Zack Snyder tweets Justice League Teaser for Comic-Con


Zack Snyder’s thrown his hat into the Comic Con fray with a special teaser trailer for Justice League, by way of a recent tweet. The film focuses on Bruce Wayne/Batman(Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) as they gather a group of associates to defend against a great threat. So far, it looks interesting (if not a little rushed).

Also on board are Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash / Barry Allen and Ray Fisher as Cyborg. The movie has a release date of November 17, 2017.

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Suicide Squad Drops By the MTV Movie Awards


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Let’s get this out of the way and just say that Warner Bros. executives and major shareholders are none too pleased by the reception from both critics and the general audience when it comes to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not a very good start to their planned DC Extended Universe. While fanboys from both DC and Marvel have been going at it for weeks now, there’s at least some bright spot ahead for DC in their summer tentpole release Suicide Squad.

Even with rumors of extended reshoots to add more levity and fun to balance out public’s perception that the DC films are too dour and dark (grimdark even), Suicide Squad still remains one of the more anticipated films of the summer.

During this year’s MTV Movie Awards, DC and Warner Brothers released the newest trailer for what they’re hoping will sell the DCEU to the audience what Batman v. Superman could not and that’s a fun comic book film that understands dark and serious doesn’t have to mean not fun.

Suicide Squad is set for an August 5, 2016 release date.

Batman v. Superman Latest Trailer Drops


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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been gathering steam and buzz since it was first announced a couple years ago at San Diego Comic-Con. The film is now just a little over 4 months away from release. The fact that we’re even talking about latest trailers and clips about this film was an accomplishment all on its own.

This was a project that had been talked about for so many years, but never got on track. While some DC fans might decry what I’m about to say I do think they should thank the success of the Marvel Studios-produced films for getting this film on the fast track to being made. It made DC and Warner Bros. realize they weren’t the big bully in the blockbuster block anymore and needed something monumental to catch up.

With Man of Steel dividing comic book fans this film had to be made whether it made sense narrative-wise or not. Another so-so Superman film would not do. So, what better way to juice up the Son of Krypton franchise than by pitting him against DC’s other juggernaut property: Batman.

So, without further ado, here is the latest trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The Preacher Is About To Begin Mass


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Preacher the comic book that came out in 1995 and became the title that everyone gravitated to to balance out all the superhero titles that were coming out from Marvel, DC, Image and every small publisher in-between. The book was written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Steve Dillon. It was the book that took on the institutions of the Church, government and family in the most irreverent and blasphemous way one could think of at the time.

The book had been talked of within Hollywood since it’s release as one title that producers (seems all of them at one time or another) wanted to adapt for the big-screen. It wasn’t a superhero title so there was no need to worry about trying to adapt tights-wearing heroes and villains. Yet, the book’s subject matter which tended to go into the extreme at times became something that kept the title from being adapted.

After almost two decades of futile attempts to get Preacher up onto the big-screen it took the star-power of one big-screen star (Seth Rogen) to finally get the book adapted, but not on the big-screen, but on the small-screen to become part of AMC’s stable of unique series titles (The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Into the Badlands).

So, fans of the books only have until 2016 to wait for their dreams of Preacher finally coming to live-action life and non-readers will finally see what all the hype has been all about.

Batman v. Superman Finally States It’s Case to the Public


 

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A funny thing happened to the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer that was set for a release at a special IMAX screening event next week. No one bothered to tell someone with a cellphone not to secretly record the trailer. A lo-res cam version of the first teaser trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was leaked just hours after Disney released the second teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Warner Brothers scrambled to take down the lo-res trailer and made sure to use their power to threaten with legal stuff if people continued to disseminate the illegal recording. During the 24 hours since the leak someone with a much more cooler head over at WB decided to just go the Avengers: Age of Ultron route (that film’s first teaser was also leaked ahead of a planned event) and release the hi-res version of the teaser trailer instead of waiting days for the planned screening event.

So, here’s the very first teaser trailer as Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment finally make their case that whatever Disney and Marvel can do they can do as well.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is set for a March 25, 2016 release date.

“The Multiversity : Pax Americana” #1 Is The Comic Of The Year — No Question


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Understand — it’s not like me to make grandiose pronouncements like “such-and-such is the movie of the year,” “such-and-such is the comic of the year,” etc. It’s pretty damn hard to pinpoint something as being the best offering in any given medium when one person, obviously, can’t see or read everything that’s out there — and it’s probably doubly stupid to engage in such hyperbole before the year is even over.

And yet — that’s exactly what I’m doing right here, and with full confidence. That’s because the latest issue of Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity has no chance of being topped, barring a miracle of some sort. It’s just. That. Fucking. Good.

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For those not familiar with the basic premise of what’s going on with The Multiversity, it’s an eight-issue mini-series from DC written by Morrison and illustrated by a bevy of the industry’s top talents — in this case,  his frequent collaborator Frank Quitely, who absolutely outdoes himself here. Yeah, okay, all his stuff’s awesome to behold, but his work  on Pax Americana leaves even his much-celebrated turns on Flex MentalloBatman And Robin, and All-Star Superman so far behind in the dust it’s not even funny. Just look at that spectacular page reproduced above and you’ll know that not only is Quitely rendering images here with amazing detail and care, he’s also pushing the boundaries of the comics page in terms of how narrative structure flows visually. I haven’t seen an artist on a “Big Two” project tell a story this hermetically sealed, with its own unique and perfectly logical, yet also expressive and evocative,  language since Dave Gibbons created the singular look and feel of the Watchmen “universe” nearly 30 years ago.

And hey, it’s no coincidence that we bring up Watchmen here since Pax Americana has been referred to, more than once, as “Morrison’s Watchmen,” and for good reason.  Each self-contained issue of The Multiveristy takes place on one of DC’s “parallel Earths,” with a slowly-unfolding, meta-fictional, ” comic within a comic” premise (nothing new for our guy Grant there, he’s been busting the fourth wall ever since his days on Animal Man) binding them all together in ways not fully understood yet given that we’re only halfway through the series, and this time out we’re on Earth-4, the Earth populated by the Charlton comics “Action Heroes” that DC acquired in the early ’80s and that Alan Moore famously first intended to utilize as his principal characters in he and Gibbons’ seminal work.  Morrison famously hates Watchmen, and takes every available opportunity to say so, and so the “intrigue factor” here is pretty high in terms of comics fans wanting to see how he’d handle essentially the same characters.

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I say “essentially the same” because, of course, Moore and Gibbons weren’t allowed to use the Charlton characters in the end, and so quick stand-ins were devised — The Question became Rorschach, Blue Beetle became Nite Owl, Nightshade became Silk Spectre, Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt became Ozymandias, Peacemaker became The Comedian, and Captain Atom became Dr. Manhattan. DC had “other plans” (most of which amounted to a hill of beans) for the “real” characters at the time, but in the “New 52” universe they’ve all been shelved indefinitely and so Morrison is free to use the original versions here — with the exception of Peter Cannon, whose copyright has reverted back to his creator, Pete Morisi.

The Watchmen similarities don’t end with the principal characters the story is based around, though — Pax Americana also employs a tight, dense story structure that plays around freely with timelines and often employs mirror images of the same scene told from multiple perspectives, such as in the astonishing two-page spread above. Rest assured, it all makes perfect sense, but odds are you won’t catch it all on the first reading unless you’re, I dunno, Stephen Hawking or something.

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And that’s part of the joy of a book like this, isn’t it? Make no mistake — if you’re not willing to invest a few hours, at least, of your time (not to mention $4.99 of your hard-earned money) into what Morrison and Quitely (along with colorist supreme Nathan Fairbairn, who imbues the world of Earth-4 with a distinctive palette all its own) have created here, you’re short-changing yourself, because this is a story that reveals more and more about itself with each successive re-read. As you continue to peruse its contents you’ll be able to glean which instances are integral to a full understanding of the complex proceedings and which are just clever structural gimmicks employed by the author to impress you, but it wouldn’t be a good mystery story — and Pax Americana is, in fact, a great mystery story, centered around the most consequential murder any society can endure, that of its leader — without a few red herrings being thrown into the mix. Heck, Morrison even takes a fun, albeit admittedly cheap, shot at his arch-enemy, Mark Millar, by deftly deconstructing the most pivotal sequence of Wanted and essentially copying it note-for-note while turning it on its ear at the same time, and has a bit of fun at the expense of the scene with Sally and Laurie Jupiet/Juspeczyk in Watchmen #2, as well. Gratuitous? Sure, but it works.

The other ballsy move Morrison makes here is in asking the same fundamental question with his story that Moore and Gibbons did with Watchmen in terms of when is it right to sacrifice the few for the (supposed) good of the many, who “gets” to make that call, and how do they arrive at their decision? Granted, it’s a weighty theme that can’t be grappled with as comprehensively in one 40-page comic as it can in 12 separate 30-page comics, but I give him credit for essentially finding a way to tell multiple (hmmmm — a multiversity?) of stories here at once, given that there’s more going on in this one issue than most comics with a standard “A to Z” linear narrative manage to pack into a year’s worth of their pages, and by utilizing the same characters (again, essentially) that Watchmen used to deal with the same (again, essentially) themes and concepts, Morrison and Quitely aren’t so much aping Moore and Gibbons as they are answering them.

None of which is to say that Pax Americana is going to make people forget about Watchmen any time soon. Or even that it’s “as good” as Watchmen. Again, it’s much shorter, for one thing — but it’s certainly as intricate, arguably even moreso, certainly as demanding, and in the end, certainly as revelatory, at least for those with the patience to give it the detailed attention it both deserves and rewards (as an added plus, you needn’t even be invested in the other Multiversity comics to get on board with this one, it reads just fine on its own).

The comic of the year? Yeah, I can say that pretty easily — even though there’s a bunch of other stuff I haven’t read, and the year’s not over yet.

Horror Artist Profile: Bernie Wrightson (1948- )


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Horror fans know who Bernie Wrightson is even if not by name, but by the work he has done in the horror field.

Born in October 27, 1948, Bernie Wrightson has made his name creating some of the more recognizable horror illustrations since the 1970’s. Wrightson would have his break out work in conjunction with Len Wein in co-creating the character Swamp Thing for DC Comics in 1971. In time, Wrightson would move on from DC Comics and the character he created for Warren Publishing that were well-known for producing black-and-white horror titles.

Throughout the years, Wrightson would end up producing some classic images for horror stories ranging from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein right up to several Stephen King novels (The Stand, Cycle of the Werewolf and Wolves of the Calla).

Here’s to hoping that Wrightson has many more years of horror work ready to fire up the imaginations of horror fans everywhere.

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