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Batman and Harley Quinn Debuts at Sdcc then Fathom Screening

9 hours ago

Celebrating a decade of DC Universe Original Movie world premieres in San Diego, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will once again give fans their first look at an all-new animated feature with the presentation of Batman and Harley Quinn on the Friday, July 21, at Comic-Con International.

In Batman and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s Bff and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.

The world premiere of Batman and Harley Quinn will include a post-screening panel discussion among available members of the core cast and filmmaking team. The latest DC animated film features a stellar voice cast led by Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) reprising his role as the Dark Knight, alongside Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) making her debut as the irrepressible Harley Quinn. Loren Lester, the voice of Robin in Batman: The Animated Series, returns as Nightwing. Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) provide the voices of the villainous duo Poison Ivy & Jason Woodrue, respectively.

Fathom Events will follow that premier with their own one-night cinema event for the latest DC Universe Original Movie, Batman and Harley Quinn, on August 14, one night prior to the Digital release and 15 days in advance of its arrival on Blu-ray™ and DVD. In addition to seeing the film, audiences at the one-night screening will be the first to experience an exclusive featurette spotlighting the film’s star character, Harley Quinn.

“Fans of DC Universe Original Movies are a devoted legion, and never was that so evident than with the enthusiastic embracing of our Batman: The Killing Joke Fathom Events presentation,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family and Animation Marketing. “Audiences nationwide turned the screenings into true interactive experiences, and we believe Batman and Harley Quinn will inspire a similar night of celebration.”

The film boasts a stellar voice cast topped by The Big Bang Theory star Melissa Rauch in her first turn as the irrepressible Harley Quinn. The fan favorite voices of Batman: The Animated SeriesKevin Conroy as Batman, Loren Lester as Nightwing – take the protagonist leads, while Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) provide the voices of the villainous duo of Poison Ivy & Jason Woodrue, respectively.

“Seeing Batman and Harley Quinn on the big screen and among fellow fans is truly the best way to experience it,” Fathom Events VP of Studio Relations Tom Lucas said. “There’s only one opportunity to do this and it’s on August 14. On that night, we’re expecting audiences to pack theater auditoriums just like they did for Batman: The Killing Joke.”

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, Batman and Harley Quinn is directed by Sam Liu (Batman: The Killing Joke) from an original story by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) with a teleplay written by Timm & Jim Krieg (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). Co-Producer is Alan Burnett (The Batman). Executive Producers are Sam Register and Bruce Timm. Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are Executive Producers.

Spawned from an original story by animation icon Bruce Timm, Batman and Harley Quinn arrives August 29, 2017 as the first Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack ($44.98 Srp) release of a DC Universe Original Movie; Blu-ray Deluxe Giftset ($39.99 Srp), featuring an exclusive Harley Quinn figurine; Blu-ray Combo Pack ($24.98 Srp); and DVD ($19.98 Srp). The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with Hdr and a Blu-ray disc featuring the film; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the film in hi-definition; and the DVD features the movie in standard definition. The Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Combo Pack include a digital version of the film. Batman and Harley Quinn comes to Digital ($19.99 HD, $14.99 Sd) on August 15, 2017. »

- ComicMix Staff

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Martha Thomases: Comic Books – Adapt or Die!

15 hours ago

We talk about diversity a lot here at ComicMix, partly because it is often in the news, but mostly because it’s an interesting topic. Comics, like most popular entertainment, have generally been most lucrative for straight cis white men, but changes in demographics and delivery have made that less true in recent years. There are now visibly queer, non-binary people of different colors who are also expressing themselves in our medium, sometimes in ways that earn them money.

So I’d like to talk about diversity this week, but not in terms of the politics or the morality. I’m in favor of discussing politics and morality, but that’s not what’s interesting to me right this second. At the moment, I’d like to talk about diversity in terms of capitalism.

Diversity makes money. Just ask Hollywood.

In other words, when we acknowledge that our society has many different facets and sub-cultures, we can fine-tune our marketing strategies to make even more money. In the process, we get more different choices in our entertainment. This “marketplace of ideas” is supposed to be the justification not only for capitalism but the First Amendment as well.

