By Sean Kleefeld
How many of you were able to attend Comic-Con in 2008? There’s an interesting story that came out of that particular convention. Well, there’s interesting stories that come out from just about every Comic-Con. Quite a number of them from each, in fact. But there’s one from 2008 that’s especially interesting for us here in our discussion of fandom.
Let me set the stage for you. After hosting a few different venues, Comic-Con first started using the San Diego Convention Center back in 1991. Attendance that year was around 15,000 -- needless to say, they didn’t take up all the space themselves! But with more space available at the Convention Center, the show was able to expand over the years and attendance broke 50,000 for the first time in 2001. The show kept expanding and, by 2004, they were officially taking up the whole Convention Center in its entirety. Fire codes meant that attendance was effectively maxed out for that facility starting in 2006, and the show has had a pretty consistent number of people attending since every year since then. Read More...
You might be familiar with Flash Gordon from the 1980 cult movie (humorously referenced in the recent film "Ted") or the 1970s Filmation animated series -- but the story all began back in January 1934 in the newspapers. Created by Alex Raymond, the original "Flash Gordon" had a quality of art more akin to the lush quality of book illustrations than serialized comic strips. What followed through the many years of its run would inspire several generations of comic artists including Alex Ross. Writes Ross in the introduction to Titan's new stellar collection of the earliest Raymond strips, "Flash Gordon On The Planet Mongo":
Sure, it only had an eight episode run back in '83, and of course it's better known for its ridiculous title and cheesy concept, but that doesn't mean "Manimal" isn't movie-worthy, right? At least, that's the thinking going on at Sony, who, following the announcement that they were developing an "ALF" movie, is continuing to mine the depths of the 80's with a proposed CG/live-action hybrid feature based on the short-lived crime fighting drama.
It's reassuring to know that given the benefit of time and age, Barbarella lead Jane Fonda has found the charm in her role as the sexually liberated astronaut. You actually have to extricate Fonda's performance here from her later stories about her turbulent relationship with the film's director (and her then-husband) Roger Vadim, whom Fonda has described as Svengali-esque, making all of the scenes of violence and depredation against Barbarella take on an extra layer of unintended meaning.
And the movie itself is one that suffers under the description of "camp classic" when really the people who label movies like that would like to apply the equally dubious "so bad it's good" description. But there's so much to like about Fonda's work here and the movie as a whole: Fonda brings naivete and sweetness to a part that requires a certain level of comfort going bare onscreen, while the hostile planet Lythion is a parade of inventive and odd ways to imperil our heroine.
Paramount's Blu-ray release does well by Roger Vadim's 1968 movie in terms of basic presentation, but like the 1999 DVD, don't go looking for anything in the way of archival material.
Comic book fans probably know writer Max Allan Collins best from his Road To Perdition series of crime graphic novels. But Collins is also a crime historian in his own right, having collaborated extensively with Mickey Spillane, and others. With a new collaboration between Collins and the departed author hitting on May 8th - titled Lady, Go Die - we checked in with Collins to find out what his Top 10 Crime Comics of all time are. So without further ado, we'll turn it over to him:
"Before I get into this list, I should cop to excluding anything or anybody modern. I am notorious for not encouraging the competition."
1. DICK TRACY. In 1931, after a decade of unsuccessful submissions to the Chicago Tribune Syndicate, Chester Gould finally gave up on humor and tried something different – a detective strip based on real-life G-men like Eliot Ness and equally real-life bad guys like Al Capone. Gould’s geometric expressionism looked like bad art to some, but the public loved it, particularly when his villains grew grotesque (Flattop, Pruneface, the Mole) in an effort to compete with wartime front pages. IDW is reprinting Gould in fat two-year collections, and perhaps his greatest story – “The Case of the Fiendish Photographers” – will be featured in the next volume.
FLASH! AH AH! DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE!
Dynamite Comics sent over an exclusive preview of its Flash Gordon spinoff, Merciless: The Rise of Ming #1
By Danica Davidson
The 2012 Eisner Awards nominees have been announced! There are twenty-seven different categories, and we’ll learn the winners July 13 at Comic Con International.
So who do we have this year? Well, Daredevil from Marvel leads with six nominations, followed by Archaia’s Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand with five. DC and Marvel both did well on their number of nominations (in fact, they tied at eleven each and two shared), but many other companies also got multiple nominations, including Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, First Second, NBM, Archaia, Drawn & Quarterly, Abrams ComicArts and Oni. Read More...
Pioneering animator Ralph Bakshi is known mostly for the adult-oriented work he created back in the mid to late 70's—"adult" as in mature and socially consciousness, although Bakshi wasn't shy about the sex and violence in his 'toons. Looking back at the studio system now against when Bakshi was guiding his first all-ages feature, Wizards to the screen, it's hard to imagine modern studios taking a chance on Bakshi who had a reputation for earning X-ratings for his satirical, anti-Disney work.
Spiritually, Wizards is directly related to works like Heavy Traffic and Fritz the Cat (and what I wouldn't give to be talking about a Blu-ray release of his American Pop), but instead of funny, troubled animals and people in urban settings, Wizards was the director's first real stab at fantasy, bringing to screen a vision of a world annihilated by science, reborn in magic, and about to face another technological holocaust. Not for everyone, and certainly not inline with a modern definition of kids' film, Wizard is nonetheless, potent, heady stuff 35 years after its debut. Read More...
Outside of Darth Vader and The Joker, there has been no pop-culture villain quite as iconic as Ming the Merciless. In April we'll learn more about the early days of the Flash Gordon nemesis, as Merciless - The Rise Of Ming #1 hits stands from Dynamite Entertainment.
MTV Geek caught up with Merciless - The Rise Of Ming writer Scott Beatty about the series he is working on with interior artist Ron Adrian and cover/concept artist Alex Ross:
MTV Geek: Has there been any established background for Ming's early life, or is this something you interpolated based on his "official" exploits so far?
Scott Beatty: A little from Column A and a little from Column B, but most of MERCILESS is "whole cloth," ideas that sprang forth from FLASH GORDON: ZEITGEIST and inspiration from Ming's previous appearances in comics and film. Read More...
MTV Geek is pleased to give you your first look at Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #6 from Dynamite Entertainment, hitting stores in April 2012:
FLASH GORDON: ZEITGEIST #6
32 pages FC • $3.99 • Teen +
Written by ERIC TRAUTMANN
Art by DANIEL INDRO
Covers by ALEX?ROSS (75%), PAUL RENAUD (25%), FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA (1:10)
As Earth burns beneath the might of a Mongo-allied Third Reich, Ming the Merciless's domination plans are on the cusp of success. With two universes at stake, the only hope lies with Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov. Allegiances are forged and battle lines are drawn as Dynamite adds to the legend of the greatest space fantasy hero of all.
In February, writer Robert Place Napton is taking readers 1400 years into Barsoom's history with Warriors of Mars. The book resurrects less well-known pulp character, Gullivar Jones, a precursor to John Carter, created by Edwin Lester Jones. Napton and artist place the character squarely in John Carter's universe in this story which starts out in 1800's New York and leaps to the surface of Mars.
MTV Geek and Dynamite Entertainment are pleased to give you your first look at The Bionic Man #5, hitting stands in December:
THE BIONIC MAN #5
32 pages FC • $3.99 • Teen +
Written by KEVIN SMITH, PHIL HESTER
Art by JONATHAN LAU
Covers by ALEX ROSS (main), JONATHAN LAU (1-in-10)
Think you know Steve Austin? Let this issue of Kevin Smith's innovative take on the classic character show you The Bionic Man with a whole new set of powers and abilities, not to mention enemies. Steve Austin's first mission as an agent of OSI gets off to a rocky start when he is confronted by the maniacal cyborg Hull-- a madman with bionic power equal to his own!
Dynamite First Look: Vampirella #14 And Vampirella Annual #1
Flash Gordon Returns To Comics With 'Zeitgeist'
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MTV Geek and Dynamite Entertainment are pleased to give you your first look at Vampirella #14 and Vampirella Annual #1, hitting stands in December:
You may not know artist Chris Foss, but you know his work. From creating an entire generation of sci-fi book covers, to his concept work on Superman, Alien, Dune, and more, Foss has been steadily working behind the scenes for years. His art takes center stage in the new book “Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss,” so were lucky to chat with the modern master on the phone about his work… Including creating the definitive sex guide of the ‘70s:
MTV Geek: How did Hardware come together, and why was this the right time to publish the book?
Chris Foss: It’s funny enough, fashions are like pendulums, because my golden period was probably the very late ‘60s, the ‘70s, and the ‘80s. And of course, in those days, there was no television, laptop computers were still a bit of a fantasy, and in those days we had loads and loads of illustrators with paintbrushes hacking out the stuff. In America, you had legendary illustrators… It transpired that I was the only guy that could paint things that didn’t exist. Even today, most artists have to have photo reference to draw things. Read More...
Superstar comic book artist Alex Ross has a glossy new hardcover collection of his work coming to book stores this November -- and we have 10 images from the collection to show you!
The Dynamite Art of Alex Ross covers all of Ross' collaboration with publisher Dynamite Entertainment, illustrating characters like The Green Hornet, Vampirella, The Phantom, The Bionic Man, Red Sonja, and many others. The book will not only reproduce large full-color images of Ross' work, but also include commentary, and "in process" sketchwork as well so you can see how the acclaimed artist puts it all together!
Check out pages from The Dynamite Art of Alex Ross below, coming out in November!