Tag Archive: WonderCon


Star Trek Green Lantern The Spectrum War

So what would a Klingon do with a Green Lantern Corps power ring?  We’ll find out in July when IDW Publishing, CBS Consumer Products, and DC Comics team up to present the reboot Star Trek Enterprise crew and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps in Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War.

Set in the 23rd century of the “new” Star Trek universe, the Federation and the “entire” Green Lantern Corps will team-up to protect the universe when some power rings gets in the hands of some familiar Star Trek antagonists.  Boldly going where no one has gone before…in brightest day, in blackest night… IDW revealed this weekend at WonderCon in Anaheim that the six-part monthly mini-series will be written by veteran Star Trek comic writer Mike Johnson with interior art by Arrow artist Angel Hernandez.

Green Lantern Star Trek The Spectrum War Francesco Francavilla

Look for some great variant covers in the series by artists Francesco Francavilla, Gabriel Rodriguez, Else Charretier, Garry Brown, Declan Shalvey, and Marc Laming.

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Gotham series banner

The 75th anniversary of the creation of Batman is approaching.  Continuing the theme of superhero television series revolving around crusaders defending their city, DC Comics and Fox released the first trailer for their new series Gotham.  Shifting from Arrow’s Starling City to the more famous Gotham City, DC Comics also is continuing its focus on a cast of supervillains, this time as a prequel starring Ben McKenzie (Southland, The OC), who previously was the voice of Batman and Bruce Wayne in the animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One.

But if the new series is able to latch onto some of the success seen by CW Network’s Arrow, it may be because of supporting cast, like the always great Donal Logue (Vikings, Life, The X-Files, Ghost Rider, Sneakers).  Gotham is also taking a cue from AMC’s Bates Motel, revealing the creepy pasts of Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), and the Penguin (Robin Taylor) in their early days in Gotham City.  On the downside, DC Comics is now taking a cue from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by leaving the key superhero–Batman– out of the story, other than the Bruce Wayne origin story from Miller’s Batman: Year One.

Gotham cast

Check out this first preview for Gotham:

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By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

As I drive back and forth to visit my parents in Arizona, I use those long solitary times in the car to listen to podcasts. “WNYC’s Radiolab,” “the memory palace,” “Thrilling Adventure Hour,” “A History of the World in 100 Objects,” “Doug Loves Movies” and “The Sports Poscast” all satisfy different moods and help make the drive a chance for laughs, learning and great stories.  On my past visit, I queued up the two-hour plus “Poscast” from 3/14/2012 featuring Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur as I drove across the Mojave Desert.  The first half concentrated on my favorite sport, baseball, and discussions and predictions regarding the upcoming season.  (Go Cardinals).  The second half concerned something that I think all readers of borg.com can get behind – a draft of the characters of Star Wars.  (Star Wars was defined as Episode IV through Episode VI – any other movies never had existed.  That is the correct view).

So, as much as I loved the baseball discussion (go Cardinals, again) this draft excited me.  My one addition to the draft (everyone’s a critic) – I would have drafted Biggs.  The idea of an infinite universe and somehow two friends from Tatooine end up flying X-wings together is better than just running into someone you know on the streets of Chicago or in a café in Paris (though both of those are pretty awesome).  It’s just my idea of magic and what I read into the trilogy, though all of their picks made perfect sense.  I still am up in the air about who would have won – each team had two Jedis, each team had people good with blasters and the last pick, though one was much more powerful, one was a lot more lucky.  As far as favorites go though, I have to side with Schur’s draft.  He had the first pick and of course he took Han Solo and the ensuing discussion got me to thinking.  That moment they cite as the favorite Han moment, that moment that we all want for ourselves, the moment where chills run through me, my hair stands on end and my eyes well up is the Millennium Falcon shooting a TIE Fighter out of space, disrupting Darth Vader’s shot on Luke’s X-wing, and Han exclaiming, “You’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home.”

The rogue becomes a hero.  He is in it for more than the money, he has a heart.  He cares enough to love something.  We all want to be that person.  In continuing to think about that, it ran up against my thoughts of Community as I finally got to see a panel for the show at WonderCon the previous Sunday.  Then, I finally had my epiphany on my love of this show and other well crafted ones like Schur’s own Parks and Recreation.

