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Archive for June 2013

Major Spoilers Week in Review for June 30, 2013

June sped by way to fast. Which means the San Diego Comic Con is just around the corner, which means it might as well be August, which means back to school, and you know that makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the …

The post Major Spoilers Week in Review for June 30, 2013 appeared first on Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News.

Major Spoilers Week in Review for June 30, 2013

June sped by way to fast. Which means the San Diego Comic Con is just around the corner, which means it might as well be August, which means back to school, and you know that makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the …

The post Major Spoilers Week in Review for June 30, 2013 appeared first on Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News.

RETRO REVIEW: Aztec Ace #1 (March 1984)

Or – “From An Earlier Great Creator-Owned Age Of Comics…”

Comic readers today really have it good.  Not only do we have FOUR major comic labels with dozens of smaller publishers, not only do we have revivals of every conceivable …

The post RETRO REVIEW: Aztec Ace #1 (March 1984) appeared first on Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News.

Pacific Rim Is Not Like Transformers, But Try Telling That To Twitter

Despite Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim having almost nothing in common with Transformers – there are human-shaped machines in both, and that’s about as close as it gets – the marketing has somehow left an awful lot of people confused.

Here are some tweets I’ve pulled just now, samples of how the film is being discussed in social media. It’s not a random selection, I admit, but it is an illustration of how many folk are making the Transformers connection and not in a good way.

Some of these are rather sweary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could go on. And on. Honestly, there are literally thousands of tweets like this.

I wish I had the power to get some better information about Pacific Rim out there myself. There’s just been too much muscle in the trailers, not enough of the film’s heart or smarts.

I’ve asked some friends – some of whom work in the film industry, at various places along the chain – to tell me what the film’s story is about. They all struggled and nobody managed to mention a specific character at all.

But that’s where the actual story lies. Down there with the individuals set against this huge context.

So far, Warner Bros. have sold the scale of the film, and done a fairly good job of establishing the look of the Jaegers and Kaiju, and how absolutely massive their action will be.

But Raleigh Becket is all but a total mystery and Mako Mori barely a shadow of even that. What story Becket and Mori are actually caught up in has left only the lightest of fingerprints on the promotions. Hang on… did you even know that there are characters called Raleigh and Mako at the centre of this thing? Some of you most likely did not.

On the upside, this fog means that audiences will be surprised when the story does unravel before their eyes. That’s all too rare these days.

On the downside… see above, search Twitter, go bang your head against Facebook. It wouldn’t matter if people weren’t deciding to not see this film because they think it’s something that it isn’t. I’m disappointed that a lot of people who’ll love this movie won’t give it a chance because they don’t know what’s in the movie for them to love.

I’m going to start a grassroots campaign, right now, for whatever it’s worth. I’m going to kick it off on Twitter. Feel free to join in or let me know if you start your own.

 

If you want Transformers or Godzilla, you’ll have to wait until next year. If you want Iron Man, wait for 2015. If you want something original and surprising, Pacific Rim will be here on July 12th in both the US and UK.

Pacific Rim Is Not Like Transformers, But Try Telling That To Twitter

Rented… To The Dead, A Zomedy With Guts

Natasha Simpson writes;

Not another Kickstarter!

Crowd-sourcing is now a great way to get projects funded whether its film, art or even comics, it’s something that artists are taking up as production can and is expensive. I personally love Kickstarter and have spent far too much on projects. The reason I love Kickstarter is that you get exclusive goodies and sometimes the project at a much cheaper price than when it is sold to the general public in stores or online. And stretch goals who would not want a stretch goal. No idea what a stretch goal is well it is a nice way of the creator for saying “thank you for backing my project, we met our initial goal now let’s make this project better!” With stretch goals after meeting the initial goal the creator may give you something extra if the project reaches x amount, so it is kind of like you are getting something for nothing as you do not have to pledge more (unless you are generous), just wait for others to pledge and get those awesome goodies.

Now onto this Kickstarter, me I am not writer or creator or illustrator of said project. I am merely a fan of their work. This project is a zombie apocalypse comic by Robot-Zombie Comics, whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the internet and one awkward staring match of “do I know you?” in a fast food restaurant.

