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Archive for April 2014

Arrow: “City of Blood” Review

Warning: full episode spoilers follow.

For the second week in a row, the Arrow episode I was expecting was not the Arrow episode we received. And for the second week in a row, that was just peachy. The teaser and promo images for “City of Blood” suggested that the show would be launching right into the battle with Slade’s Mirakuru army. But in truth, all of that was pulled from the final ten minutes of the episode. There was too much emotional fallout from Moira’s death last week to ignore. And thank goodness the writers didn’t.

The opening scene of “City of Blood” really set the tone for the week, as the episode cut between somber scenes of Moira’s funeral and Sebastian Blood’s inauguration as mayor. It was a chilling reminder of how much Slade has taken from our heroes in recent weeks. Ollie’s absence spoke louder than his presence ever could in the first half. Last time he was this emotionally distraught, he retreated to the island. Where else could he flee?

Continue reading…

Syfy Options Frank Miller’s Ronin, Oni Press’ Letter 44 And More For Series Adaptation

Now Syfy is joining everyone else in getting in on the comic book adaptation game too. Well, why not? There’s probably some crossover already amongst fans of their genre programming.

THR reports Frank Miller’s DC series Ronin is being developed as a miniseries, while Oni Press’ Letter 44 is being eyed as a potential hourlong series.

Ronin was published in the 1980s and has been attempted before, by Darren Aronofsky most recently. Traditionally, it follows:

a legendary warrior — the Ronin, a dishonored, masterless 13th century samurai — who is mystically given a second chance to avenge his master’s death. He finds himself suddenly reborn in a futuristic and corrupt 21st century New York where he must defeat ancient demon Agat, the reincarnation of his master’s killer.

Syfy will put a slight twist on the story for their planned eight-part miniseries adaptation:

takes place eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon. He awakens in a futuristic, nihilistic New York in the body of Billy, a medical experiment. Now Billy/Ronin is chasing the demon, which has reawakened. Both parties want control of a sword with magical properties and will stop at nothing to get it back.

Letter 44 is described as a political space drama, with the series, if it makes it that far, will follow:

Stephen Blades, the new president of the U.S. who learns, via a letter from his predecessor, that seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A crew of heroic astronauts was sent to investigate and they’re nearing the conclusion of their epic journey.

Meanwhile, Deadline also has Syfy comic book scoop, reporting the network is also developing a series based upon Jonathan Hickman’s graphic novel Pax Romana, about:

a Special Forces team that travels back in time to Ancient Rome on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldier as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization.

Syfy Options Frank Miller’s Ronin, Oni Press’ Letter 44 And More For Series Adaptation

C2E2 Wrap-Up – 4 Out Of 5 Stars This Year

By Carlos M.

After about a full year’s wait, Reed Pop’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (aka C2E2) roared back into Chicago’s McCormick Place for their 4th annual show this past weekend.

With a lineup that included Stan Lee, Hulk Hogan, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and a $10k Cosplay Contest, this show was aiming to have something for everyone and then some.

So how did they do?  Overall, a very good con and on a rating scale, I would rank this year’s show a strong 4 stars out of 5.  Was it the best C2E2 ever?  Not quite – that title is still held by their first foray in Chicago.  Is it the best con held in the Midwest? Quite possibly yes.

Highlights and comments for the show by category are as follows:

Artist Alley / Comic Creators:

Seriously, whoever was in charge of signing up talent for this show needs to get constant high fives, and a big raise!  The roster for the show was incredible with a variety of established legends (Hughes, Weeks, Jurgens, etc) along with the ‘young guns’ talent (Asrar, Vitti, Pitarra, etc).  For the Batman fanatics, nearly all of the great modern talent was there (Snyder, Daniel, Fabok, Nguyen, etc).  Overall, from a comic lover or an art lover’s perspective, artist alley was an absolute dream.

Entertainment Guests:

Having Hulk Hogan there alone makes this a 5 star list (although Hogan showing up 3 hours late was definitely not a 5-star experience!).  Stan Lee, Walking Dead cast members, Game of Thrones members, Wrestlers and even the kid from Breaking Bad was there!  All in a varied guest list that covered a variety big pop culture genres.

Crowd Control / Floor Spacing:

Despite the great line ups, the crowds were not insane.  Walking through the con was easy even on the busier Saturday.  Booth and aisle spacing was generally good so no one was bumping into each other.