It’s not a perfect system. Hollywood, like so many others (myself included), will often find itself in such a rut of conventional thinking that they miss opportunities that would have enriched our imaginations and their bottom line. Still, the major studios move more quickly than their comic-book counterparts.

For example, in most cases, when an entertainment conglomerate was about to launch a superhero movie franchise in which they had invested hundreds of millions of dollars, they would do everything they could to arouse curiosity about the project. However, even though Marvel’s Black Panther film is coming out next February (Black History Month) and the trailer for it has been seen almost 100 million times online, the interest in the character has not been sufficient for the publishing side of the business. The World of Wakanda, written by the best-selling author Roxane Gay, was recently canceled, and it is not certain that a trade collection will be published.

Even if the single issues weren’t profitable, one would think the loss they caused would be just a small fraction of the total marketing budget for the character. And, in the meantime, people who were intrigued about the writer because she had just appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah would be able to find something that might turn them into comic book readers.

Comics don’t market like that. Marvel and DC own characters, not writers. In general, they see no incentive to promote a writer, especially one who hasn’t been brought to the public’s attention by comic book publishers. There are exceptions (Ta-Nehisi Coates, for example), but they are few and far between.

Comic book marketing needs to change, along with comic book publishing and comic book retailing. I don’t know what it’s going to take for that to happen, but we must adapt or die. All retail businesses must do this.

If you read a link above, it’s about how Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods might change the retail experience beyond simply Amazon and Whole Foods. The kinds of trips to stores we make might change, and our experiences within those stores might change. In some cases, we might interact with humans and in some cases, we might not. Our interactions with other humans might be more personal than simply handing a cashier items to be scanned, and might require conversations about our mutual wants and needs. In the process, the kinds of goods and services offered in stores might change as well.

My pal, Mike Gold, frequently jokes about the impending demise of the bookstore at the hands of Amazon and other online retailers. I appreciate Amazon (no pants required), but I love bookstores of all kinds, and I hope he’s wrong. I like grocery stores, too, although I use them less and less for produce, preferring to shop at my local Green Market. If I’m going to go shopping in a store, I like to make my own choices based on what is in front of me and ask advice from someone whose expertise I believe. This is true whether I’m looking for sugar snap peas or something to read.

In my experience, which I sincerely hope is outdated, comic book publishers tend to think of their market as almost exclusively the direct market. When I worked at DC, if I would suggest a particular idea that would appeal to bookstores, for example, I was told that comic book stores would object to such an action. I understand that comic book stores are the largest customers for the product, but they are not the only customers. In fact, I thought that if I were part of the creative team who hoped to earn royalties, and I found out that a big chunk of potential customers for my work was being dismissed, I would be pretty angry.

Bookstores are bigger customers for comics than they used to be, but the business is still, for the most part, not designed for them. Too many publishers decide what to print solely based on single-issue sales, even though the way to grow the market is to provide products for readers in every format that might be appealing. If this means formats that are more appealing to new readers (like graphic novels instead of serialized fiction), give those a try. Certainly, DC, with its Earth-1 series, seems to be willing to take that tiny little chance.

For the most part, however, corporate entertainment companies, at least those that include comic book publishers, seem determined to not only focus on superhero comics … but only certain kinds of superhero comics. They still target that straight, cis white guy, and in a way that seems, to me, to be guaranteed to turn off anyone else. My FaceBook friend, writer and editor Mariah McCourt, recently posted this (I have edited her post for brevity):

The alt-right sees diversity at Marvel Comics as a betrayal by Jews of the “white race.”

“Possibly the most perennial… “debate” in comics is about the sexualized imagery of female characters. For many decades now the depiction of female comic book characters has relied on sexualized exaggeration through a (mostly) straight male creator lens.

“What I have just said is a fact. It’s not an interpretation or an opinion, it’s a fact. … It’s not just true of comics, although it’s definitely one of the more obvious examples. Fine art also has a history of this, which is why there is the entire method & school of art critique that revolves around the concept of the ‘male gaze.’…

“For years now my issue is not that sexualized art exists, or whether that’s inherently offensive or even sexist. It can be and often is, but art having a sexual nature doesn’t bother me.

