Current Transmissions

‘The Walking Dead’ returns to ‘Halloween Horror Nights’

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT THE WALKING DEADThe Walking Dead will return to Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” in September with new mazes inspired by the third season of the hit AMC drama.

The mazes at Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando will place visitors in the Prison — aka the West Georgia Correctional Facility — and then send them fleeing through the wilderness to the walled town of Woodbury, where even worse terrors reside.

And for the first time in the event’s 23-year history, all of the scare zones at Universal Orlando will feature a common theme, as visitors walking the streets of the park will come face to face with scenes from the television series’ first three seasons, including an overrun Atlanta and Hershel’s barn. Oh, and walkers — lots and lots of walkers.

“What’s great about working with a property like The Walking Dead is that each season presents new environments and characters for us to draw inspiration,” John Murdy, creative director for Universal Studios Hollywood, said in a statement. “With the prison as the main setting of Season 3, we seized this opportunity to recreate that very environment, down to the last detail, to be as genuine and authentic to the show as possible. Using movie-quality production value, our goal is to make guests feel as if they are mired in the world of blood-thirsty zombies, which is something you can only do at ‘Halloween Horror Nights.'”

“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Sept. 20.

Celebrate ‘Bandette’s’ Eisner win with another free story

bandette-urchin-cropped

On the heels of winning the Eisner Award for best digital comic, Bandette creators Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover have released a fifth free installment of Bandette: Urchin Stories, this time teaming Tobin with cartoonist Erika Moen (DAR!, Bucko).

If, for some reason, you’re not yet familiar with Bandette, the Monkeybrain Comics series follows the adventures of a costumed thief who gleefully leads a group of urchins through the streets of Paris, serving on the side of justice, except when an old-fashioned heist proves too fun to resist. A print collection will be published in November by Dark Horse.

Launched in October 2012 to supplement the main series, Urchin Stories, as the title suggests, focuses on the supporting cast, with each short tale drawn by a different art. The latest installment turns the spotlight on the newest, and youngest, urchin, Belda. The previous stories can be found on the Monkeybrain website.

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Kickstarter-funded board game canceled, backers cry ‘fraud’

doom-atlantic city

More than a year after a Kickstarter campaign for a lighthearted Lovecraftian board game generated $122,000 in pledges, the project has been abruptly canceled, triggering accusations of fraud.

Erik Chevalier of The Forking Path Co. announced Tuesday to backers that The Doom That Came to Atlantic City! was simply “beyond my abilities.” “Every possible mistake was made, some due to my inexperience in board game publishing, others due to ego conflicts, legal issues and technical complications,” he wrote. “No matter the cause though these could all have been avoided by someone more experienced and I apparently was not that person.”

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Comics A.M. | Digital comics’ ‘era of experimentation’

Madefire

Madefire

Digital comics | Jason Snell uses Comic-Con International as an opportunity to take a snapshot of digital comics in “an era of experimentation,” and hones in on Madefire, the convention’s embrace of technology, comiXology and the growing popularity of the digital-first model. “Digital has made us rethink how we fulfill books into the [print] retail market,” Chris Ross, Top Shelf’s director of digital publishing, said during a panel. [TechHive]

Legal | The Attorney-Generals Chambers of Singapore has charged cartoonist Leslie Chew (the pen name of Chew Peng Ee) with contempt of court because of four cartoons posted on his Facebook page Demon-cratic Singapore. A hearing on the charges, which could result in jail time and fines, will be held on Aug. 12. Chew’s attorney M. Ravi said in a phone interview, “Our judiciary is not like fragile flowers to be offended easily by such criticism. We have full faith in the impartiality and independence of our judiciary.” [Bloomberg News]

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Comic-Con’s 6 biggest comics surprises

little nemo-idw

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland

In case you didn’t notice, Comic-Con International happened last weekend. As always, it was an epic affair with tons of announcements, stunts and surprises. Amid cannons firing, actors dressing up as themselves, and big movie plans, there were also a good number of genuine surprises from comics.

Usually I end up picking a winner of Comic-Con, but after Dynamite Entertainment flooded the air waves with announcements the days before the event, no one else seemed to stand out as the clear winner. It’s not that everyone slacked off, however: They brought a good variety of interesting and exciting projects, and a number of standout announcements made my ears perk up. So instead of declaring a winner, I’m going to run down my Top 6 Comic-Con surprises in comics.

Before I start, though, two publishers deserve a little recognition for serious contenders for the Comic-Con crown. Top Shelf Productions classed up the joint by bringing in Congressman John Lewis for the debut of his graphic novel, March: Book One with artist Nate Powell and co-writer Andrew Aydin. I have little doubt this trilogy will end up being a historic release with profound benefits for schools, libraries and organizations looking for a powerful teaching tool and first=person account of the Civil Rights Movement and non-violent resistance. Plus, come on, photos of Lewis meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lou Ferrigno? Everybody else, just pack it up. Maybe not as much of a milestone, but IDW Publishing also deserves a nod for the pure quantity and variety of good-looking books announced.

OK, on with my list:

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You can be Howard the Duck in ‘LEGO Marvel Super Heroes’

lego-marvel13

On the heels of those two new trailers for LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes, Warner Bros. has unleashed 20 new images from the upcoming action-adventure game that reveal even more playable characters than were previously announced — including Howard the Duck, Gambit and Curt Connors. Yes, Howard the Duck.

Developed by TT Games, LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes begins with the Silver Surfer is knocked out of the sky, and his surfboard scattered into “cosmic bricks” that are scattered across the globe. Because of the blocks’ immense power, Nick Fury calls upon the heroes of the Marvel Universe to find them before they can fall into the wrong hands.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will be released later this year on PC, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, DS and PlayStation Vita.

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SDCC ’13 | Using Comic-Con to make your voice heard

A Doctor Who cosplayer has words with a religious fundamentalist group protesting at Comic-Con International

An event like Comic-con International draws more than 100,000 people, and because of its popularity, certain groups will take advantage of the large crowds to have their voices heard. Aside from the artistic endeavors, pop-culture marketing and general excitement, during Comic-con, the streets of San Diego also became a platform for special-interest groups.

Mistaken for Pee-wee Herman, Doctor Who cosplayer encounters fundamentalists

I’m not going to lie: When I first saw the protest signs at Comic-Con, I thought they were a joke — some sort of bad-taste marketing scheme that would unveil itself as part of a B-movie. I was here when the Westboro Baptist Church protested a couple of years back; this wasn’t them. But alas, it’s another religious fundamentalists group wanting attention.

I wasn’t going to give them what they sought, but then the man with the bullhorn called a Doctor Who cosplayer Peew-ee Herman.

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At ‘Walking Dead’ bash, Morrison talks Flash, MorrisonCon 2

Grant Morrison and friend (photo by Pinguino Kolb)

Grant Morrison and friend (photo by Pinguino Kolb)

In an impromptu interview at The Walking Dead‘s 10th-anniversary party held during Comic-Con International, CBR’s Karl Keily spoke briefly with Grant Morrison about the one superhero he’d still like to tackle, the status of his Rogue Trooper screenplay, and whether fans should expect another MorrisonCon.

Karl Keily: You just wrapped up your epic, decade-long, redefining Batman run. Are there any other iconic characters you’d like to revamp next?

Grant Morrison: The Flash is the only one left that I would still do. If I’m gonna do the Flash, I want to do it as a science-fiction story like The Incredible Shrinking Man or Stephen King’s Thinner, or The Fly, where you basically take a scientist and then subject him to a very simple equation. For Barry Allen, he’d just be getting faster and faster and faster — and what would that mean? Because somewhere up there is the speed of light, and when you hit the speed of light, basically all time stops and it’s the end. That’s the limit. So we’re watching this guy progress through it, faster and faster. By the end of Act 1, his clothes are burning off every time he moves, so he has to build himself a suit, and then he paints the suit red like a Ferrari and is just speeding around like he’s on coke all the time! I want to do that as a sci-fi story, but out of it comes the familiar image of the Flash. I think that’d be totally different, just taking it from a different angle.

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‘Little Nemo’ anthology boasts Adams, Sienkiewicz, Pope & more

Print

Logo by Todd Klein.

At Comic-Con International in San Diego, IDW Publishing announced that Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo will return in a new series titled Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez. As it turns out, there’s more to Little Nemo than just one new book.

Comics store turned small-press publisher Locust Moon is putting together an anthology of Little Nemo stories called Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Scheduled for release in 2014, the book has an eye-opening A-list lineup, including Peter Bagge, John Cassaday, Neal Adams, Bill Sienkiewicz, Becky Cloonan, Scott Morse, David Petersen, Mark Buckingham, Paul Pope and  J.G. Jones. This book is a follow-up from the company’s anthology Once Upon a Time Machine, released last year by Dark Horse.

Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream will be published by Locust Moon as both a newspaper and a hardcover book, at the full size of the original Little Nemo pages — 16 inches by 21 inches. Described by Locust moon as a “love song for Winsor McCay, Little Nemo and the limitless possibilities of comics,” this is definitely one to watch. Here are several sample pages:

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Francesco Francavilla, the hardest-working artist in comics?

It’s rare that you see an artist do a continuous long run on a monthly comic series these days. Mark Bagley, Charlie Adlard and John Romita Jr. are among the relative few, and even their tenures are sometimes broken up by extra-sized issues or a biweekly shipping schedule. But joining those ranks of the most prodigious artists in comics is a fairly new face: Francesco Francavilla.

The Italian artist has been steadily working up through the ranks in the comic industry since his debut in 2006, but 2012 was his breakthrough year, as he won an Eisner Award for his covers, saw his creator-owned series Black Beetle start at Dark Horse and drew two arcs of Captain America and a fill-in issue of DC’s Swamp Thing. But in October, things are getting crazy, with Francavilla working simultaneously as the artist on three series — Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Archie’s Afterlife with Archie at Archie, and his own Black Beetle: Necrologue at Dark Horse.

This has already been a blockbuster year for Francavilla, with seven complete issues already released — Black Beetle #1-4, Batwoman #21, Hawkeye #10 and #12 — plus an astonishing 46 covers for various publishers. Forty-six!

In an interview earlier this year with ROBOT 6, he commented on his amazing flurry of work by dubbing it “Creative ADD,” and even admitting he sometimes forgets what he does due to the sheer volume.

“The other day I was flipping through Previews and I saw a cover I forgot I did!” The artist told Tim O’Shea. “Then I went to check if I forgot to invoice it too!”

James Brown ain’t got nothing on Francesco Francavilla.

PBS chronicles birth, evolution of superheroes in new series

adventues of superman

X-Men Origins: Wolverine actor Liev Schreiber will host the upcoming Superheroes: A Never-Ending Story, the upcoming PBS documentary series examining the dawn of the comic-book genre and the evolution, and impact, of some of the most memorable characters. The show, which premieres Oct. 8, received a sneak peek last week at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Featuring interviews with the likes of Stan Lee, Adam West, Lynda Carter, Michael Chabon, Jules Feiffer and the late Joe Simon and Jerry Robinson, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Story chronicles how comic books — considered “disposable diversions” — “were subject to intense government scrutiny for their influence on American children and how they were created in large part by the children of immigrants whose fierce loyalty to a new homeland laid the foundation for a multibillion-dollar industry that is an influential part of our national identity.”

On Oct. 1, a week before the premiere, Crown Achetype will release the companion book Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls and the Creation of Comic Book Culture, by series co-write Laurence Maslon.

You can read a description of the three episodes below. Superheroes: A Never-Ending Story premieres Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

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Dave Johnson reveals the ‘100 Bullets’ omnibus cover montage

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Even before Vertigo was Vertigo, it had a distinct policy of signing great cover artists for the long haul for ongoing titles. I fondly remember Dave McKean on The Sandman and Hellblazer, Simon Bisley on Doom Patrol, Brian Bolland on Animal Man and Brendan McCarthy on Shade, the Changing Man. This is a policy that has continued on to the present day: Yuko Shimizu has produced amazing covers for The Unwritten since its debut; king of the good girl artists Adam Hughes has been providing Fairest with the best work of his career so far; and Fables had a long outstanding run by James Jean, before he ceded the job to Joao Ruas. As much as I love the work of J.H. Williams III, it was seeing McKean’s cover for The Sandman: Overture #1 that made the project feel real.

In terms of total commitment to a book, however, no one can match Dave Johnson on 100 Bullets. He drew covers to all 100 issues, shifting styles for each story arc. He drew the covers to all 13 trade paperbacks, and now he’s providing the ones for the eight-issue sequel-of-sorts Brother Lono. On Tuesday he posted this image to his assorted social media feeds: the covers to the five omnibus editions, which together create an extended frieze.

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Max Landis’ pitch for epic death and return of Superman comic

max-landis-superman

Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis, who last year released a 17-minute video rant about the death and return of Superman (featuring Elijah Wood and Mandy Moore), reveals that earlier this year he was approached by DC Comics to collaborate with Greg Pak on a weekly series that apparently would have rebooted that very storyline. However, because of Landis’ schedule and changes at DC regarding a weekly title, the project never went anywhere.

But now Landis has uploaded a nearly 43-minute video in which he enthusiastically lays out his ideas, act by act. “This is not a viral video,” the prologue cautions. “It is essentially longform fan faction and super dorky to the moon.”

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‘Mouse Guard’ creator reveals story behind ‘Weasel War of 1149′

weasel war printWith the announcement at Comic-Con International of Mouse Guard: The Weasel War of 1149, Archaia gave the panel attendees an exclusive print that creator David Petersen now reveals was “technically” the first artwork he produced for the acclaimed fantasy series.

“The Weasel War of 1149 is the earliest story I had ever thought of for Mouse Guard,” he explains on his blog. “In fact, at that time, the title of the project was 1149 and the Mouse Guard was simply the name of the group of heroic mice in the story. The three characters I wanted to focus on were Kenzie (leader, blue cloak, name means wise), Saxon (aggressive, red cloak, name means sword), and Rand (defensive, yellow cloak, name means shield) in the heat of an unevenly matched war against the weasels of Darkheather. […] A lot of what I wrote down back in 1996 for that story is now junk. But the idea of it, some character interactions, and the way it resolves, are still alive and well in the mental draft I have going for the next Mouse Guard book. Plus after having three other Mouse Guard books of mine published since then, I have to incorporate what Mouse Guard has become into this forthcoming volume.”

Although the prequel is forthcoming, Petersen says he doesn’t have a start date or a completion date yet. “I have a few side projects I want to take some time to work on and publish before I dive into another Mouse Guard hardcover,” he writes. “I’ll update on all of that through Twitter and this blog, when I’m ready to share more info. And do not worry about my return to Mouse Guard, this is simply a short vacation. … Mouse Guard will be the project I work on for the rest of my life.”

Two new ‘LEGO Marvel Super Heroes’ trailers debut

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Comic-Con International saw the arrival of not one but two new trailers for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, the upcoming action-adventure game from TT Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The first, appropriately titled “Big Figure,” showcases some of the Marvel Universe’s more … big-boned … characters, including the Hulk, Kingpin, the Blob, the Rhino, Colossus, the Juggernaut and The Thing, while providing glimpses of an array of heroes, ranging from the Invisible Woman and Jean Grey to Iron Man and Wolverine.

The second, packed with gameplay footage, highlights Stan Lee as a playable character who can sling webs and Hulk out with the best of them. Other playable characters range from the expected (Captain America, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel) to the offbeat (H.E.R.B.I.E., Malekith the Accursed, Squirrel Girl).

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will be released later this year on PC, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, DS and PlayStation Vita.

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