Most folks visiting this site know about Dr. Doom’s Time Machine, the Guardian of Forever from Star Trek or that little book written by Herbert George Wells called The Time Machine. Or at least they know about that fantastic DeLorean that Marty McFly drove.
Well, there’s one more Time Machine to add to the list – Gemstone Publishing’s The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #1 Facsimile Edition, a reproduction of the very first Overstreet’s Price Guide published in the fall of 1970. What a treat it is! This book is, at the core of it all, a snapshot of old comic book prices. But faster than you can say “Why, oh, why didn’t I buy multiple copies of Fantastic Four #1 for $30.00 back in 70?”, you realize it’s so much more.
This is also a celebration of fan-focused entrepreneurs (Fantropreneurs?) grabbing the reins of their industry. This was the time when fans, and especially one fan named Robert M. Overstreet, rolled up their sleeves, researched meticulously and published an industry bible that would become both a tradition and the foundation upon which a million collections were built.
There’s an important thing to remember. Back in the “old days”, when you finished with something, it was discarded. As a society, we didn’t collect or save magazines or comics. My Italian relatives would save bottles and paper bags, but comics didn’t quite fit into that category. There were collectors, but they were either breathing rarefied air (e.g. Art Collectors) or they were weirdos… who’s maturity was obviously stunted.
But the Guide, in assigning values to comics in such an authoritative way, publicly established economic value for comics. The outside world could respect that. Society back in the sixties or seventies might not have cared if Captain Marvel debuted in Whiz Comics #1 but they did care if an old funny book, with a newsstand value of 10 cents, was suddenly worth $235.00.
“Oh, if only my mother hadn’t thrown them out!” laments every non-collector.
(Note to my mom -thanks for never throwing out my comics. But I am still bummed you sold my Major Matt Mason Space Station at a garage sale.)
Beyond the prices, this facsimile edition also showcases ads that, once ubiquitous, have now morphed into curiosities. Passaic Book & Comic Center has the first ad in the book. And it’s fun to recall when Big Little Books were an adjacent collectible. (There don’t seem to be too many collectors any more, but I hope I am wrong.) And surely mail order legend Robert Bell deserves his time in the historical spotlight.
I’m so glad Gemstone’s VP of Publishing J.C. Vaughn and his team pushed for this delightful reproduction. Flipping through it sends me back in time, back when the world was shiny and new and full of potential. Or at least comic collecting was.
BURBANK, CA (June 18, 2020) – Go behind the mask and into the deep backstory of one of DC’s most revered anti-heroes in Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, a new entry in the popular series of DC Animated Movies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Blue Ribbon Content and DC, the feature-length animated film will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting August 4, 2020, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack on August 18, 2020.
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $29.98 SRP), which features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie.
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons offers a new take on the Deathstroke legacy. Mercenary and master assassin Slade Wilson leads two lives: one as the relentless killer known as Deathstroke and the other as a dedicated family man. When these worlds collide, forced together by the vicious terror group known as H.I.V.E., it is the killer in Slade who must fight to save his loved ones, as well as what remains of himself. With his soul torn apart and his young son held captive, Deathstroke will have to atone for the sins of his past to fuel the battles of his future!
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Michael Chiklis (The Shield, The Commish, American Horror Story: Freak Show) headlines the cast as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, alongside Sasha Alexander (Rizzoli & Isles, Shameless, NCIS) as Wilson’s wife, Adeline “Addie” Kane Wilson. The cast also includes Chris Jai Alex (ThunderCats Roar, Extraction) as The Jackal, Faye Mata (League of Legends) as Jade/H.I.V.E Queen, Griffin Puatu (Beastars) as Joseph/Jericho, Imari Williams (Transformers: Rescue Bots, LEGO DC: Shazam! Magic and Monsters) as President Nichols, Asher Bishop (The Angry Birds Movie 2) as Young Joseph, Colin Salmon (Krypton, Arrow, Die Another Day) as William Wintergreen, Delbert Hunt (Bad Henry) as Bronze Tiger, Panta Mosleh (Always Be My Maybe, Pass The Salt) as Lady Shiva, and Noshir Dalal (Red Dead Redemption II) as Kapoor, Castulo Guerra (The Usual Suspects, Jane The Virgin) as General Suarez, and Minae Noji (General Hospital) as Secretary of State.
