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Geoffrey Arend Relishes Voicing a JSA Villain

Geoff Arend provides the voice of Charles Halstead in the current entry in the DC Universe Movies canon, Justice Society: World War II

Arend, best known for his work on Madame Secretary, also voiced one of the Dark Knight’s most complicated nemeses in Batman: Hush. He is highly regarded for his work as a series regular on the long-running Madam Secretary and Body of Proof, as well as having featured roles in the popular films 500 Days of Summer and Garden State.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Justice Society: World War II is now available via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray.

The three interview bites (tied together) feature Arend talking about finding the controlling voice of his character

, Charles Halstead; and the joys of bringing shadowy villainy to animated life for Justice Society: World War II.

Michael Davis: Of Dreams & Relations

Michael Davis: Of Dreams & Relations

John Paul Leon. Image by Luigi Novi.

John Paul Leon. Photo by Luigi Novi.

John Paul Leon was part of an elite group, the Bad Boy Studio Mentor program. That program’s goal is to help people of color gain entry into comic books and related businesses.

It does not stop there—the main goal is to pay it forward.

Each member of Bad Boy Studios is charged with advancing the next generation and living up to the program motto: EACH ONE TEACHES ONE.

When John came into the program, it was evident he was a star in the making. He began at Bad Boy during the period I was at Milestone Media.

Milestone’s business structure was just as innovative as Denys Cowan’s idea to create the company. The creative partners at Milestone took no salary; we were to be paid for our comic book work.

As an example, I wore many hats at Milestone, owner, founder, head of publicity, talent, and conventions. Nevertheless, I was only paid for writing and drawing Static known to the world as Static Shock.

I created the Static Shock Universe; the model for that creation was my Family. The real focus of that universe wasn’t Static; his sister Sharon Hawkins was.

The book Icon, Milestone’s Black Superman, was really about his sidekick, Rocket. That’s a genius idea from Dwayne McDuffie, so I followed suit.

The driving force behind the Static Universe was my mother, Jean. She was a remarkable woman, but her life was anything but easy. She was a victim of abuse from many sources but never complained.

Her mother, Lenore, my grandmother, and her daughter, Sharon, my sister, both died horrible deaths. That pain weighed on her, although she sought to conceal it.

I wanted to ease some of her pain, even if just a little. To that end, our family became the Hawkins family.

Jean, Robert, and Sharon were the names of my mom, dad, and sister. Hawkins was my cousin’s last name. Initially, Alan Hawkins was Static’s alter ego’s name. Dwayne changed it to Vigil after the civil rights pioneer.

My mother told me, seeing her daughter live on in Static was the greatest gift she ever received from me. The day after saying that, she passed away.

When John Paul Leon came into my Mentor Program, it wasn’t long before I decided his style was better suited for Static than my frequent photo referenced technique.

I mentioned I was only to be paid for writing and drawing Static. I was, except DC Comics never paid me for the entire time I was at Milestone. They refused to honor my contract.  (This was twenty-plus years ago and is in no way a reflection of the current DC Comics.)

My wife overheard a conversation where I was told that if I was so hard up for money, take the book back from John, I refused. She started screaming in Spanish.

A few days before this, she found out; we were broke—two years of no income erasing my significant savings. I, like a fool, honored my exclusive contract and looked for no other work. She was livid when I finally told her what I’d been dealing with and insisted we leave the loft where we lived.

My wife was the first generation of her family born in America.  Her Family risked death to come here from Cuba. They are hard-working, good people who value family above all.

Josephine was a wonderful woman with a smile that could light up a street. Nothing fazed her except bills. Like her mother, Jo saw bills priority number ONE.

The bill had to be paid the moment she opened the envelope. It did not matter if the bill was due in a week, month or decade. She paid bills immediately.

She never felt we could afford our place, and now, hearing her anger, I knew any chance I had of talking her into staying disappeared with my bank account.

I told her we were only a couple of months behind, the way she shouted you would have thought I spent the mortgage money on crack and the sheriff was at the door.

But I understood why it upset her so, what I couldn’t understand was Spanish.

“CÓMO TE ATREVES, CÓMO ATREVERTE, A QUITARTE EL SUEÑO DE ALGUIEN!”

I had no idea how I would tell this woman that I wouldn’t take the book back. It turns out I didn’t have to.  I found out later; she was furious but at the person on the phone.

“How dare you take away someone’s dream” she wasn’t talking about my dream but about John Paul’s dream to draw comics.

Josephine had a bond with John. They were both Cuban Americans, both kind and respectful, and both about Family.

I gave John my Family to take care of when I gave him Static to draw. Because of him and Robert Washington, Static is loved by millions all over the world. Yeah, the TV show was the medium— but no John Paul Leon, no Robert Washington, no TV Show.

In truth, Static may have been just another comic among thousands if not for them. John did a better job with my family than I would have each time I look at his work on the book reinforces that. Because of John if I ever do a Static project, his work will be first among the inspirations I’d pull from.

Each one teaches one is the John Paul Leon story in a nutshell; John’s work is so influential he will be teaching long after he is laid to rest.

Bernard, stay strong; your friend is still within your heart. 

Bad Boy Alumni, you’re all very much part of why John became one of the greatest ever put pencil to paper.

To Jo, Tenías razón el chico se hizo famoso, y se quedó como un buen tipo. Espero que tú y los tuyos estén bien.  (Yeah, my Spanish still sucks.)

Lastly, to the family, it was an honor and privilege to know your son; the world will remember him as one of the greatest to ever work in an industry full of great creators.

His light will shine for as long as comics exist perhaps even longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: Shrek 20th Anniversary Edition

The best thing about Shrek when it debuted 20 (yikes!) years ago was that it brought a fresh take on traditional fairy tales and got a generation of children to understand that there were more ways to tell these classic stories than the Disney way. The humor here was contemporary and original while still respecting the lessons these were designed to convey.

Now, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release, Universal Home Entertainment has spruced up the original film for its 4k Ultra HD debut. It comes in a combo pack with the Blu-ray disc and Digital HD code.

It’s still funny, with Mike Meyers affecting a fine Scottish accent for the title character, paired with Eddie Murphy’s memorable Donkey along with Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), John Lithgow (Lord Farquaad), and Vincent Cassel as Monsieur Hood. To protect the swamp home of the ogre and its other denizens, Shrek takes on the evil Lord, rescues the princess, and a fine time is had by all. The music sells itself and there are funny moments throughout, still making me laugh.

While the CGI animation hasn’t aged as well as some other productions, Shrek is still good to watch and Universal gets credit for cleaning it up as best it could for both the 4K and Blu-ray discs. The color balance is nicely improved along with the depth of field.

The DTS:X Master Audio soundtrack is perhaps stronger, so you can enjoy the music, dialogue, and sound effects.

Given the film’s smash success, it spawned several sequels (none yet in 4K) in addition to television shorts, music videos, and related fun. Much of it can be found on the two Blu-rays discs in the set. There is actually no new content produced for the anniversary edition, just collecting previously released material. You can decide for yourself if the upgrade in the film itself is worth the investment.

On the 4K Ultra HD disc, you can find several of the original Blu-ray features:

  • Shrek’s Interactive Journey: 1
  • Spotlight on Donkey (11:37).
  • Secrets of Shrek (3:50):
  • Deleted Scenes (8:01).
  • Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party (2:51).
  • Baha Men “Best Years of Our Lives” (3:08).
  • Smash Mouth “I’m a Believer” (1080p, 3:15).
  • Shrek The Musical: “What’s Up, Duloc?” (3:56).
  • Audio Commentary: Directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and Producer Aron Warner.

On Blu-ray disc 1:

  • The Animators’ Corner
  • Shrek’s Interactive Journey
  • Spotlight on Donkey (11:38)
  • Secrets of Shrek (3:52)
  • Deleted Scenes (8:01).
  • Audio Commentary: Directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and Producer Aron Warner.
  • Shrek, Rattle & Roll:
    • Swamp Karaoke Dance Party (2:53),
    • Baha Men “Best Years of Our Lives” (3:08)
    • Smash Mouth “I’m a Believer” (3:15)
    • Shrek The Musical: “What’s Up, Duloc?” (3:57)
    • DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox (1080p)

On Blu-ray disc 2:

  • Swamp Karaoke Party (2:51)
  • Far Far Away Idol (9:00)
  • Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (13:06)
  • Shrek’s Halloween Favorites:
    • The Ghost of Lord Farquaad (12:34)
    • Scared Shrekless (25:30)
    • Thriller Night (6:08)
    • The Pig Who Cried Werewolf (6:49)
  • Shrek’s Holiday Favorites:
    • Shrek the Halls (28:02)
    • Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular (6:39)
    • Shrek’s Yule Log (30:19)
  • The Adventures of Puss In Boots:
    • Hidden (23:04)
    • Sphinx (23:04)
    • Brothers (23:04)
    • Dutchess (23:04)
    • Adventure (23:02):

REVIEW: Justice Society: World War II

Comic fandom has crossed so thoroughly into the mainstream, that mass media is proving elastic enough to encompass what was previously considered the obscure. Case in point, the just-released Justice Society: World War II direct-to-video film. Here is a story focused on the first comic book team that finally gets the spotlight after making cameos and guest appearances on animated and live-action television productions dating back to Smallville.

I personally love the JSA and was thrilled they were getting a film of their own. Unfortunately, the finished product is not the JSA we know, nor is it a particularly good piece of storytelling. Producers Butch Lukic and Jim Krieg apparently started this project as a Wonder Woman in WW II story that morphed and was appended to the parallel worlds concept.

We start on what we presume is the DCAU world as Flash (Matt Bomer) comes to aid Superman (Darren Criss) but clearly, it’s not our familiar world because there is no JLA. As the Scarlet Speedster tries to save Superman from a kryptonite missile fired by Brainiac

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, he winds up piercing the dimension veil to find himself not only on a parallel world but back in time.

He arrives in Europe as Hawkman (Omid Abtahi), Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru), Hourman (Matthew Mercer), and Flash (Armen Taylor), follow Wonder Woman’s (Stana Katic) lead. The initial battle sequence shows exactly why super-heroes didn’t directly engage against the Axis forces. The war would end in days not years.

Along the way, the modern-day Flash is slow to figure things out and the others view him askance until his older counterpart offers up the multiple worlds theory and then he’s one of them. Tagging along is a war correspondent, nicknamed Shakespeare, but it is actually Clark Kent, but a man whose adoptive parents, the Kents, died young and he was raised in an orphanage with a jaundiced view of using his powers for a humanity that has not been kind to him.

And of course, there’s Steve Trevor (Chris Diamantopoulos), the audience’s human connection to the story. Here, he’s accomplished and heroic, but hopelessly devoted to Wonder Woman, proposing to her daily. He’s probably the best thing in the film.

As we shift into the second half of the film, the real threat is presented in the form of The Advisor (Geoffrey Arend), who has taken mental control of that world’s Aquaman (Liam McIntyre). He’s out to conquer all, which is a brutal way to end the global conflict. At least it’s a threat worthy of super-heroes. So, as we build to the climax, there’s death, destruction, and lots of predictable moments.

Along the way, the heroes are never given a chance to be developed as characters. Audiences are left wondering as to the cherry-picked nature of the team, why this Canary has the sonic scream, why does Jay Garrick know about the Speed Force but Barry, who comes across as a dim bulb, does not. Of all the JSA characters present, the one receiving the worst treatment was Doctor Fate (Keith Ferguson).

Director Jeff Wamester and screenwriters Meghan Fitzmartin & Jeremy Adams could have done so much more with the source material, but what is presented here is soulless and unsurprising. The animation looks more limited than usual, which takes away from the enjoyment.

The 1.78:1 high-definition film looks sharp with good colors in what is a generally muted palette, bringing the horrors of war nicely to life. The video is nicely complemented by the audio.

Thankfully, the Combo Pack (4K, Blu-ray, Digital), comes with the far superior DC Showcase: Kamandi (18:03), which faithfully adapts Jack Kirby’s adventure series. Visually, the Kirby designs come to life and the story feels like Earth After the Great Disaster.

The director, producers, and screenwriters sit around congratulating themselves in Adventures in Storytelling (30:04), where they explain their choices and touch on the ideas they brought to the production, but it didn’t translate from idea to execution anywhere near as well as they think.

