Archive for September, 2011


This is the last week of DC Comic’s release of their New 52.  The last of the number ones were released today.  This has been a pretty exhilarating month for comic book fans and especially fans of DC.

Amid the issue sell outs and controversy surrounding some titles it seems that DC has accomplished exactly what they set out to do.  All of their newly released number ones have gone into second and even third printings.  That is pretty remarkable for any title to achieve.  But it remains to be seen if that success will carry over into next month’s releases.

In spite of the initial backlash received when they announced the rebooting of the entire line of comics, the comments have been mostly positive.  Reviews here on Comic Booked as well as on other websites have been praising the writers and artist for the outstanding work.

The superior reviews also came with a bit of controversy.  Action Comics, Wonder Woman, Catwoman and Red Hood & the Outlaws all received some criticism for featuring things such as blasphemy, nudity, sex and blatant sexism.  No matter where you might fall into the opinions on these events, there is one thing that it all has accomplished.  People are talking about DC Comics and comic books in general and speaking strictly for myself as a fan and critic, I am very pleased about it.

Now DC Comics wants your comments about the New 52.  They are working with Nielsen to conduct a survey of fans and readers.  I would encourage everyone who has picked up an issue of the New 52 this month to take the survey and let your opinions be counted.

If you’re not a fan of filling out market surveys or have never done one before, they can be a little long winded and are designed around demographics and algorithms that I don’t even begin to understand.  Plus there are certain restrictions to this survey; most notably you have to be in the United States.  So if you’re outside the US you’re out of luck.

Also take care not to fall for the little trick they planted in the survey to trip you up.  They included a fake book into the survey to make sure you’re paying attention and being honest in your responses.  If you see a book titled “Nerak”, make sure you make that you haven’t heard of it or else your survey will not be counted.

Make sure you answer carefully and truthfully.  Any shenanigans will be discounted and may encourage DC to not do any future market research.  That is something we don’t want to happen.  The more genuine feedback from readers they get, the better they can make things in the future.  Make this survey something they will want to read and listen to.  Show that you are a fan and support them and in retrospect yourself in this.

The survey, that you can find here, will be open through October 7, so you only have a short time to take it and make sure you let DC Comics know how you feel.

Advertisements

Yesterday I reported about the voice cast for the upcoming Justice League: Doom, the next release in DC and Warner Bros. series of animated films.  Today I have more information about what villains will be featured along with some image clips.

The movie’s script, written by the late Dwayne McDuffie is based on JLA: Tower of Babel written by Mark Waid.  There have been many questions among fans as to who the villains will be in this adaptation. The original story featured Ra’s Al Ghul as the primary villain.  Executive producer Bruce Timm and director Lauren Montgomery have lined up a pretty impressive rouges gallery to pit against the Justice League that should trump any threat Ra’s could throw at them.

Along with the Royal Flush Gang are Vandal Savage (Phil Morris), Star Sapphire (Olivia d’Abo), Bane (Carlos Alazraqui), Mirror Master (Alexis Denisof), Metallo (Paul Blackthorne) and Cheetah (Claudia Black).  That is a pretty diabolical list of baddies that is surprisingly missing Lex Luthor. Although Lex has been featured prominently in several of the other animated films already, it is nice to see a little more variety in the use of villains.

The voice cast for the Justice League members include such fans favorites as Tim Daley (Superman), Kevin Conroy (Batman), Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern), Carl Lumby (Martian Manhunter), Michael Rosenbaum (Flash) and Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman) with David Kaufman (Jimmy Olsen) and Bumper Robinson (Cyborg).

This will be the third animated film to feature the Justice League, the other films in the series are Justice League: New Frontier and Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths. In this new feature, Batman’s secret contingency plans to defeat his fellow League teammates in case they ever go rouge, are stolen by the group of supervillains and carried out.

There has been a lot of buzz about this movie, which features the “dream team” of the Timmverse. Kevin Conroy and Tim Daley both brought the characters of Batman and Superman to life in their respective and critically acclaimed animated series’ of the 90s.  Nathan Fillion, star of Firefly and ABC’s Castle will reprise his role from Green Lantern: Emerald Knights as Hal Jordan.  Carl Lumby, Michael Rosenbaum, Susan Eisenberg and David Kaufman are also reprising the rolls of their respective characters from the Justice League series.

DC and Warner Bros. have released the cast of its next animated feature film. Justice League: Doom is scheduled for early 2012 and will feature several popular former Justice League voice actors. Nathan Fillion will reprise his role of Green Lantern from Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, along with some other Justice League veterans Tim Daley (Superman), Kevin Conroy (Batman), Michael Rosenbaum (Flash), Carl Lumby (Martian Manhunter) and Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman). Bumper Robinson will round out the cast as Cyborg.

One area where DC excels over Marvel is the realm of animated movies. DC and Warner Bros. have consistently put out some of the best animated features under the supervision of executive producer Bruce Timm. The movie will be a loose adaptation of the popular story JLA: Tower Of Babel, written by Mark Waid. The script was written by the late comic writer Dwayne McDuffie and will be directed by Lauren Montgomery.

Batman, having to be one step ahead of even his own teammates, has contingency plans to defeat them in case any of them should go rogue. Those plans are stolen by a group of super villains and put into effect. In the original story, it was Ra’s Al Ghul who got his hands on Batman’s files. There is no word yet as to which villain or villains will appear.

With the voice talent Bruce Timm and his team have put together for this film, there is no doubt it will be an exciting event. This will be the third animated film featuring the Justice League and the thirteenth in the series. DC has already announced the upcoming lineup of movies after Justice League: Doom that will include Superman Versus The Elite and The Dark Knight Returns.
 
Look for the trailer for Justice League: Doom to premiere at New York Comic Con and to be included with Batman: Year One when it is released on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

A little shake up in casting for Superman: Man of Steel.  According to Deadline, director Zack Snyder has replaced Julia Ormond with Israeli born actress Ayelet Zurer for the role of Superman’s Kryptonian mother, Lara Lor-Van.  Deadline is reporting that Zurer is set to begin filming this week.

There was no reason given (yet) as to why Snyder replaced Ormond seemingly at the last minute.  The film also stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne and Russell Crowe and is scheduled for release in June 2013.

Critics of Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman costume from The Dark Knight Rises have cause to settle down now.  Over the weekend, photos were leaked on the internet of Anne filming scenes in what is most likely the full Catwoman outfit.  It still isn’t what I was really expecting, but not bad nonetheless.  There is still no sign of the signature whip that she uses, but I am sure we’ve not gotten every single detail of the film spoiled yet.

In a not totally unexpected move, Sony Online Entertainmentannounced that starting in October the highly popular DC Universe Online MMOwill switch to free-to-play.  The MMOwill begin a three tiered system that will serve as the revenue stream for thegame.  The move comes just seven monthssince the game came out in stores.
Both PC and Playstation 3 players will be able to downloadand play the game for free and have the ability to boost their account by ingame microtransactions.  The tieredsystem breaks down like this.

Free
New players will now have access to the current gameplay in DC Universe Online(including Gotham City, Metropolis, and all current raids and alerts), with theability to create two characters, join a league and many other benefits. Freelevel players will be able to purchase downloadable game packs/updates,additional character slots, powers and more through microtransactions.

Premium
Any player who has spent at least $5 (including former paid subscribers and newplayers who have purchased $5 of in-game items) will qualify for the Premiumaccess level. Premium level players will have more benefits available to themthan the Free level player, including additional character slots, additionalinventory slots, and higher cash limits. Downloadable adventure packs,additional character slots, and more can be purchased in-game.

Legendary
Maximum features and benefits are included at this level. Loaded with enhancedadditional features, Legendary access will be available for a $14.99 monthlyfee and includes all DLC packs at no cost, more than 15 character slots, morethan 80 inventory slots, the ability to form unrestricted-sized leagues, andmany other benefits.

SOE executive producer Lorin Jameson had this to say.
“I don’t know about you, but my credit card statementevery month is this amalgam of s*** of MMOs that I’m too lazy to cancel.  What we want is to offer people a way to notworry about that.  In terms of ‘Is it aresult in a drop in subs’ – absolutely not.  This is the right business model.  If I can be honest, the game ended up costinga lot more than we thought it would, and this was our preferred business modelfrom day one.  We are really seeing thebenefits of free to play, and we’re really liking it.  Needless to say we’re paying close attentionto it and maybe looking to make some surprise moves a little later.”
That was basically all they had to say for me.  Come October, I will be downloading andplaying DC Universe Online.  Since Ifirst heard about it I have been dying to play. The only thing stopping me was the $14.99 a month fee.  If you’re like me, you avoid playing MMOsbecause of the monthly fee required to play them.  The trend over the past year or so has beenmany of the popular MMOs going to a free-to-play model that allows players the flexibilityto pay for only what they want and still be able to play the game without amonthly fee tacked on.  Earlier thissummer Cryptic, the makers of Star Trek Online made the announcement that itwould also be switching to a free-to-play system by December of this year.

Secrets of the past are revealed.  The ThunderCats have found the Book of Omensand Lion-O must relive the past in order to understand his future.
Lion-O (Will Friedle) is accidently transported into the Book ofOmens.  Within the book, he is reunitedwith Jaga (Corey Burton) who tells him that his future is tied to the past.  He must relive the events that led them toThird Earth to understand how their struggle with Mumm-Ra (Robin Atkin Downes) began.  He also must succeed as his ThunderCatancestor did or the Book of Omens will be closed to him forever.
Lion-O goes back to a time when the cats served Mumm-Ra andthe other animals were slaves.  Lion-O isnow Leo, commander of the cat forces that Mumm-Ra uses as enforcers to keep theother animals enslaved and as soldiers in his army.
Mumm-Ra’s forces are closing in on the Warstone, a powerfulartifact that he intends to use to empower a weapon of unbelieveablepower.  The cats have other plans andwith the aid of the other animals are preparing to rebel against their evilmaster.  The plans depends on them gettingtheir hands on the Warstone before Mumm-Ra does.
Leo is able to get the Warstone and uses it to empower hisown weapon, the Sword of Omens.  Heconfronts Mumm-Ra on the bridge of his ship. But Leo quickly finds he is outmatched. The Warstone is only one of four powerful gems that Mumm-Ra has beensearching for.  With three of the stonesalready in his possession, he intends on stopping the uprising before it getsgoing.
Mumm-Ra and Leo fight for control of the stones; but Mumm-Raknows exactly what they are capable of and how to use them.  Leo’s luck holds and he is able to get one ofthe stone away from Mumm-Ra.  With theodds now even, the two fight a pitched battle, but Leo suddenly realizes how tocontrol the two stones and he quickly overpowers Mumm-Ra.
With all four stones now powering Leo’s weapons, victory isall but certain; but that victory may only be temporary.  Their battle has damaged the ship and it isnow plunging out of orbit to the planet’s surface.  It is then that Lion-O is back with Jaga whoexplains to him that once the ship crashed the three other stones were lostsomewhere on the planet.  He must nowfind them before Mumm-Ra does or else the Sword of Omens will be no match forhim.
This was the episode of ThunderCats I’ve been waiting for.  It was action packed which is something mostprevious episodes have lacked.  But italso gave us some great backstory of the history of the ThunderCats and howthey came to be on Third Earth.  Thisseries continues to surprise and exceed my expectations.  This episode is another find example of howthis series far exceeds the original.
For those of you who have not seen any of this series todate thinking it might not be as true to the first series, you really owe it toyourself to catch it now.  I’ve also beenquite pleased with the superb voice acting and amazing animation.  Since CGI animation is becoming the norm inmost animated series, it’s nice to see that traditional animation can still bedone well.
The Nerd gives this episode of ThunderCats5 out of 5.
One interesting thing to note from this episode, in onescene when Mumm-Ra is looking at one of the monitors we see a few views of thedifferent animal species that are enslaved on the ship.  One of them looks suspiciously like Mon*Starfrom SilverHawks.
Screencaps source

I attended my first big ‘con this year, DragonCon inAtlanta, Ga.  One of the things I wasmost looking forward to was seeing a few celebrities and maybe (with a littleluck) get an autograph or two.  Imaginemy shock when I found out that all the celebrities in attendance charge fortheir autographs.  I found this ratherdisconcerting and a little appalling.  Ifumed about it openly as I wandered through the crowds of people in line seeingjust how many people were shelling out upwards of seventy dollars for somecelebrity signatures.
Over the next couple of days I spoke with other attendeesand I got mixed opinions on the subject. Some were very understanding with my frustration over the matter, whileothers got downright hostile with me for even questioning why.  How dare I challenge any celebrities for thepractice?  I found that this was a prettyheated subject with very outwardly opinionated people on both sides.  Those that were willing to discuss the mattercalmly with me offered up some very good reasons both pro and con.
I know I am going to catch a lot of flak over this articleand I have stressed all week about even writing it.  But it seems like a very valid subject tobring up and I have tried my best to present both sides as equally and fairlyas I can.  If you have an opinion on thisand want to share it then I welcome you to do so, but let’s keep this friendly.
Pro Reason #1 – Safety. That’s a pretty broad subject so let me explain.  It comes down to simple crowd control.  The lines at these events can get pretty longand as time wears on, people get short tempered and nerves get frayed.  Charging for autographs tend to keep thelines manageable.  Only people willing topay are going to stand in line, and let’s face it, not everyone is willing orable to pay for a celebrity autograph. If they were signing for free, the lines would grow too long to dealwith.  Not to mention that the celebrity’stime is limited.  They usually schedule multipletimes to be in the signing gallery, but the hard truth is that they will notget to everyone who wants an autograph.
Pro Reason #2 – Resellers. If the autographs were given for free, that could and quite possiblywould encourage resellers to get as many signatures as they could and thenresell them for large amounts of money.  Thispractice was quite common before it was curtailed by most celebrities.   Theysee it as other people making money from their name and when you get right downto it, it really isn’t fair for the celebrity. It’s bad enough that people try to pass off fake celebrity autographs tounsuspecting fans.
Pro Reason #3 – Celebrity time.  Most celebrities are not paid to attend theseevents.  They come on their own and oftenat their own expense.  They do it for thefans and not to make money from it.  Atthe same time, some celebrities aren’t paid the substantial salaries mostpeople think they do.  Sometimes themoney they make at these events is simply to cover their travel costs.  Would it make you feel better if you learnedthey were giving the money they made from autographs to charity?
Con Reason #1 – Only true fans are willing to pay.  This is a pretty insulting statement to hearsomeone make.  What makes you a biggerfan than me?  Your willingness or abilityto pay for an autograph?  That is pretty presumptuousof anyone who might think this.  Yousimply can’t judge someone’s fan devotion based on their willingness to pay acelebrity for their autograph.  This isthe number one reason that gets me upset the most.  To hear someone explain it with this shouldbe insulting to anyone.  The size of yourwallet doesn’t determine how big a fan of someone you are.
Con Reason #2 – Celebrities make enough money as it is.  This is just the opposite of Pro Reason#3.  Some celebrities make a boatload ofcash, probably more than most of us will see in our lifetime.  Is it really fair for them to charge theirfans for an autograph?  Will taking mythirty or forty dollars push them over the edge in the “I Make More Money thanTom Hanks Contest”?  Some fans see thatas arrogance or greed on the part of the celebrity and I can certain see how itcan look that way.
Con Reason #3 – They wouldn’t be famous if it weren’t fortheir fans.  That’s a pretty powerfulstatement and true for the most part.  Does it diminish a celebrity in a fan’s eye toknow that they charge for autographs?  Itprobably does in some cases.  “I don’thave the seventy dollars to pay for David Copperfield’s signature, so I amgoing to boycott everything he does from now on.”  I’m sure that has happened more than once.  I am sure it would touch any celebrity onsome level to know that they alienated a fan for any reason.  Simply put, if you lose your fans, you loseyour livelihood.
Suffice to say that I don’t agree with all of these reasonspro or con and I have tried to be fair to both sides of the argument.  I’m not trying to change the world by writingthis and I will probably draw some pretty nasty comments, I’m okay withthat.  It’s nice to spark a littlehealthy debate now and then.  Whether youfall on one side or another it is something that angers a lot of fans.  I have to admit that I was appalled when Ifound this out and I was a little angry. Is that going to stop me from being a fan of these celebrities?  No way! I will however be a little more selective of just who I want to solicitautographs from; I’m not a millionaire you know. 
Maybe one day, I will be a famous celebrity and I will haveto make a choice whether I charge a fan for an autograph.  You never know until you walk a mile in a man’sshoes do you?  Like I said, I am nottrying to change the world with this.  Itis just a subject that has been weighing heavily on me for the past fewdays.  Like an itch you can’t scratch,you just have to do something with it before it drives you nuts.  I’m probably not going to change anyone’s mindeither, and that’s fine too.  I wanted toput aside my own opinions and represent both sides fairly.  Hate me if you must.

One of my absolute favorite things about attending or covering ‘cons is the cosplay.  I love seeing how creative they can be and the details people put into their costumes.  For some it is a way of life, for others like me it is just a fascination.  Enjoy some of the cosplayers I ran into at DragonCon.

Today marks the 45th anniversary of one of sci-fi’s most beloved shows, Star Trek.  I’ve been a life long Trekkie and after I saw this on the interwebs, thought that it would be fitting to adorn my blog with it.  Star Trek has and will always have a special place in my heart for multiple reasons.  As this nation is about to mark the anniversary of a very painful event, it’s nice to know that we can also celebrate the triumphs and joy that Star Trek has brought to millions of fans.

Hailing frequencies open…

The entire history of Star Trek is in this SPACE.com timeline infographic.
Source: SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration