Doctor Who Tom Baker returns for third series with Big Finish in 2013

For seven years Tom Baker reigned as the scarf-laden Doctor on TV. When he departed and Peter Davison took over it seemed that he would never again return to the part. Aside from the odd appearance, he had hung up his hat and scarf for good. And I do mean odd… just look at this advert for a New Zealand banking firm from 1997:

While he enjoyed new-found fame on the telly in Little Britain and Randall and Hopkirk: Deceased, Tom Baker had divorced himself from Doctor Who until he revived the character in a series of Audio Go adventures entitled Hornet’s Nest by Paul Magrs in 2009. What appeared to be a one-off spawned two sequels (Demon Quest, and Serpent Crest with a third rumored for a later release). A delightful and fanciful romp through time and space, these adventures were a kind of evolution of the Tom Baker era taken to an extreme.

“It’s Saturday evening teatime in 1977… all over again.”

However, most fans wanted to hear Tom join the other ‘classic’ Doctors at Big Finish. He finally did just that and his first series (along with a set of two ‘Lost Stories’) has been loads of fun. His first series alongside Louise Jamison as Leela has run the gamut of thrilling adventure, light fantasy and hard-edged historical outings.

Destination: Nerva and The Renaissance Man are outstanding with Wraith of the Iceni an interesting twist (Leela meets Boudica) and Energy of the Daleks a bit of a let-down. I’m waiting on Trail of the White Worm (guest-starring Geoffrey Beevers as the Master) and the series finale the Oseidon Adventure with baited breath.

The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Mary Tamm)

Tom Baker’s second series will see the return of the glamorous Mary Tamm as Romana (to my knowledge she has only reprised the part twice in audio) for seven more stories. Imagine my surprise to learn that Tom has signed on for a third series featuring Louise Jamison, John Leeson as the voice of K-9 and Gareth Thomas of Dalek Empire and Blake’s 7 fame!

Big Finish has revealed that Tom Baker and Louise Jameson will return in a third season of The Fourth Doctor Adventures, which will be released commencing in January 2014. The series of full-cast audio plays will consist of eight stories, and will again be set after the TV adventure The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

“We’ve been delighted by the response to the first season of our Fourth Doctor stories,” says executive producer Nicholas Briggs. “We had such an exciting and rewarding time making series one and two, and we’re just thrilled to be back in the studio again with Tom and Louise recording more. Of course, the second series – which features Mary Tamm as Romana, with John Leeson as the voice of K9 – won’t be released until January 2013. But, recording schedules being what they are, we are always working well ahead.”

“We began recording on series three on May 9,” says producer David Richardson, “and production will continue through until July. At the moment it’s too early to reveal many story details, but we can say that Geoffrey Beevers will again return as the Master, the travellers will discover what lurks in the dead of night and the Doctor will encounter an even deadlier version of an old foe.”

Gareth Thomas, best known as freedom fighter Roj Blake from Blake’s 7, will be portraying the last surviving member of the Colophon race in one episode. Jessica Martin (Mags in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy) also guest stars in the story.

Season Three is available to pre-order now at bigfinish.com.

Meanwhile, June 2012 sees the release of the final story in the first series of Tom’s first season with Big Finish – in which he takes on the Master and the Kraals in The Oseidon Adventure.

Via DoctorWhoOnline.com and TardisNewsroom.

You can order the current to-date Fourth Doctor adventures directly from Big Finish and even pre-order the forthcoming stories by clicking on the image below.

Click to order The Fourth Doctor Who adventures from Big Finish

New DC fighting game ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’

Official Press Release

What if our greatest heroes became our greatest threat? Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced Injustice: Gods Among Us, an all-new game in development by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, creators of the definitive fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat. The game is scheduled for release in 2013 for the Xbox 360(R) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system and the Wii U(TM) system from Nintendo.

Injustice: Gods Among Us debuts as a bold new fighting game franchise that introduces a deep, original story featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons such as Batman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many others. Set in a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred, players will experience heroes and villains engaging in epic battles on a massive scale.

“With Injustice: Gods Among Us, we are creating an all-new franchise with incredible battles set in the DC Comics Universe,” said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “NetherRealm Studios is the extremely talented team behind the latest Mortal Kombat hit and it is developing a game unlike any other in the fighting genre.”

“We can’t wait to reveal Injustice: Gods Among Us because it will give our fans and gamers an epic experience as they battle like gods as their favorite DC Comics villains and heroes,” said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios. “Our team is excited to make a fighting game that is filled with fast-paced action, incredible story-telling and iconic DC Comics characters.”

For more information, visit http://www.injustice.com .

About DC Entertainment DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating its content across Warner Bros. Entertainment and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world. In January 2012, DC Entertainment, in collaboration with Warner Bros. and Time Warner divisions, launched We Can Be Heroes–a giving campaign featuring the iconic Justice League super heroes–to raise awareness and funds to fight the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa.

About Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a premier worldwide publisher, developer, licensor and distributor of entertainment content for the interactive space across all current and future platforms, including console, handheld and PC-based gaming for both internal and third party game titles.

Game trailer

About NetherRealm Studios NetherRealm Studios is a leader in the development of interactive entertainment, and the creator of the billion dollar Mortal Kombat franchise. Mortal Kombat has spawned two theatrical films, multiple television series, and has sold over 28 million games to date. Located in Chicago, Illinois the award-winning NetherRealm team has been working and creating games together since 1992. Additional information about NetherRealm Studios can be found at http://www.netherrealm.com .

INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US (C) 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Developed by NetherRealm Studios. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are either trademarks or registered trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Nintendo trademarks and copyrights are properties of Nintendo.

DC LOGO, and all characters, their distinctive likenesses, and related elements are trademarks of DC Comics (C) 2012. NETHERREALM STUDIOS LOGO, WB GAMES LOGO, WB SHIELD: (TM) & (C) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s12)
Via ComicbookResources

Iron Man 3 villains revealed

This just in, fresh from Wilmington, NC (a short drive from your humble narrator’s desk) comes this snapshot from the filming of Iron Man 3.

