Author name: bamey

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Review: Zoë: Out of Time

The CBN Offices are consistently flooded with with comics for review, every so often something special comes across my desk.  In the weekly “pile” CBN was fortunate enough to be provided preview copies of the first two issues of the new digital comic Zoë: Out of Time … this is one of those times where I found something special. Something special enough to bring me back to CBN after a nearly 8 month hiatus…

Creators Plot Summary

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“It is the year 2050, and sixteen year old Zoë Black is obsessed with one thing: legendary lead singer of Rebel Lions, Trent Darrow, whose untimely death sixty years ago at the tender age of seventeen launched him into the stratosphere of rock legend with the likes of Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

To Zoë, Trent Darrow and the Rebel Lions are the center of her teenage universe- an escape from the loneliness and alienation of growing up as the only child of widowed physicist, Corbin Black, who is on thebrink of a major breakthrough in the study of time travel. A discovery that offers her the opportunity to make the most fantastic of dreams a reality.

And so, late one night, Zoë steals her father’s new prototype time travel device- the Kronos Traveller– sending her sixty years into the past to 1990- and into a gritty and dangerous world, much different from her own. But when she finally makes her way into Trent Darrow’s life, is he all that she imagined he would be? And what happens when she discovers that his death was no “accident”?

Will a young woman’s obsession to cross time interfere with a rock stars’ fate? Will he still die a legend, or will Zoë unknowingly alter his future… and her own?”

Story

This story leverages a lot of tropes we frequently see in modern sci-fi storytelling…..time travel….angsty rebellious teens…. busy career driven single parent conflict…  But to the creators credit, it takes these ideas, leverages them as tools to tell a compelling story and quietly let’s them fade into the background so that the reader can appreciate the characters and the plot itself.  Seeing that this is a 4 part mini-series, there is not a lot of room for filler and the creators use some very fresh storytelling techniques to establish the characters and continuity.  For example (without spoiling much), using a full page newspaper story to establish the background and core plot points around Zoë’s dead teen obsession Trent Darrow.  That simple page front and center at the beginning of issue #1 also sets the stage for ultimately what Zoë’s goal may end up being…will she accomplish that?  Will she choose to change the past at the cost of future consequences? Only time will tell..

Art

The art on this book is top notch. You would be hard pressed to find anything else of this quality from any publisher these days. For the art alone, this book is worth every penny.  From the digital coloring and effects to the sheer consistency of human form throughout, this is really well done.  Page layouts are fresh and used to tell the story.  Lettering enhances the experience without distracting.  The big 2 could learn from this book..

Wrap Up

Issue #1 debuts on Comixology today 8/7 for .99 cents and this book is worth every penny.  I may have gotten review copies, but I’ve purchased all issues on both Comixology and Amazon’s digital platforms as my show of support and endorsement.

Bottom line…it’s about time, you made time for, Zoe: Out of Time…

Publisher’s Interweb Footprint  – Web Facebook – TwitterComixology – Amazon

Comments or questions?  Hit my up on twitter at @10OnTheToilet

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Review: Uncanny X-Force #35

Earlier today at the CBN offices….

     Me: “Hey Matt, it’s Brian…I’m gonna write up X-Force #35″‘…

          Matt: “Say wha?! *face palm*”…..

               Matt: “Doc..Brian’s gonna cover a street level book…X-Force..”

                    Doc: *thud*…*silence*

                         Me:  Um…is he bleeding?

                              Matt: “He’ll be fine…that stack of Marvel NOW variant covers broke his fall.”

That’s right CBN readers. I’m not just some comic hipster who just reads small press, creator owned, Indies. When something comes up that catches my eye in the mainstream,  I’ll take a peek. Usually don’t get past the first couple of issues, but none the less….I try…

One series that I picked and have never stopped reading is Rick Remender’s X-Force.  This series consistently delivered month over month with very few exceptions. The writing was spot on and the art, although sometimes inconsistent, fit the tone of the stories well.  

Remender brought the perfect blend of characters (old and new), action, romance and above all consequences that will continue to echo with these characters from here on in. His “Dark Angel Saga” stands out as one of the best stories in recent history.  

I was also happy to see this book for the most part stay separate from the big AvX crossover and movie driven schlock that we typically see from Marvel as of late.  I will miss many things from his run, but mostly, I will miss the best written version of Deadpool in the history of that characters existence…period.

Issue #35 wraps up the “Final Execution” story arc and closes Volume 1 on this X-Force run as the team has decided to disband.  With this issue we get a glimpse into how each of the characters are dealing with the fallout of their decisions and actions. With one exception…Angel.  Although he’s left out, I think it’s appropriate as the Angel who was part of this team is no more.  

We see Logan, a character who rarely says ‘What if?”…second guessing himself with deep regret..

We see Betsy, regretting her decisions, but ultimately forgiven and in a better place at the end..

We experience a surprisingly tender and fatherly moment between Deadpool and Evan (the cloned Apocalypse) concluding with a truly laugh out loud moment..

We finally find out what old future Logan whispered into Wolverine’s ear…

And finally…without spoilers…we find out the true fate…err fates…. of Fantomex…something that foreshadows things to come in Volume 2.

Wrapping up a story run is never an easy thing for a writer and frequently done bad (I’m looking at you Lost), but this ending felt right for the book and I couldn’t be more satisfied. 

If this book isn’t in your reading stack, I highly recommend you pick it up. If you haven’t been on board this ride, do yourself a favor and pick up the trades. You won’t regret it.

This is a series that I soon will not forget….just Remender…

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MOB THIS! Issue #5: Next Town Over Volume 1

 

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Welcome to Issue #5 of MOB THIS! Focusing on the world of Creator-Owned Crowdsourced Comic Creation at Kickstarter!

 
We’re back from an extended alien abduction bout of technical difficulties for the latest issue of MOB THIS! Lot’s of activity the past several months on Kickstarter….great small press ideas….interesting new products from small towns….unecessary use of the platform for companies that don’t need the capital taking money out of stuggling talented creators and artisits….you know…just another day on the internets
 
For this issue we get our giddy-up on with …….
 
 
Next Town Over is the brainchild of creator Erin Mehlos and is one of the most popular web-comics on the internet.  But now, she’s bringing this gem to Kickstarter collecting the first four chapters into “Volume #1:  Maybe Next Time.”
 
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How can I describe this comic….well how about knock down, drag out, kick-ass, steampunk vs. fire elemental horse ridin‘, pyrokinetic yet suave wanted man vs. undead(?) bounty huntress, grappling hook shootin‘, rootintootin‘ weird western…yeehaw!
 
I discovered this webcomic about a year ago and have read each installment since.  After taking in just a few panels of this wonderfully written story and incredible art, I immediately purchased the first three issues for download. Money well spent. When I heard that this was coming to Kickstarter I immediately put it on my Christmas List.  Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself at http://www.nexttownover.net. I dare you not to be hooked.
 
The Campaign
 
Exclusively on Kickstarter, the campaign is well underway and ends on January 5th, 2013.  As of this article, it is about 90% funded toward the $6500 goal.
 
