Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Big News On the DC Front, Post-Flashpoint

DC to renumber ALL of their superhero titles in September following Flashpoint,

Huh, either they're going to go all OYL on us with a mild timeskip or somethin', or they're doing a wholesale reboot... which concerns me. Geoff Johns' taste in comics and mine... don't necessarily align themselves too much.

Sixties nostalgia, a love of the blandest characters in DC possible and gore can only get you so far.

Admittedly there are things in DC that could use a reboot or slight rejig at the moment, the Mary Marvel situation for example, but considering Johns is the one who turned her evil again and (seemingly) permanently depowered her and Billy Batson after Grant Morrison fixed her AND provided an explaination for how her actions weren't her fault... It leaves me cautious.

Plus there's the whole "AHA! Now Action Comic won't reach it's 1000th issue in ten or so months like they planned!" thing. Which is annoying.

Oh, and Jim Lee is going to be redesigning at least some of the new superhero costumes. Here are the outfits of the JLA in the Geoff Johns and Jim Lee Justice League comic coming out later this year,

Plus DC's letter to retailers,

To our comics retail partners,
In the time I've worked at DC Comics, I've witnessed any number of industry defining moments. But today, I bring you what is perhaps the biggest news to date.
Many of you have heard rumors that DC Comics has been working on a big publishing initiative for later this year. This is indeed an historic time for us as, come this September, we are relaunching the entire DC Universe line of comic books with all new first issues. 52 of them to be exact.
In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend - but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.
This epic event will kick off on Wednesday, August 31st with the debut of a brand new JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, which pairs Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, together for the first time. (Yes, this is the same week as FLASHPOINT #5.)
We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers - giving them a chance to discover DC's characters and stories.

We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.
Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.
Dan DiDio, Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza have been working diligently to pull together some of the best creative teams in the industry. Over 50 new costumes will debut in September, many updated and designed by artist Jim Lee, ensuring that the updated images appeal to the current generation of readers.
The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 will also launch digital day-and-date for all ongoing superhero comic book titles - an industry first.
On Wednesday, June 1st, this initiative is expected to be announced in a nationwide feature article, and we're hopeful the news will be picked up by media outlets around the world. Throughout the month we'll reveal more details of our plans with articles in both the mainstream and comics press and on June 13th the Diamond catalog solicitations for all of the September titles will be released, followed by the June 29th street date of the print version of Previews.
DC Comics will support this initiative with an innovative mix of publicity, promotional efforts and retailer incentives designed to maximize your opportunity to increase your DC sales. We will discuss additional details of these incentives when we get closer to solicitation later in June.
We'll be updating you more through email as September nears. But today, I hope your share our enthusiasm for this historic news!

Bob Wayne
SVP, Sales
DC Entertainment

You've Got Your Thundercats In My Avatar!

EMBED-THUNDERCATS 2011 trailer - Watch more free videos

Artist Showcase: Paul Sizer

Highlighting the work of artists whose work I like and admire. First up: Paul Sizer!

I first became aware of him I first became aware of him through his work on Warren Ellis' forums, where he'd take part in the semi-competition where people'd redesign characters either from the public domain or from the more mainstream, like Doctor Who or Wonder Woman.

More recently I came across him again in one of Comic Alliance's collects of art they liked, and, my interest piqued, I went to his website and Dev_art accounts and was blown away. Here are some examples that I like.

Batgirl Cassandra Cain 2010 by *PaulSizer on deviantART

REMAKE: Jenny Everywhere by *PaulSizer on deviantART

REMAKE: The Shadow Solo by *PaulSizer on deviantART

Cassandra Cain Batgirl 2 by *PaulSizer on deviantART

REMAKE: Wonder Woman 1 Cover 2 by *PaulSizer on deviantART

Kick Their Axis Wallpaper by *PaulSizer on deviantART

BLACK ANGEL Scene Test 1 by *PaulSizer on deviantART

BLACK ANGEL Scene Test 2 by *PaulSizer on deviantART

From here,

Monday, 30 May 2011

Movies I've Seen: Tangled

It is interesting that they marketed the movie as being a movie of the Shrek mold, irreverent treatment of the Disney formula, "adult" humour, emphasis more on action and comedy etc. in both the trailers,

And in the poster, where they invoked the oft-mocked Dreamworks eyebrow,

Oh, in regards to the trailer: the hair fight bit was made PURELY for the trailers and wasn't in the actual movie, and Rider isn't the made character either. The language is modernised, but not to the extent that the trailer suggested with its "She's been grounded, like... FOREVER!!!" tagline. Also it's a musical.

