Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DVD News: Tim Daly discusses voicing Superman in "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies"

Private Practice actor returns to Superman: The Animated Series role for
all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie available today, Sept. 29

For most fans, Tim Daly patented the All-American trust within the voice of the title character for the landmark Superman: The Animated Series. Daly returns to his heroic roots today as the Man of Steel in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The film is available today, Sept. 29, in Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, DVD, OnDemand, Pay-Per-View and for download.

Beyond his 52 episodes and several movies as the voice of Superman, the Emmy nominated actor has had a prolific career on television as the star of numerous series, most recently continuing as Dr. Pete Wilder on ABC’s Private Practice and most notably for eight seasons as Joe Hackett on NBC’s Wings. The New York City native, who made his feature film debut in Barry Levinson’s 1982 classic Diner, has also had plum guest starring roles on The Sopranos and From The Earth To The Moon.

Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation presents the all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in a Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def edition, a special edition 2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video is distributing the action-packed movie today, which is also available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download.

In Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel and his “partner in crime,” Batman. Heroes and villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of Superman and Batman, who must unite – and recruit help – to stave off the action-packed onslaught, stop the asteroid, and uncover Luthor’s devious plot to take command of far more than North America.

Daly found time away from the Private Practice set to answer a heroic number of questions regarding his longstanding connection with the Man of Steel. Read on …

Can you recall your initial audition for Superman?

Yes, I remember it very well. The wife of one of the writers on Wings knew Andrea (Romano, casting/dialogue director), and, I guess they had been having trouble casting (Superman) for some reason. I don’t really know why. She suggested me and I came in and read for them, and they sort of hired me in the room. I was just shocked, but I was thrilled, because it was Superman. And, you know, if someone's got to keep America safe for democracy, it might as well be me (he laughs).

What are the challenges to voicing Superman?

Superman is a real boy scout, a real straight arrow, and yet he does have certain moments of kind of ironic humor. The challenge is not to tip him into cynicism because he is not a cynical guy. He is truth, justice and the American way. He is about trying to do the right thing and trying to be earnest about his goodness. What makes him fun are those little moments where he reveals that he actually does have a sense of humor.

Also, Superman has always gotten the crap kicked out of him by various laser beams, electrical force fields, bombs, kryptonite and new weapons – so there's a lot of grunting and straining and screaming noises that you have to do. There is so much punching and fighting that I find myself standing in front of the music stand and the microphone, pinching myself and torque-ing my body around as if I'm getting punched or straining against someone or grabbing someone by the scruff of the neck. The key is to push out of your mind the embarrassment of what it would look like if someone actually saw you do that in your shorts and flip-flops when you're supposed to be the Man of Steel.

I think probably the most fun I have as Superman was in the episodes with Superman and Bizarro, where he changes into this sort of idiot Superman and his whole demeanor sort of changes. He's not really deviously bad, or not consciously bad, but he does a lot of bad things because he can be manipulated – of course, by Lex Luthor.

What do you bring to Superman?

I guess the actual embodiment of that character (he laughs) – no, I'm kidding. I ain't no Superman (laughs). I guess I bring whatever little quirks make him more real. I like to think that this is my wheelhouse Superman. Whenever you reprise something, you hopefully reinvent it a little bit. If I had portrayed Superman as a live action person, I would really have wanted to know that there was a new spin on the ball.

You’ve been away from the role for a while – did recording Public Enemies present any new revelations about the character and doing the voice?

The most surprising thing about it was that I missed it. I found that I really had missed doing Superman. I thought that particular script was really good. For those of us who are interested and aware of new certain things in our world and our country, I think that it presents a very kind of subtle social commentary which I think is cool and relatively bold for something that's a DVD release of a Superman animated project.

How did recording with Kevin Conroy influence your performance?

Voicing animation is always interesting because you don’t have to all be in the room together. It can be done separately. But it's always better when you're in the room because then you're responding to someone else. Kevin is such a good Batman and, unlike Superman, Batman is pretty cynical. He's of darker character. When you have those two flavors playing off each other in real time, there's a lot more sizzle to it. You're not in a vacuum. So being in the studio together is definitely helpful.

True or false – did you beat out Kevin Conroy for the role of Joe Hackett in Wings?

All I know is that we both screen-tested for the part on the same day. The screen test was odd because I was there, and we were sort of observing each other. We both screen-tested with Steve Webber, who apparently had the role (of Brian). What I remember the most about the aftermath of that is Webber coming up to me as we were shooting the pilot and saying, "Hey, Tim, great to meet you. I could've sworn I was going to be working with Kevin Conroy.” I was like, “Oh, well, thanks, buddy boy. It's going to be a great eight years.” And I still can't get rid of him. I had dinner with him two nights ago.

The sad part is I think he was serious. I think he was telling me that he thought I was not going to get the part. He was like, “Hi. You know what? I really thought you sucked in the screen test. I'm so surprised you're here.”

Did you enjoy the “buddy cop” aspect of the film?

Superman and Batman have a good flavor to them, much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in the 48 HRS movies. They're sort of thrown into a situation where they have got to respond to a dilemma and they have very different points of view about how to deal with it, but ultimately they bond as a team. And it's funny having these two guys who are so different working for the same cause.

When you were first cast as Superman, did you understand the importance of the character to the world, and were you surprised by the fan reaction?

I admit to my own shame that I took it just on a lark. I thought, “Oh, this would be fun.” And then I started to realize that Superman actually meant a lot to a lot of people. I feel badly that I didn’t take a moment to understand that I actually have a greater responsibility than I thought I did. I understand that now, and I enjoy my responsibility and have more of a profound sense of it.

Every once in a while, someone comes up to me and says, “Excuse me, are you Tim Daly?” And I say yes and they say “I have to tell you, I am such a huge fan of yours, and my favorite work of yours is the voice of Superman.” I'm always sort of surprised when that happens – I used to think that it was all about the kids watching those animated shows, and who did the voices didn’t really enter their consciousness. But there are people that it means a lot to and I'm always a little bit taken aback by that. And I'm thrilled when that happens.

Which character do you gravitate toward: Batman or Superman? And why?

I like Superman better. Not just because I play him, but I think because I'm a little bit of an idealist and Superman is, too. He's a little bit more pure. He's about saying that good can win, that you can have goodness be the order of the day. Batman is somewhat more realistic in terms of the human psyche because he's a little more tortured – he's darker, more cynical and more street savvy than this strange guy that landed in a cornfield in Kansas. But for the purposes of having a super hero, I think having someone be good is more satisfying for me.

Is there something you consciously do to put that sense of trust in your voice as Superman?

It's acting 101. I see what Superman is supposed to say, and then I say it as truthfully and straightforward as I possibly can. It's always more fun to play villains and there's a lot more latitude, but it's way more difficult to play the good guy – especially someone as squeaky clean and straightforward and All-American as Superman. You really have to commit to the idea that this guy believes in his mission, that he's telling the truth and that he's looking somebody in the eye and giving it to him straight. It's surprisingly difficult to do.

You may not be Superman in real life, but you do act as a super hero in representing The Creative Coalition, right?