Pledges start at just $5.00 for electronic copies and go as high as $500 for a commissioned art piece of your choice.  In between you will find printed copies in both soft and hard cover editions, t-shirts, bookmarks, buttons and more. I’m in at the $35.00 level for the signed hardcover of this gem.
 

So there you have it! Open your computers, open your wallets and MOB THIS!

Looking for more cool projects? Follow me on Kickstarter or Twitter.
 
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MOB THIS! Issue #4 – The Mighty Titan

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Welcome to Issue #4 of MOB THIS! Focusing on the world of Creator-Owned Crowdsourced Comic Creation at Kickstarter and IndieGoGo!

 

“Imagine for a moment that you were the worlds strongest protector. Imagine that no knife, bullet or bomb can harm you. Then imagine in that moment you are told you have cancer.”

 Thus are the struggles of The Mighty Titan

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In this planned 5 issue series, creator Joe Martino, a two time cancer survivor,  takes his (and others) experiences with the disease and wraps it in this superhero shell.  He has assembled a very talented team to put this book together, and it looks to be shaping up for one not to miss!  Although this has a very serious undertone, make no mistake there will be plenty of action, monsters and mechas.

As of this article there are 3 days to go and Joe’s project is finally fully backed. Quite honestly, with backing and twitter buzz from the likes of Jimmy Palmiotti, and an alternate cover from Jerry Ordway, I cannot believe that this hasn’t gotten more funding.  I’m hoping that we are not seeing the beginning of a trend where smaller creator owned works are getting lost in the ocean of bigger names riding the Kickstarter trend…..what a cyber-farce that would be….

Anywho…there are plenty of great funding options for this one, and quite honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them. All are very reasonably priced and a lot of bang for your buck compared to a lot of other campaigns I’ve seen. And to all of the other Kickstarters out here, you should take note of how Joe ran this campaign — constantly pounding the Twitter (@jgmcomics) pavement, finding plenty of media outlets to get the word out, and making sure his backers feel fully engaged with this campaign. It’s been great to watch and experience and I fully recommend.

“How we deal with this defines us. How we live with this strengthens us. What we lose is innocence and the loss of a clear mind.” – Joe Martino

 

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Kickstarter and IndieGoGo of course have more than just comics, and I’ll admit that I back more than comics because there is near limitless creativity on these sites. So starting with this issue, I’m going to include something a bit off the beaten path in MOB THIS! Extra!

For this first installment we’ll highlight a pretty awesome IndieGoGo campaign: The Bug-A-Salt! I could talk about how this thing is just plain fun and perfect to fend of a pending Zombie Fly Apocalypse, but I’ll simply leave you with the promotional video…it sells itself….

So there you have it! Open your computers, open your wallets and MOB THIS!

Looking for more cool projects? Follow me on Kickstarter or Twitter.
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MOB THIS! Issue #3 – Focus – Curiosities

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Welcome to Issue #3 of MOB THIS!

Focusing on the world of Crowdsourced Comic Creation at Kickstarter and Indie Go Go!

 

It’s gonna be a double issue this week Cosmic Book Men! Kickstarter is booming with comics these days, you’d be hard pressed to not find something that piques your interest.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2116:]]For this issue lets get things rolling with FOCUS.

“Focus, created/colored/lettered by Erik Wahlstrom and written by Zach Hunter, follows the story of Lee Mullen, a middle-aged passionless photojournalist who is like everything else in this epic drawn and inked by Matt Brownson.

After noticing strange anomalies in his photos, Lee decides to investigate and quickly finds himself thrust into the world of the supernatural. Fighting demons and chasing ghouls becomes part of his everyday routine. Lee is recruited by a secret organization known as Focus. Focus fights demons and ghouls summoned by the Cult using photography. The act of taking the demon’s photo captures a piece of it within the film. The new and constant fight against voodoo, hoodoo, and screw you’s jump-starts Lee back into an adrenaline fueled lust for life. Join us along our journey deep into one man’s fragile psyche that is being tested in this surreal action-adventure.”

The teaser image of the cover of this comic was the first thing that caught my eye. Simple, elegant and thought provoking. Loved it! The overall premise of the comic is refreshing and the art fits the proposed story perfectly. The first 13 pages of the comic are available at the creators website for review and it looks promising.

The sweet spot for this Kickstarter is at the $20 pledge level. You’ll get a signed limited edition Kickstarter cover with your hard copy of the comic as well as a digital copy. But if that’s too much, the digital version can be had for $5.00. As of this publication, the campaign has about 2 weeks left and only half way to funding. I’m really surprised that it hasn’t been funded yet, so head on over to the Kickstarter page and show your support.

Next up on MOB THIS! is Curiosities: An Illustrated History of Ancestral Oddity

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Created by the husband/wife, Dreamworks/Disney, dynamic duo of Mike and Vicky Yamada and written by Vicky’s brother Jonathan this one is looking great. The story is about two kids inheriting an odd old house with generations of accumulated wonder – A Cabinet of Curiosities. Curiosities is a fully illustrated 88-page hardcover storybook.

“It tells the story of a pair of kids who inherit a spooky old house from a long lost uncle. The house is full to bursting with mysterious doo-dads and trinkets. Each room being a strange, personally-curated monument to a crazy ancestor. A Cabinet of Curiosities!”

The art style really shows the pedigree of the husband/wife duo. It immediately reminded me of classic cartoon animation in the vein of many Disney stories combined with the modern flair of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. And for as little as $25 to own this great looking project, I can’t wait to get it in my hands. Pledge levels are very reasonable and some are very unique. The ‘student’ versions of the awards come with an Educational E-Book documenting the creation process, a Video Photoshop Tutorial, and a Set of Photoshop Brushes. Something budding creators may be interested in. I think this was a great option. As of this publication, the Kickstarter campaign had blown away its $4000.00 goal and sat at around $28,000.00! Head on over and show your support!

So there you have it! Open your computers, open your wallets and MOB THIS!

Looking for more cool projects? Follow me on Kickstarter.

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Brian’s Fantasy Draft: The Manhattan Projects: Tarantino, Malkovich, Feynman

(Editor’s Note: The following is part of The First Cosmic Book News Fantasy Hollywood Draft; keyword being “fantasy”)

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Sticking for my love of creator owned indy comic IPs, my Fantasy draft was built to take on Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s comic book from Image, The Manhattan Projects. Although only three issues into the series, each story is thick with narrative, character development, action and intrigue. All the makings for a ‘smart‘ summer blockbuster.  

You all know that the Manhattan Project was the US government effort to build the first atomic bomb. But, this world is not ours, but one re-invented by Hickman.  The subtile ‘s’ at the end sends this in a whole new direction. This is a dark alt-history/sci-fi story set in the 1940’s.  The Manhattan Projects not only build the first bomb, but work on artificial intelligence, pan-dimensional space, mythological weapons brought to reality and other “impossible machines of expansion.” The possibilities are limitless, and the story to date is one not to miss.

