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Tag Archive: bionics


Four artists are helping a UK company’s bionic arms become the functioning hands of many with the benefit of stylish designs.  Open Bionics is an entrepreneurial company that has created and fitted hundreds with its advanced, multi-grip bionic arms since their release this April.  Called the Hero Arm,  it’s the next step toward true borg technology and it’s been called a game-changer in health technology alongside genome sequencing, Fitbit, and smartphones.  From kids as young as nine years old who haven’t had arms and hands since birth to amputees of all ages, the 3D printed devices go beyond prosthetics of the past.  With the slogan “We turn disabilities into superpowers,” the company is doing that in more ways than one.  Instead of making the arms look like real arms, they are adding eye-popping designs–a feature praised by their users, who have remarked, “This is a cool way to stand out for all the right reasons.”  Instead of asking “what happened to your hand?” those seeing the Hero Arm on a person for the first time ask “how does that work?”  “Can we shake hands, can we do a fist bump, can I have a photo?”  The difference is a big one for wearers.

Open Bionics boasts the Hero Arm as “the first medically approved 3D printed arm.”  The Hero Arm is a lightweight, powered bionic hand controlled by the wearer’s muscles.  Because muscles generate small electrical signals when they contract, electrodes placed on the surface of the skin can measure muscle movements.  A full suite of tools provides feedback to the user, including posable wrist, posable thumb, and a freeze mode (for use when holding something like a glass), plus proportional control for varying tasks.  Comfortable, adjustable and breathable, the arm can lift more than 15 pounds of weight.  According to the company, the Hero Arm is half the price of its closest competitor.  Still, Open Bionics has stated that it has received donations to be able to provide free Hero Arms for qualifying children residing in the UK–the only place the bionic arms have been approved for sale.  They aren’t covered by the nation’s healthcare system yet and can cost about U.S. $2,500 on up.  Compare that to similar functioning U.S. electrical prosthetics with a cost upward of $50,000 to $100,000, and anyone can see why this product looks like the future of cybernetics.  (You can help a woman get her own Hero Arm via crowdfunding.  Learn more about her story below).

Hero Arms can also be worn with swappable custom covers.  And now Open Bionics has four new styles for wearers to get a Hero Arm that best fits their personality.  Each work shown (above, top, in order), was designed by an artist in Bristol: “Handala” by Daniel Bowler, “Tree Rex” by TRex, “Palette of Patterns” by J West, “Nebular” by Cheba, and “Open Bionics Doodles” by Kid Crayon.  Even more covers are available for the Hero Arm, like the futuristic Deux Ex design (above).  The Deus Ex video games explore human augmentation in a near future world.  Open Bionics partnered with Eidos Montreal, basing the Deux Ex cover on the game’s protagonist Adam Jensen.  (But they issue a disclaimer: It won’t give you the power to smash through walls!).  Check out the future of this technology at the partnership website AugmentedFuture.com.  Candidates for the Hero Arm can see customization options at the Open Bionics website here.

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Our borg.com Best of 2016 list continues today with the Best in Print and a bonus wrap-up of other year’s bests.  If you missed it, check out our review of the Top Picks and Best Movies of 2016 here, the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2016 here, and the Best in Television here.

Without further ado, this year’s Best in Print:

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Best Comic Book Series – Old Man Logan (Marvel).  With just enough backstory from prior series focused on the future world version of Logan/Wolverine, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino took us through the struggle of the superhero that survived all his contemporaries, only to be plunged into a parallel world where everything is familiar but nothing is the same.

wonder-woman-jill-thompson-cover

Best Graphic NovelWonder Woman: The True Amazon, Jill Thompson (DC Comics).  Writer/artist Jill Thompson is probably the best creator in comics today.  Her origin story of Wonder Woman is vibrant, and she presents a flawed, complex, and ultimately strong and fearless heroine.  The best Wonder Woman book we’ve ever read.

Batman TMNT 1 Williams

Best Comic Book Limited Series/Best Crossover Comic Book Series – Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DC Comics/IDW).  James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II pulled together an impossible team-up of characters that ended up working great together.  An action-packed, nostalgic fun trip.

DeptH cover 1

Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Kindt, Dept.H (Dark Horse).  Kindt pulls together an incredibly nostalgic assemblage of the best action concepts: classic science fiction of the H.G. Wells variety, G.I. Joe Adventure Team-inspired characters, and a fun character study and whodunit that will have you searching out your old game of Sub Search.  We just hope he makes a prequel at some point so we get to see a similar quest with an old fashioned copper-helmeted deep sea diver.  A fun read month after month and the best writing comics have to offer.

After the cut we continue with the best in comics, books, and more from 2016:

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bionic pig

If you want to see a bit of faith that there is some goodness in humanity, you’ll want to check out a new show this Wednesday on PBS.  My Bionic Pet tracks down the efforts of some compassionate, superhero humans who have used their imaginations and energy to make the lives of several animals better through prosthetics and other means.  Ignoring the old cliché of “putting down” an animal for having a lame limb or otherwise non-life threatening malady, the show recognizes the value of animals’ lives and their contributions to those around them.

bionic animal legs

My Bionic Pet looks at an alligator with a prosthetic tail, a swan with a prosthetic beak, as well as a pig, a pony and dogs with bionic limbs.

Check out this preview of My Bionic Pet:

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We have the technology… that could soon allow injured people to become fully autonomous again as cybernetic humans.  The future is closer than you might think.

Yesterday in an article in the journal Nature, researchers took another step forward in creating borg technology that one day may allow paraplegics and amputees to fully utilize advanced prosthetics to replace their missing limbs.  In their article “Reach and grasp by people with tetraplegia using a neurally controlled robotic arm,” Leigh R. Hochberg, Daniel Bacher, Beata Jarosiewicz, Nicolas Y. Masse, John D. Simeral, Joern Vogel, Sami Haddadin, Jie Liu, Sydney S. Cash, Patrick van der Smagt, and John P. Donoghue authored a study whereby two participants–years after their last productive use of their brains to control limb movement–were able to use an implanted neural interface, called the “BrainGate,” a pocket of electronic chips placed in the brain, to transmit commands to hard-wired three-dimensional devices to direct simulated limb movement.  A tetraplegic woman was able to use her own mind to move an artificial hand to allow her to drink unaided for the first time in nearly fifteen years.

Yesterday’s research was the first published demonstration that humans with severe brain injuries can practically control a prosthetic arm, using implants in the brain to transmit neural signals to an external computer.

Expanding on this research, it is easy to envision the possibilities of an advanced set of prosthetics attached to the human body that could one day serve as replacements for arms and legs–actual, useful borg technology to improve human life beyond that of current prosthetic arms and legs–for those people who have lost the functioning internal hard-wiring needed to complete even the most simple everyday tasks.

Study participant Cathy Hutchinson uses her thoughts to drink without anyone’s assistance for the first time in 15 years.

“Paralysis following spinal cord injury, brainstem stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other disorders can disconnect the brain from the body, eliminating the ability to perform volitional movements. A neural interface system could restore mobility and independence for people with paralysis by translating neuronal activity directly into control signals for assistive devices,” the study reported.  “Here we demonstrate the ability of two people with long-standing tetraplegia to use neural interface system-based control of a robotic arm to perform three-dimensional reach and grasp movements.”

With little advance direction, a 58-year-old woman and 66 year old man who had suffered debilitating strokes were able to use a small group of neurons in their brain stems connected via a 96-channel microelectrode array to operate a hand and arm machine.  The 58-year-old woman, using a sensor implanted 5 years earlier, used a robotic arm to drink coffee from a bottle.  “Our results demonstrate the feasibility for people with tetraplegia, years after injury to the central nervous system, to recreate useful multidimensional control of complex devices directly from a small sample of neural signals,” the study said.

Charts from the study showing the BrainGate process.

The basic commands used electronic signal patterns to direct the machine to move “left,” “right” and “down”.  The interface was centered on the participants’ heads, but future research could include the sending of wireless signals, although this has not yet been realized.  The BrainGate2 project furthered an earlier 2006 study that allowed a man to use his thoughts to move a computer cursor as part of an early phase of this research project.  Although practical application is likely years away because of FDA approvals and necessary improvements, news of this study will hopefully cause other researchers to expand the reach of this work.

