May 2012 03

by A.J. Focht

This last week at StarFest 2012 in Denver, I had a chance to sit down with some amazing comic writers including Tony Bedard. Bedard has been writing comics since the ‘90s and is the current writer on Blue Beetle and Green Lantern New Guardians.

A.J. Focht: How do you like working with Kyle Rayner in the Green Lantern New Guardians comic?

Tony Bedard: Credit where credits due, Geoff Johns had the idea to end the first issue by sending a ring of every color to Kyle. We were talking about what I wanted to do with this series, and he was the one at some point that said, ‘Why don’t you end the first issue with a ring of every color coming to him.’ It was the thing that broke open the whole story, and set up this great mystery that we’ve been trying to follow up ever since. We’re going to finish that off by issue twelve, let you know why that happened, and the significance of it.

A.J.: In New Guardians you use rings of most every color. Do you have any plans to do anything with the Black or White Lanterns in New Guardian?

TB: It’s not so much about White Lanterns, but there is a character, the Weaponer, that was in my Green Lantern Core run. He had picked up some of that white energy and put it in his shield and hammer. It’s become this morphing weapon so that whatever he is up against he can change that hammer to meet the situation. He’s going to be in issue #8. He was only going to be in for about one issue, but it has kind of snowballed into a thing where he’s going to stick around for a few more issues and play a big role.

A.J.: That’s good to hear. Since a lot was retconned during the change to the New 52, it was unclear what events from Blackest Night and Brightest Day have actually taken place.

TB: I’m still personally trying to figure out what had changed and what hasn’t. I would say generally that Green Lantern was not revised as much.

A.J.: Do you have any other projects, or are you just sticking with these two?

TB: These are the two right now. We’ve discussed a few other things, but they really haven’t got any traction yet. I’ve been plenty busy and quite happy with what I have right now. We have big plans for Green Lantern. Geoff always has a long term plan, and New Guardians is a big part of that, this whole third army thing that’s coming together. When you look back, you’ll be able to see a lot of what happens in New Guardians is building towards that. We’ve tried to keep the books separate so they each have their own identity, but the Green Lantern books will be intertwining a little bit here in the year to come.

A.J.: Your other book, Blue Beetle is a new take on an old hero. What’s it been like working with that book?

TB: When we started this [the New 52] we wanted to have a comic for everyone.

A.J.: Yeah, there are many niche comics.

TB: Yes. Well I use a lot of Spanglish in the comic, because I am of Puerto Rican decent that’s what it sounded like growing up. It surprised me the responses I got to that. The response from the Hispanic fans who read it was, ‘Yeah, that’s right’ But a lot of other folks who weren’t used to that were like, ‘Okay, we know he’s Mexican, don’t beat us over the head with it.’

A.J.: Do you have any plans to do a crossover with Blue Beetle?

TB: There’s a little crossover in Blue Beetle #9 and New Guardians #9. In Blue Beetle #9, Blue Beetle meets Kyle, and Red Lantern Bleez, and Orange Lantern Globulus on Earth. At the same time in New Guardians #9, the Reach who created Blue Beetles armor will actually be invading the Blue Lantern’s home world, trying to wipe them out and take their power battery. That story actually became so big that it was rolled into two issues. There is a mystery there too as to how Reach found the Blue Lantern home world, because it’s cloaked. Somebody tipped them off. A lot of that stuff, as you look around the lantern verse, happens to all the different cores. It could just be a coincidence, but you start to see a pattern.

A.J.: Do you have plans to expand the reach of Blue Beetle to reach other demographics?

TB: I think mostly we try to keep that as a personal book, to focus on that character. We do have the Green Lantern thing, and actually in issue #10 he is going to meet Booster Gold. But in a way that you would not expect, it’s not the happy meeting everyone will expect. It’s not the same relationship he had with Ted at all.

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May 2012 02

by A.J. Focht

A new Dark Knight Rises trailer is out. This trailer seems to have fixed the problem with Bane’s voice. Although, now there are complaints about it sounding like it’s a separate audio track.

