Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cowabunga, Dude! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Return to the Big Screen!

Do you remember the 90s? Well they're officially back ("That's a fact, Jack!")

A bit of news coming in today courtesy of, a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is being planned and this time around it's going to be all live-action!

Who has two thumbs and is excited about this news? THIS GUY!

While I attribute the X-Men for piquing my interest in comic books, these four sewer surfers are the first superheroes I ever had an interest in. As a kid, I even joined dance class solely because they needed an extra boy to do a number off of the soundtrack to the live TMNT concert (I got to be Michelangelo, so bonus!) You get the point, I love these guys.

However, I will agree with the masses that the last movie venture into this franchise left much to be desired. Sure there were some great moments and the rain-soaked rooftop fight between Leo and Raph was absolutely brilliant, but something was missing (::cough:: ..Shredder... ::cough::) While the CGI-animated film looked okay, it was nothing compared to the puppet suits in the first movie, made by the legendary Jim Henson's Workshop.

However, much to my delight, this new live-action movie is apparently going back to the film franchise's roots and using puppetry and practical effects to portray the Turtles. Producer Scott Mednick, who has been working with the Jim Henson Workshop for the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are has gone on record to say that the Turtles will be real and "not Gollumed."

May I just say, it's about damn time?

Computers can do great things and with the best technology you can almost believe that something is really there, but it never really can replace the look of a real-life object. Consider Jurassic Park for an example. The scenes with the T-Rex, which used practical effects and animatronics, are still as bone-chilling today as they were back in 1994. The CGI galloping herd of Gallomimuses, however, looks downright laughable in comparison. In the end, technology such as this can help a movie lose its timelessness.

When the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film came out way back in the year of 1990, the Turtles were able to move, fight and emote without the use of computers. To this day, while watching that film, you can really believe in giant talking turtles because there is one standing right in front of you, being filmed in the same room as everyone around them.

I just hope this movie, and the aforementioned Where the Wild Things Are ushers in a return to the practical magic of moviemaking, when the razzle-dazzle was filmed on the set, not added in with a computer in post.

Friday, June 26, 2009

X-Factor Spoiler Alert: Things Get Steamy!

Sorry for my sudden disappearance, but a terrible storm ripped through my neck of the woods yesterday and I've been sans electricity for awhile. I got to catch up on some reading (started AND finished The Long Walk by Stephen King er... Richard Bachman) and take a look at the glut of good comics that came out this Wednesday.

I'll be reviewing the choicest of the bunch a little later, but for now, let's talk about a little book called X-Factor.

First of all, if you haven't been reading this book you are missing out. Oh sure, it's got an "X" in the title, which usually means its mediocre at best. And yes, it shares the name of a 90's comic that wasn't always the greatest. But under the mindful hand of legend Peter David, this self-proclaimed "noir" take on mutants is constantly entertaining and oozes wit, charm and above all else-- characters worth reading about.

Second of all, if you haven't been reading this book you might want to go home because we're in SPOILER territory from here on out.

Okay, are we alone now?


Let's talk about THIS PANEL for a second.

For those of you just joining the game, that is indeed Shatterstar and Rictor, finally locking lips after all of these years. Is Marvel finally letting this relationship come out of the closet, or is this just a big hoax at our expense?

If you need a recap, Shatterstar and Rictor were once teammates in the pages of X-Force. While the two were always that special kind of close, the official word was that they were just good friends and did not have romantic feelings for one another.

Meanwhile, in the pages of the new X-Factor, Rictor has gone through some hard times after losing his powers in M-Day. He broods, he gets depressed, he even thinks of suicide, but somehow he keeps going. The most recent story-arc has Rictor and Guido tracking down a duplicate of Jamie Madrox in order to get some answers as to where he currently is. They're attacked by Shatterstar, who is being possessed by some new villain named Cortex. After breaking off the possession, Shatterstar is surprised to see Rictor and greets his "good friend" with a steamy kiss. Guido's like "WTF" and we fade to black.

Consider me both shocked and giddy to see where this goes. There are two possibilities. One, that they're finally ready to make this OTP a canon thing. Two, that they're just waiting to retcon the whole thing away at the beginning of next month's issue. Maybe Shatterstar was still possessed, or maybe he was coming onto Rictor and the feelings were not shared.

Either way, I trust Peter David. Whatever angle he's playing here, it's going to make for some interesting storytelling. Was all of the brooding and suicidal tendecies just a result of Rictor's sexual identity issues? Is this just Shatterstar's asexuality coming to the surface? Anyway you look at it, the next few months are going to be interesting over at X-Factor Investigations.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brother Voodoo: Sorcerer Supreme

Finally after a few months of speculation and a bit of fighting, the Marvel Universe has a new Sorcerer Supreme -- and it's who you least expected.

In the pages of New Avengers, Doctor Voodoo, formerly known under the title of Brother Voodoo, has been granted the Eye of Agamotto, the Cloak of Levitation and has replaced Doctor Strange as the Master of the Mystic Arts. From now on, when there's magical mumbo that needs to be resolved, the heroes of the Marvel Universe will be knocking at his door instead.

You may be asking yourself-- "What the Hell is going on here?"

I'll admit, my previous exposure to the character has been extremely limited and the character of Brother Voodoo himself has been regarded as something of a joke. I mean, when you've got a universe full of mutants, gods, aliens and superheroes, guys like Voodoo get regulated to the background pretty quickly. However, if there's one thing I've learned about New Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis, it's that he loves to give older, more obscure characters the spotlight.

Before Bendis took over the Marvel Universe, I could have cared less for characters like Luke Cage, Spider-Woman or Mockingbird. These were characters who were big in the 70s and 80s but lost their way when the 90s hit and never seemed to recover (or in the case of Mockingbird, were flat-out killed off!) Under Bendis' hand, these characters not only regained prominence, they became cool again.

And, let's face it, Marvel has been all about the big shakeups lately. From Civil War to Dark Reign, the world that these comics incompass has been changed and shaped and it has made for some very interesting tales. The status quo gets boring fast and giving our heroes new obstacles and agendas to work with has helped to keep things fresh.

I'm not clarevoyant, so I can't be sure if this Doctor Voodoo, Sorerer Supreme thing is ever going to pan out. But I can be sure that no matter what happens, it will make for some interesting and frankly entertaining reading. Bendis continues to keep us on our toes and prove that as long as the universe is under his hand, literally anything can happen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let's Begin Anew with "Chew"

Sorry to have disappeared folks, but I was on sabbatical the last two weeks. Uh yeah, let's go with that. Sabbatical sounds much more professional than "I fell behind."

But I'm back! Let's begin anew with the latest book to join the ranks of my pull box-- Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

Now let me just say, I'm a sucker for first issues. I like to check out first issues when I can get my hands on them because I like getting into a story when it starts and not having to go back and play catch up. I picked up Runaways #1 on a whim because it was a first issue and it ended up becoming one of my favorite comics at the time.

I can only hope Chew will join the ranks and so far I can say that this is probably the case. Chew is the story of Tony Chu, a detective with the ability to obtain a psychic impression from whatever he eats. If he bites into an apple, he can tell what kind of pesticides were used on it. If he eats your face, he can tell where you hid the bodies. The concept alone got the book in my hands, but I still had a level of skepticism.

It's not enough these days to present me with a detective-with-a-shtick story because it's been done before. From Heroes to Medium and even Pushing Daisies, I feel like I've seen this genre a million times. Although the concept in Chew, that being Cibopathy, is different enough to make me take the chance on buying it, I knew once I opened the book that it had to razzle-dazzle keep me coming back for more.

Consider me razzle-dazzled.

Beyond it's genre-detective exterior is a book that explores much deeper themes about society, the government and even fried chicken. In the world of Chew, an outbreak of bird flu has caused a ban on poultry in the United States. That means, if you want to rock out with a six piece Chicken McNugget, you've got to get it from a speakeasy or some skiivy poultry dealer or learn to simply learn to deal with the fake meat alternative.

So in essence, Chew is the combination of two interesting and unique concepts into one amazing story. When it's funny, you're in stiches, and when the action pick up it is completely electric thanks to the artistic talents of Rob Guillory. But the most important thing the story has going for it is good timing. With swine flu mania reaching a critical mass, it's interesting to see a story that deals with the reprocussions of a bird flu pandemic. Even after the book is done, the concepts will linger for days.

One thing's for sure though, I am definitly hungry for more Chew. Serve me up a second helping!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Ultimate Spider Man" ends with a fizzle

Hey guys, I take back what I said last week about Spider-Man being good again.

This week saw the end of the Brian Michael Bendis penned Ultimate Spider-Man and it ends with the worst issue imaginable. Please look around your feet, people, for a ball that may be rolling around because Bendis just dropped it.

Okay, fanboy dramatics aside, the book was obviously phoned in because next month the two-part miniseries Ultimate Spider-Man Requiem begins which will most likely be a much better end to the Ultimate Spider Man saga. These books are practically written for trade collection and Marvel will most likely collect this final arc along with Requiem in one book, making this lackluster final issue just another chapter in a bigger graphic novel.

But still, I paid $3.99 for this piece of junk and it had absolutely no words! Not even a sound effect, the entire issue was done silently, told only in pictures. I can get behind the concept of a silent comic, but only when it's done well, and Bendis, for all of this talents, just does not pull it off with this one.

I'm gunna throw up a SPOILER ALERT for all of you kids who care about those things, but to be honest the entire "story" of the issue is told on the cover. If you see the cover, then you have already spoiled the story for yourself.

Anywho, the issue is a jumble of random scenes. Spider-Woman fights Hulk, Hulk fights helicopters, Spider-Woman looks around. Spider-Woman looks at rubble to try to find Spider-Man. Then Kitty shows up and she looks around. Then people are trapped so they rescue them. Then they look around. Then they shout around. Then they look at rubble.

Are you getting the idea?

For the entire two minutes that it took to read this issue, I was bored to tears. There was nothing interesting happening in the panels to warrent a silent comic. In fact, I think even with dialogue it would still a meandering, pointless waste of my money.

And I guess that's kind of ironic. As much as even a few months ago Ultimate Spider-Man was still a well written, fun loving breath of fresh air from the stale Peter Parker that the normal continuity's version had grown into. But now the tables are turned. Spider-Man is good again, and his younger, hipper, revamped Ultimate Spider-Man has died with a whimper.

That is of course, until Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 hits later this year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nine Tips for Collecting Comics in a Recession

Times are tough and with the economy circling the drain, it's hard to keep feeding your addictions. With cover prices of monthly comics now reaching up to the $3.99 price range, comics have become an expensive commodity to keep collecting week after week.

However, if there's one thing I learned in college, it's how to be cheap. The first time I ever had a pull box at a comic book store was also the same time I was taking back change and bottle returns just to be able to eat. But that didn't stop my enthusiasm to find and read new comic stories.

So when experiencing lean times, consider these tips to cut back on how much you spend without sacrificing the entertainment you enjoy.

Trim the Fat - With prices being what they are it's completely ridiculous to keep buying a book that just isn't doing anything for you. If you find your pull box is full of ho-hum comics that used to be great, do a little spring cleaning. You can always pick a title back up when it's entertaining once more. I love X-Factor, but when Larry Stroman's art made the book barely readable, I dropped it for a few months (I'm back now, of course.) When you keep buying a book that's no good, there's no reason for the people making it to up the quality. Let your wallet be the critic.

Drop Monthlies for Trades - Everybody says they'll do it, but nobody ever owns up to it. Comic book culture is all about picking books up on Wednesday and scurrying off to converse about the stories with other geeks. Thus, it's a little hard to get into the habit of waiting for the more cost-friendly trade paperbacks to hit the shelves when everyone else is getting the story month-to-month. However, you pay for that convenience. Pick your battles. Some stories are so incredibly delayed or hard to get back into each month that you may have better luck just waiting it out for a cheaper collection to come out that you can read in one go. And if you're going to go the trade paperback route...

Amazon Deals A-Go-Go - ... check out or any other online retailer. I started buying trade paperbacks used from dealers on Amazon for incredibly cheap. In some cases, I paid only a little over the cost of ONE single monthly issue and the books have always been in perfect condition. You could go to a big chain bookstore and pay nearly twenty bucks for one volume, or you could go online and get a few volumes for the same price. It's economical and a great way to fill up a bookshelf.

Love the One You're With -
Been meaning to re-read Watchmen after the movie hit the theaters? Is that complete collection of Bone staring you down? What's the point of owning a comic if you're only going to read it once? Pick up some of those old gems and remind yourself why you loved them in the first place. You'll be justifying your previous investment and staying away from any new impulse buys.

Swap -
If you've got friends who are into comics, organize a swap night. Have everyone bring their collection and spend the evening swapping and borrowing from one another's stash. Your buddy is always trying to make you read that one book anyway, so now is the time to get your hands on it.

Look to the Library -
If you have a local library that's anywhere near decent, chances are it has a graphic novel section. When I was in college I was blessed with not one, but two different libraries that I belonged to which carried comic books; the one at school and the one at home. I read all the classics as well as a few gems I would have never discovered because, hey, unless you bring it back late it's completely free. If your library doesn't carry comics, convince them that they should. Most libraries are very open to hearing suggestions from the community as to what they should order, so don't be afraid to speak up.

Online = Free -
Webcomics have really come a long way in the past few years. There is no limit to the amount of quality stories being told for free on the internet. Whether you're looking for some daily humor or an epic story told in weekly installments, you can find it. And with big talents like Warren Ellis getting into the game, the transition from print to web is easier than you think.

Sneak Peeks Make for Savvy Shoppers -
One thing I love about sites like Newsarama are the excluse previews for upcoming comic books. Getting a chance to read the first few pages of a book can go a far way towards deciding to pick it up or not. Take advantage of these previews when you can so you can be a smarter shopper.

Bargain Bins are your Friend -
If you need to make your money stretch, spend an afternoon looking through the bargain bins at your local comic book shop. Sure the stories are older and there's a lot of crap thrown into the mix, but you can often go home with a bag full of great reading for under a few bucks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jon Favreau Twitters from Iron Man 2 Set: The Lost Tweets

Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man knows his fan base. Comic book geeks love speculation and they love getting tidbits on new comic book movies from the internet. For Iron Man's second outing, Favreau has kept the fans up to date with nearly daily set updates on his Twitter account.

Say what you want about Twitter (or Favreau for that matter) but this level of director-to-fan involvement on a movie set is one of a kind. Sure we've had set updates and production blogs from directors in the past, but as movie production kicks into overtime these often fall to the wayside when more pressing matters come up. Twitter's "micro-blogging" allows Favreau to let the fans what he's doing, as he does it.

However, there has been a few kinks in the works. According to Favreau, Marvel executives were none to pleased when he tweeted about Scarlett Johansson's new Black Widow duds. As such, there has been some level of control over what the director has and has not been able to say. Marvel is clearly keeping an eye on their tweet-crazed director to make sure similar slips do not happen.

The result? Well, let's just say a few of Favreau's tweets never made it to the public. K is for Komics has exclusive coverage of these "lost tweets" and a sneak peek look at what is REALLY happening on the set of Iron Man 2. Take a look:

Jon_Favreau: Production was halted after only half a day when Mickey Rourke got his head stuck in a hunny jar. Oh well, better luck tomorrow!

Jon_Favreau: Who ate my leftovers from lunch? I was saving that for after wrap tonight. I'm not pointing fingers, but you know who you are (Gweneth)

Jon_Favreau: Iron Man suit working again after wardrobe malfunction this afternoon. Duct tape will be edited out in post.

Jon_Favreau: Today is wacky hat day!!!!!!!!!

Jon_Favreau: Accidently left RDJ in desert after taping tonight. Hope he's still there when we go back tomorrow. My bad!

Jon_Favreau: Terrence Howard keeps calling me, trying to get his old job back, but I'm ignoring his calls. Get the hint, dude.

Jon_Favreau: Word of advice? Sam Jackson doesn't like it when you shout Pulp Fiction quotes at him. Lost two gaffers today because of it.

Jon_Favreau: Almost blew the film's entire budget on yesterday's impromptu pizza and karaoke party. May have to shoot rest of film in my dad's garage.

Jon_Favreau: Not talking to Robert Downy Jr any longer. He knows why.

Jon_Favreau: Lazy day! Spent most of the afternoon looking at pictures of LOLcats. Don't feel like being productive.

Jon_Favreau: According to Marvel suits, the character Black Widow not actually African-American. Sorry to get your hopes up, Halle. Maybe next time.

Jon_Favreau: Suit redesigns look great! Also, new eyepatch for Nick Fury!

Jon_Favreau: Pitched my idea for the big musical finale. Rejected. :(

Jon_Favreau: People keep asking me which villain Mickey Rourke is playing and I keep telling them, I DON'T KNOW! Sheesh, figure it out for yourself!

Jon_Favreau: Robert Downy Jr apologized and we're best friends again!