The Flash Movie Looks For Another New Director

Warner Bros look for their third Director for the Scarlet Speedster.

Rick Famuyiwa has left Warner Bros. looking for their third Director for the upcoming Flash movie. Citing creative differences, Famuyiwa released this statement:

 

“When I was approached by Warner Bros and DC about the possibility of directing The Flash, I was excited about the opportunity to enter this amazing world of characters that I loved growing up, and still do to this day. I was also excited to work with Ezra Miller, who is a phenomenal young actor. I pitched a version of the film in line with my voice, humour and heart. While it’s disappointing that we couldn’t come together creatively on this project, I remain grateful for the opportunity. I will continue to look for oppportunities to tell stories that speak to fresh generational, topical and multi-cultural point of view. I wish Warner Bros. DC, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns and Ezra Miller all the best as they continue their journey into the speed force.”

 

 

It’s interesting that Famuyiwa hoped that he would continue to look for stories to tell that are “topical” and “multi-cultural”. Does that mean Famuyiwa didn’t think the Warner Bros. version of The Flash would be that?

There has been no comment as yet from Warner Bros. who had Seth Grahame-Smith also leave the movie in April. No word as yet as to who will jump next into the speed-force. Fan favourite and guest Director on the hit CW series The Flash, Kevin Smith has yet to comment on rumours that he maybe in line to take the helm.

 

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Don Heck – A Tribute

I grew up in a small town, and while not quite as small as the fictional “Mayberry” of Andy Griffith fame… one of the main hangouts of my dad and his pals was the Barber Shop.

It was called “Harry’s”, and if not for a small wicker basket tucked into a corner, it would have been the last place in the world I’d have liked to hang out. Now don’t get me wrong, my father and his cronies did have some funny stories to tell about glory days, but you can only get a kick out of them so many times before you’re relegated to a polite smile.

Though that corner was polluted with age old hair clippings never swept up… it was my salvation. The wicker basket had all sorts of literature inside. Time, Look, Life, years old local papers, and the like. Nothing for a curious little boy until I did some digging.

At the bottom were the only two comic books in the basket. A beat up but complete copy of Avengers #6, and a coverless (but otherwise complete) copy of Avengers #15.

 

These were the first two comic books I’d ever seen, and they were fantastic! These were from the prime of “The Marvel Age of Comics” and I devoured every single panel they had to offer.

Stan Lee was in his brash prime and the creativity was practically oozing from the prematurely brown and wrinkled pages. This was the early 1970’s, and the comics were only about ten years old… but they did not have the benefits their descendants would have. No poly bags, let alone hard plastic slabs. No, these comics lived hard.

The art in both issues was amazing as well. The illustrative chores on #6 were handled by the legendary Jack “King” Kirby and his frequent collaborator Chic Stone. The dynamic pictures literally jumped out at you as if it were drawn in 3-D. This issue featured the formation of “The Masters of Evil”… and boy were they bad! The epitome of evil for a young lad such as myself.

In this issue we found out that the man responsible for Bucky’s death was still around and he was angry that his arch nemesis, Captain America, was recently discovered alive. In response to this news, he formed a powerful group of baddies to attack Captain America and his allies, The Avengers.

Everything in this issue could be described as, well… BIG. Stone’s thick line over Kirby’s pencils exaggerated even the King’s bold storytelling, while Lee’s dialogue seemed to this youngster, the most dramatic telling of events ever written!

The outcome of the battle carried a slight edge to the good guys, but it left room for the dreaded villains to return.

What happened in between issues# 6 and #15, I would not find out for at least a decade later. There were no comic shops or shows where I could dig up back issues. In fact the very cover to #15 would remain a mystery to me for years to come. But what I did know was that a rematch was happening in #15… and it would be a rematch to the death.

Again, this issue had no cover so I was greeted by a splash page featuring a decidedly more quiet design. It featured no punching, no flying, no airborne debris, in fact no action of any kind.

But boy was it dramatic! Here’s Thor acting as chairman declaring, “Now, by my hand, shall die a villain!” Stan was dealing, and though I didn’t know it at the time, the DC heroes sure didn’t talk that way. This was the Marvel way… and it was good.

 

 

 

The art on this page and every other in the book was somehow more quiet than its predecessor, yet every bit as dynamic. Here the illustrations were by the team of Don Heck and Mike Esposito.

Away from DC and longtime partner Ross Andru, we find Esposito here for a cup of coffee but clearly relishing his assignment. As implied above, this was not the standard fare he was used to.

Heck on the other hand was already a Marvel super-star. As a matter of fact throughout the period, Lee himself often referred to Heck as one of his best artists. You need not look any further than books like ‘Fantasy Masterpieces’ #1, where on the cover Lee boasted of fantasy stories by “… your favorite Marvel artists…” including Kirby, Steve Ditko, Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, and of course, Heck. In later years, I believe it was the fine writer Tony Isabella who proclaimed, “If there was a Mount Rushmore of early Marvel, Don Heck would be on it.”

