Tagged: Bruce Campbell

Emily S. Whitten: American Gods In Your Home?


When I heard that Neil Gaiman’s bestselling novel American Gods was being made into a TV series, I was super-interested. I’ve been a fan of American Gods (and Neil’s body of work oh, generally speaking, for many years and even had the privilege of bringing Neil and the book to The National Press Club in D.C. during its limited Tenth Anniversary Tour. And although the novel is such an epic that I had a bit of trouble picturing how the adaptation would work, I’ve always wanted to see what it would be like on screen.

As the news started filtering in about who would be running the show, writing the show, and playing all the parts, I got more and more excited. And now that I’ve been to the SDCC booth experience (which was appropriately otherworldly and included some cool swag!), attended the panel where I got to see the first trailer and hear those involved discuss their roles, and had a chance to chat with a few of the key cast and crew at the SDCC Starz American Gods/Ash vs. Evil Dead cocktail party, I am, if you can believe it, even more eager for the show to begin.

If you haven’t encountered American Gods before, it’s theoretically not a hard novel to sum up, and yet a blurb doesn’t do it justice because the book is much more than the sum of its parts. At base, the story is a complex mix of the mundane and the mythic, and in tone it ranges from dark, brutal “real life” experiences to eerie, almost hallucinogenic scenes involving gods and mythical creatures. It encompasses everything from the personal difficulties of protagonist Shadow Moon as he is released from prison to find that the life he left has disintegrated while he was away; to a lofty examination of religion, where gods come from, what purposes they serve, and how the changing priorities and beliefs of people shape the world they live in.

The novel contemplates the meaning of death; the rise of the information and social media age and shift in celebrity and media that accompanied it; the loss of old beliefs in the wake of new; the American spirit; and even the vagaries and peculiarities of small-town life. And although American Gods was published fifteen years ago, the conflicts it examines have not diminished in importance and relevance today.

Given the shifting tones of the story, and the deep research and detailed embodiments of the old gods and beliefs that are in American Gods, it needed a seriously talented team to successfully bring it to the screen. Fortunately, along with Neil being directly involved, Starz was up to the challenge; pulling in showrunners/writers like Bryan Fuller and Michael Green and directors like David Slade. Those choices reassured me from the start that Starz had the right idea, particularly after having seen Fuller and Slade’s work on Hannibal, a show that mixes dark, gruesome, gritty scenes with absolutely beautiful and haunting cinematography and sound for an almost disturbingly tactile viewing experience. Given their past work, I have no doubt we are in for a treat with the upcoming show. And that belief was reinforced when, at the SDCC panel, we got to see the first trailer, which literally sent chills down my spine.

We also got to see some of the great cast of the show at the panel. American Gods has some serious all-stars in its ranks, including the likes of Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday. Based on previous work I’ve loved them in, I’m also super excited to know we’ll be seeing Gillian Anderson (Media), Pablo Schreiber (Mad Sweeney), Peter Stormare (Czernobog), Jonathan Tucker (Low Key Lyesmith), Crispin Glover (Mr. World), Orlando Jones (Mr. Nancy), and, as announced at the SDCC panel, Kristin Chenoweth (Easter). At the panel, along with Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, David Slade, and Neil Gaiman, we also got to hear from Ian McShane, Pablo Schreiber, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruce Langley (Technical Boy), Yetide Badaki (Bilquis), and Shadow Moon himself, Ricky Whittle. Every time a cast announcement has come out so far, I’ve thought, “What an incredibly perfect fit that actor will be for that role,” and it was clear from the panel that everyone (including moderator Yvette Nicole Brown) was very into and excited about the show. Fortunately, you can observe the same, if you want to watch the whole panel here.