Comic book fans will recognize this as the Iron Patriot, a bastardized version of Stark’s armor developed by Norman Osborn. Of course that will not be relevant in the Iron Man movie, but I do think that it will be related to Detroit Steel, a competitor to Stark Industries built by the family of Iron Man’s former foe, Justin Hammer.

While not a spot-on recreation of the comic book version (seen below), it is close enough and does build on the legacy of the first two films as Tony struggles to divorce himself from the family business of arms manufacturing.

I highly doubt that we will see Sam Rockwell in the third movie, I guess we cannot rule it out.

From ComingSoon.net:

The armor is being worn by James Badge Dale, who plays Eric Savin in the feature film. First announced earlier this month, Savin becomes, in the comic books, the cyborg villain Coldbood. At this point it is unknown whether or not we’ll see the actor in multiple costumes or if Coldblood and Iron Patriot are being merged into one character.

Additionally, here’s an image of Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin from ComicsAlliance:

Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin

Here’s what we can CONFIRM as true (and not from some guy working security on an off-lot shoot): The Mandarin (as played by Ben Kingsley) is a villain in the ‘Iron Man 3,’ but he’s more a veiled threat as a silent partner to Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian. Killian is the man inventing Extremis and putting it into his “Extremis army” of multiple super-powered individuals.

Warren Ellis has previously confirmed that Iron Man 3 will be drawing from the ‘Extremis’ storyline he and Adi Granov created for the relaunch of the comic series in 2004. The possible insertion of the Mandarin as a behind-the-scenes villain would imply the movie will be using the comic storyline as a jumping-off point, especially if Pearce’s Killian will be portrayed as the movie’s central villain as opposed to the more sympathetic character he appeared in the Ellis/Granov story.

Hinted as the next supervillain in line after the first film, the Mandarin is one of the most well known Iron Man rogues. A power-mad megalomaniac armed with ten rings capable of anything from force beams to heat rays and more, the Mandarin is convinced that his destiny is to rule the world.

If all of this is true and the image below is not photo-shopped, it is a far cry from the ‘smaller’ film that Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. are interested in making. That said, as this is likely the final solo Iron Man feature project, what a high note to go out on!

Iron Man 3 is scheduled for a May 3rd 2013 release.

More as it comes…

Must there be a Robin?

There has been some rumblings in the ‘net about the role of the teenage sidekick and the specific need (or lack thereof) for Robin in the DC Universe. At the time of his creation, the child sidekick was a fashionable thing (Green Arrow had Speedy, Aquaman had Aqualad, the Flash had Kid Flash, Sandman and Sandy… even Star Spangled Kid had Stripsey!). They served as a sounding board for the hero and a reflection of the reader. This was of course long before the target audience of comic books became a much different demographic, but of all these characters, Robin remains.

So… why Robin?

There’s a very interesting article over at Kotaku that develops a sound theory behind Robin’s appeal as well as proving why he is needed.

Superhero comics get called out a lot for being adolescent male power fantasies. Its pantheon is filled with characters who deal with trauma in ways that would be unhealthy in the real world and who use might to make right. Batman’s a classic example of that argument, some would argue. Bruce Wayne could’ve moved on from the death of his parents without creating a macabre psychological construct that essentially preserves his grief for his entire life. Is Batman emotionally stunted, then? You could make a case for that.

Robin, however, punches out that logic. When Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Bob Kane had Bruce Wayne take a suddenly bereaved Dick Grayson under his wing, it introduced an element of empathy and family to Batman’s evolution. After all, Batman could’ve been a hard-ass and left the tearful, traumatized boy acrobat at the circus. But the oath that Dick Grayson swears in the Batcave doesn’t get the kid on the vengeance trail. It also pulls Bruce Wayne back from a darkness that would eat him alive.

Part of what we see in the Batman/Robin relationship is the ability to create family out of incredibly dire circumstances. It also gives him something to lose. If Batman dies in the course of battling evil, he’s fulfilling the idea of a hero’s ultimate sacrifice. In a way, it’s what he supposed to do.

But if Robin dies while fighting crime, it’s more tragic. He’s younger and—by virtue of that and Batman’s caretaking—hopefully less bound to the dark obsession that drives his mentor. He’s also a brighter counterpoint to Batman’s dour demeanor. So, if evil snuffs out the Boy Wonder, there goes Batman down into that abyss of grief again.

Read the whole article here at Kotaku

As a kid growing up on cartoons and repeats of the 1966 Batman TV program, I always thought that Robin was cool. In the comics, I saw him grow into the leader of the New Teen Titans, gain a hot alien girlfriend and go against assassins, aliens and demons. He was a crafty crime fighter, an expert martial artist and had a level of courage that was evident on the fact that he was dressed in bright yellow and wore no pants.

After Dick flew the coop (as it were), he was replaced by Jason Todd, a kind of Dick Grayson copy until he was reinvented after the Crisis of 1985 into a rough around the edges punk kid. His devlish streak led him down a bad path resulting in a grisly death at the hands of the Joker (and the readers too).

Watching from the wings was Tim Drake who saw Batman’s physical and psychological decline after Jason’s death. He applied for the post of Robin and after months of training got the gig (complete with pants!). He has since earned his place as one of the more popular versions of Robin.

Robin costume re-design by Alex Ross

Yet there are still Robin haters out there, Dan DiDio included. During Infinite Crisis, he wanted to have Dick Grayson (the first Robin) killed off, citing that he served no purpose – being neither Robin nor Batman. The last issue even features Dick getting struck dead center by an energy blast yet he miraculously survives!

Soon after Infinite Crisis, the Robin monthly book starring Tim Drake was canned and now Drake runs around as Red Robin, Dick Grayson is back in his Nightwing uniform and Jason Todd is leading the Outlaws (?)… it makes no sense, especially when you take into account the fact that the DCU is currently meant to be only 5 years old. Did Bruce really burn through that many sidekicks in 5 years???

I also have to admit that the current Robin Damian Wayne is superb. Raised by the League of Assassins, he and his father are at odds with each other and must struggle to find common ground. The Batman and Robin monthly book is one of my favorite reads right now because of the complexity of their relationship.

The kid sidekick is a holdover from the Golden Age of comics, yet Robin remains an iconic hero. The Kotaku article raises some very intelligent points, but there’s no changing the mind of a fan after it has made a decision.

The question remains, must there be a Robin?

Doctor Who and the Return of the Daleks

Return of the Daleks

Written by Nicholas Briggs, Directed by John Ainsworth
Special Release V
Release date: 2006, December

In the far future, humanity’s fate hangs in the balance. A fleet of Dalek ships has attacked suddenly and viciously, enslaving the few remaining survivors to assist in their scheme of galactic domination and total extermination of all inferior beings. To do this, they have engaged the services of an outspoken slave known as Susan ‘Suze’ Mendez. It was her forthrightness and bravery that gave the people hope, and it is with that hope that the Daleks have tightened their psychological strangle hold on their subjects.

There is no need to robotize anyone if they can have believe in the possibility that there is a better life and that is what Suze has created. Dubbed ‘the Angel of Mercy,’ she travels from slave colony to slave colony spreading the message that if the survivors work harder they will live. Secretly, the Knight of Velyshaa Kalendorf has been accompanying her and planting seeds of rebellion on each planet using telepathy. But their plan hangs with the delicacy of a spider’s web, almost untangled or snapped at any moment.

As the Daleks build their ever-expanding empire, Kalendorf and Susan Mendez play a risky game by attempting to outwit the monsters. Conversing telepathically, they keep their battle strategies to themselves but are watched every moment of the day. When a stranger calling himself the Doctor arrives, they are of course suspicious and rightly so. The Doctor has one last gambit to engage in, and the cost is great.

There is a forgotten army of Daleks on the planet Spiridon that the Daleks are looking for. Long hidden but never forgotten, the army has remarkable abilities and could make the assault on Earth that much easier. It’s up to the Doctor to steer events in just the right manner so that the army is not revived, but he must first sacrifice himself. The Daleks are suffering from ‘light wave sickness’ and they know that the Doctor must have the cure. The game player of people has finally become a pawn himself. Allowing himself to be taken captive, he is a prisoner of the Daleks until just the right moment.

Return of the Daleks is set in a hazy point in the Doctor’s timeline, just before his regeneration and after his final confrontation with the Master (in the story with the same name). The Doctor is wracked with guilt and sorrow, weighed down with the consequences of his actions, implied by his invoking of his previous companions, especially Hex. The trickster god/champion of time has come to the end of his tether here and is a shadow of his former self in more ways than one.

It is fascinating to see Big Finish explore the decline of the Seventh Doctor’s era as it has been explored in print, but not in the audio line. The ‘longest reigning’ of the Doctors lasting from 1987 to 1996, the Seventh Doctor received more development off screen than any other incarnation. Between the comic strips, novels, multi-media projects and of course the audio stories the exact history of the Seventh Doctor is almost as vague as the Eighth, but we do know that he was a crafty individual who was ‘more than just a Time Lord’ who cleared old debts by destroying the Daleks, Cybermen alien gods and almost finished the Master on screen.

Uniting McCoy with Gareth Thomas of Blake’s 7 who plays the gruff and world-weary Kalendorf is a sheer delight. The addition of Ogrons and Daleks in the jungle of Spiridon is delightfully fannish and inserts some continuity to the Dalek Empire series.

It is very moving and sad to witness a version of the Doctor who is apparently at the end of his line, desperately trying to mend a few tears in space and time before he expires. A fitting homage to the Seventh Doctor, it also slots into the Dalek Empire series as a special bonus.

Doctor Who and the Return of the Daleks was a special release given to subscribers but can now be ordered directly from Big Finish or from online retailers such as Mike’s Comics.

Doctor Who and The Natural History of Fear

The Natural History of Fear

Story 054
Written by Jim Mortimore, Directed by Gary Russell
Released February 2004

“A fist is not a threat, a gun is not a threat, a word is a threat. An idea is a threat. Ideas are patient.”

In Light City, everyone enjoys watching their favorite emotionally-charged adventure program provided for light entertainment. The program is actually a rehash of the events in Neverland in which the Doctor and Charley struggle to express their true emotions to each other while the universe hangs in the balance. But this is a fiction in a bland world where every question is a crime punishable by removal.  When one of the citizens rejects the distraction, he is forcibly removed from his home. Fleeing his captors, he launches into the air and falls to his death beside a fountain.

No one reacts or questions the event.

In an abstraction of reality, familiar voices of the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz swap from character to character as the truth is edited and rewritten over and over. Citizens start to see the cracks in the foundation of Light City, but are quickly silenced by censors and the editor.

The Natural History of Fear is the strangest and most post-modern Doctor Who story I have ever experienced. Not only does it feature the a fictionalized version of Doctor Who used as a tool to control the masses, but it also utilizes the creative writing process including revision and editing in order to control the course of a story… or society. This is a world that is struggling to maintain a static state and keep the masses from questioning their world or changing. It is the ultimate tyrannical empire where free thought is impossible.

The true nature of this story takes its time to unravel, but it is clear early on that this is not a simple tale of the Doctor and his companions fighting an alien despot. In fact, the Doctor inadvertently introduced chaos into this world while he was simply passing through. The rest is post-script as Light City nears a period of violent revolution and a toy top that the Doctor left behind spins languidly on.

A deeply sophisticated and mature story, The Natural History of Fear dwells on the question of identity, of the purpose of entertainment and the price of freedom. It is a disturbing and moving piece that teeters on the edge of being far too clever for its own good but never topples over. Author Jim Mortimore shows that he could be one of the most brilliantly gifted writers to ever pen a Doctor Who story with this one.

I have to admit that I was thrown by this one at first, desperately trying to figure out if our heroes had gotten their minds wiped by some evil entity or placed in some trap to derive secrets from their brains.  The proximity to Zagreus in which several familiar actors and actresses voice different characters is unfortunate as it makes the innovations in this story seem familiar (and nothing should remind anyone of Zagreus).  The shifting characters grants the actors ample opportunity to stretch their creative muscles and try on some different emotions which is a real treat.

The Natural History of Fear is a gift to the cast of McGann, Fisher and Westmaas who rise to the occasion and give life to what could have been a nonsensical audio story.

When it was first released, The Natural History of Fear had a somewhat split reception; some praising it as genius others derided it as delusional nonsense. There are some cliched moments (as one would expect in a story such as this), and some strong similarities to popular films such as THX-1138 and the Matrix as well as the novel 1984 but it introduces so many wonderful new ideas that engage the listener with its energy.

A welcome break from the journey through the Divergent Universe, The Natural History of Fear is a real stunner that reminds fans that one can truly do almost anything with a Doctor Who adventure. The only limit is imagination.

The Natural History of Fear can be purchased from Big Finish and from local retailers such as Mike’s Comics.

This week at your comic shop – 5/30/2012

For the complete list of this week’s comics, click here.

Not sure where your local comic shop is? Try comicshoplocator.com!

(note: all information including ad copy is from the publisher)


If you can’t make it to the shop, just click on any of the images below to be taken to an online retailer. I don’t get any referrals for these sales, I’m just doing my bit to spread the word on some neat products.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39
By: Brian Reed, Lee Garbett
Spider-Man is stuck in a world where Peter Parker never existed, and reality is coming apart! Guest staring the Avengers!
________________________________________________________

Animal Man Annual #1

Animal Man Annual #1
By: Jeff Lemire, Timothy Green
ï A stand alone tale detailing the history of the epic struggle between THE RED, THE GREEN and THE ROT! ï As seen in ANIMAL MAN and SWAMP THING, these forces will play a major role in the future of the DC Universe!________________________________________________________

Wolverine and the X-Men #11

Wolverine and the X-Men #11
By: Jason Aaron, Nick Bradshaw
An AVX TIE-IN!

Cyclops comes to the Jean Grey School! Will Wolverine’s X-Men join Cyclops against the Avengers? ICEMAN vs RED HULK!

________________________________________________________

Batman Annual #1

Batman Annual #1
By: Scott Snyder, Jason Fabok
‘NIGHT OF THE OWLS’ continues here!

MR. FREEZE is introduced to The New 52! What is Mr. Freeze’s relationship to the COURT OF OWLS? Is he an ally – or do they want him dead?
________________________________________________________

Hulk Smash Avengers #5 (of 5)

Hulk Smash Avengers #5 (of 5)
By: Jan Van Lente, Michael Avon Oeming, Lee Weeks
A five-part, weekly punch-fest that explores the ever-evolving relationship between the Gamma Goliath and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Red Hulk vs. the 2000s-era Mighty Avengers . . . Black Widow, Wonder Man, Ares, Sentry and the Wasp!
________________________________________________________

Channel Zero TPB

Channel Zero TPB
By: Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan
A blistering take on media control in a repressive future America! DMZ and The Massive creator Brian Wood launched an all-out assault on the comics medium in 1997 with Channel Zero, an influential, forward-thinking series that combined art, politics, and graphic design in a unique way. Touching on themes of freedom of expression, hacking, cutting-edge media manipulation, and police surveillance, it remains as relevant today as it did back then.
The Channel Zero collection contains the original series, the prequel graphic novel Jennie One (illustrated by Becky Cloonan), the best of the two Public Domain design books, and almost fifteen years of extras, rarities, short stories, and unused art. Also featuring the now-classic Warren Ellis introduction and an all-new cover by Wood, this is the must-have edition. See where it all began!

“It’s about anger as a positive force of creation . . . Someone’s remembered what comics are for. Meet Brian Wood.”-Warren Ellis
________________________________________________________

Doctor Who Dragonfire DVD

Doctor Who Dragonfire DVD
Starring Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor. At the Iceworld Space Trading Colony on Svartos, the Doctor and Mel unexpectedly encounter an old ‘friend,’ the desperate Sabalom Glitz. Joined by Ace, a teenage waitress with a love for explosives, the group ventures off to uncover lost riches, not knowing that Kane, Iceworld’s ruthlessly intimidating overlord, will gladly murder them all to gain possession of the Dragonfire himself. Soon the Doctor finds himself playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with Kane’s mercenaries, descending through the ice caverns ever closer towards the deadly gaze of the monstrous dragon that lurks below.
________________________________________________________

Batman Death by Design Deluxe Ed HC

Batman Death by Design Deluxe Ed HC
By: Chip Kidd, Dave Taylor
In this new, original graphic novel from superstar writer/designer Chip Kidd and artist Dave Taylor, Gotham City is undergoing one of the most expansive construction booms in its history.

The most prestigious architects from across the globe have buildings in various phases of completion all over town. As chairman of the Gotham Landmarks Commission, Bruce Wayne has been a key part of this boom, which signals a golden age of architectural ingenuity for the city.

And then, the explosions begin. All manner of design-related malfunctions – faulty crane calculations, sturdy materials suddenly collapsing, software glitches, walkways giving way and more – cause casualties across the city.

This bizarre string of seemingly random catastrophes threatens to bring down the whole construction industry. Fingers are pointed as Batman must somehow solve the problem and find whoever is behind it all.

