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Tag Archive: Jonathan Lau


Kansas City Comic Con 2017 has been an event full of fun for both visitors and the creative guests the attendees came to meet.  One of the show highlights was a Green Arrow Quiver/Sounds of Violence reunion of writer Kevin Smith and artists Phil Hester and Ande Parks.  The trio delved into the impetus for bringing Oliver Queen/Green Arrow back from the dead back in early 2001 after the character had been killed off and replaced with Connor Hawke as the Green Arrow for a generation of readers.  “I was a big fan of the character going back to the day.  I loved Grell’s Longbow Hunters and I loved the book that followed Longbow Hunters.  It was like a Vertigo book, but wasn’t technically a Vertigo book, but it was very grown-up.”  When Smith was visiting the DC Comics offices discussing a Superman screenplay back around 1996, Smith said he popped his head into Green Arrow editor Darren Vincenzo’s office and said, “Hey, man, if you ever want to put Green Arrow in the Top 10, let me write the book.  I think I got a story.”  A year later when Smith was working on Daredevil, Vincenzo recalled the conversation and asked if Smith was serious about Green Arrow. 

Smith, Hester, and Parks had each worked with editor Bob Schreck, who had just moved to DC from Oni Press, where Schreck had been co-founder.  Schreck wanted Smith for the Green Arrow project idea and asked who he’d like for his artistic team, and Smith suggested Hester and Parks in part because of their work on Swamp Thing.  “I fell in love with it deeply,” Smith said.  The team was solidified and they moved forward with the project.  “Having these two dudes enabled me to go where I wanted to go,” Smith added.  Already established artists at the time with a catalog of works, Hester and Parks expressed gratitude to Smith for selecting them for the project and Smith said the collaboration with Hester and Parks on the project helped cement his position in the comic book industry as a creator who is now regularly tapped for insight into the comics industry in documentaries on comics, among other things.  “The only reason I get to be in that stuff is because I have credibility in the comic book community because of stuff like Quiver.  Quiver was the one particularly,” Smith said, further noting the book won national awards.

And speaking of Mike Grell, Grell was also a guest at KCCC this year. Always great for a conversation, Grell was busy working on sketch commissions for attendees this weekend.

Smith also discussed working with Dynamite Comics to bring together later projects with Phil Hester and artist Jonathan Lau on Green Hornet and The Bionic Man.  Hester said there was much back and forth communication in creating the story, and Smith emphasized the collaborative effort, “I used to be a guy that was like ‘oh, I just want to write it myself–I don’t want any input.  And then one day you work with people who add something, and then it’s ‘God, that’s incredible!'”  He used as examples contributions from Chris Rock in his film Dogma and Will Ferrell in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back–both actors who made contributions to the script but didn’t ask for or want any writing creditsand creator David Mandel in the animated Clerks.  When fans reference great lines that Smith didn’t write he said he makes sure to credit the writer.  “It’s important for collaborators to cite those people who are your collaborators.”  The panel was hosted by the Worst Comics Podcast Ever’s Jerry McMullen (shown above after the panel with Hester, Parks, and Smith).

Lee Meriwether and Doug Jones at KCCC 2017.

In the celebrity autograph area at KCCC 2017, a reunion and momentous meet-up involved actress Lee Meriwether and actor Doug Jones.  Both Meriwether and Jones worked together on the film The Ultimate Legacy, which also starred Raquel Welch and Brian Dennehy.  Meriwether and Jones are unique in that they represent contemporaries in acting but also represent bookends of a sort for the 51-year Star Trek franchise.  In addition to her many famous roles in series like Barnaby Jones, All My Children, and Batman, Meriwether played the character Losira in the original Star Trek series episode, “That Which Survives.”  Jones, an actor who has performed both as creature characters where he is often unrecognizable–a Lon Chaney of today as one fan referred to him–as well as more standard roles, has performed in more than 150 films and TV series (from one of the creepy Gentlemen in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Hush” to the creature in next month’s new Guillermo del Toro release The Shape of Water).  Plus Jones has appeared in 100 commercials, including as the classic McDonald’s moon-shaped mascot “Mac Tonight.”  And Jones currently plays the alien leading character Lieutenant Saru on this year’s latest Star Trek incarnation, Star Trek Discovery.

Gary Fisher and his family meet attendees at KCCC 2017.

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MissFury201601CovALotay    MissFury2016-01-Cov-B-Lau

We at borg.com could not have been more disappointed when the World War II/superheroine/time travel series Miss Fury was cancelled back in 2014.  We named Miss Fury the Best Comic Book Series of 2013 and our comments were even published in back-page advertising in every Dynamite Comics issue for months.  So we couldn’t be happier when we heard Miss Fury is returning in a new monthly series.  We previewed Issue #1 of Volume 2, arriving at comic book stores everywhere today, and love the intrigue in this latest chapter.  This incarnation of Miss Fury may remind modern audiences of Marvel’s Agent Carter.  By day she is smart and does her job.  By night she wears a dark supersuit and sleuths out secrets, beats the feathers out of anyone who gets in her way, and looks after her country’s interests while all the good men have gone away to fight a war.  With Miss Fury, think Agent Carter, but maybe an Agent Carter in a supersuit who is not above some bloody hand-to-hand combat.

Miss Fury has been around much longer than Agent Carter.  In fact she is probably the first superheroine in comics.  We discussed her previously at borg.com here and here.

Miss Fury image

Corinna Bechko serves as writer on the new series with artwork by Jonathan Lau and colors by Vinicius Andrade.  Someone has broken into Marla Drake’s offices in New York City.  Unfortunately for the thieves, Miss Drake aka Miss Fury is at those offices during the break-in.  What secrets did they get away with?  How will it affect her firm’s deal with the Brazilians, and how will it all tie back to the war effort?  Look for action, action, and more action in this new series.

As an added bonus for those who missed Dynamite Comics’s earlier reboot, a new second compilation trade paperback of Miss Fury, Volume 1 is hitting the stands:

MIssFuryVol2TPBCov300Final

Check out this preview of Miss Fury, Volume 2, Issue #1, courtesy of Dynamite Comics:

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The Bionic Man Volume Three End of Everything Gillespie Tadeo Mayhew Villegas Dynamite

Dynamite Comics’ The Bionic Man series, especially Issues #17-26, was among the best comic book reading of 2013.  They are now available in a trade paperback: The Bionic Man Volume Three: End of Everything.  Featuring a story by Aaron Gillespie, with art by Ed Tadeo and Rey Villegas, colors by Thiago Ribeiro, letters by Simon Bowland, and covers by Mike Mayhew with other regular edition covers and variants by prolific Dynamite Comics artists Jonathan Lau and Ed Tadeo.

The Bionic Man is a great read and recommended for comic book fans.  It features Aaron Gillespie’s storytelling, which we lauded on our borg.com Best of 2013 list last year.  It also has the whole package from cover to cover–story, art, covers, humor, action, and fun.  We won’t re-state what we said in our review last year–you can read that here.  Enough of the origin stories that bogs down superhero books, this Steve Austin was able to get out there and do something.

Bionic Man Issue 20 cover by Mayhew   JF Kennedy bread card 1976

The series featured some of our all-time favorite cover art, with a cover run on Issues #17-22 by The Star Wars artist Mike Mayhew.  Mayhew created a new, cool, young look for Steve Austin, who sported the classic track suit updated for a modern audience and fashion sense.  His Issue #19 cover has Steve holding a car over his head, and you get to really see the strength.  Probably his best cover is for Issue #20, an inspiring cover which reminds me of one of my favorite paintings of President Kennedy.

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CodenameAction01-Cover-Jae Lee     CodenameAction01-Cov-1 retro key

Captain Action was first introduced by Ideal Toys as a large-sized action figure in 1966 to compete with Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, although both figures were designed by the same guy, Stan Weston.  Back then the figure came with alternative costumes, including Spider-man, Green Hornet, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, and Captain America.  A five issue comic book series was published a few years later with little to do with the figure and his ability to switch personas.  More than 30 years later Playing Mantis brought a line of toys to the market featuring the Captain Action characters.  And next week, Dynamite Comics, the publisher known for its retro series like Green Hornet, Bionic Man, Ms. Fury, The Lone Ranger, and Flash Gordon, picks up the Captain Action licensing and is introducing a mini-series to reboot the character, beginning with Codename: Action, Issue #1.

