It’s arrival brought us a new age in superhero television series–arguably the best comic book TV adaptation since the original 1980s series The Flash that starred John Wesley Shipp. It’s Arrow, the CW Network’s groundbreaking story of Oliver Queen starring Stephen Amell. Unlike the successful Marvel Comics movie series, Arrow looked outside the comic book’s core stories and expanded the source material to allow the inclusion of B, C, and D level villains plus many superheroes, ultimately including most of the second tier Justice League members. Surpassing the DC’s movie efforts and Marvel’s attempts at small-screen serials, Arrow has continued to make comic books come alive for four years since we first reviewed the world premiere viewing of the pilot at San Diego Comic-Con here at borg.com back in July 2012.
The stories have been different but loyal to its origins. Instead of Star City or Seattle the stories were based in Starling City. Sidekicks nicknamed Speedy became split into his sister Thea and Roy Harper. Two Black Canary characters were formed from two sisters instead of the mother and daughter split in the classic stories. And Green Lantern is not in the picture at all. Along the way the series split off Barry Allen’s Flash into his own fun series, a dozen other heroes and villains joined DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and this year CW’s DC on TV ties in Supergirl. So many untapped stories can now be told as the DC universe is apparently unshackeled barring only interconnected stories with Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, who will be featured on the big screen next year instead.
Tomorrow night the fifth episode of Season 5 airs. For those fans who want to delve into an “in-universe” look at Oliver Queen and his efforts to save his city, Titan Books has released Arrow: Oliver Queen’s Dossier, a detailed, 160-page scrapbook of notes, newspaper articles, documents, and records collected by Starling City’s emerald archer as he investigated crimes in the first three seasons of the TV series.
The three-day Planet Comicon comic book and pop culture convention wrapped yesterday in Kansas City. The highlight of the day for thousands of attendees was the one-day visit to the show by Stephen Amell, star of the CW Network’s Arrow TV series. If you’ve been reading borg.com for very long, you’ll know I’ve been tracking the show as the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan, including spending the night with 7,000 other fans in San Diego for the show premiere with Amell and his co-stars back in 2012.
After hanging with his cousin (and CW star of The Flash) Robbie Amell last night at the Elite Comics after party at the Alamo Drafthouse, we got to meet Stephen today. As you’d expect, fans were happy to meet him, and he kept a cheery disposition throughout a whirlwind day of signing autographs and being featured on a panel at the convention.
Because he was only at the show for one day, that meant plenty of lines to get to see him–lines that barely even looked like lines.
But as typical with attendees at comic book conventions, everyone handled it all with great attitudes.
Review by C.J. Bunce
One of the best marketing efforts for a new television series must be the elaborate display a few years ago at Tin Fish across from San Diego Comic-Con advertising NBC’s Grimm, including the trailer that once belonged to main character Nick Burkhart’s Aunt Marie. Along with an arsenal of medieval weaponry to fend off bad Wesen of any variety was a book full of the writings, descriptions and notes taken by Nick’s ancestors about identifying the various creatures of the Grimm universe. Like something out of Mr. Giles’ library, the big Book of Shadows in the attic of the Charmed Ones, or Laura Palmer’s diary, the Book of Lore is a guidebook for the series’ lead, a writer’s device to allow him to sleuth through the detective story of each episode. In last night’s episode of Grimm, Nick finally began adding his own notes to the book.
An in-universe version of that book is now available so TV viewers can play along with Nick as they watch the series. Grimm – Aunt Marie’s Book of Lore won’t allow you to figure out what’s going in in every new episode, but it will allow you to quickly recall why you’ve heard of a Hundjager or Ziegevolk before.
Review by C.J. Bunce
When Arrow’s pilot was previewed at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2012 we had our first indication that the series would be a big hit. The pilot remains one of the best first episodes for any TV series, and on its new Blu-ray release viewers get to see what an incredible looking show this really is. This Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Arrow will be released on both DVD and in an awesome Blu-ray combo pack that you won’t want to miss, and today’s your last day to pick it up at its discounted pre-order price. Thanks to Warner Bros. borg.com got an advance preview of the Blu-ray combo pack, and if you missed any of the 23 episodes aired this year, or you haven’t seen the series at all, now is the time to catch the best live action DC Comics effort since 1990’s The Flash. Check out the “Arrow” tag to the lower right of the borg.com home page for past coverage of our favorite new hit.
Optimum Quality. The nine-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes two complete sets of the episodes and features: the DVD on five discs and the Blu-ray on four discs. (One to keep and one to loan to friends?) It also includes a code for Ultraviolet viewing access. The picture and sound quality are perfect, and watching the episodes straight through you realize the series was designed in a very seamless way compared with so many shows that have repeated scenes at every commercial break. Not so here. The navigation menus are the best we’ve seen so far–easy to navigate–and they include a full menu for all the discs on each disc so if you have the wrong disc inserted you’ll always know which one you want.
All 23 Brilliant Episodes. The series started off with a complex pilot, and that was a movie-quality effort to begin with. Subsequent episodes never seemed to let up. Our favorite was the three episode arc featuring Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress, played by Jessica De Gouw, one of the top character retellings in this new Green Arrow universe. We were surprised how much we didn’t mind Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim taking liberties with the 70-year history of the Green Arrow canon. The set includes great episodes featuring characters unexplored before, including the very modern and realistic tech guru Felicity Smoak, played perfectly by Emily Bett Rickards, and the entirely new character, Oliver’s confidant John Diggle, played by David Ramsey.
What does the Honey Trap Army have to do with G.I. Joe? Back to that in a minute.
If you’re not already familiar with Gentle Giant, it’s the toy company that creates several specialty collectible toys and busts. Most are for the serious collector and not something kids will likely ever get their hands on with the company’s large-sized classic Star Wars line offering action figures at $75 and up. And Gentle Giant handles several franchises, from Star Wars to Marvel to Harry Potter to The Hobbit.
