Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Let's just jump in. Some clips have appeared online courtesy of editor Erik Jessen, who helped edit John Carter. The first clip "Dump Dejah" offers up some extra footage of our heroes reaching "the land of the dead" along with more Carter-Dejah bickering because you know that really establishes character. The second clip "Help Arrives" offers up a longer sequence between Dejah, dad and Dominic West's Sab Than, along with more of Mark Strong's Palpatine routine and more welcome James Purefoy footage. Take a peek and leave any comments below.
Monday, December 29, 2014
I know it's just a piece of junk, but it still makes point 5 past light speed. Beyond that geek reference here's the deal: a glimpse of the Millennium Falcon on the set at Pinewood courtesy of a Fortune magazine profile of Disney CEO Robert Iger http://fortune.com/2014/12/29/disney-ceo-bob-iger-empire-of-tech/. While there isn't much discussion of the upcoming The Force Awakens-or the other Star Wars movies-it is an interesting read for Disney followers about the future of the company.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
I hope you guys had a safe Christmas. With that out of the way, here's something to debate. I stumbled upon what could be some potential photos from the set of David Yates' Tarzan. I say potential since the source of these is a message board in another country http://www.moviemeter.nl/forum/6/12777/30 so you might want to take them with a grain of salt. Still if they are legit then it looks like some elements from Tarzan and the Leopard Men are being worked into the film. There is also a listing on the IMDB page for the film of a cast member as "Mbolongo Leopard Warrior" so make of that what you will. So do you think they are real or from some other production? Leave any thoughts below.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
With The Air-Pirates of Mars complete, this issue takes a look back at the historic meeting of the future Warlord and his incomparable princess. So get ready for "The Story of... Dejah Thoris!"
And if you've read A Princess of Mars, well you know the story. Boy goes to Mars. Boy gets captured by green four-armed Tharks. Boy meets girl. Girl is a hot Barsoomian princess. Boy fights to heck and back to rescue her and they live happily ever after (well until that Atmosphere Plant failed)...
With that said Marv Wolfman does a good job distilling those chapters into a quick, 31 page (with ads) comic book and still maintains the magic and appeal of Edgar Rice Burroughs. While some of the story is whittled down, we still get most of the highlights-from Carter and Dejah's blossoming romance to Carter's duel with Zad to their escape-and still understand the story, even for those who never read the book. In fact this is probably the best issue of the entire original run since it sticks close to Burroughs.
Taking over art duties after Gil Kane's 10 issue run is Dave Cockrum and Rudy Nebres and they manage to create a beautiful comic book. The characters-from the Tharks to Dejah Thoris herself-are rendered wonderfully as is the action sequences and quieter moments. It has that look that comic books don't seem to anymore and that makes for a nostalgic trip not only for Barsoom fans but comic fans period.
So with this stand alone issue we get not only one of the best in this series but in the entire history of John Carter of Mars comic books. Track it down if you don't have it already. Until next time have a safe and Merry Christmas.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Sorry for the lateness of this review but things happen. That said let's head back to Barsoom shall we?
With one of the alien invaders in front of him and a white ape behind him John Carter looks to be in a no-win situation. But he's not about to get "torn apart by a White Ape." Instead using his strength and agility he manages to avoid death and in the aftermath gain two unlikely allies. He also learns that Helium has been captured by the "warlord" of the Kahori. Meanwhile we discover a little more about this "warlord" Joshua Clark as he interrogates Dejah Thoris about Carter's whereabouts. With nothing left to lose, Carter-with the aide of Tars Tarkas and the Tharks-capture a Kahori cruiser and head for Barsoom to meet their new enemy...
Following last issue this one again takes its time to setup the story rather than jamming in a lot of action sequences. For some that might be a little irksome, especially if you crave some ERB-style mayhem. But wisely Ron Marz seems to be setting up his pieces and the result is readable and entertaining. With some good scenes showing us John Carter's loyalty and chivalrous side counterbalanced with enough growing tension readers will find much here to enjoy.
Also back for his second issue is artist Ahishek Malsuni and he does a good job balancing the action and character designs, even if there is some bizarre choices (or maybe it's just those yellow boots Carter is wearing distracts only me). Still he captures Barsoom quire well and brings to life the creatures-from white apes to Woola-with skill and a nice hand.
Fans of the first issue will find much here and if you haven't picked up this series yet what are you waiting for? Until next time faithful readers.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Here's something for your Sunday faithful readers. While there hasn't been much talk about the actual plot of David Yates' upcoming Tarzan other than some basics a site called BooksnFilm has posted an interesting piece that looks at the historical events that has possibly inspired the film. In this case that the film will focus on the Congo Free State that was founded in the late 19th century by Belgium's King Leopold II and the ultimate revelation of the atrocities and genocide carried out under his rule. The link is that the characters played by Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz (George Washington Williams and Captain Leon Rom) are actual people who were involved in the actual events. To read the entire piece-including how this event inspired both Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes check out https://booksnfilm.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/what-are-christoph-waltz-and-samuel-l-jackson-doing-in-david-yates-new-tarzan-film/ and leave any thoughts below.
Friday, December 12, 2014
We reach the end my friends. Of The Air-Pirates of Mars anyway as John Carter has his "Confrontation" with the Great One!
While Tars Tarkas contemplates returning to his own people, John Carter is abducted in the middle of the night and taken to confront the Council of Five's leader, a creature spawned from the Tree of Life (which also gave birth to the rest of Barsoom's inhabitants). Revealing his back story and his plan to return Barsoom back to its former glory by mass genocide, Carter engages in the most brutal struggle of his life (at least at that point) to save the world he now calls home.
