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Category: Comics & Books


X-Files 4 cover pulp    X-Files cover 2 pulp

Writer Karl Kesel has crafted both a great Mulder and Scully tale and a film noir mystery in this year’s five-issue limited series, The X-Files Year Zero, also carrying the pulp title The X-Files Mystery Magazine.  When the duo encounters a mysterious panther attack in the present day, Mulder recounts the first X-Files, courtesy of an app created for him by the Lone Gunmen.

Flipping back and forth between today and 1946, Kesel also gives us the story of Special Agent Bing Ellinson and his partner, an FBI “special employee” named Millie Ohio.  Ellinson is a benched agent on his last chance at making a name for himself and Ohio, an ex-soldier trying to make her way into the FBI.

You may just learn whether The X-Files are part of the same universe as Twin Peaks.  How is an innocent housewife in the 1940s related to sightings of a man-wolf and an odd little man who makes bargains for a steep price?

X-Files pulp cover    xfiles-year-zero

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Toe Tag Riot variant 1

Real-life villains beware.  You’re soon to become an endangered species if the punk band Toe Tag Riot has any say in the matter.  Toe Tag Riot is not just a typical in-your-face club band, it’s made up of zombies who feast only on the worst society has to offer.  And writer Matt Miner and artist Sean Von Gorman provide the backstory to how the band came to their… umm… unusual… flesh feasting ways in Toe Tag Riot Issue #1, in stores today.

Toe Tag Riot excerpt

Sure to be the talk of the week, you’ll want to let your friends know about this new series.  More than four hundred Kickstarter backers pledged nearly $20,000 to get this series off the ground.

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The Flash Season Zero regular cover issue 1   The Flash Season Zero issue 2 cover

If you’re not watching The Flash on the CW Network there’s no time like tonight to join in and get caught up.  All the DC Comics fans who grew tired of the dark and gloomy nature of the DC Comics universe as realized in television (like Constantine) and the movies (like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) have the alternative they have been looking for from this spin-off of CW’s Arrow.

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen against all prior types.  He’s more like Peter Parker than the Barry Allen of the Silver Age or more recent New 52 incarnations, and little like the older, more serious scientist in The Flash television series from the 1980s starring John Wesley Shipp.  He’s cheery, funny, friendly, and generally a happy guy despite his obsession with his mother’s death years ago, having to deal with his father in prison for her murder, and the fact that his life has been turned upside down by a bolt of electric current from a particle accelerator.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

And if the series isn’t enough for you, check out the tie-in comic book series The Flash Season Zero.  Season Zero provides a supplemental story to the TV show but also is a jumping-on point for those who may have missed the first few episodes.  Now only two issues in, you can get these back issues easily from any comic book retailer.  The best reason to check out Season Zero?  The return of artist Phil Hester to the part of the DCU he drew for many years as penciller on the monthly Green Arrow series.  With multiple crossover episodes this season between The Flash and Arrow, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Hester’s take on drawing Stephen Amell’s much younger version of Oliver Queen.

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Gillian Anderson signs books at Simon via Twitter

Review by C.J. Bunce

In novels by the late Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton, the authors tended to start with a smattering of disparate events and a group of experts in different areas, political, scientific, whatever was needed to twist in new plot threads colliding into some unlikely confluence by novel’s end.  In Gillian Anderson’s first novel A Vision of Fire, Book One of the “Earthend Saga” and the inaugural work from Simon and Schuster’s new Simon451 imprint, she and Clancy-universe author Jeff Rovin build a similar framework.  But instead of following several characters we are introduced to one, a psychiatrist named Caitlin O’Hara, a doctor focused on mental issues of young people and single mother of a deaf son.  Using the advantages of modern communications technology, Caitlin must develop expertise in other fields, pulling together bits and pieces needed to attempt to connect what is behind a storm of seemingly unrelated bizarre events.

The novel’s contemporary New York setting is witness to a conflict similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis–two warring factions: India and Pakistan, are on the brink of nuclear war.  The international community is closely watching a negotiation between the countries, and the Indian ambassador to the United Nations is thought to be the one person who can calm tensions.  After an assassination attempt on the ambassador is witnessed by his teenaged daughter, she begins acting as if she is possessed, making strange movements and speaking in what could be ancient tongues.  Caitlin’s long-time friend pulls her into the girl’s case and she begins treating the girl, and soon notices other youths experiencing similar traumas across the globe.  Animals in proximity to the teens are also acting in unusual ways.  A coincidence?

A Vision of Fire Gillian Anderson   A Vision of Fire British cover

Elsewhere a team uncovers a metal artifact in an underwater expedition.  The artifact carries some unknown energy with it, and soon death begins to follow, something like the curse of King Tut’s tomb.  With mysticism like that found in The Fifth Element, body possessions similar to that of Skeleton Key and The Intruders, and acts of the long dead affecting lives in the present as in The Fog and The Others, Anderson’s world is part science fiction, part supernatural thriller.

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ST-CEF03-coverSUB    star-trek-city-edge-forever-ellison-idw-cover-juan-ortiz

The background of the making of the classic Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever has been discussed over and over among Star Trek insiders and fandom.  Harlan Ellison wrote the screenplay, which was carved up so much in Ellison’s view, that over the past four decades Ellison was vocal in rejecting Gene Roddenberry’s final version that first made it to television screens on April 6, 1967.

What would the original version have looked like had Roddenberry stuck closer to the original script?  It’s the kind of thing you would have thought fan film creators would have jumped at before now, but–even better–Star Trek fans can now see The City on the Edge of Forever visually portrayed in its originally conceived form.

Woodward Edith Keeler IDW

IDW Publishing partnered the Star Trek writing team of Scott Tipton and David Tipton with the best Star Trek artist around, J.K. Woodward, and this year they adapted Ellison’s original screenplay into a five-issue comic book series that wraps this month, and will soon be released in a hardcover and trade edition.  If you think that a comic book cannot convey everything you’d want to see from the original Star Trek, then you haven’t seen the photo-real artistry of J.K. Woodward.

In fact the single biggest reason to read The City on the Edge of Forever is J.K. Woodward’s panel after panel of beautiful paintings– renderings of not just the characters but William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Joan Collins, and Grace Lee Whitney–that will have your mind’s eye believing you just watched an actual episode of the original series.

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DjangoZorro010-Cov-A-Lee

Last year long-time comic book fan Quentin Tarentino used the original version of his Academy Award winning screenplay to create an unprecedented eight-issue limited series from Dynamite Comics of his acclaimed film Django Unchained.  Tomorrow Tarentino teams up with writer/artist Matt Wagner and artist Esteve Polls to release the first ever sequel to one of his films with the Dynamite crossover series Django/Zorro.

Django returns years after the events of the film as a bounty hunter out in the Old West.  He has settled his wife safely in Chicago, and meets up with the legendary Diego de la Vega, that masked man with the sword known as Zorro.

DjangoZorro010-Cov-B-Francavilla

Django joins up as a bodyguard for the tough de la Vega and begins their first adventure together protecting the interests of the innocent.  It all begins tomorrow.

Courtesy of Dynamite Comics, check out this preview of Django/ Zorro, Issue #1:

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Simpsons Family History    Adventure Time The Art of Ooo

Two new deluxe edition books for fans of two of the biggest animated franchises around are now available.  Abrams Books has just released Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo, by Chris McDonnell, and The Simpsons Family History, by Matt Groening.

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo is a look at the creative process behind the hit Cartoon Network television series.  Full of storyboards and concept art, the Art of Ooo  traces the evolution of Finn the Human and Jake the Dog as they traverse the dense fantasy land of Ooo.

Fantasy and horror director Guillermo de Toro provides the introduction to this lavish, full color, coffee table-style volume.  Fans of the series will appreciate access to the show bible and decisions behind the unusual artwork and character designs.  Why do they look this way (eyes with dots and eyes without dots–it’s all for a reason)?  You’ll find out here.

Art of Ooo excerpt b    Art of Ooo excerpt

Lovers of the animation process will appreciate original notes, sketches and planning materials used throughout the series.  What fans of any series wouldn’t love this kind of look behind the scenes? Great interviews with artists, music composers, and voice actors will make this a read fans won’t want to pass up.

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Mark Wahlberg track suit Six Billion Dollar Man running

Finally Steve Austin will make it to the big screen 42 years after Martin Caidin first created the man who was barely alive, rebuilt, better, stronger and faster than he was before in his novel Cyborg.  And it’s been 36 years since the 1970s popular TV series went off the air.

And the best part?  Mark Wahlberg has been tapped by the Weinstein Co. to play not the Six Million Dollar Man, but the Six Billion Dollar Man in The Six Billion Dollar Man.  We at borg.com couldn’t be happier with the selection of Wahlberg if we were allowed to hand pick the actor to play the Bionic Man ourselves.  Wahlberg is an actor cranking out some of the most enjoyable films around for the past 15 years, from The Italian Job to The Departed to Shooter to The Happening to Ted to the latest Transformers.

Thankfully, the parody film rumored to be “in the works” supposedly to star Jim Carrey then Robert Downey, Jr. then Leonardo DiCaprio, is now off the table.  The original Bionic Man, Lee Majors, expressed concern about a parody earlier this year at Planet Comicon.  No worries now!

Wahlberg sported a similar white track suit in Pain and Gain.  Will he don the red track suit for Steve Austin?

The Six Billion Dollar Man is expected to start production in 2015 with a 2016 release.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

 

SW teaser

So what evil lies behind that door?

Can you remember the first comic book that ever landed in your hands?  More than a decade ago I first met one of my comic book creator heroes, Howard Chaykin.  Chaykin created the very first Star Wars movie poster, a stylized, action-filled cover in his unique style:

Star Wars original Chaykin poster

Chaykin was visiting town at a local Con and luckily for me most of the visitors at the show were in line for the newest young comic artist, and didn’t realize all Mr. Chaykin had done in his long career in comics and television, so I got plenty of time to chat with him, and have him autograph my first comic book: Star Wars, Issue #8, featuring a story called “Eight for Aduba-3,” influenced by The Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai story.  I’ve bragged up Chaykin before here at borg.com.  He’s one of the most interesting guys in the comics business.

Star Wars issue 8 Marvel Comics

“Eight for Aduba-3″ came out when Marvel Comics first had the license to create the Star Wars movie adaptation, drawn by Chaykin and written by Chaykin and the great Roy Thomas, after a quick look at materials from the film and conversation with George Lucas.  They were tapped to take the characters from the new phenomenon in a new direction following the events in Episode IV: A New Hope.  “Eight for Aduba-3″ included more than one tough recruited mercenary, much like its source material, but the big standout was Jaxxon, a giant, angry green rabbit-man.

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LTPC_Volume_3_Cover    superman_ga_sundays_2_pr

Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and so revisiting history via its primary sources should be no less important in studying the history of comics and animation.  And with the benefit of our own personal wayback machines (spelled WABAC for you Mr. Peabody fans) sometimes our looks to the past are full of imagery and stories that make us squirm as our sensibilities have improved over time.

We visited this concept here at borg.com with our review of the even-too-sexist-for-a-Bond-novel The Spy Who Loved Me and racism-heavy Live and Let Die.  Can you still enjoy these works knowing how skewed the world view was?  I think the answer can be yes, as long as you maintain your critical eye and acknowledge the improvements we have made.  Ignoring or dismissing these works outright would be worse.

Thanks to the folks at Warner Bros. we previewed a copy of Looney Tunes–Platinum Collection, Volume 3, on Blu-ray, and courtesy of IDW Publishing we have a preview for you of Superman: The Golden Age Sundays (1946-1949), after the break.

Gossamer and Bugs

Who doesn’t remember and cherish the great Looney Tunes cartoons of the mid-20th century, recycled decades after their creation for a 1970s and 1980s cable viewing audience thanks to Saturday morning cartoons?  But, like many comic books and superhero movies today, you might use discretion before sharing with young audiences.  Even the originals were intended for adult movie audiences and it’s amazing networks thought these were once appropriate for kids each Saturday.  And where you may think you watched these cartoons and turned out fine and bigot-free, what about that guy across the street?

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