Friday, January 30, 2009

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I don’t get this whole Ultimatum thing. It just doesn’t strike me as some epic story that some writer had brewing in the recesses of their creativity for a long time, and has finally been given the chance to put it down on paper. It strikes me more as…economics. This isn’t the first time Marvel has done this. That is, launched a line of sort of touched-up, revamped, modernized version of their characters, only to bag it later. I think I heard Mark Millar describe the ultimate line of comics as “fan friendly,” and I think it was- not because everything was dumbed down and oversimplified, but because the titles showcased these very classic incarnations of the characters. It seemed that the Ultimate characters really represented superheroes and villains the way you always picture them in your mind's eye- without whatever the most recent retooling that such and such writer has done in just the last few issues. You know, Spider-man isn’t wearing Stark Industries battle armor, the Punisher hasn’t been granted divine power that lets him teleport and spontaneously create any weapon he needs (WORST STORYLINE EVER), etc. Well, at least most of the characters are how you think of them. The other half are kind of out-of-nowhere recreations. I think most of the X-Men characters got it the worst- I don’t recognize Gambit or Longshot…and Cable and Bishop? Don’t even get me started. Oh, and Dr. Doom’s got hooves. Real, honest to God hooves. Actually, I think that last bit was a nice touch. Anyway, the whole thing is a good idea, really. I mean think about the leeway it gives the writers on the main continuity line- it’s okay to kill off Captain America or have Spider-man settle down and have kids. Because if you're just a “casual” comic reader and you want to pick up an issue of Spider-man as you remember him- single, young, and very embattled in his personal life- that’s still out there. And frankly, I felt like the whole thing had finally hit its stride. I thought the whole Ultimate Galactus trilogy kicked ass, the Ultimate version of Nick Fury is now a fan, Samuel L. Jackson-inspired favorite, and I think Ultimate Thor is totally brilliant. (That last bit- no one believes Thor is really Thor. Even Captain America. Whenever he starts talking about Asgard and monsters, everybody rolls their eyes and acts like ‘okay, crazy man’. I love it because Thor’s presence in the Marvel Universe really is kind of ridiculous and unbelievable.) But now? It’s gone. It’s over. Guess stuff wasn’t selling. Beats me. Apparentely they’re going to keep some of the books going- but do you really want to read a universe with just Spider-man? I mean, not that Spider-man isn’t great, but…when I said Marvel had tried this before, I was referring to that whole Heroes Reborn fiasco in the nineties. At the time, if you weren’t reading X-Men you weren’t reading anything. So Marvel stuck every superhero they had into this alternate universe. Just them alone, without any mutants. It flopped. And made for some pretty bizarre storytelling in the process, what with writing all those characters into, and out of, various worlds. So alas. Maybe things will come around again, and the Ultimate titles will get restocked. But I have to say, I’m disappointed. Of course, DC has picked up the ball and is trying the same thing. So far, it’s only two comics- All-Star Batman and Robin and All-Star Superman. And these both exist in their own continuities, I think. This is probably a good thing. Because All-Star B & R is on crack. Seriously. Even though it’s penned by legendary comic, and Batman, writer Frank Miller…it has to be the weirdest interpretation of the character I have ever seen in my life. Apparently, it exists in the continuity of Dark Knight Returns (which, to Mr. Miller’s credit, has to be in the top five greatest comics I’ve ever read), and it has some of that flavor. But it almost defies description. If you really want to see Miller cut lose in a testosterone infused over-the-top orgy of superhero violence and sex- I mean this is it. This isn’t exactly the most ethical version of the character I’ve ever seen. In fact, Batman in this comic is almost…juvenile. Like he’s got Anti-Social personality disorder with sado-masochistic tendancies. On top of that, pretty much every other superhero in the world is a complete idiot. Wonder Woman is a moody, man-hating Xena-knock-off, Green Lantern looks like a dope compared to the dynamic duo, and Superman…well, I think we’ve all gotten a sense of how Miller feels about Superman. I’m not one to question Miller. I love almost everything he’s written. But something about this book is just a little too off the beaten path for me. And while I’m on the subject- what is it with him and the whole “keep the mask on during sex” thing, anyway? From the Spirit, to Batman and Black Canary shacking up on a river dock directly following them beating the crap out of some very under-performing criminals…I don’t know. Somehow it just conjures an image of oh-so-many con-going comic fans living out their adolescent fantasies together. Oohh. Hurts to think. If I have to give it up for something redeemable about this interpretation though- I really love Robin here. Batman would be locked up by Children and Youth Services or some other government agency for the way he treats him...but the point is, Robin isn’t just any other kid. He’s a childhood prodigy- it’s like he could be the head of MENSA or something. He thinks like an adult, acts like an adult, fights like an adult. In fact, Batman is even a little scared of the kid’s potential. Which of course brings in this whole unsettling the-father-is-scared-of-his-son thing. So again, with the creepiness. I’ve never read a Batman series that made me feel so dirty I wanted to stand in the shower after reading an issue before. But there’s a first time for everything, I suppose. Still, reading it is a little bit like watching reality TV. You just have to, because everyone else is. It’s so out there, that I’m not actually telling you to not go buy it and read it. When else will you ever see Batman portrayed this way? Or hear the line “I’m the god-damn Batman!” uttered out of Bruce Wayne’s mouth? Seriously, he says this. Frequently. One last note- All-Star Superman? Surprisingly cool! Morrison does Luthor proud, and rewrites a couple of really cool ideas. And I have to say, the man writes a surprisingly sensitive and moving death scene for Jonathan Kent. I really love it. The whole thing gives the Superman mythology a very cool, very modern feel and reminds you of what made it such a great comic to begin with. Worth checking out.

Joss Whedon brings Dollhouse to NYCC

You would think with a brand new TV show set to hit the airwaves that Joss Whedon would make an appearance at NY Comic Con. The official NYCC blog, Medium at Large, has just announced that such an event will be happening. On Sunday, February 8 from 12:45 PM to 1:45 PM at the IGN Theater, Whedon will be doing a panel on his new show, Dollhouse, and will offer a signing event afterwards. The signing was previously first come, first serve, but due to the expected overwhelming demand, it has now been changed to a first come, first serve ticketed event. Please note the only way to get into this signing is to sign up for the lottery to get an autograph ticket. Whedon will also be joined by Tahmoh Penikett, another actor on the show who will also be doing an autograph signing. So if you're looking to get in some face time with Joss Whedon, you'll have to wait your turn and hope that fortune is on your side. Otherwise, there's always next time. Joss Whedon brings Dollhouse to NY Comic Con

He-Man reboot gets a director

Do you remember Master's of the Universe? Not the cartoon, but the awfully atrocious live action film that featured a pink Cadillac? If you don't remember fantastic. You're good at repressing bad thoughts. If you do still remember it, well then your memory may change in the near future. Latino Review has just learned that the chic reboot idea for He-Man has just landed a director: John Stevenson. Stevenson recently made a name for himself with the animated (somewhat I guess) film Kung Fu Panda. I can't say that this news fills me with confidence that the remake is in capable hands. But Kung Fu Panda was an enjoyable enough movie that had some good moments. Any movie made regarding Prince Adam will most likely be better than the first film that came out, so he really doesn't have to set the bar that high. Just make sure there's no blue He-Man, and that Skeletor stays away from the breakfast burritos. He-Man reboot gets a director

