Posts Tagged ‘Marvel Comics’

No Heroics Happy Hour

March 21, 2009

noheroicscastukWell, it was bound to happen, the British comedy series No Heroics is flying over the Atlantic to the U.S. — capes and all — to be adapted for a comedy pilot for ABC. The initial announcement was back in February when The Hollywood Reporter announced that ABC picks up comedy pilot ‘No Heroics’. The show is to be co-written by Jeff Greenstein (Will & Grace, Desperate Housewives, Friends) and the British series creator Drew Pierce. The two are also executive producers, along with Andrew Zein. ABC Studios is producing the show.

But, this last week the news was heard a little louder when it was announced that Freddie Prinze Jr. was cast to star in the U.S. adaptation.

“Sigh.” Those of you that are familiar with me and my work know where I’m going to go with this…

As far back as 2002, shortly after the second issue of (Super) Hero Happy Hour — the self-published comic book co-created by myself and Chris Fason — was released I found myself with “Hollywood” representation and I was meeting with various producers and production companies about turning our little comic book about super heroes hanging out in a bar into a TV show about super heroes hanging out in a bar. This was really the first foray into comic book creating and publishing that either Chris and I had ever made. (Super) Hero Happy Hour (Huh? I just found out that Hero Happy Hour has a Wikipedia page. Neat!) It was exciting times. I found myself making the forty minute to an hour drive up to L.A./Hollywood for meetings that I felt completely out of my league with. Back then, the plan was to do Hero Happy Hour as an animated series with big-name talent providing the voices. I was amazed at some of the names that would be thrown about — Bruce Willis, Pierce Bronson — it was crazy. It was almost dreamlike. I thought I had it the jackpot right off the bat with my very first comic book.

But, it was about that time that I received an overnight letter from both Marvel and DC, and I thought, “Hell, yes! I’ve been noticed.” Well, I was noticed alright. I was noticed for trademark infringement. Marvel and DC co-own the trademarked term “super hero” and they weren’t to thrilled with me using it in the title of my self-published comic book that was starting to get a little Hollywood attention. I was served with a cease and desist letter. That is when we changed the title from Super Hero Happy Hour to Hero Happy Hour. Whether there was a connection or not (I doubt it), after a couple of years the Hollywood talks began to slow down to a crawl and eventually dried up altogether.

Then about a year ago or so, I heard about the new British comedy No Heroics — about super heroes hanging out in a bar. Now, I’m the last person who’s going to argue that it’s the most original idea in the world. But, the similarities between Hero Happy Hour and No Heroics caught me a little off guard. And, it was a little show over in Britain — some 5,448 miles away. Now No Heroics is coming over here to my neighborhood, and I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. It’s an opportunity lost. An opportunity that had it happened could’ve changed my entire life.

But, there’s no point in crying over spilled beer at a bar where super her– Oops. My bad. Sorry Marvel and DC. There’s no point in crying over spilled beer at a bar where heroes hang out at. I still do hope to publish more Hero Happy Hour comic books. I have scripts in the can, and notes and ideas for numerous more issues. Unfortunately, my partner in crime, Chris Fason is unable to belly up to the bar and tackle the artist duties due to being a good father, husband, and providing for his family with a paying solid job. (You go, Chris!) If I’m able to find the right artist to help out there will be more Hero Happy Hour comic books.

In the meantime, until No Heroics makes its U.S. premiere feel free to check out these issues and collections of Hero Happy Hour that you can find and/or order online…

gpnk-00001_sHero Happy Hour #1 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Scott Morse. Imagine pulling up a stool to the bar and sipping a frosty pint of your favorite beverage as you listen in on the conversations of the “regulars” that frequent the neighborhood tavern. But, this establishment is unlike any other bar. The Hideout Bar & Grill caters to the super heroes of First City, and provides more than just a place to wash away the troubles of serving and protecting society as crime-fighting crusaders. For these regular heroes it is “a place where everyone knows your name” — secret identity or not. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00002_sHero Happy Hour #2 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Jim Mahfood. It’s Tuesday night, and it’s Ladies’ Night at the Hideout Bar & Grill, the local watering-hole for the super heroes of First City. Join a quartet of super heroines as they let down their hair, deconstruct the “boys club” of being a super hero, and unwind after a hectic day of saving the world from madmen, maniacs, and monsters. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00003_sHero Happy Hour #3 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art and cover by Chris Fason. It’s time for “Another Round” at the Hideout Bar & Grill, the local watering hole for the super heroes of First City. The evening starts out quietly enough with the crime-fighting duo of Night Ranger and Scout joining Guardian and new-super-hero-in-town, Randal. But, that’s all about to change when a less than desirable clientèle shows up to ruin the heroes’ happy hour. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00004_sHero Happy Hour #4 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Ragnar. Could it possibly be last call at the Hideout Bar & Grill? Phantom Dread and a band of super villains show up to crash the Hero Happy Hour. Add six parts super villains, five parts super heroes, one part nervous bartender, shake well, and you’ve got… the ultimate barroom brawl. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-00005_sHero Happy Hour #5 — Written by Dan Taylor. Art by Chris Fason. Cover by Dave Crosland. 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. Available for free at wowio.com.