That’s the high level premise, but with such a grand story filled with some of the biggest minds in history taking on some of the biggest projects in alt-history…what ensemble cast could pull these impossible characters off? Who can lead them? Read on Cosmic Book Men…read on.

Fantasy Draft & Casting Breakdown

Quentin Tarantino (Director) – #5 Overall Pick – #1 Personal Pick

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1927:]]Picking a director for this adaptation was the most difficult. After going round and round, I landed on Quentin Tarantino for the following 3 reasons.

(1) Has the ability to make great actors greater by having them move out of their comfort zone. The actors I will discuss shortly are all for the most part veteran’s. Some are playing roles they easily fit into, but some are not. Thus, as he does frequently, QT can re-invent them and for the newer few…push them to places they didn’t think they could go.

(2) Master of ultra-violence. There is a sequence in this series where Japanese robot Samurai delivered via a ballistic pan-dimensional-Zen-gateway powered by Death Buddhists (yeah…you read that right) attack the facility and a huge battle ensues. Tarantino, being a master and student of Martial Arts films, has the ability to make this fight like no other and make his Kill Bill fight scene look like a Wiggles tickle fight. Robert Oppenheimer’s ultra-violent mood swings are also tailor made for QT.

(3)  QT has a track record of applying a nihilistic philosophy and tone to his movies:

Nihilism ( /ˈnaɪ.ɨlɪzəm/ or /ˈniː.ɨlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.[1] Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived.

This story is about a group of men whom operate above all societal laws and morals. They know the consequences of their actions, yet they push forth…balancing their genius with their insanity. Potentially to hide their grief. There isn’t a better director for this philosophical sub-theme, period.

John Malkovich as Joseph Oppenheimer – #10 Overall Pick – #2 Personal Pick

“Now, I am become Death.  Destroyer of Worlds” – Robert Oppenheimer quoting a Hindu scripture from the Bhagavad Gita

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1929:]]Joseph Oppenheimer — father of the atomic bomb, but in this version, he’s crazy with multiple personalities. Infinite personalities that range from the subdued soft spoken genius to borderline antichrist. Only one actor came to mind for this role, John Malkovich. His range is perfect for this role, and I’m not asking him to work outside of his wheelhouse on this role. I’m asking him to put EVERYTHING from his ENTIRE wheelhouse into this role because they all have a place. Mix in the aforementioned Tarantino ultraviolence and you have a disturbingly unforgettable character.

Jim Parsons as Richard Feynman – #19 Overall Pick – #3 Personal Pick

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard Feynman

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1930:]]In the comic book, Feynman appears to be the sanity that brings the rest of the members together. As I will discuss in the story section below, he will also be the stories narrator and we will see much of the story from his perspective. For this role I needed a strong leading man with a distinctive voice that could bridge this story together. Originally slated for Robert Pattison before EIC Matt swiped him early (curse you!), I had to quickly regroup for backups. I ran down my list..Affleck? Dicaprio? Nope. Jim Parson’s from the Big Bang Theory.  I truly think of him as one of Hollywood’s potential future superstars and already established as an actor that can play a genius. His boyish naivety combined with his aspergers-like delivery are key to this role. Being the youngest of the geniuses he will need to portray confidence when needed and can fall back on his accidental comedy he’s known for. Perfect for the scene when he’s unwillingly thrown into Nazi Germany from a plane to retrieve Von Braun. And that cold stare of his – that looks right through you – because he sees the world differently is spot on for Feynman. His voice is distinctive and has the dynamic range for the narration also, and for some reason I really think my next pick will hit it off with him, take him under his wing and elevate his abilities to another level.

Anthony Hopkins as FDR and the voice of the FDR:AI – #24 Overall Pick – #4 Personal Pick  

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” – FDR

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1931:]]FDR has a minor part in the first few issues of the comics. We only really see him die and then reborn into a human supercomputer AI. I think this role is expanded in the movie as we can cover more of the genesis of the Manhattan Projects that involve FDR. I wasn’t sure initially who to pick for this role, but when I stumbled across the pictures of Hopkins as Hitchcock, I knew he was perfect. Throw on some glasses and it’s spot on. Post mortem when the Projects turn him into the Human/supercomputer AI and they flip the ‘on switch’ for the first time, who wouldn’t get chills down their spine hearing that eerie but brilliant voice of Hopkins slowly echoing one of the comics epic moments in the quote, “The only thing we have to fear is….. ourselves.” Just a moment before the first bomb is dropped on Japan…..boom!

 

John Goodman as General Leslie Groves – #33 Overall Pick – #5 Personal Pick    

“It’s all about ass, isn’t it. You kick it or you lick it. That what it’s all about.” – General Leslie Groves

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Three pages into issue #1 of the comic John Goodman’s voice kept creeping into my head as the voice of General Leslie Groves. This boisterous acting style is perfect for this ‘Good ‘Ol Boy’ role as well as his ability to quick turn on the ‘Don’t F^&(K with me persona’, when needed.  His already established power struggle with his Community co-star I chose for Harry Truman…only makes this more glorious.

Leonard Nemoy as Enrico Fermi – #38 Overall Pick – #6 Personal Pick

“It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” – Enrico Fermi

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1933:]]Cold…calculating…alien…pointy ears…this was no brainer. This is also a pick where I think Tarantino can truly re-invent an actor. Turning Nemoy into the creepy, subdued sociopathic second father of the atomic bomb would be a high point for QT. And seeing Nemoy has a spot on look for the comic’s Fermi, the choice was only logical.

 

Sean Penn as Wernher Von Braun – #47 Overall Pick – #7 Personal Pick

“I have learned to use the word “impossible” with the greatest caution”. – Wernher Von Braun 

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1934:]]Choosing an actor to play a genius Nazi rocket scientist with a robotic arm requires a very strong character actor with a lot of depth. I finally landed Sean Penn for this role as he has the look I was going for as well as the skills as a character actor to pull this off. He’s also been proven to be able to carry himself as a badass, and for this edgy role, he may steal the show. I can hear Tarantino now during the press junkets: “Come on dude..it’s Mother F*&)*&n Sean Penn….playing a Nazi….with a robot arm!”

 

Robin Williams as Harry Dahglian – #52 Overall Pick – #8 Personal Pick

“Oops…” – the imagined Harry Dahglian

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1935:]]Harry Daghlian, accident prone physicist whom irradiated himself. In real world history he died in 26 days, in this version he’s essentially an immortal irradiated skeleton. I wanted this role to be extremely dark, but seeing that this has the potential to pretty much be a CG character with no bottom jaw, the voice actor needed to be very engaging and dynamic. Enter Robin Williams. A proven voice actor and one of America’s  Hollywood sweethearts for decades, but I’m not looking for that Robin Williams. He’s played some dark roles in the past (One Hour Photo, Insomnia) but I want darker…much darker. This is where I see Tarantino shaping him into something he’s never been before. The only levity in this character I would want to see is when he pokes fun at himself over the accident. Making the character even sadder as he mentally covers up the accident that made him a walking hell on earth….bringing hell to earth with his research.