We also have Sneak Peek: Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 (10:29) which is being touted as being the most faithful adaptation from a comic story. It certainly looks great with strong visuals and an interesting voice cast including the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman.

Finally, only available on disc is the From the DC Vault: Justice League: “Legends, Part One” and “Legends, Part Two”.

His Dark Materials: The Complete Second Season Comes to Blu-ray/DVD June 29

BURBANK, CA – Embark on an incredible adventure into a parallel world when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases His Dark Materials: The Complete Second Season, the critically-acclaimed original fantasy series from HBO, on Blu-rayTM and DVD June 29, 2021. Adapted from the second book of Philip Pullman’s epic trilogy, which has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, His Dark Materials: The Complete Second Season features all seven episodes from the exciting second season plus over an hour of special features including an all-new never-before-seen featurette. The release will be priced at $29.98 SRP ($39.99 in Canada) for the Blu-ray, which includes Digital Copy (US Only) and $24.98 SRP ($29.98 SRP in Canada) for the DVD. His Dark Materials: The Complete Second Seasonis also available to own on Digital via purchase from digital retailers.

His Dark Materials follows young orphan Lyra (Dafne Keen) on a journey through a parallel world where a human’s soul exists outside one’s body – in the form of a talking animal called a daemon. Season two begins as Lyra, distraught over the death of her best friend, embarks upon a journey in a strange and mysterious abandoned city. There she meets Will (Amir Wilson), a boy from our world who is also running from a troubled past. Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as a war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary.

Season two series regulars include stars Dafne Keen (Logan), Ruth Wilson (The Affair), Amir Wilson (The Secret Garden), Ariyon Bakare (Life), Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Fleabag), Will Keen (The Crown), Ruta Gedmintas (The Strain) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). Joining the cast this season are Terence Stamp (Superman), Jade Anouka (Cleaning Up) and Simone Kirby (Notes on Blindness).

His Dark Materials is produced by Bad Wolf in association with New Line Cinema for BBC One and HBO. Executive producing the series are Jane Tranter, Dan McCulloch, Joel Collins and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf; Philip Pullman, Jack Thorne, Tom Hooper; Deborah Forte, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema; and Ben Irving and Piers Wenger for the BBC.

7 ONE-HOUR EPISODES

  1. The City of Magpies
  2. The Cave
  3. Theft
  4. Tower of the Angels
  5. The Scholar
  6. Malice
  7. Æsahættr

BONUS FEATURES

  • Noble Rogue: The Legend of Lee Scoresby (Exclusive to Blu-ray and DVD)

This documentary will explore the DNA of Lee Scoresby’s character (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and the aspects of the cowboy

, outlaw or rogue, who through bravery, loyalty, and rebelliousness are willing to stick up for the underdog and fight for justice.

  • Exploring His Dark Materials: Panserbjørne
  • Exploring His Dark Materials: Daemons
  • Exploring His Dark Materials:Portals & The Multiverse
  • Exploring His Dark Materials: Witches
  • His Dark Materials: Bringing Daemons and Bears to Life
  • His Dark Materials: Exploring Cittàgazze
  • His Dark Materials: Worlds Collide
  • The Powerful Mrs. Coulter
  • Lyra
  • The Subtle Knife

DIGITAL

The second season of His Dark Materials is now available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and others. A Digital Code is also included in the U.S. with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray™ discs for redemption and cloud storage.

BASICS

Street Date: June 29, 2021
BD and DVD Presented in 16×9 widescreen format
Run Time: Approx. 420 minutes
Enhanced Content: Approx. 67 minutes

DVD

Price: $24.98 SRP ($29.98 in Canada)
2 DVD-9s
DVD Audio: English (5.1) DD
DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish​

BLU-RAY

Price: $29.98 SRP ($39.99 in Canada)
2 BD-50s
BD Audio: English DTS 5.1, French​
BD Subtitles: English SDH, French, Latin Spanish

THE LAW IS A ASS

THE LAW IS A ASS #449: I SIC A POINT OF LAW ON ISAAC

The Law Is A Ass

You’d think that during a global pandemic and months-long, not-going-anywhere, national lock down, I’d have found time to write a column or ten. Who knew planning every trip, be it to the store or to the mail box, with the precision of the Normandy invasion could be so time consuming?

