Friday, April 29, 2011

The Right Renounces Superman Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

In Action Comics #900, on sale this week, Superman decides to renounce his U.S. citizenship and predictably enough, the right-wing of American politics experiences a collective conniption over it.

Now, the story featuring such ideological blasphemy doesn't appear in the main story featured in the DC Comics series starring Superman, which was written by regular series writer Paul Cornell.  Neither does it appear in the following backup story by Lost series writer Damon Lindelof, nor the one after that by Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini, nor even the one after that by DC's Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns.

No, the statement in question doesn't appear until the fourth backup story, "The Incident," by David S. Goyer, writer of the Blade and Christopher Nolan-directed Batman films.  In the story, Superman is called to Camp David by the President's National Security Advisor, Gabriel Wright, who sharply criticizes the Man of Steel for standing around in the middle of a very real world-based public protest against the Ahmadinejad regime currently controlling the nation of Iran and using his mere intimidating presence to discourage violence.

So right there, you're probably wondering something like "Wait...Ahmadinejad bad, Superman good...What's the problem here?"  Well, the Iranian government accuses Superman of acting on the President's behalf, calling his interference an Act of War.  Realizing his actions (or inactions, as the case may be) were "foolish," Superman informs Wright that he intends to speak before the United Nations and tell them that he's renouncing his United States citizenship so that his actions will not be construed as instruments of U.S. policy.  "Truth, justice and the American way," he says, "It's not enough anymore."

In the immortal words of Carl Lewis...Uh oh!

Faster than a speeding bullet, word of this one plot point in a small backup story by a non-regular Superman writer circulated throughout the neocon-sphere, hitting major conservative media outlets such as Fox News and The Rush Limbaugh Show.  This, of course, caused very sane and rational comments such as these from their followers:

"Well the bass tard is an illegal alien.  Deport him to Krypton."

"I won't buy another superman comic.  I'm sick of this leftist, liberal, PC garbage."

"And just one more bit of Americana that the self-loathing liberal cretins have ruined.  Just like everything they smear their slimy hands across."

My take on all this drama?  Personally, I find it absolutely ridiculous to see comments resembling "I'm outrageously outraged and swearing off Superman forever" from people who haven't read comic books in at least twenty years (if ever) and seem to think that Marvel Comics publishes Superman.  Enough of them apparently, to make Tom Brevoort, Marvel's Senior Vice President of Publishing, go on Twitter and post "Superman renounces his U.S. citizenship, and Marvel is bombarded with angry e-mails. What's up with that, @DCNation?"

Also, the story in question took place in a self-contained backup written by David Goyer, who isn't even writing a monthly Superman title for DC Comics.  That means the citizenship issue has little to no bearing on the book and the issue of Superman being an American citizen rarely comes up anyway, making this essentially a non-issue for the character. Besides, just because Superman renounced his citizenship doesn't mean that Clark Kent did.  If anything, this could potentially help Clark keep his secret identity a little better, by using the citizenship difference to distance himself from his Superman identity.

In the meantime, I don't think Superman fans have heard the last of this.  Rush Limbaugh has yet to weigh in on the matter, since conservative political commentator Mark Steyn has been filling in for him the past two days.  And where Limbaugh goes, so do the neocons traditionally, so if nothing else, it should give friendly neighborhood comic shops some extra sales over the controversy and the writers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report some fresh and entertaining material.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Deadpool Fan Film Actor Wounded by Dropped Shotgun

What, do you think only big-budget superhero films have news?  Guess again...

According to a news report last night on ABC 6/FOX 28 News in Columbus, Ohio, Columbus native Sam Vestey was going to play a thug in a fan film web series based on the Marvel Comics character Deadpool.  However, while in the basement of a friend's home to help him plan for filming outside, a real shotgun used in one of the scenes turned out to be loaded and Vestey was accidentally shot in the leg.

Vestey told WSYX/WTTE reporter Maria Durant, "As (my friend) was holding it, it slipped from his hands and when he reached for it, it caught the trigger and it discharged into my leg."  Smooth.

He was rushed to Riverside Hospital and should have function in his leg in about three to four months.  He also wants to continue to act and probably wishes he had Deadpool's power of accelerated healing right about now.

You can find the original news report here at WTTE FOX 28's website.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Craig Ferguson Chats Up DOCTOR WHO's Karen Gillan

At last, the holy trinity of current Doctor Who stars appearing on CBS' The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson is now complete.

First, it was the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, followed shortly by Professor River Song, Alex Kingston.  So the next logical choice to appear on the talk show was Amy Pond, played by actress Karen Gillan, as she joined Ferguson last night to help promote the Series Six premiere of Doctor Who on BBC America.

Gillan was introduced after a brief clip from the episode "The Impossible Astronaut," where the Doctor tries on an astronaut helmet and geeks over how cool it is.  Immediately, she became exicted that Ferguson had a miniature TARDIS replica on his desk and Ferguson, a fellow Scot, knowingly smiled and remarked that yes, he was aware of Doctor Who.

Mentioning that "The Impossible Astronaut" was partially filmed in Monument Valley, Utah, where part of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was also shot, Gillan confessed that she has only seen the latest of the four Indiana Jones films, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  She then said she has been receiving some flack for it...and rightly so, I'd like to add on a personal note.

Gillan discussed growing up in Inverness, located in the Highlands of Scotland, and even claimed to have seen the Loch Ness Monster at one time.  Of course, longtime Doctor Who fans already know that she wasn't the first companion to see the Monster.  She then remarked on currently living in Cardiff and London during filming for Doctor Who and that she had to audition for the role of Amy Pond.

Other brief topics of note during the interview included discussion of whether there could be a female or an animal Doctor and Gillan's mum being a major Whovian, right down to owning some Dalek Bubble Bath.

Thanks to DrPinch2190, you can see the full interview on YouTube below...

So when is it Arthur Darvill's turn to appear on the show, Craig?

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Time to Reboot HELLBLAZER's John Constantine

Even though the character of John Constantine has only been around since 1985, he's really showing his age these days...and that's a big problem.  The star of DC Comics' VERTIGO series Hellblazer  is a rare comics character allowed to age in real time, which means he was officially 35 years old in 1988 and 40 in 1993, making him now 58 (or very close to it) in 2011.

Debuting in Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, Constantine was created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben as a morally dubious British sorcerer who was based physically on Sting, the former lead singer of the legendary rock band The Police.  In 1988, before the creation of the VERTIGO imprint, he was given his own spinoff monthly series Hellblazer that remains in publication to this day.  Over the years, Hellblazer has featured a number of talented writers crafting memorable runs, including Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis, Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Denise Mina, Andy Diggle and now Peter Milligan.  And there was even a big-budget movie, Constantine, that starred Keanu Reeves as an Americanized version of the character.

In recent issues, Constantine has had his blond hair turn white with age, cut off his own thumb in a fit of temporary madness and married Epiphany Greaves, a considerably younger alchemist who is the daughter of a London gangster.  Yes, the badass manipulative bastard who once flipped off the First of the Fallen right after tricking him into fixing Constantine's terminal lung cancer has gotten old and settled down with a girl young enough to be his daughter.  Of all the unsettling, horrific things to happen in Hellblazer over these past 23 years, the sight of these two getting it on just might be the creepiest.

So as far as I'm concerned, it's way past time for a reboot.  Something has to be done before Constantine ends up in a wheelchair or even worse, one of those scooters, sucking on an oxygen mask.  It doesn't have to be a complete continuity reboot, mind you, maybe something that takes him back to just after Ennis' original run and then freezes his age like most comic book characters.

According to Bleeding Cool, Constantine is scheduled to return to the DC Universe after the upcoming even series Flashpoint.  His reappearance in the DCU is probably related in some way to Swamp Thing's return in the pages of Brightest Day, although there has been no indication that Hellblazer will cease publication.  It could simply be there will be a younger, sanitized DCU version of the character while the older, less restrained version continues decaying year after year in his VERTIGO series.

