Friday, February 19, 2010

COMIC NEWS: IDW's Belladonna OGN-released 2/24/10



Award-winning writer/director Ben Ross teams up with J.K. Woodward -- artist of such titles as X-Men Origins:Beast, Star Trek, and Fallen Angel --to bring you this original graphic novella that examines the true nature of humanity and the underbelly of the city that never sleeps.


Annabelle, a beautiful woman, is gunned down, smashed up, and wakes up with full amnesia after a long coma, without any clues to her real identity. But when someone tries to execute her, she learns that she was the world’s most vicious assassin. Now she must live under New York City among the homeless, and in the process she becomes the city’s most unlikely hero.

In stores February 24, 2010.

5 page preview here:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fissuu.com%2Fbenross-director%2Fdocs%2Fbella_donna_book&h=2e289d2dfb2073b1e8dcadfebe11d8c7

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COMIC REVIEW: Weekly World News #2 (IDW)



Weekly World News #2 picks up the fun of the first issue, following the further adventures of Ed Anger as he crusades to show the world their beloved freaks are not what they seem. Alan Robinson's art and Chris Ryall's scripts make this one of my favorite new titles.



I love reading a variety of titles each month (so much so that it's hard to keep up sometimes), ranging from superheroes and hopeless zombie/apocalyptic stories to completely off the wall titles like this. Reading this book is just so much fun, from the easter eggs (like Billy Beer and the Twilight Zone) to crotchety old Ed Anger's curmudgeonly rants. And lest you think this title is all fun and no substance, Ryall brings a story that keeps you wanting to know what happens next, like who will Bat Boy save? Where does Ed Ape get such snazzy turtleneck sweaters? Where did Manigator find Billy Beer?

The highlight of this issue was the montage of Bat Boy's altruistic achievements. I laughed out loud (literally) at his saving a LOLcat. There are other homages to pop culture that I won't reveal here, but they are just as good.

As always (or at least for these two issues so far), included are annotations to point out all the fun things you may have missed, and some reprints of articles from the real Weekly World News, like Ed Anger's rant about smut on TV. I'm totally hooked on this series. I mean, where else will you see a half-man, half-reptile in comics? Oh, right. Killer Croc. But did Killer Croc ever drink a beer with Batman? I don't think so. Score one for Manigator! Seriously, though. Put this one in your pull list at your local comic shop. Never has it been so much fun to hang out with somebody's cranky old grandpa.

Stacey Rader
Senior Reviewer
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DVD NEWS: Bruce Timm discusses Justice League-Crisis on Two Earths & The Spectre



Executive Producer Bruce Timm offers New Insights on “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” and “The Spectre”





Executive producer Bruce Timm offers new perspective on the creation of “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths,” the latest entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe animated original movies, and “The Spectre,” the inaugural DC Showcase animated short, in an all-new Q&A with the guru of super hero animation.

video


Warner Home Video will distribute the full-length animated Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths on February 23 as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD, and On Demand and Download.

Timm, the executive producer on “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths,” has been the creative force behind many of Warner Bros. Animation’s modern-day successes, elevating DC Comics’ canon of super heroes to new heights of animated popularity and introducing generations of new fans to the characters via landmark television series and made-for-DVD films. The latter task includes the creation of the current series of DC Universe animated original movies, which have drawn critical acclaim and further whetted the public’s appetite for comic book entertainment. “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” is the seventh film in the ongoing DC Universe series.

And here’s what Mr. Timm had to say …

Question: What excites you about Juctice League: Crisis on Two Earths?

Bruce Timm: In a weird kind of way, this is a return to my favorite show Justice League Unlimited. The original script was intended to be the bridge story between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited to explain how we went from seven heroes to more than 50 super heroes. We loved the story and the script, and it floated around here for years while we tried to figure out what to do with it – it was considered for a comic, but fortunately that got shot down. Then we took a look at it and, with just a few slight tweaks, we jumped at the chance to make it a DC Universe movie.


Batman attempts to save the Earth, er, Earths as he faces off with his evil doppleganger owlman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video.


Question: What sets it apart from the TV version of Justice League?

Bruce Timm: It’s a very satisfying, grand scale adventure movie with a big cast of interesting, quirky characters. It’s amazing how much it feels like a great episode of Justice League Unlimited as a big, epic film with slightly different visual stylings. That’s a good thing.

Question: Did this film present challenges that the first six DC Universe movies did not?

