Green Lantern Fan Trailer

This is a pretty snazzy fan-made trailer for a Green Lantern film, starring fan-fave Nathan Fillion (Firefly) as Hal Jordan. You may very well recognise the shots used from other blockbusters, but the special effects are pretty convincing, as are the cameos from other ring slingers such as Tomar Re and Kilowog.

Olympus and Praetorian

At Broken Frontier is my interview with Nathan Edmondson, the writer of Image Comics’ new series, Olympus, which centres on two eternal brothers. There’s also my review of the Praetorian OGN. Praetorian is written by Jason M.Burns with perty art by Ramon Espinosa. It’ not bad and uses elements of the thriller and supernatural and cop show genres well. Plus, it also has a few eternal guys running around.

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New Buffy Film

Buffy_The_Vampire_Slayer_MovieRemember 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer film? It had Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry in it. It had its moments, sure, but when creator Joss Whedon unleashed his brilliant vision on the TV screens 5 years later, it was an entirely new beast – a healthy dose of dark chocolate compared to the light, fluffy souffle that the movie was. Now the holders of the original film rights want to make a new Buffy film, without the inclusion of Whedon or any of the supporting characters he created during the much loved TV series. Perhaps the film makers are inspired by the Hollywood remake craze, but needless to say, Buffy fans are not happy. If only it was April Fool’s Day. Here’s a peek at the article from The Hollywood Reporter.

While Whedon is the person most associated with “Buffy,” Kuzui and her Kuzui Enterprises have held onto the rights since the beginning, when she discovered the “Buffy” script from then-unknown Whedon. She developed the script while her husband put together the financing to make the 1992 movie, which was released by Fox. 

Kuzui later teamed with Gail Berman, then president of Sandollar Television, bringing back Whedon to make the TV series, which was produced by Fox TV and launched on the WB in 1997. Kuzui and Sandollar received executive producer credits on “Buffy” and its spinoff, “Angel.” 

The new “Buffy” film, however, would have no connection to the TV series, nor would it use popular supporting characters like Angel, Willow, Xander or Spike. Vertigo and Kuzui are looking to restart the story line without trampling on the beloved existing universe created by Whedon, putting the parties in a similar situation faced by Paramount, J.J. Abrams and his crew when relaunching “Star Trek.”

The Surrogates Trailer

Top Shelf’s excellent mini-series, Surrogates is now a film. The five issue mini-series was released in 2004 and 05, by first-time writer Robert Venditii (who used to work in Top Shelf’s mailroom) and artist Brett Weldele. The prequel from the same creators, titled Flesh and Bone is released in July, while the film follows in late September. You can get a feel for the movie by watching the new trailer below. It looks quite classy and perhaps more slick and action driven than its inspiration, and also appears to wear its I, Robot visuals on its sleeve, but that’s not a bad thing. You can see a preview of the comic, which is being released in new editions in July, here.

The Darkness #77 Preview

On sale this week is The Darkness #77 by writer Phil Hester and artist Michael Broussard. According to Top Cow, the issue is described thusly, ” An ageless beauty with red ribbon in her hair and her silent enforcer are determined to wipe out another Darkness bearer. Can Jackie break the curse? Meanwhile the mysterious Foreigner reveals new information to Jackie, which shakes him to his core.”

Perty pictures below.

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District B-13

I love a good French film, and because I enjoy comics, I don’t mind reading for my entertainment! I came across this gem a while ago now, and the sequel is just about to be released for us English speaking pop culture lovers. District B-13 was unleashed in 2004 and starred parkour expert David Belle and martial arts expert Cyril Raffaelli in a future Paris that has ignored its troubled suburbs by sealing them off from the outside world. There’s a bomb and a kidnapped sister and such, but the highlight is the running, jumping, kicking, dodging,etc. Parkour is the acrobatic art of using the modern suburban environment as your own playground and the film demonstrates its beautifully.

Written and produced by Luc Besson (The Transporter trilogy amongst many other hip actioners) it’s a great film. The sequel, starring Belle and Raffaelli has already been released in Europe and the rest of us can expect it next month. The trailer is below. Yes, it’s in French, but the video below it, featuring one of the highlights of the original film has subtitles for your viewing pleasure. If you like Jackie Chan or the Thai film Ong-Bak and prefer your action and chase scenes to be without a safety net, or CGI, then you must watch these films. Just make sure you put on the subtitles. Watching a foreign film with dubbing is like reading a gossip mag at an art gallery.

Why Revamp?

GL Alan ScottThere’s an interesting (and well researched) article on Comic Book Resources by Greg Hatcher. Inspired by the new Star Trek revamp, or relaunch, or reboot, or whatever you want to call it, Hatcher examines all the major revamps that Green Lantern has had, beginning in the 1940s. It assumes some GL knowledge, so mostly readers familiar with the DCU over the years will get a kick out of it, and it is littered with covers from the different eras. If you’re curious as to why characters in comics get a fresh new approach so very often, you’ll want to read the article. Here’s a snippet.

Why do people keep tweaking a perfectly good concept? Why mess with a good thing?

 The best I can do is a guess, and here it is: times change and audiences get bored. Sooner or later, even the most popular series runs out of gas. So the only reason to do any kind of a revamp or a relaunch is because you think you can get a bigger audience. The only reason.

 However, and here’s the part that drives us all a little nuts — unlike other entertainment franchises, superhero comics are aimed at an audience of hobbyists who regard these stories not so much as light entertainment, but rather as historical dispatches from an alternate universe. What I see when I look at the history of all these different versions of Green Lantern is this — the common factor to all of them is writers laboring under the lunatic misconception that this fictional entertainment really is history.

In July the new animated GL film, focused on Hal Jordan’s origin debuts, and the Martin Campbell directed live action feature is underway too. It’s also the 50th anniversary of  Hal Jordan’s debut, plus the Blackest Night epic, penned by Geoff Johns is just around the corner. It’s a good time to be a Lantern fan.

Ctrl+Alt+Del Vol. 1 Review

Ctrl+Alt+Del Vol. 1As explained in Tim Buckley’s introduction, he’s been creating this webcomic since 2002 as something he was experimenting with for his portfolio. For the last few years, he’s been making his living from it. That’s mainly because his daily strips are full of geek in-jokes and we love them more than  girls at the comic shop.

This first volume from Blind Ferret Publishing (titled This Is A Great Idea) collects about 130 strips from October 2002 to May 2003. Most are funny, but seeing as I’m a casual gamer at best I wasn’t crying with laughter. I know plenty of people who would however. This is for gamers what Comic Critics is to comic fans. The beauty is that there is some x-over, and we all laugh laughing at ourselevs, and our knowledge of pop culture. That’s also why Family Guy is so popular.

The bulk of these strips are four panels to a page and a lot show their age, especially with references to new games like Hitman 2, Star Wars Galexies, etc. For those that were passionate gamers during those years, there will be many chuckles I’m sure. It follows young gamers Ethan, his more level-headed friend Ethan, female gamer Lilah, Ethan’s ex Sara, Ted the penguin and a few random arrows. There are some unusual interludes to this pace, such as a 4 page noir-esque tale about a Detective’s search for his left hand and Chef Brian’s mostly nonsensical ramblings (usually involving carrots). These don’t really work compared to the rest of the work contained within these pages.

However, what impressed  me most was Buckley’s subtle weaving of a narrative throughout the pages. Ethan breaks up with his girlfriend, gets a new room-mate and job, falls into gaming addiction,etc. It means you can read the book all the way through and most of the time you’ll get some witty sit-com type gags, but also a loose larger story at play.

Ethan is clearly the star of the show and though the jokes aren’t exactly cutting edge compared to today’s ‘smarter’ strips such as Sinfest or The Perry Bible Fellowship, these strips are from 7 years ago, when webcomics were not the plague they are today.

As Buckley acknowledges in his intro, his style has improved since these early days, but it’s pleasantly cartoony enough. Every page is loosely littered with profanity, violence and Ethan’s general hatred towards those who don’t understand him, which is pretty much everyone, so don’t be fooled by the cover. This isn’t a safe Saturday morning ‘toon. It takes great skill to produce one of these every day for almost a decade though. It’s all about timing and using as few words and expressions as possible to get the biggest smile. Of course, pop culture is simply ammo to Buckley, so he won’t be running out anytime soon.

Strangely, nowhere in the book is the website mentioned, so here it is for your daily gamer laugh.

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The New Batman

BFTC3 CvrSo, Dick Grayson is the new Batman, and Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian is the new Robin. Though you couldn’t really tell from reading this week’s Battle for the Cowl conclusion. The current Robin, Tim Drake and former (dead) Robin Jason Todd were running around in different Batman costumes while various classic Batman foes watched as Gotham descended into more hellish chaos. And just so you know Batman, AKA Bruce Wayne is not exactly dead. Rather he was sent way back in time thanks to Darkseid’s Omega Sanction eye beams. You can read all about it in Final Crisis if you don’t mind a migraine. However, as a sum up, here’s my latest Broken Frontier article, The Battle for Batman.                                                                                                          

There’s also an interview at Newsarama with the writer/artist of the 3 ish mini, Battle for the Cowl, Tony Daniel. For those who are unsure as to the precise identity of the new cowl wearer, as it is rather ambiguous in the final pages of BOC #3, this excerpt from the interview should make it clear.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about how these last couple pages were designed? Why didn’t the readers see the face of the person putting on the cowl? The words from Dick make it pretty clear he is wearing the cowl, so does the lack of a face have another meaning? And anything you want to share about the design of the pages? They’re pretty cool-looking…

TD: Thanks – well, I wanted us to view what Dick was viewing, be Dick, for that moment. Going through the mansion, down to the cave. Putting up the cowl. Yes, his hair is shorter. But it’s been Dick’s captions all the way through issue #3, so I thought it was pretty self-explanatory. 

Okay then. Here’s a few pages from Cowl #3 for your perusal.

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Jeff Lemire’s The Nobody Trailer

Creator Jeff Lemire is a great new talent. Anyone who’s read his Essex County trilogy from Top Shelf will tell you that. All three books were moving and powerful. His new book, out on July 1 from Vertigo is inspired by the classic novel, The Invisible Man by H.G Wells. Press release and trailer below.

The tiny, isolated fishing village of Large Mouth never saw much excitement — until the arrival of the stranger, that is. Wrapped from head to toe in bandages and wearing weird goggles, he quietly took up residence in the sleepy town’s motel. Driven by curiosity, the townfolk quickly learn the tragic story of his past, and of the terrible accident that left him horribly disfigured. Eventually, the town embraces the stranger as one of their own — but do his bandages hide more than just scars?

Inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, THE NOBODY explores themes of identity, fear and paranoia in a small community from up-and-coming alternative comics creator and Xeric Award-winner Jeff Lemire (The Essex County Trilogy) in a special two-color story that’ll have you guessing until the very end.

   * Vertigo
   * 144pg.
   * B&W
   * Hardcover
   * $19.99 US
   * ISBN 9781401220808
   * Mature Readers


Hulk #12 Review

You know what reading the new Hulk series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness is like? It’s like going on a blind date with the biggest, dumbest girl you’ve ever met. You may wonder why you stick around, but as she spits when she talks and gives wild stories as to why she’s missing teeth, you can’t help but end the night with a guilty grin on your face.

“Most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on!” 

“Blow it out your flaming pants, Dormammu!”

“See if you can subjective this!”

That’s a sample of the bombasity contained within these pages, most of which are concerned with the mysterious, new red Hulk beating up powerful beings much bigger than himself. And yes, there’s an awful lot of exclamation points in here. 16 in fact. That’s the point though. Jeph Loeb knows how to write smart, restrained, tasteful superhero tales, but the Jeph Loeb writing this series is his evil twin. He shouts a lot, slams his fists and his having the time of his life. And it’s fun to watch.

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The Flash In DCU Online

Press release below about Wally West in the upcoming Sony MMORPG, DC Universe Online. The games set for release…sometime. Players can create their own characters to team up with DC’s expanding gallery of spandex wearers and live vicariously in the DC Universe.  On a related note, Warner Bros. appear to be buying Midway Games, the holders of the Mortal Kombat franchise. I think that’s a good thing. Maybe.

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The Fastest Man Alive, Wally West easily runs at light speed vibrates through objects, create explosions through friction – and, when at agonizing top capacity, can manipulate time and bridge dimensions.

The Flash is a time-honored member of the Justice League. The latest in a long line of Flashes, each with their own unique way of tapping into the primal “Speed Force,” Wally is determined to live up to the noble legacies of speedsters such as Barry Allen, Max Mercury, and Jay Garrick.

Flash’s enemies call themselves the Rogues Gallery. This deadly collection of brutal foes includes Captain Cold, Heatwave, Mirror Master, and the lethal speedster Zoom – villainous threats not just to Keystone City, but the world.

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The Example Review

The-Example-Cover-Final-1I discovered this snappy little book from local publisher Gestalt Publishing (well local to me in Perth, Western Australia anyway) when I read about it in an article in The Australian newspaper. Written by Tom Taylor, and based on his award winning play, with art by 200AD’s Colin Wilson, this is a prime example of how to create something intense with a surprisingly simple premise. Two people, strangers actually, are waiting for a slow train to arrive. As a man (that we never see) leaves the station, he also leaves behind the hook behind this tale – a suitcase.

The young, bespectacled girl Sam and the older, more distinguished Chris soon break the ice while wondering what exactly the suitcase is and what they should do about it. To say any more than that would be to ruin what’s a truly engrossing short story, including the origin of the title. For anyone new to comics, this is a great entry. For any wannabe writers, this is a great lesson in pacing and suspense. For wannabe artists, this is a great lesson in panel design. Like Watchmen, it uses a simple 9 panel grid on almost every page, but you won’t even notice. I mean, this is just two people talking at an empty suburban space, yet you’ll be lost in the world it creates. If you are I also recommend watching other engrossing tales with two, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film Rope about two murderers at a dinner party, Richard Linklater’s film Tape, or the Before Sunrise, and Sunset films.

