First off, I’m going to assume you read the first part in this series, and therefor already know that the big surprise I alluded to in my last review was that Toph’s father was head of the Earthen Fire Refinery. The second part in this series continues exactly where we left off, with Toph coming face to face with her father.
Most of the second volume deals more with Aang and Toph’s continuing fight about celebrating the past versus living in the present. Aang tries to continue his celebration of Yangchen’s Festival and runs into a familiar character from the series who really loves his cabbages…
Other things to look forward to in this adventure are Toph’s showdown with her dad who has pretty much disowned her and Sokka and Katara discovering a secret passage (and some very important findings within). I don’t want to spoil everything for you, so I’m going to make you read for more details. You have to wait a total of zero days though because the book was out in stores as of July 2nd! Without giving anything away I will tell you that there are some great fight scenes as well as the same great artwork I raved about from the first book. Also, Toph confronting her father is a rather powerful moment for those who know their past history from the tv show. There’s also a great Avatar history lesson and of course a big twist at the end that will leave you begging for more. You’ll have to wait until part 3 comes out in November, but I believe everything is supposed to wrap-up in that issue. Personally I can’t wait to see how it all ends, but in the meantime at least we have new episodes of Korra to get our avatar fix on, right?
Warning: I’m going to assume if you’re reading this you already read the first issue of Sage Escape, which I reviewed here. If I’m wrong, you might get some spoilers. There are very few details about issue 2 in here that I would consider spoilers, but if you don’t like to know even minor details then maybe wait until you read the issue before continuing. Thanks, and happy reading, nerds!
When last we left our heroine, she had a run-in with a bounty hunter whom she was trying to convince of a massive cover-up involving the massacre of her home world. We pick up where we left off, with their ship landing on Sage’s home world. There are plenty of dangers here, in the form of level 6 “salesmen assassins”. These assassins’ special features include a hive mind, which means that if one of them identifies you the rest immediately know your location. This becomes a problem when just after finding survivors of the massacre, they are spotted. Not going to spoil how things turn out but let’s just say there is plenty of action (as well as a surprise visit from a mysterious time-traveler with the best possible timing). There’s also another story involving some cool looking aliens on Mars to break up the Sage storyline. The issue ends with Sage and her group getting out of one bad situation and into another. You’ll have to wait for the third and final installment on May 6th to find out the thrilling conclusion of Sage Escape.
Did this intrigue you? Then go to the website and download issue #2 now!
Editor Scott Allie and his crew have created a grand tribute volume that will delight fans. Within this 137 page handiwork we encounter the superb art of the man that has been inventively drawing Hellboy for 20 years, Mike Mignola. This opus invites the fan to view the interiors of Hellboy evolution.
Among the exceptional pages are covers like Hellboy: Wake the Devil #2, The Goon #7 and Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #4. Mignola’s genius is displayed as we view sketches for an unfinished Hellboy painting and then the unfinished watercolor painting. We are given an equal appreciation for the coloring of Dave Stewart, as we view his work, especially with the inclusion of the Trickster Print, and Hellboy in Hell front covers.
This is a welcome addition to the Hellboy body of work, but it is not a sequel to Art of Hellboy (released back in 2003). It is a tender tribute to the integral, unique work Mike Mignola has created over these 20 years. Lighting struck the pencil, when Mignola created a downward shoulder, trench coat wearing colossus that we adore as he roughs his way through his world of monsters with humor and one massive fist.
This collection reminds us how fresh originality, can evolve and continue to inspire while entertaining the reader. Can’t wait to see what Mike Mignola has in store for the next 20 years. Hellboy The First Twenty Years is a must have for every shelf. Happy 20th Hellboy!