Bruce Timm: The biggest challenge, and this is kind of esoteric, was that we had to find the line between the original source material and making it feel like a stand-alone movie so anyone that didn’t watch JLU could follow it. We really didn’t have to tweak the script too much – I think about 95 percent remains untouched. In terms of visual styling, we also wanted it to stand on its own and not necessarily as a continuation of the old show. We have this brilliant character designer – Phil Bourassa – who draws in a style similar to my own in terms of simplicity, but slightly different. So it doesn’t look 180 degrees away from the old show, but it definitely feels unique.

Question: What are the benefits of having two directors on the same film?

Bruce Timm: The positive for Sam and Lauren is that having two directors lightens the workload, because it’s a big movie. They have similar strengths, and they’re both very good at what they do. They’re both all around talented in terms of understanding story, acting, the emotional core of the story, and they’re both really good at directing big crazy action scenes. But they’re methodology is different. Sam thinks a lot, he’s very analytical. Lauren is more intuitive about everything. I just kind of stayed out of it when they had disagreements – fortunately I never had to be the tiebreaker, They just worked things out between the two of them.


Owlman explains his nefarious plot to destroy all Earths with a devastating weapon in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video.


Question: What are Dwayne McDuffie’s strengths?

Bruce Timm: Dwayne is really well-rounded as a writer – he knows comics inside and out, he understands the lore, he knows what makes a good super hero story, and at the same time he’s really good with character dynamics and conflict. Plus he’s one of the best dialogue writers in the business.

Question: Of this fairly huge casdt, do you have a favorite character?

Bruce Timm: In this story, it’s probably Owlman. He’s a fascinating character himself, but the dynamic with Superwoman is so messed up as a couple, and yet really appealing in a weird kind of way. It’s a little similar to JLU’s relationship between The Question and Huntress. Superwoman is this badass hot chick, and he’s the quiet, brainy, nerd guy. They’re an interesting, odd couple. Plus I loved both James’ (Woods) and Gina’s (Torres) performances – they were spot-on. The amazing thing is we like to get all the actors to record as an ensemble, but in this case it wasn’t feasible, So they never met or performed together, but they totally mesh. It’s such an interesting chemistry considering they’ve never even met.

Question: You’ve brought another all-star cast to this film. Anything fans don’t know about the casting choices this time around?

Bruce Timm: There’s an interesting side note in that Vanessa Marshall, who plays Wonder Woman, came this close to playing the role in Justice League. We were down to the final two choices, and they were neck and neck. The thing about Vanessa is that she sounded perfect for Wonder Woman – exactly what she should sound like. But Susan Eisenberg had this vulnerability. We thought it would be interesting to not play her to type, which ultimately played really well. When it came to casting for this movie, we thought, “What if we go down the road not taken?” So we opted for Vanessa in a full-length movie and she is great.


The Justice League makes its pitch to stand and fight the Crime Syndicate to an alternate Earth’s President Wilson in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video.


Question: “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” includes the premiere of the first DC Showcase animation short, “The Spectre.” How have the DC Showcase shorts changed your work day?

Bruce Timm: The DC Showcase is fun because it gives us an opportunity to play with characters that maybe don’t have a broad enough marquee value to support their own movie. As much as I like Batman, Superman, etc., the more lower tier, offbeat characters are really fascinating to me. It’s fun to mess around with others characters in the DC Universe. Super heroes are great, but it’s nice to do a change of pace, and that’s a lot of what we’ve done here. “The Spectre” is a supernatural thriller,; “Jonah Hex” is a western, and so on. So the Showcase is giving us a chance to stretch different muscles.

Question: After taking a break from episodic TV for the past several years, are you enjoying a return to the short-form with the DC Showcase?

Bruce Timm: The interesting thing is these are really short form – they’re half as long as a half-hour TV episode. So the story has to be really tight and condensed – you have to cut away the fat, but it can’t be just wall-to-wall action. It still has to be a story. Fortunately we’re working with some really great writers, and because of that, every time we roll tape on these shorts, they feel like you’ve watched a whole episode of something. There’s a clear beginning, middle and end – a full story. So mission accomplished.

Question: What made Steve Niles the right guy to write “The Spectre,” and how did you lure him into writing an animated short?

Bruce Timm: I’ve admired Steve Niles’ work for a long time and, honestly, it would have never occurred to me to approach him. That was Todd Casey’s suggestion. He contacted Steve, and Steve was thrilled to get the assignment. He’s a big Michael Fleisher/Jim Aparo fan, and a big fan of “The Spectre” – especially that 1970s era of the character. Steve is very into crime fiction and horror, so he was the perfect writer for it.

Question: Does “The Spectre” hold any special significance for you?

Bruce Timm: “The Spectre” was one of my favorite characters back in the 70s. Even by today’s standards, those comics are pretty hard core, and they were written in 1974, I don’t know how they got some of that stuff past the comic code. It was so different from any other comic on the stands. It’s really dark, really nasty. The character is pretty easy to understand – he’s the dark avenger of the night, even more so than Batman. He punishes bad guys in horrible, horrible ways. He’s like the benign Freddie Krueger. I’ve wanted to use “The Spectre” for a long, long time and we never had a opportunity to do it, and this was our chance to go hog wild with him.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at
http://www.justiceleaguecrisis.com/.
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TOY NEWS: NEW BETTIE PAGE STATUE PREMIERS AT TOY FAIR!



NEW BETTIE PAGE STATUE FROM DARK HORSE DELUXE HONORS THE WORK OF

DAVE STEVENS



One of the main factors in the resurgence of interest in 1950s glamour icon Bettie Page can easily be traced to Dave Stevens, who made her a character in his The Rocketeer comics, which started in 1982 and remain popular today. Dark Horse has made a special arrangement with the estates of both Bettie Page and Dave Stevens to create a limited-edition statue based on one of Stevens’s best Bettie Page images.

Dark Horse called on Dave’s close friend and sometime collaborator Kent Melton, a top sculptor with whom he had always hoped to do a project of this sort. Dark Horse and Melton went over Stevens’s many Bettie Page images, and the result is the most accurate representation of the pair’s many conversations on the subject.

“We have enormous respect for both Dave and Bettie, and we felt an obligation to make this piece a home run,” David Scroggy, Dark Horse’s vice president of product development, remarked. “Dave was a tough critic, especially when it came to his own work. We knew we had to satisfy him, so we were meticulous in every detail. I think we might have succeeded.”

Kent Melton observed, “Dave and I talked frequently about how female anatomy should work in sculpture. When I started to sculpt, it felt almost as if Dave were there guiding me. The piece came together quickly, almost as if we’d rehearsed it over the years.”

The statue, which will be a numbered, limited edition (quantity still to be determined), stands approximately thirteen inches from base to top, and comes prepainted and presented in deluxe packaging. Also includes an oversized certificate of authenticity reproducing the Dave Stevens illustration that inspired it.

Dark Horse has a long association with both Dave Stevens and Bettie Page, having served as one of the original publishers of The Rocketeer and produced over 150 licensed Bettie Page items.

This beautiful new statue made its premiere appearance at Toy Fair this past weekend and is scheduled for a worldwide release in August 2010, carrying a $150 price tag.



About Dark Horse Comics

Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way, and comics legend Will Eisner, Dark Horse has developed such successful characters as the Mask, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Additionally, its highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton, Trigun, Serenity, and Domo. Today, Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic-book publisher in the United States and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of licensed comics material.
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COMIC NEWS: DEADLY TURF



Jonathan Ross' and Tommy Lee Edwards' TURF makes first appearance in THE WALKING DEAD #70!



Continuing the tradition set by some of Image Comics' biggest launches, next week's THE WALKING DEAD #70 will feature an exclusive, full-color preview of British television and radio personality Jonathan Ross' and Marvel 1985's Tommy Lee Edwards' all-new, four-issue miniseries, TURF!


"Jonathan and Tommy have really created something special with TURF and we're anxious for people to get a look at their work," said Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. "Robert has been very generous with the back pages of THE WALKING DEAD in the past, so we're thrilled he's agreed to lend his support again, not only by allowing us to preview TURF in the latest issue, but to do so in color."


Added Kirkman: "Every since Jonathan and Tommy started talking to Image about TURF, I knew I wanted to put whatever support I could behind the launch and seeing the final pages certainly didn't disappoint. TURF represents exactly what I look for in comics: original work by top talent, completely different than anything else on the stands. TURF is a must-read for every WALKING DEAD fan."


Set in Prohibition-era New York, TURF offers a twist on the hard boiled crime thriller, adds vampires and aliens to the traditional mix of booze, broads and bullets as it chronicles the eruption of a vengeful gang war between booze-smuggling mobsters and the blood thirsty Dragonmir Family. As an ancient prophecy unfolds amidst the maelstrom of violence, the entire city is engulfed by the brutal conflict and the only glimmer of hope is an unlikely alliance between tough guy Eddie Falco and a stranger from another world.


WALKING DEAD #70 (DEC090416), a 32-page black and white comic book with a full color TURF #1 preview, goes on sale February 24. TURF #1 (FEB100322), a 32-page full color comic book with a cover price of $2.99, is available for order in the February issue of Previews and will go on sale April 7.



Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.
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