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The Mitchells Vs. The Machine Arrive on Disc Dec. 14
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The Mitchells Vs. The Machine Arrive on Disc Dec. 14

From directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, their follow-up to the smash Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs. the Machine, leaps from Netflix to home video in December.

SYNOPSIS
An old school father and his plugged-in, filmmaker daughter struggle to relate as their family embarks on a road trip to her new college. Their drive is interrupted by a machine apocalypse that threatens to tear these unlikely heroes apart unless they can find a way to join forces and save humanity.

BLU-RAY, DVD AND DIGITAL BONUS MATERIALS
• Katie’s Cabinet of Forgotten Wonders: Take a rare look inside Katie Mitchell’s filmmaking process as she gives you an exclusive look into how the movie was made.
o Katie-Vision!
o Dumb Robots Trailer
o The Original “Mitchells” Story Pitch
o The Furby Scene – How? Why?
o PAL’s World
• The Mitchells Vs. The Machines: Or How a Group of Passionate Weirdos Made a Big Animated Movie: Go inside the story of The Mitchells vs the Machines and meet a group of first-time filmmakers & talented cast who banded together to take a collective risk on making a unique, original, and totally off-the-wall film about an everyday, epic, world-saving family!
• How To Make Sock Puppets: Katie Mitchell opens the door to her film school. Learn how to make sock puppets who could be extras in your next short film!
• How To Make Katie Face Cupcakes: Enjoy making cupcakes only a mother could love.

EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY BONUS MATERIALS
• Dog Cop 7: The Final Chapter: Katie Mitchell is back and creating the most hilarious film of her young career – check out an all-new mini-movie, Dog Cop 7: The Final Chapter. In a world where the holidays are being haunted by the Candy Cane Kidnapper, there is only one Dog with the skills to solve the case.
• Katie’s Extended Cinematic Bonanza Cut! Prepare to witness Katie’s director’s cut, an extended version of the original film with over 40 minutes of deleted scenes.
• 8 Bonus Scenes: Get more Mitchells with over 20 minutes of Deleted & Extended Scenes.
• Filmmakers’ commentary

CAST AND CREW
Directed By: Mike Rianda
Co-Director: Jeff Rowe
Written By: Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe
Producers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Kurt Albrecht
Executive Producers: Will Allegra, Louis Koo Tin Lok
Cast: Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Maya Rudolph, Mike Rianda, Eric Andre and Olivia Colman

SPECS
Runtime: 109 minutes
U.S. Rating: PG for action and some language
Blu-ray: Feature: 1080p High Definition 1.85:1 | Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD MA
DVD: Feature: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen | Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Aragones & Evanier’s Groo Finally Lands Animated Deal
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Aragones & Evanier’s Groo Finally Lands Animated Deal

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2021) – Entrepreneur Josh Jones has acquired the animated film and television rights to Groo the Wanderer, legendary cartoonist Sergio Aragonés’ beloved comics character, with the intent of producing the character’s first-ever animated entertainment via Jones’ Did I Err Productions company.

Groo the Wanderer, now in its landmark 40th year of publication, is the longest currently-running independent and “creator-owned” comic book property – outlasting many of the companies that published it. The brainchild of Aragonés, who creates the stories along with wordsmith Mark Evanier, the Eisner Award-winning Groo the Wanderer has been published by Dark Horse Comics since 1998.

Jones, and his Did I Err partner Scott Nocas, will serve as executive producers on the film and/or series with Aragonés and Evanier. Did I Err is focused on partnering with creative talent who understand Aragonés’ vision and characters. Projects are being packaged for streaming services and global distribution, with Did I Err able to co-finance as needed. 

“After drawing and living with Groo for so many years, so many comics, so many pages, you can imagine I have drawn Groo in every position imaginable,” Aragonés explains. “Mark and I wondered so many times how he — Groo, not Mark — would look animated. We studied what we have seen on the screen by different animators and laughed plenty. Now, I know that we are going in the right direction and I can assure the fans that they will love Groo the way Mark and I do.”

Sergio Aragones

“I’ve loved Groo the Wanderer since I was eight years old, and to have the honor of bringing the character to on-screen life is, quite literally, a lifelong dream come true,” Jones says. “Sergio’s style, the characters, the world, and especially the humor have always appealed to me. I just want to help bring what I’ve loved for so long to the next generation!”

Jones’ wide portfolio of businesses go far beyond his role as the head of Did I Err Productions. The visionary entrepreneur also owns and operates Kill Capital, a hybrid VC firm and family office; Gondola Ventures, a transportation infrastructure firm; FlyCoin, a crypto rewards program; and Ravn Alaska and its sister airline Northern Pacific Airways. Jones became a Bitcoin proponent in 2010 and has built an outstanding reputation throughout the cryptocurrency industry as a prolific investor and technical expert. He also co-founded DreamHost, a popular web hosting provider, while an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College. He is a founder of HMC INQ, an investment network offering mentorship and startup support to HMC students and alumni.  He currently serves on the board of Represent.Us and The Aquarium of the Pacific. 

Aragonés is the most honored cartoonist on the planet, having won every major award in the field, including the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award and the Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award. His irresistible cartoons have appeared in MAD since 1963, including as the subject of “All-Sergio” special editions of the magazine. His artistic creations have been seen in DC Comics, Marvel Comics and just about every major publisher of funnybooks, and his work has been translated into more than 100 languages. Paperback collections of his work and graphic novels have sold into the millions. 

Evanier is renowned for his writing in several mediums. The Los Angeles native has written comic books for the characters of The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Studios and Hanna-Barbera, and the three-time Emmy Award nominee’s robust resume of television writing for both live-action and animated series includes Welcome Back Kotter, That’s Incredible, Pryor’s Place, the Scooby-Doo franchise, Superman: The Animated Series, Thundarr the Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons, Garfield and Friends, and The Garfield Show. An assistant to comics legend Jack Kirby, Evanier honored his one-time employer in 2008 by writing a book entitled “Kirby: King of Comics.” Evanier has earned several Eisner Awards and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Animation Writing by the Writers Guild of America.

Growing up a huge comic book collector and Groo fan, Nocas has a long career investing in and launching media, consumer and education businesses. He has launched, and produced content for, next generation platforms and communities with Xbox, Sony, Vuguru, Marvel creator Stan Lee, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Army and many others. Nocas currently serves as Managing Director of Jones’ Kill Capital, and as a venture partner with NextGen Ventures – in addition to his producer role with Did I Err Productions. 

For the uninitiated, Groo the Wanderer follows the exploits of a barbarian warrior who is invincible in battle, but negotiates his days with an I.Q. three points lower than a boulder. With his trusty canine sidekick Rufferto, he wanders an ancient land of mystery, magic and mayhem, looking only for a warm place to sleep, a few coins, or a taste of cheese dip. 

RWBY – Volume 8 now out on Digital and Blu-ray
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RWBY – Volume 8 now out on Digital and Blu-ray

BURBANK, CA – More than ever before, the allied forces battling Salem mustunite in a single, concerted effort to prevail in the eighth thrilling season of Rooster Teeth’s anime-inspired series RWBY. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will distribute RWBY – Volume 8 on Digital and Blu-ray ($24.98 SRP USA, $29.98 SRP Canada) starting yesterday.

Beloved by fans and acclaimed by critics, RWBY imagines a world filled with horrific monsters bent on death and destruction, and humanity’s only hope lies with powerful Huntsmen and Huntresses. Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long are four such Huntresses-in-training, and their journey takes them far beyond the gates of Beacon Academy as they confront dark forces and work as a team to become the next generation of Remnant’s protectors.

In RWBY – Volume 8, our heroes’ worst fears have finally been realized: Salem is here, and the timing couldn’t be worse for the divided Kingdom of Atlas. Fear has turned the friends into enemies, and doubt threatens to splinter Humanity’s remaining allies. With both Salem and Ironwood stacking the odds against them, and the fate of Remnant at stake, it’s up to Team RWBY to make their play before it’s too late.

In addition to all 14 of the season’s episodes – including the landmark 100th episode of the series (entitled “Witch”) – and a full gamut of bonus features included in the season compilation, the first 20,000 fans to purchase RWBY – Volume 8 on Blu-ray will also receive a pack of limited edition RWBY/Justice League Art Cards. Each pack contains 10 collectible cards that feature the cover or variant from the RWBY/Justice League comics released by DC earlier in 2021.

The RWBY cast is led by the core foursome of Lindsay Jones (X-Ray and Vav) as Ruby Rose, Kara Eberle (Rooster Teeth Shorts) as Weiss Schnee, Arryn Zech (Red vs. Blue) as Blake Belladonna and Barbara Dunkelman (Fairy Tail, Blood Fest) as Yang Xiao Long. Other key voice cast members include Miles Luna (Camp Camp) as Jaune Arc, Neath Oum (RWBY: Grimm Eclipse) as Lie Ren, Samantha Ireland (RWBY Chibi) as Nora Valkyrie and Shannon McCormick (Get Backers, Day 5) and Aaron Dismuke (Fullmetal Alchemist) as Ozma/Ozpin.

Created by the late Monty Oum (Red vs. Blue), RWBY is one of Rooster Teeth’s most beloved, viewed and shared series. As the first western-produced anime series to be distributed in Japan, RWBY episodes have averaged more than 7 million views, and the franchise has accumulated over 275 million views since its inception. To date, the series has sold nearly 680k units sold on DVD and Blu-ray, and registered consumer products sales in excess of $20 million. RWBY has a fervent fanbase in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan

RWBY Volume 8

Episodes

  1. Divide
  1. Refuge
  2. Strings
  3. Fault
  4. Amity
  5. Midnight
  6. War
  7. Dark
  8. Witch (RWBY series’ 100th episode)
  9. Ultimatum
  10. Risk
  11. Creation
  12. Worthy
  13. The Final Word

RWBY-Volume 8Special Features

Blu-ray and Digital

RWBY at RTX (Panel)RWBY talent takes the stage at RTX for an in-depth chat between showrunner Kerry Shawcross, co-creator and writer Miles Luna, writing supervisor Eddy Rivas, lead producer Laura Yates, Lindsay Jones (voice of Ruby Rose), Barbara Dunkelman (voice of Yang Xiao Long), Kara Eberle (voice of Weiss Schnee) and Arryn Zech (voice of Blake Belladonna).

RWBY at Sundance Film Festival (Panel) – Discussion amongst RWBY talent at the famed Sundance Film Festival. Featured panelists were showrunner Kerry Shawcross, co-creator and writer Miles Luna, Lindsay Jones (voice of Ruby Rose), Barbara Dunkelman (voice of Yang Xiao Long), Rooster Teeth co-founder Matt Hullum, co-head of Rooster Teeth Animation Joe Clary and moderator Julia Alexander, a reporter at the Verge, Internet Creators and Entertainment.

CRWBY Faces (video) – A fun behind-the-scenes look at more than 100 of the 150+ individuals responsible for the production of RWBY.

Talk CRWBY to Me (Podcast) – A popular RWBY podcast recorded during 2020 and hosted by showrunner Kerry Shawcross.

Grimm Campaign (a game of Dungeons and Dragons) – Set in the expansive world of Remnant, the RWBY Crew members embody Hunter & Huntress avatars to take on the terrifying forces of wild Grimm. Featuring Eddy Rivas as Headmaster, Chad James as Asher Mora, Kerry Shawcross as Pyke Rite, Laura Yates as Arrastra Skye, and Chris Kokkinos as Fenix Nemean.

Audio Commentary – Showrunner, directors and writers discuss all 14 episodes.

  • “Divide” – Showrunner/director Kerry Shawcross and writer Kiersi Burkhart
  • “Refuge” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Paula Decanini and writer Miles Luna
  • “Strings” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Dustin Matthews and writer Kiersi Burkhart
  • “Fault” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Connor Pickens and writer Eddy Rivas
  • “Amity” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Paula Decanini and writer Miles Luna
  • “Midnight” – Showrunner/director/writer Kerry Shawcross and writers Kiersi Burkhart, Eddy Rivas & Miles Luna
  • “War” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Connor Pickens and writers Kiersi Burkhart & Miles Luna
  • “Dark” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Dustin Matthews and writer Miles Luna
  • “Witch” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Paula Decanini and writer Eddy Rivas
  • “Ultimatum” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Connor Pickens and writers Kiersi Burkhart & Miles Luna
  • “Risk” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Paula Decanini and writers Kiersi Burkhart, Eddy Rivas & Miles Luna
  • “Creation” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Dustin Matthews and writer Eddy Rivas
  • “Worthy” – Showrunner Kerry Shawcross, director Connor Pickens and writers Kiersi Burkhart, Eddy Rivas & Miles Luna
  • “The Final Word” – Co-creator & writer Miles Luna, director Kerry Shawcross and writer Kiersi Burkhart

BASICS

Street Date: November 23, 2021

Blu-ray: $24.98 SRP USA, $29.98 Canada

Languages: English

Subtitles: English & French

REVIEW: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
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REVIEW: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

It’s interesting to note that the two Marvel Cinematic Movies of the fall are the ones that hew furthest away from the source material. In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, out now in both streaming and disc, it makes the most sense because the original Master of Kung-Fu comic was very much a product of its time. Capitalizing on the kung fu craze of the early 1970s, it also melded the comic with Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, the epitome of the Yellow Menace, a pulp magazine staple.

But, boiled down, the story is about fathers and sons and legacy, a solid framework that writers Dave Callaham, Andrew Lanham developed with co-writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton. While jettisoning the stereotypes, we have instead Xu Wenwu (Tony Keung), a near-immortal being who has amassed power and wealth across the centuries but doesn’t find happiness until he met Li (Fala Chen). What he comes to learn is that she hails from a hidden civilization, protecting the world from a deadly dragon, walled within a mountain.

At one point, Wenwu’s enemies come calling and kill Li as she protects her children, Shang-Chi and Xialing. The grieving man sends Xialing away to be raised apart while he trains Shang to become his successor. When the adult (Simu Liu) objects, he is given a decade to find himself. He drifts, taking the name Shaun, and coasts along, parking cars in San Francisco with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). Of course, time’s up and dad summons son and daughter home. He must find the dragon and free it, for it is, he believes, keeping his wife from him.

There’s a lot of pain and emotional heft here, more than in some of the other MCU offerings. It’s also about coming to terms with great power and great responsibility which seems woven into the DNA of every Marvel hero.

There are terrific set pieces along the way, with plenty of martial arts mayhem that honors the best of the Asian filmmaking tradition. We, of course, get to the village where a lot of backstory is filled in by Shang and Xialing’s aunt Ying Nan (Michelle Yeoh).

For comic relief, we get the welcome return of Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley), the faux-Mandarin and Shang’s opponent Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) is on hand as a leader of the storied Ten Rings, which has been in the background of the films dating back to 2008’s Iron Man.

The final battle is of course a little drawn out but exciting and things resolve nicely with some solid human moments, Shang and Katy’s final time as mere civilians before Wong (Benedict Wong) retrieves them to fully insert them into the Marvel mainstream.

The film is very entertaining and its cultural roots help it stand apart from its brethren. It’s far from groundbreaking as a superhero origin tale, but nicely shines light on a new corner of the MCU.

The movie is out in streaming, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray so you have your pick of formats. The 4K streaming is sharp and crisp, retaining the color palette and shadows without a glitch. The disc has a fine DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack or Dolby Atmos and both sound strong.

The Special Features are nothing out of the ordinary and they include The Costumes of Shang-Chi (1:31); Building a Legacy (8:53); Family Ties (7:28); Gag Reel (2:10); and best of all, Deleted Scenes (14:23). There are two notable moments that make Razor Fist an interesting character and one that fleshes out Xialing a little. Finally, there’s Audio Commentary from Cretton and Callaham where we learn the director has had a lifelong obsession with the Eagles’ “Hotel California”, hence its role in the film.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Streams Tuesday, On Disc Dec. 14
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Venom: Let There Be Carnage Streams Tuesday, On Disc Dec. 14

SYNOPSIS
Tom Hardy returns as the lethal protector Venom, one of MARVEL’s greatest and most complex characters. In search of his next big story, journalist Eddie Brock lands an exclusive interview with convicted murderer and death row inmate Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who discovers Eddie’s secret and becomes the host for Carnage, a menacing and terrifying symbiote. Now, Eddie and Venom must get past their contentious relationship to defeat him. Directed by Andy Serkis (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) with a story by Tom Hardy & Kelly Marcel and screenplay by Kelly Marcel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage also stars Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris as Shriek.

BONUS MATERIALS

4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY™, AND DIGITAL
• Outtakes & Bloopers
• 6 Deleted Scenes
• Eddie & Venom: The Odd Couple: What happens when two beings inhabit one body? A whole lot of chaos. Tom Hardy, Andy Serkis, and the team of filmmakers talk all things Eddie and Venom.
• Sick and Twisted Cletus Kasady: Imagining this iconic and psychotic comic book villain for screen with Woody Harrelson, director Andy Serkis, and the production team.
• Concept to Carnage: Trace the design and animation of Carnage from comic book image to screen symbiotic.
• Let There Be… Action: Go on the set and experience the action of how Venom: Let There Be Carnage takes shape. From concept to stage, from green screen to film screen, follow the making of the film and see the intense stunts that were captured.
• And more!

DVD
• Let There Be… Action: Go on the set and experience the action of how Venom: Let There Be Carnage takes shape. From concept to stage, from green screen to film screen, follow the making of the film and see the intense stunts that were captured.

CAST AND CREW
Directed By: Andy Serkis
Screenplay By: Kelly Marcel
Story By: Tom Hardy & Kelly Marcel
Producers: Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Amy Pascal, Kelly Marcel, Tom Hardy, Hutch Parker
Executive Producers: Barry Waldman, Jonathan Cavendish, Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham and Woody Harrelson

SPECS
Runtime: Approx. 97 minutes
Rating: PG-13: Intense sequences of violence and action, some strong language, disturbing material and suggestive references.
4K UHD: 2160p Ultra High Definition / 1.85:1 • Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French (Doublé au Québec), Spanish, English & French (Doublé au Québec) – Audio Description Tracks 5.1 Dolby Digital

Blu-ray™: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1 • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French (Doublé au Québec), Spanish, English & French (Doublé au Québec) – Audio Description Tracks 5.1 Dolby Digital
DVD: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen | Audio: English, French (Doublé au Québec), Spanish, English & French (Doublé au Québec) – Audio Description Tracks 5.1 Dolby Digital

Space Jam’s 25th Anniversary Plans Unveiled
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Space Jam’s 25th Anniversary Plans Unveiled

BURBANK, CA, Nov. 15, 2021 — Celebrating twenty-five years since Bugs Bunny and the Tune Squad defeated the Monstars in an epic basketball showdown, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences has announced a collection of 90s inspired merchandise, an upcoming NFT drop, an all-new digital comic from DC, and more to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Space Jam and its lasting impact on pop culture. The iconic film’s silver anniversary follows the global release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ animated/live action film Space Jam: A New Legacy‘ earlier this year, which debuted at the top of the box office and scored the biggest opening for a family film earlier this year. Now streaming audiences can also view the original film at home with family and friends on HBO Max where a new generation of fans can experience the frenetic, fun mashup adventure.

Space Jam was the iconic film moment of 1996, and its cultural impact is undeniable. Today, it continues to spark nostalgia and excitement for millennials who were kids when it debuted, and that fervor has been passed to a new generation with the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy,” said Josh Hackbarth, vice president of franchise development, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences. “We are pleased to celebrate the movie’s many groundbreaking achievements in ticket sales, merchandising, music, theme and design. Its legacy continues to live on with kids and families still enjoying everything that is Space Jam.”

Debuting on Nov. 15, 1996, the original Space Jam earned $230M at the box office at launch and became the No. 1 grossing basketball film of all time, influencing everything from fast food to fashion and redefining movie merchandising. Its soundtrack was a best-seller and went platinum six times. The film was also one of the first to have a dedicated promotional website. Today, www.SpaceJam.com/1996 remains untouched, an homage to the early internet and a testament to the brand’s enduring appeal to audiences across numerous generations.

Inviting fans everywhere to join the jam and celebrate this iconic film, the Space Jam 25th anniversary offerings include:

  • Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes Shop is offering fans a variety of all-new “Space Jam” inspired apparel by unveiling the fourth drop in its popular ACME Intern collection, featuring original designs inspired by the film. Among the must-have items, fans can purchase a t-shirt with artwork of the original Space Jam website’s homepage.
  • House of Highlights, the #1 digital media brand for Gen Z and part of the Bleacher Report brand portfolio, has unveiled a collaboration with DOC (Dustin O. Canalin) in honor of the Space Jam 25th Anniversary. House of Highlights’ brand new “Space Jam” collection showcases the Looney Tunes reimagining some of the most iconic moments in basketball history.
  • DJ Steve Aoki’s fashion and music label, Dim Mak recently launchedDim Mak x Space Jam 96,” a limited edition streetwear capsule featuring 90s inspired tees and hoodies in bright tie dyes and featuring the Looney Tunes squad.
  • Comic book fans can also download a free Space Jam 25th anniversary comic book from DC, as highlighted by Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes Shop, on the Stellar Souvenirs page of the original “Space Jam” website (www.SpaceJam.com/1996). In this new story, the Looney Tunes have settled into their stardom following the events of the original film. That is, until Marvin the Martian decides to take a trip home where he discovers a new plot by mastermind Swackhammer to unleash the Nerdlucks and Monstars upon Earth once again.  
  • Nifty’s “Starting 5” Challenge will let fans own a special piece of “Space Jam” history. Beginning on November 15th, Nifty’s will encourage fans to collect as many Tune Squad or Goon Squad NFT’s from “Space Jam: A New Legacy” as they can before January 13th, 2022. Collectors who hold five or more NFT’s on January 14, 2022 will be eligible to receive a limited edition Monstar NFT. Each of the Monstars will have their own unique NFT, totaling five designs. For every five Tune Squad or Goon Squad NFT’s a user holds (each NFT must feature an individual player on either team), they will be eligible for a Monstar NFT.  
  • Fans can also enjoy iconic 90s tunes when they purchase the recently reissued vinyl edition of the multi-platinum soundtrack Space Jam (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture), released by Rhino Entertainment. Available as a double-LP on 180-gram, red and black vinyl for $34.98, the 14-track collection was a commercial smash that peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum six times.

Space Jam is currently available on Digital and 4K Ultra HD via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film also received a special 25th anniversary DVD and Blu Ray release earlier this year, and an exclusive Space Jam double feature box set is at retail nationwide.

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When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

As far as I know, this book hasn’t been banned. Rather the opposite, so far: it was nominated for a National Book Award, and has won some other, more specific awards. But the week I read it acclaimed graphic-novelist-for-kids Jerry Craft was banned from a Dallas-area school for “critical race theory” [1], so I’m calling it now: the Usual Suspects will be protesting this book, too, since it makes their little Kaydens and Buddies either “get lib’rul ideas” or whine that their teachers are being mean to them, depending on how stupid and/or indoctrinated any individual Kayden or Buddy is.

That may seem to have nothing to do with the book, but it’s not. Culture wars have no boundaries: they range through all of culture. Culture is what we live in. And the white supremacists are waging a very clear cultural war, with loud “will not replace us” messaging on national TV, aimed at people exactly like the co-author of this book.

When Stars Are Scattered is a book every Kayden and Buddy should read. As young as possible: maybe when they’re about seven, like Omar is at the beginning of this book. They should think about how they would live if they were refugees in a foreign country, with one parent dead and the other possibly lost forever. They should think about other kids: in their classes, in other parts of America, around the world. They should wonder what those kids are going through.

(To quote a song I’ve been listening to a lot lately, “if you think you’re at your limit, just remember what some folks survive .”)

This is a true story, more or less. From the afterwords by Omar Mohamed (who lived it, and shaped it into a story) and Victoria Jamieson (who turned the story into a script and the script into drawn pages), I think some characters are composites or somewhat fictional. But Omar is real. His brother Hassan, who can only say the word “Hooyo,” is real. The refugee camp Dadaab in Kenya, where hundreds of thousands have lived for up to three decades now, is real. And the civil war in Somalia, which is still going on, is real.

Omar was about four and his brother just a baby when they left Somalia. What happened that day isn’t revealed until late in this graphic novel, but I will tell you it opens three years later, with the two boys taking every chance they can get to look at new arrivals, hoping they will see their mother.

Scattered is mostly about life in the camp, and how Omar grows up there. It’s a grinding life: not enough food, very little to do, no clear possible escape. The dream of every refugee is to get out – some, like Omar, dream of going back to their lives before the war, but we get the sense that’s mostly children. Adults know that can never happen. The other dream is to get out: to be allowed to settle in some faraway country, Canada or America or somewhere in Europe. Only a few can get one of those slots: it’s a long process, full of paperwork and interviews, and there’s an element of competition to it.

And is your family situation worse than the others around you? Have you suffered more than them? Are you more worthy of being resettled somewhere overseas because of what you’ve been through?

And what does it do to a person and a society to have to think like that, to tell your story through that lens to UN interviewers?

Omar makes it through that world. This is a book for children; it has a happy ending. Omar is telling us this story, because he did make it out to America, and made the life he wanted. More than that, his adult life is devoted to helping other refugees, both the ones who made it to America and the ones back in Dadaab. It’s a good life, a life worth celebrating and spotlighting. I’m glad he and Jamieson were able to tell his story so cleanly and clearly, to an audience that needs to hear it.

And so, again, I want to see When Stars Are Scattered in every elementary school across the country. Especially the ones without people named “Omar,” or people who look like Omar Mohamed. That’s the way compassion and honesty wins the cultural wars: through true stories of different people, presented to an audience young enough to learn lessons of compassion and honesty.

[1] In case you don’t know, actual CRT is a graduate-level discipline, originated in law schools and also taught at the graduate level, to graduate students, in graduate schools of other kinds. It aims to untangle racial biases in things like historical criminal sentences.

It is in no way identical to “teaching white kids that kids of other races are also real people who you need to respect.” The latter should be base-level standard, but it’s what “conservative” parents are actually protesting, as seen in a telling quote from Connecticut, also this week: “helping kids of color to feel they belong has a negative effect on white, Christian, or conservative kids .”

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

2004 The Batman gets Blu-Ray Treatment
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2004 The Batman gets Blu-Ray Treatment

BURBANK, CA (November 16, 2021) –  The early years of the Caped Crusader get a closer examination as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings the fully-remastered The Batman: The Complete Series to Blu-ray for the very first time. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the 65-episode box set will be distributed February 1, 2022 by WBHE on Blu-ray+Digital ($69.99 SRP) in the United States, and a Blu-ray only package ($79.98 SRP) in Canada.

The six-time Emmyâ Award-winning series premiered on September 11, 2004 on Kids’ WB before eventually shifting to Cartoon Network for subsequent seasons. The Batman: The Complete Series follows 20-something-year-old Bruce Wayne’s early adventures as he balances his daytime persona as a bachelor billionaire with his nighttime guise as a caped crimefighter. Along the way, Batman is joined by allies Robin and Batgirl as they combat Gotham City’s Rogues’ Gallery, including updated versions of his familiar foes as well as a bevy of rarely seen villains like Killer Moth and The Everywhere Man. Join one of the most complex and intriguing character in comic book history for action-packed super heroic adventures that test the limits of this legendary character’s extraordinary physical prowess and super-sleuthing skills.

Executive Producer Alan Burnett led an extremely talented team that included producers Glen Murakami, Jeff Matsuda and Linda Steiner, and supervising producers Michael Goguen and Duane Capizzi. Brandon Vietti anchored a group of eight series directors, while the episode writers featured an all-star roster of scribes including Bob Goodman, Paul Dini, Stan Berkowitz, Steven Melching, Greg Weisman, Joseph Kuhr, Michael Jelenic, Jane Espenson, Paul Giacoppo and Len Uhley.

Rino Romano (Spider-Man Unlimited, Curious George) heads the cast as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Romano is joined by Evan Sabara (The Polar Express) as Dick Grayson/Robin, Danielle Judovits (Naruto: Shippûden) as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Kevin Michael Richardson (The Simpsons, American Dad!) as the Joker, Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Book of Boba Fett) as Detective Ellen Yin, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as The Penguin, Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Dexter: New Blood) as Mr. Freeze, Alastair Duncan (Batman: The Long Halloween) as Alfred, Gina Gershon (Face/Off, Showgirls) as Catwoman, Jason Marsden (Transformers: Rescue Bots, Young Justice) as Firefly, Steve Harris (The Practice) as Detective Ethan Bennett/Clayface, Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files) as Commissioner James Gordon, and Adam West (Batman) as Mayor Grange.

Stars of cinema and primetime television populate the voice cast, which featured Louis Gossett Jr. (Lucius Fox), Mark Hamill (Tony Zucco), Chris Pratt (Jake), Dana Delany (Lois Lane), Ron Perlman (Killer Croc), George Newbern (Superman), Brooke Shields (Julie), Robert Englund (The Riddler), Brandon Routh (Everywhere Man), Peter MacNicol (Dr. Kirk Langstrom), Frank Gorshin (Hugo Strange), Diedrich Bader (Captain Slash), Patrick Warburton (Cash Tankinson), Jerry O’Connell (Nightwing), Dorian Harewood (Martian Manhunter), Billie Hayes (Georgia), Wallace Langham (Basil Karlo), Gwendoline Yeo (Mercy Graves), Edward James Olmos (Chief Angel Rojas), Christopher Gorham (William Mallery), Xander Berkeley (Paul), James Remar (Black Mask), John Larroquette (Mirror Master), Patton Oswalt (Cosmo Krank), Fred Willard (Instructor), Robert Patrick (Hawkman), Dermot Mulroney (Green Lantern), Keone Young (Hideo Katsu), Ian Abercrombie (Ewan), Dave Foley (Francis Grey), Miguel Ferrer (Sinestro), Henry Gibson (Bagley), Edie McClurg (Mrs. Brown), David Faustino (David), Kevin Grevioux (Solomon Grundy) and Glenn Shadix (Artie Brown).

In addition, the series featured a who’s who of popular actors destined for the voice actor hall of fame, including Phil LaMarr, Hynden Walch, Kevin Conroy, Jeff Bennett, Daran Norris, Lex Lang, Dan Castellaneta, Grey Griffin, Charlie Schlatter, Will Friedle, Townsend Coleman, Kath Soucie, Peter Jessop, Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, Jim Meskimen, Jim Cummings, Jennifer Hale, John DiMaggio, Cathy Cavadini, Bumper Robinson, Dee Bradley Baker, Carlos Alazraqui and Patrick Seitz.

The Batman: The Complete SeriesSpecial Features

Blu-ray+Digital

  • The Dark Dynasty Continues (New Featurette) – Explore the relationship between The Batman and his allies as he evolves from mysterious vigilante to the World’s Greatest Detective.
  • Joining Forces: The Batman’s Legendary Team-Ups (Featurette) – How the series’ producers adapted the DC “Team-Up-Tales” approach from the comic books to the screen.
  • The Batman Junior Detective Challenge (Quiz) – Alfred tests your detective skills with The Batman: The Complete Series challenge.
  • The Batman Junior Detective Exam: Level 2 (Quiz) – Pass The Batman test of knowledge with the level 2 exam.
  • Building Batman (Featurette) – Detective Ellen Yin investigates The Batman’s true identity.
  • Gotham PD Case Files (Featurette) – Highly confidential profiles of The Batman’s most dastardly foes.
  • New Look, New Direction, New Knight (Featurette) – Go behind the scenes to explore the development of The Batman television series.
  • The Batman: Season 3 Unmasked (Featurette) – Supervising Producer Duane Capizzi talks about the animated series.
  • The Batman: Season 4 Unmasked (Featurette) – A behind the scenes look into the making of Season 4.
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Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, and Moonage Daydreams by Michael Allred, Steve Horton, and Laura Allred

“Rayguns?” That’s important enough to make the title? Stardust, sure, though more in the Ziggy sense than the “we are all” sense. And Moonage Daydreams, why of course. But why rayguns?

If I had been the editor of this book, I would have asked, “Why not “Starmen?” Or maybe “Pretty Things.” Even “Space Oddities,” though that would be a bit on-the-nose.

(Note: I am pretty sure my willingness to ask dumb questions was not instrumental in being cast out of the world of Sfnal Editorial work. Pretty sure. Yeah.)

But that’s the title we have, even though (he said, hitting the tedious point for the last time, he promises) there are no rayguns in this book. Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, and Moonage Daydreams . A biographical graphic novel about the chap born David Jones, but better known under his stage name. Primarily focused on the creation of and tour following the The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars record from 1972.

(And, frankly, I’m pretty sure someone, at some time during the creation of this book, lamented that the perfect title had already been taken, by that album. And maybe someone toyed with the idea of re-using the title.)

It’s drawn by Michael Allred and colored by Laura Allred. The script seems to be, from M. Allred’s afterword, mostly by Steve Horton, working from an Allred outline and list of important story beats, and then extensively worked over by both of them. (Horton did a lot of work, definitely, even if the art is all Allred and the words are at least somewhat Allred.)

It opens on the last night of the Ziggy tour, in 1973, in London. That’s our frame: it leaps back to show Bowie’s early career up to that point, in at least sketchy form. Unlike a lot of biographical stories, it doesn’t get into childhood at all: there’s a montage of David Jones At Various Youthful Ages on the first page, but that’s literally it. Instead, it’s all career: what he recorded when, who he worked with, who he knew and bounced off in London in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Horton and Allred get a bit name-dropp-y with that, frankly, as they try to show that Bowie was the center of everything and influential on everyone and the best musician of any kind ever. I mean, I get that they love Bowie and especially this period: you don’t spend months or years on a project like this without that level of love. But a bit of context goes a long way, and a bit of idol-worship is more than enough.

It’s also all more than a little compressed: Horton and Allred are huge fans, so they’re trying to get every last moment and idea in that they can, and the book comes across a bit staccato because of that. If you are a huge Bowie fan, that will be great: you don’t need context, and it gives you more recognizable moments and ideas. For those of us who are more vaguely Bowie-positive, it’s a flood of panels, many of which seems to be heading off in different directions to tell us something else.

Allred also drops into phantasmagoria a few times, in what may be meant to be chapter breaks and an extended visual overview of Bowie’s later career at the end. These are wordless pages, crammed with images, most but not quite all of them images of Bowie in various guises and stages of his career. They are gorgeous and impressive and stunning, but not really comics, since they deliberately don’t tell any story.

All in all, this is a book that is better the more of a Bowie fan you are. Not a fan at all: you will be bored and confused. Enjoy his music: it will be pleasant and enjoyable, though maybe a little much. Huge Ziggy-era stan: you will love it, though probably also find things to nitpick, because stans must always stan.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: Fantastic Four No. 1: Panel by Panel
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REVIEW: Fantastic Four No. 1: Panel by Panel

Fantastic Four No. 1: Panel by Panel

By Chip Kidd, Geoff Spear, Mark Evanier, and Tom Brevoort

Abrams ComicsArts, 240 pages, $40

The first title to usher in the Marvel Age of Comics has been previously annotated in other books, most notably one five years ago. But here, designer Chip Kidd does his usual in-depth look with incredible blow-ups of each panel of each page of the story that introduced us to Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm, and Benjamin J. Grimm.

The vast majority of the book is filled with these detailed looks, shot by Geoff Spear from a 1961 copy of the comic. It’s an interesting look, forcing you to examine things in extreme close-up, so much so that some panels lose detail in the spine.

It’s all too much and somewhat overwhelms you visually. And then, when we get to the meat of the book, Tom Brevoort’s analytical breakdown of the comic, we’re given thumbnails whle the text asks us to look at details requiring you to flip back to the specific blown up panel or past the essay to the page by page reproduction of the comic, which bookends the hardcover.

Brevoort has been studying the comic for some time over at his always entertaining blog and has revised those posts here for what should be considered a definitive examination; that is, until the original art is ever located. He notes theories that have been bandied about for decades whether or not the story was intended for one of the anthology titles before publisher Martin Goodman moved it to a new title or if the FF were shoehorned into an existing Mole Man versus mankind story, a hallmark of that Atlas Comics era which stretched through the latter 1950s. He notes where art extensions (credited for the most part to production manager Sol Brodsky) were likely done and where penciller Jack Kirby’s routine layouts were changed, likely by writer/editor Stan Lee.

It all makes for fascinating reading but the page by page analysis really belonged with the page by page reproductions not the thumbnails. This design misfire mars a handsome, albeit expensive, book for what it is.

Brevoort’s notes along with the essay from Mark Evanier, even-handedly examines what Lee and Kirby likely brought to the characters and story. They even seem to definitively identify George Klein as the inker, settling a debate that has raged for decades. Acknowledgement is given to the conflicting claims about which creator did what and I agree with Evanier that credit has to be equally shared since, after all, none of us were there when they worked on the project.

Finally, there is the short typed outline that Lee first showed Roy Thomas in 1966 and some conjecture is provided as to why Lee wrote it.

All in all the information provided in one place is a fine tribute to the 60th anniversary of this seminal release. As with most Abrams ComicArts releases, the production values are high, the glossy paper thick, and the overall package handsome. Yes, you’ve seen some or all this before but having it all in one place makes for a nice addition to your comics library.