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons has been produced in a dual format – initially as animated shorts, the first five of which appeared on CW Seed. With a runtime of 87 minutes, the feature-length Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons film has nearly 50 minutes of never-before-seen content, including the film’s thrilling climax. The film is rated R for bloody violence/gore, language, disturbing images, and some sexual content.
Sung Jin Ahn (Niko and the Sword of Light) directs the film from a script by J.M. DeMatteis (Superman: Red Son,Batman: Bad Blood). Sam Register, Greg Berlanti, and Sarah Schechter serve as executive producers.
“Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons gives DC Animated Movies’ their first true look into the complicated backstory of one of DC’s most controversial characters – Deathstroke is sometimes villain, sometimes anti-hero, and always deadly,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Senior Vice President, Originals, Animation, and Family Marketing. “Michael Chiklis does an incredible job capturing the ruthless approach and conflicted internal struggles of Deathstroke.”
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons Special Features
Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
Deathstroke: One-Man Death Machine (New Featurette)– Some think he’s a villain. To others, he’s an unsung hero of secret wars fought all over the world. One thing’s for certain: When you see the orange-and-black mask, Deathstroke is coming!
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.
Blu-ray Combo Pack $24.98 USA, $29.98 Canada
Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Running Time: 87 minutes
Rated R for bloody violence/gore, language, disturbing images, and some sexual content.
Warner Archive Collection continues its proud tradition of distributing the best of Warner Bros. Animation’s robust library of DC-based productions with the release of Legion of Superheroes: The Complete Serieson Blu-rayTM starting July 14, 2020. The timing is fortuitous given the renewed interest on the DC Comics series now being written by superstar Brian Michael Bendis.
Presented in full 16×9 widescreen across three Blu-ray discs, Legion of Superheroes: The Complete Series includes all 26 episodes of the popular show, which aired on The CW from 2006-2008, as well as a pair of bonus features: the involving featurette “We Are Legion”; and an Exclusive Audio Commentary on the series’ heralded two-part finale, “Dark Victory, Parts One and Two,” with producer James Tucker, director Brandon Vietti and the voice of Saturn Girl, Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty, DC Super Hero Girls, Supergirl).
Also now available for pre-order is Legion ofSuperheroes: The Complete Second Season on DVD.
One thousand years from now, the legendary Man of Steel inspires a group of emerging young heroes from the 31st century to band together and defend the newly formed United Planets. That is, if they don’t kill each other first. In Season One, Legionnaires Bouncing Boy (Michael Cornacchia), Brainiac 5 (Adam Wylie), Saturn Girl (Kari Wahlgren) and Lightning Lad (Andy Milder) travel back in time to convince an awkward teen named Clark Kent (Yuri Lowenthal) to join their Legion of Superheroes and battle their archnemeses, the Fatal Five. The insecure teen is, in turn, inspired by his new friends and, with their help, begins his journey to become the galaxy’s greatest hero. Catching up two years later, Season Two presents Superman and the Legion with an even greater challenge: Kell-El, the Superman of the 41st century!
Warner Archive Collection continues to serve as host to some of the most beloved films, television series and animated entertainment in history – and many are now available on Blu-ray. WAC’s canon runs the gamut from restored and remastered Blu-ray classics such as The Americanization of Emily, The Big Sleep, The Great Race, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Victor/Victoria and Yankee Doodle Dandy to adored contemporary and classic TV offerings ranging from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Longmire and The Kominsky Method to Alice and Family Matters . The WAC library also includes feature-length animated films, like the Blu-ray release of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and animated TV series headed by Blu-ray releases of such popular offerings as Teen Titans: The Complete Series, Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice and a wealth of classic animated series on DVD including dozens of Hanna-Barbera classics – like Jonny Quest: The Complete Original Seriesand Wally Gator: The Complete Collection; as well as a treasure trove of offerings for serious collector, like Porky Pig 101 and the recent release of three volumes of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s. WAC offerings can be found via wbshop.com and your favorite online retailer.