But now I’m trying to stretch those muscles again and hope I don’t pull something I haven’t used since the Big Bang was still a theory, not a TV show. So I think I’ll start with something easy until muscle memory sets in.

“A Loint of Paw” is a short short written by Isaac Asimov in 1957. By short short I don’t mean a costume from a 1987 Nair commercial featuring a fashion trend that keeps coming back every time it goes out of style. Some might say it’s passé aggressive. (And if you think I’m going to apologize for that

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, look down five more paragraphs.) No, this short short happens to be an exceedingly short short story.

“A Loint of Paw”, all four hundred fifty-nine words of it, is a science fiction story about a man named Montgomery Harlow Stein who stole more than $100,000 through fraud, then hopped into a time machine and emerged seven years and one day after the robbery. When he was tried for his crime, he argued that the seven-year statute of limitations on his crime had lapsed, so the state could not prosecute him.

After back-and-forth arguments between the prosecution and the defense and a week’s worth of deliberations by Judge Neville Preston, Montie Stein won. The judge held that the statute of limitations had expired which did, indeed, preclude his prosecution.

End of story.

Of course there’s more to the story. Not much more. Just the final sentence. But what a final sentence!

The whole story was a four hundred fifty-three word set up to a six-word pun. A wonderful pun. No, I’m not going to tell you what that pun was. You’ll have to read, and enjoy, it for yourself. But I will share with you Dr. Asimov’s footnote to the story, “If you expect me to apologize for this, you little know your man. I consider a play on words the noblest form of wit, so there!”

I knew there was a reason I liked his stories.

So yes, inveterate punster that I am, I can appreciate the story for the shaggy dog story that it was. Unfortunately, I can’t appreciate it for what it wasn’t, namely an accurate portrayal of the law on the statute of limitations. The story suggests that Judge Preston may “have been swayed in his way of thinking by the irresistible impulse to phrase his decision as he did.” Maybe, but I hope not. That would make Judge Preston a particularly bad judge for ignoring the law just to make a pun. I pepper my prose with more puns than is prudent, but I don’t misstate the law, just so I can make a pun.

Statutes of limitations are statutes (you probably guessed that from the name) which prevent the government from charging a person with a crime, if the prosecution is not started within a certain time period. Basically from the time the crime is committed or discovered, a statute of limitation clock starts ticking. Say the statute of limitations for the crime is seven years (as it was in “Loint of Paw”), then if the state does not bring the criminal to trial within seven years, it cannot bring the criminal to trial at all.

The reason behind the statute of limitations is that over time, witness memories fade. If that period of time happens to be a number of years, said memories tend to fade a lot. Moreover during those passing years, important evidence could be lost or necessary witnesses become unavailable because they moved or died or lost their minds binging Tiger King. So bringing a defendant to trial beyond the statute could well subject said defendant to an unfair trial in which the defendant could not defend him or herself.

“A Loint of Paw” was set in New York state, where, according to New York Criminal Procedure Law § 30.10(2)(b), the statute of limitations is five years. The story indicates that the statute of limitations is seven years, not five. But the story is set in the years 3004 and 3011. I’m assuming that in the 983 years between now and Mr. Stein’s crime, New York amended the law to expand the limitation period to 7 years. (A safe assumption; when has a legislative body ever left anything well enough alone?)

Anyway, if New York didn’t commence its prosecution of Montie Stein within the seven years set out in the statute of limitations, it couldn’t prosecute him at all. As Montie was traveling through, as the story put it, the Fourth Dimension, for seven years and one day – one day beyond the NY statute of limitations – it is obvious that New York didn’t bring Montie to trial within those seven years.

So Judge Preston was correct in ruling that New York couldn’t prosecute Montie, right?

You probably know me well enough by now to realize that was a trick question and the answer is no. But why is the answer no? Ah— there’s the stuff that columns are made on.

According to the story, some people believed Judge Preston came to the decision he reached, because he wanted to phrase his decision in the form of a pun. But whatever the reason, when Judge Preston made his ruling, he only applied the first part of the statute of limitations statute and completely ignored the whole second part of the statute.

