Tagged: House

Enter To Win a Signed Copy of “Hawkeye” #7 by Donating to the Red Cross


First off, let my introduce myself. I’m Sara. Normally you don’t hear from me because I work behind the scenes, helping keep the technology that runs ComicMix running, writing code to implement new features and being an all around source of technical knowledge. I’m a recent convert to comics, and I’d like to do things to be involved with the community of fans and creators. When I heard Matt Fraction was going to be at my go-to comic shop, House of Secrets, I was ecstatic.

Fraction is donating all his royalties from writing hurricane themed Hawkeye #7 to the Red Cross to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy, and signed copies at House of Secrets in exchange for additional donations (he raised $722.60). I braved the crowds to get my copies of Hawkeye #1 – 7 signed, threw in a donation and picked up five extra signed copies of Hawkeye #7, because I want to give you all a chance at one of these. Inspired by Matt and his wife Kelly Sue DeConnick’s twitter donation drive, I decided to do the same thing.

So here’s the deal. Make a donation to the Red Cross, grab a screenshot and donate in honor of Hawkguy and tweet it at us (@comicmix) or email it to hawkeyecontest@comicmix.com or leave it here in a comment. Feel free to let @mattfraction and @kellysue know you’ve donated too. We’ll let this contest run for five days, since I have 5 copies, and end it at midnight EST on Monday, February 4th. On Tuesday the 5th I will make a big spreadsheet of everyone who contributed and entered and randomly pick five of you to mail these to. It’s that simple! You do something good, and maybe get a free signed copy of Hawkeye #7.

REVIEW: House at the End of the Street

House at the end of the StreetThere are flashes of characterization, wit, and warmth in House at the End of the Street, making you hope it is a cut above your modern day horror film. The movie largely focuses on the mother and daughter tandem of Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence), as they struggle to start fresh in a town after divorce. They can only afford to rent such a nice house because it is situated near the home where a young girl murdered her parents so is tainted. Of course, right there, you know the daughter is still around. Then we learn the son, who had been living with relatives when the heinous act occurred, had moved back in. And we’re off.

The movie, said to be inspired by a short story written by Jonathan Mostow, probably worked better as prose, where more could be done to set mood and character without falling into the tropes that reduce this to a cookie cutter thriller that fails to really thrill. The best thing it has going for it as some twists and turns towards the end that are interesting but are not explored (nor will I discuss so as not to spoil it for fans).

What makes the movie interesting to watch is the cast, headed by Shue, who hasn’t done much interesting work since Leaving Las Vegas, but makes the most of the underwritten role of the mother tightening her grip on the teenage daughter she loves, realizing she’s losing her at the same time. Lawrence, a major star thanks to Winter’s Bone and The Hunger Games, also doesn’t really get enough to work with but plays the new girl at high school rather well. Her scenes with Max Theriot, the boy next door, are some of the best in the film.

Had screenwriter David Loucka and director Mark Tonderai –two men with negligible credits — played more with the mother/daughter, new girl in town threads, this could have been a far richer, more believable tale. Instead, they fell into the trap of using that as window dressing, focusing instead on the mystery of who is trapped under the floor of the cursed house. The soundtrack by Theo Green adds a level of suspense that the perfunctory photography fails to deliver.

The disc coms with the 101-minutetheatricalversion and the unrated 107-minute version, which is just more of the same, making it all the more disappointing. The promised shocking added twist is interesting and could have made the film more interesting, and certainly more of a Hitchcockian thrill ride as promised in the short extra “Journey Into Terror” where the cast and crew heroically make it sound like the film was worth the effort. For Lawrence, this is one of those she will keep on her resume and probably never talk about again.

This release, out now from 20th Century Home Entertainment comes with both versions on a Blu-ray disc and the standard DVD and digital copy are on the second disc.

Mike Gold: The Brass Ring Melts

We used to be the bastard child of our American culture.

We were embarrassed by our public image. As we aged, we demanded our pastime mature along with us. We started to infiltrate the means of production, bringing our all-important ideas and ideals along with us. After all, the comics field skipped a generation – few could enter a business that, in the 1950s, was rapidly shrinking. Besides, the Reader’s Digest and the Saturday Evening Post were painting comic book writers and artists as child pornographers. Better to write for the torrid magazines where buff, all-American manly men were saving all-American buxom brunettes from Uncle Joe Stalin and his legion of rodent-faced S & M fanatics, leaving the comics door open for those starry-eyed youngsters who knew no better.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and publishers facing diminished profits understood that our generation worked for a lot less money than the cranky old geezers who wanted to unionize. This same generation was also entering the rest of the public media. Together, we took pleasure in the modern media adaptations of our favorite characters because at least they took our childhoods seriously.

Then we got legitimate. It’s all Richard Donner’s fault. He made Superman – The Movie, the first massive attempt to portray the American comics medium as a serious, legitimate part of our cultural heritage. It was as successful as it was straight-forward, well-produced, well-acted, and well-written. Heroic fantasy took hold of a greater percentage our culture and hasn’t let go.

Comics were taken seriously. The stuff was taught in colleges and in art schools. A decade later Batman came out, upping the ante all the more. Then the Spider-Man movies, the X-Men, the Avengers Universe… Our pastime was generating more revenue in theaters and on television in two years than it had on the newsstands in the previous fifty combined.

And then the people who owned the movie studios that always offered style over substance – style über alles – began to understand there was money to be made in them thar hills. Talent was discounted as necessarily expensive bait. Warner Bros. realized they actually owned a major comic book company, a fact that was purposely kept mostly hidden from them for decades by that very comic book company. Disney understood that the House of Mouse lacked a relevance to the 21st Century audience and their subsequent creations, as popular as they were, weren’t the cultural icons that were found at the House of Ideas. So the Mouse bought them.

And now, more than ever, its employees are being treated as cogs in these massive corporate machines. They need to be oiled and dusted and maintained for a while, but you can replace any or all of the cogs without damaging the icons, without diminishing the shine on the family jewels.

And so we grieve and we fret each time another massively talented creator gets replaced. But that’s how it works in the legit world.

Always did, always will.

The moral of the story: don’t quit your day job.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil


Marc Alan Fishman: A Painful Admission of Indie Guilt

I admit it readers! I done ran outta things to complain about. So, like any amazing editor would, Mike Gold set forth a challenge. A simple one at that. “How about something(s) you really look forward to that aren’t DC or Marvel?” See? Simple! What a great excuse to highlight all those little known indie projects I dive into… like all the time. What better place to pimp the wares and projects that aren’t draped in NOWs or New52s. Where else could I wax poetic about those “next big things” all of you are fretting over!

And here comes the shocking truth. When it came to comics? Nothing came to mind.

Sure, there’s a litany of TV shows, movies, and music all coming out that I’d love to waste time discussing. Hell, I have a few seconds, so why not. I’m loving the last season of The Office. Parks and Recreation continues to be the funniest / sweetest show on TV.  Since House ended though, I’m just out of the drama verve.

It doesn’t help that I don’t watch TV until midnight, and barely last until half-past. Having a day job, making comic books at night, and being a freelancer adds up. In movieville… I know I have to catch Wreck-It-Ralph. Flight looked good too. Add in Lincoln and The Hobbit? And my dance card is plenty full. And in music? Robbie Williams just served up a huge slice of BritPop that I can’t get enough of. Seriously, watch the video for “Candy” and try not to get a little wiggle in your tuchas. But I digress.

When it comes to the world of comics, my “have to have it meter” is so very mainstream. This week, I came very close to buying some Image books that had cool covers… but I was lured away by my staples, Green Lantern, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and the newly NOW’ed Iron Man. I’m not ashamed to admit what a mainstream whore I’ve been lately. But consider this article my wake up call. There’s too much good stuff out there for me to miss. And as an indie creator in the trenches too? It should absolutely be my duty to explore the lesser-knowns.

