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REVIEW: Violent Night
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REVIEW: Violent Night

From the moment you saw the trailer, you knew exactly what you were going to get with Violent Night. The biggest selling points had to be the high concept and lead performer David Harbour. These days, he elevates just about everything he is in, so this already made it worth seeing.

The film opened to mixed reviews and reasonable box office, but Universal Home Entertainment seemed to release this in a rush, as a Blu-ray only release even as work begins on a sequel.

The Home Alone/Die Hard riffs are hard to miss but the inventiveness of the antics are amusing as a band of thieves led by John Leguizamo invade a Greenwich mansion to rob them blind. The bickering family spans three generations and most fill the stock character types one expects from such fare. It helps to have Beverly D’Angelo as the shrewish matriarch, able to go toe to toe with Leguizamo.

The most predictable yet heartwarming thread is the jaded Santa in need of a child’s blind faith in him to give him the strength to save everyone on Christmas Eve. The exchanges between Santa and Trudy (Leah Brady) are revealing and natural, well worth the tub of popcorn the film demands.

What’s unexpected is the violent backstory that shows Santa was once Nikamund the Red, a bloodthirsty Viking over a millennium ago and somehow he and his enchanted sledgehammer became jolly old Saint Nick. He keeps telling us how he doesn’t understand how Christmas magic works, but as long as someone (and the audience) believes, it’ll all work out.

I wish writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller made the characters less types and far less predictable, a weakness. Director Tommy Wirkola choreographs the action nicely and keeps things moving so the 112 minute feature rarely flags.

The 1080p digital transfer is perfectly satisfactory if unspectacular. It makes for perfectly good home viewer, aided by a matching DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack.

The Special Features include Deleted and Extended Scenes (19:02), seven missing scenes plus a handful of extended scenes; Quarrelin’ Kringle (3:45), a look at Harbour Santa’s Helpers: The Making of Violent Night (5:56); Deck the Halls with Brawls (6:04); and Audio Commentary featuring  Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, Casey, and Miller gather to discuss the film.

Mudman, Vol. 1 by Paul Grist
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Mudman, Vol. 1 by Paul Grist

This is nearly everything, but not quite everything. Mudman ran for six issues from Image in 2011-2013, and the first five of those issues were collected in Mudman, Vol. 1 .

It’s clearly a teen superhero comic, another one in the long line spawned by Spider-Man, and slightly more conventional than creator Paul Grist’s previous superhero comic Jack Staff . I knew, going in, that there was just one collection, and assumed the series was dead, but I didn’t realize there was one stray uncollected issue out there, taunting me.

Owen Craig is a teenager at the beginning of a new school term in Burnbridge-on-Sea, a sleepy English village that’s probably in some specific part of the country (on the sea, obviously – I got that part – but I bet Grist has a county and rough location in mind, too). Some not-really-explained thing happens, in an abandoned “Scooby Doo” house out on the sea-side, and Owen gets fabulous mud-based powers!

Spoiler: mud-based powers are not actually all that fabulous.

As with Jack Staff, there’s a lurking sense that Grist can’t quite take all of this superhero stuff essentially seriously. Oh, he has a mysterious cool-looking figure who says cryptic things, has unknown powers, and radiates danger, and he’s toned down the random splash pages that were so fun in Jack Staff. But this is still a comic about a teenage boy – a gawky, bullied, more-than-a-little goofy boy – who gets mud-based superpowers, and it’s really hard to say, “Yeah! Mudman! Splat that bad guy!”

(It reminds me of my joke in college, when a group of friends were fake-creating a superteam. I came up with a guy called String Boy, who could control anything made out of string. Obviously pathetic: that was the point. The big deal was going to be that, several years in and probably as part of a big Crisis hoo-haw, String Boy would discover Cosmic Strings – an actual scientific theory, which I think I only broke as much as comics writers ever do – and bootstrapped himself up to Beyonder-level powers to Show Them All.)

This is not exactly an arc; Grist is following a much older comics model in which every issue is an actual separate story on its own. So we have five loosely connected, and consecutive, tales of Owen as he gets the powers of Mudman and starts to figure out what the hell their deal is. There are bank robbers, and that mysterious (ex-hero? world-class villain?) figure, and Owen’s father, a local police detective. There is the new girl at school he has a crush on and a female figure who appears mostly in visions and may have died decades ago. There’s a whole lot of complications that Grist didn’t really get to do much with, because this ended in six issues, likely because the superhero audience was not as excited by a mud-based superhero as he hoped.

So this is fun, kind of a lower-key Jack Staff, and good for people who like that Paul Grist superhero stuff – I do, and I wish more people did – but it’s also a decade old, not particularly successful when it came out, unfinished, and about a British kid whose power is to hurl balls of mud at people. C’est la vie.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed
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Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed

Anyone who’s traveled in the lands of SF has heard the complaints about worldbuilding: too much research and not enough life, a love of one’s own creations, special pleading and crank ideas. But most of fiction never went that far down the rabbit hole to begin with; most genres could use more worldbuilding, more thought put into how fictional worlds work, more rigor and more demonstrations.

I have no idea if Deena Mohamed ever heard any of those SFnal arguments: she’s Egyptian and works in the comics form, but it’s a big world full of ideas that bounce around, so anything is possible. Her new graphic novel Shubeik Lubeik  is a masterclass in how to do worldbuilding well, immersing the reader in an alternate present that’s a lot like our world in many ways, with the usual One Big Change.

This is a three-part story, and, from the author’s acknowledgements, I think they originally appeared separately when published in Egypt. So call it a trilogy if you have to, but it’s all one thing, and the US publication puts it all under one set of covers, the way it should be. I can’t find a translation credit, and the acknowledgements seem to be in the same “font” as Mohamed’s comics-pages lettering, so I’m guessing this was either originally in English or that Mohamed translated it into English herself. Either way: this is the kind of graphic story that’s the product of one person, from ideas to layout to words to colors to letters.

One quick note: this reads right-to-left on the page, like manga – or, more relevantly, like Arabic in print – rather than left-to-right, as English-language comics generally do. I didn’t see a notice to that effect in the digital copy I read; it should be more obvious in the physical book. And the first few comics pages have just a few panels, stacked vertically, which can obscure the reading direction at first. If you’ve ever read “unflipped” manga, it shouldn’t be any issue, but it’s something to know in order to read Shubeik Lubeik correctly.

“Shubeik Lubeik” are the traditional first words of a djinn: what he says when he’s released from his lamp or bottle or whatever. In English, it would be “your wish is my command,” which means we’re getting shortchanged compared to the graceful rhyme in Arabic. Mohamed tells the story of three wishes here – three powerful, life-changing wishes – in a modern-day Cairo where the last century was subtly different after wishes were discovered, systematized, and industrialized.

There’s some interesting background details there: Mohamed doesn’t dwell on them, but she clearly understands well how colonialism works and has worked out the different ways it would have affected this changed world. Some of that is plot-relevant, especially near the end, but a lot more is just the world our characters live in. Wishes are consumer products, so there’s international commerce and consumer-protection legislation, wish-mining nations and wish-refining nations, standard levels of wishes and international agreements about all of that.

That’s the first thing to know about Shubeik Lubeik: it’s deeper and much more resonant than you might think. It’s not the story of a djinn, or multiple djinni. In this world, a wish is a powerful piece of transformative magic, but not a person. The people who matter here are all human, and what matters to them is what matters to all of us: family and partners, how to fit into the world, friends and working life, history both family and official. The difference is that they can buy wishes – strong ones are very expensive, dangerous ones are cheap – and try to phrase what they want in just the right words so they actually get it.

All three stories start with Shokry, who runs a kiosk on a Cairo street – in an American context, think of it as a concentrated, one-man convenience store or bodega, open to the air and crammed full of stuff to sell to passers-by. Among that stuff is a case with three first-class wishes: he’s had them for a long time and would really like to get them off his hands.

Shokry is a good Muslim, of a tradition that says that using wishes is sinful, no matter why. So the wishes are a burden of conscience to him: he doesn’t want to keep them, after all these years. He doesn’t want to be the cause of bad acts of others. They are valuable, but it’s a value he’s never been able to tap, and he will never use them himself.

All three wishes do get used, one per section. If you know anything about wish-stories, you can guess the paths will not be smooth for the people wishing, and that having a wish is only the beginning. The three stories are all serious, with flashes of humor – the first is the most serious, with a lower-class woman, Aziza, who runs into bad trouble just trying to use her wish.

In between the three sections are more of those worldbuilding details: text features that mimic government bulletins or consumer pamphlets from this world, explaining the history and regulation of wishes, giving warnings about the dangers of third-class wishes or detailing the new Egyptian requirements for all wishes to be registered with the government and their uses approved beforehand. This sometimes prefigures things that will be important in the story later, sometimes adds color and detail to the world, sometimes makes it clear that Great Powers are just as rapacious and destructive in this world as in our own. All of it is depth: this is a living world, full of complex people, and the addition of wishes didn’t change life, but it did make things different in new and inventive ways.

Mohamed has delivered here a major work, full of engaging cartooning and real people and emotionally resonant stories. She immediately leaps as a major comics-maker on the world stage, telling us stories we wouldn’t hear otherwise, from a perspective new and exciting and particular and specific. Shubeik Lubeik is a magnificent achievement and sure to be one of the best graphic novels of the year.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Back to Basics, Vol. 4: The Flood by Jean-Yves Ferri and Manu Larcenet
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Back to Basics, Vol. 4: The Flood by Jean-Yves Ferri and Manu Larcenet

Jumping in at volume four, you might want a Synopsis for Latecomers .

Or, perhaps, you might want to know what happened in earlier Back to Basics books. This is a humorous, more-or-less autobiographical comics series originally published in France in the early Aughts, soon after the events depicted. Cartoonist Manu Larcenet moved from Paris to a small rural town – Ravenelles is either the name of the town, or the house he lives in, or something like that – along with his partner Mariette, and these are stories of his adventures there, almost entirely in the traditional “rural people are stoic, laconic, and good at everything, while urbanites are neurotic and mostly useless” mode. There’s also an element of “I am a total goofball who is barely useful at anything, and my partner is a wonderful angel in everything,” which is also deeply traditional.

The credits are unclear, and the story of the creation of this series is played for laughs in this series, but my current theory, based on what we see in this book and the previous one, is that Larcenet told stories of his life to Jean-Yves Ferri, who then scripted them for Larcenet to draw. How much Larcenet altered those scripts in the drawing is an open question. For this US publication – in the mid-Teens, about a decade after the French originals – they were translated by Mercedes Claire Gilliom.

The substance of Back to Basics is ninety half-page comic strips in each book – think of them roughly as modern Sunday-comics size, sometimes one big panel, sometimes a 2×3 grid, sometimes somewhere in between – which each have their own setups and punch lines but tend to cluster into storylines and tell one general overall story for the book. 

This fourth book, The Flood , follows Real Life , Making Plans , and The Great World . It it, the baby born at the end of Great World is now a loudly squalling bundle most of the time, as babies often are. Her name is Capucine, but she mostly functions as a noisemaker and a burden here.

So this is largely the-baby-is-crying humor, with sidelines in how-can-I-get-away-from-the-crying-baby and don’t-make-any-noise-the-baby-is-sleeping and our-lives-are-suddenly-different, as usual. The other big event is implied by the title: there are massive rainstorms, which flood large portions of this countryside but don’t really affect Larcenet and family directly.

Oh, a rave does descend on their house because of the rain, I suppose. But it’s mostly baby stuff, which is entirely normal: babies are overwhelming and completely transform your life.

It’s fun and funny and continues the stories from the previous books – I don’t want to overstate “stories” here, since this really is something like a daily comic, with those kind of rhythms – and I’d recommend it for people who like that kind of thing.

One quirky thing: I don’t think this series is available to buy anywhere in the English language. I read it through the Hoopla app for libraries – which is full of stuff, and I hugely recommend it if your system uses it – and it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited, but there doesn’t seem to be a print edition or even a get-your-own-set-of-electrons version.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Batman: The Doom that came to Gotham Details Released
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Batman: The Doom that came to Gotham Details Released

BURBANK, CA (January 19, 2023) – Batman’s rational mind and unparalleled fighting skills are put to the ultimate test when an ancient force threatens his world and everyone he holds dear in Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, available to purchase Digitally and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray on March 28, 2023 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment. The all-new, feature-length DC Animated Movie puts Batman up against Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham as he’s aided and confronted along the way by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and more. 

David Giuntoli (Grimm, A Million Little Things) reprises his Batman: Soul of the Dragon role as the voice of the Dark Knight in this all-new 1920s-based DC Elseworlds tale. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) makes her DC animated debut as Kai Li Cain, Batman’s closest ally.

Elevating the action and drama are DC animation veterans Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Harvey Dent, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire) as James Gordon, and David Dastmalchian (Dune, The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon.

Rounding out the cast is Gideon Adlon (Legion of Super-Heroes) as Oracle, Karan Brar (Jessie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise) as Sanjay “Jay” Tawde, Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, The Frighteners) as Kirk Langstrom, Darin De Paul (Mortal Kombat Legends & Overwatch franchises) as Thomas Wayne, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Jason Marsden (Young Justice, A Goofy Movie) as Dick Grayson & Young Bruce Wayne, Navid Negahban (Homeland, The Cleaning Lady) as Ra’s al Ghul, Emily O’Brien (Days of Our Lives) as Talia al Ghul & Martha Wayne, Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager) as Lucius Fox, William Salyers (The Regular Show) as Cobbelpot & Professor Manfurd, and Matthew Waterson (The Croods: Family Tree) as Jason Blood/Etrigan.

Sam Liu (The Death and Return of Superman) fills the dual role of producer and co-director of Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, working closely with co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) to bring to animated life the script from screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse). Producers are Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Legion of Super-Heroes). Executive Producer is Michael Uslan. Sam Register is Executive Producer.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham will be available on March 28 to purchase Digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray Discs will be available to purchase online and in-store at major retailers. Pre-order your copy now.

SYNOPSIS:

Inspired by the comic book series by Mike Mignola, Richard Pace and Troy Nixey, Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is a 1920s-based tale that finds explorer Bruce Wayne accidentally unleashing an ancient evil, expediting his return to Gotham City after a two-decade hiatus. The logic/science-driven Batman must battle Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham, along the way being aided and confronted by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and Bruce’s beloved wards. Prepare for a mystical, often terrifying Batman adventure unlike any other.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

Batman: Shadows of Gotham (New Featurette) – An examination of themes of existential dread in a world drenched in gothic overtones that combine to create one of Batman’s most unique adventures. 

Audio Commentary – Filmmakers and storytellers, including producer/co-director Sam Liu and screenwriter Jase Ricci, take in all the gothic horror and intrigue of Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham.

Pricing and film information:

Digital purchase $19.99

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack + Digital Version* $39.99 USA

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack $44.98 Canada

Blu-ray + Digital Version*  $29.98 USA    

Blu-ray   $39.99 Canada

4K/Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French

Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Running Time: 90 minutes

Rated PG-13 for some strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief partial nudity

*Digital version not available in Canada

Denzel Washington’s Training Day gets 4K Release
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Denzel Washington’s Training Day gets 4K Release

Burbank, Calif., January 17, 2023 – Training Day, starring Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack on February 28 and Digital on February 7, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ 2001 crime thriller Training Day was directed by Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer) from a screenplay by David Ayer (The Fast & The Furious). Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Detective Alonzo Harris, and Hawke was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Office Jake Hoyt.

Training Day was produced by Bobby Newmyer and Jeffrey Silver.  The film also stars Scott Glenn (Silverado, Backdraft), Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Hard), Dr.  Dre (Set It Off), Snoop Dog (The Wash), and Eva Mendes (Ghost Rider, The Women).

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.   

Training Day will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $33.99 SRP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own Training Day in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on February 7.
 