BURBANK, CA, June 16, 2020 – Save the date and prep your cosplay! On Saturday, August 22, starting at 10 a.m. PDT, Warner Bros. will welcome fans everywhere into the DC FanDome—a free virtual fan experience where no badge is required.
Imagine all the Super Heroes and Super-Villains you’ve ever loved finally coming together in one place to celebrate DC’s past, present and future. Accessible for 24 hours at DCFanDome.com, the global event will immerse fans into the DC Multiverse, with new announcements from WB Games, Film and TV, and comics, as well as an unprecedented opportunity to hear from the casts and creators behind your favorite feature films and TV series, including: Aquaman, The Batman, Batwoman, Black Adam, Black Lightning, DC Super Hero Girls, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, DC’s Stargirl, Doom Patrol, The Flash, Harley Quinn, the SnyderCut of Justice League, Lucifer, Pennyworth, SHAZAM!, The Suicide Squad, Supergirl, Superman & Lois, Teen Titans GO!, Titans, Watchmen, Young Justice: Outsiders and, coming this fall to theaters worldwide, Wonder Woman 1984.
The DC FanDome is the place to hear highly anticipated announcements and the latest news, see exclusive footage, and venture into themed worlds designed to entertain everyone from movie and TV superfans to gamers and readers, to families and kids. With special presentations to engage fans in every time zone across the globe, you’ll have the opportunity to have an experience that’s all your own. Inside this virtual world, fans will also get access to localized events, featuring the faces and voices from countries around the world in their local language. No matter where you live, your age or your level of fandom, there is something for you.
Ann Sarnoff, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros., said, “There is no fan like a DC fan. For more than 85 years, the world has turned to DC’s inspiring heroes and stories to lift us up and entertain us, and this massive, immersive digital event will give everyone new ways to personalize their journey through the DC Universe without lines, without tickets and without boundaries. With DC FanDome, we’re able to give fans from around the world an exciting and unparalleled way to connect with all their favorite DC characters, as well as the incredible talent who bring them to life on the page and screen.”
Exploring the DC FanDome
The epicenter of the DC FanDome is the Hall of Heroes, where you can experience special programming, panels and content reveals from a wide variety of films, TV series and games, available in several languages, including Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. From there, navigate deeper into the DC Multiverse, exploring five additional satellite worlds, each with its own localized content and unique activities and one world fully devoted to our younger fans:
DC WatchVerse: Here’s where you grab a seat, sit back and join our virtual audience and become completely engrossed in hours of must-see content from around the world. Everything from panels and exclusive screenings to never-before-seen footage, featuring cast, creators and behind-the-scenes crew from across DC Films, TV, Home Entertainment and Games.
DC YouVerse: Venture into this world where the FANS are the stars to see the most amazing user-generated content, cosplay and fan art from around the world, including, perhaps, your own.
DC KidsVerse: Need a way to entertain your kids for hours on end? We’ve got you covered inside a special world, which can be accessed directly at com. This area features a broad range of family-friendly activations for our younger fans.
DC InsiderVerse: This creativity-based world contains a centerpiece video featuring legendary artist and DC CCO/Publisher Jim Lee, President of DC-Based Film Production Walter Hamada, and creator of the DC TV Arrowverse, Executive Producer Greg Berlanti, welcoming fans with a 101-style introduction to the DC Multiverse. From there, go behind the scenes with the master artisans who bring DC to life in all its forms, from comic books to games, TV, movies, theme parks, consumer products and more.
DC FunVerse: Take your DC FanDome experience and gather cool shareables; check out our comic book reader; DIY cool WW84 Golden Armor and Batmobile kits; plus digital giveaways and a store filled with merchandise, including some limited-edition exclusives.
Pull Up to the Blerd & Boujee House
Where my Blerds at? The second annual celebration of Black nerd culture returns with the all-new Blerd & Boujee House at DC FanDome, bringing Blerds, LatinxGeeks and all nerds “party-with-a-purpose” vibes. As anyone lucky enough to get into the first-ever Blerd & Boujee boat party (featuring DJ D-Nice) at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 can attest, fans will not want to miss connections and conversations designed for the culture.
Calling All Fans!
