Tag Archives: Graphic Novels

20th Century Fox Film Acquires Minority Share of Comics Publisher BOOM! Studios!

Twentieth Century Fox Film has announced a strategic investment in comics and graphic novels publisher BOOM! Studios – a deal that gives the film studio a ‘significant minority stake in the largest independently-controlled comic book and graphic novel library.’

The deal also extends BOOM Studio’s first look movie and TV deal with Fox.

TCFF is currently in post-production on a feature film based on BOOM!’s The Empty Man, from the graphic novel by Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey.

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Dark Launches On ComiXology!

Dark Horse Debut

Dark Horse Comics and ComiXology have announced a digital distribution agreement that will bring Dark Horse’s library of collections, graphic novels and manga to its audience through ComiXolgy.

All Dark Horse’s titles will be available, digitally, through Comixology on the same day that print versions hit the shelves in bookstores. For further details, follow the jump.

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BOOM! Studios Showers Us With New TPB Collections For Spring!

Lumberjanes Vol. 1

For BOOM! Studios, spring means showers of trade paperback collections of some of their hottest titles: Lumberjanes Vol. 1 (above), Bee and PuppyCat Vol. 1, Translucid (complete miniseries), Clockwork Angels (complete miniseries), Thomas Alsop Vol. 1, and Cow Boy Vol. 1: A Boy and His Horse, its first time in softcover.

For details, follow the jump.

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After Twenty Years: The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past Returns!

LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3D

The graphic novel The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is returning to North American stores after an absence of twenty years.

The full-color ooksgraphic novel, by Shotaro Ishinomori, is being published by VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint an will be available in May. For more, follow the jump.

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March: Book Two Is Now Available!

March: Book Two is the second volume of the autobiography of John Lewis who gives us  ‘a first-hand experience of milestone events that transformed the nation’ throughout the  Civil Rights Movement.

The critically acclaimed first volume was the first graphic novel to win the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and is now used in classrooms nationwide. Three major universities ‘have planned their freshman orientations around it.’ It spent forty (40) weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

March: Book Two is in stores now. For more, follow the jump.

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The Ballad of Halo Jones: Play It Again, Yortlebluzzgubbly!

Cover

There are a lot of tough ladies in science fiction – Robert A. Heinlein’s Friday, Tanya Huff’s Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr, David Weber’s Honor Harrington – and I love them all, but when push comes to inevitable shove, I have to say that my favorite is Alan Moore’s Halo Jones – whose adventures in England’s legendary 2000 A.D. have been collected into graphic novel format by 2000 A.D./Rebellion A/S.

Who is Halo Jones [I hear you ask]?

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Movie News: Terry Moore’s Comic ECHO to Become Feature Film

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As Hollywood Studios continue their fascination with turning comic book’s into action movies, word out of the industry, via Variety Magazine is that Terry Moore’s comic ECHO is the latest in line to become a full length, big screen action movie. Echo has been optioned by Lloyd Levin, who was a producer on another graphic novel turned big screen movie, The Watchmen.

On his official blog Moore states that he is very happy to see this coming about and feels that this as his “foot in the door of Hollywood” and a jump point to get other projects taken to the big screen such as his highly acclaimed graphic novel, Strangers In Paradise.

In Echo, Moore tells the story of a young photographer Julie Martin. While doing a photo shoot in the desert, Julie is caught in the raining aftermath of the explosion of a high-tech, secret military battle suit. The liquid metal remnants of the suit pelt down on Julie and bond themselves to Julie’s skin causing an invincible breastplate to form, turning her into a living weapon. Julie becomes not only the target of the Army who wants their technology back, but the rest of the suit is out to find its missing pieces, and a mysterious older man has resorted to torturing and killing people in an attempt to locate her.

No casting has been made and no release date is set for ECHO as of yet so stay tuned for more details as they come to us.

GRAPHIC NOVELS: The Spirit of Chuck Jones Lives On In PATH!

Doppler is a bipedal rabbit with the worst luck – and he has two rabbit’s feet! So, there he is, stuck in a pit and about to become a crocidog’s breakfast when out of the sky comes hurtling… an elephant! Sucker lands right on the crocidog! Unfortunately, Doppler’s luck, being what it is, things don’t quite work out – even as he and his new bestest pal scramble out of the pit. Right into more trouble…

PATH

PATH is an energetic, sepia-toned ride. For most of its eighty pages [not including covers], Gregory S. Baldwin’s odd couple race or one problem to another, generating shocks, surprises and most of all, laughs. Then, just when you finally twig to the whole Road Runner/Wiley Coyote vibe, he pulls a fast one and lays on an effective bit of poignancy.

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GRAPHIC NOVELS: CLA$$WAR – Series One: Collected Edition – Conspiracies: Superheroes – Part of the Problem and Part of the Solution!

In CLA$$WAR: The Collected Edition Rob Williams’ spins the tale of superhero patsies helping to prop up a corrupt American government [and the powers behind the scenes] – and one hero, American, who dares to let the country know what’s really going on. It’s a remarkably mature work for a first-time writer [Note: CLA$$WAR was produced 2002 – and was written earlier than that: Williams has since written for Marvel, Dark Horse and others]. The hardcover edition being reviewed came out late last year].

classwar

It’s not a happy America. Civilians are fed rah, rah stuff that seems to go against what they’re seeing with their own eyes. Cover-ups abound. American – aided by an elderly black man named Isaac – has already uncovered some of the stuff that’s been swept under the carpet and he’s not ready to stop. So, President Bush [this was written before Dubya had become POTUS] orders his former team members [Code Name: Enola Gay – some of this stuff ain’t hard to figure out] to take him out – even if they have to nuke the country of Genada [the dictatorship being one they helped set up].

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Spirit Made My Toes Curl – But I Kinda Liked It!

In a summer during the early-to-mid sixties, I surreptitiously acquired a copy of a specific issue of Playboy – not for the pictures, though those were nice, but for an essay on The Great Comic Book Heroes, by Jules Feiffer. It was about comic characters from the Golden Age of Comics [approximately 1939-1946 – your mileage may vary]. That led to my acquiring, with a hard-earned seven bucks, for Feiffer’s book of the same title on the subject. Included in the book was an eight-page, full-color Spirit story from the Philadelphia Record Sunday Comics Supplement, dated July 20, 1941. It was about a tale told to a tourist couple by an Egyptian beggar, twice in two days – first as a prophecy, and then as a fait accompli. It was incredible – it had action, wit, humor [even then I knew wit was not the same thing as humor] and amazing art. Well before the Kitchen Sink reprints of the seventies, I was hooked!

The Spirit's Women

In the summer of 1987, the ABC network broadcast the ninety-minute pilot for a projected series based on Will Eisner’s legendary masked hero, The Spirit. It was bright and colorful and really seemed, to me at least, to capture the peculiar mix of whimsy and drama that marked the comic as a unique and brilliant work. Eisner, on the other hand, said it was so bad that “it made my toes curl.”

Today, I saw Frank Miller’s movie adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. As a critic, I realize that its thin story is told choppily [Frank, buddy, have you never heard of dissolves, transitions and such? And, really Frank! Plaster of Paris? What the hell were you thinking???] and the acting varies from poor to really poor. I get that it’s supposed to be a black comedy; I get that it’s Eisner’s characters and situations as filtered Miller’s sensibilities; I even get that The Octopus [Samuel L. Jackson] is supposed to an evil, human version of Wile E. Coyote/Yosemite Sam, while The Spirit is The Roadrunner/Bugs Bunny.

Somehow, though, I don’t think blending Sin City, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones was really the way to go here. The Spirit is not a character for whom bleached out colors [except, of course, for that blood red tie] really work. Neither should the character be set in such a static, blocky manner. The comics were always more fluid than all but the best films – and certainly more so than any of the comics of the period [and most of the best of today, as well]. And juking The Spirit’s origin in such a manner – turning a tough, determined man into a superhero, when he was really [to quote Douglas Adams, “Just this guy, y’know?”]. The spirit of The Spirit has been pretty much bleached out of the movie.

The Spirit is pretty much a disaster no matter how you look at it – and yet, I enjoyed it. Maybe it’s because of the hard edge Dan Lauria gives Commissioner Dolan, or the resignation Sarah Paulson gives Dr. Ellen Dolan, who knows she’ll never have The Spirit’s heart – at least not exclusively. Part of it is the cinematography. Miller may be a long way from being a film director, but he can compose a shot like nobody’s business! Also, the world of Central City may be CG but it has more heft than Sin City. Plus, there are moments when Eisner’s character peeks through the chaos […and this is for Muffin!”].

Even with the movie’s compositional beauty, a couple decent [not brilliant] performances [Sorry Mr. Gabriel Macht. I know The Spirit, and he’s not a monotoned refugee from a Philip Chandler novel] and amazing CG, I can understand how most critics will give The Spirit the equivalent of an ‘F’. I can’t do that. But tempering my love for the character with what little of that remains here – and combining that with an objective overview of everything that’s wrong with it – I can’t give The Spirit a positive grade [as much as it pains me].

Final Grade: D+

DVD REVIEW: The Mindscape of Alan Moore – The Creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta Speaks!

Originally a short film by Dez Vylenz for his film school thesis, The Mindscape of Alan Moore is an expanded ramble by Moore on various subjects – from Watchmen to the reasons he one day decided to tell his friends and family that he was a magician.

Mindscape_Box Art

The format is incredibly simple: Moore sits on a comfy chair in his living room and speaks for almost ninety minutes. Given that he comes across as your favorite eccentric professor – the on whose lectures you never miss – this is not a hardship. Moore is an engaging speaker and is always witty and direct.

As he speaks, director Vylenz uses various means to enhance Moore’s subjects. There are some good old-fashioned psychedelic lightshow effects; CG animations that illustrate points Moore makes about concepts like “ideaspace,” and even live-action recreations of moments from some of Moore’s best known comics work: V for Vendetta [V putting on his unique mask], Watchmen [Rorschach perched on a rooftop looking out over the city], three instances of a blond guy in a trenchcoat, smoking as he wanders the streets of London [yup, it’s Constantine – though we only find that out in the end credits and the director’s commentary.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss about Moore is, The Mindscape of Alan Moore will give you a glimpse of his genius/madness – whichever you may take it to be. If you’re already a fan, it will give you some insights into the man that may actually enhance your enjoyment of his writings.

Features: Disc 1: Scene Specific Audio Commentary by Dez Vylenz; Making a Mindscape – a narration-free video diary of the film’s making; Director Interview – Dez Vylenz – Producer/Writer/Director; Interview: Brian Kinney – Special Make-Up Effects; Interview with Drew Richards – Music composer/Sound Designer; Trailer 1 [Lustmord St.], and Trailer 2 [Drew Richards St.]. Disc 2: Interviews From the comics World – Melinda Gebbie [The Lost girls w. Moore], Dave Gibbons [Watchmen], Paul Gravette [Author/Comics Historian], David Lloyd [V for Vendetta], Kevin O’Neill [League of Extraordinary Gentlemen], and Jose´ Villarubia [Promethea].

Grade: The Mindscape of Alan Moore – A

Grade: Features – A+

Final Grade: A