About the Film:

Denzel Washington delivers an Academy Award-winning performance opposite Ethan Hawke in this gritty drama set in the morally ambiguous world of undercover police work. Every day a war rages between drug dealers and cops on the streets of America’s inner cities. With every war come casualties, none greater than 13-year veteran Los Angeles narcotics officer Alonzo Harris (Washington), whose questionable methods blur the line between legal and corrupt. Today Alonzo gets a new partner, idealistic rookie Jake Hoyt (Hawke), and Jake has one day–and one day only–to prove his mettle to his fiercely charismatic superior. Over 24hours, Jake will be dragged into the ethical mire of Alonzo’s logic as both men risk their careers and their lives to serve conflicting notions of justice.
 
Ultra HD Blu-ray Elements
Training Day Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:
•           Pharoahe Monch’s “Got You” music video
•           Nelly’s “#1” music video
•           Deleted Scenes
•           Commentary by director Antoine Fuqua
•           Training Day: Crossing The Line Featurette
•           Alternative Endings

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS
 
On 02/07/23, Training Day 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

BASICS
Ultra HD Blu-ray $33.99*                 
Standard Street Date: 2/28/23
EST Street Date: 2/07/23
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Parisian French
Run Time: 122 minutes
Rating: R 

The Walking Dead’s Final Season Shambles Home in March
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The Walking Dead’s Final Season Shambles Home in March

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The epic conclusion to the Primetime Emmy®-winning TV series, The Walking Dead Season 11 arrives on  Blu-ray™ + Digital and DVD March 14 from Lionsgate. What Forbes calls “the most in-demand show in the world,” The Walking Dead Season 11 features Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints franchise, Triple 9, Blade II) and Melissa McBride (The Reconstruction of William Zero, Dawson’s Creek) on a risky mission while the rest of the group contacts the Commonwealth, a seemingly civilized community with a dark secret lurking just beneath the surface. The Walking Dead Season 11 will be available for the suggested retail prices of $59.99 for Blu-ray™ + Digital (U.S.), $69.99 for Blu-ray™ + Digital (Canada), $49.98 for DVD (U.S.), and $59.98 for DVD (Canada).
 
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
In the epic final season of “The Walking Dead,” Daryl and Maggie embark on a risky mission with Negan to root out the shadowy Reapers while Eugene and Ezekiel make contact with the sprawling Commonwealth. To secure aid for Alexandria – their goal – they must assimilate…a tough ask for people who’ve seen no end of deceit, betrayal, and loss. Stunned by the Commonwealth’s resources, the group slowly adjusts to their new home, but they can’t ignore what lurks beneath its seemingly civilized surface. Soon, threats abound, loyalties are tested, and shocking fates await. But the fight for the future, threatened by an ever-growing population of walkers, means the walking dead will live on….  
 
CAST
Norman Reedus                     The Boondock Saints franchise, Triple 9, Blade 2
Melissa McBride                     The Reconstruction of William Zero, Dawson’s Creek 
Lauren Cohan                         The Boy, Mile 22, Whiskey Cavalier
Christian Serratos                   The Twilight Saga franchise, Selena: The Series and The Secret Life of the                                                      American Teenager
Jeffrey Dean Morgan              Watchmen, Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy
Josh McDermitt                       Mad Men and Retired at 35
Seth Gilliam                            Teen Wolf, The Wire, and Oz
 
SPECIAL FEATURES
Deleted Scene Ep. 1110 “New Haunts” 
Deleted Scene Ep. 1110 “Rogue Element”  
 
PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 2021-2022
Title Copyright: The Walking Dead © 2021–2022 AMC Film Holdings LLC. Artwork and Supplementary Materials are ™, ® and © 2021–2023 AMC Network Entertainment LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Rating: TV-MA
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Feature Run Time: 16 Hrs., 45 Mins. (24 episodes)
Blu-ray™ Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 (1.78:1) Presentation
Blu-ray™ Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 2.0  Dolby Surround, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
DVD Format: 16×9 (1.78:1) Presentation
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0  Dolby Surround, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround

Wallace the Brave by Will Henry
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Wallace the Brave by Will Henry

Books aren’t just catapulted out into the world willy-nilly, no matter what some people might think. There’s always a complex calculation on the publisher’s side, to figure out who the audience is and how best to get to those people. The books that don’t have any clear audience, or obvious way to reach them, are the ones that tend to be rejected.

Newspaper cartoons, on the other hand, tend to be thought of as “for everyone,” at least by your less thoughtful kind of editor. And who else is left in the newspaper industry after thirty years of cutting? Admittedly, newspaper strips tend to skew to the older side, like everything else in a dead-tree newspaper, but that can mean that the more thoughtful editors – I’ve been told they still exist, perhaps like the Sasquatch, eternally rumored and never witnessed – try to counter-program, picking features and investigative series and even strip cartoons that appeal to different, even younger audiences.

But I didn’t think Will Henry’s “Wallace the Brave” strip was particularly one to appeal to current-day kids. It’s set in the modern world, as far as I can tell, and it features a central cast of kids, but the tone feels like nostalgia, like an imagined version of what growing up used to be like, before helicopter parents and cellphones and Internet, set in a rinky-dink New England fishing town that might as well be cut off from the rest of the world. It’s a very constructed world, is what I mean: a vision of what never was, but that older generations always talk about as if they lived through it.

But the first collection of that strip, called Wallace the Brave , as is traditional, includes a bunch of activities for kids at the back, so my guess is that someone actually thinks this will primarily appeal to actual kids, and not just adults who want to believe their youth was carefree and wonderful. Those someones may even be right, though I wouldn’t want to try to attract elementary-school kids to a dead-tree newspaper feature these days.

Anyway, this first Wallace book came out in 2017 and collects what looks like roughly the first four to six months of strips. It has 166 pages of comics, and pages are mostly a single daily, so that’s how I do the math. Henry, or his editor, has laid this out more like a graphic novel, with longer strips and sequences – I think mostly Sundays, but potentially week-long continuities, or maybe even new material for the book? – a few panels to each page, making the whole book flow more than the average strip collection.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: the  majority of pages here have what seems to be one daily strip. But Henry sticks to four-panels for a daily less than most, so some dailies are turned sideways to get one long panel in, some have three or five or seven panels arranged in two or three tiers on the page, and some places, as I said, it’s clearly a longer sequence stretching across multiple pages.

The strips are about a kid named Wallace – that’s him at the right on the cover. He’s the traditional pushy dreamer for stories like this, the guy who wants to do everything and experience it all, impatient with rules and limitations and always ready to do “real” things. The two overlapping circles of the cast are his family (fisherman father; stay-at-home mother; younger brother Sterling, who is not quite as feral as he later becomes in these early strips) and his friends at school (neurotic best friend Spud, overwhelming new girl Amelia, teacher Mrs. Macintosh).

Wallace the Brave is not a direct descendant of Peanuts, but Henry’s kids are smarter, more thoughtful, and better-spoken than their real-world counterparts in the same ways Schulz’s were; they’re neither realistic six-year-olds nor the doll-like joke-engines of strips like Family Circus. And what they do is in the vein of early Peanuts, or Calvin & Hobbes – more-or-less what real kids do, only more so. Sometimes more so because that’s what makes it funny, sometimes more so because that’s the “perfect childhood” mythology here. Sometimes both.

Henry has a great illustrative line, detailed and energetic – it reminds me of a lot of the great strip cartoonists of a century ago, back when they had more space for extra detail and complication.

This is a fun strip, which I started reading maybe a year ago, maybe a bit less. You can search out the books if you want – I think there are three more after this one, so far – but the best way to read a daily is daily, so either look for it in your paper (assuming you have one) or check it out on GoComics , and slot into its daily routines.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Win a Violent Night Digital Code
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Win a Violent Night Digital Code

David Harbour brings such verve to his performances that even something as over-the-top as Violent Night brings a smile to your face. The film was a surprise holiday season hit for Universal Studios and now Universal Home Entertainment has given us two digital codes to giveaway to those on the nice list.

To be eligible to win one of these codes, we want to hear your most over-the-top Christmas experience. Did you receive a lump of coal? Find Santa eating the milk and cookies? Find reindeer poop on the roof? Tell us your most amazing story by 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, January 25, 2023. The decision of the ComicMix judges will be final.

From the producers of Nobody and John Wick comes VIOLENT NIGHT, available to own with bonus features on Digital January 20, 2023 and on Blu-ray and DVD on January 24, 2023 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. “The greatest Christmas action movie of all time” (CINAPSE) comes home in a collector’s edition that includes over half an hour of never-before-seen bonus content including deleted and extended scenes, a feature commentary, and behind-the-scenes featurettes delivering more of the movie for your Christmas collection.
 
When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound taking everyone inside hostage, they are not prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus. David Harbour (Stranger Things) stars as St. Nick in the “wildly entertaining” (SCREEN RANT) holiday romp, delivering some serious season’s beatings to save the family and the spirit of Christmas.
 
Directed by Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch HuntersDead Snow franchise), VIOLENT NIGHT also stars Emmy® winner John Leguizamo (John Wick), Edi Patterson (The Righteous Gemstones), Cam Gigandet (Without Remorse), Alex Hassell (Cowboy Bebop), Alexis Louder (The Tomorrow War) and Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise).

EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
    • Family Arrives at the Mansion
    • Jason and Linda in Bedroom
    • Krampus Sees Trudy’s Radio
    • Santa on the Roof
    • Walk to the Manger
    • Family Resolution
    • Bad Dad
    • Cast Call Back
    • Extended Scenes
  • Quarrelin’ Kringle – Cast and crew relay why David Harbour is the perfect brawler for this combative rendition of Santa.
  • Santa’s Helpers: The Making Of VIOLENT NIGHT – Tommy Wirkola and David Leitch have reunited for another madcap, violent fairytale with heart in VIOLENT NIGHT. This making-of will celebrate their spirited reunion as well as the other little helpers.
  • Deck the Halls with Brawls – Go behind the action as we go blow for blow with the new villains of Christmas.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Tommy Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, Writer Pat Casey and Writer Josh Miller
Supergirl in the Legion of Super-Heroes Spotlight
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Supergirl in the Legion of Super-Heroes Spotlight

Striking that classic pose, Supergirl is voiced by Meg Donnelly, best known for her role as Taylor Otto on the American Housewife and as Mary Campbell in The Winchesters.

Kara/Supergirl has a rough run – witnessing the destruction of her home planet, battling an armed Solomon Grundy, and generally struggling to fit into life on Earth. But that’s just the start of her adventure in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, the latest DC Universe Movie, coming to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital starting February 7, 2023 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Kara and her mother Alura react to the beginning of the end of Krypton in an opening scene from Legion of Super-Heroes. Kara is voiced by Meg Donnelly (American Housewife, The Winchesters), while popular voiceover actress Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect franchise) provides the voice of Alura.
Grundy’s got a gun!. The monstrous Solomon Grundy is armed with high-tech artillery as he wreaks havoc on Metropolis – until Supergirl arrives on the scene. Grundy is voiced by Darin De Paul (Mortal Kombat Legendsfranchise)

Welcome to the 31st century and the Legion Academy, where a new generation hones their powers with hopes of joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. Devastated by tragedy, Supergirl struggles to adjust to her new life on Earth. Taking her cousin Superman’s advice, Supergirl leaves their space-time to attend the Academy. There, she quickly makes new friends, as well as a new enemy with old ties: Brainiac 5. But a nefarious plot lurks in the shadows – the mysterious group known as the Dark Circle seeks a powerful weapon held in the Academy’s vault. Find out if the budding heroes can rise to the challenge in this all-new DC Universe Movie!

Kara/Supergirl’s primary comfort on Earth is her cousin, Superman. The two Kryptonians have a heart-to-heart rooftop chat in a touching scene in Legion of Super-Heroes. Kara/Supergirl is voiced by Meg Donnelly (American Housewife, The Winchesters), while Darren Criss (Glee, The Assassination of Gianni Versace) reprises his role as Superman.