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Tag Archive: Tommy Lee Edwards


He-Man print in limited edition of The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Review by C.J. Bunce

Next month Dark Horse Comics releases a must-read for fans of He-Man, She-Ra “Princess of Power,” and the Masters of the Universe world of toys, animated series, magazines, chapter books, posters, comic strips, and comic books.  The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover includes more than 300 pages full-color art, a portfolio featuring an exclusive print by Gerald Parel, a foil-embossed cover, and a die-cut two-piece Castle Greyskull slipcase.  A standard edition of the book will also be available.  Many well-known creators worked with these characters since its inception in the early 1980s, including Ralph McQuarrie, Drew Struzan, Dick Giordano, J. Michael Straczynski, George Tuska, Klaus Janson, Boris Vallejo, Tony Moore, Darwyn Cooke, Geoff Johns, and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Designers from every stage of the creation of He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, and the large cast of sword and sorcery heroes and villains, offer insight into character development, decision-making, and the impact on 1980s kids.  The best feature is the inclusion of hundred of pieces of full-color art, concept artwork, page layouts, sketches, storyboards, packaging art, prototypes, never before seen and unused imagery, advertising art, original comic art, and final comic book pages, covers, and animation cels.  It features restored art from master illustrator Earl Norem, as well as interviews with Dolph Lundgren, who played He-Man in the 1987 movie, director Gary Goddard, well-known TV producer/comic book writer Paul Dini, and voice actress Erika Scheimer, among many others.  Captions for photos were written by comic book creators Tim Seeley and Steve Seeley.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover slipcase edition

Particularly of interest to toy collectors are the original notes from the development stage of the toy line at Mattel.  Mattel, which had passed on the ground-breaking Star Wars action figure line, developed He-Man as a direct competitor to that toy line.  Mattel drove the look of the characters–this was first and foremost a toy line, inspired in part by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta.  But it grew beyond that.  Artists and writers and other creators remark with pride about the focus on the stories that went beyond the toy line.

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Phil Noto Black Widow

The last day of the year is finally here, and with that the last of our reviews of the best content of 2014.

We’ve previewed comic books each month thanks to publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, and Image.  We sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics has to offer, too, and although we don’t have enough time to review everything we review those titles we think our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro angle.  And we read plenty of books–sci-fi and fantasy, pulp and spy novels, movie and TV tie-ins, even Westerns and steampunk, as well as non-fiction books about movies, TV, and other genre topics.  This past month we have looked again at these titles, as we narrowed our selections to what we think are the very best.  So here are our picks for Best in Print for 2014.

Black-Widow-5

Best Comic Book Series — Black Widow, Marvel Comics.  We were wondering early on what would take the place of Fraction and Hollingsworth’s Hawkeye series for the most satisfying superhero fix.  It didn’t take long to see this other Marvel series looking at another superhero in a similarly personal–but very different–way.  It was a standout in a great year of comics.  Phil Noto’s art and colors were incredible and Nathan Edmondson’s story didn’t let up once.  Full of action, espionage, and intrigue.  A great series to catch-up on in a trade edition.  See our reviews of the series here and here.

AfterlifeWithArchie_07-0

Best Comic Book Mini-Series — Afterlife with Archie, Archie Comics.  Who would have guessed someone could make Archie and friends so accessible to any demographic in the 2010s?  And whose brilliant idea was doing it via a horror genre story of zombies taking over Riverdale?  Smart writing by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and spooky atmospheric illustrations by Francesco Francavilla made for a sumptuous series like no other.  Not technically a mini-series, it feels like one because of its staggered release.  See our earlier raves about the series here.

Wilds End issue 1

Best Comic Book Writing – Dan Abnett, Wild’s End, BOOM! Studios.  Abnett’s Wild’s End really caught us by surprise.  An incredible fantasy read that is truly unique from BOOM! Studios.  Anthropomorphic characters with incredible archaic dialogue that’s witty and smart.  A crazy mash-up of War of the Worlds, Christopher Robin’s neighborhood, and the dark edge and high stakes of Revival.  We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of this series.  Check out our earlier review here.

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Vandroid trade cover

Vandroid is insane at every level.  It’s a movie that never got made.  It left behind a John Carpenter-esque soundtrack (and a really good one).  It’s also an onslaught of some incredible promotional materials, miraculously saved from a fire that burned down the movie studio back in 1984.  Trading cards?  A model kit?  Even temporary tattoos.

Vandroid is the ultimate B-movie action flick from the 1980s.  Or it should have been.  After reading the five-issue limited series re-issued as a trade paperback today from BOOM! Studios and visiting the movie website you may even remember seeing ads for the movie back in the 1980s.  Only you couldn’t have.  Why?  Because none of it is real.

Vandroid trading card sticker

Vandroid is a graphic novel.  It’s a concept about as clever as you get in comic book publishing today.  Let’s create the legend of a movie, a bad production, film footage shot but lost in a fire and subsequent legal battle.  What would have accompanied the film?  How about marketing for an Atari video game?  Slick movie posters?  Got ’em.  What would the video game have looked like?  They’ve mocked up that, too.

vandroid poster

And at the center of the story a humanoid robot who drives a van.  And he possesses the memories of the guy that the technology took over, a washed-up mechanic named Chuck Carducci.  Chuck creates Vandroid after meeting up with his old college roommate from MIT, a guy working on artificial intelligence at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.  Introduce a plutonium-ion battery and some high-octane performance van parts and you could only have… Vandroid.

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CITY_01 panel

Out this week is Darby Pop Publishing and IDW’s new series City: The Mind in the Machine.  A new surveillance system can prevent all crime in San Francisco.  But it doesn’t work without a human mind to control it.  A victim of a terrorist attack, Ben is turned into that mind.  Tied into the surveillance system with bio-neural implants he becomes a one man army against crime, whether he likes it or not.  So what do you do when you can control an entire city with your thoughts?

A bit RoboCop, a bit Bionic Man, City: The Mind in the Machine looks at security and technology in a very cinematic way.

A four-issue limited series, City is written by Eric Garcia, who wrote Matchstick Men and the screenplay for Repo Men.  Pencils and inks are by Javier Fernandez with colors by Mark Englert and Felix Serrano.  The cover is by Tommy Lee Edwards.

CITY-01 cover

In its first issue, City has a great futuristic look, with nice special effects, quick action scenes, and interesting characters.

After the break, check out this preview of City: The Mind in the Machine, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

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Vandroid movie poster

In the 1984 Simon & Simon episode “Almost Completely Out of Circulation,” probably the best comic book tie-in episode ever on television, a comic book creator is murdered, and A.J. and Rick must find the killer.  The brothers have this classic story of having all their comic books thrown away, this time with A.J. tossing out a box of Rick’s that he had no idea contained the collection.  Worse yet, the warehouse for the comics burnt down so the books became quite rare.

In what could be in the same universe of Simon & Simon’s San Diego of 1984, a company called Palm Springs Entertainment is making a generation-defining movie about the end of the classic van era (remember van art, with great murals on the sides of the Ford Econoline van?).  But days into filming the studio burns down.  Lawsuits follow.  The film is no more, with only movie posters, grindhouse lobby cards, and charred film stills left.

Vandroid cover other

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