“What bothers me is when that is the default state of female characters and people try to deny it, excuse it, or otherwise wriggle around that reality. When they argue that all comic characters are exaggerated, as if there isn’t a significant difference in how and why and by whom and for which audience.

“Comics are a medium, not a genre. You can have sexy sex comics, in which case sexualized characters and art make a lot of sense. That would be a pretty understandable context for them to exist in.

“It makes way less sense, when you think about it objectively, to constantly walk a very fine line between softcore art in what are supposedly “mainstream” comics that do not exist to depict sex. They may contain sex, but they aren’t sex comics. So it’s pretty weird for them to constantly default female characters, and almost exclusively female characters, to exaggerated depictions that are clearly sexualized.

“It is also intellectually dishonest and not even borderline insulting to suggest that comics art cannot be critiqued because it is “not supposed to be realistic”. That is not a valid argument. That is a crappy deflection.

“Plenty of non-comics art is not realistic or exaggerated and it is subject to criticism. Van Gogh, Munch, Picasso. No art is above that. … It exists within the framework of its time, its creator, its intention, its execution, and more. Art does not get a pass. Art is not neutral or stagnant or banal. Or it’s not really art.

“This is all maybe even more true of commercial art, of art that is part of a collective zeitgeist or cultural movements, times, places, and creations.”

Yes, let’s have sexy sex comics. Let’s have comics with stories about adorable puppies and kittens. Let’s have historical comics and science fiction comics and fantasy comics and non-fiction comics. Let’s have graphic memoirs and space operas and unicorns and fighting squadrons. Let’s have biblical comics, Hindu comics, Sharia comics and pagan comics. Let’s have military history and genderqueer confessions.

And then… let’s make those comics available where readers can find them. »

- Martha Thomases

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Hawkeye, Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and others

17 hours ago

I don’t keep up with superhero comics anymore — I have to admit that. Astro City was probably the last thing in that vein I read regularly, and even that was only as “regularly” as Astro City itself was…and that’s not very. Eventually, I even soured on that comic.

At some point in your life, you either realize that punching people is not the solution to problems, or you become a full-blown psychopath. For all my flaws, I’m on the first path.

All that is to explain why I never bothered to read the Hawkeye run written by Matt Fraction and mostly drawn by David Aja, despite it being pretty much assumed to be the best superhero comic while it was coming out (2012-15). Even if something is the obvious best sushi in the world, it doesn’t matter if your taste for seafood has gone.

But time marches on, and curiosity keeps building. And there’s always time for one more book, especially one that’s a few years old and no longer the hot new thing. So I finally did get to the hardcover collecting the first half of that Fraction-Aja Hawkeye run — eleven issues of that series, plus a loosely related issue of Young Avengers Presents as a kind of flashback.

(That Young Avengers Presents issue comes off very badly by comparison, even with strong art from long-time expert ink-slinger Alan Davis. It’s very much Yet Another Superhero Story, in the middle of a big stupid story that people didn’t even care that much about at the time, with the bog-standard angst and drama and Whining About the Relationship. It’s everything “good superhero comics” usually are, and a major exemplar of why I stopped reading that crap. In a nutshell, it’s a story about costumes being moved around a chessboard, not about people or real relationships.)

The main Hawkeye story, though, is about people. Mostly Clint Barton, the least of the Avengers, whose origin is a bizarre amalgam of Robin I and Green Arrow and whose “power” is just being good at shooting arrows. And who isn’t actually all that good at the living-normal-life thing, for reasons Fraction wisely doesn’t explore — he just takes Barton as the overgrown boy he is, stumbling through his own life like a bull in a china shop, getting into trouble just because that’s what he does when left to his own devices. The trouble here is mostly about a Brooklyn tenement that he semi-accidentally bought (with stolen money from the Marvel Universe’s biggest gangsters), to drive away a low-rent Russian gang he calls the Tracksuit Draculas. Again, his plans mostly don’t work, or don’t work right, and he needs to be saved repeatedly by the women in his life. Which brings us to….

There’s also a newer, younger, female Hawkeye — always have to have a non-cishet-swm person in the costume these days, and pretend that person will “always” be the “real” holder of the shiny superhero title, as if we haven’t seen a million “always” melt away in a million comics. (I think that’s mostly cynical audience-pandering, but it’s hard to tell in individual cases — and every superhero-universe character gets handled by so many people that they turn into river-stones, rubbed down to an essence that no one person intended.) She’s Kate Bishop, and I have no idea why she’s so good at shooting arrows, or why she went into the superhero game — she seems to have as few powers as Barton, and many more options. (She’s some variety of rich girl, as far as I can tell.)

But this is a superhero universe, so dressing up in tight spandex to jump around rooftops and beat up thugs is just what you do. Apparently no other entertainment media exist in this world, so this is the only thing to do to keep oneself occupied.

These are, as I said, mostly low-level superheroics. Neither Hawkeye saves the world, and the globe-trotting is more spycraft than Galactus-defeating. Aja’s art is perfectly suited for that level, and tells the story brilliantly, well aided by Matt Hollingsworth’s colors. (There’s also a two-issue story by Javier Pulido and a single issue by Francesco Francavilla here — both are good, but flashier than Aja and so they stand out too much for my taste.) Aja reminds me of nothing so much as David Mazzucchelli’s classic superhero period, particularly Daredevil and Batman: Year One. There’s a similar grounded-ness, with thin lines that frame often violent action without rationalizing it — keeping it shocking and unexpected even in the middle of a story designed to showcase violent action. It’s strongly compliments Fraction’s similarly grounded writing: both of them are committed to telling a story about people in a real world, moving through real space, whose actions have consequences and who bleed and feel and curse and laugh and wryly shake their heads.

Aja also delights in complex page layouts — or his ability energizes Fraction to create them, either way it’s a strong collaboration — which make the world part of the story, and not just flat backdrops for more punching. An issue told from the Pov of a dog is particularly impressive, and probably hugely well-known by this point.

You don’t need to read Hawkeye. You never need to read any superhero comic, no matter what they tell you. But, if you do want to read about superheroes., this is miles closer to the real world than most.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent. »

- Andrew Wheeler

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Review: Wilson

22 June 2017 10:52 AM, PDT

We all like to root for the underdog, especially if it is someone we, the audience, feel is being unjustly treated by a cruel, uncaring world. So, sitting down to Wilson, the film adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel, we’re predisposed to cheer for the title character, especially as portrayed by Woody Harrelson.

Unfortunately, we get a soft, gooey portrayal of a misanthrope who brings much of the misery upon himself, surrounding himself with ill-defined characters. The 94 minute experience is at times uncomfortable and other times you shake your head at the missed opportunities.

The 2010 graphic novel is comprised of 70 single page gag strips about Wilson, inspired in part by his own father’s death as well as the relationship between Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and his father. Days and years pass in Wilson’s life between these vignettes forcing you to guess what has happened. In some ways, the film works in the same frustrating manner.

The film, out now from 20th Century Home Entertainment, focuses on Wilson, a down on his luck guy who loses his father to cancer then goes in search of his past by tracking his ex-wife where he learns the abortion that ended their marriage never happened. Instead, she gave away the child, now a teen, and they go in search of her.

Laura Dern looks appropriately strung out as Pippi, his ex, who is variously described as a crack whore and lunatic. She left Wilson, gave up her daughter, and tried to stay straight as a waitress. When Wilson finds her, she crumbles around whatever she originally found in him to love. As a result, she gives in all too readily and all too often, when he wants to love her or find their daughter and then pursue a relationship with her. Later, time passes and her situation changes with no real explanation, undercutting our appreciation for her struggles.

Harrelson gives the part his all, but is ill served by Clowes script. The story is fine but there’s little to like about Wilson, who is rude, arrogant, befuddled, and stressed out depending upon the scene. After being arrested for allegedly kidnapping Claire (Isabella Amara), he transitions to a three year stint at prison. There, he seems to find God or bond with every sub-culture in the prison population, softening his edges at last, so in the final act, he can find some solace. There’s a better story hidden under all this but Clowes won’t show us. His adaptations of Ghost World and Art School Confidential are far superior.