Exhibitors:

Kudo’s for bringing the Block back and having a variety of new items there.  And kudos for having Marvel, Dark Horse, Valiant, and a variety of other exhibitors there.  But no DC again??  How can you have a big time con in one of the world’s largest cities and not have a DC booth there?  With DC having the best booth at other cons, they were sorely missed again.

Cosplay / Costume Contest:

Ah the costume contest…  With a $10k prize, the expectation was for absolute cosplay insanity on Saturday with the greatest cosplay contest ever – and judging by how large the line was that was trying to get in, I wasn’t the only one with these expectations.  Sadly, with the focus of the contest being largely on the ‘craftsmanship’ for the costumes, what the judges sadly missed was the ‘fun’ aspect of cosplaying.

In general, a great show, a great weekend, and definitely a show that you should check out in 2015 – save the date for April 24 – 26 of 2015!).

For more pics, feel free to follow me via Instagram (screen name: eewwnuk).

C2E2 Wrap-Up – 4 Out Of 5 Stars This Year

Best Promo Yet For Extant, The Summer’s Super-Hyped Sci-Fi Drama With Halle Berry

Even before Extant went into production, stories flooded the trades about how hot a pilot script it was and how many people wanted to pay how many million dollars to get their mitts on it.

In July, we’ll get to see if the fuss was worth it.

What I can ascertain about the show’s basic premise from this trailer seems interesting enough. But then, you see, I might have said that same thing about the trailer for The Astronaut’s Wife.

Just the fact that Halle Berry is starring in an expensive summer miniseries shows that TV isn’t quite working the same way as it was a few years back.

I’m looking forward to Extant. Here’s hoping it still maintains some of this appeal when we’re all looking back on it.

Best Promo Yet For Extant, The Summer’s Super-Hyped Sci-Fi Drama With Halle Berry

Late Night Fun – Spider-Man Parkour

Everyone talks about how long it took to make a Spider-Man movie because of the special effects. Ronnie Street Stunts shows us what it might have been like without the multi-million dollar budget.

Okay… really, this is just a guy in a Spider-Man suit doing some cool stunts. Who needs Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Late Night Fun – Spider-Man Parkour

Maxx’s Super Awesome Comic Review Show – Free Comic Book Day Special Edition!

Maxx’s Super Awesome Comic Review Show returns to Bleeding Cool, recorded at the one and only Astro-Zombies Comic Shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted by Maxx MacLennan.

They say:

We, at Astro-Zombies, are way too excited for Free Comic Book Day 2014! Our first intentions were to only cover FCBD books, but there were too many great books this week! (not a bad problem to have) There were also way too many FCBD books to cover. Some of the titles that didn’t get covered that I am stoked for: Zombie Tramp, Bleeding Cool Magazine, Hello Kitty, Sherwood Texas and, of course, some Archie!

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page!

Books reviewed in the show:

DC Comics: Green Lantern – New Guardians Annual #2
DC Comics: The Flash Annual #3
Diablo Productions: Sanitarium #1 (of 4)
Marvel Comics: The Amazing Spider-Man #1
DC Comics: Forever Evil Aftermath – Batman Vs. Bane #1
Vertigo: Vertigo Quarterly Cyan #1
Dark Horse: Star Wars – Rebel Heist #1 (of 4)
Image Comics: Southern Bastards #1
DC Comics: Superman Batman Vol.1 (Trade)
Image Comics: Pretty Deadly Vol.1 (Trade)
Chronicle Books: Kids Are Weird And Other Observations From Parenthood (HC)

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY BOOKS:

Top Shelf Kid’s Club
Fantagraphics: Hip Hop Family Tree Two-in-One
Marvel: Rocket Raccoon #1
IDW Publishing: Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #0
Marvel Comics: Guardians Of The Galaxy
Archaia: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, and Other Stories
DC Comics: The New 52 Future’s End #0

A special thank you to Bleeding Cool for supporting our little endeavor, it means the world to us!

Maxx’s Super Awesome Comic Review Show – Free Comic Book Day Special Edition!

