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Archive for April, 2014


StarWarsEpisodeVII copyright lucasfilm 2014

Does a picture tell a thousand words?

Lucasfilm released today the slate of the main cast for Star Wars: Episode VII and the above photo.  Writer/Director/Producer J.J Abrams (top center right) with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and writer Lawrence Kasdan.  Defying the convention of not wearing the band shirt to the concert is our favorite gentle giant Peter Mayhew sporting a rebel-logo golf shirt.

The studio previously revealed the new film would take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, but considering nearly the entire main cast for the original trilogy is in England’s Pinewood Studios for this cast read-through, the idea that they will be trivial to the story seems to be out the window.  And after a lot of eyeball-rolling from fans across the globe, this is starting to get a bit exciting.

Maybe we were looking at this wrong.  Disney let Marvel Studios make some good movies with The Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America, right?  And J.J. Abrams made two Star Trek movies that could easily fit in the Star Wars universe.  Heck–they could have served as auditions for getting this directorial gig.  Lawrence Kasdan is one of the best moviemakers ever, with Silverado and The Empire Strikes Back in his portfolio.  You cannot say enough about John Williams, back yet again for another score.  And George Lucas was solely responsible for the prequel trilogy. ‘Nuff said there.  But we won’t let Disney off the hook until they prove that they won’t ruin the greatest franchise of all time.

Ming the Merciless Von Sydow

But more details were released.  Max Von Sydow, Emperor Ming from the 1980s Flash Gordon, will have a key role in the film.  Recall the original Flash Gordon serials inspired Lucas’s original vision.  Von Sydow is perfect for a role here–right up there with classic Star Wars veterans Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, and Christopher Lee.  The original R2-D2 actor will be back, too: Kenny Baker will return as the guy in the droid suit, joining Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.

It’s fanboy speculation time…

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BSG Six photo cover  NewBSGSix01-Cov-Frison

Number Six, the humanoid Cylon played by Tricia Helfer in the Battlestar Galactica reboot, in her now iconic red dress is probably the most memorable of the characters in the Syfy Channel series, and certainly the most unusual.  Her manipulation of Gaius Baltar set the course of events for the entire world where humans set out on a last-ditch quest to find the legendary planet Earth.

Now one of our favorite borgs, Six is getting her own monthly comic book series from Dynamite Comics.  Former Green Arrow scribe J.T. Krul will serve as series writer, with art by Igor Vitorino.  Battlestar Galactica: Six will take a look at the origins of this next generations of Cylons, and how a robotic being can become more human.

NewBSGSix01-Cov-Bolson

After the break, check out this preview of Battlestar Galactica: Six, Issue #1, courtesy of Dynamite Comics:

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Nero from Star Trek 2009

Between the prequel comic book Star Trek: Countdown and the deleted scenes on the Blu-ray for 2009’s Star Trek reboot, we learned a lot of great backstory.  One tidbit was the explanation for the Romulans (Nero and his crew) wearing cloven-toed boots.  Prior to encountering the USS Kelvin, which resulted in the early birth of James T. Kirk in space instead of Iowa and the death of his father, Nero and crew were imprisoned by a band of Klingons.  Presumably as part of their escape they took their captors’ clothes, hence the cloven-toed boots–the familiar footwear of Klingons since Star Trek: The Motion Picture through Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond.

Nero pants and boots

Nero style “neoninja” Tabi boots and pants from Star Trek 2009.

When costumer Michael Kaplan was sourcing his Romulan (formerly Klingon) garb for the film, he ended up using some unique and stylish creations from the folks behind Ayyawear and Verillas, and for a brief time after the film you could buy the same creations from their original source at Romwear.com.  Romwear.com no longer exists, but you can still buy the cloven-toed Tabi boots from Ayyawear and Verillas in several different styles.

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Eva Green Sin City Dame to Kill For

After the original Sin City, the 2005 film adaptation of Frank Miller’s 1993 graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics brought to the screen by co-directors Robert Rodriquez and Frank Miller, it might take a lot to get audiences back in the theaters for a sequel.  But Miller has a big comic book fan base, and Rodriquez several fans of his slightly askew action flicks, so it’s not that big of surprise a studio is taking another run at the Sin City universe.

Lions Gate has now released its trailer for Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For.  If the preview won’t get you into the theater, the great cast list might be enough to add this one to a future Netflix queue.  Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Jamie King, and Powers Booth all are returning from the original film, and adding Jeremy Piven, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Christopher Meloni, Eva Green, and Ray Liotta (with rumors of Lady Gaga and Christopher Lloyd making appearances).

Sin City Dame to Kill For

As with the original movie, the sequel certainly has its own comic book noir style, although it certainly borrows a lot from Dick Tracy–plenty of “dames” in seedy places, car chases, ugly and gruff villains, and just as ugly and gruff good guys (or at least they are almost good guys).  As with Alan Moore, his books and film adaptations, Miller’s work tends to be just as polarizing.  You love it or you hate it.

Here is the trailer for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For:

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Bionic Man 17 original cover art Mike Mayhew Bionic Man 17 final cover

This year I had my first comic convention experience where I didn’t get in early to be the first in line to commission sketches from some of the great artists attending the show.  That was Planet Comicon, and it was simply because I was helping set up booths, working my way through four cosplay outfits, meeting celebrities, spending hours in costume with attendees in photo ops, catching up with old friends, helping artist friends sell art, manning a booth…  keeping busy and having a great time doing it.

So I missed out on my regular art fix.

Bionic Man 22 original Mike Mayhew cover art Bionic Man 22 final cover

So I decided to fill the void by picking up some original cover art from one of my favorite artists in the business right now.  That’s Mike Mayhew, who created some great covers for the Bionic Man series last year, and is currently wrapping up one of the best Star Wars works ever produced, The Star Wars, where he served as artist interpreting George Lucas’s original vision of Star Wars before it became Star Wars.

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Rebel Heist Hughes cover 1

Back in the 1970s Marvel Comics released the first new entry in the Star Wars universe for the franchise which then consisted of the original movie alone.  With Star Wars Issue #7, Marvel followed Han Solo and Chewbacca beyond the movie adaptation, as they explored the seedier elements of society–the kinds of places a Corellian would roam with fellow smugglers and other dregs.  When Disney recently announced the coming continuation of Star Wars in a third trilogy, everyone knew it had to take place in the far away galaxy decades away from the events in Return of the Jedi.  Then Disney hinted at other movies in the Star Wars universe, and possibly a Han Solo story.

A Han Solo movie is intriguing.  Although the filmmakers are likely to target a younger audience with a young actor for Han Solo, I can’t help think how much fun it would be to see Firefly’s Nathan Fillion play our favorite scoundrel.  Comic book writer Matt Kindt (Mind Mgmt) is now writing one of the last of Dark Horse Comics’s Star Wars stories before Disney pulls the franchise away at year end, and Issue #1 follows Han Solo almost from the view of a modern fanboy googly-eyed as he meets Han Solo in person.  And the Han that is admired could easily be a Han played by Fillion.  Think Fillion playing Han Solo in a Blade Runner noir vibe.

Rebel Heist Adam Hughes 2 cover Hughes Rebel Heist Luke cover

Coming next Wednesday, Kindt plus penciller Marco Castiello, inker Dan Parsons, and colorist Gabe Eltaeb take us back to the days before The Empire Strikes Back with Star Wars: Rebel Heist.  After the break take a look at these preview pages from Dark Horse Comics:

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Kick-Ass 2 banner

If you like edgy superhero flicks and missed Kick-Ass 2 in theaters, it’s now available on Blu-ray and DVD.  If you liked the original, you’ll love the sequel.  Kick-Ass 2 pretty much requires you’ve seen the original Kick-Ass, a truly novel, unique, and interesting piece of filmmaking.  It’s a good film that takes an idea from a Mark Millar comic book series and propels it into a big-time action movie.  But Kick-Ass 2 does something rare–its success is being better than both the original film and Millar’s source material.  It’s a great superhero flick and a fun, awesome, over-the-top action movie, with villains you’ll want to see crushed and downtrodden heroes you’ll want to see persevere.

The caveat for the Kick-Ass franchise is you can’t be offended by a teen or pre-teen with a thorough and eloquent knowledge and use of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.  You’ll hear all of them.  Many times.  And if you can’t tolerate a big dose of over-the-top violence, pick another film to watch.  This probably rules out a big segment of the adult audience.  In another director’s hands, this would be a gimmick, even an annoyance, but Jeff Wadlow knows his characters and audience and deftly moves beyond the Whedon-Buffyverseworthy dialogue to a superhero film that can be both gritty and tongue-in-cheek, and manages to be on par with Stan Lee’s original Spider-man, only juxtaposing innocence against the worst of society to an in-your-face extreme.

Kick-Ass 2 movie poster

The only missing piece in Kick-Ass 2 is Nicolas Cage, who played Damon Macready, alias Batman-esque Big Daddy, in the original film.  Father to Chloë Grace Moretz’s Mindy, aka Hit Girl, events in the original explain his absence in this sequel.  But Kick-Ass 2 makes up for his absence with some other great performances from new additions.  One is Jim Carrey’s almost unrecognizable performance as an ex-mob enforcer turned superhero called Captain Stars and Stripes.  Carrey completely embraces the role of the leader of a league of good guys trying to take back their streets, and the result is one of his best performances–up there with his shape-shifting Ace Ventura, and zany Stanley Ipkiss aka The Mask.  The always superb John Leguizamo turns in a similarly good performance as a majordomo for the show’s villain, the returning Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) as Chris D’Amico.  Mintz-Plasse plays the evil villain bit for all it’s worth–he’ll make you cringe while you cheer for his imminent demise.

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24 cover 1

Previously on 24

Four years ago, CTU agent Jack Bauer became a fugitive from justice.  Soon he will risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster and LIVE ANOTHER DAY.

Jack spent the intervening years in exile, and now we reveal what happened during his time in the European UNDERGROUND…

Written by Ed Brisson (Secret Avengers), with art by Michael Gaydos (Alias), 24: Underground, is a new comic book series that provides backstory for the return of the live-action series 24: Live Another Day coming to Fox next month.  24: Underground takes off where the original series last left Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, as a man on the run.

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Manhattan screencap

A brief trailer premiered this weekend on WGN America during the unfortunately abysmal premiere of Brannon Braga’s new series Salem, for another production coming to the network this summer.  That new series is Manhattan, and it follows Salem as the second original scripted series for WGN America.  Both series are billed as historical fiction, but Manhattan appears to fit the genre better than could be gleaned from episode one of Salem, at least based on our first look.  The sets for Manhattan look great, and the actors look like real people from the era.

Manhattan

Manhattan will star John Benjamin Hickey (Law & Order, In Plain Sight), Daniel Stern (Home Alone, City Slickers), and Olivia Williams.  The series focuses on the lives of the scientists involved in the Manhattan Project who secretly developed the first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico, between 1942 and 1946.  The big selling point is Olivia Williams, an actress whose work stands out in all her film and TV appearances, often one of the only things worth seeing about the production (Rushmore, Dollhouse).  Williams has headlined movies big and small, from The Postman to The Sixth Sense.  And she can be seen in Spaced, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Sabotage.

Here’s the first trailer for Manhattan:

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X-Files Millie Ohio and Bing Ellinson

The X-Files, that classic TV series that took off recently with its The X-Files Season 10 monthly comic book series, will be expanding The X-Files universe even further.  IDW Publishing revealed some details about the new series Sunday at WonderCon in Anaheim, California.

Writer Karl Kesel (Marvel’s FF, Superboy), artists Vic Malhotra (The X-Files: Conspiracy, The Crow) and Greg Scott (The X-Files Season 10) are teaming up to tell the secret origins with The X-Files: Year Zero, a five-issue miniseries debuting in July.  The artists will split duties with Malhotra drawing the 1940s story following two agents that go by Bing and Millie, and Scott drawing present-day Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder as they tackle a mystery with ties that date back to the beginning of the FBI’s X-Files unit.

Cover art will be created by The X-Files Season 10 artist Carlos Valenzuela, with retro/pulp novel cover variants by Robert Hack (Doctor Who).  Even borg.com favorite cover artist Francesco Francavilla will be supplying a cover variant for the first issue.

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