Sunday, August 25, 2013

TFAW & dcbservice team up for CBLDF‏

From the Press Release:
Discount Comic Book Service and Things From Another World are proud to announce that they are joining the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund as corporate members--the first comic book retailers to do so since the CBLDF's inception in 1986. In addition to this landmark show of support, these retail powerhouses will be launching ongoing fundraising efforts by offering a series of exclusive variants, with a portion of the proceeds going to the CBLDF.

About Discount Comic Book Service:
Founded in 1999, Discount Comic Book Service is a premier retailer of all comic and comic related items, offering incredible discounts along with amazing customer service. The brick and mortar store is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana and online at In addition, DCBS’ sister sites offer discounted trade paperbacks and hardcovers at and digital content at

About the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals.

I’m a regular customer of dcbservice online, putting an order in every month since 2002 and I’m excited that they’ll have exclusive covers and that, as a customer, I’ll also be helping the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They do good work and, in addition to getting their limited covers, you should become a card carrying member 

Ben Affleck as Batman

“Affleck'll crush it. He's got the chops, he's got the chin -- just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe -- I'm in.” Joss Whedon via Twitter 8/23/2013

The internet almost shattered in half last week with the news that Ben Affleck was cast as the new Batman for the upcoming Superman / Batman film. There was even a petition filed on the White House website asking the Obama administration to ban the casting (which is clever and borderline illegal – the White House has taken it down because it violates their terms of participation.

I’m excited that Ben Affleck has been cast for two reasons:

1) I’m a huge fan
2) Kevin Smith, his good friend, has a blog that I listen to, “Fat Man on Batman” and there’s no doubt Ben Affleck will be a guest on it.

As for whether or not the movie will be good – if it isn’t, I guarantee it won’t be because Ben Affleck is in it.

Star Wars Black 6” Figures: How Do They Stack Up?

I don’t get many Star Wars figures. I started getting them with the Vintage ones came out to celebrate the anniversary of The Empire Strikes back (triggered by my purchase of the Vintage AT-AT). I have at least one version of all the main cast but I’m not what anyone would consider a collector - unless we’re talking about R2-D2.

I’ve been collecting R2-D2 figures for over 20 years and Star Wars Black’s first Wave has R2-D2 in a size I don’t have! I don’t know if it was that R2-D2 or the fact that the 6” figures looked hyper-detailed but I ordered the first wave.

I love the new 6” figures - I might be collecting these from now on (I've already preordered Wave 2). I’ve take a few pix of the new R2-D2 and Sandtrooper figures with their 3.75” counterparts.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kevin Maguire fired off the upcoming Justice League 3000 #1

At the end of July, I identified Justice League 3000 #1 as a book I was really looking forward to getting in October. I already ordered it from Then I found out from the good folks at thegothamrogue that Kevin Maguire was replaced by Howard Porter.

While Howard Porter is a great artist, I was looking forward to the legacy team of Keith Giffen, Kevin Maguire, and J.M. DeMatteis. They brought the action and the funny to Justice League and Formerly Known as the Justice League. I’m a huge fan of the team and would have purchased a phonebook they’d all collaborated on.

It’s reported that Justice League 3000 #1 is going for a darker tone which makes the creative team puzzling. Believe me, DC Comics, you put the best team on the book and it would have paid dividends. I’m still going to get it with Howard Porter on it (as I mentioned, it’s already ordered) but I’m only going to give it 2 issues to make an impression before I cut it from the subscription list. The industry could use a lighthearted, fun book, not another grim and gritty snoozefest.

The good news is that as soon as Maguire got on twitter to let people know he was fired, Brian Michael Bendis offered him Guardians of the Galaxy. Brian Michael Bendis is writing it, they’ve added Angela to the mix, and now I have Kevin Maguire’s art to look forward to? Guardians of the Galaxy is quickly becoming an event-title. DC’s loss is Marvel’s gain. With Guardians of the Galaxy set to explode into theatres, Guardians of the Galaxy could be a top ten book soon.

Lee Thompson Young RIP

Although I don’t go all the way back to The Famous Jett Jackson, I’m a fan of Lee Thompson Young’s. While I’m not a "Rizzoli & Isles" watcher, it’s on the list of TV shows I want to try. So I haven’t seen the first or last thing he did but I felt his impact on two of my favorite shows: Smallville and Scrubs.

On Scrubs, he played Derek Hill, the honest intern who, when pushed, tells everyone exactly what he thinks of them. Although he only appears three times, his appearances were memorable and welcome. And, thanks to the magic of reruns, I’ve probably seen his episodes at least 5 times.

On Smallville, he was Victor Stone, a.k.a. Cyborg. When I’d fled the Smallville show (every episode ended with Clark and Lana in the barn while she talked about how he was keeping secrets and they couldn’t be together), it was the introduction of heroes like Cyborg that brought me back. Justice continues to be my favorite episode where Cyborg teams with the rest of the Justice League (though they’re never called that in the episode).

I don’t know why he committed suicide and I can’t know what he was feeling. I wish he’d reached out and gotten help. I’m going to miss him whenever I see the things he’s done. Rest in peace, Lee Thompson Young.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Avengers Grab Zags Surprise

Today I spotted full boxes of Avengers Grab Zags at Toys ‘R Us. They’re blowing them out for $20 a box. It says on the box that there are 100+ toys and that the box contains 24 blind packs inside. I decided to take a chance and purchased a box.

When I got them home and opened them up, I was shocked to not only find that the checklist only had 24 toys on it but that I had all 24 of the toys. Sure, I didn’t find the ultra-rare Captain America, but I have a complete set of the Avengers Grab Zags. I don’t know if this is typical but it seems unlikely that I found the only complete set in the store.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What's awesome in the August 2013 issue of Previews

There are a lot of great things to order this month and I’m going to give you a run down of my favorites.