“Aw, shoot. I got my hat and forgot my gat…” (image via Buy Costumes)
Being fanatic about real-life gangsters is a touchy subject. Following the lives of say, Al Capone, Griselda Blanco or Carlo Gambino is an interesting read, for sure. Until your stomach starts to twist a bit. Luckily, there’s been a whole host of fictional mobsters to captivate our imaginations and deep-seated need to be bad to the bone. These are personal favorites and there’s a noticeable lack of anyone named Corleone or Soprano listed on here (though, to be fair, I considered Tom Hagan and Sylvio Dante)…
(Image via Wikipedia)
Mega-sized supervillain Wilson Fisk, otherwise known as the Kingpin, is a badass among badasses within the Marvel universe. Stan Lee’s creation came to life in 1967 and has since gone up against Spiderman, Daredevil and the Punisher, among others. The Kingpin doesn’t possess superhuman powers. It’s simply his brute strength and tactical mind that contribute to his masterful Machiavellian scheming. Even as an enemy to the reigning Maggia and terrorist group HYDRA, the crushing fists of the Kingpin are nothing to scoff at. His ‘look’ has been reappropriated by Hollywood at large: we now expect all gangsters to be fat, bald and toting a cigar.
(Image via MovieCrazed)
Martin Scorsese clearly loves gangster culture more than I ever will. He’s crafted a life out of shining light on the decadent underworld of every era. In Mean Streets, a fresh-faced Robert Deniro plays Johnny Boy, a reckless, goofy hothead with a rather visceral swagger for a small-time thug. He practically charms his way off the screen as the strutting, obnoxious sidekick to Harvey Keitel’s straight man. At the risk of sounding superficial, my favorite thing about the character is the way he looks. Between the jaunty hats, plaid suit coats, scruffy locks and one of the biggest guilty grins to grace the silver screen, I’d be in love…if I didn’t want to punch him in the face.
(Image via EmpireOnline)
Motor-mouthed, limping Kevin Spacey wins for simply being renowned as a semi-fictional gangster, inside a work of fiction. In 1997’s The Usual Suspects, tales swirl about international heavy, Keyser Soze, throughout the course of the unfolding plot. It’s hard for me to think back to fifteen years ago, when I didn’t know the ending to this movie, but I’m pretty sure it caught me off guard. Surprise plot twists aside, Keyser Soze is the kind of omnipotent, grudge-holding villain that makes for cinema gold. He shows true gangsters are all about the long game. Though, if he weren’t simply a small-time crook, this paragraph would definitely be about Benicio del Toro’s character instead.
Jabba the Hutt
(Image via Wikipedia)
Jabba the Hutt is totally gangster. Star Wars’ space-slug hoodlum is ‘our kind of scum’. Plus, his hard-partying palace is my kind of joint. I read somewhere that it took six separate operators to portray the worm-like warlord at any given time. Rumored to have been based on Orson Welles in his obese later years, this intergalactic thug is surrounded by packs of interesting groupies, followers and slaves. Salacious Crumb is no Paulie Walnuts, but hey, you take ‘em where you can.
(Image via HowsYourRobot)
The soft-spoken Los Pollos Hermanos kingpin put a new spin on gangster gravitas. Gustavo Fring ran a tight ship. Very few actors can walk the line between polite and threatening – Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito drew that line and silently tap-danced on it. His calm demeanor was enchanting and his cool, aloof manner most unnerving. Though he dies at the hands of protagonist Walter White, his character was the true professional of the whole bunch, displaying zero ego and maintaining perfect posture.
Lydia Mondy is a freelance writer with absolutely zero ‘gangster’ qualities. Unless you count her penchant for pinstripes and bourbon. You can find her blogging about everything from her Jem obsession to the big business behind all things ‘geeky
The Walking Dead star to “drop jaws” at
Emerald City Comicon 2013 !
Seattle, WA – Beautiful and multi-talented actress Danai Gurira (“Michonne” from The Walking Dead) is the twelfth special celebrity guest announced for the upcoming Emerald City Comicon taking place on March 1st – 3rd, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center. She will be appearing all three days!
Danai Gurira is best known as the mysterious and deadly “Michonne” on AMC’s The Walking Dead, who has quickly become a viewer favorite during the show’s third season. Her character is a force to be reckoned with, not only sporting a dangerous katana but also also having two zombies, whom she has removed the jaws from, shackled in tow with her.
Other television credits include Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Lie to Me, HBO’s Treme and the US version of the hit series Life On Mars.
Gurira was critically praised for her co-starring role as “Zainab” in the 2007 Oscar-nominated film The Visitor, about a lonely middle-aged man forced to deal with the issues of immigration and cross-culture communication in post-9/11 New York City. The film nabbed her the award for Best Supporting Actress from the Method Fest Film Festival.
Gurira’s also appeared as “Jeanne-Baptiste” Wes Craven’s horror flick My Soul to Take, the Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town and in the independent film Restless City.
Gurira is also an accomplished playwright, having received multiple honors, including an Obie and the Helen Hayes Award, for her play In the Continuum, which dealt with two black women living with HIV. Other plays she penned include the Sierra Leone and Liberia civil war drama Eclipsed and the 19th Century period piece The Convert, about a woman who turns to Catholicism to escape an arranged marriage. She made her Broadway debut in the August Wilson play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
Joining Gurira at ECCC 2013 will be previously announced guests Sir Patrick Stewart (“Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek The Next Generation, “Dr. Charles Xavier” from the X-Men films), Billy Dee Williams (“Lando Calrissian” from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Walter Koenig (“Chekov” from classic Star Trek), Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), Paul McGillion (Stargate Atlantis), Michael Shanks (Saving Hope, Stargate SG-1), Kristin Bauer (“Pam” from HBO’s True Blood), Gillian Anderson (“Agent Scully” from The X-Files), Chandler Riggs (“Carl Grimes” on AMC’s The Walking Dead), Adam West (TV’s classic Batman) and Dirk Benedict (“Faceman” from The A-Team, “Starbuck” from Battlestar Galactica). More fantastic celebrity guests yet to be announced!
Tickets for Emerald City Comicon 2013 are ON SALE NOW by visiting www.emeraldcitycomicon.com or any number of local comic book stores, also listed on the website!
ECCC 2013 will feature its most expansive variety of film/television stars, voice actors, comic guests, vendors, merchandise, gaming, contests, artists, speakers and pop culture yet!
With record-breaking attendance of over 53,000 attendees in 2012, Emerald City Comicon has established itself as one of North America’s largest and most respected shows of its kind anywhere in the world and has become the premier event of its kind in the Northwest. Founded in 2003 by Seattle-area entrepreneur and Geekwire’s “Geek of the Year” Award winner Jim Demonakos, ECCC has become highly regarded in both national and international circles as one of the most fan and family-friendly shows in existence.
Look for regular press releases containing all of the latest news leading up to the show in March 2013. For more information, please visit ECCC’s website at www.emeraldcitycomicon.com
Once Upon A Time is fun to watch, if you’re a fan of Lost. It has beautiful production values, Robert Carlyle, and great guest stars. The only problem is that, like Lost, it’s a narrative mess. The split between Storybrooke and the Fairy Tale Land is less like watching parallel stories that inform and drive each other, and more like watching a set of back-to-back Fun House mirrors. Roughly the same plot playing out in both the, “Real,” and Fairy Tale worlds, leaving the audience interested but stuck. While Lost had the advantage of being completely unknown and using the flashback format to inform a motley group of characters, Once Upon A Time is already dealing in mostly known characters and it’s simply become repetitive.
True North and 7:15 A. M., are entertaining hours of television that don’t bring any depth to the show’s narrative as a whole. We already know that Emma Swan ( Jennifer Morrison) grew up an orphan in the foster system. We already know that Mary-Margaret and David (Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas) are replaying the Snow White/Prince (James) Charming narrative. We know these things.
The thematic focus of the show is maternal/parental relationships. Emma, Regina (Lana Parilla) Snow, Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge), even James/Charming/David are treated to the parental loss/abuse/failure plotline.
