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Forgotten Comics: Howard Chaykin’s The Shadow

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Reviews, DC Comics

Shadow1"He's back…and God help the guilty."

My favorite thing to hit at the San Diego Comic Con is the back issue bins – the so-called quarter boxes (usually greatly reduced in price by Sunday) of oddball and overstock comics from the 1980s – now.

At this year's con, there was one dealer in particular who had over a dozen long boxes of comics in nearly alphabetical order, and I and many other well-mannered scavengers thumbed through them all. One of my treasures was the complete 4-issue run of Howard Chaykin's The Shadow from DC Comics (1986).

Coming on the heels of his award-winning run at First Comics with his own American Flagg! Chaykin went over to DC for a revamp of the old 1930s pulp character created by Walter Gibson (aka Maxwell Grant). DC's previous attempt with the character back in the 1970s stayed true to its pulp origins and was unsuccessful despite the involvement of Denny O'Neil, Mike Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson.

By bringing in Chaykin a decade later, it was clear that some things were going to be shaken up and this was not going to be a standard pulp revival. You don't turn to Howard if you want the same old, same old.

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Weekend Reading: Batman, Tintin, Starlog and Jerry Bingham

Batman Confidential 50A big week on the internets, so let’s get right to it.

For me, the big news is that my pal Jerry Bingham is illustrating a 5-part story in Batman Confidential, starting in issue #50 that went on sale this week. If you’re on the fence about it, here’s a multi-page preview of it that’ll make you wish Jerry drew more comics. Fans of Batman: Son of the Demon rejoice!

Batman: Over at Project Child Murdering Robot, Ricky Sprague comments on the upcoming Christopher Nolan Batman movie with some language that might be NSFW but SWR (still worth reading)! Bonus shout out to Batman: Year One: “It was among the first of the modern age comic book character reboots that now seem to occur every other year or so. Mr. Miller's hardboiled writing was at its peak, and Mr. Mazzucchelli is one of the best illustrators ever.”

Biff! Bam! Pow!: Bob Greenberger at ComicMix tackles the eternal question: Is Legends of the Superheroes any good? “You have to love kitsch, bad writing, awful acting, and comic books to enjoy (or endure) these specials.”

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Jim Korkis: The Vault Of Walt Disney

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Movies

Vault of Walt

Mr. Jim Korkis and I have a history that goes back to the dawn of time. His knowledge of comics and cartoon history is astounding and the number of people he's met and interviewed over the years makes Jay Leno seem like a hermit.

Back in the days of Malibu Comics, I hired Mr. K to write some text pieces and introductions to many of our comic strip reprints. They were fascinating and entertaining and I always found out stuff I didn't know – he was the pre-Google Google for certain topics. And his work would arrive many days before his deadline.

I also had the privilege of editing two big softcover books of his, written with his then-frequent collaborator John Cawley, another guy who knows more about animation than Don Bluth forgot. One book was Cartoon Confidential, one of my favorite books I ever got to work on.

The other was the Animation Art Buyer's Guide and Price Guide, which was an inexpensive book about buying, selling, pricing animation art and stuff to look for and look out for.

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Read More | Jim Korkis Interview

Doug Wright’s Nipper Vs. Amazon

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Reviews, Independent

Nipper

I've been reading that Nipper, the first collection of Doug Wright's cartoons, is out from Drawn & Quarterly and already getting some nice notice.

Nipper's a "mischievous little kid" who appeared in newspapers across the country in the mid 20th century." D&Q's Nipper 1963-64 is the first of what the publisher plans as a long-running series of books collecting Wright's classic.

There's a preview of it (pdf) at the D&Q website that offers a nice taste of Wright.

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Read More | Calgary Herald

Weekend Reading: NYCC, Donald Duck and The Incredible Hulk

Lou FerrignoI’ve been thinking over the last couple of years that with blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, podcasts, video and live internet feeds that you can probably have a decent out-of-town convention “experience” without leaving your house.

For example, the New York Comic Con is over and Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter has the best con report: news reports, links, observations and opinions. He didn’t attend, but it’s hard to argue with his analysis.

Incredible: In case you haven’t heard, Marvel is developing a new TV series based on The Incredible Hulk. No doubt a “Get Lou Ferrigno A Role On The Show” Facebook page will be up by the end of the day.

Duck: Jaime Weinman poses a few questions in a post he calls “Disney And The Copyright Police.”

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Weekend Reading: Wonder Woman, Alex Toth, NYCC and Star Wars

Wonder WomanDoesn’t everyone who’s not there wish they were at the New York Comic Con this weekend? Or is it just me?

Big announcements all across the board. Marvel and DC are cutting prices which won’t boost sales enough for the Big Two to make the same amount of money. But it’s good news for non-Big Two publishers who can try to tap into the money customers are saving and steer it their way. I’m looking at you Boom!, Dynamite, Moonstone and IDW.

