DC’s Animated Shared Universe

Thanks to what Marvel Studios have been doing with their films since Iron Man debuted on the silver screen, the concept of a “shared universe,” is now in fans’ minds. Of course, comics have been doing that for decades, and it’s called “continuity. It’s a lot harder to do on film though, and now that with the Man of Steel sequel and its myriad DC Comics character cameos is underway, they can focus on unifying the animated films.

Since Warner Bros./DC Comics released their first animated film based on their massive library of comics tales in 2007 focused on The Death of Superman tale, they’ve been producing about two such films a year. They have varied greatly in terms of tone and cast, but with Justice League: War and the upcoming Son of Batman, that looks set to change.

“This will definitely be the first salvo in doing new movies that are in continuity with each other,” producer James Tucker told Comic Book Resources. “Our next movie is going to be Son of Batman, and that Batman will be the same Batman that you see in Justice League: War. Basically, we’ll have two concurrent series of Justice League movies and Batman movies, and they’ll be in continuity with each other. So it’s kind of world-building.”

The new continuity will not be limited to adapting storylines from the current New 52 line of DC superhero books, according to Justice League: Wardirector Jay Oliva. “We can do original content, we can do New 52 stuff,” he said. Indeed, Oliva’s next animated project will be Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the successful Batman: Arkham video games.

Warner Bros. plans to put out two home releases each year based in this shared continuity, with an additional DC animated project every year as a stand-alone, continuity-free project (Batman: Arkham fills that spot for 2014), although Tucker told CBR that such plans are “always subject to change.”

You can read the whole story at The Hollywood Reporter, and below is the Sneak Peek from Justice League: War showing a glimpse at the epic Son of Batman film.

Cap, Spidey and Transformers Trailers

The Superbowl is done for another year. One team won and one team lost, but what I’m interested in are the new trailers!

Opening April 4 is the Captain America sequel, The Winter Soldier. It looks darker than the original. Oh yeah!

Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the longest and by far, most intense trailer of the three released today, with a focus on the villains. It opens on May 2 from Sony, withe original main cast and director. Electro reminds me of The Riddler in Batman Forever, as a loser who idolises the superhero and then goes nutty.

Finally, the Transformers sequel (that nobody really asked for), with a new human cast  is the shortest and less revealing. Lots of pointy, shiny robots, explosions and humans running. Oh, and also Optimus Prime riding a dragon-like (rather than T-Rex) Grimlock. I’m not sure if that’s cool yet.

 

Spidey and Cap Superbowl Teasers

Yep, teasers for trailers! That’s how impatient we are, and the studios know it.

Sunday’s Superbowl will see many cool new trailers, at the costly sum of $4 million for 30 seconds, but until then, we have two teasers for two superhero sequels. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 teaser is the most action packed one yet, and the even shorter Captain America: The Winter Soldier shows some new footage, including a cool flying Falcon.

Expect full trailers to go online in the next day or two, if you happen to miss them during the Superbowl.

There’s also some new pics of the Cap sequel, and yes, that last one is French bad guy Batroc the Leaper! You can see more posters here, spotlighting Nick Fury, Cap and Black Widow, the latter of which has been criticised for some obvious Photoshop editing.

Captain America 2 poster

 

Jeremy Alfred and Jesse Lex

The casting for the Man of Steel sequel (now delayed until May 6 2016) has just announced a couple of big names. The rumoured Bryan Cranston from TV’s Breaking Bad will not be classic Superman bald baddie Lex Luthor, but The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg will. Some are saying he looks too young, although he’s also 30, just like Superman actor Henry Cavill.

Eisenberg was menacing and crafty in Network, and also cocky in Now You See Me. I think he could pull this off.

Jeremy Irons is a good choice for Bruce Wayne’s butler/confidante Alfred Pennyworth. There aren’t too many well-known British actors of that age. I guess they could get an American actor to do a Brit accent, but Irons will certainly bring the gravitas. Here’s what director Zack Snyder had to say about the casting.

“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

The director added, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Lex-Luthor-Man-of-Steel

Alfred Pennyworth

Snowpiercer Comic Available Now

Opening recently was the sci-fi film Snowpiercer, based on the French graphic novels, and directed by South Korean Bong Joon-ho, who also made the excellent The Host (no, not the recent alien invasion one). The film hasn’t opened in English speaking countries yet, but it looks to be dark and entertaining.

