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Tag Archive: Freddie Williams II


Skyman 1 cover A

Skyman is a four-issue miniseries written by Eisner nominee Joshua Hale Fialkov about a recent addition to the Captain Midnight monthly—Skyman.  With pencils by Manuel Garcia and inks by Javier Bergantiño Menor, the first two issues feature some awesome regular and variant covers by Freddie Williams II and Dan Scott.  Here’s the marketing summary:

After an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Captain Midnight, a drunken Skyman accidentally kills an innocent man! Turns out he’s not only an overly patriotic zealot; he’s also a dangerous PR nightmare. Needing a new face for their initiative ASAP, the Skyman Program turns to US Air Force Captain Eric Reid: a wounded veteran on the ropes, looking for a new lease on life. Reid must fight off his personal demons to have any chance of surviving the potentially deadly initiation.  When the Skyman Program plummets, Albright Industries brings in a new hero to make it soar!

Skyman Issue 1 cover B

Skyman first appeared in the pages of Captain Midnight #4 in October 2013.

Here is a preview of Skyman, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics:

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The Movement banner

If you’re tired of the same superhero teams that have been around for the better part of a century (and even if you’re not) two new comic books offer new teams to get to know.  Remember Marvel Comics’ New Universe in the 1980s?  Star Brand, Nightmask, PSI-Force, Justice, D.P. 7, Kickers, Inc., Mark Hazzard: Merc, Spitfire and the Troubleshooters–I read them all.  Nightmask and Star Brand even returned this year in the NOW! series event.  But if you’re looking for something different from The Avengers of the Justice League, give these two books a look.

TheMovement1

First, coming in two weeks is the second issue of The Movement from DC Comics.   Gail Simone has crafted a new world within the DC Universe yet apart from the current New 52 activities.  She’s created a new team of street urchin types defending the poor and the downtrodden from bad guys and the corrupt police force that should be protecting everyone.  Artist Freddie Williams II has created a cool looking super force with Mouse, the “prince of rats” who enlists rodents in his crusade against the forces for bad, Virtue, who seems to be the leader of the team and has psychic abilities, Tremor, who can control her environment, such as causing an Earthquake with her touch, Katharsis, who is a character that resembles Huntress, but sports a set of mechanical wings and in Issue #1 was all badass against corrupt cops, and finally Burden, who has super powers but believes he is possessed.

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Movement fists

Fresh off their writing and art projects from New 52’s Batgirl and Green Arrow, DC Comics creators Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II are bringing real-world politics “Occupy Wall Street” style this May in their new monthly series The Movement.

The advance industry catalog Previews.com provided the following teaser this week:

We are faceless. We are limitless. We see all. And we do not forgive.
Who defends the powerless against the GREEDY and the CORRUPT? Who protects the homeless and poverty-stricken from those who would PREY upon them in the DARK OF NIGHT?
When those who are sworn to protect us abuse their power, when toxic government calls down super-human lackeys to force order upon the populace... finally, there is a force, a citizen's army, to push order BACK.
Let those who abuse the system know this as well: We have our OWN super humans now. They are not afraid of your badges or Leagues. And they will not be SILENCED.
We are your neighbors. We are your workers. And we are your children.

Win.  Count us in.  Where do we buy the RISE bracelets?

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Green Arrow 17 cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Today DC Comics switches gears with its New 52 Green Arrow title, with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino re-starting the series in a new storyline called “The Kill Machine.”  Lemire is best known for taking the obscure DC Comics character Animal Man and turning his story into one of DC Comics’ best reviewed series.  Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino is best known for his haunting run on the New 52’s I, Vampire, and his great covers for a short X-Files comic book series, with a style he seems to be carrying forward in Green Arrow Issue #17, released at comic stores everywhere today.

With Issue #17 Lemire seems to be taking some tips from the Berlanti/ Guggenheim/ Kreisberg playbook. Their highly successful Arrow TV series on the CW Network follows Oliver Queen as he deals with the events he faced on the mysterious island where his yacht Queen’s Gambit marooned him, and where he honed his physical skill as archer and fell into his current psychological state.  The TV Oliver Queen is echoed in Lemire’s lead character although differences show through–Lemire’s Oliver seems a bit younger and impulsive whereas the TV Oliver relies on his charisma and is more measured in his actions.  But you can’t say more about that by way of comparisons with only one issue to go on.  Fans of the Arrow TV series should keep an eye out for a familiar villain element in this first issue.