And although, to an extent, it does share some simularities with Dreamworks' productions (a male lead that isn't as cleancut as the traditional Disney male lead, a female lead that actually DOES SOMETHING), it... still is pretty much a Disney movie in tone, albeit updated to a 2010s audience.

The musical numbers are there, complete with villain song (invoking Out There from), the castles and princesses are there, as are animal sidekicks (who don't actually talk, thank god).

It's a very good natured movie, and the people involved seem to be having a lot of fun, which seemed to be something missing from Disney's last effort. I mean, Princess and the Frog was okay with a couple of good parts in there (voodoo not being an evil religion, the 1920s New Orleans setting, the emphasis on actually working to get what you want, Friends on the Other Side, and the subversions of regular fairy tale cliches were all interesting in the very least), but it seemed a little like they'd worked so hard in making it non-offensive to one group or another than it just seemed... a little flat.

Maybe it's because the female lead in PatF didn't really have that much personality compared to the other characters or something, I don't know.

In Tangled, most of the cast is actually interesting, yes, even the animal sidekicks, and you get the idea of there being multiple layers to their personalities, or at least multiple interpretations of what's going on that you can think about.

For example, how much of the Witch's concern over Rapunzel leaving her is due to her not wanting her walking fountain of youth to wander off, and how much is her having genuine affection for a girl she effectively raised as her daughter.

I think that it leans somewhere towards the latter in that regard, as although the Witch IS vain and selfish she does at least seem to be trying to be nice, though being a centuries (possibly millennia) old witch means her sense of humour is kind of wonky (imagine a slightly more good natured version of Glados). She gives the impression that she's trying to be nice, but she's unintentionally being really emotionally abusive.

All in all, it was a cute, well made movie. Villain was interesting, good animation, fairly good songs and great characterisation. The male lead was interesting for a Disney movie, in that he had a personality without resorting to being an asshole until "love redeems him" ala Prince Naveen from the last Disney movie. Also, it had Ron Perlman and Richard "Jaws" Kiel in it!

For more a more indepth analysis of the similarities between Tangled and the productions of Dreamworks, please check out these two videos by Lindsay Ellis' Nostalgia Chick videos,

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Comics I've Read: The Last Days of American Crime

In 'the Last Days of American Crime', a gang of criminals are planning a heist in the last few days before the US government will activate an anti-crime and anti-terrorism device that will affect people's minds and force them to obey the law.

The writing and art team of Rick Rememder and Greg Tocchini create a great combination of hardboiled crime story and politically satirical science fiction story, with great art that fits a story that could be just as at home in the present or the 1970s.

Stylistically, the story brings to mind a mixture of Richard Stark's Porter stories thrown into a blender with some mid-Nineties cyberpunk and a dash of Bush era political commentary.

A lot of fun, I'd definately recommend it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Arleen Sorkin not to voice Harley Quinn in Arkham City?

Yeah, it seems that Arleen Sorkin, the voice actress that voiced the character the various incarnations across the DCAU and in the previous Batman game, won't be returning to the role this time around.

Instead the Joker's infamous sidekick'll be played by Tara Strong, the actress who voiced Batgirl in BTAS and Raven in Teen Titans. She's certainly a strong replacement for the role, but considering this'll be Mark Hammill's last time in the role of the Joker, it just seems a shame that the pair couldn't finish on the same note. Ah well.


Casstoons: Gates of Gotham 1

CT: Gates of Gotham 1 by ~EspanolBot on deviantART

Doomsday - Friday parody

Well, the world didn't end on Saturday, that's good. It would have seriously messed up my birthday plans for the Sunday afterwards if that was the actual case.

Still, here's a song making fun of it,

Friday, 20 May 2011

First Reveal of Tom Hardy's Bane

Errr.... So this happened.

Great Moments in Puppetry: Audrey 2

In this age of computers and cgis and such, we can sometimes forget the days when you'd have to get half a dozen dudes to operate a complicated puppet to interact with the actors, rather than them talking to a tennisball on a stick symbolisin' where their co-star will be shoved in later.

So in honour of those who brought awesome puppets to be big and little screen, I am announcing a new weekly thing: Great Moments in Puppetry!

This week, the Levi Stubbs-voiced killer plant Audrey 2 gets a mention.