We all love Star Wars.  It’s a great story.  However, the characters are archetypes and therefore, we can vicariously insert ourselves into them and become the hero.  We can “play” Han and Luke and Leia as kids because the simple traits that they have don’t intrude on our true personalities.  We all want to be heroes.  We all want to find that cause to champion.  We will defend ourselves.  We will defend our friends.  We will save the girl or the boy with our own bravery and pluck.

On the other hand, you look at a Jeff Winger or a Leslie Knope and you run into something different and that is specifics.  Winger is a lawyer.  He cheated his way into becoming a lawyer and once he was found out, he had to return to community college to earn his degree.  He knows how to talk himself out of about any situation and can convince about anyone to do anything, but he’s learning that isn’t always a good thing.  He’s trying to coast through college because he doesn’t know how to work hard and study.  His Halloween costumes are just excuses to dress well and show off his good looks.  He once wet himself playing foosball.  He’s an agnostic.  He interferes with others’ relationships.  He stinks at pottery and it can infuriate him.

We know Leslie is a tireless worker in the Parks Department.  We know her mother intimidates her, but that she looks up to her success in city government.  Her mom can be a rival for the affection of a man like Ben Wyatt – and she will stand up to her to fight for him.  She will prepare 72 hours of reading for her best friend Ann Perkins to do in 12 hours for an interview Ann never wanted.  She’ll risk her career for love, but she won’t give up either because she wants it all.  She’ll steal artwork to protect it from censors.

We can’t project ourselves onto these people – they’re too different.  There may be some similarities, but I doubt there is a real Leslie Knope or Jeff Winger or Britta Perry or Ron Swanson or Abed Nadir.  However, because they are so likable, we can project ourselves into Greendale or into Pawnee, Indiana because we want to hang out with them for the 22 minutes every week.  Then I have to shift to first person as my adventures of driving an hour to WonderCon after waking up at 5 am to volunteer at the L.A. Marathon to go and sit in a room for two hours watching the two previous panels just to be sure I can get an early viewing of “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” and see my first Community panel after two years of Comic-Con disappointment due to not getting to the line in time, because my experience is more specific.  (It also deserves more than one, long, rambling sentence).

Following the episode, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Chris McKenna, Ken Jeong, Dan Harmon and Steve Basilone assembled at the panel table in front of the huge crowd.  We found out that in the 18-34 demographic Community beat American Idol, which got a huge cheer.  Then Yvette prefaced her comments by saying that “Dan Harmon is broken” and thanked the audience for their support, because through all of the tributes, they can feel that love for the show.  The best line was, “The fact that you guys walked away from your computers and watched us live and got us those numbers, it’s magic.”  Even though I’ve seen this week’s show, I’ll be watching again live, though no one will count it.  If you have a Nielsen box, please do the same.

Some of my other favorite moments of the panel:

While discussing the episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” that the moderator attributed to Chris McKenna, he said, “We have a writing staff.  Dan came in and vomited up a bunch of ideas for it and we picked through the vomit.”

Gillian mentioned going to Comic-Con last year and a few people whooped, while Dan jumped in and said, “You guys like comic books?”

Steve describes the episode “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” as “retardedly awesome” and the moderator steps in and asks, “Are there any retardedly awesome people in the audience?”  (As an aside, I love How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Scrooged as my favorite holiday entertainments, but this year, I just watched “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.”  It’s easily in the top 3 of Christmas for me now).

The interplay between Yvette and Dan when Yvette started talking about Dan’s skills with rap flow and lyrics and Dan’s humility deflecting it to a voicemail from Chevy Chase that says he won’t live past 57.  Most of it is Dan going in to detail and Yvette repeatedly saying, “Harmon.”

The character of Britta was just a list of stuff that the writers (and Dan) considered as things they found attractive in a woman.  Then a female writer, Hilary Winston then said that she didn’t like Britta and gave Dan the reasons.  Dan then said, “Instead of changing the character, I thought, ok so that’s who Britta is.  She’s the woman that women don’t like.”

Dan again on Britta and other female characters, “What creates a good female character is a guy forgetting that it’s a female character.”  Then Yvette added, “It works for diversity as well.”  Then Yvette and Dan went into another dialogue, as Dan got a little humorously offensive about writing about race and talked about going to RaceCon.