I'm not Superman. No, I'm just me. One of the great things about cartoons is that they're not real – you're not watching real people and it engages your imagination. One of the cornerstones of America is that we are creative thinkers. We're innovators. And in order to continue to be innovators, we need to train the creative minds of our children.

The Creative Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan arts advocacy group. It's made up of people who have attained a high level of visibility in the entertainment world, and we have two essential missions. Our core mission is to promote federal funding for arts and public education and freedom of speech. The other thing that we do is we use in a responsible way this notoriety that we've gained to focus attention on issues of public importance that affect everybody, issues that otherwise might have a little more difficulty getting the attention they deserve. I personally became involved because I believe that it is vital to the survival of our culture to have arts be part of the public school curriculum. I could spew tons of boring data – but the bottom line is that when you're teaching a child, you have to teach the entire child. Kids that study the arts are better mathematicians and scientists and politicians … and voice actors. They're not just better artists.

In conjunction with everything else you've done as Superman, can you envision how the fans will embrace this film?

I think that, interestingly enough, this particular film will work on a pure light entertainment level because there's all the fighting and characters and technological things involved. But there's also this subtle social commentary that I think that people who are more thoughtful or sort of discerning about that the progress of Superman over the years will be very interested in. I think that a lot of people will love it. Other people might be a little discomforted by it, which I think is great to stir things up a little bit.

And finally – I’ve heard that you not only like Bugs Bunny, but regularly quote him. True?

You cannot go wrong with Bugs Bunny. He's the coolest cartoon character ever. I quote him all the time. There's a hotel in New York – Le Parker Meridien – and they used to have old Bugs Bunny cartoons playing on the TV in the elevator, and I would find myself staring at the cartoons. My floor would get there and I would just push a different button so I could finish – I'd just go up 20 more floors so I could finish watching the Bugs Bunny cartoon.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at

Suggested captions for attached images:

Superman must battle both super heroes and super villains to help save the world in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The DC Universe animated original movie will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Tim Daly (Private Practice) provides the voice of Superman.

Tim Daly (Private Practice) provides the voice of Superman in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie, which will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

United States President Lex Luthor recruits a key quintet of super heroes to track down the Superman and Batman, including (clockwise from center) Captain Atom, Power Girl, Black Lightning, Starfire and Major Force, in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The DC Universe animated original movie will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel go from heroes to hunted in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie. Warner Home Video will distribute the film on September 29.

Metallo points a gun – loaded with a kryptonite bullet – at the Man of Steel in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie. Warner Home Video will distribute the film on September 29, 2009.

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5 Quick Questions with Darwyn Cooke

Darwyn Cooke was born in Toronto. He published his first comics in New Talent Showcase in 1985, but he eventually became a magazine art director, graphic and product designer for 15 years. He went into animation in the 1990s, working on the 'Animated Series' of Superman and Batman, as well as 'Batman Beyond' and Sony's 'Men in Black: The Series'. He finally returned to comics in 2000, when he did the graphic novel 'Batman: Ego' for DC Comics. He subsequently freelanced on titles such as 'X-Force', 'Wolverine/Doop' and 'Spider-Man's Tangled Web' for DC.

In 2001, he revamped 'Catwoman' with writer Ed Brubaker. In 2004, he wrote and drew the Eisner-Award winning 'DC: The New Frontier', a miniseries covering the gap between the golden and silver age of comic books in the DC Universe. He additionally contributed to the 'Solo' anthology and in 2006, he teamed up with writer Jeph Loeb to work on a 'Batman/Spirit' crossover. Cooke also took on script and artwork on the new monthly 'Spirit' title. As a scriptwriter, he wrote 'Superman Confidential'

He agreed to answer 5 Quick Questions:

1) What would you say is your greatest achievement in comics?

Breaking in.

2) Who was your favorite writer or artist that you worked with & why?

Mike Alfred, my pal.

3) What character you have never worked .., would you like to do & why?

Captain America or the old school Spectre

4) Who are your influences?

Alex Toth, Jack Kirby, Frank Robbins

5) What hero or villain would you like to change if you could and why?

Batman - He should shave & keep it in his pants

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Comic News: SPIDER-WOMAN: EPISODE 4 Marvel Motion Comics Clips

Marvel is proud to unveil new footage from the critically acclaimed Spider-Woman motion comic!

The New York Times Best-Selling team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continue Marvel’s first ever original motion comic as Spider-Woman battles the Thunderbolts! Spider-Woman Episode 4 hits iTunes on September 28th and no True Believer can afford to miss it! Discover more at www.marvel.com/motioncomics!


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Movie News: Where the Wild Things Are In Theatres Friday, October 16

Inside all of us is...everything we've ever seen, everything we've ever done,
and everyone we've ever loved.

Innovative director Spike Jonze collaborates with celebrated author Maurice Sendak to bring one of the most beloved books of all time to the big screen in "Where the Wild Things Are," a classic story about childhood and the places we go to figure out the world we live in.

The film tells the story of Max, a rambunctious and sensitive boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to where the Wild Things are. Max lands on an island where he meets mysterious and strange creatures whose emotions are as wild and unpredictable as their actions.

The Wild Things desperately long for a leader to guide them, just as Max longs for a kingdom to rule. When Max is crowned king, he promises to create a place where everyone will be happy. Max soon finds, though, that ruling his kingdom is not so easy and his relationships there prove to be more complicated than he originally thought.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, a Playtone/Wild Things Production of a Spike Jonze film: "Where the Wild Things Are," starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara and Forest Whitaker.

"Where the Wild Things Are" is directed by Spike Jonze from a screenplay by Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers, based on the book by Maurice Sendak. It is produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, John Carls, Maurice Sendak and Vincent Landay, with Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

The creative team is made up of many long-time collaborators of Jonze, including director of photography Lance Acord, production designer K. K. Barrett, editor Eric Zumbrunnen and costume designer Casey Storm, as well as Karen O and Carter Burwell, who did the music. They are joined by editor James Haygood.

Inside All of Us Is a Wild Thing

"I didn't set out to make a children's movie; I set out to make a movie about childhood," says director Spike Jonze, whose big-screen adaptation of the captivating Maurice Sendak classic Where the Wild Things Are was truly a labor of love. In it, he further explores the themes Sendak introduced and which Jonze believes remain relevant to every generation. "It's about what it's like to be eight or nine years old and trying to figure out the world, the people around you, and emotions that are sometimes unpredictable or confusing--which is really the challenge of negotiating relationships all your life," he says. "It's no different at that age."

"Where the Wild Things Are" offers a fresh look--and for many of us, a look back--into the many facets of childhood. It invites audiences of all ages to join in the discovery and challenge and pure feral joy of a young boy's brave journey to the island of the Wild Things, a special place that's sure to stir thoughts of the wild things that live in all of us.