Had this been in the hands of a surer director, such as the originally-planned Alexander Payne, we might have been given that better movie. Instead, we get relative novice Craig Johnson, making just his third feature. Therefore, performances by Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines, and Margo Martindale are wasted.

We veer from slapstick to sentimental and the entire final portion of the film shifts tone into something sappy. The entire production lacks focus, direction, and even a point. As a portrait of a middle-aged man lost in the world, it has more promise than actual delivery.

Overall, the film looks and sounds fine on Blu-ray, coming as part of a Combo Pack that also includes a DVD and Digital HD code.

Given that the film was a box office and critical disappointment, it’s no surprise that there is a paucity of special features. We do get 15 Deleted Scenes, some of which would have helped the overall story but none are entirely missed. There are also a photo gallery and trailers. »

- Robert Greenberger

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Dennis O’Neil: Wonder Woman Gives Peace A Chance

22 June 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

Of arms and the man I sing • Virgil

If high-flyin’ kick-ass jelly is your pleasure, sir or madam, and you haven’t yet seen Wonder Woman, well, skedaddle. Plenty of action there and you can still see it on the big screen, the way god – Zeus? – intended it to be seen. The USA Today movie maven wrote that during the last battle, the CGI seams were showing. Maybe, but I didn’t see them.

But there’s more to the film than excellent mayhem, seamless or otherwise. Melded into the reinvented mythology that constitutes a lot of Ww’s backstory is an advocacy for peace. It doesn’t take much screen time and it’s played gently – this isn’t the kind of story that grabs you by the lapels, shakes you and snarls listen to me! But the message is there and it’s one that seldom encountered in mega-entertainments. War is not glorious. Violence is a last resort.

In the movie, Ww’s sister warriors learn combat skills only to be able to protect themselves and their home from invasion. World War I is raging in Europe and we see enough of it to demonstrate that the Amazons’ fears are justified. Ww is horrified at the carnage – the slaughter of innocents – and that’s why she gets involved. But we are given no reason to believe that she enjoys any of it.

I don’t know if Ww’s pacific sentiments are registering with the popcorn crowd.

It’s not an easy sell, this peace stuff, not in a country whose president crows that we must win more wars if America is to be great. (The president adds “again” to the end of the previous sentence, but I’d rather not do that.) Not that we must strive to end the monstrous cruelty that’s war by deploying troops if absolutely necessary and recalling them as soon as possible. No, our Mr. T wants to win more wars which presumably requires starting new wars.

Let’s be fair. War and its glorification is as old as civilization (older if you count the skirmishes that must have occurred among hunter-gatherers.) It’s that ole debbil evolution again. Our ancestors developed an aptitude for savagery because that enabled them to deal with the perils of their world and, incidentally, allowed their descendants to become big cheeses. (Take a bow, you and I.) And much of our earliest narrative art deals with soldiers: you know – Odysseus, Achilles, Aeneas. That crowd.

So here we are and that which enabled us to survive now threatens to destroy us. And judging by the news media, nobody seems interested in even acknowledging the existence of options other than creating shiny new hells for our children to enjoy. Maybe someone will think of a way to make peace seem as desirable as war.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Wonder Woman. »

- Dennis O'Neil

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Review: Cleopatra in Space Book Four: The Golden Lion

21 June 2017 10:25 AM, PDT

Cleopatra in Space Book Four: The Golden Lion

By Mike Maihack

Scholastic Graphix, 204 pages, $22.99

Mike Maihack has been receiving glowing notices with every release in his Cleopatra in Space series of graphic novels from Graphix. When the first was released in 2014, I was highly critical of it since it had no bearing on the historic Cleopatra. I found the second outing better but still not as great as others thought.

For some reason, the third book, Secret of the Time Tablets came out last year and we missed it. As a result, I approached book four, The Golden Lion with some trepidation. Graphix has a bad habit of releasing subsequent volumes in a series without a recap and given the year between releases, this is unforgivable.

We open some time after the events in book three and clearly, things went badly since Cleopatra did something she shouldn’t have and this time her classmate Zaid died as a result. One would think she would be learning her lesson but instead, we see her training hard, punishing herself for whatever went sideways. However, the moment she is summoned, and told of the fabled Golden Lion being located, she foolishly heads to an alien world ill-prepared and alone meaning she has learned nothing.

This makes her less likable and undermines the light tone and fast pace of this book. Maihack is a talented artist who can move thins along nicely although there are entire sequences that are bloated so when we need to open up others, such as some of her later confrontations with a bounty hunter, everything is crammed and hard to figure out what’s going on. Some art direction would have helped immensely.

The Golden Lion is a shooting star with a long tail that is part legend and part of another prophecy that seems to involve Cleopatra, who is clearly not the Egyptian queen-to-be, but instead some other person. Anyway, evidence now points to a moon orbiting a world Cada’Duun. Since this star is considered a source of immeasurable energy, getting to control it before evil forces get to it becomes a priority.

But Cleopatra races ahead of everyone, landing on the frigid world completely unprepared for the cold and how it saps the life from her equipment. Thankfully, before she can freeze to death, her frequent companion Antony turns up, there for secret reasons of his own. Together they discover the underground (and warm) civilization that apparently speaks in algebraic equations. Antony can speak it while Cleopatra can only cuddle with her new pet, a snow otter named Mihos.

Of course a new agent, Ophois, has been dispatched to get the Golden Lion first and a confrontation with our plucky (and empty-headed) heroine is coming. There are agendas, schemes, and plans whirling in the background of this series. We’re four books in and clearly it’ll be four more before anything gets resolved. As a result, this is more an episode than a graphic novel and for the price, it should be far more self-contained. But Maihack isn’t entirely to blame for this since Graphix does this with most of their series which is a disservice to their young, enthusiastic readership. »

- Robert Greenberger

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Mike Gold: Randomonium™

21 June 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

As I type these words, today is today. Usually, today is yesterday or a day before or so, and if any of our other columnists pulled this stunt I’d be bitching my brains off. But, to paraphrase stand-up philosopher par excellence Mel Brooks, “it’s good to be the king editor.”

I do have an excuse, and a good one at that. I just got back from Manhattan Island where we had a wonderful dinner with the classy part of ComicMix, The Tweeks, a.k.a. Maddy and Anya Ernst. Oh, yeah, their mom Jen was there as well – even in New York City, letting even adult-looking underagers wander about is frowned upon. The “us” part consisted of four members of the ComicMix crew – Tweeks’ producer and associate editor Adriane Nash, columnist Joe Corallo, utility infielder Wizardly Glenn Hauman, along with the amazing Brandy Hauman who hangs around with us to show us what it’s like to have a real job, and the oft-aforementioned geriatric boy editor.

Yeah, that’s my superhero name. Geriatric Boy. It fits me like a glove. And if it don’t fit… But I digress.

We had a wonderful time. Well, at least I did, but I don’t think the others were faking. We stayed so long the restaurant manager sorta suggested they wanted the opportunity to make money off of some other folks. We stood in front of the place jabbering for another hour.

We talked about the stuff you might think a gaggle of ComicMixers would discuss: Star Wars, Doctor Who, food, architecture, theater, improv, opera (a little bit), comics… Jen and I talked about Chicago because that’s what people who lived in Chicago always do. Hell, we do that when we’re only around New Yorkers as well. It seems to annoy the pettier of our east coast clan.

I’m not going to rat anybody out, and I’m certainly not going to discuss Maddy and Anya’s career plans or anything like that. Not only would doing so be rude of me, but I’d also be pre-empting material from The Tweeks’ weekly (if not more often) video blogs. If I did that, Adriane would roll up a copy of the Sunday New York Times and bop me on the nose with it, shouting “bad editor – bad editor.”

Sigh. I hate being a grown-up. Lucky for me, I only do that for a living. And even then, rarely.

Maddy, Anya and Jen live in Orange County, which makes going to that ridiculously overstuffed comic book convention fairly easy – for them. The show is in several weeks, and if you look through the website you can see the high quality of their interviews with celebrities and other people who hire public relations firms. All of them (I believe) are online here at ComicMix, and it’s really fun to watch how they’ve evolved and improved since they started this thing three years ago. When they were eleven. Now, they’re fourteen.

