Archive for April, 2008

Eight To Anticipate In July

April 30, 2008

I’m running about a week late with my latest monthly look at upcoming direct market releases, so let’s get to it. Last week the May edition of the Previews catalog came out and here are eight titles that I’m looking forward to checking out come July — plus an action figure thrown in for good measure…

Captain America: White #0 (Marvel) — Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the Eisner award winning team (DAREDEVIL: YELLOW, SPIDER-MAN: BLUE, HULK: GRAY, Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman For All Seasons, Television’s HEROES) return to Marvel and their prestigious “color” book series. CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE is their newest creation, peeling back an untold tale of Captain America and Bucky during World War II. Their unique combination of in-depth characters and high stakes action shines here with Cap’s deadliest mission of all. Marvel is proud to bring you Captain America: #0 this summer as a taste of what’s to come. Featuring an all new full story about the Origin of Bucky Barnes and how he came into Cap’s life, this special edition features a cover gallery, sketchbook, script samples, and an interview with the creators. They are happy to be back at Marvel and we’re thrilled to have them! Plus, the whole story seen in black-and-white.

Two words — “Loeb” and “Sale” — are enough to bring me on board. I dig that cover!

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1 (DC Comics) — Welcome to the brand-new, all-fun adventures of Billy Batson as the World’s Mightiest Mortal — Captain Marvel, from acclaimed writer/artist Mike Kunkel (Herobear)! Thanks to a magical rift created when Captain Marvel battled Mr. Mind’s monsters, 14-year-old Theo Adam has been returned to Earth from banishment. For Theo, there’s just one problem: He can’t remember the magic word that gives him the powers of Black Adam. There’s only one solution: follow Captain Marvel and get the word out of his alter ego, 11-year-old Billy Batson.

Any book by Mike Kunkle I am going to check out. I fell in love with his Herobear, and I can’t wait to see where he takes Billy Batson and Captain Marvel.

Frank Frazetta’s Creatures #1 (Image Comics) — Acclaimed writer RICK REMENDER (The Atom, The Punisher War Journal, Fear Agent) spins the untold adventures of Teddy Roosevelt, Rough Rider, President of the United States and paranormal investigator as he uncovers a plot concocted by a band of nefarious aliens in cahoots with a malevolent ancient Mayan demon to eradicate humanity and claim Earth for their own purposes. A merging of The X-Files, Ghostbusters, and Indiana Jones, Creatures promises high-adventure starting one of America’s greatest heroes of the early twentieth century brought to glorious four-color life by Swedish superstar PETER BERGTING.

I believe Remender is trying to jockey for the title of the “hardest working man in the comic book business.” It’s not always easy to keep on top of what Rick is coming out with, but it’s worth it. The idea of Teddy Roosevelt battling the paranormal — I dig it. (I got some ideas of my own regarding mysterious adventures of Ben Franklin inf anybody is interested.)

I Kill Giants (Image Comics) — Barbara Thorson is your new hero: A quick-witted, sharp-tongued fifth grader who isn’t afraid of anything. Why would she be..? After all, she’s the only girl in school who carries a Norse war hammer in her purse and kills giants for a living… At least, that’s what she’ll tell you…but where does the fantasy end and reality begin in the heart of this troubled girl? And what if she’s telling the truth? Brought to life with unexpected tenderness by JOE KELLY (Supergirl, Action Comics, Deadpool) and breakout talent J. M. KEN NIIMURA, I KILL GIANTS is the bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her carefully constructed world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this title intrigues me, but from the few preview pages that I’ve read, and the tone that I’m picking up on in the solicitation copy, I’m going to check it out.

Dugout (AIT/Planetlar) — It’s action on the field and off as two great American pastimes collide in a new graphic novel by the team of Adam Beechen and Manny Bello (HENCH)! It’s 1960, and the only thing that can save in-debt manager Cookie Palisetti and his sinking pro baseball team is getting his star pitcher out of prison. When the courts won’t show mercy, Cookie plans an exhibition game against the prison team — as cover for the wildest, most unlikely jailbreak ever!

I dig baseball, and I dig comic books. Someday I’m going to hopefully write an entertaining baseball-themed comic book of my own. (Any artists out there itching to do a baseball story?) Until then, I’m going to be checking out titles like Dugout.

The Transformers: All Hail Megatron (IDW Publishing) — The Decepticons have won, the Autobots are defeated, and the time for conquest is at hand! Or is it? This all-new series picks up one year after the Revelations saga, and finds the Decepticons alone and triumphant on Earth, with not an Autobot in sight. With no one to stand in their way, how will the planet survive? And what of the missing Autobots?

I was there from the beginning of IDW’s current Transformers run — the Infiltration, the Escalation, the Devastation… I know writer Shane McCarthy has been brewing this tale for awhile, and artist Guido Guidi is amazing with the pages that he produces. This should be epic.

Jesse James Vs Machine Gun Kelly: Dust 2 Dust (One-Shot) (Moonstone) — A Moonstone Wild West Event. “Dust 2 Dust.” Jesse James has survived an assassin’s bullet and the long arm of the law. Now a deranged man of the cloth, people are paying attention to his fervent fire and brimstone! Born under a bad sign, outlaw Machine Gun Kelly steamrolls into town, a scorched earth in his wake, and he’s ready to slash and burn for kicks. The incendiary-thermite of two psychopaths in one small town only lights the fuse to an explosive conflagration… and one blazing holy war, where there are no laws, just Old Testament fiery curses. See who’s not roasting when the dust clears!

If you’re going to do a one-shot, what better way than to pack it with two gun-totting icons like Jesse James and Machine Gun Kelly? I’m looking forward to seeing how friend Michael May, along with Alex Ness, and Joel Vallmer pull it off.

Apocalipstix, Vol. 1 (Oni Press) — Mandy, Megumi, and Dot were on track to be one of the greatest rock bands in the history of mankind and then… Armageddon happened! Well, with a name like “The Apocalipstix,” you know these girls aren’t going to let a Doomsday get in the way of their world tour! The trio are heading for whatever clubs and bars are left standing and no pirate, mutant, or environmental collapse is going to get in the way of their next gig!

First off, any clever “punny” title will get my attention. Throw in apocalyptic elements and sassy n’ sexy heroines drawn by Cameron Stewart and it’s a no-brainer, I’m picking the title up. This looks like a megaton bomb of fun.

Night of the Living Dead Mego-Style Zombie Action Figure (Emce Toys) — The first zombie from Romero’s classic comes to life (sort of) in this fully poseable 8″ retro MEGO-style action figure. Figure bears the likeness of actor BILL HINZMAN, who granted permission to develop the toy. Figure is packaged in MEGO-style blister with backing card bearing illustrations by original MEGO packaging illustrator HAROLD SHULL. The head is sculpted by fan favorite JAMES (“MegoMadhouse”) BRADY.

They’re actually releasing two figures, the other being Duane Jones, a.k.a. Ben, the film’s hero. I grew up on Mego action figures. I had them all — Action Jackson, Worlds Greatest Super Heroes (grrrrr…), Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, S.W.A.T, Chips, etc… How can I pass up on an eight-inch fully articulated Night of the Living Dead zombie?

That wraps it up for July books. Until next month…

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May Flix

April 29, 2008

Alright. Now we’re talking. The 2008 Summer blockbuster season officially kicks off on May 2nd. Sure, I’ve only been to the cineplex twice this year so far. But, that’s all about to change in May.

Iron Man (May 2) — Tony Stark is a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

When I first heard that actor Robert Downey Jr. was cast in the role of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark I was on board. This is great casting. I probably never would have come up with that casting choice, but I’m glad that they did and I’m eager to see how Downey pulls it off. The original Tony Stark of the Iron Man comics has a lot of inner demons — how or if they’re addressed in the movies (Downey has signed on for three Iron Man flicks), and how the actor approaches them will be interesting to watch.

