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Tag Archive: Kato


Heroes is the subject and title of a new gallery show featuring artwork of nationally-recognized artist Ande Parks.  Parks, a professional comic book inker and artist, as well as a comic book writer and novelist, created ink drawings and watercolor works for the exhibit, which showcases some of his own personal heroes, both real and imaginary.  Celebrated for three decades as an inker of superheroes for all the major comic book publishers–he was nominated for the prestigious Harvey Award for his work–Parks has established his own grand, heroic style.  An artist reception for the show is tonight at 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Lumberyard Arts Center in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Expect to see from the imaginary side works featuring Green Arrow (Parks created a groundbreaking run of the famous longbow hunter series with actor/director/writer Kevin Smith and artist Phil Hester beginning with the story Quiver), Uncle Slam (an “out-of-touch patriotic superhero” who, along with sidekick Fire Dog, were both created by Parks in the pages of Action Planet Comics), and Batgirl (Parks and Hester worked with writer Devin Grayson on bat-family tales in the Nightwing series).  Works from Parks’ real life heroes will include icons like Truman Capote (Parks wrote the graphic novel Capote in Kansas, chronicling Capote’s days in Kansas writing In Cold Blood).

We’re speculating the show may (or may not) include characters Parks is also known for, like El Diablo (Parks worked on the origin of the character in The Haunted Horseman with Hester and writer Jai Nitz), Ant-Man (Parks and Hester created a zany series featuring the irredeemable superhero a decade ago with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman), and Kato, Lone Ranger and Zorro (Parks has written comic book series featuring all these classic characters), and maybe even J. Edgar Hoover?  (Parks wrote the historical graphic novel Union Station with artist Eduardo Barreto, featuring a massacre in Kansas City that influenced the FBI director).

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Legenderry07-Cov-Benitez    legenderry-a-steampunk-adventure-7-concept-cover-a

We say “first” in a hopeful way.

Legenderry is the seven-issue mini-series from Dynamite Comics written by notable Fables writer Bill Willingham.  Legenderry is also the steampunk setting where in Issue #7 Red Sonja joins up with Six Thousand Dollar Man Steve Austin, Zorro, Vampirella, the Green Hornet and Kato, Captain Victory, Silver Star, and the Phantom, all to face off in a final showdown with Ming the Merciless, Queen Flor Zora, Kulan Gath, Lydia Valcallan, General Tara, and Doctor Moreau.

And we hope this is the first of several series with these classic characters in their newest and most creative incarnations.

The best character development in the series is that of Red Sonja, who has spells leaving her to think she is actually the mild and citified Magna Spadarossa, sister of Sonja.  By the end of the series her primitive side breaks through and she is the savage we’re all familiar with.  A close second is Willingham’s Six Thousand Dollar Man and his then-pricey 19th century prosthetics.  Including Oscar Goldman as his companion was a brilliant move.

Legenderry heroes

Artist Sergio Fernandez Davila creates a visually stunning location, and Willingham’s fun take on these classic characters makes the series one of the best steampunk stories to enter the comic book medium.

Issue #7 hits comic book stores this week.  Take a look at the first five pages of this final issue after the break.

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Masks trade cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re a connoisseur of classic superheroes, you’d be remiss not to grab the trade edition of Dynamite Comics’ Masks series for your bookshelf.  Inspired by a 1938 story by Norvell Page called The Spider vs. The Empire State, it’s an examination of pre-World War II Law vs. Justice, as nine classic pulp superheroes unite to fight a fascist political party blossoming in New York, bent on taking over the country.

Writer Chris Roberson looks at justice through the eyes of each of these classic superheroes, each having a different take on the evolving political climate, and how to deal with the story’s bad guys.  Where the original source material was a story featuring The Spider, here the heroes take a backseat to The Shadow, whose perfectly shadowy dialogue manages to allow him to steal the scene in each of the story’s eight chapters.  The book starts with a bang–a chapter we previewed here at borg.com in its original printing as Masks, Issue #1, back in November 2012.  Alex Ross provided the interior art for the first chapter, and as much as we’d hope for a full book featuring Ross’s art, artists Dennis Calero provides an excellent look at the 1930s with a very pulp novel feel.