Was that part of the statute important? Does a bear get fit in the woods?

CPL § 30.10(4)(a), the all-important second part of the statute – well, all important to everyone other than Judge Preston – reads, “Any period following the commission of the offense during which (I) the defendant was continuously outside this state or (ii) the whereabouts of the defendant were continuously unknown and continuously unascertainable by the exercise of reasonable diligence, is not included in the statutory limitation time period (emphasis added).” What does this mean? Basically, it means that if the defendant goes on the lam or hides, the statute of limitations is tolled and all of the time the defendant spends lamming or hiding doesn’t count against the government.

Tolling the statute of limitations is something smart states write into their statute of limitations laws. It’s something that even dumb states write into their statutes. It prevents criminals from fleeing the jurisdiction and hiding in a country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States, like Nogivebacistan, then claim the statutory time had run out while they were literally unavailable to the court.

In the same way, the seven years and one day in which Montie Stein was, by his lawyer’s own admission, “hiding in time” – hiding in the Fourth Dimension – would constitute time in which Stein was “continuously outside” New York and in which his “whereabouts… were continuously unknown and… unascertainable.”

By going into the Fourth Dimension, Montie Stein tolled the running of the statute of limitations. Tolled it for all seven years and one day during which he was in the Fourth Dimension. The ticking clock had stopped ticking and didn’t start ticking again until Montie came out of the Fourth Dimension.

Not only had the statutory period not expired, the state actually had all seven years of it left to it. The state could have let Montie rot in jail for six years just to get back at him for being a dick and then brought him to trial without implicating the statute of limitations.

Let this be a lesson to you. Don’t commit a crime then go hide for several years and think that when you come out of hiding, you can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out. That plan won’t work and I don’t want to have to be an I tolled you so.

Stana Katic discusses Wonder Woman in Justice Society: World War II

Stana Katic returns to the DC Universe Movies as the voice of Wonder Woman in Justice Society: World War II – which is current available on streaming services.

Katic is best known for her lead roles on Castle

Absentia, and A Call To Spy. She made her DC Universe Movies debut in 2013 as Lois Lane in Superman: Unbound (2013). She also was featured as the voice of Talia al Ghul in the 2011 videogame, Batman: Arkham City.

Here is a link to a trio of video interview bites (tied together) featuring Katic discussing various aspects of her performance as Wonder Woman in Justice Society: World War II.

In the three bites, Katic discusses Wonder Woman’s specific role in the film; the story’s notable balance of action, romance, and humor; and the characteristics and motivations Katic most loves about Wonder Woman.

John Paul Leon: 1972-2021

John Paul Leon: 1972-2021

John Paul Leon

John Paul Leon, groundbreaking artist on Static and Earth X, died Saturday after an 14-year battle with cancer at the age of 49.

He majored in illustration at New York’s School of Visual Arts, studying under artists such as Will Eisner, Walter Simonson, and Jack Potter. It was during this time that he received his first professional comics job, illustrating the Dark Horse Comics miniseries RoboCop: Prime Suspect (October 1992). By his junior year he was given the job as the inaugural artist on the DC Comics/Milestone ongoing series Static (June 1993), his first breakout work, which Simonson agreed would serve as Leon’s course work for that semester.

Michael Davis, Milestone Media co-founder and co-creator of Static, posted his thoughts in a video on Instragram: “I can’t breathe. I’m a writer who can’t write about John now it’s too painful.”

Collaborators and studio-mates Tommy Lee Edwards and Bernard Chang have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a trust for his daughter’s future education. Go there to read more about John and his legacy.

Our condolences to his family

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, friends, and fans.

Tonight’s Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans Game Guest Stars the Avengers

ESPN and Marvel announced a groundbreaking collaboration today to launch the first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate presentation for the Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans game on Monday, May 3. The exclusive alternate presentation, NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes, will start at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes with the traditional game telecast on ESPN. This marks ESPN’s second live NBA game on ESPN+.

The latest development in Marvel and ESPN’s long history of sports content collaboration, the telecast will integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange throughout the live game, including 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages.