Speed Racer (May 9) — Born to race cars, Speed Racer is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized – the legendary Rex Racer, whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill. Speed is loyal to the family racing business, led by his father, Pops Racer, the designer of Speed’s thundering Mach 5. When Speed turns down a lucrative and tempting offer from Royalton Industries, he not only infuriates the company’s maniacal owner but uncovers a terrible secret – some of the biggest races are being fixed by a handful of ruthless moguls who manipulate the top drivers to boost profits. If Speed won’t drive for Royalton, Royalton will see to it that the Mach 5 never crosses another finish line.

I have been waiting for a Speed Racer movie for over twenty-five years. Way back in the day I had my own ideas as to what kind of Speed Racer movie I would make and who which actors would portray Speed, Trixie, Pops, Racer X, and the rest of the Racer clan. No, I’m not going to reveal them here — I was fifteen at the time. Now, while what I have seen in trailers and clips may not be exactly how I imagined a Speed Racer movie to be, what I have seen has been mesmerizing and intriguing. This should be a great popcorn movie.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22) — In 1957, Indiana Jones is thrust back in action, venturing into the jungles of South America in a race against Soviet agents to find the mystical Crystal Skull.

After Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark is probably my second favorite movie of all time. (Star Wars: A New Hope probably clocks in at third.) Now, while I was content with probably never seeing an additional Indiana Jones adventure on the big screen after The Last Crusade some nineteen years ago, I’m glad Harrison Ford is reprising the role nonetheless. Plain and simple — if there’s an Indiana Jones movie, I’m there.

Sex and the City (May 30) — The continuing adventures of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda as they live their lives in Manhattan four years after the series ended.

Alright, my cool-nerd factor just dropped with the mention of this flick, but it’s on my list of movies that I’m looking forward to. After having my girlfriend turn me onto six seasons worth of syndicated reruns I feel that I have committed myself enough to my relationship with the show that it warrants a trip to the cineplex to see the movie. Now, the question is… Is my girlfriend going to see the movie with her girlfriends, thus leaving me to my own device and having to go by myself?

Now, looking ahead, what does June have in store for us? The Incredible Hulk, Get Smart, Wall-E, and maybe Wanted.

Do You Know The Way To Liberty City?

April 29, 2008

Today the world embraces and entrenches themselves into Liberty City, the virtual world of Grand Theft Auto IV. Well, there’s one guy that’s not — me. I don’t own a Playstation 3, nor do I own an Xbox. Word on the financial streets is that sales of Grand Theft Auto IV are expected to possibly reach $400 million this week — not this year, not this month — this week. At least we now know the true reason President Bush expedited the distribution of our stimulus tax refunds. But, let’s remember all of the revenue that will be lost today by eager GTA enthusiasts who are taking the day off in order to play.

Now, I also happened to have let the three previous Grand Theft Auto installments slip by me without giving them a try. And, it looks like the same will be true with IV as well. But, if I had a console to play GTA IV on I’m sure I’d be jumping on board. And with this being the first GTA title that supports multiplayer on a console, I could share in on the fun while racing around and shooting up the city.

Now, which comic book publisher is working on getting the license to do Grand Theft Auto? Come on Rockstar Games — it’s a no-brainer.

Hero Happy Hour: Super Special Flashback Now Pouring For Free

April 25, 2008

Another issue of Hero Happy Hour is now available for free download at WOWIO. (For those of you keeping score, issues 1 thru 5 are currently available.) But, this isn’t just any ol’ issue of everybody’s favorite comic book about super heroes hanging out in a bar, nope. We’re talking about the Hero Happy Hour: Super Special Flashback!

A bunch of comic book creators walk into a bar… The Hideout Bar & Grill. Join Tom Beland (True Story, Swear To God), Scott Morse (Soulwind, Southpaw), Todd Nauck (Wildguard, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Batman: Gotham County Line), Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Wormwood Gentleman Corpse), and many other comic book writers and artists as they belly up to the bar to offer their take on patrons of every super hero’s favorite hangout. This collection contains all of the original stories from the Hero Happy Hour Super Special 2004, as well as an additional healthy pour of bonus material including an all new never before published story featuring “Possum At Large.”