Batman: Arkham Asylum official trailer

Eidos has just released the first "official" trailer for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum and I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't look half bad. There seems to be a mix of action and stealth, which makes sense for a Batman game.
And there's just soimething so reassurring about hearing Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker. Kind of like everything is right in the world.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gotham City Dossiers: Hurricane Entertainment

Hurricanes brewing are never good news. Unless you're a comic book publisher that happens to share a name with the seemingly devastating natural disaster. So let's take a look at what's in the hurricane shall we? Chassis is the story of an alternate reality where WWII never happened and the fine folks under President Roosevelt (Eleanor mind you) experience the thrills of rocket car racing. 1949's most popular sport features legendary drivers in a corrupt system (think Speed Racer) which draws the attention of Chassis. Chassis is the 17-year-old daughter of Charles Foster McBain, one of the founders of the sport that won't allow his daughter to race. But she enters anyway under the alias of Pilot Zero. Samantha's Burn is coming soon, but it will feature the story of a desolate future where thirteen-year-old Samantha has contracted "The Burn." This will inevitably lead to her death in a burst of flames. So she makes the trek to Nomikos, the hospital on rails, as a transport to the only place she can get medical care in the outer regions. And if things weren't bad enough, somehow it's up to Samantha to save the world from the apparent plot to spread The Burn worldwide. Finally, there's also the Snake Plissken Chronicles. I shouldn't have to go into too much detail about this one, as it is "that" Snake Plissken. More fun and adventure from everyone's favorite that has managed to escape from New York and Los Angeles. So yeah. Some really interesting stuff happening over there. Check out some of their works the next time you hit the comic book store. Hurricane Entertainment

Preview: Final Crisis #7

This is it. The end of the final crisis. And no ending to a final crisis would be proper without an apocalyptic battle for humanity. Leave it to the heroes of the 52 Earths to save the multiverse, and expect Superman to go ballistic in avenging the death (seeming) of a fallen comrade in Final Crisis #6. Grant Morrison provides the words while Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy provide the pictures. Preview: Final Crisis #7

Wolverine needs more Deadpool

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is nearing finalization and is due to hit theaters May 1. But that doesn't mean that you can't still add stuff in if you're director Gavin Hood. IESB reports that additional scenes featuring Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool are being filmed in Vancouver. No word as to why the new scenes or what, but my guess is that the cast realized that there needs to be more Deadpool. Most of the time more is good. Its even better when there wasn't that much to begin with. So its really great to see that Hood is going back to add in a few more scenes with Reynolds' expected awesomeness in the role of Deadpool. More Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Screenshots of The Dark Knight game you'll never see

You may have heard that there was a game affiliated with The Dark Knight that at first seemed would be really cool, but then got canceled for whatever reason. Its still kind of fun though to think about what could've been. For example, what did the game look like? Since the project was canceled, you'd be hard-pressed to find assets right? Not so says Kotaku of Australia! Kotaku AU has an interesting theory regarding the below screens. They are the work of MIchael Pryor, a former Pandemic Brisbane artist. He has since moved over to Pandemic LA where he continues to work on various other projects he can't talk about. But these shots certainly look very Batmanish, and could very well be from the game that never was. It also wholly possibly that these shots have nothing to do at all with the canceled game and we're just reading way too much into them. Screenshots of The Dark Knight game you'll never see