But where to start? With con season over, my “indie channel” is pretty much cut off until March 2013. This will mean, to me at least, my exploration of the unknown will be largely relegated to the independent rack space of my local comic shop (which is one third a s’mores in Chicagoland, if you get-the-drift). This means my attention will turn towards Dark Horse, Image, Boom!, Dynamite, IDW, and their brethren. And let’s just make it a hard and fast rule – no licensed comics. Sorry to be mean, but frankly every time I’ve tried one, it comes across more as fan-service than an original leap of interest. I know that’s bull-headed, so I welcome your flaming comments below.

I guess somewhere in between these random thoughts lay the issue so many of the smaller publishers and true indie creators are suffering through these days. With CBR, Bleeding Cool, and Newsarama covering the Big Two (and A Half if we count “everything else”), there’s few hubs that I know of online that really explores the other side of the forest. And let us not fool ourselves. Marvel and DC dominate the ‘cape’ market. Boom! had a hit with Irredeemable/Incorruptible, but that ship has sailed. And try as hard as they might, Dynamite’s ‘Let Alex Ross Do Whatever He Wants’ business model burned me one time too many. Hand to Buddha? Image is my last bastion of street cred these days. Doesn’t hurt that Revival is one of the best books being produced today. The key then is to find more like it.

Suffice to say, I’m truly not picky. Prior to picking up Revival because I actually know the creators… I wasn’t one for horror or zombie books. Now? Paint me grey and call me Charlie. The clear ideology of numbers would tell me that the indie scene is rife with genres I’m not presently enjoying. Is there an amazing western, sci-fi, comedy, romance, or mutt of a comic series I can jump into? There’s one place I know instantly to turn to – you.

I throw myself on the mercy of you, the nerd court. I beg of you to pelt me with suggestions of books I’m missing. And then you can follow my thoughts, good or bad, over at Michael Davis World. Shameless cross-promotion? You bet your sweet bippy.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Dennis O’Neil’s Pissed Off!

I’m tired of being an outsider! No more rebel for me! From now on, I run with the pack.

But where to begin? Why, by emulating our leaders, those wonderful ladies and gents who prowl the halls of power in our nation’s capitol. Yessir, I’m talking about Washington D.C. and I’m talking about our own Congress and we’re not playing favorites, the House or the Senate, either one will do. So, to imitate our solons…I guess I should get pissed off about something. I guess I have to! Isn’t that what the current crop of lawmakers do?

But what? The economy? Nah – everybody’s riding that hobby horse.  The wars? Old news, and besides, everyone seems to be taking them for granted. Wait…I’ve got it.

The Journal News. My local newspaper.

A little context. I’m just back from the St. Louis area where I spent some coin on a couple of editions of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which Joseph Pulitzer owned before he went to east and, at the New York World, commissioned the first color comics. Now, I never worked for the PD – I reported for a much smaller sheet upstate – but it was an early part of my daily life from toddlerhood on. I guess my parents must have been subscribers.

Almost certainly, it was in the PD’s “funny pages” that I got my first exposure to panel art. Not only were there comics in the PD, at a certain time in, I guess, the 40s, those comics were in color. Not just Sundays – heck, every paper’s Sunday comics were in color – but every blessed day. I think I was on the floor of my grandmother’s living room when I opened the paper and…wow! Color comics! On a weekday! Some occasions, a kid doesn’t forget. And somewhere, Joseph Pulitzer was exalting.

So, flash forward: Last Monday, I picked up the PD, turned to the funny pages looking for my favorites and, yes, there it was, the strip that I think is tied with Doonesbury for being the best and wisest feature in all of syndication: Non Sequitur, by Wiley Post. But it was a strip! And in the Journal News, it’s a box! The editor in me wanted to know if the feature was sent in two formats or certain papers reformatted it themselves, and what effect that might have on Wiley Post’s working habits and if he has to reformat himself, why that doesn’t drive him crazy.

But, while all that gives one pause, it’s not bad. What is bad is what I saw the day before, in the PD’s Sunday funny pages: Non Sequitur. In color. On Sunday! On Sunday, dammit. Because the Journal News, though it has a Sunday comics section, which I read every week, doesn’t carry the Sunday Non Sequitur. I didn’t even know that there was a Sunday Non Sequitur before this week

Well, Journal News? I’ve been a loyal reader for 14 years and I live in Upper Nyack and I can’t help wondering what you have against doing us the service of publishing Non Sequitur seven days a week. Not six – seven. Do I hear an excuse?

I’m waiting, Journal News. And I am pissed!

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases and Big Hair


Walt Disney Animation Announces Frozen for November 2013

BURBANK, Calif. (June 11, 2012) – Walt Disney Animation Studios presents an epic tale of adventure and comedy in “Frozen,” a computer-animated feature film slated for the big screen in November 2013. Directed by Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up) and produced by Peter Del Vecho (Winnie the Pooh, The Princess and the Frog), Frozen features the vocal talents of film/TV/stage star Kristen Bell as Anna, a young dreamer about to take the adventure of a lifetime, and Tony Award ®-winning actress Idina Menzel as Elsa the Snow Queen. The movie will feature original songs by Broadway greats Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

In Frozen, a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, so Anna (voice of Bell) must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, on the grandest of journeys to find the Snow Queen (voice of Menzel) and put an end to the icy spell. Encountering Everest-like extremes, mystical creatures and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.

Bell has starred in a variety of films, including the comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Couples Retreat, and the upcoming films Hit & Run, Some Girls and the Farrelly Brothers’ Movie 43. On the small screen, Bell is currently starring in the Showtime series House of Lies alongside Don Cheadle; she has also starred in Heroes and Veronica Mars. Broadway credits include The Crucible and Tom Sawyer.

Menzel, who won a Tony Award® as Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Elphaba in Broadway’s Wicked (2004), landed her first role on Broadway in 1995 in the Tony Award-winning musical Rent. Film credits include Enchanted and the feature film Rent. She has appeared in a recurring role on TV’s Glee and recently released Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, a live concert with an orchestra led by composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Menzel is currently on a North American concert tour.

Robert Lopez is a three-time Tony Award®-winning writer of the Tony and Grammy® Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, which was co-written with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park), and the musical Avenue Q, which ran for six years on Broadway and four years in London’s West End.  Lopez teamed with wife Anderson-Lopez, whose Drama Desk-winning show In Transit is Broadway-bound, to write original songs for 2011’s Winnie the Pooh, a stage version of Finding Nemo and a new musical called Up Here.


Grimm Season One DVD Details Released

The dust has barely settled on the 2011-2012 television season, but the studios are already gearing up the season box sets in anticipation of the fall premieres. Among them is Grimm, which was a major ratings surprise for NBC when the mid-season series debuted. It takes an entirely different look at fairy tales, compared with ABC’s ratings success with Once Upon a Time proving once more that it all comes down to execution.

Universal Home Entertainment will be releasing the first season of Grimm on August 7 and if you haven’t sampled the series yet, it’s worth a look. Here are the details:

OVERVIEW: Classic Grimm’s fairy tales come to life like never before in the “dark and imaginative” (Mike Ayers, CNN.com) supernatural series Grimm, from the producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  Homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, Privileged, Grey’s Anatomy) discovers he is descended from a long line of criminal profilers known as “Grimms,” protectors who are charged with keeping the balance between humanity and the creatures of myth.  With newly awoken abilities to detect the evil lurking among us, Nick struggles to keep his old life separate and safe as he becomes ever more entrenched in the ancient rivalries of the Grimm world.  Available on Blu-ray™ and DVD on August 7, 2012, Grimm Season One allows fans to experience all 22 chilling episodes back-to-back and uninterrupted. (more…)

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: “Super-heroines,” Get Back In The Kitchen!

So after a few weeks of daydreaming and being all cutesy-wootsie, I figure it’s about time I stir the pot a little. Let me get behind this wire mesh wall, force field, and don some protective gear. There. Safe and secure. Ahem…

Marvel’s female superheroes suck.