gpnk-ssf01_sHero 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), Dave Crosland (Everybody’s Dead), 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), Dan Wickline (1001 Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad), 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. Available for free at wowio.com.

idw-00006_sSuper Deluxe Hero Happy Hour: The Lost Episode — Available at last–the long-lost episode, “The Fall and Rise of Kingfish,” with bonus material and special features! Return to every hero’s favorite watering hole, The Hideout Bar & Grill, and join Guardian, Night Ranger, Scout, Rusty the Bartender and the rest of the regulars as they defend First City from the marauding Shadow-Soldiers from Dimension Z. Happy hour turns sour as one of their own loses their life in the line of duty and the group has to come to terms with the loss of a colleague. This re-mastered “lost episode” includes never-before-seen specially enhanced scenes, interviews with the cast, outtake and blooper scenes, and additional bonus material. Available for purchase at IDW Publishing.

ind0omni_sHero Happy Hour: Omnibus 01 — Did you miss any (or, dare we say, all) of the first five issues of Hero Happy Hour? Well, unlike missing out at “last call,” you’ve got the chance to partake in all five of the original rounds with the super hero gang from the Hideout Bar & Grill. This special digest-sized collection contains the “super” feature stories from the first five fan-favorite issues. “I actually wish I would have thought of it.” – Brian Michael Bendis. “With a concept that’s as ingenious as a two-for-one happy hour and laughs that hit faster than a shot of Wild Turkey to your dome, HHH won’t leave you skunky.” – Wizard Magazine. Available for purchase at Indy Planet.

Oh, and to Jeff Greenstein and Drew Pierce… Feel free to pick up a couple of issues for yourselves. Let me know if there’s anything in there that you like. I’ve got more, plenty more. And, to be honest with you, I would might writing for a television show with a subject matter that I’ve already done years (not to mention pints) of research on as well as being very dear to my heart.

Cheers!

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SDCC Panels I’ll Regret Missing — Friday

July 15, 2008

Alrighty then… Let’s take a look at the San Diego International Comic-Con programs that I’m probably going to regret missing on Friday, the second official day of the show, because I’m either: a) too hungover from Thursday night’s parties, and/or b) trying desperately to meet with editors and publishers to find work in order to pay rent.

10:00-11:00 Batman: Brave & Bold See an exclusive first look at the latest take on the Dark Knight, which premieres this fall on Cartoon Network. Producers Sam Register (Teen Titans) and James Tucker (Justice League Unlimited) discuss the show, along with writer Michael Jelenic (The Batman), director Brandon Vietti (Superman Doomsday), voice director Andrea Romano (Superman Doomsday), and the new voice of Batman, Diedrich Bader (Surfs Up), followed by a Q&A session. Room 6B

The latest incarnation of the Batman cartoon sounds to be the best so far. I dig the Brave & Bold concept of teaming Batman with other superheroes. Generally, I wouldn’t be going out of my way for a panel like this — but something about Diedrich Bader being the new voice of Batman caught my attention. How come nobody thought of this before?

10:15-11:15 The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A— Positive proof that physics is funny, The Big Bang Theory makes its Comic-Con debut with a screening of the “Nerdvana Annihilation” episode and a Q&A with the show’s creators and stars. Come talk with executive producers Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg), as well as series stars Johnny Galecki (Roseanne), Jim Parsons (Garden State), Kaley Cuoco (Charmed), Simon Helberg (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) and Kunal Nayyar (NCIS). Adam Savage (MythBusters) will moderate the session. From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Big Bang Theory returns for a second season on September 22 and airs Mondays at 8:00 PM< ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Room 6CDEF

The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite shows currently on television. While a lot of the science technobabble may fly over my head it’s still rather amusing — and I do get all of the nerd/geek jokes relating to gaming, sci-fi, comic books, etc… I’d be more inclined to hit this panel as opposed to the Batman: Brave & Bold panel. And, then there’s also Kaley Cuoco.