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

The Hidden S wonders what happened to The Dark Knight's Oscar Hopes... Last summer, The Dark Knight was considered by many critics to be the finest film of 2008. The late Heath Ledger was an Oscar frontrunner before the film was even released. It seemed that Chris Nolan was dusting off the mantle for his Best Director Oscar (not to say anything of his Best Screenplay nod he would split with his brother). A week ago the Best Picture nominations were announced and no Dark Knight, the Best Director nominations were announced and no Nolan, the Best Screenplay nominations were announced and no Nolan(s). What happened? How did a film that got unbelievable reviews and response and threatened all-time box office records get the short end of the Oscar Stick? I'm glad you asked... There were no other Oscar worthy performances in DK... Of all the Oscar nominations this year Ledger's might have been the closest to a foregone conclusion. His performance created buzz months before the film was even released and not to be too indelicate or disrespectful, but his death only added to the hype for the film and elevated his work in it. Despite this, no other performances in the film were Oscar worthy and this no doubt weakened the perception of the film for Oscar voters (keep in mind that Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are both Oscar winners). For all of the credibility that Bale brings to the role, his Batman/Bruce Wayne in this entry was underwritten (especially compared to Batman Begins); Maggie Gyllanhall's role was a thankless one and Aaron Eckhart's work was good but his Two-Face appeared too late in the film to make the kind of impression the filmmakers might have intended. I thought Gary Oldman's performance was very appealing but even his solid work was overshadowed by Ledger's pyrotechnics. The Film Was released too early in the year... This might have been the biggest obstacle for the Dark Knight. All of the Best Picture nominees were released in December. The Dark Knight, released in the summer (ancient history in the scheme of Oscar awareness) made a real impact during the time of its release and there was a lot of talk of it being not only a Best Picture nominee but a shoe-in for the award. For whatever reasons, the film's impact did not carry over into the Oscar campaign season. The film was re-released last week, but this strategy has not really take hold (possibly because it was overshadowed by the splashy unrolling of the DVD release in early December) and the film was not the formidable Oscar-bait presence that other films were late in 2008. The film was too dark... The Academy is not above nominating a popular, crowd pleasing film. Titanic, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Gladiator were all nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (Titanic and Gladiator of course won). The Dark Knight was popular, but crowd pleasing is another issue. The ending of the film sees Batman on the run from a pack of dogs and the cops while the bat signal is being ritualistically smashed (couldn't they have just unplugged it?). This downer ending along with the apparent deaths of two likeable, attractive leads (Dent/Rachel) makes this a film that might have left a bad taste in the Oscar voters mouths. Franchise's get no respect... Despite the grandeur of the film, the Batman series is a franchise and the ugly part of being a franchise is the commercial aspect of it. Wal-Mart had an entire wall of Dark Knight toys (including a cool Ghost World style Bat mask) this summer. Do you think there are any Slumdog Millionaire action figures, Frost/Nixon t-shirts or Harvey Milk Hallmark cards? Exactly. Nolan's Batman work is not a series, it is a juggernaut. The franchise aspect of the Dark Knight undercuts its artistic credibility automatically. The artistic reaction probably caught Warner by surprise and they seemed to try to recast the film as a prestige film later in the year. Unfortunately, it is tough to have it both ways and it seems that the Oscar voters saw it for what Warner's initially marketed it as; a superior popular entertainment piece with an overwhelming and groundbreaking performance by Ledger. The Film simply wasn't that good... For all of The Dark Knight's great reviews there were some naysayers. The venerable New Yorker critic David Denby called The Dark Knight "grim and incoherent." By anyone's estimation, The Dark Knight's third act was weak and rushed. The film tried to resolve a lot of loose ends in the last act and this uncertainty made for a certain amount of (probably unintentional) ambivalence in the film's resolution. Clocking in at three hours, The Dark Knight was also unnecessarily overlong and oddly enough fell into the trap that some of the Burton/Schumacher incarnations did, which was to roll out too many Bat-villains. The Zeitgeist has shifted... It has been pointed out by more than one film critic that The Dark Knight and to a lesser extent Batman Begins both have a certain amount of political relevance that is reflective of the US War on terror. George Bush has been compared to Bruce Wayne/Batman because he is an unpopular rich guy whose tactics have backfired and his vision has resulted in an escalation of violence rather than a decline. Throw in the idea of avenging the father figure (Bush Senior/Thomas Wayne) and you have a nice start on a thesis topic. Flash forward to fall of 2008 and the Oscar voters are anxious to put the Bush years behind and see an optimistic view of the next four years. The dark dystopian vision of Nolan's film might simply have gone out of fashion in the few months since the film's release. This kind of mood swing is not unusual in election year's and the DK might have lost some traction because of this switch. Oscar Voters are not Comic Fans... Do you know who votes for the Academy Awards? Actors like Tony Curtis, Anthony Hopkins and Sean Connery; directors like Norman Jewison, Clint Eastwood; actresses like Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. In other words, not the group who are buzzed because Ledger was so much like Alan Moore's Joker. This group might have Caesar Romero and Adam West in mind when they think of The Joker and Batman. The Internet chatter for this film has been unbelievable and definitely fueled Ledger's nomination but the fact remains that while Internet buzz might sway a film's box office, it has less of an effect and influence come awards season. For older Oscar voters the film might have been simply a comic book movie, lumped with Ghost Rider, The Punisher, Fantastic Four... Ledger overwhelmed the movie... This is the trickiest argument, and feeds into my speculation over why Nolan wasn't nominated for director (or screenplay which was more surprising to me than any other DK Oscar snub). Nolan simply let Ledger overwhelm the film. This seems to have been his intent, but it did not help the film in the end. Batman Begins had very fine and memorable performances top to bottom from Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and even a pre-Scientology Katie Holmes. For TDK, Nolan wrote all of the good lines, all of the good scenes and all of the memorable moments for Ledger's Joker, and this imbalance throws the film out of kilter (and probably sabotaged his being recognized for his screenplay work here). Again, Nolan is a careful, skilled filmmaker and it is probable that this was his intent. However, as in the best Batman comics (including Brian Azzarello's Joker one shot from last fall) the balance between Batman and the Joker is crucial and Nolan, for all of the gravity he has brought to the cinematic Batman, seemed to miss this in the latest cinematic installment of the Caped Crusader. The film might have lost votes to Iron Man... Oscar voting is not made public, but this is my own gut instinct as I considered Iron Man a fuller, more well made film than DK with three strong acts, balanced performances and a more charming, intriguing hero than DK. Everyone in Hollywood is happy for Robert Downey Jr. and his well-received performance here fed nicely into his stunt performance a couple of months later wearing black face in Tropic Thunder, a performance which netted him an Academy Award nomination. In addition, critics like the NY Times A O Scott touted the performance of Jeff Bridges as Oscar-caliber. Iron Man got two minor Oscar nominations, so it was on voter's minds on some level and I wonder if it didn't take some attention away from The Dark Knight? The question is of course will Ledger win despite all of this? The answer is probably. His performance garnered a Golden Globe and he is definitely the favorite. The other famous Oscar nod for a performer who died was Peter Finch's work in Network way back in 1976. He died Just about a month before the Oscars. Hollywood, being fond of happy endings awarded him the most coveted of its honors as a result. Network, however, won several Academy Awards that season (including Best Picture) and Ledger's great performance does not have the advantage on coasting on the momentum of The Dark Knight's nominations. Still, the smart money is on "Why So Serious?". The Hidden S...

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra character posters

The GI Joe hype machine is going into full gear. Hot off the presses are the below (and above) character posters featuring various body shots of characters in costume. Looks like we have Duke (Channing Tatum), Ripcord (Marlon Wayans), The Baroness (Sienna Miller), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), and Storm Shadow (Byung Hun Lee) in all their glory. Sadly, we'll have to wait for the sequel for the possibility of Fumbles. It was always Fumbles. Enjoy.

Stan Lee sues himself?

Chalk this one up to what the hell. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Stan Lee Media Inc (SLM) is suing Marvel for ownership rights of Stan Lee's creations, such as Iron Man, Spider-Man and Hulk. Their contention is that all the interest in those characters was transferred from Marvel to SLM. SLM proceeded to go bankrupt in 2001, but reemerged in 2006 with a fresh claim that they were owed $750 million. With me so far? Good, because its about to get weirder. Stan Lee apparently had nothing to do with the lawsuit, and has subsequently filed a $50 million lawsuit against SLM. He claims that the company has hijacked his image and is stopping Lee from working on ventures with Disney and Virgin Comics. There's no word on Marvel in all of this, but one can only assume their reaction is "WTF?" Stan Lee sues Stan Lee Media

First Street Fighter, and now Final Fight

Capcom is familiar to gamers. Really, it should be familiar to anyone of the Generation X variety, as Street Fighter is only one of the most groundbreaking games ever made. Which bodes well for you, comic book fan, because it has allowed Udon Comics to bring those glorious hadokens to the pages of comics. But why stop the fun with Street Fighter? Udon Comics will be taking the fight to its finality. More specifically, to the Final Fight. That's right kids, in Street Fighter II: Turbo #6 & #7, the challengers will be fighting the characters from Final Fight. The issues will depict the fighting in the American leg of the competition in Metro City, and will also feature Final Fight side stories. These issues could be awesome, and if you're a fan of Final Fight might be worth your time. The two issues are set to hit April and June, so keep your eyes peeled. Full press release below.
Toronto, ON – January 22, 2009 – Over the years the Street Fighter® franchise has become intertwined with several other Capcom® game properties, but the strongest of those connections has always been with the classic arcade street brawler Final Fight. The series’ unique characters like pro wrestler-turned-politician Haggar, the strangely seductive Poison, and heroic (though sometimes jailbird) Cody are personal favorites of many a gamer. Now UDON has officially added Final Fight to the publisher’s list of Capcom comic licenses. Considered by many as the finest example of the ‘beat-em-up’ side-scroller genre, Final Fight and its sequels tore up arcades in both Japan and North American during the 1990s. The series was concretely connected to Street Fighter when Final Fight cast members Guy and Sodom appeared as playable characters in the game Street Fighter® Alpha. Many other characters would make the jump between games in future Street Fighter and Final Fight instalments, interweaving the two series’ continuities into a single universe. Final Fight cast members will be joining the Street Fighter Tournament in the Street Fighter® II Turbo comic series starting with issue #5’s Japanese qualifying round. Then in issues #6 & #7, the tournament heads to Final Fight’s own Metro City for the American leg of the competition. In addition to joining in on the main Street Fighter storyline, Turbo issues #6 & #7 will also each feature a bonus Final Fight backup story. For those keeping track, the full Turbo backup story schedule now includes: Turbo #2 – Street Fighter® IV - Abel Turbo #3 – Street Fighter® IV - El Fuerte Turbo #4 – Street Fighter® IV - Rufus Turbo #5 – Street Fighter® IV - Crimson Viper Turbo #6 – Final Fight Turbo #7 – Final Fight Turbo #8 – Street Fighter® III Turbo #9 – Street Fighter® III Turbo #10 – Street Fighter® III If reaction is positive to the guest appearances and backups, a full Final Fight mini-series could be just around the corner! For now, Street Fighter II Turbo #6 and #7 arrive in April and June 2009. For more info all of UDON’s Capcom titles head to