Al Feldstein, 28 Year Editor Of Mad Magazine, Passes Away

AP reported this evening that Al Feldstein, the legendary 28-year editor of Mad Magazine passed away in Montana at the age of 88 on Tuesday. Feldstein assumed leadership of Mad in 1956 following in the footsteps of Harvey Kurtzman, and during his tenure mainstays of Mad’s burgeoning popularity included Spy vs. Spy, Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, and many others. Feldstein’s sensibilities were responsible for shaping satire of the second half of the 20th century not only in comics, but in wider popular culture.

Al Feldstein, 28 Year Editor Of Mad Magazine, Passes Away

New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer, Much Like The Old One

There’s very little to set this teaser apart from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles promo but seeing as this is one of the most keenly anticipated tentpoles of the summer, I thought I’d share.

Click here to view the embedded video.

We’re going to get something bigger and more revealing at some point. I’m really curious about Splinter, personally. I want to see how his face looks in motion.

New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer, Much Like The Old One

Social Justice, Cosplay, Brief Encounters And Gaming At C2E2 – Plus Photogallery

By Peter G

What’s poppin’, people?  It’s Peter G, your favorite Polish manga-ka, and field marshal for the Chicago division of the Bleeding Cool Stud Squad.  I have returned from another run through the trenches of C2E2 in Chicago, Illinois.  Wondering what you might have missed?  Read on, true believer….

HEY HEY WHAT CAN I DO – One of the things that distinguishes C2E2 from, say, Wizard World, is the show’s interest in progressive policies.  I have a friend who works as a booth babe.  One year, while she was in costume, she was heading for the bathroom, and some dipshit grabbed her tits as she passed.  A veritable dragnet started, and the guy was found and caught (he didn’t resist, which means he didn’t win a trip to Area 2, but at least he didn’t get away with it).  The following year, C2E2 specifically spelled out a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment.  “If it’s illegal outside the convention hall, it’s illegal inside the convention hall.”

C2E2 also features a convention security force that seems to be made of ninjas.  Last year, Marvel’s booth had giant blow-ups of their upcoming comic covers.  Someone decided he wanted the Guardians Of The Galaxy piece and grabbed it off the wall.  Security pinched him before he got to the intersection.

This year, C2E2 decided to go for more of a social justice angle by bringing in Carrie Goldman and Chase Masterson, founders of the AntiBullying Coalition.  Goldman is a blogger who writes for sites like NPR, ABC Radio, MSNBC, CNN, and Babble.  She also has a blog on ChicagoNow, where she chronicles raising her daughter.  Three years ago, her daughter, then in the first grade, was bullied in school for being a Star Wars fan because “Star Wars is for boys.”  Goldman wrote up the whole thing on her blog, and the story went viral with thousands of messages of support for the girl.  Among those who reached out to her was Chase Masterson from Star Trek, who said she’d been bullied when she was a kid.  Goldman decided to spend the next two years researching bullying in the geek community, and Masterson was one of the first people she talked to.  After Goldman’s book Bullied:  What Every Parent, Teacher, And Kid Needs To Know About Ending The Cycle Of Fear was published, she and Masterson formed an alliance to help spread the word about antibullying measures, what people can do, and to help kids being bullied know they are not alone, a hand reaching out of the darkness.  They have appeared at San Diego, New York Comic Con, and now, an appearance in this wonderful city I call home.

Or maybe not so wonderful, for reasons I will get to anon.

The ABC booth was appropriately in the Fan Community area, as fandoms have become ripe breeding grounds for bullying.  The booth is where people can basically come and talk about being bullied, participate in their “I Am” campaign where people hold up a markerboard with “I Am” and some personal affirmation (among the celebrities who participated are Hulk Hogan and the forever cool Seth Green), and write messages of support.  You wrote some message on this cards about the size of a business envelope, and it was hung on the wall behind them.  After the show, they take the cards down and give them away to kids at the schools they talk to, to give them hope that others care and that things get better, that they are not isolated and nothing is wrong with them.  Mine was either the second or the third they put up, and I put mine in the top left corner.

They run workshops and hold panels where people share their wisdom and experiences.  The panels they did in San Diego and New York had hundreds of people attending.

C2E2?  My fellow Chicagoans?  Maybe 25 people total.  That’s pathetic.

I stopped in as the weekend progressed to keep an eye on the board.  At least it filled, so enough people cared.  They just cared remotely is all.

MISSING IN ACTION – Once again, DC Comics didn’t have a presence on the floor, ceding a blue ocean to Marvel.  I mean, Future Dude had a booth there.  Papercutz had a booth there.  Boom!, CCP, Devil’s Due, but no DC again.

Also missing that was there last year was Chicago-local High Voltage Studios.

One that I didn’t notice was missing until after the con was the battalion of massage therapists who set up shop there and at Wizard World.  I wasn’t as disappointed as my feet were.

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN – There was something a bit odd about the floor this year.  Not the show layout, but where the show was held.

The building C2E2 was held in this year is the one with the McDonald’s and Connie’s Pizza right underneath the floor.  The last time it was held in this building, the staircase in the middle of the floor took you right down to it and back up.  But this year, the con was across the walkway, and the ticket booths were there instead.  If you didn’t feel like running the goofball staircase setup, you could simply go around the back of the ticket area.  The staircase was there in the middle of a completely empty convention hall without a soul around, making me wonder if I’d stumbled into The Stanley Parable.

The most curious thing about the setup, however, was the floorspace outside Mickie D’s and Connie’s.  Every time I’ve been there, there has been a flotilla of tables outside both eateries.  This year, the floors were completely open.  You sat at a table inside, or you sat on the floor (well, for the most part.  The press lounge gracefully let you bring your food inside as long was you didn’t get obnoxious).  So, on Saturday, not only was the entire downstairs area ringed with people grabbing a snack, but the line for McDonald’s stretched out its door and to the staircase atrium.

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN – The parking ticket validation machine talks like it escaped from the web show Spodermen.

COSPLAY CONFIDENTIAL – According to my highly unscientific observations, there was a sort of tie for most popular male costume.  As this is Chicago, there was a huge Doctor Who contingent.  But that was pretty much across the board – about half were the Matt Smith Doctor, and the rest combined made up the other half.  Especially fun was seeing people as Doctors 5 through 7.  Challenging the Doctor for domination was Deadpool.  LOTS of Deadpools, some with twists like wearing the sherif’s outfit from The Walking Dead, but mostly just straight Deadpool.  (Judge’s Ruling – I am not counting the guy in the Doctor Whooves fursuit.  Grey area, but I’m disallowing it.)

For the women?  I think I have to give the edge to characters from Disney’s Frozen, although Poison Ivy put up impressive numbers.  A good selection of Harley Quinns, but still a lot fewer than I’m used to seeing.

Quite a few Transformers, including one guy who went all out to make a Bumblebee from the Michael Bay movies.  Others were more in line with the animated series.  There were also a good number of fursuiters there.  Temperatures in Chicago plummeted on Saturday and Sunday.  Usually, I feel sorry for people in those costumes because they can overheat easily.  This time?  They were ahead of the curve.

Twentieth anniversary of Sailor Moon, and the Sailor Scouts were represented.  Also a fair number of Ariel, The Little Mermaid, one in the outfit after she became human while trying to win over Eric, but lots with mermaid dresses.  So as far as I was concerned, it was a pretty good weekend.

I would say this year had a much more diverse crowd of cosplayers.  You had the standard Batmans, Black Cats, and such.  But I also saw lots of characters including Kiki, Spider-Thor (yes, you read that right), TheGreatest American Hero, Little Mac from Punch-Out, a Slenderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Axe Cop.  There was a marked decrease in humanized ponies and zombies.  And I saw only one Slave Girl Leia.  Whether that’s good or bad is up to you.

I’m still debating if that one guy I saw just dressed casual or was cosplaying as Walter White.

NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE – On the Random Chat Thread, there was a discussion about Amanda Conner, and one of the little facts that came up was that she was supposedly the model for Bill Sienkiewicz, the guy who did Stray Toasters and whose name just made my spell checker crash, when he was doing the Elektra: Assassin.  It was one of those things that I wasn’t sure I could buy.  I mean, strange stories on the Internet are a dime a dozen.

Conner was there.  Identifying myself as a writer for Bleeding Cool, I asked her if she really was the model for Elektra: Assassin.

Her answer?  For issue 4 on, yes.  Before that, no.

…so I’m not sure if that means I win the bet, lose it, or if it’s a draw.