10:30-11:30 Spotlight on Max Brooks America’s favorite zombie expert is a Comic-Con special guest for the first time! Author Max Brooks, whose groundbreaking work in the walking dead genre could possibly save your life some day (see his The Zombie Survival Guide), talks about his work and what’s up next for him. Room 5AB

Zombies are still cool, what can I say?

11:00-12:00 LEGO and BrickJournal: Brave New World— See what grown-ups and “big kids” are doing with LEGO today and what fuels them to never put the brick down! With notable guests including Joe Meno, editor and creator of BrickJournal, the magazine for adult fans of LEGO; expert builders Bryce McGlone and Brandon Griffith; and female builder Jessi Pastor. This panel showcases amazing examples of how they put their LEGO building talents to use! Dust off those old bricks in your basement and join the brave new world of LEGO builders! Room 4

I’ve always dug LEGO, but it’s probably best that I do miss this panel since I’d just be insanely jealous of the talent that these true architects of the plastic building blocks is so far above my own. That, and the fact that they can afford LEGO sets. Damn them.

11:30-12:30 Marvel Cup o’ Joe— Meet the EEK himself, Joe Quesada, and surprise guests as they unveil what’s in store for all your favorite Marvel characters and creators, make some surprising announcements, and take on any and all questions! As always, this is the one no-holds barred panel that everyone’s gonna be talking about and the one panel you don’t want to miss! Room 6CDEF

I’ve never been to a Cup o’ Joe panel. Maybe I’ll just wait until he’s announcing that Marvel is publishing a comic that I’ve written — which means I’ll probably never will.

1:30-2:30 Joss Whedon— Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and the writers and cast of his new short film, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, will show never-before-seen clips while Joss also discusses Buffy Season Eight, the Fray crossover, and the upcoming Serenity comic focusing on Shepherd Book. Ballroom 20

I don’t consider myself a real Whedon groupie. Other than the fact that I’m nuts about Firefly/Serenity that is. (Hence the tattoo.) I do appreciate his work though — even as far back as writing for Rosanne. And, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is pretty damn nifty. This panel is sure to be packed.

3:00-4:00 World of Warcraft Hear what’s next for World of Warcraft straight from the source! Representatives from Blizzard Entertainment will be joined by folks from Upper Deck, DC Comics and Tokyopop to reveal what’s in store for World of Warcraft gaming, comics, action figure, and manga fans. Plus, while supplies last, attendees will receive an exclusive World of Warcraft Comic-Con gift! Room 6CDEF

I miss playing World of Warcraft — even if the highest I ever got was 28th level Orc Hunter. Hopefully I’ll jump back in sometime in the near future. I’m no where near as Word of Warcraft suave as I should be in order to even be admitted into this panel I’m sure. But, there’s always that exclusive gift to put up on eBay come the day after the con.

3:30-4:30 BOOM! Studios Panel— One of the fastest-growing independent publishers invites you to take a peek at what makes BOOM! so great. Editor-in-chief Mark Waid (Kingdom Come), co-founders Andrew Cosby (Eureka) and Ross Richie, marketing and sales director Chip Mosher (Left on Mission), and a few surprise guests will be making announcements about the upcoming year for BOOM! Studios. Come and watch us explode! Room 10

This is a panel I’ll be sure to attend, and not regret missing, having worked with BOOM! Studios on the Josh Medors Benefit Book Pulp Tales.

4:00-5:00 All Hail the Transformers!— TF editor Denton Tipton hosts a panel of Transformers creators including writers Shane McCarthy (All Hail Megatron), Chris Mowry (The Reign of Starscream), Marty Eisenberg (TF Animated), artists Alex Milne (The Reign of Starscream), Marcelo Matere (TF Animated) and others. Advance art, surprise announcements, and pints of Energon all around! Room 2

Oh, I remember sitting on these Transformers comic book panels back when I was editing the Transformers titles — good times. I think this might be the first panel Mowry is sitting on, so I might have to show up just to heckle him. That, and who can turn down a pint of Energon?

6:30-8:00 Kevin Smith Makes a “Porno”— Well, not really, but for the umpteenth time, Smith is back at Comic-Con to talk movies, comics, and whatever else the audience wants to talk about. This year, he’ll be highlighting his fall film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, starring Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. Expect some special guests. Hall H

The Kevin Smith panels are always packed. The man knows how to entertain a crowd. I’m looking forward to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and if Seth Rogen is one of the special guests, then I’m sure that my girlfriend will see to it that we’re at this panel. I just don’t want to wait in line for it. At least it’s at the end of the “day” schedule.