You can now read both volumes in English for the first time, thanks to UK based publisher Titan Comics. Volume 1 is available now, which the second volume coming out next month. After the jump you can see the trailer and some preview pages from the first volume.

TITAN COMICS RELEASES SNOWPIERCER – THE

GRAPHIC NOVEL THAT INSPIRED THE NEW

CHRIS EVANS FILM!

Translated from the highly acclaimed French classic, soon to be a major motion picture starring Captain America star Chris Evans!

Titan Comics is proud to announce a world-first English translation of the acclaimed French comic, in a pair of graphic novels hitting stores in early 2014 ahead of the US release of the film! Volume 1: The Escape is released January 29, 2014, with Volume 2: The Explorers following February 25, 2014.

Coursing through an eternal winter, on an icy track wrapped around the frozen planet Earth, there travels Snowpiercer, a train one thousand and one carriages long. From fearsome engine to final car, all surviving human life is here: a complete hierarchy of the society we lost…

The elite, as ever, travel in luxury at the front of the train – but for those in the rear coaches, life is squalid, miserable and short.

Proloff is a refugee from the tail, determined never to go back. In his journey forward through the train, he hopes to reach the mythical engine and, perhaps, find some hope for the future…

The thrilling original graphic novels have been adapted into an astounding new film directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host), starring Chris Evans (Captain America), Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia, We Need To Talk About Kevin), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott, The Adventures of Tintin), Ed Harris (A History of Violence, The Abyss, Apollo 13) and John Hurt (Hellboy, V For Vendetta, Alien, Doctor Who), and distributed in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company, and due for release in Q1 2014.

Written by the late Jacques Lob, winner of the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, and Benjamin Legrand, the author of numerous thriller novels, screenplays, and comic scripts, Snowpiercer is illustrated by Jean-Marc Rochette, who has worked across a variety of projects and genres, from science fiction comics to children’s cartoons – including adaptations of Voltaire’s Candide and Homer’s Odyssey.

Volume 1: The Escape is released January 29, 2014, with Volume 2: The Explorers following February 25, 2014

To keep up-to-date with news about Snowpiercer join Titan Comics on Facebook or follow @comicstitan on Twitter.

For more information about Titan Comics, visit www.titan-comics.com

 

snow-piercer-croppedweb

 

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New Looks for Doctor Who and The X-Men

The internet is all about two things today, it would seem. That’d be Peter Capaldi’s finally unveiled look for his incarnation of Doctor Who, which looks pretty great. I must say. This is how the BBC see it:

Sporting a dark blue Crombie coat with red lining, dark blue trousers, a white shirt as well as black Dr. Marten shoes, the look was created by Doctor Who costume designer Howard Burden.

Commenting on his costume, Peter Capaldi said: “He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord.”

Peter Capaldi Doctor WhoAlso, from my fave film magazine, Empire comes 25 variant covers (!) featuring the characters, both old and new, of the May 23 releasing X-Men: Days of Future Past film, directed by Bryan Singer. The covers are okay if bland, and of course, Wolverine is all veiny and shirtless.

I mean, I get the post apocalyptic feel of the movie’s setting, but all the dark colours are just boring. Fan Bingbing as Blink looks pretty good though. You can see all the covers right here, including Colossus, Warpath, Bishop, Sunspot, Kitty Pryde, a young William Stryker and two versions of the mutant hunting robot Sentinels.

Blink X-Men Days of Future Past Cover

The Secret Origin of the Masked Avenger

Before comic books introduced the world to heroes in costumes with lairs and secret identities, the pulp novels of the 1930s and ’40s did, but what came before them?

Here’s an interesting article at io9 that has a brief historical look at the origins of the masked avenger trope we know so well today.

While you’re there, check out the video showing the Scarecrow film. If you can handle the amusing song, the shrieking laugh will scare you.

The Trip to Italy

A sequel to The Trip starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, and directed by Michael Winterbottom premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week. The Trip to Italy follows the same formula as the original (6 half hour TV episodes, and a re-edited film version). The pair travel restaurants across Italy in a Mini, and chat and one-up each other with some spot-on impressions.

See below for a clip, and get ready to watch another funny, quotable film soon.

