Harlan Ellison has written short stories, essays, teleplays, screenplays and books, but though he’s repeatedly talked about how influential the medium was for him as a boy, he has scripted relatively few comics. His enthusiasm and interest in the medium has never waned, however, and he’s taken time to praise the work of many books and creators over the years — in between winning almost every science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror and screenwriting award possible, that is.
Make It So: Robotech the Movie by Jerry Whitworth
Announced earlier this month, renewed interest in producing a live action film based on the animated series Robotech has been reported with the team behind the 300 films tackling the project. Bounced around since 2007 when Warner Bros. acquired the film rights with Tobey Maguire set to produce (and perhaps star), the project has repeatedly run into problems with several scripts produced that seemingly have yet to satisfy the studio’s higher-ups (while in 2013 it was revealed Leonardo DiCaprio has shown interest in the film, perhaps in a featured acting role, as he reportedly turned down an opportunity to be in the latest Star Wars film series so he could be available). Among the various hit franchises created in the 1980s, Robotech was one that proved extremely successfully and profitable but ended prematurely (in terms of its popularity) due to a number of extraordinary circumstances. Since then, it has repeatedly arisen in various ways with varying degrees of success (most recently, as a tabletop RPG). Lets examine what a Robotech film could entail.Read More
Creator Profile: Steve McNiven by Jerry Whitworth
For every age of the comic book industry, a crop of artists emerge that define their generation. At Marvel, the days of Kirby and Ditko gave rise to Romita, Byrne, Miller, and the Buscemas which lead to Lee, McFarlane, and Liefeld. The Modern Age of Marvel was lead by artists like Romita Jr, Epting, and the Kuberts but perhaps one of the brightest stars to emerge in the last ten years is Steve McNiven. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan but raised mostly in and around Ontario, Canada, McNiven’s mother was an art teacher which inspired him to obtain a traditional education in art by attending Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where he earned a BA in Art Education and a BFA in Sculpture. McNiven and his wife spent some time in Seattle before she was offered a job in Toronto leading the couple to move back to Canada as McNiven began working part-time as a visual arts teacher at the high school North Toronto Collegiate Institute. McNiven, unfamiliar with anyone in the area, would stumble upon a comic shop with a co-op art studio and befriend a group of local comic book artists. A fan of comics, anime, and manga, McNiven decided to try his skill at hand drawn art working in a cartoony style inspired by his interests. After almost five years teaching and while developing a strong passion for comic art, McNiven’s wife wanted him to pursue his interest and bought him a ticket to the San Diego Comic-Con in 1999. Making a small portfolio of his art and technique, McNiven attended the event displaying his work to any company looking for talent. Eventually, a chance encounter with the Lai brothers led to the artist being hired at Florida-based company CrossGen.Read More
Make It So: Legion of Super-Heroes by Jerry Whitworth
According to rumor website Bleeding Cool, following the success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and considering Warner Bros’ desire to mimic Disney’s success with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rumor has it a Legion of Super-Heroes film is being considered for development. Originally infrequent supporting characters to Superboy (Superman’s adventures as a teenager), the Legion grew into its own franchise initially featuring teenage aliens from the future who would jaunt to the past to summon Superboy for their extraordinary adventures. Over the years, the Legion developed into a vast cast of characters that became something of a joke to older readers as for every conceivable super power, there seemed to be a unique Legionnaire who represented it (like Matter-Eater Lad, Antennae Boy, and Arm Fall Off Boy). During the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, the Legion underwent a Renaissance under the direction of Paul Levitz that made the title one of the best comics of its time with the underrated “Earthwar” followed by the much-lauded, critically acclaimed “The Great Darkness Saga” (featuring the emergence of Darkseid in the 30th century). Arguably this was the greatest height of the Legion, another bright spot being following the events of Zero Hour under the direction of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA, whose reinvention of the Guardians of the Galaxy was the basis of the Marvel film). Lets take a look at what an adaptation of the Legion of Super-Heroes could entail.Read More