There’s nothing more important to DC than our fans, and we want to showcase you! In partnership with Talenthouse, DC FanDome today launched a call for your best DC Fan Art & Fandom displays. Show us your cosplay, makeup, tattoos and even your own Batcave! Be sure to submit your best at create.DCFanDome.com for a chance to be featured inside this virtual world event, and demonstrate to people in your home country and across the globe that you are the ultimate DC Super Fan. Selected artists on the day of our event will be voted on by the community in each of our two competitions in order to help our judges pick selected artist winners. Selected artist winners will receive part of a cash prize pool courtesy of DC and Talenthouse.*
Be sure to check back at our official site, DCFanDome.com, frequently for additional updates on what will be happening inside the DC FanDome, including exciting new content on our new blog, the Daily Star, which kicks off with a welcoming note from Jim Lee himself. Also, follow the social channels below for frequent updates about participating cast members, creators, writers, artists and game developers you can expect to see.
ADAPTED NOVEL–GENERAL & SPECULATIVE Alita: Battle Angel by Pat Cadigan Batman: The Killing Joke by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips Doctor Who: Scratch Man by Tom Baker and James Goss Godzilla: King of the Monsters by Greg Keyes
AUDIO DRAMAS Diary of River Song – Concealed Weapon by Scott Handcock Doctor Who – Companion Chronicles – Daybreak by John Pritchard Doctor Who – 10 Doctor Adventures – The Creeping Death by Roy Gill Torchwood – Sargasso by Christopher Cooper Warhammer – Watcher in the Rain by Alex Worley
GRAPHIC NOVEL Blade Runner 2019: Los Angeles by Michael Green and Mike Johnson Doctor who—the Thirteenth Doctor: Old Friends by Jody Houser Pet Noir by Anne Toole, Christie Yant, and Pati Nagle Star Trek—Year Five: Valentine’s Day Special by Paul Cornell The Wrath of Fantomas by Olivier Bouquet
ORIGINAL NOVEL–GENERAL The Bitterest Pill by Reed Farrel Coleman Murder, My Love by Max Allan Collins Murder, She Wrote: A Taste For Murder by John Land
ORIGINAL NOVEL SPECULATIVE Batman, The Court of Owls by Greg Cox Firefly, The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove Star Trek TNG, Collateral Damage by David Mack Star Trek Discovery, The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson Warhammer, The Red Feast by Gav Thorpe
SHORT STORY Deadlands Straight Out of Tombstone: “Cookie”by Shane Lacy Hensley Tales of Basil and Meobis Fresh Hells: “Cutter & Razz”by Chris A. Jackson Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: “The Girl’s Best Friend Matter”by Bobby Nash Lethbridge-Stewart, the HAVOC Files: “Pure History”by George Ivanoff Dragonband, Women of the Crystal Coast: “The Queen Slayer”by Jean Rabe
YOUNG ADULT & MIDDLE GRADE Battletech: Rogue Academy – Iron Dawn by Jennifer Brozek Halo: Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Midnight People by John Peel Warhammer Adventures: Attack of the Necron by Cavan Scott Warhammer Adventures: City of Lifestone by Tom Huddleston
Dennis Joseph “Denny” O’Neil, the writer and editor who redefined the Batman, the Joker, Green Arrow, the Shadow, and the Question for the modern era; created or co-created R’as al Ghul, OPtimus Prime, Azrael, Leslie Tompkins, Madame Web, Richard Dragon, and Lady Shiva; and was a beloved contributor to ComicMix, has passed away at the age of 81.
He started his career in comics almost by accident, when Roy Thomas suggested that O’Neil take the Marvel writer’s test, which involved adding dialogue to a wordless four-page excerpt of a Fantastic Four comic. O’Neil’s entry resulted in Lee offering O’Neil a job. O’Neil had never considered writing for comics, and later said he’d done the test “kind of as a joke. I had a couple of hours on a Tuesday afternoon, so instead of doing crossword puzzles, I did the writer’s test.” He started with Millie The Model and Patsy Walker, but soon found himself writing Doctor Strange and Daredevil. He also started freelancing for Charlton Comics under the name Sergius O’Shaughnessy, and when editor Dick Giordano went over to DC Comics he brought Denny along, where he wrote the Creeper, Wonder Woman, Justice League of America, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, and the revivals of the Shadow, the Avenger, and Captain Marvel, now retitled to Shazam!
