Never been to a comic book or pop culture convention before? Always wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con but you don’t have the vacation time available or the funds? Planet Comicon is next weekend in Kansas City and although it isn’t as big as SDCC, it is a great way to get a complete three-day convention experience centrally located in the Midwest, ideal for a last-minute road trip for the family or a car full of friends. It’s less than 8 hours by car from Dallas, less than 7 hours from Minneapolis, a little more than 7 hours from Indianapolis, and a little more than 8 hours from Denver. And you don’t need to buy advance tickets–you can purchase them at the door.
So why make the trip? How about meeting Jason Isaacs, the latest captain of a Star Trek television series and star of the Harry Potter movies (and great TV roles)? Want to compare notes on Doctor Who companions with Catherine Tate (in her first U.S. convention appearance) and Billie Piper? Want to talk Arrow and Torchwood with John Barrowman, or have another chance to meet Arrow star Stephen Amell? Are you a Hellboy and Star Trek fan and haven’t yet met Ron Perlman? It’s the Star Wars 40th anniversary–how about meeting the newest actor to portray Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Spencer Wilding?
Are you a Browncoat? Firefly’s Summer Glau is scheduled to attend, and Supernatural’s Jim Beaver. Do you want to talk 20 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Emma Caulfield? Are you a fan of Lost Girl and need to get your fae fix with Anna Silk, Rachel Skarsten, Zoie Palmer, and Emmanuelle Vaugier?
Want to buy comics, books, or sketches from some of the best creators from across the country, like one of the all-time greats, Howard Chaykin, or Timothy Zahn, creator of the new novel Thrawn? Click here to see everyone you can meet at Artist Alley. Do you collect busts of superheroes and are missing some key characters? Check out thousands of square feet of dealers selling everything from action figures to T-shirts to limited edition prints and toy lightsabers. Whatever you collect, crazy or not, if it’s related to TV, movies or comics you’ll likely find something there. And that’s just part of your day. There will also be panels, and cosplay is always a highlight of the show.
Looking back to only a few years ago, who would have thought audiences would have so many choices today in movies and television series based on comic books? And who would guess a title as obscure as Marvel Comics’ Cloak & Dagger would make it to television? ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The CW, FX, Netflix, and coming net year ABC Family’s renamed Freeform channel will enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger.
Cloak & Dagger stars Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen aka Dagger and Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson aka Cloak, two teenagers who discover superpowers and form a romantic relationship. The first trailer, shown below, reveals a series that appears to be equal parts CW teenager series with an edge to it as found in the Netflix Marvel series starring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.
The characters were created in 1982 by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Ed Hannigan, and first appeared in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-man, Issue #64. The superpowered duo really took off with a four-issue limited series in 1983, resulting in an ongoing series and various appearances in comic books since. If you wonder why you’re not seeing much by way of supersuits in the trailer, that is consistent with the comic books, which focused more on the real world battles of its stars.
Check out this preview for Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger:
They only get one chance to save the galaxy…twice.
It was five years ago next month that theaters across the country hosted the mega-marathon of Marvel Studios movies leading up to the premiere of The Avengers, followed up two years ago this month by a massive eleven movie marathon of Marvel films. Last year saw a double feature of Captain America movies, and in two weeks Marvel fans will be able to join Peter Quill, Baby Groot, and the rest of the gang for a double feature of Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The most unusual of all the Marvel superhero movies with its unlikely but epic outer space heroes, Guardians of the Galaxy was the surprise box office hit of 2014. The follow-up movie only has good buzz surrounding it. We’ve previewed several trailers for the film so far here and here at borg.com.
Select theaters will screen the first movie in RealD 3D on Thursday, May 4, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. local time, followed by the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at 7 p.m.
Happy Easter! Along with the Easter Bunny, how well do you know the famous rabbits of print and screen? We thought we’d dig in and see what we found and a few dozen surfaced that you probably know, maybe don’t know, or might want to know. Americans are raised knowing something about the Easter Bunny from year one. Are any of these other rabbits even more famous?
We had a hard time finding a photo of one famous movie rabbit. There he is–Harvey, from the 1950 movie co-starring Jimmy Stewart.
Everyone needs a painting in their home like that.
Since it’s Star Wars Celebration weekend, we won’t forget our favorite rogue rabbit, Jaxxon, from the Howard Chaykin and Roy Thomas 1970s Star Wars comic book series. (That’s him at the top of this article).
