You wouldn’t be off base thinking of Batman when you see the superhero The Black Bat, as their history and origin is linked in controversy. Both The Black Bat and Bob Kane’s Batman derived the look of their characters from common pulp fiction renderings. Both characters emerged at about the same time and the publishers Thrilling Publications and DC Comics sparred over rights until a DC editor who had worked with The Black Bat’s publisher mediated the dispute where both publishers could continue using the characters.
Which brings us to 2013 and Dynamite Entertainment. Dynamite has the rights to publish The Black Bat along with the great pantheon of classic 1930s and 1940s characters we have discussed before, including the featured characters in their ongoing series Masks: The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato, Miss Fury, Black Terror, Zorro, and The Spider. But don’t confuse the Black Bat with a similar modern noir retro-creation, Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle from Dark Horse Comics, which we previewed here at borg.com earlier. But both The Black Bat and The Black Beetle are different enough and similar enough that if you like one you probably will like the other.
This year I continued my Comicon season by commissioning sketches from comic book artists of my favorite characters, Green Arrow and Black Canary. I always like to let the artists do whatever vision they have with the duo and am always blown away by the results and at this year’s Planet Comicon it was no different. It’s even better when you watch artists take on characters for the first time.
At Planet Comicon weekend itself, I met Greg Smallwood, who I found at Artists Alley with the forthcoming Dream Thief co-creator Jai Nitz. Greg sketched this great piece for me, and I’d LOVE to see a series with this classic look.
Black Canary never before looked more like she was going to take everyone out of commission with that sonic scream!
I also asked my friend Damont Jordan to give me his take on Green Arrow and Black Canary and gave him a few weeks after the Con to take his time with it. Somewhere we started chatting up adding extra characters and I threw out the idea of something like “oh yeah, why not include Super Grover, too.” And BAM! Check this out:
Peabody here. Time to crank up the WABAC machine.
Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit of of my hat!
Again? That trick never works.
Nothing up my sleeve… Presto!!!
IDW Publishing announced this weekend that they will team with DreamWorks Classics and Bullwinkle Studios to bring Jay Ward’s classic squirrel and moose Rocky & Bullwinkle, the genius dog Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman, Russian spies Boris & Natasha, and Canadian mountie Dudley Do-Right and possibly the rest of the Jay Ward arsenal to new comic book series. IDW also said it will be reprinting these characters’ stories that have not been in print for years.
When does the creative spark begin, and when do you follow through with it?
We chat at borg.com each week about some of the best artists, authors, writers, actors, makers and doers around. Every creator is at a different place in a spectrum between wanting to do something and accomplishing their goals. Some may want to be the best out there. Some may want to get that first project in the hands of readers and viewers. Whether you’re trying to get that first comic book published, the first novel in the hands of an agent, the first movie playing on the big screen, everyone has to start somewhere. One route many people take is creating fan versions of existing properties. Some succeed by starting with fan fiction–either by writing a short story with the further adventures of a popular character, making a full comic book story, or a full-length novel. For legal reasons these won’t make you money, but they will allow you to work on the creating process. If you’re really successful at fan fiction you may just end up being noticed–noticed by someone who may give you more opportunities to do what you like to do, or better yet, your big break.
We found four fan works you might not have seen before that we think are worth taking a look at. First up, a long time ago in a small village in Ireland… there was a nine-year-old Star Wars fan named John White. Today John has two one-of-a-kind websites, one focusing on a 200-page comic book he wrote as a kid adapting Star Wars to comic book form in Star Wars: Age 9, and the other adapting Alien to comic book form in Alien: Age 11. Before you brush off the idea as “yeah, my kid does stuff like that” actually take a look at John’s knowledge and talent with layout, color, and design at such a young age (like the panel of the Millennium Falcon above). John has also filled in the gaps as a grown-up with new work and his new work could easily be found in the pages of today’s DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse, etc. Check this out from one of what I’ll call his “special edition” pages from Star Wars: Age 9:
Last night at 7 p.m. across America theaters showed a one-night only event–the world premiere of the remastered release of Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part episode “The Best of Both Worlds,” including specifically the cliffhanger Part 1, which arguably is the most important Star Trek episode and one of the best episodes of any TV series to hit the airwaves. Why the best? It featured a constellation of concepts that came together at just the right time, airing at the end of Season 3, the season where the NextGen cast and writers became comfortable in their roles and produced several incredible episodes, including “Who Watches the Watchers,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (the other contender for best NextGen episode), “Captain’s Holiday,” “Hollow Pursuits,” “The Most Toys,” and “Sarek.”
The stakes were never greater in a Star Trek episode than in “The Best of Both Worlds,” with the beloved Captain Jean-Luc Picard assimilated by The Borg, turned into the leader Locutus who had all of Picard’s memories and strategies to use against his shipmates. It also featured something we all wanted to see–Jonathan Frakes’s Commander Will Riker as Captain of the Enterprise-D. Its cliffhanger ending at the end of Season 3 created a devoted fan following who waited with bated breath all summer and came back for Season 4 and thereafter stuck with Star Trek as loyal fans to this day. The Star Trek franchise might not be as successful today were it not for this great two-part episode.