Featuring the talents of Tom Beland, Brandon J. Carr, D.J. Coffman, Dave Crosland, James Denning, Chris Fason, Joe Gravel, Jon Hook, Diego Jourdan, Lance Karutz, Jim Keplinger, C.G. Kirby, Neil Kleid, John Kovalic, Chad Lambert, Scott Morse, Todd Nauck, Steve Niles, James Patrick, Michael Russell, John Schuler, Michael Scott, Gail Simone, Cal Slayton, Aaron Sowd, Jeffery Stevenson, Dan Taylor, Ben Templesmith, Neil Vokes, Brett Weldele, Dan Wickline, Jason Hanley, Kathleen Marinaccio.

This book has something for everyone. And, just between you, me, and the other eight readers of my blog… I’m starting to work on more creators for another Super Special.

Josh Medors Benefit Auction At Emerald City Comic Con

April 24, 2008

April 23rd 2008 (Berkeley, CA) – Unknown to the general public, Frank Frazetta’s Swamp Demon/Runes of Ragnan/Willow Creek/G I Joe/30 Days of Night artist Josh Medors has been fighting cancer for the past several months and Image Comics and Frazetta Comics have stepped in organize an auction to benefiting Josh in his time of need.

“Josh is a good friend, father and artist. With the support from the comic industry that he loves so dearly, we can all help with costly medical bills and ease his pain just a little would be most appreciated.,” said Frazetta Comics Editor/Artist Jay Fotos. “We are under a crunch, for the show is just a few weeks away, so anyone that would like to donate please contact me as soon as you can so we can get your donations there for the auction in time, we are also taking PayPal donations as well that go directly to Josh.”

Many of the industry’s finest are donating items to auction, including Frank Frazetta himself. Any other creators interested in donating are encouraged to contact Jay Fotos at jayfotos@cox.net.

PayPal donations can be made to Josh’s account, jmedors1@insight.rr.com.

The Josh Medors Benefit Auction will take place Saturday, May 10th at the Emerald City Comic Con.

Contributors thus far…

  • Frank Frazetta
  • Jerry Beck
  • Brian Haberlin
  • Tom Beland
  • Mark Kidwell
  • Todd McFarlane
  • Nat Jones
  • Peter Bergting
  • Richard Starkings
  • Steve Niles
  • Kody Chamberlain
  • Jay Fotos
  • Rick Remender
  • Christian Beranek
  • Ahmet Zappa
  • IDW Publishing
  • Zenescope Entertainment
  • Tony Moore
  • Mike Bullock
  • Andrew Mangum

On a personal note, Josh and I swim in some of the same circles within the comic book creator pond. I’m putting together a package of specially signed Hero Happy Hour issues signed by cover artists Scott Morse and Jim Mahfood to send off for the auction. Josh is good people and a great talent. He is, without a doubt, on my short-list of talents that I hope to work with. Just look at the examples below — and you can see more at joshmedors.com or by clicking on the images below.

Get well, Josh.

Fifth Round Of Hero Happy Hour On The House

April 23, 2008

The fifth issue of Hero Happy Hour is now available for free download at WOWIO — featuring an “intoxicating” cover by Dave Crosland, and words and art by the usual Hero Happy Hour mixologists Dan Taylor (yours truly) and Chris Fason.

Hero Happy Hour 05 — Worlds collide when reality television invades the Hideout Bar & Grill in “Reality Shots.” The loyalties of the “dysfunctional duo” of Night Ranger and Scout are put to the test when they’re personal agendas, as well as their own unique (if not skewed) perceptions of reality clash with one another.

