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Warner Bros. layoffs expected to begin today

The Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

The Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

Warner Bros. is expected to begin layoffs today that will result in the elimination of about 1,000 jobs globally as part of company-wide streamlining effort.

Variety reports that the cuts, which amount to more than 10 percent of the studio’s 8,000-person workforce, are anticipated in two waves, with roughly half starting this week. The process will be completed by the end of the year.

CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced last month that the studio aims to reduce costs by $200 million annually, which will be used to fund an ambitious film and television slate that includes at least 10 DC Comics-based films, J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series, and more LEGO offerings. Film and television production divisions are expected to be spared the brunt of the cutbacks, while home entertainment, marketing, distribution, administration and “other non-production related divisions” will be among the hardest hit.

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The Mountain of ‘Game of Thrones’ Hulks out for kid’s birthday


As fans of Game of Thrones can attest, Icelandic actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is an imposing figure. Standing at 6 feet 9 niches tall, the professional basketball player turned strongman competitor turned actor made his debut two weeks ago on the hit HBO series as the fearsome Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain. And with Sunday’s episode, his impact was truly felt (by some more than others).

But Björnsson has a softer side, one the people of Westeros will never see: For a 3-year-old’s birthday party, he fulfilled the child’s wish to meet his favorite Marvel superhero by having himself airbrushed to look the Incredible Hulk.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the video below, the sight of a real-life Green Goliath was a little too much for the birthday boy …

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HBO’s ill-fated racetrack drama Luck continues online

Illustration by Jen Ferguson

Illustration by Jen Ferguson

David Milch’s ironically named drama Luck was anything but fortunate, as HBO canceled the racetrack drama last year, less than two months into its first season, amid criticism surrounding the on-set deaths of three horses. Fans of the critically acclaimed series, which starred Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina and Nick Nolte, were left wondering after those nine episodes aired what the future might hold for Ace Bernstein, Gus Demitriou and Lonnie McHinery and the other degenerates at Santa Anita Park. Well, wonder no more.

John Perrotta, a writer and story editor on Luck, is continuing the drama as an online serial at America’s Best Racing illustrated by Jen Ferguson. It’s not really a webcomic, and it’s not really fan fiction, as Perrotta actually helped to create the show. But it is kind of weird and wonderful.

What’s more, we can rest assured that no animals were injured in the making of the story.

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Dennis Culver gets all in the game with The Wire character poster

Dennis Culver, who’s long been a Robot 6 favorite for illustrations like Community‘s Dean Pelton in all 34 of his outfits from the first three seasons of the NBC comedy, has now made his widely praised gallery of the 52 most memorable characters from HBO’s The Wire — inarguably one of the best shows in television history — available for purchase as a poster.

Appropriately titled “All in the Game,” the 24-inch by 36-inch poster costs just $25. Maybe if we’re lucky, and act quickly, Omar & Co. will be comin’ in the mail in time for Christmas. You can check out details of the poster below, and visit Culver’s website to see a super-sized version of the entire image.

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Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones features comic artist Will Simpson

Will Simpson on the Iron Throne

Most devotees of HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones will know that a significant chunk of the drama’s filming and production work is done in Northern Ireland, but one fact that may have passed comic fans by is that the Northern Irish-native comic book artist Will Simpson (2000AD/Hellblazer/Transformers/Vamps/Punisher 2099) is the lead storyboard artist. Things get just a little NSFW below, as you might expect from anything related to Game of Thrones.

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Bantam and Dynamite to adapt George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire

Jon Snow sketch, by Tommy Patterson

Bantam Books has acquired the worldwide comic-book rights to George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire for a monthly series published by Dynamite Entertainment. Collected editions will follow under the Bantam imprint.

The comic, by writer Daniel Abraham (Fevre Dream, The Hard Call) and artist Tommy Patterson (Farscape, Tales from Wonderland), will debut in the late spring, around the time the television adaptation Game of Thrones premieres in April on HBO.

“With so much top rank talent to pick from, it was a tough choice,” Martin writes on his blog, “but Daniel and I and our editors at Bantam and Dynamite were all knocked out by the character sketches and sample pages that Tommy submitted.”

Debuting in 1996, Martin’s planned seven-book saga is set primarily on the mythical medieval continent of Westeros, whose seven kingdoms are torn between a dynastic civil war, a threat of invasion from the North and the impending return of the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Read the official press release, and see another character sketch, after the break.

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Drawing a Game of Thrones

Jon Snow and Ghost by Gianluca Maconi

Jon Snow and Ghost by Gianluca Maconi

As reported in What Are You Reading?, I am a huge, huge, huge fan of writer George R.R. Martin’s bold, bloody, brilliant epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. And I pretty much can’t wait for HBO’s adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones, which stars Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Mark Addy, and Lena Headey and hits televisions on April 17. Finally, of course, I like comics and cartooning. So here’s a two-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together situation if ever there was one: deviantARTist Gianluca Maconi’s A Song of Ice and Fire gallery, featuring drawings of many of the major characters. That’s the black-clad bastard son Jon Snow and his direwolf Ghost above; click the link for Maconi’s vivaciously drawn takes on the rest of the Stark family, the Lannister siblings, King Robert Baratheon, Danaerys Targaryen and more. (And if you’re curious about the books but aren’t convinced they’re worth your while, allow me to make the case.) Winter can’t come soon enough.

(via Westeros)

Second True Blood miniseries coming from IDW in February

True Blood Vol. 1

Fans of IDW’s recent True Blood series will be happy to know that a second series is on its way next year. The as-yet-untitled miniseries will be co-written by Michael McMillian, who plays the Fellowship of the Sun’s charismatic reverend Steve Newlin on the HBO show, and Marc Andreyko (Manhunter, Pantheon). The comic will feature several characters who didn’t appear in the first volume, including Newlin, Jessica Hamby, Hoyt Fortenberry, Terry Bellefleur, Arlene Fowler and Jesus Velasquez.

“The plot kicks off when bottles of Tru Blood are contaminated with this mysterious ingredient that makes vampires go, basically, insane,” McMillian told Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life blog. “They go crazy. They lose sense of all sort of moral center, and they pretty much go feral and attack anything and everything in sight. What happens is they reach Bon Temps and the lips of a very beloved vampire character. Sookie and the rest of the characters are trying to figure out: Who’s behind the contamination? How can they save their friend? That’s sort of where the whole arc starts off.”

He compared the contaminated beverage to the “BP oil spill or the contaminated Tylenol pills,” a PR nightmare where vampires who live among humans will see bottle of Tru Blood pulled from shelves. That can’t be good for human-vampire relations, can it?

No word on the art team. The new series starts Feb. 23. The collection of the first series, pictured above, comes out Feb. 8.

True Blood #1 arrives in comics shops, San Diego and in iTunes

from True Blood #1

from True Blood #1

IDW Publishing’s comic adaptation of HBO’s True Blood will arrive in comic shops today and can also be purchased at their booth tonight as Comic-Con International kicks off. And it can also be downloaded from the iTunes store as its own application for $2.99 right now.

The app works on both the iPhone and iPad, and includes all of issue #1. It also asks if you’d like to be notified when the rest of the mini-series is available. According to a press release from HBO this morning, it is also available in the Sony PSP Digital Comics shop.

The release of the application adds IDW to the list of publishers who have released comics digitally at the same time they hit comic shops. – or, actually, before they hit comic shops; apparently the True Blood comic became available on iTunes on July 19. I received some clarification … the date listed on iTunes is the date it was cleared by Apple; the application became available today.

If you’re curious to see what the comic looks like, check out the preview after the jump.

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WonderCon | HBO website carrying IDW’s just-announced True Blood comic

"True Blood" comics series

IDW's "True Blood" miniseries

Although it’s now been officially announced at WonderCon, news trickled out a little early on the HBO website and on Twitter that IDW Publishing will release a six-issue miniseries based on the hit drama True Blood.

What’s more, the show’s fans may buy the comic through the HBO Shop, which has the July debut issue available for pre-order.

The title is co-plotted by True Blood creator Alan Ball and series writers Elisabeth Finch and Kate Barnow, and written by David Tischman (Bite Club) and IDW Associate Editor Mariah Huehner. It’s illustrated by David Messina (Star Trek: Countdown), with covers by Messina and J. Scott Campbell.

True Blood, which debuted on the cable network in September 2008, is based on the bestselling Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris. Set in the fictional small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, the critically acclaimed drama details the tense co-existence of humans and vampires — and the occasional shapeshifter — focusing primarily on the web of relationships surrounding telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin). In its two seasons, True Blood has become HBO’s most-watched series since The Sopranos.

The IDW miniseries takes place on a hot, rainy night at Merlotte’s bar, where Sookie, Bill, Eric — really, Eric? — Sam, Tara, Jason and Lafayette are trapped by a vengeful spirit that feeds on shame, and forced to dredge up dirty secrets and dark memories from their pasts. I’m just grateful Eggs isn’t involved. (However, a little Lettie Mae wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

The third season of True Blood debuts on June 13.

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