Farewell Wizard (and Toyfare)

Like a lot of fanboys I read Wizard religiously in the heyday of the ’90s, and have pretty much never picked up an issue since. The so-called Guide To Comics magazine started in 1991 and was selling hundreds of thousands of copies – fifteen years ago. For people like me, it was the be all and end all of comics knowledge. It was how I got my awareness of new series, comics history and awesome books I should be reading, and then the internet happened and us geeks latched onto it with such force and immediacy that Wizard was never going to have the same esteem again. I’ve had my own dabblings with comics mags and I believe there is still some room for a more arty mag, especially as every comics mag that has launched since Wizard has lasted only a handful of issues. The press release is here, and surprisingly it makes no mention of the Wizard mag, but does mention its new digital version.

The last few years have seen Wizard become an object of much hatred, as rumours of founder Gareb Shamus’ greed and bad dealings with staff attained legendary status, the mag became pop culture hungry instead of comics-focused, and their love of growing a convention empire grew. Plus, their Price Guides and Top Ten lists were always controversial.

However, it’s vital importance in the history of comics awareness, plus the careers of professionals in the press and creators themselves can’t be denied. Plus, it’s always sad when people lose their jobs of course.

You can (and definitely should) read two accounts from ex-employees here and here.

Takio Preview

Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Avon Oeming got their big break around the same time with their work on Powers. Now they’re reuniting for an all-ages OGN due for release in March. Details and preview below.

Your New Look At Bendis and Oeming’s TAKIO!

On March 2nd, the powerhouse creative team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming, take the comics industry by storm with their first all-ages graphic novel – TAKIO! When two sisters from a multiracial, adoptive family drive one another to the brink of insanity, is there anything that can bring them together? Well after a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime accident gives them real-life superpowers; the world’s first superheroes will be closer than ever! Perfect for comic fans of any age, Takio brings together Bendis’ acclaimed trademark dialog with Oeming’s fan-favorite art style for an action packed adventure like no other!

With its release right around the corner, the masterminds behind Takio are teeming with enthusiasm!

“As exciting as it was to stretch my writing muscles and help create this new modern all ages superhero world, I am most excited for people to see a new side to the entire Powers crew,” explains writer Brian Michael Bendis. “This book is so good looking.”

Artist Michael Oeming adds “This has been an exciting adventure for me, drawing and creating with my extended family has added a whole new dimension to our work. One of the best times I’ve ever had making comics.”

Can these two sisters put aside their differences, save the world and be home in time for dinner? Be sure to get in on the ground floor for the graphic novel that will have everybody talking, as Takio hits stores everywhere this March!

TAKIO GN HC (DEC100634)

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

Pencils and Cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING

All Ages …$9.95

FOC – 2/7/11, On Sale – 3/2/11

Frozen Review

Just a quick one to say that this film is great and you should see it. There’s been far too many bad thriller/horror films out in the last few years, but occasionally a stripped down, surprising one will stand out, such as Open Water, Descent and this little beauty. Apart from Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from the X-Men trilogy), there are’t any recognisable actors, though all 3 of the main cast, which includes Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers do a great job. It almost veers towards laughable territory thanks to the frequent hysterics, but the characters (two lovers, and his best mate) are well rounded and sympathetic.

Having the 3 stuck on an abandoned ski lift for the majority of a film sounds like a boring premise, but writer/director Adam Green (Hatchet) does a superb job of keeping the plot diverse, throwing in enough elements such as humorous pop culture references, almost rescues and some hungry wolves that you won’t know what to expect, and I was certainly surprised by Green’s harsh treatment of his characters, considering there’s only 3 of them. Frozen is suspenseful and very entertaining and goes to show how a well crafted film can be made from such a basic concept.

Check the trailer out below and the film out now.

The Frontiersman Now on Graphicly

Pres release below about the new step in the digital magazine from Broken Frontier, who I’ve been writing for for a while now. This is good news for those who want to read some great interviews and articles on their latest techno gadget.

The Frontiersman Now Available on Graphicly

Broken Frontier’s digital comics magazine, The Frontiersman, is now available through the Graphicly catalogue.

“We’re extremely excited to start offering The Frontiersman to Graphicly’s customers,” Broken Frontier Editor-in-Chief Frederik Hautain said. “Graphicly is one of the trendsetters in the digital comics arena, and their excellent platform enables us to put our magazine in the hands of many more comic book fans.”

The Frontiersman debuted in late April 2010 and is tailor-made to be enjoyed on the iPad, but can just as easily be read on your desktop. Last week saw the release of issue #17, in which the winners of the Broken Frontier Awards 2010 were announced. The issue features spotlight articles on Batman and Robin, Grant Morrison, Olivier Coipel, Charles Burns, Return of the Dapper Men and more. Also inside is the FULL issue of Josh Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal’s horror thriller Echoes #1.

The Frontiersman #17 is offered for free on Graphicly, giving readers that have never experienced The Frontiersman before a great first look at the magazine. As of The Frontiersman #18, new issues will be sold for $1.49, while back issues will be made available for a mere $0.99.

 

Craig Thompson’s Habibi on September 20

The creator of that marvellous tome, 2003’s Blankets, Craig Thompson is readying his new project, Habibi. It lands on September 20. Yes, it’s been a while between drinks but anyone who’s seen the intricate style (in both art and story) of Blankets knows that his time consuming renderings are worth the wait. The 672 page book will be published by Pantheon and feature clothbound hard cover with stamped gold foil. The big pic below is the final cover, and next to it are some that didn’t make the cut.

For me, (and many, many others) Blankets was a real eye opener and revealed to me the wonder of non-superhero comics. I have lent it, bought it and recommended it to many non-comics readers in the years since, and will surely do the same with Habibi.

DC Drops the Comics Code and the Ball

So DC Comics are no longer using the Comics Code and are using their own in-house system. Here’s what their blog The Source has to say about it:

As of January 2011, DC Comics titles will no longer carry the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval. In 2011, DC Comics will employ a rating system consistent with that of the rest of the industry, as well as with our digital releases, which already utilize a rating system. As for our Vertigo comic books, they will not utilize the rating system, because they will continue to be labeled as “For Mature Readers”.

Beginning with our April 2011 titles, all DC comic book covers will utilize the following rating system:

E – EVERYONE

Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.

T – TEEN

Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.

T+ – TEEN PLUS

Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.

M – MATURE

Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.

It’s not a big deal really, as the Comics Code introduced in 1954 has been redundant for decades, and now it’s officially dead, (even Wiki says so) with The Simpsons comics publishers Bongo doing away with it last year and Archie to be the final user of the Code until they dismiss it next month. Farewell Code. You will be missed. (Not really). As a final farewell here’s a funny look at it.

On  a related note, this week’s Young Justice #0 from DC seems to be a potential indicator of Code-free comics for the kids. Based on the upcoming cartoon of the same name it assumes that everyone has seen the pilot, which I’m guessing only Americans have. However it’s a fun enough read, centred on The Flash and Superboy and a trip to a shopping mall, and this following exchange when they run into The Terror Twins.

I hope their in-house system picks up these kinds of errors. Did they really think this was OK in a cartoon tie-in comic, full of Archie and Scooby Doo ads?

Full Spider-Man Reboot Movie Costume

MTV’s Spashpage site has a revealing look at next year’s Spidey film costume in action right here. Sleek, as it should be, it also has web-shooters and an air of acrobatic ability. The mask and feet may not be the final deal and could be used for stunt work though. It looks okay, but it does also make him look like an Olympic ice skater.

Extra Sequential #24-Talking Animals

75 mins. Our anthropomorphic special. That’s talking animals and we talk about  a wide variety of comics containing them. Also – Spock, corporate branding, bell bottoms and annoying movie scores.

LISTEN TO IT BELOW, DOWNLOAD IT HERE, ON ITUNES OR MIXCLOUD

2:37 NEWS

Pics of the Spider-Man, and Captain America films. X-Men: First Class and Priest too. Also, the WAI-CON anime convention in Perth.

12:45 WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING

Viking collection from Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein. Large format old timey action.

Casanova Vol. 1. Spies, multiple dimensions and hip zaniness from Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba.

The Infinite Vacation #1 from Nick Spencer and Christian Ward.  Handy, though dangerous iPhone application that allows you to buy and sell alternate universe lives of yourself.

Star Trek New Frontier Book One. A novel by prolific scribe Peter David.

30:15 ANTHROPOMORPHIC READING LIST

Early Mickey Mouse from Floyd Gottfredson

Lions, Tigers and Bears

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Cerebus

Elephantmen

Elmer

WE3

Maus

Blacksad

Sam and Max

and more!