The Avengers has released internationally, but we still have a few days to wait until it comes to theatres here in America. Spoilers for the movie have been running high, despite many believing the international version is missing a few scenes. With only a few days till the movie hits, I am avoiding spoilers at all costs. While I can’t tell you what happens in the movie, I can tell you it has already pulled in $178 million overseas. I can also tell you that the positive response to Hulk in the movie is changing the tune of Marvel executives who thought his franchise was dead. With the increase of popularity, it now looks like a new Hulk movie might be coming in 2015.

Marvel has already changed the actor playing Hulk from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo, but what do they intend to do when other stars, like Robert Downey Jr, move on? Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege addressed that issue at CinemaCon saying they would not reboot the series. He said:

‘I think Bond is a good example. Let’s put it this way: I hope Downey makes a lot of movies for us as Stark. If and when he doesn’t, and I’m still here making these movies, we don’t take him to Afghanistan and have him wounded again. I think we James Bond it’.

Director of Chronicle, Josh Trank, has been signed to develop the script for a Fantastic Four reboot. It is unknown whether he will also direct the movie and as of now it looks like it will be based on how the script turns out. If Trank makes this anything like Chronicle it might be more of a Dr. Doom movie and less of a Fantastic Four film, which I am more than okay with.

The Wolverine will be shooting in Japan and Australia this year, and is set for release on July 26, 2013. Fox is determined to get the most out of the rights to the X-Men and Marvel’s mutants while they have them. Now they are also talking about doing a New Mutants movie, although it is unclear if that will be in addition to a sequel for X-Men: First Class or if it will be the sequel.

Rumored Star Trek 2 spoilers have now been confirmed. If you wanted to see Star Trek 2 completely unspoiled, skip ahead now. Still here? Okay, but I warned you. First up, Leonard Nimoy will be back as Spock Prime. Not surprised yet? How about, the Klingons will be featured in the second movie. That’s not all, we have all been lied to. Benedict Cumberbatch will not be playing a new villain, but will be reprising the roll of Khan in the upcoming Star Trek film. There you have it, three spoilers no waiting.

Last week I mentioned that Peter Jackson was shooting The Hobbit at 48-frames per second (fps). Not everyone was as excited by the change as I was. At CinemaCon last week, fans were unimpressed by the fps change, some complaining it made the film look homemade. Jackson responded to the criticism saying it is something film goers will just come to except. I think he’s right; this is likely just a case of people complaining about change cause it is new and different, not necessarily worse.

Finally, science fiction is catching up with reality. Multiple billionaires including James Cameron and the people behind Google have unveiled plans for mining asteroids. This little bit of science fiction could become a very practical way to extract resources without taking them from the earth. With governments cutting space program budgets around the world, it is good to see someone at least trying to make headway into the final frontier.

Apr 2012 24

by A.J. Focht

The Avengers is just over a week away, and the last batch of promotional material has hit. A new scene from the movie was released, as well as a behind the scenes video. Director Joss Whedon gave more insight to the movie and why you should see it during an interview with some collegiate newspapers this past week.

During an MTV interview with Samuel L. Jackson, the actor described his vision of a S.H.I.E.L.D movie. His casting leaves out Agent Coulson which has again given rise to the rumor that he will die in The Avengers, and even possibly be recreated as Vision. Whedon previously went as far to say they would change his background so he was created by Tony Stark. Could Coulson become Vision? Could Vision be Marvel’s secret unnamed movie for 2013? Guess we have to wait till May 4 to know for sure.

The Dark Knight Rises has been all but forgotten in the wake of excitement for The Avengers. Now, they plan to capitalize on that by releasing their trailer before The Avengers. Christopher Nolan is really pushing the IMAX release with over an hour of IMAX footage. A ‘reliable source’ at Cosmic Booknews who saw the first showing says it is better than The Dark Knight. In a similar vein, Tom Hardy recently compared Bane to the Joker to show why he was worthy to come after the Clown Prince.

While the superhero movies are fighting it out for the summer box office crown, Peter Jackson is using The Hobbit to advance film production everywhere. Jackson has shot the first half of The Hobbit: An Enexpected Journey at 48 fps (frames per second). Current industry standard is 24 fps. Because Hobbit is looking to be such a major movie event, many theaters will be forced to upgrade their equipment to show the film. This paves the way for other filmmakers, who will be able to shoot movies at 48 fps without fear of the theatres not having the equipment to show them.

Before Watchmen will hit comic stands everywhere in June. You don’t have to wait till then to get an idea of what’s in store however. Twenty-one illustrations and concept art pieces were leaked this past week. The leaked images include costume designs for most of the characters, including some you wouldn’t expect like Hooded Justice. There are also a few full page sketches.

Premiering on April 27th on EPIX is With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. Just before its release, a sneak peek was let out to show fans what’s in store. The documentary covers the life of comic book legend, Generalissimo Stan Lee.

New photos have landed on the Ender’s Game production blog. The pics now include: Ender’s room, the neck implants, and a simulator. The Ender’s Game movie is scheduled for release in November 2013.

Would you like a new Star Trek series? Well whether you get one is apparently up to J.J. Abrams. The creator of Pushing Daisies, Brain Fuller, was really gung-ho about pitching the idea. Now Fuller says that if a Star Trek series were to happen, it would be after the next movie and Abrams would be in command. J.J. Abrams has apparently become ‘the guardian of Trek’ and nothing will happen without his input.

Apr 2012 17

by A.J. Focht

The world press premiere of The Avengers was last week, and there’s been nothing but good reviews. While lips have been sealed to avoid leaks and spoilers, all the news that has come out has been positive. Despite many fans raving that Hulk was their favorite character, it doesn’t look like Hulk is getting another solo movie. Seems Hulk’s success in The Avengers was the high note that Marvel producers wanted to end him on, for a while at least.

While The Avengers has been pumping out trailer after trailer and multiple previews from the start, The Dark Knight Rises has been more subtle with their media releases. While many of the photos and previews from The Dark Knight Rises have been unofficial, Entertainment Weekly just published six new official shots from the film and a cover exclusive.

Dylan Sprayberry, who plays young Clark Kent in the upcoming Man of Steel, has revealed a little more about the film. Following in the path of the Batman series, Man of Steel will be edgier and center on making Superman more realistic. The start of the movie focuses on Superman growing up, and how his early life is filled with dilemmas and drama.

A new international trailer was released for The Amazing Spider-Man. The trailer features more of Peter Parker’s past struggles with his parents and his battle against the Lizard. That wasn’t the only Spider-Man news this last week either, Marvel announced that the Spider-Men comics will officially feature the crossover between Spider-Man, Peter Parker, and new Spider-Man, Miles Morales.

One last superhero update, Joss Whedon dropped more information about the upcoming Dr. Horrible sequel during a Reddit question and answer session. All the cast member will be returning for their parts, but Whedon said, “Penny will be… um… I don’t want to say decomposing.” So what does that mean? Will Penny be a zombie? Will Dr. Horrible have her frozen, working on a resurrection method? Only Joss knows, but they are currently working on the script and plan to start filming this summer.

Hunger Games director Gary Ross has officially stepped down from doing the sequel. With Ross out, Lionsgate has started a short list of directors for the sequel. The list currently contains Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Robert Rodriquez and Frank Miller are moving forward with a Sin City sequel entitled Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. There isn’t much more information on the project, but we can all rest a little easier knowing it’s at least going to happen.

The popularity brought to the Tron series by Tron: Legacy has spawned a sequel, but probably not the sequel you wanted. Tron: Uprising is a new graphic series that will appear on the Disney Channel.

Finally, the Ghostbusters series has long talked of a third movie, with Bill Murray being the only hold out. But during a recent interview, the funnyman said the project was ‘a possibility’ which is more hope than we have gotten from him previously. So while the project still remains in what actor Dan Aykroyd calls a ‘state of suspended animation,’ there is still hope.

Apr 2012 11

by A.J. Focht

A month out from release and AMC has already sold out advanced tickets for The Ultimate Marvel Marathon which promises to show all of the movies leading up to The Avengers before the midnight release. But if you didn’t get your tickets to the nine hour movie marathon there is no need to worry as AMC will be adding more locations. Cinemark theatres have also joined the party hosting the marathons at half the price. While AMC is charging $40 a seat for the marathon, Cinemark is charging $20. Although, it is unclear if the midnight showing of The Avengers is part of the Cinemark package.

The Iron Man 3 release date is scheduled for May 3, 2013, just a year after The Avengers. Now it looks like Ben Kingsley is in talks to play the villain for the third movie. Insiders at Marvel have debunked the rumor that he will play Mandarin, without giving any hints as to what his role might be.

DC Comics is launching a new round of comic titles this July. The titles in the mix so far are National Comics and Masters of the Universe. National Comics will feature obscure and offbeat heroes, starting with Jeff Lemire’s Kid Eternity. Masters of the Universe will follow the adventures of He-Man against the evil Skeletor. Don’t be expecting the classic He-Man story as it looks like his origins have changed, and as the series starts, Skeletor has already won.

Do you want to bring a little piece of The Hunger Games home with you? Well now you can since Katniss Everdeen has been transformed into a Barbie. I don’t know when Barbie started idolizing child warfare, but this Katniss Everdeen doll is equipped with a bow and arrows nonetheless. If that isn’t good enough for you, you could always buy District 12. Henry River Mill Village, the location for District 12 in the film, is now on sale and can be yours for only $1.4 million.

The Hugo Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in science-fiction, has listed this year’s nominees. Among the top contenders are all the big players: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Captain America, and…Community? That’s right. In what can only be described as the best nomination ever, the Community episode ‘Remedial Chaos Theory’ has been nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. While it is up against some excellent Doctor Who episodes, this episode stands a good chance of winning thanks to its excellent use of alternate and parallel universes.

The Doctor is getting wrapped up in some legal issues of his own. David Tennant starred in a new Virgin Media commercial that has upset the BBC. The commercial played off time travel, and for BBC anything time travel with David Tennant is their jurisdiction. They sent a takedown request to Virgin Media saying they do not want to be perceived as endorsing any organization.

Facebook has paid $1 billion for the purchase of Instagram. While the purchase has had many Instagram fans nervous, Mark Zuckerberg announced they plan to let Instagram grow free from the Facebook brand. Is that enough though for Instagram fans or do you still worry that Facebook ownership will taint it?

Apr 2012 05

by A.J. Focht

The first clip from The Avengers movie has arrived, and it features Black Widow being a total badass. To go along with the forty second trailer, ten new official wallpapers have been released as well. With the movie less than a month out, some fans have started committing to not watching any of more clips or trailers because they feel they are spoiling too much. If you were looking to save all the excitement for the theatre, you may want refrain from watching this clip or any of the others that come out over the next month.

Joss Whedon’s The Avengers debuts May 4, but first up we have Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods releasing in just over a week on April 13. A new TV spot for the Whedon’s sci-fi horror thriller has come out. Based on what we’ve seen so far, this movie stretches the limits of the horror genre beyond anything we could expect.

Star Trek 2 production is well under way, and Alex Kurtzman has given an update on how things are coming along. Beyond praising the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch’s new villain role, he also gave us a bit of the story, saying that the crew is still learning to work together and are still on the way to becoming the bridge crew we remember and love from the series.

The Hunger Games destroyed box office records, but there may be trouble ahead for the sequels. While all of the cast has signed on to reprise their roles in the sequels, director Gary Ross has not. Ross has been credited as part of the reason the movie did so well, but his compensation from the movie was less than would be expected for an Oscar-nominated director. There are rumors that his failure to sign is over a financial dispute.

Back in October, the world lost one of its most brilliant minds, Steve Jobs. Now there is a movie in the making called Jobs that will biographically feature his life and times. The big thing everyone is talking about though is that Ashton Kutcher is playing the part of Steve Jobs. Kutcher is most famous for his roles where he plays moronic characters such as Kelso from That 70’s Show. Now he is set to portray one of the greatest innovative minds of the modern world.

Doctor Who fans should set their dials to conspiracy, because it’s rumor time. It started as what many considered an April Fool’s Day prank, but it didn’t die there. Reports of the first female Doctor have flooded the internet, after UK paper the Daily Express made seemingly joke claims. However a mole has since said the Time Lord will regenerate as a female as a big plot twist timed for the show’s 50th anniversary.