Re-listening to the panel, it didn’t strike me then because I had no clue who it was, but I have to say that Gillian is pretty darn correct in the fact that she can resemble the later-in-life Michael Jackson that she plays in “Contemporary Impressionists.”

Just re-reading this, the differences between a fan of Community or Parks and Recreation and a fan of Star Wars (heck, they’re probably the same people a lot of the times) are not that great.  The characters have more depth in the TV show because they have over 20 hours to develop over three seasons instead of six hours over three movies.  Fans get crazy excited about all three.  I just want to figure out what makes a show like Community so special to me and that makes me spend the past few days watching my DVDs of seasons 1 and 2.  I thought the idea that I wouldn’t play a sitcom out with friends when I was a kid might be that germ of understanding because of the character depth.  Then again, if I were ten again, maybe I would “play” Community.  I get to be Troy.

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

This week, Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted a picture of Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer starring as The Lone Ranger and Tonto.  Glancing at Wikipedia, The Lone Ranger started as a radio program, then becoming movies, a TV show, comic books, Saturday morning cartoons and eventually back to a TV show, comic book and a movie.  CJ Bunce reviewed the new comic back in February and it sounds pretty good.  From our discussion of Alan Moore there is a lot of stuff by good writers that are re-imagining of heroes, new takes or just new stories.  It feels weird to think and then write that maybe the remakes aren’t bad.  (Credit to CJ for making me lean in that direction from our discussion.)

I have to assume that The Lone Ranger is an iconic American hero because I didn’t really grow up watching the show in syndication like CJ.  Still, when you think of The Lone Ranger, you think of the TV show, as the serials have disappeared and no one really listens to old radio shows.  If you haven’t seen the TV show or read the comic books, you might not have a warm, fuzzy feeling about the characters.  But, if you have, then there will be a strong feeling of nostalgia gripping you as you hear stories about this movie’s approach to the multiplex.  If there’s one thing that I think I know, it’s that nostalgia sells.

So, I started to think about the cartoons, movies and TV programs of my youth (thanks to Ruby and Spears and the anticipation of that WonderCon panel sending me down memory lane) and how many have been made into movies or remade or re-imagined.  The list is quite extensive.  Here are a few along with the length of time to the remake.  I want to see if I can find an average of the length of time for the formula: profit = nostalgia times age.

Scooby Doo – started in 1969.  Film in 2002.  33 years.


The Brady Bunch – 1969.  Film in 1995.  26 years.


The Dukes of Hazzard – 1979.  Film in 2005.  26 years.


The Smurfs (American cartoon) – 1981.  Film in 2011.  30 years.


Psycho – 1960.  Remake – 1998.  38 years.


Footloose – 1984.  Remake – 2011.  27 years.


The Karate Kid – 1984.  Remake – 2010.  26 years.

I’m going to go ahead and call solution – 26 years is the age for the formula.  Let’s just say that given production times, the time to write a script and to get a cast, you need a couple of years of lead-time.  I’m going to say I need to start looking at movies and TV shows from 23 years ago.  So, if I was to predict the TV shows, cartoons and movies that will be remade, have a sequel made or made into movies in the next couple of years, here is your top ten of TV shows and movies that premiered in 1989:

10.  Major Dad (It’s a drama – will he or won’t he go to Iran?  It’s a comedy – will he or won’t he offend any natives?!  Oops, it’s really both (and probably a bit offensive)!)

9.  The Legend of Zelda (If they can make movies from Twilight shouldn’t this be a breeze?  Zelda plays a lot harder to get than Bella.)

8.  Doogie Howser M.D. (Starring Justin Bieber!  Neil Patrick Harris can do a funny cameo!)

7.  Coach (Make him the coach at Ohio State or… yeah, don’t go to the other big scandal school.  Penn State won’t be funny for a long, long, long, long time.  Kind of like Eddie Murphy.)

6.  The California Raisin Show (Don’t make an Elton John joke.  Don’t make an Elton John joke.  Don’t make an Elton John joke.)

5.  Saved By The Bell (If I had a dollar for every Saved By The Bell reference I’ve heard, well, I probably would have enough money to get me and several of my friends very hopped up on speed for a night.)

4.  Road House (Remember when bouncers used to be cool?  Now, it’s all “you can’t wear that to this club” or “you can’t come into this club” or “hahahahaha.”  Dalton would never laugh at me (I say as I sob into my iced tea.))