More information and the complete journal report can be found at Nature.com.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

By C.J. Bunce

Dynamite Comics writer Paul Tobin promised readers “baguettes, bullets, and bionic badass” with his new Bionic Woman comic book series and Issue #1 delivers on the “bionic badass”.  Although it feels more like a prologue to the series, because it spends the issue with backstory and tells more than it shows, it’s a good enough start to keep readers coming back for more.

Jaime Sommers has been completely updated from the 1970s cyborg superhero played by Lindsay Wagner, who spun off her own show from the original Six Million Dollar Man TV series that starred Lee Majors as Bionic Man Steve Austin.  In the new Bionic Canon we have only seen Jaime in the origin story of Kevin Smith and Phil Hester’s rebooted Bionic Man series.  There we learned she was Steve Austin’s girlfriend, but after Steve crashed and was turned into a cybernetic weapon of the Office of Scientific Intelligence or OSI, she was told Steve was dead and we know now she has moved on.  We learn that they got back together once Steve recovered, and shortly thereafter Jaime plunged to the ground in a parachuting accident.  Steve convinces Oscar Goldman & Company to rebuild her as they rebuilt him, and this occurs.  Then they have a falling out.  We don’t get a lot of information comparing Steve and Jaime’s bionics, but we do learn Jaime is “smoother” and “faster” than Steve.

So we now have Jaime Sommers, cybernetic human, a former teacher, who has lost most of her pre-surgery memories, on the run in Paris from the people who rebuilt her.  Unlike the original Jaime, this new Bionic Woman has amped up abilities–if Lindsay Wagner was Bionic Woman 1.0, think of her as a Bionic Woman 8.0.  In one scene we see that her bionics are smooth and form fitting with her arms and legs, a bit like the Terminator.  But like the Terminatrix from Terminator 3, she can do many new, cool things, like camouflage herself by morphing her face to change her appearance.  She can also download anything and everything from the Web into her brain… enormous amounts of information that she is yet to fully be able to control.  And she knows kung-fu.

We meet her in Issue #1 on the run with another runner, apparently a bit of a bounty hunter searching out information to broker to others, including information on the illusive Ms. Sommers.  Not knowing what she looks like, he reveals all that he knows–basically the backstory for readers–also letting Jaime in on what information he has on her.  It doesn’t amount to much.  She barely attempts to hide her identity, mainly because she is so confident in the outcome of the charade.  She doesn’t have to hide.  With a move of her arm she opens up a port releasing a nano-bug that temporarily incapacitates her comrade, and she is off to hide from watchers off the Grid.

But as she catches up with a friend in a restaurant a bullet pierces a nearby window en route to her head.  And we are left with the series first cliffhanger ending.  The villains are a new organization trying to steal cyborg parts from Bionic prototypes, predecessors to Jaime and Steve–presumably to use for others for a price.

Other than a quick peek at her cybernetics in her apartment, Jaime is not drawn as your typical female superhero.  She wears a pant suit of sorts as she speeds through town across the cityscape.  Leno Carvalho does not take the normal route here of skimpy outfits and emphasis on her feminity.  This creates visually a more promising heroine for us to keep an eye on.  She’s savvy, smart and sure-footed… a badass who can clear a room full of bad guys all by herself.

Issue #1 reveals big questions that writer Tobin will be taking us through in coming issues:  Who is after Jaime?  Why is she on the run?  Why did she leave Steve?  How did she end up in Paris?  How long can she stay hidden?  What other bionic tricks are up her sleeve (or accessible through her data ports)?

Issue #1 is available at all comic shops beginning this week and will be published monthly.

By C.J. Bunce

Comic-Con International just announced its nominations for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 2012 and we’re ecstatic two borg.com favorites were nominated:  Terry Moore was nominated for his new dark series Rachel Rising as Best Continuing Series and the coveted Best Writer/Artist Award, and Mike Norton was nominated for his Battlepug book for Best Digital Comic.

