Latest Entries »

Star Wars issue 1

With the official change over really coming to fruition in January of the return of the Star Wars comic book license to Marvel Comics after its successful run at Dark Horse Comics–and several months before the full magnitude of what it will mean to have Star Wars under the Disney empire–already word is out about re-releases of the original trilogy.

Forget about Greedo shooting first, the ghost of a young Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi, a skinny Jabba at Mos Eisley, and strange circular bursts emitting from destroyed Death Stars.  Forget about a cringe-worthy singsong “Celebrate the Love” over “Lapti Nek.”  It took Disney to give fans what they have wanted all along: the one and only original Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, with no special edition edits, on Blu-ray.  That’s right, all three films are undergoing conversions to Blu-ray for a to-be-announced release date in 2015.

Original Death Star 2 destruction

The original destruction of the second Death Star.

So you’ll again get to upgrade your home version of the trilogy, the one that already replaced you VHS, Beta, Laser Disc, DVD, and countless digital upgrade and boxed set releases–one more time.  That is, until they release the 3D version.  No word yet on that upgrade.

updated Death Star 2 destruction from special edition

Destruction of second Death Star, after the special edition update.

Along with the films, the original Star Wars: A New Hope comic book adaptation created by legendary writer Roy Thomas and illustrated by our favorite comic book artist, Howard Chaykin, will get a facelift of sorts.  Colorist Chris Sotomayor is going to update the four-color standard 1970s style used by Marvel to a more modern color set.  Like the special edition update for the movies, this will give us a new take on the classic book.  Well-known artists Marie Severin, Steve Leialoha and Glynis Wein provided the original color work now being replaced.

Here’s a comparison of the new vs. the old:

Marvel 1977 Star Wars color update

Check back for release dates here at borg.com throughout 2015.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Kermit in A Muppet Christmas Carol

By Elizabeth C. Bunce

Audiences have loved Charles Dickens’s yuletide ghost story, A Christmas Carol, for 171 years, and it’s been committed to film at least 50 times.  It’s hard to dispute the status of 1951’s Scrooge starring Alastair Sim, or surpass Patrick Stewart’s masterly performance as the cruel miser in the 1999 television adaptation.   But for annual, feel-good holiday fun, our money is on The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Released in 1992 and representing the first of several retellings produced by the zany puppets & crew, The Muppet Christmas Carol also boasts a strong human cast.  Most notable, of course, is Michael Caine (Batman Begins, Get Carter) as Ebenezer Scrooge, in a turn that is just the right balance of humbug and humor.

Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge

The Muppet version brings all the elements you expect from A Christmas Carol, from dead-as-a-doornail business partner Marley, to Tiny Tim asking God to bless us, everyone… but with wonderful Muppet twists.  All your favorite Muppets are here, as well, in their expected roles: Kermit the Frog as put-upon clerk Bob Cratchitt (with nephew Robin in the roll of Tim); Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchitt, naturally; and even 1990’s standard duo Gonzo and Rizzo, taking a meta-fiction approach as tour-guide-to-the-tale Charles Dickens and a skeptical sidekick.

View full article »

Pic 1

Review by Art Schmidt

Peter Jackson’s final installment of his screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel The Hobbit is a breathtaking piece of film which aspires to the almost insurmountable heights that his masterpiece The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King achieved.  The goal is a worthy, if almost unrealistic one, and Jackson spares no expense in trying to soar to those heights where he took us ten years ago.

I’m of two minds about this movie, and have been struggling to combine them into a single piece for you, our faithful readers.  But like Jackson with this trilogy, I am not quite up to the task.  And so, like Jackson, I will split something that should be in a single piece into multiple pieces, and although I am aware that they will likely not equal the sum of what a whole, single review should, I will try nonetheless because I have too much to say on the subject and am utterly unable to edit myself.  Much like a certain director we all know and admire.

Review by a fan of fantasy cinema

The Battle of the Five Armies is a really good film.  Is it great?  Well, that will be up to each viewer, honestly.  It is big and bold, and gives good screen time to the multitude of characters we have come to know over the course of the last two films in the trilogy.  The movie opens where the previous film left off, a different approach from other films in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, which tended to open with flashbacks or clever recaps to bring the viewer back into the world of Middle-earth which may have faded slightly since the previous film.  Not so here, as the audience is plunged directly into the story right where we exited it last year.

Pic 2

The dragon Smaug, scary and crazy in the second Hobbit film which bears his name, is magnificently rendered and feels vibrantly alive in the dark theater, the screen aglow with dragonfire and the air electric with his howls of rage and vengeance.  Benedict Cumberbatch captures the right amount of menace and vanity, bringing the drake alive in ways that superb CGI just could not do on its own.  The poor people of Laketown would surely stand in awe of Jackson’s creation if they were not fleeing for their very lives before it.