Sorrentino X-Files cover A

An example of some of the excellent past cover art of Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino.

“The Kill Machine” finds Oliver responding to the loss of Queen Industries by the trustee managing the company since his father’s death–his father’s best friend.  Lemire is overtly giving his Oliver a clean slate, destroying the world Oliver knows and removing any relationships that might reveal Oliver as anything but a lone wolf.  In this way it will be interesting to see how much of Mike Grell’s original stories of the urban archer shine through.  Grell’s Oliver, through dozens of issues of amazing stories beginning in the late 1980s, was the last time the character was completely redefined.  Can Lemire reinvigorate Green Arrow and still keep true to the character’s long history?  He has developed several issues beginning with Issue #17 so we will learn the answer as we keep up each month with the series this year.

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Planet Comicon logo

Planet Comicon announced this weekend that advance tickets for Planet Comicon 2013 are now available for sale.  This year Planet Comicon is Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM – 7 PM and Sunday, April 7, 2013 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at downtown Kansas City’s giant Bartle Hall, a switch from the show’s home at Overland Park International Trade Center from past years.  The relocation was the result of the growing numbers at the event in the past two years requiring an expansion to this larger venue.

Use the below link to purchase a single day or weekend pass.  There is no limit to the quantities you may order.

ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE

Advance tickets will be sold until midnight on Sunday, March 17, 2013.  After that time, they will only be available for sale at the event.

Weekend passes for adults are being sold at a discounted rate of $35.00.  All other prices will be identical to on-site pricing.

Advance tickets are available for sale only through Paypal, which accepts all major credit cards and bank debits.

Advance tickets will also be made available soon through the event facility and certain area retailers, including Elite Comics, located at 11842 Quivira in Overland Park, KS.

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We’ve been talking about the new Arrow TV series all year here at borg.com.  I have been a life-long fan of the character, and I spent all night and a day camping out with thousands of Firefly fans to see the pilot episode that I reviewed here back in July.  Now everyone gets to see the pilot and why those who have seen it so far think this will be a superhero series that may actually survive the scrutiny of TV audiences and ratings.

Right now you can get a free digital copy of the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive print comic created for the TV series, downloadable at Comixology.com.  It gives some insight into the TV series.  A weekly digital tie-in will also be available at Comixology’s website for 99 cents starting Wednesday.

Although the DC Comics New 52 series is not tied into the TV series, one of my favorite artists is now the artist for the current DC comic book series–Freddie Williams II–and here is a great sketch of a young and determined Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow that he kindly created for me, similar to the guy you’ll see tomorrow night.  Very, very cool!

I hope you all enjoy the pilot tomorrow night!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

As the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan I have seen it all when it comes to the Emerald Archer.  My preference has always been for the 1970s Oliver Queen by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, but I soon grew to love Mike Grell’s urban hunter version set in Seattle, and later became a believer in Phil Hester and Ande Parks’ run, especially when joined by Judd Winick’s new spin on Speedy.

I spent the entire night awake waiting in line at San Diego Comic-Con this summer to see the preview of the new CW Network series Arrow, about a younger Oliver Queen.  I think it is going to be a successful series that will rival the CW’s Smallville or Supernatural.  Admittedly I have not enjoyed the first year of Green Arrow in the New 52 for various reasons I’ve discussed here before.  So I was looking forward to seeing the Captain Atom team of Judd Winick and Freddie Williams II taking on Green Arrow in the one-shot Green Arrow #0 released this week.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

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By C.J. Bunce

You can spend your weekend at Comic-Con wandering the exhibit floor looking for mass market collectibles, talking with dealers of original art, talking with writers and artists of current and classic comic books, attend panels and see comic and other creators, TV and movie stars and get the low-down on coming projects, go offsite for parties and studio and publisher events–the biggest problem is doing all you want when there is nowhere close to enough time to do it in.  If you’re in for only a few days, you really have to pick up your pace and narrow down what you want to see.  Since I spent a whole day in panels and did not stay for the entire weekend, any encounters I had with creators and studio celebrities were pretty much based on happenstance this year.  Many creators are now friends, others I gawk at like everyone else from afar.  So who did I see?

