Tagged: Prey

Martha Thomases: TV or Hot TV

When I was a girl, back in the Stone Age, September was a big, big deal. School started, so we got new clothes. There were new model cars in the showroom.

(Here’s a joke from those days: What are the three holiest days in the Jewish Calendar? Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur, and September 29. What’s September 29? The day the new Cadillacs come out. I love that joke. I think it’s kind of anti-Semitic, but it makes me laugh. Also, I’ve only heard it told by other Jews.)

Most important to childhood me was the new television season. After a summer of re-runs, the three major networks would launch new shows. TV Guide would explain what the new series were about, and what changes were coming to keep the old shows fresh. It was so exciting!

Today, now so much. As this article reports, new shows premiere all the time, and, of course, there are many more than three television networks offering them.

And if you can’t watch a show when it airs, you don’t have to wait until the rerun comes around. You can record it on the DVR (which I still refer to as “taping” because I’m old. Sometimes I say “icebox”). You can watch it on On-Demand stations on cable, or on Hulu or other Internet sites.

You don’t even have to be home. You can watch on your phone, or your tablet.

It should be a golden age, but I find it causes me stress. Instead of making me feel safe, like I can actually live my life the way I want, I feel like I can’t keep up.

For example, on Sundays, there are currently four shows I want to watch between 8 PM and 11 PM. Two are on HBO, which means I can watch them at anytime either On Demand or on HBO Go. One is on a broadcast network, so I can “tape” it or, if I can stand commercials, On Demand. One is on BBC-America, and their On Demand is kind of dicey, so I tend to “tape.”

On Monday, there are also four shows I like, plus I’m out of the house for a part of prime time. More on the DVR.

Tuesdays are also packed, but a lot of what I like are the sit-coms, which tend to be 30 minutes and not 60, spit’s easier to find the 20 minutes of free time. And then, Wednesday there is hardly anything I like (at least so far). I can catch up.

Because if I don’t, Thursdays and Fridays are also clogged. If we come around to Sunday again and I haven’t watched any of the shows from the previous week, I’m behind. Aaaah!

(Also, back in the day, there weren’t continuing plot lines from one week to the next. You could watch a show without having seen any before it, and still figure out who the characters were, or what was going on.)

There’s a lot I’m curious about this year. Will Elementary be good enough to survive in a world that already has Sherlock? I hope so, because I have loved Jonny Lee Miller since Hackers, and it’s not his fault he’s not Benedict Cumberbatch. I have hopes for Vegas because The Big Easy is my idea of a sexy film. Fringe is back for a real conclusion, and all will be revealed.

As a geek, I’m also excited about the CW’s Arrow. The lead is really cute. It looks like they’re keeping a lot of what made the comic book fun (archery, riches, Dinah). They’ve added a mother, and I’m hoping she is not a harpy, but a way to add depth to Oliver Queen, at least through conversation. Did I mention the cute lead?

Recent television shows based on comics have a mixed track record. While I kind of liked

Birds of Prey because I have loved Barbara Gordon in every form, the series only lasted 13 episodes. Smallville did much better, perhaps because it, too, had a cute guy in the lead role.

I sense a trend.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

Valiant’s Bloodshot Hollywood Bound

modern-bloodshot-300x225-8655094Valiant Entertainment has been stirring things up as they prepare to relaunch their moribund line of characters in May. Now word has hit that Jeff Wadlow has sold a spec script for a Bloodshot film to be produced by Columbia Pictures.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wadlow, best known for the film Prey, came up with the notion for the movie and tracked down the rights holders, Jason Kothari and Dinesh Shamdasani, convincing them he was the right man to tackle the property. The script has been kicking around Hollywood since 2008 and was even considered for the developing comic line although that appears to have been abandoned. In March 2010, X-Men First Class director Matthew Vaughn was attached to direct a version of Bloodshot that may or may not have included Wadlow’s script. Wadlow, though, has been paid $450,000 for the spec script and that could swell to $1 million should the movie actually go before the cameras.

Original Films will produce the film for Columbia with Neal H. Moritz set to executive produce. In the announcement, Hannah Minghella, Columbia president of production, said, “The Bloodshot character has been a fan favorite for nearly two decades, selling approximately 7 million comic books globally. Because there have been more than 1,500 pages of storylines published, there is a rich legacy to draw from as we develop the screenplay.  Neal is one of the best action producers working today and we know he is the right filmmaker to take on this potential franchise.”

Moritz is no stranger to comics and pop culture icons, having most recently worked on the remakes of 21 Jump Street and Total Recall for Columbia, and adapting Dark Horse Comics’ R.I.P.D. for Universal.