Nightwing Annual #1
By: Kyle Higgins, Jason Masters, Tony S. Daniel
DESCRIPTION: Robin and Batgirl grew up fighting side by side...but with Dick Grayson about to embark on a new crimefighting quest and Barbara Gordon no longer fighting under the Bat, is there anything left between them? Following the 'Batgirl: Wanted' epic, this is the story of a twosome with nothing left to lose, fighting for the only thing they can: each other!

What is the story with the New 52’s Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon? Did they have a relationship like they did in the original universe? I like Dick and Barbara stories and this promises to give a look back two of DC’s most popular Bat Family members.

Justice League 3000 #1
By: Keith Giffen, Kevin Maguire, J.M. DeMatteis
DESCRIPTION: Don't miss the debut of the new series starring the heroes of today-tomorrow! But what are they doing in the year 3000? And who (or what) brought them there? Get ready for a double dose of wonder as only the stellar creative team of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire can deliver!

I’m not big on the future stories (except for Legion of Superheroes stories) but this has the same creative team as the Justice League of America title from the 80’s and they’re a fantastic team. With the team they have, this title promises not to be another ‘the future is so dark, what went wrong’ kind of titles.

Superman Wonder Woman #1
By: Charles Soule, Tony S. Daniel
DESCRIPTION: Beginning a bold new series that details the relationship between The Man of Steel and the Warrior Princess as rising star writer Charles Soule is joined by fan favorite artist Tony S. Daniel to tell the tale of a romance that will shake the stars themselves. These two super-beings love each other, but not everyone shares their joy. Some fear it, some test it-and some will try to kill for it. Some say love is a battlefield, but where Superman and Wonder Woman are concerned it spells Doomsday! This issue features an amazing wraparound gatefold cover that opens up to a triptych with Superman and Wonder Woman in the center!

One of the best things about the New 52 is the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship. It’s never been explored and I’m excited to see where it goes. It’s a historic relationship and one that fans will be talking about 10 years down the road.

Savage Dragon #193
By: Erik Larsen
DESCRIPTION: A NEW BEGINNING! It's the ultimate jumping on point for new readers and a bold new beginning as Malcolm Dragon takes over the title role from his famous father. Malcolm Dragon is not your typical teenager. He lives in an apartment by himself in downtown Chicago, he's a junior who's just transferred to a new high school, and he's trying his best to fill the shoes of his father, the Savage Dragon, fighting the forces of evil in the Windy City! New dangers! New adventures! Get in on the ground level of a whole new SAVAGE DRAGON!

Erik Larsen has been writing Savage Dragon since the early 90’s and last month’s #192 was solicited as the death of the Savage Dragon. Now, with the son taking over, it’ll be interesting to sample a title that I haven’t read regularly in at least a decade. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start getting the title again.

Superior Spider-Man #20
By: Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman
DESCRIPTION: From the fallout of NECESSARY EVIL, comes new beginnings and new twists that will be felt in the pages of Spider-Man for years to come! SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #20 is where it all starts! Do NOT miss this one! It's the first ever adventure for the Superior Spider-Man and the Black Cat. Felicia Hardy always cared for the Spider more than the man. But what happens when that man is Otto Octavius? Plus: A day Otto has been waiting for is finally here. Is the world ready for 'Dr. Peter Parker'... and what he plans to do next?

I remember hating the idea of Doc Ock being in Peter Parker’s body but look what he’s done: 1) created surveillance robots to seek out crime – no more patrolling, 2) ended the Mary Jane merry-go-round, and 3) Peter Parker, PHD. Black Cat’s always like a bad boy and they don’t come any badder than the current Peter Parker.

X-Men TPB Vol. 01 Primer
By: Brian Wood, Olivier Coipel
DESCRIPTION: Because you demanded it! The X-Women get their own book, from critically acclaimed superstars Brian Wood (X-MEN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, DMZ, The Massive) and Olivier Coipel (AVX, HOUSE OF M, THOR)! An old enemy shows up at the X-Men's door, seeking asylum from an ancient evil. John Sublime is back, but he's not who we should be afraid of! Who or what is Arkea? Meanwhile, Jubilee returns home - with an orphaned baby who might hold the key to Earth's survival - or its destruction! Against a backdrop of what seems like an alien invasion and an eons-spanning war between brother and sister, Storm puts together a team to protect the child and stop a new threat that could destroy all life on the planet! Plus: Jubilee's classic first appearance! Collecting X-MEN (2013) #1-4 and UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #244.

What’s up with Jubilee and the baby? The first two issues of the all-female series were really good and I’m looking forward to reading the first collected volume. 

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection TPB Cosmic Adventures
By: David Michelinie, Gerry Conway, Stan Lee, Colleen Doran, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Sal Buscema, Alex Saviuk, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, and more
DESCRIPTION: With great power comes great responsibility, but what happens with unlimited cosmic power? When a science experiment goes wrong, Peter Parker's spider-powers are enhanced to an unbelievable degree! And the timing can't be beat - because with a cabal of deadly villains unleashing unpredictable attacks on Marvel's heroes, Spider-Man will need all his newfound might just to survive! But who or what is the real force behind Spidey's cosmic empowerment? And what battle is he destined to fight? Plus: Spider-Man teams up with the Punisher, deals with the return of Venom and battles the shrunken Psycho-Man in a totally tiny adventure! Guest-starring the Hulk, Magneto, Dr. Doom, the Frightful Four and more! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #326-333 and ANNUAL #24, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #158-160 and ANNUAL #10, and WEB OF SPIDER-MAN (1985) #59-61 and ANNUAL #6.

One of my favorites from back in the day, Spidey gained cosmic powers during the Marvel-wide Acts of Vengeance in which villains went after heroes who never usually faced them. The different villains who came after Spidey included Magneto, a Tri-Sentinel, and the Hulk but he was equipped with cosmic powers so the result was often hilarious.

Super! #2
By: Zack Dolan, Justin Piatt
DESCRIPTION: You'll be blinded by science, swoon over the complete roster of the People's Champions, and be swept away by Baron Blizzard and his evil hockey warriors! Hold onto your butts!