First of all, in panels I saw the cast of Community, Firefly, and the new series Arrow, including guys I’d love to talk in person someday–Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin, David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel from Bones, and the guy you may know as Bud from Married with Children, David Faustino, who is doing voice work now for Nickelodeon, and he voiced the character Mako as part of the Legends of Korra panel.  As I mentioned earlier in the week, waiting in line allowed me to meet and get a photo with Joss Whedon.

The Soup host Joel McHale, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, former Angel star David Boreanaz and Korra’s David Faustino really stood out as funny guys in these panels–surprisingly quick-witted people who got the crowd cheering with everything they said.

I saw the main cast of the Syfy Channel series Haven during their signing session.  They really looked like they were having a good time–like they really get along with each other.  Also signing in the Sails Pavilion were Richard Anderson, who was the classic character Oscar Goldman from one of borg.com’s favorite borg shows: The Six Million Dollar Man, and Cindy Morgan from the original Tron and Caddyshack.  I hoped to run into Bruce Boxleitner, JK Woodward and Scott and David Tipton but my panel schedule caused me to miss meeting them.

On the exhibit floor I watched Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) talk with fans and sign autographs.

Arnold Schwartzenegger was coming into the hall and I staked out a photo op location but his handlers moved him out of the hall so I missed seeing him.

As a Star Trek fan, I was very happy to finally meet and have a nice conversation with Brent Spiner.  He was a great guy who was as nice in person as you’d hope him to be from years of watching his lovable character Data.  I also had a brief chat at day’s end with Levar Burton, also a friendly guy, signing photos of Geordi LaForge for fans.  I’d met Marina Sirtis before so I didn’t chat with her this round, but she was also signing Counselor Deanna Troi photos in the hall.

Earlier this year I reviewed Table Top, a new, fun Web series hosted by Wil Wheaton with the Geek and Sundry creators.  I met him near a Starbucks and shared my feedback with him on his show.  We talked about some of the games and he graciously introduced me to his wife and friends.

Wheaton is truly “one of us” and a really personable guy.  Of everyone at the Con, he is probably my first pick of someone you’d like to wander the Con halls and chat with.  Another show host, Blair Butler was attending the Con from the popular genre cable channel G4.

Of the comic book realm, I met Cat Skaggs, a well-known comic book artist who was signing cover prints to Smallville Season 11 #1 and she sketched a great Green Arrow bust for me.

I also met Neal Adams–a comic book legend who created the look of the Silver Age Green Arrow and I finally was able to add one of his sketches to my folio.  Neal was sketching non-stop for fans just like the newer, younger artists in Artist Alley–a real “working artist” even after all these years.

I ran into my friend Freddie Williams II also, and he also was busy sketching for fans throughout the Con and selling original art from his various DC Comics series.

David Petersen, known best for his Mouse Guard work, was working on commissions for attendees and selling shirts and art at his booth in Artist Alley.  I also lucked into getting a sketch from him and enjoyed talking with his wife, who manned the booth when he was doing signings elsewhere.

I ran into Frank Cho again this year and he said he is still expecting to get Guns & Dinos out soon.  He was selling a great pin-up calendar featuring Brandy and the Liberty Meadows gang.  More on that in future posts.  A nominee for the Eisner in two categories this year, Rachel Rising creator Terry Moore was busy talking with fans.

As with last year, Jim Lee could be found at several panels and signing throughout Comic-Con.

As with Freddie Williams, I met up with several folks from back in the Midwest.  I ran into artist Ande Parks and met his wife, while hanging with Sean and William from Elite Comics and Chris Jackson who runs Planet Comicon.  Parks was chatting with his frequent cover artist Francesco Francavilla, this year’s Eisner cover artist of the year winner, and someone we have talked about here at borg.com all year long for his great cover art.  I ran into Star Trek author Kevin Dilmore twice on the exhibit floor–my third year seeing Kevin at the Con.  It’s crazy how you can be in your hometown and never run into anyone, and then fly to San Diego and see so many people from back home.