We discussed another comic book rabbit only yesterday here at borg.com, Stan Sakai’s samurai from Usagi Yojimbo.
Usagi is a rabbit you want on your side. But so is Judy Hopp. She’s one great cop.
She’s the star of last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Animated Film, Zootopia. And speaking of zoos, Judy would fit right in with this next guy.
That’s Captain Carrot, from Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew!, the 1980s DC Comics series.
Who could be cuter than Thumper, the rabbit from the 1942 Disney movie, Bambi?
It’s not every day we get to read a new story by its original creator, especially 30 years later. Comic book readers are getting just that this summer as Japanese-American comic book writer/artist Stan Sakai returns to his creation Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit living in late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth-century Japan whose exploits were chronicled in his Usagi Yojimbo saga. Usagi will partner with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a one-shot graphic novel crossover event. Both series were created in 1984, the Turtles created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
The new story written and illustrated by Sakai is called Namazu, and the conflict centers on the Japanese myth about a giant catfish that lives under the islands of Japan. A god named Kashima trapped the fish and it now threatens to free itself and destroy the islands, helped in Sakai’s story by Jei, a character on a mission to destroy all the evil in the world. Can Usagi and the Turtles join forces to save the future of Japan?
The catfish is featured prominently in a beautiful variant cover by Mouse Guard artist David Petersen (below). Sakai will provide the standard cover for the book. A softcover and hardcover edition will be available, the hardcover edition including extras like concept art and story notes selected by Sakai. Sakai has won a total of seven Eisner and Harvey Awards, and was nominated for 21 Eisners, over his long career.
Perhaps it is in part because of the influence of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, but it looks like finally, after decades of 100 male Star Wars action figures for every one female figure for kids to play with, times may be changing. It was sad for two generations of girls–and boys–that you could quickly list all the named women characters of Star Wars, both from the original trilogy: Leia, Aunt Beru, and Mon Mothma, and only a few more with the prequels: Padme, Shmi, Adi Gallia, Zam Wesell, Dorme–and Beru again–with even fewer made into toys that would allow kids to see themselves in Star Wars characters. Disney was surprisingly slow to integrate Daisy Ridley’s Rey into all the various toy lines early last year, but recent announcements indicate the franchise is trying to catch up. A new line of 11-inch format dolls from Hasbro looks to be a step in the right direction.
One of this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration 2017 announcements is Disney and Lucasfilm’s Forces of Destiny, a series of animated shorts highlighting the heroism of the women of Star Wars. Although it would seem adding the women of Star Wars to each of the other toy lines in the franchise also makes sense, Forces of Destiny attempts to bridge action figures and the traditional Barbie-type 11-inch doll. The release announcing the new doll line made clear that these toys aren’t about make-up, mirrors, and dresses. “Star Wars Forces of Destiny is for anyone who has been inspired by Leia’s heroism, Rey’s courage or Ahsoka’s tenacity,” said Kennedy.
The toy line is also taking a cue from a successful G.I. Joe toy series, calling the toys “Adventure Dolls,” which will feature hands that can hold weapons and feet that aren’t pointed like traditional dolls (that were intended to allow for high heels). The Forces of Destiny dolls will be anchored by a web series of animated features in July, followed by an eight-part series on the Disney Channel this Fall that will include the voices of the actual Star Wars film actresses, including Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens’ Rey), Felicity Jones (Rogue One’s Jyn Erso), Tiya Sircar (Star Wars Rebels’ Sabine), Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars Rebels’ Ahsoka) with narration by Lupita Nyong’o (The Force Awakens’ Maz Kanata).
Here is a preview for the new Star Wars Forces of Destiny:
Announced at this year’s Toy Fair Funko’s new line of Batman action figures from the 1966 TV series will be making their way to stores this summer with Entertainment Earth beginning to take pre-orders now. These figures are from Funko’s classic Kenner-style retro line, the perfect styling for the campy show.
The best in the line is this showcase set featuring the Batmobile, boxed with the Batman and Robin figures:
Pre-order the Batmobile set now here. The line also includes Batgirl in Yvonne Craig’s purple costume (above), plus Catwoman (played in the series by Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, and Lee Meriwether), two Mr. Freeze versions (played in the series by George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach), King Tut (played by Victor Buono), and Bookworm (Roddy McDowell).
