Friday, September 28, 2007

BRING ON THE NEW BAD GUYS

Everyone who reads comics knows that the heroes seem all that more heroic only because their villains are uber evil. The X-Men wouldn't be as cool without their arch-nemesis Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Or powerhouses like Apocalypse, Sinister and the like. The Fantastic Four would be pretty hokey without Doctor Doom. The Avengers aren't quite the same without Ultron, Loki and Kang the Conqueror.

The Marvel Universe has a new crop of villains about to perform their dastardly deeds in comics!

BRING ON THE NEW BAD GUYS
We showcase the latest crop of villains to terrorize the Marvel Universe

By Ben Morse
Original illustration by Leonard Kirk and Kris Justice

Posted September 27, 2007 4:05 PM

Move over Magneto, hit the deck Doctor Doom—there’s a new breed of bad guy in the Marvel Universe. With the aforementioned pair lying low, the Kingpin ousted from power and most of the heroes focused on battling one another, a motley crew of also-rans, new faces and long-dormant threats has emerged to fill the vacuum of evil. And if registration made the Marvel U. a safer place, somebody forgot to tell these guys. Feast your eyes on the mural of malevolence below, then check out our scorecard on the newest ne’er-do-wells to menace your favorite heroes.



THE SERPENT SQUAD
When the Red Skull needs his dirty deeds done dirt cheap, he turns to his newly minted, snake-themed goon squad: Cobra, Eel and Viper, led by his little girl, the sadistic Sin. While Skull and his inner circle scheme against Captain America, he leaves the rough stuff—like liberating longtime henchman and Sin’s lover, Crossbones—to the Serpents.

“As the Red Skull lines up his forces for a final assault on the governments and infrastructure of the world now that there’s no Captain America to oppose him, Sin will be in the thick of things as her daddy’s most enthusiastic enforcer and right-hand girl,” notes Captain America editor Tom Brevoort. “We’ll see what depths and lengths she’ll go to when push comes to shove.”

THE MANDARIN
Iron Man’s greatest foe returns with a whole new bag of tricks—or rather, a whole new back of tricks, as he’s relocated his trademark rings of power into the discs of his spine. With a refreshed focus to go with his revitalized strength, the Mandarin aims to bring down not only his armored foe, but S.H.I.E.L.D., too.

“Operating beneath Tony Stark’s radar, the Mandarin has been quietly reinventing himself for the new millennium, co-opting Maya Hansen and continuing to develop the Extremis virus that gave Iron Man his new powers,” reveals Iron Man editor Brevoort. “Tony’s about to find himself in a world of troubles, all of which can be traced indirectly back to the Mandarin himself.”

THE MARAUDERS
The X-Men have found themselves under siege of late not only from familiar foes, but once-trusted friends as well. The Marauders combine the worst of both worlds, with former teammates like Gambit, Mystique and Sunfire standing shoulder to shoulder with sworn enemies Exodus, Random and Scalphunter.

“Gambit is going back to his roots in the worst possible way,” laments X-Men writer Mike Carey. “Hanging with Sinister and the Marauders—it’s like ‘Mutant Massacre’ all over again, except this time he’s got a really twisted agenda that’s all his own.”

THE PHALANX
An alien race of techno-organic parasites that chiefly menaced the X-Men and attempted to conquer the Shi’ar Empire, the Phalanx re-emerged in Annihilation: Conquest Prologue in a major way. Able to infect sentients like Gamora (pictured) and bend them to their will, the Phalanx pose a major threat to the Kree and their cosmic allies.

“Phalanx 2.0 has launched,” enthuses Annihilation: Conquest editor Bill Rosemann. “Why have they struck the Kree first? What are they after? Each week reveals more secrets and surprises.”

“The Phalanx are about as nasty as bad guys get,” concurs Annihilation: Conquest writer Dan Abnett. “They get inside you and make you a bad guy too.”

MR. FEAR
Daredevil thought that with the Kingpin cut down he’d have a chance to relax, but the Man Without Fear didn’t reckon on Mr. Fear making his chilling presence felt in such a big way. This harbinger of horror has been responsible for recent pitfalls in DD’s life, and seems to have nasty designs on Matt Murdock’s wife, Milla.

“With the Kingpin absent from Hell’s Kitchen, Mr. Fear sees this as an opportunity to not only silence Matt Murdock once and for all, but to also seize power,” says Daredevil editor Warren Simons. “Nature abhors a vacuum, as they say, and we’re going to see that vacuum wreak havoc with Daredevil’s life in the upcoming issues.”

RAGNAROK
Did you think Civil War would be the last time we’d see Tony Stark and company’s ill-fated cyborg God of Thunder clone? Soon the real Son of Odin will be wishing that were the case, and he’d never have to come face-to-familiar-face with his unbalanced and hugely powerful doppelganger.

THE HOOD
Small-time thief Parker Robbins hit the jackpot during a heist when he came upon a mystical cloak that granted him superhuman powers. Initially using his new abilities to look out for his pregnant girlfriend and lowlife cousin, the Hood seized the opportunity in the wake of Civil War to become the “kingpin of supervillains” and take on the Avengers.

“The ‘kingpin of supervillains’ has gathered his forces and is finding his footing,” says New Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis. “His plans are long and loose and much nastier than what the heroes are used to. This is a man who will take the fight to them. He is on the offensive, not the defensive.”

“The Hood’s taking advantage of the split the Registration Act has caused to consolidate power among the underworld,” elaborates Avengers editor Brevoort. “He’ll mess up one Marvel hero pretty badly in the coming months, just as a lesson to the entire community.”

THE SKRULLS
An alien race of shape-shifters, the Skrull Empire was once a major force in the galaxy. Though their numbers dwindled in recent years because of galactic calamity, the Skrulls’ resolve for conquest has not wavered. The Skrulls achieve victory through cunning and guile, as seen in their recent takeover of Eletkra’s identity in New Avengers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

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"Smallville" Season 7 Secrets

Before I forget, Smallville returns to Channel 10 this Saturday evening, after the AFL Grand Final! A pity that I won't get to watch it or tape it though, since my recorder would have been running for about eight hours straight, taping the Grand Final coverage, and it's pretty unlikely that we'll be at home since we're most likely going to be back in Geelong to watch the GF.

The last time they showed Smallville on TV before just taking it off air without warning, we had just been introduced to Oliver Queen. I heard that he was going to start up some sort of League in the series and I can't wait until he tries recruiting Clark and see what other potential Leaguers are going to appear in the show.

Anyway, the series is still going strong in America, with Season 7 about to start. We've already been given a sneak peek at the uber sexy Supergirl. Still no sign of when Bruce Wayne makes his appearance in the series though.

‘SMALLVILLE’ SEASON 7 SECRETS
Executive producer Alfred Gough talks about Supergirl’s arrival, Lana’s fate and whether we’ll see the Justice League again

By Karl Cramer

Posted September 26, 2007 3:45 PM

The Season 6 finale of “Smallville” saw Clark facing down his twisted twin in the form of Bizarro and Lana seemingly dead, apparently at the hands of estranged husband Lex Luthor. Ahead of tomorrow’s premiere episode of Season 7, which sees the arrival of Clark’s Kryptonian cousin Supergirl (Laura Vandervoort), we caught up with “Smallville” co-creator and executive producer Alfred Gough, who talked about the possible return of the Justice League and revealed why “Smallville” should end with Season 8.

WIZARD: Congratulations on reaching Season 7. It’s hard to believe it’s been on for over six years.

GOUGH: It is hard to believe. [Laughs]

There were multiple cliffhangers in the Season 6 finale, so it’s hard to know where to start. The final scene was Clark Bizarro. Will he be just in the season premiere or will he be a recurring character?

GOUGH: He will not be a one-time villain. He will be a recurring menace on the show. He’ll appear to be vanquished in the season opener, but he’s not out of the picture.

The other big cliffhanger was Lana’s car exploding. But moments before a car crossed her path. Did someone snatch her?

