Stan Lee’s The Seekers Contest

Work with the legendary Stan Lee as a writer or artist and win $10, 000? Yes please!

What’s that? You must be a U.S resident. Oh.

Have you ever dreamed of writing or illustrating a comic under the tutelage of the legendary Stan Lee? Well, here’s your chance True Believer! MTV Comics and POW! Entertainment are offering you the chance to write or illustrate the digital graphic novel “The Seekers!”

Over the next 3 weeks we’ll be accepting submissions from artists and writers for an opportunity to earn approximately $10,000.00 to do just that. You read that right, that’s 10-Gs.

In order to enter you’ll need to read the complete set of official rules, but here are the highlights of the contest:

● Submissions will be open for three weeks, closing on August 26, 2011
● ARTISTS will submit five (5) black and white pages of sequential comic art based on a scene from “The Seekers”
● WRITERS will write ten (10) pages of comic script and a two (2) page treatment for the series based on Stan’s treatment
● Submissions will be narrowed down by the MTV Comics editorial staff to the top 20 semi-finalists in each category; that’s 20 writers, and 20 artists
● Semi-finalists will be voted on by the public beginning on September 5, 2011
● The top 5 vote-getters in each category will be forwarded on to Stan Lee, who will hand select the winners
● Winners will be presented the opportunity to write or illustrate MTV Comics’ The Seekers (and earn approximately 10k)

Details here.

Starborn #5 Review

BOOM! sure do go after the big names; Disney, Planet of the Apes, Mark Waid, Stan Lee. Lee is of course the architect of the early Marvel Universe and helped birth Spider-Man, X-Men, et al, but the last few decades have seen him do not much writing and more overseeing. That’s kind of what he’s doing here, giving a few story ideas to modern scribes and letting them do their thing. I haven’t read may of the handful of Stan Lee’s …. line of new series, but this issue is geared as a jumping on point, so I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m glad I did.

Written by Chris Roberson (Cinderella; From Fabletown With Love, Superman) with art by Kary Randolp and Mateo Scalera it focuses on wannabe novelist Benjamin Warner. Stuck in a droll job he discovers that his dream girl Tara is actually a shape shifter form another planet and that the aliens coming to get him seem to be ripped from his imagination.

As this ish begins, Benjamin in a fancy space suit, Tara and a sceptical General Cur are inside Demon,  living spaceship hurtling through space trying to come to grips with how, or if, Ben’s mind has created what he’s living, before getting attacked. On earth a few cool looking aliens, led by a dreadlocked female surmise that Tara’s group, Crimson Hand hid their advanced technology on earth before fleeing and Demon lands on  mining planet to heal. While a disguised Tara haggles for supplies, Ben saves a woman and her child from an angry, whip wielding local and Ben learns that A. His hi-tech suit is full of surprises and B. For some reason he’s known on this world, and isn’t popular at all.

It’s not a perfect jumping on point as there is a fair lot of story to digest, but is an entertaining sci-fi story of the classic ordinary-man-in-extraordinary-circumstances approach. I’m curious to know more about Benjamin and just why his imagination is becoming real, and the place he plays in the universe. The art is amongst the best of these Stan Lee tales too, with a slightly sketchy yet expressive cartoony style that works with unfolding drama and Ben’s frequently overwhelmed expressions.

Also included is an action packed 8 page preview of Insurrection V3.6 #1 which looks like an interesting sci-fi tale too.

Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero #1 Review

Everyone knows who Stan Lee is. Of course, most non-comics readers probably think he created Superman and draws for Marvel now or something, but his reach is deservedly wide. Since he left the writing desk long ago he’s now more known for his appearances on TV shows about “real” superheroes and cameos in Marvel films.

No-one expects Lee’s writing to be as revolutionary as the days in the early ‘60s when he gave the world Spider-Man, X-Men, etc but he has nothing to prove anymore and it’s great to see that even as he approaches his 90th birthday he’s still active. BOOM! Studios surprised everyone with their “Stan’s Back” teaser earlier in the year and now we know what it’s all about. Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero is the first cab off the rank, with two more ongoing series (November’s The Traveler and December’s Starborn) to follow, all overseen by Lee and created by others. Paul Cornell is the scribe behind Soldier Zero, with Javier Pina supplying art and Dave Johnson as the designer of the main character. That’s an impressive line-up.

Captain Stewart Trautmann meets a fellow wheelchair bound citizen Shannon in the first few pages of this tale before catching up with his brother James and letting the exposition flow freely. That includes the fact that Trautmann was wounded in the Afghanistan war and is hoping for a relationship with Lily, a woman he works with at the Astrophysics department of Caldon University.

Waiting for a meteor shower with fellow staff members, and students, Trautmann reveals to Lily how he ended up in the wheelchair in an effective flashback to his war service and the pair share in a few awkward moments.

Throughout this issue short scenes of a suited alien attempting to escape a laser firing spaceship show up and in the last third the alien’s world and Trautmann’s collide. Elements of Green Lantern and Firestorm reveal themselves in the use of a human in an intergalactic war and two beings sharing the same body, but Pina’s expressive visuals and likeable lead may just pull this one ahead of the feeling that we’ve seen all this before. So far it’s too early to tell but with the talents involved and deeper themes at work it may just be more than a simple idea given life because of the selling power of Stan Lee’s name on the cover.

Lee has made a very impressive career out of “ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances” scenarios and Soldier Zero looks set to be another one. It’s not something we haven’t seen before, with even Mark Millar’s recent Superior just beating this book to the punch, with a wheelchair bound human becoming host to a powerful being, but the dialogue hear rings true and Trautmann’s doubt about his soldier’s past, coupled with the frustrations of his limited maneuverability and how the world sees him, should make for an interesting mix now that he has a powerful alien suit giving him all sorts of freedoms, and scary powers.

There’s a 6 page preview of the November launching The Traveler, another Stan Lee series by Mark Waid and Chad Hardin. It looks to be another simple tale (bad guy from the future chases a woman while a good guy shows up to protect her) but in Waid’s hands it could be as awesome as Irredeemable.

I’m surprised all 3 of these series are ongoing, I must say. I would’ve thought a mini-series would’ve been the safer bet, but then again, BOOM! (and Stan Lee of course) have a habit of surprising readers. Soldier Zero is a great place to get in on the ground floor of a new superhero series with an accessible feel and attractive art. If you’re sick of convoluted epics and want something more streamlined yet still entertaining, this isn’t a bad place to begin.

Become a HERO

 

Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R (A Commitment To Our Roots), the Hero Initiative aims to financially assist comic creators who’ve fallen on hard times. It’s a great idea, and since 2001 the not-for-profit company have given out over $400, 000 to writers and artists who through illness, or just bad fortune, have really needed it.

paul-diniNow you can support HERO, and through them, some of your favourite creators through taking advantage of the new memberships they’re offering. If  you want to look like the happy writers Paul Dini and Stan Lee below, then sign up today! I have, and I feel warm and fuzzy inside. The full details are below.

A Bronze membership costs $29 and includes: a personalized membership card (which will arrive approximately 4-5 weeks after you sign up), a quarterly newsletter and a Hero Initiative sketch card from a randomly selected artist. Artists include Mike Bencic, Dan Brereton, Dick Giordano, Bob Hall, Dan Jurgens, Mike Mayhew, George Pérez, Joe Quesada, John Romita Sr., Dave Simons, Jim Valentino, Carly Wagner, Bob Wiacek, Richard Zajac and more!

A Silver membership costs $99 and includes: all of the Bronze perks, plus a Hero Initiative T-shirt (your choice of Dawn or Hero Hand), a copy of the Marvel Then and Now DVD and a copy of The Unusual Suspects graphic novel.

A Gold membership costs $250 and includes: all of the Silver perks, plus invitations to Hero Initiative VIP Members-Only parties at 2009’s Wizard World Los Angeles and Wizard World Chicago.

stan-leeAn Excelsior! membership costs $500 and includes: all of the Gold perks, plus your flat item (maximum size 11″ x 17″), signed and personalized by the one and only Stan Lee.

“I’m always amazed and happy to see the support that fans have shown Hero,” said Hero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin. “Hopefully, this will be a new way they can show affinity, and get some nice goodies in the process.”

This is the first time memberships to The Hero Initiative have been offered. It was put into place with the fans foremost in mind and on consultation withGeekInTheCity.com, a website that covers all things geek, from comics to movies to games. As such, GeekInTheCity’s Aaron Duran is member #1, Jen Duran is member #2 and Stan Lee is member #3. Creator Paul Dini (Detective Comics, Madame Mirage) is also a member already, as is Mid-Ohio Con promoter Roger Price.

“The Hero Initiative does more than help people in need,” said Aaron Duran, explaining why he was eager to help start this membership drive. “They give back to those that inspired our hopes and dreams. They help artists and writers in need, artists and writers that inspired all our tomorrows. Please help the Hero Initiative protect theirs.”

To become a member of The Hero Initiative, fans can sign up at Atomic Comics or on-site at The Hero Initiative booth at the following upcoming comic book conventions: Phoenix Cactus Comic-Con, Jan. 23-25; New York Comic Con, Feb. 6-8; WonderCon, Feb. 27 – March 1; Orlando MegaCon, Feb. 27 – March 1; and Wizard World Los Angeles, March 13-15.

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