"In a way, it's an action movie starring a nine-year-old. There's a lot of physical mayhem like dirt clod fights and rampaging in the forest," says Jonze. Indeed, the island offers up every youngster's fantasy: the freedom to run and jump and howl, to build and destroy and wrestle and throw things as far as he can... most of all, to do only the things he wants to do, with no one saying he can't. Resplendent in his wolf costume, young Max soon becomes King of the Wild Things by proving his superior ferocity over the giant creatures who live there. But it's an uneasy reign because the Wild Things are just that--wild--and there is always the possibility they might decide to eat him after all, with their great sharp teeth. Being king just might not be as easy as Max imagined.

At the same time, the story follows Max's first steps toward growing up as he becomes aware of the complex relationships the individual Wild Things have with each other and with him, and how doing everything he wants isn't always the best choice. Told with unabashed honesty from a child's point of view, "Where the Wild Things Are" reveals Max's increasing understanding of his own feelings and the feelings of others.

The film began with Jonze's abiding affection and respect for the book, written and illustrated by Sendak, another strong believer in not talking down to young people. Published in 1963, it earned a Caldecott Medal and went on to touch millions of readers worldwide, perpetually ranked by Publishers Weekly as one of the 10 all-time best-selling books for children since the 1970s.

Its enduring appeal, notes Jonze, is in how it "taps into genuine feelings that kids have and takes them seriously without pandering. Kids are given so much material that's not honest, so when they find a story like this it really gets their attention. I remember myself, at that age, being so eager to hear that other kids were going through the same things I was and having similar thoughts."

Max Records, now twelve, made his film debut as Max in "Where the Wild Things Are" and agrees. "The book reflects what it's actually like to be a kid. It's a book that could not only be respected by kids but it really gets to the heart of everything you feel growing up and even beyond that."

It was that idea of "beyond" that led Jonze to realize what he could contribute to the story. Adapting the slim volume into a feature film gave him the opportunity to take the adventure further, to delve deeper into Max's world, the unknown terrain of the island and the impetus that brings him there. He could examine more fully the Wild Things themselves, those volatile and endlessly expressive creatures which are "the wild emotions inside of Max and inside all of us."

From that point, the possibilities were limitless.

Jonze selected acclaimed novelist and fellow Wild Things fan Dave Eggers to collaborate with him on the screenplay, though Eggers had never written for film. This did not surprise Vincent Landay, Jonze's longtime collaborator and a producer on "Where the Wild Things Are," who offers, "Spike's instinct about Dave was based on knowing him as a person and knowing he had the right sensibility and the right take on what he wanted out of these characters. Spike likes to put people into situations where they might not have been in before because you often end up with a fresher result."

Before long, the two met with Sendak in his Connecticut home to go over their plans for the movie. Unquestionably, they wanted to keep it true to the author's values and intention; otherwise they would not attempt it. Of their initial discussions, Eggers remembers, "We wanted to make a movie that didn't look down at a kid but got inside him. Most kids in movies are 'de-fanged.' They have no wildness. What we figured out pretty quickly was that we all clearly remembered what it was like to be a boy, to be a little wild and get into trouble. We understood who Max was. We didn't need to focus-group it or ask a child psychologist about what a child thinks or believes; we knew it in our guts."

What ensued was an old-fashioned brainstorming process of two first-time screenplay writers locked in a room, hammering out ideas and dialogue together, acting out characters and melding their very different methods. "Dave is a very disciplined writer. If he gets stuck, he puts in a placeholder and keeps going whereas, for me, if it doesn't feel right I will stay in that place until I find what works. I don't want to let it go," Jonze admits, to which Eggers adds, "Spike's method is the definition of organic. I often saw myself as the facilitator, helping to put his ideas on paper and fill it out."

"First and foremost I was concerned with who Max was and what was going on in his life," says Jonze. "I wanted to make a movie that takes kids seriously but Maurice said, 'Make sure you don't just take the heavy side of the kid seriously; take his imagination seriously, his sense of joy.' We never set any rules about whether it would be for kids or adults. We just went where it took us."

Serving as a producer on the film, Sendak was fully involved from those early conversations and throughout production. He says, "Spike immediately had his own point of view. I trusted him. I knew he had a vivid sense of what the book was about in his head, which was the same with me when I wrote it.

"He's given me a renewal of respect for young people," the author continues, saying that so few people he encounters have Jonze's "bite," nor his interest "in history, or the world they came from. They just want to be what they want to be, without the luxury of learning about it. Spike is like a throwback, in that he reminds me of the young people I remember from the 1960s; kind of crazy but in the most wonderful, adventurous way. For me, the 60s was an exuberant and splendid time."

It was an inspired creative match, attests producer John Carls, who has worked with Sendak for 17 years, since the two formed Wild Things Productions in 1992. "He and Spike are very similar as artists. They're both bold and innovative thinkers, constantly challenging the status quo; they're both hard-working perfectionists who pour everything into their work; and they're both in touch with their childlike selves, which gives them a perspective that connects authentically with children."

Ultimately, the film was a combination of their stories and recollections. Says Jonze, "Maurice based the book on themes and feelings from his life, his childhood. I was picking up the baton."

"Spike is an incredibly gifted young man and courageous," says Sendak. "He didn't do an homage to the book; he did something that belongs to him, which makes him a real filmmaker and a real artist. I love the movie. It's original. It has an entire emotional, spiritual, visual life which is as valid as the book. He's turned it into his 'Wild Things' without giving up mine, in a brilliant, modern, fantastical way which takes nothing from my book but enhances and enriches it. They are two very different works of art and I like them both."

Capturing the Look, the Feel, the Breadth and Breath of It

As much as Jonze wanted to present Max as a real boy, he sought to give the story's imaginative elements a realistic execution, explaining, "I wanted to build and shoot the Wild Things so that Max could touch them, lean on them, shove them, hug them. I wanted them to be there so people could feel their breath, their size and their weight in a visceral and immediate way and I couldn't imagine doing that wholly in a computer or on a soundstage."

"Each story dictates a filmmaking process that best serves it," Carls observes. "In the case of 'Where the Wild Things Are,' Spike wanted to deliver an adventure that felt real, rather than a dream or a fantasy. Casting an actor to interact with physical creatures on a real location was the best way to accomplish that. He and this talented team of artists brought the Wild Things to life in the way we imagined them when reading the book."

Producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, also longtime fans of Sendak's work, concur. Says Goetzman, "We started developing 'Where the Wild Things Are' twelve years ago with Maurice and John Carls. It actually predated the inception of our production company, Playtone, and was one of the first projects we started working on as a company. We considered animated and CGI versions but it wasn't until we met Spike Jonze and heard his approach that we felt we'd found a truly visionary director able to flesh out this iconic book into a feature-length film."

The film is an extraordinary merger of live action, state-of-the-art puppetry and computer animation, putting Max directly into the company of nine-foot-tall monsters in all their fanged, tufted, striped and wide-eyed glory, simultaneously ferocious and endearing.

The beasts were given heart and soul by voice performances from a stellar ensemble cast led by Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara and Forest Whitaker, then put through their paces on location by costumed actors who melded body language to the dialogue. Finally, their already expressive faces were digitally enhanced for the range of movement and subtlety their thoughts and actions required.

Says Jonze, "I knew it was going to be a complicated process. It seemed that every choice we made turned out to be the hardest possible way to do it. Building the creatures alone took eight months. But we decided what we wanted it to feel like and worked backwards from there on how to achieve that, and stuck to it."

