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May 2012 23

by A.J. Focht

The Avengers has continued breaking daily records. In just three weeks, it has become the fourth highest grossing movie of all time. The people at Marvel have been so pleased by the fan response that they have released a special ‘thank you’ video to fans.

Amidst all The Avengers success, Warner Bros. has kicked up its ad campaign for The Dark Knight Rises. Six new promotional character posters have been released. Two posters of each Batman, Catwoman, and Bane. A new theatrical poster was released as well.

Playing off the triumph of The Avengers, ABC has ditched AKA Jessice Jones for a new television series based on The Hulk. As ABC is owned by Disney, the series is likely to have tie-ins to The Avengers. To top things off, the series is being developed by Guillermo del Toro. It will not be ready for the coming season, but they are shooting for the following one.

Edgar Right has been pushing for an Ant Man movie for a long time. He tweeted a picture a few weeks ago that simply displayed: Ant + Man=Antman. The image created some buzz, and then he confirmed his intentions to Empire Magazine, saying he hopes to be shooting by the end of the year.

The Wolverine movie will begin shooting in August. Hugh Jackman confirmed this in a recent tweet. The new film is scheduled to hit theatres on July 26, 2013.

Two trailers for the CW’s Arrow have been released in the last week. A shorter trailer catches the idea of the series and has an awesome scene with Green Arrow shooting tennis balls. The longer trailer goes into the story a bit more, revealing that Green Arrow is going after a list of corrupt people given to him by his father. The series will air on Wednesday at 8:00 PM.

Ridley Scott has been working on a sequel to Blade Runner. Now it looks like they have a screenwriter as Hapton Fancher, the original Blade Runner scribe is in talks to come on for the sequel. More than thirty years after the original, the sequel is bringing the members of Blade Runner back together.

The Star Wars television series is still on the horizon. In a recent interview, Producer Rick McCallum gave an update on the long awaited television series. McCallum said that the series currently has over fifty scripts, the problem is each hour long script has more visual effects than any of the Star Wars movies. Lucas wants to wait on making the show till he can find a way to make it for less than $5 million an episode.

In response to Marvel having a same sex wedding in an upcoming issue of Astonishing X-Men, DC has announced that a ‘major’ and ‘iconic’ male character will be coming out as gay. In a tweet, Scott Snyder confirmed it will be a character that was not introduced in the New 52 relaunch. The big speculations right now are Wally West (a version of Flash) or Beast Boy.

Finally, Scotty has finally been beamed up. The ashes of James Doohan who played Scotty on Star Trek have taken for space amongst the unmanned Dragon spacecraft. They are expected to dock at the international space station in the next few days.

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May 2012 18

by Steven-Elliot Altman (SG Member: Steven_Altman)

Our Fiction Friday serialized novel, The Killswitch Review, is a futuristic murder mystery with killer sociopolitical commentary (and some of the best sex scenes we’ve ever read!). Written by bestselling sci-fi author Steven-Elliot Altman (with Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse), it offers a terrifying postmodern vision in the tradition of Blade Runner and Brave New World

By the year 2156, stem cell therapy has triumphed over aging and disease, extending the human lifespan indefinitely. But only for those who have achieved Conscientious Citizen Status. To combat overpopulation, the U.S. has sealed its borders, instituted compulsory contraception and a strict one child per couple policy for those who are permitted to breed, and made technology-assisted suicide readily available. But in a world where the old can remain vital forever, America’s youth have little hope of prosperity.

Jason Haggerty is an investigator for Black Buttons Inc, the government agency responsible for dispensing personal handheld Kevorkian devices, which afford the only legal form of suicide. An armed “Killswitch” monitors and records a citizen’s final moments — up to the point where they press a button and peacefully die. Post-press review agents — “button collectors” — are dispatched to review and judge these final recordings to rule out foul play.

When three teens stage an illegal public suicide, Haggerty suspects their deaths may have been murders. Now his race is on to uncover proof and prevent a nationwide epidemic of copycat suicides. Trouble is, for the first time in history, an entire generation might just decide they’re better off dead.

(Catch up with the previous installments of Killswitch – see links below – then continue reading after the jump…)

[..]

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May 2012 17

by A.J. Focht

In its second week in theatres, The Avengers broke over a dozen records, including tying with Avatar and Deathly Hallows Part 2 for fastest to a billion dollars. Considering in just two weeks it became the twelfth highest grossing movie ever, it should be no surprise that Disney has confirmed Avengers 2.

