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Tag Archive: Phil Hester


Happy Mother’s Day!

More than 100 comic book artists came together over the past year to create what is one of the best joint art projects featuring superheroes that has come out of the industry.  And it’s all about the biggest superheroine of all.  Some of the best-known names in the world of comics volunteered an original work of art featuring Wonder Woman, penciled, inked, painted, or otherwise colored on a 75th Anniversary DC Comics Wonder Woman blank comic book cover.  It’s all for a good cause that gives back to, and in effect pays forward comic book creators that came before them.

It’s called the Wonder Woman 100 Project.  All proceeds of the auction of the original artwork will go to the Hero Initiative, an organization that helps out the comic book industry by contributing funds to individuals and their families in the event of medical and financial crises.  Most of the comic creators the fund helps were piecemeal workers in their careers over the past decades or those without any kind of retirement program.

    

And for those who can’t afford the original artwork, the Hero Initiative is creating a hardcover and softcover edition compiling all the covers that will be for sale in June 2017, with proceeds of those books also going to the Hero Initiative.

You’ll see some of the very best Wonder Woman images you’ll ever find.  Many are from well-known artists, but some of the finest works are showcased by more recent artists entering the industry.

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Pop culture fans will find there is something for everyone at this year’s Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines.  At its first appearance in Des Moines in 2015, Wizard World featured Central Iowa native son, Superman actor Brandon Routh.  This year the convention is bringing another Superman to town, Lois and Clark star Dean Cain.  Cain will join actors Charlie Sheen, James Marsters, Marina Sirtis, and a host of other celebrities for autographs, photos, and panels to be held May 19 through May 21, 2017, at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines–the city’s third Wizard World convention.

Known most recently for his work on Two and a Half Men, Anger Management, and Spin City, Charlie Sheen has appeared in many modern film classics–everything from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to Major League, Eight Men Out, Wall Street, and Platoon.  James Marsters is best known for his role as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Marina Sirtis starred as Counselor Deanna Troi, one of the most beloved characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Other celebrity guests include TV and film star Barry Bostwick, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, Charmed actress Holly Marie Combs, and Napoleon Dynamite actor Jon Heder.

In addition to aisles of dealers of comics, toys, apparel, and collectibles, fans can meet nationally known writers, artists, and other creators, including Iowa’s own Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Irredeemable Ant-Man, The Flash) and Ant Lucia (DC Bombshells).

Some highlights of the more than 50 panels scheduled include:

  • Interactive Q&A sessions with Charlie Sheen (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.), James Marsters (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.), Dean Cain (Saturday, 5 p.m.), Barry Bostwick (Saturday, 2 p.m.), Marina Sirtis (Saturday, noon), Jon Heder (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.), Holly Marie Combs (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.), Micky Dolenz (Sunday, 1 p.m.) and The Expanse star Cas Anvar (Sunday, 2 p.m.).

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schmidt-green-arrow

With DC Comics’ summer Rebirth reboot, many monthly series turned bi-weekly, and we’ve now already seen the first eleven issues published of many series.  Like the many reboots before it, DC Comics introduced the Rebirth continuity to re-ignite its fan base after the success of the prior reboot–the New 52–dissipated.  So many shake-ups and change-ups occurred in the New 52 that you’d pretty much need to read the entire DC Comics line to keep up with what has happened to even the key Justice League superheroes.  With two issues per month that’s difficult for any reader to keep up with.

One of the better sellers in this year’s Rebirth line is the Green Arrow title.  Under the New 52 Oliver Queen encountered as many changes to his character as anyone.  In fact fans of Green Arrow were probably better served subscribing to the Arrow tie-in comic book to the television series to get a dose of the classic crusader.  As likely as not the success of the CW Network series coupled perhaps with fans’ hopes for big changes from the New 52, and a restoration of the essential Oliver Queen, could account for the sales success of Green Arrow in DC’s Rebirth universe.

Otto Schmidt served as artist and colorist on the series in the introductory chapters.  Bringing Oliver’s older look back to the character, complete with the goatee, was a move in the right direction.  Schmidt used the supersuit of the modern update yet his style conjures up both Neal Adams and Mike Grell’s key design elements that defined Green Arrow’s look for decades.  Writer Benjamin Percy, who was the writer on the series before the Rebirth kicked in, re-introduced the second key element that defines Oliver: his partnership with Black Canary.  The lack of the Arrow-Canary partnership contributed to the wane of Oliver’s story in the New 52–as a solo character Queen was just too much like everyone else.  Percy’s other shift is reminding everyone that Queen is first and foremost a fighter for social justice.  In contrast to the billion dollar company he sometimes owns and sometimes loses, Queen is the ultimate anti-corporate superhero.  So these three elements: his look, his partnership with Black Canary, and his brand of justice, form the framework for what could be a solid Green Arrow series going forward.