Bill Murray as Albert Einstein – Supplemental Pick

“I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.” – Albert Einstein

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1937:]]Einstein in portrayed in this story as a very quiet character thus far. He’s a man of few words…and many drinks. Facial expressions and sarcastic comic relief between bits of genius is key. I like Bill Murray for this role. His comedic track record and off beat delivery are perfect for Einstein. The audience already knowing that he’s probably the smartest of the entire bunch only makes this more brilliantly ironic.

Jim Rash as Harry Truman – Supplemental Pick

Well, I wouldn’t say that I was in the great class, but I had a great time while I was trying to be great.” – Harry Truman

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1938:]]This worlds version of Harry Truman is by no means a true leader, he is simply a pawn to the shadow government established by the FDR: AI. He’s not to be taken serious, but he thinks so. General Groves has zero respect for him and makes sure he knows it. Jim Rash is an up in comer in the TV Show Community, and it’s that character I want as Harry Truman.  A false leader with no real power.   The established conflict on Community between

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 Goodman and Rash’s characters (Dean and Head of the Plumbing School) was my inspiration for this character, and I think it’s perfect for this portrayal of this paper thin leader. Truman’s debut in the comic in a ridiculous costume fits the inspiration well also.

 

Foundations & Story

The first challenge with this choice of IP was that there are only three issues of the comic out to date, thus the need to expand the storyline a bit, potentially explore some of the topics in detail, and to also take some personal liberties on my interpretation and the potentials of where I think this is, or could, be going. This adaptation is going to be a firm R rating, the subject matter, violence and overall dark tone really don’t fit into anything else.

From a foundational perspective, I look to keep the following items as mechanics throughout the adaptation:

  • 1)  Start at the end to get to the beginning. I imagine this movie opening with video footage showing the bombing and unbelievable aftermath of the dropping of the worlds first atomic bomb. Nothing should be held back, the tone must be set.
  •  
  • 2)  Narrative…one of the great things of the comic series are the short and simple quotes from Feynman’s journal that divide the stanzas of the story. I envision this turned into an on-going narrative throughout the movie by Feynman’s actor starting with that first bomb drop, continuing throughout the movie during transitions, as well as heavily leveraged as we introduce this unique group of genius’s to the story.
  •  
  • 3)  Character Development is key…each of these far out personalities require a firm back story. As they are introduced, the narrative would be used to ‘flashback’ to their origins.
  •  
  • 4)  This is a 1940’s sci-fi period piece. The art and costume design should stay partially true to the period, but also take on a sci-fi flare that is mildly campy.  This is of course could change with alternate history, and I did mention other “impossible machines of expansion,” didn’t I?

I see the story loosely taking the following shape:

  • – Intro with the bomb dropping and then immediately starting at the beginning telling the story of the genesis of the Manhattan projects with a heavy presence of FDR and General Groves.
  •  
  • – Recruitment: The recruitment of each of the core members is a story unto itself. As Groves’ assembles this team, we should by the time of their joining, understand their motives, levels of sanity and what they bring to the table. This is heavily narrated by Feynman.
  •  
  • – Creation: Core focus on the building of the nuclear weapons is the big part of the story, but there is no reason we can’t see some of the other projects in action as part of the dialogue. Which also leaves possibilities for future movie hints…something the fanboys always love. This should also highlight the interactions between all the main scientists, the arguments, the genius…the madness.
  •  
  • – Espionage throughout: As part of the espionage and spy games of rival nations play a key role. Especially the crazy Japanese robot attack I mentioned above. Russia did a lot of spying on the real projects, and although this is a dark movie, some offbeat comedic moments are always fun to keep the humanity intact. Imagine a short cut where General Groves is on the crapper, smoking a cigar and talking to FDR. We see a Russian spy dressed as a scientist walking into the restroom unknowing that Groves knows who he is. He passes Groves stall, the door flies open and BANG…..shot dead right from the crapper. FDR asks what that was. Groves responds, “Just wiping my ass.” That pretty much sums up Groves.
  •  
  • – Climax with the bomb drop. FDR dies, Truman is instated as a puppet, the shadow government is put in place…the bomb is dropped. The end.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1971:]]I see this as a Part 1 of 3, and thus I need the obligatory setup post-credits, so…..fade in….pan up to a desk…in the background a news report of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is playing….we finally pan up to a name tag…on it…Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov (Played by Robert Patrick – Supplemental Pick), father of the  Russian nuclear bomb program,….he’s on the phone listening and only utters one sentence (in Russian) before the fade out…. “Yes sir, I will not fail.” <Hard cut to black>

 

Well that’s my vision…. it’s what the images and the voices in my head are saying. I’d go see this on the big screen…would you?

 

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MOB THIS! Issue#2: Who Will Save The World?

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Welcome to Issue #2 of MOB THIS! Focusing on the world of CrowdsourcedComic Creation at Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

 

This week we focus on another Kickstarter comic campaign. This 52 page one shot one comes to us from writer Rita Gorgini and artist Stefano Cardoselli. We’ve all seen Zombie movies, we’ve all seen movies or read about World War 1…but, what if Zombies were weaponized and used in Word War 1, what would happen….Who Would Save the World?

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1917:]]“The Western Front. September 12, 1914. It’s early morning in the French trenches. Two soldiers eat as rain drowns the land. A strange green cloud covers the land as the sun rises. The smell of death grows as a sinister shadow is cast upon the trenches: the Germans are attacking. The French quickly

 arm themselves and open fire on the approaching enemy soldiers, but their bullets might as well be spit balls. The German soldiers who do fall, rise instantly and continue their approach. What ensues is a morning of massacre, the French had no chance. When the Medical teams arrive, all that remain are pieces of what were once soldiers: devoured by an unknown weapon.
 
As the French tend to their dead, the Germans are just a few miles outside of Paris. The Germans have harnessed a chemical formula that instantly revives their fallen soldiers. Germany now holds the most dangerous weapon on the planet. They call their new army “The Green Skull.” It doesn’t take long for Germany to overwhelm and overthrow all of France and Italy, the rest of Europe is next. The Empire is winning this war and now they prepare to take Britain. In an attempt to combat the quickly approaching attack, Britain calls on the US for assistance.  Who Will Save The World from this undead army?”
 
This one quickly caught my eye with the breathtaking depiction of a mustached zombie with a huge hole blown through his head. Always loving a good war story, mixing in the popular zombie mythos only makes this one potentially better.
 
I also love the promo video for this story, originally only silent, it was recently updated with some very appropriate dark metal….adding to the great art style highlighted in the video.
 
 
The campaign in is the home stretch and for only $8 you can get the printed version of this potentially great story. The sweet spot for this campaign is the $30 pledge where you get the comic, Kickstarter exclusive sketchbook, additional comics and other goodies.
 
Head on over to Kickstarter.com to help out!
 
So there you have it! Open your computers and open your wallets and MOB THIS!
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MOB THIS! Issue#1 – Sullivan’s Sluggers!

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Welcome to the first Issue of MOB THIS! Focusing on the world of Crowdsourced Comic Creation at Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

For starters, let me discuss my thoughts on what I look for in a crowdsourced campaign.

The Pitch Video…

I’m not expecting a huge production for a pitch video, but a good creative pitch goes a long way. CREATIVE being the key word. If your pitch video is creative, it’s a good indicator of how creative your comic is! Keep the premise of the book focused and to the point, highlight yourself and highlight the art.

“Did it catch my eye on the drive by?”…

For me, browsing Kickstarter and IndieGoGo has replaced thumbing through the Diamond Distribution Catalog looking for a great new indie book. I’ll typically check the sites a couple times a week quickly skimming through the new comic campaigns. That little thumbnail photo and the short descripton is where is starts. Make it count!

You can check out some examples of what I’ve funded in the past by checking out my previous article or by following me at Kickstarter.

So let’s get this first installment of MOB THIS! going and highlight: Sullivan’s Sluggers.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1814:]]“Long past their former glory, the minor league Sluggers get an invitation to play a baseball game in a cursed small town. After the 7th inning stretch, the sun goes down, and the dysfunctional teammates find themselves fighting for their lives against a town of flesh-eating monsters!  Now, it’s up to coach Casey Sullivan to help his team escape from being the next dish in the town’s terrifying feeding frenzy!”

Baseball + Horror…. um, yes, please…

This comic brings together the Eisner nominated pair of writer Mark Andrew Smith (New Brighton Archeological Society) and illustrator James Stokoe (Orc Stain) for the first time for this very original story. Being a huge New Brighton fan, I’m REALLY looking forward to this one!

This campaign is one of the most popular comic campaigns that Kickstarter has had to date. It funded 5x their target in less than a week. It’s been called Baseball meets Zombieland. So much so that there are already plans in the works for a film adaptation of this!

The kickstarter edition of this comic in print will feature a limited edition hard cover that is exclusive to this first printing starting at the $30 funding level.

So there you have it! Open your computers and open your wallets and MOB THIS!

And while your at it Cosmic Book Men, support our CBN writer and creator Brandon Burrows in his latest IndieGoGo endeavor Red Run!

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Review: Eleanor Chapter 2 – Haunted by Waters

After leaping into the first 2 issues of this story, a much anticipated Chapter 2 continues our story of Eleanor, the girl who never stopped falling.

This chapter begins with Eleanor’s slow row to Huffnagle island. You may think we are grounded in reality, but we are quickly reminded we are not with Eleanor, conversing with the mysterious voice. We flash to her unfortunate post-leap reality and back to the dreamworld in time to witness the fall once again. Now back to 1985, as we witness Eleanor’s birth. The beginning of her life, although very welcome, also foreshadows a flood of tragedy. Back to present day, and we are introduced to a very important person in Eleanor’s life, Jack, her lifelong friend and eventual crush. Jack watches over Eleanor’s bedside reading Alice in Wonderland — yet another kindred spirit that started her adventure with a fall. The theme continues; Eleanor briefly regains conscience as Jack runs to get her father…..end chapter 2.
 
This book continues to impress me; the strong narrative continues to flash between worlds and timelines seamlessly, and I can’t help but anticipate that each of these stories will eventually come crashing together. It is also great to see Jason grow as an artist,  the consistency and incremental improvement is a privilege to witness. The full page spread of Eleanor’s otherworldly leap from the cliff’s at Huffnagle Island shows off Jason’s talent for coloring. That page alone makes me want to upgrade to the New iPad just to see that page in its HD glory. We are also treated to several pages at the end of this chapter stepping us through his creation process. My one criticism is in the lettering: The font and style used to express “sounds” is also used in some of the dialogue, and feels a bit out of place, which took me out of this immersive story a bit.
 
Although this review is late (mainly because I went back and re-read the entire story at least 3 more times), this is one of the books that I truly look forward to. I hope you all take the time to add this story to your digital reading stack. I would highly recommend the full online social experience for this story. Between Facebook, Tumblr and the web site itself, the entire social experience makes you appreciate the story and its creator even more. I am also looking forward to Jason’s new cosmic collaboration with new artist Tony D’Amato called The Caretaker.
 
With a teaser like “With a world on the edge of destruction, a single human has the power to reset history and change the future.” …who can resist.
 
The comics are available digitally via Graphicly and now also available in the iBooks store.
For more on Eleanor head on over to www.eleanorwitt.com.
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Review: Beyond the Fringe #5a

I’ll admit, I do not watch the show The Fringe. I tried watching it the first season, and it just didn’t click with me. As a rabid fan of The X-Files, that show really put bookends for me in this genre that probably will never be opened. But, when I heard via twitter that two of my all time favorite creators were going to pen the digital comic — I couldn’t resist!

Combine the return of the insane writer of comic manifestos Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim, Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, Strange Tales) with the artistic genius of Becky Cloonan (Demo, Conan, Northlanders), and you may have the most wonderful combination since you put chocolate in my peanut butter.

The first thing I noted was the “5a” designation of this book. I did some research, and Beyond the Fringe alternates every two weeks between “A” and “B” storylines. “A” storylines explore events tied directly to the “Fringe” show canon, while “B” storylines take a “what-if” approach, and look at how things might change if certain elements are out of balance in some way. A very interesting approach.

The story revolves around an artificial arm attached to Nina Sharp that begins to write messages on its own. After some key background, we discover that it may have an eerie connection to experiments conducted by Walter Bishop and William Bell back in the 1970s; the arm is “echoing” the thoughts of the past.

Overall, this was set up to what looks to be a take on a fairly standard sci-fi storyline — turned it on its head, and with Vasquez at the helm, this has the potential to go anywhere. Cloonan’s art is as strong and expressive as ever; she’s the perfect choice for a TV franchise comic.

This book has my attention, and I’ll be sure to tune in for the next issue.

Beyond the Fringe is a digital only comic available via Comixology or the DC Comics app.   

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Can’t Wait Until The Walking Dead Returns? Try Bite Me!

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1141:]]Can’t wait until The Walking Dead Returns?  Well, look no further than YouTube, Cosmic Book Fans, and check out the web series — Bite Me! 

“Three Gamers. One Outbreak. No Continues. Follow three gamers as they find themselves in the midst of a real life zombie outbreak. Relying only on the knowledge and skills they have accrued over years of gaming, these guys will have to drop the controller and pick up anything that they can use as a weapon. If they can survive, these unlikely heroes may just be humanity’s best hope of surviving the undead uprising. (And, with any luck, they may also be able to impress the hot girl from across the street while they’re at it!) But first, they’ll have to battle zombie Craigslist freaks, zombie milfs (Zilfs) and an entire onslaught of a freshly lifeless undead monsters.”
Bite Me is in its second season after fetching over 14 million views for the first. Season 2 is produced via partnership between Lionsgate Entertainment and the online gaming network powerhouse, Machinima. The second season will also be broadcast on Machinima’s You Tube Channel as well as the cable channel FEARnet.
 