If the Tweeks are any indication, they’re making smarter and more stylish fourteen-year-olds than they did when I was that age. Oh, sure, I was smart all right, but in my case, that word qualified the next word, which was “aleck.”

I’m a big believer in mentoring. Indeed, when it comes to such activity I am a fundamentalist. I’m really proud of Adriane’s work in that regard – and that is the result of her work and not her being my daughter. Which, need I remind you, has been the coolest thing that ever happened to me.

This is not to take anything away from the Tweeks’ parents. Parenting is a different thing from mentoring. Mentors can say “See ya!” when they want to or need to. Parents have their gig forever. I dunno; maybe it’s something to do with “responsibility.”

It was a great evening. It was the reason I really love this job.

Happy summer solstice. If it seems like the longest day of the year… trust your instincts. »

- Mike Gold

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Review: Nnewts: The battle for Amphibopolis

20 June 2017 10:10 AM, PDT

Nnewts: The battle for Amphibopolis

By Doug TenNapel

215 pages, Scholastic Graphix, $19.99/$9.99

Doug TenNapel concludes his most ambitious work yet, the fanciful, energetic world of the Nnewts in this final volume, As with every other series from Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, it provides no synopsis so one hopes readers can keep track of the sprawling story with volumes coming a year apart.

And that’s the biggest concern with this book aimed at 8-12 year olds: it is so large and complex a tale, with so many characters, and a complicated mythology and internal logic that on the surface it’s a confusing mess of kinetic energy.

As introduced in Escape of the Lizzarks, we are introduced to the residents of Nnewtown and its wide assortment of characters. They are being threatened and it falls to young Herk to embark on a journey to save everyone.  The Rise of Herk raised »

- Robert Greenberger

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Joe Corallo: Pat Shand’s Destiny

20 June 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

Back on November 3rd, a much more innocent time, Pat Shand’s Kickstarter campaign for his graphic novel Destiny – NY Volume One: Who I Used To Be was successfully funded. This past Saturday I received my hard copy of the book in the mail and it’s got my name printed in it as a backer and everything! Since I already read Destiny – NY I figured talking about this book and reviewing it would make for a good column this week. If you keep reading past this point, I’ll assume you agree with me.

For those of you who don’t know Pat Shand, he is a writer and an editor with hundreds of comics under his belt as well as multiple novels. Most of his work is over at Zenescope which Pat recently left to focus more on running his new publishing arm, Continuity Entertainment. The first volume of Destiny, »

- Joe Corallo

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Mindy Newell: Disappointment and Delight

19 June 2017 10:00 AM, PDT

This season of Doctor Who just isn’t working for me.

This is imho, of course, and Ymmv, but after a great opening episode (The Pilot) I’ve been very disappointed. The stories haven’t excited me, and, more important, the relationship between Pearl Mackie’s Bill Potts and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor doesn’t seem to have moved all that much forward; there isn’t any there there, as Trumpists like to say these days. (Of course I had to get a Trump reference in here. You know me.) It started off great, with hints of something even more brewing.

Why does the Doctor take an interest in the non-matriculated kitchen worker who was attending his lectures? Why did he go out of his way to use the Tardis to go back in the past to take pictures of Bill’s dead mom – of whom she had no memory »

- Mindy Newell

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Ed Catto: Spellbound by Batman

19 June 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

When Leonard Nimoy died, several comic conventions paused for a moment of silence as fans offered up the Vulcan salute. Those were lovely gestures as the nerd community showed how beloved the actor, and his signature role, was to them.

I wish that Batman’s Adam West had a signature gesture like that. A hands-on-hips pose means Superman. The Vulcan salute embodies all of Star Trek’s mythology. Television’s Wonder Woman had a spinning motion (it enabled her to change from her meek self into her heroic costume) that we of a certain age remember. Iron Man kind of owns that punching-the-ground-while-crouching pose. But TV’s Batman really could’ve used an iconic pose.

Perhaps it would be holding a bomb, with a lighted fuse, above one’s head? Perhaps that silly/sexy Batusi dance move, evoking a bat’s eyes and ears? Somehow they just don’t seem right. »

- Ed Catto

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