The creator of Dinosaur Comics is a wise man

February 4, 2011 by

Newsarama recently interviewed Ryan North, author of the hilarious Dinosaur Comics, where he had some pretty interesting things to say about  webcomics, print comics and making money off the web:

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J.G. Jones on Doc Savage, “Dust to Dust” and why he couldn’t finish “Final Crisis”

February 2, 2011 by

Newsarama’s posted up a cool interview with J.G. Jones, where he talks about his upcoming writing gig on Doc Savageand his affinity for the character. He also mentions he’s co-written a graphic novel, Dust to Dust, about a small town plagued by a series of murders during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s (the murderer’s actually using the Dust Bowl to cover his tracks). It’ll be published by DC and J.G. will also be drawing it, so keep your eyes out for that. As a big fan of J.G.’s art in Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia and his cover art for 52 (and yes, I do plan on buying Wanted), I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

J.G. also talks about why he couldn’t finish drawing “Final Crisis.” When he announced he wouldn’t be able to finish the art on the series, I just figured it was because penciling a massive DC Universe crossover was just a bit too much to draw in the time J.G. had to do it in. However, this recent interview from Newsarama reveals that it was actually do to health issues. J.G. was beginning to suffer from the effects of polycythemia vera, a rare blood disease in which your bone marrow creates too many platelets and red blood cells, which leads to other complications, so he had to back away from doing interiors for a while. Thankfully, he’s been getting treatment for the disease and is feeling much better. He’s even getting married soon; congrats, J.G.!

J.G.’s run on Doc Savage begins in April with issue #13. It’ll be drawn by Qing Ping Mui: here’s an example of his art. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with. Here’s to J.G.’s improving health!

Animated movie reviews

January 22, 2011 by

I watched a few animated comic book movies over break (Netflix instant watch, what up), and it’s time for a quick rundown of reviews. Although I might have felt there were some flaws here or there, I mostly came away impressed, particularly as three of my four reviews are from pretty recent films, and there’s certainly been a recent trend to make edgier animated comic movies. As I said when I reviewed Planet Hulk a while back, I think that trend could be a great thing for fans who want to see some of these more adult-aimed stories told, but without having punches pulled for the kiddies.

So read on as I give mini-reviews for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.

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The Dark Knight Rises and X-Men First Class movie news- UPDATED

January 19, 2011 by

The Dark Knight Rises villains… and their actors… have been announced.

First off, Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, occasional love interest to Bruce Wayne, but far better known as the thieving supervillainess Catwoman. Then we have Tom Hardy, a.k.a. Eames from Christopher Nolan’s Inception, who will be playing…

BANE. A.k.a. “The Man Who Broke the Bat.”

Catwoman’s a natural addition to Nolan’s Batman films. She’s a great character and an excellent foil for Bruce Wayne and his pointy-eared alter ego. Like Ra’s Al Ghul, the Joker and Two-Face, she represents a facet of the Dark Knight; she leads a normal life by day and a costumed one at night. She could be the perfect woman for Bruce… if she weren’t a thief.

Bane’s inclusion, on the other hand, comes as a bit of a surprise. Like Catwoman, he does mirror Batman: he’s an intelligent strategist and physically fit, but primarily relies on a drug for his strength, instead of rigorous training. However, Bane is still a fairly recent addition to Batman’s rogues gallery and a bit of a divisive character among fans. And in his last film appearance, he was little more than Poison Ivy’s grunting thug. Then again, all the more reason to redeem him in the new franchise, right? 

I can’t complain with the acting choices too much. Hathaway’s capable of some great acting (loved her in Alice in Wonderland) and Tom Hardy was pretty good in Inception. Sure, it’ll be a shame not to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin or Johnny Depp as the Riddler (I think Riddler would have been a perfect villain the GCPD could use to help them hunt down Batman… before turning on them, of course), but hey, there’s always Batman 4. Angelina Jolie might have been interesting as Catwoman, too, though; she’s certainly got the cat eyes going for her. Still, I think Hathaway can pull Selina Kyle off. 

But hey, there’s X-Men movie news, too! Behold a promo from X-Men First Class: http://blog.newsarama.com/2011/01/18/first-x-men-first-class-image-surfaces-online/

I haven’t been following news on this TOO closely, so this image comes with a few surprises, at least for me. Most of the characters are clad in the classic X-Men blue and gold uniforms, implying that “first class” may be pretty literal. Even Magneto and Professor X (far left and far right) are wearing the blue and gold duds, implying that they’re probably going to be more physically active in the early days of the X-Men than one might expect. Clearly, Magneto and Xavier are on the same side, at this point, and curiously, so is Mystique (not for all long, no doubt!). January Jones’ costume is a clever blend of Emma’s current X-Men costume and the one she wore during her Inner Circle days, while Moira McTaggert’s workman jumpsuit suggests she’s going to be fairly hands-on in helping out the X-Men. I have no idea what Azazel’s doing there, but I hope they make him a much more interesting character than the comic version. Apparently, Beast is the only member of the original five in the X-Men line-up, but we do have Havok in Cyclops’ place and… Angel Salvadore. Seems strange to make such a recent character one of the early X-Men, but it’s actually kind of clever: the original Angel didn’t appear until X3, so why not introduce the other Angel in the prequel? You almost get two founding members that way. 😛

UPDATE: Oh ho, joke’s on me! Apparently that pic wasn’t official, as a few people suggested. so director Matthew Vaughan’s kindly provided us with REAL pictures from the movie, featuring Magneto wearing with his helmet and James McAvoy getting his Xavier on. AintItCoolNews even revealed the teaser poster for the film! Check it all out below:
http://blog.newsarama.com/2011/01/20/x-men-first-class-director-gets-mad-we-get-magneto-in-his-helmet/

So, what do you think of the casting and character choices for The Dark Knight? Or the X-Men: First Class promo? Sound off in the comments!

Marvel’s new EIC…

January 5, 2011 by

is Axel Alonso!

Joe Quesada has rapped up his tenure of just over 10 years as editor-in-chief and become the Chief Creative Officer; his new duties will revolve around TV, movies, and online stuff.

Alonso has been an editor for more than 10 years with Marvel, most notably on Spidey and X-Men titles — meaning he’s already had a hand in Marvel’s biggest cash cows.

Other than that, I really know shit about him, and it’s not like Marvel’s press release (linked at top) is too helpful. But I do wish him the best, and applaud the company’s progressive choice in naming someone named Axel to its top editorial job, given the up-and-down past of people named Axel in creative fields.

Fables, you’re still the one

December 12, 2010 by

 

Joao Ruas has maintained the high quality of cover art James Jean established for Fables.

Longtime readers may recall a short post I did a couple years back, called PROJECT: FABLES. That little ditty recounted my experience of catching up on Bill Willingham’s acclaimed series by reading the first 73 issues of Fables, all in rapid succession (during a surprisingly invigorating week without TV or Internet). Among the heaps of praise I threw upon the book, I called it the greatest run I’ve ever read in comics.

Two and a half years later, Fables #100 came out Wednesday. It was less of a comic book and more of an event: a 100-page, prestige-format issue befitting of the milestone and featuring, as its main story, the climactic duel between Bellflower/Frau Totenkinder and Mister Dark.

The story lived up to expectations, and the issue included a number of well-done backup features. There was an entry where “The ‘Hams” (as Spiffy once nicknamed them) switched roles, with regular artist Mark Buckingham writing a short story with series writer/creator Bill Willingham providing illustrations. Toward the back, there was a weird “create-your-own puppet theater” thing, followed by the introduction of a Fables board game (DC also issued a Fables poster of the game on a larger scale). My favorite feature, though, was a section where four celebrity readers wrote in questions, which Willingham answered with short stories drawn by various artists. There was one by Phil Lamarr (Mad TV, Pulp Fiction, various voice acting), Eddie Cahill (Miracle, CSI: New York and other things, but I still recognized him as Tag, the young assistant Rachel dated for a while on Friends), and Michael McMillian (whom I didn’t actually recognize at all, but apparently he’s been in True Blood, What I Like About You, and a brief role in Firefly). But the coolest/best one, both in the celeb’s question and the questioner’s identity, was Cobie Smulders, the super hottie who plays Robin Scherbatsky in How I Met Your Mother. Being funny and attractive is great enough, but she’s into comics?! Between this revelation and her spread in Maxim this month, the already smoldering Smulders has never been hotter. (Plus she’s apparently studying to be a marine biologist, so she has a brain, too. Wow.)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Fables. Since I declared the book my all-time favorite in PROJECT: FABLES, I have launched into a quest to read as many of the great classic runs in comic book history as I can. Progress has been slow overall, but rewarding nonetheless. But while I’ve read a couple runs that are surely the equal of Willingham’s run here, I don’t think I can definitively say that anything is better, yet. After 100 issues, the book is still going strong. The characters are still fresh, and you can tell Willingham still has a lot of stories left in him. 100 issues is already an epic run in today’s comic world, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doubled it before finishing.