Previously at borg.com we revealed some convention-exclusive figures and the retro-edition, giant rocket-firing Boba Fett may be the coolest large-sized series action figure ever made. This past week Gentle Giant revealed its first 2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive figure, from its Honey Trap Army line: Whisper, variant:
And the limited-to-100 figures edition sold out almost immediately at a whopping $669 per figure. What’s the Honey Trap Army? You won’t find a lot of information about them, other than we saw an excellent display of the four initial character figures at last year’s Comic-Con and artist Kevin Dart either created the comic art that inspired the toy line or was inspired by the toy line to draw the characters. But there is a video with 1960s music and art design to introduce the toy line:
After a crazy day of an insane volume of fans storming Bartle Hall in Kansas City Saturday for the biggest Planet Comicon event in more than a dozen years of events, it seemed like everyone came back Sunday for Day Two with aisles jam-packed again. And for fans of all things borg like us, it was a banner day, meeting up with the original Bionic Woman herself, Lindsay Wagner, and the current writer on Dynamite’s Bionic Man series, Aaron Gillespie.
First up–Bionic Man cosplay. The idea was inspired by my own large-sized action figure as a kid. Originally planned by DW and me for SDCC 2012, it seemed a great fit for a borg.com tie-in, too. Always looking for something original for other fans to enjoy, we’d never seen anyone re-create Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, at any convention ever, or posted online anywhere. As the idea developed we decided it needed something more–and we moved from the character to the 1970s action figure itself. With bionic eye, inserted arm circuitry, a pair of classic red and white striped Adidas Dragons, the classic red track suit, and the key identifier–the patch that was used as the official fan club badge and stuck on the chest of every Bionic Man action figure, which makes sense for the toy but would never make sense on the show–we had all but one thing left. Decades ago you could find plastic hair at costume or theatrical shops but go searching and you’ll come up empty. So we searched for full face masks that could be altered and came up with a JFK mask that could be cut and repainted, which seemed to do the trick. Add some spirit gum (which may never ever come off my face) and temporarily lose the goatee, we found contact lenses from a UK retailer, made the patch from transfer paper using Web images and interfacing, and temporary tattoo material, and we have the Six Million Dollar Man large-sized action figure. We got some good reaction to it at the Elite Comics Halloween event last year, and when we saw Lindsay Wagner as a guest of this year’s Planet Comicon it was obvious I was going to wear it to the show.
First off, moms are awesome. Especially mine.
Second, if you haven’t seen Firefly, rent it . Buy it. Amazon.com currently has a set of the complete series for under $13. You can get it here. I became a fan of Firefly last year after attending the 10th anniversary panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Check out my prior discussions of Firefly and its awesome fans here.
One of the main characters in Firefly is Jayne Cobb. Jayne is tough. He has a rifle named Vera. He’s more good guy than bad guy and over the short series Jayne’s character grew to learn from his mistakes, including the betrayal of his shipmates on the Firefly class vessel called Serenity. The role of Jayne was played by Adam Baldwin, who played Colonel John Casey on the NBC TV series Chuck. Since his first role as a big guy helping a little guy in My Bodyguard, Baldwin has appeared in an incredible variety of productions, usually as the tough guy in charge, from Ordinary People to Full Metal Jacket to Predator 2 to Wyatt Earp to Independence Day to the Serenity movie itself. On television he’s been in The Cape, From the Earth to the Moon, The Outer Limits, The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, NCIS, Angel, Bones, Castle, and Leverage and voiced characters like Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Superman in animated DC Comics series.
It’s December, and that means holiday movie releases, which means we’re getting bombarded with movie trailers. That includes a film focusing on the heir-apparent to the classic Japanese mega-monster, Godzilla. At Comic-Con this year, Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures started some buzz for a new monster movie by Guillermo del Toro, simply titled Pacific Rim, with giveaways of an eye-catching exclusive teaser poster (the newly released poster is to the right):
A fun mini-teaser was released last week, and it may peak your interest further:
Is it me, or does Tony Stark have more supersuits than any other superhero? Robert Downey, Jr. returns next spring with the fourth movie featuring Iron Man, Iron Man 3, with the new Iron Man armor we previewed here this past summer from Comic-Con in San Diego.
You wouldn’t think you could go wrong with Downey playing Stark in another movie, but all you have to do is think back and remember Iron Man 2, possibly the weakest of the Avengers films so far. Yet the first Iron Man and The Avengers were brilliant. Why can’t they just stop everything and work on The Avengers 2? Check out the first trailer released hours ago for Iron Man 3:
Review by C.J. Bunce
The CW Network’s Arrow series premiered this Wednesday, and for those who missed my review of the pilot episode originally published here July 17, 2012, I am reprinting it here updated with my additional comments after seeing a second showing all these months later. Spoilers!
The CW previewed the entire pilot for the series on Comic-Con Wednesday and Friday this year to thousands of attendees. The auditorium erupted in cheers to several scenes in the series opener, starting some worthy buzz for this newest DC Comics Justice League superhero to hit the small screen. Was it good? Absolutely. And even for a big fan of the traditional character’s story, updates made for TV were well thought out and did little to detract from the core of what makes Green Arrow the unique character that has survived as a key comic book character for 70 years. The pilot deftly managed to alter far less of the source material than, for example, the Green Lantern movie released in 2011, and in doing so created a believable, refreshing story with appropriate nods to the past, and one that promises to survive, should it find its fan base. On second viewing this past Wednesday, my thoughts haven’t changed one bit. If you are a fan of superheroes or read comic books at all, Arrow is the one series you should be watching.