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beware the batman batmobile

If you find typical animated series on Cartoon Network visually boring, this new series is for you.  DC Comics’ DC Nation on Cartoon Network has finally achieved a satisfying blend of eye-grabbing visuals and smart storytelling in its newest animated series, Beware the Batman.   A follow-on to Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman is a fresh take on Batman that opens up possibilities for a long-term animated series with interesting villains of the week similar to those we enjoyed with the 1960s live action Batman series, but skip the camp and humor for some gritty situations and snappy dialogue.

What first will draw viewers to Beware the Batman is the high-resolution, three-dimensional effect of the cutting edge CGI animation itself, similar to the realism we’ve seen in Tron: Uprising, but even more so like the stylish visuals in The Incredibles.  Although the Batman himself may be the least eye-catching of the hundreds of Batman incarnations out there, he has his own style here that may grow on viewers.  But Alfred, the villains, Tatsu Yamashiro, all look incredible.  Wayne Manor is a beautiful mansion on the edge of a cliff, something you’d expect to see from Richard Branson.  Gotham looks like the moody covers to The Dark Knight Returns.  The action sequences are full of explosions and chases offered up in ways you haven’t seen before, too, with realistic and futuristic 3D technology effects like those in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.

Alfred and Batman

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Tomorrow–comic book Wednesday–Dynamite Comics launches one of its biggest events of the year, Issue #1 of the new mini-series Masks, with story by Chris Roberson and painted art by Alex Ross.  We’ve previewed Issue #1 and readers are in for a beautiful book, featuring a stellar mash-up team of some of Dynamite Comics’ best licensed characters: Green Hornet, Kato, The Shadow and Spider, with even a nod to The Lone Ranger.

A new group of leaders called the Justice Party has taken over New York, and their rule includes the creation of a dark, masked police force.  Unlike a typical change in power, this new government is run by mobsters and thugs, swiping people off the street and throwing them in jail simply because the new police force has a quota, with no attention to actual justice.  Our classic heroes enter the picture, now on the other side of the law, fighting for true justice, and hardly no time passes by before their mantra is uttered at some bad guys: Crime Does Not Pay.

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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

One of the best Olympians so far in the 2012 Olympics is the really cool 23-year-old gymnast from Japan, Kohei Uchimura.  Every time I see him on TV I think “anime man” because of that haircut and his incredible action hero-type strength, speed and flexibility.  And that haircut–if you look at his teammates or fans, none of them look like this guy.  No, Uchimura has his own image going.  He looks like he should be starring in a live action anime movie.  He’s just got this anime action hero look down.  And he comes with the requisite superhero badass attitude and physical prowess.

Uchimura also carries a bit of cool background information with him.  Putting aside his resume of wins and medals and the fact that he won the men’s all-around gold medal this round, he has a coach named Kato.  Kato!  As in Green Hornet.  As in Pink Panther.  How can anyone have a better trainer than Kato?  Uchimura’s favorite hobby?  Sleeping.  So far so good.  Favorite food?  Chocolate.  And he won’t eat vegetables no matter what anyone tells him about diet.  His motto:  “Doing things at my own pace.”  This guy sounds like an ambassador for his generation.

So over lunch today I enlisted my co-writer pal Art Schmidt to help me figure out which anime character the Japan film industry needs to develop for the new movie starring Uchimura.  Art, with his knowledge of anime films, of course knew some right off the bat.

So here’s where we ended up.

Kaga Tetsuo is a character from Hikaru no Go.  Here he is:

Hmm… pretty close.  There’s another anime character named Tetsuo.  Tetsuo, the borg we have talked about before at borg.com, and member of the Borg Hall of Fame, from Akira:

“Just watch me attack the parallel bars with my borg arm.” (Though he might be disqualified.)

Or how about Vegeta, from Dragon Ball Z:

Hmm… we might have to adjust his part a little.

Dye the hair and you have Orochimaru-Sama from Naruto.

Or how about Goku from Dragon Ball?

That’s a lot closer to what I was thinking.  In the top photo above, Uchimura even has that forward head lean spot-on.

Maybe with a funky hat and some make-up, Ulquiorra Schiffer from Bleach?

Or Gin from the same show:

Then we come to Ash from Pokemon.

Even with the hat, Ash looks like he might be a doppleganger for our man Uchimura.  And look at “L” from Death Note:

Any other suggestions?  C’mon, Japan film industry!  We want to see this guy as an action movie star.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg

By C.J. Bunce

One of the Midwest’s best pop culture and comic book conventions was this past weekend, Planet Comicon, which has been Kansas City’s largest fan convention for more than a dozen years.  The show seemed to be bursting from its seams this year with thousands of guests, and appears to be outgrowing its venue at the Overland Park International Trade Center.