This is one I’m sentimental about. I supported Super!’s Kickstarter campaign and the first issue was really good. I’m looking forward to seeing where and how far this title goes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Not Comic Con but Comic Con-like

People at work know me as the ‘comic book guy’ so it shocks them that I’m not going to Comic Con this year. I explain that I didn’t try to get tickets and that I didn’t want to go. Then people all ask me the question why.

Despite that opening paragraph, this isn’t a negative post. I’m glad so many have discovered the sheer and unadulterated awesomeness that is Comic Con. I’ve gotten tons of sketches, autographs, sat in endless panels, talked to hundreds of celebrities, and gotten my picture with Stan ‘The Man’ Lee more than once. The things I want now are Hasbro exclusive toys and that’s it. But instead of paying for tickets and parking and food for 4+ days and spending 6+ hours for those toys, I pre-purchase the toys on eBay and save a ton of money even with the generous speculator mark-up.

I envy the hardcore fan who camps out overnight for Joss Whedon but that’s not me anymore. The people who spend all of that time in a line deserve the good seats in Hall H, the 4 day pass with preview night, autographs from the Big Bang Theory cast, and all of the exclusive toys and swag they can carry. When I was willing to stand in the lines, I deserved it too.

I’ve found the activities around Comic Con to be less hectic and more satisfying. While I won’t be going to Comic Con, here is a list of what I’ll be up to at the show.

Wednesday, July 17 @ 8pm Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em Improv
Friday, July 19 @ 7:30pm Veronica Mars fan event (I’m going as a Kickstarter VIP)
Saturday, July 20 I’ll be downtown from about 12pm on. There is a 2pm Felicia Day signing at Geek & Sundry (in the Jolt’n Joes building), and @ 7pm I have tickets for the Thrilling Adventure Hour with a signing after the show

Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Back in the Day" Review: Daredevil #196

Back in the Day: Daredevil #196 (July 1983) by Denny O'Neil & Klaus Janson

Thirty years ago this gem was released which tells the story of how Daredevil met Wolverine for the first time. Instead of initially fighting like most team-ups, the two are aware of each other and mostly get along. Of course it’s Wolverine from 30 years ago so he spends the issue pushing buttons while the Daredevil from 30 years ago spends the issue judging him for being too violent.

The issue starts in the hospital Bullseye is in (his spine is broken). Wolverine is there, acting on a tip from Tarkington Brown that the people who laced his skeleton with adamantium are looking to do the same with Bullseye, when there is an attack and during the confusion, Wolverine inhales knockout gas and is shot. When he wakes up, Daredevil is on the scene and the two quickly decide to team-up to locate Bullseye.

Along the way there’s disagreement about how violent Wolverine is but, to his credit, Wolverine manages to either brush the comments off with a joke or to imply that Daredevil is too soft. Daredevil never lectures and Wolverine doesn’t try to punch him – which was unusual for both each character back then. I loved it because they mostly got along and because it was Daredevil and Wolverine in one issue.

I never could resist a superhero team-up and back then Wolverine didn’t have his own title or routinely appear in 10 titles a month. This issue isn’t the greatest example of Daredevil’s greatness (it was just a few issue past Frank Miller’s brilliant run on the title) but a great classic team-up. I don’t know when Wolverine learned Daredevil’s secret identity but now you know when they first met.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Movies So Far: Fast & Furious 6, Now You See Me, and Man of Steel

The Summer movie season is off to a great start. The first five movies I saw, Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Now You See Me, and Man of Steel were great films. I don’t think the summer has ever started this strong. I’m going to review three of the movies I’ve seen so far.

Fast & Furious 6

I know it’s been out for 3 weeks but it has been the number one movie two weeks in a row so…better late than never.

As a big fan of the franchise, I had certain expectations the latest installment: all the cast reunited, bigger stunts, and fun dialogue between the team. I wasn’t disappointed.

This film reunites the team from Fast Five (Dom, Brian, Han, Gisele, Tej, Roman, and Mia), brings back Letty, and Hobbs is back with his new partner Riley (played by Gina Carano). Dom has retired to Spain where he and Elena are living together when Hobbs shows up to drop the bombshell that Letty is still alive. I’m not going to recap the entire movie but here are the things I like.

Despite the fact that the team is scattered across the globe they are all quick to respond to Dom’s call to arms and reunite in London. There are several mentions of the film about Dom’s team being family and throughout the film that’s exactly how it feels. There’s a lot of great dialogue between the team that helps reinforce that feeling of family.

I really love to the neat and tidy ending in this one. Dom and Mia are back in the house they shared in the first film. Dom is with Letty again and there’s a nice scene between him, Letty, and Elena. That scene establishes that there are no hard feelings and that the two women get along. And, as Elena was in the previous film, she’s partnered back up (permanently it appears) with Hobbs.

All this plus we get the tragic death of Gisele triggers Han to return to Tokyo where he is killed (they play his death scene from movie number three) and reveal who killed him (and the villain in the next film), Jason Staitham.

I know there are a lot of imperfections in these films but I still like these characters so much and I can’t wait for the seventh film.

Now You See Me

I had been looking forward to this movie for months since I saw the trailer. I love a good heist movie with an engaging group of criminals who pull off the impossible against all odd – movies like Tower Heist, The Italian Job, and Ocean’s 11. A good heist movie does seem like magic since you always see scenes that explain what the team did after they get a hold of their target.

Now You See Me is a cat and mouse game between The Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco), Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and his fellow FBI Agents, and Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) a magician trying to expose how The Four Horsemen do their tricks. I’ve been a big fan of Dave Franco’s since Scrubs and Isla Fisher is in my all-time favorite movie (let the speculation begin). Of course the rest of the cast is amazing and does a great job on the film The Four Horsemen’s on-screen chemistry is a lot of fun while Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine get a chance to do some really nice bantering, bragging, and scheming.

