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‘LEGO Batman vs. Superman 2′ kicks the Dark Knight when he’s down

lego-batman-v-superman

When an annoying, if confused, Dark Knight challenged a baffled, yet patient, Man of Steel last fall in the stop-motion animated short “LEGO Batman vs. Superman,” the confrontation didn’t end well for the Caped Crusader. Not well at all.

Now, nine long months later, Tommy Williamson and BrickNerd Studios have returned with the sequel “LEGO Batman vs. Superman 2: Dawn of Justice Desserts,” which finds the World’s Greatest Detective just as we left him: stuck beneath the overturned Batmobile.

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Green Arrow and Hawkeye exchange blows, barbs in video brawl

arrow-v-hawkeye

Ismahawk follows May’s video showdown between Deadpool and, well, Deadpool by pitting one wise-cracking comic-book archer against another in a new episode of “Minute Match-Ups.”

It’s no holds barred as Green Arrow and Hawkeye break out a variety of trick arrows — exploding, boxing glove, et al — and even resort to putdowns about facial hair and costumes. Yes, the battle is that brutal. (Be warned, however: Only one hero is left standing by the somewhat-graphic end.)

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Fan recreates classic comic book covers in LEGO

lego-green-lantern-cropped

Who needs LEGO’s Comic-Con International-exclusive Superman playset when you can create your own brick homages to classic comic book covers? Well, as long as you have the creativity, and the right LEGO pieces.

Luckily imgur user Corsairsteel has both, as demonstrated in this gallery of LEGO dioramas recreating covers ranging from Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 to The Incredible Hulk #125 and Batman: The Killing Joke. Most of them even include the trade dress, word balloons and blurbs.

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Corpus Christi now has its own Dynamic Duo

batman-corpus christi

It may be a while before fans see Batman and Green Arrow team up on television or in film, but in Corpus Christi, Texas, it’s another story.

The Corpus Christi Caller profiles Hector Peña, who for the past three months has dubbed himself the Batman of Corpus Christi — an identity he modeled after the Batman of San Antonio (yes, there is one). Dressed in a costume from Party City, the Navy veteran makes appearances at school and community events and even private parties, in hopes of sending a message to kids.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Can ‘The Flash’ be a pacesetter?

The times, they are a changin'

The times, they are a changin’

A little over a year ago, I asked, “what do we want out of a [superhero] comic-based TV series?”

This season, DC Comics fans have plenty of material to fuel that debate. I still haven’t seen any of Gotham or Constantine, but I’ve really enjoyed the combination of The Flash and Arrow. With both shows taking a break for the holidays, today I want to see what satisfies and what doesn’t.

SPOILERS FOLLOW for Arrow and The Flash, including some for the most recent episodes.

* * *

It took me a while to warm up to Arrow. After taking most of last season to catch up — and, as it happens, missing the Barry Allen episodes — I seem to have gotten on board just at the right time. Because I am not a fan of superhero shows that de-emphasize the “superhero” part, it was harder for me to accept that Oliver Queen would skulk around the urban jungle in a hood and eyeblack. That sort of intermediate realism (which now reminds me of the short-lived TV show based on Mike Grell’s Jon Sable comics) somehow requires more suspension of disbelief than a full-on costume and codename does.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Necessity invented Black Canary’s mother

And thus did Black Canary proclaim "the '80s are over"

And thus did Black Canary proclaim “the ’80s are over”

(NOTE: I’m happy to acknowledge the hard work and obvious dedication of the blogger Count Drunkula, whose Black Canary fansite Flowers & Fishnets was a great resource in putting together this post.)

Recent developments on The CW’s Arrow have gotten me thinking about the various twists and turns visited over the years upon DC Comics’ Black Canary. The television series has come at the character from a few different directions, even splitting some of her characteristics among three players. It makes sense for an adaptation of Green Arrow to include at least a nod to his longtime love interest, as traditionally they’ve been one of DC’s most prominent super-couples.

However, Black Canary didn’t start out as part of Green Arrow’s supporting cast, and even a cursory glimpse of her past invites some careful examination. Indeed, for a few years in the ‘80s, the history of Black Canary threatened to approach Hawkman levels of continuity complexity. Today we’ll look back at that history, and specifically at how a shared-universe setting can both screw up and enrich a character.

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‘Futures End’ Month, Week 1: ‘Grayson’ is great

new 53 fe 1In the near future, some sort of sentient operating system has awoken and taken over the world, transforming its inhabitants into cyborgs that then either kill or assimilate the rest of the population. To try to prevent this apocalyptic nightmare, Batman Bruce Wayne sends Batman Terry McGinnis into the past to stop that operating system from being created.

I know parts of that plot might sound familiar, but notice the presence of Batmen in it, so obviously I am describing The New 52: Futures End, DC Comics’ weekly series set five year in the future, where McGinnis is trying to alter his past to save his future.

I wonder if DC could send someone back in time, whether they would have altered the storyline of Futures End a bit. It’s always difficult to tell exactly how well a particular series is selling — in part because of the insane way the direct market sells comics, in part because publishers don’t typically release numbers — but one expects DC might have had higher hopes for Futures End, given that this year’s theme month of September is devoted entirely to tie-ins to the storyline, as the company has suspended much of its New 52 line and replaced it with 52 42  Futures End one-shots.

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Comics A.M. | Ontario family selling 25,000 comics for charity

The Incredible Hulk #271

The Incredible Hulk #271

Comics | The Lussier family of Barrhaven, Ontario, will be offering more than 25,000 comics for sale June 7 in their garage to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The Lussiers not only collect comics, they use them as part of their homeschooling curriculum, and when a comics shop in New Hampshire closed last year, they bought 20,000 comics from the owner; they also buy comics online. “We use comic books to really teach kids about life, and about finances and about debt,” said father Rob Lussier. Their collection includes The Incredible Hulk #271, which has appreciated quite a bit in value because it contains the first an early appearance by Rocket Raccoon, who’s featured in Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Still, 12-year-old Alexandre is philosophical: “If the movie is good, [the value] will go up, but if it’s really bad, it might just plummet.” [Metro]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Clothes calls, or the perils of practicality

Boys and their toys

Boys and their toys

This past week (ish), DC Entertainment was so pervasive in the television upfronts, it almost made me forget the company still publishes comics. Joining Arrow on the 2014/2015 TV schedule will be adaptations of The Flash, iZombie and Constantine, as well as the Bat-prequel Gotham. (And hey, that was Caity “Black Canary” Lotz reprising her role as Don’s pregnant-hippie “niece” on Sunday’s Mad Men!) Moreover, we’ve now seen a moody black-and-white photo of Ben Affleck as Batman, standing next to his new Batmobile and ready to dominate the next Superman movie; and The CW has shown us a nifty little clip of the Flash in action.

While I’m prepared to like all of these shows, and certainly willing to give them reasonable opportunities to succeed, once again they remind me that no comic — and certainly no superhero comic — can be adapted to live-action with complete fidelity. Indeed, by taking its cue directly from the comics of the ‘40s and ‘50s, the old Adam West/Burt Ward Batman show was one of the more faithful projects. Likewise, the pilot of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series didn’t go too far from Diana’s earliest adventures in All Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1. However, I don’t think that approach would work these days.

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Green Arrow may have met his match in these stunt performers

archery-video

While most eyes were on Central City today with the debut of Grant Gustin’s full costume from The CW’s Flash pilot, we’re brought back to Star City Starling City with this impressive video from stuntmen Jim Ng, Aaron Joshua, Jason Ng and Steve Izzi.

Titled simply “Bow & Arrow” practice, the footage depicts the foursome combining archery with flips, spins, kicks and somersaults in a display that would make Oliver Queen turn, um, green with envy. Of course, we don’t actually see them hit their targets, so the Emerald Archer may have a leg up on them there …

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Real-life archer is a match for Hawkeye and Green Arrow

anderson-arrow

In recent years, depictions of archery in comic books, movies and television series have come under more scrutiny for everything from the way the bow is held to the odds of hitting a target from so far away. As such, it must be a particularly tough time to be writing and drawing Hawkeye and Green Arrow.

But before you groan at that next shot taken from the back of a car, or the rapid-fire arrows that pin an opponent to the fall, take a look at these two videos featuring Danish archer Lars Anderson, who very well may be a superhero. The first effectively pits him against Legolas from The Lord of the Rings, using an ancient technique to hit seven targets in 4.9 seconds (actually faster than the fictional Elf), while the second may be even cooler, as Anderson shoots (and scores) from the back of a Harley.

Of course, there’s no word yet as to how he’d fare with a boomerang arrow … or a boxing-glove arrow.

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Grumpy Old Fan | DC wants January’s comics to keep you warm

Superman vs. giant monsters on Aaron Kuder's cover for January's Action Comics

Superman vs. giant monsters on Aaron Kuder’s cover for January’s Action Comics

The Forever Evil and “Gothtopia” crossovers don’t exactly dominate DC Comics’ January solicitations, but compared to the more mundane goings-on in the other series, they tend to stand out. For that matter, Forever Evil doesn’t sound like it’s promising much more than a lot of clenched jaws, dark humor and grim spectacle.

Still, if it has to happen sometime, it might as well be in January. I don’t mind January so much; it’s the darkest month of the year, but after a hectic holiday season it’s a chance to catch one’s breath. Going back to work after New Year’s Day and realizing there’s not much more to do but look forward to spring is like waking up at the crack of dawn and surveying a wide, flat, featureless plain — gray from the winter cold and just barely lit by the first rays of the distant sun — and realizing that if you’re going to make it across that plain, you’d better start walking.

Sometimes you just have to get through January, is what I’m saying — but sometimes getting through it isn’t so bad.

Whew! How was that for an intro? Weren’t we talking about comics?
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Crisis on Earth-3D!: Villains Month, Week One

forever evil

If you’ve been keeping up with the events in the DC Universe, then you know things are looking particularly grim for the good guys.

At the conclusion of “Trinity War,” the Justice Leagues faced an invasion from the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 — “The birthplace of all evil,” as one character called it — evil counterparts of the Justice League. In the first issue of Forever Evil, these villains claimed to have killed all of the Justice Leaguers, they freed all the supervillains from all the super-prisons and organized them into an army called The Secret Society, they did some awful things to Nightwing and then even moved the moon to permanently block out the sun.

Those jerks.

To mark the occasion of evil temporarily winning (again), DC declared September Villains Month, and is interrupting the ongoing adventures of its heroes with special “.1″ issues starring various villains. Each of these was to bear a fancy plastic 3D cover that jacked the price up a buck and ultimately created shortages, an artificial collectors/speculators market and irritated a whole bunch of retailers, many of whom were already pretty irritated by having to figure out how to order something like, say, Justice League #23.3: Dial E, which fused one of the publisher’s best selling comics with one of its worst.

We — and by that I mean you and I, for the course of this post — aren’t going to concern ourselves with that aspect of the books, however. Instead, let’s look under those covers, whether they’re the fancy plastic 3D ones or the regular, cheaper “standard edition” ones and concern ourselves with the quality of the comics concealed behind the covers.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Harvesting DC’s October solicits

One of these things is not like the others

One of these things is not like the others

After September’s market-chasing “Villains Month” solicitations, the October listings look a lot more normal. I say “more normal” because I only count 47 New 52 ongoing series, which means October’s new additions don’t balance out August’s cancellations. Forever Evil and other miniseries are picking up some of that slack, but obviously they won’t be around forever. If DC is serious about having 52 ongoing titles — and why wouldn’t it be serious about something so arbitrary? — now may be a good time to start pushing for that Crimson Fox series you’ve always wanted. Hey, DC has greenlit worse ideas …

NOT FOREVER, BUT CLOSE

Forever Evil is 2013-14’s big-event crossover miniseries whose hook is that the villains have taken over the world. Final Crisis was 2008-09’s big-event miniseries whose hook was that Darkseid (helped in part by a revived Secret Society of Super-Villains) had taken over the world. Final Crisis didn’t actually do much crossing over into ongoing series, but it did have an array of tie-in miniseries and specials, including one featuring the Flash’s Rogues Gallery.

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Andry Rajoelina illustrates power of connection in Super Families

Superdad

Animation designer Andry Rajoelina has created an uplifting, and occasionally funny, series of prints featuring the families of superheroes. That’s “family” as in Superman Family, not as in Jonathan, Martha and Clark Kent. The first set was focused on DC, but he’s now done a second group with Marvel characters.

Some of the characters, but not all, are biologically related, and that’s part of what makes the series so heart-warming. One of the nicest, most reassuring messages of the X-Men was always that people without families could form their own. (I’ve always loved the idea of the X-Men as a family much more than the idea of them as a school.) Rajoelina’s two series highlight that. They focus on adult/child relationships (the Fantastic Four leaves out Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, for example), but Rajoelina is able to figure out a workaround for Green Lantern, even if it’s a little sad in a humorous way.

Prints of the Justice Families series can be purchased at the Geek Art Store.

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