The film and TV headliners for this year’s show included Edward James Olmos, best known to sci-fi fans for his role in Blade Runner and as Adama in the Battlestar Galactica reboot series.  He signed autographs and took photos with fans both days of the show.  Here he is with Erin Gray, who appeared with other actors from the 1979-1981 TV series Buck Rogers and the 25th Century: 

Gray also appeared on an episode of the Syfy Channel’s Hollywood Treasure last year.

The other featured major guest from film and TV was Billy Dee Williams, best known as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but also as Harvey Dent alongside Michael Keaton in the 1989 Batman film.  His current work includes a stint on USA’s White Collar.

Billy Dee also appeared at the show both days.  (I offered a woman in line $5 to say “Billy Dee, Billy Dee, Billy Dee!” when she finally met him but didn’t take me up on it.  And it’s OK if you don’t get that reference).

Early Saturday morning legendary comic book artist Michael Golden is getting fueled up before embarking on a sketch of Green Arrow:

Green Arrow by Michael Golden. How cool is that?

Michael is known for his work on such titles like Marvel Comics series The ‘Nam, GI Joe Yearbook, Star Wars, and Micronauts.  He is also the co-creator of the X-Men character Rogue.

I’ve been a fan of the different styles Mike Norton uses in his art for quite a while.  Here he is signing one of his comic pages for the Green Arrow/Black Canary series, where he did the pencil work and comic book legend Bill Sienkiewicz provided the ink work:

Mike is working on a creator-owned project currently and has previously worked on Runaways, Gravity, the Young Justice animated series comic book.  He was actively sketching pages for fans at the show and produced probably a dozen at least over the weekend, including this great image for me:

Unfortunately Bernie Wrightson wasn’t sketching at this year’s convention, but he was signing plenty of shirts and books for his Frankenstein book.  Wrightson’s horror artwork goes back several decades, with his first published comic work with House of Mystery in 1969.  He co-created Swamp Thing in 1971.  His work has appeared in Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and Batman: The Cult.  Here Wrightson is at a signing table with Freddie Williams II and his wife Kiki:

Freddie is well known for his work on his Robin series, and is currently one of the DC Comics top artists.  We reviewed his and JT Krul’s Captain Atom series here at borg.com a few weeks ago.  Freddie was busy creating sketches for fans and speaking on panels at the show.

Currently working on projects for Dynamite Comics, Bionic Man writer Phil Hester and Lone Ranger writer Ande Parks had pages of original artwork as well as copies of their books new and old that they were signing for fans, including a lot of low-priced original art from their run on the DC Comics Green Arrow series:

It’s great that these guys have tackled both the writing and illustration sides of comic book creation.

I got to catch up again with a couple well known Kansas City authors.  Here, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, two of the best known authors of Star Trek novels, talk with fans at the show.

The NBC TV series Heroes co-creator Tim Sale was signing books and art at his booth:

Sales’ past work includes art in Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: The Long Halloween, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Grey, Spider-Man: Blue and Superman For All Seasons.  (What’s with these color titles, anyway?).  His unique stylized paintings on Heroes featured into the plot of the series.

I spent time chatting with Rob B. Davis, currently providing illustrations for a Sherlock Holmes series and past artist for Malibu’s Deep Space Nine comic book series, writer Jai Nitz, who was juggling signing copies of his Kato and Tron: Betrayal series while moderating different comic book panels at the show, borg.com writer Art Schmidt, local writer Justin Cline manning the front of the convention, and Todd Aaron Smith, who sketched this great Black Canary image for me:

Smith had provided storyboards for Family Guy and other animation art for shows like South Park and various DC Comics and Marvel Comics TV series.  Current Marvel Comics lead writer Jason Aaron could be found with some good lines of fans waiting to get copies of his various Hulk, Wolverine and X-men series signed:

The facility was packed wall to wall with plenty of booths selling everything from graphic novels to collectible action figures, original comic book art, and comic book back issues.  Here, Elite Comics comic book store owner William Binderup appears to be raking in some cash from sales of comics at his booth:

Show producer Chris Jackson seemed pleased with the success of this year’s convention.

And of course there were plenty of cosplayers.  Here a few Batman characters huddled for a photo:

But I think the best was this “Hello Kitty meets Stormtrooper” mash-up:

No doubt it would have been a far different Star Wars had Luke showed up to rescue the princess with this outfit.