NOW YOU SEE ME pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen", a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists. "The Four Horsemen" pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.

I don’t know what the end meant when The Four Horsemen got onto the carousel at the end – I’m going to have to see it again to see what happened. There’s a part where Dave Franco jumps around and kind of kicks Mark Ruffalo’s ass – funny and unique scene. Overall, I had a great time (I was on a 2nd date so that couldn’t have hurt) and I hope you’ll go see it.

Man of Steel

With a cast like Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Christopher Meloni, Kevin Costner, and Laurence Fishburne (not to mention the numerous Whedonverse alumni, BSG alumni, and even a guy from one of my favorite shows, Flashpoint), your movie had better not suck – and this movie doesn’t.

I’ve seen it twice now and am floored by the story which so effectively introduces Clark and his supporting cast while giving us flashbacks to the things that shaped him as the boy who would one day become Superman. The action is big, the scenes between Clark and the people he loves (or one day will) are gripping, heart-wrenching, and incredibly satisfying.

I’ve heard the critics complain that this Superman is too angsty. This is Superman for 2013, a Superman that has had things happen to him that some can relate to (bullying) and things that are completely unique to him as the only alien he’s aware of is himself. Just like Nolan did with Batman, Snyder grounds this version of Superman in reality and digs into his origin, childhood, and quest to find himself to make him a character we grow with and really care about. If you want Christopher Reeves’ interpretation of the character, you can purchase it on

I’ve also heard the complaints about him killing Zod. “Superman doesn’t kill!” you howl. Well this one did and instantly regretted it. Instead of a victory, Superman met with a failure that adds to his character. He’s not perfect but he sincerely tries to do the right thing each and every time. In a comic book, it’s easy and convenient to write an ending where Superman doesn’t kill (or write him on a long, boring walk across America – I’m looking at you Straczynski) but in the real world, lines blur and it the right answer sometimes presents itself in retrospect.

The movie was everything the fans deserved and a complete departure from the bland Superman Returns film from a few years ago.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jimmy Fallon takes over the Tonight Show and Seth Meyers takes over Late Night

A few years ago, I was excited when Conan O’Brien took over The Tonight Show but, a few months later, Leno returned and Conan O’Brien was left without a show until TBS was smart enough to pick him up.

Now that Leno is the king of late night again (according to all the ratings), NBC is replacing him with Late Night host, Jimmy Fallon. The difference between Leno replacing O’Brien and Fallon replacing Leno is that the reports say Leno is behind the decision. Of course when he announced O’Brien was replacing him, Leno told us on his show, it was because he and his wife agreed that he would retire at a certain age so they could travel.

Jimmy Fallon, who took over for Conan O’Brien on Late Night is taking over the Tonight Show in 2014 and they’re building a new studio at 30 Rock (where SNL, Fallon and Meyers’ alma mater, is filmed) for him. Seth Meyers’ Late Night will also film in 30 Rock and premiere at the same time Fallon takes over the Tonight Show.

I have to say that I like Leno – but not more than I like Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon. I’m additionally excited because Lorne Michaels, who produces SNL, will be producing the Tonight Show and Late Night and all three shows will film in the same building. I’ve enjoyed Jimmy Fallon’s show and I’m looking forward to seeing what Seth Meyers brings to the table in 2014.
Fallon & Meyers (Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP)

HIMYM Season 8 finale: The Girl With the Yellow Umbrella finally revealed

Season after season, HIMYM has been one of the best sitcoms I’ve seen.

I haven’t watched this season because I always watch the entire season on DVD over a few days. Watching the season that way helps me remember key events. I think it was last season that began with the boys at Barney’s wedding and the season finale last year revealed that the bride was Robin. That season is a lot funnier and more moving when you see it in just a few days instead of letting it slowly unfold over several months.

So it’s with that in mind that I tell you, I couldn’t resist watching a youtube clip of the final moments of the season finale.

After all Ted has been through, with all of the foreshadowing and hint dropping, and that one time Ted saw her ankle, we finally get to see the mother and we get to see her before the main cast does. Honestly, just the 5 seconds we get to see her for was enough to make me cry.

I know that next season is the final season and I couldn’t be more excited to see it. This show could turn out to be the best sitcom I’ve ever seen.
 The Mother doesn't have a name but it's still great to have a face

Valkyrie, the last original Frag Doll retires

Valkyrie has announced that she’s been promoted within Ubisoft and is leaving the Frag Dolls. Over the years, she's the one I’ve talked to the most. As my favorite Frag Doll and fellow San Diego native, Valkyrie will be missed but not forgotten.

One year, I asked the girls if they’d draw stick figures of themselves and sign my sketchbook and this is what I got.
Calyber, Psyche, Mischief, Brookelyn, and Valkyrie

Goodbye, Valkyrie, and thanks for the memories. Your new job is lucky to have you.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

DC Entertainment: We Can Be Heroes – teaming up with to raise money for good cause

DC Entertainment has a campaign called “We Can Be Heroes” which focuses on hunger in the Horn of Africa. Late last year the campaign offered a “We Can Be Heroes” Justice League 7 pack action figure box set that I scooped up. Then I learned that the“We Can Be Heroes” campaign had teamed up with to raise money.

The campaign’s perks seems to focus on Batman. In fact, on the standard “We Can Be Heroes” Justice League logo, Batman is highlighted while the rest of the team is faded. This says to me that DC Entertainment will have upcoming campaigns featuring each member. I contributed $25 for the Batman/Superman #1“We Can Be Heroes” variant cover by Jim Lee.

If I’m right, I’m looking forward to more campaigns featuring each character. Ever since their relaunch, DC has been my favorite comic book company and I really enjoy the stories and this commitment to a worthy cause. It’s like the entire company has been reinvigorated and re-inspired since the relaunch - it’s like they are a brand-new company.