Being a pretty avid gamer myself, seeing the tropes, memes, and stereotypes of Left4Dead, Dead Rising, and Resident Evil brought to life via these non-traditional heroes is pretty entertaining. The show is campy and light hearted, so don’t expect the deep storyline and production budget of The Walking Dead, but it’s more than worth your time to take the edge off that much needed zombie fix.
 

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Review: Comic Book Men: Season 1 Finale: Episode 6: Ink

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:954:]]It’s the end of the road Cosmic Book Men! At least for this season….

We’re back for the Season Finale! The score thus far for Season 1: the Jersey Boys are 2 wins – 3 losses.  Will tonights season finale get them back to 500? Will we get Empire or Menace?! With expectations high after watching Hugo and The Walking Dead Season Finale back-to-back — mee-sa am watch-ee da saysone final-ee!!

In walks a girl whom is very, very out of her element doing a wonderful thing — looking for a gift for her husband…in a comic shop (..ahem…hey wife..if you actually read this take note..).  And Walt shows us he’s a hopeless romantic by directing the young lady to some classic Spidey tales of love lost. We then set the stage for this week’s hijinks – tattoo’s for all <sigh> – hopefully this bodes well. Back at the stash, the guys have the will to turn down an overpriced lantern.

Time for the tattoo idea round table: Walt goes satanic; Ming gets talked out of Robinson’s Starman and sets his sights on the family crest; Mike plans on a superman tramp stamp accompanying his wife’s name, and Bryan has the idea of his niece, as a zombie, riding a tricycle. Definitely not the most popular idea at the table.

Back at the Stash, Walt proves he’s not a Barbie girl. But, Bryan decides his niece may really like them.  And with a single picture, we get a glimpse of a big heart behind that big ole beard. Cut to tattoo interlude as we pick things back up at the tattoo parlor with the guys prepping, well, at least 3 of them — minus Walt. Tattoo time! The 3 Amigos get inked and plan their verbal revenge on Walt. That big rotten chicken!

Pawn Store time once again with a mixed bundle of comics, we learn a bit about comics, and witness borderline “creepy uncle” assault. The next day, Walt walks in and and reveals his evil ink laden plan to trick the guys into getting tattoos while he is scot-free. The tats are revealed, and we get the full view of of that big bearded heart as Bryan reveals his tattoo to his wonderful niece.

After a weak start to the season, we end the back half season strong. Even after all my ranting and raving I’m willing to give this show my continued support, and we can only hope they ink a deal for Season 2.

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Review: Conan the Barbarian #2

After a stellar debut issue, Wood and Cloonan continue their new take on the famous barbarian in issue #2.  

This second installment of the Queen of the Black Coast storyline is just pure action from start to finish all while continuing to establish this age old character for old and new readers.
 
Cloonan’s visual storytelling is brought to the forefront in this issue. The majority of this book could have been told silently thanks to her action packed visuals and character expressions. The reader feels every moment of the action through her art. Panel after panel, every punch, slice and stab are gracefully rendered. Every pencil stroke seemlessly delivers the emotions of Conan and his victims. And at the end of all of this, we all know one thing….Conan is one bad mother!!
 
Woods sparse, but perfectly timed narration could also simply stand by itself. The narration verbally paints the picture of both character and action. If presented via spoken word the listener would not have an issue visualizing the story in their mind’s eye as Conan battles Belit’s crew. 
 
But, as opposed to standing alone, we are treated to a masterful example of writer and artist blending perfectly together to present the reader with this action packed ballet of blood.  
 
This book should not be missed. And with the surprise ending, issue #3 can’t come soon enough.
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Review: Comic Book Men: Season 1: Episode 5: Con Gone Wrong

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:872:]]Welcome Back Cosmic Book Men!

Back for Episode #5! Will the Jersey Boys continue the momentum from episode #4, or did I lose 2 hours of my life today?

It’s Con time folks! Not San Diego, no..no..no… it’s Jersey…. at an Elks lodge. I have to say, I took a walk down memory lane on this set of segments….as I can remember setting up a table at the local Polish Falcon’s Club myself. OH the memories..and the BO. The boys pack up the mini-van and head out for the con. Road trip! Some typical comic conversation and debate ensues on the way and we finally arrive…but….unknown to the guys, the show’s been canceled. Ultimate anticipation, but horrible disappointment…kinda like the first three episodes.

Time for Plan B, local garage sale’n. Our heroes find a big stack of some old 12 cent comics, a hand full of old Mego dolls and some knick-knacks that Bryan picks up. Nice finds! Back at the Stash, and Enter the Bruce. Walt has him in to check out the box of garage sale treasures and we bear witness to a big rarity…..Bryan Johnson speechless. Why you say? Because the Frankenstein bike decoration he purchased is the best find of the day. Rob Bruce empties his pockets for the insanely rare find and we wrap up this weeks episode.

The Pawn Stars segments in the Stash weren’t as strong as past episodes, but the theme of rare and unusual was pretty Geek educational albeit a bit dainty.

Not as strong as an episode as four, but my personal favorite so far. This episode was really grounded in what I was hoping for at the beginning of this series. We get a true glimpse into the hobby culture via these four relatable guys. I really connected with this episode because I’ve literally had my own personal version of this episode back in the day.   Relatable, enjoyable and entertaining. The shows finally hit its stride and stopped Con-ing us out of our time.

We’ll be back for next week for the season finale!

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Yes…Another “New” iPad Article: So What Does It Mean For Comic Fans?

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Unless you live in a van down by the river, I’m sure at this point you’ve heard about the release of “the new iPad.” Wednesday’s Apple product announcement was a big hit. Where were you today when productivity halted and the virtual lights of the interweb dimmed as gazillion people watched live blogs, video streams and podcasts to witness the debut of the new wallet draining baubles? 

Yes, as I’m sure you know, it has the wonderful retina display, a faster graphics processor, better rear camera, 1080P Video, 4G and Siri “light.”

But what’s in it for us as comic fans?

It’s all about the ‘Resolutionary’ Retina display. The ultra-sharp 2048 x 1536 pixel display will surely have Hulk smashing through it and Eleanor leaping off of it!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is looking forward to re-reading all of their electronic comics on the Retina display. From all reports it’s truly incredible and even better than the one on the current iPhones. I’m sure the popular e-comic platforms like ComiXology and Graphicly will quickly take advantage of the new technology and present new content in a way it’s never been seen before, but…will they “upgrade” all the older content? We’ll have to see. What does concern me is how will DRM free collections in .cbr, .cbz, or even pdf look like on the new screen? Will readers like Comic Zeal implement new techniques to “upconvert” lower resolution content or will we be left with a pixilated mess? Something to think about.

Apple demonstrated the new iPad’s retina display with a new app called Autodesk Sketchbook Ink, a painting app that is vector-based and resolution independent. In the video you really got a sense it truly replicated what it’s like to paint on a real page. Between this and 3rd party pressure sensitive styli that are on the horizon, this combo should serve as a lower cost electronic canvas for budding Indy creators. I’m looking forward to the first — created only on the new iPad — comic.

I’m still running the old school original iPad. I’m actually writing this article on it now. I’m sure I’ll eventually upgrade, but I don’t plan on camping out or pre-ordering. Will you?

Let me know in the comments or tweet me @10onthetoilet

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Review: The Manhattan Projects #1

What if… the creation of the first atomic bomb was a front for something bigger, something darker?

What if… some of history’s greatest minds didn’t inspire innovation and optimism, but brought about the potential for death and destruction?

What if… polarizing Marvel mastermind Jonathan Hickman reunited with his collaborator on last year’s hit The Red Wing, and up-and-coming artist Nick Pitarra?

No longer will we need to wait for the answer to those questions, because welcome to the dark alt-sci-fi-history of — The Manhattan Projects.

This first issue focuses on the introduction of Dr. Oppenheimer to the Manhattan Projects. His boss and tour guide for this journey is General Groves, the over the top general who is in charge of the operation. Although a bit stereotypical, Hickman’s dialogue and Pitarra’s depiction of Groves leave me with the feeling that he’s not just following orders, but has a genuine love for the project. He’s the stand out character in this issues and also delivers on some truly laugh out loud dialogue.

We continue the tour with just a a glimpse of what the Manhattan Projects have truly been up to — artificial intelligence, pan-dimensional space, mythological weapons brought to reality and other “impossible machines of expansion.” The orientation session is quickly interrupted by an attack on the facility by Japanese robot Samurai delivered via a ballistic pan-dimensional-Zen-gatway powered by Death Buddhists (yeah…you read that right). The attack is quickly fought off, but in the process we start to realize that this Oppenheimer may not be the Oppenheimer we may have assumed. You see, Oppenheimer’s orientation is intertwined with his backstory showing us his relationship with his twin brother.  We are offered up a the Yin/Yang, Good vs. Evil duality between the twins. Hickman’s smart approach to panel design and storytelling really shine, and allow the reader’s personal convictions come into play. It’s these convictions that make the ending of this story either expected….or a bit unnerving.  

And, I can’t forget we get a glimpse of another “member” of the team, Albert Einstein. Oh Albert, what mysteries lie behind that gaze and all knowing smirk…

This first issue reads like a TV pilot. And like any great TV pilot, will leave you wanting more. Pitarra’s art continues to show its potential and really fits the story well.  After reading, I can’t imagine another artist tackling this. The awesome cover is typical of Hickman’s previous clean and iconic cover imagery, and that is a good thing; it’s sure to stand out on store shelves.  

Stories rooted in alternate history are typically overly detailed and start to feel like 5th grade social studies, or are so light that it leaves your wondering what’s the point. Manhattan Projects successfully finds sweet spot of this genre and should not be missed. With the hand-cuffs off, Hickman’s smart sci-fi alt-history story has limitless possibilities, and I one will be along for this ride.

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Kickstarter: Let the Power of the Crowd Expand Your Collection!

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:803:]]I’ve recently become an avid fan and follower of the crowd sourcing website Kickstarter. If you haven’t heard of Kickstarter before let me provide you a brief introduction.  

Kickstarter is a site for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, performers, and others to bring their projects to the public for crowd sourced funding. Users can choose to back projects they want to support via pledging money toward the funding goal. The great thing is that unless the funding goal is met by the end of the funding period, no money will change hands. Most projects have different funding levels, and typically each funding level may have different incentives. For example, for $5 you may get the PDF version of a comic, but for $50 you may get the PDF, a printed copy of the comics signed by the creators, and original artwork. This is a great way for creators to give back to their backers. Once funded, your going to have to be patient as most projects don’t start production until after funding, which could take months before you see the fruits of your investment. Definitely an adjustment in this culture of ‘give it to me now’ overnight shipping.

The range of ideas and projects is almost endless. Although I’ve backed some gadget, book and board game projects in the past, I was happy to see that one of the main categories was comics. The vast array of different creator owned comic projects will definitely prove to have something for everyone.

To get you started, I thought I’d share some of the projects that have piqued my interest, I have funded myself, or currently keeping an eye on for future backing.  

13 Legends Volume 1:  “13 Legends” is a graphic novel series where the Arthurian Myths are reimagined in an alternate 1770s where the industrial revolution has come early, and the world is on the cusp of the reemergence of magic.  Volume One follows the exploits of two redcoats, Arthur and Lancelot, as they fight the armies of the Venetian Republic for control of the New World. The two soldiers embark on a life-or-death mission to prevent the outright defeat of the English, and move ever closer toward their destinies, and to uncovering powers greater than the massive empires that carve up the globe.

The Only Living Boy:  “The Only Living Boy” is a young adult graphic novel that tells the story of Erik Farrell, a 12-year old boy, who finds himself with alone and abandoned in a patchwork world. As the last human boy left on earth, he’ll try to piece his memory back together, while trying to piece together a new life for himself.

Robot 13:  “Robot 13″ is a story about a robot that is pulled up from the ocean by fishermen off the coast of Spain in 1939. This robot is our Hero, and goes on a journey to discover who he is and where he came from, and along the way he is confronted by a series of Monsters from Greek Mythology that he finds himself drawn to fight against.

Five Ghosts:  “Five Ghosts” follows the story of Fabian Gray, an infamous 1930’s treasure hunter who makes a living seeking out rare items for private clients. After an encounter with a strange artifact known as “the dreamstone,” Fabian finds himself possessed by five literary ghosts (Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi, and Dracula) and is granted access to their unique abilities. These powers have come at a price, however: the dreamstone consumed the soul of Fabian’s closest ally, his twin sister, and has left her in a lifeless coma. Fabian now tirelessly travels the globe searching for a “cure” for her condition while trying to control his own ghostly affliction.

Lucky:  “Lucky” is a 100-page graphic novel that explores horror tropes by telling a zombie story from the less human side. It tells the story of Mack, a garbage man whose life is changed forever when his typical route is disrupted by a zombie outbreak. Unable to fight off the zombies, Mack is bitten and becomes one himself. The story continues as we follow Mack on his journey as a newly turned zombie.

Kickstarter has more than just comic books to quench your pop-culture thirst. One of the non-comic projects I’m planning on backing is G.I.Joe Initiate.  Being a longtime G.I.Joe fan and collector, this fan-film looks to have some great potential.  

Please know, I have no connection to any of these projects whatsoever. I’m just a fan and collector like the rest of you — and always looking out for the next great read — showing my support for the creator owned community.  For me, browsing Kickstarter is just like thumbing through the latest Previews looking for that diamond in the rough. 

As these potential treasures start to trickle in over the next several months I’ll keep you updated with on-going reviews.

So start browsing Cosmic Book News Readers! Change up your weekly pull list and find the next big thing in comics in the endless crowd sourced halls of Kickstarter. Be sure to share your discoveries in the comments below. I’d love to hear about what your backing.

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Review: Comic Book Men: Season 1: Episode 4: Zombies

Welcome back Cosmic Book Men![[wysiwyg_imageupload:791:]]

Another week, another episode of AMC’s Comic Book Men.  Will my disappointment for the first 2 episodes and my downright nerd-rage for episode 3 continue?  Will assuming that Kevin would, via this show, assume his geek-given lineage as rightful heir to the pop-culture kingdom get the best of me again?  Will after watching last week’s The Talking Dead leave me wishing that Patton Oswald ran in and decapitated Smith and Hartwick screaming “There can be only one!!”  I prepped for this week’s episode by playing Duke Nukem Forever and watching Afflek’s Daredevil while drinking Budweiser Chelada.  I’m ready! Allons-y!

Open with the now standard question of the week and throw in early Ming beating.  The show gets rolling with a good segment focusing on a comic couple expanding their collection with the purchase of Giant Size X-Men, Hulk 180 and 181.  On to the episode’s sub-theme with a short conversation on the impact of  family and wives on comic collecting.  We continue with a Godzilla sized segment of Hipsters vs. Robert Bruce.  Bruce always wins.  He needs to be a bigger part of this show, period.  Now on to the antics with Ming’s Zombie publicity stunt.  But unfortunately the makeup turns out more They Live than The Walking Dead.  Thankfully we are quickly back to the books, and the people with another girl in the shop with a well loved longbox of silver age goodness.  The show continues with another tortured soul’s story of an old relationship, the impact on his hobby and buying back his manhood.  Robert Bruce and a friend return with some incredible original Silver Surfer artwork, Walt almost passes out, but Ming closes the deal for him.   In the end, the Zombie antics fail the show and The Stash.  Thank God is was a minor part of this week’s show.

I also listened to Episode #3 of the companion podcast this week and I have to say I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The guys just sat around, let their personalities shine and discussed the merits of Lethal Weapon and their thoughts on past, present and future Batman castings.  For the better, the podcast seems to have gone back to the non-affected pre-AMC/CBM roots.  

This podcast and this weeks episode were a step in the right direction.  It went to show that if you take this fun and talented group of guys and focus on the content and not the antics, you can create something enjoyable.   Best episode thus far….or maybe that’s the Chelada talkin‘.

The episode title this week was very appropriate,  because like a Zombie, the show is still shambling aimlessly, but just may have finally stumbled across some brains.

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Review: Wookiee The Chew: The House at Chew Corner

If you are not familiar with the works of James Hance already, let me introduce you. James’ wonderful art takes pop culture icons and mashes them together with other characters and situations that will surely be recognized. Boba Fett mashed with The Fonz? Check! Doctor Who and Calvin and Hobbes? Yes, please! The Goonies in Sergeant Pepper?! What?! Each of his masterfully created works of art meticulously stay true to the source material, and will be sure to pull at heart strings of every Geek Mom, Dad and would-be Geek in training.

A few years ago James decided to create a comic sized all ages book based on one of those same works of art, Wookiee the Chew. This series of prints blended A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh with George LucusStar Wars to create some truly original and nostalgic images.   

Chapter 1 of this planned trilogy is titled “The House at Chew Corner.” The story takes us on the adventure of Wookiee the Chew and his sidekick Droidlet as they seek to find something to eat. Along the way we are treated to a Milne-esque story intertwined with James’ wonderful Lucus inspired art and characters. Will our adventurer’s quench Chew’s insatiable appetite for bobaberries and escape the swarms of flyfighters? I’ll leave that for you to discover yourself with each smile inducing page turn.

Overall this is a great all ages story; it’s more book than comic book, but an awesome introduction to these two pop culture staples for any age. When this first came out I immediately bought enough copies to give each of my kids and all of my then and future nieces and nephews. I had thought they had all been given away or lost, but I was happy to find a copy tucked away on my son’s shelf (bagged and boarded of course…) and finally get to read this story and enjoyed every minute of it.  With the industry not paying much attention to younger readers, this is a true gem that should not be missed.

This book and James Hance’s other works of art can be found at his website http://www.jameshance.com.

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Review: Comic Book Men: Season 1: Episode 3: Commercial

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:756:]]We’re back for episode 3, hoping that this show turns the corner.

Two episodes in, I’m actually surprised this hasn’t been pulled off the air. But we’re comic book fans! If we can put up with five dollar comics, endless variant covers and CGC grading ruining the hobby we love – we can keep watching this can’t we! What else was there to watch this Sunday anyway.

Once again we start with nerd banter and the podcast opening with the geek question of the week. Back to the shop with the guys buying some lady’s collection of books, and Walt’s quote of the week “not everybody can be into something as cool as comics.” Well, dammit Walt, SHOW US WHY!!! We pick things up with the guys creating the stash’s first commercial — begin brainstorming — none of them can even answer the questions of “what are the kids into these days”…well that kinda sums things up. The director chosen for the commercial is none other than Bryan Johnson (Sidebar:  If you haven’t seen the movie Vulgar, go check it out and you’ll understand why this is a complete waste of talent). Then to the Stash for another customer looking to sell a collection, then back to creating the commercial, “Crazy Eddie Style.” Enter a chick with a Mega-Mohawk trying to sell her Megatron statue. Walt gets hypnotized by her seizure inducing hair and pays too much. Back to the commercial and back to humiliating poor Ming. Cut to another faux Pawn Stars segment, more commercial creation and podcast banter. And then in walks the high point of the show, a customer with an incredible collection of comics. The collection actually includes All-Star Comics #8, the first appearance of Wonder Woman, Detective Comics #38, the first appearance of Robin, among other fine gems worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The guys give him great advice to leave and go directly to an auction house. We’re treated to the final cut of the commercial and the episode wraps up…better than the first, lower than the second.

At the end of the day, what I really wanted from this show was it to simply capture the atmosphere of every Wednesday, at every comic shop across the nation, where comic book fans come together to pick up the latest issues of the stories they love. Working a local shop back in my 20’s, it was real reality TV. It was always a great sight to see businessmen, kids, parents, Doctors, Drop outs, all coming together, putting their differences aside and talking up the hobby they love. Maybe even visits from a couple comics creators or a great sit down interview by Kevin, like he did with with Stan the Man in Mutants Monsters & Marvels; somewhere in the multiverse that version of the show is happening.

This past week I also checked out the show’s companion podcast. Compared to the rest of the S.I.R. podcast network, this overly scripted 30 minutes is the absolute worst. It has no business being on the same network where Mewes and Smith recapped Jay’s rock bottom drug days for months, and Kevin wrapping that chapter up by letting Jay know, all while holding back tears, that the podcast (“Jay & Silent Bob Get Old”) was done out of love, true friendship and public accountability to keep him sober.  

Kevin, if you’re really Galactus as your depicted in the show’s opening – please devour this show and start over, because this 60 minutes of dog feces while the guys create “30 seconds of dog feces” isn’t working. I’ll keep watching and writing Cosmic Book readers so you don’t have to. And if your only tuning in to this show to catch the The Walking Dead previews, your time is better spent checking out The Doc’s latest article you poor sheep, and let him shepard you away to greener pastures.