Witchblade Volume 7 Preview Part 4

Tomorrow, Top Cow’s latest volume in their Witchblade saga goes on sale. Final preview pages below. Written by Ron Marz with art by Stjepan Sejic.

Marvel On Sale This Week

As always, there’s a host of great new releases from Marvel this week. See the full list below the cover assortment.

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BOOM! on iPad

Press release below, revealing a good move from BOOM!.

Today BOOM! Studios is pleased to announce the arrival of the BOOM! Studios Comics app for the iPad and iPhone in the iTunes App Store. Built on comiXology’s popular digital comic platform, the BOOM! Studios Comics app launches with a number of top pop culture-inspired titles including comics based on 28 DAYS LATER, DIE HARD and a word-for-word comic translation of Philip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, as well as BOOM! Studios’s top-selling original series IRREDEEMABLE, INCORRUPTIBLE and THE UNKNOWN.

Partnering with comiXology to create an incomparable reading experience for BOOM! Studios fans and comic fans everywhere, BOOM! Studios launches its mobile app with nearly 50 comic book titles optimized specifically for mobile devices. In addition to stunning high-resolution comics in an amazingly easy-to-operate user interface, the BOOM! Studios Comics app utilizes comiXology’s patent-pending Guided View™ technology to create a completely immersive digital comic experience for new and old fans alike. The app also comes fully equipped with comiXology’s Retail Locator, giving fans unprecedented access to BOOM! Studios titles both on and offline.

“While comic-based movies are thriving on the big screen, the reality is most fans have never been exposed to comics books as a medium unto themselves,” said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. “Digital comics give us the opportunity to reach a broader audience and inspire them to connect with the comics community through titles they’re already passionate about.”

An innovator in the field, BOOM! Studios, in partnership with MySpace, was the first publisher to offer digital comic releases the day and date of print releases in 2008. BOOM! Studios was also one of the first comic book publishers to make comics available on the iPhone and Android mobile devices. BOOM! Studios continues its mission to fill the void between comic book culture and pop culture with digital distribution. With the release of the BOOM! Studios Comics app, the company marks a significant move toward engaging pop culture fans with the comics that have inspired by world.

Through the app, fans will have access to new issues of each current series, released on a regular basis, and BOOM! Studios’s entire back catalog in the coming months. The BOOM! Studios Comics app will also offer readers the first half of every first issue in each series for free.

“Comics have long since been the landscape for pop culture. So many comics have inspired movies, television and video games, but so few people have encountered the actual comic books that form the basis for that inspiration,” said BOOM! Studios Marketing Director Chip Mosher. According to Mosher, “comiXology has proven, time and again, that digital comics are the key factor in uniting these worlds and exposing the pop culture audience to comic culture. Now they’re helping BOOM! Studios do the same.”

With the BOOM! Studios Comics app, now available for free in the iTunes App Store (link to be included), BOOM! Studios fans and comic fans everywhere can experience some of the best comics available anywhere starting at $1.99 each.

Scott Pilgrim Game Trailer

So the film based on the comic opens August 13. The game based on the film based on the comic, inspired by retro games is out soon. It promises to be old school fun. Trailer below and a wilder montage right here. I’m getting ’90s arcade flashbacks.

Witchblade Volume 7 Preview Part 3

As usual, preview pages below from Top Cow’s opus which goes on sale June 16. Enjoy.

Witchblade Volume 7 Preview Part 2

Vol. 7 of Top Cow’s Witchblade epic goes on sale on June 16. Snazzy preview pages below.

Darth, Spidey and Wolvie

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed centred on Darth Vader’s secret apprentice and was not a bad game, but what tipped it over the edge into mass frustration was the infamous Force gripping a Star Destroyer scene. Hopefully the makers have learned their mistake for the sequel, which is due on October 26. Go here for the just released cinematic from the game, which is a MUST SEE.

Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions features 4 alternate universe versions of the Web-slinger, including the one we know and love, the Old-school Noir version, the just announced  and expected 2099 version from the ’90s comics and one more to be unveiled. It’s an interesting approach. The game is released on September 7.

Lastly, a new trailer for Marvel vs Capcom 3 shows some great footage such as Wolverine fighting Ryu and Chris Redfield facing off against Hulk, plus Iron Man, Deadpool and Dante. Fate of Two Worlds is released later in the year.

Judd Winick talks Under the Red Hood

Interview with writer Judd Winick below about next month’s resurrected-Robin animated film. The first issue of his Red Hood mini-series has just been released and is also worth checking out.

WRITER JUDD WINICK BRINGS CHARACTERS FROM PAGE TO SCREEN IN “BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD,” THE NEXT DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED ORIGINAL FILM COMING TO DVD JULY 27, 2010

Judd Winick has returned to Gotham City with a vengeance. The award-winning cartoonist has successfully transitioned one of his benchmark storylines from comic book pages to animated film with the upcoming release of Batman: Under the Red Hood, the latest entry in the popular series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies.

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, the University of Michigan graduate gained national fame as a cast member of MTV’S The Real World, San Francisco in 1994. In the wake of the death of his Real World roommate and friend, AIDS activist Pedro Zamora, Winick embarked on a national AIDS education lecture tour. Later, the lecture and his friendship with Zamora was documented in his award-winning graphic novel “Pedro And Me.”

Winick next created his original comic book series, “Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius,” and then began a long running stint as one of the top writers on mainstream super hero comics. Winick has scripted such titles as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Trials Shazam, Green Arrow and Outsiders (for DC Comics), Exiles (for Marvel) and Star Wars (for Dark Horse). He also was the creator and executive producer of Cartoon Network’s animated series, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.

He is currently developing live action television and animation, writing the new bi-weekly comic title for DC Comics “Justice League: Generation Lost,” as well as the monthly “Power Girl.”

In 2005, Winick presented his Red Hood storyline in the Batman comics and it was met with tremendous sales alongside powerful waves of controversy. He has evolved that story into the script for the all-new DC Universe film,  Batman: Under the Red Hood. In celebration of the film’s July 27 street date, DC Comics will distribute a six-issue mini-series, “Red Hood: The Lost Days.” Written by Winick and drawn by Pablo Raimondi, the mini-series offers greater insight into the back story of the title character.

From the producing triumvirate of Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, Batman: Under the Red Hood will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2-disc DVD, as well as being available on single disc DVD, On Demand and for Download.

Winick is thrilled with the way his words have transitioned from comic/graphic novel to screenplay to animated film in the form of Batman: Under the Red Hood, and is only too happy to talk about the end result. Here are some of his thoughts …

QUESTION: What was the greatest challenge in taking your graphic novel to script format?

JUDD WINICK:  I had to take two years of story and boil it down to 75 minutes of film, and that’s a challenge and liberating at the same time. It forces one to cut out all the fat and get to the heart of it. It’s about making a movie. And for those who know anything about movies, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other, building from one scene to the next to the next and so on. There are no cul-de-sacs or crossovers – it’s all about getting the story to its essence.

QUESTION: Were you disappointed with what you needed to cut out?

JUDD WINICK:  Actually, I was thrilled about what went in. I’m really, really happy that the emotional core of the story is still there. We don’t really get to tell stories like this in animation. The opera of it all is usually reserved for live action. This story is about characters actually emoting and dealing with horrible situations. Animation usually gets just the action and the visualization, and not the characters actually feeling anything. So it was nice we got to do that.

QUESTION: Can you describe the gratification of watching your words come to animated life?

JUDD WINICK:  It’s great. And I don’t mean to take anything away from writing for comics, as this is just a different form of story telling. One of the fun parts of writing for film is that it allows you the freedom for your characters to just shut up and fight. We can’t do that in comics – there always has to be some banter or internal monologue. More importantly, it’s gratifying to see the words and action come to life in all the ways film affords – through  incredibly talented actors giving the words all that emotional impact; and to see the characters actually fight and run and yell and shout and cry. They become living, breathing beings. That’s a very exhilarating experience for a writer.

QUESTION: Do the voices of Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, Neil Patrick Harris and John DiMaggio match what you had in your head while writing the dialogue?