GOUGH: I can’t give you any hint at all on that one. For all we know, she could’ve been blown up and that was all a ruse.

Fans loved the “Justice” episode. Will we see the team again?

GOUGH: You’ll most likely see certain members of the Justice League. I doubt we’ll get them all together again. The plan would also be to try to introduce one or two new characters as well at some point in the season.

Wow. Can you say who?

GOUGH: I can’t. We’re still negotiating with DC.

I had to try.

GOUGH: [Laughs]

Before I abandon the topic of cliffhangers, is Cloe dead? It looked like her power was to exchange her life for Lois’.

GOUGH: [Laughs] That’s another one I can’t really reveal or it will ruin the fun.

Is Lex’s super-soldier program going to be the big storyline for Season 7?

GOUGH: That actually won’t be. It got blown up with the dam. All that got revealed to people he didn’t want it revealed to. Lex is in a lot of hot water when we see him in the beginning of the season. He’s suspect no. 1 in Lana’s death. And then also the super-soldier program, now that it’s been exposed, he’s got a lot to answer for. This season I think he took a real big step towards the dark side—if he didn’t already cross that line. [Laughs]

Is this Michael Rosenbaum’s final season?

GOUGH: It’s his last season contractually. Our hope is that the show will go to an eighth season—which, by the way, would be the last for the series. The plan would also be to have Michael back, if not for all, then part of those episodes. These are early days in terms of those discussions. The plan is to go to eight seasons and the plan would be to have Michael.

You have a definite ending in sight for “Smallville”?

GOUGH: That would be Season 8. I think we got two seasons’ worth. Look, if we premiere and the numbers aren’t great and the network calls in December and says you have to wrap this up, we could. It wouldn’t be ideal, but we could. The plan would be to go to eight seasons.

If that happens, any chance of a “Smallville” movie in the future?

GOUGH: You know, we’re always open to that. I don’t know if that’s something that Warners would want to pursue given that they have the Superman movies now—at least one, and talk of a sequel. That’s something that we’re always open to.

Could you tell us about Supergirl?

GOUGH: Kara is her name. She’s 19. And she’s Clark’s cousin from Krypton. She arrived at the same time as Clark did but her ship was stuck under the Smallville reservoir. When the dam burst at the end of the season it sort of brought it up. She’s been in suspended animation. She thinks she’s looking for a baby—baby Kal-El. Then realizes her cousin is 21 and older than her, so she sort of has to adjust to that. Then Clark, in sort of a reversal, has to sort of mentor her in the ways of the world and how things work and keeping her powers hidden. She’s a 19-year-old girl on information overload and isn’t the sort of beautiful child that Clark was. [Laughs] For Clark, he has some real flesh-and-blood family that he never had to contend with. This puts him in the position of being a mentor rather then the child being taught by the parents, the Kents.

And she’s an alien, brought up in a completely different culture.

GOUGH: She’s completely new. But what she brings to Clark is that since she was a teenager on Krypton, she brings a history, a sort of family history, that he has never known. So she can tell him about a planet that he never saw. It’ll be a really rich character storyline for both Kara and Clark.

He’ll have to teach her about the powers too. Does she have the same powers?

GOUGH: Yeah. She’s actually a little more advanced. She can fly—which obviously adds to Clark’s problems since he can’t. [Laughs] She can fly because girls mature faster than boys. She has all of Clark’s other powers, some of which she doesn’t know she has. Clark will have to teach her what they are, the super-hearing and all those things.

And Martha Kent’s gone to Washington to be a senator, right?

GOUGH: Yeah. Now it’s basically just him and Kara on the farm. Martha’s off in Washington now. Season 6 was the last of Annette’s contract. She may pop every now and again. But it’s really about Clark as a young man on his own and now he has to deal with this cousin.

Who does he lean on for that guidance now that his parents are gone?

GOUGH: He still has Jor-El in a certain form. Especially with Kara. He has John Jones. And still Lionel to a degree as well.

In classic DC continuity, Clark met heroes from the future, the Legion of Super-Heroes. And in modern continuity, Supergirl went to the future with them. Any chance the Legion will go back in time for an appearance?

GOUGH: I don’t know. She may have some interaction with the Justice League people, but I don’t know if we’ll bring some people back from the future. We don’t have any plans at the moment. I never say never. At this point, I don’t we’ve figured out a way to make that concept fly in our universe.

Pun intended?

GOUGH: Yes, exactly.

Fans loved your take on Green Arrow. Will Ollie come back?

GOUGH: He will show up, probably at some point in the middle of the season.

To cause jealousy with Clark? Will he and Lois ever start admitting they like each other?

GOUGH: Probably not. They care about each other in their own way. If you think about it still at the end of the series, there’s an amount of time he goes off for his training and comes back. You can’t really push that relationship too far.

Why should viewers tune in this season?

GOUGH: It’s still the story of Clark Kent in the years before he became Superman. This year offers a lot of reversals both for Clark and the other characters. New characters, in form of Supergirl, who is going to come and sort of like a hand grenade and blow things apart. Kind of mix everything up. I think that Clark’s journey is still very intriguing. As we get closer and closer to the actual DC mythology, I think longtime fans will definitely be rewarded as more of those comic influences come into the show.

And Kara makes a good jumping-on point for new viewers since things can be explained to them as they’re explained to her.

GOUGH: Exactly. New fans can definitely jump on with her. She’ll sort of be our new window into the series. We’ve got to explain all of that to her. She doesn’t know what kryptonite is. Kryptonite’s something because the planet blew up. People on Krypton didn’t know what kryptonite is because it didn’t exist. [Laughs] All those various things need to be explained. What I find interesting is when people come to me and say they watched the show, a lot of them have gotten hooked on the DVDs and sort of caught up with them and then start watching the show on network, which is interesting. Because a lot of times all of that stuff is so fresh, they know a lot more of the mythology than you think.

And for you that was years ago.

GOUGH: Yeah, because they’ll come up and ask questions and I’ll say, “What season was that?” I think that’s fascinating. For long-running series that have serialized elements, like ours does, we’ve gotten more serialized the longer we’re on. That’s the nature of it. That’s been the blessing of DVD—that fans can catch up and not be lost, then tune in and enjoy the new episodes.

Watchmen Poster

Only two more years (less than that actually) before I get to see Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' epic Watchmen on the big screen!

Check out this new piece of Watchmen art by Dave Gibbons!

WIZARD INSIDER: 'WATCHMEN' POSTER
Original comic artist Dave Gibbons draws this first teaser poster for '300' director Zack Snyder's R-rated adaptation

By Kiel Phegley

Posted September 26, 2007 10:35 AM

Who watches the watchmen?

Hopefully, it’ll be movie audiences across the world by 2009. “300” director Zack Snyder finally breaks through years of Hollywood red tape to helm an adaptation of the seminal 1986 12-issue maxiseries by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, which brought new levels of sophistication and praise to comics. And while many fans worry no film could contain the many subtle layers and subplots inherent in Watchmen, Snyder proved his devotion at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego by announcing a cast of acclaimed actors such as Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley as well as unveiling an original teaser poster drawn by Gibbons in the style of his original Watchmen covers. “I had talked to Dave before because I sent him a copy of the script and he actually drew some panels for me as storyboards,” recalls Snyder. “If you’re a fan, it’s like a lost cover. That’s what it feels like, and that’s what we’re going for.”

Below, Gibbons and Snyder give a rundown of how the poster came about, why President Nixon’s in the mix and what Alan Moore thinks.

THE HOOKUP
How exactly did Snyder persuade Gibbons to step back into the world he created 20 years ago? By living up to his potential. “I read the script and I had notes that it was quite a good script, so we spoke about me doing some conceptual work for the movie,” the artist explains. “I’m quite impressed by what he did with ‘300,’ and I’m impressed by his enthusiasm and understanding of Watchmen.”