Producer Landay, integral to the daily hands-on effort and the master plan, admits, "I'm pretty tenacious. I feel if something's not happening it's because we didn't try hard enough or we didn't look into enough ways to make it happen. The only way to get through something this massive is to break it down and solve each component, step by step. It's all a puzzle, and making movies is just a gigantic crossword. Luckily, we've built a great team over the years, with a strong vocabulary."

In addition to Landay, who worked with Jonze on both "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation," Jonze's creative team on "Where the Wild Things Are" reunited many of his longtime colleagues, including cinematographer Lance Acord, production designer K.K. Barrett, editor Eric Zumbrunnen and costume designer Casey Storm. He also re-enlisted the musical talents of former collaborators Karen O and Carter Burwell.

Max is the Heart of the Movie

Casting for the lead role of Max was crucial. It involved a search of more than a year and spanned continents, as the filmmakers employed not only standard methods with casting agents but also reached out personally to friends and colleagues who might know of a youngster who fit the criteria.

"I wanted a real kid--not necessarily an actor who was going to give a 'movie kid' performance, but someone who was going to give a real, emotional performance," says Jonze, who goes on to concede, "As we progressed, it became clear that it was going to be hard to get the two sides of Max in one kid. He would have to be a really deep, internal kid, who had a lot going on in his head. A close-up of him should reveal his thinking and feeling. Simultaneously, we needed him at times to be totally out-of-his-head gleeful and wild. We could find one or the other, but finding both was hard."

Jonze found this duality in a boy coincidentally named Max--Max Records. Not entirely inexperienced in front of a camera, Records had appeared in a couple of music videos. He and the director immediately connected. Says Landay, "It was fascinating to see Spike work with him and basically channel Spike's inner Max to him. He never compromised and said, 'Well, he's just nine, it's all I can get out of him.' He expected as much out of him as he did from James Gandolfini."

Records' work on the film split into two phases: Max's home life, and then his journey across the sea to confront the untamed wilderness.

"It's somewhat chaotic at home for Max, where a lot of things are out of his control," says Eggers. "His parents are divorced, his sister has reached adolescence and is sort of abandoning him for other interests. He reaches a point where all these people are too busy to see that he needs attention so he puts on his wolf suit and goes charging around the house. The next thing you know, he's running out the door."

These early scenes offer a sense of the myriad questions, as well as the creative impulses, frustrations and powerful emotions that might collide in the active mind of a young boy trying to get a handle on the world and his place in it--and the reasons why, oftentimes, a child might yearn for a world where he's in charge.

As part of his preparation, Jonze sought to get to the bottom of children's genuine concerns from their own point of view, saying, "I interviewed a lot of kids to get inspiration and ideas. I talked to them about things that made them angry, fights they had with their parents, how it makes them feel. It's dramatic, when you're that age."

"When we shot the movie, I just let Max read the script once and said, 'I don't want you thinking about it. I want you to just show up on the day and see what you're going to find,'" Jonze offers his strategy. "I wanted it to be fresh. The complexity of the dialogue is very demanding. To get these things to not just be dialogue but to be really thought and felt and coming from a specific place, is hard. What I was asking Max to do would be hard for an adult actor."

"Where the Wild Things Are" stars Catherine Keener as Max's loving but stretched-to-the-limit single mother.

After wrapping her early scenes with Records, Keener, also an associate producer on the film, remained onboard through a portion of the subsequent location shoot in Australia to serve as Jonze's acting collaborator and extra set of eyes for working with Max and the Wild Things. "The whole experience of working with Max resonated very deeply with me," she says. "His naturalness and purity of spirit really come through in every scene. It was months of hard work and he brought joy to it all the time."

"Catherine helped me a lot," says Records. "For instance, there's a scene where I go into my sister's room and I have to be really mad. Beforehand, Catherine was getting me to scream. She got me to yell all the swears I could muster."

Records also had a mentor in Jonze, who soon learned that directing a youngster required a different approach than he was accustomed to and was much more physically taxing. "There was very little time to sit down. I was always running around because working with Max has to be interactive," he says. "It wasn't just like I could watch his takes and give him notes. I was always moving with him, whether it was jumping up and down, or yelling, or talking to him to get a reaction. Whatever it was, it was very interactive directing."

The lengths to which the director went to elicit reactions or guide Records through a specific emotion became a memorable series of performances in their own right that the young actor now recounts with delight. "He was doing all these crazy stunts. He had these big flamethrowers going off behind the camera to make me scared. They hired a bunch of guys from a sideshow to do tricks, and Spike learned fire-swallowing. The fire-swallowing thing really worked because he wasn't very good at it. Spike's tricks really did make me feel scared at times. The only drawback was that I wasn't scared I was going to get eaten by the Wild Things; I was scared Spike was going to burn up his tongue."

Among the shoot's high points, Records cites Max's epic dirt clod battle with the Wild Things as a personal favorite, especially as some of the action was enhanced pyrotechnically. "One scene that was really fun was when I was running through the forest. It's practically a minefield because all these dirt clods are being thrown and just exploding on the ground. The special effects team had hidden little explosives in the leaves and all around me was 'boom, boom, boom.'"

Records' least-favorite scene was one in which Max must slide through the giant mouth of one of the Wild Things and into its stomach to hide. The worst part wasn't the tight fit or the heat, or even the cables strapped to his back; it was being slathered in a gel he calls "the slime that smelled like rotten lemons."

"I would always be inspired by Max. He worked really hard but he knew how to have fun. No matter how hard the scene was, I'd come up to lunch and he'd have his wolf suit off and be running around with the other kids. It helped me remember that making movies is supposed to be fun," Jonze reveals. "I developed a lot of different relationships on this movie but the one I had with Max was in a class by itself. Max was my partner in making the heart of the movie come through. He is the heart of the movie."

The Wild Things Find Their Voices and Reveal Their Personalities

Drawing greatly from the book's illustrations, Jonze and Eggers developed Sendak's motley band of horned, clawed and hairy giants into a group of individual personalities, each with his or her own impulses and motives. The actors cast to voice the Wild Things were instrumental in forging their distinct identities. They also focused on the ways in which the Wild Things interacted with each other: at times bickering and conflicted, at other times playful and comforting.

James Gandolfini portrays the powerful--and powerfully sensitive--de facto leader of the pack, Carol. Lauren Ambrose is the free-spirited but somewhat melancholy KW, who enjoys the group dynamic but also craves time alone. Chris Cooper is the rooster-feathered Douglas, energetic and industrious. Catherine O'Hara is the sarcastic, gloriously negative and domineering Judith; and Forest Whitaker is Judith's modest and patient companion, Ira, who happens to be very good at punching holes into things. Paul Dano is the diminutive goat-horned Alexander, a mere eight feet tall, who often feels he's not taken seriously enough.

"They're all meant to represent different things and be tangential relationships with Max's world without being direct representations," Eggers explains. "We didn't think of them as creatures, really. We thought of them as people the entire time."