8:30-11:30 The Spirit Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards The 20th annual Eisner Awards, the “Oscars” of the comics industry, will be given out at a gala ceremony. This year’s special them is “The Magic of Comics.” Presenters include comics creator/director Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, The Spirit), Spongebob Squarepants creator Tom Kenney, and Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos, plus several other celebrities from comics, animation, and film. Other prestigious awards to be given out include the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award and the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award. The master of ceremonies is Bongo Comics’ Bill Morrison. Admission to the Eisners is free to all Comic-Con attendees—just be sure to bring your badge. Doors open for pros and VIPs at 7:30 and for attendees at 8:15. Ballroom 20

Actually, I don’t think I’ll regret missing the Eisners seeing how I’m not nominated for anything. It’s not that I was overlooked. It’s kind of hard to be nominated when you haven’t produced anything in which to be nominated. As much as I respect the Eisner awards, I’ll probably hold out until that day comes.

Spider-Man Lost

December 29, 2007

‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850.

one-more-day.jpgWell, Peter Parker — a.k.a. Spider-Man — just got handed both. As 2007 came to a close Marvel Comics nullified the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary (MJ) Jane Watson. There was no “irreconcilable differences,” no ugly divorce hearings, no amicable split-up because the couple just drifted apart. No. It turns out that Spider-Man’s marriage to MJ became null and void because of “a deal with the devil.” In order to save the life of his older-than-dirt Aunt May (who’s life once again was hanging in the balance because Peter is Spider-Man) Peter Parker (for some reason I have to type out “Peter Parker” — I can’t go with just “Peter” nor “Parker”) agrees to allow Mephisto to erase any and every trace of Peter Parker’s (see?) and MJ’s “everlasting love” from the cosmic chronicles of the (flip-floppy) Marvel Universe. Along with squashing the couple’s nuptials, apparently some twenty years of continuity goes along with the erasure.

Needless to say, Spider-Fanboys are upset. Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada may very well be the most hated Marvel super villain right now. It looks as if twenty years of continuity that long-time Spider-Man readers have poured over and loved has now gone the way the comic book spinner rack. Apparently these Spider-Fans aren’t taking Lord Tennyson’s advice to heart. You would’ve thought that they killed off one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe. Oh, yeah. Rest in peace, Captain America.

I’ve been a Spider-Man fan for most of my life — he’s my favorite super hero and has been since I was buying comic books for 35 cents at the corner 7-11 over three decades ago. I read the last issue of the “One More Day” story arc and I honestly don’t feel betrayed. If Quesada and Marvel want to “re-boot” the Spider-Man franchise by bringing back characters that were dead, ditching the organic web-shooters (which they never should have introduced, regardless of the movies) for the original web-shooters, restoring Peter Parker’s secret identity, etc… Fine. I’ve never been one of the readers who felt betrayed when a publisher “dicked around” with one of my favorite characters really — be it Spider-Man, Captain Kirk, Darth Vader, whoever… If I didn’t agree with what how something was handled story wise I’d shrug it off as a missed opportunity and lay off buying more issues or watching (or re-watching) episodes and such. (Okay, I may have made a bigger stink when it came to the Star Wars franchise, but c’mon… Episodes I, II, and III? Seriously?)

I didn’t dig the new red and yellow “Iron” Spider-Armor. It went away. I wasn’t a hundred percent on board with the whole “totem” aspect of Peter Parker’s powers. They steered away from it. The organic web-shooters? Looks like they’re gone now. Ben Reilly?

Marvel Comics have been effin’ with Spider-Man for years. Peter Parker has never had it easy in the Marvel Universe and the Spider-Man character has never had it as easy as it should as a stable franchise. Was “One More Day” played out the way I would’ve done it? No. If the marriage of Peter Parker and MJ needed to be eradicated I probably would’ve put our favorite web-slinger through the divorce ringer. It’s ugly. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. It’s real. (Then again, Spider-Man’s not real.) E-I-C Quesada may have taking the easy route by eliminating twenty years of Spider-Man continuity, but hopefully we’ll have another twenty years of new continuity to build on and I can go on buying my Spider-Man books when I turn 60 and a 32-page comic (with 22 of those pages probably being ads by that time) at 12 bucks a pop.