Paul Bettany Talks "Age of Ultron," Working with James Spader & More
Among the nominees announced earlier this week for the 41st annual Annie Awards is none other than Guy Davis, creator of The Marquis and longtime artist of B.P.R.D., for his contribution to the opening titles of The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” He shares the nod for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production with director Guillermo del Toro and storyboard artist Ralph Sosa.
Davis, who provided the monster designs for del Toro’s Pacific Rim, has been described by the director as “one of the best monster designers alive right now!” Their collaborations go beyond those two projects, however: Davis is a concept artist for FX’s upcoming vampire thriller The Strain, based on the horror novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan (the filmmaker co-wrote and directed the pilot, and serves as an executive producer), and on the long-discussed feature adaptation of Pinocchio.
The Simpsons couch gag, which you can watch below, is an epic homage to some of the director’s own works as well as horror classics, filled to the brim with references to Ray Harryhausen, Alfred Hitchcock, H.P. Lovecraft and more.
The winners of the Annie Awards, which recognize excellence in animation, will be announced Feb. 1.
Fox has debuted Guillermo del Toro’s epic couch gag for The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” which features homages to some of the filmmaker’s own works – Hellboy, Blade and Pan’s Labyrinth among them — and horror classics ranging from The Birds and The Shining to The Phantom of the Opera and The Car. There are nods to such influential figures as H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Harryhausen, Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury, too. Heck, Hypnotoad from Futurama even gets a cameo.
Del Toro said in paying tribute to The Simpsons and his inspirations, he drew upon the MAD Magazine work of Mort Drucker, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman.
“They would try to cram so many references in,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “You as a kid could spend an afternoon on your bed with your magnifying glass going through a frame of Mad magazine and finding all these references to this and that.”
“Treehouse of Horror XXIV” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
It’s tough to imagine a better way to celebrate two horror movies by writer and director Guillermo del Toro than with art by Mike Mignola, Guy Davis and Dave Stewart.
As part of its collaboration with The Criterion Collection, Mondo has commissioned stunning new artwork for the filmmaker’s 1993 feature debut Cronos from Mignola and Stewart, and for 2001’s The Devil’s Backbone, from Davis. Del Toro of course has a history with the two illustrators: He worked with Mignola on Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, while Davis provided monster designs for Pacific Rim.
Limited-edition, hand-numbered screen prints of each piece will go on sale Wednesday for $45 each. As usual, you must follow Mondo’s Twitter account to learn the times of the sale. You can see details of the prints on the Mondo blog.
I don’t if there’s ever been an movie that’s divided the voices in my social media feeds so thoroughly as Pacific Rim. Over the past couple of weeks, its been roughly a 50/50 split between “this is the best movie this summer” and “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” I won’t write off a movie I won’t watch until it hits the rental market — this sounds like a great premise for a kid’s movie, and I’m kind of sick of seeing adult commentators depositing both too much expectation and critical acclaim on popcorn flicks aimed at young audiences.
No one can deny the visual flair Guillermo del Toro heaps upon his films, and he’s done exactly what any other comic book lover would have done when charged with making a monster movie. Ask any comic reader which artist designs the most original, scariest, freakiest creatures out there, and they’ll likely say Guy Davis. So del Toro did the howlingly obvious thing and hired him as a concept artist for Pacific Rim. As usual with big blockbuster movies of this type, there’s a glossy hardcover “Art of …” book out there accompanying its release (In this case, Pacific Rim: Men, Machines & Monsters by David S Cohen), and this is the place to go to see Davis’ work on the film.
It doesn’t look like there were as many comic-related announcements on Saturday at WonderCon as there were on Friday, but the second day of the con certainly brought some gems.
• IDW and DC announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Insufferable) and Paul Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Leave it to Chance) are teaming up for The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction. “Not many writers have been lucky enough to write The Rocketeer or The Spirit,” Waid said in a press release, “so I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is one of the most exciting-and scariest-assignments I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I’ve got Paul Smith to make me look good!” The first issue of the miniseries arrives in July.
If it’s the first Grumpy Old Fan of 2013, it must be time for “Ten From the Old Year, Ten For the New.” For those who came in late, every January I evaluate 10 predictions/observations from the previous year, and present 10 for the next. Accordingly, first we have commentary on 2012’s items.
1. The Dark Knight Rises. I had three rather superficial questions about the final Christopher Nolan Batman movie. First, “[c]an it make a skillion dollars?” Not quite — while it did make over a billion dollars worldwide, it didn’t make as much as its predecessor domestically, and it came in second to The Avengers. Next was “[w]ill it have Robin?” Well … [SPOILER ALERT] it depends on your definition of “Robin,” I suppose. And finally, referring to certain issues about Bane’s elocution, “[w]ill it have subtitles?” Nope — as it turns out, they weren’t needed. Instead, Bane’s accent was perfectly suited to breaking not just Batman, but Alex Trebek as well.
Comics have become ideal source material in Hollywood’s eternal search for the next blockbuster. But in the numerous attempts to transform comic-book heroes into movie stars, some have, inevitably, failed in the making. I don’t mean failed as in bad, but rather adaptations that were announced only to be canceled before moving into production. For today’s “Six by 6,” I look at six instances of movies that spiraled into an early grave, and commiserate over what could’ve been.
1. George Miller’s Justice League: In 2007, Warner Bros. was hard at work developing a a feature based on DC Comics’ top superhero team. In September 2007, the studio announced the hiring of director George Miller of Mad Max and Happy Feet fame, and pushed to get the film finished before the writers’ strike. The proposed budget clocked in at $220 million, with set already being constructed by early 2008 in Australia. Producers even went so far as casting Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern and Adam Brody as the Flash, before the project was abruptly shelved. After the creation of DC Entertainment in 2009, this Justice League movie was permanently canned in favor of a new approach. I would love to have witnessed a movie like this. Miller is an excellent, and mind-bendingly diverse, director, and much of the movie would have relied on the strength of the script.
Conventions | Organizers of Tokyo’s Comic Market (aka Comiket), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair, have received a threat letter, leading them to consider their options for the planned Dec. 29-31 event. The preparations committee said it has been in contact with local police and the Tokyo Big Sight, where the semiannual convention is held. The incident follows a series of threat letters containing powdered and liquid substances sent in the past month to more than 20 locations linked to Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. About 560,000 attended Comic Market 82 over its three days in August (that’s turnstile attendance, not unique visitors). [Anime News Network]
Creators | Patrick Rosenkranz catches us up on S. Clay Wilson, who suffered a massive brain injury in 2008 (the cause isn’t clear) and is still recovering. “Wilson’s favorite word is still ‘No!’ He used to be a motor mouth but now he’s mostly monosyllabic. After a long life dedicated to being the baddest boy in comix, he’s become a grand old man, but he’s no longer in his right mind. He used to be able to out-talk, out-booze, out-cuss, out-draw, and outrage almost anyone but he doesn’t drink, smoke, snort or draw dirty pictures any more. He doesn’t walk much either and seldom leaves the house, and only in a wheelchair.” [The Comics Journal]
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
Legendary Comics announced today at New York Comic Con that it will publish a graphic-novel prequel to Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming giant-monster epic Pacific Rim as well as sci-fi miniseries written by Grant Morrison.
Produced by corporate sibling Legendary Pictures, Pacific Rim centers on monstrous creatures known as Kaiju that rise from the sea to consume Earth’s resources, and the massive piloted robots called Jaegers that are constructed to save humanity from destruction.
The graphic novel, which will be released before the film’s July 12 debut, is written by Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham and delves into the early days of the Kaiju attacks and how mankind reacts to the realization that these aren’t isolated incidents but rather a full-fledged invasion.
Del Toro tells Hero Complex that the book won’t simply have his name slapped on the cover. “I try to get involved as much as possible,” he said. “The first decision that is needed from me is to hire the right artist, the right colorist, the right writer for the books. That’s the part that I think is most important. It’s like directing in the comics. … In Pacific Rim, I expect to approve the layout, the pencils, the inking, the coloring, the cover, the script … everything.”
Morrison describes his project, Annihilator, to Heat Vision as “my big L.A. story. It’s a devil’s deal story, it’s a science fiction story, it’s a horror story.”
The six-issue miniseries follows Ray Spass, a screenwriter grappling with a brain tumor, lack of inspiration, and a deadline for a sci-fi movie script about an antihero named Max Nomax who’s in a haunted prison on the edge of a black hole after loosing a battle with an artificial lifeform. But Spass’ life changes when the real Nomax appears, and it’s revealed the tumor contains information key to preventing worldwide destruction.
If you’re a fan of BPRD, you know that the above image is from that comic and not Guillermo del Toro’s giant-monster film, Pacific Rim. You also know that Guy Davis is pretty great at designing giant monsters.
What you may not know is that Davis is the concept artist for Pacific Rim. No concept art has been shared yet, so this completely slipped by most of us. The other thing you may not know is that he’s been working on the film for almost a year, but is now done with his part of it. The movie doesn’t come out until next year, but seeing it is suddenly even more exciting; something I didn’t think possible in a project involving del Toro and giant monsters.
This week saw the release of the $1 first issue of The Strain from Dark Horse Comics, an adaptation of the trilogy of novels by director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and novelist Chuck Hogan (The Town, Prince of Thieves). Stray Bullets creator David Lapham joins artist Mike Huddleston (Butcher Baker Righteous Maker, The Homeland Directive) in adapting the vampires-meets-Contagion story into comics form.
Here’s a sampling of what folks are saying about the first issue:
Rocco Sansone, Review Fix: “The Strain: Volume 1 does follow the original novel closely with the introducing all the main characters, the plane with everyone dead and the prologue with the old lady telling the tale of Jusef Sardu. Sometimes adapting a novel into comic form can be tricky and Dark Horse has managed to pull off the prologue and the first chapter in a good way.”
Big Tim, Giant Fire Breathing Robot: “The Strain #1 primarily focuses on a Boeing 777 at JFK International Airport that sits silently on the runway. Before long, fearing a terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control calls in our hero, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, and his team of expert biologists. What does this potential terrorist attack have to do with an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Taking the reigns of The Strain and translating it to comics, is Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham, and judging by the first issue, he has captured the twisted mystery of del Toro’s imagination, firmly planted in the urban fantasy setting.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Dark Horse assistant editor Jim Gibbons, who I spoke to about his new job on Friday.
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Earlier this year Jim Gibbons, publicity coordinator for Dark Horse Comics, made the jump from the publicity side of the business to the creative, as he became an assistant editor for the publisher. Old habits are hard to break, though, so when he emailed me recently to suggest a few possible interview subjects he’s been working with in his new role, I thought I’d see if he’d be interested in answering a few questions about his new job.
We spoke with Gibbons, who is also a Wizard Magazine alum, about his move to Dark Horse back in 2009, so catching up with him again about his new role seems to bring everything full circle. My thanks to Jim for agreeing to answer my questions.
JK: When did you start working for Dark Horse, and what were you hired to do?
Jim: I was hired on as a publicity coordinator in 2009. In fact, Sean T. Collins interviewed me about being hired by Dark Horse for Robot 6 way back when! As a publicity coordinator, I was responsible for arranging stories (interviews, previews, artists process pieces, etc) with a number of different online outlets and just generally doing everything in my power to get coverage for Dark Horse projects both big and small. I was (Still am!) a massive comics fan, so making it my business to learn the ins and outs of numerous different comics and graphic novels in order to promote them properly was a pretty fun way to make a living. At a certain point, putting in a lot of effort to increase the amounts of online publicity Dark Horse was getting on top of my passion for these projects and comics in general gained me some recognition by folks like Dark Horse president/publisher/head honcho Mike Richardson, VP of marketing Micha Herschman, senior managing editor Scott Allie, editor Sierra Hahn and my old boss, the director of publicity, Jeremy Atkins and the prospect of moving over to editorial was put on the table. (A big, big thank you to those fine folks, by the way! Especially Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn—many, many thanks!) I excitedly confirmed I’d love to move to the editorial department and when the stars aligned, I was transitioned from one dream job to the next!
Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements
• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.
• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.
• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.