I have to admit I have a massive softspot for this movie, a black comedy about a weedy shopboy played by the immortal Rick Moranis feeding folk to a giant talking plant for fame and glory, not least because of its botanical co-star.

Seriously, this is a movie with some star power behind it if you're familiar with 80s comedians. Steve Martin! John Candy! James Belushi! Christopher Guest! And Bill friggin' Murrey! And directed by Frank Oz, the voice of Yoda and Miss Piggy.

Seriously, s'awesome, though a little cheesy. Go see it, go!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Linkara and Phelous Review: the Airzone Solution!

With a ton of the Doctors from the original run in it (and the Almighty Alan Cumming), it still manages to somehow suck.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Shakespeare or Batman?

Can you tell the difference between Batman and the Bard?

Test your knowledge with this quiz!

Yeah I know that it's daft, bear with me.

Monday, 16 May 2011

the Spoony Experiment: The Lords of Magick

Batman Solicits August 2011


Written by DAVID HINE
1:10 Variant cover by J.G. JONES
Le Jardin Noir – France’s very own Arkham Asylum – falls under siege! Someone has freed the lunatics, and unless they can be stopped, they’ll turn Paris into a surreal Hell on Earth! Batman and Robin join Nightrunner in a mind-bending battle with the strangest lineup of villains this side of Bizarro World.
On sale AUGUST 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Spot the references!

Well, there's a Clockwork Orange, obviously. Nightrunner's gone a bit Dali and... errr, and the Effiel Tower being used as an Eye Trauma Comics homage.


Art and covers by TREVOR MCCARTHY
1:25 Variant covers by DUSTIN NGUYEN
Batman, Red Robin, Robin and Black Bat are all thrown into a race against time as The Architect’s true plan is revealed! But what does that mean for Oswald Cobblepot and Tommy Elliot? And just how does the first Super Villain of Gotham City factor into The Architect’s plot to destroy the city’s first families? Be here for the exciting penultimate issue!

And in issue #5, it’s Batman vs. The Architect! The downfall of a major Gotham family! The betrayal of Damian Wayne! It’s all here in this final issue, plus the untold fate of Gotham City’s first Super Villain! Be here as GATES OF GOTHAM sets the stage for a bold new direction in the Bat books!
Issue #4 on sale AUGUST 3
Issue #5 on sale AUGUST 17
4 and 5 of 5, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

And Cass is mentioned in the actual solicits. Sweet. ^^ Admittedly in the last two issues, it looks like a cool mini so I'm not gonna complain. The covers certainly have been all kinds of gorgeous.


Written by BRYAN Q. MILLER
Stephanie Brown has done her best to put her past behind her, but as the Repears’ mysterious client stands revealed, Batgirl’s going to learn the hard way that those who fail history are doomed to repeat it. This issue has it all: Secrets unearthed! Alliances broken! Splash pages!
On sale AUGUST 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Hm, mysterious cilent? Someone from Steph's past? Oh no, it's the flaming bum!

Or the dude with the dreads who knocked her up, whichever.

The cover's certainly pretty though.


Batman’s slipperiest foe steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight for a “Legends of the Dark Knight” issue that reveals, for the first time, the full story of Inque! Her past is blacker than anyone ever knew… and considering the new ally she’s fallen in with, her future could be darker still!
On sale AUGUST 3 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

This could be interesting. For those young folk out there who don't know who Inque is, she's the blob monster in this clip,

17 Awesome Facts about Batman: Arkham City

Fright Night Trailer

Remake of the cult classic, this trailer pretty much seems to give away the entire plot of the movie, which is annoying as it looks kind of cool.

They didn't show David Tennant's stage magician/vampire slayer though, which is one thing, I guess.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Casstoons: Batman Inc. 6 and Me being Annoyed

CN: Batman Inc. 6 by ~EspanolBot on deviantART

On a more serious note, anyone remember the time I mentioned how someone had editted my old sprite designs and posted them on a porn site? Well, he's both still using my designs without permission (in a non-porny way... or at least I hope he isn't) AND is selling prints of the strips over on DevArt.

Mentioned it to the DevArt admins, though I'm still annoyed about this, if only because this is a non-profit fanthing that he's trying to cash in on with my stuff. Grr.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Wonder Woman TV show canned, on the bright side Wonder Woman's on TV tonight!