After the phenomenal success of The Avengers, Joss Whedon took some time to thank his longtime fans. Posting a letter on his personal site, Whedon thanked those that have stuck with him. After his heartfelt missive, he posted an interview with ‘Rutherford D. Actualperson’ covering some FAQ for his fans.

The Amazing Spider-Man is kicking up its advertising campaign. Now they have released a four minute preview of the film. It includes a scene where Spider-Man saves a child, but reveals his identity. Moments like this show the clear differences between this Spider-Man and the Spider-Man from the previous movies.

The newest news from The Dark Knight Rises is that Marion Cotillard has confirmed she is not playing Talia Al’Ghul. In a recent interview, the actress revealed that her character was a good throughout. This does not mean Talia Al’Ghul is not in the movie, but Marion Cotillard will not be playing the part.

The CW is moving forward with their new superhero television series, Arrow. Now there is an official synopsis of Arrow available. Some of it follows the traditional Green Arrow story, but there have been some changes, including the city, which has been switched from Star City to Starling City.

NBC’s Community has been green lit for another season, but they moved the show time to Friday nights. The series might be coming back, but it’s not clear if the whole study group will return. Both Chevy Chase and Community creator Dan Harmon have not signed on for the new season.

Jumping on the post-apocalyptic bandwagon, NBC is airing a new show next season called Revolution. The series follows the aftermath of a post-apocalyptic event where all electricity is shut off across the world. It clearly builds off the popularity of Hunger Games, and even includes a bow toting heroine.

In the video game world, Blizzard launched Diablo III at midnight on the 15th. Videogame developers at Bethesda are also looking to move in on Blizzards massively multiplayer online game territory. They have announced they are working on an Elder Scrolls MMO.

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May 2012 16

by Damon Martin

As summer 2012 fast approaches, in the comic book world the hottest title going right now revolves around the major Marvel event pitting the Avengers against the X-Men. The two biggest powerhouse forces in the Marvel universe are currently battling it out in the pages of a 12-issue bi-weekly release that will run through much of this upcoming year.

Major comic book events are nothing new, and almost every year DC and Marvel put out their own storyline that somehow encompasses most or all of their titles, all touching on a central theme.

In the Marvel world they’ve bounced from the Avengers Disassembled to Civil War to Secret Invasion, and on and on, and DC has managed to have more than their fair share of world shattering events as well.

With Avengers vs. X-Men in full swing for the mega-event of 2012, let’s take a look at the five greatest comic book events of all-time:

5. Infinity Gauntlet

Cosmic badass Thanos (pay attention to those of you that saw The Avengers movie) has captured all of the infinity gems, which give him reign over each of their particular parts of the universe, and locked them onto one all powerful glove now called the Infinity Gauntlet.

With the power to control time, space, mind, soul, reality, and power, Thanos is by far the most powerful being in the universe and he also happens to be in love with a fellow sentient entity known as Death. To impress her he didn’t get her flowers or candies.

No, Thanos wipes out half of life throughout the universe to prove his love (take that John Cusack with your boom box over your head!), and in the process pisses off all of the remaining heroes left throughout the cosmos. They make it their personal goal to stop Thanos at any cost.

This major event, that kicked off in 1991, only lasted six issues, but spawned several titles in the Marvel universe and helped to launch the cosmic future of the comic book world. The biggest downside of this series was the golden skinned Adam Warlock, who was resurrected and helped to defeat Thanos in the long run, while his own comic life was something akin to that of Spider-Pig.

4. Secret Wars

Never has a publisher’s desire to sell toys ever turned out to be such a great comic book event, but that’s how 1984’s Secret Wars all came about.

With the growth of the children’s action figure industry, Marvel wanted the chance to launch their own characters into toy form, and Mattel was willing to make a new line on the premise of the comic giant creating a major storyline involving all of the heroes and villains in the universe to hopefully draw more kids into the books.

It worked like a charm.

Secret Wars was essentially the story of an other worldly character called The Beyonder who is interested in the dynamic of the heroes and villains that live on Earth. He decides to bring a group of both to a different dimension called ‘Battleworld’ where the two factions will battle it out once and for all.

Characters ranged from Captain America to Iron Man to the Fantastic Four to Dr. Doom to Dr. Octopus, and maybe most famously Spider-Man. The reason why he was so famous for this particular series is it was Secret Wars that introduced the new all black costume for the usually red and blue suited web-slinger.

Later it was discovered that the costume was actually alive and eventually became the maniacal Venom, but the origin for the all-black Spider-Man started with Secret Wars.

The book was a huge success through 12-issues, and is still one of the most talked about major events in comic book history.