Losing a parent, or losing a child is painful: we get it. There are bad parents and parents who do their best but fail anyway: we get it.
In its last two outings, Once Upon A Time has cemented the fact that it does an amazing job of making fairy tales fresh and it has no idea of how to make the lives of Storybrooke’s residents more than a cheap soap opera.
Hansel and Gretel ( Quinn Lord and Harley Scott Collins) and the Evil Queen’s machinations to exploit their separation from their Woodsman (Nicholas Lea) father to steal from the Blind Witch ( Emma Caulfield) is far more interesting than the Storybrooke side of True North, which is simply Emma Swann replaying her inner child’s issues and trying to protect the children.
Showing the audience a warped version of how Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came about, through a deal with Rumplestiltskin, the Prince’s venal father (Alan Dale) and true love’s sacrifice, has more depth and meaning than the triangle of Mary-Margaret/David/Kathryn, and 7:15 A.M. suffers from the contrast.
Once Upon A Time has the potential to be great genre television, and great television full stop, but until the Storybrooke narrative is as strong as the fairy tale, it continues to fall flat. The addition of a meta-fictional element in the form of The Stranger (Eion Bailey) as a writer in a town where a book holds the key to reality, could prove interesting if the show’s writers don’t leave the obvious trail of breadcrumbs we’re expecting.
STEVE NILES AND MENTON3 DEBUT
THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED NOSFERATU WARS
IN DARK HORSE PRESENTS!
JANUARY 23, MILWAUKIE, OR—When Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre, 30 Days of Night) premiered artwork from his upcoming collaboration with artist Menton3 (Monocyte, Proof: Endangered,Crawl to Me) via his Twitter feed, speculation and anticipation spread like wildfire across the Internet. Today, Dark Horse is proud to announce that this new vampiric tale will premiere in Dark Horse Presents!
The Black Plague was a time of death and misery . . . except for the undead. For vampires, the Black Death was a welcome relief from being hunted and a time of incredible growth for the undead. On the night of their wedding, two vampire lovers are torn apart and separated for five hundred years, setting off a sequence of events that will bring the modern world to its knees!
“I haven’t been this excited about working on something in a long time. Menton3 is the perfect artist and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be doing this at Dark Horse,” Niles said. “This year I’m making a big push to become 100 percent creator owned. Nosferatu Wars will be a big part of that, I hope.”
Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith redefined the vampire genre with the groundbreaking comic series 30 Days of Night in 2002. Ten years later, Niles is poised to make history again, as he and Menton3 blow the sparkle off of the undead in Nosferatu Wars, premiering in Dark Horse Presents later this year!
It is my belief that zombies make everything better, probably more so in fiction stories than in real life. Do you enjoy a good, rough ridin’, old west cowboy tale? Add zombies to that backdrop and you’ve got Dead or Alive. This is the debut issue, written by Scott Chitwood (Co-Publisher of Red 5 Comics, co-founder of TheForce.Net) and art by Alfonso Ruiz (Abyss: Family Issues, Ezra), and is on shelves right now and also available digitally at Comixology.
The stage is set with a back story about an ancient Pueblo city discovered by a prospector in 1873. Impressive in it’s architecture and complexity, haunting in it’s apparently sudden abandonment by the Indian tribe who called it home. And this is where the fun starts.
Black Knife was a very bad Indian; a guy the others feared and hated. He practiced dark magic and sacrificed his place in the tribe for it. Black Knife also chose to go out in a hail of magic puff powder, cursing the entire Pueblo city. Sure, we’ve seen this story before. The good people of the town banish the creepy guy/girl for being a witch/warlock/tomb raider, etc. Banished person says goodbye with a nasty curse that ensures all those good people suffer for being jerks. Except, this one is articularly fun and gory. You know why? Yep! Zombies!
I thought the idea of a zombie curse wiping out an entire Pueblo city was pretty cool to begin with, but when the story then moves to the wild west and we meet cowboys Jed and Sam, the possibility of this walking dead curse standing the test of time only ups the creep factor. I mean, we all hope when the zombie apocalypse happens the flesh eating bums will just die off naturally at some point, right? What if the zombies die, but the whole thing can just happen again and again, regardless of time or location?