And, of course, you can find a full bar of additional top-shelf Hero Happy Hour comic books for free download at WOWIO. And, soon… Stay tuned to find out what happens when “fan-favorite comic book creators walk into a bar…”

Cloverfield Drops Today

April 22, 2008

“America’s answer to Godzilla” — or at least “J.J. Abram’s answer to Godzilla” drops on DVD today. Cloverfield is a DVD that I’ve been looking forward to purchasing since I first saw the movie at the local cineplex back in January. I dug the movie back when I originally saw it and gave it a rather favorable review. Of course, the main feature to look forward to with the DVD release of Cloverfield is having the ability to pause the movie and study images of the monster in detail, as well as catching those little nuances and clues that may have been missed while viewing in the theater. The disc is scheduled to include an anamorphic widescreen transfer, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track and the following bonus material, with the two alternative endings perhaps being the most intriguing:

  • Commentary: Commentary by Director Matt Reeves
  • Featurette: The Making of Cloverfield
  • Featurette: Cloverfield Visual Effects
  • Featurette: I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge
  • Featurette: Clover Fun
  • Additional Scenes: Congrats Rob
  • Additional Scenes: When You’re in Japan
  • Additional Scenes: I Call That a Date
  • Additional Scenes: It’s Going to Hurt
  • Additional Scenes: Alt Ending #1
  • Additional Scenes: Alt Ending #2
  • Easter Eggs: Slusho!
  • Easter Eggs: Person of Interest – JLVD Video 2
  • Easter Eggs: Person of Interest – JLVD Video 5
  • Easter Eggs: Person of Interest – JLVD Video 9
  • Easter Eggs: Person of Interest – JLVD Video 11
  • Easter Eggs: Rack ‘Em & Pack ‘Em
  • Easter Eggs: Fighting the X

Now while there are plenty of extras for the curious or most die hard “Cloverphile” (yes, the term that I coined for Cloverfield fans resurfaces — and the domain name cloverphiles.com is still available for any true Cloverphile that wants to run with it) I had originally thought that there was going to be more with the DVD release. Perhaps that’s somewhere down the line with a “special edition” release.

Late Post Today

April 21, 2008

I”m assuming that there are no readers out there that can’t start their week without a Monday morning post from yours truly. I know I freak out if there’s not a new “Before Coffee” post from D.J. Coffman waiting for me. I spent most of the day doing some spring cleaning — both around the house and on the hard drive, worked on prepping a few more Hero Happy Hour titles for inclusion with WOWIO, caught up with a lot of the blogs, forums, and news sites regarding the New York Comic-Con that happened over the weekend, and worked a little bit on Pirat Tales: The Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails and a couple of other projects very much in their infancy.

NYCC Blues

April 18, 2008

The New York Comic Con is officially underway — running today thru Sunday. And, while I haven’t attended the NYCC in the past, I’ve got this nagging feeling that I’m really missing out this year by not being in attendance. I’m not sure why that is. I haven’t heard of any thing uber-cool planned to go down during the event to make me wish that I was there. I don’t remember anything really special happening at last year’s NYCC to make me feel like I’m missing out on anything.

It might be that now that I’m trying to make a living as a freelance writer I’m feeling that I may be missing out on opportunities to help further my efforts to afford more than Top Ramen as the most frequent meal in regards to my current food budget. But, speaking of budgets, there is no way in hell that I could’ve afforded to fly out to New York to attend.

I’m sure there are a number of friends and colleagues — just as with any other major comic book event — that are in attendance and it’s only natural to feel a wee bit disappointed for not being able to participate in the camaraderie and jocularity of such events. I know that there are plenty of us “West Coasters” that aren’t in attendance — and we’ve got the luxury of a much easier trip this July with the San Diego Comic-Con. And, even my writing partner in crime, Neil Kleid — who even lives in New York — is unable to attend because of the Passover.

There’s always next year, right?

Featured Publisher At WOWIO

April 17, 2008

Hey, hey! I popped over to WOWIO this morning to see if there was anything interesting to throw in my download que and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my humble publishing effort GeekPunk is the “Featured Publisher” with all four of the currently available for download issues of Hero Happy Hour proudly displayed. Hopefully this’ll boost sales a bit. I’m not sure how long I’ll be the “Featured Publisher” — a couple of hours, maybe all day — but it was a nice surprise nonetheless.