At the time of course, I knew none of this. All I knew is the magic I held in my hands. The story was incredible, it was the rarest of products in Lee’s hyped world of bombastic promotion… it was better than advertised.

There really was a showdown between the good guys and the evil doers. The biggest meanie really did perish… albeit largely and ironically by accident. The action was high flying in the air, and vibrant on the ground.

This was all spectacular, but my senses were also drawn to the types of storytelling I didn’t see in Avengers #6. These were the smaller, quieter times where we actually saw the private lives of our heroes. For me it was even more special to see what these men in tights looked like in their normal clothes.

Heck had a way with these moments that few artists could approach. He was a master of drapery. The stylish clothing carried over from the 1950’s was elegantly worn by the champions on their off hours. Men in their suits, hats, and overcoats could have come from a Cary Grant movie. The women with their furs and dresses modeled directly from the glamorous Hollywood starlets of the day.

Particularly memorable for me are panels featuring gentlemanly Henry Pym steadfastly helping his girlfriend Janet Van Dyne with her coat, and Tony Stark lounging on a couch while recharging the battery of his Iron Man armor.

 

 

This was like behind the scenes v.i.p access and it was beautifully portrayed. It made you feel like you were the only person seeing it. It created a bond between you and the heroes… and by osmosis, with the artist.

I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste, but since those days I’ve always gravitated towards the style of Heck. I found his quiet images compelling, his storytelling exciting, and of course… there was the women. Boy, was there ever the women. He was renown throughout the comics’ field for his beautiful depictions of the fairer sex.

He could ably handle all the genres comics had to offer. Many say his work in westerns, war, and horror books were even better than the bulk of his super-hero work. But even so, to a generation of fans he was considered ‘the’ Iron-Man artist, or ‘the’ Avengers artist… or at least honored enough to be in the conversation.

Along with John Romita, Frank Robbins, and many others, Heck was part of a generation of artists greatly influenced by comic strip master Milton Caniff. In the 50’s and 60’s there was literally a ‘Caniff Movement’ and Heck was probably the best of the bunch at that time. He was so highly respected in fact, that counted among his peer admirers were the likes of legendary comic artists like “Big” John Buscema and the aforementioned Jack “King” Kirby. As a matter of fact, when Kirby wanted to solicit his important ‘New Gods’ concept to DC, he chose Heck as his finisher on the initial presentation drawings.

Later in Heck’s run on ‘Avengers’ he had the opportunity to ink his own pencils. This run is universally considered the high water mark for an artist employing the Caniff style in super-heroes. Even better than Romita’s late 1950’s Captain America series, I can’t recommend these stories any more highly. Daring layouts, dynamic storytelling, impressive use of blacks in inking… these books simply set the standard for the style.

But despite the admiration of fans and respect from fellow professionals, there is the unfortunate tale of the ugly interview done by an ugly man where a famous author names Don Heck as the worst comics artist of all time. I will not name names; you can go to Google if you wish. If you do you will see that the interviewer practically goads the information from the author, and in a twist of fate worthy of the author’s most  famous stories… he names the wrong man! He never meant to use Heck’s name. (Not that he should have named anyone anyway.) To his credit, the famous author apologized profusely whenever he could over the years. I’m glad he did.

Apology aside, this did great damage to Don. He was still capable of terrific work, but found less and less of it. Eventually he was hampered by worsening eyesight and failing health. If he was bitter about the famous interview, we would really never hear of it. Don Heck was a quiet, dignified gentleman, much like the heroes he drew way back in Avengers #15.

In recent years there’s been a Don Heck renaissance! “Don Heck: A Work of Art” by John Coates is a finely researched and wonderful biography released in 2014, and in 2016 Craig Yoe produced the beautifully assembled and lovingly detailed salute to Heck’s classic 1950’s horror work, “Horror by Heck!”.

This writer also took it upon himself a couple of years ago to start a fast growing Facebook group called “The Don Heck Appreciation Page” which is chock full of wonderful art from all periods of Don’s prolific career. Please join us in ‘raising Heck!’

A few decades ago, ‘Harry’s Barber Shop’ burnt down to the ground. I remember the day I rode my bicycle to the site where it once stood. I got off my bike to walk among and explore the rubble. And that’s really all there was… rubble. I turned to leave when from the corner of my eye I glimpsed a flash of color among the charred grey. Excited, I ran to the spot. It was that coverless copy of Avengers #15 that I loved so much! Much like Heck’s class and art… it was the only thing that lasted.

And does to this day.

 

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Wonder Woman 75 Anniversary Gets Stamp of Approval

The U.S. Postal Service, in conjunction with DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, dedicated four Forever stamps today that commemorate the 75th anniversary of one of the most iconic Super Heroes of all time — Wonder Woman. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place in the DC Entertainment booth at New York Comic Con.

 

Fans are encouraged to share the news on social media using the hashtags #WonderWomanForever and #WonderWoman75.

“Wonder Woman was one of the first female Super Heroes that inspired countless young girls over the past three quarters of a century,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President Kristin Seaver. “We salute this heroic role model and her legacy that is sure to continue to span another 75 years.”

Joining Seaver in dedicating the stamps were: DC Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Franchise Management Sandy Yi; Modern Age Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang; Bronze Age Wonder Woman artist José Luis García-López; DC Entertainment Publishers Dan DiDioand Jim Lee;

“DC All Access” host Tiffany Smith; and Wonder Woman Forever stamps art director Greg Breeding.

“It’s been an honor to work on an iconic character like Wonder Woman for the past 40 years,” said García-López. “She is the ultimate female Super Hero, a true symbol of equality and justice, and it’s thrilling to see my Wonder Woman included in the 75th anniversary celebration in such a prominent way.”

“As an artist you hope that your work might endure, like the character of Wonder Woman herself,” added Chiang. “To see something I drew immortalized on a U.S. Postal Service stamp is really an incredible honor, and hopefully a fitting tribute to 75 years of strength and imagination.”

Wonder Woman’s Evolution

First seen in October 1941 in a back-up story for “All Star Comics #8,” meant to test her appeal at a time when female Super Heroes were rare, Wonder Woman quickly broke out and headlined her own title by the next year. Subsequent generations came to know the star-spangled heroine with metal bracelets on her wrists and a magic lasso by her waist via her hit 1975–79 television series and roles in animated shows and movies, as well as her historic appearance on the cover “Ms. Magazine” #1 in 1972. This past March, Wonder Woman was seen for the first time in a live action motion picture with her introduction in the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates Wonder Woman’s diamond anniversary by chronicling her evolution on Forever stamps from her World War II origins to today. This new issuance showcases four different stamp designs on a sheet of 20 stamps depicting Wonder Woman during four eras of comic book history: Golden Age (1941–55), Silver Age (1956–72), Bronze Age (1973–86) and Modern Age (1987–present). The selvage, or text outside of the stamp images, features the current block-letter Wonder Woman logo in white against a comic book style power burst rendered in shades of blue.

 

 

 

Art by Cliff Chiang

On the first row of stamps, Wonder Woman of the Modern Age wields a hammer with a power and determination befitting her roots in the heroic world of Greek mythology.

 

 

Art by José Luis García-López

The Bronze Age Wonder Woman’s bold stance empowers the second row of stamps. With her fist held high and bulletproof bracelets gleaming, the Amazon princess leads the charge against injustice.

 

 

Art by Irving Novick

The third row of stamps depicts Wonder Woman during the Silver Age. Although she possesses great strength and speed, the world’s favorite Super Heroine prefers compassion to the use of brute force. With her golden lasso of truth close at hand, she compels honesty from her foes.

 

Art by Jon L Blummer

In the last row of stamps, Wonder Woman from the Golden Age bursts onto the scene as originally envisioned by creator William Moulton Marston.

Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamp pane. The Wonder Woman stamps will be issued as Forever stamps and always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

In 2006, Wonder Woman was part of the Postal Service’s first stamp pane honoring comic book Super Heroes. Half of the stamps on the DC Super Heroes pane depicted portraits of the characters; the others highlighted covers of individual comic books devoted to their exploits. Wonder Woman was joined by Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Plastic Man, Supergirl and Superman. The first-day-of-issuance ceremony took place at Comic-Con in San Diego.

 

Wonder Woman

Art by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito

Wonder Woman has been an iconic inspiration for countless women and men since her debut in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941. The most recognizable female character in comics, created by William Moulton Marston, she remains a figure of strength, beauty and courage

 

Wonder Woman #22 (2nd series)

Nov. 1988

Art by George Pérez

As a worldwide ambassador of justice, equality and peace, Wonder Woman soared to new heights in the late 1980s. The character returned to her roots as an Amazon warrior from Paradise Island, land of heroic women. Her special powers were gifts from the Olympians.

Visit this link for news on upcoming stamp events.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store website at usps.com⁄shop or by calling 800-782-6724. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Wonder Woman Stamps

Stamp Fulfillment Services

Cancellation Services

8300 NE Underground Drive, Pillar 210

Kansas City, MO 64144-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by Dec. 7, 2016.

Ordering First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly  USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com⁄shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service

Catalog Request

PO Box 219014

Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Visit this link for information on upcoming stamp events.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Courtesy of DC Entertainment

 

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Harris & Hutchison Deliver A Bohemian Rhapsody With Launch Of “Rockstars”

It’s Led Zeppelin meets The X-Files as writer Joe Harris and artist Megan Hutchison talk about their forthcoming Image Comics series “Rockstars”. Strap in for a Rock ‘n’ Roll mystery tour like no other!

 

GG: Congratulations on what looks like an awesome new series! Joe, tell us a bit about “Rockstars”. What is the series about?

JH: It’s a rock ‘n’ roll supernatural thriller; a love letter to the music I adore, and an exploration into what’s hidden behind the music.  It follows two young investigators named Jackie and Dorothy (along with Skydog, Jackie’s cat) as they try to get to the bottom of unsolved, even previously unknown, mysteries related to rock history both known and secreted away.

GG: How did you come up with the idea of Rockstars? Is this Led Zep meets X-Files?

JH: That’s sounds about right! I’ve been saying “Almost Famous meets Supernatural,” but I think I like yours better! The genesis of this idea is really the outgrowth of what feels like ten lifetimes spent being absolutely captivated by rock history, in particular, the glamour of the 1970s arena rock heyday. I’ve always loved getting to the bottom of things like the clues the Beatles would weave into their recordings to f@ck the audience over the “Paul is Dead” rumors, and the debauchery I’d read about in books like Stephen Davis’ Hammer of the Gods and Jerry Hopkins’ Doors book, No One Here Gets Out Alive. Further, my last two creator-owned series at Image were kinda heavy and dark environmental disaster sci-fi titles, and I wanted to do something fun. Of course this is looking pretty gloriously dark too, so who knows what I’m really up to here.

 

 

GG: How much of your own musical influences can we see in this series? Is this a personal tribute to the kind of music you love or grew up with?

JH: Yeah, absolutely. Rockstars will have one foot thoroughly planted in the 1970s, which is where the bulk of my love of music resides, but we will be branching out to explore mysteries tied to other eras and genres within the great, broad rock ‘n’ roll family tree. I love it all. We’ll get to 80s metal. I’d love to figure out how to pull off a 90s rap story at some point too. But I postulate that I could write a “Rockstars” story set in 18th century Vienna that explores the celebrity and debauchery that revolved around Mozart and Beethoven, the rockstars of their ages.

MH: I think both Joe and I are really into music. We both play music and grew up identifying ourselves with certain genres [he was more classic rock, I’m more new wave/goth] so it inevitably shows up in our respective work. Sometimes in the script, Joe asks me to specially include something in reference to a band or song. However, I do that on my own as well, pulling fashion and set dressing from not only the music I like but the influential periods in rock history.
GG: From the very first page of the book, there are iconic rock history references. Is this a book that will be enjoyed more by lovers of rock?
JH: Well, lovers of rock ‘n’ roll are going to be extra rewarded for sure. I take my references very seriously. That said, I hope we’re telling stories that are universal. That’s the goal. To my mind, no matter what you like in terms of musical taste, this series is entertainment in its own right. Rock is the backdrop. And if people who never flew an X-Wing fighter and fought for the Rebel Alliance against the Empire can find a way to enjoy Star Wars, I posit that Rockstars is as blank a slate for any and everyone to enjoy.
MH: I think people who love story and character and silliness and horror will enjoy this book. You don’t have to be super into rock, but people who do love it will be thrilled for sure. I’m also hoping that this will be an eye-opener for people who don’t know classic rock or the major influences in rock history.
GG: Joe and Megan, how did you both get together on this project? 
JH: Darick Robertson introduced us back at Emerald City Comicon a few years ago (we have many mutual friends, it would turn out), and we ended up on the same flight down to LA afterwards. Megan had just published her first Original Graphic Novel and I really liked her style, and her personality and attitude, which is so important both in a collaborative sense, and just in a representational one. We don’t like all the same things at all, but I think our differences compliment and she brings this dark, sexy and cool vibe that only feels more entertaining to me the way it all swirls together rather than dense or something other than fun, you know? The energy was good. I was intrigued.
MH: Joe and I get along really well so I knew from our first discussion that this would be a ton of fun to work on together. The fates aligned that we should meet and work on this book.
GG: Megan, you have a totally unique style of art that seems to really give life to a project. Your Will O’ the Wisp book is a great example. And it looks like Rockstars will be the same. Even looking at just the first issue, I can’t imagine this book being brought to life by anyone else!
MH: Thank you! I always wanted to draw comics. Growing up in the 90’s everyone drew superheroes a certain way and that was never the way I drew, so I gave up on that dream for years. To have not only the opportunity to work in comics but to also have people dig my style, is beyond awesome. I think my style fits the book, it’s dark and weird and a little fantastical/goofy. Also, Joe has really allowed me to grow as an artist, writing things that he thinks would be fun visually and including things that would suite my style. And in turn, my art has influenced his writing.
GG: Joe, the character Jackie Mayer is very interesting. He seems like someone who is at the same time both inspired and burdened by the events of the past.
JH: Jackie grew up with his dad, a former security guard who worked for lots of massive rock acts on the road, but who’d found himself down and out and on his last legs by the time Jackie was old enough to understand the life he’d left behind. His father died under mysterious circumstances some years back, and Jackie’s been sort of living to please his father’s memory and seeking guidance from the “conversations” (which are akin to how Dexter would speak to Harry, or how Jesse Custer would hear from the faceless ghost of John Wayne) he has with him since. And the reason this all works, we’ll learn soon enough, is that Jackie is sort of “attuned” to music and music’s secrets in a way that you, I, and we aren’t. He’s got this strange, almost psychic connection that reveals what’s really going on behind the music and the legends and the secrets, to him. It’s also about to get him in some serious trouble.
GG: What was the inspiration behind him? And what kind of conflicts can we expect to see for this character moving forward?
JH: I’d say there’s some of Patrick Fugit’s character from Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous in there. But there’s, really, some of every kid, me included, who covered their binder with band names and logos in school in Rockstars. I’m sure a lifetime of watching movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont HighDazed and Confused, and every teen screwball sex comedy franchise from Porky’s on down, comedies like Caddyshack, television like That 70s Show — it’s all probably represented in the series somewhat.
So far as the conflicts go and pushing Jackie forward, he’s going to come to realize that his talents, for lack of a better word, are connected to this supernatural conspiracy  centered around demonic possession, sympathy for the devil and the same kind of bad luck and screwed up destiny that consumed his father back when.
GG: Talk to me about the character Dorothy Buell. She seems like a very strong character, someone that Jackie may well need as the series progresses.
JH: Dorothy is awesome, not one for bullshit, and a definite grounding presence for Jackie who’s kind of got his head in the clouds a bit. She’s an aspiring music writer who bemoans both the state of music and entertainment today along with the decline of media and journalism. She’s a bit of a crusader underneath it all, a young woman who fancies herself a hard-charging Woodward and Bernstein type, or a current-day Erin Brockovich fighting on the side of angels against the powers that be. But that’s something of a dodge, I think, too. In the end, she’s hungry for a story. And Jackie isn’t just going to expose her to trove of subject matter as her source, but as her subject too. He just doesn’t know it yet!
MH: I tried to juxtapose Dorothy and Jackie. Her hard, outgoing, bulldozer personality with Jackie’s shy, nerdy, mystical nature. As the story progresses I think they’re going to start rubbing off on each other, developing characteristics reminiscent of one another.
GG: The series kicks off with a lot of reference to 70’s Rock. Where else will you be taking these intrepid rock investigators? 
JH: The next arc is going to delve into 80s metal, I think, along with some of the movements and genres that informed the Iron Maiden and Judas Priest era. I’d love to touch on Motown, along with other R&B scenes from the 60s and 70s like the Stax Records scene, or Muscle Shoals out of Alabama. 1960s British Invasion. 80s hip-hop, potentially. There’s a lot of ground to potentially cover.
MH: I’m pushing for glamrock into 80’s goth just because I want to draw that. However, as the series progresses you can bet there will be a lot more hair and sparkles.
Rockstars will be released through Image Comics on December 14, 2016. Order at your Local Comic Shop or go to https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rockstars-1
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Jason Powell Talks Chris Claremont’s X-Men

Geek Genie caught up with author Jason Powell on the release of his book “The Best There is at What He does – Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men” released by Sequart.

 

GG: Hi Jason. Congratulations on the release of your book! What made you want to write a book specifically about the Claremont run in X-Men?

JP: Well I guess that my love of the X-Men is really tied to that particular run by Chris Claremont. I was lucky enough to be given a collection of comic books from my Uncle which had a good mix of Marvel comics (although he refused to give up his Spidey books!). I discovered the X-Men at the same time that the X-Men cartoon series was also taking off and so I really wanted to find out more about these chracters.

GG: Claremont’s run is legendary for its soap opera and length of run. Was this an easy write?

JP: Yes and no! It was easy in the sense that it was a real labour of love. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and in fact it’s taken about 10 years to get this book out! Part of the reason it took so long is probably because I was so determined to get this absolutely right. Because I cared so much about this topic, I wanted to make this something that I could look back on and be happy with. And this is a tribute to a great writer that I very much admire and so it was kind of daunting in some ways. You want to get your tributes right!

GG: You’ve gone through the main ages of Claremont’s run very methodically.

JP: I guess that was the easiest way to do it, given how long his run stretches.

GG: And so we start with “All New, All Different…”

 

JP: Yes and as we progress through the book, you become aware of the different stages that the book and indeed the whole X-Men family go through. Claremont oversaw such huge changes to the team. New team members were draughted in, plot lines were introduced and would run for months, sometimes years.

Character development and relationships were central to the Claremont run. Each character brought a unique dynamic to the team and their relationships underpinned many of the most famous plot lines. Would Jean’s slow descent into the Phoenix force have been as emotionally charged without Scott’s anguish?

Claremont also took the team and characters out of their comfort zones, whether it was in far off space or in the outbacks of Australia.

GG: Claremont was clearly the driving force behind the rise and rise of the X-Men during this period, but he also worked with some top creators as well. What was that relationship like?

JP: Claremont was very detailed when plotting a story. Using the “Marvel method” his plots would often run as many pages as the actual comic book itself which irritated John Byrne no end. But then Frank Miller found Claremont very easy to work with when the two collaborated on the Wolverine Limited Series in 1982.

 

GG: As the X-Men franchise grows bigger and more successful, what kind of challenges did this pose for Claremont as a writer?

JP: There were challenges. The X-Men soon became the premier Marvel book and it becamame a licensing and marketing behemoth for Marvel. That maybe difficult for people to believe in this Marvel Cinematic Universe where the X-Men don’t even exist! But back then, it was all about the X-Men and pretty soon marketing concerns were creeping into creative decision making. As an example, the success of the X-Men cartoon TV series meant that Claremont was being pressured to ensure that there was no conflict in storylines between the two mediums. They didn’t want him being too creative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GG: The success of the 1980’s soon gives way to the gigantic sales figures of the Jim Lee era. Claremont would soon leave. Was he pushed?

JP: No. Although Jim Lee certainly wanted more creative control of the X-Men, neither Jim Lee nor editor Bob Harris wanted Claremont to leave. However, the increasing interference and creative restrictions placed on Claremont eventually led to him leaving. It was suggested to him that he should hang on and wait for Jim Lee to move on but Claremont was adamant he’d had enough. Lee did eventually leave the X-Men not long afterward but he is quite philosphical about that stating that the same issues would probably have surfaced with the next rising star artist. He left the book in great shape, it was still the best selling book for Marvel so he’d done his bit.

 

 

GG: Where does Claremont rank in the pantheon of Marvel creators?

JP: The sheer quantity of work means that Claremont looms large. But it’s also the quality that he injected into that work which seals his status in the history of not just Marvel comics, but the comics industry period. The number of characters that he created, the seminal storylines and iconic moments. The bedrock of the entire X-Men franchise was created by this one man. And these stories are now resonating through the movies now, touching a whole new generation of audiences. He is probably the most influential creator of the second wave pf creators after the Lee, Kirby and Ditko era and I wanted to put out an unapologetically pro-Claremont story and to honour someone that has enriched our story-telling experiences.

 

The Best There is at What He Does is available to buy from CreateSpace and Amazon priced $16.99

ISBN 9781940589121

Kindle edition $5.99

 

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“Justice League Action” Delivers Hard on the Action

DC Comic’s new animated series ‘Justice League Action’ premiered in the U.S. this Friday, December 16th on Cartoon Network. This is the newest successor to the Justice League TV franchise, the last one being 2006’s ‘Justice League Unlimited’.

 

The first episode, an hour long special, featured a plethora of DC heroes and villains, including, Superman, Wonder Woman, Constantine, Swamp Thing, Plastic Man, Martian Man Hunter, Black Adam, The Parasite, Shazam (voiced by Sean Astin) and Batman, voiced by the one and only Kevin Conroy. That’s right, Kevin Conroy the man who voiced Batman in ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, and the ‘Batman: Arkham’ series has returned to reprise his iconic role as the Dark Knight himself. This review won’t go into specifics about the episode as to best avoid spoilers, just my overall impression of the show.

Now, from the previous promos leading to the premiere, we could tell the new series was going to be aimed towards the younger audience. It seems the dramatic story arcs that span multiple episodes like those of it’s predecessor, have been replaced with quick, action packed fun vignettes, and they definitely deliver hard on the comedy and even harder on the action. From the time the episode starts, we are thrown into a quick paced action sequence paired with an amazing backtrack that is incredibly reminiscent of the ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ theme.

 

The hour long special premiere is obviously structured as four 11-minute episodes, which is typical for Cartoon Network animated programs like Adventure Time, Regular Show, Steven Universe, etc. The episodes were part of an ongoing narrative, but you can tell when each segment ends and begins. Many people were worried how the new Justice League series was going to turn out. In the wake of ‘Teen Titans Go’, fans were afraid the powers that be at Cartoon Network and WB Animation HQ (respectively) were going to turn their favorite heroes into goofy, watered down parodies of their former selves. Although the series is obviously made for younger viewers, the integrity, nature, and personality of each hero and villain is for the most part, left intact. I was surprised and delighted to find that the new series is more akin to the current Marvel ‘Spiderman’ and ‘Avengers’ series’ that air on Disney XD, than Teen Titans Go.

So no, Justice League Action probably won’t be garnering any acclaim for its writing, or even its animation, and it is a long way off from being as good as predecessors like ‘Justice League/Unlimited’, or ‘Batman: The Animated Series’; but, it is a fun, easy going show that is thoroughly enjoyable to watch and to experience your favorite DC characters. Plus I mean, they brought Kevin Conroy back, that gives them more than a few brownie points in my book. I’d easily give Justice League Action 3.8 out of 5 stars, and its definitely worth a watch! Justice League Action will move to Saturday mornings starting December 24th.

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3 New Netflix Series to Watch out for in 2017

he Marvel Cinematic Universe will take Netflix viewers to previously unchartered territories. Geek Genie takes a look at what fans have in store for 2017.

It’s been a great 21st Century so far for fans of the superhero genre. Marvel and DC have taken their comic book war onto the silver screen. But many a skirmish has taken place on the small screen with The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Gotham going toe to toe with Agents of SHIElLD, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. 

As we get into the meat and bones of 2017, Marvel Studios is building on its relationship with Netflix to bring more of its characters to home audiences.

Iron Fist

 

 

Everybody was kung fu fighting! Well they will be in what will surely be a kick-ass introduction to the MCU for Marvel’s resident Kung Fu master, Danny Rand. Expect shoalin shenanigans mixed with Dr Strange mysticism in one of the years most eagerly anticipated series.

 

The Defenders

 

Move over The Avengers as Marvel Studios unleashes The Defenders onto the small screen. Daredevil will team up with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist to bring a more street level and grittier super team than its billionaire playboy financed cousins over in Avengers Tower. The chance to see Luke Cage a.k.a Power Man team up with Iron Fist will be worth the Netflix subscription fee itself.

The Punisher

 

No gun control legislation is going to stop Frank Castle from packing, racking and stacking an arsenal of firepower to wage his one man war on crime. Fresh from his huge popular stint in season 2 of Daredevil, Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal goes into solo action mode this year. Guns. guns, guns baby!

 

Iron Fist airs March 17, 2017

The Defenders TBA, 2017

The Punisher TBA, 2017

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Do you love monsters?

Is there anything better than monsters?

I mean not just scary monsters, either. Aliens and Hellraiser are great and all, but I love monsters of all types. I love monsters in Adventure Time as much as I love them in Lord of the Rings.

Monsters have penetrated every corner of entertainment, and they are the perfect literary device to talk about everything from racism to the dangers of nuclear war and to do it in a way that isn’t preachy or heavy-handed. The subtle genius of Godzilla is that it got me thinking and talking about nuclear war, even when I was too young to understand what nuclear war even meant.

Studying monsters in literature and movies is also a great way to find out what people worried about throughout the ages. Take Aliens. You might consider Aliens one of the greatest horror sci-fi movies of all time, but it was also a movie steeped in fear over the HIV epidemic of the 1980s. You have to look under the hood to see the parallels which go all the way down to why Ripley was the last person left alive and the only one to survive, but they exist.

On top of all that, monsters can represent anyone and everyone at the same time. There isn’t a person alive who can’t see themselves represented in some form of monster or another, whether it’s feeling invisible to others like the Invisible Man or being a walking ball of rage like the Hulk, there is a monster for everybody.

Unfortunately, most people associate monsters with horror, when they can be so much more.

That’s why I decided to publish the Monsters and Other Scary Sh!t anthology, so that people can appreciate all the amazing ways monsters can be used, from horror to fantasy to sci-fi, and beyond. It’s a 224-page anthology devoted to everything I love about monsters, filled with stories from 30 creative teams jamming out about monsters. It’s the monster book I always wanted, made by monster fans for monster fans.

If you love comics, anthologies, and especially monsters, check it out today by heading to Kickstarter, or by clicking here KICKSTARTER LINK

What’s your favorite monster?

Russell Nohelty is a writer, publisher, consultant, and, most of all, a monster lover. He runs Wannabe Press, a small press that creates weird books for weird people and hosts The Business of Art podcast.

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DC Celebrates the Big Screen Release of JUSTICE LEAGUE with Special JUSTICE Variant Covers in November!

As the world awaits the big screen debut of “Justice League,” DC is getting in on the action with a special collection of variant covers inspired by the forthcoming film! Illustrated by the some of the comic industry’s most acclaimed artists, these variant covers showcase DC’s iconic Super Hero team in the likeness of their big screen counterparts.

Fans are getting their first look today at variant covers available on the November editions of flagship DC titles featuring members of the famed Justice League.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY first debuted the special variant covers for BATMAN #34 by Tony S. Daniel and CYBORG #18 by Dustin Nguyen – both go on sale Nov. 1.

 

NERDIST joined in by revealing the special variants for ACTION COMICS #991 by Yanick Paquette (on sale Nov. 8) and SUPERMAN #35 by Renato Guedes (on sale Nov. 15).

 

 

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER debuted Mike McKone’s variant for THE FLASH #34 (on sale Nov. 8) and Terry Dodson’s special cover for WONDER WOMAN #34 (on sale Nov. 22).

 

Plus, JoinTheLeague.com revealed the variants for AQUAMAN #30 (on sale Nov. 15) by Liam Sharp and JUSTICE LEAGUE #32 by Howard Porter (on sale Nov. 1).

 

 

Finally, DC exclusively revealed the variants for TRINITY #15 by Ben Oliver (on sale Nov. 15), alongside the variant for DETECTIVE COMICS #968 by Cully Hamner (on sale Nov. 8).

 

About “Justice League”

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Raymond Fisher, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller star in the action adventure “Justice League.” Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.  Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.  But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.  “Justice League” was directed by Zack Snyder from a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, story by Terrio & Snyder.  Based on characters from DC Entertainment; Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns produced the film, with Jim Rowe, Wesley Coller, Curtis Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck serving as executive producers.  Opening on November 17 in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX, “Justice League” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.  http://www.justiceleaguethemovie.com/

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The Top 10 Graphic Novels of all Time!

By IzzyLFC

Comic book charachters are now more popular today than ever before, thanks to Film and TV as well as the comic industry’s best creators. However it all started with 20-page magazines starring iconic characters like Superman, Batman, Captain America and Spiderman. I’m looking at the greatest graphic novels ever to be written. Do you agree?!

 

10. Crisis on Infinite Earths – Marv Wolfman

 

 

 

Probably DC comics’ biggest event ever, Marv Wolfman creates a masterpiece with Crisis. Featuring the first appearance of probably the most powerful villain ever, The Anti-Monitor, this 12-issue series was a crisis since two of DC’s most loved characters died protecting not only the world or even the universe but the multiverse. Both Supergirl and Flash die protecting the ones they love.

9. Blackest Night – Geoff Johns

 

One of my favourite writters Geoff Johns delivered probably the biggest and best Green Lantern storyline ever in 2009-10. When Hal Jordan returns from the dead, he brings death with him. A figure going by the Black hand is leading the living dead or Black lantern corps into destroying humanity. We see our favourite heroes and our most despised villains putting on rings to unite against a common threat.

 

8. Daredevil: The Man without Fear – Frank Miller

 

and respected writers in the comic book world created one of the great Daredevil stories. Explaining the origins and early life of Matt Murdock, Miller creates nothing short of a masterpiece.

 

7. The Killing Joke – Alan Moore

Alan Moore creates more of a Joker tale than a Batman tale. Aimed at mature audiences, this comic shows the gruesome and insane nature of the dark knight’s greatest foe. An iconic scene where Joker is dressed in a tourist outfit, he paralyzes Barbara Gordon, ending her run as Batgirl.

 

6. Civil War – Mark Miller

 

Now a Blockbuster MCU film, Civil War was definitely one of the great comic book events. Looking at the more realistic and political side of Superheroes, the Superhero Registration Act or “Sokovia accords” in the movie brings the superhero community in the cross-hairs of the law. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers represent to the two conflicting sides of the argument and suddenly the Marvel Universe is at war! One of the most iconic and impactful moments was the unmasking of Spider-Man as Peter Parker.

 

5. Flashpoint – Geoff Johns

 

probably the most impactful event in Barry Allen’s history. It also kickstarted DC’s New 52 and still reverberates through the DCU. When Barry travels back to save his Mother, he doesn’t realise the consequences of his actions and how they will affect the timeline. Thomas Wayne is now Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war and Superman is a lab experiment. Trust me, you’ll finish this in one read!

 

4. The Infinity Gauntlet – Jim Starlin

 

Jim Starlin, the king of Marvel’s cosmic universe, creates probably Marvel’s biggest storyline ever. Avengers Infinity War, the MCU movie that everything has been leading up to is based on this. This story shows the true power of Thanos and the 6 Infinity gems. One of my favourites.

 

3. Watchmen – Alan Moore

 

Now starting to appear in DC rebirth comics, Watchmen is the first Comic that isn’t mainstream Marvel or DC on the list! Alan Moore creates another adult aimed story which is about a more realistic society and the kind of threats that superheroes face…and are! Watchmen is widely regarded as one of the greatest graphic novles ever!

 

2. The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller

 

Expected first? Well first or not, TDKR is the greatest Batman story ever. Bruce Wayne hasn’t been Batman for many years, but returns to face the mutants, Joker, Superman as well as training a new, female Robin. Christopher Nolan’s TDKR is based on this and the Knighfall storyline. Batman at his best!

 

Old Man Logan – Mark Millar

 

As you can tell from the image, Mark Millar creates one of the goriest but greatest tales ever. Logan has quit being Wolverine in the future but gets back in the game with an opportunity to pay rent. Sadly, he isn’t on time and the landlords, AKA the Hulks have killed his family. He goes berserker mode and wipes out almost all of the Hulks family. A simple but memorable story, also now a blockbuster movie in “Logan” played by fan favourite Hugh Jackman.

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