Friday, May 20, 2011

Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make a triumphant return to comics

IDW Publishing and Nickelodeon today announced that the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic series, featuring the beloved “Heroes in a Half-shell,” will premiere in August 2011. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be back in action and ready to fight off evil once again, with an impressive creative team led by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman.

Starting in August, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will kick off with a brand new installment of the original series, led by Eastman and co-writer Tom Waltz (Silent Hill: Past Life, Infestation: Outbreak). Newcomer Dan Duncan will bring the Turtles to life with dynamic interior art, while Sam Kieth and Walter Simonson provide eye-catching covers for issues one and two, respectively. Eastman will also provide layouts for Duncan's art, as well as variant covers.

This first series will feature new storylines that maintain the “turtle power” core beloved by millions of fans. Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael reunite to bring their ninja aptitude and teenage attitude in these all-new, action-packed adventures based on the original series. The first story arc will tell the origin story of the Turtles and introduce a new villain, the fearsome mutant alley cat, Old Hob. Featuring a cast of familiar characters, including Master Splinter, April O’Neill, Casey Jones, and true to the spirit of the original comics created by Eastman and Peter Laird, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are bigger and badder than ever, and ready to rock old and new fans alike.

IDW and Nickelodeon have a long-term partnership to offer an all-new installment of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and graphic novels. IDW’s new comics are part of a larger initiative to bring Turtles to a new generation of fans, starting with these new storylines from the original series that recapture the magic of the original Turtles comics. Additionally, in fourth quarter 2012, Nickelodeon will premiere a new CG-animated version of the wildly popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

Friday, May 13, 2011

eigoMANGA releases Danity Kane graphic novel

San Francisco based comic book publisher, eigoMANGA announces the release of the comic book graphic novel "Danity Kane: Keeper of Life". The graphic novel contains the complete Danity Kane mini-series that was first released on February 2010. "Danity Kane: Keeper of Life" is currently available at retail bookstores everywhere.

The graphic novel focuses on a na├»ve yet powerful young girl who was sent from a distant planet to liberate her people. She must combat a secret war between her people and their oppressors – a war that is now being fought on planet Earth.

"Danity Kane: Keeper of Life" was co-written by Natasha McGough and Austin Osueke with contributions from recording artist, Dawn Richard. The graphic novel was illustrated by Korean comic book artist, Kim Ji-Min.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thor navigates a difficult path with masterful storytelling

This could have been a simple popcorn movie. Show a bit about Thor's family, some sweeping scenes of Asgard, throw in a little something about earthly Norse mythology, make Loki a typical monologing Evil Villain (tm), Thor does some flashy superstuff to make the fanboys and fangirls squeal for about half the screen time, roll credits.

This was not a simple popcorn movie. Somehow this script, with masterful storytelling by J. Michael Straczynski and equally masterful direction by Kenneth Branagh, manages to balance the depths of space with the inside of a cramped travel trailer, balance wars between worlds with one human woman's struggles and needs, balance the grandeur of Asgard against a breakfast of scrambled eggs, while also tying Thor's story into Iron Man, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of the Avengers, including Hawkeye who does make an un-costumed appearance.

What could easily have been a confusing mess is anything but. The intricate dance back and forth between Asgard and Earth, the large and the small, works beautifully and never distracts from the complex story being told. There were only a couple of times that I felt a character suspended his or her own disbelief slightly more than was believable, and there were moments very obviously created to maximize the 3D effects (the weapon swinging into the viewer's face syndrome abounded), but they're minor flaws in the greater gem.

Thor is the hero's journey, with all the high notes of nobility, lessons learned, transformation, betrayal, love, honor and friendship rolled into one epic tale that does not disappoint in any way. Marvel films in general seem to have hit their stride after a few previous missteps (yes, I'm thinking Hulk too), and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of Thor.

Is it a perfect film? Of course not, but I'm not going to pick it apart either. It's an enjoyable movie that's well worth the ticket price, with superb acting (Anthony Hopkins in particular was brilliant), juicy visual effects, interesting production design, exciting fight scenes (the Destroyer is badass), and a story that hits all the right beats and leaves us wanting more at the end.

Speaking of more at the end, be sure to stay through the end of the credits for a bonus scene featuring Nick Fury as the franchise builds toward the Avengers, currently in production.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Alternative Press Expo (APE) announces special guests for 2011

Coming off its biggest year yet in 2010 with attendance topping 5,500, the Alternative Press Expo (APE), returns to San Francisco this fall at The Concourse Exhibition Center. The Expo, taking place Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, will again feature the expanded Exhibit Hall and additional programming tracks that debuted in 2010.

Five special guests have already signed on for the show: Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant!), Daniel Clowes (Wilson, Mister Wonderful; courtesy Drawn & Quarterly), Craig Thompson (Blankets, Habibi), Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve, Scenes from an Impending Marriage), and Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man, I Thought You Would Be Funnier).

“Interest in APE has never been higher as evidenced by our growing attendance and roster of exhibitors,” said David Glanzer, APE’s director of marketing and public relations. “This year’s terrific mix of special guests really helps us continue that momentum as one of the ‘must-see’ independent comics shows in the nation.”

APE showcases the best in alternative and small press comics, with an Exhibit Hall packed with cutting-edge creators featuring their comics, books, zines, original art, hand-made items, and much more. Further details on APE 2011, including a complete list of exhibitors and the full programming schedule, will be announced closer to the event.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Retro Spidey and other fun statues coming from Dark Horse

The 1960s brought a cultural upheaval in music and art, with a host of new icons entering the scene: The Beatles, Andy Warhol, and, of course, Marvel Comics, led by a host of characters that defined modern comic books. Now, these characters will appear just as they did then, in a new line of collectible statuettes from Dark Horse Deluxe.

Beginning in September 2011, the program will include two alternating series: Classic Marvel Characters and the Fantastic Four. The statues portray these characters just as they originally appeared: Spider-Man is presented with his early “web wing” costume, and Daredevil is in his yellow-and-red uniform, for instance. This new line will be deliberately different than the common modern Marvel collectible sculpture, with features like a rougher surface texture, visible seam lines, and other slightly “distressed” aspects, such as the method of paint application.

“I’ve collected Marvel comics since I was a kid,” Dark Horse president Mike Richardson recalled, “so I am really excited by this opportunity to add these terrific characters to our classic Syroco line. From the beginning, the goal of this program was to give a very unique treatment to the greatest characters in comics, and now we have the good fortune to work with the fine folks at Marvel on some of my absolute favorites.”

Each hand-numbered statuette comes carefully packaged in a custom-tooled, full-color, litho-printed tin box, in a style similar to past releases in the Dark Horse Syroco line. Also included is a small booklet about each character and a vintage-style pin-back button of the character.

Dark Horse’s statuettes are inspired by figurines developed in the 1930s. Now highly prized by collectors, they were often used as advertising premiums featuring famous comic-strip characters. Now known as Syroco figurines, these statuettes are named after both the company that originally produced them and the woodlike resin material from which they were made at the time. Measuring between four and five inches, these statuettes have been sculpted in the original style, described by sculptor Craig Yoe as “primitive but charming.”

Disney’s Uncle Scrooge, the Kellogg’s cereal mascots, Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, stars of DC Comics and Archie Comics, The Simpsons, newspaper-strip greats, and more have all previously appeared in this Syroco-style continuing series of collectible limited-edition sculptures.

Spider-Man, limited to two thousand numbered statuettes, will be the first in the Classic Marvel Characters series, going on sale in September. In addition to the ongoing Classic Marvel lineup, other anticipated series include the original Avengers.