I got a chance to talk further with some of the American Gods panelists at the super-cool Starz American Gods/Ash vs. Evil Dead cocktail party – and, bonus, got to meet Bruce Campbell, who we all know and love from Evil Dead, but who I also adore as Sam from Burn Notice. I really enjoyed getting to briefly chat with him about the important role Sam played in bringing humor and heart to Burn Notice, and loved his totally Bruce Campbell-confident attitude as he discussed bringing his own instincts and understanding of how Sam needed to fit into the show to the role.

On the American Gods side of the party, I was delighted to have a visit with one of my favorite people and friends, Neil himself (as he is actually known on Twitter). I’ve known Neil for years, and it was great to see him amidst the excitement of his epic novel being adapted into the TV medium, particularly since he’s been very involved with the process. I was also happy for a chance to talk with Bryan Fuller again (with whom I have previously discussed Hannibal). As with Hannibal, Bryan shared that adapting American Gods is akin to creating grand-scale fanfiction. “It’s a love letter to the source material,” he noted; and he was clearly overjoyed at the chance to create such fanfic (seriously, excitement and exuberance for the opportunity just leaks out of that man’s every pore, and it’s great to see). I also talked with Michael Green, who mused that faith is whatever you put your passion into, and the way those things become real is something that is examined “with reverence” in the show.

And I had a fascinating, in-depth conversation with David Slade (who makes the best selfie faces, seriously), who first read American Gods on a plane traveling from England to America and has wanted to make it into a TV show since 2005. He shared that he loves being able to make the story continually “cinematic but weird,” and from our chat, is clearly deep in the weeds of the source material. (Side note: Neil has said he has, e.g., 400 years of history on how Mad Sweeney became Mad Sweeney, and many other bits of backstory that didn’t make it into the final novel; and the show’s writers and directors have speculated that perhaps we will see bits of that (or whole episodes of it!) in the show. Not gonna lie, I would totally watch Pablo Schreiber acting 400 years of Mad Sweeney’s backstory.)

Everything I saw and heard of American Gods at SDCC makes me now slightly-hyperventilating-excited for its premiere in early 2017; and if you want to share my experience and excitement even further, you can check out my con photos here. Also, to keep up on the latest, don’t forget to follow Starz American Gods accounts on Twitter and Instagram].

And until next time, stay tuned for more recaps from SDCC, and Servo Lectio!

Emily S. Whitten: NYCC 2015 Part II – The Round-Up!

phil-lamarAs much fun as Turtles Day (as I now affectionately call the Thursday of New York Comic Con) was, it’s most definitely not the only awesome thing about NYCC. There’s always so much awesome stuffed into those four days that it’s hard to sum it up.

This year, to assist me in my round-up, I thought I’d finally try out a New Method of Doing Things, given that my awesome friend Cleolinda Jones finds it so useful, and that she’s been using it to successfully round-up all of the online things we mention during our Made of Fail podcast (which is still going, by the way! Our latest episode was Dragon Con: The Wrath of Con. Lisssstennn!)

So even though I’m still going to hit the highlights below, I’m also going to direct you afterwards to my brand new, shiny first effort at using Storify (woo!) for even more details and pictures and who-all knows what. We’ll see how we like this whole Storify thing, eh? Call it a social experiment. And now, without further ado:

My Favorite Things About NYCC This Year:

Well we already mentioned Nickelodeon’s TMNT. Check out last week’s column for all the details on that!

Artist Alley

This is and always will be one of my favorite parts of NYCC. This year I got to walk the entire room with enough time to stop and look at the art and other items on display, and to chat with some creator and fan friends and meet some new friends. I walked around with one of my TMNT friends who was happy to meet some cool artists (hey, Kathy!), strolled some aisles with my DC-local friend who bought some most excellent My Little Pony art (holla, Petra!), and bounced around to see some creators with Eric Bauza (including taking him, as the Voice of Amadeus Cho, over to meet Reilly Brown, one of the Artists for Amadeus Cho. That was fun.)