"Everything started with the voice actors," says Jonze, who eschewed the traditional method of recording voice performances from lone actors in sound booths, in favor of throwing them all together on stage to act out the entire movie in a kind of physical pre-visualization. This way, their actions as well as their voices were recorded. "We were going into a movie that incorporated puppets and animation. Both those mediums are inherently not spontaneous. So we decided to shoot the whole movie on a soundstage over two weeks. We needed the spontaneity of what these incredible actors did in the moment."

At the same time, notes Chris Cooper, it was traditional in that "it was actor-to-actor. I wore a microphone attached to a headband and was followed by a boom mike. Everyone was outfitted in the same way. For each scene, Spike set up the situation and we had the freedom of some improvisation. James and I, for example, using the same space, were able to work off one another."

Having worked with Jonze before, Cooper cites their "built-in trust" and says, "I came to the project ready to collaborate on bringing Douglas to life in a way that was both true to the book and to Spike's vision of how film could expand that character."

"There were more cameras than actors and we improvised all day around the wonderful dialogue. Spike is an amazing and inventive director," says Catherine O'Hara. "He doesn't take yes for an answer so he keeps working and playing and working with you until...well, I'm still thinking about Judith!"

The set resembled a minimalist playground through which the actors padded around shoeless to reduce extraneous sound as the action escalated. As Paul Dano points out, "With the Wild Things, there's a juxtaposition between their size and behavior. They seem like they'd be adults but they're very childlike. To capture that, we did a lot of childish things to provoke each other. You get crazier and funnier; you howl, you laugh. It's important not to break that energy once you have it."

Foam cubes substituted for the trees, caves and boulders that would comprise the landscape of the Wild Things' island home. The actors lobbed stale bread rolls at each other to simulate the explosive dirt clod battle Jonze would later stage on location with the fully-formed creatures. Forest Whitaker recalls, "It was an all-encompassing experience, actively playing Ira and interacting with the other actors--fighting with them, laughing and running with them, hitting them with giant Styrofoam logs. It was a fun project and Spike was always so present, so enthused."

Says James Gandolfini, "It was very physical. We were running around and beating each other up and making ridiculous noises. In the end, it definitely got everyone together as a group."

Revealing that it's Gandolfini's character, Carol, who forms the strongest and most complex bond with Max, Jonze says, "He's kind of a leader but also very sensitive. Understanding that the Wild Things symbolize the wildness of emotions, I thought James would play that very well. There's something electric about him. Sometimes I'd play the Max part with him and he'd pick me up. I put him through the ringer in terms of the amount of takes we'd do or the amount of times I'd come back in and try new dialogue."

"Spike really gets into it," Gandolfini responds. "He wants the performance to be the best it can be so he's as adamant as I am about trying to make it better and doing it as many times as it takes."

Reflecting on how the Wild Things represent feelings Max is just beginning to comprehend, "the things we fear," Gandolfini says, "Carol can't find a place to feel safe. He can't feel comfortable in a home because he always builds them and then tears them down; he destroys things from the inside. That was one of the aspects Spike and I discussed. It was all there in the writing, but it was just a matter of making sure we got that side of Carol out."

Max also makes a special connection with the elusive KW, a character Lauren Ambrose jokingly describes as looking "exactly like me, with the long red hair parted down the middle. KW has sort of found her way to the outside of the pack because she's protecting herself. She is often to the side, watching, and is quite shy." As the story progresses, Max learns why. "But she opens her heart because of Max's presence."

Another advantage to staging the vocal performance was how it later benefited the Australian actors as they donned the gigantic costumes to physically animate the Wild Things on location. Says Jonze, "The costumed actors would watch footage from the voice recording and mirror what the voice actors did. They took the essence of what they were doing and adapted it to what the costumes could do."

"Knowing Spike was going to show this footage to the puppeteers, I wanted to truly embody Ira as much as I could," says Forest Whitaker, who plays Ira. "One of Ira's attributes is a big belly, and I wanted that to help me build the character, to shape his attitude and performance." Toward that end, the actor utilized a fat pad on stage to alter his gait appropriately. "I would move like Ira and that would inform how I spoke as Ira. It not only put me into the right frame of mind, it also affected how the others dealt with me. As the process evolved, all the characters became more and more developed."

"It was interesting to see how the characters started from everything the voice actors did," Jonze observes. "But it's a combination of what they did in creating the roles, plus what the costumed actors did and what the animators did with the facial performances. It was three totally disparate elements that make one character."

"They roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws."

When it came to design, what mattered most about the Wild Things' big-screen debut was that they had the depth of feeling, humor, ferocity and tenderness the story required. They had to be alive.

Sendak was offered "the last word on what they looked like and how they moved. Yet, at the same time, I didn't want to lock them into place so that they were stuck rather than creatively excited by the prospect of what the monsters looked like," the author said. "When I was doing the book, nobody bugged me. Nobody said the monsters should look like this or that, because nobody knew what they should look like."

Jonze and Landay first delved into the world of creature movies, the history of suit performances and animatronics, to see what they liked or didn't like, and why. It was hard to find a direct parallel. Research with designers and effects companies turned up options that Jonze deemed "too troll-like or monster-like," or sometimes the opposite, "too cute." Repeatedly, they were advised toward full CGI and cautioned that recreating the book's proportions in real space would be a nearly insurmountable challenge. But they never gave up.

A friend referred them to artist Sonny Gerasimowicz, whose early sketches conveyed the blend of humor, whimsy and pathos they were looking for. Together, they experimented with color, textures and fur and from there moved into the model stage.

The Jim Henson Company and its legendary Creature Shop in Los Angeles built and refined the enormous costumes over a six-month period before shipping them to Australia--at which point Sydney-based Dave Elsey and an Australian team of costumers continued with on-site adjustments and reconfigurations to meet the unique demands of location shooting, such as one Wild Thing hurling another into the air--an effort involving wire work, pulleys and special rigs.

Peter Brooke, Creative Supervisor for the Creature Shop, begins, "We scanned the maquette, then enlarged the head to actual size and modeled that in foam, covered with clay. We re-sculpted the body of the maquette without fur, and were left with the understructure. Then we enlarged the pattern off the maquette and cut it out of foam. Within a week, we managed to get the basic shape and size of the character."

Thinking from the inside out, he continues, "We tried to transfer most of the weight of the costume to the hips of the performer. Basically, we approached the project as if these were huge puppets that were going to be puppeteered from inside, as opposed to thinking of them as huge costumes."

Elsey then adds, "Over the skeleton is the muscle suit, which gives the creature shape. When the actors flex their arms the muscles actually flex; when they lift, the rib cage will expand. That's what we call 'soft mechanics.' Fabricating these things is a real art form. The actor inside has to be capable of moving around and doing everything in the costume seemingly effortlessly. 'Soft mechanics' has been done before but this is on a whole different scale. The costumes are an amazing combination of engineering and art."

The final touch was enabling the Wild Things' features to match their emotions. Rather than using animatronic models, which would have caused lip-sync problems due to the creatures' enormous mouths, Jonze opted to enhance their expressions in post-production with computer animation, led by animation and visual effects supervisor Daniel Jeannette.