Jed and Sam discover the gruesome murder of a town full of nice folks and learn that an evil, bad criminal named El Muerto is to blame. El Muerto also has a hefty price on his head. Thus begins the classic battle of good guy vigilante versus infamous outlaw.
This story is a fun, easy read. It’s familiar territory, but told in a silly, old west voice that I couldn’t help but enjoy. The artwork is colorful and fits perfectly here, just like it did for Abyss. Red 5 Comics always provides something different than the same old super hero and Dead or Alive is no exception. I see this story having the potential to continue being so entertaining, and I really like the approach of zombies created by a black magic curse which is an homage to the original “zombie” of voodoo legends.
I recommend you check it out. Read it digitally first and if you like it, please buy the print. Great, unique stories like this one often come to us via the small guys, independent publishers and creator owned work.
Sometimes we here at NiB get to be some of the first people to see something very awesome. Naturally, we like to take that something awesome and share it with the world. In this particular case, one of our friends over at Down in Front, Teague Chrystie, teamed up with Jim Frommeyer to create a fantastic homage to Calvin & Hobbes…. Christmas-style. They were also nice enough to sit down and tell us more about the project.
Video and interview:
Did you guys read Calvin and Hobbes growing up? Tell us about your relationship with the comic.
Jim: Yes, I was a regular reader. Waiting on my parents to sort the Sunday paper and hand me the comics page was a source of constant frustration. They took forever. I never identified with Calvin as a kid, but as I’ve grown older, I certainly see some similarities. Or maybe the comic just informed me. It’s so ingrained in me that it’s hard to separate.
Teague: I’m a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes, are you nuts? I have the Essential book in my bathroom, it’s my go-to. I’ve been reading them childhood. I think everyone feels a little like Calvin at some point, but dude, I swear to god, I was Calvin. I even looked like him. My dad even looked like his dad. Total fan.
How did you do this? What were the challenges?
Jim: The biggest challenge was staying true to the source material. We had discussions early on as to whether we should sprinkle in our own snowman interpretations, but ruled it out. Speaking for myself, I couldn’t hold a candle to Watterson’s creativity anyway. So trying to both recreate the scenes while also justifying their existence in motion was the challenge.
So the trick was to find snowmen that had implied movement. Like the sharks. That was an easy visual punchline. And then the obvious task of physically creating them by hand. I haven’t played with clay in 15 years. So figuring out how to do that, while staying visually true… required patience.
Teague: There was a lot of wasted sugar. The work done in post was pretty straightforward, from a visual effects standpoint. There’s three layers of snow going off into the distance, the color correction brings in some contrast and chilly mid-level coldness. The color scheme of the sky was inspired by those polar bear Coke commercials from the ’90s. The tricky stuff was things like changing the colors of the snowmen’s arms, because if they were black against a black background, I wouldn’t be able to bring them back in over the newly blue background. Stuff like that. Jim worked with me throughout shooting to make sure I had what I needed, so there really wasn’t a struggle anywhere in the pipeline.
Where did the idea come from?
Jim: The idea is obviously Watterson’s. But I was listening to a Howard the Duck commentary Teague was hosting on DiF, and at some point those guys sidetracked to talk about C&H. That got me thinking. So when I suggested maybe trying something, Teague was all in. It was great, since he was on the same wavelength. I think the only real disagreement we had was over the music choice.
Teague: On the show, I had said “you know what would be a great way to piss off the internet? Make an extremely plausible trailer for a fake Calvin and Hobbes movie, but get Calvin and Hobbes totally wrong. Oooooooh, they’d be pissed.” And at some point later, after Jim had directed a really awesome video for the home page of downinfront.net, he said something about Calvin’s snowmen and I was like “I like those!” I was kidding about the troll-the-world idea, but a Calvin and Hobbes video ended up happening anyway. The secret, kids, is never show Calvin or Hobbes. That’s when you’ve officially gotten it wrong. You can’t do them right. Period.
