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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...
DF REVIEW: GUARDIANS 3000 #1
10/02/14 @ 12:32 pm EST
Source: Dynamic Forces | Categories: Guardians of The Galaxy | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment




By BYRON BREWER

We always knew writer Dan Abnett (late of the famed DnA writing combo) was a master of futuristic science fiction.

These days, that is just where Abnett is: in the future!

The fan fave returns to Marvel with a bang, and with the original Arnold Drake/Gene Colan (and we might wanna add Steve Gerber in there somewhere) Guardians of the Galaxy.

Warning to the valued “new reader”: This is not the most friendly book for a #1 you will encounter. But as an Abnett fan, I can guarantee you that exciting times and cosmic wonderment awaits if you – and this time, Marvel ED – gives the book a chance.

Already we have Abnett fooling around with time and reinventing the English language into futuristic babble. We kind of see everything through POV character Geena, who is somehow the solution to this motoring madness.

Talk about fast-paced! We meet the cast and observe their powers in a battle worthy of Walt Simonson. It is the Guardians at their cosmic best, and we get to experience every Badoon soldier – and yes, every Guardian – as they fall in final battle.

Equaling Abnett’s words in its grandeur is the art of Gerardo Sandoval, who uses some wacky angles and exaggerated anatomy to record this blitzkrieg in space … TWICE! Charlie-27 has seldom looked more muscular or awesome. He is definitely a force to be reckoned with. And for once, I was actually pleased with Martinex, usually the wet blanket of the team.

I am definitely shocked by what I read in Guardians 3000 #1. Buy it, and you will be around for #2 … like me!
DC’S BATMAN COMIC JUMPS TO FIVE BUCKS AN ISSUE
10/01/14 @ 11:56 pm EST
Source: Bleeding Cool | Categories: Batman | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


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The already-solicited issues of Batman #35-37, beginning the Endgame storyline, are increasing in size. To thirty pages of story each issue.

And, as a result, the price of Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, will be increasing from $3.99 to $4.99 (or $5.99 for the combo pack which includes a digital download code.)

Holy Wallet Buster, DC!
ART PROCESS – PATRICK BERKENKOTTER ON VAMPIRELLA #5
10/01/14 @ 11:53 pm EST
Source: Bleeding Cool | Categories: Vampirella | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Vampirella #5 is coming out this week and Bleeding Cool has got the process art for three pages done by Patrick Berkenkotter.

A lot of times these pieces go from pencils to colors, but over on BC we get to see an inking stage.

The issue is written by Nancy A. Collins and has a cover by Terry Dodson and a variant by Jenny Frison.To see the article, click here.
“CONOR AND I DO ALL THE BRAINSTORMING TOGETHER” – ANTHONY DEL COL TALKS HOLMES VS. HOUDINI: A DYNAMITE INTERVIEW IN BLEEDING COOL
10/01/14 @ 11:44 pm EST
Source: Bleeding Cool | Categories: Sherlock Holmes Vs Harry Houdini | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Christina Blanch, writer of The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood, talks with Anthony Del Colabout Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini, both on sale Oct. 1Layout 1

CHRISTINA BLANCH: How did this mash-up come about? Did Dynamite approach you or did you come up with the idea?

ANTHONY DEL COL: Dynamite approached Conor McCreery and I with the concept of putting Houdini and Holmes in the same story and we immediately jumped at the possibility! The game was definitely afoot as we started to think of a multitude of storylines. Like children with brand new toys we had an entirely new sandbox to play in and jumped in

.CB: You and Conor work really well together! What is your creation process like?

ADC: I always like to ask this question of other writing teams as there is no one, sure-fire method. Conor and I do all of the brainstorming together and devise the storyline and the key story elements in each script. We then go off and write them separately – one person will take the lead spot in an issue, the other the next issue. We then trade them back and forth until we have it just right.

.Layout 1

CB: You seem to have a knack for writing historical figures (Shakespeare, Houdini). What is it that attracts you to these types of books?