Of course, inevitably after the con ended I realized I’d somehow still missed a few people I wanted to see (alas!) but that always happens. I watched some artists working (love doing that! Tony Moy was particularly fun to watch this year), resisted mightily buying everything in sight, and picked out just a few things to take home with me. Chief among them were Jason Hurley and Jeremy Haun’s Beauty, the first two issues of which are intriguing, and have convinced me to keep reading. I also picked up four issues of Runaways written by Noelle Stevenson, with art by Sanford Greene, which I’m looking forward to (I loved Brian K. Vaughan’s original run but got away from it for awhile after he left the book. I’ve been meaning to dive back in!). I got a cool metallic-finish Deadpool poster from Reilly Brown, as well as his new sketchbook.

And since I’m in the process of working on some comics projects myself, I was particularly excited to score a signed copy of Make Comics Like the Pros from Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente; and an X-Files comic with accompanying limited-edition script from Joe Harris. And last but not least, I picked up the most adorable dancing Groot sketchcard from Janet K. Lee, which I’d commissioned at a previous con. Yay!

Walking the Con floor

Okay, so I admit that this year even I was slightly overwhelmed by the crowd, and had to go hide in the still very crowded but less frantic-feeling Artist Alley from time to time. However, I did get to do some really fun things on the con floor. I saw my wonderful friend Ellen Datlow at the HWA booth, where I picked up a free copy of her The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 7 anthology, and bought a copy of her Nightmare Carnival anthology (creepy carnival stories! I will read them with shivery delight and then never sleep again). I hopped over to the IDW booth, had a nice chat with Dirk Wood, and picked up a copy of God is Disappointed in You, which I am super-curious to read.

I swung by the Marvel booth, and, although I sadly missed the spectacular Daredevil poster, got a great Jessica Jones poster and comic and a handful of other cool swag, including the cutest Skottie Young Secret Wars print you ever did see. I mostly avoided buying collectibles because my apartment overfloweth with them already, but did get a tiny adorable stuffed ram (what, it’s tiny!) and an awesome inflatable Companion Cube ottoman (for my casual dinner parties! Totally practical! I always run out of seating). I got to visit with the ever-charming Mark Gagliardi and meet Hal Lublin, both of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and stroll around with great friends like fun fellow DC-ite LacyMB, awesome voice actor Eric Bauza, and fellow reporter Ashley B. And Ashley and I got to take creepy crime scene videos of ourselves after being “killed” in the line of reporting duty (probably trampled by crowds trying to get into the Funko booth, yes?) at the Spotless exhibit. All-around good adventures.

Ash vs. Evil Dead

This was a fantastic panel. I love Bruce Campbell (particularly after Burn Notice – he was so good as Sam!) so I really wanted to see him on a panel; plus, I’ve been curious about how they’d make this show work ever since I started seeing the media for it at SDCC. This panel was particularly cool because I went with someone else who was totally excited about it (probably the most excited of anyone there, really) and good panel-going company always makes it more fun. We got nifty swag (Ash4President buttons, and foam chainsaws), Bruce et al. (and host Kevin Smith) were very entertaining panelists, and they showed the entire premiere episode (during which I am not ashamed to admit I jumped a lot. My startle reflex will never disappear. Neither will my desire to hide behind people or couches during scary scenes).

Unfortunately there were no couches at the Hammerstein Ballroom, but I survived. The premiere is exactly what you would want if you’re an Evil Dead fan, I think; and even if you’re not really up on the franchise, it’s engaging enough to draw in a new crowd – that is, if they are people who can handle a lot of gore and gratuitous violence. I was pretty interested in the characters they’re starting to build for the younger leads (Kelly and Pablo, played by Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago) and the storyline they’re starting with the cop (Jill Marie Jones) and Lucy Lawless’s character Ruby. And of course, tying it all together is the always classy (sarcasm, what? I will say I thought the sex scene early on was a little much even for this character) Ash, and a boatload of well-done references to the franchise. My one caveat is that I think in order to keep people interested, they’re going to really have to do some character and story-building with the non-Ash characters – but if they do it well, this show could be a really cool addition to TV horror.