So let me salute Fables on its milestone issue, say thank you from a grateful fan, and wish for many more of its entertaining stories in the future.

My Most Painful Sports Losses Ever

October 14, 2010 by

My Atlanta Braves offseason post helped me greatly in recovering from the Braves’ gut-wrenching NLDS defeat. As much of a cliche as the phrase is, every sports fan at some point takes comfort in the saying, “There’s always next year.” In sports, as in life, some small part of us always tries to maintain the hope that a brighter tomorrow is just ahead. Perhaps sometimes it’s delusional, but it’s also one of the best traits of the human spirit.

Yet there are some defeats that feel particularly agonizing, some losses that are nearly soul-crushing and leave us temporarily unable to take comfort in those old cliches. So now, before I allow myself to close the book on my latest chapter of sporting letdowns, I’m going to revisit some of those losses that hurt the most when they occurred, and linger the most now.

This will not be fun.

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Atlanta Braves: Offseason Outlook

October 12, 2010 by

The Braves just went through one of the most painful playoff series losses I’ve seen in quite some time as an Atlanta fan, losing three games by a combined three runs, with all three losses coming with some umpire/player/managerial controversy.

But what’s done is done, and as frustrating as it was to lose such a winnable series, Atlanta still had an impressive season. The Braves led their division for about 2/3 of the season, despite it being fairly clear to everyone that they weren’t the best team. They also had truly horrid luck with injuries, having to replace two major everyday starters, 40% of their pitching rotation, and two of their top four bullpen options, with their closer also going down at the end. Added on to that were some attitude problems and woeful underperforming issues that led the Braves to replace three more starters, at shortstop, first base, and center field. The result was the Braves only had three Opening Day starters in their playoff lineup: Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, and Matt Diaz — and Diaz was among the woefully underperformed group but was deemed less mediocre than Melky Cabrera. They also got very little from Jair Jurrjens, who had posted the third-best ERA among NL starters in 2009 but was never 100% this year, and it showed in his performance and lack of inclusion on the postseason roster.

Yet in spite of all this, Atlanta clawed its way into the playoffs. The Braves have a lot of positives to take away from 2010, despite the disappointing end. The task now becomes how to build for 2011 and beyond. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the options and choices facing Atlanta this offseason.

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Emma Stone is…..

October 6, 2010 by

Mary Jane!  Gwen Stacy!

The Spider-Man reboot gets better and better. First, it’s Marc Webb in as director, who showed in (500) Days of Summer he can make AWESOME movies, and more impressively, one that’s a romantic comedy, which should help with Parker/Mary Jane/high school hijynx.

Then, it’s Andrew Garfield (Red Riding Trilogy, The Social Network) as Spider-Man, who by all accounts is an actor on the rise capable of an Oscar statue.

Now, while rumors were that Emma Stone was going to be penned in as Mary Jane, which judging by the picture, would’ve been perfect, she’s actually been tabbed as Gwen Stacy! Apparently Emma’s a natural blonde, too. And whatever, I don’t care who she plays, I just LOVE that she’s involved in this. I’m a huge Emma Stone fan.  She’s beautiful, she has starpower as seen in Easy A, she’s funny charismatic, perfect. She was a great love interest in Superbad, super foxy and funny in Zombieland (one of the best comedies of the past decade) and completely charming in Easy A. She’ll do great opposite Spidey.

Baseball Playoff Predictions

October 5, 2010 by

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

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