3. House of M

The X-Men have been a major part of the Marvel universe for decades, and they have had more than their fair share of huge story arcs, but nothing served as a game changer more than 2005’s House of M.

The story revolved around the dangerous mutant called Scarlet Witch (daughter of mutant baddie Magneto), who warps reality to make mutants the dominant force in the world, far outnumbering the human population. This alternate reality features many characters in different roles and new situations, while the Scarlet Witch’s father Magneto rules with his ‘House of M’. In the long run, the Scarlet Witch’s madness brings her to the brink of insanity, and with three words she changed the Marvel universe forever:

“No more mutants.”

And like that, the millions of mutants that lived around the world vanished in an instant. Even in this year’s Avengers vs. X-Men series, the ultimate end of House of M continues to play out as the ‘homo-superiors’ still feel the wrath of the Scarlet Witch and her death sentence to the mutant population. Now only a few hundred mutants live on Earth, struggling to survive with numbers much smaller than before the Scarlet Witch ripped them from reality.

The ripple effect of House of M is still felt in the books ongoing today, something that a lot of past major events have failed to do.

2. The Blackest Night

Writer Geoff Johns did more to revive the failing Green Lantern franchise than any writer in the last 30 years, but it was his masterful work leading into Blackest Night that may be his greatest achievement yet.

Woven through a multitude of storylines starting with Johns’ re-telling of how Hal Jordan became a Green Lantern, all the way to the Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night was literally an epic tale years in the making.

When it all came to pass, an evil overlord named Nekron brought all of the long gone heroes and villains back to life to help lead his army of the dead, as they attacked and spread their evil, all in hopes of finding the original source of life in the universe.

Nothing was more chilling than in the first issue as Hawkman and Hawkgirl are slaughtered by their good friends Elongated Man and Sue Dibny. Thus, an 8-issue tour de force kicked off that spanned all of the titles in the DC Universe, and featured numerous off-shoots as well.

The book brought back many good guys and bad guys long since gone, and in a great storytelling effort, Johns along with artist Ivan Reis, managed to tell one of the great tales in the history of comic books. While DC has now rebooted the entire line with their ‘New 52’ contingency, Blackest Night was one of the best major events the company as ever done.

1. Crisis on Infinite Earths

If Blackest Night was one of the greatest stories ever told in the DC Universe, then 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths was definitely the tops.

Throughout the history of the DC Universe, many characters had undergone a shift in back story or even current storylines due to different writers all having a different vision for how characters should be portrayed.

Eventually, it was decided that in reality there were a number of alternate realities where characters could have multiple copies of themselves, all living at once, but all with different back stories and current agendas.

That is until the evil Anti-Monitor decides he wants to destroy the multiverse, and everyone that inhabits the worlds. He’s almost successful too, despite the best efforts of heroes like Superman, Batman and others that try valiantly to stop him. Eventually, the Anti-Monitor is defeated, but not until he converges all of the worlds into one distinct reality.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was a great series because of the magnitude of the overall storyline, where beloved characters like Barry Allen (The Flash) and others died, and it reached every part of the DC Universe.

It’s widely recognized as one of the greatest series of books in comics’ history and was re-visited in the 2005 series Infinite Crisis. Heralded as a landmark series, Crisis on Infinite Earths still holds up today with great writing, fantastic art, and a tale that can be retold for generations to come.

So those are the five series I believe make up the greatest events in comic book history? Did I leave any out? Feel free to comment below!

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May 2012 11

by Steven-Elliot Altman (SG Member: Steven_Altman)

Our Fiction Friday serialized novel, The Killswitch Review, is a futuristic murder mystery with killer sociopolitical commentary (and some of the best sex scenes we’ve ever read!). Written by bestselling sci-fi author Steven-Elliot Altman (with Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse), it offers a terrifying postmodern vision in the tradition of Blade Runner and Brave New World

By the year 2156, stem cell therapy has triumphed over aging and disease, extending the human lifespan indefinitely. But only for those who have achieved Conscientious Citizen Status. To combat overpopulation, the U.S. has sealed its borders, instituted compulsory contraception and a strict one child per couple policy for those who are permitted to breed, and made technology-assisted suicide readily available. But in a world where the old can remain vital forever, America’s youth have little hope of prosperity.

Jason Haggerty is an investigator for Black Buttons Inc, the government agency responsible for dispensing personal handheld Kevorkian devices, which afford the only legal form of suicide. An armed “Killswitch” monitors and records a citizen’s final moments — up to the point where they press a button and peacefully die. Post-press review agents — “button collectors” — are dispatched to review and judge these final recordings to rule out foul play.