Meantime, Brett Ratner was announced to be directing an adaptation of Valiant’s Harbinger in 2008 as he sought a franchise he could call his own. Since then, there has been nary a peep from Valiant or Ratner on the property’s development.

Valiant, founded in 1989 by Jim Shooter, will return after a decade’s absence with X-O Man of War in May. Former Marvel editor Warren Simons has been carefully assembling creative teams with a slow roll out apparently mapped for 2012 and beyond.

Principal Photography Begins on ‘Losers Take All’

Principal Photography Begins on ‘Losers Take All’

Losers Take All has begun principal photography under the direction of Alex Steyermark (Prey for Rock & Roll). The small feature film will star Kyle Gallner (A Nightmare On Elm Street), Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13) and Tania Raymonde (Lost).  The picture began production earlier this week in and around Memphis, Tennessee.  The cast also includes Alexia Rasmussen (Listen to Your Heart), Aaron Himelstein (Joan of Arcadia), Billy Kay (Yelling to the Sky), Adam Herschman (Soul Men), and newcomer Peter Brensinger.   

The film is set in the world of mid-1980’s American independent rock music, follows a fictional punk/pop band “The Fingers” as they stumble, stagger and strum their way in what everyone thinks is the opposite direction of success–commercial or otherwise.  But they are in the right place at the right time and the public is eager to embrace the D.I.Y. sounds of the underground, whether those in the underground-“The Fingers” included-like it or not. It’s a raucous love letter to an era when for most bands, life meant touring around the country in a cramped van, sleeping on the floors of strangers, selling your records after each show, and where fans were earned through powerful live shows at small clubs, reviews in ‘zines, and do-it-yourself promotions.  

Top-Forty musician Marshall Crenshaw, who co-penned the Golden Globe and Grammy nominated title track to the hit comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, will work with the actors to put together a band whose sound recalls the Indie/Punk/D.I.Y. days of 1980’s college radio.  This past winter, he and Memphis’ own Scott Bomar produced and recorded original songs for the film at Bomar’s Electrophonic Recording with local Memphis musicians.   

Losers Take All was written by Andrew Pope and Winn Coslick, from a story by Roger Rawlings and Ed Bradin. The film will be produced by Mike S. Ryan (Junebug), Andrew Pope and Winn Coslick. The Executive Producers are Andrew Meyer (The Breakfast Club) and Roger Rawlings. 

Robin, Nightwing, Birds of Prey Cancelled

Robin, Nightwing, Birds of Prey Cancelled

Batman #681 won’t be out until November 19, but its effects are already being felt as DC Comics has confirmed that three of the satellite titles, Robin, Nightwing, and Birds of Prey will be cancelled in February. Another related title, Catwoman, was cancelled earlier this year.

All three titles were launched in the 1990s as the Batman line rapidly expanded under editor Denny O’Neil and the supporting cast grew by leaps and bounds. Given their middling monthly sales and decreased trade collection volume, the cancellations were not a surprise.

The timing was also carefully planned; something confirmed by Robin writer Fabian Nicieza who told ComicMix, "I knew the plans for Robin since I was first offered the assignment. Part of my enthusiasm all along was knowing the responsibility I had to get the character to a very interesting new phase of his life. It’s only the start of very exciting things for Tim Drake."

The next phase of Bat-continuity kicks off with the two-issue Battle for the Cowl to be written by Judd Winick. What follows remains a closely guarded secret. By then, the Bat-family of titles will be reduced to Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and the Outsiders, Superman/Batman and a cycle of The Brave and the Bold.  The latter series will be featuring Bruce Wayne in the cowl so as not to distract readers drawn to the issues which will introduce Archie’s Red Circle super-heroes to the DC Universe.

Robin finally gained his own solo ongoing series in 1994 after three well-received miniseries from Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle.  Dixon returned last year to handle the character in the wake of One Year Later but was summarily removed and Nicieza replaced him.

Nightwing was awarded his own ongoing in 1996 after just one tryout miniseries by O’Neil and newcomer Greg Land.  Again, Dixon wrote the project for its first seven years before ceding to Devin Grayson.  Currently being produced by Peter Tomasi and Don Kramer, the character is also seen in Titans and across the DCU as a popular guest star.

Birds of Prey was originally a one-shot featuring Oracle and Black Canary from Dixon but it spawned one-shots and a miniseries before gaining its own monthly in 1999 with Dixon and Land at the outset.  Its popularity and creative success led to the one-season WB television series.  Gail Simone succeeded Dixon and at Dixonverse, she noted that since her departure followed by Black Canary being switched from BOP to JLA, “It’s just that the emotional core was removed and that’s always a bad idea. It wasn’t my idea, but it was a bit of a trade-off because her popularity in bop meant she could do things like lead the JLA and have a book with her name on the cover. And since I loved the character that seemed a fair trade to make, to help move her up the ladder of importance.” Currently written by Tony Bedard, it’s been much more of a team series far removed from Gotham.

