Up, up and away! A place for comic-book fans to gather.

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Smallville" season seven

Some thoughts on last night’s season-opener of “Smallville”:

Once again, with “Smallville” shooting in Vancouver, we see mountains and lush forests in the landscape of Kansas.

They sure give up easy at Smallville Medical Center. Chloe’s heart stops. Shock her! Oh, well, time of death. And minutes later, she’s already in a drawer in the morgue.

Lana’s alive! No big surprise there. The mystery now is Lionel’s whereabouts. And Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen is now in the opening credits, but was nowhere to be seen in the episode.

We didn’t see much of Clark’s cousin from Krypton. She’s got that flying thing down, though. Looking forward to next week when Clark meets her. Must be lonely on the Kent farm with just him.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An "All-Star" irritation

I got an e-mail years ago from a reader who just absolutely hated my Comics Fan column. Just way too much focus on superheroes, he griped. Horrific, he said. I e-mailed him back and said, basically, if you hate it that much, don’t read it! The reason I bring this up is I’m in the same situation with “All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder.” Issue No. 7 came out yesterday and I keep reading and I don’t know why. Once again, little happens: Most of the issue is dedicated to an encounter between Batman and Black Canary, the rest to Dick Grayson confronting his parents’ killer. And it’s still an over-the-top Batman, reveling in causing pain to the bad guys and using a minor expletive I won’t repeat here every few panels, it seems. I don’t know if writer Frank Miller is serious or has cooked up sort of a Batman parody or what. And yet, frustrating as it is, I can’t turn away.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Ghouls Gone Wild"

I received a copy today of “Tales From the Crypt: Ghouls Gone Wild,” published by NBM’s Papercutz line. The graphic novel is a mix of new material and stories republished from Papercutz’s bimonthly “Tales From the Crypt” comics - a revival, of course, of the EC Comics’ flagship title from the 1950s. The books are aimed at readers 10 and up, so don’t look for anything too shocking or gruesome. But it’s always nice to see the Crypt-Keeper as Halloween approaches.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back in the grave?

Just dead? Or truly, sincerely dead?

Somehow I missed the “Green Arrow/Black Canary Special” last week. But an interview at Newsarama with writer Judd Winnick reveals the cliffhanger ending - Green Arrow dies! Again!

Not a total surprise; there had been rumors. But it better not really be the case. They killed Ollie years ago in an exploding plane, then brought him back. Killing him again? At Black Canary’s hands? I think not.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A director for "Justice League"

Variety reports that director George Miller will helm the big-screen adaptation of DC’s “Justice League of America.” No news on casting, though insiders tell Variety that Christian Bale and Brandon Routh, the latest big-screen Batman and Superman, are not expected to be in the JLA movie. The movie does plan to feature Superman and Batman, though, along with Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman.

I’d rather see movies with the individual characters and I think it’s going to be confusing to see a Justice League movie with different actors as the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. Variety, though, reports that Warner Bros. is really keen on the JLA script.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"30 Days of Night: Blood Trails"

I talked today with Steve Niles, writer of “30 Days of Night” and its spinoffs. The original comic-book miniseries has been made into a movie set for release Oct. 19; Niles shares screenwriting credit. Leading up to the movie is “30 Days of Night: Blood Trails,” an online miniseries appearing now on FEARnet.com. It’s unfolding with mini-episodes over seven weeks, and Niles is serving as creative consultant.

“Blood Trails” is based on the New Orleans storyline from the original “30 Days of Night.” That storyline is missing from the movie, which keeps the action confined to Alaska. Other than that, though, the movie is quite faithful to the comic, Niles said.

The vampires in “30 Days of Night” are not sexy or silly. They’re just scary. And they’re apparently not interested in making more vampires. “These guys, once they drain you of your blood, they pop your head off so you can’t become a vampire,” Niles said.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"One More Day"

Spider-Man’s “One More Day” story arc has been cloaked in secrecy, but the latest Comics Buyer’s Guide lifts the veil somewhat.
As we all know, Aunt May is dying. In “One More Day,” according to the Comics Buyer’s Guide, someone will give Peter Parker a choice: Aunt May will live, if he’s willing to have his marriage to Mary Jane vanish. As in all memories and evidence of that marriage gone.

Heart-wrenching? I would think so. But it also sounds as lame as Superman’s continuity-changing punches in DC’s “Infinite Crisis.” Or the long-ago dream season of “Dallas.” I’m hoping writer J. Michael Straczynski surprises us all and it’s not so simple as essentially waving an editorial wand and wiping out years and years of Spidey history.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Marvel costume contest

If you like to dress up on Halloween as Spider-Man, Doctor Doom or some other Marvel character, this contest is for you. Marvel’s holding its first annual costume contest. Just send a photo of you in costume by Oct. 22. From Oct. 23 to Oct. 29, Marvel fans will vote online for their favorite entries. The grand prize winner will receive a personalized handbook-style page that will appear in a Marvel comic and also gets a signed “Captain America Omnibus” by Ed Brubaker. For complete rules, go to www.marvel.com/costumecontest

Monday, September 17, 2007

Holiday greetings from DC

Merry Christmas! DC Comics has released its solicitations for December. The month is really heavy — too heavy, I’d say — on “Countdown” spinoffs. But there are plenty of things I’m excited about, too, including the return of writer Jim Shooter on “Legion of Super-Heroes,” the continuing “Thy Kingdom Come” storyline in “Justice Society of America” and Booster Gold’s trip back in time in his self-titled series to prevent the Joker’s shooting of Barbara Gordon. I’m thinking he doesn’t succeed, but it’ll be interesting.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

JLA faces a big challenge

Turns out this week's “JLA Wedding Special” really is must reading for Justice League fans. It’s a strong beginning for Dwayne McDuffie’s run on “Justice League of America.” Granted, the story itself is hardly novel - for the upteenth time, an army of bad guys assembles to take down the JLA once and for all. But it’s all in the execution, and McDuffie does a fine job of balancing humor, character development and some fierce action. I pity poor Firestorm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey, kids, new comics!

I just got back from Bargain Comics, and it’s tough to kow what will be on the top of my reading list tonight. There’s the oversized 100th issue of “Daredevil,” a confrontation between Thor and Iron Man in “Thor” No. 3 and “Green Lantern” No. 23, continuing the “Sinestro Corps War.” I’m thinking the latter; it’s been a heck of a ride so far.

DC public-relations guy David Hyde, meanwhile, sent me an e-mail with this tip: Keep an eye on Dwayne McDuffie’s run on “Justice League of America,” beginning with this week’s “Justice League Wedding Special.” “Loads of action AND character development,” he promises.

Friday, September 07, 2007

And the winner is ....

Season two of “Who Wants To Be a Superhero” has ended, with the Defuser coming out on top. I figured the young, earnest Hyper-Strike would win, but I’m OK with the Defuser. We got to see behind the costumes and superhero identities on last night’s finale, and they certainly SEEM to be real people as opposed to, say, aspiring actors seeming a moment in the limelight. It was fun to hear the Defuser, for example, refer to himself as the biggest comic-book geek.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Something to get animated about

This looks like fun for both cartoon and DC Comics fans. Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced plans for a spring 2008 launch of T-Works, a “broad-appeal immersive animation experience.”

"The animated versions of the DC heroes have been viewer favorites for years,” said Paul Levitz, president and publisher of DC Comics. “T-Works will give our fans new ways to connect with our characters. The DCHeroZone should be a great new destination for our fans.”

Among the planned highlights:

Immersive virtual worlds where users interact with each other and assume a cartoon identity based on existing characters.

Video channel featuring hundreds of hours of classic Warner Bros. Animation product as well as contemporary programs including “Looney Tunes,” “The Flintstones” and “Batman Beyond” and original made-for-broadband animated short-form series.

Video Mash-Up Maker where users can create and share their own cartoon remixes.

"One More Day" is today

It's new comic book day - a day late because of the Labor Day holiday - and the must-buy on my list is "Amazing Spider-Man" No. 544, beginning the four-part "One More Day" story arc by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada. If you can't wait until you get to the comic book store, Newsarama has an early review with a few spoilers.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

One thing after another for poor Krypton

I finished reading Kevin J. Anderson’s “The Last Days of Krypton” over the holiday weekend.Considering you know how it ends — Krypton goes boom, baby Kal-El is sent into space — it’s surprisingly suspenseful. For one thing, Anderson keeps you guessing as to the reason for Krypton’s demise. As he told me when we talked recently, Krypton essentially has a big target painted on it, with one global threat after another. Look for for the novel in late October.