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OLD-TIME RADIO AND COMICS HEROES BURST BACK ONTO THE SCENE!
03/28/12 @ 4:15 pm EST
Source: USA TODAY | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? (Hint: The guy dresses up in a cape and runs around at night. And it's not Batman.)

The Shadow still knows — as do Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and other heroes of 1930s and '40s radio shows, pulp magazines and movie serials.

These good guys are making a comeback, though mainly in comics and feature-length movies. Next month, The Shadow receives a comics reboot courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment, which also publishes ongoing series starring Flash Gordon and Green Hornet plus a new title with pulp hero The Spider that's due in May.

On the big screen, a masked Seth Rogen stung bad guys in last year's The Green Hornet. And in The Lone Ranger, in production for release in 2013, Armie Hammer rides tall as the title cowboy with Johnny Depp as his sidekick Tonto. Baby Boomers grew up watching the Clayton Moore TV series in the '50s, although the saga began as a 1933 radio show in Detroit.

Though these characters may not be as well known as today's comic-book superheroes or the Star Wars and Harry Potter clans, they were the bee's knees for a generation that was decades away from the Internet and iPods.

Before Batman, there was the alter ego Lamont Cranston donning the shadowy mask and hat while haunting radio waves as The Shadow, voiced by Orson Welles in the late '30s.

And before Superman and Captain America there was Flash Gordon, an all-American space adventurer who tussled with planetary tyrant Ming the Merciless in sci-fi comic strips by Alex Raymond and serial films starring Buster Crabbe.

"The '20s and '30s are seen as a very romantic age, with the criminal underworld of urban America and high adventure of exotic foreign locations providing a bit of an edge," says Garth Ennis, who is writing the new Shadow comic. "The reality, I'm sure, would have been mostly a lot more mundane and occasionally quite grim."

He's crafting The Shadow as a dangerous champion of law and order with a flair for the dramatic, and he is embracing one of the vigilante's oldest and most famous traits: his habit of laughing as he consigns his enemies to their doom.

"I decided to be fairly sparing with it," Ennis says. "If he started howling every time he threw a punch or fired a shot, it would get old fast. So I decided to preserve the laugh for moments of deep, dark, extreme humor."

His take on The Shadow comic is a bloody affair, where the mysterious figure dispatches bad guys with violent aplomb. More than 70 years ago, though, audiences had to visualize with their imagination what was going on during the radio-show exploits.

The popularity of the old Shadow and Green Hornet radio shows and their ilk in their heyday is best compared to programs children flock to today, such as Hannah Montana and Dora the Explorer, says Martin Grams Jr., a radio-show historian and author.

Back then, kids and adults would read books, pulps and comics because they were a cheap form of entertainment, and radio was an even bigger medium because it was free.

Some adaptations tank

While movies measure success with box-office receipts, commercial sponsors would gauge ratings of radio shows based on the number of giveaway premiums offered during the commercial breaks — such as various Lone Ranger rings and badges. They were then used to persuade sponsors to stick around because of a large listener base.

It wasn't just kids, either. Housebound and disabled people "who couldn't go visit their local movie theater had the opportunity to enjoy action and adventure with the turn of their dial," Grams says.

"The business of pop culture was defined during the 1930s and 1940s when movie producers snatched up the screen rights to popular radio programs and produced motion pictures, serials and film shorts based on the properties."

Since then, movie studios, TV networks and comics publishers have attempted adaptations of those characters, with varying results.

The Lone Ranger TV series began in 1949, ran eight seasons and defined the character for many. Flash Gordon sped off to space with live-action and animated shows, and a 1980 film became a cult classic with Sam Jones clad in a white shirt bearing the word "Flash."

But two more recent movies, The Shadow (1994) with Alec Baldwin and the 1996 Billy Zane vehicle The Phantom (based on the comic strip from the '30s), were not exactly heroic at the box office. And Disney's new big-budget John Carter, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp sci-fi hero, has thus far tanked.

"My theory is that modern audiences have a hard time accepting un-ironic heroism unless it's presented just right," says Eric Trautmann, writer of Dynamite's Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist series. (A devotee of the era, Trautmann has a Maltese Falcon on his desk, a statue of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, a Buck Rogers blaster and a replica 1930s radio.)

He concedes that pulp is difficult to write because it requires a certain innocence. Nazis show up in his series, but when they're the evil-doers du jour, modern audiences can't help but think of the Holocaust, "a sort of demise of innocence for the Western world." That makes it a lot harder to take the proceedings seriously.

'We're all geeks in a way'

"The obvious inclination is to keep things a little more self-referential and cartoony, tongue firmly in cheek," Trautmann says, "and that kind of thing really works against the story, the character, and readers' and viewers' embracing the tale."

Those characters of yesteryear, however, remain important in the history of pop-culture heroes, says comic-book artist Alex Ross, one of the creative spearheads of Dynamite's pulp series.

"Seeing how a character like The Shadow would influence every other flamboyant costumed hero in history was very interesting to me," he says. "A load of the earliest superhero fashions came from the artists swiping from Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon."

Heroic fiction draws from a lot of the same wells. Without John Carter in 1917, Trautmann feels we probably don't get Flash Gordon in 1934, a quintessentially American protagonist whose "unflappable 'can do' attitude and unshakable optimism would resonate in almost any era." Without Flash, there's no Luke Skywalker or Han Solo in Star Wars, and without that, we don't get Avatar.

"Even Star Trek owes a debt to period literature —Captain Kirk as Horatio Hornblower in space," Trautmann says. "Heroic fiction shares those archetypes and themes, so that influence is probably so ingrained now that a modern practitioner might not even be aware of what influenced the sources he or she is drawing inspiration from."

Affection for heroic pulp specifically — as with old-school sci-fi, fantasy and mystery stories — seems to be cyclical, Trautmann says. But the resurgence of these characters is also being helped by an overall nostalgia for the early- to mid-20th century, from Boardwalk Empire to Mad Men.

"It's been a rough decade or two," he says. "Looking back on what seems to be a simpler, less complicated time is certainly appealing."

Curiosity and a drive to seek knowledge are probably the main reasons people like to revisit historic pop culture, Grams says.

"We're all geeks in a way, trying to intake all the information we can on a comic-book character or movie, then digest, then recollect to friends to show how much more we know than they do."

The historian enjoys seeing kids introduced to heroes that were a seminal part of their grandparents' lives. He says it's a good bet they know tons more about The Hunger Games and Twilight than old Shadow magazine tales, and have no idea of the existence of Lone Ranger radio shows of yore.

"In my experience," Ennis says, "these characters tend to be pretty strong to begin with: They go through periods of revival, then slump due to overindulgence, then lie dormant, then undergo the next revival. But they always come back."

And, Grams notes, "the oldies are still the goodies."
MORE NEWS...
LUCY LAWLESS HEADING TO 'AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.'
07/21/14 @ 11:15 pm EST
Source: TVGuide | Categories: Marvel | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


The world of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is about to get even more geektastic.

Former Xena star Lucy Lawless is heading to ABC's super series in Season 2, TVGuide.com reported. In true Marvel fashion, details on her role and how long she'll be sticking around are being kept under wraps. (Call off the Level 7 snipers now, please!)

Lawless is also known for her roles on Spartacus, Battlestar Galactica and Parks and Recreation.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 9/8c on ABC.
AVATAR PRESS ANNOUNCES 'DARK GODS' FROM JUSTIN JORDAN
07/21/14 @ 8:25 pm EST
Source: Bleeding Cool | Categories: MIsc | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


The very busy writer Justin Jordan, coming out with more books than there seem to be publishers lately, also recently wrote a story for God Is Dead for Avatar Press alongside Mike Costa, Alan Moore, Simon Spurrier, and Kieron Gillen.

Now, Bleeding Cool reports he’s returning to Avatar Press with German Erramouspe on an all-new series Dark Gods, to debut in November.

It looks to be a series that plumbs the depths of original mythological evils.

To read Justin Jordan's latest Dynamic Forces interview on his new book Spread, click here, and be on the lookout for Dark Gods in November.



DARKGODS_Announce T
'THE ROCK' HINTS HE MAY PLAY 'SHAZAM'
07/21/14 @ 8:03 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: Shazam | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


In an interview with Total Film (via ICv2), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson admitted that he has been in discussions for several years with Warner Bros. to play a DC Comics superhero. Johnson talks about the difficulty in finding the right character to play, one that fits his onscreen personality, and he definitely rules out playing the John Stewart Green Lantern.

The Rock is coy about the role he is going to play, but he does drop some hints, noting that the character has “the power of Superman,” and then says “just say the word,” which sounds like a clear reference to Shazam (DC’s Captain Marvel, a character created by C.C. Beck in 1939 and acquired by DC thanks to a lawsuit claiming that the character was just a rip-off of Superman, uses the word “Shazam” to transform from Billy Batson to the superpowered Captain Marvel).

Having the Rock portray the lantern-jawed Shazam would make sense, especially if the Justice League movie is based on Geoff Johns’ “New 52” Justice League run during which Johns revived the DC version of Captain Marvel and added him to the Justice League team.

The Justice League movie is currently slated for release in May 2017.
'FIGHT CLUB 2' COMES TO DARK HORSE IN MAY
07/21/14 @ 7:55 pm EST
Source: Dark Horse | Categories: Dark Horse | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Chuck Palahniuk is breaking the first two rules of Fight Club: He's talking about Fight Club.

The author's devotees probably won't mind since what's on his mind these days is more of the characters and world he created in his 1996 book, which was adapted three years later into director David Fincher's cult film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.

The story of an unnamed insomniac narrator, his violent id come to life in the form of Tyler Durden, and an underground society built on bare-knuckle brawls and anarchic ideas continues in Fight Club 2, a 10-issue Dark Horse Comics maxiseries illustrated by Cameron Stewart, debuting May, 2015.

Palahniuk will be on a Fight Club panel with Fincher on Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, but it was at last year's New York Comic Con where the author's loose lips cemented the project.

"I messed up and said I was doing the sequel in front of 1,500 geeks with telephones," Palahniuk says. "Suddenly, there was this big scramble to honor my word."

Fight Club 2 takes place alternately in the future and the past. It picks up a decade after the ending of his original book, where the protagonist is married to equally problematic Marla Singer and has a 9-year-old son named Junior, though the narrator is failing his son in the same way his dad failed him.

At the same time, Palahniuk says readers will have an idea of Tyler's true origins. "Tyler is something that maybe has been around for centuries and is not just this aberration that's popped into his mind."

Palahniuk brings back most of the characters in the first book as well as the organization Project Mayhem, which still has its hooks in the narrator as he has to save his boy when the youngster's life is in peril.
DONíT DESPAIRó 'THE LIíL DEPRESSED BOY' RETURNS
07/21/14 @ 7:48 pm EST
Source: Image | Categories: Image | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Writer Shaun Steven Struble and artist Sina Grace come together to deliver the the latest entry in the Li’l Depressed Boy series that's sure to delight fans THE LI’L DEPRESSED BOY: SUPPOSED TO BE THERE TOO coming to Image Comics this October. Struble and Grace will be signing at San Diego Comic-Con International on Thursday, 7/24 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Image booth (#2729).

Picking up where they left off, Li’l Depressed Boy takes up his adventures in love, life, and vinyl, but this time with the further romantic complications that come with enjoying a new relationship while occasionally bumping into the ex—a punkster named Jazz—and the residual feelings that stirs up.

In an interview with USA Today, Struble said, “LDB is conflicted about Jazz. She broke his heart, but he doesn't think she did it on purpose. He now knows to not let himself get too close to her, but she has a habit of appearing when least expected."

Grace added: "The scripts Struble sent me have been the best blend of melancholic love, and I hope that readers old and new are as excited as we are for LDB's return to the spinner racks!"

Join LDB as he copes with work woes and navigates love triangles in LI’L DEPRESSED BOY: SUPPOSED TO BE THERE TOO #1.

LI’L DEPRESSED BOY: SUPPOSED TO BE THERE TOO #1 arrives in stores on 10/1 and will be available for only $3.99. It can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code AUG140550. - See more at: http://imagecomics.com/content/view/dont-despairthe-lil-depressed-boy-returns#sthash.zhnbzwX4.dpuf
PAPERCUTZ DOES 'RABBIDS' IN OCTOBER
07/21/14 @ 4:43 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: MIsc | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
Papercutz will launch a new series of graphic novels tied to the Ubisoft Rabbids game franchise this fall. Rabbids Vol. 1: What Happens in Vegas ... by Eric Esquivel will launch in October as a 64-page, 6" x 9" trade paperback at $7.99 ($12.99 hardcover).

Over 14 million units of the Rabbids video game have been sold worldwide across multiple platforms, and the property has also been making its way into other media. A 26-episode animated series aired on Nickelodeon last fall to good ratings. McFarlane Toys began releasing mini-figures, action figures and plush earlier this year. And Sony and Ubisoft announced earlier this year that they are developing a feature film based on the property.
J.J. ABRAMS UNVEILS 'X-WING' FROM 'EPISODE VII'
07/21/14 @ 4:35 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: Star Wars | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment




Though Disney won’t be hyping Star Wars: Episode VII at Comic-Con, director J.J. Abrams has released a video from the set of the movie during which he gives fans a first look at an X-Wing fighter from the new film.

In the video, Abrams promotes an excellent cause, the “Star Wars for Change” campaign to raise money for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, which are attempting to create new ways to help the world’s disadvantaged populations. As he talks, the camera pulls back to reveal the full X-Wing fighter. A flight suit-wearing pilot climbs in the plane and a mouse droid scurries across the ground underneath the plane’s fuselage.

A photo released in June appeared to confirm the presence of the Millennium Falcon in Episode VII, with the iconic fighter apparently under construction in the background, but this is the first look at the complete prototype.

Star Wars: Episode VII is slated to debut on December 18th, 2015.
IDW, COMICS EXPERIENCE ANNOUNCE PUBLISHING ALLIANCE
07/21/14 @ 4:09 pm EST
Source: IDW | Categories: IDW | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


IDW Publishing announced today a new publishing alliance with Comics Experience, LLC—an online comics education resource and creative community. Under the alliance IDW and Comics Experience will focus on publishing creator-owned titles from new comics talent.

The mini-series announced today, the first of which launches in January 2015, include:

Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira, the story of two Predator drone operators on a bizarre journey that will take them to a terrorism-themed hotel in Las Vegas, in a war where terror and entertainment have begun to blur.

Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson andFernando Melek, about animal control officers in a near-future city who must deal with patchwork, hybrid animals, from gator-snakes to panda dogs.

Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley, set in a world where World War II was fought with magic, and the heir to a powerful magical dynasty can't cast a spell to save his life.

Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker, is a story of hard-boiled crime and star-crossed romance, set at the height of the Vietnam War and the decades that followed.

IDW Editor-In-Chief and CCO Chris Ryall said, "IDW has been a strong supporter of creator-owned comics, from our very first title, 30 Days of Night, through to Locke & Key and beyond. We're now excited to be partnering with Comics Experience to introduce the next wave of new talent to fans and the industry."

Comics Experience President and CEO Andy Schmidt explained, "These are up-and-coming creators with properties developed in the 'talent incubator' of our online community. With this deal, we're offering an opportunity for these creators and others like them to reach a broader audience with their diverse books."

Bobby Curnow, a Comics Experience alum and current Editor on IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Godzilla, and My Little Pony is overseeing the new partnership.
DARK HORSE SET TO PRESENT 'HARROW COUNTY'
07/21/14 @ 4:06 pm EST
Source: Dark Horse | Categories: Dark Horse | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Cullen Bunn is no stranger to the supernatural -- especially when it comes to comics. Whether it's fusing magical elements with the wild west in The Sixth Gun or combining Asgardian mythology with superheroes in Fearless Defenders, Bunn has a lot of experience with bringing the supernatural to sequential storytelling in interesting and fun ways.

But when it comes to Harrow County, his new Dark Horse Comics creator-owned series with artist Tyler Crook set to drop in April 2015, he's approaching the supernatural in the context of a backwoods horror story.

Co-created by Bunn and Crook, Harrow County follows the story of Emmy, a teenager on the verge of becoming an adult, who realizes that the ghosts, ghouls and goblins that surround Harrow County and her secluded farm are all too real -- and when the townsfolk realize that Emmy has a connection with the creatures that lurk in the shadows, they put her on the run for her life.

Part coming-of-age tale and part horror story, Harrow County promises to present a unique take on traditional horror.
FANS POSSESSED BY 'OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA'
07/21/14 @ 3:45 pm EST
Source: Image | Categories: Outcast | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Robert Kirkman, creator of global entertainment phenomenon THE WALKING DEAD, and Paul Azaceta have summoned a new industry hit with OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA, the second printing of which has sold out immediately. In order to meet customer demand, Skybound/Image Comics will be sending this debut issue back to press for a 3rd printing.

The first new series written by Kirkman himself in three years and since the premiere of the AMC’s most watched television show adaptation of THE WALKING DEAD, this is the perfect new series for readers to jump on to. Comic Book Resources predicted of OUTCAST, “Given the quality in this first issue, it's without doubt that readers will return for the next piece of the puzzle.”

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #1, boasts a special double-sized first issue for just $2.99, and introduces Kyle Barnes’ plight, his tragic past, and his unusual gift. Kirkman and Azaceta explore demonic possession and incorporate a subtle creeping terror that harkens to that of classic horror stories. IGN says of the series, “Whether you're a fan of things that go bump in the night or just someone who likes good comics, you can't do much better than Outcast. Kirkman and Azaceta prove a dynamic and disturbing pairing, crafting a riveting story that's sure to possess your very soul.”

The demand for the series has grown at a breakneck pace, with this the second instant-sell-out of the first issue and is being fast-tracked to a third printing. For fans of digital editions, OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #1 remains available for purchase across all platforms, including the Image Comics website (imagecomics.com), the official Image Comics iOS app, Comixology’s website (comixology.com), iOS, Android, and Google Play.

This third printing of OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA (Diamond Code JUN148165) will be available on 8/20.

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #2 (Diamond Code MAY140719) will hit shelves on 7/30.

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #3 (Diamond Code JUN140563) will be available on 8/20.
 
RECENT NEWS

Latest News
Updated: 07/21/14 @ 11:15 pm

1. LUCY LAWLESS HEADING TO 'AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.'

2. AVATAR PRESS ANNOUNCES 'DARK GODS' FROM JUSTIN JORDAN

3. 'THE ROCK' HINTS HE MAY PLAY 'SHAZAM'

4. 'FIGHT CLUB 2' COMES TO DARK HORSE IN MAY

5. DONíT DESPAIRó 'THE LIíL DEPRESSED BOY' RETURNS

 

Latest News
Updated: 07/21/14 @ 11:15 pm

1. LUCY LAWLESS HEADING TO 'AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.'

2. AVATAR PRESS ANNOUNCES 'DARK GODS' FROM JUSTIN JORDAN

3. 'THE ROCK' HINTS HE MAY PLAY 'SHAZAM'

4. 'FIGHT CLUB 2' COMES TO DARK HORSE IN MAY

5. DONíT DESPAIRó 'THE LIíL DEPRESSED BOY' RETURNS



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