Other notable nominees include DC New 52 writer Jeff Lemire, who had a big year with several comics, including Animal Man, Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., and Sweet Tooth.  Also, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely were nominated for Best Graphic Album – Reprint for their stunning story of bionic animals: WE3: The Deluxe Edition. Francesco Francavilla was nominated as Best Cover Artist for his Black Panther, Lone Ranger, Lone Ranger/Zorro, Dark Shadows, Warlord of Mars, and Archie Meets Kiss.

Here, Best Publication for Young Adults nominees Gene Yang and Vera Brosgol sign books along with borg.com writer Elizabeth C. Bunce after the Diversity in Young Adult Books panel at Comic-Con last summer:

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Short Story
“A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture,” by Adrian Tomine, in Optic Nerve #12 (Drawn & Quarterly)
“Harvest of Fear,” by Jim Woodring, in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17 (Bongo)
“The Phototaker,” by Guy Davis, in Metal Hurlant vol. 2 (Humanoids)
“The Seventh,” by Darwyn Cooke, in Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition (IDW)
“The Speaker,” by Brandon Graham, in Dark Horse Presents #7 (Dark Horse)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Daredevil #7, by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)
Ganges #4, by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics)
Locke & Key: Guide to the Known Keys, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
Princeless #3, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab)
The Unwritten #24: “Stairway to Heaven” by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, and Al Davison (Vertigo/DC)

Best Continuing Series
Daredevil, by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
Rachel Rising, by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli (Marvel)
Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

Best Limited Series
Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X, by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener (Red 5)
Criminal: The Last of the Innocent, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel Icon)
Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (Vertigo/DC)
The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly (Vertigo/DC)
Who Is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson & Tonci Zonjic (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Beauty and the Squat Bears, by Émile Bravo (Yen Press)
Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, by Philippe Coudray (Candlewick/Toon Books)
Dragon Puncher Island, by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)
Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second)
Patrick in a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, by Geoffrey Hayes (Candlewick/Toon Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, by Sholly Fisch, Rick Burchett, and Dan Davis (DC)
Amelia Rules: The Meaning of Life … And Other Stuff, by Jimmy Gownley (Atheneum)
The Ferret’s a Foot, by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab)
Snarked, by Roger Langridge (kaboom!)
Zita the Space Girl, by Ben Hatke (First Second)

Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17)
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Around the World, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Level Up, by Gene Yang and Thien Pham (First Second)
Life with Archie, by Paul Kupperberg, Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy, Norm Breyfogle et al. (Archie)
Mystic, by G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez (Marvel)

Best Anthology
Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
Nelson, edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix (Blank Slate)
Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second)
The Someday Funnies, edited by Michel Choquette (Abrams ComicArts)
Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Humor Publication
The Art of Doug Sneyd: A Collection of Playboy Cartoons (Dark Horse Books)
Chimichanga, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
Coffee: It’s What’s for Dinner, by Dave Kellett (Small Fish)
Kinky & Cosy, by Nix (NBM)
Milk & Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad, by Evan Dorkin (Dark Horse Books)

Best Digital Comic
Bahrain, by Josh Neufeld, www.cartoonmovement.com/comic/24
Battlepug, by Mike Norton, www.battlepug.com
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, by Tony Cliff, www.delilahdirk.com
Outfoxed, by Dylan Meconis, www.dylanmeconis.com/outfoxed
Sarah and the Seed, by Ryan Andrews, www.ryan-a.com/comics/sarahandtheseed01.htm

Best Reality-Based Work
Around the World, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse Books)
Marzi: A Memoir, by Marzena Sowa and Sylvain Savoia (Vertigo/DC)
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Vietnamerica, by GB Tran (Villard)

Best Graphic Album – New
Bubbles & Gondola, by Renaud Dillies (NBM)
Freeway, by Mark Kalesniko (Fantagraphics)
Habibi, by Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
Ivy, by Sarah Olekysk (Oni)
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, adapted by Ramón K. Pérez (Archaia)
One Soul, by Ray Fawkes (Oni)

Best Graphic Album – Reprint
Big Questions, by Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
The Death Ray, by Dan Clowes (Drawn & Quarterly)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
WE3: The Deluxe Edition, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (Vertigo/DC)
Zahra’s Paradise, by Amir and Khalil (First Second)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips
Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, by Alex Raymond and Don Moore, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Forgotten Fantasy: Sunday Comics 1900-1915, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
Prince Valiant vols. 3-4, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
Tarpé Mills’s Miss Fury Sensational Sundays, 1944-1949, edited by Trina Robbins (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse vols. 1-2, by Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books
Government Issue: Comics for the People: 1940s-2000s, edited by Richard L. Graham (Abrams ComicArts)
The MAD Fold-In Collection, by Al Jaffee (Chronicle)
PS Magazine: The Best of Preventive Maintenance Monthly, by Will Eisner (Abrams ComicArts)
The Sugar and Spike Archives, vol. 1, by Sheldon Mayer (DC)
Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (IDW)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Bubbles & Gondola, by Renaud Dillies (NBM)
Isle of 100,000 Graves, by Fabien Vehlmann and Jason (Fantagraphics)
Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette (Fantagraphics)
The Manara Library, vol. 1: Indian Summer and Other Stories, by Milo Manara with Hugo Pratt (Dark Horse Books)
Night Animals: A Diptych About What Rushes Through the Bushes, by Brecht Evens (Top Shelf)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia
A Bride’s Story, by Kaoru Mori (Yen Press)
Drops of God, by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto (Vertical)
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Saturn Apartments, vols. 3-4, by Hisae Iwaoka (VIZ Media)
Stargazing Dog, by Takashi Murakami (NBM)
Wandering Son, vol. 1, by Shimura Takako (Fantagraphics)

Best Writer
Cullen Bunn, The Sixth Gun (Oni)
Mike Carey, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)
Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story (Dark Horse Books)
Jeff Lemire, Animal Man, Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (DC); Sweet Tooth (Vertigo/DC)
Mark Waid, Irredeemable, Incorruptible (BOOM!); Daredevil (Marvel)

Best Writer/Artist
Rick Geary, The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti (NBM)
Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
Sarah Oleksyk, Ivy (Oni)
Craig Thompson, Habibi (Pantheon)
Jim Woodring, Congress of the Animals (Fantagraphics), “Harvest of Fear,” in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17 (Bongo)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Michael Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Madman All-New Giant-Size Super-Ginchy Special (Image)
Ramón K. Pérez, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)
Chris Samnee, Captain America and Bucky, Ultimate Spider-Man #155 (Marvel)
Marcos Martin, Daredevil (Marvel)
Paolo Rivera/Joe Rivera, Daredevil (Marvel)

Best Cover Artist
Michael Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC)
Francesco Francavilla, Black Panther (Marvel); Lone Ranger, Lone Ranger/Zorro, Dark Shadows, Warlord of Mars (Dynamite); Archie Meets Kiss (Archie)
Victor Kalvachev, Blue Estate (Image)
Marcos Martin, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel)
Sean Phillips, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent (Marvel Icon)
Yuko Shimizu, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)

Best Coloring
Laura Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Madman All-New Giant-Size Super-Ginchy Special (Image)
Bill Crabtree, The Sixth Gun (Oni)
Ian Herring and Ramón K. Pérez, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)
Victor Kalvachev, Blue Estate (Image)
Cris Peter, Casanova: Avaritia, Casanova: Gula (Marvel Icon)

Best Lettering
Deron Bennett, Billy Fog, Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, Mr. Murder Is Dead (Archaia); Helldorado, Puss N Boots, Richie Rich (APE Entertainment)
Jimmy Gownley, Amelia Rules! The Meaning of Life … And Other Stuff (Atheneum)
Laura Lee Gulledge, Page by Paige (Amulet Books/Abrams)
Tom Orzechowski, Manara Library, with L. Lois Buholis (Dark Horse); Manga Man (Houghton Mifflin); Savage Dragon (Image)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse)

Best Comics-Related Journalism
The AV Club Comics Panel, by Noel Murray, Oliver Sava et al., www.avclub.com/features/comics-panel/
The Beat, produced by Heidi MacDonald et al., www.comicsbeat.com
The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, and The Comics Journal website, www.tcj.com, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (Fantagraphics)
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon, www.comicsreporter.com
TwoMorrows Publications: Alter Ego edited by Roy Thomas, Back Issue edited by Michael Eury, Draw edited by Mike Manley, and Jack Kirby Collector edited by John Morrow