RENTED… to the DEAD comes from the creators Phil Buckenham and Simon Cope. Phil is illustrator and artist and Simon wrote the script and dialogue. This is the guy’s second attempt at RENTED… to the DEAD as mere weeks ago this project was sadly unsuccessful. After some brainstorming with each other and their previous pledgers, RENTED… to the DEAD has risen from the grave (pun very much intended). Back better than ever with amazing rewards this project in twenty-four hours reached their modest pledge goal. By just changing what the pledges/rewards were slightly Robot-Zombie Comics were able to reach and surpass their stretch goal, by £26 as of 9.30 am GMT 29/6/13, but still they did it.

If they have reached their goal why do I need to pledge?

Good question, well as I said before many projects on Kickstarter after reaching their initial goal will go onto stretch goals. I know that Phil is definitely thinking up some stretch goals now and after talking to him about what he has come up with, it definitely sounds good (I gave him a couple of ideas but his was better). I do not want to reveal his stretch goals until he announces them on Kickstarter so you can check out the project and pledge or wait for stretch goals to be added. Phil is a very talented artist and does many commissions of superheroes and The Walking Dead comic covers, so you can bet the stretch goals will be amazing.

What makes this zombie comic so special or different?

Well for one you can be in the comic, there are still some “zombifications”, as artist Phil Buckenham calls them, available. And if you are a big spender you can be a mystery hero who helps the main characters or by far my favourite star in your very own prequel comic! A whole comic about you becoming a zombie so not only will you be disgusting and “zombified” but you will also look like your beautiful self.

Also this comic is based in the UK in the town of Maidstone, Kent. This really appeals to me as I am in Maidstone a lot and I cannot wait to see Phil’s take on Maidstone town. Additionally a UK based z-poc will be very different to the usual USA based z-pocs for one guns are a lot harder to get a hold of (I believe) and the UK is not as big, where are the survivors going to hide? I do not know and that is what I am looking forward to and do not get me wrong I love USA based z-pocs.

RENTED… to the DEAD has a four page preview of the comic available through their Kickstarter page.

Search for Rented… to the DEAD issue 1 “Zombies 1000s of em!” or

Twitter: @RobZomComics

Facebook: Robot-Zombie Comics

Rented… To The Dead, A Zomedy With Guts

First Trailer For Kasi Lemmons’ Black Nativity

It’s been six years since Kasi Lemmons‘ superb Petey Greene picture Talk To Me, and that came six years after her previous film, The Caveman’s Valentine. I certainly wish she made more movies because, so far, I’ve been both totally gripped and really moved by every one.

As you might expect from the subject matter and title, the release of Lemmons’ next picture, Black Nativity, will come close to the end of the year. Here though, at the height of Summer, is the first trailer.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’ve never seen Langston Hughes‘ original stage musical, but I understand that this adaptation will give us a clearer narrative through-line between the song and dance numbers.

It looks like a tricky project to pull off but Lemmons is the real deal. I think she’s got a great chance of nailing it.

Black Nativity is set for release in the US on November 27th. I’ll let you know about a UK release when I know.

First Trailer For Kasi Lemmons’ Black Nativity

The Science Of Bunsen Bunnies

Derm McG writes;

Bunsen Bunnies is a web comic about lab rabbits. Just not the usual sort. Most lab rabbits have science done to them. These bunnies DO the science. And not just any old science.
Mad science.

It all started because Belfast artist Ann Harrison couldn’t stop drawing stoner bunnies. “First I had them sitting under tree’s getting pleasantly high, watching the birds, just chilling.” Soon they were popping up everywhere, in the background of vampires castles, stowed away in the foreground of interstellar star ships. Stealing a sneaky toke behind a wizard’s ancient tomes of magic. “I couldn’t seem to do a picture without at least one toasted bunny in it somewhere.” she admits.

Then she made the mistake of telling John about them.

John Clerkin was the freelance writer Harrison had teamed up with to write a mad science story about one Dr. Frank Stein, fearless poker of that which mortal man was not meant to poke. Being a writer he started to ask questions. Where did these bunnies come from? How had they discovered  grass? Did they get the munchies. “Before we knew it, Frank was demoted to aspiring medical student and those damn bunnies pretty much took over the story.” says Clerkin laughing. They had an underground lab, they had a human resources department, they had a black ops team. And Frank had got himself a sidekick, Baker.

“Ann’s such an inventive artist,” says John “she draws all these cute sketches, filled to the brim with adorable madness and I just have to write it all in. It’s a really fun project.”

“I think my best ideas come when I’m just sketching for fun with no real idea of what I’m drawing until I look at it and there’s a Baker or a Frank, ready for John to give a back story and a job  and a life.” says Ann.

The first three issues have been posted up online at www.bunsenbunnies.com, they chart Frank’s first meeting with Baker, and their adventures with chatty corpses, homicidal carrots and tentacled cats monsters. Harrison’s art is a visual treat, meticulous character design matched with a sketchy un-inked line style and an artfully sparse palette choice combine to give a webcomic that looks like nothing else out there.

Not content with putting out a regular webcomic they’ve also just launched a Kickstarter to fund putting some of the comics most popular characters onto T-shirts. Check it out here:

The Science Of Bunsen Bunnies

Kickstart From The Heart: The Guns of Shadow Valley

Bleeding Cool’s Kickstarter Correspondent, Shawn Demumbrum has lead three Kickstarter campaigns to launch comic books, two successfully funded and one that wasn’t.  Each week he will point out some of the unique Kickstarter projects that wouldn’t normally be published by the big comic book companies, but deserve your attention.  Shawn is the Manager of Comic Book Programming for the Phoenix Comicon.  He is currently working on the Nothing Can Stop Me Now: Stories Inspired by the Songs of Nine Inch Nails.

Tell me about The Guns of Shadow Valley.

DAVE: It’s a Wild West adventure about a posse of gunmen with superhuman abilities who have to travel into the mysterious and forbidding Shadow Valley, to defend a secret that lies within from an army led by an insane Colonel. It’s big time classic Western adventure with a wide cast of characters and we’ve added elements of sci-fi, steampunk, superpowers, mysticism and folklore.

What drew you to creating a western story?  What makes it different from other westerns we’ve seen before?

DAVE: I’ve loved Westerns since I can remember. They were always grand, epic, and heroic. As a young tyke, I had a cowboy hat and six-shooter cap guns. Even before I knew of superheroes, I knew of cowboys. So several years ago, I had this simple mash up idea that put together two of my favorite things: superheroes and the Old West. And when you think about it, the folk tales of America’s past are often superheroic tales. So using that folklore, ideas for characters and stories formed quickly.

JIM: I’ve always been a big fan of westerns, too. I was raised around horses and cowboys, and I have a soft spot for the old classic films like “The Searchers”, “High Noon” and all the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. So when Dave suggested we create a western comic that would be a throwback to those kinds of films, I was on board in a heartbeat.

The two of you have collaborated before on Scar Tissue.  What do each of you bring to this book as collaborators?

JIM: Working together on Scar Tissue was different because I did all the writing. Every so often Dave would suggest changes in the script so that things would flow better visually, but he primarily focused on the art. This time around we’re writing it together, and he’s shown a wonderful literary sensibility that is great to work with. We both have a clear vision of what the story is about, where it’s going, and how we’re going to get there. I think we both understand each other and how our work styles fit together. But at the same time, we each bring a unique perspective. I have my own ideas about how characters might think or react and what they might say, and Dave does too. We often surprise each other with the directions we want to go.

What drew you to telling this story as a webcomic?  What limitations did standard comic books have that webcomics didn’t?

DAVE: We began 5 years ago with the intention of creating a standard comic book series. We had gone the self publishing route with Scar Tissue, but felt that we were ready to look for publisher interest. We shopped it around, got a few nibbles, but never any deals that we felt comfortable with. We either asked to make creative changes, or give up a lot of the rights, or both. My friend Bryan Deemer, from Comic Geek Speak, had suggested to me the webcomics route. I brought the idea to Jim, we discussed the possible pros and cons, and felt that it was natural. It’s not like we were going to make any money from the printed books, so this way we could get our story out there and hopefully build an audience.