ADC: I’ve always been a fan of literary icons (like Shakespeare’s characters or Sherlock Holmes) and appreciate the opportunity to bring them to life in new ways that can get new audiences excited about their work. There is a reason characters like Holmes and Hamlet have been around for generations – they’re that good.

CB: Sherlock Holmes has become extremely popular lately with several TV shows and movies coming out over the last few years. How will your Sherlock Holmes be different from the other recent incarnations?

ADC: Very early on someone at a convention told us, “Don’t ignore his drug use. Don’t make it P.C.” This is something that we’ve taken to heart and it’s something we focus on in our series. Holmes is just as witty and brusque as the Cumberbatch version but he’s been around for longer at the beginning of our tale.Layout 1

CB: This book has a giant twist at the end that leaves one wanting more. Without giving things away, is this the idea that drives the story?

ADC: The thing that really brought the real-life Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes) together was a debate about spirituality so we decided that we would have to address this in our story – and it becomes a very large part of the story. I can’t reveal more than that but a historical character from that time makes an appearance in a future issue that will thrust the story in a new direction.

CB: What other historical figures would you love to write?

ADC: Wow. So many possible answers here. I’d love to delve into the world of Jane Austen at some point and have a story kicking around that would be a new take on her greatest creations. I’m also starting on a new World War II project that will weave in one or two large characters from that time in our history and it’ll be quite a bit of fun.
NEW BECHDEL GN IN 2017
10/01/14 @ 11:39 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: MIsc | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has announced the acquisition of Alison Bechdel‘s third graphic memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, with plans for publication in 2017.

Bechdel’s Fun Home is one of the bestselling single graphic novels in recent memory. Published in 2008, and ranking as #3 on ICv2’s Fiction & Reality Titles of 2008, sales on the volume have only grown since then, and it was still hitting the top ten in its category earlier this year.

The new memoir will chronicle Bechdel’s decades-long obsession with various fitness and exercise fads: downhill skiing, uphill skiing, rollerblading, martial arts, running, hiking, weight lifting, home workout videos and yoga.
DARABONT WINS MOTIONS IN 'WALKING DEAD' LAWSUIT
10/01/14 @ 11:31 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: Walking Dead | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Original The Walking Deadshowrunner Frank Darabont, who sued AMC over the way it accounted for profits on the show, has been winning the arguments in court over what documents will be produced by the two sides, according to The Hollywood Reporter (via ICv2).

So far, the judge has ruled that AMC must provide Darabont and his agents CAA its agreements for Mad Men and Breaking Bad, which will allow the Darabont side to determine whether or not AMC was pricing the deal between its production arm (in which Darabont shared profits) and the network unfairly, as alleged. AMC had angrily objected to the request for those documents, but the judge sided with Darabont.

AMC, on the other hand, had requested that CAA produce documents on deals for cable TV revenue sharing agreements that it has negotiated for other clients. The judge has declined to order CAA to produce those documents, ruling that they are not relevant to the claim in the case. AMC was back in court arguing again for the judge to compel CAA to produce those documents, but seems unlikely to prevail given the earlier ruling.

AMC has also filed a motion requesting the judge to preclude the claims at the heart of the case, according to the report.
'FRANKENSTEIN UNDERGROUND' MINISERIES BY MIKE MIGNOLA
10/01/14 @ 11:27 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: Dark Horse | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Dark Horse has announced plans to release Frankenstein Underground, a new miniseries by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, in 2015.

The five-issue miniseries will be scripted by Mignola, with interior art by Ben Stenbeck (Baltimore, Living with the Dead), and covers by Mignola. The story picks up the narrative of the character as he was first introduced into the “Mignolaverse” in Mignola and Richard Corben’s House of the Living Dead graphic novel. Here Frankenstein’s monster is alone, abandoned and wandering underground, where he encounters both other monsters and dark secrets to the universe.

“It’s intimidating as hell to take on an icon like the Frankenstein monster,” said Mignola. “I’m trying to do something that’s true to the origin Mary Shelley created for the creature but also captures a bit of the feel that Boris Karloff brought to the role in the classic Universal films. At the same time I’m throwing the monster into an entirely new environment, so I think the result will be something new. It’s an odd one, but ultimately will add an important new wrinkle to the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. world.”

'DEADLANDS' LICENSING EXPANSION
10/01/14 @ 11:23 pm EST
Source: ICv2 | Categories: MIsc | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Pinnacle Entertainment Group has been having a bit of a renaissance with its Deadlands property, and has announced new licensing agreements for a graphic novel and a prose novel series. There are also expansions releasing for Alderac Entertainment Group’s card game adaptation Doomtown: Reloaded.

Visionary Comics, in partnership with IDW Publishing, will be publishing a graphic novel collection of the Deadlands comic one-shots originally published by Visionary and Image Comics in March 2015. The Dead Man’s Hand collection will include work by David Gallaher, Steve Ellis, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Lee Moder, Ron Marz, Bart Sears, Jeff Mariotte, Brook Turner and Michael Atiyeh.

Tor Books will begin publishing a line of prose novels later in 2015, with three books by authors Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, and Jeff Mariotte. Release dates were not announced.



DC: 'SEXIST MERCHANDISE' CAUSES OUTCRY
10/01/14 @ 11:36 pm EST
Source: Hollywood Reporter | Categories: DC Comics | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Following accusations of offensive material appearing on licensed merchandise featuring Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, DC Entertainment responded with a simple, if surprising, message: "We agree."

The popular DC Women Kicking Ass blog first highlighted the issue this weekend, sharing a shirt that shows artwork of Superman and Wonder Woman in an embrace (the two characters have been romantically involved in DC's comic books since 2012), with captions exclaiming "Score! Superman Does It Again!"

The post noted that, while "it took a public shaming for [DC parent company Warner Bros.] to allow the Superman logo to be used on a statue of a young fan who had been starved to death… it's always interesting to see what DOES get signed off on."

As said, DC Comics has apologized for the messages on two licensed t-shirts sold by licensees:


"DC Comics is home to many of the greatest male and female Super Heroes in the world. All our fans are incredibly important to us, and we understand that the messages on certain t-shirts are offensive. We agree. Our company is committed to empowering boys and girls, men and women, through our characters and stories. Accordingly, we are taking a look at our licensing and product design process to ensure that all our consumer products reflect our core values and philosophy."



Superman Score Shirt - P 2014
MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. INTRODUCES GRANT WARD'S BROTHER
10/01/14 @ 8:22 pm EST
Source: Marvel | Categories: Marvel | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment


Since last season's episode "The Well," fans have wondered about Grant Ward's brother, but this season you'll officially get to meet him as Tim DeKay of "White Collar" makes his debut as Senator Christian Ward in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."!

We've got your first look at DeKay as Christian Ward right here ahead of his first appearance in the season's sixth episode, but given the stories Grant Ward has told about his brother you'll have to tune in to find out what he's really like.



 
RECENT NEWS

Latest News
Updated: 10/02/14 @ 12:32 pm

1. DF REVIEW: GUARDIANS 3000 #1

2. DC’S BATMAN COMIC JUMPS TO FIVE BUCKS AN ISSUE

3. ART PROCESS – PATRICK BERKENKOTTER ON VAMPIRELLA #5

4. “CONOR AND I DO ALL THE BRAINSTORMING TOGETHER” – ANTHONY DEL COL TALKS HOLMES VS. HOUDINI: A DYNAMITE INTERVIEW IN BLEEDING COOL

5. NEW BECHDEL GN IN 2017

 

Latest News
Updated: 10/02/14 @ 12:32 pm

1. DF REVIEW: GUARDIANS 3000 #1

2. DC’S BATMAN COMIC JUMPS TO FIVE BUCKS AN ISSUE

3. ART PROCESS – PATRICK BERKENKOTTER ON VAMPIRELLA #5

4. “CONOR AND I DO ALL THE BRAINSTORMING TOGETHER” – ANTHONY DEL COL TALKS HOLMES VS. HOUDINI: A DYNAMITE INTERVIEW IN BLEEDING COOL

5. NEW BECHDEL GN IN 2017



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