FLASHBACK
Watchmen fans asking where this scene of an attack on Edward Blake (aka the Comedian) takes place in the comic should know that it’s not in there at all. “It’s actually the scene that comes before the first scene you see in the comic,” explains Gibbons. “It’s Blake being beaten up and thrown out the window before the smiley badge lands in the gutter.”

TRICKY DICK
Shattering across the background of Gibbons’ piece is a photo of the Comedian with President Richard M. Nixon. Snyder retains Watchmen’s story elements where it’s set in 1985 and the disgraced president remains in office. “In the graphic novel, when [Rorschach] picks it up, it says, ‘Shaking hands with the vice president,’” explains Snyder. “I switched it to Nixon because it’s more iconographic.”

EVERYONE’S A COMEDIAN
While the poster doesn’t contain any cast photos, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays John Winchester on “Supernatural”) will be stepping into the role of the doomed Comedian once the cameras roll this month, and Snyder promises a fully realized set for the action rather than the CGI backdrops he used in “300.” “We’ve built these huge sets, like [Edward “Comedian”] Blake’s apartment and Adrian [“Ozymandias” Veidt’s] office, all of Moloch [the Mystic’s] places and stuff like that,” says Snyder, who calls the Vancouver backlot “Watchmen Headquarters.”

MOORE SILENCE
Even with Gibbons’ surprise involvement, fans shouldn’t expect to hear word one from Watchmen scribe Alan Moore, who’s publicly cut all ties to Hollywood adaptations of his comics. “I specifically had a conversation with Alan about it, and although he doesn’t want anything to do with it, he has no problem with me being involved with it,” Gibbons reports. “It doesn’t affect our friendship in the least.”

UNDER WRAPS
However, despite his involvement, Gibbons promises he won’t be spilling secrets of the film as production rolls along. “It’s weird. I get some information from Zack and [some from] off the Internet, like everybody else. So I forget what he said to me and what I read,” he laughs.

First Look: Millar and Hitch's Fantastic Four

It's coming! It's coming! What's coming that's making so excited, you ask? Well, anything new in the Ultimate universe, for one. I just can't wait to read the first issue of Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira's The Ultimates Season 3 when it's released in December.

I love seeing old Ultimate-universe teams being reunited too. Former The Ultimates collaborators, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, are making the jump to the normal Marvel Universe when they take on Marvel's first family, the Fantastic Four, next year.

Wizard Universe has some previews!

WIZARD FIRST LOOK: MILLAR AND HITCH'S FANTASTIC FOUR
Check out Bryan Hitch's brand-new art as he takes over Marvel's first family with Mark Millar

By Ben Morse

Posted September 26, 2007 9:00 AM

Why Fantastic Four?

After five years and 26 issues of bloody fights, politics, sex and other mature themes in Ultimates, why would writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch choose the one Marvel title that screams “family friendly” more than any other for their next collaboration?

“The honest reason is that it was my favorite Marvel book as a kid,” admits Millar. “Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s first 100 issues were just perfect. Every Fantastic Four story since has been a retread. The idea of trying to add to that brilliant legacy is a poisoned chalice in a lot of ways because the book has never touched those heights again.”

Hitch, like his partner, relishes the challenge of returning the one-time “World’s Greatest Comic Book” to its early peak.

“High concept and characterization is something Mark is excellent at, and the big-scale science fiction and quiet character moments are things you can happily throw at me,” expresses the artist.

With the Millar/Hitch regime set to kick off with January’s Fantastic Four #554, both men have been working overtime to put things in place for the grand opening. Over the next few pages, enjoy the fruits of the duo’s labors thus far.

NEW FRIENDS

MILLAR: “An ex-girlfriend of Reed’s shows up and brings basically the worst news possible for the FF at the end of our first issue. She needs Reed’s help, and Reed will have to leave the team and go off with her. To me, the FF was always at its best when it took stuff that happens to real families to that fantastic level, and here it’s an old love threatening the family.”

HITCH: “The most fun character for me has been Ben’s new girlfriend, Debbie, a schoolteacher and essentially the replacement in the family for Alicia Masters. She provides that completely human voice and perspective to these bizarre lives the FF lead but which they think are perfectly ordinary.”




NEW FOES

MILLAR: “Johnny’s dating a supervillain. There’s a scene where he’s fighting this girl who is robbing a place, but she’s hot so he starts kissing her and can’t help himself. He figures she didn’t kill anybody. [Laughs] There’s also a guy named Cap who I won’t get into details about, but he’s the villain of the first four issues.”











MOVING FORWARD

MILLAR: “It’s the classic FF better than you’ve ever seen them drawn. Bryan is taking it to a new 21st century level.”

HITCH: “Everything I did on Ultimates I had to learn from scratch because I didn’t feel a natural affinity for drawing real-world stuff. I learned to draw off the weird, silly stuff. Fantastic Four works very nicely because I have all the elements of big-scale stuff and then intimate character stuff at my disposal. It’s more fun, it’s more fluid and it’s faster because it’s nowhere near as dense or saturated as Ultimates.”

DOCTOR DOOM

MILLAR: “You always think of the FF as a family structure, and to me Doctor Doom is the weird uncle. He’s the one who shows up drunk at Christmas. We’re going to bring him back, but the plan is to use him in a way that has never been utilized before.”

HITCH: “Doom really is the first member of Reed’s family, his evil half-brother. Right now, apart from several covers he’s featured on, I haven’t really gotten to delve into Doom as a character yet. We’ll absolutely be keeping the classic armor; it’s the only way to go. It’s great for what it is. I could put in more detail or make it more form fitting, but it’s Doctor Doom.”






MR. FANTASTIC
REED RICHARDS

MILLAR: “Reed is really Marvel’s George Clooney. He’s clearly the world’s smartest man, but he’s also fantastically handsome and an amazing adventurer. I really want it to be like all the girls are reading the National Enquirer and being like, ‘Oh my God, Reed and Sue’s marriage is on the rocks—wouldn’t it be great to f--- Mr. Fantastic?’”

HITCH: “Indiana Jones is an archaeologist, and on paper that sounds dull, but look what they did with him. I’m equating Reed with guys like Harrison Ford or Pierce Brosnan.”


THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
SUE RICHARDS

MILLAR: “What would it take to capture the heart of the world’s smartest man? It can’t just be that she’s beautiful. She isn’t a scientist and can’t talk with Reed about a lot of what he’s interested in, so there must be something wonderfully charismatic about her. To me, they’ve got the most interesting relationship in comics.”

HITCH: “I thought there was no reason the suit couldn’t be a little sexier to show a bit of skin, but not too much. When she’s not in costume, I like to have her with her hair down and no shoes on because she’s very happy and comfortable in the Baxter Building.”


THE HUMAN TORCH
JOHNNY STORM

MILLAR: “He’s probably the most fun character to write. He’s a male Paris Hilton. He would totally be in a club with friends one night and say, ‘Dude, we should make an album,’ spend six months as a rock star, have his record bomb, then move on to something else. He’s got a good heart, but he’s also incredibly superficial.”

HITCH: “The guy doesn’t feel cold, so I gave him short sleeves and a costume that’s more like extreme sports wear. The fire effect will be rendered several different ways by [colorist] Paul Mounts, and we’ll be doing things like using the flame as a light source.”


THE THING
BEN GRIMM

MILLAR: “In the ’60s, pre-Wolverine, he was the Marvel badass. The guy you didn’t want angry at you was Ben Grimm. But also, he’s the heart of the Fantastic Four, the guy that grounds them.”

HITCH: “I was determined to make [Ben] more socially expressive and human under there. He’s almost like a burn victim physically, but the eyes are still human, not cartoon circles. In the [‘Fantastic Four’] movies, you can’t see any of Michael Chiklis [the actor who plays the Thing] under that makeup, so he had to act with his eyes.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Great sites to visit!

Just found a couple of hilarious sites which I've added to my links.

Toys in Compromising Situations is EXACTLY like what it sounds. It's hilarious and it's certainly in the vein of Twisted Toyfare Theatre. The recent strips feature Bond, James Bond (of the Sean Connery variety). What adventures do the Scottish rogue get up to? Why don't you click on the link and find out yourself? :p

Hulk's Diary That Is On The Internet is another hilarious blog. Listen to the Hulk ramble on and on about stuff that affects him...directly and indirectly!