JIM: A big limitation of a standard comic book–especially when you’re self-publishing–is the guesswork. You print up a book and put it out there, and you hope it sells and people like it. But it’s hard to get a sense for how it’s received, unless someone takes the time to reach out to you and tell you so, or it gets reviewed, or you’re selling tons of copies. With a webcomic, the feedback is readily available. We put up a page of the comic and right away the readers can comment on it. We can interact directly with people as they read it for the first time. We hear their voice, and they hear ours. It’s a wonderful benefit.

Why Kickstarter?

DAVE: The time was right. The webcomic had to go on hiatus because I was getting more paid comics work from publishers. I had quit the day job and was making comics full time. But as time went on, I found it harder and harder to keep up with deadlines and produce pages of the webcomic. The release schedule became a trickle and finally dried up. Folks were disappointed, but none were as disappointed as we were. But it just wasn’t feasible. Some people had made the suggestion of funding it on Kickstarter. It was half done, so it seemed possible to fund the rest of it and finally print that big hardcover we had dreamed about. I got to a point in my work schedule where I saw that I could take some time off and work towards making a campaign. I suggested it to Jim at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, and he lit up.

JIM: I’d had some success with a couple of smaller Kickstarter campaigns before, so I knew the potential was there for it to work. And it was an opportunity to get back into the project and finish what we had started.

Does the Kickstarter fund the complete story that you set out to tell?  Are there other stories in the future for these characters?

JIM: Yes, this book has a beginning, middle and end that encompasses the full story we indended to tell. We do know what comes next for the sequel(s), but for now we’re focusing on getting this first book done.

The webcomic has been hiatus.  How have you been able to mobilize your loyal readers to back the project?  Has drawing for some popular IDW and Dark Horse titles made it easier to attract readers of the webcomic and backers of the Kickstarter campaign?  Are you finding that your Kickstarter backers are previous readers or new to The Guns of Shadow Valley?

DAVE: That was something we thought about: would anybody still be interested? We knew some folks were, we’d get the occasional message on the website or Facebook page, asking if it would be coming back. I try my best to keep a certain amount of activity on places like Facebook and Twitter, and I hit multiple conventions every year, still with the Guns of Shadow Valley banner behind me and the preview book on the table. So we’ve never given up, we always had it in our heads that we would finish this story. I definitely think working on those books for IDW, and most recently working with Steve at Dark Horse, has upped my visibility as an artist, and in turn, drawn folks over to the webcomic and Kickstarter. And I think lots of our previous readers have come back, eager to help us get this story back on it’s feet.

Now that you’ve hit the goal, the challenge is to keep the momentum going to continue to get funding for the project.  What additional stretch goals to you have as incentives for people to continue to donate?

JIM: We’ve got some free goodies like stickers, a fancy bookmark at the next stretch goal level, and an art print at the level after that. Beyond that–and we’re announcing this first here on Bleeding Cool!--we’re planning some upgrades to the hardcover book: 
At $40,000 we’ll be adding a ribbon bookmark to the spine and replacing the signed & numbered bookplate with a signature page. It’ll still be signed & numbered with a sketch by Dave, but instead of being a bookplate that you have to stick into the book, it’ll be a full color page that’s bound in with the book itself.
At $45,000 we’ll be upgrading the cover with a fabric spine, foil embossed lettering, and a debossed front with full-color tip-on image.
At $50,000, Dave and I will be creating a “12-hour comic”. This will be a bonus black-and-white comic book (around 22 pages), set in the world of “The Guns of Shadow Valley”, made under the challenge of making 12 comic pages in 12 hours. Within that 12 hour period, Dave will be writing/illustrating a 12-page comic and I’ll be writing a separate 12-page prose story, and we’ll print them up together and include them with every hardcover.

There is no reason for someone interested not to pledge to your Kickstarter campaign.  What would you say to convince anyone sitting on the fence?

DAVE: We’ve got over a hundred pages of the book online for free right now. I say to folks, read what we’ve got and if you like it, come on back to the Kickstarter page and help us finish the story.

Kickstart From The Heart: The Guns of Shadow Valley

Gerry Conway Asks Fans To Crowd Source Payments For DC Comic Creators

Gerry Conway writes;

I need your help.

DC Comics is a great company.