DC’s also cutting the story count down to 20 pages. Since there aren’t that many paid ads anymore, anyone want to wager on when the $2.99 printed comics go from 32 pages down to 24 to further reduce costs?

And in the wake of his supervisor stepping down, Bob Wayne‘s been given a promotion and stays in New York. Well played.

At Project Child Murdering Robot, Ricky Sprague has some thoughts about the new Wonder Woman TV series in development by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal; Boston Legal). His advice: “Please don’t shy away from her glorious bondage past.”

Toasting Toth: Who doesn’t love Alex Toth? John Kricfalusi posts panels from a really nice story and breaks down his love for it.

Toth II: Daniel Best at 20th Century Danny Boy has some great information of Alex Toth and the artist’s time in Australia. Bonus: lots of Toth artwork.

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Weekend Reading: DC Comics And Warner Bros.

Jim Lee And Rob LiefeldSo did you hear the big news? Marvel’s moving to a new office building in Manhattan!

Not to be outdone, Warner Bros. decided to shake things up with a large scale corporate shift. This interview with Diane Nelson from Comic Book Resources actually sheds very little light on the nuts and bolts of it.

And the lack of real answers has caused Tom Spurgeon to raise some questions he’d like to see answered about the situation forward-going.

Naturally, and because I sometimes can’t keep my mouth shut, I have my own take on the matter.

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Super: Rainn Wilson Is The Crimson Bolt

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Movies, Reviews

The Crimson BoltThe Rainn Wilson superhero movie, Super, is getting closer to theatrical release. Writer-Director James Gunn’s film showed to an appreciative audience at the recent Toronto Independent Film Festival and got picked up by IFC for theatrical distribution.

Wilson, Dwight from The Office, plays the Crimson Bolt (aka Frank D’Arbo) a wannabe superhero with all the power his plumber’s wrench possesses when he hits something with it. Ellen Page as his equally nutty sidekick Boltie, and Kevin Bacon is the villain who’s stolen Wilson’s equally dysfunctional gal, played by Liv Tyler. Even Nathan Fillion (Castle, Dr. Horrible, Firefly) gets into the act and there’s even an appearance by Troma’s own Lloyd Kaufman. [Namedrop alert: I once sat next to Kaufman on a flight from New York to L.A. and is he ever entertaining in person!]

With his wrench and the best battle cry - “Shut up, crime!” - since Ben Grimm’s “It’s clobberin’ time!”, The Crimson Bolt begins a one-man war on all manner of crime, because dressing up as a superhero to win back your girlfriend is always a good idea.

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Wynonna Earp Is Coming Back!

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Reviews, IDW Publishing

Wynonna EarpWhat do Bigfoot, Vampire Nation, Yeti, and Russian Immortals have in common? They’re all appearing with Wynonna Earp in Beau Smith’s upcoming original graphic novel, Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars illustrated by Enrique Villigran, and published by IDW.

All I can say is “about damn time.” You can quote me.

Wynonna Earp is, in case you haven’t guessed, related to ol’ Wyatt himself. She’s a US Covert Marshal, only instead of hunting bank robbers and “hoss thieves” like her famous relative, she’s after more dangerous, contemporary game: Paranormal lawbreakers. As Beau says, “There’s nothing normal about paranormal crime.”

In this all new graphic novel, debuting in December, Beau and Enrique are dropping Wynonna into the middle of a “paranormal range war” between Russian Immortals and the Vampire Nation. Beau clarifies, “There are four Bigfoot in this book as well as a tribe of Yeti, The Vampire Nation, A Consortium of Immortals and a Mad Scientist that likes to splice animal and human DNA. How’s that for a Monster kitchen sink?”

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Cheapjack Shakespeare: Graphic Novel Play Breaks Records

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Reviews

Cheapjack Shakespeare PosterThat new Spider-Man musical might want to call Shaun McLaughlin and ask him how it’s done. His play Cheapjack Shakespeare: The Non Musical just opened to a sold out crowd, “the largest fall opening in the history of (Buffalo’s) Alt Theatre,” according to the press release. According to McLaughlin, “Sex, drugs and iambic pentameter has proved a potent draw.”

And competition for opening night was fierce: Friday night’s debut was the kick off of Curtain Up!, the official start of Buffalo’s theatre season. Cheapjack Shakespeare: The Non Musical was competing against 16 other show openings. And first-time playwright McLaughlin emerged victorious. According to the author, “it was a sell out crowd. And they laughed. A lot.”

I’ve written about Cheapjack Shakespeare before. It’s McLaughlin’s adaptation of his own graphic novel, a comedy about a summer Shakespeare company falling apart as they’re beset by infidelity, egos, ambition “and a particularly ill-timed lightning strike.”

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