Hopefully, the VERTIGO Constantine is allowed to continue, but not in this current aged state.  I miss seeing him in his prime, without a scar on his face and having both thumbs and color in his wild hair.  I could always go back and reread earlier stories, of course, but if Superman and Batman get to have new adventures without the sign of wrinkles or even a hint of gray, then why shouldn't Constantine?  If he can beat terminal lung cancer, then surely he can beat old age.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Job Center Cancels Campaign Giving Capes to Unemployed

It seems Dr. Evil Unemployment will have to be defeated another day.

Earlier today, the job center Workforce Central Florida announced that they are "withdrawing (their) admittedly out-of-the-box" campaign known as "Cape-A-Bility Challenge" that would hand out superhero-style capes to prospective job-seekers in an attempt to make them feel better about themselves.

This move is just nine days after the campaign was launched and quickly received considerable criticism.  According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Workforce Central Florida apparently spent $14,200 on the 6,000 capes, almost 20% of the campaign's budget.  In addition, WCF was planning to spend $24,700 on media buys, $15,000 for billboards and $5,000 on social media.  Just $2,000 would go for prizes to participating job-seekers and employers.

As part of the superhero theme, WCF created a cartoon character named "Dr. Evil Unemployment" as the nemesis to be defeated by participating in the campaign.  WCF's statement on the campaign today said, "Even though it seemed to offend some, it was the farthest thing from our intention which was to introduce our programs and services to job seekers and employers who need them. The decision was made today by our volunteer board leadership team in concern that the campaign may have been a little too out-of-the-box and missed the mark with such a broad audience.  Fortunately, we’ve achieved some success in the short week and a half the campaign has run, including new job postings online, new job candidates registered for services and an increase in usage of our website."

On Monday, Florida's unemployment agency director asked for an investigation of the regional operation's spending after the Orlando Sentinel published a story about the program.  State director Cynthia Lorenzo said the spending seemed to be "insensitive and wasteful."

WCF has since taken down the campaign gallery from its website but you can access a cached version at the Orlando Sentinel here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doctor Who: Memories of Sarah Jane Smith

Oh, this one really hurts.

It hasn't been two months since Doctor Who fans lost Nicholas Courtney and now actress Elisabeth Sladen, who played the Doctor's definitive companion Sarah Jane Smith, has passed from cancer at the age of 63.  Sarah Jane is the only original series companion so far to return to Doctor Who since it relaunched in 2005 and she received two spinoffs of her own, the pilot episode for K-9 and Company and the considerably more successful series The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Although I didn't start watching Doctor Who regularly until the late Tom Baker era story "The Keeper of Traken," my first memories of Sarah Jane were from the story "The Seeds of Doom."  The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane were walking around a dark and snowy Antarctica and there was considerable concern over someone mutating into a Krynoid.  Even with only a 14-year-old's casual interest in what was going on, I noticed how spunky Sarah Jane was as she traded lines with the Doctor and how she could really belt out a scream of absolute terror as only the original series companions from back in the day could.

About a year later, I saw Sarah Jane again in "The Five Doctors" 20th anniversary special.  I hadn't seen her exit from the series, so I remember being a little thrown by seeing her with K-9.  As far as I knew from my preliminary research into the series, Sarah Jane never traveled with K-9, but I figured there had to be an explanation in the many Tom Baker episodes I hadn't seen.  Of course, the explanation was in K-9 and Company, but I wouldn't know that for a couple more years later.  In any case, it seemed odd to see Sarah Jane paired with the Third Doctor (whose episodes I also hadn't seen yet) instead of the Fourth and even then, the sight of her rolling down a not-very-steep hill intended to be a deep chasm was pretty amusing.  Still, the scene with the Raston Warrior Robot encounter was fun and it was nice to see her shake hands and introduce herself to Tegan Jovanka.

Eventually, though, my local PBS station, WVIZ out of Cleveland, Ohio, went back to the first Tom Baker story "Robot" after finishing with Peter Davison's era, so I was able to catch up on Sarah Jane's earlier exploits with the Fourth Doctor and finally see "The Seeds of Doom" good and proper.  The characters obviously had chemistry with one another and it was good to see Sarah Jane getting some quality screen time in stories such as "Genesis of the Daleks," "The Masque of Mandragora" and her final Doctor Who story (at the time), "The Hand of Fear."  I remember her going on about how "Eldrad must live" and all that, but Sarah Jane's exit where the Doctor accidentally drops her off in the wrong location still sticks out in my mind to this day.

WVIZ cycled through the Davison stories again and then Colin Baker's era, but then they finally went back and aired Jon Pertwee's.  It took four seasons of episodes with Liz Shaw and Jo Grant, but eventually I saw Sarah Jane's first story, "The Time Warrior."  At the time, I was struck at how much of a hardened feminist she was initially, although watching a 1973-74 story in 1987 probably made that stand out even more.  However, I finally understood why the Third Doctor and Sarah were paired together in "The Five Doctors," especially after learning the reason why Tom Baker had not appeared in the story.  Pertwee and Sladen complemented one another well enough, but I knew by now that the best was yet to come.  I later watched as a ginormous fake spider jumped on Sarah Jane's back in "Planet of the Spiders" and saw her tears as theThird Doctor regenerated at the end of the story.  And then, at that important series moment, I finally had the missing piece that enabled me to picture Sarah Jane's full story -- and an important period in Doctor Who's history -- in my mind.  The whole series just clicked in my head at that point, creating the framework that I would keep adding memories and information to year after year.

I figured that was pretty much it for Sarah Jane after that.  I eventually saw K-9 and Company, painful though it was, but appreciated it for one last adventure with Sarah Jane.  It was after 1989 by this time and Doctor Who, as much as we knew at the time, was never going to return to TV screens again except in reruns on PBS or VHS tapes.

And then in 2006, something wonderful happened...

A year after Doctor Who was introduced to an entirely new generation of fans with the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, his successor David Tennant took over and the Doctor was soon reacquainted with a couple of old friends.  In the episode "School Reunion," we caught up with Sarah Jane and K-9 as they encountered the Krillitanes.  The 2006 Sarah Jane (now looking a bit MILFy, or CILFy if you will) was still investigating after all these years, as it should be, although we learned she harbored some resentment at not having a proper goodbye after leaving the TARDIS.  She also had issues with the considerably younger Rose Tyler, which quickly turned into a somewhat bitchy "missus and the ex" confrontation.  Thankfully, Sarah Jane resolved her issues with Rose and the Doctor and even encouraged the Doctor to take on Mickey Smith as a full-fledged companion.  The episode was a great return for Sarah Jane and also a great farewell for the character...or was it?

It turned out the success of "School Reunion" paved the way for a Doctor Who spinoff series geared toward younger viewers, The Sarah Jane Adventures.  Debuting in 2007, the series developed Sarah Jane like never before, giving the character an actual setting and "graduating" her to the lead heroine with her own son named Luke and a set of young companions in addition to K-9 and a sentient computer named Mr. Smith.  The series managed to add to the overall Doctor Who mythos, bringing back villains such as the Sontarans, the Judoon and the Slitheen, as well as characters like the Brigadier and Jo Grant (Jones).  Most importantly, it featured a reunion story with the Tenth Doctor and another featuring Sarah Jane's only encounter with the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith.

We had a few more appearances by Sarah Jane on Doctor Who in the midst of her own series.  She returned in "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" with her son Luke when Davros and the Daleks transported Earth across the universe.  As she left the TARDIS once again following the adventure, she waved goodbye to the Tenth Doctor and also to the audience, it seemed, not knowing if they (and we) would ever meet again.  Thankfully, we got one final glimpse of her in part two of "The End of Time," where she exchanged one last, meaningful look with the dying Tenth Doctor after he saved her son Luke from being hit by a car.  Being David Tennant's final episode, the scene was particularly bittersweet but appreciated nonetheless.