Seeing awesome people!

And so many of them; but primarily here I’m talking about Andrea Romano, who I was delighted to learn was autographing this year (if she has in the past, I’ve missed it). She is definitely one of the uber-talented people of the animation industry that I most admire (plus she’s super classy and nice), so it was great to see her again and get her to sign what is turning into one of the most-autographed things I own, a TMNT pizza box. Phil LaMarr also added his signature to the collection (I love him as Baxter Stockman), and it was great to see him as well. And as it turned out, the delightful and hilarious John DiMaggio was also signing at the same time, so I got a great Joker picture signed by him. Yay!

The ICv2 White Paper Happy Hour

Although I love all the media stuff that goes on at comic cons, I really like to spend time on the comics end of things too. I’d never been able to get to the ICv2 stuff before, since they usually do events on Wednesday before I arrive in town for the con. This year, though, they changed tack and did something during the con. For those who don’t know, ICv2 studies and reports on the statistics and trends about in the industry, including e.g. comics and convention trends. It was interesting to hear the latest on the State of the Industry at the event, and particularly the continued growth in female readership in comics, which was regarded with enthusiasm (good!).

Of course, it was also nice to grab a drink and a chat with comics friends, and engage in some more serious discussions regarding news such as the most recent sexual harassment in the business (which I will be addressing more in another column). I’m glad these things are being discussed rather than ignored.]

And finally…

Just all of the fun and energy of going out and about with all of the awesome people who are in NYC during Comic-Con. That includes the Image party, at which everyone in comics showed up (seriously, I mean I didn’t personally run into everyone, but I’m pretty sure they were all there) in a maze-like bowling alley/arcade/bar/dance club with many levels and rooms and cool chairs I wanted to steal. Also the several lovely breakfasts and dinners I had with high school friends and law school friends and con friends (and apparently this year’s accidental restaurant theme was seafood, since I ended up at Grand Central’s Oyster Bar, Crave Fishbar, and L&W Oyster Co. all in the space of three days. Not that I minded! Such gooood foooood). And the fun bar scene, which this year included the Campbell Apartment which I had no idea existed and which is exactly the sort of place I love to discover (thanks, Dennis!). And of course the wrap-up of my NYC trip, which ended with a great long-form improv show featuring Phil LaMarr at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which I’d never been to. It was fantastic; and I haven’t laughed that hard in some time!

And that was pretty much my show this year! But if that isn’t enough excitement for you, or if you’re hurting for my usual linkage to tons of pictures, for even more round-up, click here or just scroll down to check out my NYCC Storify (and let me know if you like it, as a thing. Should I do it again? Feedback, people! Do tell!).

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

Mike Gold: Beware The Batman – I Call Him Sid

Gold Art 130731O.K. I’ll admit it upfront. I was kind of wrong. I was all prepared to hate Beware The Batman, the new DC Nation animated series.

There are a whole lot of reasons for this. First, I like my Batman to have a forehead. Second, the teevee bastards cancelled Young Justice, which I really enjoyed. So did my adult daughter and, from time to time, either or both of our cats. It was a family experience. Third, the CG is clunky and lame, lacking the grace of the Green Lantern series. Fourth, Lt. James Gordon is as big as the Incredible Hulk and almost as old as dirt. If he didn’t make captain before he got Reed Richards’ hair, he’d counting the days to his pension.

Next-to-last, do we really need a fourth Batman animated series? They did it right the first time, they did it wrong the second time, and the third one was surprisingly entertaining. How many times can you go to the well before you hire Jim Carrey and Arnold Schwarzenegger?

But, most of all, head over heals of all, what they did to Alfred Pennyworth shouldn’t have been done to… oh, say… the Joker. He’s an entirely different character. A military super-Seal MI-6 type, roughly fourteen feet tall, no mustache – indeed, no hair at all, and a chin so pronounced he looks like the illegitimate son of Jay Leno and Bruce Campbell. Simply put, he’s not Alfred. I would have been happier if they called him Sid.