It’s obvious that Taylor and Wilson have thought long and hard about every line (created by the keyboard and the pencil) in creating this standalone drama. At only 11 pages of actual story, space had to be used wisely and is. Extras include a few more pages of character sketches by Wilson as well as musings on the creation of this project by Taylor, Wilson and publisher Wolfgang Bylsma.

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You can pick up this excellent issue and their recent Flinch anthology at any good comic shop, or at Gestalt’s site.

Fantagraphics Goes To Jordan

Press release below regarding a new book from the son of Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schulz, which is only the second novel to be released from indie comics publisher, Fantagraphics. The book, entitled, This Side of Jordan will be unveiled at the 2009 Book Expo America in New York on May 29-31.

THISSIDEOFJORDANThis September, Fantagraphics Books is proud to publish This Side of Jordan, by Monte Schulz, only the second original prose novel (following 2007’s Laura Warholic by Alexander Theroux) in the company’s 33-year history.

This Side of Jordan is a tapestry of American life in the summer before the economic crash of 1929, and a quintessential novel of the rural Midwest offered unexpectedly as a crime thriller. Full of American landscapes and totems, images and notions, foibles and fables, beasts and the blessed, it follows the experiences of 19-year-old tubercular farm boy Alvin Pendergast. The novel begins with an ill-fated dance marathon and a chance encounter with a slick con artist and gangster named Chester Burke. Fearing relapse of his consumption and a return to the sanitarium that had already stolen a year of his life, Alvin imprudently follows Chester across the Mississippi River only to enter a vortex of criminal violence and deceit.

With Alvin in tow, Chester’s insouciant disregard for life serves him well during a series of bank robberies and senseless murders, the sociopathic gangster assuming the role of a dark angel on Judgment Day, cleansing the scrolls of those whose sad fortune draws them across his path. Too ill to flee, too morally weak to object, Alvin resigns himself to what seems like certain doom. Fortunately, Alvin finds another companion on the road, a lonely, eccentric, and grandiloquent dwarf named Rascal, whose own infirmity binds their destinies together. Eventually, the young farm boy must make a decision: stick with Chester, who will surely kill him at the slightest hint of betrayal, or muster the courage to stake his life on faith in Rascal’s clever plan to save them both.

MonteSchulzMonte Schulz is the son of Charles M. Schulz, creator of Peanuts, and in This Side of Jordan one of his ambitions was to recreate the time of his mother’s and father’s Jazz Age childhood, when America was making the irresistible transition from rural to urban life.

“When I was in my early twenties, and Dad saw that I was developing an interest in writing, he showed me some of the beautiful passages of Thomas Wolfe and John Steinbeck, and lent me his copies of Complete Poems by Carl Sandburg and Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, and Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. He told me the writer’s gift is to be able to express for people certain ideas and emotions they cannot express for themselves,” says Schulz.

Told in the voice of a lost generation hurtling toward the Great Depression, This Side of Jordan evokes crowded Main Streets and tourist camps, miles of cornfields, rural churches and musty parlors, with the momentum of a freight train, but delivered in the seductive, rhythmic tradition of Southern lyricism reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor and Truman Capote.

Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth said he was leery when Schulz asked him to read the novel “because, after all, how does the publisher of The Complete Peanuts reject a novel by Charles Schulz’s son?” After reading it, however, he was “bowled over by the beauty of the prose and Monte’s command over every aspect of the form. It isn’t hyperbolic to say that Monte is as good a writer as his father is a cartoonist. That’s why we wanted to publish it.”

This Side of Jordan is Schulz’s second novel. His first, Down by the River, was published by Viking in 1991. Library Journal raved that it compared to Stand by Me and Twin Peaks, and seemed “ready-made for Hollywood.” He spent ten years writing Crossing Eden, from which This Side Of Jordan is drawn as the first of three interconnected novels; the second and third, Fields of Eden and The Big Town, will be published in 2010 and 2011. This Side of Jordan will be published as a jacketed hardcover this September by Fantagraphics Books, with a painted cover by noted cartoonist Al Columbia. Schulz will make his first public appearance promoting the novel at the 2009 Book Expo America, signing galleys on Saturday, May 30, at 2:30PM in the convention’s autographing area. A West Coast tour will follow in the Fall (dates and locations t.b.a.). Schulz received his M.A. in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He lives in Northern California.