Martin Freeman knows how to play the everyman, which is essentially what Bilbo Baggins represents.  An everyday man who is snatched up from his comfortable if boring life and thrown headlong into the exciting, unpredictable and oft-times dangerous unknown.  His subtlety and good humor shine through his portrayal of the Hobbit and it is to Freeman’s credit that he can simultaneously stand up to the chiefest and greatest of calamities and also stand up for himself to Thorin, pointing out the sickness that everyone else can see but dare not mention.  The dwarves are also a humorous, entertaining lot, but far too much time would be required to provide the multitude of them a lot of individuality or backstory.  The few who are selected for the spotlight are well worth the time.  Lee Pace, Richard Armitage and Luke Evans play three leaders of different races whose loyalties lie to their people but with widely different styles and personalities.  As with the previous films, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and even Christopher Lee as Saruman himself all put in appearances, though not in a way most might expect!

View full article »

Green Arrow issue 100 cover   Green Arrow 101 cover

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale.  Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end.  “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer.  In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.

But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time.  In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen.  Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:

“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character.  We’re going to prove that to you.”

Death of Green Arrow

The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.

So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie.  But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.

It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap.  Where can we go from here?  Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow.  Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled.  Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.

View full article »

Garfield_V5_coverA   Peanuts24_coverA

With all the focus on teen and adult readers, you might not know that several popular comic book and comic strip characters are still going strong, and available each week for kids of all ages in your local comic book store.  With the annual re-airing of the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, why not see what the Peanuts gang is up to today?  BOOM! Studios’ KaBOOM! line has several series catering to the demographic that may not be ready for Revival and Rachel Rising.

This week KaBOOM! is releasing new issues of Garfield, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and yes, Peanuts.  And for a slightly older set of readers, BOOM! Studios’ BOOM!Box is releasing the next issue of the 2014 breakout hit series Lumberjanes. 

After the break, check out previews for all these titles, courtesy of BOOM! Studios.  All these issues hit comic book stores tomorrow.

Lumberjanes_009_coverA   AT_BananaGuard06_coverA

First up is that lasagna-loving cat Garfield in the trade paperback edition of Garfield, Volume 5.  Whether you’ve read the prior books or not, it’s a cinch to get caught up on Garfield, Jon, and Odie.

View full article »

Jaws movie poster A   Dark Crystal movie poster

Funko Toys CEO Brian Mariotti has been revealing some new toy lines coming from Funko in 2015 as part of his 12 Days of Christmas blog posts at the company’s website.  The biggest news is after four decades someone is finally making a series of action figures for Jaws.  So look for Brody, Hooper and Quint arriving just in time for the 40th anniversary of the film.

An equally big surprise is his news of two new Star Trek action figure toy lines, one for the original series and one for Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Mariotti did not mention whether designs for any of the figures had yet been developed, or their release dates.

Gremlins movie poster   Terminator 2 movie poster

Other series getting the 1970s retro-action figure treatment will be Terminator 2, The Dark Crystal, and Gremlins, along with modern shows Breaking Bad and Boondock Saints.  And Mariotti said he planned to release more TV shows and films slated for the ReAction line by Christmas.  We’re hoping those lines might include Planet of the Apes, The Last Starfighter, Die Hard, Alien Nation, Blade Runner, They Live, or Big Trouble in Little China.

View full article »

Woodward Black Canary commission close-up 2014

One of our favorite artists is J.K. Woodward, known for his vibrant and life-like painting style, and his work on several successful series including Doctor Who/Star Trek: The Next Generation–Assimilation² reviewed here and Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever reviewed here.

We haven’t featured any new original comic art lately so what better time than now to share borg.com’s recent commission of a Woodward painting, done as part of his donation to the Toe Tag Riot crowdfunding project (we reviewed Toe Tag Riot Issue #1 here).

Woodward commission Green Arrow close-up

Adding to our gallery of awesome Green Arrow and Black Canary original art, Woodward placed the Alex Ross era costumed duo on the streets of Star City.  Green Arrow, sporting his classic look and Van Dyke beard, is ready to take out some vile foe off-screen, as Black Canary soars into the picture overhead on her trusty bike.  Based on her facial expression, this superheroine means business.

Check out the full image, after the break…

View full article »

Black Widow Noto

Review by C.J. Bunce

The one-two punch of Nathan Edmondson’s creative storytelling and Phil Noto’s stunning painted covers and panels have yielded twelve issues of a great comic book series this year.  Black Widow gives us an entirely new look at the assassin turned Avenger.  She’s decisive and merciless when she needs to be.  Yet, troubled by her past, she’s on a quest to atone for past sins even if she doesn’t collect all her bounty along the way.

Accompanied by her lawyer-handler Isaiah, an adept operative in his own right, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill, Natasha Romanova aka Black Widow is a powerhouse superheroine–without the need for any superpowers in a banner year for kick-ass women genre characters.  In the past year she has partnered with Director Hill, The Punisher, the wolverine/mutant X-23, and even Bucky Barnes–the Winter Soldier, and taken on both Hawkeye and Daredevil.  All the while she has bested the bad guys on every continent, even if at first she can’t determine who to trust.