Best Educational/Academic Work
Alan Moore: Conversations, ed. by Eric Berlatsky (University Press of Mississippi)
Cartooning: Philosophy & Practice, by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press)
Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods, edited by Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (Routledge)
Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, by Charles Hatfield (University Press of Mississippi)
Projections: Comics and the History of 21st Century Storytelling, by Jared Gardner (Stanford University Press)

Best Comics-Related Book
Archie: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW/Yoe Books)
Caniff: A Visual Biography, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising, edited by Rick Marschall and Warren Bernard (Fantagraphics/Marschall Books)
Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
MetaMaus, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)

Best Publication Design
Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, designed by Eric Skillman (Archaia)
Kinky & Cosy, designed by Nix (NBM)
The MAD Fold-In Collection, designed by Michael Morris (Chronicle)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, designed by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

Entertainment press across the British Empire to Latin America and from the Daily India to Latino Review to the Uk Daily News have reported on supposed discussions over the past few weeks on a new movie in the works based on Martin Caidin’s original 1972 Bionic Man novel Cyborg, the source for the Six Million Dollar Man TV series.

Running Man DiCaprio

The alleged discussions are over a script, that, depending on the source, may or may not be called The Six Billion Dollar Man, stress on the Billion.   Supposedly it’s the Weinsteins and Universal who are having those discussions and working on the project, with Bryan Singer pegged as the director being courted to helm the project.  And the man to play Steve Austin?  Leonardo diCaprio.  Leonardo DiCaprio?  At 37, I guess he could make it work in some effort to try to update the character for the 21st century.

DiCaprio flying over desert in stunt plane in The Aviator

Kevin Smith has previously said he had a script for a Bionic Man movie circulating for years, ultimately to end up as the currently running Bionic Man comic book series co-written by Phil Hester for Dynamite Comics, which as a series is pretty good both as an update to the 1970s TV series and respectful to Caidin’s original story.  But this is not the same project as the Weinstein/Singer film.

A comedy spoof has also been rumored, called the Forty Thousand Dollar Man, and supposedly discussions have occurred with Jim Carrey for a similar project.  Let’s hope this one is false.

Leonardo DiCaprio as jet pilot in Catch Me if You Can

Of, course, none of this is real until we hear something from Singer or DiCaprio.  So far, nothing, just the international media speculating.

If this is all true, Singer has a good feel for genre film.  He wrote X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class and Superman Returns, and directed great suspenseful flicks like The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie.  As director of a few episodes and executive producer of the series that is the best medical series ever on TV, House M.D., he may have a nice edge for the science and medicine of the Bionic Man mythos.  So he gets our thumbs up to lead up a big screen Bionic Man.

Genre director and Trek fan Bryan Singer had a cameo in Star Trek Nemesis

I’ll admit I’d like to see a twist on the story with an older actor like Scott Bakula as Steve Austin, or someone like Sam Shepard playing test pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, since we’re talking about a seasoned astronaut and test pilot.  Of course Shepard was 40 when he made The Right Stuff, and DiCaprio is 37.  I’d rather see someone whose general appearance is like Scott Glenn or Dennis Quaid vs DiCaprio, who, even with make-up, like playing Howard Hughes in The Aviator, looks perpetually young, and nicely cast as pretty boy Jay Gatsby in the soon to be released The Great Gatsby, he’s not as grisly looking as you’d  think of for the typical test pilot.  Still, DiCaprio has had enough diverse roles that he could probably easily give some kind of new twist on Steve Austin.  And we’ve already seen him crash a plane in The Aviator and pose as a pilot, and do a lot of running, in Catch Me if You Can.

A movie would ahve to have the slow motion running and old theme

What’s not a rumor is that Universal Pictures confirmed last year that Bryan Singer will direct another sci-fi reboot, a new Battlestar Galactica film that will not be based on the recent Sci Fi Channel TV series.  Very little detail has been released on that project, too.

With every new year that passes and with emerging new technologies, a real human cyborg might become more and more possible, so it is fun to think about updating Steve Austin.  We’ll obviously keep our ears perked for more news on this front.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com