And now, Elisabeth Sladen and her iconic character Sarah Jane Smith are gone but definitely not forgotten.  As Sarah Jane once said, "The universe has to move forward.  Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love.  Whether it's a world, or a relationship...Everything has its time...and everything ends."

Thanks for the memories, Elisabeth.  Rest in peace.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

DAMN Good Comic of the Week -- SECRET WARRIORS #26

I am really going to miss Marvel's Secret Warriors series in a couple of months.

Over the past two years, writer Jonathan Hickman has crafted one of the finest Nick Fury epics ever, melding the character's traditional espionage themes with superheroics and obscure Marvel history.  In this final arc, "Wheels Within Wheels," we finally get some answers to long-running questions (Pay attention, Lost writers and producers) as longtime rivals Nick Fury and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker both wake up tied to chairs inside a small, locked room after the events of last issue.

The premise is simple, but feels like a scene out of a Quentin Tarantino movie designed to get two central characters to rattle off a bunch of dialogue and reveal several plot points along the way.  Behind Fury and Strucker's captivity is Kraken, a mysterious member Hydra since this series' second issue, who plays a number of mind games with the two before finally revealing his identity in a considerable payoff to longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. fans.

The artist helping to sell such a dialogue-heavy issue is Alessandro Vitti, who seems to delight in drawing every line, wrinkle and crevasse in Fury and Strucker's faces.  Thankfully, he also has a nice grasp of facial expressions, especially in the page where Fury calmly waits for his expected death, much to Strucker's surprise and exasperation. 

Based on the way the final arc is going, Secret Warriors is one series readers are going to want to go back and reread from the beginning, if only to catch various tidbits Hickman dropped along the way that may have been missed the first time.  There's still two issues to go, though, and a number of plot threads to be resolved.  Let's see who manages to get out alive.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FRINGE Producers Drop Season 3 Finale Spoilers

DEATH!  Delicious, strawberry-flavored death!

According to TV Line, Fringe executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman dropped a major spoiler for the upcoming season 3 finale, "The Day We Died," scheduled to air on FOX on May 6th.

In a conference call to reporters, Pinkner revealed that "Someone who we all love deeply will die" in the season finale.  Added Wyman, "Fringe always does things the way you don't expect, so it's going to be effective, and it will be self-explanatory.  That's sort of all we can say without spoiling everything."

Pinkner later remarked, "Hopefully, it will be wholly unexpected and it will recontextualize the story of Season 3 in a really cool way, and be fun and entertaining and mind-blowing."

However, the season finale will not feature a long-rumored third universe.  “We are not introducing a third world,” said Pinkner.  “We still have plenty of story to tell just in those two worlds.  Maybe at some point in the future there will be a third world, but not yet.”

The executive producers for the recently-renewed science-fiction drama also hinted at the return of Leonard Nimoy's William Bell in some form or another.  “William is present,” Pinkner remarked, “and in a way that gives new meaning to alternate reality, but its very much Leonard Nimoy.”

My personal guess for the character who dies?  Well, since killing off a character as great as Walter Bishop would be ratings suicide for Season 4, I think I'll go with...Astrid Farnsworth.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ryan Reynolds' Full CGI GREEN LANTERN Uniform

The full CGI uniform for Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern character Hal Jordan has been posted on ComingSoon.net.  Based on the three pictures shown on the site, it's certainly an...um...interesting design.  Actually, it's not that bad, apart from one certain feature...

Yep, instead of a pair of proper badass boots, Hal apparently has just a thin covering of energy over his bare feet.  There doesn't seem to be any gaps between the toes to allow for toe-pinching fights, but here's hoping he doesn't step on any sharp rocks or broken glass...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Michael Shannon Cast as MAN OF STEEL's General Zod

In 2012, Superman will kneel before...Van Alden?

Warner Bros. has officially announced that actor Michael Shannon, perhaps best known as the creepy and seriously disturbed federal agent Nelson Van Alden on HBO's Boardwalk Empire series, will be playing the role of the villainous General Zod in Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman film, now called Man of Steel.  And as you might expect, there was a press release:

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced today that Michael Shannon will star in the role of General Zod in director Zack Snyder’s new Superman film, titled “Man of Steel.”
Snyder stated, “Zod is not only one of Superman’s most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don’t. Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”
As General Zod, Shannon will go toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill, who plays the new Clark Kent/Superman in the film. The main cast also includes Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Martha and Jonathan Kent.

