Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pulp Report

I found a site that's all comic news,Pulp Secret. They do comics video blogs as well a hosting comic reviews. Looks like I have another place to checkout for rumors and breaking comic book news.

Checkout their coverage of Comic Con:

On a side note, maybe Comic Con is too big. Hours and hours of waiting to get into the panels… bagh...


Monday, July 30, 2007

It's a good time to be a Conan Fan.

With Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories back in print by Del Ray, the roleplaying game by Mongoose, a computer game, and new comics by Dark Horse, it truly is a great time to be a Conan fan. Now we have one more reason to celebrate.

After looking through the latest Previews, I came across this:
In the mid 1970s following the colossal success of Conan the Barbarian, Roy Thomas helped expand the universe of Conan to showcase further stories and the talents of some of the comics industry's best with the equally popular Savage Sword of Conan magazine. Now, for the first time in over thirty years, these primal tales, featuring Robert E. Howard's most popular character, are available in this, the first in a series of massive trade paperbacks, collecting all Savage Sword Conan stories beginning with issue one. Included in this volume are tales by Roy Thomas, featuring the breathtaking art of such legends as Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Pablo Marcos, Walter Simonson, and more.

But that's not all. Also included in this tome are Conan's few appearances in the title Savage Tales--for the complete Conan collection!

Reprinting Savage Sword of Conan for the first time since its original publication. This is the first volume in the series.

 Launching Dark Horse's black-and-white Dark Horse Presents omnibus format. 500+ pages for the value price of $17.95!!!

That’s right, Savage Sword of Conan magazine will be reprinted in all it’s b&w glory! Yes! I was hoping Dark would collect these tales, and my sword and Sorcery dreams have come true!

Now if they can just get that Indiana Jones - Planet of the Apes – Conan crossover off the ground, all will be well.




Both sides of the 70s in one!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Who wants to be a Superhero? and Comic Con thoughts

I enjoyed the 1st episode of season 2 of Who Wants To be a Superhero? They’ve obviously got a bigger budget with more special effects and a longer season. I liked the fact that no one was eliminated right off the bat as happened last year. It’s kinda sad that we never got to know Levity, from season one, because he was kicked off so soon. So it’s nice that everybody got a real chance this time around. With an expanded season, it seems like there will only be one elimination per episode. That’s a good too because it will be more difficult to figure out who has been kicked off ahead of time.

1st impressions:

Basura: Weird arty girl that you wanna get to know.

Braid: bored homemaker, good costume.

The Defuser: Cop guy who took Superhero “values” to heart.

Hygena: Funny homemaker, this season’s fat mama.

Hyper-Strike: amped up wild man with real skills

Mindset: the stereotypical comic fan, classic scifi silver age hero

Mr. Mitzvah: Spoiled rich guy with interesting personality quirks.

Ms. Limelight: Miss Airhead, but nice enough.

Parthenon: sorta classic golden age style mystical hero.

Whip-Snap: down on her luck, gal who is glad to be here.

The fact that feedback went around and told everyone they were on the show was a nice touch, with Whip-Snap’s reaction the best of the bunch.

Should I guess who is gonna get kicked off next? I’m really terrible at that sort of thing but I’ll say Ms. Limelight is gone next time around.

I watched some of the coverage of Comic Con on G4. It was nice to see the reveal with the news that Karen Allen will be in Indy 4. Maybe there’s hope Lucas won’t screw this up… …maybe. Here’s the vid:

I’m also getting excited about the special edition DVD of Blade Runner, but the interview with Ridley Scot was kinda lame.

The Neil Gaiman interview was much better and now I’m looking forward to both Beowulf and Stardust.

Some of the hosts on G4 show are irritating with their fake enthusiasm and no comic book knowledge comments.

I was also happy to learn from Heidi MacDonald’s blog that Mark Waid is now the editor-in-Chief of Boom! Studios. They’re making big waves with great comics, why not bring on a big name.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is The Walking Dead #39.

Red Sonja #24, Dynamite Entertainment.