________________________________________________________

Classic Swamp Thing By Wrightson T-Shirt

Classic Swamp Thing By Wrightson T-Shirt
Return to where it all began nearly 40 years ago with the new Classic Swamp Thing T-Shirt. Features the art of Bernie Wrightson screenprinted in color on a pine green 100% cotton tee. The swamp never forgets!!
________________________________________________________

Starman Omnibus TPB Vol. 01

Starman Omnibus TPB Vol. 01
By: James Robinson, Tony Harris
The first volume of the series collecting the classic super hero series of the 1990s is now available in trade paperback.

Jack Knight – antiques collector and dealer – inherits the name and powers of his father’s old Starman identity from his older brother, who has been assassinated.

This title collects
Starman #0-16

________________________________________________________

Marvel X Tokidoki Avengers Rock T-Shirt

Marvel X Tokidoki Avengers Rock T-Shirt
The fifth season of high-fashion apparel pairing classic Marvel characters with the cheerfulness of the tokidoki universe debuts in 2012! Acclaimed artist Simone Legno brings his unique design aesthetic to the Marvel Universe with his Spring 2012 collection, giving the House of Ideas a hip and hot makeover for the 21st-century and the impending arrival of spring. Whether it’s the Avengers embarking on a world tour, the pop-art stylings of Marvel Comics’ female characters, or the Silver Surfer catching a wave off Maui, tokidoki x Marvel delivers the fun side of Marvel’s beloved characters. Swing into action as the Spring 2012 collection ships to customers beginning in time for the blooming of the flowers.

________________________________________________________

FF #18

FF #18
By: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Mike Choi
The kids take their first field trip. To Africa! Meet the Science Club of Wakanda. The Future Foundation gets a brand new member.
________________________________________________________

Marvel Minimates Series 46 Assortment

Marvel Minimates Series 46 Assortment
A Diamond Select Release! Designed and Sculpted by Art Asylum! This summer, the new Spider-Man movie will bring us a new costume, a new villain… and new Minimates! Based on the characters of Amazing Spider-Man, this movie-based wave of Marvel Minimates includes three all-new two-packs: Spider-Man with Peter Parker, Battle Damaged Spider-Man with the Lizard and Uncle Ben with a mystery foe, plus a rare, one-per-case variant two-pack where Uncle Ben has been replaced with Aunt May! Ben, May and the mystery foes will only be available in this assortment, so don’t miss out! Each Minimate stands 2 inches tall with 14 points of articulation and a variety of removable and interchangeable parts and accessories.
________________________________________________________

Incredible Hulk #8

Incredible Hulk #8
By: Jason Aaron, Steve Dillon, Michael Komarck
In order to stay himself, Hulk must STAY ANGRY! How does one stay angry? How about going up against THE PUNISHER? And if that isn’t enough, the Green Goliath can always take on a murderous drug cartel!
________________________________________________________

Villains For Hire TPB Knight Takes King

Villains For Hire TPB Knight Takes King
By: Dan Abnett, Renato Arlem, Patrick Zircher
All-new, all-evil team! If the story starts with bionic detective Misty Knight uniting heroes Black Panther, Paladin and Silver Sable to halt a heist, why does she then cross the line and hire those she once fought – including psychopaths like Tiger Shark and Speed Demon? Because the Purple Man is out to build a criminal empire with an army including Avalanche, Shocker and the new Scourge! Enter a world of treachery, double-crosses and death when you hear: ‘Hello, villain…are you for hire?’ Collecting VILLAINS FOR HIRE #0.1 and #1-4.
________________________________________________________

Marvel X Tokidoki Cap Attack Hoodie

Marvel X Tokidoki Cap Attack Hoodie
The fifth season of high-fashion apparel pairing classic Marvel characters with the cheerfulness of the tokidoki universe debuts in 2012! Acclaimed artist Simone Legno brings his unique design aesthetic to the Marvel Universe with his Autumn 2012 collection, giving the House of Ideas a hip and hot makeover for the 21st-century and the impending arrival of spring. Whether it’s Wolverine and Magneto hugging it out, a scandalous headline on the Daily Bugle, or Captain America on the attack, tokidoki x Marvel delivers the fun side of Marvel’s beloved characters. Swing into action as the Autumn 2012 collection ships to customers beginning in time for the leaves to fall from the trees.
________________________________________________________

Doctor Who The Happiness Patrol DVD

Doctor Who The Happiness Patrol DVD
Starring Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor. On the planet Terra Alpha, bright fluorescent lights and garish candy-striped colors abound. The population constantly displays happy smiles. There’s no sadness on Terra Alpha. Anyone feeling remotely glum disappears. Quickly. Having heard disturbing rumors, the Doctor and Ace arrive to topple the entire regime overnight. But they haven’t reckoned upon the varied punitive measures enforced by colony leader Helen A. This time, Happiness will prevail.
________________________________________________________

Classic Marvel Figure Coll Mag #171 Thunderbird

Classic Marvel Figure Coll Mag #171 Thunderbird

Classic Marvel Figure Coll Mag #172 Dracula

Fully authorized figurines, teamed up with an amazing magazine put this series in a super-league of its own! The hand-painted lead figurines are sculpted by master craftsmen and based on original pieces of Marvel artwork. Measuring 3 1/2′-4″ tall, each figurine is individually numbered, comes stamped with the Marvel official logo, and comes packaged in its own box. The magazine accompanying each figurine will provide a detailed history and background on the featured character, including exclusive images and interviews. The fabulous characters featured this month are Thunderbird (#171) and Dracula (#172)!________________________________________________________

Next Men Aftermath #43

Next Men Aftermath #43
By: John Byrne
The world is broken, time is out of joint-but the surviving Next Men are about to discover it may not be entirely their fault. A familiar face returns, but will it be good news or bad for our ragged band?

________________________________________________________

New Deadwardians #3 (of 8)

New Deadwardians #3 (of 8)
By: Dan Abnett, I. N. J. Culbard
Investigating the chilling ‘Murder That Should Not Be,’ Inspector Suttle is obliged to visit the East End of London’s notorious and dangerous Zone-B. It’s the last refuge of the living, where the poor, the free-thinking, the artistic, the liberal and the undoubtedly mortal live surrounded by the fenced-off restless horror. What secrets will Suttle learn there about the case and himself?

________________________________________________________

Joker Skinned By Daniel T-Shirt

Joker Skinned By Daniel T-Shirt
Features the art of Tony Daniel imprinted in full-color on a black 100% cotton shirt. Who has the last laugh here? NOW AVAILABLE for sale in Canada and U.K.
________________________________________________________

New Mutants #43

New Mutants #43
By: Dan Abnett, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Stephanie Hans
Exiled part 5 of 5!

Gods made mortal, with mutants their only hope for survival! Undead cannibals on the loose, San Francisco turned inside out by forbidden magic!

A thrilling mythological mystery adventure in the Mighty Marvel manner, the most epic crossover of 2012! (Not counting that one where As fight Xs)
________________________________________________________

Uncanny X-Men #11 (2nd Printing)

Uncanny X-Men #11 (2nd Printing)
By: Kieron Gillen, Carlos Pacheco
An Avx Tie-In issue!

Cyclops leads the X-Men into their toughtest battle yet! Juggernaut-Powered Colossus vs. the Red Hulk!
________________________________________________________

Flash 52 By Manapul T-Shirt

Flash 52 By Manapul T-Shirt
The Scarlet Speedster’s coming at you at full speed on the new Flash 52 T-Shirt. Features the art of Francis Manapul imprinted in full-color on a black 100% cotton shirt. Zoom. Zoom.
________________________________________________________

Doctor Who Nightmare Of Eden DVD

Doctor Who Nightmare Of Eden DVD
Starring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. Two spacecraft fuse in a hyperspace collision. Fortunately the Doctor, Romana and K-9 arrive to help. But when a crewmember is found clawed by a ferocious animal, it seems there’s something even more frightening stalking the corridors. The answers lie with zoologist Professor Tryst, his CET protection machine, and a planet called Eden – the home of the ferocious Mandrels.
________________________________________________________

Fighting American Covers Mug

Fighting American Covers Mug
Titan Merchandise proudly debuts a range of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby mugs, officially approved by the living legend Simon and the estate of the late, great Kirby. If you thought Steve Rogers was Joe and Jack’s only red, white, and blue hero, you thought wrong! Nothing can prepare you for the pulse-pounding exploits of the Fighting American and Speedboy, the Wonder Kid! Enjoy your favorite beverage in these flag-waving designs, each available on a dishwasher-proof 10″ ceramic mug.
________________________________________________________

Independent comics back in the day… Warlock 5

Warlock 5


Written by Gordon Derry. Art by Denis Beauvais
(published by Aircel 1986-1989)

Five guardians are engaged in a power of struggle over a grid where their realities intersect. The battles are fierce and bloody and no holds are barred. Originating from several genres such as fantasy, sci-fi and more, Warlock 5 was like a GURPS game come to life.

A dragon, futuristic robot, knight, survivor from a post-apocalyptic future and a mage made up the striking cast.

With some of the most attractive covers at the time and air-brushed black and white interiors, Warlock 5 became a short-lived cult hit thanks to its bloody violence and edgy material.

Back in the mid 1980′s, there was a dearth of comics like this, black and white indies hoping to compete with ‘the big two’ of Marvel and DC Comics who at the time were floundering. There’s no real spark of brilliance here, but rather a wish fulfillment of a teenager. The material is a mash-up of VHS covers at the local rental shop; a Terminator-esque killer robot, a punk rock chick, a dragon-like man and a reject from Highlander. That said, the book is a lot of juvenile fun.

There’s a very entertaining write-up about the series here.

It was a time when genre comics ruled. Rather than try and replicate the material that the big two had produced, there were fantasy books, science fiction dramas and more. Deadworld by Vince Locke (more than a little similar to the popular Walking Dead series of today) The Realm (featuring the work of a very young Guy Davis), the Ex-Mutants by David Lawrence and Ron Lim ruled the day.

Aircel is more remembered today as the home of Men in Black but at the time I recall enjoyed reading Samurai by Dale Keown, Dragonforce and Adventurers (to an extent). It was quick and dirty storytelling more concerned with image and explosive violence than any real characters or anything else, but it made no excuses for its shortcomings. In one issue, a character threatened to explode an atom bomb, however the following issue made no mention of any of this.

The creative team departed on the 13th issue when most fans agree that the quality took a dive. Running 22 issues, it’s still a lot of fun and a great basis for an animation project, video game or (dare I say) feature film if anyone can work out the legal entanglements.

What about you, readers? Do you have any favorite comics from back in the day?

Green Lantern reinvented as gay superhero

Green Lantern by Alex Ross

DC Comics has announced recently that they will ‘out’ one of their iconic superheroes as being gay. There has been lots of speculation and a kind of knee-jerk reaction/guess that it would be Batman, along with a litany of other guesses all the way down to Vibe, who was so surprised he jumped out of comic book limbo and then fell back asleep just as quickly.

Alan Scott was a train engineer who nearly died when a strange meteorite crashed into his train. Thinking quickly, he carved a ring and power battery from the rock, donned one of the weirdest superhero costumes ever and fought crime with a magic ring that created giant green boxing gloves. His associate was the bumbling and obese Doiby Dickles.

Comics back in those days embraced the inventive lunacy that is mostly absent from modern comics.

Green Lantern disappeared in the 1950′s when funny animals took over the stands after Fredric Wertham’s assault on superhero comics reduced them to subversive perverted trash… oh if only he were alive today he would laugh himself giddy. When DC Comics introduced a new spin on an old idea by creating a new Flash, it was only a matter of time before the other classic heroes followed suit, including Green Lantern.

Borrowing heavily from EE ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensman novels, the new Green Lantern was a space policeman that guarded the galaxy from evil using a sci-fi spin on the magic ring. In time, a parallel world was located where the original superheroes still lived on, aged and even had children. There were a number of team-ups between the two world until it all got a bit silly and DC decided to smash all of their continuity into one world.

In the new DC Universe, Alan Scott was one of the very first superheroes and his ring slowed his aging process, allowing him to fight alongside the kids of today. The Alan Scott Green Lantern gained a massive support base during this time and went on to star in not just the JSA, but also as leader of Checkmate.

Totally bizarre drawing of Green Lantern and the Pillsbury Dough Boy by Martin Nodell

But that even that version of Alan Scott is gone forever, wiped clean away from the comic book annals of history by that great equalizer known as the editorial process. In a new ongoing series called Earth-2, the Golden Age versions of the Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are being introduced. Rather than serving as elder statesmen of the DCU, as they had in the past, they are entirely different characters.

Most notably, Alan Scott is now DC’s high profile gay superhero.

Alan Scott makes his debut as the Green Lantern in Earth 2 #3

BleedingCool has outed the hero first by revealing that it is none other than Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern. There are a few things to keep in mind here, of course. This version of Alan Scott has no relation to the original Green Lantern created back in 1940. This version of the character is from a parallel Earth in a post-52 DC Universe. So DC hasn’t exactly taken a character who has been straight for decades and had them come out of the closet, they have in fact warped reality, rewritten time and launched an alternate universe comic book in order to create a gay character.

So… is this really a win for equality in comics?

There’s a lot of press and opinion out there on this as you’d imagine, but here’s one of my favorites from ComicBookResources

Green Lantern drawn by artist Irwin Hasen

DC and Marvel are shouting about going gay with a — well, with a straight face, and they’re doing so in 2012. Read between the lines of the public relations, and essentially the two biggest North American superhero comics publishers (and Hollywood IP farms) are proudly, cluelessly boasting about the fact that they’re not as out of touch with the rest of American pop culture and society as they were last month, and they’re accepting congratulations for it.

It’s a bit embarrassing, really, and not just for DC and Marvel — I mean, all of us readers-of and writers-about these publishers get to share in guilt by association.

I’m not sure which of the Big Two comes off worse in this week’s campaigning.

Marvel’s big, gay news is, of course, that mutant superhero Northstar proposed to and is set to marry his civilian boyfriend, Kyle. This plot point has been hinted at by Marvel since at least March, when the publisher started its “Save The Date!” advertising campaign for Astonishing X-Men, and the February-released solicitation for the May-shipping Issue 50 included a line about Northstar having to choose between his boyfriend and the team, and another read “Don’t miss the end of this issue – it’ll be the most talked about moment of the year!”

Pretty obvious that Northstar was going to get married, right?

Earlier in the week Marvel started hyping an announcement that would be made on The View, of all places. (Do you know what a Venn diagram of “People Who Watch The View” and “People Who Will Ever Buy An Issue of Astonishing X-Men” looks like? It’s two circles on separate sheets of paper, and about a mile and a half between each of those sheets of paper). And it turned out to be that, yes, as you’ve surely already guessed, Northstar would be the first Marvel superhero to be married to a member of the same sex. (An aside: I wonder if, in the Marvel Universe, if mutant/human marriages are considered a greater threat to “traditional marriage” then gay marriages …? Do Republican politicians in the Marvel Universe introduce Defense of Marriage Acts forbidding a homo superior from marrying a homo sapien?)

So Marvel’s big news of the week is that the publisher whose foundational, traditional identity has been that it was the edgier, more realistic and with-it alternative to DC’s staid comics line, is just now catching up to Archie Comics, traditionally the most conservative and slow-to-change of the extant publishers. (They still publish comics for kids! And sell them in grocery stores!) Archie’s Life With Archie #17, published in January, featured a wedding between Kevin Keller and his boyfriend Clay Walker (six months, by the way, is about how long it would take to plan, create and publish an issue of an ongoing comic book series, at least in the olden days of the 1990s).

The appearance on The View, corporate synergy or no (Disney owns both Marvel and the show’s network ABC), was at least pretty well timed. President Barack Obama publicly stated his support for gay marriage on May 9. That too would have (and perhaps should have) been a non-story, as Obama had publicly supported gay marriage in 1996, but changed his mind as he campaigned for the presidency the first time, were it not for the fact that he was a sitting president. Like the Marvel story, the Obama one was basically along the lines of a declaration that someone was not as backward as previously thought. It’s just too bad so many news cycles have occurred between the Obama’s announcement and Marvel’s; that guy has been great for helping Marvel sell comic books in the past.

DC’s big, gay news of the week wasn’t made in such a splashy fashion, so company gets some points for not jumping as high or shouting as loud about how totally not-homophobic it is, but it also seemed calculated to insert the publisher into the Marvel news, in the hopes of getting DC’s name mentioned in the mainstream media at least as often.

DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio didn’t call a press conference to make his company’s gay announcement, but it nevertheless seemed more cynical and calculated, given the timing.

DC’s announcement seems somewhat smaller on the face of it — DC will apparently “out” one of its “major iconic” (and male) characters as gay in a New 52 storyline that begins in June — and whether it’s actually a big deal will likely depend on the identity of the character.

My Word dictionary function is telling me the definition of “iconic” is “relating to or characteristic of somebody or something admired as an icon,” with “icon” being either “somebody … widely and uncritically admired, especially somebody or something symbolizing a movement or field of activity” or, more simply, “a picture or symbol that is universally recognized to be representative of something.”

