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Jul 2012 30

by A.J. Focht

In the hours following the carnage that took place at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, there was a remarkable flood of moving reactions from across the internet. It’s been more than a week since that awful night, and online communities remain one of the greatest allies for the victims.

Seventy of the innocent movie goers that entered Theater 9 excited to enjoy The Dark Knight Rises, ended the tragic evening either spread out among seven local area hospitals or in the morgue because of wounds inflicted by gunfire. Many of the victims were in serious or critical condition, and a total of twelve didn’t survive that night. Doctors and surgeons scrambled to help all of the victims, but their efforts were hindered by a blood shortage. Websites such as Lets’s Be Friends Again helped promote an emergency call for blood in this time of need.

A well-intentioned, if somewhat misguided, viral post requesting that Christian Bale visit the victims also did the rounds on Facebook. With dozens hospitalized in need of blood, a celebrity appearance was what the city wanted, but not what the city needed. More groups rose up and made efforts online to promote blood donation. Social media kept the blood drives fresh on everyone’s mind as the feeds were filled with images and articles encouraging donations.

It wasn’t just blood the patients in the hospital were in dire need of though. Many of the injured were without health insurance. A local standup comedian, Caleb Medley, was shot in the face that night. His medical bills quickly rose well into six figures; all the while, his wife Katie was in labor with their baby, Hugo. The family doesn’t have insurance and they fear the bills the young couple could be facing will haunt them for the rest of their lives. CalebMedley.com was established to accept donations to help ease the couple’s medical bill burden. With the help of social media, the story was picked up by major news organizations.

Caleb isn’t the only victim accumulating mountains of medical debt. A week after the shootings, twelve people remained in hospital, five in critical condition. Three Colorado hospitals announced they would waive or help with the medical fees the victims accrued. The charities being established for the victims and the hospitals’ support has laid a strong foundation to service this crucial need.

The city also got what it wanted. On his own accord, without contacting his publicist, Christian Bale showed up in Denver to visit the victims. No one would have even known Bale made an appearance if it hadn’t been for people tweeting and posting to Facebook from the hospital. Bale also visited the memorial set up near the theater.

Amazing acts of generosity and kindness have come through the social media networks, but that isn’t to say that everyone is sympathetic and respectful. Amongst all the calls for blood donations and the thousands of well wishes, social media feeds were beset with posts politicizing the issue, most of these honed in on the issue of gun control. Now, I am not saying that this isn’t the time to talk about gun control, but both sides used this disaster as an excuse to further polarize the debate, when in fact an air of pragmatism and compromise is needed if we are to effect lasting change for the better. In the middle of the raging gun control debate, were those who complained that this wasn’t the time to discuss the issue. In reality, this is the perfect time to discuss all issues that tie into this catastrophe, and guns are part of that.

My quick note on guns: While I don’t agree with absolute gun control, I can’t fathom why civilians are allowed to legally purchase military grade weapons, like the assault rifle that was firing at my friends and I. As for those who’ve posted comments along the line of “if only someone else in the theater had been armed,” your logic is flawed and misinformed. The coward in question opened fire on a crowd of unsuspecting moviegoers in a dark and confined space, dressed in full combat armor, neck and head covering included. More people firing guns would have only added to the confusion and senseless violence.

My final message to everyone on the internet is to just do the best you can with the resources available to you. This event has proven the power of social media networking. This is a power that each of us exercise every day. Whenever you ‘like’ or repost an article for your friends to see, that message gets passed a little further and becomes a bit louder. All I ask is that you start watching what messages you pass. As I asked of the media in my first post, please stop posting or reposting pictures of the shooter, or articles specifically about him. Stop giving him the attention and infamy he craves, and stop helping to write his name into the history books.

My personal challenge to everyone using social media: Convince Steam and the creators of the Batman Arkham series to put all affiliated games on sale for one day with proceeds going to the Aurora Victim Relief Fund.