Michael Shannon was honored with an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road,” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Shannon was most recently seen in the award-winning HBO drama series “Boardwalk Empire,” from executive producer Martin Scorsese. He will next be seen in Sony Pictures Classics’, “Take Shelter,” from director/writer Jeff Nichols.

Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film. The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.

“Man of Steel” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Shannon is the third actor to play Zod in live-action, after Terence Stamp in the films Superman (1978) and Superman II and Callum Blue on the television series Smallville.  This casting also completely counters statements that Snyder made back in November that General Zod would not appear in his upcoming film.  "The internet has no idea what's going on," remarked Snyder at the time, who said that rumors of General Zod's involvement in the reboot were "just wrong."

So for those of you keeping score at home, that's The Internets - 1, Snyder - 0 so far.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DAMN Good Comic of the Week -- FEAR ITSELF #1

Who knew a comic about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be this good?  Wait...You say it's not about that "fear itself"?  Oh, okay.

Marvel Comics launched the first issue of the Fear Itself event series this week (not counting the Book of the Skull prologue) and so far, this one is showing a considerable amount of promise.  Writer Matt Fraction has finally been given a major Marvel Universe event to play with and as readers of his Invincible Iron Man series already know, he's always at his best with an epic, big-budget movie style storyline.

Working with the real-world notion of increased societal tensions, Fraction shows Sharon Carter and the former and soon-to-be-again Captain America Steve Rogers caught in the middle of protests against a deliberately unidentified building to be constructed at a "sacred site" in Lower Manhattan.  (HInt:  It begins with "m" and ends in "osque")  The protests predictably turn into a full-blown riot, foreshadowing the growing fear and tension throughout the Marvel Universe.

We then cut to Sin, the daughter of the villainous Red Skull, leading an expedition to Fortress Null (Zero) in Antarctica, where a mysterious hammer is being guarded by a group of men isolated from the world since 1942 and kept alive by Nazi superscience.  (See?  Big-budget movie, like I said.)  And just like another familiar hammer by the name of Mjolnir, this hammer grants the one who is worthy to use it the power of a god.

And based on this first issue, it seems the word worthy is a central theme to this entire storyline.  Thor's hammer Mjolnir has the inscription "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."  The hammer Sin finds has another inscription, "And he who shall be worthy will wield the hammer of Skadi."  For some as yet unexplained reason, Thor's father Odin gets extremely pissy at Uatu, the Watcher, telling him "Who are you to judge the All-Father?" and "I shall not be watched and I shall not be judged!"  And most importantly, Skadi's father Thiazzi, the apparent Big Bad in all of this, summons a group of beings called The Worthy in order to make everyone on Earth fear him as he prepares to throw down with Odin.

Sounds sufficiently eventful for an event series, doesn't it?  It also doesn't hurt that Stuart Immonen is handling the artistic duties along with Laura Martin on colors, giving every page the amount of flash and style it deserves.  This first issue covers so much in terms of scope and Immonen makes it all looks so effortless, no matter if the scene has gods fighting with one another or a father and his little boy watching a falling celestial object at night.

At long last, the various Marvel heroes are done with civil wars, secret invasions and sieges.  The gods have left them on their own and everything is about to hit the fan.  So what happens next?

I can't wait to find out.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

26 Years of Attending Mid-Ohio-Cons and THIS Happens

All of the sudden, I'm reminded of the song "1985" by the band Bowling for Soup...

Some of my favorite memories are going to the annual Mid-Ohio-Con comics and sci-fi convention, ever since writer/artist John Byrne appeared in 1985 at the Richland County Fairgrounds in Mansfield just before relaunching the post-Crisis Superman for DC Comics.  The con has moved around the state of Ohio and has had different dates throughout the fall, but apart from the few years I lived in Florida in the early '90s, I've always made a point to go no matter what.  I've seen and met a number of legendary comics creators, bought an insane amount of comics and the occasional bootleg video (allegedly), and taken solace in the knowledge that I can spend at least one weekend out of the year doing something that I love.

