Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Toy News: Kotobukiya Announces San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive: Fine Art Bust Inspired By Marvel’s X-Force Wolverine

Kotobukiya’s second 2009 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive is X-FORCE: WOLVERINE FINE ART BUST.

During Marvel Comics’ Messiah Complex story arc, Wolverine became leader of the new X-Force team and got a wicked new costume as well. For the first time ever, the mutant hero’s fearsome black and gray outfit, accented with piercing red eyes, has been created in the form of a high-end collectible. This is not simply a repaint, but an entirely new, highly-detailed, original sculpture.

Posed as though daring an enemy to make the first move, Wolverine turns to the side with his right arm raised up and the left pointed down. His claws, 2 1/3 inches long and made of real metal, are extended on both hands. As part of The Kotobukiya Collection of Fine Art Busts, Wolverine stands 9 inches tall, and is constructed of cold cast porcelain. Logan is sculpted by master artist Junnosuke Abe and rests atop a specialized base decorated by a relief sculpture of Logan’s civilian face.

Limited to only 500 pieces and only available at Kotobukiya’s booth #2601, this bust’s base features an individually serial numbered metal plate. To try to ensure that fans attending on different days of the convention will all have an opportunity to obtain this incredible sculpture, each day’s sales will be limited as follows:

300pcs for Wednesday, July 22nd (preview night)
150pcs for Thursday, July 23rd
50pcs for Friday July 24th.

Purchases will be limited to only 2 busts per person, and is priced at only $80. With Wolverine’s popularity, striking costume design, and low edition size, this bust is sure to be a highly sought after collectible.

X-Force Wolverine joins the Shunya Yamashita designed BLACK WIDOW BISHOUJO STATUE as part of Kotobukiya’s SDCC exclusive line up. The company will also make additional announcements in the coming weeks regarding special events, prizes, and giveaways during each day of the convention. Please visit www.KotoUs.com for the most recent information, or stop by Booth #2601 during Comic-Con July 22~26 at the San Diego Convention Center.


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Toy News: Live Sculpting Demonstration at San Diego Comic-Con!

Kotobukiya will bring master sculptor Mr. Junnosuke Abe to the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con to perform a live sculpting demonstration.

Beginning on Thursday July 23, Abe-sensei will start with raw materials, and by the end of the show on Sunday, he will have the first draft of a brand new sculpture completed. Fans will be able to see firsthand as Abe-sensei creates a work of art, and visit the Kotobukiya each day to see his progress.

Abe-sensei resume is filled with fan-favorite sculptures, including AVP Warrior Alien ARTFX Statue, Star Wars Zuckuss Bounty Hunter ARTFX Statue, and the intricate Pirates Of The Caribbean Captain Barbossa ARTFX Statue. He has been one of the main contributors to Kotobukiya’s Marvel Comics line, breathing life into Cable, Nova, Captain America, Winter Soldier, Storm, as well as this year’s SDCC Exclusive X-Force Wolverine Fine Art Bust.

Keeping in theme with the Marvel exclusive, Abe-san’s sculpture will be a full figure rendition of WOLVERINE as a 1/6th scale Fine Art Statue. Wolverine will be presented in his current yellow & blue costume, as designed by Astonishing X-Men’s John Cassaday. This it the first time ever Logan’s current costume has been realized as a full-sized statue.

Kotobukiya invites fans to come witness this historic sculpting exhibition in person at booth #2601. Kotobukiya respectfully requests for fans to allow Abe-sensei to work on the sculpture free from interruption. Abe-san will unveil the final sculpture to the crowd at 2pm on Sunday July 26, and will be available to answer fan questions at that time.

Kotobukiya will also make additional announcements in the coming weeks regarding special events, prizes, and giveaways during each day of the convention. Please visit www.KotoUs.com for the most recent information, or stop by Booth #2601 during Comic-Con July 22~26 at the San Diego Convention Center.


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The fan-favorite undead meets the sold out cannibalistic clairvoyants in THE WALKING DEAD #63/CHEW #1 Flipbook!

CHEW’s sell-out sensations, writer John Layman and illustrator Rob Guillory, are teaming up with Image Comics veteran Robert Kirkman to bring their sold out first issue to the masses in a very special black and white full issue flipbook in the upcoming WALKING DEAD #63 at no additional charge!

