Archive for October, 2013


Firefly returns

Dark Horse Comics finally pulled back the curtain on its new Serenity comic book series this weekend at New York Comic Con after months of teasing a new series was forthcoming that would continue the adventures of Mal and his crew where the movie left off.  We previewed the first hints at the series here at borg.com back in August.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind will be a six-issue mini-series with the possibility of an ongoing series, written by Joss Whedon’s brother Zack Whedon, with Joss Whedon serving as executive producer.  The story picks up nine months after the death of Wash, shown at the end of the movie Serenity.

Serenity cover

“We’ve been dying to get more Serenity out ever since the book Joss and Zack wrote,” said Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie in the promotional release.  “We all loved Zack’s work on Shepherd’s Tale, and couldn’t wait to get him back into the mix. This story is the first giant step past the film…”

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jockgreenarrowyearone

Following its release of hardcover profiles of great comic book artists Alex Ross, Sean Phillips, and Howard Chaykin, Dynamite Comics announced this week the upcoming release of The Art of Jock, celebrating the work the British illustrator of works including Hellblazer: Pandemonium, Savage Wolverine, Green Arrow: Year One, and memorable Batman covers.  The Art of Jock will include hundreds of illustrations from his years as an artist for comic books, film, and marketing work.

“It will include drawings and paintings from all of my comics projects from over the last ten years, including many sketches and unseen material, plus concept art and extensive promotional images from the various movies and posters I’ve worked on,” Jock announced in press materials announcing the book release.  “The quality of the books I’ve seen from Dynamite has been second-to-none, so I’m thrilled to have a home there for this retrospective.”

Jock Scalped cover

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Alex Ross SMDM Season Six 1

Following on the heels of the successful Dark Horse Comics series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 and 9 and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season 10, this week Dynamite Comics announced Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man will be continued where the TV series left off with The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6.

Unlike the current successful monthly series Bionic Man and Bionic Woman, which updated the original TV series for the 21st century, The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 will make an effort to look back to elements, styles, designs and even sounds that made the original series popular in the 1970s.  Expect familiar special effects, slow motion movements, and kung-fu gripping action.

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City of Heroes

If you haven’t watched last night’s second season premiere episode of CW’s Arrow, “City of Heroes,” then come back after you’ve seen it…

…and once you’re back… WOW!  What a season opener!  We couldn’t ask for more action and drama.  CW really delivered one of the best season two starts in recent memory.

At first… confusion!  John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an old plane flying over the island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was marooned for five years?  Parachuting to the island and revealing Oliver had used the island as a retreat from the turmoil he left back in Starling City was a great place to begin.  We don’t want Felicity and Oliver as love interests, but we can’t get enough of them working together, and from this episode it looks like she is a full partner in Oliver’s Starling clean-up business.  And she even had a new compound bow custom made for him.

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Beyond Rue Morgue

In Dickens’ classic A Christmas Story, the story begins with the line “Marley was dead, to begin with…” and thus commences a superb and long-retold tale of ghosts and redemption.  “To begin with,” Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue has one of the most contrived and difficult to accept endings in all of classic storytelling.  Editors Paul Kane and Charles Prepolec have assembled a group of writers to expand on Poe’s story and their collection was published this summer as Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1st Detective.

The difficulty in Poe’s Murders is highlighted by the contrast between the confounding ending and the fact that Poe’s detective is so exceptionally brilliant for most of the work and Poe’s writing so authoritative.  Included as the first entry in Kane and Prepolec’s new anthology is Poe’s original story, allowing new readers to be impressed with–and older readers to revisit–those gruesome (fictional) murders that took place in a Paris flat in the 1840s.  The flat appeared locked from the inside, the murders required inhuman strength, and the crime leaves no possible solution; leaving the reader to hang on every word to learn how this pre-Sherlock Holmes genius-detective named Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin will unravel the mystery and catch the murderer.  And then the murderer turns out to be… an escaped, deranged… orangutan.  Thud.

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Sleepy Hollow logo

After a solid pilot episode many television series fail to measure up to the initial promise, dwindling away after a few episodes.  On last night’s fourth episode of Sleepy Hollow, “The Lesser Key of Solomon,” we learn this new series may deserve to be around for the long haul.  From the first scene where we catch up with Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane in a humorous exchange with an OnStar representative to Hessians interrogating a bartender for information on Lieutenant Mills’s sister who has escaped from a psychiatric ward, we knew we were in for a wild ride even before the titles rolled.