Related Posts:
Back Row Perspective Part 2: An Aurora Theater Survivor’s Message To The Politicians
Back Row Perspective Part 1: An Aurora Theater Survivor’s Message To The Media

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A.J. Focht is a student, writer, and self-identifying geek. He has a BA in English, and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at the University of Denver. He is a regular contributor to SuicideGirls. His work is also featured in Kush Magazine.

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Jul 2012 27

by A.J. Focht

In my previous article, I discussed the way in which the mass media has mishandled the Aurora theater shootings. While some in the media approached the story with respect, the majority of them showed little consideration for the victims involved. But it’s not just the media that has been careless in the aftermath of the massacre. Many politicians have used this event as a spring board for their campaigns, while already failing to live up to their promises to the victims.

It’s been a week since I sat down in Theater 9, unaware of the hell that awaited me. I remember the high pitched screech, like a bottle rocket, as the coward tossed the gas grenades into a theater full of unsuspecting moviegoers. I can hear sounds of gunfire and see the bright flashes coming from the corner of the theater in the back of my mind. The screams of the victims in the theater haunt me at night. The vivid memories of wandering shocked through a crowd of people covered in blood, with no way of knowing whose blood it was, will stay with me forever.

I am just one of hundreds of movie patrons that share this horrific experience. Despite these mental scars, I am eternally thankful I have no physical wounds to match. Seventy people in the theater were not as lucky, and twelve of them paid with their lives.

The death toll could have been much higher if it had not been for the amazing first responders. The first police officers arrived on scene within minutes of the shooting. Several officers took it upon themselves to deliver victims to local hospitals in person, instead of waiting for the ambulances. Their quick action likely saved several lives. While the police, dispatchers, medics, firefighters, and ER doctors all did an amazing job that night, I feel they have already received a lot of praise. I therefore want to personally thank the unmentioned heroes of that evening; the victims’ advocates and local RTD bus drivers that worked alongside the ranks of emergency responders that night.

After we were all forced to wait outside the theater for a few hours following the shootings, the police finally got everyone organized and bussed us down to a local school. The bus drivers were very kind to all of the victims and tried to cater to our needs. Once at the school, the victims’ advocates showed up. They brought us food and water, and helped however they could. For those of us with missing members in our party, they were the ones that organized our information so we could be contacted as soon as anything was known.

Unfortunately, for many of the victims, that was the only night we saw this kind of support. Organizers had promised that there would be counseling available for the victims before a vigil held on Saturday. All of the victims that showed up early, including my group, were disappointed to find that the counseling before the vigil was reserved for the deceased victims’ families. All the other victims, even those who had been injured but released from hospital, would have to wait for the vigil to start and the victims’ advocates to come outside. Until then, we were left to fend for ourselves against the press.

The victims’ advocates did eventually come out to see us, but they hardly knew where to start given our number and the fact we were now spread out in the crowd. They did what they could. They consoled groups in mourning, whether they were at the theater or not. What stung the worst was to then hear the speakers stand up, one-by-one, and talk about how there needed to be support for all the victims, often emphasizing the mental scarring. Despite the diversity of the term victim in their speeches, their policies had a much narrower definition as to who the victims were.

On the day of the vigil, President Barack Obama visited the families of the deceased. He chose not to attend the vigil because he knew he couldn’t be there without pulling the focus away from the victims. His choice not to make an appearance at the vigil, even though it would have likely given him a boost in the polls, shows that he really did have the victims’ best interests at heart.

I only wish others could have been so selfless. There were dozens of politicians on the stage, most of whom didn’t speak. While he didn’t call them all off by name, Mayor Steve Hogan of Aurora stood for two minutes naming the ranks and affiliations of the dignitaries present, several of whom are up for reelection this coming fall. I understand giving credit to all of the first responders who were in attendance, but the long stream of elected officials felt too much like campaigning to the grieving.

For many in Colorado, this incident is hitting to close to home after the Columbine High School shootings. One victim of the Columbine shooting, Samuel Granillo, is working on a documentary about the school shootings. Through it, his goal is to find a way to provide counseling for those seeking it after the shootings at Columbine High School – which is desperately needed for those who still suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder in the wake of it. The funds for the Columbine victims dried up long before everyone had healed. Many of us that were in the theater on July 20th now worry that the support for the Aurora victims will also prematurely disappear.

There is hope; gestures of support have started to come through. Many speculated that Warner Bros. might make a contribution of some kind. On Tuesday, the studio made it official by announcing they were pledging a ‘substantial’ donation, without releasing details of the actual sum they plan to give to the Colorado Community First Foundation Aurora Victim Relief Fund. Many small businesses in the local communities are holding fundraisers for varying charities and victim support efforts. A group that helped bring the first Comic Con to Denver, organized a human wall at the vigil to counter protest the Westboro Baptist Church, even though the church never showed up. The Aurora Rise Benefit Event is being planned by All C’s Collectibles Comic store in Aurora, Colorado. Comic publishers including DC Comics and Image Comics have contacted them to pledge donations. The event is still coming together, but it so far looks to include a silent auction with proceeds going to victim support.

This outpour of donations from the local, online, and comic book communities has been phenomenal. The biggest worry is that the funds won’t reach most of the victims. My message to the politicians is simple: Have some class. Stop using this tragedy to get reelected. The best thing all the politicians can do now is to make sure that the support for the victims is allocated appropriately. There are several victims who have no way to pay their substantial medical bills, and many more that will need therapy for years to come.

In the final segment, I will discuss the ways in which social media has affected the tragedy. On a large scale, social media has created the most support for the victims. That isn’t to say there isn’t a downside to the internet hive mind.

Related Posts:
Back Row Perspective Part 1: An Aurora Theater Survivor’s Message To The Media

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A.J. Focht is a student, writer, and self-identifying geek. He has a BA in English, and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at the University of Denver. He is a regular contributor to SuicideGirls. His work is also featured in Kush Magazine.

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Jul 2012 26

by A.J. Focht

Thursday July 19th, I rushed home from work to get ready to catch the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with a group of friends. We were all excited to finally be seeing the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. After wading through the crowd to get our tickets and stocking up on overpriced food and drinks, we made our way into Theater 9 and took our seats. The showing was packed and there weren’t enough empty seats in a row for all eight of us to sit together. We split up, sitting in small groups throughout the theater. I ended up in the second row from the back with my roommate and another friend.

Everyone waited patiently through the lackluster trailers for the feature film to begin. When the movie started, the theater went silent and everyone fixed their eyes in on the screen, mesmerized. Scene after scene, I became more enthralled with the story. About twenty minutes in, we were all snapped out of the epic fantasy world and into a nightmarish reality. A gunman opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd. I made it out of the theater unscathed, but I can’t say the same about the rest of my group. One of them was injured and went to hospital, and another didn’t came out of the theater alive. While I survived, 12 people were killed in the massacre and another 58 were injured.

It took seemingly no time before the twenty-four hour news networks had informed everyone across the nation as to what had happened. The mad rush to present the world with information caused the media vultures to deliver several false reports as they stopped at nothing to get their stories. In the midst of this living nightmare, the media circus fed off the victims’ despair like it was fresh bread in a famine.

With only a small charge left in her phone one of the members of my group thought it best to send out a blanket distress beacon via Twitter so she could conserve her battery to call her parents and a ride home. Caitlin tweeted from her account @dingos8myTARDIS informing her family and friends of the chaos and that she was physically alright. Her tweets were some of the first online, and within the hour BBC, CNN, and others were broadcasting her messages on the news. The hundreds of media outlets that contacted her throughout the night were unexpected, but we could understand they were just trying to do their jobs. Once we had been released, Caitlin, not wanting the mass media attention, released these tweets:

dingos8myTARDIS: To the media: I was tweeting earlier because my phone was on 10%batt & I needed to let people know I was okay. I am (in) no shape for interviews.

dingos8myTARDIS: To rephrase: I have no interest in interviews at this time. I was merely sending an emergency beacon.

Despite her requesting to be left alone, she was perpetually bombarded by yet more media requests via Twitter from outlets including FOX News and The Huffington Post. As if the mass attention on Twitter was not enough, other news networks took it upon themselves to get her phone number and start calling her.

While we all sat anxiously awaiting information on the MIA member of our group, phones and email notifications continued go off till all our phones had died. Before even our families and friends had a chance to check in, the overzealous reporters were all but knocking on our doors. Right after our group finally learned our missing member didn’t make it, Caitlin’s phone began to ring; It was the Today Show on the other end requesting an interview about him. She told them off and asked them not to contact her again. However, her pleas didn’t stop them from calling again the next morning, still trying to get an interview.

This is not to say that everyone in the media treated this tragic event and the victims like they were just a breaking news story. A select few talk show hosts and reporters handled their responses to the incident with the utmost tact. Craig Ferguson changed his opening monologue in response to the Aurora shootings. His heartfelt reaction was a signal that some of the media could show signs of humanity and compassion for the victims. On his Hulu show, Spoilers, Kevin Smith opened with a sincere speech and spent the rest of the time talking about the incident with the Spoilers crew. Responses like these made a huge difference for the survivors in my group who had begun to feel the media had turned on them.

Since the shootings happened in the early hours of Friday morning, it wasn’t until the following Monday that Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert had their say on the events. As longtime fans of both shows, I, along with everyone in my group, was interested to see what they both had to say. For once this week, we were not disappointed. Stewart called out the media circus for reporting false facts and refusing to talk about certain related issues. Colbert further pointed out how useless the media was with their inaccurate reports and misguided debates.

While an array of talk show hosts had excellent responses to this tragic massacre, only a handful of career journalists handled it with the same level of professionalism. Out of all the reporters that covered this tragic story, only a few reported it both honestly and with consideration for the victims and survivors. Anderson Cooper conducted an interview with the father, girlfriend, and best friend of Alex Teves, the deceased member of our group. Cooper was genuine, and he allowed each of them to speak their mind. At the end of the interview, Teves’ father challenged Cooper and CNN to, moving forward, stop talking about and showing the gunman, since doing so only gave him the attention he sought, and asked them instead to focus to the victims.


[Anderson Cooper interviews Alex Teves’ father, girlfriend and best friend]
[See extended version here]

In contrast, ABC continues to provide the wrong information five days after the shootings. In the ABC News interview with Alex’s father and girlfriend, Dan Harris ended the segment by saying that Alex graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Physical Therapy. In reality, Alex recently graduated with his Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Denver. Even after being called out on The Daily Show, ABC fails to check the facts to their reports before airing them.

As if the misleading media wasn’t enough, their voyeuristic nature is making the victims and survivors feel uncomfortable even attending the memorials and vigils held in their honor. During the prayer vigil held on Sunday outside the Aurora Municipal building, reporters and photographers were swarming the lawn as the mourners arrived. There was a sectioned off area up front, but it was only for the families of the deceased victims, and it was located right in front of the podium for all the cameras to see. There was no media perimeter, and photographers from all ranks of media aggressively roamed through the crowd. Everyone from bloggers to international news organizations forced their way onto grieving groups. When Caitlin asked for her picture not to be taken, the only response she received was that she should not be in a public space. When friends of the victims would act as human shields, getting in the way of the pictures, the cameramen became increasingly volatile. At an event that was supposed to be for the victims, the victims couldn’t find any sanctuary from the press.

The political speeches throughout the vigil and the mass media presence raise the question: who was the vigil for? As a survivor of the Aurora massacre, I can say that I didn’t feel comforted by any of it. Amongst the several prayers, mostly Christian, all I heard was political name dropping ahead of the upcoming election, as the victims and survivors were left to defend themselves against the heartless, overbearing, and at times downright hostile actions of those in the media.

My message to the media is simple: First, as Mr. Teves asked Anderson Cooper, stop showing the face of and talking about the shooter. He is a coward that massacred an unsuspecting group of civilians. Every time you talk about him, you only help add his name to the pages of history. Next, I beg that you give both the victims and survivors their space. There are plenty of victims and families that are willing to talk to you, and could use the attention for good reasons such as medical bills. For those who want to be left alone, it’s the least you can do.

In Part 2, I will talk about how the politicians have handled this event, both good and bad. For many, this is becoming too reminiscent of the Columbine High School shooting, both in the tragic nature of what occurred and in the mishandling of the victims and survivors. For the final segment, I will explore the awe inspiring responses and support that has come from social media.

***

A.J. Focht is a student, writer, and self-identifying geek. He has a BA in English, and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at the University of Denver. He is a regular contributor to SuicideGirls. His work is also featured in Kush Magazine.

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Jul 2012 20

by A.J. Focht

San Diego Comic Con 2012 was packed with so much news that we couldn’t fit it all in one place. Yesterday, I covered the news about the major movies coming from Marvel and DC. In this column, we’ll take a look at some other movies and the rest of the news from the nerd fest.

It was a few years ago at 2006 Comic Con when Edgar Wright first talked about doing an Ant-Man movie. While there still isn’t a date scheduled for it, Wright did come out during the Marvel movie news panel to show off a short teaser trailer. All of the copies of the teaser that made it online were promptly taken down, but the fans that saw it at Comic Con have been raving about it.

If they don’t get their skates on and hit a looming contractual deadline, Fox face losing the rights to Daredevil, a prospect that’s becoming all the more real now that David Slade is out of the picture and the project is director-less. However the studio is moving forward with a new Fantastic Four project before they lose control of those rights too. Josh Trank, director of Chronicle, is confirmed as the director for the upcoming Fantastic Four flick. Fox still has the Wolverine and First Class sequels to push out before they move on the Fantastic Four project however. We’re told there will be an entirely new cast, but it is unclear if the forthcoming Fantastic Four film will be a reboot or in the same continuity. It is confirmed that Jeremy Slater will be writing the next movie though.

Kick-Ass 2 has signed most of the cast from the original film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse confirmed that filming for Kick-Ass 2 will commence in September. There is no scheduled date for the film’s release as of now.

The CW’s The Arrow is turning out to be a much darker show than any superhero TV series before it. Calling The Arrow a superhero show might be a stretch as what we’re seeing in the previews makes him out to be quiet the anti-hero. This is the Green Arrow like you’ve never seen before. In the newest clip released by the CW, Green Arrow kills several of his captors to protect his identity.

Suck it, Wolverine! That’s the tagline of the new Deadpool video game being designed by High Moon Studios. The merc’ with a mouth is getting his own game where he’s going to kick a bunch of ass, make a ton of inappropriate jokes, and constantly break the fourth wall. The trailer for the game captures Deadpool’s unique sense of humor and has fans ready well ahead of the 2013 release.

DreamWorks animation is in talks with Classic Media to acquire several classic cartoon properties. Among the titles included in the $150 million dollar package are: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Voltron, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Waldo from ‘Where’s Waldo’, and Lone Ranger. If DreamWorks can make this deal happen, we will likely be seeing CGI remakes of all these titles in the coming years.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 14. Several of the cast were in attendance at SDCC for The Walking Dead panel, which featured clips from the upcoming season three as well as fan questions and answers. The full trailer, which was debuted at the panel, was released online, and there are some special surprises, including an appearance by the Governor.

To wrap things up, Karl Urban promised fans a sneak peak of Star Trek 2 during SDCC. He lived up to his promise, releasing a four minute video of him surfing while music plays. Only in the last ten seconds of the video is there some footage of a wrap from the Star Trek 2 set.

Related Posts:
Ur W33K 1N G33K: SD Comic Con 2012 Edition Part 1

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Jul 2012 19

by A.J. Focht

Last weekend was San Diego Comic Con, the premier nerd convention of the year. Both major comic companies were present as well as several movie studios, prominent actors, and nerd icons of all kinds. Everyone was eager to show off their newest projects.