Noto Black Widow promo poster

You often encounter series that are weighted toward a stronger writer or stronger artist, but here the balance is perfect.  Edmondson presents the coolest version of Black Widow yet with an engrossing story.  Noto’s painted panels, his 1960s color palette, his realistic Natasha and other recurring characters, and his city scenes from San Francisco to Prague are memorable.  His Natasha is every bit as cool as James Bond on film–a spy you’d both love to be and love to be with.

View full article »

DM Guide

Review by Art Schmidt

Every gaming nerd in the world has stories about their first D&D game, their first (and usually favorite) edition played, their first character, first group, etc.  I won’t bore you with any of mine (I’ve got some pretty awesome ones, though!) but suffice to say I have been playing D&D since before the hardbound books, so it’s been a long time.  My first Dungeon Master’s Guide was the 1st Edition book, all two hundred and thirty-two glorious, black and white, densely packed pages of it.  It opened up worlds of possibility for my friends and me.  We spent endless hours exploring magical realms of perilous danger and heroic adventure.

I ran most of the games, as I had the Dungeon Master’s Guide (or “DMG” in gamer parlance) and a burning desire to create my own worlds.  We played the printed adventures, or modules, and then I created my own.  The DMG was a great help in this, chock full of tables, charts, and endless descriptions of magical items, weapons, ancient relics and fearsome villains.  I do not know how many tablets of graph paper I went through in my teenage years, but I always had some pages tucked in my text books, my folders, or folded up in my pockets, covered in lines and boxes representing mines dark and deep, full of orcs and dragons and swords of flame.

First Ed DMG

Remember 1979? We didn’t even have Atari back then. This was the BOMB!!!

Having spent the majority of my gaming years running games, versus playing characters, I have owned and used every edition of the Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide (except for 4th Edition, and to be honest that’s not out of any dislike for that system but due to a lack of desire of any of my gaming group at the time to make the move from 3.5).  And I’ve loved them all, though at varying levels of love.  The original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) Dungeon Masters Guide (note the lack of the possessive apostrophe; this was 1981 for sure) was a genuine first love, wide-eyed and unjudging and incapable of believing we’d even been blessed with such a magnificent gift.  It literally opened up worlds of imagination for millions of gamers world-wide.  Never mind that the book itself was a jumbled mess of disparate information, random thoughts shoveled into a solid form so quickly that no thought was given to organization or flow.  It didn’t even have chapters, but did we notice or really care?  Heck no!

2nd Edition was more like Puppy Love; it all looked good on the outside and added in a lot of things we thought we wanted, and we knew we were supposed to love it because we loved the game.  But the mechanics weren’t completely sewn together and there were some issues with over-powered spell casting classes.

DMG version 3 dot 5

If they made a Guide to all of the 3.5 Edition rule books, it would be thicker than the DMG.

3rd Edition was a nostalgic love; it was a brave new departure from the old standard but the system was broken from the get-go.  The wildly popular Edition 3.5 was a rebound love;  3rd Edition was dysfunctional and a rough break-up, and 3.5 was a welcome bowl of ice cream and a warm blanket.  And it worked very well.  But after years of fluff and bloat, the system became unwieldy and overly complicated.  Especially so for players and DMs who wanted to focus on story, but had to acquiesce to players who wanted to min-max their way to a War Hulk or Shadowcraft Mage build which everyone knew would eventually break the campaign (and the story!).

View full article »

SWIsh 1 E Midtown Comics by Mark Brooks    SWIsh 1 P Comixposure by John Tyler Christopher

It hasn’t been released yet, and it is already the #1 best selling comic of 2015.  Forecasted with advance sale numbers at more than one million copies already, Marvel Comics is re-entering the world of Star Wars comics like it’s 1977 all over again.  Written by our friend Jason Aaron with artwork by John Cassaday and colorist Laura Martin, the story continues the adventures of Luke Skywalker after the end of the original Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. 

Marvel Comics is pulling out all the stops with the variety of cover variants readers can choose from.  Most comic book stores will get one of a half dozen basic covers, but those who dig around on the Web will find plenty more available.  More than 30 basic full-color covers will be released in January 2015, plus black and white versions and sketch variants of many of those covers.  And that’s not all, several collectible comic book websites will be releasing signature editions signed by everyone up to Stan Lee, and sketch covers by several artists including Dynamite Comics’ Chris Caniano.  And you can get a logo-only cover to take to your next Con and commission an artist of your choice to sketch you a character.

star-wars-1

Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Mike Mayhew, Frank Cho, David Petersen, Jenny Frison, Stephanie Han, Amanda Connor, Alex Maleev… everyone but Dave Dorman seems to have been pulled into this project.  Click on each image to see the artist and whether the book is only available at a special store.  A few variant images have not yet been released.

SWIsh 1 Y Heroes Haven by Mike Perkins      SWIsh1 R Heroes and Fantasies Daniel Acuna

So check out even more great covers to Marvel’s Star Wars, Issue #1, after the break:

View full article »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 539 other followers

%d bloggers like this: