Author: Matt Raub

Comics Invade the ’08 Scream Awards

Comics Invade the ’08 Scream Awards

Each year, Spike TV airs the Scream Awards, sort of what would happen if the Oscars and the MTV Movie Awards had a baby, and that baby grew up and is now in it’s rebellious teenage phase. The award categories started off in 2006 mostly covering the horror genre, but they now cater too all things film, TV and the ever-growing categories pertaining to comic books. While there is no “Academy” per se, they are all up online for the fans to vote for their favorites here. Catch the ceremony and see if your vote counts on October 21 at 9 p.m. on Spike TV, but for now, you can check out the complete list of nominees after the jump, and remember to vote for Dark Knight as much as possible, because with 21 nominations, that movie needs as much help as it can get.


Buffy’s “The Gift” Up For an Emmy

Ever think you’d hear the words "Buffy has been nominated for an Emmy"? Well, that day has come as Buffy The Vampire Slayer has made it into round two of "TV’s Most Memorable Moments (Drama Series)". The moment in question, which you can watch and vote for here, is from the season 5 finale entitled "The Gift" where Buffy takes what would seem to be her last leap and sacrifices herself. This also marks the final episode of the series that aired on the WB before ultimately getting picked by UPN…which then ended up merging with the WB to become the CW. Confused? You should be.

The scene is currently up against nine others in the category including a scene from Star Trek’s "City on the Edge of Forever" and Lost‘s "Live Together, Die Alone" (The scene where the island explodes). You can vote online, and the top five will then be in the ceremony live for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday on ABC at 8/7c.

It should also be noted that this year’s Emmys will be hosted by each of the five nominees of the Outstanding Reality/Competition Host category. This means Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst And Ryan Seacrest will each be hosting this year’s awards, which would mark the first time that the Emmy Awards are being hosted by four people who will probably never get an Emmy Award. Seacrest Out.


Author David Foster Wallace Found Dead

Infinite Jest CoverDavid Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his dark and ironic wit was found dead  Friday night at his home in Claremont California,  according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46. Wallace’s wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department.

Wallace is mostly known for his sprawling and ambitious novel  and won praise from critics and devotees for his darkly funny, deeply serious work in The Broom of the System, Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (recently adapted for film by Wallace & Jon Krasinski) and Oblivion. The title essay of the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is–in this writer’s opinion–the funniest and most poignant published pieces in years and anyone wishing to celebrate Wallace’s wit and talent should read it at least once.

Review: ‘[[[Next Avengers]]]: Heroes of Tomorrow’

Right off the bat, to put to rest an already angry legion of fans who want to know why this movie exists instead of Allan Heinberg’s [[[Young Avengers]]] or even Tom DeFalco’s [[[Avengers]]] Next as a series or movie, know that this animated film is a great self-contained story done in the vein of Marvel’s other animated DVDs, and deserves a close look from anyone who can call themselves a Marvel–or even an animation fan. With that said, this story is not for any fan who cannot take themselves out of the grown-up world of [[[Skrulls]]] and [[[Hulk Wars]]]. In order for an adult to enjoy this, you need strip down to your inner child (metaphorically speaking) and watch the movie with a purely childlike mindset.Next Avengers

The plot takes place in the future of an alternate reality where five of the original eight Avengers have been killed off by Ultron, but not before most of them produced offspring that Tony Stark whisks to a secluded location, safe from the arms of evil. They are raised by the aging [[[Iron Man]]] and trained to use their powers, as James Rogers, son of [[[Captain America]]] and Black Widow; Pym, son of Giant-Man and Wasp; Azari, the son of Black Panther and Storm; and Torunn, the daughter of [[[Thor]]], who didn’t die, but just left Earth one day. Each of them posess an amalgam of their parents’ powers, and even some of their personality quirks as well. Their hideout becomes compromised, Iron Man gets kidnapped, and the kids must then go for the rescue, running into fellow heroes like an elder Hulk and Clint Barton’s son, Francis, taking the helm of Hawkeye.

The great thing about movie is the way they depict the “age of heroes” in the beginning of the film as a bedtime story to the children. The mythos is described almost biblically by referring to the Avengers with names like the Soldier, the Knight, and the Ghost (Cap, Iron Man, and Vision respectively). There are certainly enough wacky “kid” moments and bright colors to keep anybody under the age of 13 interested, but that stays balanced by the amount of mature themes throughout the film, such as abandonment issues, and a rite of passage subplot. The film touches on the subject of death and heroism that most kids would understand, but is clearly meant for adults.

The animation is the same used for Marvel’s [[[Ultimate Avengers]]] films, like a Japanese/American animation hybrid. The strongest element here is  BBC composer Guy Cichelmore’s (Ultimate Avengers) score. This sold the entire film in its epic interpretation. The voice work is mostly done with Marvel and Lionsgate’s in-house talent. Going in the opposite route that DC Animation had gone, the company uses mostly unknown actors and professional voice actors rather than pull in celebrity names. Much like the other Marvel animated films; this was the weakest element in the film, leaving us with a poor-sounding [[[Hulk]]] and Iron Man.

Overall, the film may borderline puerile at times, but makes for a nice competitor for DC’s leading animated series [[[Teen Titans]]]. There is certainly potential for a franchise here, and will most definitely do as well, if not better than the aforementioned show. It should also be mentioned how “ironic” it is that the only two established heroes that are alive and kicking throughout the film are the only two that had a major motion picture this year.There is certainly plenty of action and violence for us adults, and more than enough geek-fodder for the die-hards. A clear recommendation for any true Marvel fan. RATING: 8/10

Head of BET Entertainment Quits After 3 Years

Head of BET Entertainment Quits After 3 Years

BET entertainment chief Reginald Hudlin, who helped guide original programming at the channel that was first known for music videos and reruns, is leaving the company. According to a press release, Hudlin is returning to his “entrepreneurial roots” as an independent producer. Hudlin garnered his fame by producing the House Party movies and his credits range from directing the Everybody Hates Chris pilot, producing Adult Swim’s The Boondocks to writing the Black Panther comic book series, as well as supervising an BET original animated series based on the Marvel superhero.

There is currently no word on how this will affect Hudlin’s run on the comic, but when asked about how this will affect the planned animated program, a source stated that Hudlin’s decision will not effect the animation division. The series (trailer below) is currently slated for a late 2008/early 2009 pilot.

Classic Pulp Comics Make Their Way to The iPhone

Classic Pulp Comics Make Their Way to The iPhone

Do you often find yourself waiting in line at the bank, sitting on a train, or hanging out in church thinking to yourself “boy, I wish I could read some old issues of Racket Squad!” Well, you are in luck, thanks to Bit-o-lithic’s ComicZeal, you now can.

Just released for the iPhone and iPod Touch, ComicZeal allows you to read a selection of dozens of copyright-free Golden Age comics for a one-time fee. The smart features allow for landscape and portrait views, remembering your page when you leave the application, and the ability to zoom in on panels, and this could certainly be the beginning of mainstream comics on the iPhone. Here’s just the beginning selection of what ComicZeal has to offer, notably a larege selection of the underrated ACG titles are here:


Eerie–2 Issues

Forbidden Worlds–40 Issues

Out of this World–11 Issues

Outer Space–9 Issues

Racket Squad–29 Issues

Romantic Adventures–5 Issues

Strange Worlds–5 Issues



You can currently pick up ComicZeal in the App Store in iTunes or your iPhone today for a breezy $5.99.


New ‘Watchmen’ Production Diary

New ‘Watchmen’ Production Diary

In the sixth production diary to be released, director Zack Snyder and his gang reveal some of the techniques utilized in filming Watchmen. In related Watchmen news, DC Comics has printed nearly one million new copies of the collected edition and you can barely enter a retail outlet of any kidn without seeing it on sale.  Speaking of sales, Tower Records is offering it at less than 50% cover price while Things From Another World has it for exactly 50% off. Its sales remain brisk and it remains the number one graphic novel and number two book in Literature & Fiction at Amazon.



Early Review: ‘Fringe’

FringeLong gone is the time when great science fiction programming came in two categories; Star Trek spinoff and everything else. Today, those categories have been split into dozens more, including things like superheroes, time travel, or even the occasional futuristic evil robot plot. Fringe seems to take just about all of the elements that fans have loved over the years of watching X-Files, Heroes, and Lost and purées them into an hour long drama that will inevitably go over the heads of millions of viewers.

From creator J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), Fringe follows the structure of too-curious-for-her-own-good government agent (Anna Torv) and the estranged son who must suffer from his father’s evil schemes (Joshua Jackson) solving mysteries surrounding a string of DNA that could “change humanity as we know it”. While the structure may not sound that boring, the actors make sure to help that point.

Anna Torv’s Olivia Dunham leaves enough room for a tractor to fit in her enthusiasm factor. She, along with everyone in the series, seems to be playing this out like it will be the next Lost, trying not to emote too much, because who knows where their character may lead in a season or two. This is a nice return to primetime TV for Joshua Jackson, seeing as how the last time we saw him, he was hanging around a creek. He plays the cunning-yet-brash son of the evil Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble). There is room for plenty of father-son and even lover-dead lover drama, which eats up about half of the pilot.

The story loses steam when they introduce the stereotypical “evil corporation with a secret that controls the government” subplot. This will more than likely become the center of the entire series, if it even gets the chance to unravel that plot. Throw in a few cameos from Abrams’ other shows, and you’ve got a nice little vehicle to keep naive Lost fans happy until mid January.

The concept of DNA manipulation and secret government cover-ups is no longer flashy and original to an audience of modern primetime television. Add that in with more Lost-esque ambiguity and a very weak leading role, this show doesn’t look to be going too far. Fox has already ordered 13 episodes of the series, but those who know Fox’s M.O. when it comes to new series know that it will take a miracle if Fringe even makes it past three episodes. The network is infamous for dumping shows at the first sign of a bad review or bored expression, and this show is just asking for one-if not both of those conclusions. RATING: 6/10

Fringe premiers on Fox Tuesday, September 9 at 8pm Eastern.

Early Review: True Blood

True BloodFor too long, paranormal dramas have been restricted to basic cable where they become weighed down with melodrama and morals that everyday teens can take away from each episode. I’d like to say that [[[True Blood]]] breaks that trend, but, sadly, it does not and with the exception of a few expletives and some exposed body parts, this show could certainly be made for ABC or the oh-so-hip CW.

From the Alan Ball, the creator of the acclaimed HBO series [[[Six Feet Under]]] comes the TV series based on [[[The Southern Vampire Mysteries]]] book series by Charlaine Harris about a southern telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse who solves mysteries involving vampires, werewolves, and other such creatures. Keep in mind, this series was written four years before the nation’s newfound interest in vampires was peaked with Stephanie Meyer’s [[[Twilight]]] series. That said, this still isn’t safe from being called a watered down version of [[[Buffy The Vampire Slayer]]].

There were only a few scenes that were of interest to any fan of the vampire mythos, the rest establishing the faux racism storyline that seems to be the backbone of the show. In a world where vampires have “come out of the coffin” (not my turn of phrase) and are now publicly known, they become the new racial scapegoat for the scared and angry citizens of Southern America to abuse. This storyline borders didacticism by using “vampire” as a replacement for words like “black” or “gay” or even “cylon”. In a world where these immortal creatures walk the earth, why should they care what the clerk at the Quik-N-Stop has to say to them? Unanswered questions like these makes one realize why this series needs to be looked at like a Vampire Romance novel, instead of a replacement for something like Buffy or [[[Angel]]], much like watching [[[The New Adventures of Lois & Clark]]].

Outside of plot holes like that, the other two issues with the pilot were the pacing and acting. The pacing seems to be almost at a torturous level, leaving entire chunks of time where nothing more than a lot of pensive staring goes on. We understand that there is a lot of animosity between the vampires and the “mortals”, but they can rip your throats out, so stop looking like a pissed off toddler. The acting  (I won’t go into how bad the southern accents are) and motivation of characters just came across as inconsistent, as many of them were either set as “angry girl” or “delusional grandmother”. There was hardly any reasoning behind these emotions, and they felt unnecessary and distracting.

The ending left for a good cliffhanger and a want to pursue the next episode, which I encourage. This series will hopefully improve and become slightly more watchable, but this doesn’t seem like another Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even a Twilight, instead just a watered down amalgam of the two.  Rating 6/10

True Blood debuts on HBO Sunday evening at 9 p.m. and has a twelve episode season.

An Animated Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

An Animated Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Long after the notion of a Buffy Animated Series has come and gone, a brief clip from what would-have-been has popped up on YouTube. The idea that the show is still in the works seems pretty far fetched, seeing as how most of the cast has moved on far from the world of Sunnydale and Vampires, but its still a nice piece of Buffy nostalgia to watch.