Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thor Comic-Con Trailer IS NOT Online!


UPDATE JULY 30: Paramount Pictures and Marvel has pulled the plug on the trailer. To make up for it here is the first episode from the 1960s animated series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgbsV6aTHts Hopefully the studios will release their own official version soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green Lantern: First Glimpse of Sinestro!


Warner Bros. has issued four character posters from Green Lantern that when put together form both the classic lantern and the oath "In brightest day, in blackest night..." And we get our first look at Mark Strong as Sinestro, looking pretty good. You can see the other three posters at http://heatvision.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/07/green-lantern-posters-make-one-big-image-.html

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Comic Review: John Carter, Warlord of Mars #8-11


With Comic-Con pretty much a done deal (just check out the sites below for news on Ryan Reynolds winning over the fans of Green Lantern, Marvel rolling out the all star cast of The Avengers and Harrison Ford making an appearance for Cowboy and Aliens) and a new Warlord of Mars comic book around the corner I thought I would attempt to finish up my reviews and thoughts on previous comic versions. (You can read my thoughts on the first seven issues here http://jcomreader.blogspot.com/2009/07/marvels-john-carter-warlord-of-mars.html.)

So we pick up with issue 8-"And Stone May Crumble!" as John Carter has cleared his name after his forced "servitude" under the dreaded Air Pirate Staro Kan and has reunited with his beloved Dejah Thoris so he takes the day off to enjoy some "sand skiing" while Kantos Kan finds love with Lyssia, who predicts his death (talk about ruining a picnic!) And he might as assassins and a stone monster that can turn people into stone with his laser eyes run amok. Yes, a stone monster with laser eyes.

Issue 9 "Armageddon...At Last" finds John and company heading off to take out the dreaded "Council of Five" who has been behind all their recent troubles. Once at the enemy stronghold it's every man and Thark for himself as the battle rages on until all seems fine. That is until the next issue, "Confrontation" which finally wraps up the "Air Pirates of Barsoom" arc. While Tars Tarkas considers leaving Helium and returning to lead his people, John is summoned by "The Great One," the leader of the Council who is revealed to have been (spoiler alert!) born on the sacred Tree of Life that all of Barsoom's inhabitants emerged from. And the Great One has figured out that the only way to restore Barsoom to its original lush glory is destroy all life and start over...something John has to stop or otherwise die.

And as you can tell he does by the time issue 11 opens. "The Story of Dejah Thoris" finds John reminiscing about his first meeting with the incomparable Dejah-as a prisoner of the fierce Tharks. And how her beauty and strength had him falling head over heels in love with her.

Looking back at Marvel's take on Barsoom you got to give them this much-the series looks good. The artwork by the legendary Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres in issues 8-10 and Dave Cockrum in issue 11 captures Barsoom and the characters extremely well. Cockrum in particular drew an attractive Dejah Thoris, which counts for a lot. The major issue is still the plots. Not that I have anything against writer Marv Wolfman (who wrote several Tarzan comics for DC and Marvel that were pretty faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs) but I still feel that some of the "Air Pirates" storyline is too similar to Marvel's Conan the Barbarian series. I could see Conan fighting giant monsters but I guess since Burroughs never had any (unless you count Joog the Giant) it seems out of place. Also there is goofy humor-John at one point calls Tars Tarkas in issue 8 "a big green lummox" and Tars comes off too Ben Grimm-grumbling for comic effect. Also an interesting notice-on the first page of issue 9 John states he wishes he hadn't brought Dejah with him on their mission in which she retorts "long before you took your first step on this world I was a capable warrior." I guess we know now where Andrew Stanton got his "blitzing" Dejah from.

With that said though-these four issues are still an interesting read for John Carter of Mars fans. I would definitely say get issue 11-the artwork is great and it stays close to the original novel. I just hope the upcoming Dynamite Comics series delivers on both fronts.

Friday, July 23, 2010

SDCC: Thor's Throne Room


San Diego Comic-Con 2010 is underway, with Thursday showing off several things-including a sneak peek at Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-and today the Hollywood Reporter's Heatvision blog showed off this display that Marvel has setup for Thor, showing off the Asgardian Throne Room that I thought some might be interested in. Tomorrow we'll see what footage from Thor, Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will show up. (For news from the Con you can check out http://heatvision.hollywoodreporter.com/, Coming Soon http://www.comingsoon.net/ and Aint It Cool News http://www.aintitcool.com/ for info.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SDCC: John Carter Action Figures!


So while Disney is sitting out showing anything from the movie, John Carter of Mars fans will still have something to look at. After the announcement of the Dynamite Comics series now some pics have shown up from the Comic-Con Floor of John Carter and Tars Tarkas action figures. The pics are on here http://www.onesixthwarriors.com/forum/sixth-scale-action-figure-news-reviews-discussion/393509-john-carter-mars-figure-comicon.html. It doesn't say which company is making them, even though there is a brief mention of Triad, which some may remember was selling a Dejah Thoris figure (even though it still hasn't been released.) The John figure looks okay but Tars looks good. I'll add more info as it comes in. UPDATE: The figures are indeed from Triad. They have the same picture on their message forum http://www.triadtoys.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3811.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flash Gordon Gets Serious and More Thor!


I didn't expect two updates today but that's how the world turns.

First up the site Airlock Alpha has an interview up with director Breck Eisner in which he talks about his plans for Flash Gordon, which I guess is his next film (even though I had heard a month back he was planning on a remake of John Carpenter's Escape From New York). He talks about how the film will avoid both the campiness of the 1980 film-no Queen on the soundtrack-and the "total crap" as he calls it of the recent Sci-Fi Channel series and how he hopes to use the same technology James Cameron used in Avatar to help make the film. You can read the full interview at http://www.airlockalpha.com/node/7612.

And with the clock ticking on to Comic-Con, more pics are popping up. This time we get a new Thor pic showing off evil Loki in his helmet and some of the other characters in the throne room of Asgard. The pic is at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2010/07/thor-bows-first-look-asgards-gleaming-throne-room-in-thor-.html

Dynamite Comics Goes to Mars


I guess in time for Comic-Con this week, Dynamite Comics has announced that they will be publishing Warlord of Mars, a new comic book take on John Carter, Dejah Thoris and the inhabitants of Barsoom, which will be hitting stores this October. The press release states it will follow the plot of A Princess of Mars and the first issue will cost a buck. How's that for a cool saving in this expensive times. You can see the different cover art-by the likes of Alex Ross and Joe Jusko (whose art is above and an obvious homage to Frank Frazetta's classic cover art) here-and some pages and more info at http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/07/19/dynamite-to-publish-john-carter-warlord-of-mars-comic-series-and-the-first-issues-a-dollar/

Sunday, July 18, 2010

John Carter's Swordmaster Speaks!


Finally some new John Carter of Mars news. In this case the site http://www.martianchess.com/ has snagged an interview with Kevin McCurdy, who is the swordmaster and trainer on the film. There is some cool revelations-the best being that the Heliumites and Zodangans will be sporting unique swords specific to each culture designed by co-writer and 2nd unit director Mark Andrews-and one groaner-Mr. McCurdy also trained Lynn Collins and she will be "blitzing" Zodangans. I wonder how many Barsoom fans will be shaking their heads at that. You can read the full interview here: http://www.martianchess.com/Home/tabid/40/EntryId/10/MC-Exclusive-Interview-With-John-Carter-of-Mars-Swordmaster.aspx

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Black Legion of Callisto


Baring any last minute news I'll close up the week with a book review. So let's go!

Picking up after his previous adventure (chronicled in the novel Jandar of Callisto), Army Captain Jonathan Dark is still fighting to survive on Thanator, otherwise known as Callisto, one of the moons of Jupiter and to rescue the Princess Darloona. After rescuing her from the Sky Pirates of Thanator, Jandar (as he is called by the natives) loses her to the Chac Yuul, also known as the Black Legion-a wandering army that has conquered Darloona's home country of Shondakor. Using his skills, Jandar slips in and ends up in the Legion's army and then ends up personal bodyguard to Vaspian, Prince of the Black Legion and Darloona's future husband! Can Jandar rescue his beloved from a forced marriage and Shondakor? Will he uncover the secrets of the mysterious Ool the Uncanny? And can you spot all the John Carter of Mars references?

Those growing up in the late 1960s and early 70s are probably familiar with Lin Carter. For those who don't Carter was a novelist who found great popularity with his sword and sorcery and science fiction works as well as being an editor on such anthologies like Flashing Swords! He even worked on the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon series. After creating the Robert E. Howard inspired Throngor he ended up working with L. Sprague De Camp on the much debated Conan pastiches that popped up.

Which is a shame. While Carter isn't a great novelist, Black Legion of Callisto is a well-written and fun sword and planet adventure that clearly shows a love for the genre. It also becomes clear that Carter was as big a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs as Howard since the book almost becomes a spot the ERB homage game. In fact the whole plot is basically the last third of A Princess of Mars spread out for almost 200 pages. Throw in Ool (who basically is a Matai Shang clone), our heroes being rescued in a clear lift from The Master Mind of Mars, Jandar referring to the "incomparable" Darloona (even though their relationship seems more inspired by Carson Napier and Duare from the Venus series) and the opening where Carter has worked himself into the narrative (though not as Jandar's nephew) and you have hit most of the Barsoom series in one novel.

I'm not saying its as good as the best of ERB's work and in fact having read the John Carter series over and over I could see much of where the story was heading but it is a fun book if you can find it (the series, which ran up to 8 installments, is currently out of print. You might find copies on ebay or Amazon pretty reasonably.) My rating: *** out of 4.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Look: Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern!


How's this? Following yesterday's look at Thor and family, Entertainment Weekly has posted up the cover for their next issue, giving us our first glimpse of Reynolds in his full GL outfit. It looks great. There is also a brief piece on the film and Comic-Con here http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/07/15/green-lantern-ryan-reynolds/ A quick UPDATE: more photos are now up at http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=67978 showing us co-stars Blake Lively, Peter Saarsgard, Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thor Gets 3D and a New Pic


I guess having a blog few people read is good. At least I'm not drowning in angry Christopher Nolan fans after yesterday's post.

Today though we get another image from Thor, this time showing off Anthony Hopkins as dad Odin and actor Tom Hiddleston as Loki along with Chris Hemsworth sporting Mjolnir. The LA Times' Hero Complex site also has an article about Marvel's plans for Comic-Con, including converting Thor and Captain America:The First Avenger into 3D (even though I'm sure most of the panel will be explaining the recent sacking of Edward Norton as the Hulk. Personally I thought Norton did a good job in The Incredible Hulk and should be brought back.) You can read more at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2010/07/thor-3d-captain-america-3d-comiccon-marvel-studios.html

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why I Have No Interest in Inception


Not a great headline, but honesty is the best policy.

For those who have been living under the proverbial rock (and that must include Disney who is releasing their latest Nicolas Cage flick The Sorcerer's Apprentice against it), this week marks the release of Inception, the highly hyped science fiction thriller from director Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a "dream thief" (at least based on what I could figure out from the confusing trailers). The film has many-both critics and film geeks-drooling over its visuals, its storyline and Nolan-who some seem to feel is the greatest filmmaker ever (sorry Hitchcock, Capra and John Ford) making his first film since The Dark Knight and some thinking it will even take down Avatar as the biggest moneymaker ever. Everyone except this geek I'm afraid.

I don't know why but I just have no enthusaism for it-it reminds me too much of The Matrix with the scenes of buildings blowing up and people hanging upside down and the plot sounds like a bad Syfy TV series. Its not the only film this summer either to do that-I had no interest in Toy Story 3 either (despite the universal acclaim-all though at this point Pixar could make a movie called Fido Goes to Get Spayed and people would think its the greatest film ever). And then there are some films you would have to strap to me a chair Clockwork Orange style to make me suffer through (Twilight 3 anyone?) .

Yet I seem alone in my lack of interest in Inception. Could it be I just have lousy taste in movies (after all I enjoyed Iron Man 2, no one else seems to)? Could it be that while I like a few of Nolan's films (especially The Prestige) I didn't care much for either of his Batman films (the first one suffered from boring origin story syndrome while the second only worked when Heath Ledger was onscreen) and he isn't my favorite filmmaker-nor the greatest (for the record for me Akira Kurosawa holds that title). Or is it that the film has been built up so much that I'll walk in with high expectations and the film won't live up to them and I'll feel I've wasted my money and time on a film I didn't like or enjoy. Because for me that's the main issue with a movie-I want to enjoy it. I want to have fun and escape. I don't mind movies that make you think or want to present offbeat or original ideas-I'm all for that. But when a film is this hyped and people are carrying on like its the second coming, I begin to grow tired of it before it comes out and wonder if it is really worth all the fuss.

So I guess I'll be the exception and skip Inception. Sorry folks, maybe the dream thieves stole my enthusiasm.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Comic-Con 2010-Let's Get Geeky!


Yep it's that time again. The annual San Diego Comic-Con is set for Thursday July 22 through Sunday July 25 and the schedule for the first three days are up at http://www.comic-con.org/cci/. Sadly I'm not going (I don't have the money to fly half way across the country and all that, plus its been sold out for months) but given the Internet I'm sure we'll be seeing and hearing a lot. So what is going to be shown?

Well first up what we won't be seeing. It looks like John Carter of Mars will be sitting out-which isn't surprising considering shooting just wrapped and both Disney and Andrew Stanton's paranoia about showing anything (at this rate they'll finally show something 2 hours before the movie comes out in 2012.) The only person related to the movie appearing (so far) is composer Michael Giacchino who is set to appear Thursday on a panel discussing composing genre movies and TV. Also MIA is Marcus Nispel's Conan reboot, even though Saturday's schedule does have a panel on Robert E. Howard and the comic book spin offs of his work so something might be shown at it.

As for the rest-Thursday's big event looks to be Tron: Legacy with members of the cast (including Jeff Bridges) and crew while Friday is Star Wars Day with numerous panels devoted to a galaxy far far away. Saturday finally brings out the big guns-Warner Bros will be showing Green Lantern and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows during a presentation; Marvel will have Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in their own panel while Jon Favreau will be showing off his upcoming Cowboys and Aliens at a panel for Universal. So we'll wait and see what happens. UPDATE: Sunday's schedule is now up and it looks like mostly panels for TV shows (like Supernatural, Glee and Spongebob Squarepants) and actual comic books.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Conan In Action! Plus More John Carter Photos


Well a happy Independence Day for those in the US. For the rest of you, still a good day. So how about some photos?

First up a new photo from Marcus Nispel's Conan reboot has shown up with actor Jason Momoa in action. I don't know why he is being drenched (unless there's a water demon in the film) but at least its something. You can see a higher resolution pic at http://www.conanmovieblog.com/2010/06/30/conan-the-barbarian-the-musical/

Also popping up is some more photos from the set of John Carter of Mars-this time with real human beings in them! Linked from http://www.barsoomia.org/ are a couple of shots of Willem Dafoe and director Andrew Stanton posing with on set visitors and actress Samantha Morton apprarently going Indiana Jones as she excavates some bones (I guess those Banth bones and that casting call for Martian archaeologists from a few months back were legit? That or she's preparing for Jurassic Park 4.) You can see more at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=173915&id=163053698704&page=3

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Real John Carter of Mars?


Well not really. But a group of American and French scientists have determined that Mars was shaped by water from recent research. And the group's leader? Dr. John Carter of the University of Paris. No I'm not joking as the BBC has this interview with Dr. Carter about the study and the results http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10408113.stm Well if someone should know about Mars...