Says Jeannette, "Even with the static images, you could already see a lot of the impact they would have. We looked at the film and it was so beautiful we tried to animate the faces without creating a completely CG version of them. Instead, we did only the movement of the face in CGI."

Jonze clarifies, "Basically, they are creating 3D models of each creature's face in the computer. They used wire frame models to animate; then, the animation of those wire frames dictated the faces that were shot on camera. It's as if they were able to slide that wire animation under the faces of the puppets. Then that animation moved the fur on the faces that we shot on set."

"It looks real," Jeannette sums up, "because it's based on a real image."

One special costume that fell outside the purview of the Henson designers and Dave Elsey was Max's second skin and alter ego: the wolf suit he wears while making mischief at home and that later helps assert his animal nature over the Wild Things. That suit--plus 56 individual versions of it--was provided by costume designer Casey Storm, based on a drawing by Gerasimowicz that aged up the footed pajamas of the book into something a boy of eight or nine might wear. Storm's design included flocked whiskers, bendable ears, broken buttons, snaps under the chin to keep Max's "head" on tight through the wildest of rumpuses, and fingerless gloves.

Since Max is always in the wolf outfit, Records needed an entire wardrobe of them in various stages of wear: some dirty and some pristine, some warmer and others cooler in hue to match the tone of certain scenes and the camera's different light filters.

"...and he came to the place where the Wild Things are."

"When you think of the setting for the characters in the book, they're in some type of woods, on an island, a beach," says production designer K.K. Barrett, marking his third collaboration with Jonze on "Where the Wild Things Are." "We wanted the environment we put them in to be gritty and realistic, with natural elements. We wanted it to feel like somewhere no one has visited before."

After considering places as diverse as Argentina, Hawaii, New Zealand, California and the Southern U.S., the filmmakers found a home for the Wild Things in the hills, quarries and shoreline areas of outer Melbourne, at the southern tip of Australia. Here, says Jonze, "It felt like the edge of the world, on this rocky cliff." The area's barren forest proved a perfect graphic background for the action and suited the film's overall palette.

In keeping with the idea that they were discovering, along with Max, the creatures' natural habitat, Jonze and director of photography Lance Acord gave the island scenes a lived-in quality. Says Acord, "We needed a certain amount of texture and lack of resolution, so we were under-exposing a fair amount and letting the shadows go quite dark. The colors are less saturated than if you have a sharp, high-contrast negative."

The downside of working in a place where your nearest neighbor is Antarctica is that the production had to contend with bracing and often unpredictable winds and a rough ocean, which Acord vividly recalls, describing a scene in which the voyager Max pilots his boat alone toward the unknown shore. "I was shooting with a hand-held in the back of the boat. Suddenly we heard people in the other Zodiac yelling. A set of rogue waves was coming through, breaking at around 10 to 12 feet. They crashed over our boat and knocked the camera into the water. It started dragging along the ocean floor and, unfortunately, it was tied around the weight belt I had on, so was dragging me down with it. I struggled to get the belt off before being drowned by my own camera."

Acord made maximum use of hand-held cameras throughout the shoot because, notes Jonze, "We wanted it to feel as if this movie is being told through Max's eyes."

That point of view was a constant theme and extended to elements of production design. Upon his arrival at the island, Max finds the Wild Things happily demolishing their own homes, their immediate joy at wanton destruction prevailing over their less-immediate need for a place to sleep. Later, as their King, Max launches construction on the Ultimate Fort, in which they will all live together. This meant Barrett had to design huts and a fort that that could withstand some action but also look like something sprung from a child's drawings and built by a crew of unskilled and impatient monsters.

After abandoning early attempts as too sophisticated, they finally hit upon the perfect formula: a circle. "It took a long path to get to an idea that was actually very simple," Jonze admits. "The round hut, the round door with the round floor; there's no shape simpler than a circle." Adds Barrett, "The circle-based bird's nest kept showing up in our sketches. We figured if a bird could build it, they could build it. When you look at all the twigs and lines in nests, and then look at Maurice's drawings, it just made sense."

At more than 40-feet high, the fort was a formidable undertaking. Twice. Says Jonze, "We built two forts in Australia. The first one we built on the desert location in order to shoot exterior shots and the second one was built on a stage to shoot the interiors." Much of the physical fort was made of gravity-defying molded foam, to offset the structure's outsized scale, and painted to look like a weave of sticks, with actual sticks substituted in close-up.

The production included upwards of 400 people working on three separate stages and one location, with a shooting schedule divided between first unit, second unit, reduced unit and puppet unit--all of which evolved on a daily basis.

New challenges arose regularly as might be expected while working in rough terrain with actors navigating nine-foot costumes with giant heads. It took 45 minutes of prep time prior to each shot to clear a path the actor would then tread on faith. "But," Jonze specifies, "you'd have to make a path that wouldn't look like a path on camera, that looked just like the forest floor. We had to fill in potholes, and all the roots and rocks would be taken out so there wouldn't be anything to trip on."

On-set art director Tim Disney remembers some of the shoot's other inherent challenges: "250 people's footprints in the sand dunes that had to be gone by morning. Could we bring in choppers to 'buzz' them out? A hundred tons of kelp was getting in the way of Max's island departure. Do we get boats to drag it back into the ocean or pull it out? If Spike needed a forest down the side of a mountain, he got it."

Music to Soothe the Savage Beast

Accompanying Max's discoveries on both a grand and an intimate scale is the film's music, composed by Karen O and Carter Burwell. Jonze worked previously with award-winning composer Burwell on "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" and with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O on many music and film collaborations in the past. He counts them both among the most intuitive and creative people he has ever met.

Overall, suggests Jonze, "The music provides not so much a score as themes."

"I tried to follow Max on his emotional odyssey--never lead him," explains Burwell. "This might mean, for instance, when he meets the Wild Things, moving from curiosity to bluster to fear to wonder to triumph, all in a minute or two. I certainly have seen that journey in the faces of my children."

"My job was to come up with simple, childlike melodies reminiscent of hooks of great old pop songs that you can't shake, to shoot straight to the heart and be the voice of Max on the inside," says Karen O, who assembled a group of musicians she admires from various bands for the project. "We wrote the music over a span of two years in five sessions. Writing to raw footage is freeing. Without the constraints of an edited scene, we could really focus on the heart of the feeling for the piece."

And heart, ultimately, is what "Where the Wild Things Are" is all about.

Says Jonze, "I love this book and have always loved this book, since I was a kid. I didn't want to let Maurice down. His work is so important. He said, 'Make a movie that's personal to you, make it your own.' Even so, he had lived with the book as his creation for 40 years and that's a long time to live with something. I wanted to really respect that and make a movie that felt true to his values.

And that's what we did."

"Where the Wild Things Are" will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

Concurrently with the film's nationwide release in conventional theatres, "Where the Wild Things Are: The IMAX Experience" will be released in IMAX® theatres beginning October 16, 2009, digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology. With crystal clear images, laser-aligned digital sound and maximized field of view, IMAX provides the world's most immersive movie experience.

This film is rated PG by the MPAA for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language. Soundtrack Album is available on DGC/Interscope Records.


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DVD News: GI JOE The Complete Series in Stores 11/10

Jam Packed with 17-DVDs, 95 Episodes, Extensive Bonus Content, Voice Cast Reunion, A Collectible Book, a 1-GB “Dog Tag” Flash Drive Featuring 2 New G.I. JOE Silent Comics and much more in a Deluxe Footlocker Case
In Stores November 10, 2009 from Shout! Factory

This November 10, 2009, the action explodes onto DVD as the epic adventures of the original action hero arrive in stores nationwide in the ultimate collector’s set. Witness their fight for freedom as the G.I. JOE team faces off against the venomous COBRA organization and their bid to rule the world. For the first time ever, fans can own the complete series of the original animated television show that was a pop-culture phenomenon for a generation of kids in the 1980’s.

Now you can relive the original animated adventures of DUKE, SCARLETT, SNAKE EYES, FLINT, LADY JAYE and the rest of the team with G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero The Complete Series limited-edition collector’s set from Shout! Factory in collaboration with Hasbro.

Loaded with over 36 hours of content, this 17-disc collector’s set of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero contains all 95 episodes including the final episodes that have never been available on DVD until now, brand-new bonus features celebrating G.I. JOE’s rich history, a special collectible book, an exclusive 1-GB “Dog Tag” Flash Drive (USB 2.0) with G.I. JOE silent comics, and special Arashikage and Cobra Rub-on tattoos. All collected in a specially designed deluxe footlocker case. Plus, there is a special DVD place holder inside this case for the G.I. JOE original animated movie when it becomes available next year! A fan must-have for this holiday season, G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero The Complete Series limited-edition collector’s set is priced at $179.99 SRP.

Looking Back with writer Ron Friedman, Part One
Looking Back with writer Ron Friedman, Part Two
Looking Back with writer Ron Friedman, Part Three
“Knowing Is Half The Battle” PSAs
G.I. JOE’s Original 1963 Toy Fair presentation
Archival Hasbro toy commercials
Printable “Jungle Trap” Script
Every Day Heroes: The History of G.I. JOE

An in-depth and insightful look at the many lives of G.I. JOE, from action figures and play sets to comic books and animated series. Includes exclusive, brand-new interviews with those most responsible for the success of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero

Men & Women of Action: Creating the G.I. JOE Animated Series

A look back at the development and production of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero with members of the creative team and voice talent.

Voices of A Real American Hero

An unbelievable roundtable discussion with eight key members of the voice cast. Jack Angel (Wet Suit), Michael Bell (Duke), Gregg Berger (Spirit), Aurthur Burghardt (Destro), Corey Burton (Tomax), Richard Gautier (Serpentor), Neil Ross (Shipwreck), B.J. Ward (Scarlett).

Greenshirts: The G.I. JOE Fandom

An intimate look at those most touched by G.I. JOE: its legion of loyal fans.

Declassified: A Conversation With Larry Hama

An in-depth interview with the comic book writer most responsible for the unforgettable stories and characters of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero.

Fan Material - Live-action fan film Battle For The Serpent Stone.

G. I. JOE is the code name for America’s daring highly-trained special missions force.
Its purpose: to defend human freedom against COBRA, a ruthless organization determined to rule the world!

1n 1982 Hasbro made a bold statement when it launched its classic toy line of action heroes as an adventure-based team of unique characters, each with his – and her – own specialties. And because it captured the imaginations and hearts of kids aspiring to make a difference in the world, G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero was an immediate success lasting over 25 incredible years.
Technical Information
Street Date: November 10, 2009
Rating: Not Rated
Packaging: deluxe footlocker case
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Suggested Retail Price: $179.99
Running Time: 36.5 hours
Discs: 17


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Comic News: Hero Initiative Heats it up at LBCC

Hero Initiative:

Bringing back the HEAT to Southern California

At first Long Beach Comic Con

100 Wolverines at The Danger Room, Stan Lee,

Rev. Dave Johnson, J. Scott Campbell and more set it off!

Southern Cal may be cooling off, but Hero Initiative is on fire and bringing back the heat at the first Long Beach’s Comic Con, October 2-4 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

First up: It's been a labor of love and shipping, but we have at long last assembled our 100 original Wolverine: Weapon X #1 covers and invite you to…The Danger Room! This first and ONLY viewing of 100+ original covers happens Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 PM at the con, room 204. Admission is a mere $5, $3 if you come in an X-Men costume or FREE if you show up dressed as Wolverine himself. Admission gets you one free raffle ticket to win a KICKASS (but empty!) wine bottle crafted by the amazing Karlton Hahn of
Xena Etched Graphics. You can increase your chances by buying more raffle tickets on site. Our friends from The Comic Bug will be on hand as well to spoil you with coupons and stuff. This will be your ONLY chance to see all 100+ covers in living color and all their glory. ’Til the book comes out in November, that is. And when will the covers be up for auction? Check eBay.com in late October!

Next up, Hero Initiative is proud to feature an exclusive Wolverine print by amazing artist J. Scott Campbell and the talented colorist Christina Strain. There are only 100 made, and they’ll be available for $20 each only at the Hero Initiative booth, #349, while supplies last. You can even get your print signed by BOTH Campbell and Strain, as they’ll be appearing at the Hero booth on Saturday between 11am-12pm.

In addition, Stan Lee has graciously agreed to do a limited meet-and-greet session with a few select fans. There are only TEN availabilities to this session available via Hero Initiative. Five more guest of the Long Beach Comic Con will also be in attendance. You can get a picture with Stan, and you’ll also be able to get TWO Stan Lee autographs at this event on YOUR items of YOUR choice! Go to:


Lastly, while you are at the Hero Booth you can renew your Hero Initiative membership! 2009 marked the first year ever for Hero Initiative memberships, and for 2010, we’ve revamped with more and better premiums! You can get full information at the booth or order today at
www.heroinitiative.org or www.heroinitiative.org/2010members. Old Members, remember to bring your membership card to claim a 10% discount!

And the first 50 members to sign up will also get a bonus gift card from Sideshow Collectibles worth a random amount from $10 to $50 at SideshowCollectibles.com. Check it out!!

And of course, to really set the house on fire, our amazing line up:

FRI., 02 OCT (HOURS 300 AM-700 PM)
330-500: Scott Koblish
[500-730: 100 Wolverines party, room 204]

SAT., 03 OCT (HOURS 1000 AM-600 PM)
1000-1100: Brian Haberlin + Philip Tan
1100-1200: J. Scott Campbell + Christina Strain
1230-230: The Rev. Dave Johnson
430-530: Whilce Portacio

SUN., 04 OCT (HOURS 1000 AM-500 PM)
1030-1200: Norm Rapmund
1200-130: The Rev. Dave Johnson
200-300: Joe Benitez
300-430: Derek Fridolfs

For more information on the Long Beach Comic Con, visit


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Comic News: 2010 Hero Initiative Memberships now available

Show your support with 2010

Hero Initiative

Memberships Now available!