"As a creator, there's nothing more satisfying than hearing that a lot of people are interested in reading your book. The flip side of this is there's nothing more frustrating than hearing how people can't get a hold of your book to read," Layman said. "So, Image and Robert Kirkman concocted this great plan to put CHEW in a lot of people hands-- and for the unbeatable low, low price of 'free'."

CHEW's star, Detective Tony Chu, is a cop with a secret. As a Cibopath, Detective Chu gets a psychic impression from whatever he eats. While it means he's a hell of a Detective if he can stomach the evidence, once his secret gets out the government makes plans for him, whether he likes it or not. CHEW blends horror, mystery and the strangest ability of them all in an ongoing series of horrific crimes solved in the most horrific way possible.

Layman added, "If you're remotely interested in seeing for yourself what all the CHEW buzz is about, this is your chance. Of course, the black & white preview does not do justice to Rob Guillory's magnificent colors in the regular book, so if you like what you read in THE WALKING DEAD, you'll have opportunity to buy third and second printings of issues #1 and #2 when #3 hits the stores on August 5th!"

WALKING DEAD #63 (MAY090359), a 48-page black and white comic book for $2.99 featuring the entireity of CHEW #1 at no additional charge, will be in-stores July 17th, 2009.


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Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that “War of the Witchblades” will reach its conclusion in Witchblade #130. Who will emerge as the sole bearer of the Witchblade? Will it be Sara Pezzini or Dani Baptiste? Or will it be a completely new bearer? And who will become the new Angelus?

Witchblade #130 will be the landmark 50th issue of Witchblade written by Ron Marz, The issue is also the 22nd collaborative Witchblade comic with Ron Marz and Sjepan Sejic. Witchblade #130 is expected in comic book stores on Wednesday, September 9, 2009.

Ron Marz had this to say about the issue:

“The book has very much been a two-character drama since we introduced Dani. We might not have had both characters in every issue, but both characters were definitely a presence in the book. At the end of this storyline, we'll be back to focusing on one character and that character's life.”

“There are a lot of different plot threads going on in this arc – Sara, Dani, Sara's sister Julie, Dani's friend Finch, the Angelus. And while they might seem like disparate threads now, they'll all tie together.”

“I will say this: when I kill somebody in one of my books, they stay killed if I have anything to say about it. Death shouldn't be a revolving door, because it saps the drama out of a story. Sara's first partner, Jake, took a dirt nap, and it's gonna stay that way. If somebody is really dead, they're dead.”

“Somebody ends up with the Witchblade, somebody ends up as the Angelus. But I'm not telling who. That's why we solicited three different possible versions of the Sejic cover to #130. Obviously we're only going to press with one of them – but the question is, which one?”

Witchblade #130 will ship with three covers; one by regular artist Sejic revealing the identity of the new Angelus bearer, as well as two covers by classic Witchblade artist Adriana Melo (Ms. Marvel) featuring Sara and Dani respectively. The issue will carry a cover price of $2.99, maintaining Top Cow’s pledge to lock in a $2.99 cover price for all their normal comics in 2009.


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Comic News: The Battle for Heaven Begins in Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire #1!

The renegade angel Zadkiel finally conquered the celestial city of heaven and now the only obstacles in his way are the Ghost Riders!

Danny Ketch and Johnny Blaze, the two remaining Spirits of Vengeance, must team up to stop Zadkiel in Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire #1! The Write Stuff acclaimed scribe Jason Aaron (Wolverine: Weapon X) joins with rising star artist Roland Boschi for an action packed supernatural epic! As the two wayward brothers join forces, their only hope to save the world may be… the antichrist? The race is on as Zadkiel and his obsequious minions act to thwart Biblical prophecy by killing the newly born antichrist! This is the perfect jumping on point for fans new and old who’ve been captivated by Aaron’s lauded Ghost Rider series! Plus, don’t miss two covers by superstar artist Jae Lee!

See what critics are saying about Jason Aaron’s thrilling run on Ghost Rider:

“Jason Aaron has been writing the best Ghost Rider comics in history over the past year and a half, and I want to see what he has planned for the epic conclusion.” – Timothy Callahan, ComicBookResources.com

“This is as good as it gets. You really need to pick this comic up. Hell, you need to go back and pick up Aaron's entire run. You won't be sorry.” – Paul Brian McCoy, Comicsbulletin.com

“Fantastic… Aaron continues to showcase his ability to keep a book consistently readable.” – Daniel Crown, IGN.com

Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on all Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire issues, as the series is highly anticipated by fans and critics alike. What can Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch do to bring down the ever powerful Zadkiel? Watch the thrills and twists unfold—and explode—in Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire #1!

