Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Joining us today is Natalie Nourigat, who you might know from such works as Between Gears, My Boyfriend is a Monster: Wrapped Up in You, Husbands, A Boy & a Girl, It Girl & the Atomics, Over the Surface, The Thrilling Adventure Hour and her awesome movie review comics.
Now let’s get to it …
As part of its upfront presentations Monday in New York City, Fox screened a new trailer for Axe Cop, an adaptation of the hit webcomic by brothers Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle premiering July 27 as part of the network’s new late-night animated programming block.
If you’ve read the source material, or watched any of the previous teasers, you pretty much know what you’re in for with Axe Cop, although this trailer features Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman offering some wisdom for the ages: “I want you to listen very carefully: There is something even better than friends — killing the guy who killed your friends.”
Part of Animation Domination High-Def, Axe Cop also features the voice talents of Megan Mullally, Patton Oswalt, Ken Marino and Peter Serafinowicz. ADHD premieres Saturday, July 27 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Paraphrasing Lucy van Pelt, a California judge on Wednesday sentenced the original voice of Charlie Brown to a year in jail for threatening his ex-girlfriend and stalking her plastic surgeon, and then released to a residential drug-treatment facility.
Handing down an additional five-year probation and an order to pay $15,000 in restitution, Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring cautioned former actor Peter Robbins, “If I can borrow a line from Peanuts, sir, I’m going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead.”
I’ve often heard creators who’ve worked on the comic-book adventures of Doctor Who comment that current showrunner Steven Moffat is somewhat dismissive of the contributions comics have made to the character’s extended canon. That said, last Saturday’s episode featured the recurring series MacGuffin “the Eye of Harmony,” which has Alan Moore to thank for around 50 percent of its backstory.
In his first season in charge, Moffat inserted an episode based upon the Doctor Who Monthly strip “The Lodger” by Gareth Roberts, adapted by Roberts himself. His second season featured the Ray Bradbury and Hugo award-winning “The Doctor’s Wife” written by Neil Gaiman, who’s been known to write a comic or two in his time. He’s returned to the series this season to write “Nightmare in Silver.”
A few months ago, the folks behind ADHD, Fox’s upcoming late-night animation block, haunted our dreams with “Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man” — “Lanky arms and little mask, his web erupts from out his ass” — and now they’re back to turn on you off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles faster than you can say “Michael Bay.”
If you’re of delicate constitution or work in a place where cartoon images of reptile genitalia are frowned upon, you may want to skip this one. However, if you have the intestinal fortitude, and an understanding boss, then by all means, watch the video below for the horror that is the well-endowed, deaf, hissing, salmonella-transmitting Heroes in a Half Shell.
Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, could face up to three years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend as well as the plastic surgeon who gave her the breast enhancement he paid for. (Obligatory “Good grief!” goes here.)
The 56-year-old Robbins was arrested in January on an outstanding warrant while returning to California from Mexico, and arraigned on four felony counts of making a threat to cause bodily harm or great bodily injury and one count of stalking. According to City News Service (via The Associated Press), prosecutors say Robbins called his former girlfriend a dozen times a day and threatened to kill her and her son if she didn’t return his car and dog. He allegedly also threatened her plastic surgeon, demanding a refund for the breast enhancement.
Is the goal for comics to become a mainstream form of entertainment an unattainable goal? That seemed to be the angle Tom Spurgeon took on Monday’s Deconstructing Comics podcast and in his additional commentary at The Comics Reporter. He feels the industry is better served by regaining a few hundred thousand more devoted readers to restore unit sales to mid-six-figure levels. While comics have shown there is longevity in niche markets, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of also attaining a larger readership.
With March’s estimated direct market sales figures showing yet another double-digit month of growth, manga publishers giving anecdotal reports of the manga market stabilizing, and something of a convention boom going on, there’s no better time than now to re-examine how comics can secure a healthy and vibrant future. Taking advantage of this growth is tricky because, as Spurgeon mentions, no one is exactly sure why the turnaround happened. Although people complain about DC Comics’ New 52 being a mess and Marvel crossovers not having the punch of the Civil War days, overall sales are rebounding. Was it digital comics? Was it the mainstream press for the New 52 or Marvel NOW, or some other stunt? Is it the Hollywood movies?
“I don’t get to decide what gets made into a tv series or film. I cannot, I’m afraid, cause people to give me money for things by magic or force of will. Because, let’s face it, if I could, you’d be part of the slave army building my hundred-mile-high golden revolving statue right now.”
“I think fans of the comics recognize that this show is a different animal. There are big departures that have happened on the show before and it’s the show’s M.O. at this point. I think people are seeing that it doesn’t really preclude other big storylines from the comic book when we put a death in the show. We are still very much following the path of the comic book and you’ll see a lot of that in Season 4. There are going to be differences from time to time and some big differences. People know the comic still exists, and I want people to experience both and get a somewhat different experience. I think it’s cool that there are differences that are going to make the show as dramatic, startling and unpredictable as the comic book was the first time you read it. That’s really what we’re going after.”
– Robert Kirkman, responding to a question regarding potential concerns that a major development in last night’s Season 3 finale of The Walking Dead might alienate fans of the long-running comic series
Comics legend Stan Lee will pay another visit to Springfield next season, playing himself in an episode of Fox’s The Simpsons.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 90-year-old Lee will pop by The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop to offer advice about comics and romance to Comic Book Guy, whose budding relationship with a young Japanese woman/manga fan stands to be ruined by Homer.
Hopefully this time Lee annoys Comic Book Guy a little less than he did in his first appearance on The Simpsons, in the 13th-season episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” Next season will be the show’s 25th.
Viz Media has been busy snapping up licenses for its VizKids imprint, and now has announced a new one: a series of Ben 10 Omniverse graphic novels that will tie in with the Cartoon Network show.
Ben 10 Omniverse is the fourth iteration of the Ben 10 cartoon created by four comics writers (Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle), beginning as the story of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who changes into different types of aliens with the help of a device called the Omnnitrix. In Ben 10 Omniverse, Ben is now 15 and has a new Omnitrix that transforms him into different creatures. His Grandpa Max pairs him up with a rookie plumber named Rook (who’s “highly skilled with his Proto-Tool, but lacks any field experience,” according to the press release) to explore an alien city and stay one step ahead of the bad guys who are in hot pursuit. If this is making you feel a little lost, here’s some good news: Cartoon Network is having a “Ben 10 Bootcamp” this weekend, with 17 hours of Ben 10 programming so everyone can catch up.
PBS, which just last month broadcast the superhero-themed episode of Pioneers of Television, in April will turn its attention to the history of DC Comics’ Amazing Amazon with the premiere of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.
Airing as part of the Independent Lens series, the Kickstarter-funded documentary by director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan traces the evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman, from her introduction in 1941 to her role as a feminist icon in the 1970s to her depictions today, and examines how “popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.”
Among those interviewed for the film are Gloria Steinem, Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, Trina Robbins, George Perez, Gail Simone, Danny Fingeroth and Andy Mangels.
“I loved the idea of looking at something as populist as comics to reveal our cultural obsessions, and in particular, how women’s roles have changed over time,” Guevara-Flanagan says in a statement. “The narratives of our most iconic superheroes, told and re-told over decades, boldly outline our shifting values. For some it’s Lara Croft, for others it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we all need those iconic heroes that tell us we have the power to slay our dragons and don’t have to wait around to be rescued.”
Wonder Women! premieres on Independent Lens April 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on PBS (check local listings).
Today’s official announcement comes less than two months after NBCUniversal and Esquire magazine owner Hearst Corporation closed a deal to move the focus of the network away from young male gamers to “today’s modern men.” G4 pulled the plug in December on its flagship series Attack of the Show! and X-Play, leaving the channel without any original studio programming.
Debuting with the launch of G4 in 2005, Attack of the Show! featured Blair Butler’s “Fresh Ink” segments, which featured comic reviews and occasional publishing announcements from Marvel. The series also broadcast live each year from Comic-Con International.
According to this morning’s announcement, “Esquire Network will expand on G4’s foundation of games, gear and gadgets to reflect the broad range of interests, passions and aspirations that define men today.” While the new channel will tackle gaming and technology, like its namesake magazine, program categories also will include entertainment, travel, food, fashion, women and more with a mixture of scripted and unscripted series, and movies and specials.
Among the shows on the lineup are original series Knife Fight, hosted by Top Chef winner Ilan Hall and executive produced by Drew Barrymore, and The Getaway, executive produced by Anthony Bordain, the return of American Ninja Warrior, and syndicated runs of NBC’s Parks and Recreation and Starz’s Party Down.
Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment will debut a new digital hub for the hit Walking Dead franchise on Sunday, timed to coincide with the midseason premiere of the television adaptation.
According to USA Today, TheWalkingDead.com will contain information about the long-running Image Comics series, the AMC drama and the growing list of games (which include the recent Telltale episodic series, the Walking Dead: Assault app and Activision’s upcoming Survival Instinct). In addition, there will be special-event updates, wikis for character biographies, and, of course, a store for exclusive merchandise. At the moment, fans have to visit multiple websites for that information.
AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC. The Walking Dead #107, by Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, goes on sale Wednesday.
Showing one more way the grass is alwasy greener on the other side, American okatu Ryan Sands has uncovered a great Japanese reality-show competition that’s begging for an American equivalent: Each week on the NHK series Renman, two professional artists are pitted against each other in a contest/jam piece on the same sheet of paper. In the Jan. 6 episode, Hell Baby manga-ka Hideshi Hino went up against Drifting Classroom‘s Kazuo Umezu. Here’s the artwork they created: