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New Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2 Clip Showcases Sofia Falcone

New Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2 Clip Showcases Sofia Falcone

Sofia Falcone comes to her father’s aide in Gotham City, but Carmine Falcone already has new, unlikely partners to escalate his plans in an all-new clip from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting July 27, and on Blu-ray beginning August 10. 

A new Falcone arrives in Gotham City as Sofia Falcone

, daughter of mob boss Carmine “the Roman” Falcone, comes to her father’s aide – only to discover Carmine is recruiting a new breed of criminal to help with his plan. Laila Berzins (Genshin Impact) and Titus Welliver (Bosch) voice Sofia and Carmine, respectively. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the all-new feature-length Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two arrives on Digital starting July 27, 2021, and Blu-ray on August 10, 2021. 

The Complete Peanuts, 1955-1956 by Charles M. Schulz

This is, as far as I can tell, the last of the books collecting Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strips that I’ve never written anything about here. I read the hardcover soon after it came out in 2005, just before this blog existed, but did mention the 1957-58 volume early the next year . (I believe all of my other Peanuts posts can be found through a post on the first book from 2016 and from a 2017 post on the final odds-and-sods volume that collected the odd bits of string from the whole history of the strip.)

So I have thrown around a lot of words about Peanuts over the past decade and a half. And not just me: Schulz is one of the towering masters of the form, so plenty of other people have been pontificating about his work (mostly positively, I think; is there anyone who hates Schulz?). There’s no dearth of discussion of the ol’ round-headed kid, is what I’m saying. You don’t actually need me here to say anything about this book.

But I am here, and I did just read The Complete Peanuts, 1955-1956 . And it’s…just fine, actually.

This is a middle period: any strip that runs for a really long time will have at least one of those, where it was one thing, and will someday become something slightly different, but right now is just running its gag every day, trying some small tweaks as it goes and starting to speciate. In the mid to late ’50s, Peanuts was as general as it was ever going to be: the kids basically were kids, doing kid things in a kid world, and occasionally even seemed to be specific ages (just old enough for school, generally).

So the initial shock had worn off. Charlie Brown had settled down into a sad sack rather than a trickster, but all of the ritualized humiliations were still gathering. This book sees him lose kites to trees, but not gloating trees. Lucy pulls away a football maybe once. The whole baseball team loses, but it’s not all on his head yet. He was the central kid in a world of kids, in that imagined green and glorious ’50s suburbia full of other kids just like himself. Franklin was still a good decade off; even Peppermint Pattie wouldn’t appear for a while – these are all the white kids in the relatively nice neighborhood, for all Original Pattie teases Charlie Brown about the relative poverty of his barber father.

The kids tease each other in kid ways and do goofy kid things. Sometimes surrealistically, as comics can: Linus can blow square balloons. But mostly naturalistically. Pig Pen gets more page-time here, and is still as one-note as he was in the previous book.

On the other side, Snoopy is getting odder, more specific and less realistic. He doesn’t have thought balloons yet, but he clearly doesn’t think like a dog anymore. Not only does he think he’s people – lots of dogs think that – but he can convincingly act like people, more and more.

Peanuts would become magnificent in a few years. But strip comics rarely become magnificent immediately. (Counterexample: “‘ja think I’m a cowboy?”) Schulz was, at this point, writing a Zeitgeist strip, about the consensus best possible life in the best possible nation in the best possible moment in history, for an audience that loved to hear that. He was good at that, but he was better than that – you can see how he got better in later volumes of this series.

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

Guillermo del Toro Shares First Minutes of Epic Tales of Arcadia Finale Film Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans

Guillermo del Toro Shares First Minutes of Epic Tales of Arcadia Finale Film Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and executive producer of the multiple Emmy® Award-winning Tales of Arcadia series Guillermo del Toro, shared the first few minutes of Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, the epic feature film finale of the saga premiering July 21 on Netflix globally.

In the clip, as Douxie (Colin O’Donoghue) attempts to hide Nari (Angel Lin) from the evil Bellroc (Kay Bess) and Skrael (Piotr Michael), a war between magic and mankind is unleashed.

Following the events of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy

, the heroes of Arcadia from the hit series Trollhunters, 3Below, and Wizards must band together in their most epic adventure yet to protect humanity from the evil Arcane Order, who wield their dark and uncontrollable magic to summon ancient titans that threaten to destroy the world. On the surface, Arcadia appears to be a slice of timeless Americana, but it is no ordinary town. It lies at the center of magical and mystical lines that make it a nexus for many battles among otherworldly creatures including trolls, aliens and wizards. 

Since 2016 del Toro and his creative team have built a rich and emotional narrative while continually advancing the shows’ technical achievements. 

“We always hoped these three series could culminate with a massive ‘all-stars’ reunion,” del Toro says. “We wanted the feature to improve and expand but to also deliver more scope, more spectacle … more emotion, too. We are very proud of the Tales of Arcadia and extremely eager to deliver this spectacular finale.” The cast of Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans includes Kelsey Grammer, Nick Offerman, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Colin O’Donoghue, Tatiana Maslany, Lexi Medrano, Alfred Molina, and Steven Yeun among others. 

Directors: Johane Matte, Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Andrew L. Schmidt
Writers:  Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Executive Producers: Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Chad Hammes, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman
Voice Cast: Emile Hirsch, Colin O’Donoghue, Lexi Medrano, Charlie Saxton, Kelsey Grammer, Alfred Molina, Steven Yeun, Nick Frost, Diego Luna, Tatiana Maslany, Cole Sand, Nick Offerman,  Fred Tatasciore, Brian Blessed, Kay Bess, Piotr Michael, James Hong, Tom Kenny, Angel Lin, Amy Landecker, Jonathan Hyde, Bebe Wood, Laraine Newman, Grey Griffin, Cheryl Hines

A Gift for a Ghost by Borja Gonzalez

I’ve tagged this book fantasy, but that’s overstating it. This graphic novel has two storylines, in two different times – 1856 and 2016, in the same place, wherever that is – and the first scene has a mysterious character appearing in 1856.

I probably shouldn’t say more than that. But that character’s appearance is the fantasy element. It’s not otherwise a fantasy story. I say that in case it helps calibrate expectations.

That’s A Gift for a Ghost , the first full-length comics story by Spanish cartoonist Borja Gonzalez. This edition was translated by Lee Douglas. The character I alluded to is the ghost.

Well, maybe. That’s one way of interpreting it. There are many ways to give a gift to a ghost.

Teresa is the oddball sister in an aristocratic family in 1856, the one not named after a flower. She’s coming up on her debut, but would much rather write Poe-influenced poetry and spend time in her own head than practice her piano and brush up the other skills that will get her a proper husband. She likes to sneak out to walk in the quiet at night; she meets what looks like a talking skeleton in the first scene. Her story is about what happens next in her life: what her family demands and expects

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, or what she actually wants, if she can figure out what that is.

In 2016, there are three girls – probably about the same age Teresa was in 1856, sixteen to seventeen. Gloria, Laura, and Cristina. They hang out, wander around, try to figure out life. They’re forming a punk band, the Black Holes, and one of the girls is writing songs – they squabble about that, maybe, a bit. Their story is about secrets and their interactions: there’s less at stake, maybe. 

The two stories – they are both quiet, subdued stories, for all the teenage angst in both of them – intertwine, in ways that one would not expect across a hundred and sixty years. Gift is subtle and will not make itself obvious: if you’re looking for something flashy and obvious, you will not enjoy it.

Gonzalez’s art is equally subdued and quiet: he draws all of these young women (and all of the characters are young women) without faces. Does that make them unknowable? Or just distanced that much father, so the reader has to spend more energy to figure them out? That will for each reader to decide.

I found this book deep and resonant; I don’t think I got all it had to give, but I got enough to want to see what Gonzalez does next.

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

Who are… the Phenomenons?

Who are… the Phenomenons?

New times call for new heroes. And a time in which society’s been buried under a crushing financial crisis? Such a world needs heroes more than most. This is the world of a new prose anthology series known as Phenomenons.

“I remember the early days of Marvel Comics and how exciting it was to see the Avengers watch an appearance of the Fantastic Four on TV

, or contact Doc Strange for advice,” says Michael Jan Friedman, the NY Times bestselling author and comic book writer who hatched the idea for Phenomenons. “Or at DC, how cool it was to see Superman and Batman go at the same problem from different angles. You got the sense that these heroes—and villains—all operated in the same frame of reference, and somehow that made it seem more real.

“Our heroes will be doing the same thing. Half the fun will be seeing them join forces, rub elbows, and get in each other’s way,” says Friedman. “It’s an aspect of the project that’s got us all jazzed. Writing is, after all, a solitary business in many cases, and this gives us a chance to interact with and be inspired by the imaginations of our fellow writers.”

For Phenomenons: Every Human Creature, Friedman has gathered a crew of contributors from every corner of the speculative fiction field, including writers who will be familiar to consumers of comic books, television, and movies.

The complete list of writers includes ComicMix contributors Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Paul Kupperberg, and Aaron Rosenberg, along with Ilsa J. Bick, Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Mary Fan, Dan Hernandez, Heather Hutsell, Ron Marz, Hildy Silverman, Geoff Thorne, Marie Vibbert, and, of course, Friedman himself.

One of the rewards he offers his backers is the opportunity to become a character in one of the book’s stories. “Imagine being named in a story by one of your favorite writers,” says Friedman. “That’s a perk you can’t get off the rack in a bookstore.”

The Kickstarter campaign for Phenomenons: Every Human Creature is seeking $8000 in funding. It ends Sunday, July 18th, at 7:00 PM EDT.

A Quiet Place Part II Streams Tomorrow, on Disc July 27

A Quiet Place Part II Streams Tomorrow, on Disc July 27

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.  – Hailed by critics and audiences alike and Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes®, John Krasinski’s “exhilarating” (Sean O’Connell, Cinemablend), and “nerve-shredding” (Tim Grierson, Screen International) thriller A QUIET PLACE: PART II debuts on Digital July 13, 2021 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD July 27 from Paramount Home Entertainment.  Plus, fans can experience the whole Abbott family saga with the 2-Movie Collection, available to buy exclusively on Digital or Blu-ray with bonus content on both films.*

The A QUIET PLACE: PART II 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital* releases boast exclusive special features that take viewers deeper into the world originated in the global smash hit A Quiet Place.  Follow Krasinski on the set of the new film as he details the cast and crew’s incredible work in a video Director’s Diary; uncover the secrets of the monstrous invaders; dig into the two-film character arc of daughter Regan; watch a breakdown of the unforgettable marina scene; and delve into the extraordinary visual effects and sound design.

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Discs also boast a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead, and the 4K Ultra HD disc features Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), which delivers greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich colors.**

A Quiet Place: Part II Synopsis
Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path in this “gripping

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, edge-of-your-seat thriller” (Scott Mantz, BFCA) written and directed by John Krasinski.
 
A Quiet Place 2-Movie Collection Synopsis
If they hear you, they hunt you! Silence is survival in these two terrifyingly suspenseful thrillers. Follow the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) as they face the terror of mysterious creatures that hunt by sound.
 
A QUIET PLACE: PART II 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack
Fans can enjoy the ultimate viewing experience with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes an Ultra HD Disc with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos and a Blu-ray Disc™ with Dolby Atmos.  The Combo Pack includes access to a Digital copy of the film and the following:
4K Ultra HD

  • Feature film in 4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray

  • Feature film in high definition
  • Director’s Diary: Filming with John Krasinski
  • Pulling Back the Curtain
  • Regan’s Journey
  • Surviving the Marina
  • Detectable Disturbance: Visual Effects and Sound Design

A QUIET PLACE: PART II Blu-ray
The A QUIET PLACE Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with Dolby Atmos. The Blu-ray includes access to a Digital copy of the film as well as the bonus content detailed above. 

A QUIET PLACE DVD
The DVD includes the feature film in standard definition.

New Snake Eyes Featurettes

New Snake Eyes Featurettes

Paramount Pictures has released two new looks at the forthcoming Snake Eyes film, which opens July 23 and already has co-creator Larry Hama’s seal of approval.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins stars Henry Golding as Snake Eyes, a tenacious loner who is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach Snake Eyes the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing something he’s been longing for: a home. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes’ honor and allegiance will be tested – even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him. Based on the iconic G.I. Joe character, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins also stars Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow, Úrsula Corberó as Baroness, Samara Weaving as Scarlett, Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master.

DIRECTED BY

Robert Schwentke

EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY

David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Jeff G. Waxman, Greg Mooradian 

PRODUCED BY

Brian Goldner, Erik Howsam, p.g.a., Lorenzo di Bonaventura, p.g.a.

BASED ON

Hasbro’s G.I. JOE® Characters

STORY BY

Evan Spiliotopoulos

SCREENPLAY BY

Evan Spiliotopoulos and Anna Waterhouse & Joe Shrapnel

STARRING

Henry Golding

, Andrew Koji, Úrsula Corberó, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Peter Mensah with Iko Uwais

Mondo Offers up Black Widow Vinyl & Enamel

Mondo Offers up Black Widow Vinyl & Enamel

Austin, TX – July 9, 2021 – Mondo Music, in conjunction with Hollywood Records, is proud to present the premiere vinyl pressing of Lorne Balfe’s score to the highly anticipated MARVEL STUDIOS’ BLACK WIDOW, available for pre-order at MondoShop.com on Friday, July 9.

Lorne Balfe’s first MCU score is a force to be reckoned with. He’s no stranger to crafting propulsive music for espionage epics (just listen to his masterful score to “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”) and his take on “Black Widow” is no exception. Balfe blends Russian choirs and soloists, with delicate and haunting piano and acoustic guitar; swirling strings with his trademark layered percussion. Balfe is incredibly elastic, delivering a beautiful score for this long-awaited chapter in Natasha Romanov’s story.

Pressed on 2x 180 Gram colored vinyl (this butterfly, splatter effect is exclusive to the Mondo Record Shop) and housed in a gatefold sleeve, kick-start Phase Four with the latest in our ongoing celebration of the music of the MCU.

MARVEL STUDIOS’ BLACK WIDOW – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 2XLP

Music by Lorne Balfe

Package designed by Mo Shafeek

Featuring Liner Notes by Director Cate Shortland and composer Lorne Balfe

Pressed on 2x 180 Gram Colored Vinyl

Also available on 2x 180 Gram Black Vinyl

Pre-Order begins 7/9

$35 Fans can also continue to build their collection of Marvel enamel pins with Mondo’s new Black Widow and Taskmaster enamel pins by artist Tom Whalen, and the Red Guardian enamel pin by artist Matt Taylor, all available on pre-order beginning Friday, July 9.

Black Widow Enamel Pin

Artwork by Tom Whalen

1.43″ x 1.17″ soft enamel pin on shiny silver nickel, single post with butterfly clutch backing

Available as pre-order from July 9 until July 31

$10

Taskmaster Enamel Pin

Artwork by Tom Whalen

1.4″ x 1.2″ soft enamel pin on shiny silver nickel

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, single post with butterfly clutch backing

Available as pre-order from July 9 until July 31

$10

Red Guardian Enamel Pin

Artwork by Matt Taylor

1.18″ x 1.24″ soft enamel pin with an epoxy fill on antique gold metal, single post with red rubber clutch backing

Available as pre-order from July 9 until July 31

$10

Batman’s Influence on Display in New Long Halloween Images

Batman’s Influence on Display in New Long Halloween Images

Calendar Man, voiced by David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man), seems to find an intriguing kinship with Batman, voiced by Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys) during their through-the-glass interactions at Arkham Asylum

Batman brings out the best – and sometimes worst – reactions from everyone he encounters in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two. Warner Bros. Animation released four examples of those differing reactions in all new images from the film.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting July 27 and on Blu-ray beginning August 10. 

The Dark Knight’s relationships don’t get much more complicated than the coupling of Batman/Bruce Wayne, voiced by Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys) and Catwoman/Selina Kyle, voiced by Naya Rivera (Glee) – as seen in this not-so-happy moment
Batman tends to bring out the best and/or worst in the people he encounters, and with the Joker, it’s usually the worst taken to an extreme. And frequently includes a weapon. Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Knight) provides the voice of Joker.
Few conversations are comfortable when it involves mob boss Carmine “The Roman” Falcone, voiced by Titus Welliver (Bosch), and adding Batman (Jensen Ackles) to the mix only intensifies the interaction.

Invisible Differences by Mademoiselle Caroline and Julie Dachez

I tagged this as “non-fiction” and “memoir,” but it’s isn’t, exactly. This is the story of Marguerite, a twenty-seven-year-old French woman who gets diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. It’s written by Julie Dachez, who is now thirty-six and who was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2012.

So the reader’s assumption is that Marguerite has been constructed to be somewhat different from the real Dachez. Some details are not what actually happened to Dachez, for whatever reason, and those changes were large enough that she changed the name of the central character, while still presenting it all as “my story” (though “my” here tends to attach to Marguerite).

That’s Invisible Differences , a graphic novel published in 2016 in France and translated by Edward Gauvin for a 2020 English-language publication. Well, actually, I’m still simplifying. I originally thought Mademoiselle Caroline was purely the artist, but the book itself makes it clear that she also adapted Dachez’s script – maybe it wasn’t quite in comics-panel form to begin with, maybe it was but Caroline made changes for better panel flow and readability, maybe some other complicated working relationship to end up with these finished pages.

So it was written by Dachez and Caroline, to some degree. It’s the story of Dachez, to some degree. It’s accurate and realistic, but maybe not “true” in the purest sense of that word.

I know that people on the autism spectrum are often concerned with little details like that, which is one reason I go into such detail here. (The other is that I am concerned with those details, and fascinated by them, even though I’m not on that spectrum.)

Since I’m American, I’m used to seeing the competing “America is better than anyone in the world at X!” and “America is totally horrible at Y, unlike these other countries!” arguments. Invisible Differences is partially the same sort of thing applied to France. As Dachez and Caroline present it, Freudian psychotherapy still rules mental health in France, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is underdiagnosed and undertreated, particularly in women. There’s an extensive section of notes at the end about what Autism is and how it’s treated in France, which could be helpful to people newly diagnosed and their families and friends. 

I’m happy to note that my own son (diagnosed as various things on the spectrum in his first decade-and-a-half before the ASM-5 consolidated it all into ASD in 2013) had good support and care; it’s rare to see some health-care thing that the USA actually does better than an EU country. This is more a book for people getting this diagnosis in adulthood, or maybe adolescence, than the typical US timing of early childhood.

There isn’t a whole lot of “story” here; it’s about who Marguerite is, how she learns there’s a label and an explanation for some parts of her life that have caused her friction and anxiety, and how she transforms her life to align with what she learns and what she decides she wants to do with her new knowledge. It’s a profound journey for her: she was unhappy in really central ways that she doesn’t seem to have even thought were able to be changed until her diagnosis.

I’m going to see if my on-the-spectrum son is interested in this book; if he does read it and tells me anything, I may add notes here or later. But, for now, and speaking purely as someone who knows a person on the spectrum, this is a thoughtful, honest book that I think will be great for ASD-diagnosed people, particularly those coming to the diagnosis later in life.

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