Category: Fantasy Realms


Review by C.J. Bunce

Delayed a bit due to the pandemic, a Star Wars tie-in comic book series proved this summer to be the best so far since Marvel Comics pulled the comics license back from Dark Horse.   Star Wars: Bounty Hunters completed its first story arc and will be coming next month to comic shops in a collected edition, available via pre-order now here at Amazon.  Compiling the first five issues of a new series in the vein of The Mandalorian, it establishes itself with a new anti-hero from the past and familiar faces fans of the original trilogy love.  It all begins by asking why all those bounty hunters appeared together on Darth Vader’s ship Executor in that brief scene in The Empire Strikes Back.

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Arriving for the 35th anniversary of the musical, a new graphic novel will adapt Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running The Phantom of the Opera Viewed by nearly 150 million people in 41 countries and 183 cities and translated into 17 languages, the musical ran 30 years in Europe and the U.S.  Written by Cavan Scott (Star Wars Adventures, Doctor Who) with artwork by José María Beroy, the comic adaptation was delayed this year, but looks to be back on track to arrive in bookstores.

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It’s been an entire year since we last saw a new publication from TKO Studios, the company that brought the Netflix trademark binge to comic books.  Though not as striking and punch-packed as Round 1 from the publisher early last year, the second round of titles had promise.  At last Round 3 is on its way, and pre-orders are now available.  So what does the next incarnation of TKO hold?  First, none of the original series will see their sequels just yet.  But you will have the option to check out three new mini-series, and two new concepts: an illustrated prose horror book and three TKO “shorts.”  Check out previews for all below.

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Notable in part for being the first animated movie out of Disney without the work of creator John Lasseter in 15 years, the next major animated movie from Disney features the voices of two well-known genre stars, and it looks a bit on theme with Disney’s last live-action movie, Mulan.  Raya and the Last Dragon is all computer-animated, and it features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) as Raya, a warrior heroine who is seeking the Last Dragon, named Sisu, voiced by comedy actor Awkwafina (Jumanji: The Next Level), all in a classic fantasy The Hobbit or The Last Unicorn-homage tale.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I admit it.  I’m a sucker for the next great Assassin’s Creed tie-in story.  Assassin’s Creed is the perfect mix of fantasy and fiction, of adventure, sci-fi, and history.  Earlier this year in Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone, that meant a trip back to 1960s Vietnam.  With an Egyptian flare like we saw in Assassin’s Creed: The Ankh of Isis, the latest graphic novel compilation introduces us to Aya, an assassin with the brotherhood of the Hidden Ones aiming to defeat the Order of the Ancients as it prepares to conquer Egypt.  Spinning out of the events of Ubisoft’s 2017 game, writers Anthony Del Col and Anne Toole and artists PJ Kaiowa and Dijjo Lima’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins returns to comic shops in a new Special Edition next month.

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Disney+ shared a new trailer for The Mandalorian late Monday, adding more great clips and images from the coming season, tying viewers back to the original 1977 Star Wars.  The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), who we now know as Din Djarin, flying around with his backpack?  Check.  Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) putting an Imperial troop transport through its paces?  Check.  Someone found Yondu’s Yaka Arrow?  Check.  The Abyssin cyclops from the Mos Eisley cantina?  Check.  More of The Child (we know, you know him as Baby Yoda)?  Check.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Your first glance at the title of TCM’s latest overview of a key genre of Hollywood’s greatest films may give you pause: Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and BeyondOnly 31 movies?  Quickly you’ll figure out that the 31 highlighted movies in horror historian David J. Skal’s list are only the framework for a larger, chronological examination of the horror genre, with a lean in to Hollywood’s horror classics, the kind you’re most likely to find on the Turner Classic Movies TCM channel.  In this list of recommendations, readers are sure to pull their hair out, since it’s very likely nobody’s personal list will match the author’s–or anyone else’s.  Yet that’s why we turn to these books, and as you’d expect, Fright Favorites doesn’t disappoint: You’re practically guaranteed to add an obscure–or not-so-obscure–horror film to your future watch list.

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Adam Brody has been a high point of two recent fun genre flicks.  In Shazam! he was the grown-up superhero version of sidekick Freddie.  And in Ready or Not he was the brother-in-law that gave Samara Weaving’s bride a chance at survival in a crazy mansion of killers.  In his next movie, the former Gilmore Girls and The O.C. actor plays Abe Applebaum, once a kid detective in the style of Encyclopedia Brown, he’s now a 32-year-old has been, not cutting it as an adult detective.  But despite the title, The Kid Detective, arriving in theaters this weekend, is not a kids’ movie.  Some theaters on the East Coast are offering $50 full-theater rentals and AMC has a $99 deal, or you can always wait for the home release likely coming soon.

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Forget about that 2003 remake starring Lindsay Lohan.  Freaky Friday is one of those Walt Disney studio classics before the company issued special re-release limited VHS tapes and merchandised every film to its hilt to become a corporate behemoth.  The 1976 movie (written by Mary Rodgers, based on her novel) starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris as mom and daughter swapping bodies and needing to live life literally in the skin of the other.  It was the kind of film your parents would take you to and you’d have a great time (I did).  Flash forward a few generations and we now have an homage that might as well be a remake of Freaky Friday, only this time it stars wacky comedic actor Vince Vaughn as a creepy 50-year-old serial killer, swapped with a high schooler played by young actress Kathryn Newton (Supernatural, Paranormal Activity 4).  It’s called simply Freaky, and it’s from Blumhouse and directed by 1970s icon Michael Landon’s son Christopher Landon, well established now as a slasher movie and slasher comedy movie director.  Unfortunately the release will miss Halloween, but it looks like one to keep on the radar for its inevitable home release.  Check out the trailer below.

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If you’re discussing the most compelling and amazing action movie franchise actresses, you’re going to begin with Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton.  But quickly you must count Milla Jovovich, whose track record at the box office is hard to match, thanks to her role as Alice in the Resident Evil series.  But she’s also revealed her badass prowess in classics like The Fifth Element and Ultraviolet, and she keeps adding to her amped up, tough-as-nails characters.  This year that means taking on the role of Lieutenant Artemis in Monster Hunter, an adaptation of the online fantasy-action game.  In one word, that overly-used phrase is apt here: Epic.  The first trailer for the film (below) is very Starship Troopers meets Jurassic Park.

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