Yeah, so it seems that that Wonder Woman TV that they've been trying to promote for most of the year so far? Wasn't picked up by the planned studio, which is kind of a bummer as this would probably have been a closest the character would get to a live-action movie release, at least at the moment.


On the bright side, the always awesome Batman: the Brave and the Bold has Diana appearin' in the show tonight, and here are some screencaps for y'all.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Cass Cain Gets New Superhero Identity, Huzzah!

...And thus, Cassandra Cain, former Batgirl and brainwashed supervillain, comes to find herself in a new role within the Bat Family, after finding herself wandering in limbo for some months after retiring to allow her best mate Steph Brown get the promotion to Batgirl some time back.

Yes, Cass is now the presentative of Batman Incorperated in Hong Kong, under the new superheroine alias: BlackBat. The change in locale and costume was previewed back in Red Robin, in which she was wearing a be-scarfed ninja outfit and stuff.

DC did say that this would be a good year for Cass, and considering her coming back in a non-evil role in Batman Inc., Red Robin again and in a main role in the upcoming Gates of Gotham series, that might be somewhat true.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Casstoons: Fifth Year Anniversary

2000 plus strips later, and we're still here! HA!

Casstoons: Five Years by ~EspanolBot on deviantART

Thanks for the support guys! :D


And our Tv Tropes page, though it could probably use some updatin',

Friday, 6 May 2011

Aardman Animation to make movie The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists''

"Hugh Grant, starring in his first animated role, is the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain – a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It's a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they do battle with the pirate-hating Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a young Charles Darwin (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!"


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Clip of the new Futurama episode airing new month!

...Oh no, the writers have been looking up fetish art of their show again!

See the clip here,

Republican to Neil Gaiman: You are a little pencil-necked weasel!

From here,

"Although the national spotlight is no longer on the controversial budget battle in Minnesota, the political climate remains heated.

As evidence, look no further than this Star-Tribune report about efforts by House Republicans to force arts and culture groups like Minnesota Public Radio — no surprise — and the Minnesota Zoo to compete for grants rather than receive special appropriations from the state’s Legacy Fund, which is generated through sales and use tax

Explaining why the state funding for the arts is undergoing scrutiny, House Majority Leader Matt Dean singled out $45,000 in Legacy money paid to author and comics writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour appearance at a Stillwater public library in May 2010.

Dean is quoted as saying that Gaiman, “who I hate,” was a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”

The author responded to the remarks this morning on Twitter, writing, “Sad & funny. Minnesota Republicans have a ‘hate’ list. Like Nixon did. I’m on it. They also don’t like capitalism. [...] Any nice, sane Minnesota Republicans reading this, please vote for someone who isn’t a bully with a hate list next time.”

It’s certainly not the first time Gaiman’s Stillwater appearance raised eyebrows, but Dean is being awfully personal (to say nothing of hyperbolic).

The author first addressed questions about his fee last May, conceding that he’s, “Not just a bit pricy. Really expensive.”

“The main reason I got a speaking agency, ten years ago, was because too many requests for me to come and speak were coming in,” Gaiman continued. “And the speaking requests were, and are, a distraction from what I ought to be doing, which is writing. So rather than say no, we’ve always priced me high. Not Tony Blair high, or Sarah Palin high (last time I read about them, they’re about $400,000 and $150,000 respectively). But I’m at the top end of what it costs to bring an author who should be home writing and does not really want a second career as a public speaker to your event. So if you want to pay me to come in and talk, it’s expensive.”

He went on to recount that the money was earmarked “to bring authors to suburban libraries who otherwise wouldn’t be able to bring them in,” and that, if unused, could not be carried over the following year. With that in mind, he accepted the engagement then donated his fee (minus agent commissions) to two charities."

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Marvel vs. DC: Thor and Green Lantern

Final Green Lantern Movie Trailer and a Seven Second Preview of the new GL Cartoon

And the cartoon, which is a project by the Great Bruce Timm, haven't THAT much about it, other than it's CG and will involve at least some of the other Lanterns from Geoff Johns' Crayonbox Corps Saga.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Movies I've Seen: Husk

Scarecrows, are they ever not scary? ...Well obviously not in (most) Wizard of Oz settings, but elsewhere they at least create a sense of unease, which hasn't really been THAT exploited in movies. At least not to the same extent as clowns and janitors.