If you haven’t climbed aboard the bandwagon for Sleepy Hollow yet, we reviewed the pilot here at borg.com three weeks ago.  At its core, the series is the unlikely mash-up of two works, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, and the biblical Book of Revelations.  Here Ichabod Crane takes the role of Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow turns out to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  The Horseman was beheaded by Ichabod Crane, who is, in turn, felled by the Horseman at the same skirmish, and on Crane’s deathbed his wife–a witch–casts a spell that causes Crane to reappear in the town of Sleepy Hollow in our time.

Boston Tea Party

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jack ryan shadow recruit poster

After Tom Clancy’s passing this week, fans of his biggest character, Jack Ryan, have been introduced to a new phase of the movie incarnations of his geopolitical thriller novels with this weekend’s release of the first trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  Last December we at borg.com listed Jack Ryan as one of the ten characters to watch in 2013, and we included Jack Ryan, the movie, as one of the 24 films we predicted would be worth seeing in 2013.

Since last year’s announcement of Chris Pine taking on the lead, the title was changed to add the subtitle Shadow Recruit, replacing the prior subtitle Shadow One (we think Hollywood really needs to work on their subtitles).  The role of Jack Ryan was, of course, first played by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October in 1990, followed by Harrison Ford in Patriot Games in 1992 and Clear and Present Danger in 1994.  Ben Affleck then played a younger Jack in the 2002 prequel film The Sum of All Fears.  All four of these movies were based on bestselling Clancy novels, The Hunt for Red October often being listed as one of the best thrillers of all time.  Likewise, The Hunt for Red October is one of the best, and most exciting, movies of all time, with Alec Baldwin’s performance still the standard for future Ryans to be measured against.

Costner and Pine in Jack Ryan

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2824589-13260-gamesrocks-superman

By Art Schmidt

I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were talking about comic book movies and the slow transition of the formulas for the ones which have succeeded to television format. My friend was grumbling about the lack of costumed heroes on popular shows such as Arrow or the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I have to admit, I hadn’t really noticed the lack of costumes in those shows, loving the first season of Arrow despite very few folks with traditional comic book costumes, and enjoying the first couple of episodes of A.O.S. (can you acronym an acronym?).

But the more I thought about it, the more puzzled I was.  Why weren’t there more costumes in Arrow?  Certainly Deathstroke’s mask was a pivotal prop in the series, and the Dark Archer had a cool getup, but they weren’t costumes so much as work attire fitting the villain’s nature.  And of course A.O.S. is a show about normal people, super spies and highly-skilled to be sure, but not superheroes.  And certainly without costumes outside of May’s black leather suit, akin to Fury’s normal wardrobe and the attire seen by many personnel aboard the Heli-carrier in The Avengers.

Speaking of which, The Avengers is a perfect case in point.  The evolution of the superhero sans costume.  I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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Fallcon logo 2013

The Midwest Comic Book Association is hosting the 25th Annual FallCon “Comic Book Party” at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Saturday October 5, 2013, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in St. Paul, Minnesota, also called the “One Day Wonder.”  Twenty-five shows is a long time for any convention so if you’re in the area this may be a great way to spend up to seven hours tomorrow pouring through more than a half a million comic books for sale and meet more than 135 comic book creators scheduled to attend.

The headliner for this year’s show is comic book writer Mark Waid.  Waid has written more comic book characters than almost any other American comic book author, from Superman to the Justice League to Spider-Man to Archie and hundreds of others.  His award-winning graphic novel with artist Alex Ross, Kingdom Come, is one of the best-selling
comics of all time.

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Thrud the Barbarian cover

A parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian and other classic fantasy comics, Thrud The Barbarian will bring a welcome laugh to fans of fantasy stories.  As a comic strip first published in the pages of the role-playing game magazine White Dwarf, Thrud’s sound-effect laden panels (FOOM!  THWOP!  WHUMP!) became a staple for regular readers.  The new edition from Titan Comics reprints Issues #1-5 of the limited comic book series, as well as some original single page stories.  Thrud The Barbarian first came from the mind of 18-year-old Carl Critchlow back in 1981, and developed into a solid parody series.

Thrud manages to poke fun at nearly all of the conventions of fantasy stories, but does it in a wink-wink manner like Monty Python.  It’s funny and quirky with in-jokes aplenty.  Thrud is big and mean and dumb.  He’s a barbarian after all.  And he, and his free-swinging axe, are pretty funny.

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