But I dutifully had my TiVo watch the first three episodes and I sat down to watch the first. Maybe it was a case of diminished expectations, but I mostly sorta liked Beware The Batman. I found myself going from the first to the second to the third, and then setting up a season pass for the rest.

Once I got past the stuff about Sid calling himself Alfred, the writing is quite good. Paring Katana with Bats as a de facto Robin works. The whole Task Force Batman thing (my phrase, not theirs) works better here than in the comics. They decided to focus on underused villains that have been mostly unused on television, which is a very smart move. In fact, I’m in favor of any Batman series that doesn’t feature the Joker in the early weeks. Make ‘em work for it. The relationship between Sid and Bruce is solid and convincing, and Bruce doesn’t come off as a douchebag.

As is true with virtually all Warner Bros. projects, the voice work is impeccable. Yes, I miss Kevin Conroy in the lead – he’s had the job longer than any single Batman actor, and that includes Matt Crowley (Google, chillun). But as always, voice casting director Andrea Romano rules.

None of this makes up for what they’re calling Alfred and I call Sid. This is an abomination – but not quite a dealkiller. For a while, in the comics they established Alfred was involved in the World War II French freedom fighter movement with Mlle. Marie, and that worked for me because he was still Alfred – reasonably athletic, extremely clever, and highly effective. They got past this when his World War II service would have defined him as older than Methuselah.

When all is said and done, Beware The Batman is an entertaining show.

But when I watch it, I still think “Oh. You mean Sid.”

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: More Betta Emily S. Whitten!!!




Mike Gold: Commuters Are A Superstitious and Cowardly Lot

Gold Art 130220Last week I had the distinct honor and privilege of dining with my fellow ComicMix columnist Martha Thomases. Whereas I’d love to squawk on and on about the finest fried chicken I’ve ever eaten in Manhattan, it was after I left to go home when things got interesting, weird, surreal… and dangerous.

I got to my commuter train just in time to make the 9:07. I’d be home by 10:15. Not bad. We arrived on time in Harlem at 9:17 and proceeded up to the Bronx… where we came to a dead halt at approximately 178th Street and Park Avenue. After a few minutes we were told we were being delayed by a “police action.” OK; that’s life in the big city. I commenced to read the latest issue of Futurama Comics on my iPad. Then another announcement: oh, geez, they were mistaken. No police activity. The train broke down. It was a brand-new train, built by the Canadian company Bombardier. They set about to fix it.

Then the power went out. The emergency lighting was fine and my iPad had its own luminosity, but there was no air circulation and the temperature started to rise – quickly. People began to look at those emergency windows; you know, the ones that you can pop out in case the train is derailed and Bruce Campbell is walking around with a machete.

Some time later they said they power pads that draw the juice from the third rail had been ripped off, probably due to debris on the track. They’re working on it. Yeah, right. I started wondering if a texted last will and testament would hold up in court. Then they announced the train was, in fact, broken, and they were awaiting a diesel engine to tow us back to Harlem where, “hopefully,” there would soon be a train to which we could transfer.

The crowd started getting testy. Perhaps hypoglycemic shock is communicable.

Later still we were rammed by a coupling engine and it was announced all they had to do was hook up the air brakes and we’d be Harlem bound. A half hour later, they admitted they couldn’t get the brakes to work. Plan B: they’d find another train, bring it alongside mine, shut down the third rail and we’d bridge over to the new train. A few people who had been around that block said that would take at least an hour because they only open two doors for the bridge and everybody would have to walk through all the cars to get to the transfer point, then walk through the new train to find a seat. A few people started to freak.

Two ladies who evidently flunked out of their Connecticut finishing school started swearing profusely. Aside: why is it women are not very creative in their choice of curse words? “Fucking liars” is simply not sufficient. The situation called for something like “Jesus fuck a shit soufflé, these in-bread assholes couldn’t stack a pile of Ritz Crackers without a goddamned schematic.” Note to self: look into conducting training sessions for the malediction impaired.

Before long one of my comrades-in-boredom started screaming. Another started wailing. The lady sitting next to me kept on tossing her used Kleenex on the floor, along with her half-eaten food. I looked around to see if anybody had grown a Joker smile.

Eventually a train pulled alongside and maybe 15 minutes later the train bridge was in place and the third-rail was powered down. We made the long march to our new magic carpet ride. Of course, the new train was two cars shorter. The third rail was powered up and the air brake checks started.

And… they didn’t work.

And people went nuts. Remember the “preparing for crash landing” scene in Airplane?

I reconsidered my attitude towards zombies. Finally, after a platoon of train people manually pumped the air brakes into action (and yes, that looks as obscene as it sounds), we slowly moved forward. They apologized and said the next stop was Stamford. I said to myself “yeah, but will we be able to stop?” Then some guy made that very same statement out loud. Nobody laughed.

As we picked up speed, I noticed that one of my fellow travelers was Green Arrow.

No shit. Look carefully at the photo atop this column. This was not Photoshopped.

I got home just before 1 AM. One of our cats was waiting in the window, tapping his watch. Yes, he’s got a Mickey Mouse watch. You need a sense of humor to make it through the day in my house.

Of course, this was a fart in a blizzard next to the horrors of those riding that Carnival cruise ship, but my respect for my fellow Connecticuttians hit a new low, as my enthusiasm for the creators of Futurama Comics grew proportionately.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Two New Cars 2 Clips

Two New Cars 2 Clips

While everyone is charging their power ring for this weekend’s premiere of Green Lantern, Pixar is revving up the anticipation engine for the following weekend’s release of Cars 2. They’ve just sent us two video clips to whet your appetites.

The movie from directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis features the vocal talents of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Peter Jacobson, Thomas Kretschmann, Guido Quaroni, Lloyd Sherr, Paul Dooley, John Ratzenberger, Jenifer Lewis, Michael Wallis, Katherine Helmond, John Turturro, Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard, Bruce Campbell, Michel Michelis, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Lewis Hamilton, and David Hobbs.

Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car.  But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.  Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer).  Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world.  The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

ComicMix Wishes You A Solemn Ash Wednesday

ComicMix Wishes You A Solemn Ash Wednesday

We here at ComicMix want to wish all our Catholic brothers and sisters a solemn and repentant Ash Wednesday. Of course we’re not entirely sure how to celebrate the holiday (c’mon, everybody in comics wants to be Jewish…) so we asked some famous Ashes to give us some tips! They were most helpful.

So today, we salute you, and hope that you indeed catch all the 493 Pokémon… kill all the dirty and damned deadites… and be sure to fight fires and defeat the villains with your futuristic fire sword spewing gauntlets!

We had thought Ash Wednesday had something to do with repenting for ones’ sins, finding inner strength, and the Easter Bunny… but Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Quesada, Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Satoshi Tajiri wouldn’t lie to us, right?

So what are you giving up for Lent this year? Let us know below! Unless you’re giving up reading online comics and blogs. In that case don’t say anything.

The Point Radio More With PSYCH

The Point Radio More With PSYCH

We wind up our backstage visit to USA Network’s PSYCH by talking to the man who created the show and we get the secret origin of that pineapple.  Plus BASTARDS does big box office, you could be the next Charles Schultz and there are Five Things you need to see in the comic store this week and we list them right here!


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ComicMix Radio: Evil Dead The Final Answer

ComicMix Radio: Evil Dead The Final Answer

We wind up our exclusive interview with Bruce Campbell by posting the question Bruce gets almost daly – what’s next for Evil Dead?  He cuts to that with a chainsaw here plus:

  • Lost gets a premiere date
  • Rudolph goes digital
  • When is the next Kick Ass coming? 

Bruce says Press the Button, nube!


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