Category: Fantasy Realms


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

BW1    Cluster_006_A_Main

Today we have another big sampler of comic book previews for books hitting comic book stores everywhere tomorrow, on Comic Book Wednesday.

We have previews today with something for anyone and everyone and we’re previewing many books that have been around for a few issues in case you missed them.  It’s always easy to request back issues from your local comic book shop.  So look for previews below from Dynamite Comics, IDW Publishing/Archaia, BOOM! Studios, and Dark Horse Comics.

BigTroubleLittleChina_014_B_Variant    RSConan01-Cov-A-Ross

Don’t miss out on Red Sonja/Conan, Star Trek, Big Trouble in Little China, Zombies v. Robots, Transformers v G.I. Joe, Barb Wire, The Shadow, Cluster, Broken World, and Swords of Sorrow.  And don’t forget to look for the Adam Hughes cover art for Barb Wire and Alex Ross cover art for Red Sonja/Conan.

Without further ado, here are this week’s previews:

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SDCC 2012 Overnight crowdSan Diego Comic-Con 2015 begins tonight at the San Diego Convention Center, officially remaining the home of the greatest convention in the world for the next few years now that the city has signed new agreements with Comic-Con International.  This past week you may have seen the annual feeding frenzy of naysayers, grumps, and fogeys, many from the mainstream press, who come out of the woodwork each year to talk about “the good old days,” why they aren’t coming back to Comic-Con this year, why they won’t come back again, how “crazy” Comic-Con visitors are, and posting their annual lists of all the reasons Comic-Con is somehow a bad or odd thing.

Don’t believe any of it for a second.

Maybe these folks didn’t score tickets, maybe they truly think a quaint small-town Con with merely a handful of guests and attendees is the best thing since sliced bread, maybe they forget that the good ol’ days weren’t all that good, or maybe they just don’t understand how pervasive pop culture is in the 21st century.

I’ve been to some great San Diego Comic-Con weekends over the years and wouldn’t swap them for anything.  And don’t get me wrong, local and regional Cons are great, but make no mistake, nothing compares to the excitement, energy and all-out fun you can only have in a venue full of 130,000 like-minded people.  You can’t get that anywhere else.

Comic-Con image b

Let’s dispel some Comic-Con myths:

Comic-Con Badges are Too Difficult to Obtain.  The badges required to attend Comic-Con are no harder to get than tickets to anything the excited masses want to attend.  They are no more difficult to obtain than tickets to the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Olympics, the World Cup, the All-Star game, tickets for [insert the name of the current greatest pop or rock band here]… you get the point.  Should attending the big annual nerd and geekfest of the year require any less effort than the biggest sporting event or best music show?  If can follow basic instructions, the SDCC process for purchasing tickets is straightforward.  And you don’t need to attend last year’s show to be able to get into this year’s show–a myth still perpetuated on the interwebs by those not-in-the-know.

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Hobbit booth Weta SDCC 2014 Azog

We thought we’d share some of the best exclusives and other offerings scheduled to be available at San Diego Comic-Con International this weekend for those of you who just can’t decide what to spend your money on.  There’s too much to be able to see everything at the big Con, so we’ve listed booth numbers so you can make sure you don’t miss out on those toys, posters, and comic books that you simply must have.

But first, how about some early SDCC reveals, like this image of Roy Harper’s new Arsenal costume from CW’s Arrow:

Arsenal reveal at SDCC 2014

and this great new SDCC 2014 exclusive poster for the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies:

The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies SDCC 2014 poster

And what’s better than news of a new comic book series tie-in from IDW Publishing for Orphan Black?

IDW reveal SDCC 2014 Orphan Black comic book series

Now on to the exclusives:

From the Weta Workshop (Booth #3613) you can get this Smaug scales T-shirt inspired by The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies:

Smaug scales T-shirt Weta SDCC 2014

and a pre-release copy of the new book The Art of Film Magic, signed edition:

Art of Film Magic SDCC 2014 WETA booth

From Alex Ross Art (Booth #2419) pick up original comic book art or limited prints, or this great 10-print edition portfolio of some of Alex Ross’s Marvel Comics work:

Alex Ross Art Portfolio - 10 prints

BOOM! Studios (Booth #2229) will be selling several exclusive cover variant comic books, including RoboCop #1:

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Miss Fury Dynamite Comics

We tried on for size almost every new book that was released from comic book publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archaia/BOOM!, and Image.  We tried to sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics had to offer, too, and although we didn’t have enough time to review everything we did try to put out there for your consideration those titles we thought our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro bent.  Our pull list included issues from Afterlife with Archie to Django Unchained, from Liberator to Larfleezeand from Velvet to The X-Files.  This past month we have reviewed the year-long run of the best of these titles, as we narrowed our selections to 21 of the very best entries in genre entertainment outside of TV and movies, which we revealed here yesterday.  So here are the rest of our picks for the Best of 2013.

Kane Starkiller borg by Mike Mayhew

Best Borg Appearance — Kane Starkiller, The Star Wars.  Borgs showed up everywhere this year, from the lead characters on Almost Human, to Doctor Who, to countless comic book series including Justice League and RoboCop.  Our favorite appearance came from the young mind of George Lucas as he created the original script that would later be edited into the original Star Wars trilogy.  And through Dark Horse Comics’ The Star Wars monthly comic book event we learned one of his best ideas was merged into other roles and one of his best characters entirely cut.   That character was Jedi Kane Starkiller, who would reveal his cyborg chest implants that kept him alive, later to heroically give up this life-saving technology to save his friends.

MissFury001-Cov-Renaud

Best Comic Book Series — Miss Fury, Dynamite Comics.  A uniquely crafted tale, a compelling and seductive superhero, great action panel after panel, sourced in a long-shelved classic character of the Golden Age of comics.  Rob Williams and Jack Herbert’s Miss Fury is a carefully rendered update that rings true to the edgy spirit of the world’s first female superhero.  Beautiful panels set up an ever-changing time and place and pull readers along for the ride.  And stuck-out-of-time Marla Drake and her alter ego Miss Fury could not have looked better, whether carving out her place in the 1940s or as she was teleported into the future.  It’s a series no one should miss.

Clint Barton Hawkeye by Fraction

Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Fraction, Hawkeye.  Last year revealed one of the best comic book series we ever read, focusing on that “other” superhero archer, the second tier Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye.  Matt Fraction gave us the most interesting set-up and look into the daily life of a superhero who isn’t Captain America or Iron Man.  This year he kept up the momentum in his Hawkeye monthly series, providing stories that challenged readers, each issue taking a different peek into Clint Barton, another costumed superhero called Hawkeye, and their trusty dog.

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Grimm 1 cover photo

Following the further exploits of Portland detective Nick Burkhart, his partner Hank Griffin, Blutbad werewolf pal Monroe, and girlfriend Juliette, Dynamite Comics has released some teasers and cover art for its new ongoing monthly series Grimm, to be released in May.  The story is written by show writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, with final script by Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey.  Jose Malaga will serve as series artist.  Alex Ross is back again with a cool incentive cover.

The TV series is filmed in Portland, and often you get glimpses of nearby surroundings, but because so much happens with the Wesen of the week in the woods, we think they could show some more of the beautiful and lush area where the series takes place.  Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for several years we have our own list of haunts we think Nick & Co. should visit on future cases in both the TV series and new comic book series.  How about considering these locations, Grimm creators?

The Saturday Market. This weekend fixture is surrounded by classic architecture and brick we think we have spotted before, but how about having Nick run in pursuit through a crowd of shoppers buying homemade soaps and incense, or grab a gyro from a street vendor?

Fleet Week on the Waterfront. It’s about the “port” in Portland, the Willamette Riverfront hosts giant naval vessels each year in a grand show of seapower–a great stage for an episode of Grimm.

Grimm cover alternate Alex Ross sketch

Original art cover sketch by Alex Ross.

Columbia River Gorge.  One of the most beautiful places on Earth and we’ve yet to see Nick and Monroe drive down the Gorge to track the scent of some “creature from the Columbia River”.

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Although it is not as big as the two-major comic book publishing houses, Dynamite Comics continues to impress and present exciting new series featuring some of the best writers and artists around.  Cover artist Alex Ross has been a headliner lately for Dynamite, painting several licensed character covers for numerous series, from Flash Gordon to The Shadow to Green Hornet to the Bionic Man.  His marriage of realism and idealism makes these larger than life figures almost come off the page, or, more accurately, the covers.  Ross pounds out so many covers they seem to take up all his time, and so we rarely get to see a cover-to-cover Alex Ross project.  We’ve seen such projects in the past with the iconic Kingdom Come, but he’s also done it with Marvels and Justice, all superb graphic novels.  And now we get to see his next cover-to-cover project.

Dynamite and the comic industry’s Previews magazine have released the details of an eight-issue cross-over series combining some of the 20th century’s most recognizable characters from very different yet classic sources.  The new series, Masks, brings together the ultimate in mid-century masked avenger/heroes, including The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato, and The Spider.  The series will also feature other masked heroes, including Zorro, Black Bat, Miss Fury, Black Terror, Green Lama, and possibly The Lone Ranger.

Taking place in New York City in 1938, masked characters band together to take on corruption and a powerful criminal syndicate.  Chris Roberson will serve as writer for the series.