green-arrow-vol-1-percy

Plenty is left to be done.  Queen’s social justice efforts have only scratched the surface with eleven issues already in the can.  Instead, Percy has opted for some frivolous, but fun, nostalgia: several scenes are spent restarting a romance between Oliver and Dinah, and he’s brought back classic secondary characters like Shado and Eddie Fyers, both from Mike Grell’s definitive Green Arrow series The Longbow Hunters.  With the story now firmly set in Seattle, also as Grell had done with the setting–and not Star City–we can see some good attempts are being made to rediscover what made the 1980s and 1990s Green Arrow worth reading about.

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Worst Heroes Ever

It looks like the great preview that accompanied the premiere of Star Trek Beyond this week.  Suicide Squad finally has a great trailer that should entice everyone to climb aboard, courtesy of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday.  With brief but good looks at each of the key characters it is now established that this is definitely a take on the classic war movie The Dirty Dozen–the original and ultimate film about a band of prisoner misfits setting out to save the world.

This time we get a good look at each of the Worst Heroes Ever and for a motley group of villains, they’re looking pretty good.  And Warner Bros. is having a big day with its movie preview releases at Comic-Con.

Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), is Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) is Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne is Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara is Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) is Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) is Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) is Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) is Killer Croc,  and they star along with Jared Leto as The Joker in the comic book take on The Dirty Dozen, as a group of super villains are released from prison to complete a hero’s mission.  And look for Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana aka El Diablo, a character created by our pals Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in 2008’s excellent six-issue series El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman (be sure to check it out at Amazon.com here if you haven’t read it yet).

flying bat

So this is it–the final trailer for Suicide Squad:

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Wil Wheaton standing room only crowd at Planet Comicon 2013

In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like legendary writer/artist Howard Chaykin, artist Bill Sienkiewicz, and of course, Stan “The Man” Lee, the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living.  Planet Comicon 2016 is no different.

Area creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who will have his own lines of fans getting his Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and Disney artist Bryan Fyffe, selling his hand-framed, incredibly vibrant and diverse collection of prints.  Bryan also has a Con exclusive–his variant cover edition of the latest Lady Death series.

Make sure you get a copy of Issue #1 of the awesome new series Barrens from writer C.W. Cooke and artist Bryan Timmins–the debut of the series is this weekend.

Planet Comicon 2014

Authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore are scheduled to attend, along with trading card artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, and comic book creators Jai Nitz, Seth Peck, Phil Hester, and Greg Smallwood.

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Billy Boyd Lord of the Rings

The national Comic Con promoter Wizard World is bringing a banner slate of celebrities and comic creators to the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines this weekend as Iowa sees its second Wizard World show, one of the best conventions in the Midwest.  Check out our coverage of the inaugural Wizard World Des Moines here at borg.com last year.  Celebrity headliners include The Lord of The Rings’ Billy Boyd, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Chloe Bennet, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow star Casper Crump, The Killing Joke’s Batman, Kevin Conroy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Nicholas Brendon, WWE’s Sasha Banks, Once Upon a Time stars Rebecca Mader, Sean Maguire, and Robbie Kay, The Walking Dead’s Austin Nichols, and Hercules from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys himself, Kevin Sorbo.

As with last year’s roster of well-known comic book creators, Wizard World will feature another pantheon of comic book world greats, including Tom Cook (He-Man, Superfriends), Michael Golden (Batman, Spider-Man), Clinton Hobart (Disney), James O’Barr (The Crow), Barbara Slate (Betty and Veronica), Peter David (All-New X-Factor), Colleen Doran (Sandman; A Distant Soil, The Vampire Diaries), Arthur Suydam (Army of Darkness) and many others.  Returning to Wizard World this year are Iowa’s own fan favorites Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Flash) and Ant Lucia (DC’s Bombshells).

Casper Crump as Vandal Savage
Wizard World comic and gaming con events expect to bring together again thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, television, sci-fi, toys, video gaming, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Des Moines show hours are Friday, May 13, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, May 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Suicide Squad

After some ho-hum teasers for the 2016 movie release Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment released a new full-length trailer for the DC Universe movie (set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”) Tuesday during the DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League special on The CW Network.  This time we get a good look at each of the Worst Heroes Ever.

And for a motley group of villains, they’re looking pretty good.