Don’t believe me? OK. Name the first few Marvel superheroes that come to mind. I’ll give you a minute. Who did you say…Spider-Man? Thor? Captain America? How about Iron Man? Hmm. No double X chromosomes there. The last big event to revolve around a woman? Oh yeah! House of M. The one where Marvel showed that a chick who ain’t barefoot and preggers goes crazy and resets the universe at will. Now there’s a feather in a feminists’ cap.

When I say “important women of Marvel,” aren’t they are always the yin to the yang of a more powerful man? Pepper Potts. Sorry Matt Fraction, you can put a repulsor in her chest, you can give her a code name, but she’s still just Tony’s secretary. Mary Jane Watson-Parker-Watson-by-way-of-a-retcon? Face it tiger, she’s just there to fall off buildings. Maria Hill? Nick Fury’s assprint hadn’t even cooled off before she was ousted back down to who-cares-ville. And when we open the discussion to those ladies who carry the hero badge? It doesn’t get any better.

Sue Storm, the matriarch of the Future Foundation. The soul of the Fantastic Four. Completely boring and useless without her husband. The best writers of Sue have always pegged her as a strong and independent woman. But take her away from Reed, Ben, or the children and the only bullet point left on her resume is part-time booty call for Namor.

Black Widow: slut with guns. How about Ms. Marvel? I’ll be completely honest. I don’t know a thing about her. Best I could tell? She was brought in because Marvel has no Wonder Woman, so they threw her on the Avengers. Beyond that I assume they keep her around because cute girls can show off their butts by cosplaying as her. What of the X-Men? Well, Jean Grey has died only 17 times, and has changed names to various permutations of “Phoenix,” all to what effect? She’s Cyclop’s gal. She maybe did Wolvie in a closet while Slim was waxing his car. And in the Ultimate Universe, maybe she did Charles too.

Let’s not forget Storm. She was married off to Black Panther so they could make super-black-babies that will invariably land on some future iteration of the X-Avengers. Not because they’ll be well written mind you… but they will add that “affirmative action” flavor John Stewart was used for back in the JLA.

I say this obviously not just to be cranky. I openly yell to the heavens for someone to come in and make the women matter again. Joss Whedon put Kitty Pride and the White Queen front and center in his amazing run on Astonishing X-Men. More than that, he made them more than worthless eye-candy in butt floss. He gave them dimension, and class. They weren’t in peril for perils’ sake.

Given Whedon’s pedigree for good female characterization, it didn’t come as a surprise. Whedon aside, other Marvel writers certainly have the know-how. Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathon Hickman are all amazing writers who know the ins and out of nuance. They’ve each made the females in their books (yes that includes Pepper in the aforementioned Iron Man series) very potent. But my gripe remains the same.

It’s not enough to write a woman as powerful, smart, and put-together. It’s the act of writing them as such that they are more than decoration. Throughout Marvel’s recent history, it’s been a literal boys-club. Civil War? Captain America and Iron Man fighting in the sandbox. Secret War? An excuse to make Norman Osbourn king of the playground – until sales dipped, and people stopped caring. And now we have Fear Itself, which as far as I can tell is only an excuse to half-kill Thor, and dress everyone up in Tron-stripes.

I yearn just once to have a female character in any of these situations stand up and set the world straight. Not to say it’s happened in the DC ever… but I actually believe Marvel has the smarts to actually do it. In this day and age where the DCnU turns Starfire and Catwoman into sultry sluts with no character trait beyond their cup size… I look to the House of Ideas to set the industry right.

When DC was making up Kryptonite and the color yellow the ultimate weapons against its heroes, Marvel figured out that debt, responsibility, and a guilty conscience was far better. Let us hope that in the coming times, they take the next step and realize that women are more than tits and tiny costumes. They are the fairer sex, the stronger characters, and perhaps the last untouched resource for superior fiction.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

Let Them Talk

Let Them Talk
Hugh Laurie
Produced by Joe Henry Warner Bros. Records

Let us stipulate up front that Hugh Laurie is an insanely talented individual. He’s a comedian, a comic actor, a dramatic actor, a comedy writer, a novelist, plays piano, guitar, and percussion, and, apparently, deep down in his soul, according to the liner notes of Let Them Talk, he’s also an 80-year old, gravelly-voiced Negro ex-sharecropper blues singer.

Sure. Why not?

Most of us think he’s a dyspeptic American medical miracle man (hearing his acceptance speech for his Emmy win as Dr. House, my ex-wife, who knew Hugh Laurie only from House and Stuart Little, asked, “Why is he putting on an English accent?”), so why couldn’t this British born, Oxford and Cambridge educated actor also be Jellyroll Morton?

In Let Them Talk, Hugh Laurie sings the blues, and if he ain’t Jellyroll Morton (and who could be?), he dives into these classic numbers as though he wished he could be. “These great and beautiful artists lived it as they played it,” Laurie writes in the liner notes. “But at the same time, I could never bear to see this music confined to a glass cabinet, under the heading Culture: Only To Be Handled By Elderly Black Men. That way lies the grave, for the blues and just about everything else: Shakespeare only performed at The Globe, Bach only played by Germans in tights. It’s formaldehyde, and I pray that Leadbelly will never be dead enough to warrant that.”

Laurie offers his credentials for playing the blues: a lifelong love for the music and its performers, “I love this music, as authentically as I know how.” The love is there, and combined with some of the abovementioned insane talent, Let Them Talk comes across with some new takes on the old blues worth listening to.

“St. James Infirmary Blues” opens with a quiet, almost symphonic rendition of this great, mournful song that eventually slides into a more traditional take that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The high points include “Swanee River,” the Stephen Foster classic that Laurie weaves with the swinging, piano pounding verve of a Jerry Lee Lewis and Craig Eastman’s haunting violin accompaniment; the energetic power of Robert Johnson’s “They’re Red Hot”; the lazy Ferdinand Joseph Morton composition, “Winin’ Boys Blues,” Cosimo Matassa’s “Tipitina,” and the simple, crisp pickings on Arthur Phelps’ “Police Dog Blues.”

Joining Laurie are such guest vocalists as Dr. John on the Harry Creamer and Turner Layton classic “After You’ve Gone,” which pays no uncertain homage to the 1928 Bessie Smith and later Mac Rebennack recordings; Irma Thomas on the soulful “John Henry,” and Sir Tom Jones (yes, that Tom Jones), plaintively begging “Baby Please Make A Change,” by Armenta Bo, Carter Chatmon/Alonzo Lonnie Chatmon.

For the most part, Laurie’s voice carries him through, but polish and sophistication were never a perquisite for singing the blues. We can forgive him if he has to reach and sometimes strain to hit that note; the blues are, after all, about struggle and pain. But like the first time you heard Hugh Laurie speak without an American accent or play the piano, you’ll be delighted and surprised by what this talented individual can do. Kind of makes you wonder what he has to sing the blues about.

Paul Kupperberg is, deep down in his soul, an 80-year old phlegmy-voiced Jewish comedy writer. He also writes the critically acclaimed Life With Archie Magazine for Archie Comics and is the author of the mystery novel, The Same Old Story (available as an eBook on Amazon.com).



From Redbud Studios-

Five tales of suspense, the weird and the macabre brought to you in a variety of styles reminiscent of the “House of Mystery” type comics from the golden and silver age of comics. Join Ron and his cohorts in the danse macabre full of fun and creepy fun…

TALES OF THE MACABRE offers an opportunity for long-time comics writer Ron Fortier to showcase his skill and love of crafting solid short stories of the offbeat, strange and downright weird while allowing himself the chance to work with a number of up and coming independent artists.

Ron Fortier’s Tales of the Macabre #1 TM and © by each respective artist. Stories, logo and title of the book © & ™Ron Fortier. All rights reserved.

Now available from Indy Planet at http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5926