Godzilla Comic, Storykiller and JLA Film

Legendary Pictures turned their hand to comics a while ago, and although they don’t produce a lot of sequential art, it’s always pretty slick, such as The Tower Chronicles, and Shadow Walk.

Like they did with Pacific Rim, Legendary Comics is producing another prequel. Their latets project is a comic tieing in to the May 16th release of the Godzilla cinematic reboot, which is directed by Gareth Edwards (the excellent, low budget Monsters) and starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The original graphic novel will hit stands a week before the film’s premiere, and is set a few decades before the events of the film. Below you can see Edwards’ announcement about the project.

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Perth Writers Festival

You may remember me mentioning the highly entertaining documentary, Comic Book Heroes last year. It focused on West Australian publisher Gestalt Comics and their struggle to great success. It aired on Australian TV last year and is really worth watching. If you missed it however, fear not!

As part of this year’s Perth Writers’ Festival, you can see it for free, along with a Q and A of some of the talented Gestalt crew, at Octagon Theatre, Nedlands on Saturday February 22.

Son of Batman Animated Film Trailer

Well, this is a surprise. DC Comics/Warner Bros. release about two animated films based on classic, and new, DC series every year, but this one came from nowhere. Usually there’s a press release with a few details, but not this time. Bam! Here you go internet, thanks to TV Guide. What a nice surprise it is though.

Son of Batman is based on the awesome and highly recommended 2006 Batman and Son comic written by Grant Morrison with art by Andy Kubert. It was a great story arc, and notable for having introduced Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son with Talia al-Ghul, Ra’s al-Ghul’s daughter. Voicing Batman is Jason O’Mara, who also voices him in next month’s Justice League: War animated film. It looks to be fairly close to the comics, including Man-Bat, but also throwing in Deathstroke who was absent from the original tale, but I guess he’s popular now, thanks to TV’s Arrow.

The film will premier at California’s WonderCon in April, and then hit Blu-ray and DVD, and a new edition collecting the comics goes on sale on January 29.

batman-and-son-tpb

Darth Maul Prequel Novel Preview

Every month Del Rey Books release a very generous 50ish page preview of some of their upcoming releases. This time, if you’re a Star Wars or Transformers fan, then you’re in luck.

Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown is set before the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, in which Darth Maul still had his own legs. It’s written by Joe Schreiber who made a splash with his “zombie Stormtroopers” novel, Star Wars: Death Troopers. You can read a gripping excerpt right here, and if you like transforming ‘bots, then here’s a preview of Transformers: Retribution. Below are the covers and official descriptions for the novels, both of which go on sale on January 28.

Maul Lockdown

Set before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, this new novel is a thrilling follow-up to Star Wars: Darth Plagueis.

It’s kill or be killed in the space penitentiary that houses the galaxy’s worst criminals, where convicts face off in gladiatorial combat while an underworld gambling empire reaps the profits of the illicit blood sport. But the newest contender in this savage arena, as demonic to behold as he is deadly to challenge, is fighting for more than just survival. His do-or-die mission, for the dark masters he serves, is to capture the ultimate weapon: an object that will enable the Sith to conquer the galaxy.

Sith lords Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious are determined to possess the prize. And one of the power-hungry duo has his own treacherous plans for it. But first, their fearsome apprentice must take on a bloodthirsty prison warden, a cannibal gang, cutthroat crime lord Jabba the Hutt, and an unspeakable alien horror. No one else could brave such a gauntlet of death and live. But no one else is the dreaded dark-side disciple known as Darth Maul.

Transformers Retribution

For decades, Transformers fans across the globe have marveled at the mighty clashes of Megatron and Optimus Prime, and speculated about their arrival on planet Earth. Now, in Transformers: Retribution, the prequel to the Transformersanimated series, the epic odyssey of these two great warriors is finally revealed as Autobots and Decepticons battle one another . . . and the most diabolic foe they’ve ever encountered.

Aboard the Ark, Optimus Prime leads his Autobots through deep space, searching for the AllSpark so vital to their home planet, Cybertron. Megatron’s not far behind, and his Decepticons are itching for war. But a mysterious planet conceals an enemy far more cunning and powerful: the Quintessons. Masters of tyranny, technology, and twisted double crosses, the Quintessons are out to enslave both Autobots and Decepticons. Their deadly bag of tricks includes fiendish trials and a secret link all the way back to Cybertron, where Shockwave is wreaking havoc with supercomputer Vector Sigma. In the coming conflagration, Star Seekers, Wreckers, Alpha Trion, and Sharkticons all have their parts to play. For none can dodge the Quintesson juggernaut of evil, and none will escape the cataclysmic life-and-death battles that will catapult Autobots and Decepticons to Earth.

Listen To Switchfoot’s New Album For Free

Switchfoot have been around since 1996, and are one of my favourite bands. Their 9th studio album, Fading West was released last week and you can listen to all of it for free over at the excellent site, Relevant.

Fading West Album

 

There’s also a film related to the album featuring the band on tour, which is now available on Video on Demand services, and hopefully on Blu-ray/DVD in the near future.

Tales of Honor Comic

Well, this is ambitious. I must confess my ignorance to David Weber’s sci-fi books, but this multi-part adaptation/extension looks to be a fairly intense undertaking.

TALES OF HONOR: COMIC LAUNCHES MULTI-PLATFORM STORYWORLD TO INTRODUCE NEW FANS TO THE “HONORVERSE”

Evergreen Studios to transform David Weber’s critically acclaimed science fiction book series into a visually rich experience.

TALES OF HONOR #1 lands this March, kicking off the first of many immersive science-fiction comics, games, webisodes, and TV episodes, leading up to the release in 2017 of a feature film. Based on the USA Today and New York Times bestselling science-fiction novels, Honor Harrington, by David Weber, the stories are set 2,000 years in the future when hyperspace travel has allowed humanity to colonize the far reaches of the universe. TALES OF HONOR follows the life and times of a brilliant, genetically engineered female spaceship captain, Honor Harrington, as she heroically leads her crew through a series of epic political, military, and personal adventures.

“We chose the comic platform to launch the Honorverse to the uninitiated because it emphasizes visual storytelling and introduces our characters in a strong, iconic way. Comics also offer us the opportunity to interact with audience on a monthly basis to find the right tone and style for this new incarnation of Honor Harrington and her world,” said Scott Kroopf, Chief Creative Officer, Evergreen Studios.

The first comic series introduces Honor on the eve of her execution. From her cell, she recalls her first command assignment in a hellish backwater star system, where she discovers an enemy fleet massing for a sneak attack and must find a way to stop them with her lone ship.

“Weber’s story world is so cool because it’s based in real science, which gives it a feeling of authenticity. TALES OF HONOR is to Science Fiction what JASON BOURNE is to spy movies: realistic, gritty, and action-packed,” said Scott Kroopf, Chief Creative Officer, Evergreen Studios.

Matt Hawkins from Top Cow agrees. “I have never taken on outside comic projects, but when Evergreen approached me and I read the books, I was truly intrigued. David Weber has a level of detail that is not given in a lot of stuff now. The way they do the spaceship combat is actually realistic. The idea that the ships are so far apart and have to deal with inertia is something you don’t see in Star Trek or Star Wars. You can’t just turn a ship on a dime that’s going that fast.”

“What impressed me about THINK TANK was how clever and scientifically grounded it was, which made it very accessible and believable. Matt studied science and grew up in a military family, which made him the perfect person to adapt this story as a comic,” said Scott Kroopf, Chief Creative Officer, Evergreen Studios.

Evergreen Studios, the company behind WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, currently in theatres, develops stories whose characters, plots, and ideas can unfold over multiple platforms.

The mobile game, Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet, will be available on iOS and Android and releases shortly after the first comic. This free-to-play strategy game will allow people to battle a multitude of enemies in ship to ship combat across the breadth of the “Honorverse”.

David Weber wrote 28 Honor Harrington novels, including an anthology series, two spin-off series, and a recent young adult series. The most recent entry in the series, Beginnings, was released July 2013.

For more information, go to www.tales-of-honor.com or www.topcow.com

TALES OF HONOR #1

Story: Matt Hawkins

Art/Cover A: Jung-Geun Yoon (Diamond Code: JAN140539)

Cover B: Stjepan Sejic (Diamond Code: JAN140540)

Cover C: Rahsan Ekedal (Diamond Code: JAN140541)

Cover D: Patrick Tatopolous (Diamond Code: JAN140542)

March 5, 32 pgs $2.99

Tales of Honor Comic

 

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