  

Every now and then the powers that be make changes you don’t like.  With DC Comics’ effort to keep 52 main titles going (despite the fact that they really have more ongoing series than that, adding things like Huntress and Before Watchmen) I knew it wouldn’t be long before one of my five favorite DC Comics series got nixed.  This week DC Comics announced changes coming in September, including canceling Justice League International, Resurrection Man, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E, Voodoo, and a borg.com favorite, Captain Atom. The good offshoot hopefully will be freeing up artist Freddie Williams II for bigger and better projects.

September will offer other changes for the New 52 with a month of “zero” issues.  Issue #0 for each title will be standalone stories.  “Some issues will tell the origins of a character or a team, or in some case where an origin has already been told, they will fill in the blanks in terms of questions readers may have about the New 52 DC Universe,” said Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief.

In October 1994, all of the mainstream DC Comics titles released an Issue #0 issue to coincide with the “Zero Hour” crossover event.  The purpose of the zero issue was to reveal a previously unknown aspect of the title character’s background.  The new 52 zeroes do not appear to have a single crossover event in common.

I’ve always thought “Issue #0s” an oddity you’ll only find in comic book publishing.  The strangest variation on the theme was DC Comics issuing a series of comics numbered 1,000,000.  It’s like they were daring everyone else to have a higher numbered book.  Shown above and below are several covers to the September Issue #0 titles.

But in keeping with DC’s purported attempt at maintaining 52 titles, they also announced four new titles to begin in September, including two classic titles to add to their list of recent throwbacks to the classic era like Worlds Finest, DC Comics Presents, Brave and the Bold, G.I. Combat, Dial H for Hero, and All-Star Western.

Talon – Writer Scott Snyder with co-writer James Tynion IV and artist Guillem March resurrects a concept character from 2006 that feeds into the “Night of the Owls” storyline begun in Batman but crossed into other series this past year.  Snyder wrote the New 52 story arc that fleshed out this society of criminals called the Talons, and this series focuses on one named Calvin Rose who breaks away from the rest.

Sword of Sorcery – Writer Christy Marx and artist Aaron Lopresti will attempt to rejuvenate DC Comics’ attention to the fantasy genre in this classic DC title.  Broken into two continuing stories, the first will follow Amethyst, princess of Gemworld, and the second will include a Grendel/Beowulf retelling.  With all the fantasy stories out there, you wonder if there will be enough Amethyst fans to keep this series going, vs. exploring some other classic fantasy concepts.  I have to admit, with an epic title like Sword of Sorcery I’d like to see a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-type book where Robin Hood joins forces with King Arthur and Siegfried and Sinbad and Hercules to take on Madame Xanadu and the folks from Justice League Dark.

The Phantom Stranger – Writer/editor Dan DiDio and artist Brent Anderson bring back this dark title that will focus on the titular character who recently resurfaced in the Free Comic Book Day DC Comics issue.  This is one of the classic titles being brought back to appeal to readers’ nostalgia for classic comics.  All these old titles in the past year make you think the DC lawyers are sending memos around to make sure the company is using its characters and trade names so they don’t dilute federal copyright or trademark protections.  Phantom Stranger getting to the bottom of the story of Pandora–that character that appeared in every New 52 title last year–and the Spectre, may make this an interesting read.

Team Seven – Writer Justin Jordan and artist Jesus Merino bring the Wildforce team into the DCU.  Team Seevn is a motely group of superheroes from the past, including Birds of Prey/Green Arrow character Dinah Lance (Black Canary) and Slade (Deathstroke) from Justice League Dark and Grifter’s Cole Cash.

Stay tuned to hear our thoughts as these new series debut later this year.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

By C.J. Bunce

One of the Midwest’s best pop culture and comic book conventions was this past weekend, Planet Comicon, which has been Kansas City’s largest fan convention for more than a dozen years.  The show seemed to be bursting from its seams this year with thousands of guests, and appears to be outgrowing its venue at the Overland Park International Trade Center.