DC no doubt has a pretty loose definition of the word “iconic,” which it often uses to mean “all of our superheroes, even Vibe.” If I were to list all of DC’s truly iconic characters, the ones most likely to be recognized in the streets of foreign countries and the ones that many other characters have been derived from, my list would end up being pretty small: Superman and all his derivatives (-girl, -boy, maybe Steel), Batman (and –girl) and Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Captain Marvel (I suppose I’ll get used to calling him “Shazam” some day …) and Plastic Man.

There’s also an excellent article about gay superhero characters in comics here and the author has done plenty of research on the subject.

I’m kind of frustrated by this news as while as I have said on previous occasions I fully support diversity in comics, this changes the original character almost to the point where one has to wonder how much of Martin Nodell and Bill Finger’s character is left?

Why not just create a new Green Lantern who happens to be gay instead of warping reality in order to ‘catch up with times’? Is that level of modification really what is needed in order to inject something other than a white straight Anglo-Saxon into comic books?

It reminds me of the holiday specials of old where all of the characters are excited about Christmas, even Superman (well, his parents lived in the midwest, they probably took their space orphan to church). Are there no superheroes of different religious/cultural backgrounds? They ALL celebrate Christmas… SERIOUSLY?? And nearly every alternate future story has a Ken and Barbie match-up between superheroes who have gotten married and all have children. Not one of them remained single? None of them are gay? ALL OF THEM HAD CHILDREN?

It strikes me that comics have a very very long road to maturity and maybe all things considered they should remain places where thugs wear bandannas and caps and are knocked out by giant green boxing gloves. Save the social commentary for the pundits.

Unless you’re a socially conscious publisher like DC… way way back in the day.

Opinions?

The other Nick Fury, David Hasselhoff… yes, David Hasselhoff

Nick Fury by Chris Samnee

The master spy and leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury started off his long career in a world populated by kooks in bee keeper outfits and long johns in WWII. Leading a group of wild men known as the ‘Howlin’ Mad Commandos,’ he charged a path across Europe against the Axis powers. The comic was a big success, but when one reader prompted ‘where’s Fury now?’ wheels started to turn in Stan Lee’s head.

Nick Fury was modernized and reinvented as a James Bond-type, only he had the rough street-level attitude of a Brooklyn-born tough guy. Having more in common with Ben Grimm than Sean Connery, Fury sported a permanent face full of stubble and chomped on a stinky cigar. None of this kept him from landing the dames, though. The series really took off when a young cartoonist and escape artist Jim Steranko took over the art chores from his mentor Jack Kirby. Steranko’s style was far ahead of its time and skyrocketed the comic to levels of popularity that remain today.

So how come Sam Jackson played Fury in the Avengers?
Well, the creation of a new comic book line was prompted to appeal to readers intimidated by continuity and to possibly prevent Marvel Comics from closing the doors due to low sales. Dubbed the Ultimate line, the project was a success and modernized new versions of classic characters, sometimes changing them in small ways, other times in more drastic ones. In the case of Nick Fury, the character most clearly resembled actor Samuel L. Jackson.

When the opportunity came to develop their ‘universe’ online, Marvel approached Jackson and he happily agreed to portray Fury, signing a mult-picture deal that insured we will be seeing him in an eye patch for quite some time.

However, he was not the first man to play Nick Fury. Long before the creation of the Ultimate Nick Fury, David Hasselhoff played the character in a one-off made for TV movie. It’s very dubious for many reasons, but none of them are related to Hasselhoff himself. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), his depiction of Fury was spot-on to the Marvel version.

Although Samuel L. Jackson has played S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and the record-breaking Avengers, his portrayal of the cigar-chomping Marvel Comics government agent isn’t definitive to everyone. Like, say, to David Hasselhoff — Baywatch legend, Knight Rider icon, and star of the upcoming Piranha 3DD — who donned Fury’s signature eye patch and scowl in his own 1998 telefilm, earned Stan Lee’s blessing, and claims that his is the “ultimate” Nick Fury.

“I didn’t see The Avengers yet,” Hasselhoff admitted to Movieline while discussing his appearance — as David Hasselhoff — in the R-rated sequel Piranha 3DD. “I love Sam Jackson, but you know… my Nick Fury was the organic Nick Fury that was written and discussed with Stan Lee before anyone got in there to change it. Nick Fury was written to be tongue-in-cheek, and he had a cigar in his mouth, he was a tough guy — he was cool.”

Hasselhoff says he had earned Lee’s praise for his turn as Fury, who comes out of retirement in the 1998 film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to battle HYDRA. So he was a little miffed to learn the character would be portrayed by someone else — even if that someone was Jackson.
“Stan Lee said, ‘You’re the ultimate Nick Fury,’” he remembered. “Avi Arad, when they bought it, said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be the Nick Fury forever,’ and they lied. [Pause] But that happens to me all the time. That’s when you realize life isn’t fair.”

Hasselhoff, meanwhile, has been trying to revive another of his past projects anew — not Baywatch (alas!), but Knight Rider — his popular ’80s series co-starring a tricked-out, artificially intelligent car named KITT. Numerous attempts to revive the series in film and television form have been made in the years since Knight Rider went off the air (including, most recently, a 2008 TV series that lasted one season), but the latest iteration — a film adaptation, currently at the Weinstein Co. — is what Hasselhoff has his sights set on.
In fact, he told Movieline, it’s the Weinstein Co.’s Knight Rider film that helped entice Hasselhoff to take part in Piranha 3DD. “Bob Weinstein called me and said, ‘Come on, man — if you do this movie and it does really well, I’ll put you in Scary Movie,” Hasselhoff said, “‘and then we own Knight Rider, maybe we can put you in the Knight Rider movie…’”

Still, Hasselhoff wouldn’t mind finding his way back into the Marvel fold — perhaps in Avengers 2? “I had a blast playing Nick Fury,” he said. “And if it ever came back and Nick Fury has a brother — Dick Fury? — I’d be there.”

Via MovieLine

So how long until someone remembers Nick Fury DOES have a brother?