Star Trek: Year Four #1, IDW. It’s here! Yes, Arex and M’Ress are in it.

Battlestar Galactica #12, Dynamite Entertainment.

Ninja Scroll #11, DC Comics.

Raise the Dead #4, Dynamite Entertainment.

Black Summer, #1, Avatar.

All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, #3, Marvel Comics. The character entries in these things are ridiculously long now… and yet I still buy them. The Sub-Mariner entry is five pages long! It does have the Annunaki, which are the ancient gods/demons that first appeared in Conan #30. That’s kinda’ cool.

The Walking Dead, #39, Image. Wow, I’ve been readin’ this comic for 3.25 years. This issue has seven pages of letters.

Backissue, #23 (magazine) Tomorrows Publishing. Great article on the Isis and Flash TV shows and an excellent retrospective on Star Trek comics.

I also picked up the trade 52 volume 2, by DC Comics.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who wants to be a superhero? Tonight!

Don’t forget, Who Wants To be a Superhero? Season 2 premieres tonight at 9:00 P.M. on the SciFi channel.

Details here

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Someday I really wanna go to the San Diego Comic Con. It’s the superbowl of comic books. It’s starts tomorrow. Certain factors have prevented me from going and will most likely continue to keep me from going for a few more years, but someday… I’m trying not to pay TOO much attention, but a few things have bubbled to the surface that interest me a lot; the Watchmen Movie, Jericho news, and Dynamite Entertainment’s new Superpowers series based on the public domain Nedor Comics line of superheroes.

I think I gonna stick with Heidi MacDonald’s blog to get most of my con fix.

If it’s like last year, G4 should have some live broadcasts that will be available “on demand.” I enjoyed the clips last year, so this year should be good as well.



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ROM Spaceknight... Ahhhhh ahhhhhhh...

Hey, one of the most noble if not the coolest cosmic superheroes of all time Rom, now has his own song by HB3. It's off their newly released Luminosity album. You can go to their myspace page here to listen to the whole song.

Here is the intro to HB3’s Rom Spaceknight music video.

Here is part of HB3’s Rom Spaceknight song with footage from an old Rom commercial.


Monday, July 23, 2007

WWII Superhero Action

I’m having a blast reading Invaders Classic Vol 1, which I picked up a couple of weeks ago. This book collects Invaders #1-9, Giant Size Invaders #1 and Marvel Premiere #29-30 from the 1970s. The adventures are set during WWII and use Timely Comics’ (Marvel’s original name) big three: Captain America, the Human Torch, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. These wild and wahoo tales are some of Roy Thomas’ best retcons with all out Nazi smashing action. See, good old Roy was very fond of Golden Age superheroes and really wanted to revisit them. 1940s Timely (Marvel) unfortunately didn’t have the business sense to gather up their most popular heroes on one team during the war years. So, while Cap and the guys fought the good fight in all their four-color glory, they never did it together. Roy sought to rectify that, and thus the Invaders comic was born.
These stories are a lot of fun because they’re a nice cross of WWII combat energy and 70’s cynicism. Frank Robbins, who draws most of the art is OK if somewhat crude at times. But, his attention to detail when it comes to military hardware really makes the combat scenes, and boy, those combat scenes are over the top with things like the Human Touch burning through Junkers bombers and Namor pulling Germans out of fuselages to fall to their deaths. That’s right, this is combat and the heroes have a license to kill. Most of the heroes’ battle action is directed towards Axis supervillains though, which is great because Roy created a new Nazi rogues galley with Master Man, U-Man (an Atlantean traitor) and Baron Blood (a vampire). Although, my favorite, Warrior Woman, won’t appear until volume 2 or 3 comes out. The Golden Age diabolical Red Skull shows up too. Our friends from across the pond will want to take note that Union Jack, Britain’s flag draped patriotic hero, makes his first appearance here as well.
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Someone gave me Invaders Issue #3 when I was in junior high, many moons after the series ended, but it made a big impression on me, and I’ve always had a fondness for this title. In fact issue #3 has one of my favorite action scenes. It involves Namor brutally ripping apart a German Sub, which kills everybody inside except for the sub captain who accidentally survives. After rereading this story I remembered why I like Captain America so much, and why it pissed me off that Marvel killed him simply because they wanted to make a few bucks in the short term. As we can see from these panels after Namor brings the German sub captain aboard, Cap is a class act all the way.

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…But sadly that is how we do things in the real world nowadays. Ethics and morals folks, that’s something that’s sorely lacking in our national leaders during this troubling period when our principles are taking a nosedive. I’ll choose comic book values over fake patriotism and jackboot tactics anytime. Those panels are nice reminder of what we were fighting for and what we should have been fighting for now.

Check out the Invaders for raw, over the top superhero action.

Note: The Captain America: War and Remembrance trade by Roger Stern and John Byrne that just came out, makes a nice companion to the Invaders as both Union Jack and Baron Blood show up. It collects Captain America #247-255 and it’s pretty dam good in it’s own right.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Nowadays what usually happens when it comes to role-playing, is a buddy and I get together, create some characters in whatever RPG we’re gonna’ play, and then maybe run one adventure. That’s it. We never get together again and the momentum for any kind of campaign is lost. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened and how many games that I’ve GM’d that went nowhere. It’s frustrating when you’ve put a lot time and effort prepping.

Last weekend I finally got the chance to do some gamming again and this time it was quite satisfying. I wasn’t the GM though, thank goodness, Dean Wormer fulfilled that role quite nicely. Flashback to several months ago, when overdroid was briefly in town, we played the opening chapter of the Savage Worlds setting Necessary Evil. I really wanted to continue this campaign, but I’ve been busy. Well, last week things worked out and Dean and I had a great time playing the next chapter. Dean jr. also joined us which made everything that much more fun.

I’ve always wanted to play in a superhero RPG campaign, but sadly most folks don’t seem to enjoy this kind of gamming, and until recently there wasn’t any system I was really happy with. Mutant and Masterminds is a great game because it really emulates the 4-color world very well (that Freedom City book is terrific), but I haven’t the time or the energy to wade through the rules, and I own it. I think I need to play M&M a few times rather than be the GM to get the hang of it. That’s just the way my brain works. Well, Dean has gotten into Savage Worlds. It’s a generic rules set that sprung out of Deadlands and The Great Rail War miniatures game. This RPG can incorporate settings that have additional rules that plug into the main rules set. It’s like D20 in that respect but it’s much more simple. Basically, the nice thing about Savage Worlds is that it’s easy to just jump into it and just play.

Well, the Necessary Evil setting book is about super-heroics and superpowers but with a twist. Aliens have conquered the earth through deceit and most, if not all, of the world’s Superheroes and leaders are dead. The entire planet has been subjugated, and humans aren’t much more than slaves. But there is a small glimmer of hope. There are still a few powerful enough to resist and maybe even force the aliens out… the supervillains! That’s right the players are supervillains. This time only the bad guys can drive the invaders away. It’s really a fantastic concept for a supers game. The characters have to be careful though; the adventures can be deadly, as the supervillains are essentially partisans.

This type of superpowered campaign has several advantages. One of the big ones is the deadly encounters. The adventures are truly exciting because the threats are very dangerous as a hit and run war should be. Another is due to the fact that the players really get to be both villainous and heroic. Something that really isn’t available in most superhero RPGs. The overarching storyline is engaging as well. Can the supervillains make it to the end of the campaign without being killed, let alone save the planet? And what are they going to do if they win anyway? They’re villains after all.

Necessary Evil via Savage Worlds is a lotta’ fun and a nice change from the usual superhero adventure since that stakes are so high. Check it out if you want a system and a campaign that’s easy to jump into.

You know this would make a great read for a comic story too. It should be adapted someday.


Friday, July 20, 2007

My New Comics

I've had a busy week but here's my list of new comics.

This week's best cover is Zero Killer #1.

Fall of Cthulhu #4, Boom Studios.