From Page to Screen: The Titans by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, the pilot script for TNT’s upcoming television series The Titans based on DC Comics’ Teen Titans has reportedly been leaked. Likely the biggest reveal from this leak is the roster for the group which features a blend of the classic team with some more obscure characters and a familiar face from the Batman family. It should be noted, however, the cast may yet change for the series (especially considering actors are still yet being cast) but that seems unlikely considering TNT has rushed production of the series. Also, yet known is if the series will tie into the greater DC Television Universe (teased by CW president Mark Pedowitz) which already includes Arrow, Flash, and the upcoming animated Vixen series and rumor has it will include CBS’ upcoming Supergirl series. So, characters like Arsenal, Speedy, Kid Flash, and Supergirl could very well find their way to the series (not to mention villains like Deathstroke, Brother Blood, and Clock King). Until speculation becomes proved or disproved, however, lets look at what the series will start with.Read More
WWE: A Four-Color Solution by Jerry Whitworth
In the realm of professional wrestling in the United States, the undisputed king is the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. However, today the company rests in a precarious position. While viewership of its television programming has diminished in recent years, it nonetheless remains strong for the channels that air such programs. But in terms of business, remaining stagnant is not an ideal model. In an effort to take advantage of its expansive library of content and to cut out the middleman in pay-per-view (PPV) programming, the company started an online streaming service called the WWE Network. Not only has the development produced less than desirable results, its created an economic strain on the company that has forced the WWE to cut corners in its budget. Making matters worse, in the last few years, fan satisfaction in the product has diminished to the point that the creative forces behind the company have been in something of a tailspin unable to distinguish how to tell compelling stories, create images that can be heavily merchandised (which has largely been the fuel that has kept the company thriving), and what talent should be placed in the forefront. In a very real way, these issues converged in last month’s 2015 Royal Rumble which saw the crowd turn on the event during its finale and spurred an on-line movement towards a mass exodus of subscribers from the WWE Network (something that trended worldwide in #CancelWWENetwork for almost a full day). As industry insiders and fans alike try to pin down ways in which the bad fortunes of the WWE can be reversed before the future of the company is placed in jeopardy, its salvation may lie in comic books.Read More
Review: Al Rio Tribute Art Book – Volume One by Jerry Whitworth
Three years ago this month, the comic book industry lost one of its stars. On the short list of modern day “good girl art” masters, illustrator Al Rio passed away in January 2012 leaving behind a wife and three children. Following his loss, steps were taken to support his family in a tribute art book put together by Rio’s friends and collaborators resulting in a Kickstarter campaign last summer. With a goal of raising $5,500 to finance publication, the book went beyond the goal amassing over $8,800. Further, with a projected publication date of April 2015, the book instead saw print last month. Available to the public now through Al Rio’s website, the Al Rio Tribute Art Book – Volume One (2003-2005) opens with a brief biography of the artist followed by three chapters each outlining selected pieces of art Al Rio produced during the years 2003, 2004, and 2005. The hardcover book’s three chapters feature seventy all color pages of art including sketches and finished art with characters from many of the industry’s most well-known publishers.Read More
The Nocturnals Return Down a Sinister Path by Jerry Whitworth
On the heels of the release of Nocturnals: Legend, an art book by Big Wow! Art celebrating twenty years of Dan Brereton’s Nocturnals, a Kickstarter campaign to fund Nocturnals: The Sinister Path has recently gone live. The first original story centering around Brereton’s band of Halloween-inspired pulp/horror characters since 2008, the Nocturnals tells the story of occult adventurer Doc Horror, his clairvoyant daughter Eve (aka Halloween Girl), her silent guardian Gunwitch, and their band of monstrous allies as they deal with aliens, mobsters, and, of course, creatures of the night. For Sinister Path, a new band of elder Nocturnals emerge in the Children of the Judge, a malevolent mirror version of Horror’s group, as Eve is haunted by alien spirits in her dreams terrorizing her from the nether realm. First published in 1994, the Nocturnals have become the greatest work produced yet by painter and writer Dan Brereton, also known for his work on Batman: Thrillkiller, Superman and Batman: Legends of the World’s Finest, and JLA: Seven Caskets. Sinister Path will see the return of favorites like Polychrome, Starfish, Firelion, and the Raccoon as well as the addition of Jammybottoms, another doll in Eve’s menagerie of possessed poppets linked to the phantasms that now stalk her.Read More
Comic Art Commissions Holiday Art 2014
The artists at Comic Art Commissions were asked to share their Holiday art and here are the ones I received from all kinds of artists – both traditional and digital. If you like the art you see – go to their Comic Art Commissions page and “Send Message” to them asking about commissions!Read More
2014 Top 50 Comic Book Artists #40-31
Here are the next ten artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,040 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).
NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.
Suicide Squad: The Story of Task Force X by Jerry Whitworth
Considering the success of Marvel Studios at the box office, Warner Bros. has poised itself to make a similar dash with its DC Comics properties. One recently announced project reportedly featuring some of its most iconic characters is Suicide Squad. Herein, supervillains are recruited as special operatives for the US government to commute their sentences in return for taking assignments with a low projected survival rate. In other words, forming a “Suicide Squad.” The concept certainly has some origins in The Dirty Dozen, a 1967 blockbuster war film about a ragtag band of criminal soldiers given a suicide mission. That film itself may have been based on the real life “Filthy Thirteen” who operated behind enemy lines to secure or destroy bridges used by the Axis during World War II. Roughly only half of that platoon would return unharmed from their mission and the media would embellish their story casting the group as a bunch of savages that wore war paint, refused to wash, and earned each other’s respect through violence. In regards to the Suicide Squad, the original such group was quite a ways different.Read More
The next episode of The CW’s DC Comics hit is titled “The Flash Is Born,” and looking at the villain of the piece, it may be a fiery genesis.
Debuting on tonight’s installment is Girder — a villain made of steel created in the comics by the show’s executive producer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver. While the four-color Girder was a steel mill worker warped into metal by STAR Labs, the TV version is a former bully to Barry Allen who’s the latest metahuman to pick up a power and a taste for the dark side.
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[SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for “The Legendary Star-Lord” #5, on sale now.]
While Marvel Comics'”Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex” crossover is still a ways off, the event’s architect, Sam Humphries, is already laying groundwork in his series “The Legendary Star-Lord.” Alongside artist Paco Medina, Humphries introduced a number of new elements for “The Black Vortex” event in “Legendary Star-Lord” #5, including the revelation that The Black Vortex is actually an object, as well as a new set of villains known as the Slaughter Squad: Mister Knife’s elite group of agents who are a darker version of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
To shed some light on the reveal of the actual Black Vortex in “Legendary Star-Lord” #5, Humphries spoke with CBR News, discussing the power of the actual object, how it’s managed to stay hidden for so many years, the importance of Mister Knife and the Slaughter Squad, Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde’s relationship and much more.
Captain America – Recruiting for a Civil War by Jerry Whitworth
Recently Marvel Studios announced films slated for its third phase including solo movies for Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel (featuring former Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers). Aligning with this news is the release of a trailer and sneak peek for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron which, rumor has it, will feature a new team of Avengers to rise from its finale. It’s challenging to distinguish what out of all of this news and rumors has the most buzz, but perhaps the most inquired aspect of this information is the details of the announced Captain America: Civil War. Thus far, we know elements of the Civil War crossover will be adapted putting Captain America and Iron Man at odds while Black Panther will make his first appearance in costume in the film. However, the question several fans have posed is if there exists enough established characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to support such an ambitious project.Read More
Wonder Woman ’77: From Screen to Page by Jerry Whitworth
At the New York Comic Con, it was revealed a series was being developed by DC Comics based on the Wonder Woman television series that aired from 1975 to 1979 called Wonder Woman ’77. Undoubtedly in the same vein as Batman ’66 (based on the Batman television series that aired from 1966 to 1968), the series will be written by Marc Andreyko (Manhunter, Batwoman) with covers by Nicola Scott (Birds of Prey, Secret Six) and rotating interior artists that is set to premier digitally first in December before coming to print in early 2015. All that is known at present about the series (beyond it will be set in the same world as the TV series using the likeness of Lynda Carter) is that villains from the comics will emerge and down the line there maybe a crossover with Batman ’66 (which itself is coming off the heels of a crossover with Dynamite’s Green Hornet that ends in November). As yet, it’s unknown if the title of Wonder Woman ’77 is purely a play on the Batman ’66 title or if it will largely be based on the CBS years of the show which moved the story’s timeline from World War II to the then present day. Lets see what we may have to expect in the coming series.Read More