Written by JASON AARON
Cover & Variant Cover by JAE LEE
Parental Advisory …$3.99
FOC – 7/14/09, On Sale – 8/5/09


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Comic News: Nick Fury & The Secret Warriors Battle H.A.M.M.E.R.!

Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors have launched their offensive against Norman Osborn’s H.A.M.M.E.R., but the foot on Fury’s throat might be a sign that things won’t end well!

Marvel’s most acclaimed new series of the year continues in Secret Warriors #6, as red-hot scribes Brian Michael Bendis (Dark Avengers) & Jonathan Hickman (upcoming Fantastic Four), team with Young Gun artist Stefano Caselli for the next shocking chapter in Nick Fury’s war against the Dark Reign! What role does HYDRA play in this battle? What are Stonewall’s powers? And just what does Fury have up his sleeve? Strap in for answers—and a shocking conclusion that rocks Marvel’s world of subterfuge to its core! Plus, don’t miss an exciting variant cover by Tomm Coker, celebrating the sexy 70s!

“It's non-stop panel-bursting mayhem…I really just can't get over how good this book looks”—Paul Brian McCoy, ComicsBulletin.Com

“Secret Warriors #5 again proves that this is a book that is unafraid to move the plot forward quickly and to change the status quo issue to issue”—Chad Nevett, ComicBookResources.Com

“There's no question it's one of the more unique and interesting superhero books Marvel has launched in recent years… Jonathan Hickman is offering up plenty for Marvel fans to love”—Jesse Schedeen, IGN.Com

This all leads up to next month’s confrontation between the Secret Warriors, the Thunderbolts…and the Dark Avengers! With critical acclaim from G4 to Entertainment Weekly, Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on Secret Warriors. The time has come for war—and in Secret Warriors #6, Nick Fury’s gonna show his enemies that a Howling Commando never quits!

Rated T+ …$2.99
FOC—7/6/09, On-Sale—7/29/09


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Toy News: The Biggest Decepticon Ever (So Far) Is Devastator!

It's the biggest Transformers toy in ages! The Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Constructicon Devastator is big, bad, and ready to smash the daylights out of lesser toys! This amazing set of construction vehicles combines to form a giant evil robot, totally set on destruction! (That's a little strange, isn't it?) If you want the biggest robot in disguise of 2009, this is it!

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Constructicon Devastator

* Big construction vehicles combine into bigger robot!
* Evil Decepticon has electronic lights and sounds!

6 big vehicles combine into the massive Devastator! This huge robot is ready to smash the Autobots and crush the puny humans once and for all. Requires 2 "AA" batteries.

The Biggest Decepticon Ever (So Far) Is Devastator!


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Comic News: IDW to Publish Deluxe Editions of Archie Comics

Will launch series of first-ever, classic reprints starting in 2010

IDW Publishing is proud to announce a partnership with Archie Comics to reprint some of the property's most iconic stories in deluxe hardcover and trade paperback editions. Under the agreement, IDW will reprint sequential newspaper strips for the first time, offer multiple collections of the very best Archie comics material from the past seven decades, and add to the brand's digital presence. The newspaper strip collections will be incorporated into the much-lauded Library of American Comics (Dick Tracy, The Complete Terry & the Pirates), helmed by Eisner award-winner Dean Mullaney.

Coming of age in post-World War II America, Archie captured the hearts of generations of children and adults. Archie and his friends remain hugely popular today, appealing to comic fans new and old with a blend of timeless stories and classic Americana style. Many popular comic book writers and artists cite Archie as their inspiration to work in the genre. Legendary comic book artist Neal Adams did his first professional work on Archie.

"We are incredibly excited to be working with Archie Comics," said Greg Goldstein, IDW's chief operating officer. "There are very few comics as influential in popular culture as Archie, and we are looking forward to offering original, never-before-reprinted strips and a wealth of comic book material to fans."

In addition to reprinting original strips by series creator John Goldwater and original artist Bob Montana, IDW will also present Best Of volumes that showcase the work of Archie artists, such as Montana, Dan DeCarlo, and Stan Goldberg. "Archie has had so many talented artists throughout its history, each with their own take on the characters," said Goldstein. "We want to offer fans the best from each of those eras, especially since much of this material has not been in print since its original publication."