In Marvel Studios third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring Thor, Thor: Ragnarok, we catch up with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor–absent from last year’s Captain America: Civil War. Where’s the golden-haired hammer-wielder been? In the first trailer for the film we see him imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his hammer and struggling to return to ward off the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela, played by Cate Blanchett.
But first he is captured Spartacus style and thrown in an otherworldly Thunderdome. To survive he must face off against a rather angry and unforgiving fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). How did Hulk end up on the other side of the universe as a warrior in Sakaaran gladiatorial combat? We’ll have to wait and see.
Directed by Taika Waititi, produced by Kevin Feige, Thor: Ragnarok introduces characters old and new: Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, and newcomers Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), and Karl Urban (Skurge).
Check out this new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok:
The International Space Station’s Expedition 50, discussed previously here at borg.com, is readying for the 199th spacewalk in support of ISS activities this morning, to be televised at 7 a.m. Central. It will be the eighth spacewalk for Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson, who will surpass NASA astronaut Suni Williams for completing the most spacewalks by a woman in the history of space travel. At age 56, Whitson is the oldest woman to fly in space. Stacking up some impressive space travel records, she is scheduled to command Expedition 51 later this year, which will make her the first woman to command two ISS expeditions. By the end of her stint on ISS this year, Whitson will have spent more time in space than any other U.S. Astronaut–male or female–to surpass the record of 534 days set by Astronaut Jeff Williams. Whitson is a biochemist from Mt. Ayr, Iowa.
This past weekend the ISS robotically moved the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3)–a pressurized interface between the station modules and the docking adapter–between modules. In what is scheduled as a 6 hour and 30 minutes spacewalk Whitson and Expedition Commander Shane Kimbrough will manually reconnect cables and electronics and install the second of two upgraded computer relay boxes on the ISS’s truss and install shields and covers on PMA-3 and the unused module port.
NASA’s most experienced female astronaut, Whitson has been onboard ISS since November 2016. This is her third space flight. Her first flight was in 2002 as a member of the crew of Expedition 5. In 2007 on her second flight she became the first woman flight commander, leading Expedition 16. Whitson had previously been tied with Suni Williams for an earlier spacewalk record that Whitson had also surpassed. Whitson continues to expand extravehicular activity (EVA) duration records.
It’s not the suit that makes the man.
Marvel Studios released a new, longer trailer this week for Spider-man: Homecoming, including the introduction of Michael Keaton as the villain, Vulture. Despite five prior big budget Spider-man films, Kevin Feige and Marvel have managed to make a completely new, fantastic, and refreshingly fun superhero trailer that looks like a images from a comic book. We’d already seen the great banter between new Peter Parker Tom Holland and Tony Stark’s Robert Downey, Jr. in Captain America: Civil War and earlier Spider-man: Homecoming previews. The addition of Keaton really ups the street cred for what could be “just another Spidey flick.” The gravitas of this generation’s original big-screen Batman playing an over-the-top villain that looks like evil Batman in Michael Turner’s batgear is everything fanboys and fangirls could hope for–the ultimate retro fix. When was the last time we saw a great comic book villain on the screen?
So what makes a great superhero movie trailer? The timing of this trailer’s release to this weekend’s release of the Justice League trailer begs a comparison. Justice League is in your face, full of loud, arrogant and cocky heroes, with an indecipherable story, loud explosions, and pop music drowning out dialogue that looks like a sequel to Suicide Squad. It is clear from the Spider-man: Homecoming trailer that the movie has a story. The cockiness comes only with Downey’s established mentor, and the hero is shown via self-deprecating situations and coming-of-age humor, a hero that is an underdog at the core of the character who never seems to have his day. It’s not the explosions that matter (although they may to young kids), it’s how the superhero deals with the threat.
Alas, critiquing a movie trailer too far is a bit like judging a book by its cover. But with so many movies this year that look good, it’s all audiences have to go by. As a character Spider-man has something other superheroes don’t. Spider-man was a comic strip in daily newspapers for decades. Many more comic book readers exist today than probably ever before, but many more had access to and read the exploits of Spider-man nearly every day. Many still do, as The Amazing Spider-man is still a syndicated comic.
Check out this fantastic trailer for Spider-man: Homecoming: