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All-Star Superman gets 4K Disc in April
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All-Star Superman gets 4K Disc in April

BURBANK, CA (February 15, 2023) – One of the Man of Steel’s most personal tales in DC history – from the mind of comics icon Grant Morrison, and produced under the expert oversight of animation legends Bruce Timm and Dwayne McDuffie – All-Star Superman will be available to own on 4K Ultra HD for the very first time on April 18, 2023 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Grant Morrison’s beloved, Eisner Award-winning vision of Superman’s heroic final days on Earth is brought to exquisite, animated life in All-Star Superman. The film begins as the Man of Steel rescues an ill-fated mission to the Sun (sabotaged by Lex Luthor) but, in the process, is oversaturated by radiation – which accelerates his cell degeneration. Sensing even he will be unable to cheat death, Superman ventures into new realms – finally revealing his secret to Lois, confronting Lex Luthor’s perspective of humanity, and attempting to ensure Earth’s safety before his own impending end with one final, selfless act.

Twelve years after its initial release, All-Star Superman holds a “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was the 10th in the ongoing series of DC Universe Movies and DC Animated Movies that now number more than 50 films across 17 years.

The star-studded voice cast is headed by James Denton (Good Witch, Desperate Housewives), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, Good Girls) and Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) as Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. Other noteworthy cast members are seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner (Up, Elf, The Mary Tyler Moore Show) as Perry White, Golden Globe winner Frances Conroy (American Horror Story, Joker, Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds, Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise) as Jimmy Olsen and Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Endgame, Dead to Me, ER) as Nasty.

Rounding out the impressive cast are Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy), Steve Blum (Star Wars: Rebels, Cowboy Bebop, Naruto), Catherine Cavadini (Elvis, Soul, The Powerpuff Girls), Finola Hughes (General Hospital, Staying Alive), Alexis Denisof (Guardians of the Galaxy, Angel), Obba Babatunde (S.W.A.T., That Thing You Do!), John DiMaggio (Futurama, Interview with the Vampire), Chris Cox (Family Guy), Robin Atkin Downes (The Strain, Batman: The Long Halloween), Kevin Michael Richardson (Mortal Kombat, The Simpsons), Fred Tatasciore (Star Trek: Lower Decks, American Dad!) and Michael Gough (Overwatch, Batman: Arkham Origins).

All-Star Superman is executive produced by animation guru Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) and directed by Sam Liu (Batman: The Killing Joke, The Death and Return of Superman) from a script by acclaimed animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock, Justice League/Justice League Unlimited).

McDuffie, an incomparable force in the comics and animation realm, was a co-founder of Milestone Media, the industry’s most successful minority-owned-and-operated comic company. His creations are headlined by Static Shock, for which he won a Humanitas Prize in 2003, and he served as producer in helping guide the beloved Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated series. McDuffie passed away in 2011 at the age of 49.

All-Star Superman will be available to purchase April 18, 2023 on 4K Ultra HD both online and in-store at major retailers.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

The Art of the All-star Adaptation (New Featurette) – Go behind the scenes and inside the process of screenwriting, character designing and scoring the animated adaptation of the quintessential Superman comic series, All-Star Superman. This fascinating featurette includes insight from executive producer Bruce Timm, director Sam Liu, character designer Dusty Abell and composer Christopher Drake.

An All-Star Salute to the Silver Age Superman (New Featurette) – Explore DC’s historical inspirations in Grant Morrison’s love letter to the wildly fantastic Silver Age of Superman in comics.

Superman Now (Featurette) – In a moment of inspiration, Grant Morrison was provided an opportunity to revamp the Man of Steel into something modern, something more relevant for today’s audience. This is the story of All-Star Superman – where it all started, and what it came to be.

The Creative Flow: Incubating the Idea with Grant Morrison (Featurette) – A detailed look at Grant Morrison’s original sketches and ideas.

Audio Commentary – Featuring the thoughts of Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison.

Digital Comic Book – All-Star Superman

Pricing and film information:

PRODUCT SRP
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack* $33.99 USA

  • Features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie

Languages: English, French, and Spanish
Running Time: 76 minutes
Rated PG for some violence

Red Tower Launches with Creature Feature Short Esther
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Red Tower Launches with Creature Feature Short Esther

Red Tower announced earlier this month the launch of their new entertainment company and release of their first short feature, the haunting creature feature ESTHER.

Founded by filmmakers Brian Levin (Union Bridge) and D. M. Cunningham (The Spore, 3 Demons), Red Tower is a genre production company and digital network focusing on short form high quality/low cost content. Red Tower’s goal will be to leverage a deep network of the best filmmakers in the world and bring them online and to genre lovers everywhere.

“Having started in 2005 with one of the first online shows and later been involved in legacy television and film, I feel that the moment has truly arrived where old and new Hollywood have merged”, said Brian Levin, CEO of Red Tower. “The opportunity to bring the best artists in the world into a direct relationship with audiences at a global reach is a century in the making.”

Red Tower Co-Founder and CEO Brian Levin is a filmmaker who began his career creating content for digital networks Turner’s SuperDeluxe and 60Frames. After that he worked closely with Brian Robbins producing and writing for projects at Comedy Central and Spike as well as AwesomenessTV. In 2016 he wrote and produced the comedy Flock Of Dudes that was distributed by Hulu and Starz and in 2020 the film Union Bridge by Breaking Glass Pictures. He began his career on the creative side but is now involved on both the business and creative side of filmmaking as a producer and executive as well.

“We are thrilled to get Red Tower off the ground with our exciting first short, Esther, which will set the tone and voice of our digital network”, said Levin.

Directed by D. M. Cunningham and starring Haley Heslip (Void, Case 137) , Estheris the story of Katy, who has moved back to her childhood home only to find that her nightly sleep is disrupted by a faulty smoke alarm. She soon learns that the faulty alarm is the least of her worries as her imaginary friend Esther has come back to play.

“Esther came to me late one night when I was having this issue with our smoke alarm going off because of bad batteries and I kept walking around the house trying to figure out which one it was”, said Cunningham, who also created the FX heavy titular creature. “Then it hit me when I was laying down in bed. What if something was messing with me? Trying to get me to come downstairs and then attack me! The story evolved from there.”

When his friend and mentor, Wes Craven, told him that he needed to get back to his dream of becoming a horror film writer/director, Matt formed Night Prowler Video in 2015 with his wife and Executive Producer, Tara Cunningham, to produce genre film and television with the same flair and style of his highly influential friend. From that point it has been blood and neon-soaked content that would make his friend proud, with his latest project Esther being the next step in his journey.

Written and directed by Cunningham, the Esther team is rounded out by Keith Golinski, a 26 year veteran behind the camera who served as Director of Photography, and Executive Producers Golinski and Tara Cunningham.

Red Tower is currently in production on a slate of short form horror titles, and is set to release new content weekly on their current digital channels including Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

“With the right talent and smart distribution you can essentially build your own network that can connect to people across many screens and especially of interest- connected television sets. This is a new era where “Creator Networks” will begin to compete with Broadcast and Cable networks”, said Levin. “Red Tower will lead the way with the attitude and the artistry to back it up. Transmission begins now.”

Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One is Coming in April
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Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One is Coming in April

BURBANK, CA (February 9, 2023) – The heroes of DC’s Justice League and Rooster Teeth Animation’s RWBY join forces to battle an evil entity attacking Remnant in Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One, available to purchase Digitally and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray on April 25, 2023. The all-new, feature-length DC Animated Movie finds Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern and Vixen in new iterations – transformed into teenagers while in transport to RWBY’s world, and presented in Rooster Teeth’s anime-influenced animation – and partnering with the heroes of Remnant (Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang) to battle a mysterious, superpowered creature before it destroys everything they know.

The voice cast features a trio of first-time actors in DC’s Trinity roles – Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead, A Million Little Things) as Superman/Clark Kent and Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars, The Stand) as Batman/Bruce Wayne – alongside RWBY’s long-running cast: Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle (RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (The Detective is Already Dead) as Blake, and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang.

Also featured in the cast is Ozioma Akagha (Teen Titans Go!) as Vixen, Jen Brown (Red vs. Blue) as Pyrrha, Tiana Camacho (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) as Glynda, Aaron Dismuke (Fullmetal Alchemist) as Oscar, Jason Douglas (The Walking Dead) as Jacques, David Errigo Jr. (Ridley Jones) as The Flash/Barry Allen and Rolf, Samantha Ireland (Red vs. Blue) as Nora, Miles Luna (Camp Camp) as Jaune, Shannon McCormick (Get Backers, Day 5) as Professor Ozpin, Neath Oum (RWBY: Chibi) as Lie Ren, Tara Platt (Aggretsuko, Naruto: Shippuden) as Kali, Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern, and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as Cyborg.

Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One is produced and directed by by Kerry Shawcross (RWBY franchise) and written by screenwriter Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II). Producers are Ethan Spaulding (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge), Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Legion of Super-Heroes). Laura Yates (Boyhood, RWBY, Red vs. Blue) is Supervising Producer. Executive Producer is Michael Uslan. Sam Register is Executive Producer.

The first western-produced anime series to be dubbed and distributed in Japan, RWBY was created in 2013 by the late Monty Oum (Red vs. Blue) as an animated web series. Now one of Rooster Teeth’s most beloved, viewed, and shared franchises, the 9th volume of the series premiered earlier this month exclusively on Crunchyroll alongside all previous volumes. In 2022, the show saw unprecedented momentum with releasing the new Japanese anime series RWBY: Ice Queendom from Bandai Namco Filmworks and Studio Shaft and the new video game RWBY: Arrowfell from WayForward. RWBY episodes have averaged more than 7 million views, and the franchise has accumulated over 271 million views since its inception. RWBY has a fervent fanbase in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan. RWBY has expanded over the last few years to include a new manga from Shonen Jump, young adult novel treatment from Scholastic, and crossover comics with the Justice League from DC.

Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will be available on April 25 to purchase Digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray Discs will be available to purchase online and in-store at major retailers.

SYNOPSIS:
Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One finds the Justice League facing off against a new horror: adolescence! Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern and Vixen are surprised to find that not only have they materialized on a strange world called Remnant, but they’ve also been transformed into teenagers. Meanwhile, the heroes of Remnant – Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang – find their world has been mysteriously altered. Can the combined forces of the Justice League and Team RWBY return Remnant to normal before a superpowered Grimm destroys everything they know?

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
Justice Comes to Remnant (New Featurette) – When the Justice League find themselves on Remnant, they’ll have to deal with more than just their powers being altered. In this featurette, the filmmakers behind the film explore the world of Remnant, the Huntsmen that fight for it and how Earth’s mightiest heroes are forced to adapt.

You Look … Different (New Featurette) – Remnant, the world of RWBY, isn’t like Earth. The people are different. The powers are different. And the Justice League? Their entire appearance is different too. In this featurette, the creators of the film reveal the story behind the new look they’ve given to some old friends.

From the DC Vault – Justice League Unlimited – “Kid Stuff”

From the DC Vault – Justice League Action – “Plastic Man Saves the World”

Pricing and film information:
PRODUCT SRP
Digital purchase $19.99
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack + Digital Version* $39.99 USA
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack $44.98 Canada
Blu-ray + Digital Version* $29.98 USA
Blu-ray $39.99 Canada

4K/Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish
Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Running Time: 83 minutes
Rated PG for action/violence throughout and brief language

*Digital version not available in Canada

REVIEW: Legion of Super-Heroes
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REVIEW: Legion of Super-Heroes

Long live the Legion!

Since early in their existence, I have been a diehard fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so I am immediately drawn to anything featuring them. The current Warner Animation release, Legion of Super-Heroes, certainly makes me smile—that is, when I’m not grimacing.

The film picks up on the current animated continuity so we have a Supergirl (Meg Donnelly), relatively new to Earth. She’s a headstrong teen still coming into her powers, and for some reason, Superman (Darren Criss), who already had the benefit of Pa Kent’s tutelage, can’t manage her. When Batman (Jansen Ackles) points out she’s a threat in her current condition, the Man of Steel decides she needs more help than he can give.

Using a time sphere, he brings her to the 31st Century, where she is immediately accepted into the Legion Academy. Then, in both time periods, a threat from the mysterious Circle presents a clear and present danger.

While in the future, Supergirl befriends a few Legionnaires, and we see some scant effort at training any of the rookies. The actual members—Timber Wolf (Robbie Daymond), Shadow Lass (Victoria Grace), and Dawnstar (Cynthia Hamidi)—seem more worried that the rest of the team is in the distant reaches of the universe and can’t be reached.

At first, it seems that Supergirl is drawn to the flirty Mon-El (Yuri Lowenthal), but then as she bickers and works alongside Brainiac 5 (Harry Shum Jr.), she recognizes a connection. Meantime, Brainy, despite being a 12th-level intellect, is either an ass or an idiot for most of the story, oftentimes both. What she sees in him is elusive.

There are several unsatisfactory reveals in this story from screenwriter Josie Campbell, including the Circle’s leader and a traitor within the Legion. Neither work.

And while it was nice seeing so many of the team in brief glimpses, it just wasn’t enough, nor did it make any sense which members were suddenly designated trainees versus full members. The shape-shifting Proty was fun but little used.

It was fun if you’re a Legion fan, but its storytelling weaknesses drag down a promising story. The tag with its cliffhanger was certainly unnecessary.

The animation style is clean but overly simplified so Superman looks cartoony compared with Batman or the Legionnaires. The best part was Supergirl’s hair and facial expressions.

The film, out now in all the usual formats, looks particularly nice in 4K, with a sharp 2160p transfer that captures the colors nicely. The accompanying Blu-ray looks equally sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is perfectly fine, a solid match.

There are an assortment of extras here, including the Digital HD code. As for features, there’s The Legion Behind the Legion (4:40) with producer James Krieg, Campbell, Donnelly, and Lowenthal; Down to Earth: The Story of Supergirl (8:21); Meet the Legionnaires (9:24), sort of hosted by the not funny Krieg; and Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind the Super-Villain (8:14).

On disc only, there are also From the DC Vault – Superman: The Animated Series episodes “Little Girl Lost, Part 1” (21:17) and “Little Girl Lost, Part 2” (21:29).

REVIEW: Violent Night
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REVIEW: Violent Night

From the moment you saw the trailer, you knew exactly what you were going to get with Violent Night. The biggest selling points had to be the high concept and lead performer David Harbour. These days, he elevates just about everything he is in, so this already made it worth seeing.

The film opened to mixed reviews and reasonable box office, but Universal Home Entertainment seemed to release this in a rush, as a Blu-ray only release even as work begins on a sequel.

The Home Alone/Die Hard riffs are hard to miss but the inventiveness of the antics are amusing as a band of thieves led by John Leguizamo invade a Greenwich mansion to rob them blind. The bickering family spans three generations and most fill the stock character types one expects from such fare. It helps to have Beverly D’Angelo as the shrewish matriarch, able to go toe to toe with Leguizamo.

The most predictable yet heartwarming thread is the jaded Santa in need of a child’s blind faith in him to give him the strength to save everyone on Christmas Eve. The exchanges between Santa and Trudy (Leah Brady) are revealing and natural, well worth the tub of popcorn the film demands.

What’s unexpected is the violent backstory that shows Santa was once Nikamund the Red, a bloodthirsty Viking over a millennium ago and somehow he and his enchanted sledgehammer became jolly old Saint Nick. He keeps telling us how he doesn’t understand how Christmas magic works, but as long as someone (and the audience) believes, it’ll all work out.

I wish writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller made the characters less types and far less predictable, a weakness. Director Tommy Wirkola choreographs the action nicely and keeps things moving so the 112 minute feature rarely flags.

The 1080p digital transfer is perfectly satisfactory if unspectacular. It makes for perfectly good home viewer, aided by a matching DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack.

The Special Features include Deleted and Extended Scenes (19:02), seven missing scenes plus a handful of extended scenes; Quarrelin’ Kringle (3:45), a look at Harbour Santa’s Helpers: The Making of Violent Night (5:56); Deck the Halls with Brawls (6:04); and Audio Commentary featuring  Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, Casey, and Miller gather to discuss the film.

Mudman, Vol. 1 by Paul Grist
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Mudman, Vol. 1 by Paul Grist

This is nearly everything, but not quite everything. Mudman ran for six issues from Image in 2011-2013, and the first five of those issues were collected in Mudman, Vol. 1 .

It’s clearly a teen superhero comic, another one in the long line spawned by Spider-Man, and slightly more conventional than creator Paul Grist’s previous superhero comic Jack Staff . I knew, going in, that there was just one collection, and assumed the series was dead, but I didn’t realize there was one stray uncollected issue out there, taunting me.

Owen Craig is a teenager at the beginning of a new school term in Burnbridge-on-Sea, a sleepy English village that’s probably in some specific part of the country (on the sea, obviously – I got that part – but I bet Grist has a county and rough location in mind, too). Some not-really-explained thing happens, in an abandoned “Scooby Doo” house out on the sea-side, and Owen gets fabulous mud-based powers!

Spoiler: mud-based powers are not actually all that fabulous.

As with Jack Staff, there’s a lurking sense that Grist can’t quite take all of this superhero stuff essentially seriously. Oh, he has a mysterious cool-looking figure who says cryptic things, has unknown powers, and radiates danger, and he’s toned down the random splash pages that were so fun in Jack Staff. But this is still a comic about a teenage boy – a gawky, bullied, more-than-a-little goofy boy – who gets mud-based superpowers, and it’s really hard to say, “Yeah! Mudman! Splat that bad guy!”

(It reminds me of my joke in college, when a group of friends were fake-creating a superteam. I came up with a guy called String Boy, who could control anything made out of string. Obviously pathetic: that was the point. The big deal was going to be that, several years in and probably as part of a big Crisis hoo-haw, String Boy would discover Cosmic Strings – an actual scientific theory, which I think I only broke as much as comics writers ever do – and bootstrapped himself up to Beyonder-level powers to Show Them All.)

This is not exactly an arc; Grist is following a much older comics model in which every issue is an actual separate story on its own. So we have five loosely connected, and consecutive, tales of Owen as he gets the powers of Mudman and starts to figure out what the hell their deal is. There are bank robbers, and that mysterious (ex-hero? world-class villain?) figure, and Owen’s father, a local police detective. There is the new girl at school he has a crush on and a female figure who appears mostly in visions and may have died decades ago. There’s a whole lot of complications that Grist didn’t really get to do much with, because this ended in six issues, likely because the superhero audience was not as excited by a mud-based superhero as he hoped.

So this is fun, kind of a lower-key Jack Staff, and good for people who like that Paul Grist superhero stuff – I do, and I wish more people did – but it’s also a decade old, not particularly successful when it came out, unfinished, and about a British kid whose power is to hurl balls of mud at people. C’est la vie.

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

Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed
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Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed

Anyone who’s traveled in the lands of SF has heard the complaints about worldbuilding: too much research and not enough life, a love of one’s own creations, special pleading and crank ideas. But most of fiction never went that far down the rabbit hole to begin with; most genres could use more worldbuilding, more thought put into how fictional worlds work, more rigor and more demonstrations.

I have no idea if Deena Mohamed ever heard any of those SFnal arguments: she’s Egyptian and works in the comics form, but it’s a big world full of ideas that bounce around, so anything is possible. Her new graphic novel Shubeik Lubeik  is a masterclass in how to do worldbuilding well, immersing the reader in an alternate present that’s a lot like our world in many ways, with the usual One Big Change.

This is a three-part story, and, from the author’s acknowledgements, I think they originally appeared separately when published in Egypt. So call it a trilogy if you have to, but it’s all one thing, and the US publication puts it all under one set of covers, the way it should be. I can’t find a translation credit, and the acknowledgements seem to be in the same “font” as Mohamed’s comics-pages lettering, so I’m guessing this was either originally in English or that Mohamed translated it into English herself. Either way: this is the kind of graphic story that’s the product of one person, from ideas to layout to words to colors to letters.

One quick note: this reads right-to-left on the page, like manga – or, more relevantly, like Arabic in print – rather than left-to-right, as English-language comics generally do. I didn’t see a notice to that effect in the digital copy I read; it should be more obvious in the physical book. And the first few comics pages have just a few panels, stacked vertically, which can obscure the reading direction at first. If you’ve ever read “unflipped” manga, it shouldn’t be any issue, but it’s something to know in order to read Shubeik Lubeik correctly.

“Shubeik Lubeik” are the traditional first words of a djinn: what he says when he’s released from his lamp or bottle or whatever. In English, it would be “your wish is my command,” which means we’re getting shortchanged compared to the graceful rhyme in Arabic. Mohamed tells the story of three wishes here – three powerful, life-changing wishes – in a modern-day Cairo where the last century was subtly different after wishes were discovered, systematized, and industrialized.

There’s some interesting background details there: Mohamed doesn’t dwell on them, but she clearly understands well how colonialism works and has worked out the different ways it would have affected this changed world. Some of that is plot-relevant, especially near the end, but a lot more is just the world our characters live in. Wishes are consumer products, so there’s international commerce and consumer-protection legislation, wish-mining nations and wish-refining nations, standard levels of wishes and international agreements about all of that.

That’s the first thing to know about Shubeik Lubeik: it’s deeper and much more resonant than you might think. It’s not the story of a djinn, or multiple djinni. In this world, a wish is a powerful piece of transformative magic, but not a person. The people who matter here are all human, and what matters to them is what matters to all of us: family and partners, how to fit into the world, friends and working life, history both family and official. The difference is that they can buy wishes – strong ones are very expensive, dangerous ones are cheap – and try to phrase what they want in just the right words so they actually get it.

All three stories start with Shokry, who runs a kiosk on a Cairo street – in an American context, think of it as a concentrated, one-man convenience store or bodega, open to the air and crammed full of stuff to sell to passers-by. Among that stuff is a case with three first-class wishes: he’s had them for a long time and would really like to get them off his hands.

Shokry is a good Muslim, of a tradition that says that using wishes is sinful, no matter why. So the wishes are a burden of conscience to him: he doesn’t want to keep them, after all these years. He doesn’t want to be the cause of bad acts of others. They are valuable, but it’s a value he’s never been able to tap, and he will never use them himself.

All three wishes do get used, one per section. If you know anything about wish-stories, you can guess the paths will not be smooth for the people wishing, and that having a wish is only the beginning. The three stories are all serious, with flashes of humor – the first is the most serious, with a lower-class woman, Aziza, who runs into bad trouble just trying to use her wish.

In between the three sections are more of those worldbuilding details: text features that mimic government bulletins or consumer pamphlets from this world, explaining the history and regulation of wishes, giving warnings about the dangers of third-class wishes or detailing the new Egyptian requirements for all wishes to be registered with the government and their uses approved beforehand. This sometimes prefigures things that will be important in the story later, sometimes adds color and detail to the world, sometimes makes it clear that Great Powers are just as rapacious and destructive in this world as in our own. All of it is depth: this is a living world, full of complex people, and the addition of wishes didn’t change life, but it did make things different in new and inventive ways.

Mohamed has delivered here a major work, full of engaging cartooning and real people and emotionally resonant stories. She immediately leaps as a major comics-maker on the world stage, telling us stories we wouldn’t hear otherwise, from a perspective new and exciting and particular and specific. Shubeik Lubeik is a magnificent achievement and sure to be one of the best graphic novels of the year.

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

Back to Basics, Vol. 4: The Flood by Jean-Yves Ferri and Manu Larcenet
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Back to Basics, Vol. 4: The Flood by Jean-Yves Ferri and Manu Larcenet

Jumping in at volume four, you might want a Synopsis for Latecomers .

Or, perhaps, you might want to know what happened in earlier Back to Basics books. This is a humorous, more-or-less autobiographical comics series originally published in France in the early Aughts, soon after the events depicted. Cartoonist Manu Larcenet moved from Paris to a small rural town – Ravenelles is either the name of the town, or the house he lives in, or something like that – along with his partner Mariette, and these are stories of his adventures there, almost entirely in the traditional “rural people are stoic, laconic, and good at everything, while urbanites are neurotic and mostly useless” mode. There’s also an element of “I am a total goofball who is barely useful at anything, and my partner is a wonderful angel in everything,” which is also deeply traditional.

The credits are unclear, and the story of the creation of this series is played for laughs in this series, but my current theory, based on what we see in this book and the previous one, is that Larcenet told stories of his life to Jean-Yves Ferri, who then scripted them for Larcenet to draw. How much Larcenet altered those scripts in the drawing is an open question. For this US publication – in the mid-Teens, about a decade after the French originals – they were translated by Mercedes Claire Gilliom.

The substance of Back to Basics is ninety half-page comic strips in each book – think of them roughly as modern Sunday-comics size, sometimes one big panel, sometimes a 2×3 grid, sometimes somewhere in between – which each have their own setups and punch lines but tend to cluster into storylines and tell one general overall story for the book. 

This fourth book, The Flood , follows Real Life , Making Plans , and The Great World . It it, the baby born at the end of Great World is now a loudly squalling bundle most of the time, as babies often are. Her name is Capucine, but she mostly functions as a noisemaker and a burden here.

So this is largely the-baby-is-crying humor, with sidelines in how-can-I-get-away-from-the-crying-baby and don’t-make-any-noise-the-baby-is-sleeping and our-lives-are-suddenly-different, as usual. The other big event is implied by the title: there are massive rainstorms, which flood large portions of this countryside but don’t really affect Larcenet and family directly.

Oh, a rave does descend on their house because of the rain, I suppose. But it’s mostly baby stuff, which is entirely normal: babies are overwhelming and completely transform your life.

It’s fun and funny and continues the stories from the previous books – I don’t want to overstate “stories” here, since this really is something like a daily comic, with those kind of rhythms – and I’d recommend it for people who like that kind of thing.

One quirky thing: I don’t think this series is available to buy anywhere in the English language. I read it through the Hoopla app for libraries – which is full of stuff, and I hugely recommend it if your system uses it – and it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited, but there doesn’t seem to be a print edition or even a get-your-own-set-of-electrons version.

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

Batman: The Doom that came to Gotham Details Released
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Batman: The Doom that came to Gotham Details Released

BURBANK, CA (January 19, 2023) – Batman’s rational mind and unparalleled fighting skills are put to the ultimate test when an ancient force threatens his world and everyone he holds dear in Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, available to purchase Digitally and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray on March 28, 2023 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment. The all-new, feature-length DC Animated Movie puts Batman up against Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham as he’s aided and confronted along the way by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and more. 

David Giuntoli (Grimm, A Million Little Things) reprises his Batman: Soul of the Dragon role as the voice of the Dark Knight in this all-new 1920s-based DC Elseworlds tale. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) makes her DC animated debut as Kai Li Cain, Batman’s closest ally.

Elevating the action and drama are DC animation veterans Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Harvey Dent, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire) as James Gordon, and David Dastmalchian (Dune, The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon.

Rounding out the cast is Gideon Adlon (Legion of Super-Heroes) as Oracle, Karan Brar (Jessie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise) as Sanjay “Jay” Tawde, Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, The Frighteners) as Kirk Langstrom, Darin De Paul (Mortal Kombat Legends & Overwatch franchises) as Thomas Wayne, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Jason Marsden (Young Justice, A Goofy Movie) as Dick Grayson & Young Bruce Wayne, Navid Negahban (Homeland, The Cleaning Lady) as Ra’s al Ghul, Emily O’Brien (Days of Our Lives) as Talia al Ghul & Martha Wayne, Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager) as Lucius Fox, William Salyers (The Regular Show) as Cobbelpot & Professor Manfurd, and Matthew Waterson (The Croods: Family Tree) as Jason Blood/Etrigan.

Sam Liu (The Death and Return of Superman) fills the dual role of producer and co-director of Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, working closely with co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) to bring to animated life the script from screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse). Producers are Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Legion of Super-Heroes). Executive Producer is Michael Uslan. Sam Register is Executive Producer.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham will be available on March 28 to purchase Digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray Discs will be available to purchase online and in-store at major retailers. Pre-order your copy now.

SYNOPSIS:

Inspired by the comic book series by Mike Mignola, Richard Pace and Troy Nixey, Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is a 1920s-based tale that finds explorer Bruce Wayne accidentally unleashing an ancient evil, expediting his return to Gotham City after a two-decade hiatus. The logic/science-driven Batman must battle Lovecraftian supernatural forces threatening the sheer existence of Gotham, along the way being aided and confronted by reimagined versions of his well-known allies and enemies, including Green Arrow, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, Two-Face, James Gordon and Bruce’s beloved wards. Prepare for a mystical, often terrifying Batman adventure unlike any other.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

Batman: Shadows of Gotham (New Featurette) – An examination of themes of existential dread in a world drenched in gothic overtones that combine to create one of Batman’s most unique adventures. 

Audio Commentary – Filmmakers and storytellers, including producer/co-director Sam Liu and screenwriter Jase Ricci, take in all the gothic horror and intrigue of Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham.

Pricing and film information:

Digital purchase $19.99

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack + Digital Version* $39.99 USA

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack $44.98 Canada

Blu-ray + Digital Version*  $29.98 USA    

Blu-ray   $39.99 Canada

4K/Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French

Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Running Time: 90 minutes

Rated PG-13 for some strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief partial nudity

*Digital version not available in Canada

Denzel Washington’s Training Day gets 4K Release
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Denzel Washington’s Training Day gets 4K Release

Burbank, Calif., January 17, 2023 – Training Day, starring Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua, will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack on February 28 and Digital on February 7, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ 2001 crime thriller Training Day was directed by Fuqua (Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer) from a screenplay by David Ayer (The Fast & The Furious). Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Detective Alonzo Harris, and Hawke was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Office Jake Hoyt.

Training Day was produced by Bobby Newmyer and Jeffrey Silver.  The film also stars Scott Glenn (Silverado, Backdraft), Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Hard), Dr.  Dre (Set It Off), Snoop Dog (The Wash), and Eva Mendes (Ghost Rider, The Women).

Ultra HD* showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.   

Training Day will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $33.99 SRP and includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Digital download of the film. Fans can also own Training Day in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on February 7.
 
About the Film:

Denzel Washington delivers an Academy Award-winning performance opposite Ethan Hawke in this gritty drama set in the morally ambiguous world of undercover police work. Every day a war rages between drug dealers and cops on the streets of America’s inner cities. With every war come casualties, none greater than 13-year veteran Los Angeles narcotics officer Alonzo Harris (Washington), whose questionable methods blur the line between legal and corrupt. Today Alonzo gets a new partner, idealistic rookie Jake Hoyt (Hawke), and Jake has one day–and one day only–to prove his mettle to his fiercely charismatic superior. Over 24hours, Jake will be dragged into the ethical mire of Alonzo’s logic as both men risk their careers and their lives to serve conflicting notions of justice.
 
Ultra HD Blu-ray Elements
Training Day Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:
•           Pharoahe Monch’s “Got You” music video
•           Nelly’s “#1” music video
•           Deleted Scenes
•           Commentary by director Antoine Fuqua
•           Training Day: Crossing The Line Featurette
•           Alternative Endings

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS
 
On 02/07/23, Training Day 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

BASICS
Ultra HD Blu-ray $33.99*                 
Standard Street Date: 2/28/23
EST Street Date: 2/07/23
Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Parisian French
Run Time: 122 minutes
Rating: R