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Arrivals: January 28, 2009

Omnicomic's pick this week comes from a studio that if not kept in check could kill us all, Boom Studios (get it...boom?). The book is Hero Squared Love & Death #1, a three-issue finale that brings readers back to the world of Captain Valor and his alter-ego Milo. And there's a homicidal ex-girlfriend thrown in there for good measure, and the promise of gobsmacking you right in the gob. Without the assistance of Europe's Final Countdown. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis provide the words while Nate Watson provides the pictures. The book will set you back $3.99. Enjoy! New Arrivals: January 28, 2008

Defense With the BoomPick

Hey everyone it is me again, your good pal and zombie killing extraordinaire Brandon. I am here today to give you my pick of the week for new comic book day. Tthere are a lot of killer choices up there for tomorrow but for me I saw a quick excellent choice. My pick is Xena Vs. Army of Darkness #4. The first three have that perfect mixture of greatness with tons of action and great jokes, this one will not disappoint either with its fast paced story. Whenever Ash is involved you know something crazy is going happen because if it can happen it does happen with him. So go check this out tomorrow and make sure to pick up the first three and have some fun.

Michael Uslan on sequel to The Dark Knight

How many of you have seen The Dark Knight? You there, in the back. You didn't raise your hand. You may want to skip this post because if you haven't seen that movie yet you either don't like Batman, don't like comics or were living in seclusion somewhere. For the rest of you, the New Jersey Courier Post has a fantastic interview with producer Michael Uslan. His claim to fame (and infamy at the same time) is that he's executive produced all the Batman movies (I think you see where the infamy part comes in to play). The entire interview is a good read as it gives you some insight into one of the people responsible for the overall successful adaptation of Batman from comics to the big screen. And he's also got some street cred with some other comics films, such as The Spirit and the upcoming Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam. But there is one statement in the interview that I'm sure most of us are dying to know about: info on the third installment of the trilogy. So here you go: "Uslan will be on board as executive producer for the "Dark Knight" sequel, which he estimates will be theaters by 2011. As for the identity of the next round of Batman's supervillains and love interests, Uslan remains tight-lipped. "It's one of those deals where if I told you, I'd have to kill you," he says with a chuckle." Wow. So we have an idea to expect the third film in 2011, which would make sense. Batman Begins came out in 2005 and The Dark Knight in 2008 so the three year trilogy theory is holding true (each movie in a trilogy is released every three years). And his statement about the villains says that Christopher Nolan and co have an idea as to who the villain(s) is/are going to be for the third film. Is the film further along in development than Nolan is letting on? There's still no word if he or Christian Bale are coming back at all, because quitting after The Dark Knight would definitely be going out on top. But if they are coming back, it would seem that the planning is moving along quite swimmingly. NJ Courier Post interview with Michael Uslan

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe ships 1.8 million

I had numerous doubts about Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe from the initial announcement all the up until its final release. I felt it was something of a cheap way to capitalize on the popularity of the DC Universe to revive a seemingly dead franchise in Mortal Kombat. Midway would have me believe differently however, as they've just announce that they've eclipsed the 1.8 million copies mark. "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was the result of countless hours of hard work by many people, and seeing the game surpass the million-seller plateau makes it worth all the effort," said Ed Boon, Mortal Kombat co-founder and creative director, Midway. "We're already hard at work on our next version of Mortal Kombat, and look forward to being able to reveal more details in the future." Such riveting gameplay must be why PS3 owners have logged 3.6 million matches over the PSN (no word on Xbox Live) and the game was the most preordered in Midway history. Surely the kids at Midway must be running out of room on their caps for the feathers. I'm still skeptical of the game, but I should be able to get my hands on some play time at or around the time of NY Comic Con. In the meantime, check out Tedds stellar review here. Full press release below. MILLIONS AND MILLIONS - MIDWAY ANNOUNCES MORTAL KOMBAT vs. DC UNIVERSE MILESTONES Well Over One Million Units of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Sold Worldwide CHICAGO – January 26, 2009 – Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, today announced that the company has shipped approximately 1.8 million units of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe worldwide for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system. "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was the result of countless hours of hard work by many people, and seeing the game surpass the million-seller plateau makes it worth all the effort," said Ed Boon, Mortal Kombat co-founder and creative director, Midway. "We're already hard at work on our next version of Mortal Kombat, and look forward to being able to reveal more details in the future." Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe also continues to set a number of internal Midway records. The game was the most pre-ordered MK title in company history, and more than 3.6 million Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe matches have been played online worldwide for the PS3, according to numbers from GameSpy Technology,* which provides connected gaming, multiplayer and statistics gathering services to the title. The standard edition of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is available for a U.S. suggested retail price of $59.95, and a limited number of copies of the Kollector's Edition are still available for a U.S. suggested retail price of $69.95. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and is available for the PS3 and the Xbox 360. For more information please visit About Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe For the first time ever, Scorpion, Sub-Zero and the Mortal Kombat warriors battle with Batman, Superman and other popular DC Universe Super Heroes. Choose your side and challenge your opponents with a new fighting system including Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat inside dynamic multi-tiered environments. Plus, pick your favorite character from Mortal Kombat or the DC Universe and pursue a fighting adventure in the new single player mode with an intertwined storyline and two unique perspectives. Although this is the first Mortal Kombat title to be given a "T" rating by the ESRB, the game embodies all the qualities that made the franchise such an integral part of gaming culture, including the ability to perform the unique Fatalities and Heroic Brutalities that are a signature of the Mortal Kombat series. About Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a premier worldwide publisher, developer, licensor and distributor of entertainment content for the interactive space across all current and future platforms, including console, handheld and PC-based gaming for both internal and third party game titles. About DC Comics DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Sandman. These DC Super Heroes and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics' web site is located at About Midway Midway Games Inc. (NYSE:MWY), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with offices throughout the world, is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for major videogame systems and personal computers. More information about Midway and its products can be found at

