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Archive for September 2015 – Page 2

Sony Boss Says That He Is Looking Forward To The Last Of Us 2

The Last of Us 2 has been all over the news of late. The speculation surrounding the game has only been growing, with a new story about the possible development of the game seemingly hitting weekly.

This time around, it’s Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida‘s turn to put fuel on the fire. Speaking to Eurogamer, the Sony boss revealed that he is certainly looking forward to what will happen to The Last of Us 2 in the future. He did reiterate that the game wasn’t announced yet though and that all discussions have been merely about the possibility of the development.

We haven’t confirmed The Last of Us 2, but ever since the launch of the first game, people like Neil are talking about some ideas for a potential sequel, some experiments that they want to do. It’s just talks around development. We have no confirmed information for the sequel. But, like many people, we wish to see what it’s going to be like, how the story’s going to develop, what life these characters have after what happened in The Last of Us.

Now, this is fairly innocuous, but when paired with all the other hints lately, the publisher and developer are being pretty open lipped about the possibility of the game. That, in my experience, is a good sign that we might get an announcement soon. It may not come before Uncharted 4 mind, but we will have to see.

Sony Boss Says That He Is Looking Forward To The Last Of Us 2

Batman Annual #4 Review

Even though Jim Gordon is the one parading around Gotham as Batman these days, Bruce Wayne remains a significant focus in Scott Snyder's Batman series. The latest Batman-nual serves as a way of shining a closer light on Bruce and his current state of mind without slowing down the ongoing Superheavy storyline. This issue offers some interesting insight into Bruce and his small circle of friends and loved ones, but it loses some of its steam once the familiar Batman rogues enter the fray.

In some ways, this issue could be viewed as an epilogue to the short-lived Arkham Manor series. As Wayne Manor is emptied of its prisoners and turned back over to its previous owner, Bruce is forced to confront and take stock of a life he simply doesn't remember. Writer James Tynion IV builds a strong dynamic among Bruce, Julie, Alfred and Geri Powers, with the latter receiving some welcome growth that builds on her sporadic earlier appearances.

Continue reading…

Natalie Dormer Enters The Forest; Finds Haunted Woods

MTV released a trailer for the upcoming haunted woods movie, The Forest. It stars Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer as a woman whose identical twin has gone missing in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest. It is said people go there specifically to die, with abandoned cars in its parking lots and rangers clearing long forgotten camp sits. The forest exists in real life, which makes it a great setting for a horror movie. Take a look and see if you want to take the trip into its cinematic environs.

Click here to view the embedded video.

That’s … got a Grudge-y vibe to it and Dormer is always wonderful, but I’m not sure if a ghost story is necessarily the right thing for this setting. A cult? Maybe. A lone sicko preying on the suicidal? Perhaps. Of course, it could all be in her head. Those ready to take the path will find out when The Forest arrives in theaters January 8th, 2016.

Natalie Dormer Enters The Forest; Finds Haunted Woods

Inside The World Of A Comic Book Art Dealer – A Superhero Dojo Special

By Parker McCombe

Comic Book Art Dealer main photo-thumbnailFor a comic book lover, often the holy grail is owning the original pages of artwork from the comics you love. Original pieces from our favourite artists is big business, and the supply for the demand often comes through art reps who act as go-betweens for the men and women who spend their days putting pencil and ink to page as storytellers.

So what exactly goes on in this side of the comic book industry and how does it work?

I sat down with Court Gebeau, the man behind comiconart.com and one of the industry’s top dealers, to find out.

PMcC: First off, I needed to find out if he’s a fan, like us, or did he just get into the business to earn a quick buck…

 So, Court, how did you get into comics?

CG: Well, I started collecting comics at about 8 or 9 years old. I became insatiable. Going to the comic store was the highlight of my week. I loved GI Joe, Transformers, V, West Coast Avengers, Secret Wars…but my favourite was Amazing Spider-Man. I remember the first time I paid more than cover price for a comic – $8 for ASM 252. I carried that book around like it was a crown jewel. My most prized possession!