Zero Killer #1, Dark Horse. Interesting new post-apocalyptic story set in the flooded remains of New York City. From the inside cover:

1973: Global skirmishes lead to a massive nuclear war known as “Zero Hour” Over 90 percent of the human population is annihilated. Nixon and Ford are assassinated during the chaos. Along with most of the House and Senate – leaving JOCOM, a militarized vestige of the United States Government in control.

2007: New York City, present day. In the last thirty-four years since “Zero Hour,” those civilians who survived the nuclear fires have settled into a culture of “gang protection,” living in the crumbling, half-submerged towers and quickly forgetting a somewhat civilized past.

Japan has a lot of urban post-apocalyptic manga and Zero Killer reminds me of that genre except with an American, 70s-80s gangland twist. Glad to have a another good PA story.

Samurai: Heaven and Earth #5, Dark Horse Comics.

Focus on Star Trek #1, IDW. Great interview with D.C. Fontana, and a neat introductory story for Star Trek: Year Four.

Lone Ranger #7, Dynamite Entertainment.

Terminator 2: Infinity, #1, Dynamite Entertainment.
Dynamite's new TERMINATOR 2 series continues the intense futuristic vision of a post apocalyptic world dominated by cybernetic killing machines and the struggles of the opposing human resistance. The series features all-new stories starring the popular characters from the blockbuster Terminator 2 film, as well some all all-new, all-deadly creations,such as the never-before-seen Terminator Infinity! In Dynamite's opening TERMINATOR 2 event, "Trial by Fire", Skynet sets out to destroy the Terminators in the past to preserve their (mostly) human free future!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Bastille Day

Yes, Happy Bastille Day… from Mademoiselle Marie. She is DC Comics’ French resistance fighter and love interest for Sgt. Rock. Ah… Vive la France… er something.


Friday, July 13, 2007

My New Comics

I'm not picking up much this time. This week's best cover is Tag: Cursed #5. I really like this one.

Shadowpact #15, DC Comics.

Tag: Cursed #5, Boom Studios.

I had that weird feeling when I went in the store this last time. I‘ve been avoiding buying most comics from the big 2 comic companies. If the story is really “that good” I can always grab the trade later. You know what? It felt great. I’ve unshackled myself. It’s time to put my money for pamphlet comics to the little guys like Boom. I might get a random issue or mini-series here and there, but I'm moving on except for a few favorites.



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Star Trek Magazine and stuff

I picked up the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine while cruising Fred Meyer. A couple of articles caught my eye: a section devoted to TOS episode The Doomsday Machine (including the new remastered version), and a quick blurb about the new comic “Star Trek: Year 4.” It was funny to learn that William Windom, who played Commodore Matt Decker, doesn’t like Star Trek and he’s never watched the show except for The Doomsday Machine. Also, the original concept for the “machine” had thousands of gun platforms but this obviously had to be nixed due to budget restraints. I was also happy to learn that the Star Trek Year 4 comic will include characters from the animated show. They won’t have big staring roles, but they’ll appear. That’s very cool, as I enjoy the cartoon Star Trek quite a bit. It’s a nice nod and appreciated by fans like me.

A surprising fact I learned from this issue was that DeForest Kelley gave up the chance for an experimental treatment for his cancer. He did it because he felt he’d lived a long life and that a younger person should receive it. How about that! This info comes via Kris Smith, a family friend, who has a book coming out soon about Kelly. Makes me miss him all the more.

On a side note, I realized I didn’t get a copy of the Who Wants to Be a Superhero comic book staring Feedback. So, rustled one up at another store. It’s your standard Superhero story. Not much to say about it, but it is getting me excited for the second season, which premieres July 26th.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Why We Fought

This is why we had to win WWII... so Mel could make funny Hilter songs.


I demanded that my SO and I go see Ratatouille over the weekend. Happily she complied. Even though going to the movie theater is a struggle with all the rude hi-jinks going on, it still was an enjoyable experience.

There isn’t much more I can add to all of the positive reviews of the film. I enjoyed it. You can tell that the folks a Pixar really put time and effort into the story long before anybody started designing or animating anything. I’m a little more partial towards The Incredibles, for obvious reasons, but Ratatouille just might be the best movie they’ve come out with story wise. Plus the animation was fantastic.

