Archive for June, 2016


Meeting Lee Majors

Hey, looks like we made it!

Five years ago today, Elizabeth C. Bunce, Art Schmidt, Jason McClain, and I had already spent a few months talking through the technical details for the launch of borg.com.  What should it look like?  What should we write about?  How do we get to there from here?  Then it all came together on June 10, 2011, and I sat down and just started writing.  Should this be a weekly thing?  Once I started I just couldn’t stop and we cemented borg.com as a daily webzine.  And readers started showing up every day.  Soon we had hundreds of followers, and hundreds of thousands of visits per year.

The best part?  Working with friends and meeting new ones each year.

We’ve had plenty of high points.  Cosplay took off in a big way in the past five years.   Elizabeth and I hit the ground running at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2011 with our Alien Nation/Chuck mash-up and you can find us all over the Web in photos taken by others at the show.  Our years were dotted with the random brush with coolness.  A retweet by actress Alana de la Garza, coverage of Joss Whedon visiting the Hall H line at 3 a.m. outside SDCC in 2012, Zachary Levi calling out Elizabeth for her cosplay at Nerd HQ, interviewing the stars of History Channel’s Vikings series, our praise for the Miss Fury series appearing on the back of every Dynamite Comics issue one month, tweets from Hollywood make-up artist family the Westmores commenting on our discussion of Syfy’s Face Off series, our Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (negative!) review featured on the movie’s website, that crazy promotion for the Coma remake mini-series, planning the first Planet Comicon at Bartle Hall and the Star Trek cast reunion, attending the first Kansas City Comic Con and the first Wizard World Des Moines Con, hanging with comic book legend Howard Chaykin, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels, cast members from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Star Trek, bionic duo Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner.  And borg.com gained some well-known followers (you know who you are) along the way.

sdcc-whedon-c shot

We’re grateful for some great Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and other feedback over the years from Felipe Melo, Mickey Lam, Michael Prestage, The Mithril Guardian, Francesco Francavilla, Adam Hughes, Judy Bunce, Mike Norton, Jack Herbert, Mike Mayhew, Rain Beredo, David Petersen, Rob Williams, and Matt Miner, and for creators we interviewed including Mikel Janin, Penny Juday, Tim Lebbon, Kim Newman, James P. Blaylock, Freddie Williams II, Jai Nitz, and Sharon Shinn.

Bunce Alien Nation cosplay x

What did readers like the most?

We amassed an extensive archive of hundreds of book reviews, movie reviews, reviews of TV shows, and convention coverage, thanks in part to the good folks at Titan Books, Abrams Books, Lucasfilm Press, Weta New Zealand, Entertainment Earth, Dynamite Comics, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, and several TV and movie studios and distributors.

McClain and EC Bunce

My own favorites?  Sitting down to come up with my own five all-time favorite characters with the borg.com writing staff.

Schmidt and Bunce at PC 2015

Thanks to my family, my friends, especially my partner in crime Elizabeth C. Bunce, Art Schmidt and Jason McClain, my support team, and William Binderup and the Elite Flight Crew.

Onward and upward!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

TNG_Day_#40_01212015-28.dng

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Column by J. Torrey McClain

In theaters now, if you look quickly and listen closely, you can see my profile and hear my voice in the fantastic new movie from Shane Black, The Nice Guys.  I recommend seeing The Nice Guys, not only for me, but because it is a dry, fun, and interesting movie that has a number of laughs.  But, as usual, the movie is the background to my musings and in this case, my personal experience.

On my birthday in 2015, I got a text and a phone call on my way to meeting with friends.  Since I was in the car, I didn’t pick up, my preference, and waited until I was walking along the sidewalk to my destination, expecting to see calls and texts with well-wishes.  As I looked, I got another call, from my call-in booking service.  I answered and immediately gave my acknowledgement that I was available to work the next day.  It was only after this that I was able to look at the text and see that it was my first union gig, as a photo double.

To understand this all-new stage as a background actor, I must explain my normal experiences.  As a friend once relayed to me from a recent L.A. Times article, background actors are known as props that eat. Generally there are at least 20 of us descending upon a production to provide atmosphere and a realistic look of city streets, courtrooms, bars, malls or wherever the protagonists need to be.  We sit, we walk, we mime talking, we run for cover, we sit in a Ferris wheel, we play at eating food and generally try to be as real as possible with several cameras capturing the moment.  In between the scenes, we descend like locusts on craft services, lunch catering and our holding area, eating, talking, reading, writing, playing music or whatever we do to make the eight, ten, 12 or longer hours to pass by while assistant directors and production assistants try to corral us and keep us to a mild whisper so as not disturb filming.  I love the job as the time in between gives me moments with graphic novels or whatever I’m reading at the time, but it can be stifling to many others with low tolerances to being told exactly what to do, wanting to talk, preferring not to listen and expecting the spotlight.  If you’re happy just fading into the background and realizing that your issues are the smallest in the world of a production with many moving parts, days pass wonderfully well.

nice guys

My days on The Nice Guys were so much different.  My first day of my first union gig, I was nervous.  When I met the production assistant checking me in and he said something along the line of these words, “Great, glad you’re here!  This day is all about you,” my nerves shot up a notch as it became apparent that I was the only background actor there.  Instead of being sent off to hang with the other extras, I got to eat at the same time and table with the crew.  I felt guilty of impostor syndrome as I sat among the people there on a daily basis with specific jobs to make the production move forward.  After finishing my food, I got a full haircut from the people in the hair department along with some grey added to my dark brown hair to match the original actor.  A special suit of specific clothes awaited me at wardrobe.  Once ready for the camera, I arrived on set, ready to exit the production van, one of the PAs opened up an umbrella for me and held it over me until, feeling very sheepish, I took it from him and walked toward set.

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ST Beyond Enterprise

We’ve seen Kirk and Spock duke it out for screen time over the years, both getting their own scenes where they sacrifice all for their crew.  Isn’t it time Bones gets the spotlight?  Will the next film be the one to put the ship’s doctor to the test?

We have been fans of all the Star Trek television series and movies from day one.  In this 50th year of Star Trek, the franchise catches up to the benchmark only recently passed by Doctor Who and James Bond.  Even the bottom of the Star Trek catalog is better than the best of many other franchises.   That bottom is in the eye of the beholder.  For many its Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.  For others it is Deep Space Nine or Enterprise.  Whatever your view, it’s sure to spark a conversation (and controversy) among Star Trek fans.

Next year a new streaming weekly series will no doubt clear the way for more chatter among fans like we saw when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was first released, when Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired, and the pilot of each series thereafter.  And of course the J.J. Abrams reboot films spurred its own schism between the fan base.   But for good or bad we’ll keep coming back and find something awesome about every new image of Star Trek on the big or small screen.

ST Beyond

Paramount has released several TV spots in the past few days that provide even more glimpses at an Enterprise under attack, our familiar crew, and new aliens and villains.  Check them out, after the break:

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Star-Trek-Manifest-Destiny-4    Xena2016-03-Cov-A-Frison

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and that means a new volley of comic books is coming to your local comic book store.  Today we have previews of several new issues.  From IDW Publishing we have Star Trek: Manifest Destiny, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Bebop & Rock Steady, Popeye Classics and Donald Duck.  From Dynamite Comics we have Xena: Warrior Princess, Vampirella, and Gold Key Alliance.  From BOOM! Studios we have Adventure Time, Big Trouble in Little China, and Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy.

BigTroubleLittleChina-025-A-Main-91fce    Vampivol3-04-Cov-B-Davilla

So wait no further–check out more than 65 pages of previews of the next issues of all of these titles after the break:

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marauders willis 2016 poster

One thing Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger have always had in common is that (except when Arnold was out being the Governator), both men were working actors.  They never seem to pick and choose the “right” movie for their careers, but instead seem from an audience standpoint to take every new role coming down the pike, resulting in inconsistency in audiences’ ability to count on getting a good movie for their dollar every time.  Lately you could add a more recent action star to this–Jason Statham.  In contrast, action stars like Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone seem more consistent, Cruise banking top performing movies with interesting and varying parts, and Stallone tending to pick to stuck in a rut with more than his share of duds.

For every Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, Twelve Monkeys, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, RED, and Looper, there’s a The Last Boy Scout, The Color of Night, Death Becomes Her, and A Good Day to Die Hard.  For every Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, True Lies, and Twins, there’s a Last Action Hero, Junior, Jingle All the Way, and Batman & Robin.

Not that every “B” movie these guys churn out isn’t worth your time.  Just take a look at Striking Distance, The Jackal, The Kid, or Mercury Rising, or Eraser, The Last Stand, and Maggie.

Bruce Willis Marauders

Bruce Willis’s next release is Marauders, a heist movie with an interesting-garbed masked robber, co-starring TV’s Christopher Meloni and SPECTRE and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista (here Bautista isn’t hidden by make-up and gets to deliver more than one line!).  Where will this fall in Willis’s catalog of films?

Check out this trailer for the Bruce Willis heist movie, Marauders:

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PH-left-angle

Last week Disney and Lucasfilm released information on a new line of Star Wars: The Force Awakens replica props and helmets from PropShop Studio Editions for sale at this link.  These are high-end replicas taking advantage of current 3D scanning imagery, an idea I suggested in an article on 3D printing posted here at borg.com four years ago.  The new line of Star Wars generated plenty of press because the new costume pieces are fairly pricey:  a melted Darth Vader helmet is selling for $3,500 (limited to 500 units), a Kylo Ren helmet is $2,000, a Finn Stormtrooper helmet is $1,750 (limited to 500 units), and Poe Dameron’s X-Wing pilot helmet is $1,500.  The props are similarly priced: Chewbacca’s crossbow is $2,500, Rey’s staff and lightsaber and Kylo’s lightsaber are each $1,500.

VH-stand

Sound like the holy grail for cosplayers?  Hold that thought.  Here is the description for Finn’s helmet:

  • Created using the original 3D digital data from the actual FN-2187 Stormtrooper Helmet featured in the film in combination with advanced digital manufacturing processes, and then hand-finished by a highly skilled artisan. The original blood marking has been laser scanned and projected onto this helmet, and a special paint effect process has been applied to identically recreate the surface texture pattern.
  • Made of a composition of 3D printing materials, forged items, and cast items
  • Includes a chip to authenticate the serial number that is printed on the Certificate of Authenticity
  • Delivered in an exclusive, custom wooden crate inspired by the packaging used for the original prop
  • Limited Edition of 500
  • Certificate of Authenticity and Authenticity Medallion included

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Bad Guys pin

Earlier this year here at borg.com we reviewed the very first Loot Crate in the exclusive Firefly Cargo Crate theme, available every other month via a partnership with QmX.  The first crate (which can be seen for re-sale on eBay now for as much as $300) featured Kaylee Frye, and for fans of the Serenity’s mechanic, that one will be hard to top.  For everyone else, Loot Crate has set the bar again, this time with this month’s Jayne Cobb-themed box, “Let’s Be Bad Guys.”

Just when you think you’ve seen a great monthly box in the mail, whether it’s from Comic Con Box, Nerd Block, or any other service, it’s that much better when the next one that comes along tops the last.

metal flask

The only thing missing here was Adam Baldwin’s famous Jayne knitted hat (sewn by Mama Cobb), which actually was in the boxes of 20 random winners (plus the grand prize in the “Big Damn Prize” category for three very lucky people, a 1:250 high-end model of everyone’s favorite Firefly-class ship Serenity).  But heck, every fan of Firefly already has Jayne’s hat by now, right?

Check out all the was included in this month’s crate:

Jayne shirt

  • an excellent Jayne Cobb shirt in orange (great when box services seem to be stuck on delivering only black shirts lately)
  • a high quality, usable metal flask with a Jayne design

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TFA var cover Phil Noto     TFA var cover Joe Quesada

Are you a fan of Star Wars: The Force Awakens?  How about a comic book adaptation whose quality is nearly as good as that of Marvel’s original trilogy adaptations in the late 1970s and early 1980s?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a Marvel six-issue adaptation is coming your way later this month and we have a preview of not only some great variant covers, but previews of interior artwork by Luke Ross.  Chuck Wendig provides the script adaptation for the story.

Variant covers include some beautiful interpretations by Phil Noto and Joe Quesada (above), and John Cassaday and Esda Ribic (below).

TFA var cover John Cassaday    TFA B&W Esad Ribic var

After the break, take a look at some interior pages from Marvel’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Issue #1:

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Star Trek Beyond Kirk poster    Star Trek Beyond Krall posterSince the first Star Trek reboot movie Paramount Pictures has presented fans with some attractive individual character posters.  In 2008 hundreds of fans waited at the Paramount booth at San Diego Comic-Con to land a set of four featuring Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Uhura.  The marketing team followed up with two sets of character posters for the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, including action shots for each of Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and newcomers Khan and Carol Marcus.

The character posters are back again.  In this 50th year of Star Trek, Paramount has issued a new set of movie posters for display at movie theaters and other public display areas for the 13th film in the franchise, Star Trek Beyond, this time featuring Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and new featured aliens Sofia Boutella’s Jaylah and Idris Elba’s Krall.  This is in addition to a teaser poster, a Star Trek: The Motion Picture-inspired poster that appears to be the official standard release poster, and an international release poster reminiscent of one of the posters for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Note that the Sulu and Uhura posters have a pretty glaring error.  Can you spot them?  Will it have an impact on their collectability and future value?

Star Trek Beyond Uhura poster    Star Trek Beyond Sulu poster

These are pretty sharp and definitely the style we’d expect as giveaways at Comic-Con.  The world premiere will be at Comic-Con this year, Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at Embarcadero Marina Park, shown in IMAX.  The San Diego Symphony Orchestra will perform the score and the cast will make an appearance.  Follow the San Diego Comic-Con website for details and a chance to get tickets.

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SW Battlefront

Review by Alec Jessen

Many of us know and love Star Wars, especially the video games.  The Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront 2 video games from back in the earlier 2000s were some of the best Star Wars games available, and here in 2016, we’re taking a look at a recent update of that video game released at the end of 2015 to quench our thirst for more Star Wars.  Star Wars Battlefront is a First and Third person shooter game that takes place in the Star Wars universe.  The game has much to offer, from the iconic Star Wars heroes to a variety of weapons to use.

Graphics

The graphics of Star Wars Battlefront are absolutely astonishing.  The lighting, animations, and the smallest of details create something magnificent, from the brush and trees on Endor, to the grains of sand on the Jundland Wastes.  When playing in Third person, the walking and running animations are perfectly smooth.  When a player is harmed, the character will flinch, adding to the effect of actually being in the battle.

STb 5

Gameplay

Almost all of the game modes in Star Wars Battlefront have a teamwork factor, meaning that it can be difficult in this game to be successful unless you have some teammates to back you up.  This is represented by the partner system as well:  Each player has his or her own partner, which they can “respawn” (coming back to the game once the player has been defeated) onto, and partners know where each other are at all times.

Skill is an important part of Star Wars Battlefront.  The developers of this game, DICE, did a great job of evening out weapons, vehicles, and first and third person.  Accuracy is the same for both first and third person, so those who prefer playing in third person do not have to worry about being at a disadvantage.  Players can also switch between the perspectives mid-game, by the push of a button.  The weapons of Star Wars Battlefront have great balance.  For example, if a weapon has a high rate of fire, it may not be very accurate, and if a weapon has a low rate of fire, it could be very accurate.  Players have to choose what they think will go best for their fighting techniques.

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