In the 80’s, he returned to Marvel for a spell, where he wrote Iron Man and put Jim Rhodes into the suit of armor, contributed to the creation of the Transformers, and edited Frank Miller on his two runs of Daredevil as well as writing the issues in between them, among many other things.
He returned to DC in 1986 to become the group editor of the Batman titles, as well as write The Question.
He didn’t limit his writing to comics, also writing at various times for Coronet, Show, Gentleman’s Quarterly, Ono, the Village Voice, News Front, Amazing Stories, High Times, Viva, Penthouse, Publisher’s Weekly, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Fantastic, Generation One, Fantasy and Science Fiction,Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock, and Haunt of Horror; as well as television, both live-action (Superboy, Logan’s Run) and animated (Batman: The Animated Series); and various novels, including the exemplary Helltown.
He was widely honored by fans and pros alike, including Shazam Awards for Best Continuing Feature for Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Best Individual Story for “No Evil Shall Escape My Sight” in Green Lantern #76 (with Neal Adams), for Best Writer (Dramatic Division) in 1970 for Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and other titles, and Best Individual Story for “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” in Green Lantern #85 (with Neal Adams) in 1971. He also won the Comics Buyer’s Guide Award for Favorite Editor in 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1996; a Goethe Award in 1971 for “Favorite Pro Writer” and was a nominee for the same award in 1973, received an Inkpot Award in 1981, and won a Haxtur Award in 1998.
He gave of his time to help teach the next generation of comics creators, teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, writing The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, and writing for ComicMix. He also sat on the board of directors of the charity The Hero Initiative, an organization devoted to helping comic creators in need, and served on its Disbursement Committee.
He was married to the lovely former Marifran McFarland, who passed away in 2017. He is survived by his son, Lawrence, and the industry which he forever changed.
Taking our cue from him, our Recommended Reading List for today is Denny’s columns. We’ll miss him.
Here it is, the granddaddy of Summer Blockbuster films, newly restored by Universal Home Entertainment and as we said in our review, it looks marvelous.
Now, you can win a copy of the limited edition 4k Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack.
All you have to do is tell us your Jaws story. When did you first see it? What was your reaction? What was its impact on you? The best, most interesting response will be our winner.
The submissions must be turned in by 11:59 p.m., Friday June 12. The contest is open to North American readers only and the decision of the ComicMix judges will be final.
Synopsis: When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engages in an epic battle of man vs. nature.
Special Features and Technical Specs:
HDR10+ PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
The Making of JAWS
The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of JAWS
JAWS: The Restoration
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
From the Set
Booklet: 44-page booklet with introductions, rare photos, storyboards and more from the archives.
Optional English, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish subtitles for the main feature
The notion of bringing Watchmen to premium cable was an enticing one, as people anticipated a more nuanced, expansive take on the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons maxiseries. Then, we were staggered to discover that producer Damon Lindelof intended on going forward in time and exploring what came next.
With some trepidation, we watched when the series debuted last year, but our fears were quickly erased. Regina King was someone new, the world, drastically different while remaining familiar enough. And then when we see Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons) and later, Doctor Manhattan (Abdul-Mateen II), it felt just fine.
We open with a jarring reminder of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma race riots that, just last week, is finally getting addressed with recommendations for overdue reparations to descendants. The racial tensions evident here are projected decades ahead, to a time after Ozymandias failed to scare the world straight as seen in the climax of the graphic novel.
Throughout the nine episodes comprising the sole season of the show, out now on Blu-ray from Warner Home Entertainment, we bounce around time and space, telling multiple stories, all exploring themes of isolation, power, and redemption. Lindelof and director Nicole Kassell give us a nuanced, textured production that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.
While the graphic novel was intended as Moore’s last word on super-heroes, a meditation on how a world would really work with super-powered folk walking the streets, here, Lindelof explores what comes next, how masked vigilantes were banned, and the police gained even more authority over daily lives. How does one serve and protect in a post-super-hero world? First, to protect their identities from the chance of reprisal, the cops now wear masks.
