach Brothers. Working together with Lucasfilm and THQ Wireless, Dark Horse Senior Editor Randy Stradley and Senior Web Designer Mike Denning carefully reformatted each panel and page to maximize the visual grandeur while staying true to the original comic books. All parties involved ensured that the material would transition to the new medium in the best format possible, delicately considering every word balloon and background image. Dark Horse President Mike Richardson is delighted with the new program, stating, “Lucasfilm has been a proud and longstanding partner of ours, and I’m equally excited to be working with the wonderful people at THQ Wireless on this program. The stories of The Clone Wars, Legacy, and Empire embody some of the best comics in the Star Wars universe that Dark Horse has ever released. I think it’s wonderful that these key tales will be available to fans everywhere in a new and accessible way.” Adam Comiskey, Vice President THQ Wireless commented, “Bringing a selection of some of the finest comic books to the iPhone mobile platform is an exciting chapter in our relationship with Lucasfilm. Our partnership with Dark Horse means that for the first time, Star Wars Fans will be able to use their iPhone to view a fantastic line up of comics.” About Dark Horse Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way and comics legend Will Eisner, Dark Horse has developed such successful characters as The Mask, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Additionally, their highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton, Trigun, Serenity and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the third largest comic-book publisher in the U.S. and is recognized as one of the world's leading publisher of licensed comics material. About THQ Wireless THQ Wireless Inc., a subsidiary of THQ Inc., is a global leader in mobile entertainment, offering a wide range of wireless products, including games, personalization products, information services and messaging based on top brands such as the WWE, Star Wars and popular Nickelodeon properties. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, THQ Wireless has offices worldwide, in addition to distribution agreements through wireless carriers across the globe. Further information can be found at www.thqwireless.com. THQ Wireless is a registered trademark of THQ Wireless Inc LucasArts and the LucasArts logo are registered trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2008 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. & ® or ™ as indicated. All rights reserved. Wii and Nintendo DS are trademarks of Nintendo. Lucasfilm, STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An open letter to comic retailers from Nick Tapalansky