Dan's Bounce Back To Life is a blog that has beautiful cartoon images drawn by the author on his views of situations he experiences in life. Recommended!

Steve Niles on loving his "Days" job

Steve Niles has been a superb horror writer. I read his original 30 Days of Night series when I purchased the TPB and it is simply awesome. I can't wait until the movie hits the big screen to watch it.

Steve Niles' meteoric rise to comic book superstardom really was like that of a fairy tale. No one gave him a chance when he pitched 30 Days of Night. He was rejected over and over again until IDW Publishing decided to take a chance on him...and then 30 Days of Night became one of the hottest series of all time. And Hollywood soon came coming. A property that was met with so much rejection all of a sudden started commanding millions of dollars as a property in Hollywood!

I've always been interested in reading Steve Niles' Criminal Macabre as well. Perhaps the TPBs would be a good place to start.

STEVE NILES ON LOVING HIS ‘DAYS’ JOB
The writer hopes the big-screen adaptation of his ‘30 Days of Night’ opens up some doors at the Big Two

By David King

Posted September 25, 2007 4:55 PM

With a major Hollywood film version of his horror graphic novel 30 Days of Night set to terrorize mainstream filmgoers and fanboys alike next month, you might think Steve Niles’ mind would be focused on the megaplex. You would be dead wrong.

“I love comics more than anything in the world,” says Niles over the phone at a Baltimore airport as he kills time before his flight. “I would choose comics over movies any day.”

In fact, Niles hopes Hollywood success will enable him to put his hands on more of the characters he has always wanted to write and let him steer comics away from the bloated flash he thinks is killing the industry.

“People keep asking, ‘Now that you’ve made this movie, I guess we will lose you from comics?’ That’s nonsense! I’m doing this so I can do more comics.”

Niles says DC has given him some dream assignments that the company will soon unveil, and he is happy working on his creator-owned work, such as Bad Planet and Criminal Macabre: My Demon Baby, which came out last week. Niles has been so excited by the prospect of writing some of the books that he grew up reading that he has gone way out on a limb. He has repeatedly offered to write Hulk for Marvel for a year free of charge.

But right now Niles is focused on the independent, horror/sci-fi titles that have built him a name among the hipster comic-book sect. Niles is proud that Bad Planet, a book of his that hit some snags because of the health of his artist, is now back on track.

Niles remembers how he met one-time Punisher Thomas Jane and how the idea for Bad Planet was fleshed out.

“He was out promoting Punisher and I had just sold ‘30 Days,’” he says. “I remember meeting him at Wizard World Long Beach. [Wizard contributor] Todd Casey came up to me and said, ‘The Punisher is looking for you!’ And that is not what you want to hear. He came up to me and goes, ‘Hey, I like Cal McDonald.’ And I said, ‘Apparently, you are Cal MacDonald.’ He’s like, ‘Hey, I got a story I want you to do. Help me put it out! I got crazy thoughts in my head!’ So he came over to my house and told me this long story that actually wasn’t that crazy. It needed some organization, but we took his big, crazy idea, reined it in together, and I am really happy with how it came out.”

Back on track with new artist James Daly for issue #4, Niles is happy to have his and Jane’s work out there: “Now we have got it off the ground. But we had a rough time to get it going. We got the first issue out, and then an artist became sick halfway through the second issue. We are all partners; we are a team, so we kept sticking with him until it was really too late.” Penciler Lewis LaRosa, once returned to health, decided not to return to the fold. A replacement was found in the form of Daly, and finally the book is running on full steam.

For Criminal Macabre: My Demon Baby, Niles also started with inspiration from a collaborator. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever written that started with a cover. Jim Bradstreet did the cover for #1 with Tom Jane posing with a baby, and it all went from there.”

Niles says that Cal McDonald operates in a horror world that is a bit different from his other characters, a world with a bit of humor as well as horror. “Cal McDonald is a little different. Monsters are something he can deal with. And, you know, he can do it with a little bit of humor. Cal is…how do we put this? A little worse for wear. He does not really take care of himself. He does not have any friends.”

And yet, for My Demon Baby Niles decided it was time for Cal to give a damn about something. “I took a well-known horror theme and turned it on its head,” explains Niles. “This cult is going to give birth to the antichrist to bring about Armageddon. But first it’s a girl—an adorable girl—and Cal is not convinced that if it is not raised as a demon it could grow up as a sweet kid. So he butts into it. Cal’s idea is just to get the kid out and if it’s not raised by a bunch of satanic psychos it might be a happy kid.”

A MARVEL ZOMBIES FEAST!

ZOMBIES ZOMBIES ZOMBIES!

Marvel Zombies!

I want to buy the Marvel Zombies: The Covers HC too. It's spiffy.

A MARVEL ZOMBIES FEAST!
Halloween is looming, and so is a host of Marvel Zombies stories!
Posted September 25, 2007 10:55 AM

After they gorged themselves on (just about) everything in the universe, Robert Kirkman (Marvel Zombies, Ultimate X-Men) and Eisner-Winning Sean Philips (Marvel Zombies, Criminal) bring the Marvel Zombies back home in Marvel Zombies 2 #1 (of 5)! Taking place forty years after the original best-selling series, Marvel Zombies 2 features an unprecedented event of stomach churning proportions: the MARVEL ZOMBIES CIVIL WAR!

This amazing sequel limited series reunites Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips as they continue the amazing smash hit series that won two Spike TV Scream Awards (Best Comic Book Series and Best Comic Book Artist: Sean Philips), and went back to press numerous times, both in single issues and in collections. Each issue of Marvel Zombies 2 features gorgeous new zombie interpretations of classic Marvel covers by the critically acclaimed Arthur Suydam!

What awaits the Marvel Zombies back on Earth is beyond anything even they (or you) could have possibly conceived! Will any of these monsters rediscover their humanity? Or will the fledgling human population find that their days are numbered?

And don’t miss more Zombie goodness in October, as the now-classic Marvel Zombies covers are collected in Marvel Zombies: The Covers HC; the oversized Marvel Zombies: Dead Days Poster arrives; and go behind the scenes of this pop culture phenomenon in Marvel Spotlight: Marvel Zombies. Plus, next week brings Marvel Zombies: The Book Of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities, exploring the secrets of the Zombie-verse and revealing the true history of the Marvel Zombies!

True believers, keep your eyes peeled for special, as select Marvel titles will ship with unannounced, top secret Zombie variant covers! That’s right—October is Marvel Zombie Month at your local comic store!

The Marvel Zombies are back, daring to ask: "Whose stomach are you in?" The answer comes in the can’t-miss Marvel Zombies 2 #1,

MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 #1 (of 5)
Written by ROBERT KIRKMAN
Penciled by SEAN PHILLIPS
Cover by ARTHUR SUYDAM
Parental Advisory …$2.99
On-Sale—10/17/07

MARVEL ZOMBIES: THE BOOK OF ANGELS, DEMONS & VARIOUS MONSTROSITIES
Written by JEFF CHRISTIANSEN, MICHAEL HOSKIN, STUART VANDAL, CHAD
ANDERSON, MADISON CARTER, DAVID WILTFONG, RONALD BYRD, ERIC J. MOREELS,
ANTHONY FLAMINI & AL SJOERDSMA
Cover by GREG LAND
Parental Advisory …$3.99
On-Sale—9/26/07

MARVEL ZOMBIES: THE COVERS HC
Featuring the artwork of ARTHUR SUYDAM, GREG LAND & KYLE HOTZ.
104 Pages/ Parental Advisory …$19.99
On-Sale—10/24/07

MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: MARVEL ZOMBIES
Written by JOHN RHETT THOMAS
Rated T+ …$2.99
On-Sale—10/24/07

MARVEL ZOMBIES DEAD DAYS POSTER
55x20 Color Poster…$15.99
ON-SALE—10/3/07







Drawn Together out on DVD!