PS: I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the title of this article, but I’m a huge 3.75” action figure fan and can’t wait for the Injustice figures coming out this year.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Star Wars & Dark Horse Comics: going out on top

Ever since the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, I knew that the Star Wars license would go to Marvel Comics eventually. It makes sense; Disney also owns Marvel Comics. Back in, I think, December it was announced that the license would revert to Marvel either in 2014 or 2015 (I’m still not clear on that).

Then Dark Horse Comics went back to basics for their new Star Wars title by Brian Wood was announced – then I read it – and I couldn’t imagine a better book at another company. The new Star Wars series is fantastic and I can’t wait to get two years into it and reread them.

Dark Horse Comics announced this week, on April Fools’ Day no less, that they were publishing a book based on Lucas’ original screenplay for Star Wars. The series will be titled, “The Star Wars” because that was the title of the original screenplay and the first issue is scheduled to come out this September. As someone who’s seen those concept action figures that Hasbro put out a few years ago, I know the original script and the final script were very different and I’m excited to see what could have been.

According to NBC New York: “Written in 1974, the original draft of what ultimately became the epic franchise's first screenplay is quite a different adventure than the one from the galaxy far, far away that was immortalized on screen. Luke Skywalker is an older Jedi general, while charismatic smuggler Han Solo is a lizard-type alien. The story’s main protagonist is named Annikin Starkiller.”

I know that it makes good business sense to not license your property out and to create new stories in-house, but I’m good to miss Star Wars being done by Dark Horse Comics. There was a time when there was nothing new that was Star Wars – no action figures, no novels, nothing. Then came that first great Timothy Zahn novel, then a line of re-sculpted action figures (that were unrealistically buff but the fans were super excited because they hadn’t seen anything Star Wars in a long time), and then Star Wars re-exploded into pop culture. And Dark Horse Comics was in the mix publishing new stories and giving the fans something to look forward to every month.

As a fan, I just need to sit back and really enjoy the last few years of Dart Horse Comics’ books. And I have to keep in mind that Marvel Comics has access to a lot of great writers and artists who are probably chomping at the bit to get a hold of Star Wars and put their mark on it. Now that Episode 7 will be made and released in a few years, there’s a great opportunity to dig into the story of those characters and to keep creating new characters.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Neil Gaiman’s “Angela” Joins the Marvel Universe

A few days ago Marvel announced that Neil Gaiman’s character “Angela” would join the Marvel universe starting with an epilogue in Age of Ultron #10 before appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy #5.

I haven’t read Spawn in over a decade but I remember Angela fondly. She was a popular character. Hopefully Marvel has purchased Angela and isn’t just using her to generate short-term excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I love things like when Invincible appeared in a Marvel Team-Up issue, but if you’re going to do something significant with a character in continuity you want to have the ability to refer back to it.

But I’ll see how I feel about it more when Guardians of the Galaxy #5 comes out.

But wow, tough break for Todd McFarlane. It seems like ever since he started Spawn it’s been a tough road of lawsuits. That’s why am hoping that Marvel has purchased the rights to Angela and isn’t just borrowing them or licensing them from Neil Gaiman. McFarlane made that mistake once by making Rob Liefeld’s character, Chapel integral to Spawn’s origin. When Liefeld made an angry exit from Image Comics and a clean break from his friendship with McFarlane, McFarlane lost the ability to include Chapel in future stories.

I don’t want to rehash old history I just think it’s a poor idea to co-mingle characters in important events. If you want to have a crossover that’s fine but if Angela’s going to have any lasting impact in the Marvel Universe, Marvel needs access to the character beyond the event. As for the title, Spawn itself, I was a huge fan at one time and it might be time to revisit it. I did enjoy the first few issues of his new title, Haunt.

So for now, I welcome Angela to the Marvel Universe and hope that she stays for good.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cool Site:

Every so often there's a story that makes you do a double-take. I saw an article on MSN about a couple who glued about 60,000 pennies to their bedroom floor. I thought that was an awesome idea until I saw the result. Now I think it's a super awesome idea. The couple, Ryan and Emily, own the home and did the work together. Once done the sanded them down and put a clear coat on top to seal them in.

I imagine there are a lot of couples out there bonding on house projects together and this isn't any different. I used to enjoy getting together with the men in the family and building a fence or deck. I think that doing a project with someone I'm in a relationship with would be richly rewarding. The two of them not only covered the floor in pennies but they blog about it on They've even come up with a dictionary of terms related to their penny-gluing adventures.

For example:
Hot Damn Mess - the term used to describe when a section of freshly laid pennies are not lining up with previously glued pennies.

I know there are other people who have done this (a quick google search even has an entry on but go and visit their blog. Maybe it'll inspire a little out of the box thinking and, even if it doesn't, it's still inspiring on its own.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Casting JJ Abrams's “Star Wars 7”

Ever since JJ Abrams was announced as the director of Star Wars 7, the internet has been on fire. It's burning higher and hotter than the wave of excitement that existed when Episode 1 was announced. I understand the excitement. JJ Abrams is an amazing writer and director and has a great sense of what makes a great story. He is surrounded by talented writers and producers who he frequently collaborates. I hear Michael Arndt is writing the story which is great because it will be a different flavor from the stories written by his team on Star Trek.

Back in October, before the official cast for SHIELD was introduced, I submitted my choices for the actors who should portray the available parts. The roles went to Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Ming-Na, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Iain De Caestecker.

With the actors I chose still being awesome and all, I thought I would give them a second chance and cast the new Star Wars film with them. Of course I have no idea what the characters names are, the time period it's happening in, or...anything else. I'm just going to create the characters and say who should play that character. I'll leave it up to smarter (much, much smarter) people like JJ Abrams to come up with the particulars.

If JJ Abrams is reading this: Thank you for coming to Comic Con and signing my Alias photo - you rock! Oh...and you're welcome for the inspiration.

Hantii (pronounced HAN-tee): Genevieve Padalecki plays Hantii, a young girl running from a network of organized crime. Her nascent ability to use the Force - to know if someone is lying - is perceived as invaluable to an organization that deals with the scum of the universe every day. Hantii just wants to lead a moral life away from the influence of cruel men and strikes a deal with Nitrun, a bounty hunter, to smuggle her off-world. The bad guys figure out what has happened and put a contract out on both of them. Fortunately Nitrun knows a Jedi elder who loves a good challenge.

Clen (pronounced kl-EHN): Michael Kenneth Williams plays Clen, a Jedi elder sent out into the universe to recruit others strong in the force. A happy, gentle man, Clen has a way of seeing everything in a positive light. He doesn't believe in failure - he believes every hardships is an opportunity. When he meets Hantii, Clen realizes that he has an opportunity to protect her, teach her, and end the constant threat of reprisal from those she escaped from. And Hantii is strong with the Force. Clen will teach Hantii survival, combat skills, and, most importantly, how to build and use a lightsaber.

Nitrun (pronounced NITE-run): Paula Garces plays Nitrun, a fearsome bounty hunter. Because she uses her beauty to get in closer to her subjects (behind her Maldalorian armor, no one knows what she looks like) to capture or kill them. Despite what she does, she doesn't take contracts on people she feels have integrity. When she runs across our heroes, she's rough around the edges but willing to help...for a price. A wealthy woman, Nitrun doesn't do the job for money but to mete out her own form of justice after the death of her parents at the hands of a corrupt politician's security forces.

Amun (pronounced A-moon): Gina Carano plays Amun, a bar owner who also trains the small city's elite guards in combat. A survivor of many battles including the one that wrested her city away from the same corrupt politicians who engineered the deaths of Nitrun's parents, she's ready to fight at any moment. And, while she employs bouncers, Amun doesn't mind throwing the odd customer out personally. One of Clen's dearest friends, she allows him access to the city's training facilities when he needs them for training and allows him, Hantii, and Nitrun to hide in the bar's basement.

Lance Skywalker: Craig Horner plays Lance Skywalker, a descendent of (yup, you guessed it) Anakin Skywalker (you thought I was going to say Luke, didn't you?). As a Skywalker, he's inherited three things, R2-D2 & C-3PO and the Force. While hunting down the source of illegal slave trading in another system, he's contacted by Clen to let him know he has a source, Hantii, who can give Lance the ins and outs of the entire operation because she was a slave. While, Clen, Nitrun, and Amun keep Hantii safe, Lance works to dismantle the operation - lightsaber battles ensue!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Star Wars #1

Star Wars #1 by Brian Wood, Carlos D’anda, and Gabe Eltaeb

The Rebel Alliance has scored a victory against the Empire but they’re still outnumbered and on the run. Desperate for a new place to put a base, the Rebels scour the system for any place that will be hospitable or inhabitable which isn’t easy with the Empire’s superior numbers combing the galaxy for them. When Leia, Luke, and Wedge are ambushed while searching for a place to put a base, Mon Mothma senses a spy and gives Leia a black ops command whose mission is simple: Find a new home for a base or find the spy.

GOOD: This story is set right after the destruction of the first Death Star. The characters are pretty well written (some moments feel wrong or a little manufactured but in the actual movies the characters acted a bit off from film to film). Still, the interactions between the characters makes me imagine that it really happened and setting it after the first film makes it feel like cannon. When Princess Leia blasts a Tie Fighter pilot then blasts him two more times when he’s down it shows a different side of her. She was always tough in the movies and willing to shoot back but she assassinated the pilot without saying a word – no asking for surrender, no words of anger – it’s a ruthlessness that makes sense for the character but is shocking to see on the page.

And D’anda’s rendering of Darth Vader is about the most badass rendering everywhere. There’s a panel where he’s striding toward the reader and his head is down a bit so it looks like the eyes are glaring more than usual. You can see the bulk in his arms and legs that tell you that even if he didn’t have a lightsaber, he’d choke you out MMA-style.

The yellow narration boxes serve to remind you (as if you’ve forgotten) what the Rebels are up against and what the characters are feeling. Long gone is the day of thought bubbles so the narration is a great way to add context to what’s going on and information on what the current mission is.

I don’t know if anyone caught it, but on the first page Luke holds up three fingers and Leia, understanding what he’s asking, switches to communication channel 3 letting the reader know that they’re involved in a private conversation. It’s an excellent little detail and one that Wood uses brilliantly.

BAD: This is a case of good news / bad news. The good news is that Dark Horse Comics has done it again with a fantastic new title. The bad news is that since Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel Comics, they can hand the property back over to Marvel Comics.

CONCLUSION: Like I said, Dark Horse Comics has done it again. Welcome back, Original Cast! You have been missed. Now if we can get new action figures…

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quick Reviews: The Superior Spider-Man #1, Avenging Spider-Man #16, and Daredevil #22

The Superior Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, and Edgar Delgado

Dan Slott is the most hated comic book creator on the Internet. Amazing Spider-Man #700 marked the death of Peter Parker as Doctor Octopus took over his life. And while this change isn’t permanent, it is interesting. And as we learn by the end of the first issue, a part Peter Parker lives on, tempering the actions of this new Superior Spider-Man.

The title is Superior Spider-Man because Otto’s convinced he can be a better hero then Peter Parker ever was. As far as Otto was concerned, he’s the perfect amalgamation of brilliance with all of Peter Parker’s abilities, resources, and youth. But Otto is still Otto, an arrogant, selfish, and self-involved maniac. The few things he does that are out of character for him in this issue turn out to be Peter Parker’s influence.

Maybe Otto’s journey will be a little more subtle, a little more slow getting there. It’s not unreasonable as Dan Slott has already spent a few years on the Spider-Man title. Chances are if Marvel took this kind of chancing killing off Peter Parker that there are some long-term benefit in the form of a big story arc pay off. Dan Slott and Marvel probably already know how they’re going to bring Peter Parker back. And chances are Peter Parker will be back right around the time the next Amazing Spider-Man movie is released.