Yes…there is a sequel

It’s that time of year— to renew your Hero Initiative membership! 2009 marked the first year ever for Hero Initiative memberships, and for 2010, we’ve revamped with more and better premiums! You can get full information and order today at www.heroinitiative.org or www.heroinitiative.org/2010members.

Proceeds benefit the Hero Initiative, the only charitable organization dedicated to helping comic creators in medical or financial need. In addition to the great items listed below, many EXTRA excellent events and special discounts will be made available ONLY to Hero Initiative members throughout the year. Don’t miss out on the insider’s scoop and invites to very special events! As we say over here at Hero…DO IT!

Memberships are available as follows:

You get:
• Personalized membership card
• Quarterly newsletter
• A copy of the Hero Initiative Marvel Apes #1 variant
• Hero Initiative sketch card from a randomly selected artist! Artists include: Chris Bachalo, Dan Brereton, Mike Deodato, Scott Koblish, Mike Mayhew, Mike Perkins, Joe Quesada, Humberto Ramos, Tone Rodriguez, John Romita Sr., Leinil Yu and MORE!

You get ALL the above, PLUS:
• A NEW 2010 Hero Initiative T-shirt
• A copy of The Ultimate Spider-Man #100 Project
• “First in Line” and special members-only signings at select 2010 conventions

You get ALL the above, PLUS:
• A $50 gift card for Sideshow Collectibles
• Your flat item signed and personalized by Stan Lee!

ComicArtFans.com members will also want to take special note, as combo memberships for BOTH Hero and ComicArtFans are available. ComicArtFans is offering its members an additional $10 off their annual Premium Membership program if you are also a Hero member. “When ComicArtFans learned that the Hero Initiative would have membership opportunities we felt the need to help promote this new program to our membership as well. We've been a supporter of Hero for several years and feel very strongly that our members are also interested in supporting Hero,” said Bill Cox of ComicArtFans.com

Returning 2009 members will get a members-only discount off the prices listed above IF YOU RENEW BEFORE JANUARY 1st 2010. So if you haven’t signed up yet, do so today to guarantee your savings for the future!

And if you want to sign up on-site at the Long Beach Comic Con (Oct. 2-4, 2009) or Mid-Ohio Comic Con (Oct. 3-4, 2009), we encourage you to do that quickly! The first 50 signups at each of those cons will get a bonus gift card from Sideshow Collectibles worth a random amount from $10 to $50 at SideshowCollectibles.com

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Comic News: Hulk Smash Osborn in Dark Reign: The List – Hulk!

Norman Osborn knows making The Hulk angry probably wasn’t the best idea, but he never considered the ramifications of ticking off Skaar!

In Dark Reign: The List – Hulk, the strength of Skaar and the brains of Banner will be put to the test as they find themselves on The List! Bruce Banner isn’t the Hulk anymore, but that’s not stopping him! Incredible Hulk scribe—and New York Times Best-Seller—Greg Pak and artist Ben Oliver join forces as the new Green Goliath and Banner go up against Osborn and his crew in Dark Reign: The List – Hulk.

The critics cannot stop buzzing about Greg Pak’s return to the Incredible Hulk:

“It's action-packed and it features some quality characterization of Banner and Skaar.” - Jesse Schedeen, IGN.com

“I think any fan of the Hulk will be happy picking this one up.” - Brandon Borzelli – Comiclist.com

Marvel urges retailers to check all orders of Dark Reign: The List as it continues to generate buzz among fans. Will Skaar SMASH just like Dad or will Osborn get the best of The Hulk’s son? Find out in Dark Reign: The List – Hulk!

Written by GREG PAK
Pencils & Cover by BEN OLIVER
Rated A …$3.99
FOC—10/1/09, On-Sale—10/21/09


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Comic News: Nick Simmons to sign at the Long Beach Comic Con


Nick Simmons, star of A&E’s GENE SIMMONS FAMILY JEWELS and creator of INCARNATE, will be at the Long Beach Comic Con on Saturday, October 3rd from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. in the "Center Court" signing area next to the Golden Apple/Atomic Comics booth #555.

Be the first to get a signed copy of issue #2 of Incarnate, which debuts at the Long Beach Comic Con and has reviewers such as Ain’t It Cool News calling it “…not your typical horror story, blending action and cool in even helpings.”

They cannot die. They feel no pain. They hunger for human flesh. They are Revenants. Centuries ago, the Revenant known as Mot was worshipped as a God. Now, he walks the Earth in search of a purpose to his immortality – but when a secret society discovers a way to kill Revenants, Mot and his fellow immortals must make a choice: Hunt or be hunted. Nick Simmons’ breakout American Manga title reveals a world that challenges even the imagination, planting its tongue firmly in cheek, then biting it off... and swallowing it.


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Toy News: Hot Toys - Bio Hazard 5 - 12 inches high Chris Redfield collectible figure (S.T.A.R.S. ver)

Hot Toys is glad to announce the latest collectible from our Video Game Masterpiece Series : Bio Hazard 5 – Chris Redfield (S.T.A.R.S. ver)

This approximate 30 cm tall fully poseable collectible comes with:

* Hot Toys muscular body with over 21 points of articulation
* Real fabric of S.T.A.R.S. uniform- olive drab tactical vest, shirt, pants, knee pads and boots.
* Bonus costume - military jacket for Chris’ BSAA version.

* Weapons:
* Handgun / M9
* Magnum / S&W M500
* Machine Gun /MP-5
* Gatling Gun
* Incendiary Grenade
* Flash Grenade
* Knife

* Accessories:
* Ammo Pack / Machine Gun
* Magazine pouches
* Knife Sheath
* Belt
* Holster
* Headset
* Radio with pouch
* Interchangeable posing hands with gloves
* 12-inch figure stand with the Bio Hazard 5 logo and Chris Redfield nameplate

Release date: Q4, 2009 – Q1, 2010

Sculpt by Kim
Head Art Directed by Yulli
Paint by JC.Hong


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Toy News: Hot Toys - Bio Hazard 5 - 12 inches high Albert Wesker collectible figure (S.T.A.R.S. ver)

Hot Toys is proud to present the latest collectible in our Video Game Masterpiece Series: Bio Hazard 5 – Albert Wesker (S.T.A.R.S. version)

This approximate 30 cm tall fully poseable collectible figure comes with:

* Hot Toys 1/6th scale TrueType body with over 36 points of articulation
* His signature S.T.A.R.S. uniform- navy blue shirt, white tactical vest, black pants and boots
* Battery-operated illuminated red eyes ( button cell batteries included)

* Weapons include:
*Handgun / Samurai Edge
*Shotgun / Hydra
*Magnum / L. Hawk
*Incendiary Grenades ( 2 pieces)

* Accessories:
*Radio with pouch
*Harness with pouches
*Knife Sheath
*Three Interchangeable posing hands
*12-inch figure stand with the Bio Hazard 5 logo and Albert Wesker nameplate

Release date: Q4, 2009 – Q1, 2010

Artist info:
- Head Sculpt by Kim Jung Mi
- Head Art Directed by Yulli
- Head Paint by JC.Hong


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