Here is what I liked in no particular order (spoilers):

It’s not a Musical… I get tired of practically every animated show being a musical. I’m glad Pixar is continuing to break the mold on this.

The story is excellent.

Man, they really know how to animate hair correctly now.

Comic timing is rock solid.

The food looks really delicious.

Those of us who aren’t aware of what a professional kitchen is like actually learn something.

The Joy of food and cooking are well communicated despite that fact there is no smell or taste coming from the screen

Rémy the Rat is an entertaining character. In fact, this might be the first animated film were I like all the characters.

Those shots of Paris… Ooo La La

When Anton Ego tastes Rémy’s creation is a one of the best moments in the film.

Lot’s of little in-jokes about Parisian and French culture.

Of course, topnotch animation

When Colette Tatou crunches the bread

When Rémy makes the soup is another wonderful scene as well.

I could go on and on, but just go see it.

Here is what I disliked in no particular order (spoilers):

(I’m really scraping here)

The music wasn’t memorable. Funny, because I didn’t want a musical, but I still want memorable music.

Hmmmm… controlling Alfredo Linguini by his hair didn’t totally work for me, but this is a movie about a talking rat that make exquisite cuisine so who cares right?

Would Colette really go for a guy like Alfredo?

When is this movie set? Not that this is really important, but the time period is kinda’ nebulous.

Why do some folks have a French accent and while others do not?

Missed Opportunities (spoilers):

ahh... A few more shots of Paris…?!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

My New Comics

I had to get some help with this week’s best cover. I was torn between Star Trek: Klingons: Blood will Tell #3 (the Messina cover) or The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #6. Well, I got my SO’s opinion and she picked Star Trek: Klingons: Blood will Tell because “it has a bigger impact.” She’s right, that Nona chick always did get me hot under the collar. She looks like a black magic, biker cavewoman.

Marvel Zombies vs. the Army of Darkness #5, Marvel Comics and Dynamite Entertainment.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #6, Marvel Comics.

Star Trek: Klingons: Blood will Tell #3, IDW.

Ray Harrhausen Presents: 20 Million Miles More #1, Blue Water Comics. This is continuation of 20 Million Miles to Earth, which is getting a brand new 50th anniversary DVD release this month. See here.

Jonah Hex #21, DC Comics.

I also splurged and picked up three trade paperback collections

Usagi Yojimbo: The Mother Of Mountains, vol# 21, Dark Horse Comics.

Captain America: War and Remembrance, Collecting John Byrne's run on Captain America.

Invaders Classic, Vol #1, Marvel Comics, the first collection of Roy Thomas’ superhero comics set in WWII


1986... the best year in comics?

1986 gets a lot of credit for being the best year in comic books ever. That’s when Alan Moore’s Watchmen appeared, Frank Millar’s Dark Knight Returns showed up and the black and white boom reached it’s apex with the publication of Dark Horse’s first comic books Boris the Bear and Dark Horse Presents. Oh, and there was some little event thing known as Crisis on Infinite Earths that wrapped up. But is it the Best Year Ever?

The reason I’m contemplating this is because I just read an article by Chris Roberson about the Squadron Supreme mini series (one of my favorite comics) at RevolutionSF. They’re doing a series of web-essays counting down the best comic books of the best year in comics, 1986. They’re now moving into the top ten.

When it comes to looking at trends historically, I tend to feel somewhat apprehensive about making grand sweeping statements. It would be like saying WWII was best war ever! Well, maybe not that sweeping but you get my point. Many of the RevolutionSF essays bring up earlier 80’s comics just to get the “best year” into context. I mean no comic is an island, right? (OK, maybe “Reagan’s Raiders” is, but that’s it.) Plus, there’s an article on the awful Secret Wars II. So what’s going on?