Our titular character is Angela Abar (King), dressed all in black and kicking ass as Sister Night. She and her fellow Tulsa officers, including the wonderful Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson), are now engaged in battle with the white supremacist Seventh Kavalry, improbably inspired by Rorschach, which goes to show that even in our fantasy fiction, things rarely seem to change.
In time, we come to understand that the original Hooded Justice (Jovan Adepo) was among the first to experience the racial violence of the day. As an aged figure (Louis Gossett Jr.) he provides a link to the original costumed champions that arguably began a cycle still being played out.
This is a world where Vietnam, not Washington D.C. or Puerto Rico became the 51st state and a reality where Robert Redford has served as President since the 1970s. When the violence gets out of hand, Washington sends in Laurie Blake, the former second Silk Spectre, played well by Jean Smart.
Meantime, the isolated/imprisoned Ozymandias is scheming. His threat simmers throughout the series. On the other hand, when we bring Doctor Manhattan back to Earth, his role feels disproportionate to his powers, accepting things as inevitable as opposed to knowing the odds and refusing to change them. His love for Angela is tender and provides the series with some heart and soul.
Much as Lindelof wonderfully pulled off on Lost, here, he devotes entire episodes to single characters without interrupting the overall flow of the story. Our understanding of them enriches the overall experience.
The occasional squid rain is a lovely callback to the source material. This raises the question of how comprehensible is this show if you have not read the original graphic novel or watched Zack Snyder’s mostly successful film adaptation. I would say it works well enough that the series stands on its own but is better for having known what came before.
The episodes look fine in the 1080p transfer, retaining clarity of color and sharpness in the dark shadows of night where a lot of the action occurs. The lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track is up to the task of hearing the whispers and rustle of capes.
All the HBO special features are ported over to the disc including two new ones: Immortal Vigilante – Hooded Justice and Adrian Veidt: The Colossal King. The others include Watchmen: Unmasked, 2019 New York Comic Con Watchmen: Masked and Dangerous, Watchmen S1: Trailer, Character Trailers: Sister Night, Blond Man and Looking Glass, Becoming Sister Night, Notes from the Watchmen graphic novel artist Dave Gibbons, Rorschach featurette, Watchmen: Alternate History, It’s Raining Squids, Squid Shelter with Tim Blake Nelson, Andrij Parekh on Directing, Sadiqua Bynum runs, jumps and falls for Sister Night, Anatomy of a Fight Scene, and Glimpses – The Visual Effects of Watchmen.
The live-action and animated originals found at DC Universe go where Marvel’s Netflix series chose not to dwell. While the twisted characters are as dark, the language and violence go further, with even more overt sexuality.
While it has an appeal with live-action, seeing this with Harley Quinn is disturbing. Seeing her animated form cavort through corpses, mass destruction, and friendship reminds us of her WB debut on Batman: The Animated Series, over 25 years ago. So, the first season of the new show, out now on disc from Warner Archive, is aimed at those who grew up with her, not their children.
Everyone is foul-mouthed and the gratuitous violence and mayhem seem to be the animators’ way of showing that they can do it rather than a story’s need for it. Most of the R-rated material is unnecessary and distracts from what is the show’s strength: its characterization.
Long before Margot Robbie was emancipated in February’s Harley Quinn film, the cartoon Harley (Kaley Cuoco) opened her show by breaking up with the Joker (Alan Tudyk), urged on by her gal pal, Poison Ivy (Lake Bell).
Harley wants to be a member of the Legion of Doom, but Mr. J explained sidekicks weren’t welcome. Nor were partners. Her desire forms the spine for the season, as well as evolving her relationship with the Clown Prince of Crime, culminating in a solid showdown finale.
There are plenty of other Gotham figures appearing throughout the series, from a horribly mischaracterized Commissioner Gordon (Chris Meloni) to a fun Riddler (Jim Rash) and tragic Clayface (Tudyk). Even JLA foe Queen of Fables (Wanda Sykes) makes an appearance. And yes, of course, the Dark Knight (Diedrich Bader) himself is a frequent guest as doe members of the League.