What was the disagreement about music?
Teague: Oh man.
Jim: I wanted a really haunting version of Carol of the Bells. He wanted anything else. He was right. Even if he wasn’t, he was going to win. He wanted it more.
Teague: No, seriously, we went through like fifty songs. We were hoping to find some magical sweet spot between Christmassy, and sweet, and sentimental, and mischevious, and kind of goofy. A particularly Carol of the Bellsy Carol of the Bells was the one Jim liked, because he loves ostinatos in minor keys that make his black heart giggle with suffering. I said we could just as well use the Requiem for a Dream thing. What you need to know about Jim is he’s an awful person.
We seriously tried everything. Pat Boone was the thing we both liked the most equally, as opposed to one or the other of us loving a song while the other hated it. (For instance, my Carol of the Bells was a version of O Holy Night that was camptacular.) Compromise, kids!
What is your favorite Calvin & Hobbes moment? Have you have created any snowman deaths yourself?
FIRST RUN OF ‘MOUSE GUARD ROLEPLAYING GAME BOX SET’ SELLS OUT, SECOND RUN IN STORES IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
BY POPULAR DEMAND, SEPARATE SETS OF PAWNS AND DICE ARE ALSO NOW AVAILABLE
Los Angeles, CA (December 1, 2011) – Archaia Entertainment announced today the initial run of the MOUSE GUARD ROLEPLAYING GAME BOX SET has sold out at the distributor level (copies may still be available at the retail level), so the company has rushed a second run into circulation to meet the demand for the holidays. In addition, by popular demand, limited sets of the Mouse Guard RPG dice and pawns—which until now had only been a part of the box set—are available for separate purchase exclusively through the Archaia Webstore, said Archaia Publisher Mike Kennedy.
The Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Box Set ($69.95, ISBN 978-1-936393-17-6) is a deluxe version of the original Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game hardcover book, an award-winning, pen-and-paper RPG that uses Luke Crane’s Burning Wheel system and is lavishly illustrated by Mouse Guard creator David Petersen. In addition to the original rules book, the Box Set contains a 48-page supplement with all-new adventure scenarios and a host of game aids, including a GM deck of 12 Action Cards, two Player Decks of 12 Action Cards, Condition Cards, Characters Sheets, GM sheets, a GM screen, Mouse Dice, Mouse Tokens and a Map of the Mouse Territories. The Box Set was recently awarded the 2011 RPG Golden Geek Award for Best Artwork & Presentation.
“We’re ecstatic that Mouse Guard fans and RPG fans alike have responded so well to the Box Set,” said Kennedy. “And since there is such a high demand for the Mouse Guard Dice and the Pawns, we’ve made those available to fans for purchase exclusively through our online store.”
Fans wishing to purchase extra sets of the Mouse Guard Dice and Pawns can visit http://store.archaia.com while supplies last.
About Archaia Entertainment
Archaia Entertainment is a multi-award-winning graphic novel publisher with more than 50 renowned publishing brands, including such domestic and international hits as Mouse Guard, Return of the Dapper Men, Gunnerkrigg Court, Awakening, The Killer, Days Missing, Tumor, Syndrome, Artesia, The Engineer, and an entire line of The Jim Henson Company graphic novels, including Tale of Sand, which is based on an unproduced screenplay discovered in the Henson Archives. Archaia has built an unparalleled reputation for producing meaningful content that perpetually transforms minds, building one of the industry’s most visually stunning and eclectic slates of graphic novels. Archaia was named Graphic Novel Publisher of the Year according to Ain’t it Cool News, Graphic Policy, and Comic Related, and was honored with nine 2011 Eisner Awards nominations. Archaia has also successfully emerged as a prolific storyteller in all facets of the entertainment industry, extending their popular brands into film, television, gaming, and branded digital media.