After a narrow victory over an invading alien army, the Avengers receive an ominous threat from the enemy who vows to return in greater numbers and force. The Black Panther and Iron Man quickly realize they will need more help and form a plan to expand their ranks to fight this impending threat. Recognizing the superior physical abilities, agility, and tenacity of Earth’s greatest athletes, the Avengers will hold a series of contests where the winners earn the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s Champions! The Avengers will begin their recruitment with the NBA elite and observe the battle between the Warriors and the Pelicans, focusing on three star players from each team.

Golden State Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry, three-time NBA Champion and two-time NBA MVP;
  • Draymond Green, three-time NBA Champion;
  • Andrew Wiggins, 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year.

New Orleans Pelicans:

  • Zion Williamson, 2019 NBA Draft top pick;
  • Brandon Ingram, 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player;
  • Lonzo Ball, 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

Fans will be able to follow along as these athletes are put to the test, gaining Marvel Hero Points for their achievements and performance during the game. The player with the most Marvel Hero Points on the winning team will be crowned as Marvel’s first Champion following the NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes.

Scoring system:

  • One Marvel Hero Point will be awarded for every point, rebound, assist, steal and block;
  • One Marvel Hero Point will be deducted for every missed field goal, free throw or turnover.

ESPN commentators Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson will provide commentary in a fully customized Marvel-themed studio at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus. Additionally

, the special presentation will include commentary and analysis from Marvel expert Angélique Roché.

“Marvel and ESPN have brought the worlds of sports and Super Heroes together for years through comics, documentaries, and other stories celebrating athletes and their extraordinary abilities,” said Mike Pasciullo, vice president, marketing and communications, Marvel Entertainment. “The new Marvel’s Arena of Heroes telecast will be the first of its kind to bring Marvel’s storytelling directly to the real-time experience of a NBA game, and we are excited for fans to be able to watch their favorite players through the lens of Marvel’s mightiest heroes.”

“We’re eager for fans to experience this unique, innovative presentation that will pair Marvel and ESPN’s exceptional storytelling and production,” said Matt Kenny, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. “We are proud to showcase the ‘larger than life’ abilities of these NBA stars in a manner in which only Disney and Marvel can deliver.”

“Marvel and ESPN have brought the worlds of sports and Super Heroes together for years through comics, documentaries, and other stories celebrating athletes and their extraordinary abilities,” said Mike Pasciullo, vice president, marketing and communications, Marvel Entertainment. “The new Marvel’s Arena of Heroes telecast will be the first of its kind to bring Marvel’s storytelling directly to the real-time experience of a NBA game, and we are excited for fans to be able to watch their favorite players through the lens of Marvel’s mightiest heroes.”

“We are thrilled to work alongside ESPN and Marvel to present fans with the first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate NBA telecast,” said David Denenberg, NBA senior vice president, global media distribution & business affairs. “This fun and innovative game presentation builds upon our goal of providing personalized and compelling viewing options for our fans.”

The traditional telecast of the Warriors vs. Pelicans game will be exclusive in the New Orleans market and will air simultaneously on ESPN. Dave Pasch will call the action with analyst Mark Jackson and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth on site in New Orleans. Both the NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes alternate presentation and the traditional game telecast will stream via the ESPN App.

Matthew Mercer chats about Hourman & Justice Society: World War II

Matthew Mercer, who provides the voice of Hourman in the next entry in the DC Universe Movies canon, Justice Society: World War IIAlso attached is an image of the character.

A highly-regarded voice actor for the better part of three decades, Mercer is known for his work across anime, videogames, and traditional animation. While his fans have gravitated to his recent success as the Dungeon Master in the phenomenon that is Critical Role

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, Mercer’s resume includes such performances as Tygra in Thundercats, Leon S. Kennedy in the Resident Evil franchise, Superman in DC Super Friends (2015), and Jotaro Kujo in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After supporting roles in Justice League: War and Batman: Bad Blood, Mercer elevates to a DC Universe Movies featured voice as Hourman in Justice Society: World War II.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Justice Society: World War II will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, available now on Digital, and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray on May 11, 2021.

The three interview bites (tied together) feature Mercer chatting about Hourman’s unique powers, his place within the dynamic of the Justice Society of America and within the plot itself, and his personal appreciation for Hourman’s specific characteristics and background.