On Monday April 2, two different but equally awesome nerd channels premiered on Youtube. Geek & Sundry, a channel founded by Felicia Day, features several shows covering various geeky interests. It is also the new home of The Guild, which has an awesome new promotional music video that calls out nerd posers (see above). Other featured shows include Dark Horse Motion Comics, Wil Wheaton’s TableTop gaming show, Felicia Day’s video blog, and so much more.

The other channel of note is The Nerdist Channel, created by Chris Hardwick a.k.a. the Nerdist. Hardwick hosts a bowling show where he bowls against other celebrity groups for charity. One episode will even feature them facing off against the Geek & Sundry team. There are lots of shows still to premier on the Nerdist channel, including one hosted by Rob Zombie, a show hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and a show with Neil Patrick Harris and Muppets.

Both the Nerdist Channel and Geek & Sundry are pioneering a shift towards quality internet television programming. Unlike cable, you can enjoy all of these shows for free as long as you can get on the internet. In return, all they ask is you hit subscribe to their YouTube channels so they can hopefully keep this kind of programming coming.

Mar 2012 29

by A.J. Focht

A new Avengers trailer promoting the IMAX 3D showings is out. A batch of behind-the-scenes photos have been released as well. The Avengers is only about a month out, but we’ve got some reassurance the group’s adventures won’t end then. Black Widow has been confirmed for Iron Man 3, so we know there will still be cross overs amongst The Avengers team.

Despite the poor performance of The Green Lantern, Warner Bros. hasn’t given up on making a movie for The Flash. The company is finalizing their marketing strategy for the DC heroes, but Flash is apparently high on the list. There will likely be more information about upcoming DC hero films after the release of The Dark Knight Rises.

During the Empire Awards, Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and James McAvoy (Xavier) took a moment to discuss the upcoming sequel to X-Men: First Class. While McAvoy seems to be out of the loop, Fassbender expects the film to start shooting soon.

The superhero movies this summer will have their work cut out to compete in a market where The Hunger Games made box-office history with the third largest opening weekend, taking the spot from Spider-Man 3 and falling just short of The Dark Knight. Hunger Games opened at $155 million in the Spring season and is the first movie in a trilogy. Most movies that make that kind of money are usually sequels released during the summer, so it has set the bar extremely high for movies like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and Amazing Spider-Man.

The upcoming RoboCop remake will be less robot and more cop, well more human at least. Joel Kinnaman, who has been chosen to play RoboCop, suggests the costume will be little more than an exaggerated sci-fi cop costume. This goes along with some of the new ideas that director Jose Padhila has suggested that concern new breakthroughs in neuroscience.

While some try respect the history of the works they are remaking, others seem to go out of their way to upset the apple cart. After fan outrage at Michael Bay’s announcement that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would now be aliens, the director did some damage control suggesting that could mean as little as “the ooze was from space.” Now there is a fear that they won’t be teenager as the movie’s name has been changed to Ninja Turtles. This doesn’t mean they won’t be teenagers, but it has caused some concern.

Terra Nova’s last hope, Netflix, won’t be saving them after all. Talks concerning Netflix’s attempt to pick up the show for a second season have fallen through. Netflix is however still considering picking up The River for a second season. In future, you can expect to see online networks like Hulu and Netflix pick up an increasing number of popular cancelled shows as they work on building up their own programming schedule.

You can now follow along with the activities on the set of Ender’s Game at the project’s production blog. Only two entries have been posted so far, but one is of a utility deck panel from the ship set.

The first trailer for the new Doctor Who series was leaked after a convention in Wales. The pirated trailer hasn’t been taken down yet so watch it while you can. In related news, the Time Lord’s new assistant has also been unveiled. Former UK soap actress Jenna-Louise Coleman will play Matt Smith’s companion, though little else is known about her role.

As for another Doctor Who spinoff, Steven Moffat isn’t against it, but he doesn’t have the time to be the one making it. Moffat might not be opposed to a Doctor Who spinoff, but he has voiced his issues with the American version of the BBC’s Sherlock. He is upset that CBS is moving forward with Elementary even though they were denied rights by the BBC. Ultimately, he worries the CBS version will be bad and discredit the source show.