The largest independent comic book publisher and the third largest comic publisher overall, Dark Horse Comics has scored pretty well at movie theaters so far in its relatively brief 27 years as comic book publisher, with successful adaptations by its Dark Horse Entertainment division of its books The Mask, Time Cop, Tank Girl, Mystery Men, Hellboy, Sin City, 300, and Aliens vs. Predator. Finally, Dark Horse Comics has teamed up with Universal Studios to bring to the big screen one of its most popular long-running series, R.I.P.D., from the anthology series Dark Horse Presents.
Roy Pulsipher and Nick Walker are dead, but that doesn’t mean their stint in law enforcement is over. Both Roy and Nick are officers in the Rest in Peace Department, or R.I.P.D., sworn to serve the Almighty and protect the living from the evil monsters among us. If you haven’t read R.I.P.D. before, you can see a seven-page preview of the prequel comic book series, R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned, released this past winter in a trade edition and available at Amazon.com, here:
Rounding out our week of dark-themed 2013 movie previews, Marvel Studios just released the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World, sequel to the hit film Thor that we reviewed here at borg.com back in 2011. We liked the first big screen run at translating the classic popular comic book series starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, and Anthony Hopkins. It’s probably the most notable for giving us the backstory of Hiddleston’s Loki, who became the villain bent on Earth’s destruction in 2012’s megahit The Avengers.
Hemsworth, Portman, Hiddleston, Skarsgård, and Hopkins all return as Thor, Jane Foster, Loki, Dr. Selvig, and Odin in Thor: The Dark World, and are joined by Chuck’s Zachary Levi as Fandral, Doctor Who’s Christopher Eccleston as Malekith, Get Shorty’s Rene Russo as Frigga, and Lost’s Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim.
Check out the first studio preview for Thor: The Dark World:
Thor: The Dark World hits theaters November 8, 2013.
Litographs is a company with a line of prints featuring the entire text of a book using the words themselves to form a picture. They sell these as prints/posters and on t-shirts. Want to own a beautiful picture of Alice falling down the rabbit hole that is also, when you look close, the entire text of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland? Want to walk down the street actually wearing a favorite book?
Peter S. Beagle, author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn (reviewed here at borg.com earlier in graphic novel form), A Fine and Private Place (we reviewed the comic book adaptation here, too) and many other great works announced today a limited discount Litograph design for The Last Unicorn. And until midnight tonight, you can get a $10 discount on your order by entering the code FORTUNA during the checkout process.
At the 12:01 a.m. IMAX premiere screening of Marvel’s Iron Man 3, on May 3, 2013, IMAX will be giving away limited edition Mondo Iron Man 3 prints. The artwork, created by Detective Comics and Green Arrow: Year One comic book artist Jock, is a collaboration between Marvel Studios, IMAX, and Mondo, the Austin, Texas-based limited edition poster company. According to Walt Disney Studios, owner of the Marvel properties, the Iron Man 3 print will be the last entry in the IMAX 12:01 poster series–a series that began in 2012 with alternate poster concepts to promote the films. No idea what a Mondo poster is? They are only released in limited editions and tend to sell out fast, and are created by a myriad of artists. Here is the Iron Man 3 poster to be given away in this last IMAX 12:01 giveaway:
Prior IMAX 12:01 posters have been created for Oz: The Great and Powerful, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Real Steel, John Carter of Mars, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Amazing Spider-man, The Avengers, Frankenweenie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Prometheus. One of the best of these fantasy/sci-fi throwback designs was created for Oblivion:
No matter what you study in college sometimes you can’t get work in the summer because no one wants to hire for jobs with decent pay on a temporary basis. That’s how I ended up at Movies-to-Go, a pretty typical VHS chain rental store in the 1990s that went the way of the dodo bird when DVDs came along. You learn a lot about people generally while working a video store, disturbing things like the fact that I Spit on Your Grave and Faces of Death outpaced new release sales time and time again. At every store there were aisles of direct to video releases–some action, some sci-fi, some horror. All of them had one thing in common–someone spent a lot of time creating covers that would get renters to actually rent the movie, despite the fact that most of these movies weren’t worth renting. Some of these edge the others out, and as an employee I remember being able to rent free any film overnight that didn’t get checked out, which meant I learned to like a lot of films from John Carpenter, Jean Claude Van Damme and Bruce Lee movies.
Some of these B-movies weren’t really good enough to be called B-movies, and were nothing but grindhouse pictures that would be shown at the then dwindling drive-in theater’s weekend third late show. Others, like Denise Crosby’s Eliminators, Dolph Lundgren’s I Come in Peace, Guyver 2: Dark Hero, Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff’s Starcrash, and Captain America (1990), prompted one ambitious young Canadian filmmaker named Steve Kostanski to spend three years in the 21st century creating one of these 1970s-1980s-type B-movies, with a name like a made-for TV Syfy Channel movie: Manborg. The amazing thing is Manborg actually received acclaim as an official selection of not one but six international film festivals: Austin’s Fantastic Film Festival, Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, Sweden’s Lund Film Festival, Switzerland’s Neuchatel Film Festival, Toronto’s After Dark Film Festival and the London Sci-Fi Festival. And Manborg is being released on DVD on April 30, 2013.