Nick Tapalansky's Awakening Vol. 1 is currently available for purchase. What's that you say? As a comic retailer you don't carry the book? Psshaw I say. Psshaw. If you're a retailer (or are the regular comic book customer that has an in with your local comic shop owner) then the below is for you. Tapalansky is trying to continue getting the word out about Awakening and has penned (e-penned?) an open letter to convey that message. Below is the brief version, and after the jump is a much more expositorial version. And get the damn book if you haven't already. You can check out Omnicomic's review here. Please Repost! An Open Letter to Comic Retailers - Awakening Update! OUR TOP STORY... So, the book is out - now what? Now, oh loyal readers, we need to keep the momentum going. Reviews and interviews are abound but now we need to show comic shops that there's good reason for them to carry the book in their stores! Below is an open letter to comic retailers which I emailed out to all the shop contacts I could gather online. What we need YOU to do is repost this on blogs and message boards, Twitter a link, send up a smoke signal - get this info to your local shop to help them sell the book. That doesn't mean you should go in and ask for ten copies of the book to be ordered, that's not what this is about. This is about spreading the word about the book and giving retailers the ammunition they need to confidently recommend and sell it to their customers. Let's do this thing! Zombie Noir for everybody! Tweet and repost pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaase! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello, purveyor of four-color greatness! My name is Nick Tapalansky and I'm the writer of the recent Archaia release, Awakening (Volume One). Selling comics is a tough business, and nobody knows that as well as you guys. That said, you do it day in and day out and, one better, you do it well. If I can appeal to your generous side for just a minute, I’m hoping you’ll read on and find your free PDF of the 144-page volume, a trailer for the book, and more. I’m putting in some legwork, trying to spread the word about the book’s release (the hardcover was released in July of this year), and let you know how the team behind the book, as well as Archaia, is working to promote the book and push readers into your stores. First though, a little background. When the first three chapters of Awakening were serialized back in 2007 the series was nominated for four British Eagle Awards including Favourite Newcomer Writer and Favourite New Comic Book. We’ve also received tons of critical praise, including: - “The coolest and most original zombie piece since The Walking Dead got under way... This is simply gorgeous art that needs to be lived in. It, like any great art, speaks to you immediately and with authority.” - Lee Ferguson, Broken Frontier - “Derek Peters is where Phillip Marlowe meets George Romero. Awakening will have readers feeling so lonely that they need someone nearby, but so paranoid that they’ll double-check who’s in bed next to them.” - Nick Kelly, Horrorview - “Awakening may be the indie runaway hit of the year.” – The Geeks of Doom - "Awakening is the type of storytelling achievement you often find yourself reading in trade format a year after-the-fact, wondering why the hell you didn't hear more about it at the time of its publishing. The type of book that goes on to achieve eventual cult status and terrible film adaptations that wholly miss the point." — Tom Mattson, Newseed Comics After Archaia underwent a publishing hiatus for most of 2008, we quietly waited with the book until the business end of things was sorted out. By mid 2009 the machine was moving again and Awakening, now a two-volume hardcover series (more on the format shift in a minute), was ready to make its comeback! The book has since been featured on CBR, in Rue Morgue Magazine, and on various comic news and review sites. Below is the solicitation for the volume, followed by a link to the trailer for the book: "The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of gruesome murders and missing persons. Cynthia Ford, well known as the town crazy, comes forward to speak with retired police detective Derrick Peters one January afternoon. She claims to have information about the murders, but does she hold the key to unlocking the mystery or has she truly gone insane? To Derrick’s disbelief she utters one word: Zombies. Unable to ignore Cynthia’s information, though not sharing her beliefs, Derrick and others in the city explore the mystery as weeks turn to months and the death toll rises. Could Cynthia have been right? Follow the first half of Park Falls’s year-long struggle for answers