Tagged: Adult Swim

Emily S. Whitten: Awesome Con DC 2015

AwesomeCon2015LogoSo I just got back from Awesome Con DC 2015, and happily, it lived up to its name once again, because it was pretty darned awesome!

It was also kind of interesting to realize that every year I’ve gone has been a different experience, thanks to what I was doing each year. The first year, which was of course also smaller than the current con, I was reporting for ComicMix but did not have any other responsibilities. That meant I had time to see pretty much all of the floor and meet any guests I’d like, plus doing great, longer-form interviews with the talented Phil LaMarr and Billy West. Last year, I was running programming, so I saw a whole lot of back hallways, the exhibit hall whooshing by at a fast clip several times as I hurried around, many great volunteers, and a few guests for just long enough to introduce myself before they walked out on stage. (I did allow myself one break to see the voice actor Ghostbusters script reading panel, though. And may have possibly told my staff I’d kill them if they bothered me during it. Because hey. That panel was awesome.)

This year, although I was planning to report on the con, I also offered to moderate some panels if needed. I ended up moderating four really cool panels; and that gave me yet another fun perspective to add to my myriad con experiences. Interestingly, despite all being billed as Q & As, each of my panels had a very different feel. The Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne panel, while naturally discussing storylines and characters both had worked on, also contained some really in-depth insights into the working process of both comics writer and artist. I found Gerry’s process for script-writing, which includes editing what was a final Deadpool script to “punch it up” more after seeing the storyboards created by Mike Hawthorne from his draft, to be particularly interesting. And Mike told a great story about working with Harvey Pekar and receiving a “script” to work from that was just two pages with many panels of stick figures – and yet somehow managing to make it work!

Mark Pellegrino’s panel was very energetic, with Mark interacting with each fan who asked a question on a personal level by having them come up and stand next to him in front of the stage while they chatted. This made for a dynamic panel; although it almost became a bit too dynamic when a Castiel cosplayer yelled, “Hey, assbutt!” And tossed a”holy fire Molotov cocktail” at Mark as she came up to ask her question. Fortunately the bottle was plastic and Mark caught it with aplomb – but really, guys – let’s not throw things at our con guests, okay? Even if you think it’s going to be totally awesome, just – don’t. For one thing, you’ll give your friendly neighborhood moderator a heart attack as she pictures a nice, unsuspecting actor getting beaned in the head and/or cut by a glass bottle; and for another, unlike with merchandise, if you break a con guest, you don’t get to buy him or her. Instead, you get big, big trouble, and possibly fandom-wide hatred.

The next panel I moderated was for George Newbern, voice of Superman from Justice League, as well as many other voice and on-screen roles, including Father of the Bride, Friends, and tons more. He’s currently playing a fascinating role as Charlie on Scandal. George was delightfully interesting to listen to given his storied career, which also includes having read over a hundred audio books. It was pretty cool to hear him demonstrating coming up with something like 140 voices for the most recent book series he did. And of course it was awesome to have Superman sitting next to me for a few moments when he did that voice. (George also worked on Switching Channels with Christopher Reeve. How cool is that?)

The last panel I moderated was Adult Swim with C. Martin Croker and Dana Snyder, which was a total trip because with Dana, “moderating” essentially means, “pointing him towards a stage and letting him go.” I did say we shouldn’t throw things at guests. However, those rules don’t go both ways – and if you go to an Adult Swim panel and you’re not paying attention, there is every chance you will get beaned in the head by a water bottle thrown by Master Shake. Fortunately, everyone was paying attention, and thus no attendees were harmed in the making of the panel. There was some fun information shared by both Clay and Dana, including that Clay recalls an episode of Space Ghost, Coast to Coast that was actually too crazy to air, and that Dana landed the role of Master Shake essentially by talking on the phone. Or at least, I think those are things we learned – I don’t know for sure, as my head was spinning from all the comedy going on next to me on stage!

Along with moderating panels, I actually got to go to some panels as well, including a few minutes of the Lord of the Rings panel with Sean Astin and John Rhys-Davies (I wanted to stay for the whole thing but had a schedule conflict), which was really great to listen to, as those two have such presence; the entirety of voice actor Jess Harnell’s panel, which was the most warm, friendly, funny, energetic one-man storytelling hour I’ve been to in some time; and the Twisted Toonz live movie script read, which this year featured all four original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Rob Paulsen, Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, and Barry Gordon), as well as Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, and Phil LaMarr. The Twisted Toonz reading was a blast, as always; and if you haven’t ever seen one of these live reads, you need to check out the link above. I recommend starting with the ECCC Star Wars Trilogy.

The panels were fantastic – but they weren’t the only thing to do at Awesome Con. I also walked as much of the con floor as I had time for, seeing great costumes and buying ridiculously fun merchandise (like my new tiny and giant My Little Ponypools). 17750292184_f6da133be9_bIt was surprising and cool how many friends I ran into just wandering the con floor, which really made it feel like a warm and welcoming con. Not to mention I got to catch up with fun guests I hadn’t seen since last year’s cons, like Alex Simmons, Andrew Aydin, J.K. Woodward, Joe Kelly, Marc Hempel, Noel MacNeal, Phil LaMarr, Rob Paulsen, and Sean Astin; and meet a few neat guests I hadn’t before, like Mark McKenna, Sorah Shibao, and Diana Leto. And don’t worry, for anyone who’s sad they didn’t get to be there and have these fun experiences too – I took pictures for you!

Not only that, but I also got the chance to interview some really fantastic folks. So stay tuned in the next few weeks for some words from Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, and all four of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!

And until then, stay Awesome, and Servo Lectio!

Review: Marc Alan Fishman’s Snarky Synopsis – Ultimate FF #2

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov. Art by Tom Grummett, Mario Guevara, Juan Vlaskco, Scott Hanna, Mark Pennington, Jay Leisten and Rachelle Rosenberg.

Ultimate FFOnce I adopted Eric Larsen’s creed of “all issues are jumping-on issues” I’d like to say I’ve become a better comic reader because of it. Using that motto has removed the excuse “… maybe it’s better if I’d read the backstory” from my fallback position when an issue is subpar. In its place comes the knowledge that a comic can be judged devoid of context. The dialogue can be snappy without previous knowledge of what came before the page you’ve read. More to the point: jump into Silence of the Lambs 45 minutes in and it’s still a great movie. I say all of this because I need you all to understand: Ultimate FF #2 is an absolute top-to-bottom atrocity. No context needed.

Let’s start with the script / plot / words on the page. Joshua Hale Fialkov generally grasps the beats and characterizations of his Future Foundation. Beyond that grasp though, is a mishmash of simplistic and idiotic dialogue awash in a plot dug out of a half-read Dungeons and Dragons campaign, topped liberally with incoherent action sequences to pad things out. The plot as it were: Sue Storm’s FF field team investigates the disappearance of some 130 wealthy Atlanteans. They arrive, things get weird, and then there’s fighting. Tah Dah!

I understand that it’s hard to effectively move a complex plot in only 20 pages or so, but then I think of all the other amazing comic books I’ve read – one shots, parts of a whole, or otherwise – and I come to the bitter conclusion that the modern trope to write for the trade is merely an excuse. I like to equate a single issue of a comic to a single episode of a cartoon. If Ultimate FF #2 were on TV, it’d be akin to one of those 12-minute shorts they traipse out during Adult Swim. It’s short, it’s shallow, and its attempts to ride on more style than substance falls on deaf ears.

All this, and the big ending is a tongue-in-cheek nod to issue three’s impending catfight. Yawn.

While I admit that I’ve not dabbled in the Ultimate universe for years, the tenants and tent-poles that make up the characters must hold true. And Fialkov seems to want only to revel in them without any further exploration. Akin perhaps to the remake of Ocean’s Eleven remake, sans the Julia Roberts subplot. FF here is just Stalwart Sue, Angry Douche Doom, Generic Black Guy Falcon, and Rich Douche Iron Man on a tepid adventure to fight the multiverse, or the garbage therein. That caveat I can buy – it gives us a good excuse as any for this rag tag team of type A’s (minus Falcon, of course) to get into nasty spills. But unlike Matt Fraction’s whimsical Defenders or terse and tepid Others (where that tepidness was a perfect foil), this team is a collection of islands that only know the melody amongst one another. And when the first big reveal gives us Namor, we simply add another tool to the chest. Emphasis on tool.

Artistically, I’m nearly at a loss for words. If you count my accurate list above, you will see that it took seven people to put together twenty pages of loose, scrappy, crappy art. At first, I was almost won over: the delicate inking and detailed underwater environmental renderings were certainly an antithesis to today’s modern photoshoppery. But the devil is in the details, and here Tom Grummett and Mario Guevara fail to deliver on their initial pages’ promise. Figures are jerked and crammed into panels without care or cause. And the litany of inkers scrawl excessive lines throughout, causing tons of unnecessary visual confusion. From Namor’s oddly shaped five-finger forehead and Doom’s spastic cape, to Falcon’s always-hash-shaded-muscles, there’s nary a page that doesn’t contain an obvious rush or flub. And given that over half a dozen people touched this issue? I’m aghast with curiosity as to how this passed mustard with anyone calling themselves an editor. All this, and I haven’t even talked about the colorist!

Long considered the unsung hero of the medium, here Rachelle Rosenberg barely decided to show up. The book itself is a constant juxtaposition of old-school simplistic flat art, layered over generic paper texture, all adding to the facade of an older book. But these tricks belie the truth that this is an ugly ass book and the color choices do nothing to elevate that fact.

While there’s a masochistic part of me that enjoys that no added glows, knockouts, or filtering try to hide the scrawl and plunder, even the most basic color choices here – on model or not – are unflattering and unsettling. And to the person that picked a lime green logo over a purple, blue, and sky blue palate for the team? I implore you to go back to Parsons, and retake fashion design, and color theory.

Perhaps I’ve been too mean, too hard and harsh to poor Joshua Hale Fialkov and company. Or perhaps, I’m apt now to cast a pall on those waste opportunity with the biggest and arguably best comic book publisher in print today. These are revisions of classic characters, in an all but open world, ready for modern spins and serious explorations. In the wake of that opportunity sits this muddled mess of in-fighting, back-biting, and herky-jerky art. Ultimate FF #2 spends too much time trying to be witty and gritty, instead of layering nuance, complexity, and exploration that should be the foundation of the book.

Erik Larsen is right: every comic is a jumping on point… and as such, I suggest those interested in this new iteration of the Future Foundation jump elsewhere.

 

The Point Radio: CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL Crosses The Line

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This week, CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL winds up it’s 5th season on Adult Swim (Thursday at 12midnight ET), closing a year that saw an Emmy win, bunches of cool guest stars and even more over-the-edge episodes. Co-Creator and star, Rob Corddry talks about how it all came together and just what changes that Emmy brought to the show. Plus Oni Press has another indy sell-out and the most important name in Hollywood now is The DVR.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: One More Time For THE VENTURE BROTHERS

PT053113THE VENTURE BROTHERS kicks off a new season on Adult Swim this Sunday at midnight. we talk to the brains behind the cartoon to see what is coming up, plus there is more summer TV this week with a new season of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT. Judges Howie Mandel and Mel B tell us why this season has a lot of differences. And Doctor Who…a racist? Really?

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: One HANGOVER Too Many?

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This weekend, Director Todd Phillips brings us the final chapter in the HANGOVER saga. We talk to Todd as well as Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis on the pluses and minuses of doing a third sequel. Plus more on the alien life on SYFY’s DEFIANCE as Jamie Murray admits she is just a bit “creepy”. And Amazon is ready to buy your fan fiction.

We’re taking the holiday off, but we’ll be back late next week with our exclusive preview of the new season of THE VENTURE BROTHERS on Adult Swim.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

REVIEW: Sealab 2020

“This is the year two thousand and twenty. The place is the Challenger Sea Mount, the top of an underwater mountain, a complex beneath the sea. Two hundred and fifty men, women and children live here. Each of them, a scientist pioneer. For this is our last frontier, a hostile environment which may hold the key to tomorrow. Each day, these oceanauts meet new challenges as they build their city beneath the sea. This is Sealab 2020.”

Hanna-Barbera had to change with the times and as the 1970s dawned, kids and adults alike were tuning into the difficulties planet Earth was facing. Ecology and Earth Day were on everyone’s lips. At the same time, parents’ groups were insisting Saturday morning cartoon shows do more than shill cereal and have characters hit one another.

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PRIME SUSPECT: Maria Bello’s PRIME New Role


PRIME SUSPECT was one of the most revered BBC series of all time. Now NBC is bringing a new version to their fall season with Maria Bello in the lead role. We talk to her about the good and bad things in taking the part, and what is the deal with that hat??  And a BEETLEJUICE sequel? Yep!

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: CONTAGION Ready To Spread Through The Theaters

The lights are finally on, the internet is up and we are finally back – and there is a lot to catch up on! This coming weekend, CONTAGION infects theaters and we talk to star MATT DAMON and the others involved on just how scary this really can be. Plus here’s the plan for when you can see THE WALKING DEAD finally return, DC’s NEW 52 continues to sell out and ROMANCING THE STONE is coming back – shockkkkker!

The Point Radio is on the air right now – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or mobile device– and please check us out on Facebook right here & toss us a “like” or follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.