Thursday, November 5, 2009

Comic News: What Price Victory?

SIEGE: THE CABAL [Prologue to Siege] (OCT090467)
Penciled by MICHAEL LARK
Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC—11/12/09, On-Sale—12/2/09

SIEGE #1 (of 4) (NOV090419)
Pencils & Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
Variant Cover by JOE QUESADA
Sketch Variant by OLIVIER COIPEL
Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC—12/10/09, On-Sale—1/6/10


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Comic News: TOP COW PREVIEW: Tracker #1

Top Cow has released a preview of Tracker #1.

Tracker #1 (of 5)
(W) Jonathan Lincoln (A) Francis Tsai (Cov) Tsai, Darick Robertson

The first property from Top Cow and Heroes & Villains Entertainment is here!

Alex O’Roark, the FBI’s top tracker, has his perfect life ripped to shreds when a case to capture the world’s most dangerous serial killer leads him straight into the maw of a werewolf. Now, keeping his secret from his gorgeous fiancĂ© and the FBI, he must hunt down the wolf that infected him before the disease turns him into a monster.

Cover A – Francis Tsai
Cover B – Darick Robertson

Full Color 32 pages $2.99 limited series


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DVD News: UP-s and Downs of Animation

As we countdown to Tuesday’s (11/10) release of Disney*Pixar’s UP on Blu-ray and DVD, we present you with this article of Fun Facts and a series of images showcasing the Progression of a Scene from the beginning storyboard though all of the layering of set dressing, animation, shading, effects, and lighting!


• “Up” is the 10th film from Pixar Animation Studios, and the first Disney•Pixar film to be presented in Disney Digital 3D™.

• Nearly 70 animators worked on “Up” during the peak of production. A crew of nearly 375 at Pixar had a hand in creating the film.

• Supervising Technical Director Steve May and his team created a canopy of 10,297 balloons to float Carl’s house throughout much of the film. That number more than doubles to 20,622 for the dramatic scene in which the house lifts off from its foundation for the first time. May and his team calculated that about 26.5 million balloons would be needed to lift a real house.

• Paradise Falls, Carl’s dream destination in the film, is based on Angel Falls in Venezuela (the tallest waterfall on Earth at 3300 feet). In the film, for artistic reasons, Paradise Falls is far taller at 9700 feet.

• Director/Screenwriter Pete Docter, Co-Director/Screenwriter Bob Peterson, and other key members of the “Up” production team took a research trip to Venezuela to explore the “lost world” of the Tepui tabletop mountains. The crew climbed one mile straight up to the top of Mount Roraima (the highest and most famous of the 115 mesas), and were then helicoptered to Kukenan. The intrepid Pixar explorers encountered deadly ants, poisonous snakes, scorpions and miniature frogs during the trip.

• John Ratzenberger is the only actor to voice a role in all 10 of the Disney•Pixar films. In addition to his latest role as Construction Foreman Tom in “Up,” he provided the voice of the charming and witty Hamm the piggy bank in “Toy Story” (reprised in “Toy Story 2” and the upcoming “Toy Story 3”), P.T. Flea in “A Bug’s Life,” Yeti the snow monster in “Monsters, Inc.,” a school of Moonfish in “Finding Nemo,” a philosophical character named Underminer in “The Incredibles,” a Mac-truck in “Cars,” Mustafa, the head waiter in “Ratatouille,” and John, a human living aboard the spaceship Axiom in “WALL•E.”

• Carl is the most complex human character ever created by Pixar. His design is symbolically and literally square, three heads high. In contrast, Russell is basically egg-shaped and round.

• Russell has more layers of clothing than any other Pixar character -- a shirt, a sash covered with badges, a neckerchief and a backpack.

• More than 450 kids read for the part of Russell. Jordan Nagai, the voice of Russell, had not planned on auditioning for the role. He accompanied his brother, an actor with some commercial and TV credits, and was asked to try out on the spot.

• Kevin was the hardest character for Character Supervisor Thomas Jordan and his team to design. This 13-foot flightless bird is covered with beautiful iridescent feathers, which required a new approach to hair technology. The team approached feathers as hair growing on splines, which basically react much like hair itself.

• Pete Docter voices some of the bird noises for Kevin in "Up."

• Director Pete Docter’s daughter Elie Docter provides the voice of young Ellie in the movie. At age 7, Elie was tapped to do the scratch recording for the character. While many other voices were considered, filmmakers ultimately cast Elie in the role.

• Ellie’s presence in the film remains constant throughout with a special musical theme (written by the film’s acclaimed composer Michael Giacchino), and the color magenta, which came to represent her.

• When Russell and Carl are served dinner by Muntz, Carl is actually served the scallop dish from "Ratatouille."

• The average amount of time required to render a single frame of film for “Up” was between five and six hours. Some complicated frames took up to 20 hours. For every second of film, 24 frames are required.

• The film’s production and character design called for “Simplexity,” a simplified approach to complicated caricatures. For example, Carl has no nostrils, skin pores or holes in his ears.

• Co-Director/Screenwriter Bob Peterson provides the voice of Dug, Charles Muntz’s misfit dog who befriends Carl, Russell and Kevin. He also is heard in the film as Alpha, the leader of the pack whose collar translates his thoughts into speech. Peterson previously voiced Roz, the sluggish dispatcher in “Monsters, Inc.,” and Mr. Ray, the determined teacher in “Finding Nemo.”

• Stereoscopic Supervisor Bob Whitehill, who oversaw the 3D aspects of “Up,” views the film as one of the greatest 3D films of all time. Using a “depth budget,” the 3D team worked to match the filmmakers’ “point of interest” with the “point of convergence” to give the film another visual cue to tell the story, while adding excitement and dimension to the adventure. The film’s climactic airship battle, complete with dogs in biplanes, is one of the most exciting uses of 3D.

• The number A113, which refers to John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton's former classroom at CalArts, makes an appearance in every Pixar film. In "Up," A113 is the courtroom number where Carl makes his court appearance.

• In the sequence where Carl’s house first lifts off, the ball from short film “Luxo Jr.” can be seen sitting on the floor of the girl’s bedroom as the house goes by her window.

• The Pizza Planet Truck, which first made an appearance in "Toy Story," has made a cameo in nearly every Pixar film. In "Up," the Pizza Planet truck can be seen at the intersection when Carl's house flies over the town. It’s also in the Fentons Creamery parking lot at the end of the film.

• Russell's favorite ice cream parlor in the movie is named after the real Fentons Creamery in Oakland, Calif. Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera live nearby and frequent the restaurant and ice cream parlor with their families.

• Pete Docter, who began his career as an animator, managed to find time to animate the last scene of the film where Carl and Russell are sitting on the curb eating ice cream together. Pete handled the animation of Carl.

• Director Pete Docter named Disney storyman and writer Joe Grant in the film’s dedication to the “real life Carl and Ellie Fredricksens who inspired us to create our own Adventure Books.” Grant was part of the 1937 team that created “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and wrote “Dumbo” and “Fantasia.” The mentor, friend and source of inspiration to Docter and countless others continued to work at the Walt Disney Animation Studios up until his death in 2005, one week shy of his 97th birthday.

Disney*Pixar’s UP is Available on Blu-ray & DVD November 10th!


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DVD News: Star Trek (2009) Countdown Widget!! on DVD & Blu-ray 11/17!!

Add This Widget to Your Website Now!!

Please visit to check out this awesome Star Trek (2009) widget that counts down the DVD & Blu-ray release! Simply click on GRAB on the widget to add it to your Website or post it to your Facebook, Twitter, etc.


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Comic Review: Kill Audio #2 (Boom Studios)

Claudio Sanchez, frontman of Coheed and Cambria, has returned to the comics world with Kill Audio, a 6-issue miniseries. Along with Chondra Echert, Sanchez writes an interesting story that incorporates action and humor with social commentary on censorship. Sheldon Vella’s 3-color art works well with the monotone theme of the Void stifling creativity. His chaotic and cartoonish lines are in direct contrast with the order imposed by the Void, and this makes the book visually pleasing.

In the 2nd issue, the world of Sight and Sound is still in chaos. The book opens with two punks discussing their missing brother and the return of the mysterious Void. In the midst of the conversation, Kill Audio and his compatriots crash the party. The action leads into Kill Audio’s quest to learn more about his past and what part the Void plays in his existence. Secrets are revealed, and we learn why the Void is collecting genres of music. It’s all about control and order, and in the world of art and creativity, these things don’t exist.

Most interesting to me (and the part that made me giggle) was the discussion about Progressive and how hard it is to catalog because musicians keep making up subcategories, like Progressive Electro Hop. The categorization of music was a large part of the end of the comic, and KA and friends talk about not seeing a “father,” a big category like classical or rock. There’s also a nod to Miles Davis at the end of the book, which is always a good thing. I have a feeling this and the “father” discussion will be a big part of the next issue.

All in all, this book exceeded my expectations. Musicians in the comic industry seem to be here to stay (see Gerard Way, Fall Out Boy, and most recently Scott Ian), and Claudio Sanchez is at the forefront of this movement. Pick up this series from BOOM! and Evil Ink Studios and crank up the stereo. It’s guaranteed to get you thinking, but in a totally good way.

Stacey Rader
Staff Reviewer

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DVD News: Warner Home Video to distribute "Halo Legends" animated shorts compilation in February 2010



Go deeper into the Halo universe than ever before with Halo Legends, an all-new, CG and traditional anime PG-13 experience that presents enthralling new stories from one of the world’s most popular video game franchises. Produced by 343 Industries, a part of Microsoft Game Studios, the exciting tales-beyond-the-games will be distributed February 9, 2010 by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ for $29.98 (SRP) and $34.99 (SRP), respectively, as well as single disc DVD for $19.98 (SRP) due date for all versions is January 5, 2010. The chapters will also be available On Demand and Digital Download.

Halo Legends is a seven-story anthology – told across eight spectacular episodes – that explores the origin and historical events of the Halo universe and its intriguing characters. Halo Legends has been created in the same breakthrough format as The Animatrix and Batman Gotham Knight with each individual episode imagined by a cutting-edge, renowned Japanese anime director/animator, including Shinji Aramaki, Mamoru Oshii, Hideki Futamura, Tomoki Kyoda and Yasushi Muraki. The stories are inspired and produced by the creative minds of 343 Industries, including Halo franchise development director Frank O’Connor and managing editor Kevin Grace.

The individual episodes fall within Halo’s 26th Century mythology as the battle between humanity and aliens rages on in an attempt to protect Earth and mankind’s expansive number of space colonies. The dramatic, action-packed stories feature characters and locales familiar to Halo fans, and episodes range in length between 10 and 17 minutes – resulting in nearly two hours of animated adventures.

The episodes are animated by some of the world’s most respected studios and directors in anime today. The studios range from Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Batman Gotham Knight), Bones (Cowboy Bebop, Fell Metal Alchemist) and Toei Animation (Dragonball Z, Digimon) to Studio 4oC (The Animatrix, Batman Gotham Knight) and Casio Entertainment. The stellar roster of animation talent on Halo Legends is highlighted by creative supervisors Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed) and Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell); directors Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed), Hideki Futamura (The Animatrix), Daisuke Nishio (Dragonball Z), Hiroshi Yamazaki (Karas), Toshiyuki Kanno (Black Lagoon), Koichi Mashimo (Blade of the Immortal) and Koji Sawai (Patlabor); directors/action designers Tomoki Kyoda (Eureka Seven, Evangelion 1.0) and Yasushi Muraki (Macross Plus, Vampire Hunter D); and writer Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop).

Halo is a centerpiece in the world of video games, selling more than 27 million units to a devoted legion of fans – including the latest hit Halo 3:ODST. The Halo franchise has driven more than $1 billion in revenue from its award winning Xbox games, New York Times best-selling novels and comics and a wide variety of other merchandise.

Halo Legends - 2 Disc Special Edition version will have several hours of incredible bonus features, including:

• The Making of Halo Legends – An introduction to Halo Legends followed by a making-of segment for each episode.

• Halo: Gaming Evolved – Explaining the Halo phenomenon from its inception as an Xbox video game to a present day entertainment franchise.

• Audio Commentary with directors Frank O’Connor and Joseph Chou

• Widescreen (1.78:1)

Halo Legends Blu-Ray versions will be loaded with bonus materials, including all the great extras from the 2-disc Special Edition as well as Halo: The Story so Far, an overview of the Halo universe up until the end of Halo 3

“Halo Legends offers fans stunning, new creative visions of the popular video game’s expansive universe, providing added depth and perspective to these beloved characters and thrilling environments,” said Halo franchise development director Frank O’Connor. “Halo Legends is a perfect complement to the game’s growing canon of ancillary entertainment options.”

“Warner Home Video is proud to partner with Microsoft to bring this video game phenomenon to fans in an altogether different entertainment medium,” said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Partner Brands Marketing. “The great storytelling, memorable characters and truly astounding CG/Anime make Halo Legends a must-have for the fans.”

Exclusive previews of Halo Legends will be available on the new Xbox LIVE experience, Halo Waypoint, starting November 7, 2009

HALO LEGENDS - Single Disc
Street Date: February 9, 2010
Order Due Date: January 5, 2010
Languages: English and Spanish
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: Estimated 119 min.
Price: $19.98 SRP / No MAP
UPC: 883929099245

HALO LEGENDS – 2 Disc Special Edition
Street Date: February 9, 2010
Order Due Date: January 5, 2010
Languages: English and Spanish
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Rating: PG-13
Runtimes: Disc 1 – Estimated 119 min.
Disc 2 – Estimated 89 minutes
Price: $29.98 SRP / No MAP
UPC: 883929099207

HALO LEGENDS – Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def
Street Date: February 9, 2010
Order Due Date: January 5, 2010
Languages: English and Spanish
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Rating: PG-13
Runtimes: Estimated 223 min.
Price: $34.99 SRP / No MAP
UPC: 883929099023

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