BRING IT ON HOME – Vivek Tiwary was there, hanging out at the Dark Horse booth.  He was supposedly there to sign copies of the graphic novel of his dream project, The Fifth Beatle.  I suspect he was actually there because Dark Horse had a really nice floor – there was an extra bounciness to the carpet there that was Heaven on your feet.  I was a bit sad I didn’t have a project at Dark Horse so I could stand there all weekend.

Interest in his movie version of The Fifth Beatle is really high.  High enough, C2E2 gave him a panel to discuss it.  They have started casting, and they are on track to begin shooting in spring of next year.  Great guy, I wish him the best of luck.

WHAT IS AND WHAT SHOULD NEVER BE – It was one of those once in a lifetime moments.

One person there was cosplaying as Sho Nuff from the movie Barry Gordie’s The Last Dragon.  I saw him, and I just froze.  As he posed for pictures and played the part, I came up to him.

Excuse me, can I get a certain picture from you?

“What do you have in mind?

You probably aren’t going to believe this, but I just happen to have The Last Dragon movie on my tablet.  I would like to get a picture of you holding it with it showing one of Sho Nuff’s scenes in the movie.

“Sure.”

Others taking pictures heard this.  As I fired up my tablet, people were looking over my shoulder, probably because they couldn’t believe someone just happened to have the movie with them.

It took me a minute to find it (I had filed it under The Last Dragon, not Barry Gordie blah blah blah), but I did.  And as he held up the tablet in triumph, lots of people got pictures of this moment of supreme serendipity.  I doubt anything like this will happen to me again, unless Rebecca Staab turns up at a show (I have the Corman Fantastic Four on my tablet, also).

THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME – I have 27 different game systems, and for some, I have complete collections of every US title released.  Every unit Atari ever made, every unit Sega ever made, and lots of others.

I mention this because of a multiplat game called Puzzle Quest.  It holds the distinction of the being the only game I have ever sold back to the store.  The game cheats like a mother, and I couldn’t wait to be rid of it.

Well, Marvel was handing out cards hawking their own custom branded version of Puzzle Quest.

No thank you.

TEN YEARS GONE – Video games were well represented at C2E2 this year.  Besides massive LANs set up for playing Titanfall, Chicago-based Reading With Pictures was holding a fundraiser where you got to face off against industry pros like Mark Waid and Jimmy Palmiotti in an old school video game tournament.  Donkey KongFroggerPac-Man.  (Always remember – the cool kids played Time Pilot.)

Also there was Extra Life, with their special gaming fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  You register at their site, select your local (for Chicago, that would be the Ann And Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital), and ask your friends and family to sponsor you for $1 an hour.  Then, on October 25, you game for 24 hours.

My personal record is playing Columns for 27 hours straight.  I’m thinking I can do this.

HOUSES OF THE HOLY – A number of podcasts were there to spread the word of their shows, and among them was Radio Free Asgard.  Hosted by a couple of great guys who are major Thor fans, the show deals with the character, the history, the mythology/religion, anything Thor.  Very nice, very friendly, I wish them well.

Also there was the podcast One Shot.  It’s a group of comedy folks to role play as characters playing RPG’s.  For example, one of their AD&D sessions, a guy was in the character of Batman.  They are likewise very swell people and a lot of fun.

WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS – Working on expanding awareness of her writing was Lauren Jankowski.  She has created a book series called The Shape Shifter Chronicles, following a woman named Isis who discovers she is one of these shape shifting beings and trying to combat the incoming forces of darkness.  She has three books in the series so far, Sere From The Green, Through Storm And Night, and From The Ashes, and they are available on Amazon, CreateSpace, and Smashwords.  If you like empowered women who can kick ass, you’ll want these books.

Social Justice, Cosplay, Brief Encounters And Gaming At C2E2 – Plus Photogallery

Full Trailer For The Simpsons’ Lego Special, Brick Like Me

There’s a lot of footage in this new promo for the Lego-centric special episode of The Simpsons. The full thing will air on Sunday so you might want to just wait if you think you’re going to watch it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

So now we finally have some idea what the plot is about. There’s some crossover with The Lego Movie there – just a little, conceptually – but really, this seems to be very much its own thing.

What disappoints me most of all is that the Lego Simpsons as they appear in the show don’t look anything like the ones that have been released as Minifigs.

On the plus side, it’s the Minifigs that look better.

Full Trailer For The Simpsons’ Lego Special, Brick Like Me