Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New York Comic-Con 2008

This past weekend I and my fellow Cave Drawing Inkers attended the big outrageous and packed NY Comic Con at the Convention Center. The Javits Center was nuts with people I haven't checked the final tally but it had to be at least 100,000. I saw, what has now become, the norm at Comic-Con. Two smoking hot Leia's in full out Slave girl outfits. Of course no Con would be complete with at least two or three not so hot Leia's in Slave Girl outfits. There were many stormtroopers and Boba Fetts and for their third straight year the Ghostbuster crew. There always seems to be four of them and they all have very intricate proton packs. I walked the show room floor taking in all of the sights and sounds. There was a new Spidey game coming out for all stations except of course my measley little Gamecube, I've gotta get a damn Wii or an X-Box or something so I can play these bad ass superhero games. Especially after I saw the demo for the Iron Man game which I think was playing on the X-Box. The freedom was incredible and the graphics were top notch, not to mention the little gadgets that go boom on the suit. Damn I need an X-Box.

I found a few of the guys from Cave Drawing Ink, Ezio, Ori, Greg and a few newcomers like Young Nam Heller and Blair Kamage. Young Nam's stuff is pretty amazing, but don't worry you'll be able to see his stuff in our new book titled Rise of the Outlanders that's coming out later next month. I'm sure I'll whore it out a bit more as we get closer to the due date. Anyway so I hung out with Blair a bit as we found ourselves in line at the Indiana Jones/Star Wars panel. I thought they were gonna show some exclusive Indy trailers for the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but they just rehashed the teaser trailer from three months ago. They showed some cool trailers for the upcoming Star Wars: Clone Wars animated film coming out this summer. It was um, ok, but I'm not really sold on the animation style, I guess time will tell. They also talked a bit about the animated Clone Wars show that will spin off from the film in the fall. Again, the animation is not really that exciting but I like what they are trying to do with it storywise and of course you can never get tired of new Star Wars stories.

They also showed the demo for the new Indiana Jones trilogy Lego style. It looked cute, my friends Marty and Sarah really love this shit. They made a Star Wars and Batman one that apparently were big hits. So I assume the Indy one will be too. Again I thought it was cute, but it's not really my thing. Why don't they just make another regular Indiana Jones game. It just looks cheap and crappy when they do it this way--plus if you want to play with legos then go get the real thing. Why do you have to play a game about Indiana Jones as a Lego? I guess it's just me. Near the end of the panel I was getting bored and I guess they started to figure that out cause they decided to bring up special guest stars Seth Green and his fellow co-creator of Robot Chicken. They were funny as they showed a couple of clips from the Star Wars edition of Robot Chicken. The guys talked about how pumped they were to get George Lucas involved in the episode and how he seem to give them unfettered access to the Star Wars universe.

The Con was Friday-Sunday but because of commitments at home and the fact that the Con was over passover I only showed up part time on Friday and most of the day on Saturday. I'm not Jewish but my wife is and personally I didn't want to have to sleep on the couch over the weekend or for the next week so....My stay was rather short. Overall it was cool, not outstanding or as eye popping as it has been in years past. I guess after you go to these things a few times they start to lose their luster.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Justice League: The New Frontier

I picked this up a couple of weeks ago. The animation looked great and I have heard from many people that the graphic novel this is based on, by Darwyn Cooke, is exceptional so I took a chance and bought it blind. I'm glad that I did too cause it was something special. The story takes the Justice League back to the 60's with speeches of JFK peppered throughout the movie to place it squarely in the real world. The film was written by Stan Berkowitz and directed by David Bullock.This is an origin story for both the Justice League and for Hal Jordan (David Boreanaz) who becomes the Green Lantern. The government has apparently had their fill of superheroes and has banned them from their work as champions of justice. The world is under threat by a super human monster determined to rid the planet of human life. The War (I believe Korea) is over and it appears that Superman (Kyle Maclachlan) and Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless) are on the outs as Wonder Woman has taken control of a group of refugee women in the jungle. The Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onzz (Miguel Ferrer) is brought to our world from Mars and is forced to live among us. The Flash, Barry Allen (Neil Patrick Harris) is a hero in his town of Central City but is unsure if he is capable of taking on the larger threat confronting mankind. Batman, Bruce Wayne (Jeremy Sisto) has refused to adhere to the government's new laws pertaining to heroes and has continued to work in Gotham against the local criminal element. I was a little critical of a new voice for Batman since we've been hearing Kevin Conroy's excellent vocal talent for so long. But I thought Sisto was great he brought a bitterness to Batman that hasn't been seen in a while. Which leaves us with the focus of the story, Hal Jordan, a cocky fighter pilot who has, after the war, been given the reputation of someone avoiding the fight as if he were afraid. Hal just wants to be a space ranger and get his chance to touch the stars. As a huge fan of the Green Lantern we get to see Hal's first encounter with Abin Sur and the passing of the ring to Hal. This story touches historical themes like the missile crisis, the red scare and blacklisting.The creature called the Centre is interesting but I would have preferred if the League were fighting against a more original villain. This reminded me of the alien villains from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and even the first episode of the Justice League animated show. But I did enjoy the characters and their interactions with each other and the animation is spectacular. If you enjoy the Justice League and you want a well scripted enjoyable ride you should check this out. Plus there are those great speeches at the end of the film by JFK about, ironically, the New Frontier. There are two discs with a couple documentaries and audio commentary with the director and producers and a second one with the creator Darwyn Cooke himself. The second disc has a featurette on Comic Books, a documentary about the Legion of Doom and an homage to the New Frontier and some bonus episodes of the Justice League-- and if you want an extra treat check out the cool website.

Grade: 4 Buckets

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Memorial: Charlton"Chuck" Heston

From his memorable role as a Mexican in Touch of Evil to his bad ass cameo roles in Wayne's World II, True Lies, Tombstone and Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes. Chucky, like no one else was able to define iconic by large and small roles for over fifty years in Hollywood. I myself enjoyed his booming overly choppy voice in the Ten Commandments telling Pharaoh where he could stick it if he didn't release his people. Or his cursing of the damned dirty apes that touched him while imprisoned on the Planet of the Apes. These are some of the classic and oftentimes unintentionally humorous portrayals that Heston has played over the years. He died Saturday at the age of 83 of complications with Alzheimer's.

We also cannot forget that Chuck marched with the King in the 60's as a strong advocate for the Civil Rights Movement. Sometime in the 70's or so he flipped to the other side because of his love of firearms which brought about that batshit crazy speech a few years ago where he proclaimed "From My Cold Dead Hands!" It was at that moment that I knew that even though Chucky was on one hand a great actor with some very memorable roles he was also a bad ass-- and let me tell you -- he scared the shit out of me and there was no way I would even try to rip that gun from his hands. Cold, dead or otherwise.

So I raise a glass to you Chuck, Rest in Peace.