PMcC: Okay, so you are one of us. How the hell did you get into the business of being surround by your favourite art every day?

CG: A very good friend of mine was making a living as an art rep, and this blew my mind as he really had no background in comics, or any particular love or knowledge of the medium. One of his neighbours was an artist, and he started helping him sell his art, and he started getting referrals, and it just took off from there. I saw this, and thought that, if anything, I was the one meant for this job! I was the one who loved comics!

PMcC: So how did you get your first clients?

CG: I decided to start a website for artist representation. I was living in San Diego, and that’s where the name ‘Comiconart’ comes from. My first two artists were Juan Ferreyra, who was working on his very first book – Small Gods for Image Comics, and Jasen Rodriguez – an inker who had left the industry a few years prior, and was selling through his back inventory of pages. So – one artist that was no longer active, and one artist that no one had heard of (yet). Shortly thereafter, I was approached by the Benes Studio about the possibility of representing the artists that were training with Ed Benes, and it just took off from there. Next thing I know, it’s 11 years later, and my dream job has become my career!

PMcC: I had a dream job once! I say a dream job, because that’s what I did all day instead of actually working. I’m sure that wouldn’t wash in your line of work though, what exactly does the job entail?

CG: We handle all aspects of art sales for the artists, from selling art and commissions directly to customers through the site, to promotion of the artists’ work through social media. We also help in all manner of planning and preparation for convention appearances. This includes, but is not limited to, registration for booth space at the con, booking accommodations for artists, ordering artist banners and merchandise (art prints, sketchbooks, etc.), arranging commission requests in advance of the show, handling all art sales and commission requests at the booth, recording all sales, co-ordinating CGC signature series opportunities for fans… The list goes on.

PMcC: What makes CCA different from other comic art sellers?

CG: I would say the main difference is my dual role as both an agent and an art rep. As such, I have ties to both sides of the comic art community (publishers and collectors), which can lead to some exciting and unique opportunities for the artists that I work with.

I am always looking for new ways to promote the careers of the artists I represent, and this extends far beyond just art sales.

Comic Book Art Dealer pic 1PMcC: So as agents, you handle the artist’s work interests too?

CG: Yes, we work directly with publishers to find work for our artists. We send portfolios and page samples to editors, and help them to find the correct project for their talents. We also then negotiate page rates and contracts, manage artist deadlines, maintain communication with editors, track artist payments, and handle all business aspects of the industry so that the artist can focus all of their energy and attention on the work in front of them.

PMcC: Combining two aspects of the business like that sounds pretty demanding, are there many differences between how either side works?

CG: These two facets of the industry are very different, but also very symbiotic, and can very easily feed off of each other. For example, if I can find a great opportunity for a high profile new project, then that can also lead to stronger art sales for the artist, and higher visibility for their work. Pairing an artist with the right opportunity can do much more to further their career and promote their work than advertising their art sales through our mailing list, social media, etc. A great project will sell itself just by being great. It’s always easier to sell the high profile work.

Some CCA artists are solely on the art sales side, others are solely on the agency side, and several fall into both categories. I always try to cater my services to the individual needs of each artist. As I often tell the artists I work with: “My job is to make your job easier in any way possible.” As such, my role is constantly evolving.

PMcC: What’s the most difficult part of your job?

CG: I think, as with most jobs, it’s just managing all of the different individual personalities / tendencies / preferences. To be fair, artists tend to be a bit more mercurial than your typical ‘9 to 5’ crowd, while deadlines are always a top priority for publishers. Finding the middle ground and maximizing results for all involved is always a challenge.

PMcC: Despite the challenges, dealing with comic book art all day is bound to be pretty cool?