3.  Ghostbusters II/Lethal Weapon II (Dan Aykroyd and Mel Gibson will probably pull a Stallone and go back to the only well they have that’s still popular.  Aykroyd is almost there already.  Yes, I realize using sequels is cheating according to the Pismo Beach/Albuquerque Convention of 2007 governing Internet lists and right turns.)

2.  Murder, She Wrote (Yes, I know I am cheating again since this premiered in 1986.  Still, it was very popular in 1989.  Plus, can you think of a better ironic look at the 80s as a Betty White vehicle than this?  You can?  A Maggie Smith vehicle?  Ok, that works too.  Heck, Angela Lansbury is still available.  Too bad it wasn’t Murder, They Wrote.)

1.  Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  Hooray, they’ve already got the script.  I love this movie.  I can’t wait to see this.

You see I’ve already fallen for the nostalgia.  If any of these interest you, or you’ve thought of a few of your own, then you probably have as well.

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

Since the wonderful CJ Bunce mentioned Comic-Con last week, I figured I would work in a mention of its “wonder”ful cousin.  Next weekend marks my first time attending WonderCon (March 16-18 at the Anaheim Convention Center).  Last year, I planned to go in San Francisco, but I needed to move out of my apartment fast (never, ever, think that you can get a guitarist and a drummer to stop playing music at 3 am in the apartment below you) and it happened on WonderCon weekend.  So, now that it has moved to Anaheim, in my comparative backyard, I’ve already started to plan everything. I’ve found my train ticket.  I’ve alerted my hiking buddies that I won’t be available.  I’ve told people hosting a party on Saturday that I may be late due to a “wonder”ful engagement.  (I’ll stop that now.)

The next step: figure out which panels to see.  I know one that is easy.  Sunday at 3 pm is the Community panel.  I haven’t been able to catch it at Comic-Con due to long, long, LONG lines.  I missed PaleyFest.  Now, I hope that I get my chance to just sit back and enjoy sixty minutes and a movie-like clip.  (FYI–PaleyFest has a few days left).

Then I found Ruby and Spears and it looked pretty obvious as a must attend.  At first I saw the name and thinking of mash-ups (Have you seen The Charming Man-Video Games one?)  I thought it would be a Wizard of Oz, Game of Thrones mash-up and that would be awesome.  It turned out to be even more so.  This is a panel for Joe Ruby and Ken Spears.  I’m just going to quote most of the panel description so that you can jump up and down in place like I am doing:

“Since the sixties, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears have been the most successful writing, creating, and producing team in Saturday morning television. Among the shows they brought you were ‘Scooby-Doo,’ ‘Wacky Racers,’ ‘Jabberjaw,’ ‘Dynomutt,’ ‘Thundarr The Barbarian,’ ‘Plastic Man,’ and dozens of others.”

Raise your hand if you had Dynomutt or Plastic Man comic books?  I’m sure that if I had them, so did CJ Bunce, because I knew as soon as he mentioned Laff-a-Lympics that we were buying the same titles when we were comparative tykes and probably watching those same Saturday morning cartoons from this panel.

Next comes the “20th Century Fox: Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…in 3D” panel.  You might think I’m going to see this because I’m a movie buff.  Well, that’s a little bit of it.  Mostly though it’s because of Damon Lindelof is the co-screenwriter of Prometheus and I’ve seen how well he did promoting Lost at Comic-Con.  So, I have high hopes for his performance at WonderCon.

Lastly, there’s this brief hint from DC Comics in the description of their panel.  “DC Comics: All Access Special Edition— Don’t miss this panel about the sure-to-be most talked about project of 2012!”  You had me at “DC.”

But, that’s all I have so far. I need help. Do you have any suggestions for any panels that I should add? I know if I can get over to the Marvel one at 4 pm on Saturday (after the DC one) that would be a good one as well.  The J. Michael Straczynski Writing Workshop could be cool – if I can find a late night train after it ends at 7 pm.  But, I know from going to Comic-Con that trying to cram in everything is just an exercise in frustration.  It never works that well.  The beautiful thing, it will be around next year.  These conventions are too big to go anywhere.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, relax and just take it all in.  Talk to a stranger.  Look at art.  Buy some new comics you’ve never seen before.  It’s all part of the fun.

Still, if you know of anything really cool, please let me know.  Rushing around to something cool is worth a little frustration.