“For years now, Dynamite Entertainment and I have desired to unite all of the varied pulp characters they’ve been publishing into one big crossover event,” said Ross in the Dynamite news release. “When the Green Hornet and Kato paved the way for a successful relaunch of the original masked duo characters, we knew that the grand prize of revivals should then be the ultimate original, the Shadow. Now, to be able for the first time in history to have these legends meet, along with fellow mysterymen; The Spider, Zorro, Black Bat, and others, makes this project a unique accomplishment. I always thought that illustrating the first hero archetypes like The Shadow would be a milestone in my career. I’m thrilled to touch upon the legends that began the very concept of the superhero in Masks with a crossover that is literally the longest overdue.”

Masks Issue #1 is scheduled to be released by Dynamite Comics in November 2012.  More images and details can be found on the Dynamite Comics website.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Grimm 1 Alex Ross cover

Grimm fans who attended Free Comic Book Day Saturday and this week’s comic book Wednesday were treated to a double dose of their favorite series with both a free full-length comic story and an action-packed Issue #1.  Now in its second season on NBC, Grimm is in contention for the best fantasy series on television.  And unlike the typical comic book spin-off that is stuck in a story that doesn’t veer far from the TV scripts, the ongoing story of Portland Detective Nick Burkhart in the new comic book series actually continues key plot lines from the TV series, taking characters where it would be costly to take them on the TV series.

Grimm issue 0

The comic book series opener in the FCBD comic, Issue #0, provides an origin story overlaid on what could be a Wesen-of-the-week episode of the TV series.  It also reintroduces Nick’s mom, Kelly, played on-screen by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and her possession of the Coins of Zakynthos, which have a unique history, revealed in the pages of Issue #1.  Side-stepping story obstacles and secrets yet to be revealed to viewers, like whether or not Nick’s girlfriend Juliet will remember Nick after losing her memory from a cursed cat bite, the story takes Nick, police department partner Detective Hank Griffin and Blutbad vegan pal Monroe to Vienna in pursuit of Kelly.  Kelly had left Nick a cryptic voicemail message, sending Nick & Co. on this new adventure far away from the streets of Portland.

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Miss Fury first anthology cover

Miss Fury was ahead of her time.  The superhero moniker and nickname of Marla Drake, she was less a femme fatale, cast aside by the males that shared the comic page as with other contemporary tales, instead planted in the center of the action.  She was a true heroine, who, while maintaining her sex appeal and motherly nature (adopting a child during the series run), she was a strategic thinker and always the most cunning person in the room, despite male dominated conventions of the 1940s.  In fact, despite some handsome and well-intentioned male friends and companions, it’s the women of the series that are the most interesting, with oafish and blumbering men left for the supporting roles.

June Tarpé Mills was ahead of her time.  Serving as story writer and artist for the popular nearly decade running Miss Fury comic strip, she created the first costumed super-heroine when Superman and Batman were just getting their footholds in the fantasy realm.  Her character drawing is incredible and modern readers might compare her comic art style with modern-day Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang, her compositions with Alex Ross, and her glamour with Adam Hughes.  All of these comparisons are accurate and compliment each of these artists.  Mills’ story arcs collected in Tarpé Mills & Miss Fury: Sensational Sundays 1944 – 1949 anthology hardcover from IDW Publishing are intriguing and compelling–so much so that you could overlook the detailed “costuming” of Mills’ men and women.  But what you would miss.  Men were dressed appropriately in snappy suits, her women sport a historical catalog of designs, fabrics, colors, and styles, as well as a variety of 1940s hairdos.  Miss Fury might as well be a sourcebook for clothing historians.

Mills accomplished something many modern comic book readers beg for–less costumed character stories (i.e. Batman stories) and more secret identity doing the detective work out of the costume (i.e. Bruce Wayne stories).  In fact, you will hardly see Marla Drake appear in her catsuit in the pages of Miss Fury.  And it won’t bother you one bit.

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Mike Mayhew The Star Wars panel 4

First it was Mike Mayhew and Star Trek and Doctor Who.
Then it was Mike Mayhew and Green Arrow.
Then it was Mike Mayhew and The Bionic Man and The Bionic Woman.
Now it’s Mike Mayhew and Star Wars.

Isn’t it great when the stars align and the people creating new entertainment are in sync with your view of the world?  Like taking your all-time favorite genre franchise and mixing it with your current favorite artist?

To quote Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “This is just… neat.”

The comic book licensee to the Star Wars universe, Dark Horse Comics has announced one of the coolest ideas you could put together.  Go back to George Lucas’s original take on Star Wars–before the edits and revisions and treatments and full-blown screenplays. Take that original story and re-imagine the Star Wars universe as if the original vision was Star Wars.  That’s exactly what long-time Lucasfilm executive editor J.W. Rinzler and current The Bionic Man cover artist Mike Mayhew have up their sleeves.  Coming in September 2013 is an eight-issue mini-series, titled The Star Wars, the title of Lucas’s 1974 version of the Star Wars saga.

Mike Mayhew The Star Wars panel 3

The images above and below are Mike Mayhew’s first released panel art from The Star Wars.

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