The thirteen twenty-two-minute episodes come from executive producers Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey, whose NBC series Powerless was short on funny, which may explain why the funny here is so uneven.
This is about Harley’s growth as a woman; a strong, capable woman charting her own destiny. She has outgrown the Joker’s psychological hooks and has clear goals for herself. The buddy-buddy relationship with Poison Ivy becomes something more in the second season, streaming now. Those who remember her as the dependent, damaged lovesick companion clearly haven’t paid attention to her New 52 comics incarnation or the alterations seen in the feature films.
The trick has been keeping her likable enough for us to root for her and here, the writers have done a fine job. Aided by Cuoco’s assured delivery, this is a Quinn who stands up herself and is ready to commit larceny, carnage, and other crimes to achieve her goals.
Ivy, though, isn’t what we have come to expect. She’s not the ecoterrorist nor is she the gay best friend as she embarks on a heterosexual romance for a while, something that bothers both viewer and Harley.
The character designs are familiar enough and you can quibble with the appearance of some. This Joker seems to be bits and pieces from other incarnations and not to my liking but most of the others, from Batman to Aquaman to Riddler, are just fine. The animation itself is stiff and somewhat limited – the animated features spoiled us. These are certainly watchable and at times fun, but I expected a lot more.
The episodes are on two DVD discs with no special features.
Summer has always been peak movie season and there certainly have been major releases before 1975. But a combination of elements came together in a perfect storm of entertainment that created something new: the summer blockbuster. You start with a stellar adaptation of Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel in the hands of a young, still-developing but promising director in Steven Spielberg, a strong cast anchored by Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, and a fresh score from John Williams. Altogether, Jaws burst into the American consciousness. It rewrote the rules for Hollywood success, rules that only recently have been challenged.
Universal Home Entertainment is releasing a 45th anniversary edition, coming to 4K Ultra HD for the first time, complete in a combo pack with Blu-ray and Digital HD. The limited-edition packaging includes a lenticular cover and a 48-page booklet with a fine overview.
I am among a handful of Americans left to have never seen the film before now. One of the first things I noticed was that the film luxuriates in al the little touches, the background conversations, leisurely aspects of American summer, and variety of types. We’re welcomed into the community of Amity, which could be Anywhere, USA. Then, once the horror is revealed, the focus shifts to the trio of unlikely allies.
Spielberg lets the tension build with the first few shark incidents while letting the scenes play out. The longer scenes and tight editing combine to draw you in, and keep you glued to your seats. Verna Fields was a brilliant editor, and her touch missed; while Williams, two years pre-Star Wars, reminded us of the importance of the score. Both earned Academy Awards for this picture.
While I mentioned the trio at the to of the cast, they are surrounded by a really strong support team led by Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb (who co-wrote the script with Benchley), and Lorraine Gary. Scheider represents the audience, learning about the predator and coming to grips with the deadly threat, the everyman trying to do the right thing while dealing with the political and economic pressures brought on by the Mayor (Hamilton).
With Bruce the shark (the name given to the semi-successful mechanical version) as the real antagonist, Shaw’s Quint brings us to the darkness within the ocean and ourselves. His work was always strong and the 1970s was his heyday (The Strong, Jaws, Robin and Marion, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3).
There is so much I knew about the film before sitting down with it, I was concerned it would spoil the experience. Not so, for there is much I never had seen before. There is obvious loving care taken the producing this new disc with a stellar 2160p/Dolby Vision UHD transfer. The first thing you notice is the grain, something immediately connoting age these days, but you quickly adjust and appreciate the clarity. This is a leap beyond the previous Blu-ray disc. It is accompanied by a fine Dolby Atmos soundtrack, letting you enjoy Williams’ work all over again. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is equally good.
The 2012 special features are included here including The Making of Jaws (2:02:48), The Shark is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws (1:41:06), Jaws: The Restoration (8:29), Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (13:33), From the Set (8:46), and Theatrical Trailer (3:15). The Blu-ray contains Storyboards, Production Photos, Marketing Jaws, and Jaws Phenomenon.
We are reminded again how producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown took a chance on Spielberg, against Universal’s instincts and scored beyond anyone’s imagination. With summer upon us, and new films hard to find, this is a good time to revisit the one that started a trend.