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Star Wars Artists Edition cover

Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and long before we had any guess about what might happen in the prequel trilogy, George Lucas, for good or bad, retooled all three episodes of the Star Wars trilogy into the Star Wars Special Edition theatrical release.  Between January and March 1997 the world got to “see the movies again for the first time” and was reminded where the word blockbuster actually came from.  Now Marvel Comics is following suit with its own look back to original Star Wars source material.

Marvel Comics is releasing two new versions of Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin’s original six-issue adaptation of the original Star Wars.  This is the classic adaptation that saw its first chapter, Issue #1, released before the movie hit theaters.

The first volume is being released today: Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.  The OGN is for “oversized graphic novel” but the value in this book is the restoration, George Lucas style, of Howard Chaykin’s original artwork via a replacement of Marie Severin’s original 1970s colors with Chris Sotomayor’s update of the six-issue movie adaptation into a more modern color scheme.  Adi Granov supplies the new cover art for this edition.  Marvel said it will soon release similar editions of its adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Check out a preview of the new look at a classic movie adaptation below.

Star Wars OGN cover

IDW Publishing and Marvel Comics announced this week a second treatment of the same Star Wars comic book adaptation.  The Star Wars Artist’s Edition will be consistent with past IDW “artist’s edition” offerings, showcasing the original comic book pencil and ink art behind the series in high quality color reprints of the original, giant-sized page format that the artists sketched the artwork.

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Episode VII Snowtroopers 2015

You probably heard it all day yesterday: May the Fourth be with you.

But this year’s annual Star Wars observance meant a whole lot more in light of the next Star Wars installment coming our way in December.  We saw some new images of several new characters, some with actors we’d heard of, others as strange as those from the original Mos Eisley cantina.  All thanks to Vanity Fair magazine.

The biggest news was that the slick new chrome-armored stormtrooper from the second Star Wars VII trailer (seen here) is played by Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie–yes, women can serve the Empire–and she’s apparently hunting down a certain AWOL trooper played by Attack the Block’s John Boyega.  We’re predicting that even with a very 1930s action serial/”something George Lucas would come up with” name, this new villain, called “Captain Phasma,” could be getting primed by toymakers to be one of the highest-selling action figures of 2016.

Vanity Fair Star Wars Episode 1 Vanity Fair Episode III Star Wars Vanity Fair Star Wars

If this seems a bit familiar it may be because Vanity Fair has previously featured fans’ first looks at the last entries in the Star Wars saga, also with Annie Leibovitz photo shoots.  For those new to Annie Leibovitz, she’s one of the best known photographers of the past 40 years, with many famous shots of rock stars.

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suicide squad movie cast photo 2015 will smith Kinnaman jai courtenay

The comic book world’s take on The Dirty Dozen is coming to life next year with a big screen version of Suicide Squad, the DC Comics group of criminals who take on missions in exchange for lighter prison sentences.

From left to right, that’s Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), as Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) as Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) as Killer Croc,  and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo.

Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller, head of the agency A.R.G.U.S., and Jared Leto will play The Joker.

Jared Leto as The Joker

Jared Leto as the newest take on The Joker.

All of this will look a bit familiar to fans of the television version of the DC Universe.  CW’s Arrow has had its own Suicide Squad, with none of the actors overlapping roles for the film.  The group itself stems from a 1987 retooling by John Ostrander of a team from the 1950s era of the series The Brave and the Bold, in the pages of its own DC Comics monthly series.

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ComicConBox

You can now treat yourself like your birthday is every month with a subscription to one of many surprise content subscription services in the tradition of coffee-of-the-month, flower-of-the-month, and food-of-the-month clubs.  Following the successfull pop culture services Loot Crate and Nerd Block, comic book convention promoter Wizard World is launching ComicConBox, its new subscription-based premium monthly grab bag service which offers subscribers the opportunity to receive exclusive collectibles, toys, technology, games, licensed artwork, comics, apparel, Wizard World Comic Con tickets, VIP discounts and more, delivered right to their doors.  The first box will be shipped this week.

The service, priced at $29.99 per month plus shipping with no contractual commitment, will also feature “Epic Grand Prizes” in random boxes.  Differentiating the new service from other companies, Wizard World CEO John Macaluso said, “Wizard World’s unique access to leaders in the entertainment industry and some of the most popular celebrities, creators and publishers means that ComicConBox will have the best quality and variation of products possible.”

secret_wars_bw

Select boxes will include Mystery Items.  You can subscribe for only one month or set up automatic monthly shipping, and Wizard World offers premiums for those that commit to three months at once, such as the exclusive Marvel Comics Secret Wars variant cover issue shown above.

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Something different

Gracie cosplay champ

When I first started borg.com in June 2011, I wrote it in my basement on Saturdays, trying to prepare concept articles as much in advance as possible.  At the time I planned on writing weekly, but the first day then became seven days which became a month and it kept on going until I wrote something at least every day for the next 1,421 days.  In the background was the TV set, playing things that wouldn’t distract me like major league baseball, Lawrence Welk reruns and Antiques Roadshow, and even lame cable shows like reruns of My Fair Brady (yikes).  And beside me every day was Gracie.

Gracie had her own couch, and sometimes preferred lying beside me on the floor near my chair.  Sometimes I would give up on writing and move over and fall asleep next to her on her couch.  Gracie had the bubbliest, vibrant soul and fun-loving spirit of anyone I ever met, human or otherwise.  She coined the term “pie-eating grin”  after I left a cherry pie on the counter on Thanksgiving that she very delicately and completely hollowed out with her tongue.

Pigeon the Magnificent

I don’t watch dog movies or read dog stories because they all end bad.  The dogs always die.  Dogs don’t live as long as humans and the only thing that can be said, to quote a great philosopher, is: It sucks.  But Gracie’s life was awesome and she inspired others.  About a year and a half after I started borg.com she got pneumonia, and fought her way back.  Then she got diagnosed with lymphoma.  What I feared was a death sentence ended up as a “life” sentence.  Unlike with humans, chemotherapy with dogs does not typically produce the side effects humans encounter.  Gracie made it through two rounds of chemo in more than two years and made it halfway through a third round.  And she passed away Friday a little more than a day shy of her fourteenth birthday.  That’s age 98 if you believe in that “dog years” stuff.

If anyone ever says “oh, I would never put my dog through that” either knock them upside the head for me or send them my way.

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Jaguar Bautista James Bond SPECTRE

If you like cool cars (and who doesn’t?) and you like ogling the latest and greatest high-end, high-performance cars, then you need look no further than the latest James Bond movie.  Bond will be back this November in SPECTRE where he takes on the latest villain, Mr. Hinx, played by Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista.  The production recently closed down the streets of Rome for the next Bond high-octane car chase, this time pitting Bautista against Daniel Craig’s Bond in two unreleased cars.

First is Bautista in this sleek, jaw-dropping Jaguar C-X75.  Then Craig, of course, has his Aston Martin, this time the new DB10. And they apparently made plenty for filming action scenes in the new entry in the Bond franchise.

Aston Martin from SPECTRE

A new featurette just released by MGM shows some behind the scenes images and interviews with cast and crew.  Check it out, after the break:

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Mark Wahlberg track suit Six Billion Dollar Man running

Damián Szifrón, who was nominated this year for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, was selected to write the screenplay for the reboot film of the classic 1970s Bionic Man tale.  The Six Billion Dollar Man, to star Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Shooter, The Italian Job) as Steve Austin, will be directed by Peter Berg (Battleship, Hancock).

“I couldn’t be more honored and grateful. Such a major challenge represents a great opportunity,” Szifrón said in a press release this week. “The themes surrounding this beloved property allow for the creation of a memorable sci-fi actioner as well as a bold spy thriller.  Expectations are high and I’ll do my best to deliver the strongest basis for an amazing cinematic experience.”

The Argentinian writer/director won numerous awards internationally for his film Wild Things, including the Oscar nod.  He has also penned and directed several Latin TV series.

bionic eye

The film will be based on the characters in the classic TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man, and its source material, the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, reviewed previously at borg.com here.

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American Dreaming artwork

Some classic car aficionados are creating a documentary about the post-War art designers behind Detroit’s big automakers, including General Motors, Ford, Packard, Chrysler, Hudson, Nash, and Studebaker.  American Dreaming: Detroit Automotive Styling 1946-1973 is a project from artist Robert Edwards and Greg Salustro being crowdfunded through Indiegogo.

The filmmakers have interviewed the university-trained art designers behind mid-century car designs, hired by the auto companies between 1946 and 1973, and take a close look at their original artwork, including designs for concept cars that never made it to the city streets.  Some of those designs are pretty stunning, and landed in collectors’ hands in a roundabout fashion.

American Dreaming concept

As in many other industries, designs created by in-house staff became the property of the car companies, and in Detroit auto designers were not allowed to even keep a portfolio of their works at home.  Worse yet, like the early days of comic books and comic strips, the companies threw nixed designs and old artwork into the trash.  It will be those few pages of art that managed to make it out of the companies, through the back door or otherwise, that will be featured in American Dreaming.  These hand-drawn designs for real-life classic hot wheels are great works of American art in their own right, yet never before seen as a unique field of fine art study.

Check out this trailer to promote the documentary project after the break here:

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M_Night_Shyamalan_The_Visit_movie_poster

The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village, and The Happening.  The horror films of M. Night Shyamalan have helped define the director of unique cinema, for good or bad.  He manages to stay just “this side” of the wall between suspense and gore fest.  Except for The Sixth Sense he hasn’t managed to gain the kind of notoriety of other contemporary mega-directors, like Quentin Tarentino as an example.

Maybe he is more like Oliver Stone, carving out his own niche, with a distinct fan following.

But his next release now has its first trailer.  It doesn’t look like his earlier horror films, but appears equally creepy.

After the break, check out the first trailer for The Visit:

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Tomorrowland clip

We’ve already seen two previews for Disney’s Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie.  The first, previewed here at borg.com, made the film look intriguing but wasn’t enough alone to get us to the theater.  The second, previewed here, gave us a bit more to go on.  But the latest trailer, released this past week, is enough for us to line up tickets for the opening weekend right away.

In fact, if you want to see an example of just what to put in a trailer, this third trailer released would be a good guide.  It’s got some key features that make for great entertainment:

  • humor
  • sci-fi an fantasy elements
  • well-known (and reliable) actors
  • jet packs
  • a reclusive genius (remember Dr. Stephen Falken?)
  • a vision of the future
  • cyborg bad guys
  • a talisman (that nifty little pin)
  • special effects showing us something entirely new
  • inter-dimensional portals
  • did we mention jet packs?

After the break, check out this nifty new trailer for Tomorrowland:

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