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK (Yes, it’s been a while)

Lackadaisy

Bane, Batmobiles and Black Swan

The internet’s a buzz with the recent casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman’s alter ego Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy as bad guy Bane, but most non-comics readers have no idea who Bane is. In fact my local newspaper called him Blane. Sounds like a magician. So, Empire have a handy guide to the bulky, back-breaking character right here. They also have a look at 11 Superhero Vehicles from films, including a few of Batman’s rides, and Wolverine’s motorcycle (huh?). Lastly Empire are allowing us music lovers to listen (not download) the entire soundtrack of ballet/dark drama Black Swan here from composer Clint Mansell.

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen them already here’s the first official pics from June’s ’60 set mutant prequel, X-Men: First Class.

Hip Heroes

Superheroes can be interpreted any number of striking ways, especially superhero teams. For example, the Justice League by Dan Hipp, and his version of Batman’s rogues gallery,

the Guardians of the Galaxy and New Warriors from Patricio Oliver,

and finally Franco Spagnolo’s Justice League.

All these great artists’ blogs are worth checking out for more impressive pics of pop culture interpretations.

Rubber Trailer

Wikipedia describes this as, “a 2010 French horror comedy film about a tyre that comes to life and kills people with its psychic powers. It was directed and written by Quentin Dupieux.” Yep, that’s what it is. Trailer below.

Bane and Catwoman in Batman 3

So the dust of casting rumours has settled and now the facts can be revealed. Anne Hathaway is playing Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy is playing Bane in the third and final Batman film from Christopher Nolan, entitled The Dark Knight Rises. Both are interesting choices.

Hathaway has shown more light hearted humour in her roles rather than the darkness that the former prostitute and inconsistent flame of Bruce Wayne requires, but we don’t know what Nolan’s version of the femme feline fatale will be. The press release from Warner Bros. notes that she’s playing Selina Kyle, not Catwoman, so she may not leather up and grab her whip, but Aaron Eckhart was only ever credited as Harvey Dent, not Two Face in 2008’s The Dark Knight, so we could be in for a nice surprise when TDKR opens on July next year.

Tom Hardy starred in Nolan’s Inception (and as the bad Picard clone in Star Trek: Nemesis) and bulked up considerably for crime drama Bronson, so playing Bane is a good choice. Everyone expected Hardy to play doctor Hugo Strange, not Bane though, but I am curious to see what they do with the character who broke Batman’s back in the awesome KnightFall saga in the early ’90s. Bane is a master strategist and the most recent comics supervillain to show up in these films and is a pivotal one in Batman’s history, and it’ll be good for the Dark Knight to have a bad guy to match his strength and dedication on screen. More than just a forgotten character from the ’90s period, Bane has shown up as a multi-faceted character in Secret Six, showing honour and surprising concern for his fellow crims.

Being as this is the final film in this trilogy, it’ll be interesting to see Batman’s arc. Things left off in the last film with Batman taking the fall for Dent’s death and being labelled a rebel. Will Bruce now retire and marry Selina? Will Batman have his back broken by Bane? Or will Bane even replace Batman as Gotham’s law enforcer?

Hulk #30 Preview

Ed McGuiness draws bulging muscles and bombastic, powerhouse battles like no-one else, and now he’s returning to Hulk. Details, and rare preview pages with text, below.

Ed McGuinness returns to HULK!

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at HULK #30, as superstar artist Ed McGuinness returns to the book he helped create and joins red hot writer Jeff Parker for the gamma-irradiated team-up you never thought you’d see! That’s right, the Green Goliath and the rampaging Red Hulk must put aside their differences to take on a threat so massive it’ll take the both of them to put a stop to it. The Earth will shake as the COMPOUND HULK makes its shocking debut!

“Thanks to his amazing run with Jeph Loeb, Ed’s become THE definitive Hulk artist of our time,” said Senior Editor Mark Paniccia. “HULK #30 is pure McGuinness madness, introducing new characters that are bound to be instant classics, and some Hulk villains that fans have been frothing for. All this and the Impossible Man, too.”

Prepare for an action-packed, gamma-fueled beat down that only the combined might of two Hulks can deliver in HULK #30, on sale this February!

HULK #30 (DEC100576)

Written by JEFF PARKER

Pencils and Cover by ED McGUINNESS

T+…$3.99

FOC 1/24/11, On-Sale 2/16/11

Abrams ComicArts Blog

Publisher Abrams make some good books, such as the new Shazam! by designer Chip Kidd, and they’ve just launched a blog focusing on behind the scenes info. Their latest post is a pretty interesting one as it reveals how some of their books, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Mom’s Cancer got picked up.