"We are thrilled to be partnering with IDW Publishing on these important historical works. IDW is well known for their outstanding work and we look forward to working closely with the team at IDW to create a line that all past, present and future Archie fans will enjoy," commented co-CEO Jon Goldwater.

IDW will also publish special collections of Archie's Madhouse and Archie as Pureheart the Powerful, a comedic super hero series that ran during the 1960's. Award-winning creative director and editor Craig Yoe will oversee many of these special volumes.


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Comic Review: G.I. Joe: Origins #5 (IDW Publishing) by Adam P.

If only the bad guy woulda kept his big mouth shut...

All our old G.I. Joe buddies are here in G.I. Joe: Origins #5: Duke, Hawk, Rock & Roll, Heavy Duty, Stalker, Scarlett, Snake Eyes. They have big guns and spray fire at their enemies as the bullet casings fly into the air. They debate the model of the hand grenade thrown at them. They make funny banter as they're being shot at by their enemies. The bad guys take the time to explain their evil plots to their captives, even making pre-recorded videos to play during the deadly countdown.

Like most kids in the eighties, I was enamoured with G.I. Joe and the plot of this comic resembles something that I would've played out with my young friends in grade school. Bad guys die or get broken bones. The good guys live. There's a clear goal. The enemies are unbelievably loquacious. Unfortunately, it's cliché after cliché in this issue. Now since this is supposed to be recounting the origin of the G.I. Joe squad and is written by G.I. Joe legend Larry Hama, I would expect something much more original and satisfying. As it is, the action is too violent for children and the plot is too childish for adults. But I don't see teenagers relating much to Rambo-style battle clichés and a team of grown men using nicknames to refer to one another.

The most bizarre part of the issue is that the baddies mention Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme. Madoff was just sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. But then the evil ringleader's plot includes sending an email to investment bankers to tell them how to use sub-prime mortgages to rip people off. Sub-prime mortgages are a major part of what led to the current economic crisis. So it seems that Larry Hama has gotten his wires a little crossed here, or at least isn't explaining the sequence of current events very clearly to the reader.

But this is how the whole issue goes: the writing and art tries to be hyper-realistic with its depiction of weaponry and battle techniques, but then shows adults behaving like a bunch of kids playing cowboys and indians in a schoolyard. The issue is interesting for G.I. Joe fans as a trip down memory lane and will surely pique the curiosity of those who will enjoy the upcoming movie, but is not going to go down as the most sterling example of G.I. Joe comic books.


On sale July 8

Adam P.
Review Co-Editor

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Comic Review: From the Ashes #2 (IDW Publishing) by Adam P.

From the Ashes might want to return to the ashes...

From the Ashes #2 follows a married couple, Bob and Michele, as they seek to eke out a living in post-apocalyptic New York City. They meet cannibals, mutants, zombies (who prefer the term Reanimated Americans and don't have any appetite) and anti-mutant anti-gay protesters.

Personally, I love post-apocalyptic comic books. The self-published Sword of My Mouth and Dark Horse's Rapture are two current mini-series which deal with mutants and cannibals respectively and they are both far more enjoyable than From the Ashes. Sword of My Mouth and Rapture are of course serious and dramatic whereas From the Ashes attempts to be funny and whimsical. The problem is that Bob and Michele are mildly amusing at best and somewhat annoying at worse. They seem to be your typical middle-aged happy-go-lucky American couple who pine for lost creature comforts and react to their odd surroundings but end up adapting fairly quickly.

The denizens of the rubble that used to be NYC are trying to make the most of the radiation-ravaged landscape in various ways. The cannibals eat carcasses and try to convert Bob and Michele to their ways, scorning the couple's preference for canned goods. The mutants get slighted insulted when Bob & Michele mention their tentacles and humps but are friendly just the same. The zombies apologize for their three-headed dog and try to convince our couple that being undead and never eating is the way to go. Although it isn't quite predictable, it's rather conventional, with forced humour and nothing tremendously inspiring.

Having said that, the book does work on the level of low-brow entertainment, the same you might expect from any late-night movie or run-of-the-mill sitcom. It's one way to spend 20 minutes of your time if you want to shut off the functions of higher intellect and see how a couple would react when everything they've come to know is taken from them, except each other. Although they do seem rather underwhelmed by it all.


In Stores July 8

Adam P.
Review Co-Editor

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