It is in this niche that we find 'Husk', the tale of five twenty somethings that are out driving through a seemingly endless series of cornfields, where they end up crashing their car into a ditch after a murder of crows (hurr hurr) collides with their car's windscreen.

Having never seen Children of the Corn, not even the one with that chick from Californication in it, they all wander blindly into the cornfield were they find themselves preyed upon by the bag-headed beasties within.

Eh, it's a pretty good monster/slasher flick. The scarecrow designs and methods were pretty cool, and it's good to see a supernatural horror film these days that appears to have had some effort put into it.

The characters though, aren't exactly the deepest, and unlike in other movies that keep the characters around for so long and makes them so unappealing that you're wanting to have them killed off, like in Cloverfield, Husk seems to have the opposite problem.

Namely, they all get attacked so damn fast that there isn't really any character arc with them, and they stumble about until the last ten or fifteen minutes before actually trying to piece things together.

This movie is, in all, good for a watch, though it isn't really going to be up there with the better ones of the genre.

Movies I've Seen: How to Train Your Dragon

Finally got around to watching How to Train Your Dragon. Mostly because it was on sale for £8.

Anyways, it was recommended in a lot of places, and since I enjoyed Megamina and Monsters vs. Aliens I thought that I'd give it a shot.

The movie, for those who don't know, is about an island of Vikings who have to fight off regular attacks by dragons, who steal their food and burn down their houses. Being vikings, a large part their lives is taken but by being as macho as possible and on the island dragon-killing equals manliness (even for the women)!

The protagonist of the show is Hiccup, the son of the chief Stoic, played by Gerard Butler, who is shunned by the majority of the island for being a weedy little guy who is better at building things than killing stuff.

One day, Hiccup comes across a dragon with a busted tailfin, and after taming it, he manages to build it a prosthetic fin and uses it to fly about the place.

The story, admittedly, is kind of lightweight compared to AvsM or Megamind, but the voiceacting and the animation makes it hold together really well. I thought that it was an amusing touch that Hiccup spoke with... a Minnesotan or Wisconsin(?) accent, an accent at has at least some influence from the Scandinavian folk that immigrated there. Weird that all of the other adults spoke with Scots accents though (probably why they shunned him so).

All in all, an interesting movie to see, if only for the flying scenes, which were SO GOOD!!! Better than Avatar's (the fake one with the Smurfs).

Movies I've Seen: Thor

Was actually a lot of fun, with their depiction of the Norse Gods seemingly coming from the same place as Grant Morrison's version of the New Gods from Final Crisis (unsuprising, their both Kirby inventions). That is to say, rather than being aliens with things that are recognisable as ray guns and the like, the Asgardians are the literal embodiment of Clarke's Law.

The references to other parts of the Marvel Movie Universe weren't TOO distracting, the villain was well done and Chris Helmsworth did a really good job at being a boisterous prick as well as a more humble version of himself later in the movie.

I was also pleased that pretty much everyone that had a speaking role has a fair bit to do, and even characters that you'd expect to be relegated to just being a cameo had a fair bit of character growth and stuff.

Dr. Erik Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgard, for example, goes a bit further than being "token mentor/European scientist who grew up with the stories of Thor and etc".

Natalie Portman put in yet another fun performance as a smart leading lady, who kind of acts in a similar manner to Pepper Potts over in the Iron Man movie.

And Heimdall, Idris Elba, was all kinds of awesome. So screw you, racist people who complained about him getting the part because he was black!

Don't forget to stay until the post-credit clip, as well as their being people called Withamage and Stonebreaker (or something similar, a weirdly dwarfy name it was to do with stones), it also pretty much sets up the Avengers movie.

In all, a fun watch and suprisingly well put together movie for someone who I don't think has done that much action, science fiction or fantasy (in a directing capacity, I'm aware he was in Wild Wild West and Harry Potter),

Go See!

Thor Usher Parody Song

Actually saw Thor yesterday, thought that it was suprisingly well made. Will do a proper actual review later on though.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Torchwood preview (also more Doctor Who and Luther)

Here's a preview for some of the upcoming BBC dramas that are on the way this spring, including a little more Doctor Who; Exile, a series in which John Simm plays a disgraced journalist who comes home to look after his Alzheimer's suffering father (played by Jim Broadbent); Luther, a detective show starring Idris Elba as a policeman in London's (fictional) Serious Crimes Unit; and the new Torchwood mini, in which Gwen Cooper objects to the idea that everyone in the UK is English.

SFDebris: One