CG: Honestly – this is my dream job. Every day I get to work in an industry that I love – with artists, editors, and publishers that I respect and admire. I’ve had jobs in the past that made me miserable, and there is nothing worse than waking up every morning dreading going to work. For me, it’s the exact opposite. Every day I wake up excited to get back to work. And, in all honestly, I enjoy my job to the point that I’d likely keep on doing it even if it wasn’t paying the bills. In many ways, my job is also my hobby.

PMcC: I think if I was commissioning some art it would probably me walking to my car like Kaneda on the Akira movie poster or Starscream riding a horse like Napoleon Crossing the Alps, so I can imagine that you would receive some pretty interesting and off the wall requests from time to time. Do any particular requests stand out to you?

CG: At this point, after 10 years, I think I’ve heard just about everything. Then another request comes in that takes me by surprise! Unfortunately, the strangest requests likely aren’t fit for print – but I’ll tell you all about them over a beer or two. There is one in particular that pops to mind that I would love to share.

PMcC: Beer or three. And yes, I’ll hold you to that. So what’s the coolest thing someone’s commissioned?

CG: It’s definitely tough to pin down one particular piece. I am always impressed by some of the ‘theme’ commissions that come in (collectors that request similar themed pieces from several different artists). For example – there is one collector who requests “One Minute Later” commissions. In this case, he wants an artist to take a classic comic cover, and depict the events of that cover scene one minute later to see what happens next. There is another collector that likes to do cover homages to classic covers, but replacing all of the characters with members of the League of Super-Heroes… And still another who collects “Throne Room” commissions (major villain on a throne with the heads / armour / weapons of the fallen heroes on display as trophies). That’s just a few that immediately come to mind.

PMcC: I’d say that would be pretty awesome from the artist’s side too, getting the chance to work on requests like that. How do you find the artists you represent in the first place?

CG: The main avenue is definitely artist referral. I’ve had several artists approach me due to recommendations from other artists that I work with. When a client of mine is happy enough with my services to actively recruit other artists on my behalf, there is no higher compliment, and no better sales pitch.

I also try to stay up to date with the current slate of new comics as much as possible, and I always have an eye out for new talent. I will often contact artists directly when I am a fan of their work, and see if any of our services might be of benefit to them.

PMcC: Do you have advice, for any artists reading, on having Comiconart become their agent?

CG: I am always happy to look at samples, so artists are always welcome to contact me through Facebook or email. I am frequently contacted by aspiring artists looking to break into the industry, and I know how daunting that can be, so I respond to every submission and try to provide some honest and constructive feedback on their work regardless of whether they are ready or not for professional work in comics.

PMcC: The art dealing part of CCA sounds pretty fun, but this agency business seems a lot more like hard work. What’s the most difficult part?

CG: I think the toughest part of the agency side is actually letting artists know that they aren’t ready for professional work. In many cases, enthusiasm far outweighs actual talent – and that’s tough information to pass on to someone when it is their dream to work in comics. It is my hope, though, that they can learn a lot more from an honest critique than just telling them what they want to hear, and it might help them to improve as an artist and get closer to making their dream a reality.

PMcC: There’s bound to be the flip-side too though, when artists do go on to improve?

CG: Without a doubt. The most rewarding aspect of my job is watching an artist work on their craft over an extended period of time, and seeing them evolve from an aspiring artist to an established professional. I started working with Diego Bernard when he was a student at the Benes Studio back in 2005. His skills at the time were…rough, to say the least. He continued to work at it though – day after day, year after year – and I’ve watched him work his way into the industry, and up the ladder. He has worked with Dynamite, Top Cow, Dark Horse, DC – and is now signed to an exclusive contract with Valiant Comics. That’s just one such example – but it’s always fun to be a small part of an artist’s well-deserved success.

Comic Book Art Dealer pic 2PMcC: Speaking of fun, working with artists like this must mean hanging out with them too. You’re bound to have some pretty great stories. Have any good anecdotes you’d care to share about either side of the business? Any favorite experiences that come to mind?