Closing more with a whisper than a bang-even the climactic fight-this final issue of the Air-Pirates storyline raises some interesting questions about what is right and the choices that are made to protect life while at the same time the Great One's story of a dying planet brings up interesting ideas that might resonate in today's environmental movement so I give Marv Wolfman credit for approaching those issues even if the final conclusion closes this epic out with a disappointing climax.
As usual the artwork by Gil Kane and "the Tribe" (as credited) is the usual thumbs up quality. I especially like the portrayals of Tars and Sola and how they come alive on the page, along with the (mild) action of later on.
So we wrap up The Air-Pirates and bid them adieu. Until next time folks.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Lord of the Jungle is returning back to the comic book page this March. Dark Horse Comics has released their list of releases for that month and has announced that a new story, "Tarzan and the Gods of Opar" written and drawn by Mike Grell, will be included in Dark Horse Presents #8. For more info check out http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=57719 and stay tuned.
Monday, December 8, 2014
The latest issue of the new series comes out Wednesday and Comic Book Resources has a sneak peek http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=24959. Get ready for running and the most dangerous creature on Barsoom vs John Carter with a twist.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
For those still lamenting the lack of a Woola toy this is probably as close as your going to get. In this case Goliathon from the recent Toy Story That Time Forgot (which did have some Edgar Rice Burroughs influences, including dinosaurs and an arena combat sequence). The funny thing is that it actually looks more like Burroughs' original description than what Andrew Stanton came up with for Woola so go figure. Goliathon reportedly won't be coming out until February but I actually saw it-along with other figures from this movie-at a local Wal-Mart so if you want one head there and enjoy having him eat up...well something.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
OK we're back as as 'The Air-Pirates of Mars' reaches it's wrap-up. So prepare as we get "Armageddon...At Last!"
Following the rock monster attack, John Carter commands an air fleet to the stronghold of the Council of Five and bring an end to their plans. But when the city's defenses prove more difficult then imagined-including an invisible shield and floating city-Carter, Dejah, Tars Tarkas and Kantos Kan find themselves fighting for both their lives and all of Barsoom, a battle that will leave lasting repercussions for our heroes.
Setting up the finale for the first story arc in the series, Marv Wolfman and company do a bang-up job, from capturing the action and peril of warfare to giving each character moments to consider their choices and the outcomes of them. From the opening, where Carter and Dejah and Kantos and Grogg debate their reasons for this attack (from revenge to noble intentions) to Tars questioning his own decisions to return back to his people, it's a surprisingly more weighty issue than just the usual fights and battles that most comic books, including this one, engages in.
As usual the artwork by Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres is top notch, capturing the characters and the action with skill and ease. All though Kantos' ponytail is a bit much.
If you want an action fix and a cool John Carter of Mars story to boot this issue delivers what you need. Next time "The Final Chapter in the Greatest John Carter of Them All!" as John Carter prepares for the final Showdown! Until then Kaor!
Friday, November 28, 2014
OK I'm going to be honest: This trailer's got my attention. With enough shown without showing everything, here is the first glimpse of our return to the galaxy far far away. Watch it and leave any thoughts below. (And is that Cumberbatch narrating? It sounds an awful lot like him.)
Monday, November 24, 2014
Like this weekend? Several are reporting of a Twitter posting by Regal Cinemas announcing the release of the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens for this weekend, attached to every movie playing...in nine theaters (all IMAX and RPX). But now it appears they may have jumped the gun as this pic appears when you hit http://www.regmovies.com/Home/promotions/Star-Wars-Trailer-Debut :
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Ready for more Barsoomian action? Well then prepare as "Flesh May Wither...And Stone May Crumble!"
When we last left off, John Carter had been reunited with Dejah Thoris and the two had adverted the destruction of the Atmosphere Factory and Barsoom. So what do you do next? Head for Disneyl...go sand skiing! Yep it's a day off as the pair picnic with Tars Tarkas, Kantos Kan and Kantos' lady friend Lyssia. But as usual all is not well. Lyssia is having visions of Kantos' death due to her "soul stone" (isn't that an Infinity Stone that Thanos needs?) while the leader of the evil Council of Five makes it clear that he will not stand for errors. Back in Helium while everyone gets ready for bed, Kantos is attacked by more Council underlings but that isn't the worst of it-an explosion started by the robot arm of Stara Kan (from issue 2) sets off the creation of stone monsters! Stone monsters that shoot laser beams that turn people to stone! Can Carter and Kantos save Helium from this latest threat?
Well let's start with the good stuff first, namely the artwork once again by Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres. With a slow start, the pair manage to bring the characters to life with vivid design work and deft hands. Later when all hell breaks loose, they keep the action tight and flowing without any confusion or mistakes. So the usual thumbs up there.
Now on to the "WTF" stuff? Really rock monsters that shoot lasers from their eyes? The thing is before that the issue is pretty good, giving Kantos Kan the spotlight for once as we see his own life and his devotion to Lyssia, despite her dire warnings of his fate. Marv Wolfman also skillfully works in a flashback tale of Carter's adventures on Jasoom that manages to tip its hat to Edgar Rice Burroughs' other famous creation and provides a nice respite from the action. Then those rock monsters show up and it becomes a looney tune. Granted it provides a touching-and dark-ending but after the telepathic lizard from a few issues back it may be time to set aside the Godzilla escapees. Then again rock creatures that shoot lasers would have been right at home in the Stantonland version of Barsoom that's a surprise he didn't include them.
So if you want to see John Carter fight rock creatures this is the issue you need to read. Otherwise next time get ready as we finally meet The Council of Five!
Friday, November 21, 2014
No clever opening here, just an Amazon with a big sword (that doesn't sound right does it?)
As this story opens we discover it's hard to be Diana, AKA Wonder Woman, especially when she has to split her time between her own life, being a member of the Justice League and as the acting ruler (or the God of War) of Paradise Island. But when massive rainfall seems to cause a village to just disappear in Thailand, Diana allows the stress to get to her and results in a smackdown with Swamp Thing and a heart to heart with Aquaman. But when she returns back to Paradise she receives a shock that she may never recover from.
OK confession time folks: as a kid I was more a DC kid than a Marvel one. Maybe it was the TV and movie exposure of their characters or just the fact that X-Men was too damn confusing and filled with too many characters to keep track with. But as I got older the DC characters began to lose interest for me and I gravitated more towards Marvel. Then recently I just completely lost interest with DC's "New 52" concept and their idea that all of their heroes needed to be Christopher Nolan-style brooders. So with that out of the way I decided to give DC another chance with this since I always did like WW. So is it worth it?
As mentioned I wasn't following the series so I don't have the loyalty to the previous team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang as it appears many do so I wasn't trying to make comparisons between their work and new team (and husband and wife) David and Meredith Finch. Based on some of the reviews I have read some are not happy with the direction of both Mr. Finch's artwork and Mrs. Finch's story but looking at it cold it's not bad on either front. The story helps set up the situation that Diana finds herself in, her feeling that she is being spread thin and unable to cope, which results in her actions towards Swamp Thing. There just isn't much going on except setting up the story arc though so it may take some patience before we see how it pays off.
The artwork has also gotten some flack, notably David Finch's drawings of WW, with some criticizing how almost child like she looks in the face. I can see it but again without having Chiang's version as a comparison so far I didn't have a problem with it. She may seem more feminine and you know what, that's fine. She maybe Wonder Woman but she is also a woman, not a steroid pumping behemoth. Finch also handles the brief action well and the work is nice and colorful.
The question is whether or not I will pick up the next issue. I might just to see where this goes and also go back and try the Azzarello-Chiang run to see how it was. At least she doesn't look like a Zack Synder approved Xena clone. Until next time faithful readers.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
While we wait for that fabled teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a Youtube user named Cameron Arrigoni has posted a new "modern" fan trailer for The Empire Strikes Back that proves you can make a classic look new. Take a peek and leave any thoughts below.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
A week late but here it is, my thoughts on the first issue of the new adventures of John Carter and company. Warning Spoilers ahead!
As usual Barsoom is facing a threat, in this case an invading alien race called the Kahori. While John Carter and Tars Tarkas are engaged in battle elsewhere, Helium is captured along with Dejah Thoris, who is then forced via a truth serum-infused alien bug to reveal the history of Barsoom to their new enemy. An enemy who has a past with John Carter that he wants to settle...To say more would be to spoil the reveal at the end (even though you get an idea in the first five pages at least where the bad guy comes from) so get ready to be surprised.
With the full support of ERB Inc. this time, Dynamite's new series gets off to a somewhat slow start as writer (and longtime ERB fan) Ron Marz takes the reader through a brief history of the story up to this point (which may bore some but provides a nice introduction to those new to the characters) as well as establishing at least the main villain. Some might take issue with Dejah being held captive again and the fact that Carter's time in this first issue is minimal but Marz deserves credit for jumping in and creating an intriguing setup.
The real star here is the artwork by artist Abhishek Malsuni, an artist I admit not being familiar with but whose work here is great. He captures the weird creatures of Barsoom vividly, captures the action sequences with Carter and Tars with the best artists who have tackled them before and has a nice style that compliments Marz' storytelling. Granted I should mention that, as usual, Dejah sports the usual full balconies but at this point I guess it is to be suspected. I also have to give a shout out to the coloring work by Nanjan Jamberi, which adds a lot and for once makes the red men RED.
With this first issue fans of John Carter of Mars will be pleased the series in stable hands and will enjoy the imagination on display and the tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs' greatest hero. For those who haven't yet delved into the books don't worry as it doesn't get too bogged down in backstory or references to the books to make it confusing. Pick it up now! Until next time Barsoomians, Kaor!
Friday, November 14, 2014
I promise to get my thoughts on the new John Carter, Warlord of Mars up this weekend but for now let's return back to Helium as "Dejah Thoris Lives!"
After surviving the vengeance seeking mob from last issue, John Carter is teetering between life and death with Sola tending to him. Meanwhile Dejah is alive and a prisoner-or rather "a guest"-at the secret headquarters of the Council of Five, a group that consists of members of each race of Barsoom, even black and yellow Barsoomians. She also discovers the truth of the Council's plans from guard Gargan, who has plans of his own for the princess (if you catch my meaning). But hell hath no fury like a princess manhandled and Dejah escapes and commandeers a flier to stop the Council's scheme-the destruction of the Atmosphere Factory and the rise of a smaller, select race to rule Barsoom.
With this issue we welcome back Dejah and Marv Wolfman and company do a good job making her both a proud princess, a brave soul and determined fighter. With enough exposition to help explain the plot without getting bogged down and enough rousing action sequences the issue flies by quickly, even with John Carter lying in bed the entire time. There is some bumps-really Dejah would bath and dress in front of someone who isn't her husband-and some contradictions (she sees black and yellow Barsoomians yet never mentions them to Carter or anyone since in The Gods of Mars and The Warlord of Mars its made clear they are both considered rumors and legends, not real) but besides those little things the issue delivers.
Handling the art duties again is Gil Kane, now joined by Tom Sutton and as I've said before, the artwork is gorgeous, filled with enough action, good character design and distinct designs to make you wish this had been used as an influence on the movie (and shows you can do good Barsoomians without butt ugly tatts and just "look at the colors" distinguishing them).
So there you go folks, another high octane issue. Next time "The Creature That Destroyed Helium!" Can it live up the promise of being "The Greatest John Carter Story of All!" We'll see.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
ERB fans will want to get this one. The latest issue of Alter Ego magazine, edited by comics legend Roy Thomas (who is currently writing the online Tarzan comic strip for ERB Inc.) takes a look at the comic book history of Edgar Rice Burroughs' creations, from Tarzan of the Apes to John Carter of Mars. For a little more information check out http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=55&products_id=1164&zenid=4c6pd2imljq04iggqghua13c26.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
OK if this isn't a special feature I will be really disappointed. With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD December 9, some clips from the bonus features are being released. This one comes courtesy of director James Gunn, who appears as the heroic Galactic Adventurer (8-Bit edition) and discusses the look of the film and his goal to bring a "brighter" look to the space opera genre that hasn't been around a while. So watch the clip and leave any thoughts below.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Due to not getting to the comic book store in time, my review of John Carter, Warlord of Mars #1 will be delayed until later this week (I guess the fact they sold out proves there is audience for old Carter still). So to take its place here is the latest issue starring that other guy who went from Earth to the stars.
Having survived his mano-a-mano with Thanos last issue, Peter Quill discovers he is now the number one target of a bounty hunter named Mister Knife. Needing to know who this guy he is he heads to the "armpit of the cosmos" for some information from a Kymellian named Lucien (a talking horse basically). From there Lucien relates how Knife's elite hit team-the Slaughter Squad (not to be confused with the Suicide Squad from DC Comics) and their hunt for the Black Vortex. With that captured Quill discovers the next target-him!
Taking a back seat in the action department, writer Sam Humphries does a good job establishing the Slaughter Squad, even if they are the usual ragtag band of mercenaries working for a shadowy overlord with galaxy conquest goals (or at least that's how this usually turns out). Beyond that we get some humor from Quill, a bar that wouldn't feel out of place on Mos Eisley and a nice setup for the future, along with some cameo appearances. Plus it has a talking horse. How can you not love that? (Even if he isn't Mister Ed?)
The artwork duties are handled by Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco and they deliver a nice, vividly designed world filled with offbeat characters. They don't get to show off much since there is no big action setpieces but they deliver enough to catch the eye and keep the reader moving through the issue.
So Star-Lord fans you know what to do and pick this up. For everyone else give a chance and you will find a fun space comic. I'll be back later folks.
Friday, November 7, 2014
I know this is several hours late but here it is anyway. Lucasfilm and Disney has announced title for the new Star Wars and as you an tell, The Force Awakens! What that means is anyone's guess-and believe me there has already been enough debate even since it was announced a few hours back, so prepare for a long ride. If you like it, dislike it, etc., leave your thoughts below and get ready for December 18, 2015 when the Force will indeed Awake.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
I will try to get a review of the first issue of the new John Carter, Warlord of Mars up this weekend but for now let's head back to the past, where our hero finds "Hell in Helium!"
Having killed Stara Kan and escaped, John Carter decides to return to Helium to seek help in his search for Dejah Thoris unaware that the whole city has turned against him since they suspect he is involved in the princess' disappearance and the raids he was forced to participate in. Meanwhile Mors Kojak finds Tars Tarkas, who reveals what happened earlier and refuses to believe John is guilty of the acts he is accused of and vows to find Carter and Dejah and "slay the culprit who spread those filthy lies!" But he might be too late as Carter ends up fighting for his life against a bloodthirsty mob to save not only his life but the lives of innocent Heliumites as well.
From the first page to the last, this issue builds up the tension and action until it reaches the finale with Carter for once vulnerable and unable to save the day. The writing by Marv Wolfman skillfully builds Carter's dilemma of not wanting to hurt his adopted people while at the same time having to save themselves from their blood lust that it forces the reader to turn the pages quicker to find out what happens. There is no flab here and even some recaps of the past issues helps bring the reader up to speed and doesn't slow the story flow.
As usual excellent artwork, this time courtesy of Gil Kane and guest inker Rudy Mesina, especially since this issue is some jam packed with action sequences, fights and narrow escapes. So no complaints there.
With some foreshadowing of what is to come and a cliffhanger of an ending this issue is a definite winner and makes the reader ready for the next adventure. Next time "Dejah Thoris Fights Back!" Until then, Kaor!
Monday, November 3, 2014
With all of the news surrounding ERB Inc. getting back the rights from Disney it probably did slip a few minds that this Wednesday Dynamite and ERB launch the first issue of the new John Carter, Warlord of Mars. Well here's your reminder along with a preview from Comic Book Resources http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=24374 to help build excitement. Most of the preview pages artwork was previewed before but this is the first time with the text, so get ready for John Carter vs. "Invaders of Mars!" and hit the comic stores for it.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
When we last left off John Carter has just saved his worst enemy from being lizard dinner. So now prepare for "...And One Shall Die!"
We open this time back in Helium as Kantos Kan defends John Carter against the charges of his kidnapping Dejah Thoris and selling her into slavery. He finds assistance from Grogg, a slow-witted but loyal soldier who also believes that Carter is innocent of the crimes he is accused of. The battle is cut short though by Mors Kojak, who decides to build a rescue party to find his daughter and get to the bottom of Carter's activities. Meanwhile Carter is still being forced to participate in more raids until he is barely eaten by a giant spider. When he escapes and returns he discovers that Stara Kan has ordered Dejah to be eliminated, leading to a final showdown between the two that leads to a startling conclusion and potential loss...
With a strong opening setting up Kantos and Grogg to the final panel, Marv Wolfman and company maintain a quick pace and keep the suspense going with nice fluidity while raising the stakes that makes Carter's actions believable and exciting. Throw in the creepy spider sequence and the final page and you got a good story that captures ERB perfectly.
Also helping is the contributions of Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres' artwork that brings the action and characters to colorful life. It shows their excellent skills of handling the action sequences and the quieter, more contemplative moments Carter has while weighing his options and his potential actions and how it could impact his search for the woman he loves.
Next time, "Hell in Helium!" How's that for a tease?
Friday, October 31, 2014
Well the trailer anyway. The former John Carter shows off his action skills in this trailer for the next Call of Duty video game courtesy of director Peter Berg (who worked with Kitsch on Friday Night Lights and Battleship). The funny thing is it has the Kitsch that could have pulled off John Carter, not the Mopey one we got. Take a peek and try not to kiss the goat.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Telepathic lizard creatures who eat people is the least of John Carter's problems in this issue as we join the "Raiding Party!"
With Dejah still a prisoner and that obedience collar around his neck, Carter has become a reluctant crew member of Stara Kan's pirate fleet, pillaging the towns of Barsoom, leading Carter to be branded a traitor to Helium and even suspected in Dejah's kidnapping. Carter struggles to overcome his captors but in their last raid they meet something that forces Carter to rescue the man he hates-T'Rallaa, a mutant creature from another world who has one thing on his mind.
Working back from last issue's unintentional lapse into camp, Marv Wolfman quickly corrects the ship and recaptures the magic of the first two issues, at least until T'Rallaa shows up. Setting up Carter as a potential traitor is an interesting plot point as well as his working with his own worst enemy, since both are elements that Burroughs himself used in The Gods of Mars and Swords of Mars. The idea of Carter also having to save Stara Kan because he doesn't want to lose Dejah add some needed suspense and a sense of the character's true heart (you get the feeling the movie Carter would have just shrugged his shoulders and said "it's not my problem. Where's my gold?) That said the telepathic hungry lizard creature seems like he escaped from Marvel's Godzilla, King of the Monsters series (which was being published around the same time) and just provides a "what the?" moment that the issue barely recovers from. Still it's near the end and thankfully we don't have to endure a long multi-issue story arc for it.
Sounding like a broken record, another thumbs for Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres' artwork. I can't wait to see Dynamite's Art of book since this is work to be pored over and admired.
So with the promise of "John Carter and Stara Kan Fight to the Death!" in the next issue we'll be back then. Until next time Kaor!
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Just the news: the cast of David Yates' Tarzan has grown with the confirmation that John Hurt has joined the cast. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Hurt talked about his involvement with the film and that he helped get the project off the ground, commenting "I don't do a great deal in it - but it was sort of part and parcel of getting the film green-lit." For more hit http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/film-tv/news/john-hurt-swings-to-tarzan-rescue-30693615.html.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
While we wait to see how the Back to Barsoomers spin that $306.6 million figure, let's continue with the much less expensive retro adventures of John Carter. In this issue, chained up heroes, obedience collars and a guy wanting to be called Master. Wait is this suddenly 50 Shades of Barsoom?
When we last left our hero, Carter had been knocked unconscious following his fight with the white apes and captured along with Dejah by the villainous Stara Kan. Finding himself chained up, Carter first struggles to break his chains, eventually doing so (I guess it wasn't that admantium metal Mopey Carter had trouble with). But a hungry banth causes problems before he escapes his cell and confronts Kan, who has his own back story-he was a soldier in the Zodangan army who lost his arm when Carter and the Tharks invaded in A Princess of Mars-and is a member of the "Council of Five." He also demands to be called Master and spend the rest of the issue beating Carter until he submits due to that obedience collar Carter has around his neck.
Diving into this issue, the first thing that grabs the reader is the opening, which is handled with suspense and a sense of dread for both Carter and Dejah's fates. Only afterwards when we get to the "slap Carter around" scenes did it become silly and unintentionally hilarious. I'm sure Marv Wolfman was just trying to create a formidable antagonist for John Carter but Stara Kan's constant "call me Master" routine becomes over the top and silly. Also looking at it from a cynical 21st century point of view you can't help but laugh at the whole thing, A half dressed guy being slapped around in an obedience collar? Did no one think back in 1977 how that sounded?
Gil Kane returns to handle art duties, this time teamed with Rudy Nebres and together they handle the demands quite well, from the rather ferocious looking banth to Kan and Carter's "fight" it continues the high art standards set by the first two issues.
So faithful reader we wait and see what happens next. Will Carter rescue Dejah and defeat Stara Kan and the Council of Five? Will he get that collar off? We'll find out next issue.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
While we look towards the future of John Carter of Mars, Forbes went back and revealed that Andrew Stanton's movie cost more than you thought, A lot more. According to http://www.forbes.com/sites/csylt/2014/10/22/revealed-the-307-million-cost-of-disneys-john-carter/ the actual production costs of John Carter ran up to a whopping $306.6 million. That's right, $306.6 million. Disney was able to recoup some of that through British tax credit to the tune of $42.9 million, meaning that the net costs still ended up around $264 million, more than the reported $250 million budget that has been reported since 2012. In case your curious that makes it the third most expensive movie Disney has ever produced behind the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. OK the real question is what the heck cost so much? If anyone has any idea leave them below and hope that the next time someone knows how to balance a checkbook and can get better tax rebates.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Well here we are. With the press now reporting on the return of the rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., the question now comes up. What next? Some of the sites are suggesting that a sequel is in the works, even though no such announcement has been made and there might be a good reason for that...it might be difficult to do one. And for some fans that's good news since a new take on John Carter, Dejah Thoris and the denizens of Barsoom might deliver what Andrew Stanton and his team could not-a faithful, adventurous take on Burroughs and his creation. So let's take a look at the possibilities of what lies ahead for the gentleman from Virginia and his incomparable princess.
MOVIES: At this point one thing probably needs to be made clear: I do not want a sequel to Stanton's movie. It failed to capture anything from Burroughs, even the tone or essence that some of the movie's defenders claims it captured when defending how poor it was as an adaptation. But also a sequel might be out of the question anyway. First what studio will bankroll a sequel to one of the biggest financial flops in film history? The Back to Barsoomers can whine over and over about Disney's poor marketing, the mean critics and some evil 3 Days of the Condor like conspiracy to have it fail but make no mistake, studio chiefs are only interested in the bottom line and the line is that John Carter lost money, big money. If ERB Inc. makes a deal for a new John Carter of Mars movie a studio more than likely will demand it be a reboot or even an adaptation of one of the other books, not a direct sequel. Also can a sequel even be continued without Disney? One thing that has popped up in some discussions is the case of copyright, or rather trademark rights. A few years back Warner Bros. filed several trademark patents over the ownership of the 1939 The Wizard of Oz that stated while the L. Frank Baum books are in public domain, elements from their film was not. That included designs of the characters and sets, specific changes made to the story (i.e. the ruby slippers and the "it was all a dream" ending) and so on. Disney would most likely claim that their version is trademarked and unless a studio is willing to pay them, not available. In short no more Shape Shifter Shang, no more Mopey Carter, no more butt ugly tatts or moving cities or any other change Stanton and his cronies did to their version. With that it means one thing only-reboot and even then that could take time as the memory of this version needs to fade from view and support for a new take surfaces. It may be time for ERB fans to move in that direction and stop supporting the Stanton oriented Back to Barsoom movement since the important thing is getting a new John Carter of Mars movie, not who is directing it.
TELEVISION: In their press release, ERB Inc. mentioned they had also acquired television rights back. I would say now at this point this might be the best option for ERB to pursue since it might mean a more open and receptive audience. Many have suggested HBO or Showtime as a possibility and honestly I can see either one being able to take on the series and making a home run with it. HBO has taken risks before with shows ranging from The Sopranos to Game of Thrones as well as being unafraid to make series that won't appeal to everyone. One of the many faults of the movie was Stanton's idea that his movie needed to appeal to everyone and the end result was too many changes and a failure to appeal to both die-hard ERB fans and general audiences (not those mythical audiences the Back to Barsoomers claim exists). Showtime meanwhile has also taken on offbeat shows (Dexter, Masters of Sex, Penny Dreadful and their upcoming return to Twin Peaks), so they could be a good choice to take on John Carter and company. Throw in the fact that they won't have to bend to studio dictates, ratings and the need to appeal to every age group and this could be the best bet. Another possibility is animation, which would be an interesting avenue to pursue. Finding an animation house to take it could be problematic (and you got to figure that Disney's animation departments is out of the question) but it could offer up a version for younger viewers, especially if they want to cultivate an audience for a potential new movie.
MERCHANDISE: One area that has received no discussion was the mention that they had gotten back merchandising rights. One thing notably absent from the Disney film was merchandise, so now it opens the doors for action figures, etc. But one area that might be open will be new stories and books. In a brief introduction in last year's Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, it was mentioned that contractual obligations had prevented a new Barsoom story to be included, resulting in the inclusion of Michael Resnick's previously published The Forgotten Sea of Mars. Now with the rights back ERB could follow up their officially sanctioned Tarzan pastiches with new tales of Barsoom from different writers. The could even follow the templates they did before with a series aimed at younger readers, a retelling of A Princess of Mars from Dejah Thoris' point of view (similar to Robin Maxwell's Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan) and even new adventures. Given how many writers in the science fiction and fantasy genre had admitted to being inspired and influenced by Burroughs and his work I'm sure they will be able to find some ready and eager to jump in and take the challenge.
In fact getting the rights back has opened an exciting new door for fans and ERB Inc. With endless possibilities anything could happen. As long as it doesn't mean more Mopey. If you have any suggestions or ideas where they should go leave your thoughts below.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Yesterday's surprise announcement bumped this to today so without further ado, John Carter vs. "the savage WHITE APES OF MARS!"
Following his rescue of Dejah and Tars Tarkas, Carter captures a fleeing red man who he feels might have the secret to the events surrounding Dejah's kidnapping and the Warhoons. Bringing him back to Helium, the prisoner remains silent and is jailed at the request of Carter until he can get the truth out of him. However the prisoner has his own surprise and escapes, leading Carter and Tars into a trap involving those deadly apes. Also Dejah follows, putting Carter into a situation of fighting to save the woman he loves, leading to an ending that leaves our hero at the mercy of the escaped prisoner.
Picking up right where the first issue left off, "From the Shadows...Stara-Kan!" continues what made the first issue work-breathless action, interesting plot twists and a nice balance to the characters, all wrapped up in Marv Wolfman's effective storytelling. Granted this issue you do need to take some leaps of faith-like the fact that the prisoner has more in common with The Six Million Dollar Man than anything Edgar Rice Burroughs created, so be prepared. We also visit the one room Burroughs never took us to on Barsoom-Carter and Dejah's boudoir! And no Dejah, you haven't "lost the charm to lure you away from such worries?"
After collaborating with Dave Cockrum on the first issue, Gil Kane goes solo on the artwork here and it's still eye-catching, vivid and nicely rendered, from the backgrounds to the apes, Kane captures Barsoom with a great eye. He also balances the action sequences with flair and captures' Dejah's "charm" in a romantic and beautiful way. Fans will want to see this just for Kane's work alone.
So with Carter now at the mercy of his enemy what will happen next? Stay tuned and we'll see.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Well it looks like one nightmare is over. In a press release ERB Inc, has announced that the "movie, television and merchandise rights" to John Carter of Mars has reverted back to them from Disney. What does that mean? Well according to ERB President Jim Sullos:
“Edgar Rice Burroughs was the Master of Adventure and his literary works continue to enjoy a world-wide following. We will be seeking a new partner to help develop new adventures on film as chronicled in the eleven Mars novels Burroughs wrote. This adventure never stops. Along with a new TARZAN film in development by Warner Bros., we hope to have JOHN CARTER OF MARS become another major franchise to entertain world-wide audiences of all ages.”
So the question now remains, what next? A sequel to Andrew Stanton's misfire, a reboot or even a potential live-action or animated television series? Let's just hope it won't be another studio that doesn't respect the history or influence of Burroughs and a director who at least reads the books, not constantly badmouths them. For more check out http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/10/prweb12253636.htm
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Hawkmen, Hawkwomen and a "virile" Zarkov. Yeah things just got weird.
Now in the hands of two Hawkmen, Dale is reluctant to give up the Gatestone Crystal that allows travel through Mongo. Instead she tells them that Flash and Zarkov have it and since they've been captured by "Dirt Eaters" (as the Hawkmen call them for reasons that become obvious), they help Dale rescue her male comrades from that "fate worse than death" usually reserved for the heroines (what is this Flesh Gordon?). Once that's done and they've saved Flash and Zarkov from the danger of constant boinking, they escape their captors only to have the big bird himself arrive-Vultan! But let's just say he isn't much help either...
Yep just another day for Flash Gordon.
So far I've liked this series and this issue has the same ingredients-adventure, quips and bizarre turns towards comedy (seriously who knew Zarkov was such a stud to the ladies), twists and the usual out of nowhere plot turns. I get the feeling writer Jeff Parker is having fun with the characters and it comes through nicely, even though some might be turned off by the humor or camp that peeks through.
As usual a nice A plus to Evan Shaner and Jordie Bellaire for the art and colors that make the book nice and eye catching. Bellaire also contributed to a second story that shows a side of Ming that we usually don't see-or do but played differently.
Flash Gordon fans will know to pick it up and if you haven't do yourself a favor and give it a chance. Until next time inhabitants of Mongo.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
A long time back (before the dark times. Before bad Disney marketing, Andrew Stanton's Mopey Carter and Back to Barsoomers walked the Earth), I reviewed the entire run of Marvel's original John Carter, Warlord of Mars series, rather badly since I did it in groups instead of single issues. Well with Dynamite's upcoming relaunch of the series in a few weeks I thought it was time to do it right and start one issue at a time. If I finish this remains to be seen but for now, get ready for "The Air-Pirates of Mars, Chapter 1."
The story kicks off already in progress as Dejah Thoris has been abducted and John Carter is in hot pursuit of her kidnappers. Rather quickly he finds them, a group of Warhoons, who he makes short work of. While that is going on Carter flashes back to how he came to Barsoom and his first meetings with the Tharks and Dejah. Eventually he finds Dejah and old pal Tars Tarkas, who warns that Barsoom will soon face "a deadly peril" and a plot to destroy all life of Barsoom-FOREVER!
Looking back at this first issue I admit to misjudging it. In fact this might be one of the best Barsoom comics ever as writer Marv Wolfman manages to capture the old ERB magic from page one. Dropping us in the middle of the story might throw some readers but for those familiar with the tales of John Carter it's an amazing fast paced tale that skillfully weaves Carter's back story with the action without bringing it to a dead halt. Also this is John Carter, from his jumping into danger to his devotion to Dejah, this is the character that Burroughs created in a good form without any excess baggage. Some I'm sure will say the characters are even more one-dimensional than their literary counterparts, but considering it's the first issue it does the job well (and without Stantonizing them!)
Helping is the artwork by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum that manages to bring Carter and company to life. There isn't much in the way of the epic battles we know from the books or later comics but the two artists manage to create a compelling look for Barsoom and handle the action sequences well. Throw in some nasty looking Warhoons, a beautiful and realistic Dejah (no implants here) and rousing color work and you got a great vision of Barsoom that may not suit everyone but it will catch the eye and keep you glued from start to finish.
It will be interesting to see if the energy can be maintained as I delve into the remaining 28 issues (and three annuals) but for now this take is classic and worth it for fans of ERB and the movie. Until next time folks.
Monday, October 13, 2014
For a movie that mere months ago cynics were predicting financial doom for, it seems to have done quire well. Well enough to spawn an animated series that will hit Disney XD next year and here is the first test footage from it courtesy of Marvel and the New York Comic-Con. Take a peek ad leave any thoughts below.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
More Barsoom guys. Dynamite Entertainment has announced the release of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter, Warlord of Mars--The Marvel Years Art Edition, a new collection of the 1977-79 Marvel Comics run of the series, No release date has been set yet so keep your eyes open when it is announced. For a brief look at some of the art, as well as upcoming Art Editions of Vampirella and Marvel's original Battlestar Galactica series hit http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/10/06/dynamite-adds-3-new-artist-editions-focusing-on-vampirella-battlestar-galactica-and-john-carter/.
Monday, October 6, 2014
AND NOW...THANOS! Or the guy in the floating chair from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Having acquired a mysterious device known as the Mandalay Gem, Quill and his sidekick, the holographic Lydia head to Earth, or more precisely the Moon to confront Star-Lord's most deadly adversary. Once there it's the usual slug fest between the two but their possible fight will cause the destruction of the Moon...and the Earth. Can the two put aside their differences long enough to prevent the cataclysmic event? And what is with blowing up the Moon? First Doctor Who, now this?
As mentioned above most of this is a long drawn out brawl in typical Marvel style, handled well by the art team of artist Freddie Williams and company with enough flair and color to at least catch the eye. Also seeing old Thanos for once getting his rear handed to him is a nice change from the usual scenes of him causing mass casualties he usually does.
The story though is just a one shot that leaves an opening for a more interesting tale, so I wonder if writer Sam Humphries just decided to throw in Thanos to help spice things up or keep those coming in from the movie interested since old Big Chin doesn't have any grand schemes planned or mentioned. Oh well at least there is some humor and a nice twist at the end.
As it stands, Legendary Star-Lord #4 is a good stand alone tale with bigger implications for future story lines. It's not essential reading but it is fun and if you enjoyed the character from the movie then dive in. Until next time folks.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Get ready to experience Pellucidar...in High Definition! Scorpion Releasing has released official details for the Blu-Ray release of the 1976 adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' inner world classic that starred Doug McClure, Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro. The disc will be released January 13, 2015 through Kino and MGM and will include as extras audio commentary with director Kevin Conner, interviews with Conner and Caroline Munro, the original theatrical trailer and reversible cover art. Check out https://www.facebook.com/scorpionreleasinginfo for more details and a peek at the other cover artwork.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Or at least spared us Shape Shifter Shang and Mopey Carter. In an interview celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, director Kerry Conran's brother Kevin (who served as production and costume designer on Sky Captain) talks about that film and the brothers' attempt to bring Barsoom to the big screen and how it might have changed the landscape of filmmaking. Among the pertinent highlights:
On why the film ultimately wasn't made: "We worked on that for almost a year. Paramount gave us a fair chunk of money to hire a bunch of guys and put some test footage together," Kevin says. "We were actually all prepared to fly to Australia for it and scout locations. We were going to shoot some of the live-action stuff down there. It was right around that time that [CEO] Sherry Lansing left Paramount, she had been our champion. The new regime, as is often the case, just scuttled everything that was in the mix. We were tabled for a while and didn't know our fate. It left us and of course ended up going to Disney, who made the film."
On how it could have trumped Avatar and possibly influenced a new style of movie making: "I tell my friends, had we been able to finish John Carter and get it released, it would've changed Hollywood history in a really profound way. Avatar came out a year or two after we would've been released, and it's a similar story - Earth warrior goes to alien world, falls in love and leads an uprising. We had things in our version of John Carter that are actually in Avatar, the flying mountains and four-winged lizard creatures. All this kind of stuff, we had in our early prep work.
"It's weird. If we'd come out a year-and-a-half ahead of Avatar, they would've had to scramble and change some things. We were close, we were on the way to Australia and had spent three-and-a-half million bucks doing tests and hiring people. We thought we were going to do it."
For more hit http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/feature/a598519/sky-captain-and-the-world-of-tomorrow-10-years-on-a-ground-breaking-blockbuster.html?rss#~oR4FbPJnkebUho and if you want to sample what could have been-or refresh your memory-here is the test reel for Conran's version.
Friday, September 26, 2014
After being bumped to next February, Warner Bros, has released a new trailer for the Wachowski's new sci-fi epic and it looks really good. A little more plot is revealed, more awe-inspiring visuals and Mila Kunis so what do you want? Other than wondering if Sean Bean will survive this one? Take a look and leave any thoughts below.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Bleeding Cool has posted a preview of the first issue at http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/09/24/exclusive-first-look-at-john-carter-warlord-of-mars/ and you can check it out. The pages do lack text and for those who have issues about female Martian anatomy well...
You've been warned. Head over and take a peek and leave any comments below.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
OK so this is a few months late (there already up to issue 3) but here's my thoughts on the first issue of the new adventures of Peter Quill.
After a brief flashback to Peter's life on Earth, the story opens with Quill in a faceoff with some Badoons over the Mandalay Gem that is being hid at an orphanage in the fringe territories of the Spartax Empire. Once captured Quill plays some games with his captors to escape and get the gem back. It doesn't go where you think though.
Opening up this first issue, writer Sam Humphries manages to juggle a lot of information without losing sight of the story or getting too bogged down in references to the past, even though readers will need some knowledge of Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy's past to make sense of some of story. The action is quick, the quips even quicker and the tone is bright and fun, making for an easy accessible entry into this universe.
Helping out is the artwork by the combo of penciler Paco Medina, inker Juan Vlasco and colorist David Curiel as all three bring the story to life with nice designs, splashes of color and a firm grasp on the action and story being told. It may not be the most vibrant comic on the market but it is still eye-catching and pleasing to look at.
If you caught the movie and want more, then Legendary Star-Lord is off to a good start with a fun story and an offbeat character to follow. Give it a try if you haven't and I will try to get the next two issues and post reviews of them. Later folks.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Another day, another enthusastic Ron Marz interview, this time from Newsarama http://www.newsarama.com/22188-marz-goes-to-mars-john-carter-warlord-of-mars-returns.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+newsaramapreviews+(Newsarama.com+previews). This time there is discussion of about the accessibility of the new series to readers, artist Abhishek Malsuni's work on the series, the variant covers and Marz's own thoughts on Andrew Stanton's John Carter. Head over and leave any thoughts below.
Friday, September 19, 2014
For fans of Mark Millar and Goran Parlov's current outer space comic series, it looks like the movie has found its writer. According to the Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Gary Whitta will be handling the script for the upcoming film about an aging space hero having to return back to the scene of his past adventures. Whitta is also working on one of the Star Wars spinoff films with director Gareth Edwards so he's got a full slate coming up. For more info hit http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-stand-alone-writer-734197
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