The final issues will be Robin #183, Nightwing #153 and Birds of Prey #127.

‘Manhunter’ to Return in June

‘Manhunter’ to Return in June

DC Comics’ Manhunter was originally cancelled with issue #25 in 2006. After an outpouring of protest from fans, DC resurrected the series for five more issues with the promise of more if the five were successful.

The series did well enough to extend its life, but the hiatus between issue #30 and #31 has been prolonged to say the least. In the meantime, Kate Spencer has been hanging out with the girls from Birds of Prey.

Following up on our DC Nation panel report, the long wait for Manhunter fans is finally over, as the title will resume shipping in June. Marc Andreyko returns as writer with Michael Gaydos serving as artist.

The recent solicitation for the first issue hints at a few of the new situations Kate Spencer will be getting into when Manhunter resumes:

Los Angeles is Manhunter’s town — so when Kate Spencer learns of the disappearance of hundreds of women along the Mexican border, she’s on the case both as law-breaking D.A. and costumed vigilante.

Meanwhile, Kate’s bloodline tie to the JSA returns to haunt her — and it looks like her sidekick’s most notorious supervillain ex-boss is doing the same to him.

Exclusive pages from the forthcoming issue can be viewed at Newsarama.


Big ComicMix Radio Contest Rolls On!

Big ComicMix Radio Contest Rolls On!

Your First Chance To Win…..

That little piece of art to the right is your BIG hint on how you can WIN an Exclusive Graham Crackers Comics variant comic – FREE – right now with ComicMix Radio. Listen to the trivia question and you’ll figure it all out – then get us an e-mail quick!
And, on today’s ComicMix Radio podcast, we cover:
• Sean McKeever talks about leaving Birds of Prey, but amping things up on Teen Titans
• Fall Out Boy jumps into comics
•  A Captain Marvel #3 2nd print – are you surprised? 
• CBS starts working on the 2008-2009 TV season
• Ringo remembers doing that historic Ed Sullivan appearance
You know you can’t win the comic unless you Press The Button, right?

Or subscribe to our podcasts via iTunes or RSS! 

A Few of My Favorite Things, by Elayne Riggs

A Few of My Favorite Things, by Elayne Riggs

Back in the days of Usenet, I used to hear a lot of variations of “Why are there so many negative reviews and so few positive ones?” As one of those reviewers who not only discussed the art half of comic books but who also wrote a lot of positive reviews in my 4½ years of doing Pen-Elayne For Your Thoughts, I would see this manifest more as “Why are the threads responding to the few negative reviews so long, as opposed to those on the far more numerous positive reviews?”

The answer was pretty self-evident to most of us reviewers. In general it’s much easier for people to perpetuate clever putdowns, or to pile on a negative thread, than it is to engage in the vocabulary of positive discussion. One of the things we would identify as a next-to-useless post would be someone merely typing “Me too” or “Ditto.” It added nothing of substance to the online dialogue, it just took up bandwidth. But it had the opposite effect of the real-life etiquette advice that “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It became “If you can’t add something of substance to a discussion rather than just agreeing with the original poster, you’re better off not contributing at all.” I suspect that what some of them actually meant was “Bored now. You’re being too nice; throw us some raw meat.

And of course, that was a shame. I’ve never found it that hard to say good things about comic books. I love comic books. I buy and read quite a wide variety of graphic literature, and as I’m generally not in the assumed demographic for much of it I’ve learned to adjust my tastes accordingly — that is to say, there’s still some subject matter that doesn’t appeal to me, but I’ll generally try to give most of my chosen reading a fair chance, and I think I tend to be easily pleased. Nitpicking details, while worth noting in a review, has never weighed as important to me as how the work made me feel, whether it held together as a whole and moved me during the time it took me to read it.


The New Lara Croft Lowdown

The New Lara Croft Lowdown

While at SDCC last week, I sat down with Ricardo Sanchez, VP of Content for Gametap and creator of Gametap TV’s Re/Visioned series, and writer Gail Simone (Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey) to learn a little more about what the gaming site had in store for fans with their re-interpretation of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

For those unfamiliar with Gametap.com, it’s a PC gaming site that has both free ad supported and a subscription service. With their biggest coup having made the 10th Anniversary Tomb Raider game available to subscribers for download the same day it was out in stores. Owned by Turner and a sister company to the Cartoon Network, they’re taking advantage of their position by trying to be a gaming lifestyle site, rather than just a place to play and download games. Part of that move is Gametap TV, an Internet broadcast channel that was launched with A Day in the Extra Life series.

Gametap decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lara Croft in several ways, the aforementioned game launch, a retrospective documentary that is available for viewing on the site and a ten episode run launching the Re/Visioned series with a wishlist of great artists and writers, including Peter Chung, Jim Lee, Warren Ellis and Gail Simone. Actress Minnie Driver will be voicing Lara for all the episodes.

There will be seven different Lara stories in total, starting with the three part “Keys to the Kingdom” by Peter Chung (Aeon Flux) which is already up on the site, along with the Brian Puludo / David Alvarez comedic episode “Revenge of the Aztec Mummy.” The very thought of an Aztec mummy was so humorous (or, perhaps, ludicrous) to Warren Ellis he couldn’t help himself from fits of laughter during the SDCC Gametap panel. Ellis’ story is a two-parter entitled “Angel Spit” (art by Cully Hamner) which was screened at SDCC and should be up this week.

I was curious as to how a writer goes about taking a character people know from an established game and tells a compelling new story. In our sit-down I posed that question to Gail Simone, who said her take was to “decide what character traits Lara would have in place” if she “dialed her back” to her preteen years. Simone’s story places a 12-year old Croft in boarding school. From there the “story wrote itself.”


INTERVIEW: Harlan Ellison, part 2

INTERVIEW: Harlan Ellison, part 2

In the first portion of our interview (click here), Harlan told Martha Thomases all about the nature of humanity and probably became the first person to use the names Klimt, Frank Buck, Eddie Condon, and Sanjaya Malakar in a single sentence. We pick up our story right after some stuff about Gary Groth…

Well, that’s that. Anyway. The Dream Corridor. After ten years, the book is out.

CoMx: It’s just gorgeous.

HE: Isn’t it? You know what’s interesting? It’s gotten great reviews in Publishers Weekly, in Newsweek. It’s gotten great reviews in the mainstream. And nowhere in the comic world are they reviewing it.

CoMx: What’s made it in bookstores is not what the comic press writes about.

HE: Yeah, it would seem you’re right, Martha; and it breaks my heart.  I love comics so, and want acknowledgement for them, beyond Crumb and Spiegelman and MIller.  But the comics press for the most part only plays the flak-agents for DC and Marvel.  They write about the superheroes. Here’s this book, this absolute gem, on which dozens and dozens of people broke their ass, Dream Corridor, and it contains the absolute last time that Curt Swan put a pencil to paper. We had the smarts to publish Colan as Colan, and then colored it, too. One would think: here is a book that really matters, what people say comics are supposed to be! And we can’t get a mention amidst all the talk about who’s going to be writing Birds of Prey.

CoMx: But you’re going to be reaching more people than Birds of Prey.

HE:  Yes, I suppose.The book is selling out, but it’s cold comfort, kiddo.

CoMx: I don’t know your numbers, but I know that Birds of Prey is selling less than, say, 300 is selling.

HE: Mmmm.  But is that really the point?  Whatever the distribution may be is sort of commercialspeak.  I guess I’m talking art for the people, not just feeding the adolescent fix.  Here are critics of the field looking at a genre, an art-form, and they have the choice of doing the current Spider-Man of the 500 Spider-Man books that are put out every month, or one issue of this magazine over here that is striving for something clearly different. And they choose to do the Spider-Man over and over again. When you call them on it, you get no response. It’s as if: why is this person talking to us about that which does not have a cape and a cowl?

CoMx: Because they are confusing the medium with the genre. They think “superheroes” is the same as comics. They think superheroes are the important stuff.

HE: You mean all the good, smart shit that Maggie Thompson or Peter David or Gary Groth has been nagging about all these years, none of it has stuck?

CoMx: Where it’s stuck, those people have not gone on to write for the comics press.

HE: That’s pretty depressing:  after all these years and all this serious discussion of what comics should be doing by all of the serious critics in the field … that nobody gets it. And they all still think that Superman is the beginning and the ending of this Great American Original Art-form?  Kill me now. There’s something awry in the world of graphics. It’s very distressing to me, especially because the new Dream Corridor is out, and it’s probably the last of that kind of thing I’ll ever do.


For the Birds

For the Birds

Sean McKeever notes, regarding his takeover of writing chores on DC ‘s popular Birds of Prey series with the departure of long-time writer and fan favorite Gail Simone: "My first issue will be #112, and the commitment is open-ended."  He also links to his latest interview with Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers.  For her part, Simone says she’s leaving the book because "I was simply offered a project I couldn’t turn down. A dream book with a dream art team, and a real chance to reshape comics’ history."  Let the speculation commence!

(Full disclosure: My husband inked Birds of Prey for about a year.)