CG: I think for me, the most fun experiences I have had in the comics industry have all taken place after hours at conventions. I love getting a chance to get together and hang out with friends in the industry that I only get to see at cons. And… Some of the best stories in the industry are the stories that you hear at the bars and afterparties once everyone has had a chance to loosen up a bit!

Other than that, I’ve also been drawn into a few of my favorite comic books, and that’s always a big honor. Most recently, I made a (dis)appearance in my favorite book – Matt Kindt‘s fantastic Mind MGMT. Also, a few years ago, Mico Suayan was tapped to illustrate the cover for the Wizard World Nashville variant of Walking Dead #1, and I appear as a zombie on that cover.

PMcC: So I take it that being really into comics, you own comic book art yourself as well as dealing in it?

CG: Yes, absolutely – my office walls are covered with art! I love to frame and hang as much art as possible. Unfortunately, my wife isn’t a big fan of comic art, so wall space is at a premium since all of the comic art is relegated to my office.

PMcC: Do you have a favourite piece?

CG: My current favourite would be the painted cover to the second Scalped deluxe hard-cover by RM Guera. Scalped is an all-time favourite series, and RM Guera’s art for the series is just incredible. And he only did a handful of covers, as most of the covers were by Jock (also great).

PMcC: Have you any tips for someone looking to get into collecting original comic book art?

CG: The most important thing would be to do some homework, and become well versed on the different terminology and artist practices commonly used in the industry today. It’s very important to know the difference between published / unpublished work, and the various types of published work that exist from artist to artist, etc. There are a lot of fine distinctions that can make a big difference in value and desirability. The most common such example would be all of the different ways in which a published page can be produced.

In many cases, the original pencils and inks are both on the same board. Historically, this was almost always the case, but a lot has changed in the digital age. Now you can also have pages where the pencils are drawn on one board by one artist, and then printed as a blueline copy for the inker so that there are now two originals by two different artists for the same published page. To further complicate matters, there are also artists that do layouts digitally, print them out, and then ink over their own digital pencils. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, there are artists that work digitally, and then draw select pages / covers by hand post-publication as “1 of 1 recreations”.

It can be a lot to sort out, but it’s extremely important to do your due diligence BEFORE you start buying. Sad to say, but there are plenty of individuals who are more than happy to take advantage of a new collector’s ignorance. Along these lines, it’s also a good idea to ask the more experienced collectors for advice on the hobby, and recommendations regarding reputable sellers, etc. There are also many wonderful people in the industry that are more than happy to share their knowledge with the next generation of comic art collectors, and new collectors should take advantage of this valuable resource.

Comic Book Art Dealer pic 3PMcC: So if someone’s started collecting, what’s the best way to keep up with what art is up for sale?

CG: The best way to keep up with us is to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook. We post updates on Facebook several times a week, and we send out newsletters two or three times each month which detail all of the art that has been added since the previous newsletter, and any special announcements regarding new sales, commission opportunities, convention appearances, etc. We are also active on Twitter, Instagram, etc. A lot of the new art updates are also prominently featured in the slide-show at the top of the comiconart.com home page.

PMcC: So Comiconart is still growing. Are there any other facets of the industry you fancy taking on?

CG: Actually – yes! We are very close to launching a new business venture – Blindbox Comics. Awhile ago I realized that, despite my love of comics and the amount of time I spend working in the industry, I was not as ‘informed’ on new titles as I would like, and my own comics reading was often months behind.

We’re currently set up in Nashville and part of the problem is that the only good local comic store is about 30 minutes away – so it’s an hour plus commitment just to walk in the door and browse the shelves.

Similarly, I also don’t have enough time to pore over PREVIEWS to decide which new titles I might like to read three months in advance! Working on the assumption that I am not alone in this, I thought it might be a good idea to offer a service that would eliminate all of the time and work involved in finding great new titles worth reading.

At the same time, I also wanted to explore the possibility of adding more excitement for collectors, so we are looking at ways to expand upon and redefine the market for variant cover collectors.

