June 07, 2007

Valiant's "Harbinger" returns

Valiant Entertainment, which has obtained the rights to the long-defunct Valiant Comics line, has announced a deluxe hardcover collection of "Harbinger." The book, set to be released in August, will collect the origin story from issues #0-7, written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham. The book will be recolored, and will feature a new story written by Shooter and drawn by former Valiant mainstay Bob Hall.

For those of us who read those comics when they first came out, this is great news. Valiant was the company that stepped in and filled the need for new, quality superhero content in the days when Image got all the attention but was chronically late. Shooter, the former editor in chief at Marvel, wrote a realistic and thoroughly modern tale of teenage superheroes, complete with bad judgment and raging hormones. This was the book that launched Lapham's career and laid the groundwork for "Stray Bullets" and his more recent graphic novel efforts, such as the upcoming "Silverfish" for Vertigo. Shooter remains a controversial figure within the industry. A conflict with the management at Valiant led to his ouster from the company, after which it began a long decline in quality. Shooter tried unsuccessfully to replicate Valiant, first with Defiant and later with Broadway Comics. He wrote an attempted revival of the Valiant characters in a series called Unity 2000 that was never completed.

Valiant fans will certainly be thrilled to see this story back in print, and seeing those characters return in new stories is a tantalizing prospect.

Jun 7, 2007 at 12:07 PM by Tom McLean in Books | Permalink | Comments (2)

"Heroes" comic contest for Comic-Con

With only six weeks to go until Comic-Con Intl., it's time to start girding yourself for the onslaught of annoucements for all the cool things that will be going down at the annual nerd prom.

NBC's "Heroes" is going to have a huge presence at the show this year, in part to thank fans for giving the freshman show such a warm welcome last year when it just a lonely pilot looking to survive more than a handful of episodes. As part of their celebration, NBC is inviting fans to create their own comic starring Hiro Nakamura.

Head over to this site to learn about the contest from co-exec producer Jeph Loeb. Then download the script for the first few pages and page layout templates, then finish the story any way you like. The best entry will be presented at the con.

For those who can't stand the summer hiatus without "Heroes," the online graphic novel installments are continuing at NBC.com, with new issues set to debut June 25 and July 23.

Jun 7, 2007 at 11:52 AM by Tom McLean in Comic-Con | Permalink | Comments (0)

Caruso or Wiseman for "Wolverine"?

Comics 2 Film, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a snazzy redesign, reports that Fox is considering "Disturbia" director DJ Caruso to helm the long-gestating "Wolverine" spinoff, which will be produced by and star Hugh Jackman. Site also says that Caruso is being wooed by a deal at DreamWorks, and is considering "Underworld" helmer Len Wiseman in the case Caruso becomes unavailable.

Jun 7, 2007 at 11:42 AM by Tom McLean in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stan Lee pacts with Disney

Stan Lee and his Pow! Entertainment company have signed a first-look deal with Disney. Pow has recently had success with a pair of direct-to-DVD features, "Condor" and "Mosaic." Deal covers all media. As the editor and chief writer of Timely/Marvel comics for three decades, Lee created or co-created most of the company's classic characters.

Jun 7, 2007 at 11:39 AM by Tom McLean in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 05, 2007

More Awards, Part 3: The Bill Finger Award

The third annual Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing will be given to Gardner Fox and George Gladir. Full details from the press release:

Fox, Gladir to Receive Third Annual Bill Finger Award

Gardner Fox and George Gladir have been selected to receive the 2007 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The choice was made unanimously by a blue-ribbon committee chaired by writer and historian Mark Evanier.

The Bill Finger Award was instituted in 2005 under the supervision of comic book legend Jerry Robinson. The awards committee is charged each year with selecting two recipients, one living and one deceased.

"Each year, we ask ourselves who, among all the fine writers who’ve contributed to comics has a body of work out there deserving of greater recognition," Evanier notes. "Gladir and Fox not only have that but both men laid down important groundwork on which other writers could and did build . . . just like Bill Finger did.”

Continue reading "More Awards, Part 3: The Bill Finger Award"

Jun 5, 2007 at 05:06 PM by Tom McLean in Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

TOKYOPOP at Book Expo

A few more things we missed from last week's BEA ...

Meg Cabot, author of "The Princess Diaries," has agreed to write a manga sequel to her book "Avalon High" through a collaboration between TOKYOPOP and Harper Collins. The manga will be published as three books, starting in July with "Avalon High: Coronation #1 — The Merlin Prophecy." "Banzai Girl" artist Jinky Coronado will draw the book.

TOKYOPOP also announced an agreement with educational publisher Kaplan for a line of vocabulary building manga volumes. There will be three volumes to start, each a complete graphic novel highlighting more than 300 words commonly used in the SAT college-entrance exam. The words will be indexed, defined and highlighted. The first three volumes will feature "Psy-Comm," "Warcraft" and "Van Von Hunter."

Jun 5, 2007 at 04:55 PM by Tom McLean in Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 04, 2007

More Awards, Part 2: The Harvey Awards

The nominations for The Harvey Awards have been announced. The winners will be announced Sept. 8 at the Baltimore Comic-Con. Comics pros wishing to vote can get a ballot here and need to file it by Aug. 3.

BEST WRITER
Ed Brubaker, “Daredevil” (Marvel Comics)
Grant Morrison, “All-Star Superman” (DC Comics)
Steve Murphy, “Umbra” (Image Comics )
Don Rosa, “Uncle Scrooge” (Gemstone Publishing)
William Van Horn, “Walt Disney Comics & Stories” (Gemstone Publishing)
Brian K. Vaughn, “Y: The Last Man” (DC/Vertigo)

BEST ARTIST
Brian Fies, “Mom’s Cancer” (Abrams)
Renee French, “The Ticking” (Top Shelf)
Stuart Immonen, “Nextwave: Agents Of Hate” (Marvel Comics)
Frank Quitely, “All-Star Superman” (DC Comics)
Don Rosa, “Uncle Scrooge” (Gemstone Publishing)
William Van Horn, “Walt Disney Comics & Stories” (Gemstone Publishing)

BEST CARTOONIST
Jaime Hernandez, “Love & Rockets” (Fantagraphics)
Kevin Huizenga, “Curses” (Drawn & Quarterly)
Bryan Lee O’Malley, “Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness” (Oni Press)
Don Piraro, “Bizarro” (King Features Syndicate)
Don Rosa, “Uncle Scrooge” (Gemstone Publishing)
William Van Horn, “Walt Disney Comics & Stories” (Gemstone Publishing )

Continue reading "More Awards, Part 2: The Harvey Awards"

Jun 4, 2007 at 08:11 PM by Tom McLean in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comic-Con Film Fest winner 'Drakmar' on HBO

One of the better films I saw in judging last year’s Comic-Con Intl. Independent Film Festival was a doc called “Drakmar: A Vassel’s Journey,” about a young boy who finds community through medieval recreations and is reunited with his long-lost father.

The film won best documentary at the fest, and deservedly so.

Now, Cretton says the film is coming to HBO Family and will air on June 17 as part of the cabler’s Father’s Day programming. The film will air four additional times through June. Check out the schedule here. This is a heartbreaker, and well-worth seeing.

Jun 4, 2007 at 07:42 PM by Tom McLean in Film | Permalink | Comments (1)

More Awards, Part 1: The Russ Manning Awards

The nominees for the 2007 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award have been announced.

* Steve Bryant, artist of “Athena Voltaire” (APE Entertainment)
* Joelle Jones, artist of “12 Reasons Why I Love Her” (Oni Press)
* Rolo Ledesma, artist of “Phoney Baloney” and “Toxic Teddies” (Terminal Press)
* David Petersen, writer/artist of “Mouse Guard” (Archaia Press)
* Buddy Setiawan, artist of “Roadkill Zoo” (Novaris Entertainment)

The award will be presented Friday, July 27 at the San Diego Convention Center as part of Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony.

Jun 4, 2007 at 07:38 PM by Tom McLean in Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

White talks "Ronin"

Daniel Robert Epstein over at UGO.com talks to director Sylvain White about his next project: adapting Frank Miller’s “Ronin” to the big screen. Aside from saying it’s firm as his next project and in development, the best bit is this:

Yes, it's different in a lot of ways. It's Frank Miller's first completed graphic novel on his own. It's very different style-wise and it's also very different story-wise. It's not as structured as 300. The adaptation process is a very different one, and the look is going to be completely different from 300.

Continue reading "White talks "Ronin""

Jun 4, 2007 at 07:36 PM by Tom McLean in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spidey? Jewish? Oy Vey!

Here’s something comics fans don’t read every day: the author of a new book on the Jewish influence on superheroes explains to the Brooklyn Heights Courier how Spider-Man’s story parallels Scripture (h/t to Stu Levine).

“Peter Parker’s a nerd who grew up in Forest Hills, his middle name is Benjamin and he’s motivated by guilt … I see a connection,” jokes Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, author of “Up, Up, And Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero.”

Weinstein obviously shares at least one power with Spidey: the ability to spout quirky quips at a moment’s notice.

Jun 4, 2007 at 07:34 PM by Tom McLean in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vertigo announces Straub/Easton, Cantor GNs

Book Expo America has become an increasingly important event to comics publishers as they push further into the bookstore market. DC Comics used this year’s show, now wrapped in New York City, to announce two major projects.

First, novelist Peter Straub is teaming up with screenwriter and actor Michael Easton to write an original graphic novel called “The Green Woman.” The book, set to be published under the Vertigo banner, has no release date or artist attached as yet.

Vertigo also will publish “Aaron and Ahmed,” the first graphic novel from acclaimed novelist Jay Cantor. The writer of “Krazy Kat,” “The Death of Che Guevara” and “Great Neck,” Cantor has won many prestigious awards for his fiction and worked as a screenwriter on projects for HBO, Columbia, Universal and Disney.

Jun 4, 2007 at 07:31 PM by Tom McLean in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

WB sets "Teen Titans" for big screen

1 I'm back after a short trip to Canada to see The Police, but while I was gone WB gave the big-screen go to a “Teen Titans” feature.

For fans, there’s good news and bad. The bad is that the man who wrote “Batman & Robin,” Akiva Goldsman, is producing the film along with Kerry Foster. The good news is Mark Verheiden, a writer of comics, screen and TV who created the print versions of “Timecop” and “The Mask” and most recently was a writer-producer on Sci Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica.”

So far, the only character confirmed for the mix is Nightwing, a.k.a. Dick Grayson, the original Robin. Pic reportedly will be serious in tone, more like “Batman Begins” than the recent, spiffy kidvid version on Cartoon Network.

Here’s hoping Verheiden and Goldsman are fans of the classic early 1980s stories by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, arguably the best version of the long-running Titans team in its forty-plus year history.

Jun 4, 2007 at 07:30 PM by Tom McLean in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 29, 2007

U.S. Mint disapproves of 'Surfer' coin

In retrospect, this should have been obvious: The United States Mint issued a statement that Fox and the Franklin Mint may have broken the law by putting a color image of the Silver Surfer on 40,000 quarters as a promotional stunt for the upcoming film, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."

From the AP:

   The U.S. Mint said in a statement Friday that it learned of the promotional quarter this week and advised the studio and The Franklin Mint they were breaking the law. It is illegal to turn a coin into an advertising vehicle, and violators can face a fine.

   "The promotion is in no way approved, authorized, endorsed, or sponsored by the United States Mint, nor is it in any way associated or affiliated with the United States Mint," the statement said. It did not say whether the studio or the private Franklin Mint would face a penalty.

May 29, 2007 at 08:23 PM by Tom McLean in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Pirates' topples 'X3' record, but not "Spidey 3'

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" surprised no one by topping the Memorial Day weekend box office. Its $126 million take edges out the $122 million record for the same weekend set last year by "X-Men: The Last Stand." "Spider-Man 3," which set the opening weekend record of $151 million a mere three weeks ago, raked in $14 million more, to pass the $300 million domestic mark.

Most impressive is the international performance on "Pirates 3" and "Spidey 3." The former took in $205 million since its release on 17,500 playdates in 102 markets. The latter is within spitting distance of a $500 million worldwide gross.

While reviews on "Pirates 3" were even more "meh" than they were for "Spidey 3," it's hard to argue that this kind of movie isn't exactly what the world wants to see when the piles of cash add up this quickly.

May 29, 2007 at 08:13 PM by Tom McLean in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)