And now, through another strange, wibbly-wobbly universal anomaly, I'm actually appearing at Mid-Ohio-Con (excuse me, now Mid-Ohio Comic Con) as a guest.  Madness.

So I imagine it will only be slightly, kinda-sorta, absolutely, positively bizarre to be sitting on the other side of the table signing someone's comic instead of asking to have one or two signed signed for me.  I did a Barnes & Noble book signing years ago for my Star Trek: Strange New Worlds short story, "Doctors Three," but dealing with a convention crowd is something else entirely.

If you're interested in checking out the potential trainwreck, you can find more information here at the official site, and be sure to block out October 22 and 23 on your 2011 calendar.  I'll be there at the Greater Columbus Convention Center to sign copies of my Generator Rex stories for DC Comics' Cartoon Network Action Pack and probably go on at length about the TV series Doctor Who to anyone foolish enough to ask me about it.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First Half of DOCTOR WHO Series Six Episode Titles Revealed

By way of their Twitter account @DWMtweets, the folks at Doctor Who Magazine have announced the first seven episode titles for Series Six that launches on April 23rd in both the United Kingdom and the United States:

1.  The Impossible Astronaut by Steven Moffat (Part One of Two)

Four envelopes, numbered 2, 3 and 4, each containing a date, time and map reference, unsigned, but TARDIS blue. Who sent them? And who received the missing number one? This strange summons reunites the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song in the middle of the Utah desert and unveils a terrible secret the Doctor's friends must never reveal to him.

Placing his life entirely in their hands, the Doctor agrees to search for the recipient of the fourth envelope - just who is Canton Everett Delaware the Third? And what is the relevance of their only other clue: 'Space 1969'? Their quest lands them - quite literally - in the Oval Office, where they are enlisted by President Nixon himself to assist enigmatic former-FBI agent Canton, in saving a terrified little girl from a mysterious spaceman.

2.  Day of the Moon by Steven Moffat (Part Two of Two)

The Doctor is locked in the perfect prison. Amy, Rory and River Song are being hunted down across America by the FBI. With the help of new friend and FBI-insider, Canton Everett Delaware the Third, our heroes are reunited to share their discoveries, if not their memories. For the world is occupied by an alien force who control humanity through post-hypnotic suggestion and no one can be trusted. Aided by President Nixon and Neil Armstrong's foot, the Doctor must mount a revolution to drive out the enemy and rescue the missing little girl. No-one knows why they took her. Or why they have kidnapped Amy Pond...

3.  The Curse of the Black Spot by Stephen Thompson

4.  The Doctor's Wife by Neil Gaiman

5.  The Rebel Flesh by Matthew Graham (Part One of Two)

6.  The Almost People by Matthew Graham (Part Two of Two)

7.  A Good Man Goes to War by Steven Moffat (Part One of Two)

Series Six will then return sometime in September for the conclusion of "A Good Man Goes to War."  Following episodes will feature stories by returning Doctor Who writers Mark Gatiss, Tom MacRae, Gareth Roberts and the Series Six finale by Steven Moffat.  In addition, episode eleven (written by Toby Whithouse) is reported to be called The God Complex.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

GREEN LANTERN WonderCon Footage Brightens Fans' Day

In an apparent response to criticism that the first trailer was too goofy and not enough of a space epic, some new footage that goes completely in the opposite direction debuted this weekend at WonderCon in San Francisco, California.

An abridged four-minute version has made its way onto the Internets, showcasing more of the characters Sinestro, Tomar-Re and Abin Sur and providing a better look at the Green Lantern Corps and the planet Oa.  It starts with Sinestro (obviously before he goes rogue and leaves the Corps) descending from the sky to warn the Corps of "an unprecedented danger, an enemy powerful to destroy entire civilizations."  We then see Abin Sur battling for his life and fleeing in an escape pod bound for Earth, where he will pass on his ring to his successor, Hal Jordan as played by Ryan Reynolds.