PMcC: So it’s a new subscription box service for comics that caters to both collectors and casual readers?

CG: Yes, exactly! And…this venture could also lead to new opportunities for the artists that we currently work with – either by creating more work on the publishing side, or offering another avenue of promotion for books they are working on that are deserving of more attention and exposure. I am very excited about the possibilities presented by Blindbox Comics, and cannot wait for the program to go live.

PMcC: And this is already in the works and on it’s way?

CG: Yeah, we will be launching first with a Kickstarter-exclusive ‘Beta Box’ (our Kickstarter campaign is live right now), with fulfillment by the end of October, and then the first monthly box release will ship in November! There’s some great rewards still available.

PMcC: This is what I like to see, people grabbing this industry by the scruff and raising the game. Kudos to you and thank-you for letting us have a glimpse into the world of being a comic book agent and rep. Let’s get to those beers we were discussing. Just one last question, I’d pretty much walk the cursed earth for the cover on Prog 727 of 2000AD or sneak into a Cobra stronghold for just one page of Silent Interlude, is there any pages you would love to have in your collection?

CG: I think it would have to be the Fables: Animal Farm cover art by James Jean. I owned this piece several years ago, but ultimately sold it to help fund the purchase of my first house, and have regretted it ever since. That is unquestionably ‘the one that got away’, and I’d love to get it back one day.

Comic Book Art Dealer pic 4[Court Gebeau, Matt Kindt and Brian Hurtt]

PMcC: Well, I hope you manage it, it’s well deserved. In the meantime let’s discuss commissioning artwork of me on a throne, dressed as Deadpool, with those losers Scott Summers, Archie Andrews and Jason Todd all kneeling before me in defeat…

CG: Ha – sounds like a plan!

Court Gebeau is the man behind comiconart.com and Blindbox Comics. You can jump on board the Blindbox Kickstarter Campaign Here.

Parker McCombe co-created and writes Samurai City.

Inside The World Of A Comic Book Art Dealer – A Superhero Dojo Special

Best Shots Reviews: JUSTICE LEAGUE #44, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE #2, BATMAN ANNUAL #4, SUPERMAN #44

A look at four of this week's top books.

Best Shots Reviews: JUSTICE LEAGUE #44, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE #2, BATMAN ANNUAL #4, SUPERMAN #44

A look at four of this week's top books.

Best Shots Reviews: JUSTICE LEAGUE #44, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE #2, BATMAN ANNUAL #4, SUPERMAN #44

A look at four of this week's top books.

The Six Important Moment From Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD – Laws Of Nature

This article will absolutely contain spoilers for last night’s season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season 3… Be warned.

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An interesting thing about the season 3 premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is they didn’t spend a big chunk of time catching people up or going through a list of where everyone was. Mostly a sentence here or there took care of it. They started with action and kept the action moving through most of the episode. And there was an odd juxtaposition of characters as the season begins… like Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) is in the lab while Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is in the field. But lets get to the important parts.

1) ABC released the opening sequence so a lot of people saw it even before the episode aired. It showed a new Inhuman, Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba) being chased by a spec op team looking to bring him in or take him out. Joey is melting metal randomly and is kind of a danger to everyone. Daisy (Chloe Bennet), Mac (Henry Simmons) and Hunter (Nick Blood) come to the rescue and extract him. This is the new status quo for SHIELD. Finding and assessing new Inhumans… bringing in the good ones and taking out the bad ones. Kind of the same thing as the spec op group.

2) Coulson (Clark Gregg) was on site too, but in the crowd trying to figure out who the spec op team is. He gets a photo of a woman (Constance Zimmer) who has multiple aliases but is currently going by Rosalind Price. Coulson and Hunter track her down to the one time of day she is alone… on the subway… which of course is a trap. The two are taken and bicker… this may be the new ship couple with the way they get along… and Coulson gets all the information he wants by being a captive (ala Black Widow from the Avengers movie) and then they escape when both he and Rosalind get a report of an Inhuman incident.