Written by Chris Roberson (Masks, Superman), with art by Jonathan Lau (Green Hornet, Bionic Man) and alternate covers by artists Jae Lee (Before Watchmen), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle), Johnny Desjardins (Phantom, Green Hornet), Jason Ullmeyer (Red Sonja, Vampirella), Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans), and Lau, Captain Action is the new superspy on the block complete with gadgets, a Judy Dench-type head of spy HQ, and plenty of action.  Lau and colorist Ivan Nunes really bring home the retro spy look of the 1960s, complete with a team of agents driving a 1963 Corvette as their car of choice.

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Bionic Man vs Bionic Woman Issue 1 Chen cover

A borg serial killer is on the loose, making his way from Kansas City to somewhere nearby Lawrence, Kansas, 40 miles away.  OSI has video footage of his last rampage, taking out several agents.  The results aren’t pretty.  OSI has identified a well-established, horrifying M.O.

Unlike the OSI-created menace from Phil Hester’s Bionic Man series, Oscar Goldman has no idea who is behind this new villain.  But he’s going to loan Steve Austin to the FBI to attempt to sleuth out the answer to that question.

Meanwhile in Manhattan (presumably Manhattan, NY and not Manhattan, KS) Goldman has set Jamie Sommers (sometimes spelled in the book as Jaime) on a mission to a stripper club to bring in an international arms dealer.

Bionic Man vs Bionic Woman Issue 1 Lau cover

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By C.J. Bunce

As much as I want to jump ahead and discuss the current story of The Bionic Man in Issue #12, which features a character we all have wanted to see since the series started, let’s catch up with the first compilation of Dynamite Comics’ adaptation of the original Six Million Dollar Man that started last year.  The Bionic Man Volume 1: Some Assembly Required collects the first ten issues of The Bionic Man.  These ten issues were billed as “Kevin Smith’s” Bionic Man as the origin story was adapted into an unused screenplay by Smith, then writer Phil Hester re-wrote it, blocking it into chapter/issues, then Smith ran a dialogue pass and Jonathan Lau made it all look good with the visuals.  After Issue #10, the real excitement begins as Hester takes Steve Austin into new, and sometimes nostalgic, directions.  The ongoing series is currently at Issue #12, and we will discuss Hester’s Bionic Man here at borg.com soon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce (with spoilers)

Kevin Smith and Phil Hester’s second issue of the new Bionic Man comic offers some great exchanges between characters, particularly between Oscar Goldman and a lead of the O.S.I. branch responsible for the bionics division named Margaret.  Margaret must select a second candidate for the bionic program as the prototype has gone all “Frankenstein’s monster” and ripped up a few special strike force SEAL teams.  The bionic prototype, called Hull, has created its own goons and they are not just killing their creators, they are eating them.  It’s a strange turn of events for this story, yet it seems to be a good segue into the types of stories from the original Six Million Dollar Man TV series a lot of us loved 35 years ago.

And artist Jonathan Lau’s depiction of this Margaret character would be nicely portrayed on-screen by TV series Psych‘s chief Karen Vick, played by actress Kirsten Nelson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Everwood).

Time to cast Bionic Man for a new series or movie?

For some unreal circumstances the character exchanges are believable, and whereas the first issue seemed to spend too much time on more clichéd exchanges, the dialogue seems to have kicked in.  The O.S.I. team needs a new bionic man to take out the first creation that has failed so miserably and the board room exchange is full of politics and posturing.  We want to like this Oscar Goldman fellow, and the set-up allows us to want to support this guy’s efforts.

It is the background story that takes charge in Issue #2, primarily because our series lead has crashed his experimental aircraft at the end of Issue #1, with the fallout spilling into Issue #2.  Goldman only late in his discussions learns his friend Steve Austin is barely alive, and jaws of life can’t get him out of his smashed plane.  Goldman doesn’t ask anyone for permission, he gets his crew to start working straight away to use the resources available–the best resources anywhere–to save Steve.

In the first 48 pages we haven’t moved toward Austin’s reactions to the bionics, so it will be interesting to follow the pacing of the Bionic Man series.

Alex Ross continues to provide superb cover art, as does Lau with alternate covers.  From time to time you buy a book with a Ross cover and you’re disappointed with the interior art.  Not so with this issue and Lau’s good images.

Here is Lau’s alternate cover to Issue #2 featuring the mangled and menacing bionic villain Hull:

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