Monday, January 26, 2009

Defense With the BoomStick

Hey folks its me, your friend and goto guy when it comes to zombies Brandon. So how goes it out there in the world? Not too bad for me except for the whole undead thing but hey, keep your chin up-things could be worse right? Not too much least nothing noteworthy so I am gonna go right into the tip for this week. Today I am gonna talk about fortifying a house in a hurry and what are the steps to take to get it protected quickly. First off, you have to board up all the windows on the first floor as much as you can outside and inside; double the wall of protection. Then the doors all need to be boarded up as well, but make sure you leave yourself an escape route and make sure to keep your on-the-run pack right next to that escape so it is all right there. At night don't use any lights whatsoever as that will draw them to you. If there is a second floor to the house make that your main base of operations and move everything you need up there and then destroy the stairs, because zombies can't climb them. If you are in a hurry just nail down flat boards on the stairs making it a slide and then if zombies do break in you can kill them in an orderly and safe manner. If by chance the water is still working (which I doubt now) check it and then fill the bath tub so you have drinking water. There you have it, as these are the first few steps to take when first getting a house to a defendable and survivable place. So now I feel like talking about what’s been going on around my little slice of heaven. Not too much. Still have that family living here with me, as well as a few new people have showed up and I allowed them to enter. Things around here are running smoother now with few more people and lot less work for me...I love it. Have heard that a new safe zone in Ontario opened up actually so if you are in the Canadian area go check it out. They have signs that direct you there or places that do sweeps of for people. I am gonna get off the air now cause its time for me to eat and these people know how to cook. So remember to keep fighting, keep surviving and keep on helping us win this war. Till next time this is Brandon, hoping to catch you later.

Celebrate the Star Wars Decade

The impact of Star Wars on comics (and vice versa) is impossible to ignore. That impossibility leads to an inevitability that there will be Star Wars features at NY Comic Con. And luckily, this year's con occurs ten years after The Phantom Menace was released rekindling the fervent passion for the sci-fi spaghetti western. It would only take seeing that movie to realize that we had all made a huge mistake and George Lucas was a greedy bastard who had no problem milking his own franchise for as much money as possible...but that's a whole other post. According to Medium at Large, on Saturday, February 7, at the IGN theater at NY Comic Con there will be a panel from 1-2 PM featuring Steve Sansweet and some "famous-maybe infamous-guests" to look back at the past decade of the Star Wars brand. The explosive rebirth of the brand is truly astounding and does merit a closer look. There will be a sneak peak from Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the chance for attendees to influence a future project. Could the infamous guest be Billy Dee Williams, aka Lando Calrissian? That's what my money is on. It should be a great panel, so check it out if you're so inclined. Oh, and it's not a trap. Celebrate the Star Wars Decade

Marvel turns 70

I wasn't around for Timely Comics. You could say it was before my time even (zing!). But I know that what Timely became was Marvel Comics, which is the gorilla in the comic book industry that everyone is trying to dethrone. They currently boast a killer lineup of writers and artists, Stan "The Man" Lee and a friendship with the new President of the United States (Spider-Man does at least). All worthwhile reasons for celebrating their 70th birthday. Marvel has set up a Marvel website that looks at their 70 years. It includes (and will include) details on special commemorative releases to special collections. Word has it that there will even be an awesome variant cover of Captain America #46 by Marko Djurdjevic. There will most likely be tons of other memorabilia to take a gander at that's Marvel as well, so the site is the definitive source for all things seventy year old Marvel. Marvel Seventy Years

The Green Hornet is dead (maybe)

I can't write this and claim to be devastated. Not because I hated The Green Hornet or anything (don't get me wrong...I respect the material), but because I just don't know that much about the series. I know that Bruce Lee was on the TV show which is pretty awesome. And I know it started as a radio show. But other than that, I've got nothing. I do know that Seth Rogen was recently attached to a modern day adaptation of the source material, but that might not be the case anymore. According to HitFix, word is that Stephen Chow is no longer attached to the film. Chow was set to direct the Rogen written screenplay, but sources at Sony are saying that's not the case anymore. See, they were a little nervous when Chow repeatedly switched commitment back and forth repeatedly. And now that it seems he's unattached altogether Sony really isn't feeling it anymore. Now there is no definitive word that the film is dead, but the talk at Sundance is that it definitely won't be filmed in 2009. Like I said before, its not that I'm exactly heartbroken over this. I was intrigued to check out the film, but not necessarily dying to see it. It'll be interesting to see what happens, but I get the sense that Sony is getting a little nervous with the economy and all and are possibly looking at those franchises that they know will make more money. Which is kind of sad, because we miss out on properties that could make an awesome movie such as Green Hornet. The Green Hornet is dead (maybe)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I like Stephen King. I always have. I think the man doesn’t get enough credit. That is not to say that he doesn’t get tons of publicity- I mean the guy writes like a fiend! What does he crank two, three novels a year? And I don’t mean tiny 150 page novels. For example, you haven’t truly experienced the man’s prolificness until you’ve taken a crack at reading his aptly named Insomnia. Not exactly in the “light reading” department. Good book though. What I mean when I say the man doesn’t get enough credit is that I think he’s isn’t just a good horror writer- he’s a good writer, period. I mean sure, when you think of horror, you think of Stephen King and not a lot of others. Anne Rice maybe…and despite numerous very, very bad movies, Clive Barker is underrated (I’m a big fan of The Great and Secret Show, and I hear Weaveworld is captivating- neither adapted to film that I know of). But King has this knack for putting into words those subtleties that run through your mind or play out in relationships that aren’t easily verbalized. The way people think, to themselves, their most private thoughts, no matter how abstract they are. Not only that? I think he gets what’s scary. For example, scary isn’t just the big, bad monster lurking in your closet. Scary is that even though you’re an adult, when you encounter something truly bizarre and frightening, you don’t have any idea what to do. Even though as children we idolize adults and feel like they’ll have the answers to anything that comes along, most adults face the grim reality that there are plenty of situations where you really don’t know what to do anymore than you did when you were a kid. King has this way of taking you back there. The settings, for starters- big, empty hotels (The Shining) and airports (The Langoliers- weird reference, but good story), places where you felt overwhelmed, as a child, without your parents’ guidance. And then of course, you throw the obligatory childhood fear in- evil clown (It), big, angry neighborhood dog (Cujo), PUBERTY (Carrie)…you get the picture. So okay, yeah, he’s scary. But even beyond that- I respect the guy’s opinion! I’ve seen and read numerous interviews with the man and I always think the guy is astute and well-spoken. I saw him give a graduation speech (can’t remember where) at a university once on TV. He did the whole thing from the perspective of “a hundred years from now, you’ll all be dead.” But the message was along the lines of “What are you going to do with your time?” It was inspiring, and terrifying, all at once. He ended with a comment to the effect of “What did you expect? You picked the scary guy for your graduation.” Everybody laughed. Okay, I’ve said enough. So I like King. The real point is this- Marvel had been adapting Dark Tower to comic book form, and I’ve been psyched to be reading it. What is Dark Tower? Very good question…although I almost have no idea where to begin telling you the answer. I think D.T. is the greatest series King has ever written. It’s seven books, extremely lengthy. And it is Epic, with a capitol “E”. D.T. is kind of like Stephen King does fantasy-western…if you could even say such a genre exists. So cowboys and Indians but all horror-fantasy style. But you know? That’s just one aspect of the whole thing. It defies description. I will say this. My favorite part of reading the series is that King wrote the novels over something like thirty years. He wrote the first book, "The Gunslinger," before he even became well established, in the seventies. There was something like a ten year gap in the nineties after he got done with the third book, "Wastelands." The fourth, "Wizard and Glass," didn’t come out until the beginning of this decade. It was one of the longest waits of my life. So the cool bit is this- you literally can see the man’s style, as an author, change over time as you read these books. The first book is truly bizarre (although still, possibly, my favorite), and whenever I try to introduce it to my friends, I warn them that they have to kind of stick with it, make it to the second novel, to really start digging the series. But the real appeal for Dark Tower fans is that it is intimately, and intricately, tied into almost everything the man has written. I mean, EVERYTHING. There are websites devoted to cataloging and analyzing every reference to other King novel’s tucked away in the series. In a sense, Dark Tower is almost, kind of giving you a glimpse at the big picture of the Stephen-King-verse. Of course, these reference start off titillating- people who have read The Stand and Needful Things will be freaked out to see the primary antagonist of both books, Randall Flagg, make appearances. There’s a mention of a tower guardian that assumes the form of what you fear most (It?). Sutff like that. Okay, I’m either going to ruin one of the coolest twists in the series for you or stimulate your interest enough to get you to go read it. Possibly both. But if you aren’t into spoilers, don’t read this next the next paragraph. Around book five, "Wolves of the Calla," the heroes end up fighting a bunch of vampires. The vampires are strikingly similar to a group of vampires who appear in the novel Salem’s Lot. In fact, one of the group’s new allies IS a character who appeared IN that novel- only he met his grisly end. How he now exists, in this kind of fantasy landscape, is baffling to you, the reader, if you have knowledge of the book. THEN, the characters find a copy of the novel Salem’s Lot written by Stephen King. And they read it. That’s all I’m going to say. My point in writing all of this is not to veer away from the comics Marvel has been producing. The comics kind of “fill out” some pieces of the story that are written in the novels, or follow the story here and there. But the thing is, you can’t really appreciate just how cool these comics are if you haven’t at least taken a pass at reading this series. I want to see Marvel keep making these- but if you’re just going to pull one off the rack with no sense of what’s happening, you’ll probably struggle to really appreciate what a good job the books do at capturing the sort of…spaghetti-western-surrealness of the series. My point is that it isn’t just any other comic book- research a little bit and you’ll see the series from a different angle. If I haven’t sold you by now, probably nothing will. But I’ll leave you with the first line of the first novel, which sucked me in as a kid- “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”

2008 Wizard Fan Awards

Fans are the cornerstone of any media being successful. Where would comic writers and artists be without the crush of fans at conventions? Wizard is giving fans a chance to have a say in voting for their favorites in the world of comics in 2008. The 2008 Wizard Fan Awards are open to balloting over at Wizard. Its simple enough to vote, just submit your name and email address and you votes for the winners. Categories include favorite writer, favorite artist, favorite movie and favorite hero just to name a few. The voting is open until Monday, February 16, so you've got some time to get your votes in. 2008 Wizard Fan Awards

Platinum Grit hitting the books

I know we're living in a digital age and all, but I'm still torn on the whole webcomic phenomenon. Yeah its a natural progression for comics, and yeah, it is pretty cool to be able to read a comic virtually. But are they really called comic "books" anymore if they're not really printed? Quite the dilemma indeed. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, you have to be excited when a traditional webcomic jumps the divide and goes to print. A webcomic such as Platinum Grit. For those not in the know, Platinum Grit is a webcomic published by Shadowline that features Nils and Jeremy taking on the Zodiac. Mix in Jer's insane Scottish relatives, a 1940s private dick and two sets of alien matchmakers and you have the perfect recipe for a crazy sci-fi romp. The series is written by Trudy Cooper and Danny Murphy, with Cooper pulling double duties with illustrating. Platinum Grit Vol. 1 features the first five issues of the series and will be in stores March 11 as a 184-page B&W trade paperback for $14.99. Full press release below.
Illustrator/writer Trudy Cooper and co-writer Danny Murphy release their hilarious sci-fi web comic through Shadowline! 22 January 2009 (Berkeley, CA) - For years, web comics fans the world over have thrilled to Trudy Cooper and Danny Murphy's science fiction romp, PLATINUM GRIT, and now Image Comics' Shadowline brings it to print! "PLATINUM GRIT being published by Shadowline is a dream come true for me," Shadowline Editor Kristen Simon said. "I've been a fan of the web comic for many years now and was thrilled when we were able to bring it over to Shadowline’s website as well. Publisher Jim Valentino enjoyed it so much he agreed we needed to print the collections! Fellow fans of PLATINUM GRIT are going to be very happy with this edition." PLATINUM GRIT VOL. 1 collects the first five chapters of the hit web comics series, in which the fearless Nils and the timid-but-still-surprisingly-together Jeremy take on the Zodiac (they win), Jer's insane Scottish relatives (they sort of win) a 1940s private dick (they draw when poor light stops play) and two sets of alien matchmakers (they... almost). PLATINUM GRIT VOL. 1 (JAN092411), a 184-page B&W tradepaperback for $14.99, will be in-stores March 11th, 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

The Dark Knight back in IMAX

Today is a great day for one reason. The Dark Knight is back in theaters. And by theaters I also include IMAX. There is a link to the IMAX website that will tell you which theaters the film be rereleased in. And on a sidenote, Heath Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Good news about the film all around. Full press release below. Not that you need it or anything. IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that the box office smash hit The Dark Knight, which has grossed more than $997 million at the worldwide box office since its release on July 18th, 2008, will return to IMAX® theatres for an encore presentation. Starting January 23rd, the film will open in 143 IMAX screens domestically, and 29 screens internationally. Last year the film opened day and date in 94 domestic and 15 international IMAX theatres and went on to become the highest grossing live-action Hollywood IMAX release, generating $63 million as it continued to be released throughout the IMAX network. The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience features six sequences filmed with IMAX cameras, which marks the first time ever that a major feature film has been even partially shot using IMAX cameras. "The Dark Knight is a crowning achievement in every sense of the word," said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We want to provide one more opportunity for moviegoers to experience it on the big screen as it was meant to be seen. We're also very excited to give more fans in new markets an opportunity to experience the film in this special way, thanks to the continued rapid growth of the IMAX theatre network." "As audiences discovered over the summer, The Dark Knight is not only a phenomenal film, but an extraordinarily unique experience in IMAX," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "With the multitude of accolades it has received this season, we wanted to bring this amazing film back to theaters to give audiences another chance to see it on the big screen and in the expanded IMAX locations around the globe." "We are grateful to Chris Nolan and Warner Bros Pictures for incorporating IMAX into such a wonderful cinematic masterpiece, and we're honored to bring it back to our theatres," said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. "The anticipation surrounding the initial IMAX release reached beyond the markets where we had IMAX theatres and we're delighted that moviegoers in many of those markets will now have the chance to Experience it in IMAX." One of the most celebrated and successful films of this or any year, The Dark Knight has been hailed by both critics and audiences since its original release last July. The film garnered widespread acclaim for its artistic and technical achievements, culminating with the film being named on more than 150 critics' lists of the year's top-ten films. In addition, the filmmakers behind The Dark Knight have been honored by their peers, with Christopher Nolan receiving a Directors Guild of America Award nomination; producers Nolan, Charles Roven and Emma Thomas garnering a Producers Guild Award nomination; and a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay going to Chris Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer. Cast member Heath Ledger received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, and has also won a Golden Globe, Critics' Choice Award and numerous other critics groups' awards for Best Supporting Actor. The Dark Knight also won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Action Film, and swept the People's Choice Awards in five categories, including Favorite Movie and Favorite Cast. The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience is scheduled to play at the following locations starting on January 23rd. The Dark Knight IMAX locations

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gotham City Dossiers: Mam Tor Publishing

Event Horizon was a movie that honestly scared the bejeesus out of me. It was completely twisted and demented, and definitely ranks as one of the goriest and most chilling space sci-fi movies ever made. This week's dossier takes a look at Mam Tor Publishing that lists among its works a book with a similar name, but not quite the same amount of gore and violence. The company itself is dedicated to producing creator driven works that might not ordinarily find a home on the bookshelf - their being too niche, radical or unquantifiable - despite the evident quality and commitment they display. The publisher tries not to be so much a commercial venture, but rather a spot for subcultural, underground, science fiction, horror or fantasy artists. There are no fees for the work produced, nor are there the usual editorial restrictions. Event Horizon (the Mam Tor Publishing) version combines multiple talents from the comic book industry including Steve Niles, Liam Sharp, Brian Holguin, Ashley Wood, Kev Crossley, Ali Pow3rs, Dave Kendall, Emma Simcock-Tooth, Alan Grant, Greg Staples and Simon Bisley just to name a few. The work has been described as "more like an incantation than a narrative, a kaleidoscope than a point of view, a sequence of images than portrait of anything, the succession of words and pictures on the following pages combine to create a mosaic that you must put together yourself. No post-modernism needed here, the world ahead is pre-deconstructed." Definitely not the "Sam Neill is evil kill everyone" vibe you get from the movie. Another book that the publisher puts out is St. Cyborg's, a book featuring an educational institution where you can get in trouble for texting your friends during class. And field trips include trips on alternate timelines with alternate histories. The book is a collection of thirteen shots featuring alien teachers, pregnant superheroines, a caretaker who runs an after-school chain-gang for miscreants and the scariest petshop in the world just to name a few features.\ A seemingly more upbeat work is called Life is humiliation. What's so humiliating about it? Well, the main character features the man with a hole in his head, Dave the nosferatu escargot, and more weird characters than you can shake a stick at. Maybe upbeat is the wrong word. Perhaps eclectic is a better description. So there you have it. Something for fans of the less traditional sci-fi fare that are looking to see some truly innovative works. Check out at least one of the books if you can find them (they're UK based), and be one of the first to brag to your friends about how you read these books before the company got big. Mam Tor Publishing

Marvel offers Mickey Rourke $250,000 for Iron Man 2

Possibly bad news from Variety that may slam the door shut on Samuel L. Jackson returning as Nick Fury. Word is that studios are getting rather stingy with the actor paychecks, and one of those studios happen to be Marvel: "Then there is comeback kid Mickey Rourke, who is poised to follow his Golden Globe-winning performance in "The Wrestler" with an offer to play the main villain in "Iron Man 2" — but at a lowball opening offer of $250,000 from Marvel; Marvel’s tactics have already prompted Samuel L. Jackson to swear off playing Nick Fury because of a similarly low offer." Yipes. Mickey Rourke won a Golden Globe for his stellar work in The Wrestler (which I HIGHLY recommend watching if you've ever been a fan of wrestling) and he did play a role in Sin City as the bruising Marv and is lined up to do a sequel in Sin City 2. So he's got the acting chops and the comic affection to play the role of Crimson Dynamo in Iron Man 2. What I don't get is why Marvel feels they don't have to pay him. My worry is that Marvel is starting to get somewhat of an ego. They're probably the top publisher on the market right now, and with their movie studio gaining some momentum they know they'll be rolling some dough in the near future. But that's reason enough to pay your actors. Its looking more and more likely that Jackson won't be returning as Nick Fury because of money, and if Marvel thinks they can just keep replacing actors in their films they are sorely mistaken. Maybe I speak for just me, but I like to see continuity in terms of actors playing the roles of Marvel characters. I mean, the company is preaching continuity in its films, so why not pay for the continuity as far as actors go. Marvel offers Mickey Rourke $250,000 for Iron Man 2

Preview: Prototype #1

In what is another example of pop culture worlds colliding, WildStorm Comics has announced that Prototype #1 (of 6) will be hitting stores April 1. The book will be tied to the upcoming video game by Activision (now you see the worlds colliding part) and should set you back $3.99 each. Now the descriptive story part. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray take readers along for the ride with New York homicide detectives as they track a serial killer. This all happens against a backdrop of human extinction and monstrous evolution (as if there weren't already enough problems in the world). Darick Robertson provides the visuals and you can pick up the first issue on April 1. Preview: Prototype #1

Ten Years of Dr. Manhattan

When it comes to marketing, you just know that an epic film such as Watchmen is going to be loaded with a variety of different advertising strategies. Posters, commercials, interviews, etc. But don't think Warner Brothers don't know what viral videos are, as they've currently got the below up looking at ten years of Dr. Manhattan. The newscast is set in 1970 and anchored by none other than Ted Phillips, with Jim Sizemore doing the piece. Take a gander. Dr. Manhattan has made a mark on history when it comes to his character. One of the only "true" superheroes in Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan has just about every power imaginable. And his scene on Mars with Silk Spectre is pretty damn close to being one of the most mind-blowing things I've ever read. Partly attributed to Alan Moore's phenomenal writing, but also because of the character himself. Now that that pesky lawsuit is settled, I can focus on actually getting a ticket for the IMAX showing of this film. Because honestly, its going to be off the chains.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

The Hidden "S" looks at The Influence of Poe on the Comics... Edgar Allan Poe was born 200 years ago on January 19th, 1809. This bicentennial seems the appropriate time to explore some of Poe's appearances within the framework of the modern comic book. Poe’s influence on comics is an interesting notion and few authors of American literature have had as great an impact on comics as EAP. If Poe was not the inventor of the short story, he was definitely a real innovator and popularizer of this form. It may be argued that the comic form follows some of the ideas in the classical short story (telling a narrative in an economic and compact format). Obviously, any number of superheroes such as Batman, Elongated Man and Rorschach have been portrayed as detectives of one sort or another. Poe has had a fairly long history in the comics. Most notably, his comics have been adapted many times by such comic publishing staples like Classics Illustrated. Poe has also been well-represented in horror comics. The Poe Superhero comics connection is present in a very obvious way with the 2003 Else-worlds miniseries Batman: Nevermore where a 19th century Batman teams up with Poe. The plot is a typical one involving the Dark Knight’s investigation of a series of murders in Baltimore which the public thinks he may be involved with. Poe (a young reporter) is enlisted by Batman to help investigate the situation. Writer Les Wein inserts various themes and characters from Poe within the context of the story and artist Guy Davis recalibrates Batman’s costume slightly so that it has an appropriately 19th century “feeling.” Author Wein attempted to write in a style similar to the Gothic prose of Poe (a respectable effort). Another Batman association is in the Batman: Confidential series where the Caped Crusader's "Bat-Computer" is nicknamed "Dupin," in honor of the fictional super-detective created by Poe. Poe certainly created the modern fictional genius detective figure with C. Auguste Dupin. This character-a sophisticated Bohemian-was featured in stories by Poe, including "The Purloined Letter" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Dupin as a character also makes an appearance in the O'Neill/Moore series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He is in the first two issues assisting in bringing Mr. Hyde to justice during a rampage through Paris (Poe's character sadly was eliminated from the film). The literary Dupin has some archetypal qualities that resemble superhero type characters, as evidenced by some elements of Dupin in the sly, sophisticated John Constantine character. DC had an interesting Poe related graphic novel that was published in 2002 titled In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe. The graphic novel was visually memorable with its use of photographic techniques and offbeat narrative. The work concerned a fictional account of a scholar’s investigation into Poe’s secret diary. The conceit of the work was that Poe might possibly have been influenced by supernatural rather than emotional demons in the creation of his work. Poe's profile has been elevated of late and he even has had a recently released US postage stamp in his honor. Perhaps it is time to revisit Poe's work in comic form. How about an Else-worlds type crossover with Poe and John Constantine. Or Poe and Zatana?

Spider-Man 4 set to film in 2010

Everyone knows that Sony is going to try and get as much as possible out of the Spider-Man movie franchise. I mean, come on; its a cash cow. The quality of the films peaked with Spider-Man 2 and slipped a bit with Spider-Man 3, but despite that the trilogy is still some of the best comic book movies ever made. A big part of what made the trilogy great was the spot-on characters, especially J. Jonah Jameson. The same Jameson (ok, J.K. Simmons) who told MTV Splash Page Spider-Man 4 will be filming in 2010. He also mentioned his take on his character. “We’ve definitely brainstormed ideas for Triple-J, but I have no desire to make Triple-J more of the focus of those movies,” he said. “The amount that I did in 1, 2 and 3, is just exactly right. Like be the wolf. Come in, blow in, do a week, blow out, be the comic relief, and hit the road. And let Tobey and everybody else do the heavy lifting.” Simmons is just an awesome guy. He always takes roles and delivers his lines perfectly, but also knows his role relative to the respective movie as a whole. And he definitely has the cigar chomping, short fused Jameson role down pat. His on-screen time is always a treat, and I'm stoked to see what he's got for us in the fourth film. J. Jonah Jameson talks Spider-Man 4

What's next for Jeph Loeb?

Jeph Loeb is one of the greats in the comic industry these days, so I like to know what zany adventures he's going to get my favorite characters into. Wizard Universe also wants to know, and have sat down with Mr. Loeb himself to talk about some of his plans for the year. Its widely known that Ultimatum will have a big impact on the Ultimate Marvel Universe as we know it, but Loeb is working on some other stuff as well. He's continuing his go at the Hulk, offering fans a treat alongside Ed McGuiness. "Ed McGuinness returns for a three-part arc featuring the Original Defenders, and I do mean original Hulk, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer and Namor. It will also be the first appearance of The Offenders, featuring The Red Hulk, Baron Mordo, Terrax and Tiger Shark." Hmm. No mention of Red Hulk there...wait. Here it is. "You already know it if you've been paying attention!" Loeb posits. "If not, there's something very...special headed your way in 2009 and it has something to do with the number 600." Loeb is also planning to continue his work with Tim Sale on Captain America: White as well. It seems that Loeb has a lot of stuff in store for fans this year, and he's definitely a writer worth reading. I'm really excited for his stuff in Ultimatum. The Ultimate Marvel Universe is such a unique take on existing characters that it kind of gives the writer free reign to take those characters wherever they want to take them. And I like that. Wizard has a slew of other "What's nexts?" showcasing other talents in the comic book world, so head on over and take a gander to see what's in store from your favorite artists or writers. What's next for Jeph Loeb?

Top Cow Solicitations: April 2009

Never too soon to look two months ahead now is it? Top Cow has posted their solicitations for April of this year, and there are some tasty looking choices up there. Like what you ask? Let's delve in a bit deeper with Pop Culture Zoo shall we? Witchblade #126 continues to the War of the Witchblades, where the rift between wielders Sara Pezzini and Dani Baptiste deepens into all-out hostility. Meanwhile, the mysterious manipulator who has been pulling the strings in Sara and Dani’s lives finally reveals himself, and chaos follows in his wake. Another great book from the Witchblade universe is Broken Trinity: Aftermath. The quest for the 13 artifacts in the Top Cow Universe continues as Michael Finnegan wrestles with the power of the Glacier Stone, and his first test might be saving Darkness wielder Jackie Estacado from himself. Meanwhile Glorianna Silver suffers from her banishment at the hands of The Angelus, and in order to survive, she will have to embrace the power of the Ember Stone and the destiny it has for her. What about the non-Witchblade fans? Well, there's Impaler #4, Pilot Season 2008 Vol. 2 Trade Paperback and Jingle Belle: Santa Claus Vs. Frankenstein Signed, which while slightly out of season is still signed. So there are definitely some Top Cow books you should have on your list in April (and other months in the year), while keeping in mind that all Top Cow comics are going to be $2.99 this year as part of their comic book stimulus plan. Top Cow Solicitations: April 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Arrivals: January 21, 2009

The holidays are pretty much behind us, and now we have the remainder of the year to look forward to. A part of the year I'm really looking forward to is a new book by Brian Michael Bendis (who else) called Dark Avengers #1. The Dark Reign is here and its the start of an explosive new era in the Avengers mythos. Questions will be answered, such as who the Dark Avengers are and who is the Iron Patriot. Mike Deodato, Jr. provides the artistic interpretations of the words, and its a book I'd definitely recommend. This book comes doubly approved, as Defense With the BoomStick selected it as his pick of the week as well. Enjoy! New Arrivals: January 21, 2009