It was the first major publisher to offer creator contracts on a regular basis, allowing the men and women who create characters for DC books to share in the profits those characters generate in other media. You may say, that’s only fair, but until the mid-1970s it was standard policy for comic book publishers to buy all rights in perpetuity upon payment for a single story. Writers and artists received no further payment for their work after that first check — no money for reprints, no money for toys based on characters they’d created, no money for movies or TV shows or games or trading cards.

Nada, zip, zilch.

DC Comics changed that.

Starting in the mid-70s DC offered creators an opportunity for what they called “equity participation.” With the appropriate paperwork submitted and signed, DC creators would receive a share of the profits generated by their creations. Like I said, you may think this is only fair, but in the ’70s it hit the business like a revelation. And for more than thirty years it’s given quite a few creators an extra bit of income — in some cases, for some older creators, the only real income they receive from comics.

So, to repeat, DC Comics is a great company.

But, like all companies, it’s a business, and its first priority is to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and maximize profits. So tracking which character was created by which writer and artist team thirty or forty years ago isn’t part of their business plan. It’s just too much work, and it requires a dedication and devotion to detail that only one group in the world has in abundant quantities:

You, the fans.

A personal note. I started this site because some of my fans alerted me to the use in the TV series “Arrow” of characters I co-created in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Without those fans I wouldn’t have known those characters were appearing. I wouldn’t have filed equity participation paperwork with DC. And neither I nor the artists I worked with would be eligible to receive money for the use of those characters. DC does not make payments retroactive. If a creator wants to claim equity participation in a character he or she co-created, they need to do so proactively.

Which is where you come in.

If you’re a fan of DC comics published since 1975, you can help your favorite pros — not just me, but any writer or artist who worked on DC’s titles. Go through your collection. Look for the first appearances of any character, major or minor, hero/villain/sidekick/bystander from the years 1975 on. Download and fill out the DC Comics Character Equity Request form (you’ll find the link below) and email it to the creators involved. Most creators have an active presence on the web, either on Facebook, or Twitter, or through their own web sites or fan pages. Reach out to them. Encourage them to file the paperwork you prepared with DC.

Help them get their fair share.

Obviously, I include myself (Gerry Conway) in this list. I can use your help, too.

Between 1975 and the mid-80s I wrote literally hundreds of comics for DC and created dozens of characters. FIRESTORM, JUSTICE LEAGUE, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, WONDER WOMAN, on and on and on. There’s no way I can single-handedly track down each and every character who made their first appearance in a story I wrote. But all of you working together, each doing one or two characters — you can crowd-source it.

Download the form, fill it out, attach a piece of art identifying the character, and send it to the email link below with the subject line EQUITY. To prevent duplication of effort by fellow fans (and to claim credit for your help!) post a comment to this blog identifying the character you’ve discovered.

On behalf of all the DC creators who would otherwise never know, literally, what they’re missing, thank you!

Here’s the link to the Character Equity Request Form:

And here’s the email where the filled-out forms for characters co-created by Gerry Conway, with the subject line EQUITY: comicsequityproject@gmail.com

Here’s a look at that form…

REQUEST FOR CHARACTER EQUITY

 

To:VP – Business Affairs, TalentDate:

 

Creators: Requested by:

Writer

 

cc:

ArtistGroup Editor

 

Eligibility: Character equity must be requested by a freelancer through his or her editor. The determination of whether equity will be granted rests in DC’s sole discretion, and is based primarily on the “newness” or originality of a character’s name, powers, appearance/costume, and origin, and function of the property. The creation should not be derivative of preexisting DC characters.

Character name and any aliases:

This character’s first appearance was/will be in which publication? (If character’s first appearance has not yet been scheduled, please provide proposed date):

 

Title:Issue: Cover/Publication Date:

Please provide a brief description of the character, including its powers, origin and, if applicable, its derivation from any existing DC character or property:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An illustration of the character must accompany this request.

Gerry Conway Asks Fans To Crowd Source Payments For DC Comic Creators

SDCC’13: Valiant and CBLDF announces exclusive Quantum and Woody #1 Liberty Variant

Press Release

Valiant is proud to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) with the Quantum and Woody #1 Liberty Variant with a cover by Eisner Award-winning cartoonist and underground icon Tony Millionaire – debuting this July exclusively at …

The post SDCC’13: Valiant and CBLDF announces exclusive Quantum and Woody #1 Liberty Variant appeared first on Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News.