New clips for The Dark Knight Rises were previewed at Comic Con. The first was a teaser of Morgan Freeman showing off a new vehicle, The Bat. The second clip establishes the movie takes place eight years after The Dark Knight in a conversation between Officer Blake and Commissioner Gordon. The Dark Knight Rises premiers in theaters July 20.

Batman is one of the most popular heroes in the world with one of the most iconic cars ever. This year at SDCC, each of the classic Batmobiles were on display. The Batmobiles were all lined up and a new documentary about the cars was previewed at the con. The Batmobile is a documentary that features Batmobiles throughout time and the Batmen that drove them.

A few weeks ago, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was rumored to be in talks for a DC movie. The Rock has now confirmed via Twitter that he is indeed in talks for a Lobo movie. While he is in talks, the Lobo movie might not be planned for a while.

The Man of Steel had a panel at Comic Con, helping shed some light on the rumors surrounding the project. A short clip was shown to the audience and it was met with positive reviews. There’s a new teaser poster on their Facebook page as well.

Iron Man 3 had a major presence at Comic Con. During the Iron Man 3 panel, Kevin Feage, Shane Black, Robert Downey Jr., and Don Cheadle were present to talk about the upcoming movie. They discussed both rumors and the movie story, without giving much of anything away. All of the Iron Man armor from the past movies, as well as the armor from the upcoming movie was on display as well. Men might not be the only ones putting on armor in Iron Man 3 however, the new rumor is Gwyneth Paltrow may be dawning the rescue armor this go around.

Marvel revealed the titles to their upcoming sequels at Comic Con, and it looks like Bucky is coming back since the title of the Captain America sequel is Captain America: Winter Soldier. Bucky was the original Winter Soldier so it seems likely he’s returning as a villain. While Bucky isn’t confirmed beyond the title, Falcon will make an appearance in the film. Anthony Mackie will be playing the part. Winter Soldier is scheduled to release April 14, 2014.

The Thor sequel is entitled, Thor: The Dark World. A few things are known about Thor at the moment. The movie will explore Thor and Jane’s relationship. Loki will not be the main villain in the film, and the current rumor mill points all signs to the Enchantress. With a new director on board, it’s set for theatres sometime in 2013.

Marvel officially confirmed they are filming Galactic Guardians after Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier. They also revealed the cast of the Galactic Guardians team will include: Drax the Destoryer, Gamora, Groot, Star-Lord, and everyone’s favorite, Rocket Raccoon. Galactic Guardians is slated to start in theaters on August 1, 2014.

That’s the first half of Ur W33K 1N G33K’s Comic Con coverage. Check back in for the rest of the news from the convention.

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Jul 2012 06

by A.J. Focht

Step aside Doctor Strange, Marvel announced their next big secret project is Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel is expected to make it official this week at Comic Con. The Guardians of the Galaxy are an interstellar team that protects the galaxy. Originally sources were saying the release date would by May 15, 2014. But most recent reports say the release was pushed back a few months to August 1, 2014.

Marvel may have announced Guardians of the Galaxy, but that doesn’t mean they have given up on Ant-Man. Rumor is that Edgar Wright has directed a test reel that will be previewed at Comic Con. Next week, we’ll know if this is true or not, and we’ll know more about where the Ant-Man project really stands.

New concept art for Iron-Man 3 suggests that the Extremis storyline will be a major part of the movie. Extremis was a storyline in which Iron-Man makes himself into the weapon by fusing the suit into himself. Iron-Man 3 is scheduled for release May 3, 2013. Disney and Marvel have released the title previews for all their upcoming sequels, Hulk didn’t make the cut.

Just over a year ago, DC Comics announced their major comic reboot, The New 52. Now it is Marvel’s turn as they launch Marvel NOW – but don’t call it a reboot. Marvel is avidly fighting off the word, even though they will be launching several comic titles at #1 starting in October, often several each week. The main comic heroes are also going to be getting new costumes. So far Marvel has announced three comics: Uncanny Avengers, All New X-Men, and Avengers. But remember, it’s not a reboot. Marvel will also bring Jean Grey back via time travel.