After receiving the ring, Jordan goes home and attempts to recite the Green Lantern oath, which starts off as a combination of a courtroom testimony oath and the American Pledge of Allegiance.  The Lantern uploads the correct oath directly into Jordan's brain, sending him rocketing across the universe to the planet Oa, home of the Guardians of the Universe and their agents, the Green Lantern Corps.  Jordan arrives wearing his new CGI Green Lantern uniform and meets Tomar-Re, wonderfully voiced by actor Geoffrey Rush.

Cutting back to Sinestro rallying the troops--errrrr, Lanterns with a chant of "WE ARE THE CORPS!", we then head back to Earth to see Peter Sarsgaard's character Hector Hammond being altered and gaining the worst case of fivehead ever.  Jordan recites the Green Lantern oath once again, this time over footage of Parallax, the big alien beastie threatening Earth.

Some intial reactions on Twitter are already calling this film Men in Black meets Iron Man and I can't say that I disagree with them.  Here's the footage so you can decide for yourself...

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Eighth Doctor TV Return Speculation Respeculates

"Respeculates"?  Honestly, is that even a word...?

Well, by now, any Whovian worth their weight in jelly babies or Jammie Dodgers has seen at least one of the latest trailers for the upcoming Series Six of Doctor Who.  The BBC trailer released on March 30th included this very interesting shot around the 0:37 mark that featured what appears to be the Doctor's companions Rory and Amy taking cover from a mysterious sphere of energy inside the TARDIS...just not their Doctor's TARDIS.  No, it looks to be the previous coral "desktop theme" utilized during the Ninth and Tenth Doctor eras, which is making fans wonder if there will be some timey-wimey appearance by a past Doctor in Series Six.

One of the major Doctor Who information sites, Kasterborous, has taken this speculation a bit further by throwing out the suggestion that it might be the Eighth Doctor, as played by actor Paul McGann, who could turn up in the coral TARDIS console room.  They mention the new Eighth Doctor costume that McGann debuted at a New Zealand convention last October, which was reported to be for "promotional purposes" for future Eighth Doctor audio adventures from Big Finish Productions.  The same new costume that was approved by the BBC and even had a new Sonic Screwdriver designed by WETA Workshop.

Kasterborous, quite understandably, finds all this a bit curious, moreso in light of the apparent return of the previous TARDIS console room in Series Six.  (Gee, I wonder who else could have been suspicious about this costume...say, back in October when it debuted.)  They speculate that since the Ninth Doctor first appeared in the episode "Rose" along with the coral desktop theme and no Eighth-to-Ninth Doctor regeneration sequence has been filmed since McGann last appeared in the 1996 TV movie, it's possible that the Eighth Doctor could've also used the coral desktop theme late in his incarnation.

I'd also like to add that all of this is very interesting timing, considering the latest season of Eighth Doctor audio adventures just ended in the story "To the Death" written by Dalek vocal artist Nicholas Briggs.  This was a particularly brutal tale for the Eighth Doctor, who (Shhh...Spoilers!) suffered greatly from actions by his longtime enemies the Daleks and the second incarnation of The Monk, now played by actor Graeme Garden.  The lives of his companions Lucie Miller and Tamsin Drew, and his great-grandson, Alex Campbell, were all lost at various points throughout the story.  As he said goodbye to his granddaughter Susan following the events, the Doctor was extremely bitter and angry at what had transpired and when Susan asked where he was going, the Doctor replied "To the edge...and maybe beyond" before stepping into the TARDIS and dematerializing.  Inside, the Doctor listened to a recording made by Lucie over and over before darkly muttering the words "One day, I shall go back...Yes, one day...."

Now, this could simply be the setup for the next season of Big Finish audio adventures, but what if...what if...the Eighth Doctor actually goes back to another medium entirely?

Cue the Doctor Who cliffhanger theme music.  Ooooooooweeeeeeeeooooooooooooo....