OoOooO! A DVD I so want to get...except that it's only released in America so far, just like my favourite cartoons, Animaniacs and Pinky & The Brain. Guess if I want to get it, Amazon is the only way to do so. Grah.

Drawn Together: Season 2

Not many Comedy Central programs last over three seasons. “Drawn Together” was no exception. The premise was simple—an animated reality show! Combining animation clich├ęs like the crass Internet flash cartoon, the black-and-white sex symbol and the cocky superhero resulted in one of the most off-the-wall and crude cartoons ever put on Comedy Central.

Some people liked it, some didn’t. Those who did will probably want to pick up this DVD set and support their favorite canceled show.



I just love Drawn Together. I never even knew the first season was already out on DVD, let alone the SECOND season! Though I suppose I always knew they would release it sooner or later...it's just too good NOT to be collected. Strange that such a brilliant series like Cold Case hasn't yet been released on DVD yet though...ah well.

Anyway, Drawn Together is certainly not for everybody. It's very adult-oriented humour...and there's a lot of potty/toilet humour too. If you like South Park though, you'll love Drawn Together!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New stuff purchased 24 Sep 2007

Headed to Classic Comics yesterday after work to pick up The Complete Bite Club TPB. I read the collected TPB of the series some time ago and it was pretty fantastic, so this was something I was really looking forward to read. Haven't had the time to do so yet, of course.

Oh, and I got the Captain America Omnibus HC yesterday too! I saw that it was on sale and since it was really cheap (as far as 25+ issues worth of a collected edition...hardcover no less!) I decided it would be worth it there and then to buy it on the spot while it was still available. It'd be too difficult (and perhaps expensive if the price went up!) to obtain a copy later...especially since I'm expecting it to be sold out as interest in Captain America picks up when the movie is about to be released...or when Marvel decides to resurrect the character.

Got and read The Pro yesterday...it's hilarious! I couldn't find it on the TPB racks under "R" and I asked the sales assistant, who said they had put it with all the other Garth Ennis stuff. Ennis is such a brilliant writer...I often find myself laughing out loud at his dark, sick and twisted humour. Some of my favourite comics and series have been penned by the Irish master scribe: Preacher, the reboot of the Marvel Knights imprint Punisher series ("Welcome Back Frank"), his Marvel Max imprint Punisher series, among others.

Slowly, but surely, I'll catch up on reading all the stuff that I've bought. Gotta find something to do in the evenings when waiting for Aeris to return home, and at night before I go to bed!

Fall TV Preview: Heroes

More fun from the world of Heroes!

The new season is starting soon on Channel 7 here in Australia...and Aeris and I STILL haven't gotten past Episode 7 of Season 1! *gulp*

Anyway, here's more stuff from Wizard Universe:


FALL TV PREVIEW: HEROES
We unravel clues about 21 mysteries from your favorite Emmy-nominated drama, including the fate of serial killer Sylar, time-traveling Hiro and cheerleader-on-the-run Claire

By Kiel Phegley

Posted September 23, 2007 5:10 PM

The stench of stale stage fog drifts over the head of Sendhil Ramamurthy, covered head to toe in sweat and grime. And while the actor who portrays Dr. Mohinder Suresh on NBC’s Emmy-nominated drama “Heroes” mulls over his lines and waits for stagehands to finish constructing the ramshackle tin house on a Hollywood soundstage dressed to resemble the jungles of Haiti, he spots a friend entering from across the room.

Hopping across a collection of camera cables and fake vines, Ramamurthy squeezes his arms around the friend before leaning in to whisper a few choice lines of French into her ear. Slowly, the memorized dialogue rolls out in his signature rasp.

“Does that sound good?” he inquires after a breathless finish. “Because I have no idea what I just said.”

This is what it’s like to work on the second season of “Heroes.” The set is so secretive that even the actors don’t know what’s coming next.

Quickly transformed from a cultish longshot into the breakout hit of the season, the superhero-inspired serial ended its first season with a literal bang. After 23 episodes of coincidental meetings and surprise connections, the cast of strangers who suddenly harbor their own superpowers simultaneously arrived in New York City intent on stopping an impending nuclear explosion. And while that dire fate was averted, the battle to save the city left two brothers presumed dead (Nathan, Peter), one would-be hero stranded over 400 years in the past (Hiro), a major villain on the run (Sylar) and characters suffering potentially fatal injuries (Parkman, D.L.). Most of all, the finale left fans with a mountain of cliffhangers, mysteries and questions dying to be answered.

With speculation at a fever pitch, “Heroes” has gone on lockdown in advance of its second season premiere Sept. 24, with series mastermind Tim Kring and his staff furiously working out pivotal plot points and secret revelations. In an effort to break the silence, Wizard headed to the “Heroes” set during filming of the new season’s first two episodes and grilled the creators and cast on the questions fans have been dying to know the answers to.

1. Could Peter or Nathan have survived the apparent explosion that capped Season 1’s finale?

The nuclear explosion in the skies over Manhattan left the Petrelli brothers—increasingly heroic Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and slightly villainous Nathan (Adrian Pasdar)—presumed dead, but that doesn’t mean the pair won’t appear in Season 2.

“You can use your acumen and put it together that somehow I manage to be a part of Season 2, whether it’s in dream sequences, flashbacks or possible string theory futures,” explains Pasdar, who will sport a beard early in Season 2. “There’s so many different ways that you can make an appearance on this show. There’s no rules.”

You can take it to the bank that two of the series’ main stars will be back, especially since there are plenty of dangling threads surrounding the Petrellis, including the fate of politician Nathan’s recently won seat in Congress.
“Do I have a secret in Season 2?” Pasdar says, repeating a question. “Yeah. Yeah, I do. We all do. That’s the nature of the show. We all have something that if we divulge it, it would be potentially dangerous to ourselves and the people around us. And how do you deal with it? That’s also the nature of Season 2. In coming to terms with the fact that we have these powers, how do we come to terms with dealing with them as individuals and collectively?”

2. Where did serial killer Sylar go when he disappeared after being stabbed by Hiro?

The cold hard steel of Hiro Nakamura’s (Emmy-nominated Masi Oka) samurai sword wasn’t enough to kill series supervillain Sylar (Zachary Quinto), who hunted and killed our heroes to siphon off their powers. Quinto insists “Sylar is not quite dead. He’s a hard one to keep down.” But fans left spinning bizarre theories over the insect visitor that replaced Sylar’s body on the New York concrete can rest easy. “We should be very clear in saying that he did not turn into a cockroach,” explains series writer Joe Pokaski.

“I think our show is about evolution,” adds Quinto, who’ll be playing Spock in the 11th “Star Trek” movie. “The cockroach is obviously an example of advanced evolutionary development, and I think that’s the reason that sort of finds its way into the story.”

One important detail from the roach-ridden scene that may reveal what became of Sylar is the gruesome angle of the blood he left behind. “What you can’t tell from the streak of blood is whether or not he pulled himself off of there or whether he was dragged off by some other entity,” teases executive producer and writer Jeph Loeb.

3. Will Hiro Nakamura be stuck in 15th-century feudal Japan, or will he reunite with his mysterious father and sidekick Ando?

While the time-teleporting Hiro’s physical location was locked in at the end of last season, his chances of escaping remains a major question, although Kring promises Hiro will tough out the wilds of Japan for a massive chunk of the year with major screen time in the offing. “That won’t be [until] a few episodes in where we can finally settle in and tell longer stories,” says Kring.

“We know Hiro worshiped a legendary samurai warrior by the name of Takezo Kensei. It’s fair to say his story and Kensei’s story have something to do with one another,” adds Kring, noting the double take fans did when it was revealed the samurai would be played by a Caucasian actor (David Anders). It’s not going to be the only stunning revelation regarding the character. “The whole idea is that [Hiro] has to come face to face with the reality of who this hero was and who he wasn’t.”

As for Hiro’s best bud Ando (James Kyson Lee) and his harsh father Kaito Nakamura (Goerge Takei): “That’s something that will be addressed in 2.1 as well,” explains writer Aron Eli Coleite of the story content of the first episode of Season 2. “We’re playing the truth of the emotion of it—that they will probably be devastated by the fact [Hiro’s] gone and wondering where he is.”

“Hopefully, he will return,” says Loeb of Hiro’s probable landing in the present day. “We saw in episode 9 [of Season 1] when Hiro disappeared into the past, Ando diligently waited for him to return. It’s not unlikely that [Ando] and his father believe that Hiro will return. It’s just a question of where and when.”

“I think Ando hopes [Hiro returns], but four months is a long time,” adds Lee. “It’s different from three days in a coffee shop [as in Season 1]. And in the first episode we see Hiro’s father in mourning, not knowing where the son is.”

4. Will Claire Bennet return to her family in Texas, stay with her newly discovered grandmother Angela Petrelli in New York or remain on the lam?

Claire will spend the start of the second season far away from the dangers of the Company (the mysterious and sinister organization whose Season 1 operations included kidnapping and suppressing those with powers) and their ally of biological grandmother Angela Petrelli. Actress Hayden Panettiere explains that Claire Bennet is in hiding outside of Texas in a place she’ll only refer to as “elsewhere.”

“I think she’s more in hiding from the people in ‘the Company’…whatever that may be,” says Panettiere, noting that the status of her biological family is a secret even to her. “[She has] no idea what happened to Nathan and Peter. For all she knows, they’re dead.”

As to the question of whether the series’ famed Horned-Rimmed Glasses father (Jack Coleman) will be keeping his daughter safe from his former employer, the writers will only speculate. “What we do know is that HRG has a plan,” says Loeb. “And in general, when HRG has a plan, it involves himself and his family. Whether or not that means they’ll stay together, we’ll know in [episode] 2.1.”

5. Will Noah “HRG” Bennet be able to return to a normal life after betraying the Company?

For HRG, the first season of “Heroes” ended with the grisly murder of his Company boss, Mr. Thompson (Eric Roberts). That violent betrayal means things have changed for the man in the glasses and the nefarious institution that signed his paychecks for so long.

“His plans for the Company are somewhat under wraps,” explains Coleman. However, Kring states that his past history has toughened HRG to the rigors of retaliation. “The truth is, when we saw the [Season 1] episode ‘Company Man,’ we realized HRG has done many, many things in his tenure with this company that were morally questionable.

“He is very pragmatic, and at this point is taking all of the energy he used to devote toward his employers and is devoting it now to his family.”

Coleman did note that the choice to murder his superior has weighed as heavily on the character’s mind as the laundry list of Company secrets he already carries with him.

“I think that’s going to come up one way or another,” says Coleman. “Something’s got to happen. You can’t off your boss in this Company. Then again, [former Company leader and nuclear bomb plot mastermind] Linderman’s dead…so there are a lot of changes going on at the Company.”

6. Has split-personalitied Niki learned how to control her dangerous alter ego Jessica, and what does that mean for her powers?

With her alter ego/deceased sister Jessica holding sway over her actions, single mother and stripper Niki (Ali Larter) never realized the full potential of her super-strength until the end of Season 1. Of course, that doesn’t mean Niki will retain control. “When we left her last season, Jessica was gone and Niki remained,” says Loeb. “And who knows when one thing disappears whether or not something else appears.”

“I think the complexities of the way we were playing the mental health issue means it’s probably not that easy to put that back in the box,” adds writer Jesse Alexander.

And for Larter, both sides will have their say over the course of “Heroes’” second year. “It’s really a merging of the two [personalities],” she explains. “I think we’re going to move forward where you can take little pieces of [Jessica’s] personality and keep them nice and fresh.”

One thing Larter vows this season: No more mirror shots, the familiar Season 1 trick where Niki would stare into a full-length mirror and see her evil twin snarl back.

7. Will we learn who really controls the Company and what are their true motivations?

From HRG to Mr. Linderman (Malcolm McDowell), one of “Heroes’” most enduring mysteries has remained who runs the Company and what their connection to the origins of the characters’ powers is. In Season 2, fans can expect to learn the Company’s hierarchy very soon. “We jump right into what it is, what it was and what it might be,” assures Loeb. And with those revelations, expect to learn the origins of the somewhat sinister parents of Hiro (Mr. Nakamura) and Peter and Nathan (Angela Petrelli). “She’s got a lot of stuff to take care of,” says writer Joe Pokaski of the seemingly evil matriarch. “She’s got her own problems.”

In the meantime, expect a slew of new characters to pick up the shadowy slack of the organization’s behind-the-scenes moves. “We will meet an entire new face to the Company, and the whole Linderman side of it will be explained to us,” Kring promises. “And it’s going to be fun to keep the audience off balance as to what they really feel about this company. Is it good? Is it evil? Is it something we should trust? Is it something we should fear? Much the way that HRG represented all those emotions, I think people will have that same feeling this year with the Company.”

8. Will D.L. Hawkins survive his gunshot wound after taking a bullet to protect Niki?

When it comes to Niki’s wounded ex-husband and escaped convict D.L. Hawkins (Leonard Roberts), the “Heroes” writers have a definitive answer. “We’ll see D.L. Absolutely,” says Pokaski of the often on-the-run hero with the “phasing” power.

But Kring says that when it comes to D.L. and the entire family, happy endings never last long. “That family we saw at the end had resolved their issues and was united again, albeit D.L. had some very severe injury, but it’s not really the stuff of drama to be happy for too long. We’re going to drop into that family’s life with a real fork in the road, and they’ll have to make a very quick decision for where they have to go. Things will heat up very quickly for them.”

And what about Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey), Niki and D.L.’s similarly superpowered kid with the ability to control machines? “Micah will be able to get free pay-per-view cable,” jokes Pokaski.


9. Will telepathic cop Matt Parkman survive his gunshot wound and return home to his pregnant wife?

Four slugs point blank to the chest is the kind of wound that can take out even an armored soldier, let alone a defenseless cop like the telepathic Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg). “I just ran out thinking I could just shoot Sylar,” recalls the actor. “Like a dummy, I’m like, ‘Here I go! Super Cop! Not even wearing a vest, so take four to the chest!’ But it was good. I thought it was heroic, and I wanted to be one of those people that was part of that cliffhanger.”

And while the actor will return, that doesn’t mean the character will return from the dead. “Again, one of the things that can happen on our show, as we’ve seen in Season 1, is that a character can be dead and we still see them,” reminds Loeb. Even if Parkman doesn’t survive, there’s still the matter of his pregnant wife to contend with. And if the baby is Parkman’s (remember, his wife had an affair), will it have powers? “We haven’t made any limitations on powers at all,” Loeb says. “You’ve seen that someone who’s [as old as] Linderman has powers and someone who’s [as young as] Molly [Walker] has powers.”

“I told Tim I wanted to be able to read the baby’s mind in vitro,” insists Grunberg. “To be able to read the mind of a newborn baby that can’t yet communicate and can’t speak—that would just be the coolest thing, but we haven’t explored that yet.”

10. Will superpower tracking system Molly Walker be used for good or evil?

One of the shocking reveals at the tail end of last season was the fact that young Molly Walker (Adair Tishler)—who had previously been sought by Sylar early in the year—was in fact a human tracking system employed by the Company to hunt down heroes. Now that’s she’s been freed, what becomes of the little girl with the linchpin powers?

“She becomes a fairly pivotal character early on,” promises Kring. “The only thing I’ll say that could be fun is to analyze where we left her last year and who we left her with for a clue as to where we’re going with her.”

Whether that’s a reference to Matt Parkman or Molly’s disturbing mention of a new supervillain is unclear, but that doesn’t stop the cast from guessing what lies ahead.