JUDD WINICK:  I’ve been writing these characters for years, and it’s remarkable the job those actors did. Greenwood is about as Batman as you can get – which is exactly what you want. You don’t want to be surprised – as soon as he speaks, you want to say to yourself, “That’s Batman.” Nightwing is exactly as I’ve had him in my head – Neil Patrick Harris couldn’t possibly do it better. I’d like to do an entire feature with Bruce Greenwood as Batman and Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing. Red Hood is funny for me because I thought I’d written this character in this incarnation more than anyone else, but I had no clue what he’d really sound like. And yet, when Jensen speaks, that’s the right tone and timbre. As far as Joker, that is one of the truly great characters that I think needs to be left up to interpretation. There’s only been a handful of people who have created Joker – Mark Hamill set the standard for animation, then you’ve got Jack (Nicholson) and Heath Ledger. But John (DiMaggio) has such versatility, he could go anywhere with it, and he made it totally his own. He really gives a very big and gruff and masculine performance, so deep and throaty and bass. He’s wonderfully scary and really gets the job done.

Wade Williams as Black Mask absolutely cracks me up. He’s like a lion. Honestly, what came out in the animation came directly out of his performance. Wade made him into a caged animal who might go off at any second. He’s constantly roaring, which is an entirely different take than I anticipated and that’s awesome. That’s an actor making decisions and making it his own and really hitting the mark.

QUESTION: Executive Producer Bruce Timm says your pitch was unorthodox in that it was over the phone and yet was absolutely perfect and completely sold him. How’d you pull that off?

JUDD WINICK: I’d given a rougher pitch to Gregory Noveck (DC Comics’s Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs) and he loved it, but we had to pitch it to the gang. The schedule worked out that I had to be in San Francisco, and they had to be in Burbank. That’s not the ideal way to pitch, especially for me – I like to jump around a lot, shout a lot, wave my hands and be theatrical. That’s especially true for this pitch because it’s a very emotional script. I kind of sold the idea in the first five minutes of the pitch, which was essentially describing the first five minutes of the movie.

I thought this would be a cool animated feature, but to really tell this story, we had to find a way to show Robin dying. We had to get the history in quickly to start the movie with that emotional smack. So I’m on my head set, going through this scene, talking about Batman barreling down the street of Sarajevo, the Joker beating Robin to death,. I’m banging my hands on the desk, yelling as loud as I can, and by the time I said “Fade to black, cue to opening credits,” it was just dead quiet on the other end of the line. I said, “Is everybody still there?” And they said, “Yeah, that was awesome.” Done. Sold.

QUESTION: How did you first enter the Batcave as a fan?

JUDD WINICK: Like many people of my age, I’m sure I was reading the comics but I remember watching the TV series more – and not really liking it. It didn’t quite feel right. I know I enjoyed it more like watching Super Friends, but I really gravitated toward the comics more than anything. The series wasn’t dark enough. It didn’t have the edge I wanted in my Batman. Ultimately, the TV show gave me a sense of what I didn’t want Batman to be, even back then.

QUESTION: For The Real World fans out there … do you have any inclination to do another reality show?

JUDD WINICK: I would say NEVER. Laughs. Doing reality was like elective surgery. I got the nose job, it worked out just fine. I don’t need a touch up, and I don’t need another one. When they started to do the follow-ups, we just kept saying “No” until they stopped asking us. We have jobs and responsibilities and really don’t need the money or the humiliation. And most importantly, we had a fairly extraordinary and terrible experience during the show and still came out positively. We are very lucky in that way, and I would not assume to tempt fate and do anything like it again.

QUESTION: Do you feel Batman: Under the Red Hood fits into Batman’s current live-action film tone?

JUDD WINICK: I’d say Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was sort of the catalyst. After seeing that film, it got my juices going thinking that we could do something like that with a Red Hood arc. At the time, I didn’t even know what Warner Premiere was working on. It all started with a quick email to Gregory (Noveck) asking if they were looking for any more Batman features. Comics and film present very specific camps for the characters and the stories. Animation should be its own genre that straddles between the two that can give comic fans the product their hoping to see, and provide a new vision for the fans who only know these characters in the most mainstream way.

QUESTION: Do you like presenting your stories in animated form?

JUDD WINICK: I really do. I’m a cartoonist. I don’t draw for money, and mostly what I do is the writing. But that’s how I view myself more than anything else – as a cartoonist. I grew up on animation, and I always loved knowing that the cartoons on the page could actually come to life. I worshipped at the alter of Chuck Jones, and realized at a very young age that one guy did all the things I love best. I love it as a medium and I love how it’s evolved. Animation features have exploded – there is more high-end animation being produced now than ever before, and I think that’s great.

Make Your Own Toy Story 3 Character

Have a few minutes to kill? Well then, go here and make your own toy. Below is mine, and is not a reflection of anything about me, I must say. Apart from the lack of hair. Toy Story 3 opens on June 18.

Witchblade Volume 7 Preview Part 1

The Top Cow crew have steadily built an entertaining universe over the last few years with their Witchblade, Darkness and associated characters. What I’ve read of these tales has been a consistent pleasure, mostly due to writer Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic. The duo are one of the most underrated working in comics today. If you want to see where my praise is coming from, then pick up Vol. 7 of their Witchblade epic, which goes on sale on June 16. The preview pages are too numerous and pretty to ignore, so I thought I’d post a few pages every day until it’s release. Here we go…

Witchblade Vol. 7 Trade Paperback

(W) Ron Marz (A) Stjepan Sejic (Cov) Stjepan Sejic

The new era of Witchblade featuring the team of writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic continues! The pair committed to staying on the title until at least issue #150 and their second complete arc together entitled “Crown Heights” is collected in this trade paperback. More importantly this storyline sets the stage and leads directly into “War of the Witchblades”.  Collects Witchblade #120-#124 plus a cover gallery featuring Stjepan Sejic, Matt Haley, Tyler Kirkham, and plenty of bonus materials.

Full Color 176 pages $14.99 trade paperback

Hit-Monkey #1 Preview

He’s a hitman, but he’s not a man, he’s a monkey. So what is he? That’s right – Hit-Monkey. After a few issues in Deadpool’s comic, he now gets his own.

Your First Look At Hit-Monkey #1!

Marvel is proud to present your first look at Hit-Monkey #1, from the red-hot creative team behind the world’s deadliest simian, Daniel Way and Dalibor Talijic! He’s taken on Spider-Man and Deadpool (and won), but how did one monkey become the world’s deadliest assassin? At long last, the story fans have been clamoring for is here! Find out how Hit-Monkey came to don his trademark suit and tie and how he became an assassin without equal, in this all new limited series. Fans cant miss the chance to get in on the ground floor with Hit-Monkey #1!

HIT MONKEY #1 (MAY100606)

Written by DANIEL WAY

Penciled by DALIBOR TALIJIC

Cover by DAVE JOHNSON

Parental Advisory …$2.99

FOC – 6/17/10, On Sale – 7/8/10

Solomon’s Thieves and Earp

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for Broken Frontier as I’ve been busy with Extra Sequential and its journey from on-line mag to print. Hopefully good news to report on that soon. Anyway, here’s my review of Solomon’s Thieves, a rousing OGN written by Jordan Mechner, Prince of Persia’s creator.

Also up at BF is one of the best interviews I’ve done in a while (not that I can take credit for that) as the writer of Radical’s new sci-fi series Earp: Saints for Sinners is one interesting fella. Read my chat with M. Zachary Sherman here.

X-Men #1 Preview

The last time there was an X-Men #1 it was 1991 and it sold over a million copies. Will it happen again? Nope. Here’s a text-free preview anyway.

Your First Look At X-Men #1!

Marvel is proud to present your first look at X-Men #1 from the red-hot creative team of Victor Gischler and Paco Medina. In the first X-Men #1 in almost 20 years, Marvel’s mighty mutants enter the Heroic Age to face a deadly new threat in a battle that will drastically alter the ENTIRE Marvel Universe! With new faces being brought into the fold and an all-star new creative team, fans cannot miss the “Curse of the Mutants” in the all-newX-Men #1!

X-MEN #1 (MAY100628)
X-MEN #1 ROMITA JR VARIANT (MAY100630)
X-MEN #1 MEDINA VARIANT (MAY100632)
X-MEN #1 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (MAY100633)
X-MEN #1 BLANK VARIANT (MAY100629)
Written by VICTOR GISCHLER
Penciled by PACO MEDINA
Cover by ADI GRANOV
Variant Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Variant Cover by PACO MEDINA
Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC—6/17/10, On-sale—7/8/10

Scott Pilgrim vs The World Clip

The recent MTV Movie Awards showed some exclusive clips for upcoming films. Of most interest to comic books fans is the one below from the Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) directed adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Oni Press comic. It opens August 13. Here we see Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim fighting the new Capatin America, Chris Evans. It is on!