The courting of Mary Jane really creeps me out. If they sleep together thinking that he’s Peter Parker would net be some form of rape? Otto is a jerk who is treating everyone in Peter Parker circle badly – which will be part of the fun of Peter Parker coming back seeing him repair these relationships. But the Mary Jane thing really creeps me out. And I find it hard to believe that she doesn’t feel the personality shift – she’s been with Peter when he’s been replaced taken over or under the influence of something. For that matter it seems like his entire supporting cast thinks his new attitude is okay. But that bothered me back in Amazing Spider-Man #698 when he was surrounded by the Avengers and seem glib about Otto dying.

Avenging Spider-Man #16 by Christopher Yost, Paco Medina, and Juan Vlasco

Despite my misgivings about the Superior title, I thought this story was pretty good. I love a good team up and Christopher Yost doesn’t disappoint. For that matter, neither does the art team. When a rampaging giant spider threatens New York City, it’s Spider-Man to the rescue. But when the X-Men get involved, Wolverine smells of body switch (and Wolverine has plenty of experience in being mind controlled).

Wolverine’s always been a jerk to Peter so when Otto decides to hand him his ass, it’s hilarious. But when Wolverine seems to get the upper hand and tells Rachel Grey, a skilled telepath, to scan him, Otto explains his actions: “you can’t tell me you’ve never thought about beating up Wolverine.” The team agrees and Otto is spared a brain scan and is able to maintain his cover.

Daredevil #22 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Daredevil (who is very familiar with being possessed) encounters the new Superior Spider-Man. And while Spider-Man’s behavior seems odd to him, especially because he’s forcing a fight between the two of them, his heartbeat, sent, and footfall all read normal. So the pair team up to take on an improved Stilt-Man who is using Otto’s tentacles for his arms.

Mark Waid puts the new Spider-Man through some paces but I don’t know why he was sent to catch Daredevil - that part wasn’t really clear and I’ve read all the recent titles. I also don’t know about the fight with Foggy so the pair of them making up didn’t have any impact on me. For a title is critically acclaimed as Daredevil, they should have a better artist on the title – Samnee’s artwork is better suited to an independent title than a mainstream one.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My favorite things in 2012

As I begin a new year I want to take a quick look back at some of the things I enjoyed last year.



Chase’s psychic connection to Old Lace is active but the team saw her die. The Runaways’ search for Old Lace takes them to Avengers Academy and to another dimension. But if Henry Pym and Tigra have their way, the juveniles of the group will be taken away to be raised somewhere safe.

While the story might first appear pretty standard, when Henry and Tigra argue with the team about taking Molly & Klara away, Reptil suggests Nico use magic to make everyone there understand everyone else’s point of view. This leads to the last 10 pages of #28 packing a lot of emotional impact and giving each team a deep connection one another. And I love that Old Lace is back – she’s all Chase had to remember Gertrude by. It’s a great story and one all Runaways fans should read.


I’m a huge fan of the series. The library editions are a great way to reread the series.


Another great year for the series which keeps me guessing, entertained, and very, very happy.


From Tim Seeley & Mike Norton, Revival is one of Image’s best new books. It's about a small town, Rothschild, Wisconsin, where the dead come back to life - but not as zombies - as normal people. The town is sealed off by the government and the CDC is testing human and 'reviver' alike for an answer. The government suspects that some of the townspeople are carrying something in them that will let them come back to life. That sounds good on paper but their fear is that people won't die and that will lead to overcrowding and sparse resources. It might be as good as Tim Seeley’s other title, Hack / Slash - we’ll see.


Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto are wanted by the government and gathering new mutants. The X-Men are faced with increased government scrutiny but can’t go after them for fear of creating a mutant civil war. Beast decides to bring the original team back through time to talk sense into Scott. The original team’s arrival rips open old wounds while exposing the original team to a future they were working hard to prevent.

No one but Brian Michael Bendis could have told this story and it’s the only thing I read more eagerly than Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith. Having the original X-Men in the current title doesn’t just challenge those characters but, as a reader, it forced me to think about everything the characters have been through. The chaos is entertaining and bittersweet to watch. It’s easily one of the best titles Marvel has put out in years.


Avengers Assemble is one of Marvel’s best books on the stands. It’s a fun, simple book that doesn’t get weighed down by continuity (mostly because it seems to ignore it). The writers have found a way to use the movie version of the team’s lineup without making it seem like a movie tie-in.


On Earth 2, Darkseid is about to conquer when Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman make one last ditch effort to turn the tide. It will require a large fight, an uploaded virus, and the sacrifice of all three of Earth's greatest heroes. But from their ashes, a new superhero group will rise up to protect the Earth - The Justice Society.

James Robinson is one of the most underrated writers in comics. His books are consistently fantastic and he's the definitive Justice Society writer (or at least the one I'm most familiar with having read his run). Nicola Scott's art is equally fantastic and the fight scenes look gorgeous.


Power Girl and Huntress were Earth 2's Supergirl and Robin. But when they become stranded on our world, they carve out a place for themselves which include new identities.

This is easily one of my favorite reboots. Both characters are comparable to their original DCU counterparts but their back stories now include each other. In the original DCU, Power Girl was essentially alone but now she has Huntress. I like the idea that Power Girl and Huntress know all these secret identities of friends they fought alongside but the heroes don't know them. It gives them an advantage and we may get to see a hero differently through their eyes as they reflect on who that hero was on Earth 2. And I especially love that Huntress is Bruce Wayne's daughter on Earth 2.


Smallville Season Eleven is a welcome addition to the 'season-style' books out there. Fans of the cult show had to wait for 10 years for 'Smallville' to become Superman and only got a tiny taste of how great that could be. And in this first year, the comic book did what the series couldn’t (because of licensing issues): introduce Superman to Batman. The Smallville version of Batman was awesome and he’ll hopefully return soon.


Skeletor has won, and as punishment he’s stripped all the Masters of the Universe of their memories and given them new, menial lives. But Adam, now a simple woodsman, will awaken from a dream with a need to leave that life behind. Skeletor has put the word out to all of Adam’s enemies. But with remnants of his skills and help from Teela, Adam may live to reclaim his destiny.

James Robinson and Philip Tan are doing amazing work on the title. I never thought I’d enjoy a He-Man title where He-Man doesn’t even appear until the fifth issue.


This title has been fun, fun, fun. A GI Joe crossover hasn’t been this much fun since the old GI Joe / Transformers crossovers.


X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, and Shadow Man came out this year to kickoff the official relaunch of Valiant Comics. The first five titles started strong and I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.


When he’s not fighting Ultron, Thanos, or (lately) the X-Men, he’s hanging out with his neighbors and standing up for them when his landlord triples the rent on them. I was definitely interested in a fresh take on the character and Matt Fraction delivers. And we get to see that he’s just as dangerous with a playing card or a coin as he is with his bow. It’s completely worth checking out if you haven’t already.



The best movie of the year is also the best comic book movie ever. Joss Whedon has done it again and, because of his exclusive contract, is set to do it again in 2015 for Avengers 2.


I did something I’ve never done before – I went to a screening of the Batman Trilogy which included seeing the first two films before seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I went with three friends to see it and we’d all been up since early morning (5:45am for me), went to work or school, and were determined to stay up until 3am the following morning – and we all made it. And it was a blast. It was a great ending to the trilogy.


Disney does it again. I had such a good time watching this film and the action figures weren’t bad either.


The film that took forever to come out finally got released and kicked ass at the box office. A fun, funny, and scary horror movie that manages to be genuinely unique.


I have to admit when I saw the movie I thought it was okay. But all of the excitement surrounding it suggested that I really needed to read the books. I’m on the third book right now (don’t tell me how it ends) and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I’m now a huge Hunger Games fan.


Dwayne McDuffie's final script is an adaptation of the story line he wrote for the comic books. Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern) and Tim Daly (Superman) join a reunion of voice actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name. Dwayne McDuffie is a legend and I’m proud to have the original comic book stories in my collection as well is the blu-ray of this movie. And there’s a great feature on the blu-ray of creators who knew Dwayne and talk about his life.



The Marvel Universe toyline released the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man and great-looking Kraven the Hunter and Beast figures. We also got the obscure but awesome Bag Head Spider-Man figure too. Toys R Us had the exclusive X-Force pack which finally gave us Angel and the Comic Con exclusive Masters of Evil pack featured 3 new figures that I didn’t have.


2012 was supposed to be the year GI Joe: Retaliation was released in movie theaters. But when the film got pushed back, so did the action figures. Still, a few figures did trickle out and I have The Rock as Roadblock.

Comic-Con gave me Jinx and it gave me the best GI Joe toy this year: a HISS tank decorated like Shockwave from the Transformers. Big Bad Toy Shop had the awesome Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set and Dreadnoks Battle Sets.

The GI Joe Collector’s Club started it subscription service and before the end of the year I received the first two figures from that service: Jinx and Dice. I hope they do a subscription service like this every year.


The Justice League (We All Can Be Heroes) box set was not just affordable (at $100 for all 7 figures) it was also some of the best looking figures.


There were a lot of celebrity vehicles this year but the standout for me was the Mystery Machine. With an incredible amount of celebrity vehicles about to be released by Hot Wheels in 2013, there’s a lot to look forward to.


Although the 3 ¾” figures sucked, the Hines Ward action figure from The Dark Knight Rises was amazing. Sculpted by the amazing staff at McFarlane Toys, this figure ran off shelves faster than even Hines Ward could.


I own both Batman and Catwoman 2–packs in the figures are detailed and amazing looking.


I don’t know if these actually came out in 2012, but that’s when I discovered them and that’s when I got them. If you haven’t you have the opportunity to go to Disneyland or Disney World, try to pick them up.


The Vintage Millennium Falcon is a Toys “R” Us exclusive and isn't just my favorite spaceship of all time, it's also something I had as a kid (the smaller version). Still, I regretted not getting the Legacy version the first time around so I was determined not to miss out on this.),



With Jane Espenson at the helm, it’s little wonder why this critically acclaimed show is my favorite show on television right now. This fantastic blending of fantasy and drama that ties into all of the fairy tales we grew up with is intelligent, well acted, and unpredictable.


Funny and smart, this comedy keeps me laughing. And now that the girls have a cupcake shop we get to witness all the ups and downs of owning it for the girls and how much they’ll struggle to keep the doors open.


Two of my favorite long-term comedies continue to relentlessly bring the funny.


I always look forward to this on weekends and this year was no different. SNL has always been hit-and-miss each episode but there are really great, funny moments. In my opinion there haven’t been any bad seasons of the show for at least a decade.


While I didn’t initially enjoy the first episode it is gotten a lot better. I like the flashbacks to the island and I really like the introduction of Huntress. I’m interested to see how the season ends.



Quantum Mechanix has been releasing maquettes in its “Little Damn Heroes” collection based on the characters so it was a huge surprise when they offered the starship Serenity. It is such a cool piece and a welcome addition to my “Little Damn Heroes” collection. Hopefully 2013 will see the rest of the characters finally get their maquette (Simon and Zoe).


This year I got to participate in two record-breaking comic book projects. Cyber Force Returns was the #1 most funded comic book project until Leaving Megalopolis beaded a month later. I also got to participate in Michael Dougherty’s Z*Con film (him and his team were behind the Browncoats: Redemption fan film).

I also got to support a lot of great web series like Husbands Season 2, Jedi Camp, Pink Five, and the BAMF Girls Club. And I supported a lot of cool films like Sunday Punch, Hotel Noir, King of Arcades, Eliza Dushku’s untitled Albania documentary, and Best Friends Forever.


George Lucas was not going to make any more Star Wars films but I wasn’t ready to never see a Star Wars film again. Enter Disney to purchase Lucasfilm guaranteeing new movies and a great retirement for the man who gave us Star Wars in the first place.