3) Trying to settle Joey in becomes difficult and Daisy wants to bring Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) back to help except Lincoln has no desire to be involved. Which he reiterates for them at the hospital just in time for potential season 3 super-bad Lash (Matt Willig) to come on the scene. Lincoln, Daisy and Mac fight Lash off… but instead of suddenly joining up and all is well, Lincoln takes off.

4) With Bobbi rehabbing from being shot and tortured by Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) last season, she is running the lab while Fitz is off trying to find clues on how to save Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)… you remember that Jemma got sucked into the giant alien monolith right? Well, we get a sampling of action-Fitz as he heads into a bad part of Morocco and steals an ancient scroll that is supposed to tell him what the monolith really is. This is far from the stumbling, stuttering Fitz we had last season. And for all his effort all he learns is that the monolith is death. Which leads to the most heart-wrenching scene of the episode as he assaults the monolith out of anger and frustration.

5) After the incident with Lash / Quake / Lincoln at the hospital, there is a press conference by President Ellis (William Sadler reprising his role from Iron Man 3) and naming the spec op group the Advance Threat Containment Unit or ACTU and we see just how high up the chain Rosalind really is. This is the new opposing force to SHIELD, but both are trying to collect the Inhumans and realize that there is a third party… Lash… out there killing them.

6) The last scene was the craziest as we see Simmons running along a beach, obviously terrified and trying to cover an open wound with mud. The coloring of the scene is very blue, giving it an odd feeling… and then we get to see the skyline and realize that this is definitely not Earth. Seems the monolith has taken Simmons to either another planet or another dimension. Good thing for her there is breathable air there.

The ties to the MCU seemed much more natural in this episode. References to Sokovia falling or Pym Particles fit in nicely and the blink and you miss him appearance of President Ellis reminds us that this is all connected. There was no attempt to shoe-horn in a status update on Grant and his attempt to rebuild Hydra… we’ll just start seeing that next week. And other than a mention that she went on vacation and didn’t return… there really is no time spent on Agent May (Ming-Na Wen). It kept the episode feeling unrushed even though there was a lot to show us.

My favorite moment is when they address the name change from Skye to Daisy. Coulson refers to her as Skye and Mack corrects her. Coulson comments on how difficult is is to get used to that… Mack and Hunter look at each other then tell him “no it’s not”. And the issue is dealt with.

Next week we get the return of an Asgardian… Not Lady Sif, Jamie Alexander is too busy being naked on Blind Spot… but Peter MacNicol reprising his role as Professor Elliot Randolph from season one.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Six Important Moment From Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD – Laws Of Nature

The Sandman: Overture #6 Review

Sandman: Overture is essentially the Prometheus to the original series' Alien in the sense that it's tasked with exploring how a specific character ended up in a specific place in the original story. Overture's series finale accomplishes that goal. Here readers learn exactly how and why a weakened Morpheus found himself taken captive by the cult in Sandman #1. But that's a pretty reductive way of looking that this issue. As with any story (and prequels especially), the journey is far more important than the destination. This issue serves as a fitting final leg in a surreal, wonderful journey across time, space and all of existence.

The stakes could scarcely be higher in this issue as Morpheus and his ship of 1000 souls faces the imminent collapse of all existence. Neil Gaiman gives this story a sweeping yet emotionally intimate scale. Trillions face their deaths, yet the focus remains on Morpheus steeling himself for his greatest challenge. In the process, Gaiman paints a fascinating psychological portrait of the character. He's not a gallant superhero fighting against all odds to prevent another Crisis. As this issue explores, Morpheus is bothered less by the idea of existence ending than he is by the fact that the calamity is his fault.

Continue reading…

Stage Set for MCU Earth-Space Crossover, Infinity Gauntlet NOT in Asgard’s Vault, More

Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige & Jeremy Latcham answered questions about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.