here." You can view the trailer for the volume here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qJQB68NkP0 So, where do you come in? Like I said in the beginning of this letter, I know how hard it is to sell comics these days (or even books in general). It’s even harder to opt to stock a new title from an unknown creative team when you’ve got some guaranteed sellers you can put in its place. That’s actually why we shifted formats from floppy issues and hardcovers to just hardcovers – how could we ask you to order a fourth issue from a relatively little known book and put it on a shelf in place of, say a Marvel or DC book after we had an 18-month publication hiatus? It wouldn’t make sense. That’s not to say you guys don’t support the indies, far from it, but something like that just seemed like a bit of a stretch, even from our end of the table as creators. Back to the point though – it’s hard to make that decision without knowing more about the book. That’s why, below, you’ll find a link to download a PDF of the entire volume for you to read. (Email Nick.Tapalansky@gmail.com with your shop's name and location to receive the PDF!) The book contains the first five chapters of the series, two more than were serialized, 10-pages of supplemental story material (journal entries and illustrations between each chapter), and pinups from a multitude of artists as chapter breaks. It’s also got a sweet dust jacket and an even sweeter price point: $19.95. If the books had all been serialized, they would’ve cost $17.50 combined cover price – for $2.45 more you get it hardbound, with dust jacket, and 15-pages of supplemental material (the journal entries plus the aforementioned pinups)! I firmly believe there’s at least one (if not two or three) customer in your shop that would love the hell out of this book and that’s my challenge to you: put this book in that customer’s hand. It’s a sale for you, and another reader for us – we both win. Got a zombie nut? Tell them it’s a “zombie noir,” a murder mystery with a zombie twist. Got somebody who’s zombied out? Tell them it’s more about the mystery with an entirely different take on the classic zombie (read the book – it’s true). Got an indie fan who doesn’t dabble in horror so much? Tell them its existential horror, more about the plight of the characters in the wake of this growing mystery (the noir card helps here too). Got a genre (horror) fan? Tell them its zombies with a Fell feel. Got all of the above? Go to town! The best part about it is that everything above about the book is true - you're introducing them to something new and exciting they otherwise might not have known about! Right now Alex and I, along with Mel Caylo, Archaia’s Marketing Director, are working hard to plan an October event for Awakening. [Details of event edited for now - details will be emailed along with PDF download link, including info on how we'd like to promote YOUR store! - Nick] We’ll be supporting the event via online news (Comic Book Resources, Broken Frontier, Comic Monsters, Fangoria.com, etc.), social networking (Twitter, MySpace, Facebook), and the like. Our hope is to move more people into stores rather than ordering online, so if you plan to have a copy or two of the book in stock please let me know after I send you official dates for the event so that I can list your stores name and address in any releases, blogs, etc. relating to the event. We want to make push as successful as possible for you and us, so any support or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We're in this for more than just the one day, so anything we can do to help you sell the book beyond the one-day event, please don't hesitate to mention! In the interim, you can find out more about the book, including interviews and reviews, and follow us online at the following addresses: Twitter: http://twitter.com/AwakeningComic MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/AwakeningComic Nick’s Site: http://www.nicktapalansky.com Alex’s Site: http://www.alexeckmanlawn.com Thanks for taking the time to read this – I know it was a bit lengthy but I’m hoping with all of this material and information you’ll be able to better sell the book in your store. I’ll be sending out more info about the October event as we’re able to finalize details. Alex and I are always up for store signings, talking at graphic novel reading/creating groups, or any other store events, so please feel free to email if you’d like us to pop in! The east coast, northeast in particular, is where we’re located but we’d be happy to come by around conventions to stores that are out of our relative area so don’t hesitate to ask! Thanks again! Best, Nick Tapalansky Nick.Tapalansky@gmail.com

Review - The Darkness/Pitt #1

The first Pitt comic in a decade isn't solely a Pitt comic. Rather, it's a semi-crossover with The Darkness. The Darkness/Pitt #1 (by Paul Jenkins and Dale Keown) is one of three and hit stores yesterday, and the question on most people's minds is "is Pitt still awesome?" Before delving into the review, it may be prudent to remind everyone who exactly the Pitt is. Keown created the Pitt way back in 1993 while with Image Comics (before later moving the character to Full Bleed Studios). Pitt is a human/alien hybrid created by the Creed, an alien race committed to that newfangled genetic engineering. His red eyes, grey skin and sharp talons and teeth make him exceptionally good at what he was created to do: kill. And in the first issue of this series he does that in droves, alongside Jackie Estacado of course. Minor spoilers ahead. The issue moved fairly quickly and opens with Jackie Estacado enjoying a delightful veal escalponi at Mama Luccesi's restaurant when he's rudely interrupted by a slew of disemboweling alien creatures. Somehow his Darkness-sense didn't detect them, and in effort to fight back he requests a patron turn off the lights. His failure to do so without question cost him his intestines, and Jackie ran to a crawl space under the stairs. Preparing to summon his powers, the alien creatures are about to take him out when they suddenly disappear. The Pitt makes an appearance a little later with his friend Tim, a roguish little scamp that is on a quest with Pitt to find a crashed alien ship. The pair's path crosses with Jackie's in a backalley where the three of them utilize their talents to fight off another swarm of alien zombies. The Darkness wreck shop, The Pitt does what he does (straight up mauls people) and Tim even manages to telepathically blow some of their heads off. Fantastic. Jackie learns that those individuals just faced are infected, and more are on the planet as a result of a previous Darkness bearer named Hugo Powers being abducted and causing the ship to crash off the coast of New Jersey. The three then team up to find the ship and cause of the infection. The reason I say another Darkness bearer in regards to Powers is because Pitt says that he was "like you [Estacado]." Now this could mean human or Darkness bearer, but either way, Mr. Powers is going to have some significance here. As far as setup issues go, there was a good amount of action and story here with neither overwhelming the other. We're also introduced to a NSA agent following Jackie for whatever reason. Maybe she thinks he's in cahoots with Pitt? Whatever the case may be, this series will be over way to quickly with three issues, but hopefully this gives a rebirth to the Pitt. The issue is available in stores now and sells for $2.99. Head on out and pick it up if you're a fan of The Darkness, The Pitt or just a quality read. Check out some interiors below.

10 great webcomics (not for kids)

There are all sorts of advantages to being an adult. You get to stay up as late as you want. You don't have to be good to get something you want (you usually have the means to just get it). And you have complete control over what you read, watch, play, etc. But in today's society, certain demographics are crucial to marketers, meaning many products are very broad in their focus. This means that most of the time you want something a little edgier and not created to cater to the masses. GeekDad (Chuck Lawton) at Wired has a list of such edginess that may whet your proverbial adult whistle. His list includes the ten best webcomics out there that are as far from being kid friendly as possible. I mean, we're talking a pile of crap with eyeballs and a fondness for large-caliber weaponry, a short, wannabe pimp with a love for slam poetry and Penny Arcade. What's on the list? Schlock Mercenary Questionable Content Sinfest Overcompensating xkcd Cyanide and Happiness Ctrl+Alt+Del Hijinks Ensue Penny Arcade Atland These aren't necessarily your standard superhero comic fare, but these onlines strips are definitely worth at least a look. And if you like what you see then you've got something else you can work into your daily website rotation at work. Come on, I know you have one too. 10 great webcomics (not for kids)

50-GIRLS-50 talent search

At the Image United panel at SDCC, Frank Cho was on hand to briefly talk about his new book 50-GIRLS-50. The reason he was talking about was because he and writer Doug Murray made an open invitation to the folks in attendance (and further the world) for their art. As part of the new series. Yeah, they went there. Cho's thinking is that there's so much talent out there why limit it to someone he knows (or himself for that matter)? Why not reach out and find some young gun for their creativity? "When creating 50-GIRLS-50, Doug and I knew we wanted to go with a very different look than we've had on any previous collaboration," Cho said. "Given the immense wealth of talent online, we decided an open call would be the best way to find someone. We're open to seeing all styles for our prospective illustrator and look forward to the results." In order to find said artists, Image Comics has teamed up with Newsarama to find the talent needed for the work. To enter, all you have to do is illustrate six pages of sequentials based off the script by Murray and Cho easily (found on the contest page). Artwork should be pencils and inks on 11x17 paper and posted on the Image Comics messageboard. The deadline for entry is Friday, October 2nd by 12:00 PM EST, with the winner chosen by Murray and Cho at Baltimore Comic Con. The winner will be expected to start work immediately. Full press release below. PRESS RELEASE - FRANK CHO AND DOUG MURRAY TEAM UP WITH IMAGE COMICS AND NEWSARAMA TO FIND THE NEXT COMIC SUPERSTAR WITH 50-GIRLS-50! LIBERTY MEADOWS' Frank Cho and THE NAM legend Doug Murray announce talent search with Newsarama! 26 August 2009 (Berkeley, CA) - As announced at this year's San Diego Comic Con, LIBERTY MEADOWS creator Frank Cho and THE 'NAM writer Doug Murray are teaming up with Newsarama to seek out new talent for their upcoming Image Comics project, 50-GIRLS-50! "When creating 50-GIRLS-50, Doug and I knew we wanted to go with a very different look than we've had on any previous collaboration," Cho said. "Given the immense wealth of talent online, we decided an open call would be the best way to find someone. We're open to seeing all styles for our prospective illustrator and look forward to the results." 50-GIRLS-50 will be a science fiction, action adventure miniseries conceived and written by Cho and Murray with the artist working off Cho's designs. Newsarama and Image Comics will keep contenders updated on their respective sites, with Newsarama giving you an exclusive inside look at the process and Image Comics' brand-new 50-GIRLS-50 message board playing host to the submissions. Artists will also have the opportunity to get one-on-one feedback from Murray at this year's Baltimore Comic Con, October 10th & 11th. Murray added, "I can't say we have a definitive style in mind, which is what makes this whole process all the more exciting. We're eager to see what the emerging artists of the world have to offer." For full details and rules on The 50-GIRLS-50 Talent Search please see www.newsarama.com and www.imagecomics.com/messageboard. 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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review - 28 Days Later #1

If you are a fan of zombies and horror flicks in general you probably have seen either 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later in theaters and enjoyed the movies. The stories of first the fall of London due to the Rage Virus, and then the ill-conceived repatriation of the country were, in my opinion, a more realistic and scary look at how a zombie apocalypse could ACTUALLY happen. If you watched the movies though, you may have found yourself wondering…how did Selena get off mainland England? Where were the survivors sent to? How did they decide to repatriate the island instead of just letting it be? All these questions and more appear to be on the verge of being answered by Boom! Studios tie in 28 Days Later. These zombies are much scarier then your typical shambling hordes, mostly because they aren’t TRUE zombies…just the infected living. For a review of what was covered in this exciting issue read on… In the movie Selena survives the attack on a cottage with Jim and Hannah and the final scene depicts them in a house far removed from society. So…what happens to them between then and 28 Weeks Later? Our story begins with a flashback from Selena back in the UK, and then we zoom to Norway where Selena is living in the mountains in a refugee camp. She is the camp outcast, with kids afraid to go into her tent to retrieve a soccer ball. Suddenly an American war reported named Clint Harris arrives and asks Selena to help him expose what is really going on in London. Selena, knowing the horrors that await anyone there, smartly refuses. Clint continues talking to her and eventually leaves. Afterwards we cut to another scene from Selena’s past as she looks at some jewelry at dinner with someone who appears to be at least a boyfriend, if not her husband. Selena puts on her jewelry and begins to pack. As Clint meets up with his team to get ready to leave one of his crew points behind him to a lone figure approaching, it is Selena. She is introduced to the team of reporters and they are off. Clint has a very nice plan laid out about how to get past the quarantine; of course, in a post-apocalyptic setting, you know that zombies aren’t the only problem right? A military fighter jet suddenly appears talking about restricted airspace, and apparently isn’t interested in excuses and takes the helicopter down with a quick burst of machine gun fire. The helicopter comes down, and after taking toll of where they are and the situation in general they look around the lot they are in for anybody to ask questions to. One member of the team gives Selena a hard time as another says “Well, Hirsch is talking to somebody.” Apparently the reporters aren’t as prepared as they thought, because only Selena looks over, and knows…infected. She springs to action and we find out that the cloth wrapped device on her back, is her trusty machete. Needless to say, Selena saves Hirsch’s life and in a final epic page, looks back over her shoulder and says only, “What’s your plan NOW?” Great comic, great story and I like that they are working within a known universe. Selena looks to be one of the more badass zombie killers we’ve seen in a while. No guns, no nonsense, never hesitate, and swing that machete hard. So like I said, if you liked the movies or just like zombies infected with rage that makes them faster and MUCH scarier, pick this one up when it hits shelves today (August 26) for $3.99.

Preview - Deadpool #900

The odds of any comic book making to 900 are pretty astronomical. I mean, Amazing Spider-man just made it to 600. Which puts it about 300 issues behind Deadpool, with Deadpool #900's super-sized, 104-page arrival in October. And this issue boasts a veritable roll call of top talent. In this monumental issue, Deadpool faces probe-happy aliens, trigger-happy mimes and an unhappy fanman. Meanwhile, Wade bares his soul to a shrink who's not quite there himself. Throw in some international travel for the settling of a childhood bet and what you get when you mix battery cables, Crisco oil, three stacks of adult magazines and a live chicken. The cover is by Dave Johnson. Writers include Jason Aaron, Mike Benson, Victor Gischler, Charlie Huston, Joe Kelly, Fred Van Lente and Duane Swierczynski. Pencillers include Kyle Baker, Shawn Crystal, Rob Liefeld, Chris Staggs, Sanford Greene, Dalibor Talijic, with Baker and Crystal also doing inks. Baker, Liefeld and Lee Loughridge break out the crayons for coloring. The book is due in stores October 14 for $4.99, but you are getting 104 pages here. Check out 8 pages after the jump, courtesy of Marvel.

Domo is here

Dark Horse is not just about the comics. Sure, titles like The Goon and Umbrella Academy make them happy, but they've also got a decent collectibles line. One of the stars of that line is a little guy affectionately known as Domo, and he's coming to you in a variety of new colors. And it's all part of Dark Horse's "mystery box" incentive. “We have tried to introduce the ‘mystery box’ genre to a more casual consumer, with an equally weighted ratio of four different colors packed in a blind box and paired with a visible brown Domo Qee,” said Dark Horse’s vice president of product development, David Scroggy. “The customer has an equal shot at one of four possible surprise colors. The blister-carded package for the single Domo Qee choices are something new for both Toy2R and Dark Horse. None of these colors is a part of our regular mystery-box assortment, so we hope this will be of interest to collectors as well as the general public.” The special Qees have been produced in four new colors that will be available in the special blind-box two-pack. These colors include solid yellow and solid orange, as well as translucent black and translucent blue. Further, the previously announced Raging Red 4" Domo has been changed to a refreshing Mint Green, limited to five hundred pieces. I guess Domo is the new Beanie Baby? Full press release below. DARK HORSE ANNOUNCES THE NEXT WAVE OF DOMO COLLECTIBLES! DOMO QEES ARRIVE IN SELECT TARGET STORES IN ALL-NEW COLORS, AND A NEW COLOR IS ANNOUNCED IN THE DARK HORSE DELUXE EDITION OF 4” FLOCKED VINYLS AUGUST 25, MILWAUKIE, OR—Dark Horse makes two announcements today in relation to their highly successful Domo program. The first announcement follows on the footsteps of the company’s recently launched blind-box Qee program, created in conjunction with Toy2R and featuring the likeness of Japanese NHK television’s mascot, Domo. As part of a new vinyl toy test initiative by the Target retail chain, new packaging solutions and colorways have been created of this popular character with the mass-market audience in mind. For collectors, these special Qees have been produced in four new, exclusive colors that were previously unavailable. Domos in the new colors are now available in a special blind-box two-pack. These new colors include solid yellow and solid orange, as well as translucent black and translucent blue. “We have tried to introduce the ‘mystery box’ genre to a more casual consumer, with an equally weighted ratio of four different colors packed in a blind box and paired with a visible brown Domo Qee,” said Dark Horse’s vice president of product development, David Scroggy. “The customer has an equal shot at one of four possible surprise colors. The blister-carded package for the single Domo Qee choices are something new for both Toy2R and Dark Horse. None of these colors is a part of our regular mystery-box assortment, so we hope this will be of interest to collectors as well as the general public.” “Obviously these are new outlets for designer toys, so you must step back and see what works best for them while still capturing the essence of the designer-toy genre,” said Toy2R founder and president Raymond Choy. These exclusive Domo releases are available now at select Target locations. A complete list can be found here: http://www.darkhorse.com/Zones/DHDeluxe In addition, Dark Horse also announces a color change in the upcoming Dark Horse Deluxe line of 4” flocked Domo vinyls. The previously announced Raging Red color has been changed to Mint Green. The edition size will remain at five hundred pieces. About Qee Qee (pronounced "key") is a collection of designer toys created by Hong Kong-based company Toy2R, which was founded by Raymond Choy in 1995. Qees are produced in limited numbers and are highly collectible. Many contemporary artists and designers from Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America have designed figures. Domo is the mascot of NHK television in Japan, and is breaking out worldwide as animation, toys, publishing and apparel. About Big Tent Entertainment LLC Big Tent Entertainment, LLC (www.bigtent.tv) is an entertainment company specializing in the integrated development and management of media brands. Formed in 2002, the company manages a portfolio across both traditional and new media while focusing on brand strategy, community building, viral marketing, licensing and retail merchandising. Big Tent currently serves as the worldwide (ex Asia) marketing and licensing company for viral sensation Domo and the North American agency of record for a number of children’s properties including: Discovery Kids, the leader in real world, educational content for children; The Wiggles, the world’s most popular pre-school entertainers; and Miffy & Friends, one of the largest brands for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with an all-new tween/teen program. Additionally, Big Tent serves as the U.S. licensing agent for the masters of freestyle motocross, the Crusty Demons, and the world’s most popular series about girls and horses, The Saddle Club. The Company is also the worldwide management company for renowned art licensing agency Alaska Momma. About Dark Horse Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way, and comics legend Will Eisner, Dark Horse has developed such successful characters as the Mask, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Additionally, its highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton, Trigun, Serenity, and Domo. Today, Dark Horse Comics is the third-largest comic-book publisher in the U.S. and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of licensed comics material.

The Devil's Handshake arrives in October

Archaia Studios Press is adding to the already busy October. How so you ask? With The Devil's Handshake, an action-packed story by Ryan Schifrin, Larry Hama (yes, that Larry Hama) and Adam Archer. “With Devil’s Handshake I wanted to create two new pulp heroes for the 21st century, while at the same time paying homage to some of the adventure stories I grew up with,” said Schifrin. “Larry is a master at what he does, and the stunning art of Adam Archer and Lizzy John speaks for itself. The fine folks of Archaia have been amazing to work with and supportive of the book from day one, and I can’t wait to see readers’ reactions to what we’ve put together!” The story goes thusly. Two adventurous British jewel thieves named Alaric Moebius and Basil Fox have been tricked into stealing artifacts from around the world. These thefts could be at the request of the Devil himself however. The thieving duo encounter flesh-eating cannibals, an all-virgin squad of female commandos and the murderous Ghoul Brothers. The 48-page self-proclaimed "perfect-bound" graphic novella will be $5.95 and is available for preorder. The order will be ready for your grubby little hands in October. Full press release below and a seven page preview below. ARCHAIA DIVES INTO ADVENTURE WITH ‘THE DEVIL’S HANDSHAKE’ BY RYAN SCHIFRIN, LARRY HAMA AND ADAM ARCHER NEW GRAPHIC NOVELLA ASKS, ‘WHAT IF INDIANA JONES AND JACK SPARROW TEAMED UP TO WORK FOR CTHULU’? Los Angeles, CA (August 24, 2009) – Adding another high-quality project to its impressive roster of creator-owned titles, Archaia announced it will publish The Devil’s Handshake, an action-packed adventure story by the same creative team behind the popular Spooks comic franchise: creator and co-writer Ryan Schifrin, co-writer and G.I. Joe godfather Larry Hama, and artist Adam Archer. The Devil’s Handshake is the story of two adventurous British jewel thieves named Alaric Moebius and Basil Fox, who have been tricked into stealing artifacts from around the world by a man who might just be the Devil himself! On an adventure that takes them from the volcanoes of New Guinea to the wastelands of the Saharan desert, Moebius and Fox encounter flesh-eating cannibals, an all-virgin squad of female commandos, and the murderous undead Ghoul Brothers, who never seem to be far behind our heroes! “With Devil’s Handshake I wanted to create two new pulp heroes for the 21st century, while at the same time paying homage to some of the adventure stories I grew up with,” said Schifrin. “Larry is a master at what he does, and the stunning art of Adam Archer and Lizzy John speaks for itself. The fine folks of Archaia have been amazing to work with and supportive of the book from day one, and I can’t wait to see readers’ reactions to what we’ve put together!” Famed moviemaker Guillermo Del Toro raved The Devil’s Handshake is “a delightful romp mixing pulpish delight with bold, eye-catching graphics and instantly likable characters. It’s old-school fun for the 21st century.” Joining Schifrin is his collaborator from Spooks, the legendary Larry Hama. Hama is best known as the architect behind Marvel Comics’ G.I. Joe franchise, and has also worked on such titles as Wolverine, Iron Fist and Elektra. Artist Adam Archer, who also worked on Spooks with Schifrin, has previously worked on Supergirl, Friday the 13th and the Heroes graphic novels, based on the hit television show. “We’re very, very happy to welcome Ryan, Larry and Adam to the Archaia family,” said Stephen Christy, Archaia’s Director of Development. “One of the things I’ve missed in comics lately is the double-sized one-shot, a book where you can get drawn into an adventure that begins and ends in 48 pages. No one does old-school adventure better than Larry Hama, and I don’t think any of his fans are going to be disappointed by this book.” The Devil’s Handshake is a 48-page, perfect-bound graphic novella priced at $5.95 and will ship in October. It is available for order now at your local comics retailer or through select book outlets.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Arman Rillo, Sr. illustrations

If you've got that killer story completely scripted and storyboarded, you're well on your way to having a full-blown comic. But art definitely helps, and Arman Rillo, Sr. has some quality stuff. If you're looking for some new illustrations to check out, head on over to his website and have a look around. If you like what you see, send the illustrator an email lauding his works. Arman Rillo, Sr. illustrations

New Arrivals: August 26, 2009

Last month I gave you a preview of Darkness/Pitt #1, the triumphant return of Dale Keown's classic hero. And he's coming back in style alonside Jackie Estacado, the current bearer of The Darkness. I think it goes without saying that the first issue of this series is the pick of the week. The Pitt is on a mission in New York to track down those infected by an alien virus. Because it's in New York, all investigations run through Jackie. If that's not enough, the two of them pairing up draws the attention of the Federal government. Paul Jenkins and Dale Keown collaborate to bring the series to you, covered by two covers by Keown and Eric Basaldua. Enjoy! New Arrivals: August 26, 2009

Defense with the BoomPick

New comic book day is upon us yet again and I am looking forward to this one as there are quite a few comics coming out I want to get. My pick is a comic that I have already read, but was a damn good series and is sure to have a new one coming out. I am picking Killer Of Demons TP brought to you by Image Comics, and this has all three issues packaged up in one. This tale is of a man who has a little angel floating around with him telling him to kill the demons he sees. The only problem is that he is the only one who sees said demons and the dead bodies are starting to pile up. With the cops hot on the trail of a deranged serial killer, can our hero save the day without finding himself in the insane asylum or in prison? Pick this one to find out. You will most definitely enjoy this one.

Preview - The Anchor #1

The Anchor is everything about mythology that's awesome. A holy warrior in an unholy war. Even further, God's own leg-breaker is a freak of nature, beast of burden, hulking outcast, medieval prize fighter...you get the picture. The Anchor is a badass. And if you can't wait till October to check him out, Boom! Studios wants to give you a sneak peek before then. Phil Hester (with art by Brian Churilla) brings you this epic work of The Anchor, an immortal warrior monk who vows to save the world from the bowels of Hell. He's awakened from his slumber when the need arises to fight once again. The first issue doesn't hit stores till October, but today is the last day you can get your order in for a copy. Check out 10 solid pages of interiors after the jump, and start ratcheting up that excitement level.