Hey Librarians! Pack up your decimals of Dewey and head out to Washington DC, where all the cool graphic novels are going to be talked about. It’s the American Library Association’s annual conference, and it’s set for June 24-June 29. Early Word has the word on all the graphic novel programming just waiting for you.
Dave Simons: It’s been one year since the death of the acclaimed artist Dave Simons and his friend Daniel Best and 20th Century Danny Boy remembers him with stories and quotes, like this one: “Here is my recipe for a winning comic book cover: Flame. Gorilla. Skull. Hot chick. Other elements of interest: Nazis, dinosaurs.” I would totally buy Flaming Gorilla Skull Chick Vs. Nazi Dinosaur #1 from any publisher. Even at $3.99. I’ll even write it. And I wish Dave was still alive to draw it.
Superman Serials: The Bijou Blog takes a look at those Superman movies that most comic book fans don’t care about: the old serials like Superman and Atom Man Vs. Superman, starring Kirk Alyn. “His Superman seems stern at times, then happy-go-lucky, but also happens to take a sadistic glee in cracking two crooks’ heads together. The cape appears to give him some trouble. Alyn is seen to push it out of his way several times and he never runs while in costume, doing more of a ballet leap to keep from tripping.”
You know it’s going to be a bad week when one of the most beloved fantasy artists passes away. He was absolutely one of my favorite artists and one of the first artists who, like Jack Kirby, could get me to buy pretty much anything with his name on it.
Tom Spurgeon has an excellent overview of the late artist’s career. “Frazetta’s art on the Warren Magazines Creepy, Eerie and eventually Vampirella combined some of the pulp tendencies for which he was soon to become very well known with a sense of classic horror. They remain some of the company’s most iconic pieces of art.”
Viz Media: I often post job listings here for Viz Media, the longtime manga publisher in San Francisco – longtime as in they’ve been doing it since it wasn’t quite so cool to do it. So I was saddened to hear that they let go more than 50 of their staffers. That’s, I think, the largest layoff of comics professionals that I can remember and certainly the largest in recent years. I hate to see that kind of thing happen, and I wish everyone the best as they figure out what to do next. Heidi MacDonald at Comics Beat recently posted this link from Dan Blank’s website; I’ve practically memorized it.
Read More | Comics Beat
“Hey Cullen! Isabella! Get in the house this instant!”
Did you know that in 2009, according to the folks at Social Security, the most popular names for kids were from vampire fiction? And it’s not Dracula, or Vlad, or Alucard or Vampira. That’s old school thinking. The new popular names are from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, the book-and-movie franchise.
Cullen jumped up 300 spots on the list from the previous year, Jacob is #1 for boys, Isabella (the formalized version of Bella) is #1 for girls and Bella is #58. I think it’s great that the Twilight series of books and movies has spawned an entire generation of children named after the characters. I hope it means that naming your kids Peaches, Apple, Brooklyn and Pilot Inspektor in lockstep with nutty celebrities is on the outs, and the Twilight franchise as name-generator is in.
So did you see Iron Man 2 yet? Did you, huh, did you? Two things amaze me about the Iron Man franchise. One is that Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. There’s none of the brooding self-importance that comes with other super-hero movies - Iron Man is serious but it’s also fun. The other is that in the right hands - and there are hundreds of right hands on any movie - even a second or third tier super-hero property can be turned into a good movie. If Downey, Jr. was playing Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie, I’d be there in a minute.
Now while you’re saving your money for the Iron Man 2 DVD, here are a few fun things to occupy your eyes and mouse.
Brian Hibbs: I know why people, myself included, like to talk to artists and writers because it’s all so cool, but I think more interviews could be conducted with retailers since they are the comic book business. Retailer Brian Hibbs is a very smart guy - I may not always agree with him but he carries a good argument with him and he knows his business. Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter gets to the heart of the matter with a lengthy but hugely worthwhile interview.
Olivia Munn could only enjoy her role in Iron Man 2 when Robert Downey Jr. complimented her.
The 29-year-old actress - who plays the socialite-turned-superhero Janet Van Dyne in the action movie - couldn’t get excited about the part until she met her famous co-star who helped her to relax.
“I should take a deep breath and go, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ But I’m afraid to take any of it for granted. When I was with Robert Downey Jr. on set he was just so complimentary. I let myself be happy then.”
The brunette beauty - who is best known for being the face of the US cable network G4 - also confessed she is so scared of failure in Hollywood she tries not to get too carried away by any successes she has. Speaking of her reaction to getting the part in Iron Man 2, she told FHM, “Jon Favreau, the director, had talked to me a bit about it. He said he’d love me to be in the movie. I get excited about things, but I don’t freak out because I get afraid. I feel like if I put my head up I’ll get hit by a bucket and it will be all gone, so I get to the point where when something good happens, I take it and I keep moving because it could all go in a minute.”
“But I was lucky because I had three girls and the director kept saying, ‘Hold them closer!’ And they must have taken an hour to shoot it. The four of us were almost engaged by the time we were finished.”
- Living comic book legend Stan Lee on his Iron Man cameo.
(Make sure to check out other notable quotes.)
Read More | IESB
Geeks all over are abound with glee this weekend to read that G4 host Olivia Munn will possibly be donning wings for Iron Man 2.
An e-mail sent by an “old, fairly reliable” source reveals that Munn is set to portray the wealthy Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. The Wasp.
It has been confirmed in July 2009 that director Jon Favreau had cast Munn in a cameo. Until recently, when the actress admitted that her cameo fell victim to editing Hell and was given another role. So we know that she has a part—it’s simply a guessing game at this point. Can she pull off the heavy shoes of an Avenger?
With some minor screen time in the Steve Carrell and Tina Fey comedy, Date Night and now a role in Iron Man 2, this former model is definitely making her name known in the film industry lately.
Rating: *** 1/2*
Marvel Comics is promoting their latest blockbuster crossover Siege as a project that has been seven years in the making. It began with Avengers #500 when writer Brian Michael Bendis first took over the title. The storyline was called Avengers Disassembled where the Scarlet Witch went crazy, the Vision was destroyed, and Hawkeye and Ant Man (Scott Lang) were killed off. It was a good story and a huge turning point for the team that left many fans very angry as fan favorite Hawkeye was killed in an unsatisfactory manner and the New Avengers were then launched with a non-traditional lineup which included the Sentry.
As the years have gone by, we’ve had various crossovers such as Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign which further complicated the lives of the Avengers and the Marvel Universe in general. All of this has lead us to Siege, which is a storyline that will focus on Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers invading Asgard to expel it from the Earth. This was a very good start. Osborn wants power and looks at Asgard as a roadblock. With the assistance of Loki, Osborn is able to get a reason to invade Asgard.
During the Civil War, innocent civilians were killed during an incident involving the New Warriors. Loki is able to replicate a similar incident using the Asgardian Volstagg who battles the U-Foes which results in the death of thousands of civilians at Soldier Field in Chicago. Osborn’s Dark Avengers are not too willing to go along with the invasion - especially Ares who promises Osborn if this is a trick of some sort, he will kill him personally.
First we got a glimpse of Iron Man 2‘s War Machine; now Paramount has released an image of Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko a.k.a. Whiplash.
Set against a backdrop of newspaper clippings centering on Tony Stark’s nontraditional superhero reveal that he was Iron Man, Rourke doesn’t don a mask as the Russian criminal (at least, we have yet to see an alternate costume change for this character) but does not look any less menacing and crazed.
Are you buying Rourke’s portrayal so far?
Read More | Splash Page
Everyone who knows me knows that I love the comics that are out there on the fringes of the industry. You want to make everyone turn into apes or zombies or contestants on So You Think You Can Dance? and I’m right there, eager to throw my $2.99 in your direction.
So when I saw Tony Moore’s “iconic” cover on Victorian Undead #1 (Wildstorm) on the rack with a blurb that says “Sherlock Holmes Vs. Zombies,” my hand shot out faster than John H. Watson, M.D.’s revolver. And I wasn’t disappointed. Far from being as “out there” as its B-movie subject matter might suggest, it actually feels like a real Sherlock Holmes adventure but with, y’know zombies. And Automata (aka robots). Following a celestial event in the skies of London in 1854, there are rumors of the dead coming back to life and desecration of the bodies by beheading. By 1898, when two London workmen succumb to zombiness, leaving one in the custody of Inspector Lestrade, the call goes out for Sherlock Holmes who’s busy on a seemingly separate case trying to figure out who’s behind the robot that just tried to kill him. (I’ve read stories where Holmes has gone up against the aliens from War of the Worlds, and also Dracula, Jack The Ripper and The Invisible Man, so zombies and Victorian robots don’t feel out of place in my personal Holmes canon.)