“Ultimately, what it does is just help everyone either find the ultimate villain or find the person responsible [for our powers],” theorizes Grunberg, adding that Molly holds tremendous potential for good. “If I can put a face to that person and she can see that person, that’s when she’ll be able to pinpoint where the good or bad person is. It’s not like I’m abusing that privilege.”

11. What role will Mohinder Suresh play: ally of the heroes or tracker
for the Company?


“I think the one thing we’ll be able to say about Mohinder is that last year he was very much on his father’s path,” explains Pokaski of the series’ wayward (and powerless) narrator. “This year he’s finding his own, whether or not the Company’s involved.”

And whether good or evil, the journey that scientist and scholar Mohinder takes won’t be all lab work and science. It’ll involve high adventure as well. “Mohinder has literally become like an Indiana Jones world traveler in Season 2, which is really cool,” explains Ramamurthy. “The whole vibe of Mohinder has changed. He’s much more confident. He realizes what his purpose is now.”
While that purpose remains shrouded in secrecy, Ramamurthy explains he will cross paths with veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (“Deadwood,” “Groundhog Day”), who, according to Kring, will play “a face of the Company that we have not seen before.”

“Also, certainly given the journey [Mohinder] went on last year, he was often put in a situation where in the face of danger he ran,” adds Loeb. “Having experienced what he’s done now, he’s no longer content doing that, and you’ll see him being more of a bad ass.”

12. Will the significance of the solar eclipses or the repeated “helix” symbols finally be explained?

Hanging over the heads of “Heroes’” regular cast is the bizarre solar eclipse, a phenomenon which was at once explained away as a symbolic global event while also signifying a greater purpose within the show’s mythology. “The eclipse is one of our bigger mysteries, so we’re going to be drawing that one out more slowly,” explains Pokaski.

“I’ve always said the eclipse has a certain meaning that will trace through the first few seasons,” says Kring. “But if you look at it as anything more than a unifying event, it’s probably going to be frustrating.”

Another major mystery surrounds the so-called “helix” symbol and its repeated appearances, most recently dropping in a s the banner of one of the samurai warriors who assaults Hiro when he goes back in time to Japan.

“Wouldn’t it be shocking if there was some…story as to why only one of the soldiers has the flag of what we refer to as ‘Godsend’?” jokes Loeb. But with many of “Heroes” fans’ questions, Kring promises a quick conflict to get to the heart of the matter. “It shows up right in the first episode, so you don’t have to wait too long to find out the answer to that.”

12. How many arcs will there be in Season 2, and what will they focus on?

Kring has stated that Season 2 will comprise more than one “volume” of the epic show. And while the entire first season formed the first volume (titled “Genesis”), the show’s popularity means its creators can tweak audience expectations by introducing at least two new volumes into Season 2 and varying them in length and story content.

“The end of Volume 2, [called ‘Generations,’] will end with this first run of episodes [in December],” says Kring. “The little things that were introduced in Season 1 are really paid off in Season 2. The one thing we’re really trying to do with ‘Generations’ is that most of our characters encountered somebody who represented this other generation [of heroes] whether it was Linderman or Angela Petrelli or Charles Deveaux, [actor] Richard Roundtree’s character, or Kaito Nakamura.

“There’s clearly another generation that had left some kind of mess behind, and our generation would have to put together those pieces. So thematically, it’s very much about the sins of the parents being visited upon the children, and much of the story deals with that.”

14. Will Season 2 contain more flashback and flashforward episodes, and where will the characters flash to?

With the episodes “Six Months Ago” and “Five Years Gone,” the series established itself as a show unafraid to jump forwards and backwards in time, and when asked whether Season 2 would continue that tradition, the writers’ answer is a resounding “Yes! More flashbacks!”

The time-jumping fun kicks off in the Season 2 premiere, “Four Months Later.” “When we pick up, we will see the status quo of where our characters are, and what happened to them after the night at Kirby Plaza is one of the mysteries depending on the character,” explains Loeb. “Some of the characters’ stories didn’t warrant trying to figure out where they’ve been for the past four months. When you pick them up, you’ll go, ‘Oh, that’s where they’ve been.’”

However, those characters prove the exception to the rule, as many unanswerable questions kick off the new year for “Heroes.”

“Other characters have deeper mysteries—like what happened to them and why they are where they are,” says series writer Michael Green. “That will be further explored as the season progresses. But in our fashion we give answers relatively quickly.”

15. Who is the villain Molly Walker predicted was “worse than the boogeyman,” and will he or she be a friend or enemy to Sylar?

From brain eating to mother betraying, Sylar proved to be the ultimate shock-inducing villain in the first season of “Heroes,” but child hero Molly Walker’s warning left fans wondering…can it get any worse?

“You’ll be surprised by who the [new] boogeyman is. You’ll never see it coming,” promises Green. “You can also say you will not have to wait all year to find out who the super boogey is.”

“We will be addressing who he or she might be and how that person is involved with maybe a lot more of our cast than just little Molly,” elaborates Loeb. “That story picks right up at the beginning of Season 2.”

As for Sylar’s possible involvement with the shadowy new villain, Quinto expects his own character to be more on the run than in cahoots. “I think his goals going into Season 2 might be a little bit more primal [and] elemental…like survival,” he says with a smile.

16. With painter Isaac Mendez dead, how will the art of Tim Sale factor into Season 2?

Despite stellar performances and unexpected visual effects, the defining images of “Heroes” have almost all come from the paintbrush of famed comic book artist Tim Sale. From the devastating explosion of New York City to the 11th-hour rescue of Claire Bennet, Sale’s art has provided a map for the series’ greatest moments, but with his acting stand-in (the character of Isaac Mendez) murdered by Sylar, will Season 2 contain the same startling, future-predicting images?

“If you’ve watched our show, you already know the answer to that,” assures Loeb, noting that heroes from Peter Petrelli to Sylar have adopted similar painting skills. “We have seen that other people have had that ability. Tim Sale will continue to be an important part of the look of the show and the storytelling of the show.”

17. What revelations about the origins of superpowers will be brought to light in the “Generations” arc?

One of the most addictive aspects of “Heroes” has remained the constant question of how exactly the evolved humans at the heart of the series gained their powers to begin with. And while discussion and debate rages amongst fans, the creators of the show have little interest in jumping into definitive explanations this year. “I think part of the fun is hearing all the different theories and letting them all be true in their own fashion,” says Green of the miraculous granting of powers most often explained away by a mere evolutionary leap.

“We’ve never posited that it was just evolution,” Loeb is quick to note. “There are some characters who believe they are gifts from God. And there are some characters who believe this is something that was done to them and there’s some sort of scientific explanation there.”

18. What’s the status of the announced spinoff “Heroes: Origins”?

Near the end of last season, one of the most enticing additions to the “Heroes” mythos was announced in the form of the six-episode spinoff show “Heroes: Origins.” While the premise of “one-shot” episodes of the series focusing on new characters and revealing a different take on the show’s premise had fans excited, the exact makeup of the episodes and when they would air remained in doubt as “Origins” was initially slated to be a midseason addition.

Kring confirms for Wizard that the miniseries will now debut at the end of the second season of the main series due to the creator’s desire to provide as much “Heroes” thrills as soon as possible. “The idea is to run ‘Heroes’ as contiguously as we can. When it ends at the end of April, we will premiere ‘Origins’ and take it through May and do six episodes.”

As for the creative crew on the series, Kring promises a number of big-name talents including Kevin Smith, who’ll write and direct the first episode. “The idea is to take it out to a pretty eclectic and interesting group of writers and directors and actors with the appeal to the community being that you don’t have to sign your life away on the series. You can come and do a one-episode, one-off anthology type of show. It allows for some very interesting and creative takes on this idea.”

19. Will any of the supporting heroes like invisible man Claude, radioactive man Ted Sprague or illusionist Candice return for Season 2?

“There will be old and there will be new,” says Green of guest stars this year. With characters like Claude (Christopher Eccleston) already playing a massive role in the show’s continuity and others like the influence-wielding Eden (Nora Zehetner) killed off before their prime, the show’s writers aren’t ruling anything out in terms of Season 2 appearances.

“Nobody’s story is done until they’re dead, and even when they’re dead their story seems to continue,” claims Loeb. “That’s the kind of tapestry of our characters. We don’t ever want our audience to feel they’ve invested in somebody and not have that story either come to a conclusion or continue. There’s no point in having them invest in someone and find out that half of that story faded away.”

20. What’s the secret behind the powers of the new brother-and-sister heroes, Maya and Alejandro?

While the massive cast of the show will grow by leaps and bounds this season, two of the first new characters to appear will be the on-the-run brother-sister duo of Maya (Dania Ramirez) and Alejandro (Shalim Ortiz). “Our story starts being told in Central America and we’re making our way up to the United States trying to get to New York,” explains Ramirez (“X-Men: The Last Stand”).

But even though the pair’s powers and quest remain hush-hush, Ortiz promises those revelations will contain a classic “Heroes” twist. “There’s a surprise on the early episodes of what role I play. I don’t know whether to call it a power or not, but there is a bond between me and my sister. That’s what I can say. Her powers affect my character in a way and vice versa, but I can’t say how.”

One thing that can be said is that the pair’s illegal border crossing will be fraught with dangers that force Maya to take her powers down a possibly dark path. “She’s essentially a good person, but sometimes life throws obstacles in your way that you have to overcome and put in question your morality,” says Ramirez.

21. Will we see Claire in the cheerleader costume in Season 2? Please, please say yes.

Viewers waiting on the return of Claire Bennet’s signature red-skirted ensemble may have to wait for an actual story excuse for the indestructible blonde to gear up in her pompom duds. Panettiere has gone on record wishing that she dress as a cheerleader only if she can actually cheer in an episode.

“I think it’s definitely up for consideration,” jokes the actress in regards to her taking a decidedly “go team” turn in Season 2. “I can cheer, and I told [Kring], ‘I can do a backflip basket.’ I can! I might get to do it.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Alan Moore on The Simpsons

Omigod! Comic book legend Alan Moore is set to appear on a comics-related episode of The Simpsons on 7 October in America!

Best. Episode. Ever?

And believe it or not, I STILL haven't watched The Simpsons movie yet.

This should be an awesome episode...I can't wait until it reaches Australia!

FALL TV PREVIEW: ALAN MOORE ON ‘THE SIMPSONS’
Watchmen writer to appear on hit series along with Jack Black and others in special comics-themed episode

By Kiel Phegley

Posted September 23, 2007 4:30 PM

Fanboys still feeling the effects of the famous yellow cartoon family’s summer foray onto the big screen should brace themselves this fall for another assault of pop culture comedy. Season 19 of “The Simpsons” invites longtime fan Alan Moore as well as legendary cartoonist (and former Matt Groening co-worker) Art Spiegelman (Maus) and graphic novelist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) onto the streets of Springfield.

In the Oct. 7 episode “Husbands and Knives,” a new high-class comic book shop called Coolsville Comics & Toys opens up across the street from The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop, home to the ever-sarcastic Jeff “Comic Book Guy” Albertson. If the increased competition wasn’t enough for the rotund shopkeep, Coolville’s owner Milo (voiced by Jack Black) holds a signing with the guest stars, making for the kind of four-color faceoff not seen since Stan Lee destroyed Ralph Wiggum’s Batmobile.

Spider-man 4: Coming to theatres in 2010!

The Spider-man 3 DVD is out and even though I didn't enjoy the movie as much as I could have (see my Spider-man: The End of an Era? post), I think I'll still be purchasing it...after all, it's the movie debut of Venom, and that Venom "suit" looked hella cool!

There's a poll on Wizard Universe about the NEXT Spidey movie:

[POLL] SPIDER-MAN 4
Cast your votes on what you want from the next installment!


Posted September 21, 2007 10:15 AM

The hype around 2010’s “Spider-Man 4” is already building, but with no word yet on who will direct (will Sam Raimi return?) or which villains to expect, Wizard wants to know what the fans want in the next epic chapter of the blockbuster film franchise.

Cast your votes now and look for the results in Wizard’s huge “Spider-Man 4” feature in Wizard #194, on sale Oct. 31.



If Sam Raimi doesn’t return, who should direct “Spider-Man 4”?
A) Joss Whedon
B) Peter Jackson
C) James Cameron
D) Zack Snyder
E) Frank Miller

Which villain should star in the next film?
A) Carnage
B) Kraven
C) Lizard
D) Electro
E) Mysterio

What storylines should they pull from?
A) Kraven’s Last Hunt
B) Death of Jean DeWolfe
C) Ultimate Clone Saga
D) The Black Cat love triangle
E) Back in Black


Didn't know Spidey 4 is scheduled for a 2010 release. Gives them lots of time to improve on the third movie I suppose!

Personally, I think that Zack Snyder might be great as a director for a Spidey movie. Joss Whedon would be awesome too, coz he brings the fanboy mentality in and he'll give Spidey a good dose of humour.

I'd like to see Lizard as the next villain. It's natural progression...we've seen Curt Connors in the three movies, so it's about time to follow up on his story! Kraven would be my second choice.

I'd like to see the "Death of Gwen Stacy" tear Peter apart in the fourth movie, which could tie in nicely with the "Back in Black" storyarc, due to his grief. Though I WOULD like to see more of Peter and Gwen dating in the fourth movie first!

Ultimates 3 #1 covers

Oh oh! Look at these beautiful gatefold covers to the new The Ultimates series from Marvel coming in December!

Joe Madureira, you rock my world. I know you're always late with your comics...but you still rock my world.

ULTIMATES 3 #1 COVERS
Ultimates 3 unveils a new line up for the comic industry’s most exciting, controversial superhero team, along with new opponents to battle!


Posted September 20, 2007 10:50 AM

Marvel is pleased to announce that the most-anticipated comics release of the year, Ultimates 3 #1 (of 5), will arrive in stores this December with two different gatefold covers! From the all-star creative team of Jeph Loeb, Joe Madureira and Christian Lichtner, Ultimates 3 unveils a new line up for the comic industry’s most exciting, controversial superhero team, along with new opponents to battle! To celebrate this landmark issue, Madureira and Lichtner have crafted two dynamic gatefold covers for the premiere issue of Ultimates 3, one featuring the heroes and the other featuring the villains. To meet the overwhelming demand for this series, Marvel has released two separate solicitations for Ultimates 3 #1, allowing retailers to order their preferred quantities of each cover.

"When we first talked about how to launch Ultimates 3, we wanted something that both the retailers and the fans could sink their teeth into,” explained award-winning writer Loeb. “I'd been a huge fan of Joe Mad's Uncanny X-Men #350 with that triple-gatefold and it's hardly ever done anymore.
But since we're in the Ultimates it had to be even bigger than that! Working with Chris Lightner's magic digital inks and colors, Joe created TWO covers -- HEROES and VILLAINS all rushing toward each other. And when you put them together it makes one massive poster. So much so, that Marvel is releasing them as posters! We also wanted to thank you all for being patient while we put this together properly. Joe and Chris are at the height of their game and having been away from comics for a few years, these Hall of Famers have returned with a vengeance. Go Ultimates!"

This winter, the Ultimate Universe heads down the road to Ultimatum and the red-hot, start studded Ultimates 3 #1 (of 5) is your first chance to experience this bold new direction for the comic line that changed superheroes! And don’t miss both the color and black white poster editions of these covers, featuring the stunning art of Madureira and Lichtner!


ULTIMATES 3 #1 (of 5) HEROES GATEFOLD COVER
Written by JEPH LOEB
Art & Cover by JOE MADUREIRA & CHRISTIAN LICHTNER
Parental Advisory …$2.99
On-Sale—12/05/07


ULTIMATES 3 #1 (of 5) VILLAINS GATEFOLD COVER
Written by JEPH LOEB
Art & Cover by JOE MADUREIRA & CHRISTIAN LICHTNER
Parental Advisory …$2.99
On-Sale—12/05/07