Tagged: 300

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Ticket Sales went… well…

In an almost textbook example of what to do, and what not to do when inundated with high levels of traffic to one’s virtual door, ticket websites Fandango and Cinemark had wildly divergent responses to the avalanche of would-be customers trying to buy tickets to the live simulcast of The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary adventure of Doctor Who, premiering globally on November 23rd.


Martha Thomases’ Japan

Our columnist Martha Thomases has spent the past two weeks in Japan with her son, Arthur Tebbel. By all reports, they’ve had a swell time. Here’s some of it, in her own words and pictures:

m1Kyoto is a city I have always wanted to visit.  The traditional Capitol of Japan is known for its beauty and history, its cultural importance. Naturally, the first place I went when we arrived was the Kyoto International Manga museum. The building, a former elementary school, has a collection of more than 300,000 volumes, as well as a great deal of original art.  In addition to the permanent collection, there are special shows as well. This is the current show.  Not really graphic story, but an assortment of panels by international artists.  I am embarrassed to say that the only name I recognized was Mike Mignola.m2


Everywhere you look, there are books.  The shelves on the walls are higher than you could possibly reach.


m3The permanent exhibition shows the history and techniques of the form.  This, I believe, is the “Biff! Bam! Pow! Comics Aren’t Just for Kids!” of Japan.


Here is some original art, I think.  Really pretty stuff.m4


They consider cosplay to be part of manga.  This is a current exhibit linking these two powerful cultural exports.



SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander



Look at the Oz Opening Sequence

Look at the Oz Opening Sequence

Going into the weekend, Oz the Great & Powerful has raked in $155,528,133 domestically, and an additional $136,800,000 worldwide, so it’s a certified success, despite the $300 million it took to make and market.

Walt Disney Studios has released the Opening Sequence to the Sam Raimi-helmed film and it’s worth a look if you have yet to see it in the theater.


Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great & Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.

When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great wizard—and just maybe into a better man as well.

A Doctor A Day – “Tooth and Claw”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

Kung-Fu Monks, a werewolf, and Queen Victoria.  Rest assured that when someone threatens his friends, The Doctor will fight them…

by Russell T Davies
Directed by Euros Lyn

“Am I being rude again?”

Aiming for 1979 and an Ian Dury concert, The Doctor lands in 1879, and in Scotland.  The TARDIS lands in the course of Queen Victoria, who is on the way to have the Koh-I-Noor, the prize diamond of the crown jewels, recut.  Quickly presenting his psychic paper, he and Rose join the party as it stops off at Torchwood House, home of Sir Robert MacLeish and his family.  What the royal coterie don’t know is that the house has been taken over by a band of monks who are in possession of a honest to Harry werewolf.  They plan to have the beast bite the Queen, infect her, and through her, take over the nation, and the Empire.  Sir Robert is forced to cooperate as the monks have taken his wife and most of the female house staff hostage, and if he disobeys they will be slaughtered,

It’s revealed that Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father were friends for years, and shared an affinity for both science and folktales.  Sir Robert’s father had designed what appears to be a massive telescope, but The Doctor quickly notices it’s oddly designed – too many mirrors and prisms.  As the evening proceeds, Sir Robert desperately tries to clue the party to the danger, and over dinner, as he tells the tale of the werewolf that’s been haunting the moors for almost 300 years does the Doctor make the connection.  As the full moon rises overhead, the werewolf begins his transformation, and the monks, posing as the staff, overpower the soldiers.

It turns out that the house has been prepared for this assault.  The library has been warded with the oil of the mistletoe plant, which the werewolf cannot bear to touch.  And the telescope is just the opposite – it’s a light cannon, powered by moonlight, and the Koh-I-Noor is the focusing device.  So with the help of the planning of Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father, the monster is defeated.  Queen Victoria is happy to have been saved, but is horrified at The Doctor and the life he leads. She banishes The Doctor from England, and founds the Torchwood Institute to study the stars and defend the Empire from its threats… including The Doctor.

As opposed to last season where the arc plot was barely mentioned, just nearly subliminal mentions of the “Bad Wolf” phrase, this season the concept is in plain sight. Torchwood was mentioned as a plot point in The Christmas Invasion, and now we see its inception.  Not a bad start for a word that was nothing more than an anagram to disguise the tapes going back to the BBC.

