Back in Black

That's the catch-phrase for the upcoming Spider-Man books, according to this month's Marvel Previews. Apparently, Spidey's symbiotic suit is making a comeback. All of the Spider-Man titles in February will feature the black suit, including:
  • Amazing Spider-Man #539
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #17
  • Sensational Spider-Man #35
  • Spider-Man Family #1
Hmmmm...could it be merely coincidence that this run with the black suit will coincide with the movie release of Spider-Man 3 that will introduce millions of film-goers to the black suit and to Venom?


Another Crappy Sequel

From Rich Johnson, in Lying in the Gutters (Comic Book Resources) last Monday:

I understand that Warners are looking for writers and treatments for a proposed "V For Vendetta" direct-to-DVD sequel projects to be filmed, low budget, in the UK next year. Naturally without the Wachowskis or Joel Silver who made a point of saying the original movie was a one off.

No, they haven't approached Alan Moore, why do you ask?

Will it be called V4V2?

Once again, we learn that the almighty dollar is much more important than art. Well, we all knew that, but why is it even more important than putting together a quality product? That's just good business.

Thanks to Comics2Film.


The (Annotated) Guiding Light

If you have any interest in seeing the Marvel crossover episode of the The Guiding Light, stop reading here as this is spoiler-filled.

I've never sat through a complete episode of a soap opera (unless you count Smallville, which my wife is continually comparing to a soap), and it's likely I never will again (unless, maybe, they pull another stunt like this).

Just to give you an idea of the great writing that plagues these shows, here's an exchange between the doctor and husband shortly after a main character gets electrocuted. She's lying unconscious on a gurney.
Doctor: She's got no breath; she's got no pulse. Nothing.
Concerned Husband: Is she going to be okay?
Doctor: She's doing fine.

Maybe I just watch too much House, but with my limited medical experience, I thought no breath and no pulse meant you were dead. Apparently, in Soap Opera Land, it means you're okay. (Well, I'll give you that Comic Book Land has its share of characters that are dead but end up alive and walking around a few issues later.)

The premise of the episode is that Harley Cooper accidentally gets electrocuted by some Halloween decorations, and develops super hearing, super speed, super strength, electrical "shocking" powers, and the ability to "supercharge machinery". I think she even phased through a ceiling at one point. Soon after she discovers she has the abilities, she is talking to her father who says, "People are in the dark, searching for a light to guide them." Suddenly, she is the superhero, Guiding Light.

The episode actually does a decent job of trying to blend a comic book feel with the show. Rather than the normal intro to the show (I taped the next day's show just to check), the opening credits show all the characters drawn comic-book style. There's even updated superhero music for the intro. Rather than the expected fade-to-a-commercial-focused-on-someone's-intense-face, the scene fades to a comic book panel before each commercial, and after each commercial, the show starts back with comic panels introducing the scene. Comic panels are even interspersed with live action to tell the story.

But that's about all it does well. The requisite bad superhero puns abound: "You look like you could use some enlightenment;" or "Don't look so shocked." The acting is just sad. The stunts and special effects are silly. And what's with those eyes? Even the comic book references are forced. Even before she gets super powers, there are a number of references:

  • "...battle the forces of evil."
  • "This costume won't be ready for fighting crime."
  • Husband: You can't save the world. Harley: I can try.
  • "Super powers. Ha."
  • While chasing off some Halloween pranksters: "You evil-doers!"

But that's just the beginning. There are a number of Marvel-specific references. Superheroes don't actually interact with these characters for the show - that was saved for the backstory contained in the Marvel comics - but there are a ton of references made.
  • Title of the episode: She's a Marvel
  • One of the (two) kids is wearing a Captain America costume.
  • "Do you think Iron Man and Captain America need reading glasses?"
  • In the background of one scene, the marquis on a building reads "Marvel Comics Convention".
  • When asked if he thinks this superhero thing is for real, a detective responds: "Yeah, why don't I just call Spider-Man. He's on my speed dial. Right above the Incredible Hulk and the Easter Bunny."
  • After getting bored with the whole crime-fighting gig (after a day), the main character says to the bartender (who happens to be reading an X-Men comic), "I wonder if the Fantastic Four ever gets tired of putting away the bad guys."

It was an interesting idea, but I don't think I'll be adding the show to my DVR line-up.

For more info, Comic Book Resources has a good article: Behind the Scenes of the Marvel/"Guiding Light" Crossover, and CBS even has a couple short behind-the-scenes videos (Marvel Meets Guiding Light and Marvel Special Effects and Stunts).


Cartoon Network Notes

Good news if you missed Hellboy: Sword of Storms. It will be shown again on December 9 at 9/8 Central. Set your DVRs! (Now's your chance, Bones!)

I guess Fantastic Four has been pulled from Cartoon Network's lineup. No great loss there. It wasn't bad, and I was recording it, but I wasn't overly impressed. Plus, for some reason, I ended up missing half the episodes. First of all, it never got the episode right (if it actually recorded Fantastic Four, it was a different episode than the guide said it recorded), and second, half the time it recorded a completely different show. Either Cartoon Network couldn't get their schedule right or the Comcast DVR guide wasn't following what CN was doing.

From Comics Continuum. Thanks to Comics2Film.


Season 8 of Buffy is on!

Well, not on television, but at least in the comics.

It's been rumoured; it's been talked about; but Joss Whedon has recently confirmed with Entertainment Weekly that there will be a Season 8. I'm assuming that's with Dark Horse, who's published Buffy in the past.

I was thinking that Season 8 would have to tie in to the last season of Angel (since some of the characters appeared in the show), but IDW Publishing has the rights to Angel and Spike, and are publishing their comics, so Whedon says that the interaction will be kept to a minimum.

Check out the link to Entertainment Weekly, above, for a few preview panels.

Thanks to Comic Book Resources


Will It Never Die?

Appearing at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention will be Special Effects Creator Extraordinaire Stan Winston, comic book writer and artist Howard Chaykin, and none other than Major Victory from Who Wants to Be a Superhero?

And he's charging for autographs. Yeah...I'm sure those will be selling on eBay like hotcakes. I don't know - could Stan Lee publicize someone who could make comic books and superheroes look any more stupid?
Thanks to Comic Book Resources



I guess I'm just way behind the times. When I recently read in Marvel Previews that they would be publishing a XIII graphic novel, I just assumed that it was based on the Ubisoft game, XIII. Little did I know that it was a Franco-Belgian comic book released in 1984. If you're not familiar with the game, it was released in 2003 and has the most amazing comic-book look to it; and it's one of the most fascinating first-person shooters I've ever played. The animation has an inked comic look; the text is in word balloons; there are comic book sound effects. The game is extremely playable and the comic-book feel just adds to the fun. The game (and apparently the comic) starts with the main character waking up on a beach with amnesia, only to find out he's being hunted by thugs and is wanted for the murder of the President of the United States. The drama intensifies from there.

Apparently, there were 18 volumes originally published in the series, and the game only covers the first 5. The Marvel Comics release (actually published by Dabel Brothers, distributed by Marvel) is of the first volume, Day of the Black Sun. This first volume is 144 pages and will be going for $14.99. I guess I better decide soon if I'm going to have Kim at my comic book store order it for me.


Free Comics!

No, it's not free comic book month, but DC Comics announced Friday that a number of TPBs of early story arcs of many of its Vertigo titles are available for download. Titles include Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Sandman, Transmetropolitan, and The Exterminators just to name a few.

Pretty smart marketing. I think some of these titles aren't being published any more, but a number of them are, and it's a perfect way to readers hooked on a series and start picking up the current books.

See the complete listing over at DC Comics.


Teen Titans and Iron Man DVDs

Some notes on upcoming animated films:

If you previously missed Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, it's scheduled to be shown on Cartoon Network again on Friday, November 24 (2 pm) and Sunday, November 26 (3 pm). It's scheduled for release on DVD on February 6. If you're into Teen Titans, you'll enjoy this one - set your DVR.

In addition to the Iron Man film in the works, he'll also get his own animated DVD. More information from Comics Continuum here. The DVD has a release date of January 23.

Thanks to Comics2Film and Comics Continuum


Well, It Is the Fifth of November

Remember Remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot

Realizing the date made me wonder about some of the history in V for Vendetta.

In the comics and film the anti-hero V plans to blow up Parliament in an attempt to overthrow a fascist dictator in a fictional future Great Britain.

The story behind the story is that in 1605, Guy Fawkes and a number of co-conspirators attempted to kill James I of England by blowing up Parliament, to remove the Protestant monarch and replace him with a Catholic monarch. Under the rule of James I, Catholics were tolerated, but didn't have as many rights as Protestants (that's not the only reason, but there's a lot of complexity to this thing - check out the links below). James I is also that King James (as in the one that authorized the complete English translation of The Bible in 1611). The plot failed when Fawkes was caught. He confessed under torture, giving up his co-conspirators. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but he cheated the more gruesome parts of his sentence by jumping off the gallows, thus breaking his neck and killing himself during the hanging.

Now, on November 5th, Guy Fawkes' Night, or Bonfire Night, is celebrated with fireworks and the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies.

There's some interesting info on the Fawkesian Society site, and Wikipedia has a couple of articles (though sometimes it's difficult to sift the truth from the ambiguity, there): Guy Fawkes, Gunpowder Plot.

And if you haven't seen V for Vendetta yet, today would be the perfect day to watch it.



Well, apparently Stardust is based on a comic book. Not having bought the comics back when they came out (1997), I didn't realize the comics were first, and it wasn't until after they were out that the Stardust novel saw the light of day.

Stardust is a fairy tale (written by Neil Gaiman), following Tristran as he searches for a falling star to bring to his beloved Victoria. It stars some lesser-known actors like Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Peter O'Toole, just to name a few. Take a look at Michelle Pfeiffer's website for some good info and pics.

This month in Previews, DC is re-soliciting the Stardust graphic novel collected from the mini-series (on sale in comic book stores January 3rd).

It's scheduled to open in theaters March 17 of next year.

Oh, and here's the website.