When three teens stage an illegal public suicide, Haggerty suspects their deaths may have been murders. Now his race is on to uncover proof and prevent a nationwide epidemic of copycat suicides. Trouble is, for the first time in history, an entire generation might just decide they’re better off dead.

(Catch up with the previous installments of Killswitch – see links below – then continue reading after the jump…)

[..]

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May 2012 09

by A.J. Focht

The Avengers has done more than just live up to the extremely high expectations it set forth, it did better than anyone imagined. It’s broken several records already, being the fastest movie to gross $100 million and $200 million as well as smashing the opening weekend record. One of the only records it left intact was the one set by Deathly Hallow Part 2 for a midnight release. Perhaps more importantly, fans and critics everywhere are raving about it.

Critics who didn’t enjoy the movie might be better off just keeping their opinions to themselves or they risk summoning the wrath of S.H.I.E.L.D. After A.O. Scott of the New York Times gave The Avengers a mediocre review, Samuel L. Jackson sent out a call to action to his fans on Twitter to find Scott a new job he could actually do. While many did rally behind Jackson, his remarks made something of a martyr out of Scott and his review, and the small group not pleased with The Avengers jumped to Scott’s aid.

Anyone who hasn’t seen The Avengers might want to jump ahead as there are some major SPOILERS coming….First, let’s talk about our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. member, Agent Phil Coulson. We all watched him “die” bravely at the hands of Loki, but is that really the end of our hero? In a recent interview, actor Clark Gregg mentioned he is still signed on for two more movies. He doesn’t say what movie, but does say he has a meeting with the director of Thor 2. Could Nick Fury have just been pulling one over on the Avengers to get them to work as a team?

A new trailer for Amazing Spider-Man was released with The Avengers this last week. It sheds more light on the story of Peter’s search into his parent’s past. The trailer is fairly good, but was ultimately forgettable after seeing The Avengers.

Illustrator of Kick-Ass comics, John Romita Jr. has shed some light on the future of the Kick-Ass 2 movie. The film is starting production this summer. It is currently unclear if Chloe Moretz will return as Hit Girl as she has a full filming schedule. Either way, the movie is set to release in May 2013.

Michael Arndt, writer of Toy Story 3, is in talks to rewrite the Catching Fire script. Francis Lawrence has taken over as director on the film, and now they are looking at reworking the script. All of this has to be done fast as the movie is scheduled to release in November 2013.

James Cameron has closed down the development arm of his production studios and doesn’t want to think about doing any new projects. For the foreseeable future, Cameron’s mind is stuck on Avatar and only Avatar. In a recent interview, Cameron said his mind is set on making Avatar 2, Avatar 3, and maybe Avatar 4 and that is all.

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus comes out next month, and it now has a rating of R. The film decided to take the hit and not adjust to make the film PG-13. While this might narrow their audience base, it will hopefully help ensure the film is accepted by fans.

What would you say to Inception star Joseph Gordon-Levitt acting in a big screen production of Little Shop of Horrors? Well, that is just what Levitt and Warner Bros. are working towards. Levitt is currently one of the producers on the project and would also like an on-screen role.

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May 2012 04

by Steven-Elliot Altman (SG Member: Steven_Altman)

Our Fiction Friday serialized novel, The Killswitch Review, is a futuristic murder mystery with killer sociopolitical commentary (and some of the best sex scenes we’ve ever read!). Written by bestselling sci-fi author Steven-Elliot Altman (with Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse), it offers a terrifying postmodern vision in the tradition of Blade Runner and Brave New World

By the year 2156, stem cell therapy has triumphed over aging and disease, extending the human lifespan indefinitely. But only for those who have achieved Conscientious Citizen Status. To combat overpopulation, the U.S. has sealed its borders, instituted compulsory contraception and a strict one child per couple policy for those who are permitted to breed, and made technology-assisted suicide readily available. But in a world where the old can remain vital forever, America’s youth have little hope of prosperity.

Jason Haggerty is an investigator for Black Buttons Inc, the government agency responsible for dispensing personal handheld Kevorkian devices, which afford the only legal form of suicide. An armed “Killswitch” monitors and records a citizen’s final moments — up to the point where they press a button and peacefully die. Post-press review agents — “button collectors” — are dispatched to review and judge these final recordings to rule out foul play.

When three teens stage an illegal public suicide, Haggerty suspects their deaths may have been murders. Now his race is on to uncover proof and prevent a nationwide epidemic of copycat suicides. Trouble is, for the first time in history, an entire generation might just decide they’re better off dead.

(Catch up with the previous installments of Killswitch – see links below – then continue reading after the jump…)

[..]

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