Of COURSE when The Doctor has to pick a Scottish name, he’s going to pick Jamie McCrimmon. Jamie was a Companion during the Troughton years, and came back for both the twentieth anniversary adventure, and the Colin Baker adventure The Two Doctors.  The other half of the joke is not as obvious to American viewers – “Balamory” is a BBC children’s show set in the titular town, on an island off the coast of Scotland.  And of course, David Tennant is Scots, so we actually hear his proper accent in this episode when The Doctor is “affecting” one.

This is the second time that a diamond was used as the focus of a light weapon, as opposed to a more scientifically accurate ruby.  The Horror of Fang Rock featured a cruse laser cannon made from a lighthouse and a diamond by the fourth Doctor.

That mad crazy Crouching Tiger stunt near the beginning of the episode took a full day to film.  Quite an extravagance for a TV show, but well worth it for the moment.


IDEAS LIKE BULLETS- A Column by Tommy Hancock

That’s right.  Although I’ve struck out with my own blog (ideaslikebullets.blogspot.com), I have been encouraged in the last few days to restore the ILB column to its first home.  So, when there is an idea that I feel I want to share, it will most definitely appear here.  There may even be a frew ALL PULP exclusives, ideas that I don’t share anywhere but here…. but now to our first new ILB!  

How this game is played, guys and dolls, is simple.  Generally I share an idea that I don’t have time to write or run with and give any and all of You a chance to write it.  Sometimes I want to retain ownership and let you play with it.  Sometimes its a freely given seed of inspiration that You may take and do with as You please.  Today’s is a bit of both.

This idea I have is very much just an inkling, but it is for a character that I will hold onto at least most of the proprietary rights to, in a ‘Concept created by’ sense.   The reason for that is I’m toying with this character becoming a regular addition to the Pro Se line up, someone who might show up in every magazine or somesuch like that. But other than that, I’m going to leave the door pretty open to whatever you as a writer want to do with it….and, if enough of You play along, you’ll all even get to see your take on this concept in print.

Here we go, first with the idea-  A man, six feet tall, athletic build, black suit and shirt, red tie, red gloves, black shoes, black fedora, red mask that is pulled over the top of his head and ends at the bridge of his nose..so sort of like a full face mask cut in half, the bottom hem resembling a domino cut.  He has a plethora of weapons, reliant on no one in particular, but the weapons are not high tech gizmos- just guns, knives, anything that is needed to fight crime and destroy evil.  No one knows who he is under the mask, but one key element is that when he slips that mask on, he is a total and completely focused Pursuer of Justice.   Justice as he defines it, by the Law if that fits, in the Spirit of Justice if that is more applicable.   He investigates…He brings to trial…and he prosecutes in his own unique way…That is why  they call him… THE D.A.!

Now, the actual reason they call him The DA is, except for the mask, he wears an outfit that is exactly what prominent up and coming D.A. Frank ‘Two Fisted’ Finnegan wore on every single day he was seen in public.  Finnegan was also mercilessly killed and butchered, first riddled with bullets by unseen gunmen and then literally sliced into pieces by a fast moving blade wielding assassin known only as The Knife…in front of over 300,000 people at a campaign rally in the largest park in the city in October, 1938.  On January 1st, 1939, this character in a mask and Finnegan’s outfit delivered The Knife and six gunmen to the city police station, beaten, unconscious and bound.   The papers immediately picked up on the resemblance to Finnegan and theories abounded….so the name- The D. A.- struck and stuck hard.

So, that’s the idea…and here’s the rest of it.   You, if you’re interested, write a 1,000 word story (I know, didn’t say it would be easy) focused on the D.A.  Not one word more, not one word less.  1,000.  It must be complete, beginning, middle, and end.   Any and all who write one will not only be reprinted here, but will also find their way into a future issue of PRO SE PRESENTS (after editing of course).
So, you get a chance to breathe life into this character and get published as a result.  Oh and let’s say by December 1st, that thousand words.  Work for you? Good.   Just email to tommyhancockpulp@yahoo.com as you get it done with the subject -THE D.A.-IDEAS LIKE BULLETS.  And don’t ask me questions about the character…You have all the information you’re going to get…the rest, dear Bulleteer, is up to you.

Martha Thomases: War! What Is It Good For? Comics!

Having watched all three presidential debates and the vice-presidential debate, I’m in the kind of stupor that is recognizable to other political junkies. With about ten days to go, I am chewing on my fingernails, tensely watching the polls as if it is only my focused attention that will allow things to go my way.

The last debate, about foreign policy, made me think about war, and entertainment inspired by war, and my response to it.

There are brilliant war comics, written by people like Archie Goodwin, Larry Hama, Garth Ennis and, especially, Harvey Kurtzman. I admire them. And yet, I don’t particularly enjoy them.

I think the problem is that I am so repulsed by the reality of battle. I don’t find it dramatic nor exciting. It may reveal character, but I don’t want to see it. I don’t entirely believe that war reveals nobility, and even if it does, I think there are better ways to get to the same place.

And yet. And yet. I do like action movies, and I like cartoonish action movies that include war. I love The Dirty Dozen. I can get a good laugh out of 300.

I can admire more realistic war movies, like The Hurt Locker, but I don’t enjoy them. I don’t want to go see them. I avoid them as carefully as I avoid actual battle. I go only when it is necessary to be part of the cultural conversation. Oh, and Apocalypse Now.

It’s possible that I don’t like war movies because they are so stereotypically masculine. Even modern war movies, the ones that acknowledge that women serve and sacrifice, are models of machismo. A movie like Since You Went Away, which shows life on the home front, is just as much inspired by war as my other examples, but is considered a “women’s picture,” or a soap opera because it is about women.

I can think of two exceptions in comics where I actually enjoyed a war comic I was reading. The first is Blackhawk when Howard Chaykin was doing it. I think this had less to do with the military aspects, and more to do with Chaykin’s sense of humor, which is very close to my own.

The other is George Pratt’s Enemy Ace: War Idyll, which is, sadly, out of print. It’s beautiful and moving, as all entertainment should be.

When you vote, don’t just consider the impact of this election on the economy. Think about the wars that can happen as a result of your vote. And then think about the schlock comics those wars will inspire. Personally, I don’t want to see Dan Didio get his hands on Iran.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


#NYCC sold out; tickets going for up to $300 a day

img_2120-300x224-5568102Well, this is impressive: a quick look at StubHub is showing people selling passes to New York Comic Con at really heavy price markups, going for as much as $300 for a single day pass.

We’ll be providing coverage of the convention over the next few days, as soon as we can find places to type and decent wifi to upload. Keep checking here and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Marc Alan Fishman:
 Guerrilla Marketing That Ain’t

Dear DC Marketing Department,

Call me a silly fool, but did you really think you’d get away with it? Or were you just playing dumb, knowing full-well that we’d blog and post about it. You sly dogs you.

But who are you really kidding? Everyone knows you’re dumb as a box of rocks. Ever since the Harry Potter cash cow stopped giving milk, you knew the Brothers Warner would turn towards its in-house fiction generator to start making with the profits.

And guess what? As soon as they turned their steely gaze towards you, wouldn’t you know it… those rat bastards that used to be across the street scored a near two-billion dollar movie. Sure, you had the last Batman movie, and hey, no one is blaming you for that not banking on higher expectations. The franchise made you a small mint, and almost made all of us forget Green Lantern.


So, here you are, the Mouse already ramping up a second season of super hero flicks, and the only thing that’s been worthwhile from your studio just ended. You’ve got that Superman reboot coming. Luckily, most of us snarky a-holes have only politely ribbed you for letting Snyder make a trailer that looks like Supes is on an extended episode of Deadliest Catch. We’re on pins and needles that it works out for you. Seriously. The million-dollar question? What’s next?

And we’re back to the beginning again. You dress up a few interns in fresh Batman tee-shirts and send them to the local geekatorium with “casual questions” in hand. I can’t help but be honest guys – it’s not the best idea you’ve had. We geeks may not be fit to ask the cheerleaders out to the prom, but we know when someone is trying to sell is some snake oil. Hell, we buy that damn oil from you every week, without the need to be sly! I guess what I’m getting at is pretty simple; if you’re out of answers, it’s OK to ask us to help you.

But it won’t help.

Do you think, even for a moment, that your base will give you the insiders’ scoop on how to make a Justice League movie that will bank big buckaroos? It won’t. Because even if we told you exactly what we wanted, and you made it exactly like we asked, it doesn’t mean instant gratification. Ask Edward Wright. Scott Pilgrim looked great on paper. The trailer was tight. The San Diegons all reported nothing but geek-love. And the actual film was stupendous. But it didn’t blow the doors off the bank vault. The thing of it all is that a film like The Avengers, one that hits the zeitgeist, is a bit of right-place-right-time and the payoff to a 5+ year gamble. You took the same bet in 2001. It paid in spades. Lesson to learn: there’s no quick payoff for what you’re wanting.

And let’s not leave here today without being frank about Frank. Look, Miller is a legend, and we’ll not dispute that. And in context, some of his best work has been given amazing treatments on film. 300 and Sin City hold substantial places in many of our DVD collections. But, the ghost of the Spirit (heh) still leaves a very bitter taste in our mouth. That crime against celluloid has soured us all to the church of Frank Miller. Be warned. And if you still feel like he might be worth our praise, let me be blunt:

 “We’re the God-Damned Justice League.”

Since I’m in a festive mood, I’ll leave you with what may be the answers you’re seeking. If you want to make a Justice League movie that topples Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes, the recipe is simple. And like all dishes that have only a few ingredients, this isn’t going to be easy. You need quality product to start from. Your director needs to be someone who is in-tune with us nerds, but can stand on his own. Brad Bird perhaps (Thanks, Uncle Glenn!)?

Perhaps I’m putting the cart before the horse though. What Marvel pulled off wasn’t rocket science; it was an assembling of feeder movies that each stood up on their own. That means if you want to bring together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and others? Then you need to earn that right. You can’t skip past the preamble if you want the masses to love you. Simply put… the world at large doesn’t know your Justice League from Adam. If you start off well with Man of Steel, you’re on the right track.

Just don’t put the cart before the horse. And man up; if you have a question to ask the geek world at large, just put it on the Internet.

Sunday: John Puts Shingles on the Chicken Coop?

Monday: Mindy Newell


The Tower Chronicles Marks the Arrival of Legendary Comics

jimleecoverart-292x450-9150861Legendary Comics launches their first series today with The Tower Chronicles: Geisthawk – Volume 1, from Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley. The 48-page prestige format release begins a new universe that represents the kinds of comics Legendary intends to explore. The Tower Chronicles is the tale of John Tower, a supernatural bounty hunter. His missions lead him into mankind’s most dangerous places to banish poltergeists, demons, and other supernatural evils that plague his “sometimes respectable” patrons.

The first issue sports two different covers, one from Bisley, perhaps best remembered for his work on Lobo in the 1990s, and Jim Lee, DC Entertainment’s co-publisher, inked by his usual partner Scott Williams. The series is being inked by Rodney Ramos, the journeyman inker best known for his work on Transmetropolitan.

vampire-fight-300x135-3743990The Tower Chronicles: Geisthawk – Volume 1 was written by Wagner (Grendel and Mage) in consultation with Thomas Tull, founder of Legendary Pictures. It’s interesting to note that the copyright is shared by Wagner and Legendary. The story is set in contemporary times but clearly has supernatural elements starting with Tower himself and the monsters he is charged with apprehending. As usual, Wagner’s writing is clear and never less than interesting to read. Bisley’s claustrophobic, dark artwork is great for the monsters, less so for the people inhabiting the pages.

tower-hero-shot-295x450-6025574The first serial is part of a trilogy, Wagner has told the media he has already written a total of eight volumes so the adventures are only just beginning.

The comic imprint is a subsidiary of Legendary Pictures which has co-produced countless films including many in the genre such as 300 and The Dark Knight trilogy. Editing the line is Bob Schreck, formerly of Dark Horse and DC Comics. Last year, the company debuted with Frank Miller’s former Batman project, Holy Terror.

Wagner and Schreck are taking reader questions over at the title’s Facebook page. There, additional background on the world and characters are presented, along with previews of subsequent stories