I think what the RevolutionSF crew is really getting at is that 1986 is an important turning point. The black and white comic wave crested, “grim and gritty” took off, and traditional (i.e. Silver Age) superheroes storytelling was out. They “killed off” the old style Superman in "What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow," and replaced him with John Byrne’s less powerful “Man of Steel.” Heroes had to have real problems and still be relatable. It wasn’t only Superman either; DC took the opportunity to refurbish many characters as Crisis on Infinite Earths concluded. I’ve heard this trend at the distinguished competition called the Marvelizing of DC comics.

There was some negative fallout from 1986 as well. In regards to Crisis on Infinite Earths, there was no editorial control over the comics published. This series was meant to clean up the DC Universe but in the end it made things worse as stories immediately began to contradict the new earth created at the end of the mini-series. That’s why nowadays these big company wide crossovers have a producer-type, who manages the whole event and ensures that discrepancies and errors aren’t allowed. Secret Wars II is another example of just how bad company wide crossovers can get. With this event playing out in a bazillion different titles, it was really a 30+ issue miniseries and since it made money it became the new crossover event standard. Just look at House of M and you’ll see it’s still haunting us today. I could go on and on randomly here, but read the essays at RevolutionSF and form your own opinions.

I was there as a teenage fan back in 1986. I was there for Watchmen, Dark Knight, Squadron Supreme, and the rest. I knew something exciting was going on and it was a fantastic time to be a reader. Comics even received positive attention in the media. But sadly, I believe what really made 1986 the best year in comics is that nothing really came after it except Sandman. Once the memorable ’86 titles came and went, comics seemed to creatively flounder. Plus, we still had to get through the speculator boom “argh.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th from Yankee Poodle!

She's one of the team members from Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, a guilty pleasure of mine from the 80s. Incidentally you’ll be able to read the adventures of Yankee and the rest of the crew in September when most of their adventures get collected into a Showcase Presents. Oh Yeah! Gotta have my anthropomorphic superheroes.

So fire up the grill, take in the fireworks and have a safe and fun holiday.

Also, if you are not from the US, I’d like to apologize for the Jackass that's ruining our country and has no respect for the Constitution. Hopefully, we’ll get our nation back so we can be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Sorry I just had to get political for a moment. Patriotic “events” do that to me.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Burn Notice

Burn Notice, I might actually check this new show out, mostly because it's got Bruce Campbell. I missed the premiere. Was it any good?


Monday, July 2, 2007

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles

Recently, I watched Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. I hadn’t paid attention to anything Robotech for quite sometime. The only thing I’ve seen since the original TV show was Macross Plus. Anybody who’s mildly into anime would have heard and probably seen this direct to DVD release already, but for those of use who enjoyed Robotech and then forgot about it, The Shadow Chronicles is pleasant surprise. This movie brought back many memories and helped conclude some unfinished storylines while jumpstarting a whole new adventure.

Robotech was one of the few sci-fi soap operas that worked. Somehow the show just struck the right balance between romance and outer space action and thus appealed to both boys and girls. A lot of it had to with the episodic nature of the show and the growing sophistication of American audiences for Japanese anime. In fact, I’d be willing to bet it was Robotech that really helped Japanese animation breakthrough into the mainstream. Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles carries on this great balanced storytelling and also uses new technology to really provide amazingly animated visuals. Newcomers to the franchise might get a little lost while watching Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, but the story and action are so compelling; I think most folks would be intrigued to seek out the original.

I was going to say that The Shadow Chronicles is heavily influenced by the new Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5 but as the original Robotech came out before these shows maybe it was the other way around. The Shadow Chronicles is as highly entertaining and visually arresting as your gonna get with a space adventure. Check it out.

From wikipedia here:
The storyline is a direct continuation from the 85th (and final) episode of the original Robotech television series, and the first third of the movie runs concurrently with the events at the end of the TV series - albeit from different points of view. The plot revolves around the Robotech Expeditionary Force's final battle with the Invid on Earth, and the fallout from the events of that battle. An old enemy of the Invid is making its presence known, and is determined to wipe out all protoculture users, including humanity. The production is a mixture of 2D animation and cel-shaded CG mecha animation.