The film and TV headliners for this year’s show included Edward James Olmos, best known to sci-fi fans for his role in Blade Runner and as Adama in the Battlestar Galactica reboot series.  He signed autographs and took photos with fans both days of the show.  Here he is with Erin Gray, who appeared with other actors from the 1979-1981 TV series Buck Rogers and the 25th Century: 

Gray also appeared on an episode of the Syfy Channel’s Hollywood Treasure last year.

The other featured major guest from film and TV was Billy Dee Williams, best known as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but also as Harvey Dent alongside Michael Keaton in the 1989 Batman film.  His current work includes a stint on USA’s White Collar.

Billy Dee also appeared at the show both days.  (I offered a woman in line $5 to say “Billy Dee, Billy Dee, Billy Dee!” when she finally met him but didn’t take me up on it.  And it’s OK if you don’t get that reference).

Early Saturday morning legendary comic book artist Michael Golden is getting fueled up before embarking on a sketch of Green Arrow:

Green Arrow by Michael Golden. How cool is that?

Michael is known for his work on such titles like Marvel Comics series The ‘Nam, GI Joe Yearbook, Star Wars, and Micronauts.  He is also the co-creator of the X-Men character Rogue.

I’ve been a fan of the different styles Mike Norton uses in his art for quite a while.  Here he is signing one of his comic pages for the Green Arrow/Black Canary series, where he did the pencil work and comic book legend Bill Sienkiewicz provided the ink work:

Mike is working on a creator-owned project currently and has previously worked on Runaways, Gravity, the Young Justice animated series comic book.  He was actively sketching pages for fans at the show and produced probably a dozen at least over the weekend, including this great image for me:

Unfortunately Bernie Wrightson wasn’t sketching at this year’s convention, but he was signing plenty of shirts and books for his Frankenstein book.  Wrightson’s horror artwork goes back several decades, with his first published comic work with House of Mystery in 1969.  He co-created Swamp Thing in 1971.  His work has appeared in Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and Batman: The Cult.  Here Wrightson is at a signing table with Freddie Williams II and his wife Kiki:

Freddie is well known for his work on his Robin series, and is currently one of the DC Comics top artists.  We reviewed his and JT Krul’s Captain Atom series here at borg.com a few weeks ago.  Freddie was busy creating sketches for fans and speaking on panels at the show.

Currently working on projects for Dynamite Comics, Bionic Man writer Phil Hester and Lone Ranger writer Ande Parks had pages of original artwork as well as copies of their books new and old that they were signing for fans, including a lot of low-priced original art from their run on the DC Comics Green Arrow series:

It’s great that these guys have tackled both the writing and illustration sides of comic book creation.

I got to catch up again with a couple well known Kansas City authors.  Here, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, two of the best known authors of Star Trek novels, talk with fans at the show.

The NBC TV series Heroes co-creator Tim Sale was signing books and art at his booth:

Sales’ past work includes art in Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: The Long Halloween, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Grey, Spider-Man: Blue and Superman For All Seasons.  (What’s with these color titles, anyway?).  His unique stylized paintings on Heroes featured into the plot of the series.

I spent time chatting with Rob B. Davis, currently providing illustrations for a Sherlock Holmes series and past artist for Malibu’s Deep Space Nine comic book series, writer Jai Nitz, who was juggling signing copies of his Kato and Tron: Betrayal series while moderating different comic book panels at the show, borg.com writer Art Schmidt, local writer Justin Cline manning the front of the convention, and Todd Aaron Smith, who sketched this great Black Canary image for me:

Smith had provided storyboards for Family Guy and other animation art for shows like South Park and various DC Comics and Marvel Comics TV series.  Current Marvel Comics lead writer Jason Aaron could be found with some good lines of fans waiting to get copies of his various Hulk, Wolverine and X-men series signed:

The facility was packed wall to wall with plenty of booths selling everything from graphic novels to collectible action figures, original comic book art, and comic book back issues.  Here, Elite Comics comic book store owner William Binderup appears to be raking in some cash from sales of comics at his booth:

Show producer Chris Jackson seemed pleased with the success of this year’s convention.

And of course there were plenty of cosplayers.  Here a few Batman characters huddled for a photo:

But I think the best was this “Hello Kitty meets Stormtrooper” mash-up:

No doubt it would have been a far different Star Wars had Luke showed up to rescue the princess with this outfit.

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