Entertainment Weekly has released their Comic Con preview, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took the cover. There were also several new preview pictures in the magazine. The film is released on December 14th this year.

The long awaited Ghostbusters sequel is still in the works. Ghostbusters 3 once again has a new writing staff. The project has been in process for quite a while now, and this is the third time I’ve heard about a new writing team, so who knows where the project really stands.

The writing and directing genius behind The Fifth Element Luc Besson is stepping back into the science fiction arena. Besson is working on an adventure about a time travelling secret agent. The internet is labeling the project as a cross between James Bond and Doctor Who which sounds about right.

While Community creator Dan Harmon won’t be on board next season, the full cast is confirmed as returning. The thirteen episode Community season is set to start on October 13.

Titan Magazine and Skybound have announced the launch of The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine. The publication will be based off the comic series, graphic novels, and the AMC television series. The first issues comes out on October 23rd, and will feature 100 pages of Walking Dead news, access, and scoops.

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Jun 2012 28

by A.J. Focht

What is Warner Bros. and DC Comics next big movie? New reports suggest Barry Sonnenfeld is working on DC Comics’ title The Metal Men, which was first introduced in 1962 and has been played with sporadically by DC since then. The Mental Men group consists of six artificially intelligent robots created by Dr. William Magus. Each was made out of a specific metal with powers to match. Gold, the leader can stretch; Iron possesses super strength; Lead can make shields; Mercury could melt to pass through small spaces; and Platinum, who believed she was human and would flirt with her creator, could stretch and flatten. There was also the insecure Tin whose powers are unknown. They popped up throughout Infinite Crisis and had a twelve issue run in Wednesday Comics in 2009. The Metal Men have also made appearances in Batman Brave and the Bold and Justice League: New Frontier. The Metal Men wasn’t on anyone’s radar for DC’s next movie, but it could have potential.

Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will involve a lot more than Superman just saving Metropolis. New information has leaked onto the internet, and it looks like a good portion of the movie will take place during the war on Krypton. This help makes sense of the elaborate costumes we saw last month that included suits for Jor-El and other Kryptonians. Not much else is known about the film, but the producers will have a presence at San Diego Comic Con where they’ll be debuting footage.

Kick-Ass 2 has signed Chloe Mortez back as Hit-Girl. The film hasn’t begun production but we now have confirmation that three of the core cast members are returning: Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse being the others. Kick-Ass 2 will involve the heroes’ identities being learned. Hit-Girl will be identified, causing her a whole new set of problems.

Disney and Marvel has already announced the animated Avengers Assemble series hoping to play off The Avengers success. The animated projects don’t stop there. Marvel is also developing an Iron Man animated series. A Hulk series is in talks as well. All of the animated series will appear as part of the Marvel Universe on Disney XD.

Graphic novel and comic guru Alan Moore is best known for his work on titles such as: V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke, and Watchmen. Now it looks like Moore is moving onto film as he announced he is working on a short film series currently titled Show Pieces. The project started as a single ten-minute movie, but has since evolved into a ‘multi-layered, multi-episode narrative,’ though little more is known about it.

Seth Grahame-Smith has been tasked with scribing the sequel to Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice 2 wants to just make a sequel for money; they want to make sure it is done right. To do this, Grahame-Smith says he plans on using the character Beetlejuice sparingly, and not overdue him, pointing out Beetlejuice was only in about half an hour of the first movie. The one other thing he noted is it is a real sequel. The amount of time that has passed since the first movie is how much has passed in the story.

A new Mortal Kombat movie is in the making. Little is known about the project except for a short synopsis:

“The live-action reboot will follow a lowly unlucky supermarket employee who discovers that he has out of this world powers and must decide between good and evil, even though the evil side has helped him discover his true potential and who he really is.” – via Nerdbastards

Kevin Tancharoen is signed on to direct the film written by Oren Uziel. The story sounds a bit vague, but this reboot can’t be any worse than the first two movies.

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