Adam Beach (Everwood, Hawaii Five-0), is Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Terminator: Genisys) is Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne is Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara is Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) is Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street) is Harley Quinn, Will Smith (Men in Black, I, Robot) is Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) is Killer Croc,  and they star along with Jared Leto as The Joker in the comic book take on The Dirty Dozen, as a group of super villains are released from prison to complete a hero’s mission.  And look for Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana aka El Diablo, a character created by our pals Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in 2008’s excellent six-issue series El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman (be sure to check it out at Amazon.com here if you haven’t read it yet).

Suicide Squad posters

Check out this entertaining trailer for DC’s Suicide Squad, and you couldn’t have a better tune to back it up:

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New Speedy Willa Hollans on Arrow

Time flies when you’re having fun.  Seems like yesterday we were up all night on the street in San Diego waiting to see the world premiere of the pilot for CW’s Arrow.  It’s hard to believe Season 4 begins tonight.  Arrow has done something pretty amazing–taking a 70-year-old character and upending his backstory and surrounding characters in a way that stays true to the spirit of the original.  This season the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is getting even closer to his roots.

Tonight Oliver’s sister, Thea (Willa Holland), will take over the Speedy mantle, donning the above slick new supersuit.  Some credit is due to my pal and fellow Iowa boy Phil Hester and Kevin Smith, co-creators as writer and artist, respectively of Mia Dearden, the first woman Speedy in the pages of DC Comics’ second long-running Green Arrow monthly.  This new look borrows much from their original.  It’s not the first time CW’s Arrow has dipped back into the archives to bring out good ideas from the past, and that is what helps make the series so well-received by fans of the superhero genre.

What can we expect from Season 4?

Queen

For one, Starling City will be renamed Star City, one of the comic book homes of Oliver Queen throughout the years.

John Barrowman will return but now as the new Ra’s Al Ghul.  The power will undoubtedly go to his head, but how far, and will he take Thea down into the darkness with him?

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dc-comics-flash-season-zero-tpb-1

CW’s The Flash TV series is what superhero shows should all strive to be.  Mainly, it’s about fun, with a young actor (Grant Gustin) playing a fresh version of a classic character trying to get his footing with his strange, new powers.  Like the original 1980s version of the series, this series is about Barry Allen working with a small group of friends to do good in his smaller world of Central City.  Unlike the edgier, groundbreaking Arrow TV series, The Flash doesn’t take itself too seriously.

As with Arrow, DC Comics and the CW partnered, as it should, to bridge the TV series with the comic books that the series was derived from.  It’s here, in the print and digital pages of The Flash: Season Zero, available this week in a trade edition, that we are introduced to one of the most vibrant and fun versions of The Flash to be published by DC Comics in years.  Again, not taking the stories and characters too seriously, the writers of the TV series have written the further adventures of Barry Allen that both amplify the humor and camaraderie found in the TV show, but this incarnation also informs the TV superhero–filling in gaps that don’t make it to the TV scripts.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

In the pages of The Flash: Season Zero we see what would be more difficult to translate to the moving image, like King Shark, that villainous land shark.  This is done beautifully and in his unique superhero world style by artist Phil Hester, who returns to the realm he illustrated for several years in the pages of Green Arrow (and even returns to his roots by including a cameo of Oliver Queen in one story).  Hester’s pencils and Eric Gapstur’s inks along with some great color work by Kelsey and Nick Filardi provide a visually interesting read for audiences of all ages.

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Sean Astin CJ Bunce Elizabeth C Mimosa Bunce KCCC 2015 Kansas City Comic Con

We could stop after just the above photo with actor Sean Astin, but we won’t.  Kansas City Comic Con broke the mold this weekend, setting up a fun environment for thousands of attendees to get a major league dose of pop culture fun.  You could meet icons of classic movies, like Pam Grier (1970s action film star), classic TV, like Butch Patrick (Eddie, from The Munsters), from current hits like Game of Thrones (Kristian Nairn), and classic 1980s video games (Billy Mitchell of King of Kong fame), to kids’ favorites (Power Rangers’ August St. John), classic British TV (Doctor Who’s Colin Baker), and megahits like The Lord of the Rings (Sean Astin) and Star Wars (Nalini Krishan and Orli Shoshan).

Creators from the Star Wars universe could be found everywhere, from current Marvel Star Wars writer Jason Aaron, to artist icon Michael Golden, to Disney-era Star Wars artists Bryan Fyffe and Joe Corroney.  Creators from several major licensed characters could be found with Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Jai Nitz, Greg Smallwood, and Tony Moore.  And then there is Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck from the superhero sphere of classic comics.  Phew!  That’s a busy weekend.

Rick Howland KCCC 2015 Kansas City Comic Con

We had a great time with Rick Howland, star of Syfy Channel’s Lost Girl, which only recently wrapped its final episode.

Here’s writer CW Cooke talking with attendees at his booth…

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